Sunday, December 22, 2013

Burn that fat! Get those muscles!

Once you have that motivation to exercise more (see this post) then the next challenge is to stick to your exercise routine. I will tell you, going for a run every once in a while is most definitely better than no run at all. However, if you want to see results in the way you look and feel, you must stick to a routine. By routine I mean, 2x/week (at least) you go to whatever class, run or exercise of your choice. That is your scheduled exercise. 
Plenty of people work out at gyms and/or outside but many of these people don't understand why they are not seeing any results (weight loss, muscle gain, attaining a different body shape etc). 
Often what happens is that people think they have done enough exercise for the day/week (after that workout) and stop moving during the day. They feel that 'I worked out for an hour' so they take the elevator instead of the stairs. Or... have that extra slice of cake because they exercised today (we all know this one, don't we). 

You can easily make small changes throughout your daily life, and I promise you, they will go a very long way. For instance,
Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. 
Instead of taking the escalator, take the stairs. 
Instead of walking at a leisurely pace, speed up just a nudge that you start to breathe a little faster. 
Instead of sitting in the subway or bus, stand without holding on to something and train your deep stabilising muscles. 
Instead of sitting at your desk for 4 hours straight, get up every hour and do 5 squats (yes at your desk or if it's really too weird, in the bathroom)
Instead of taking the bus that one stop, walk it.

If you are looking to shed those pounds (I know, Christmas is coming up, but guess what, no need to even put on those holiday pounds....!) I urge you to do some form of exercise with weights. Cardio is definitely great for your heart and body (no need to stop those runs now is what I'm saying) but for that extra fat/calorie burn, you want all the muscle you can get. The more muscle you have, the more your cells need to work to keep them warm. The more muscle you have, the stronger bones you have. And, the more muscle you have, the hotter you look! Whaaaat!
For the ladies: do not be afraid of muscles. You will never be able to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, sadly) because you do not produce the amount of testosterone you need to become crazy bulky. So it is safe and even GOOD to use weights! 

Here is a quick 'n easy plan you can do at home, for the in between gym sessions over the holidays:

1. Warm-Up

  • roll your shoulders up to your ears and back down (10 times each way)
  • swing your arms and rotate your torso (10 times)
  • swing your left leg front and back (10 times)
  • swing your right leg front and back (10 times)
  • do 10 jumping jacks
2. Squats 10-20x

  • make sure your feet are firmly on the ground, hip width apart
  • activate your stomach muscles (pull in your belly button towards your spine)
  • chest nice and proud
  • arms either crossed over your chest, up above your head or losely hanging by your side
  • bend your knees and keep your weight on your heel (as if you were to sit on an imaginary chair behind you)
3. Push-Up 1-15x
  • plant your toes on the ground
  • make sure your hands are beneath your shoulders and your elbows are slightly bent
  • lower yourself slowly almost kissing the ground and with the exhale push yourself back up (if that is impossible, don't get frustrated, keep lowering yourself to the ground and then push yourself back up with your knees on the ground)
  • variation: stand against a wall, arms shoulder width apart and step 1-2 foot lengths away from the wall and bend your elbows until you can kiss the wall and straighten your elbows again)
4. Bridging 10x
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms by your sides
  • lift your butt to the sky
  • keep breathing into your belly
  • variation: lift one leg at a time (repeat both legs 2x)
5. Calve raises 30x
  • stand on your left foot and raise yourself onto your tiptoes (repeat 10x)
  • stand on your right foot and raise yourself onto your tiptoes (repeat 10x)
  • stand on both feet and raise yourself onto both your toes (repeat 10x)
6. Triceps Push-Ups 1-15
  • get into a push up position
  • now connect your thumbs and your index fingers so you are forming a triangle with your hands
  • shift your weight over your hands, so your hands are under your chest
  • lower yourself so you just about kiss the floor and with the exhale, push yourself up again
  • variation: go as low as you can push yourself up again, even if its only 1cm it will do its job and you will notice a change if you keep it up!
7. Plank 15sec-2 min
  • Get into a push up position and hold that position for at least 15 sec and up to 2 minutes.
  • make sure your butt doesn't sink! Keep that butt on the same level as your body, not lower!

There are no breaks in between these set of exercises, go straight from one into the next one. After you are done with the 6 different exercises you can take a 1 min break and then repeat it 2-3 times. (start off with once if you haven't exercised in a while!)

8. Cool down
  • don't forget to stretch! Just as important as the exercises!
These are 6 simple exercises that you can do wherever you are :D 

You will notice your body becoming stronger, you will feel empowered and you will be able to take over the world! Halleluja!

Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

my great expectations vs the present

I hardly ever wake up grumpy. I mean opening my eyes and feeling grumpy. It only happens if I have a headache or had a nightmare (thus insanely tired). But, most mornings I wake up and just lie there slowly getting thoughts blurbed into my brain. In these precious moments I need to make a choice to stay present. In bed. Under my sheets. Not already on my bike on the way to work or at school, about all the stuff I have to do that I may or may not want to do and the patients I have to see, blablablu.  I can think about that when I am there... if only it were always that easy! 

I am a very imaginative person and I tend to really get hyped up and go into detail about how certain situations will pan out and somewhere along my self-entertaining-storytelling I get stuck. I get high expectations. Expectations that the others don't even know about (!), expectations that can hardly be met because I have created a fantasy. 
It's great to be excited about situations or events and being in anticipation, that's half of the fun (because of the expectations? or just because of the excitement? mhhm). However, I do feel that sometimes it does hinder me in coming into the situation with a clean slate. Open minded, open hearted, ready to respond to whatever is happening spontaneously
I have come to realise that I cannot foresee the future (Yes. I know. Maybe for the best though?) it doesn't matter how much I think about it beforehand and try to figure out how the situation will play out, it will be however it will be

Early on, in the hospital business, I learned that the staff talks about the patients, the good and the bad. When I was given patients I often heard words like 'oh, she is really nice, you will like her' or 'Mhm, watch out for him, he is a bit youknowwhat'. Thankfully, I also learned early on, that its good to be informed about the personality of the patients but not to take it so seriously. Everybody has different chemistry with me than with you. We are different people and I might like someone from the moment I see them and you might not. But if I go into the room ready to fight there proooobably won't be a chance for me to find out if we might actually hit it off.

It's an ongoing process, staying present and not fluttering away into the deep wide ocean of thoughts but I've been working on it for some time now. Here are some things that help me stay present and that I can focus on. Maybe it will help you come back to reality when you need to...

take a deep breath and focus on your senses

take time to sit and eat and look at the food and taste the food

listen to the person who is speaking and don't think about what you want to say

feel what you feel while you feel it while feeling it. (now the word feel looks really weird)

and most of all, be grateful for what you've got 

Life is too short to live in the past or the future. Enjoy what is right in front of you.
Have a wonderful weekend!

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” 
Poem by Mary Jean Irion