Exercise apparel – Senita

There are a few brands of athletic apparel I usually stick to because I’ve found they fit me well and are of high quality. Every now and then I’ll try a new or not super popular brand. I recently bought a pair of leggings from Senita. The style is called “Ellie” and they were $36, so a great price compared to other brands. For the quality, they are actually a steal! The material is super soft and stretchy. The rise on this style is a medium high and doesn’t slip or fold at all. The pants hold their shape without being too tight. The material seems durable and this style comes in a few different colors (gray, plum, black and the navy that I bought). I also like that this particular style is a 7/8 pant which is perfect for a short female such as myself 😉

One of their selling points is there are two large pockets on the sides. I didn’t think this feature would be a tipping point or anything for me, but I really like the pocket! I don’t exercise with my phone on me but it’s still super convenient for my phone when we go on walks or if I’m running errands after the gym. I am extremely pleased with my purchase and will definitely be using this brand again.senita athletics ellie leggingssenita athletics ellie leggings

senita athletics ellie leggings

Muscle Sculpting

This the first of 3 health and wellness posts I’m collaborating with other writers on. I’ve enjoyed yoga for years and continue to find amazing benefits including flexibility and strength. More recently, I’ve been swimming more. Dave and I signed up for a sprint triathlon that’s actually in a couple weeks so we’ve been forced to swim more, ha, ha! While my swimming endurance is something I can definitely work on, I have liked mixing up my exercise routine and the benefit of using different muscles. Here are a few suggestions for muscle sculpting:

yoga

Most of us know that lots of aerobic exercises are good for heart health and weight loss. You might enjoy walking a lot, and perhaps you even go jogging occasionally. Did you know that combining these exercises with some weight work can help you to sculpt your body shape more easily? Of course, standing around with dumbbells doesn’t sound like fun, so here are some of the best ways to enjoy toning and building up your muscles:

Yoga

All you need for this one is a workout mat and enough space to put it down. You can find lots of really good Yoga poses online, or even join a class to get more from it. Yoga builds strength in most of your muscle groups. It particularly works the core muscle and can help to improve your posture. Did you know that Yoga can be used for relaxation as well as energizing? Best of all, it serves as the perfect warm-up to stretch all those muscles out well. Low impact stuff that’s fun and good for toning!

Kettlebells

This is the exercise that’s taking America by storm right now. Kettlebells are relatively cheap to buy and you only really need one. Start with just a couple of kilos, especially if you’re coming back to exercise. If you’re asking what muscles do kettlebell swings work, then you’re not alone. After all, it’s just one weight with one handle. How effective can it be? The trick is to use kettlebell swings to work your shoulders, back, and hips. If you don’t want bulky legs, this is perfect because it tones rather than adding mass.

Dancing

There are so many different kinds of dancing, but all of them demand a strong core and good posture. This immediately lifts your entire frame. As you’re up on your ball joints a lot, your legs, ankles, and glutes will enjoy a lot of toning. Best of all, the music motivates you to keep going. There are lots of dance exercise classes, but a standard ballroom, jazz, street, or ballet class will work wonders. Plus it’s social and lots of fun!

Swimming

Do you remember those pregnancy exercise in the water classes? Some people love them, others hate them. Now you’re back to basics, and it’s time to get in the water and start swimming! The movements you ‘enjoyed’ before are actually pretty good warm-ups. But it is the breaststroke and front crawl that is going to help you tone up your shoulders, arms, and back.

Laying on the sofa?

Yes, laying on the sofa can help you tone and even build up your leg muscles. This can be ideal for anyone with a weakened back. For squishier couch seat cushions, add a pillow or two under your lower back as you lay on the sofa. Now raise your legs in the air, one at a time. From here you can start to explore the range of movement in your hips that are comfortable. Leg pushes, splits and kicks can help push the excess fluid away from ankles and knees. And you’ll get some great toning if you perform these during your favorite soap opera each night!

How to prevent exercise injuries

After I was cleared to exercise after Tessa was born, I was super motivated to get back in shape and have my body return to its previous state. I got on a good schedule where I could exercise with the kids in a group with other women and then joined an awesome gym with great child care (Treehouse Athletic Club in Draper, Utah). I was feeling good, running well and getting my mile time down when…I hurt my knee. Then right when it was feeling better, I pulled my Achilles tendon pretty bad when we were in Texas. So I’m no stranger to injury and while the process is longer, I’m still motivated to become physically stronger. One of my biggest things I need to remember is to stretch well after and really dedicate the time to cool down. Here are some more solid tips to prevent injuries:

How to Prevent Injury as an Athlete

By: Maurine Anderson

Your risk of injury only increases the more physically active you are, so if you are an athlete, it’s vitally important to do what you can to prevent injury. Injuries can take months or even years to heal, after all, and some injuries will put athletes out of commission for good. An injury could even put you at risk for painkiller addiction. As this article points out, it’s a lot more common than you might think.

How, then, can you reduce your chances of injury in your everyday physical activity? Here are some vital tips on how you can prevent injury as an athlete.

Wear protective gear.

This goes without saying, but it’s worth the extra reminder. Whenever engaging in any sport that involves wearing protective gear such as a mouthguard, helmet, or shoulder pads, be sure you are wearing that protective gear properly. Risk of injury is especially high in contact sports, and your protective gear can be what makes the difference in how serious an injury is.

Take time off.

Rests days aren’t only for the injured—they are for anyone who engages in regular physical activity. Schedule your rest days and rest periods just like you would workout days and training days. Plan to take at least one rest day per week and at least one month off of training per year to help your body recover properly from physical exertion.

Warm up before every workout.

Many athletes do not warm up adequately before engaging in heavy physical activity. Your warm up should consist of light exercises that mimic what you will be doing in your workout. If you are preparing to go on a long run, for example, you should warm up by doing a very light jog. If you are preparing for a synergistic workout that involves a lot of jumping, you could warm up by doing jumping jacks. Gradually increase your intensity throughout your warm up until your heart rate is up and you feel mentally prepared for your workout. Be sure to incorporate some ballistic stretching as well towards the end of your warm up, once your muscles are looser. You should plan to warm up for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the intensity of your workout.

Don’t do static stretching before a workout.

On a related note, be sure that you do not do any static stretching before a workout. Doing this can will only increase your risk of injury but also harm your exercise routine and decrease strength. Be sure that any stretching you do before your workout is ballistic stretching and that it is done towards the end of your warm up when your muscles are warm.

Stretch after every workout.

It’s important after every workout to stretch and lengthen those muscles that you’ve been engaging. You should also gently stretch those muscles that feel tight after a workout, whether you engaged them or not. You could write an entire blog post alone on proper stretching technique, but in general, you should hold each stretch you do for 25 to 30 seconds, and stretch for a total of about ten minutes after your workout.

Eat a healthy, well balanced diet.

This is another tip you could write an entire blog post—even a book—about, but in general, be sure to eat a healthy and well balanced diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Be sure to consult a specialist in sports nutritionist as well about taking in enough calories and nutrients per day to fuel your workouts and training. The right nutrition will promote better muscle recovery and fuel your body with the nutrients it loses during heavy physical exertion.

Eat properly before and after your workout.

The foods you eat before and after your workouts also matter. Before a workout, eat a snack that contains carbohydrates, such as fruit or whole grain toast. Foods that are also rich in fiber are great because they help control carbohydrate release throughout the course of your workout. Bananas are also great because they contain potassium, which helps maintain muscle and nerve function. Following your workout, eat a snack that is rich in both carbs and protein in the 30 to 60 minute time frame after your workout.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Drinking plenty of water is also important for helping prevent injury, as it helps keep your muscles lubricated. Plus, it reduces your risk of incurring heat related illness. Aim to 16 to 20 ounces of water at least four hours before physical activity, and then 8 to 10 ounces about 10 minutes before exercise. For longer and more intense workouts, you should consider drinking a healthy sports drink is rich in electrolytes and carbohydrates to sustain energy levels.

 

6 ways to get more from your workout

I’m excited to share some tips that can help all of us achieve our fitness and wellness goals. They are all great reminders of how to get the most out of a workout. My favorite part and something I always can improve on is making sure to fully stretch after exercising. We are members at 24 Hour Fitness and use their Kids Club as childcare while we’re there. I sometimes find myself rushed after a workout or fitness class to get back to the kids, other commitments, errands, etc. Thanks, Maurine Anderson for guest posting!

Want to get more out of your daily workout? Finding the motivation to get that daily workout in is hard enough as it is, so it’s good to know that there are a variety of techniques out there that you can use to make the most of your workouts. Here are 6 simple ways to get more out of every workout.

Eat a pre-workout snack.

Even if you like to work out first thing in the morning, your body is going to need some fuel first before hitting it hard. Enter: the pre-workout snack. The ideal pre-workout snack contains simple carbohydrates, which are absorbed quickly and offer quick energy, along with complex carbohydrates, which will sustain you throughout the duration of your workout. (Many say that a good pre-workout snack also includes protein, and while some protein helps, protein is ultimately much more important as part of your post-workout meal.) You should plan on eating your pre-workout snack 30 minutes to an hour before working out, as this article states. Some ideas for pre-workout snacks:

  • Whole wheat toast topped with fruit
  • Oatmeal topped with dried fruit
  • Greek yogurt topped with fruit
  • Fruit smoothie that includes oats
  • Cold brown rice topped with fruit
  • Banana slices and peanut butter

Warm up first.

Many people confuse warming up with stretching. Warming up involves doing a lighter version of the exercise you are about to engage in, at the beginning of your workout. If you’re about to go on a run, for example, warming up should involve fast walking or slow jogging to get your heart rate up. If you’re about to engage in a synergistic workout, jumping jacks make for a great warm up. You should warm up for about 5 to 10 minutes at the beginning of your workout, gradually increasing intensity throughout the course of the warm up. Doing so will increase blood flow, loosen the joints, and prepare the muscles for high intensity work.

Cool down and stretch afterward.

Cooling down and stretching are essential for preventing injury and aiding in muscle recovery. They can also help improve flexibility and range of motion. A good cool down is a lot like a warm up, only it involves gradually decreasing intensity and incorporating some stretching. Start your cool down by gradually decreasing the intensity of the exercise you are engaging in, and finish by stretching the muscles you worked. A cool down should be about 5 to 10 minutes long.

Don’t forget your recovery meal.

If you work out regularly, your post-workout recovery meal is perhaps the most important meal of the day. Your recovery meal should be rich in both protein and carbohydrates, and you should plan to eat it within two hours after a workout. (It’s also best to consume some carbs within 15 minutes after your workout to replenish your muscle glycogen supply.) Your recovery meal may also include some fat and fiber as well, as you’ll have more time after you work out to digest those things. Aim for a recovery meal that’s between 200 and 400 calories. Here are some examples:

  • Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables
  • Whole wheat toast and a vegetable omelette
  • Chocolate milk and some raw almonds
  • Whey or soy protein shake
  • Energy bar and fresh fruit

Get a massage.

Here’s a tip that you won’t need me to tell you twice. Getting a quick massage after a particularly strenuous workout can actually improve and speed up your post-workout recovery. Studies have shown that getting a post-workout massage reduces muscle inflammation and increases the number of mitochondria in muscle cells (which generate the energy your muscles need for recovery).

Go for a soak.

Here’s another tip you’ll like hearing—soaking in a warm bath or hot tub after your workout can also help you get the most out of your workout. The heat of the water helps increase your circulation and relax your muscles. The key with this, however, is to time it right. It’s best to wait for your heart rate to go back down before immersing yourself in hot water. You can read more tips on incorporating hydrotherapy into your workout regimen here.

Maurine Anderson originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now enjoying life out west in Salt Lake City. She is a professional writer and blogger who in her free time loves to create new cake recipes, travel, and practice her hand at photography. She tends to geek out over linguistics, cats, and all things Scandinavia. Check out more of her writing at MaurineDashney.com and find her on Instagram @maurinedashney.

More motivation and fitness tips from guest bloggers here

100 rep leg blast workout

This is one of my new favorite leg workouts! I’ve been doing it twice a week for the last 2 months and have definitely felt my legs getting stronger and more defined muscles. As a runner and soccer player, I’ve always had fairly strong legs. However, when I was pregnant with Tessa (yes, like 3 years ago!) I was super sick and didn’t exercise the entire pregnancy. I still feel those effects of atrophied muscles, but the good news is that our bodies are resilient and can always get stronger! If this looks overwhelming, start with just 10 reps per exercise or add more rest after the circuit.

100 rep leg blast workout

More body weight exercises here and more easy tips to a healthier you here 

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

I recently downloaded this Taco app which helps you find tacos wherever you are! It pulls up tacos based on your location. I haven’t used it a ton yet but love the idea and tacos, of course.

An app that pays you for working out? I downloaded Achievemint last month which gives you points based on how much you walk/exercise by syncing to other fitness apps (I use my Fitbit Alta and MyFitnessPal). When you accumulate 10,000 points they send you $10. It isn’t much but I figure I might as well get paid for something I’m already doing! I’m almost at 3,000 points 🙂

Need a few more New Year’s resolutions? I loved these ideas.

No equipment exercises

I wrote a guest post on this topic over on The Stoker Kitchen a few weeks ago and wanted to revisit with a little more detail. I love that Brent and Tessa are close in age, we love that they grow and play together, however, having a child at age 30 and 31 was hard on my body and it’s been difficult to recover my previous level of fitness (basically every mom relates to this!) I absolutely loved Treehouse Athletic Club when we lived in Utah and felt it was worth every cent to have awesome equipment, classes, lots of space and most importantly, a great child care. The kids and I were there every morning except Sundays. Here in Austin, we are back at 24 Hour Fitness – this location is pretty crappy but they do have childcare which was basically my only requirement. Joining a gym with child care has been the number 1 thing that has helped me get back ‘in shape’ after having kids.

In the times, I’m not at the gym or outside exercising, these have been awesome to do in the house, no equipment necessary.

I like to do 10-15 reps  and 3-4 sets depending on the difficulty of the exercise OR 30 seconds of an exercise and then 30 seconds rest, repeat until exhaustion 😉 The nice thing is these can be done anytime and even if you only have 10 minutes.

Ab and core exercises:

  • Crunches
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Reverse crunches
  • Leg lifts
  • Plank
  • Side plank
  • Side plank crunch
  • Plank step out
  • Plank shoulder touch
  • Walking plank
  • Bird dog
  • Glute bridge/hip raise
  • Single leg hip raise
  • Split leg (jack knife) sit ups

no equipment exercises to lose weightno equipment exercises to lose weight, abs and coreLower body exercises:

  • Squats
  • Stationary lunges
  • Curtsy lunge
  • Calf raises
  • Standing single leg lift
  • wall sit

Upper body exercises:

Pushups, Spiderman pushups

Whole body exercises:

  • Burpees
  • Surrenders
  • Windmills
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squat jumps
  • Inch Worm

no equipment whole body exercises to lose weight

My top 10 ab/core exercises here

no equipment exercises to lose weight that you can do anywhere

I’d love for you to follow along – follow buttons in the right sidebar or at the bottom if you’re on mobile 🙂

Protein bites: easy, healthy, high energy snack

After working out, I get extremely hungry and this is my favorite protein-filled, quick snack that can be prepared beforehand.  I like this recipe because it’s SO simple, requires little prep time, no cooking time and you can add in sweets (like chocolate chips) or salty (almonds, nuts, etc). In addition to protein, it has flaxseed which has shown evidence of reducing heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Flaxseed also comes as ‘ground flaxseed‘ if you prefer it less seedy. I usually double or triple the recipe because we go through them so fast!

image

 

FullSizeRender_5 Ingredients 

 FullSizeRender_1_1

Mix then chill

Roll and enjoy!

Protein Bites (1)

easy, no bake-protein-filled

How we wore it: Work out Clothes

This is my first time linking up for a ‘how we wore it‘ post and it’s kind of perfect for me because I love exercise clothes and am always on the hunt for affordable, stylish workout wear that allows free movement and sweat, ha, ha.  I’m at the gym 6 days a week with my kids and have  played sports basically my whole life and love exercising, running, cycling, yoga, and my true love: soccer.

The inspiration for this post is from Jacque from Looks for Lovelies:

howweworeit

And this is how I wore it:

DSC_1532

DSC_1527

Top  (similar) / Capri bottoms* / Running shoes from Asics

*I LOVE  Lululemon products because of the fit, stretch, comfort and style. They are pricey but definitely worth it. I don’t spend a ton of money on clothes and everything I have from  Lulu was a gift or from a gift card. I’ve had the black capris for NINE years and they’re still going strong!

Make sure to check out these other inspired looks:

Deidre from Deidre Emme

Ruth from My Little Nest
Jenn from What You Make It
Kiana from Glitter & Donuts
Jessica from Mason Jars and Lemon Bars
Alyssa from Pinsent Life
Sierra from Sierra’s View
Madeline from CaseyLand
Riley from Riley Jo Blog
Samantha from The Samantha Show
Beverly from What a Day
Brooklyn from Brooklyn Jolley
Amber from Amber Nicole blogs
Erica from Good Job Momma
Shelbie from 365 With RyGuy and I
Jenn from Give This Girl Coffee
Kelsi from Lovestrong
Justine from Little Dove
Chelsea from Tessa Marie
Monica from It’s All About

good things cometo those who