Making and keeping fitness resolutions

This year is a little different for me. Most years, I write distinct fitness goals like lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks, or reach 18% body fat by a certain day. I even write up a workout plan, writing the days I will workout and the types of workouts I’ll do. I also put together…

Making and keeping fitness resolutions was originally published on Self Evolve

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This year is a little different for me. Most years, I write distinct fitness goals like lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks, or reach 18% body fat by a certain day. I even write up a workout plan, writing the days I will workout and the types of workouts I’ll do. I also put together a meal plan so that I don’t cheat too much on the diet, which is about 75% of the effort anyways. But this year, I’m growing a human. How exactly do I write anything concrete while pregnant? How do I make and keep my fitness resolutions?

Write them down..

In pencil. The one thing they can’t tell you in pregnancy is the exact number of pounds you’ll gain. Of course, there’s a range they prefer you to stay in. But if you gain a few extra pounds in addition to that range, it isn’t the end of the world. I have a friend who gained 40 pounds for both her pregnancies, and has successfully lost it all and looks amazing afterwards. While it’s ideal to only gain 25-30 pounds while pregnant, it is okay if your weight gain isn’t textbook, as long as baby and you are healthy. So keep those goals written in pencil, but still keep the standard format.

Have a measurable

A number of pounds or even better percentage of body fat is ideal to write down. While pregnant with your first baby like me, you have no idea just how long it’ll take you to “bounce back.” We’re not all blessed like Beyonce, some of us will take longer than others. And it’s better to be realistic and give yourself time. For me, I have big ideas and hoping they manifest themselves this year. But goal-wise I keep it simple. When I got pregnant, I was hovering around 145-150 pounds and was pretty happy with my weight. My goal is to get back to that range 6 months after baby girl arrives. Obviously, 6 months is a long time. But this includes the 6 weeks post-partum that no high-intensity exercise is allowed. And this also includes caring for a baby full-time. Which I’m not sure but I hear is pretty time-consuming.

Don’t beat yourself up

If you don’t hit your exact goal by the exact date, don’t beat yourself up. Just keep plugging away. Maybe it’ll take you 8 months to reach those fitness resolutions. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Your health and fitness are number one. No one else should come before you. Not even that little adorable mini me demanding all of your time.

What are your fitness resolutions?

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Making and keeping fitness resolutions was originally published on Self Evolve

Stan Lee lives on: The Real Superhero

The original superhero If you somehow haven’t heard, Stan Lee passed away this week. But while his human form may be gone, his legacy will live on forever. And if you somehow don’t know who he is, continue reading to find out why and how Stan Lee has touched so many lives. The very beginning…

Stan Lee lives on: The Real Superhero was originally published on Self Evolve

The original superhero

If you somehow haven’t heard, Stan Lee passed away this week. But while his human form may be gone, his legacy will live on forever. And if you somehow don’t know who he is, continue reading to find out why and how Stan Lee has touched so many lives.

The very beginning

Way back in 1939, Stan Lieber became an assistant at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine. By 1960, Timely evolved into Marvel Comics. His duties were pretty mundane at first. He would make sure the inkwells were full, proofread, erase pencil marks, and fetch lunch for the artists. His comic-book debut was the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in 1941. He was so embarrassed that he used the pen name Stan Lee. He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, “‘Headline’ Hunter, Foreign Correspondent”, two issues later. 

Fast forward a few years in the late 1950s, and DC comics revived the superhero archetype and experienced significant success with Flash and the Justice League of America. Tasked with the request to create a superhero team and with nothing to lose, Lee created a team of superheroes with flaws. This was very different from the typical idealistically perfect people with no real, lasting problems that were in the comics meant for preteens. Lee introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, fits of melancholy, and vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or were even sometimes physically ill.

Marvel Comics

Lee started with the Fantastic Four and developed all the well-known superheroes of Marvel Universe. The popularity of the heroes wasn’t expected, and it took a snowball effect. Lee continued to write monthly comics up until 1972, then assumed the role of publisher. Over time, Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. As you know, he would make appearances in all his films and would meet his fans at comic cons including the comic con he created.

While Stan Lee has physically departed, his writings and superheroes he created will live on. They will continue to show not only kids but also us adults that even superheroes have human problems.

How has Stan Lee and the Marvel Universe affected your life?

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The FitExpo Chicago 2018

My first FitExpo experience was a blast! This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday…

The FitExpo Chicago 2018 was originally published on Self Evolve

My first FitExpo experience was a blast!

This wasn’t my first fitness expo ever, but it was the first time I attended this specific event in Chicago. Actually, it was in Rosemont at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention center. With the help of Groupon, I got in on the low for a few hours Saturday afternoon. I had so much fun walking around getting lots of free stuff and watching the various types of fitness shows/competitions. To anyone considering attending the FitExpo in the future, this is why you should go.

Swag

Not only did I get two t-shirts, I also got tons of samples including a tub of protein. Like a legit 1 pound tub. I also got other samples of BCAA’s, pre-workout, and post-workout supplements. There was a heavy protein focus all through the expo, and my friends and I would joke with every vendor if their product didn’t have protein then why bother? 🙂 I mean, we were there for gains weren’t we?

Competitions

FitExpoThere were several bodybuilding competitions going on, and I kept getting distracted by the amazing guys and their abs on display. I literally stood staring as my friend was trying to meet up with me. Whoops. Other than bodybuilding, there were powerlifting, crossfit, max reps, and other cool fitness competitions going on.

Workout classes

We got to get a good workout in, mostly by walking around for many hours. But my friends did take on the Spartan obstacle course which was a condensed version of the Spartan race. While this was an additional cost (unless you do it right before they close), there were other fitness classes offered for no fee. Unfortunately, they looked cardio based and I had already gotten in my cardio workout for the day.

Deals

There were many deals going on at the expo. Nearly every product there was at least 50% off the regular price. I bought some great-tasting BCAA’s at half the cost. I left with more muscles than I entered with. 😉

Two thumbs up

All in all, I would highly recommend The FitExpo Chicago. It’s an annual event that occurs either in May or June of every year. I had a great time and I look forward to attending next year!

 

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May the Fourth be with you: force of working out

If you’re a nerd like me.. You know that according to Newton’s second law, force equals mass times acceleration. What does this have to do with exercise? Everything! Think about that bicep curl. How much can you curl? 20 pounds? 40 pounds? That’s the mass. Then how fast are you curling the dumbbell? The faster…

May the Fourth be with you: force of working out was originally published on Self Evolve

If you’re a nerd like me..

You know that according to Newton’s second law, force equals mass times acceleration. What does this have to do with exercise? Everything! Think about that bicep curl. How much can you curl? 20 pounds? 40 pounds? That’s the mass. Then how fast are you curling the dumbbell? The faster you curl, the more force you need to apply. But why does this matter? Who cares how much force you use when working out? Our muscles do!

May the Force be with you

While we may not be able to move objects with our minds (yet), we can definitely lift some pretty heavy objects as long as we’re smart about it. What do I mean by this? I mean by training to lift heavier. It may seem straight-forward but it actually takes work to be able to lift heavier. You can’t just grab the heaviest weight to start. It’s best to start light then over time add weight. But just adding weight over time isn’t enough since doing the same exercises over and over will no longer cause micro-tears to the muscle. Instead, our muscles adapt and get used to doing the same exercises. So a change is needed!

A change in you, I sense

Much like training to fight, you must learn different fighting techniques. If you only know one attack, you will be easily overcome and likely will lose every time. Every so often it’s smart to change up your workout routine. Depending on your goals is how you determine in which ways you change your routine. For me, most of my goals revolve around running. Both further and faster since I can’t just decide on one. Also, I want to look and feel like a superhero. With these goals in mind, most of my workouts are centered on helping me improve my running speed, endurance, and building muscle for strength and aesthetics.

What are your fitness goals? How do you change up your routine?

If you need help with workout planning and/or ideas on how to change it up, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

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Avengers: Infinity War. What just happened? (Spoiler Alert)

If you’re anything like me, you’re a superhero fan. Quite often mislabeled a nerd, I find myself watching as many Marvel, DC, and Star Wars movies as I can. Sometimes I even do a little research into my favorite characters. Most people are surprised to hear who my favorite characters are. But after watching the…

Avengers: Infinity War. What just happened? (Spoiler Alert) was originally published on Self Evolve

If you’re anything like me, you’re a superhero fan. Quite often mislabeled a nerd, I find myself watching as many Marvel, DC, and Star Wars movies as I can. Sometimes I even do a little research into my favorite characters. Most people are surprised to hear who my favorite characters are. But after watching the latest installment in the Avengers series, I’m not sure who my favorite superhero is anymore since he apparently died, maybe. The war isn’t over though, hence the name Infinity War. Will it ever end?

Just when I thought Black Panther stole the show

infinity warAvengers: Infinity War didn’t just blow Black Panther out of the water, it bypassed Star Wars on opening weekend. And it lived up to the hype. I laughed, I jumped, and I cried. I’ve never felt so many emotions watching a Marvel movie before. Watching one of my favorite characters Loki die was very difficult for me. I’m still in denial and believe that he will be back. Also, I was shocked to see Gamora pushed off a cliff by her supposed Father figure Thanos. I really didn’t think he had it in him, but apparently I don’t know my Marvel characters well enough.

Infinity War just starting

Everyone is aghast over Spiderman dying but I literally almost stabbed my date out of anger when The Black Panther died. Like that isn’t cool, Mr. Stan Lee. He is just beginning to get the recognition he deserves then you go and kill him? I know it’s likely not a permanent thing, but still bro! Some people think that those who disappear “I don’t feel so good, Mr Stark” may just be in an alternate universe. But I think they’re gone until someone reverses time with the gauntlet. And while the end scene suggests Captain Marvel may swoop in to help destroy Thanos, I have a hunch that Nebula is going to play a huge role as well. Especially after watching her be tortured by Thanos and then escaping.

What do you think?

What’s next for Thanos? And what’s left of the MCU? With a Spider-Man sequel film already set for next summer, and a third “Guardians” movie set for 2020, it seems unlikely that we’ve truly said goodbye to these heroes.

 

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Change up your routine: try crossfit

Have you ever tried CrossFit? What is CrossFit, you ask? It’s a type of strength and conditioning workout that uses your bodyweight for resistance to build power all over. Most people do CrossFit to get back into shape. But did you know there are competitions and professional CrossFitters? Did you know that this workout is now…

Change up your routine: try crossfit was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you ever tried CrossFit?

What is CrossFit, you ask? It’s a type of strength and conditioning workout that uses your bodyweight for resistance to build power all over. Most people do CrossFit to get back into shape. But did you know there are competitions and professional CrossFitters? Did you know that this workout is now active all over the world? To be honest, I didn’t really give it a second thought until recently. And historically, CrossFit has had a bad rap. For awhile there, it was believed that the sport wasn’t safe and led to a higher risk of injury. The CrossFit gyms and coaches in operation today are trained and show their clients the proper form and technique for their exercises. They also have scaled-back versions of these workouts (WODs?) so even beginners can do them safely.

Benefits

There are many reasons to give this sport a try:

  • Better conditioning and versatility. CrossFit athletes train their muscles, joints and ligaments using functional movements, which means they’re useful for more than just looking good in a bathing suit. Well-rounded workouts that use large muscle groups and various ranges of motion lead to better overall health, posture, flexibility, strength and balance.
  • Break through plateaus. Since the exercises are constantly changing, there’s no room for boredom. This also keeps your muscles guessing as they are always being used in different ways.
  • Lose weight fast. Most people dread cardio, but high intensity interval training keeps things more interesting and the fat burns off quicker.
  • Less time working out. Ain’t nobody got time to be wasting at the gym. Most people are so busy these days that they have limited time to workout. CrossFit helps you make the most of your limited time.
  • Motivation and support. The community is a large one. There is a huge social media presence, but also most gyms are full of supportive coaches and many other CrossFitters. Since it’s a group-based workout there is a great sense of community and accountability.

Have you tried CrossFit?

Check out CrossFit Defined if you’re in the Chicago area.

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Go big or go home: why women need to lift heavy

Cardio only gets you so far More and more women are stepping out of their comfort zone and lifting weights, which is great news because the benefits of weight training greatly outweigh those of cardio. Cardio may burn calories, but once you step off the treadmill that effect ends. With weights, you build muscle which…

Go big or go home: why women need to lift heavy was originally published on Self Evolve

Cardio only gets you so far

lift heavyMore and more women are stepping out of their comfort zone and lifting weights, which is great news because the benefits of weight training greatly outweigh those of cardio. Cardio may burn calories, but once you step off the treadmill that effect ends. With weights, you build muscle which allows you to burn fat all day long. Unfortunately, most ladies still avoid lifting heavy with the fear of getting too bulky. This couldn’t be further from the truth and is a shame since recent studies show that women may benefit from heavy lifting even more than men. Here’s why you should lift heavy.

Ask a bodybuilder

Bodybuilding is no where near easy. Especially since women don’t produce as much testosterone as men do, they need way more than just heavy lifting to look the way they do. Hormone injections are needed to get big and bulky, so you have nothing to worry about! Moreover, strength training can help you unlock some amazing health benefits that you shouldn’t miss out on just because someone told you women should only lift light.

Lift heavy for less fat and powerful muscles

lift heavySince women can’t get bigger muscles than men, they should lift heavier to improve their muscle strength and definition. When it comes to weight training, one of the key differences between male and female bodies is that the first relies more on testosterone whereas the latter relies more on growth hormone to increase muscle and bone strength. Lifting heavy (3-4 reps per set) helps maximize growth hormone production in women, which is a good thing. This hormone is vital for metabolic function and muscle and bone development. The more growth hormone stimulated, the bigger the benefits of the workout.

One recent study found that growth hormone was most responsive to moderate (about 12 reps) to heavy (about 3 reps) lifting regimens. Being afraid of heavy weights will only limit your gains! Also, just having the muscle allows you to burn fat while resting, helping you achieve your goal body sooner and easier than from just cardio alone. There are many other benefits that women can get from lifting. Many large studies have shown that strength training lowers blood pressure and levels of bad cholesterol, increases bone density and helps prevent osteoporosis, normalizes stress levels and even eliminates symptoms of depression. If you lift heavy, you may also sleep better and have increased energy levels.

What’s holding you back from lifting heavy?

 

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