If you asked me what’s the best way to deal with stress, I’d answer “exercise”. I sort of believe that exercise is the answer to most of life’s big questions, “world peace?” – send ‘em into the boxing ring. If only the United Nations had asked my opinion!!
I’ve got a ripper little workout for you today that should sort out the grumpiest of hormones or enhance your already good mood. Good nutrition and good training together make for a happy woman! You’ll see I’ve allowed for beginners or those of you who struggle with changes of level and upped the ante for the more advanced exercisers too.
So whatever your stress may be, I’ve got a ladder workout for you that will sort your woes, so put your counting hat on along with your workout gear and let’s get started.
Beginners will do these modified exercises:
10 – 1 reps
Incline Pushups (either wall or bench)
Incline Fast Mountain Climbers
Bent Over Bodyweight Rows
Intermediate/Advanced will step it up:
Pushups on knees/toes
Prisoner Squats or DB Front Squats
Fast Mountain Climbers
DB Bent Over Rows or DB Renegade Rows
Modified burpees or Total Body Extensions
You’ll do the first circuit with 10 reps for each exercise. For both levels, rest only as required. Catch your breath and keep the break short. Next circuit you’ll do 9 reps of each exercise. Take a quick rest and then back into the workout with 8 reps of each exercise. Continue reducing the number of reps each circuit till you finish on one rep of each movement.
You’re on the clock timing yourself for less than 20 minutes of work. As usual, you should be aiming to set a time and beat it or at least match it every time you repeat this workout.
Exercise can be great stress therapy as well as for fitness and fat loss, but first and foremost NUTRITION should be your main focus.
It’s not about perfection, but progress.
Even if you keep taking tiny steps you’ll keep moving forward.
Nutrition is 80% of the long term fat loss and wellness equation, so consider keeping your food really clean from Monday to Friday when you’re generally busier and in a routine.
Aim to relax a little on Friday night and over the weekend. It’s a very sustainable and realistic way to plan your nutrition and never feel deprived. But in this way, you make it easy on yourself to take those consistent, small steps forward.
If you always find it easier to follow a set plan (and hey, someone else doing the planning is always easier!) then the Diet Free Weekend will show you exactly how to manage your calories for a relaxed lifestyle and up to 3 pounds fat loss a week.
Anyone can do this, it’s just a matter of looking at your WEEKLY calories and not your DAILY calories. It’s what my buddy Mike calls “diet intervals“, which allows you to enjoy your weekends with no ‘dieting’.
Alcohol and weight loss don’t particularly go together but at this time of year, a drink or three is pretty much inevitable.
As always, an ounce of prevention will save a pound (or three) on your hips so give these tips a go for Christmas and New Years and stay in control of your health, your weight loss and your next-morning “wellness”.
Never go to a party with an empty stomach! Never, ever, ever! Even if you’ve been ‘good’ all day and have saved your calories for a treat meal, you’re better off with something in your stomach. Even if it’s just a protein shake before you leave home. Fatty foods and dense carbs will help to reduce the absorption of alcohol, but think healthy choices rather than pizza on the run.
Did you know that the more bubbly the drink, the faster you absorb alcohol? Not just champagne, but mixers too with your spirits.
Choose your poison – here’s a list of spirits from worst hangover causing drinks to least. Bourbon, whiskey, brandy, rum, red wine, white wine, gin and vodka. The British Medical Journal did tests that showed drinking bourbon is twice as likely to cause a hangover than the same amount of vodka.
Buy the best you can afford; just like your exercise, it’s quality over quantity always!
Sip slowly and enjoy whatever your drinking. Like a cheat meal, take time to savour!
And because your healthy mantra with both food and drink is “never starved, never stuffed” (you remember that one, right?) you’ll remember to drink in moderation. Demonstrating your best handstands in a party dress will be memorable indeed for your office colleagues – just not a lot of fun the next day (or next performance review).
And if all else fails, and Backstreet Boys Greatest Hits gets you grooving along with a leetle too much of the cup that cheers, then it’s damage control time.
Water, water, and more water is the fastest answer!
Consider taking a B12 vitamin supplement as soon as you get up and get some simple sugars into your system. A glass of fruit juice can help to burn off the alcohol in your system rapidly. Branch Chain Amino Acids have also been shown to restore electrolyte balance and may be of benefit.
Follow that with a coffee chaser and anti-inflammatory and you’re nearly ready for the gym!
Eating well and managing your weight should be sustainable, so enjoy the party season. If you know you’re going out, manage your calories carefully beforehand and the day after. Sneak in some quick workouts (these are perfect for this time of year) and see the New Year in without extra pounds on your tummy.
One of the most important but challenging muscle groups to work without equipment is your back. Building a strong back helps you with great posture, balances tight chest muscles (and most of us are VERY tight through the front of our bodies), relieves stress through the neck and creates great pulling strength. If you don’t have access to a gym with a chin-up bar or cable rowing machines then it can get tough to get an effective strength workout in your back.
Or is it?
If you don’t have any equipment at home, then we generally recommend prisoner squats. The position of lifting the arms and linking the hands behind the head creates tension through the upper back and provides a great bodyweight alternative. Make sure you keep your elbows wide and your eyes forward – the last thing we want is for you pull your head forward creating more stress through the neck.
And of course you can use the bodyweight alternatives for bent over rows mimicking the dumbbell movement and ensuring that both shoulder blades are pulled down and squeezed together. Keep your chest open, bum back and spine in a long neutral position. Even without weights, this can be a tough exercise for many woman to perform properly!
Lawnmowers are a bodyweight renegade row movement. You can do these from a plank position either on your knees or toes or even using an incline bench. Pull the elbow close to the ribs and slide your shoulder blades toward your spine and down into your back pocket. If you own dumbbells – even better!
A resistance band or theraband takes little space and is super cheap to purchase. Ask your physio for therabands and your local discount store is sure to stock resistance bands for less than $10. Wrap them around a convenient pole or secure in a doorway making sure the door is locked securely! To work your back at different angles vary the height you’ve anchored the band at – waist height or head height will give you great muscle recruitment.
And if you don’t have access to any equipment at all, the use of a pillowcase or even a towel can give you a great rowing action. Set your feet close to the anchor point as shown, lean back into a straight plank position keeping abs tight and pull your elbows alongside the ribs to get a great back squeeze. Always remember that the area of tension should occur south of your bra strap NOT around your neck muscles.
There you have it, some super easy ways to swap out back exercises when you don’t have equipment.
So, how was your Halloween? Nursing a sugar hangover today? Doesn’t feel great does it.
Remember how last time you promised yourself you’d never do that again?
Sugar’s addictive nature can be as powerful as a drug. In fact, as you’ll learn in the video below, sugar works on part of the brain in the same way that cocaine does.
Sugar is one of the toughest drugs to “withdraw” from because it’s socially acceptable and easy to find. In fact it’s hidden in most everyday food products. But the bottom line is, living a (almost) sugar free life makes for abundant energy, glowing skin, and a much better looking and feeling body.
Shawna shared this video with me about sugar from UK entertainer John Oliver (very funny in parts, very non PC in others – love that British cheekiness!). I thought you’d find it amusing and hugely educational too.
As well, read about Pam below and see how she BEAT sugar and her weight issues with THIS.
Pam knew that sugar was a huge problem for her. She was 5’1″ and weighted in at 191 pounds. She’d tried everything she could think of… including what could be considered one of the most dangerous weight loss methods – gastric bypass surgery.
While this surgery is recommended in extreme circumstances there are all the inherent risks of surgery and recovery. Most people feel exhausted afterwards and nothing about this surgery addresses the “addictive” nature of food and how to re-learn healthy and natural eating habits. In fact, gastric by-pass surgery is probably one of the least effective methods for long term, healthy fat loss. It’s much like a fad diet. It’s got nothing to do with long term, sustainable and permanent change.
Despite surgery and temporarily reaching her weight loss goals – the weight crept back – not some. All of it.
Finally she started this simple approach at 191 pounds.
She had astonishingly steady success: losing 13 pounds and stripping off even more inches in the first 12 weeks. She went on to place 2nd in the over 40 category of the 20th TT Transformation Contest.
Finally everything changed: for the good. When you look at Pam’s pictures now, you’ll see proof that she’s turned around what could have been a disastrous health situation.
She glows with health and happiness, and she loves eating without obsessing about when and what to eat.
You can have the same success as Pam and overcome your cravings and so much more.
You can get a kickstart in just 3 days by getting started here.
Meeting your fat loss goals is so much easier when you feel in control of cravings, have direction and stop obsessing over food.
If you want to get back on track: look at this.
It’s really important to prepare your body for your workout. You need to warm your muscles in preparation for exertion and by doing so you’ll reduce the possibility of injury. Always spend at least 3-5 minutes warming up. Your warm-up exercises need to be dynamic in nature, avoid static stretching when your muscles are cold. Try and work through full range of motion for all bodyparts.
Here’s the progression where you’ll do 5-10 reps of each and go through this series twice:
A great warm-up deserves a great training program.
If you’re interested in my holding your hand through your training and nutrition for 90 days (for about $3 a day), then click here to apply for the VIP group coaching program. You’ll get both Shawna and my support, along with the support and motivation of like-minded women to help YOU meet your health goals. This is a closed group and you’ll get access by application only, there are a limited number of spots so that you’ll get more personal attention.
Or you can follow along with workout videos at Female Fat Loss over 40. For even more great workouts you can check out our Ultimate Results System or for a 6 month progressive plan look at our Inner Circle Fat Burning Workouts. And if you need help training those pesky trouble spots, try the Trouble Spot Training 14 Day Plan.
I’m currently accepting applications for a brand new and awesome group coaching program.
Here are the top 10 things you need to know about the program:
If you think that this is something that you’d like to get in, you can APPLY HERE.
But you should know that enrolment is limited.
It’s JUST me coaching you (Shawna will pop in occasionally to visit with us), so I need to keep the group at around 10 – 20 committed people. That’s why I’ll ask for applications and screen carefully to ensure that everyone is a good fit. I won’t invite you into the group if I don’t think you can benefit.
Group coaching is amazing - it’s called ‘peer pressure’, so in addition to being accountable to ME, the angel/devil on your shoulder, you’ll have the group on your side too
If you want to work together for 90 days with other like minded people to help you meet your fitness and fat loss goals, then be ready to fill in the application.
It’s a 90 day commitment.
The program runs from November 2nd to January 24th.
Anyone who says, ‘oh but it’s Christmas’, or ‘I can’t train through the holidays’ – this is NOT for you.
This group will FIND A WAY to train and eat reasonably so that you’ll conquer your training and weight issues through every holiday in these 90 days.
The total ONE-TIME investment is $297 for all 90 days and a one-time investment is the only option. This shows me you’re really serious this time, which is the only people I want to work with.
Still reading? Good – you’re one of the few. (In fact, you can’t even invest until I approve your application.)
Click on the link below to apply and I’ll see if we’re a good fit.
And at the end of the next 90 days, you’re going to look and feel completely different.
Just imagine it – looking and feeling your best ever at Christmas and starting the New Year as a NEW YOU.
Do you have a ‘go to’?
You know, something or someone that you can rely on no matter what?
Well, Rick Kaselj is my ‘go to’ for injury prevention and rehab.
Turns out that Rick is a man of many talents. Today he has an article about sugar ‘go to’ substitutes for us.
Now this may seem random, but you may be surprised to know that excess sugar consumption can play into inflammation in the body and worsen any injury, so it makes sense that Rick would know lots about the topic.
If you have chronic pain, it can be related to your nutrition.
Whether you have an injury to take care of, or you need to find a sugar substitute, Rick has a great article and surprising sugar news below….
By Rick Kaselj
People may add sugar to many different types of foods they eat on a daily basis including breakfast cereals and home-baked items like scones, cakes, muffins, pies, rolls, cookies and biscuits. In addition, sugar is a common ingredient in many processed foods. For instance, many processed foods already come with a high amount of processed, white sugar. Beverages, sodas and juices can also contain large quantities of refined sugar.
Refined or processed sugar has been stripped of nutrients and is typically a large amount of empty calories. To further compound the problem associated with refined or table sugar, consumption of these refined sugars can lead to inflammation and an unhealthy lifestyle. The lack of valuable calories in sugar make its consumption even more alarming based on the amount of food items and drinks that list this type of sugar as an ingredient.
To get processed sugar looking white and clean as it typically does when bought from the grocery store, there are mechanical processes that are used to systematically change the form of the sugar. Thankfully, there are healthier, all-natural sugar substitutes which could be used instead.
Some of these alternative sugars may be healthier than others depending on factors that include their glycemic index ratings. By seeking all-natural sugar substitutes, the body is allowed to enjoy sugar directly from its source and in its natural or organic state.
Free from nutrient-stripping processes, the following all-natural sugar substitutes can help push you further along the path of healthy living:
1. Coconut Palm Sugar
Coconut is related to many healthy food choice options including coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water and also coconut palm sugar. The sugar from the coconut plant is in its pure, natural form and is retrieved as sap. It has the same sweetness of brown sugar and when the evaporated sap is collected, it also resembles the brown appearance of processed brown sugar. However, all-natural coconut palm sugar retains all nutrients while maintaining a lower score on the glycemic index than more commonly used sugar.
There could be concerns about the coconut plant not being able to produce other products after the sap is retrieved. Hence, it can be useful and beneficial for sustainability purposes to also consider other types of all-natural sugar substitutes as well. In addition, although it is a natural sugar, this sugar substitute does still have a significant calorie count and as a result, it should be added sparingly to foods and beverages.
The green stevia plant with its white flowers is a good source of natural sugar. A naturally sweet herb, stevia is hundreds of times sweeter that typical processed sugar versions. It can be acquired in the form of an extract and may also be used in combination with other sweeteners.
Completely natural, stevia sugar substitute is able to maintain blood glucose levels while table sugar can make you crash afterwards due to the spike in a person’s blood levels. More good news regarding Stevia is its zero calorie content and no glycemic impact.
As more people become conscious of their health, they are opting for sugar options that do not involve refined, white sugar and are using other natural options such as stevia or agave nectar . This substitute is gaining even more popularity each day.
3. Luo Han Guo
This all-natural sugar substitute has Asian origins and is also associated with stevia. You do not need a lot of Luo Han Guo when baking or in beverages. It has a sweetness level of at least 300 times sweeter that the typical processed sugar you would use. Hence, a little Luo Han Guo goes a long way.
You could also sprinkle Luo Han Guo on cereal and notice the reduction in the amount of sugar that may be needed. Despite being in existence for a very long time, this all-natural sugar-substitute is gradually beginning to make its existence known to the rest of the Western world .
This type of all-natural sugar can be found in different types of fruits and it has no calories. This is very attractive for any table sugar substitute as the calorie count in table sugar is one of the reasons why it has a negative impact on a person’s weight. Erythritol is actually a sugar alcohol and is over 50% sweeter than table sugar. Hence, you do get significant sweetness when using a small quantity of this sugar alcohol.
There may be a cooling effect when using Erythritol and this may not be a desired effect. Also, there can be issues related to using Erythritol including its tendency to crystallize. Thus, when using this sugar-substitute for baking and other cooking, care should be applied regarding oven or cooking temperature to prevent foods from drying out.
Other table sugar substitutes may have laxative effects but there are usually no side effects when using Erythritol . This is great news especially given the fact that fruits and vegetables which contain erythritol are readily available.
This is also an attractive substitute as a result of the reduced calorie count that it provides when consumed. Processed sugar provides almost double the amount of calories contained in Xylitol. Hence, if weight loss is a key factor, seeking such substitutes with zero calorie counts can be optimal. Fruits and vegetables can produce Xylitol.
In addition, Xylitol has properties that protect the body from bacteria. There are sugar-free uses for Xylitol including use in candies, mints, chewing gum and similar food items and there are also other benefits of this sugar alcohol including the prevention of middle ear infection and a source of energy in certain foods. Apart from the natural occurrence of this sugar substitute, it is also believed to be safe for consumption, tastes great and is convenient for use.
6. Chicory Root
Another healthier sugar option is chicory root. As a natural dietary fibre, the chicory root substitute for table sugar provides the same sweetness without the empty calories and in most cases, the chicory root will not leave an after-taste in your mouth.
Highlights of the chicory root include the absence of an impact on blood sugar levels after consuming this natural sugar. Beyond the use of chicory root as a sweetener, there are also other health benefits of this food item including the provision of support to problems with the liver, support for digestion and antioxidant properties .
7. Agave Nectar
Although this natural sugar substitute does have more calories than processed sugar, it is much sweeter than processed table sugar and as a result you only have to use a little at a time. Another benefit of using agave nectar as a processed sugar substitute is the presence of prebiotics or a dietary fibre that is good for your intestines.
A highlight of agave nectar is that it is able to dissolve relatively quickly and this is great for use in drinks or foods that are not hot or warm. Thus, a cold beverage could benefit from this natural sweetener. It also has a neutral taste and this is great because you are then able to taste the other flavors in the food or drink in which the nectar is used.
Agave nectar has a low glycemic index as a result of the high-fructose component it has. Hence, if you do use the naturally occurring agave nectar, you should only use small amounts. Other table sugar substitutes like organic maple syrup can another option. The ultimate goal is to refrain from using processed, white sugar.
As a result of the alterations to organic sugar sources such as cane sugar, processed, white sugar is left with little or no useful calories. Hence, this does nothing good for the body. Consuming excessive amounts of processed sugar options or foods that contain processed sugar can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle in which the body is in a less optimal state. Thus, if you have been dreaming of a way to consume sugar in a healthier way, sugar substitutes that are natural and free from processing are available. Your dreams can come true with any of the mentioned all-natural sugar substitutes.
The availability of these substitutes may broaden your cooking, baking, meal and beverage options too. Perhaps you have stayed clear of tempting baked treats as a result of the less healthy ingredients used. Well, join the fun and be part of a large number of people who are now able to enjoy foods with all-natural and healthier sugar ingredients, especially when compared with refined table sugar.
Gone are the days when people had no choice but to indulge in treats and beverages that are loaded with processed sugar. Those who want healthier sugar options can raise their hands in joy as they explore the exciting world of all-natural sugar substitutes.
Along with sugar, other foods cause chronic inflammation and joint pain.
Click here to find out the Top 3 Deceptive Foods That Inflame Your Body Causing Chronic Inflammation & Painful Joints
Let’s attack your pain from every angle, avoiding certain foods and adding others to your diet will help your workout performance and even how your jeans fit.
You’ll be surprised: READ THIS
I asked fellow Aussie and good mate of mine, Kate Vidulich, if she’d offer some helpful hints and tips for modifying workouts for beginners or less experienced exercisers. So over to Kate for her take on exercise modifications and when to use them. Take it away Kate!
Guest Post: Kate Vidulich, Bodyweight Cardio 500
Have you ever looked a workout and thought to yourself “I could never do that”?
Yeah, me too.
You might have been injured, accidentally taken a long layoff from training or just simply feel intimidated. I get it.
It doesn’t matter what your current fitness level is right now, there will always be that “scary” looking program that seems too hard.
But often, it’s not as bad as you think.
The most important thing is to get started and do something… that’s where the magic happens.
Remember, every exercise can be modified to suit your current fitness level, so that you can get in the game.
Here’s my top 3 ways to make your workout easier:
1. Avoid jumping and high impact exercises
Go for the joint friendly approach. You can substitute any jump squat with a total body extension, or “step out” a burpee or jumping jack instead of jumping.
You still get the fat burning benefits. And this pretty much goes without saying… but you should never ever do jumping exercises when you’re fatigued. This leads to bad form and bad form leads to injury
Here’s a non-impact cardio workout you can try:
Do each exercise for 30 seconds work and 30 seconds rest, for 2 rounds. If your form gets sloppy, take a quick break.
A) Squats x 30s
– Rest 30s
B) Plank x 30s
– Rest 30s
C) Total body extension x 30s
– Rest 30s
D) Power Punches x 30s
– Rest 30s
2. Rest Longer between Sets & Do Less Rounds
This tip has two parts – so I guess I’m cheating now…
Obviously, less conditioned women need longer recovery periods. If that’s you, rest longer until you’re fully recovered.
Even taking just 2 weeks off exercise, because you have the flu, is enough time to lose your conditioning. Sad, but true folks. So don’t beat yourself up about feeling out of shape.
You can also do fewer rounds of the circuit. Start by doing one less round and see how you feel. One thing you must always pay attention to is your form. If you get fatigued and become sloppy, that is a big warning sign to slow down or stop and take a quick break.
Remember we’re aiming for workout quality. The goal is to challenge yourself in a safe environment. Poor form does not help you accelerate fat loss results; it will only send you to the ER.
3. Play it smart
I always tell new clients at my bootcamp to go 50% on the first workout, whether they are fit or not. It’s very important to monitor how you feel. Getting dizzy and feeling sick is not cool. End of story.
Now, one last tip about keeping your workouts – don’t worry what other people around you are doing. Remember, everyone is different, so what’s easy for one person may be hard for another, and vice versa.
The important thing to know is that the workout intensity YOU put into it is what YOU are going to get out of it.
And don’t worry, if you’re a beginner, I’ve got you covered. You’ll start off with non-impact exercises, burning 300 calories a workout without jumping, lunges or burpees…
Have an awesome day!
Kate Vidulich, BSc, ACSM, Master CTT
Creator of Bodyweight Cardio 500
It’s been long established in the fitness industry that “spot reduction” of body fat is just not possible. Countless hours of sit-ups will not change your belly fat and multiple donkey kicks won’t actually slim your butt.
Well, time flows and research looks at all kinds of interesting things, and recent studies indicate that there is actually a ‘thermogenic’ effect when you train specific body parts. Have you ever done a lot of arm work or pushups and noticed that your arms actually look a little flushed? That’s increased blood flow to the area or “the thermogenic effect”.
Working single exercises like sit-ups and donkey kicks still won’t work but when you pair specific muscle group training in a metabolically challenging workout, you’ll actually have a good chance of improving that area!
Sweat and raising your metabolism are imperative. Hard work, heart pounding metabolic raising exercise can make a difference to specific “spots”.
None of us like back fat! And now we can do something specific about it!
Set your timer for 30 seconds of work with a 10 second transition. Repeat this circuit three times through for just over 10 minutes of sweaty work.
Take notice in particular of Shawna’s set up with the plank. Doing this ‘hardstyle’ means you’ll be working intensely under ‘tension’. Lock your shoulders back, tuck your elbows in tight, tense your legs and brace your abs hard. It’ll feel harder than your usual plank but so worth it! Oh, don’t hold your breath.
Good times! And for even more good times, ALL Shawna’s workouts are on sale until MIDNIGHT SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28.
You’ll find ALL her programs at a 50% discount here.
You’ll find video follow along workouts, coaching videos, nutrition plans and more, JUST CLICK HERE to save big before Sunday, Sept 28th at midnight.
You can get rid of your back fat, or whatever ‘fat’ you’re looking to lose with her fun and challenging workout series.
This delicious dish is made with egg whites and sautéed vegetables and makes a wonderful light breakfast. Enjoy with salsa for an added kick.
Here’s what you need…
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium tomato, chopped
3/4 cup egg whites (about 4 large egg whites)
2 wheat tortillas
1/4 of a small avocado
A dash of Paprika
A dash of Garlic salt
1. Spray a medium frying pan with cooking spray. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic until soft. Add the tomato and egg whites. Cook until the egg whites have set.
2. Divide the egg and veggie mixture between the tortillas and fold like a taco.
3. Slice the avocado and sprinkle it with paprika and garlic salt. Arrange the avocado on each taco and serve.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 243 calories, 5g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 15g protein.