Monday, October 14, 2013

5 Core Exercises for Beginners

Sometimes people want to workout, but don't know where to begin. I ran across this article today from Runners World and thought I would pass it on. It gives beginners 5 good core workouts. You can read the article if you would like, but it basically says this: 

  1. The Basic Plank- Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. Gradually increase the number of repetitions and the length of time you hold the pose.
  2. The Side Plank- Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. Gradually increase repetitions and time.
  3. The Superman Pose- Lie face down. Raise one arm off the ground and hold for 20-30 seconds. Release and raise the other arm. Then move to your legs; hold one leg at a time off the ground. Then, try holding an alternate leg and arm off the ground at the same time. Then, try both arms up at one time and then both legs at one time. The most advanced version is holding both arms and legs off the ground at one time; hence the name Superman Pose. Hold each of these poses for 20 to 30 seconds, relax, and repeat.
  4. Abdominal Crunches- Lie on your back, knees bent and bring your chest towards your knees. Keep your shoulders back and chin up. Repeat.
  5. Abdominal Crunches with a Twist and/or Bicycle Legs- Do the abdominal crunches as stated above but include a Twist to work the oblique muscles. Keep knees bent, feet on the ground. Bring shoulder to opposite knee for a twisting motion. Another version is the bicycle, which is knees bent, feet off the ground and bring opposite should to knee at the same time, alternating legs to elbows.

Challenge: Start out by doing this every other day and work up to do it daily. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Healthy Muffins

So I really like baking. Last night I decide to make some muffins for breakfast. I looked in the cupboard and there was no sugar! It was too late to run to the grocery store and I had already started the process of making them so I looked it up on the internet. As I started making these I realized that these can be some pretty healthy muffins. I modified the recipe and now am publishing it so you can enjoy :)

Lemon Zucchini Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I have to be honest. I didn't have that either, but next time I will try it. If you use all-purpose flour, use 2 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the muffin tins (or use paper) and set aside.
2) In a large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt
3) In another bowl, beat 2 eggs. Then add applesauce and honey and blend well. Add buttermilk, lemon juice and zest and blend together. Fold in the zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.
4) Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together with a spoon.
5) Pour batter into the muffin cups and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Goal setting

I read a blog post from my friend that I absolutely loved. I asked if I could share it on my wellness blog and she agreed. Here I am about a year later finally writing about it. I have been keeping up with my other blog that sometimes this one gets neglected. Sorry.

My friend Candi came across a new way to set goals and she writes some wonderful things about it here. I just want to write about MTO goal setting.

MTO stands for Minimum, Target, & Outrageous. It replaces the all-or-nothing mindset of goal setting. Instead of telling your self that you are not going to eat any sweets this week, then you eat one and feel as though you have failed and eat more, you think in MTO.

Candi gives these examples:

MTO for exercise this week
Minimum: Some movember everyday this week (Walking, movement time)
Target: 15-30 minutes of Jillian 3 times this week, walk 3 times this week
Outrageous: 30 minutes of Jillian 6 days this week, walks with her kids

MTO for eating in moderation
Minimum: Not binging (eating over 2 servings of anything)
Target: Eat six small meals in appropriate servings, treats 2 times this week
Outrageous: Six small high protein meals- on servcing and 1 treat this week

MTO for eating for health
Minimum: 1 piece of fruit, 1 veggie per day, 64 oz water
Target: Drink 1 gallon of water, 2 veggies and 2 fruits, Bed by 10:30
Outrageous: 50% of plate are fruit and/or veggies, 1 gallon of water, six small meals, Bed by 10:00

I have fallen into the all-or-nothing way of thinking many times. When I learned of MTO I started to apply it in my own goal setting. It really has helped and it doesn't make me feel as guilty when I eat those yummy homemade cookies. I still have so much to improve upon, but each day is a clean slate to choose to become better.

Each person is different and each person is trying to accomplish different things. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or eat better, you can incorporate MTO in your own goal setting. Thanks Candi for letting me share :)

Challenge: Incorporate MTO in your own goal setting. If you need help with this let me know!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Healthy Changes

I have been thinking about this blog and what exactly I should do with it. I know I am not super faithful at writing, but I think, "What if someone, someday, finds this blog motivating and wants to turn their life around?" I love wellness and I love seeing people change. That is why I keep posting.

My dear friend Katie is one of those people that has been making changes in her own life. She has lost 113.6 pounds! She recently wrote about her change on her blog and (with her permission) I wanted to share it with you. I love how honest she is about her journey. I couldn't help but smile as I read it.

We all have things that we want to change. It's not always easy. It's not easy to break a habit that we have formed and have fed for x number of days, months, years. However, when we realize that we want it more than anything, we find the motivation to do it. Don't be afraid to do something for yourself. Don't be afraid to tell people what you want to do. They will be your support. They will love you even more for your courage to change. Whether the habit is overeating, not exercising, putting harmful things into your brain or body, YOU can change.

Katie wrote that, "The combination of taking care of [her] spiritual self, physical self and emotional self has turned into the most amazing thing for [her]." It's all about becoming healthy in your whole being. You can't expect to lose, and keep off, weight if you neglect your emotional triggers that cause you to eat. It will take time to work on everything, but you will notice the change. It took Katie 10 pounds for her to begin to notice that she had more joy. It took 15 for her to see what Heavenly Father sees in her. 

"I still have moments of doubt and self doubt, but don't we all?! It doesn't go away it just varies with how we choose to handle it... I am still progressing and working on my health one day at a time... And, I just have to say that I think I am pretty awesome."--Katie 

Katie, you are awesome and very inspiring! Thank you for letting me share your journey! If you missed the link, click here to read Katie's health journey.

Katie's beautiful smile!!

Challenge: Tell someone you trust one goal that you want to accomplish, then work towards it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gluten Free

"Gluten Free" You see it everywhere these days. Why? One reason is because doctors are becoming more aware of something called Celiac Disease. An autoimmune disease where your intestines become damaged from the gluten which results in your body not being able to absorb nutrients that your food will provide you. People with Celiac need to avoid gluten for this reason.

I have been hearing of other people, who don't have Celiac, going "Gluten free" because it is healthier for you. I always listen to what they have to say, but I take things with a grain of salt. I like to hear their opinions, but then go research it out on my own to form my own opinion. I have also noticed, while shopping at the grocery store, a lot of items that slap on the label "Gluten Free". I think to myself, "That never had gluten in it anyways, so how can they make it more gluten free than it already is?"

Anyways, I won't go on. Should you eliminate gluten from your diet? I don't know. It's your own opinion unless you are diagnosed with Celiac, then yes. My husband showed me an article on KSL that I found interesting. I also found this video to share with you. Maybe these resources will help you form your own opinion of "Gluten Free".

Challenge: Learn more about Celiac disease and the pros and cons of going Gluten free for yourself. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Substitute fat with yogurt

Lately I have been doing a lot of baking. That means that I have been eating it. Too much of it is not a good thing. However, I found this article of how to substitute yogurt for the fat in your recipes. I thought I would share. Here is the whole article if you are interested.

1) Replace sour cream with equal amounts of yogurt. So if your recipe calls for 1 cup sour cream, use 1 cup yogurt.

2) Cut your butter in half and substitute the other half with 1/4 cup of yogurt for each cup of butter cut. So if your recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, use 1/2 cups butter and 1/4 cup yogurt.

3) Cut the suggested oil or shortening in half and substitute 3/4 cup of yogurt for every cup of oil or shortening you remove from the recipe. So if the recipe calls for 1.5 cups oil, use 3/4 cup oil and a little bit more than 1/2 cup yogurt.

4) Substitute 1/4 of milk in your recipe with yogurt. So if your recipe calls for 4 cups milk, use 1 cup yogurt. 

I used #2 in these Rhubarb muffins. Ok, so they aren't exactly the healthiest, but they are really good and moist and you make them healthier :) I didn't have plain yogurt, so I actually used a raspberry flavored yogurt (because I didn't want to run to the store). Here is the recipe if you want:

1 cup buttermilk (or you can be like me and use 1 milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil (i actually didn't want to do the math so I did 1/4 cup yogurt and less than 1/2 cup oil)
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour (I didn't have whole wheat, but next time want to try that!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped rhubarb

1. Preheat oven to 325 F (165 C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans (or muffin pans). In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk (milk & lemon juice) and vanilla; let stand for 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, oil and egg. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda, stir into sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture (ending with dry ingredients) just until combined. Fold in rhubarb. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle (muffins get done sooner).

4. Enjoy!

Challenge: Try one of these ways to substitute fat in your food. If you don't like it, at least you tried :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Let's face it. Sugar is everywhere. I am one of those who LOVES baked goods... especially cookies! It's hard to cut sugar completely out of your diet, and you shouldn't have to. Unless you are diabetic, even then you can splurge a little :) But, instead of trying to eliminate sugar completely, try implementing these tips to help curb that sweet tooth:

1) Make your baked goods smaller
2) Buy natural peanut butter
3) If you drink juice, make sure it is 100% and not 10%.
4) Serve oatmeal for breakfast and avoid the sugary cereals
5) Snack on fruit

I took these tips from the article, "How to Curb the Family Sweet Tooth". There are a few more and the article talks about them in more depth as well.

Challenge: Make a list of the things you eat in a day. If you find you are consuming too much sugar, try to use one of these tips to reduce your sugar intake just a little.

Monday, March 25, 2013

When to drink water

I have talked about this before, but I came across this visual today and thought I would share. Sometimes it helps me when I can print something out and look at it.

Challenge: Drink more water.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Love Yourself

Lately I have been reading a lot of marriage/family books... maybe because that is the point in my life where I am at right now, but they are also really interesting. I borrowed one from my mother-in-law and as soon as I started reading in one of the chapters I knew I had to write a post. It's taken me a while to finally write this, but better late than never.

In the book Married for Better, Not for Worse the Gary and Joy Lundberg give you an exercise to do that I feel can be applied to wellness. They say,
When you step out of the shower look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Really do this--it's the beginning of being able to be comfortable with seeing and being with yourself as you are. The first time you do it just look yourself in the eye and say, "Hi," then get dressed. Do this again a few more times and don't look for imperfections and pick yourself apart. Soon you will be more comfortable looking at your whole body and will be able to accept yourself as you are. This exercise is to get you beyond being critical of your body and getting to the point when you can say, " I like me. I'm glad I've got a body and I'm glad that, for the most part, it works. I'm just fine the way I am." That doesn't mean you may not work on making a few changes if you need to, but that is not the main focus here. It means you can accept yourself and are happy to be you, just as you are.
I really feel that this is one of the underlying causes that our society feels we need quick fixes--plastic surgery, fad diets, lap band surgery, etc... We are not truly comfortable with who we really are so we try to be like everyone else or how people are portrayed in the media. When you love yourself, you are more likely to have confidence, go out there are follow your dreams, make new friends, and serve and love others. I'm not saying that there may not be things that you want to change; there is always room for improvement! Whether you need to lose 5 lbs or 100 lbs or just want to be more fit, we need to love ourselves as we go through the process. If we don't love ourselves, then where is the motivation going to come from when our other motives fail us? Love you for you and enjoy the journey!

Challenge: Next time you shower do the exercise the Lundberg's suggest. Really look at yourself and love  who you really are.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quick Workout

The other day I wanted to work out but didn't want to get in my car, drive into town, and get on a treadmill to run. I made up a quick workout to get my heart going and get my workout in for the day.

Warm up
March in Place
Gets you moving and starts to warm your body up. Get your knees up and do for 30-60 seconds.

These also get your heart rate up and is a good dynamic stretch for your arms/upper body. Do about 30-60 seconds

Jumping Jacks.
These are good because it gets your heart rate up and they get you warm. I did 100 but listen to your body. If you have a hard time doing them, try a couple sets of 15 and then work your way up from there.

The workout (repeat through 2-3 times)

Builds up your upper body. Again if you are just beginning don't push yourself too much, but push enough. I did 15 girl push ups

This is the most effective ab-exercise for you. It builds your legs and your core. It helps your "muffin top" and helps you to build up your leg flexors (important for trail runners). I do 20 on each side

Plyometric Squats
It's like a squat but explosive! Here is a good example of how to perform them. Don't do too many or you won't be able to walk the next day (I may have pushed myself too much) I would suggest doing about 10 this first time.

Builds upper body and core strength. Shoot for a minute your first time and build from there. I also do the side plank on both sides. I am not very strong on my sides so I do it for about 45 seconds.

Mountain Climber Twists
I LOVE THESE! I would always have the people I trained perform these! Why? Because 1-they are my favorite and 2- They build upper body strength, your core, and your leg flexors.
Plyometric Lunges
Again it's explosive! 

Repeat. If you don't want to do the Plyo's, just do a regular squat and lunge. It still works your bottom!

Cool down
VERY IMPORTANT! You need to stretch the muscles you just warm-up. It helps to prevent muscle stiffness and injuries. I stretch my arms, back, chest, legs, sides, neck, everything. Here is a website with some really good stretches.

Challenge: Get up a 30 minutes early and do these exercises. Modify them to YOU! If you only can handle doing it once through. AWESOME! That is one more than you did yesterday. Always think of what you do and not what you didn't do.  

Vitamin D

We have all heard how important Vitamin D is for our Calcium absorption. I have learned about Vitamins multiple times in my nutrition classes, but today I learned something new.

Vitamin D can also help fight against the common cold, ease low back pain, and help you be positive and happy! Are you getting adequate amounts in your life? Check the RDA for Vitamin D to see.

I take a Calcium supplement that has Vitamin D in it because I don't like milk. So I kill two birds with one pill. You can get Vitamin D a few other ways though. The best way is from the sun. However if you live up north then you probably don't get enough. You can also get it from foods such as: 

1 TBS of Cod Liver Oil
3 oz of cooked Salmon
3 oz canned Tuna
1 cup Fortified Orange Juice
1 cup Fortified Milk
1 large egg (be sure to eat the yoke because that is where Vitamin D is found!)

There are also other Dietary supplements out there that you can take. So maybe if you are feeling a little moody or your health is not up to par, see if you can get a little more Vitamin D.

Challenge: Observe how much Vitamin D you are getting and see how you can improve. Go learn about it for yourself too! There are many good reliable resources out there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When all else fails, Drink Water!!

So my mom sent this to me in an email and it said that it is from a Cardiac Specialist. I have heard some of these before, but I thought passing on the information wouldn't hurt :)

Drinking water at certain time maximizes it's effectiveness on the body:
  • 2 glasses of water after waking up - helps activate internal organs
  • 1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion
  • 1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure
  • 1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack
Hopefully that helps ya a little. I also know that drinking water after waking up helps you lose/maintain weight as well because it helps hydrate you and makes you fill like you are full so you don't eat so much. Now go drink a glass of water and enjoy your day!


I just read a blog from a woman that was very inspiring and it applies to wellness. She talks about being positive and thinking good about yourself. If we are always thinking the negative, then how are we ever going to feel good about ourselves? How will we have the motivation to work out or to eat better? How will we have the confidence to perform well in our career or think clearly? Being Positive is one of the keys to improve your emotional health and overall wellness. Here is the link to her post. It is a little long, but WORTH the read.

A story that popped into mind while I was reading is from my cousin. She went into Subway to get a sandwich and the kid behind the counter was very precise about putting her sandwich together. After he got her order right he he wrapped it up nicely and said to himself, "I am AWESOME!" I wonder what his emotional health is like.

Challenge: Put at least two "Drops of Awesome" in your bucket right now.