Saturday, August 16, 2014

Guest Post: Women and Weight Lifting

Today's post is brought to you by my good friend, and personal trainer, Corbin Brosneck. Thanks Corbin!


First off, women absolutely should lift weights. There are a ton of pay-offs ranging from the obvious increased muscular strength, all the way to emotional ones like increased self esteem and confidence. There are many rumors floating around about weight lifting. The most common one having to do with whether women should be afraid of gaining too much muscle while strength training. As you will see, this myth is completely baseless. Due to misconceptions like this one, the hidden benefits of weight lifting often go unnoticed. Hopefully, after reading this, you will see that resistance training is not something to be feared or avoided, but a great fitness tool to be loved. Perhaps you already know this, in which case maybe you'll at least learn something new about the potential benefits of resistance training. So, let us begin!

If women aren't careful lifting weights, won't they get buff?

The simple answer? No, they will not. Unless they're taking steroids, that is. You see, women do not have the physical capability to become huge body-builder types (again, unless they're on steroids). To understand exactly why that is, you need to know the basics of muscle growth (formally referred to as "hypertrophy").
As with most other things in life, muscle hypertrophy really boils down to good ole' hormones. When you lift a weight and feel that wonderful burning sensation, you are experiencing the muscle breaking down. The body recognizes that the current amount of muscle is not enough for what it needs. It reacts by stuffing the muscles with extra contractile proteins (specifically, actin and myocin, the proteins that give muscles the ability to push and pull), which makes them larger and stronger. This entire process is triggered and maintained by a wonderful little hormone known as testosterone. You might recognize it as the hormone that makes men...well... men. Men produce 7 - 8 times as much testosterone as women. It is the reason why they have more muscle mass and greater potential to gain muscle. Women simply do not have enough testosterone to pack on lots of muscle. Female body builders get around this by using steroids, which are literally just testosterone shots.
Let's set aside all of this complicated witchcraft called "biology" for a moment, and take a look at the question from a practical perspective. Competing body-builders put a lot of work into making sure their exercise programs and diets are as efficient as possible for getting lots of muscle, and getting it fast. They often do this with the help of professionals with years of experience under their belts. If getting huge were as simple as "not being careful" while lifting, why would the professionals need to put so much effort into it? It just doesn't add up. Clearly, there is no reason to fear weightlifting. It has many benefits, as we will see next.

Is weight lifting really worth all the trouble?

Yes! Resistance training not only helps you become physically (and in some ways, mentally) stronger, it also has positive effects on metabolism and bone strength. Regular resistance training has been shown to dramatically increase metabolism speed, making it an essential part of any weight loss exercise program. It also strengthens bones through increased bone density, keeping it strong, yet flexible, as it ages. Finally, weight training helps to fight insomnia, with regular resistance training granting a more refreshing night's sleep.

What if I don't have a gym membership? How am I supposed to weight train without weights?

Dumbells, kettleballs, and barbells are not necessary for a good weight training program. You can use anything that is reasonably heavy. One of my favorites before I bought my own weights was a jug of water or sand. If all else fails, there is always your own body. Nothing beats a good old fashioned bodyweight workout. Remember the classics: The push-up, pull-up, squat, lunge, and the bicycle (the ab workout, not the machine).

None of this is to say that weight lifting is more important than any other part of fitness. They are all essential, and they all must be used in balance. Excessive use of any one type of fitness training (cardio, stretching, strength, etc) will result in an unbalanced body prone to injury. However, clearly all supposed negative effects of weightlifting thus far presented are baseless. There is no real reason to avoid strength training, and many benefits will result from not doing so. Why are you still reading this?! Go get your lift on!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Running for beginners

I was inspired to write today's post by several personal friends that decided this week to "take the plunge", as it were, and take up running. One friend in particular has been coming to me a lot for advice on how to get started, and I thought it might be beneficial to all you, my readers, for me to share all my (not so) vast knowledge!

So, first off, when should you start running?

Right now! If you have been thinking of taking up running as a way to get(or stay) fit, then there's no time like the present. The longer you put it off, the farther away the results that running offers. I must say, though, that all the runners I know(including myself) were in some kind of shape, and at relatively decent weights when we started. If you're more than 50 lbs overweight, I'd talk to a doctor or an actual fitness expert before starting, because running is hard. No sugar coating it here, people. It's hard on your body, and if your body can't handle it, then you shouldn't be doing it!

So often people shy away from going for that first run because they think they don't have the time! Now, I'm a college student with a job....I know busy. And I know that there are going to be those days where you just don't have the time to squeeze in an hour workout. I get it. But let me suggest an app to all you nerds with a smart phone. It's called C25KFree, and it's a running app for beginners. It starts you out from the couch, having you walk for two minutes, run for one minute, then walk again for two, and so on, building you up week by week until you can run a 5k. The best part is, it's only 30 minutes!!! You may not be able to work out for an hour, but 30 minutes? That's nothing!

I also recommend this app because it eases your body into the activity of running. The very first time I went running ever was with my neighbor, who thought a "beginner workout" was four miles. LOL no. Once I was finished weeping, I quickly went on my phone's app store and looked for something that gave it to me in little chunks, and the C25KFree app is what I found. I've been using it ever since!

Something I told my friend just today was this. And it's very important, so pay attention. Just because the app (or your running buddy) move on to harder runs, maybe going from running two minute intervals to five minutes intervals, for example, it DOES NOT mean that you have to do the same. Running, like most things, is very personal. If you're running your two minute intervals thinking "This is hard. There is NOOOO way I can run more than this!" Then don't. You'll know when you're ready to progress, and until then, do what you can. Exercising is meant to make you better, not injure you!

And speaking of injuries(you like my segway?) let's not get them, ok? The best way to prevent injury when running is to warm up beforehand, and to STRETCH AFTER. I cannot stress this enough. So often people will forgo stretching after a workout, because they don't want to take the time, or they want to bulk up their muscles, but guys. Stretch. It relaxes the muscles after a workout and prevents cramping and other bad things. If bulking up is what you're looking for, that's great. Look for it in the workout....then stretch. Pinterest is a fantastic recourse for both warm up and cool down/stretching routines, but I'll include a few on this post for those that don't have access to pinterest. If you want any more details, or any other resources, please leave a comment below and I'll send you stuff!

Finally, it's important to have the right music. You may laugh now, but try getting a good run in while listening to a funeral durge.....IDK do people actually listen to those?! Anywho, check out my last post for suggestions for good running songs. With the right beat, you can get really in the zone with your run, and push yourself more than you thought you could, and a good jam just makes the time go by so much faster!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The best RUNNING songs ever!

It's been a long time coming, but I was finally able to compile a list of running songs! Each song has a beat and is at a pace that is great for running and burning calories! Not all the songs are the same tempo, so you'll get a little variety in your morning run!

Each song has been tested personally. I did a lot of running, guys. You're welcome ;)

-"The power of Love"-Hewey Lewis and the News
-"Second Chances"-Veggie tales soundtrack
-"Sing, sing, sing"-Benny Goodman
-"Roar"-Katy Perry
-"What made us"-Everlife
-"Wide awake"-Katy Perry
-"Don't you worry child"-Swedish house mafia
-"Demons"-Imagion Dragons
-"So what(clean)"-P!NK
-"We are"-Kari Jobe
-"Wannabe"-The spice girls
-"My paper heart"-Francesca Battistelli
-"Outsiders"-Eric Church
-"We are never, ever getting back together"-Taylor Swift
-"She wouldn't be gone"-Blake Shelton
-"Santa Barbara Skies"-PSYCH:The musical soundtrack
-"To love somebody"-Michael Buble
-"Last name"-Carrie Underwood
-"Stand in the rain"-Superchic[k]
-"Compass"-Lady Antebellum
-"Feels like I am just too close to love you"-Alex Clare

All total, there is over an hour of run-worthy music on here. 77 minutes, 23 seconds, to be exact. But let's face it. Who would run for that long?!

Get out there today and run like the wind, bullseye!

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let's talk squash.

It's nearing summer time, and we're all getting a little more concerned with healthier eating. Today I want you to try something new, and a little weird. Spaghetti squash. You've probably heard of it, but were too afraid to try it...I mean, yeah. A squash that replaces pasta? LOL no. But seriously, Spaghetti squash is worth the try. Why? Well, I'll tell you. 

Spaghetti squash gets its name from the fact that when it is cooked, the inside flesh pulls out of the shell in long strands, resembling spaghetti pasta. Oval shaped and yellow, spaghetti squash can be considered a summer or winter squash and is available year-round in most grocery stores.


Spaghetti squash contains a wide range of vitamins. A 1-cup serving offers 5.4 mg of vitamin C, which is almost 10 percent of the recommended daily intake, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Other vitamins include A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K. A report from Colorado State University explains that obtaining your daily vitamins through food sources such as spaghetti squash may be more beneficial than taking vitamin supplements, as food contains several chemicals that work together, making the vitamins function more efficiently. Researchers from China, published in the January 2011 issue of "Journal of Environmental Science and Health," report that the flavonoids found in plant foods work with vitamins and play a role in protecting the body from cancer.


A 1-cup serving of spaghetti squash also contains several minerals that are vital to good health. The dominant mineral is manganese, with 0.2 mg, which is 8 percent of the RDI. Manganese is needed only in small amounts, but it has a big job. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports manganese aids in the production of healthy bones, tissues and sex hormones. It also plays a part in metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, absorption of calcium and the functioning of the nervous system. Other minerals found in smaller amounts in spaghetti squash include potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and selenium.
Apart from these super science-y facts about spaghetti squash, it's really tasty, and one cup of squash is only about 30 calories! In my opinion, this just leaves wiggle room for yummy meat sauce and some fetta cheese sprinkled on top! Spaghetti squash is Extremely good for you, but it's also yummy and a really fun food to make!

Little cooking tip from someone who has tried it both ways. Cook it first, THEN cut it. Just pop the squash in a pan and cook it in the oven for about 45 min.-1 hour. Then, take a tea towel and wrap the squash in it, so you can hold it without burning yourself. The squash will cut like butter. If you try to cut the squash raw, you will be there for awhile. Spaghetti squash is quite solid when it's raw. Once you've got the squash cut in half, just take a fork and scrape out the insides(hint:This is a great task for the kids!) And voila! You have healthy spaghetti. 

But Spaghetti squash isn't limited to meat sauce. It also makes good mac and cheese. Just whip up your favorite cheese sauce, add in some peas, or broccoli, or tuna, or mushrooms, or whatever you like to add to your macaroni and cheese, and mix the sauce in with the squash noodles. There you are. Two recipes for one squash! 

A little word to the wise, though. cooked spaghetti squash doesn't do well as leftovers. The taste doesn't change at all, but it gets really watery and mushy after awhile, so eat it all. Save it for a family dinner, or buy a small squash.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Life Hack: Beauty tips!

It's coming. Summer is nearly upon us, and you know what that means, ladies! With the warm weather on it's way, many women are getting themselves ready for swimsuit season. Regardless of your moral convictions on modesty, you're gonna want to look good for summer! But there's only one problem. You don't have the time or money to get that perfect tan,

First things first. Legs. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. In summer we want perfectly smooth, tan legs so we can be proud to wear our shorts in public, rather than see the general public run in terror after one look at dem white gams! We'll get to the tan bit in a minute, but first let's address the problem of smooth legs...and by problem I mean razor burn. In the winter, you probably don't get it as much, because you don't shave your legs more than a couple times a week. (at least I don't) But come summer, you don't want to walk around looking like the wolf man! Not cute girls. Not. Cute. But, as with most things, every good thing has its downside, and the downside to keeping your legs silky smooth is razor burn. But are you ready for the beauty tip of a lifetime? Aloe. That's right. I know y'all have a bottle of Aloe in your house. It's the clear stuff your mom always put on your sunburn when you were a kid. It stung like the dickens, and was bloody freezing, but you felt so much better after. Yeah, that Aloe. Not the Aloe Vera, which is the green stuff. Just straight up Aloe. I'm pretty sure you can get this stuff literally everywhere. Just apply the aloe to your legs right after you get out of the shower(and after you've dried yourself, of course!) and let it dry completely. It makes your skin amazingly smooth and reduces chance of razor burn.

The reason you need to apply it right out of the shower is because your pours are still open from the steamy shower, which means the product will soak in faster. You can do this with lotion too. I used to apply lotion every day after I got out of the shower, but it didn't help my razor burn at fact, sometimes it just made it worse. Aloe. That's where it's at people! (sorry about the bad grammar mom! Love you ) I like to apply aloe twice a day. Morning and night. You don't have to do this, but I just find it makes for even softer skin, and my mom rubs a thick layer onto her feet, and then puts socks on and goes to bed. Her feet are then really soft the next day.

The aloe is all for nothing, however, if you don't have a close shave. I have found that the best way to do that is to use a body scrub BEFORE I shave. If that's your thing, you can find a million body scrub recipes on pinterest, and they're all good, though most of them can be rather pricey. I'm trying to keep the cost down here. I have used store-bought sugar scrubs, my favorite brand being found in Kroger of all places...but even that's $6-$8. Currently, I like the meijer brand apricot face scrub. It's the meijer version of St. Ives face scrub. It's like $2 and you get a huge you can also use it on your face!(but we'll get to that later)

Also replace your razor every couple of weeks. You can't get a close shave with a dull razor, and it's a lot easier to get razor burn(or worse). There's no need to spend mongo bucks on something you're going to throw away in a week. The plain old 20 pack of disposable pink razors from wal-mart will do just fine.

While we're still on the topic of legs, I have one more little tip to get softer legs. Ditch the shaving cream and use conditioner instead. It's WAY cheaper than shaving cream, and you get, like, triple the product. Nothing fancy. There's no need to dash out and by Garnier deep conditioner. Suave, or whatever the cheapest  brand your store has will do the trick. In fact I've found the cheaper conditioners work better than the expensive ones, and it makes your skin very smooth. Plus it smells nice!

So you've scrubbed, shaved, and aloed, and your legs are looking mighty fine and smooth!!! There's just one problem. You have vampire skin and jut looking at that pale whiteness brings on a migrane. You don't have time to lay out and get a tan, and a tanning booth is either too expensive or just to darn scary. Well self-tanner has come a long way in recent years. Gone are the days of strong chemical smell and orange palms. There are soooooo many good brands out there now that will give you a gradual tan, and you can buy your Jergen's, or whatever, but my personal favorite is just the Equate Healthy Glow daily moisturizer. It's really inexpensive, and it works. It's a moisturizer....that tans you! You get soft skin AND a healthy glow! Also, bonus. It has almost no smell at all, and the little aroma it does have is more lotion than tanner. I seriously love this stuff for the beginning of summer when I'm not naturally tan yet, or if I had a sun burn and now I have massive tan lines. Obviously, the best way to get a healthy glow to your skin would be to eat healthy, exercise, and soak up some of God's rays, but if you can't do that, I definitely say you stop by your local wal-mart and pick up the Equate Healthy Glow Daily Moisturizer.

Lastly, I want to talk about hair. Specifically hair masks. I don't really have any specific recommendations here. I say all hair masks are created equal....mostly because every hair type is going to require different specifications. All I can say here is do your research. Only you can know your hair, so look for products that will meet your individual needs.

And you're one step closer to being "summer ready"!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In case of emergency

So the other day I was at work when I got a text from my boyfriend, asking if I wanted to go see a movie when I got off. Basically I freaked out, because I hadn't been in the mood to put makeup on that day, and I had let my hair dry air dry, leaving it au natural, if you know what I'm sayin'. Now, I could give a lecture on how the right guy will love you no matter that you look like(as he did), but let's face it ladies. You're gonna wish you had put some eyeliner on or something! Y'all know how it is.

I do have to thank the man for being my inspiration for this post, because today I'm going to talk about what you need to keep in your purse at all times for emergencies such as this:

First thing's first. You need a comb. I'm not expecting you to somehow shove a round brush in your bag, but you can buy those little fold-up ones pretty much anywhere that sells hair stuff. It won't take up that much space, I promise!

And while we're on the topic of hair stuff, make sure you have a hair tie wrapped around the brush, because you'll need it. Trust me. A hair tie was the one thing I didn't have, and I sorely regretted it. I had to use a rubber band instead! It worked, but it hurt coming out lol.

Lastly for hair products, I strongly suggest adding a few bobby pins to the mix. I have a little pouch where I keep bobby pins, safety pins, spot remover, etc. just in case, but if you don't have that, just latch those puppies onto that hair tie you WILL be putting in your purse!

Next you're gonna need some makeup. I don't want you all going out and buying a bigger bag so you can fit a full face of makeup in there. You'll only need one or two things.

First off, you'll need some eyeliner. Nothing crazy here, ladies. Stick with the basics, brown or black. I like to take my eyeliner pencils, once they're stubs, and put them in my purse. Instant travel size! Plus I don't feel wasteful throwing away an eyeliner that's still good, but won't fit in my sharpener anymore. If you can, try to find one will a little smudging power, because you can line your eyes, smudge it out, and have a little smokey eye action going on. It's shadow and liner all in one!

Really the only other makeup item you need is a tinted lip balm. You won't want lipstick, though, because that'll be too dramatic for your natural eyes. Or, better yet, a lip and cheek stain. That way you can add a little color to your face and lips both! I didn't have that, just burt's bees chapstick, but hey, that's why I'm telling you this, so you can learn from my mistakes.

This next thing is optional, but I work at a dry cleaner and it was hot that day, so I badly needed it, if you catch my drift. This thing would be an atomizer, otherwise known as a lifesaver. For those that don't know what an atomizer is, it's a little tube that you can put perfume in, and it won't spill or break, and therefore great for traveling. Just put a little of whatever fragrance you're wearing that day in that little tube, stick it in your purse, and you're good to go! I got mine from Old Navy, but I have seen them at Wal-Mart in the travel section as well. They're super cheap, like $2.

And there you have it! So next time you get invited unexpectedly on a date(or an interview, or a party, whatever the case may be) you'll be ready. Have fun :)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Best workout songs EVAH!

Every self-respecting fitness addict knows that the key to a killer workout is a rocking playlist! Now, I have googled many a "workout playlist" in my day, and I never find playlists that I like usually the songs aren't my style, or all the songs are inappropriate....all of them. So here's the deal. I compiled a list of all my favorite songs to listen to while I work out! Enjoy these tunes knowing you are safe when you press play :)

1. Cameo Lover-Kimbra
2. Black horse and the Cherry Tree-KT Tunstall
3.One more round-Barlowgirl
4.Rise Up-Matt Maher
5. Eye of the Tiger-Survivor
6.Stop Time-Landon Austin
7. Zero to Hero-Hercules soundtrack
8.Undignified-David Crowder Band
9.Titanium-David Guetta
10.Mr. Saxobeat(radio edit)-Alexandra Stan
11. Good Girl- Carrie Underwood
12. Come and Get it- Selena Gomez
13. Roar- Katy Perry
14. DJ Got us falling in love-Usher, Pitbull
15. Sweet Serendipity- Lee DeWyze
16. Best Song Ever- One Direction
17. The Power of Love- Huey Lewis & the News
18. Counting stars-OneRepublic
19.What made us-Everlife
20. Best day of my life-American Authors
21. Aint it fun-Paramore
22. Can't remember to forget you-Shakira, Rihanna
23. Feels like I am just too close-Boom Masters
24. Feelin' Good-Christina Grimmie
25. Chainsaw-The Band Perry
26. Easy Street-Annie soundtrack
27. Ya Got Trouble-Music Man soundtrack
28. Happy-Pharrell Williams
29.Wannabe(radio edit)-The Spice Girls
30. Don't you worry Child(radio edit)-Swedish house mafia
31. Brighter than the sun-Colbie Caillat
32. Outsiders-Eric Church
33. Wide awake-Katy Perry
34. My paper heart-Francesca Battistelli
35. Second chances-Veggie Tales soundtrack
36. We are the Champions-Queen
37. Resistance-Everlife
38. I'm letting go- Francesca Battistelli
39. Open Heavens- Barlowgirl
40. Daydream believer- the monkeys

Total time:  2hrs. 30mins.
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