Sunday, September 30, 2012

3-pete Full Body Workout: Body Weight HIIT

Hi Everyone, 

Tonight's workout is fun but tough! As always, the video is below. The total workout takes 21 minutes. Each round is 7 minutes, and you repeat the workout three times. Immediately after my third round Jesse and I went out for a run. 

I wanted to run 5-6 miles, but it was really cold when the sun started going down and Jesse and I both wore short sleeves. So we cut the run a little bit short, and completed 4.67 miles. 

I have a new sponsor, you can like their facebook page here, Total Nutrition Facebook and you can find their website here: Total Nutrition. They sent me a big box of loot, including the shirt that I wore in tonight's video. I am loving the shirts, they are cute and ridiculously comfortable. 

They also sent me some great vitamins, protein, and more so I will be sure to let you guys know what I think as I start incorporating this into my routine. I love the water soluble multi-vitamins, and the vanilla protein tastes like a milk shake!

Jesse with his picture in Point Park University's Athletic Hall of Fame. 
Also, Jesse's official induction into Point Park University's Athletic Hall of Fame was last night. He made an amazing and inspiring speech. He motivates me to work my hardest every day. :)

I hope you guys have a great workout! Get out there and motivate someone today (self-motivation counts too!)

All Levels: Maximum number of reps during each 50 second interval. 10 seconds of rest in between each exercise. 

Repeat 3X.

1. Warrior 3 Squat Pulse Right
2. Warrior 3 Squat Pulse Left
3. Mountain Climber
4. Temple Tap V-Up
5. Alternate Round Kicks
6. Side Step Plank (right)
7. Side Step Plank (left)

Try to move through the rounds as quickly as possible. Push yourself, but always listen to your body. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Target Area 3: Tight Abs

Hi Everyone, 

This is part 3 of today's workout. If you haven't yet try: Target Area 1: Arms and Target Area 2: Lower Body. This is the core section. Having a strong core does more than give you sexy abs, it also helps prevent back pain and supports your postural alignment. 

One of the guys on the cross country team asked me today why core work and stretching is so important. Answer: it helps you maintain proper alignment. This helps you in everything you do, and can prevent injuries. For runners it is especially important because running is a repetitive motion. That means if you have a misalignment in your back, hips, etc, you are putting undue stress on other joints (like your knees) over and over again. By strengthening your core, and keeping your muscles flexible and balanced you can help prevent these types of injuries. 

Runners aren't the only ones who suffer from postural difficulties so be sure to stretch, and keep your core and back strong!

Enjoy the workout!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Knee Drop Plank
2. Cheeck to Cheek Plank
3. Bicycle
4. Full Flexion Leg Lift (Plough Pose in Yoga)
5. Temple Tap Abs
6. Handstand (this isn't a rep exercise). 

Target Area 2: Lower Body

Hi Everyone,

This is Part 2 of my workout today, and it's all about the Lower Body! If you haven't tried Target Area 1: Arms and Target Area 3: Tight Abs yet check them out now. My entire workout today consisted of three parts, Arms, Lower Body, and Core. So if you want the complete workout check out all three videos :)

You also have option of increasing the number of rounds, or mixing and matching with other workouts of your choice. It took me 30 minutes to do all three parts of this workout. 

I hope you guys enjoy it. I also posted my "Must Have" list of products for your home gym and a recipe for a Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich

Have a great night,

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Bulgarian Split Squat (right)
2. Bulgarian Split Squat (left)
3. Ninja Jump
4. Warrior Deadlift (right)
5. Warrior Deadlift (left)
6. Lunge Jump

Target Area 1: Arms Home Workout

Hi Everyone!

This is part one of tonight's workout. This section of the workout is focused on working your arms, shoulders, and back. You can do it alone, or with the other two videos if you want to do the complete workout that I did tonight. You can find  Target Area 2: Lower Body and Target 3: Tummy Tightening by clicking the links. 

This was by far the hardest section of the workout for me. It was a great challenge though! Challenge is what makes you grow stronger both physically and mentally. 

When the other two videos are finished uploading I will add links, to make everything easily accessible. I hope you enjoy my workout of the day. :)


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Reverse Push Up
2. Right Tricep Push Up
3. Left Tricep Push Up
4. Dive Bomber (Up/Down Dog)
5. Squat Lift
6. Decline Push Up

Avocado Curry Chicken (or Egg!) Salad Recipe: Healthy, Delicious, Easy!

Avocado Curry Chicken Salad: Delicious, Healthy Recipe

I love chicken salad, and egg salad. What I don't love is the high fat and calorie count that is in typical chicken salad recipes. In fact, I'm not a fan of mayonnaise at all. I was thrilled to try out this healthy alternative to using mayo in my chicken and egg salad recipes. 

  • Typical Chicken Salad: Calories 417 (not including bread, 517 with sandwich thin), Fat 31.5 g, Protein 29.4 g.
  • Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad Sandwich: 510 Calories
  • Panera's Napa Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich: 690 Calories
Compare that to today's recipe:
  • Avocado Chicken Salad: Calories 278 (378 with a sandwich thin), Fat 12 g., Protein 38 g.

*This recipe makes 2-3 servings.

What you need:
  • 2 baked or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed (about 8 oz.) *You can also use two boiled or baked eggs if you prefer to make egg salad. Both styles are delicious!
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons 0% Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon green curry paste (optional, or season to taste-this amount will make the sandwich a bit spicy). You can also use regular curry seasoning, but this is a strong flavor, so start out light, and increase as desired.
  • Bread or wrap of Choice. I used a whole wheat sandwich thin today, and a 90 calorie whole wheat wrap yesterday. 

Green Curry Paste, Avocado and Greek Yogurt

Avocado, curry, greek yogurt mixture. 

Smash Avocado and mix with 2 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt, and curry paste (optional). 

Chopped Chicken Breast. 

Avocado Curry Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt. 
Add diced chicken (or egg) to the avocado, curry, greek yogurt mixture, and stir until evenly coated. 

Avocado Curry Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Wrap
Avocado Curry Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Sandwich with Grapes
This is delicious on a wrap, or sandwich. It's quick, easy, filling, and tasty! I made extra yesterday so I would have some on hand for a quick and easy lunch today. It was delicious with grapes, spinach leaves, and 2 slices of tomato. 

Home Gym Must Have List: Top 10

Hi Everyone,

You all know that I do my workouts at home, or outside. I don't belong to a gym, so I have made my home into a gym. While it is possible to get a great workout using body weight exercises, adding some equipment to your home gym can greatly increase the versatility of your workouts. You have probably noticed by now that I enjoy a LOT of variety in my workouts. :) 

This is my "Must Have" list for having a home gym that will meet all of your needs. If you have something else you use to workout with at home feel free to leave a comment! If you don't have these items don't panic! You can still have plenty of great home workout options. These items will just add to those options.

1. Interval Timer: I do a lot of HIIT workouts. My Gymboss Interval Timer is useful for timing exercises at home, and keeping track of interval workouts when I am running outside. It can be distracting to keep looking at your watch during workouts. With my interval timer I don't have to slow down. I just keep going until the timer beeps. Bonus: it can also be used as a stop watch. 

2. Yoga Mat: I have a variety of yoga mats. They are perfect for any yoga, pilates, or floor work you are going to do. I am often asked if there is a difference in yoga mats (cheaper vs. more expensive). The best yoga mat I have ever used is a rubber yoga mat, which is of course more expensive. I loved the fact that my hands didn't slip at all on this mat, even when I got sweaty. If you decide to get a rubber mat check to make sure you are getting one that is made from natural or recycled rubber. As far as thickness: thicker mats are more comfortable and provide some cushion and support for your joints and back. However, thicker mats are also more challenging to balance on. 

3. Kettle Bell and/or Dumbbells: I love the versatility you have with kettle bells and dumbbells. You can incorporate them into a variety of workout moves to increase the resistance and challenge of the exercise. They come in a variety of weights and sizes so you can select the one that is right for your level of fitness. 

4. Barbell/Free Weights: If you are looking to increase the amount of weight you use, owning a barbell and some free weights will be very beneficial. I have free weights that I can use individually (they have cut out areas for you to grip the weight), and I can put weights on my bar for a variety of exercises. My favorite weighted exercises are Squats, Romanian Deadlifts, Bulgarian Split Squats, and Good Mornings. I want to buy some heavier weights for my bar. Of course you can use weights for a huge variety of exercises. I like having options and the ability to switch up my routine. 

5. Ultimate Body Press Dip Stand: This is the brand I use, but other brands would also be effective. I love this piece of equipment for it's versatility. I most often use it to work my arms, abs and chest. It is important to maintain variety in your workouts, and there is a lot you can do  with the dip station. 

6. Pull Up Bar: I have a door frame pull up bar. Pull ups, chin ups, and hanging leg raises are a great addition to any workout. This piece of equipment will help strengthen your back, shoulders, and arms. Also, if you enjoy rock climbing or bouldering it can help you increase your strength and endurance. (If you've never tried rock climbing before, check to see if there are any climbing walls near you. It's a great fun way to stay active and fit!)

7. Stability Ball: I love my stability ball. It allows you to perform a variety of challenging variations of body weight exercises. Decline push ups, stability mountain climbers, and moves to intensify ab and butt workouts are just a few. Plus, sitting on a stability ball while you work or watch TV can help strengthen your core, and facilitate good posture. 

8. Jump Rope: A jump rope is an easy way to add cardio into your workout. You can add intervals, increase fat burning and cardiovascular endurance with this inexpensive piece of equipment. Not sure? Check out Health Benefits of Jump Roping

9. Bosu Ball: This is on my wish list. I love the Bosu Ball because it can increase the challenge of almost any workout move. You can add a balance challenge to lunges, squats, step ups, and core exercises to name a few. 

10. Resistance Bands: These are a great tool to increase resistance during your workout, without requiring the use of additional weights. You can use them to increase the challenge of a variety of exercises. These bands come in varying resistance, so you can grade your workout for your own level of fitness. 

11. Treadmill: I know, this is a top ten list. Consider this the bonus item. If you can afford it, and have room for it a treadmill is a great addition to your home gym. Preferably a model that has an incline feature. Treadmills can be great for running, walking, and interval workouts. Despite my best intentions in the winter months I often can't force myself outside into the cold to run, so a treadmill is a great option. Also, if I want to be active, while keeping it low impact I will grab my kindle, and read while walking on the treadmill. You get better results when you focus on the workout instead of a book, movie or magazine, but if the alternative is laying on the couch and reading you are still benefiting by spending time on the treadmill. 

I hope you found this list useful. If you don't have these items don't worry about it. You can still get a great workout at home with just your body weight! These tools are not necessary, but they can be beneficial in increasing the versatility and challenge of your workout.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Workout Your Abs and Glutes at Home

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout is full body, but emphasizes working your butt and abs. This incorporates moves that will challenge all of the different muscles in your core and glutes. It's important to work your muscles from a variety of angles, so that you are using all of your muscles. Focus on using correct form, and getting the most out of each exercise and you should be nice and sweaty by the end of the workout. I also did a 4 mile run this afternoon with the girls from the cross country team. 

I tried out two new recipes today, that I will be sharing. The first was an avocado curry chicken salad (yesterday I did the same thing with egg salad. Both were amazing!), and this evening I made a delicious pasta recipe with plenty of shrimp and vegetables. 

I am trying to get back to eating primarily whole foods. Ideally you should know every ingredient that is going in to your meals, and you should limit processed foods. This isn't always possible, especially if you aren't cooking at home. When I do have the opportunity to cook I like to take advantage of it. Sometimes it helps to cook in bulk, so you have healthy leftovers readily available. 

I have leftovers of both of the meals that I made today, and I baked eggs to have on hand for a quick and easy breakfast option. I have been getting a lot of questions about my diet so I will try to post more about what I am eating. So, check back tomorrow for my recipes! 

Have a great night,

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Step Up Right
2. Step Up Left
3. Jump Up
4. Hydrant Reach (right)
5. Hydrant Reach (left)
6. Mountain Climber
7. V-Up
8. Bicycle
9. Kettle Bell Plank Lift (right)
10. Kettle Bell Plank Lift (left)
11. Russian Kick

Homemade Vegetable Beef Stew Recipe...Healthy and Delicious!

When the weather gets colder I find myself craving meals that are warm and hearty. Beef Stew is a delicious meal, that meets both of those criterion. Plus, it's easy to make!

This recipe is high in nutrients. Remember you should be having 5-6 cups of red/orange vegetables per week! Carrots and Sweet Potatoes are high in Vitamins A, C, Fiber and Potassium. Spinach is high in vitamins and antioxidants, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Spinach has been shown to effectively lower blood pressure. All of these vegetables help protect your vision, and skin. So what's not to love about this combination? 

I hope you all enjoy the recipe!

Makes 4 Large Servings, or 6-8 Smaller Servings

For this recipe I used:

  • 1 Container Swanson 100% Natural Beef Broth with 50% Less Sodium (contains 4 cups)
  • 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 cups Raw Spinach
  • 3 Medium Carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1.25 pounds Beef Stir Fry Meat
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (less than a teaspoon)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
  • Fresh Ground Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Italian Seasoning (to taste)
  • Thyme (to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup Water
Step 1:
Cut Beef into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.
In a large pot use a touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a teaspoon of fresh garlic. Turn stove on to medium heat. Add beef and cook until browned. Add desired seasoning at this point.
I used a bit of fresh ground pepper, fresh ground sea salt, Thyme, and Italian Seasoning. 

Step 2:
Add the entire container of Beef Broth. Cover, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 90 minutes. 

Step 3: 
Cut vegetables to desired size. Add all vegetables to the broth and re-cover. Cook for an additional 30-60 minutes on low until vegetables are tender. 

Step 4:
Increase heat to medium. Mix flour and water in a bowl, and add slowly to broth. Stir to thicken. 

Step 5: 
Stew is ready to serve! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Body Weight Full Body Challenge

Almost Hand Stand Push Up-Prepare for Full Hand Stand Push 
Hi Everyone!

This is my workout from last night. I started with the hardest moves, so if you start out and feel this is too difficult don't get discouraged! You can substitute regular or knee push ups for the Almost Handstand Push ups. Also, the seated leg lift, is more challenging than it looks, but it is great for building core strength. 

I hope you guys enjoy today's workout. I have a very busy day today, but I am still planning a workout for this evening. So I will see you later tonight!

Also, I will be sharing my beef stew recipe so check back for that. :)


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. (Almost) Handstand Push Ups
2. Seated Leg Lift (right)
3. Seated Leg Lift (left)
4. Prone Heel Press
5. Right Side Lunge with Knee Twist
6. Left Side Lunge with Knee Twist
7. Boat Pose
8. Right Side Plank Hip Lift
9. Left Side Plank Hip Lift
10. Ab Ball Pull
11. Butt Lift Ball
12. Plank Chest Press

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thanks, Support, and Fitness Magazine

Hi Everyone,

The Unofficial results are in for Fitness Magazine's "Face of Fitness" contest, and I am number one!!!! They still have to validate all of the votes, to make it official. Hopefully that happens soon!

I have been really amazed by the amount of support I received for my entry into this contest. That has been absolutely heart warming, and brought tears to my eyes more than once. When I saw people sharing, and commenting every day to tell me that they were voting the feeling it gave me was indescribable. 

So thank you to all of my family and friends, to the members of the Freedom Cross Country Team (and their amazing families!!!), to everyone on Facebook who shared the link and urged others to vote, to the amazingly supportive community on MyFitnessPal and every one else who supported me in this. 

I said in my video yesterday, while I was still in second place, that I already felt like a winner just because of the support I received and that remains true whether I am the Unofficial or Official winner. 

The stories of so many of the women in the contest were amazing and inspiring. Stories of struggle, success, motivation, and life long fitness. They all inspired me to keep doing what I'm doing, the same way you all inspire me day after day. 

If I am declared the Official Winner of this week's Reader's Choice award, it makes me the Reader's Choice semi-finalist for this week. That means I am eligible to compete for a spot in the finals, from which the editors will select a winner. It also means I win a gift certificate. :D 

Regardless of the eventual outcome, this contest has shown me how blessed I am to have this kind of support. I am filled with joy over the response I have gotten. So thank you all a million times over. Let's all keep influencing the world to live a fit, happy and healthy life.  I will see you later today with a brand new workout!

Thank you!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Body Weight Blast Workout


Hi Everyone,

Tonight is a fun workout. I included a new Burpee Variation, Low Jack Burpees. I really liked them. It was a fun challenge. This is a full body workout, with an emphasis on strengthening your core. 

I ran a hill workout with the girls on the Cross Country team yesterday (those girls are fantastic! They really pushed themselves.) As a result, I definitely felt all of the thigh, and glute exercises today. I went through the workout 2X and walked a mile on the treadmill. I wanted to run, but it is important not to over train, and to let your body rest. 

I am still in second place in Fitness Magazine's "Face of Fitness" contest. Voting goes today, and tomorrow: Vote Here! if you haven't voted yet today. Being the Face of Fitness would be a dream come true for me. :) Thank you to EVERYONE who has voted, and supported me. It has meant so much to me. 

I made Vegetable Beef Stew for the first time today. I was going to share the recipe, but found that stew doesn't photograph particularly well. So if anyone wants the recipe comment and let me know, and I will share it. I promise, it's much more delicious than it looks!

I hope you all enjoy the workout, and are having a great weekend!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Clam Plank
2. Pendulum Kick
3. Low Jack Burpee
4. Crab Toe Touch (right)
5. Crab Toe Touch (left)
6. Heel Tap Leg Lift
7. Hip Twist
8. Reverse Situp (with or without ball)
9. Roll Up
10. Plank Lift

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bottoms Up Workout

Hi Everyone,

Tonight I did a high intensity interval workout (HIIT). This workout can be done for a specific number of reps, or for the maximum number of reps you can perform in each timed interval. The breakdown will be listed below. 

Jesse and I both went through this workout tonight. Be sure to warm up before this workout, because you will be working at a high intensity, and you want to maximize your results. I warmed up with jumping jacks, and hula hooping. Also, filming this video was a bit of extra warm up for the timed intervals I did on my second time through. 

I will list my number of reps next to each exercise listed below. You can see by the top picture, that this one got me sweaty!

I hope you guys enjoy the workout. Have a great night!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 20 reps
Advanced: 25 reps
Maximum number of reps during each 60 second interval, with 10 seconds of rest in between exercises. My reps are in parenthesis next to each exercise. 

*Note: The length of time for high knees varies during each round.

1. Squat Jumps (41)
2. Superman (51)
3. Burpees (12)
4. High Knees (1 minute)
5. Right Lunge Kick (25)
6. Right Oblique V-Up (78)
7. Walking Pushups (20)
8. High Knees (90 seconds)
9. Left Lunge Kick (28)
10. Left Oblique V-Up (83)
11. Monkey Pushups (27)
12. High Knees (2 minutes)
13. Plie Jumps (41)
14. Twisting Taps (52)
15. Tricep Dips (26)
16. High Knees (2 minutes, 15 seconds)

Push yourself, but always listen to your body!

Running a Ladder Workout

Hi Everyone,

I will be posting a new workout today, but I also wanted to share my workout from yesterday with you. I did a Ladder Workout. The breakdown of my workout will be posted in a chart below.

A Ladder Workout is an interval workout that varies running at a hard pace, and an easy pace. There are many physical and psychological benefits to this type of workout. Your body learns how to maintain a hard pace for extended periods of time. This workout will also help increase your speed and agility. Plus, you are burn more fat in interval workouts. If you race, you want to do the hard sections of the workout at race pace. 

I did my ladder workout outside. I like the additional challenge of going up and down hills, and not having to worry about changing paces on the treadmill. However, you can easily do this on a treadmill as well. You will need a watch to keep track of the intervals. If you have a running watch that can record splits now is the time to use it. 

There are two ways to do this type of workout. You can perform timed intervals (this is what I did), or distance intervals. 

The basic idea is to work your way up the ladder, and then go back down. So if you are going to time you would start with 1 minute working hard, followed by 1 minute at an easy pace. Then you build up the ladder to 2 minutes hard, followed by 2 minutes easy. You rest is always equal to your work. 

The same concept applies if you are going for distance. You can go hard for 100 meters, followed by 100 meters easy. Increase to 200 meters hard, followed by 200 meters easy. 

You start by going up the ladder, but don't forget to come back down! Half way through the workout you should start decreasing the length of each interval, until you are back to where you started. If you're not sure what I mean check out the chart below. 

Ladder Workout. You can Click on it to make it larger. 

Remember, you should build up to this type of workout. Your body should be used to running, and you should have a good cardiovascular base before trying this workout. To build up to it, you should do easy runs to increase your endurance, and blood volume. You can also adjust the length and time of the workout to suit your own level of fitness. My workout took 50 minutes total. 

Switching your workouts often is one of the most effective ways to keep getting results. Good luck!

PS I am in Fitness Magazine's "Face of Fitness" contest. I'm currently in 2nd place! If you haven't voted for me yet, please take a minute to vote! Vote Here Thank you! Being in Fitness Magazine would be a dream come true. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Full Body Yoga Stretch

Good Morning Everyone,

Last night I filmed this full body stretching routine. The moves in this video are all part of my normal stretching. As I mention in the video, I have been feeling that my hip flexors are getting a bit tight so I have been doing more stretching. 

Stretching has a plethora of benefits. It helps keep your muscles strong, and allows blood and oxygen to flow more easily to your muscles. Flexibility helps prevent injuries, and maintain alignment and balance throughout your body. 

Think of your muscles like leather. When leather is left out in the sun it shortens, and becomes dry and brittle. The same thing can happen to your muscles if you don't stretch. The good news is that even if your muscles have already shortened, with dedicated stretching you can re-lubricate them and increase your range of motion. 

Also, tight muscles cause many problems. Back and knee pain are two of the leading problems that can be directly related the shortened muscles. Tight hamstrings, and tightness of the IT band can be very painful. 

So have I convinced you of the importance of stretching yet? If you don't stretch already try adding it into your routine. If none of the reasons above have motivated you, maybe knowing that stretching can increase muscle gains when you workout will do it. :) Whatever your reason, be sure to stretch!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interview with NPC Physique Competitor Michael Prest

Hi Everyone,

Today I interviewed Michael Prest. You might remember him from the Target: Tummy Tightening workout video. When we filmed the Tummy workout Michael briefly mentioned that he was training for a body building competition. 

You can tell from the progress pictures above how much hard work Mike put in, and what great results he got. Those results paid off on stage, when Mike won first place in his division at the NPC Elite Physique competition!!!! Go Mike!

Michael Prest on Stage at the Elite Physique Body Building Competition

In my interview Mike talks about his training, his diet, and the most challenging aspects of getting
ready for a competition. This was his second competition, and he discusses how his training changed from his first competition to his second. 

Starting Point to Mike's First Competition
 From the competition in May, to his second competition in September, Mike was able to progress even further with his goals, and build. 
First Body Building Competition Photo (May), Second Competition Photo (September)

If you have ever wondered what a competition was like check out the video. If you have questions that I can pass on to Mike post them in the comments below. 

I was very intrigued by the competition diet. So it was very interesting to talk about what that was like, along with the physical aspects of his training. 

I hope you guys enjoy the interview! Is anyone motivated to get on stage now? 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Strength Building Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today I filmed a brand new full body workout. I love incorporating fun new exercises into my workouts. The Oblique pushups that I started with in today's video were tough on me. I have been working on a few new yoga arm balance poses, so I think my arms were a little bit more tired than usual. 

I also ran 5 miles outside. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, but cool enough to make for a beautiful run. 

I am starting to focus more on flexibility again, because I noticed that my hip flexors have been getting a little bit tighter. It's very important to stay flexible. It helps prevent injuries, and maintain a high level of functioning, so I will be filming some more stretching, and some of the moves I am doing to improve my own flexibility. 

I hope you guys enjoy the new workout!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Oblique Pushups
2. Leg Series (right) (30 reps total, 10 of each movement)
3. Leg Series (left)
4. Leg/Hip Lift
5. Bow Press with Heel Tap
6. Oblique V-Up (right)
7. Oblique V-Up (left)
8. Squat Lift
9. Forward Fold Leg Lift (right)
10. Forward Fold Leg Lift (left)
11. Plank Hold

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Challenge Yourself: Overcoming Fear

Extended Side Crane Pose

Hi Everyone,

When was the last time you tried something challenging? If it was today, congratulations! Challenge leads to change, and increased strength. Challenges can show you just what you are capable of, and help show you what you need to do to grow stronger. 

Challenge can be physical, mental or a combination of both. Often the greatest challenge is overcoming the belief that you can't do something. This belief creates a fear of trying that can be incredibly limiting. Without trial and error you never discover what you are capable of. It is through challenge that your body, and mind adapt and discover new abilities. 

My challenge to you today is to go outside of your comfort zone, and try something new. 

As you guys know I am a certified yoga instructor. In honor of Yoga Month I decided to challenge myself to start doing more arm balances. Arm balances require strength, balance, and overcoming fear. I have often found that when teaching students to do an arm balance, fear prevents them from successfully performing a pose that they are physically capable of. 

Stop letting fear limit you. The more you practice overcoming fear, the easier it becomes. Each time you do something that makes you nervous you become a little bit stronger, and before you know it you are doing something you didn't know you were capable of. 

I am not just talking about physical fear. Fear of failure can be a huge hurdle in life. To me the only true failure is not trying at all. Remember, the biggest limitations in life are the ones you impose on yourself. They are formed by the things it never occurs to you to try. 

Good luck! Let me know if you accept my challenge, and what you are trying today.

Side Crane Pose-Parsva Bakasana

5 Moves to Increase Core Strength: Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,

I completed this workout last night. It's a quick core toning workout. It focuses on working your core muscles from all angles, to help pull in your muscles, and provide support to your spine and back. Having a strong core will help you be a better athlete, and protect your from injury. Plus, a sexy stomach looks great! 

Yesterday I also did a 5 mile run at an easy pace. Jesse and I coached out first cross country invitational yesterday, so we also got in plenty of walking during the event. We had gorgeous weather all day! I loved how the clouds looked, so I had to take a picture.  

There will be a new workout today, so be sure to check back. If you're having gorgeous weather like we did here, take advantage of it! Get outside and do something active. You can run, walk, hike, ride a bike, or even take one of my workouts outside. 

Have a great day!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X
Bonus: select a Cardio workout to do with this, or get outside and do a run. 

1. Supergirl
2. Russian Twist
3. Camel Pushups
4. Temple Tap Abs
5. Seated Lift

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Frozen Banana Bites

Hi Everyone!

Today I was craving the Dark Chocolate Bananas Josh made for me. If you click on that link it will take you to his recipe. I decided to make a quick version of his snack. 

All you need is:
1 Banana (sliced)
About 1 Tablespoon of Natural Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon of dark chocolate chips

I sliced a banana, smeared each slice with some natural peanut butter (I used Smucker's) and then topped it with dark chocolate chips. I keep the chocolate chips in the freezer, so they look like frozen blueberries in the picture (which I think would be a delicious addition or substitution in this recipe!)

It's healthy, delicious, and totally satisfied my craving for sweets. After topping the peanut buttered banana slices with dark chocolate chips I placed them in the freezer, on a sheet of waxed paper. 

Once they are frozen you have a delicious, sweet snack! 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Cardio: 15 Minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Melissa Bende...

Hi Everyone!

Today I repeated my Cardio 15 Minute High Intensity Interval Training workout. I forgot how intense this one is! 

I am super excited that I kept track of my reps, because I was able to see how much I have improved since then! I was able to improve my number of reps on each exercise. If you have done this one in the past keep track and see if you can improve. If this is your first time, write down your reps (quickly!) during the 10 second rest breaks so you have a reference to compare to in the future. 

I didn't re-film the video tonight because Jesse was going through it with me, but I will in the future so you guys can see how I am progressing and becoming more fit. 

Also, check out: where I made a guest video appearance, and offered some alternate ways to do some of my favorite exercises. He has a great site, and it was an honor to be a guest. 

As always the break down will be below, and I will post my old reps, and new reps so you can see the difference. I also ran 2 miles at an easy pace today. 

Check back later, I am going to be interviewing NPC Physique competitor Michael Prest about his recent win. 


All Levels: Max reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest between exercises. The number of reps I did today is in blue. My original reps are in red. I am very excited, because I have seen some significant improvement in my muscle endurance and in my cardiovascular ability. 

1. High Knees  155
2. Jump Kick (right) 25 to 35
3. Jump Kick (left) 25 to 37
4. 3 Way Double Mountain Climber 24
5. High Knees 150
6. Squat Jump 25 to 34
7. Mountain Climber 107
8. Lunge Jump 18 to 28
9. Lunge Kick (right) 12 to 20
10. Lunge Kick (left) 15 to 21
11. High Knees 152
12. Surfer 21 to 32
13. Burpee 6 to 9
14. Low Jacks 40 to 50
15. Pendulum 60 to 82

Guns and Glutes: Body Weight Workout (Real Time)

Knee Drop Plank
Reverse Plank Side Step

Hi Everyone,

I did this workout last night, and it got me very sweaty! The emphasis of this workout is on your booty, and core. This workout will help make your butt high, round, and tight. You will also work your arms. I felt this one in my triceps (the back of your arms, where many people want to tighten up and lose that jiggle.)

I also ran a little over 3 miles yesterday. Jesse and I started coaching our local high school's cross country team, so we will both be running with the teams a lot. 

Today I will be filming a new workout. In addition to the new workout I will also be interviewing Michael Prest about his recent win in an NPC body building competition. I will be finding out about his contest prep, and hopefully getting 1 or 2 of his favorite recipes to share with everyone. 

So check back for that! See you later!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

or do this as an Interval workout: 50 seconds of work (max reps), 10 seconds of rest between each exercise. 

Repeat 1-3X.

1. Squat Cross Kick (right)
2. Squat Cross Kick (left)
3. Dive Bomber
4. Butt Lift Squat
5. Walking Pushup
6. Reverse Plank Side Step
7. Tricep Pushup (right)
8. Tricep Pushup (left)
9. Seated Twist Stretch
10. Knee Drop Plank

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our Trip to Coba: Climbing Nohoch Mul

Jesse and I ready to climb Nohoch Mul. The tallest Mayan temple in the Yucatan Peninsula. 
Hi Everyone,

I already wrote about the first half of our Coba Mayan Adventure tour with Alltournative Tours: Coba Maya Encounter Adventure. You can read my review here: Our Mayan Adventure and see pictures of our amazing experience rappelling, riding ziplines, hiking through the jungle, kayaking, interacting with the Mayan people, and swimming in the beautiful underground cenotes. 

The second part of our tour included a trip to Coba, where we were able to explore many ruins, and climb Nohoch Mul. Nohoch Mul is the highest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula. There are 124 steps to get to the top, and the ascent is very steep. There is a thick rope going up the middle of the pyramid to assist climbers in getting to the top. 

Our tour with Alltournative included a 45 minute tour at Coba, after which you had time to explore the ruins. I was anxious to explore the ruins and climb Nohoch Mul so we skipped the tour and began exploring. You have three options for getting around Coba, which is covers a large area. You can walk around and explore the ruins, rent a bicycle for 35 pesos (about $3 in American money) or take a "Mexican Limousine," which is a bicycle with a cart in front of it where you will be carried around the site. 

Jesse and I opted for the bike ride, because we thought it would be fun to ride through the jungle. The paths are made of white limestone, and it was a beautiful ride.  The limestone limits the growth of the trees, so the height of the jungle has remained the same for many years. 

Jesse biking at Coba.

Jesse and I were able to walk straight to the top of Nohoch Mul without taking any rest breaks, and there were people of all ages climbing the pyramid. At the top there was even a group of people meditating at the Temple of the Descending God. 

Jesse captured the Mayan Spirit and channeled Sin Cara. :)

Jesse at the top. You can see how steep the climb is. 
At the top of the pyramid you get to see a view quite similar to what the ancient Mayan priests would have seen. Our tour guide called the view the Green Sea, because as you look out the gorgeous green of the jungle below stretches out in all directions. 

At the top of Nohoch Mul. 

The view was beautiful. 
 At the top of the pyramid is the Temple of the Descending God. There were several people sitting around the temple meditating. 
Jesse in the doorway of the Temple of the Descending God at the top of Nohoch Mul. 
The "Green Sea" stretched out in all directions as you gaze outward from the top of Nohoch Mul. Due to the limestone limiting the height of the trees the view is likely very similar to what the ancient Mayan priests saw over 1500 years ago. 

At the top of Nohoch Mul you can see why the view is called the Green Sea. 

Jesse contemplating the view. 
Descending was more difficult than going up. We spent a long time at the top enjoying the experience and the view, and the site became more crowded. Many people took rest breaks on the way up and down, sitting on the steps. Some people came with their families, and it was wonderful to see three generations experiencing this climb together. 

As we descended the pyramid of Nohoch Mul Jesse felt adventurous. 

I wanted to do yoga at the top of Nohoch Mul, but it became crowded. I went into Dancer's Pose as we descended. 

You can see how steep and high the steps were. It was a lovely climb to the top. 

Tarantula at Nohoch Mul
Keep an eye out for the natural wonders around you. We spotted several lizards, and this tarantula. The spider was about the size of my entire hand. 

Jesse taking in Nohoch Mul from the base. 
After climbing down Jesse and I took some time to process the experience, and marvel at the opportunity we had to visit a structure that has stood for so long. The sites at Coba are still being excavated and the majority of the structures remain untouched. Modern archaeologists are still discovering much about the Mayan culture that existed at Coba. 

If you have a chance to visit and climb Nohoch Mul, I encourage you to seize the moment. It was a beautiful trip, and a wonderful experience. Jesse and I loved remaining active on our trip and learning some of the history of the Mayan people. 

Visiting the Mayan ruins was on my Bucket List. I still have more to visit, and I would like to visit Coba again and spend some more time there. 

Exploring some of the other ruins at Coba.