Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fit 2 Sweat Workout and NPC Bikini Contest Results Update

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is posted below. It's a fun one that should definitely get you sweating! I was planning on repeating it this evening, but Jesse and I went for a run instead. The temperature is back up into the 50s and we wanted to take advantage of it. 

Yesterday was my first NPC bikini competition! If you have been following along with my blog you know that I have been training for this competition and sharing my journey and workouts here. I will be posting more about the competition over the next few days, possibly even some video of the actual competition. :) 

It was a great experience. I have had several people ask me along the way if it was possible to prepare for a bikini competition without working out in a gym. 

I have to say the answer is yes! I came home with two trophies yesterday! I won 2nd place in Bikini Open Class B, and 3rd place in True Novice Bikini Class A. 

I will be writing more about the experience tomorrow. :) I hope you have a great night! 

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

1. Side Squat Jump
2. Mountain Climbers
3. Knee Drop Plank
4. Hip Lift
5. Deep Squat (with or without weight)
6. Russian Kicks
7. Knee to Elbow Plank Cross
8. Temple Tap V-Up
9. Lunge Jump Kick
10. Burpee

11. Chair Twist
12. Hanging Leg Raise

Repeat 1-3X

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fit at Home Workout

Hi Everyone,

Tonight's workout is for the entire body. It will help tone, and burn fat at the same time. I repeated this workout twice, and ran 1 mile in between the rounds to add a little bit of extra cardio. 

Jump roping is always another good cardiovascular option to get your heart pumping. If you don't have a jump rope you can substitute high knees. 

This week is going to be a bit hectic. My first NPC competition is on Saturday, and that means scheduling lots of appointments after work (nails, spray tan, etc). 

I will keep you guys posted on how everything is going. :)

I hope you enjoy the workout!

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

1. Jump Rope (60 seconds)
2. Weighted Squat Twist 
3. Mountain Climber
4. Back Extension
5. Jump Squat
6. Heel Tap Leg Lift
7. Frogger Pushup
8. Super Starfish
9. 1 Leg Hip Thrust (right)
10. 1 Leg Hip Thrust (left)
11. High Knees

Repeat 1-3X

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quick Booty Workout

Hi Everyone! 

This was my workout last night. It's a Quick Booty Workout. It doesn't take long to go through one round, and you can repeat it if you have time. This workout targets your glutes from all angles. 

I used a twenty pound dumbbell during this workout, but it can also be done with body weight only. I like adding the weight to give my tush an extra lift. 

Jesse and I also did a 6.5 trail run with two of our friends yesterday morning. It was a lot of fun to get outside and get a little bit muddy. We went at an easy pace and enjoyed running up and down hills among the trees. Sometimes bringing your workout outdoors can be rejuvenating. We got another snowstorm here, but I am looking forward to warmer weather and filming some more workouts down by the river. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout! My first NPC bikini competition is 5 days away! 

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

1. Leg Series (right)
2. Leg Series (left)
3. Goblet Squat
4. Warrior Deadlift (right)
5. Warrior Deadlift (left)
6. Butt Lift

Repeat 1-4X

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tight Tummy at 30 Workout

Hi Everyone!

This is my birthday workout! 30 reps per exercise to celebrate my 30th birthday! I have had an amazing day, and I loved this workout. 

I have been sharing my workouts on my blog for almost a year and a half, and I am feeling happier and healthier than ever. It is a really great way to start a new decade of my life. 

This is a great core workout. If you are working on your six pack abs, this is a good one to help whittle your waist. It hits all of the muscles of your core, with a focus on the transverse abs. 

Enjoy the workout!

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

1. Side Froggers
2. Twisting V-Up
3. Sumo Pushups
4. Lunge Jumps
5. Knee Cross to Elbow (right)
6. Angel Abs
7. Knee Cross to Elbow (left)
8. Side Plank Twist (right)
9. Side Plank Twist (left)
10. Curtsy Lunge Twist

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shape and Burn Workout

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout last night. It's been a while since I did a workout that combined repetition intervals with treadmill intervals. I really enjoy the challenge of this style of workout. It builds and challenges your strength, muscle endurance and cardiovascular endurance. 

If you don't have a treadmill you can substitute jump roping, high knees or a cardio workout for the running. Of course you can always get outside too! Unfortunately despite the fact that spring started it has been in the teens to mid 20s here, and the cold has not been motivating me to run outside. I want sunshine!

Tomorrow is my birthday so I am planning a fun workout to celebrate entering another year feeling stronger and healthier than I ever have before. I have more energy, I'm stronger, I feel happier and more confident. Working out and being able to share my workouts with all of you has been a great blessing. Every time I get a message hearing about your success it inspires me and motivates me.

Thank you guys! Enjoy the workout,

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

1. Side Step Up (right)
2. Side Step Up (left)
3. Side Plank Leg Lift (right)
4. Squat with Dumbbell Raise
5. Side Plank Leg Lift (left)
6. Superman Heel Press Hold
7. Romanian Deadlift

Run 1 Mile at Tempo Pace (or alternate cardio or choice at a challenging pace)

Repeat 1-3X

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Full Body Sweat: Home Workout

Hi Everyone,

Tonight's workout definitely made me work up a sweat! It's one that I will be repeating in the future. This is a good fat burner that will help tone, shape and tighten your entire body. Plus it's fun! 

Today I posted a link to all of the workouts in Month Two of my prep for my very first bikini competition. I also included links to some of my meal prep, as I have had a lot of questions about my diet lately. 

I followed this workout with a 30 minute run on the treadmill. I got in 4 miles at a comfortable talking pace. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout! It was a busy day for me! I also posted two videos that I filmed last night: the Stronger Core and More Workout and a How To Video for some Yoga Arm Balances

Have a good night,

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

Repeat 1-3X

1. High Knees (timed)
2. Man Maker
3. Runner's Lunge Jump
4. Bicycle (timed)
5. Cross Step Pushup (or Plank)
6. Leg Series (right)
7. Leg Series (left)
8. Bird Dog Reach (right)
9. Bird Dog Reach (left)
10. High Knees (timed)

NPC Bikini Competition Prep Month 2: Workouts and Meal Ideas

Hi Everyone,
Month 2 (weeks 5-8) of my bikini prep has come and gone! I took the photo you see above on March 1st, when I still had 4 weeks until competition day. As of yesterday I am now 2 weeks away from stepping on stage for my first NPC competition. 

I have compiled the links to all of the workouts that I did for Month 2 of my 12 week preparation, and I also included links to some of my meals. 

If you are looking for Month 1 (weeks 1-4 of a 12 week prep) you can find that here: My First Bikini Competition Prep: Month 1

Meal Ideas: 

Month 2 Workouts

I have compiled all of my workouts for Month 2 here. If you need ideas for Cardio days check out this post Spice Up Your Cardio Routine:

Day 2: Bikini Ready Tummy Workout and Body Definition Workout (Body Definition Workout was done interval style, 2X through. The breakdown is listed in the information above the Bikini Ready Tummy Workout). 

Day 3: Off

Day 4: Strong and Toned Lower Body: Legs, Thighs, and Butt and 30 minute run on the treadmill. 

Day 5: Off

Day 7: Off

Day 9: No Excuses: 10 Minute Interval Workout and 30 minute easy pace run. 

Day 10: Full Body Toning: Shape and Sculpt and 30 minutes walking intervals on the treadmill. 

Day 11: Off

Day 12: Tight Tush and Tummy Workout and 30 minute run.

Day 14: Off

Day 17: Cardio Burst Fat Blast and 30 Minute Run. 

Day 18: Off

Day 19: Fitness Transformation Workout 7 and Treadmill 5K (3.1 Miles)

Day 20: Bender Boot Camp (Interval style)

Day 22: Off

Day 23: Thigh and Tummy Trimmer and 30 Minutes of Inclined Interval Walking. 

Day 24: Get a Tight Body at Home Workout and 30 Minute Walk on the Treadmill. 

Day 25: Long Run. 60 Minutes. 

Day 26: 30 Minute Run. 

Day 27: I taught a 60 Minute yoga class. Here is a good alternative: 23 Minute Yoga Fitness Flow

Day 28: Off

Stronger Core and More Workout

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout from last night. It's only six moves, but it's not easy. This routine combines dynamic movements, and body sculpting exercises that will help burn fat and shape your muscles. 

This workout can be repeated between 1-5 times. Remember to focus on form for the best results. 

I followed this workout with 30 minutes on the treadmill. I am two weeks away from my first NPC bikini competition, so I am planning on continuing to focus on getting my cardio in along with my workouts. 

If you have been following along with my Bikini Prep workouts I will be posting the breakdown of Month 2 today. 

Month 1 Progress Pics: Goal NPC Bikini Competition: Month 1 Progress Pics

Month 1 Workouts: My First Bikini Competition Prep Workouts

For any of you yogis out there I also posted a "How To" video for Crane/Crow Pose, and Side Crow. You can check that out here: Yoga Arm Balance: Bakasana (Crane/Crow, Side Crow, Extended Side Crow)

I hope that you all enjoy the workout! There will be a new one posted today. :)


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

1. Lunge Jump Kick
2. Stability Ball Pike
3. Squat Jump Kick
4. Plank Walk Out
5. V-Up Twist
6. Prone Heel Press

Yoga Arm Balance: Bakasana (Crane, Crow, Side Crow) How To

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday I realized that it has been a while since I practiced any yoga arm balances. A lot of people want to achieve crow/crane pose, or side crane. I made this video to show you some ways to get into these poses. 

If you are first starting out it is a really good idea to place a pillow or rolled up mat on the floor in front of you. I don't want anyone falling on their head! You can even start building to this pose by starting in headstand position, and balancing on your elbows. As you gain strength in your arms and core, and confidence in your ability to support yourself you can move onto the harder variations. 

Bakasana, the Sanskrit word for Crane/Crow (this pose is called both depending on where you take yoga), is the most important arm balance, because it provides a foundation for all other yogic arm balances. It will help strengthen your wrists, arms, core, and back. As you grow stronger and more balanced you will find that you are able to lift yourself higher, and straighten your arms. 
Once you are comfortable with Crane pose you can start experimenting with variations of the pose. To warm up your body you can start with a yoga flow or Sun Salutations

I hope that you all find this video useful! There is a new workout that will be posted soon, so be sure to check back!


Extended Side Crane Pose

Side Crane/Crow Pose

Friday, March 15, 2013

Walk Like An Paleolithic Ancestor Or Stay Away from Ho Hoe's

Photo and Article by Giles Augustine:
Paleo is quite the buzz word nowadays, but what is the origin of this strange and foreign idea. Derogatory words have been tossed around like gluetards. So many modern weight loss diets are focused on low-sugar, low-fat, ready-made smoothies, microwave dinners, that amount to highly processed chemical sludge. No wonder Jenny Craig Patrons get fatter even though they are consuming less calories.
80% of the food in our grocery store today did not exist 100 years ago. Industry is engineering Salmon with eels to grow to the size of rolled yoga mats. Modern Food Industry sounds more like a 1980s b-rated sci fi movie. Starbucks and other chains are using the red pigment from beetle poop in coffees. Western and Eastern society has genetically selected animals and cross bread thousands of plants for millennia. Nothing is the way as it once was. But we are essentially unevolved from our prehistoric ancestor in regards to diet. Yes; nowadays we are Homo Sapien Sapien, a new species of humans. Some of us have genetically evolved to process another animal’s milk.
We are hunters and gathers. We are not meant to eat food made from petro-chemicals or beetle poop or made in laboratory like a rat lab. Open your eyes to the world around you. We are living in the movie “Wall-E.” People are getting heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. The common thread is the sedentary lifestyle with our industrial processed diets. Our ancestors were trim and healthy with evidence of longevity to the centurion mark. All the while living off a hunter/gatherer diet. The name implies the diet. We fished and hunted wild game, and we gathered wild vegetables and fruits. We were a non-agricultural society. We worked very little and played very hard.
How does this diet translate to the grocery store?
Grocery store meat is not the meat that we hunted in Africa. Even the store bought salmon (which previously to 2012 hadn’t changed for 10,000’s of years) is now genetically engineered, with coming FDA approval. Monsanto and its cohorts fill animals with pharmaceuticals, growth hormones and an array of strange and random chemicals. At all levels of the production, industry is putting chemicals in the food. Chemicals to keep fruit and vegetables ripening after being picked,. Pesticides engineered into the plants and soil.
The USDA organic label has thousands of acceptable pesticides, not to mention the industrial pollution that is already present in the air, water, and soil. If you think you can buy healthy toxic-free food out of the grocery store, you are drinking the kool-aid.
The only true way to have a diet akin to our original ancestral diet, would be to grow or gather your own food and hunt your own game, which is realistically impossible in an urban setting.
Don’t get glum. Our bodies are biologically prepared for the toxic jungle. With proper diet and regular exercise, our bodies can adapt to every day industrial contamination. For instance, a new study mapping the human genome discovered a gene previously thought to be useless, was found to actively fight cancer cells, if certain foods were apart of the diet (apples, broccoli). My advice for you, simply do not eat anything but fruit, vegetables and unprocessed meats. It’s not easy to switch to a Paleolithic diet, industry has put addictive substances in food and drink. There is also inherent addictive properties to certain foods like the opiate qualities of wheat.
Try to live a simpler life. Bicycle to work. Quit cigarettes and drugs and alcohol if you do them. Drink tea and coffee instead. Get comfortable shoes. Learn how to hunt and hunt your own game, help the eco system by eliminating invasive species. Also start a little garden on your roof or rejuvenate an empty lot with guerilla gardening.
I live in Jackson Wyoming, and I have the opportunity to hunt deer, elk, moose, and I have my own green house. But the majority of my food comes from the grocery store. I boycott Monsanto and all the other companies that paid millions of dollars in lobbying against GMO labeling in California. I bought a farm share this summer. I hope to have all my own food grown or hunted by myself by 2017. I eat the same thing every morning, Kale, Eggs, and Bacon. Then I make a dish in the oven with all sorts of vegetables; brochilli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, celery, turnips, etc. With some random meats like beef heart, steak, lamb chop, salmon, really anything as long as it is not processed. I use a lot of spice like peppar, tumeric, garlic, etc. I only stay away from salt. I use any plant based oils and butter regularly. I eat as much fish and seafood as possible, whilst walking a delicate balance of not overloading on mercury. I buy canned vegetables because it is sometimes cheaper than fresh vegetables. I spend less than $200 a month on food for myself.

Bio: Giles Augustine
20 something Ski Bum. Lives in Jackson hole. Spent last 5 years ski mountaineering in Utah, Alaska, New Zealand, Wyoming, Washington, etc. Bicycle from Seattle to San Diego. Hiked over 5000 miles around world. Activist. High Risk Specialist. Filmmaker.

You can find Giles at:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bubble Butt Cardio Burn

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout is a full body routine, that emphasizes rounding and shaping your tush. Even though it's focused on tightening and toning your behind this workout also incorporates ab and arm toning as well. 

I prefer compound movements because they allow you to work a variety of muscles at one time. This creates functional strength, while also providing an aesthetically pleasing physique. 

It's been a while since I incorporated weights into my workouts. As always, you can complete this workout with body weight only. I tried to keep my primary focus on form throughout the workout. If you have followed my workouts for a while you know I always emphasize proper form, but this is particularly true any time you are using weights. 

I followed this workout with a run on the treadmill. I decided to do mile repeats. I ran one mile at a time, followed by a rest break equal to half of my mile time. I ran my first mile in 6 minutes and 35 seconds, and I rested for 3 minutes and 15 seconds before running my second mile. I actually picked up the pace a bit for miles 2 and 3, because I was feeling great and wanted to increase the challenge. 

I ran a total of 3 miles. My running time was 19 minutes and 5 seconds. I woke up this morning knowing that I wanted to do a hard run today, and it felt great to listen to my body. Some days I just want to work hard, and get sweaty. :) Because I was doing a hard run I only went through the workout once today. 

I hope you guys enjoy it! I have more fun recipes for you so be sure to check back!


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

1. High Knees
2. Sidewinder Pistol Squats (right)
3. Sidewinder Pistol Squats (left)
4. Front Weighted Squats
5. Scissor Abs
6. Mountain Climbers
7. 1 Leg Bridge Extension (right)
8. 1 Leg Bridge Extension (left)
9. Romanian Deadlift
10. Supergirls
11. High Knees
12. 1 Leg Weighted Lunge (right)
13. 1 Leg Weighted Lunge (left)
14. Ball Pull
15. Elbow Taps

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eat Like Bender! A Typical Day of Meals

Hi Everyone,

By popular request on my facebook page, I am writing about my diet. I have given you a glimpse into my meal prep with photos in my post: Abs Are Made in the Kitchen. I have shared my grocery list: Melissa Bender's Grocery List, which also has pictures of some typical meals. You can also see meal pictures on my Instagram page. 

Whatever I meal prep on Sundays I tend to eat for lunch during the week. Below is a sample day of eating. It is pretty typical. The veggies may change. (I love vegetables)! Sometimes I crave a bowl full of broccoli or mixed veggies with a touch of marinara sauce.

I average between 1900-2000 calories per day. I eat/snack all day long. I am hungry every few hours, so I bring a lot of food to work with me. I have chicken and salmon salads pre-packed in my fridge right now. I have one for lunch Mon-Friday and some weekends. I always keep a granny smith apple in my lunch (which I may have as a morning snack, with lunch, or afternoon snack. I listen to my bodies hunger signals). I also drink 10-12 glasses of water per day. 

There is no trick or crazy diet technique. I try to eat primarily foods that are unprocessed. I cook/prepare almost all of my meals at home. I eat when I am hungry, and try to make healthy choices. I incorporate all of the food groups into my diet. I am super busy so I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I try to keep meal prep simple. 

Here's a glimpse into what I eat. 


-Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin or Ezekial Low Sodium Bread
1 Egg
Fresh Baby Spinach

-Or Oatmeal with Maple Brown Sugar and Fresh Walnuts. (If I have oatmeal, I have my breakfast sandwich as my 10 AM snack). 

-Coffee with Coconut Almond Milk (unsweetened) or Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

-Apple, Orange or Banana
-or Trail Mix, Granola, or Triscuits
-or Breakfast Sandwich


-Chicken or Salmon
-Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
-3-4 Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
-Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt
-Veggies (whatever I have prepped for the week)
-4 oz Sweet Potato (sometimes)


-Banana sliced in half with Organic Peanut Butter
-or PB Greek Yogurt (if I didn't have it for lunch)
-or PB Bread
-or Green Smoothie

-Salmon or Chicken

-Cereal (Raisin Bran or Shredded Wheat) (about 1 cup)
-Coconut Almond Milk
-or Bowl of Veggies, plain or with red sauce. 

Note: These are not the only foods that I eat. This is an example of a typical day of eating. Over the next few days I will try to remember to take pictures of my food to share with you. I will try to share a week's worth of meals. 

Below are two pictures of alternate dinners I have had recently:

Tilapia or Salmon Soft Tacos

Monday, March 11, 2013

Static/Dynamic Body Sculpt: Abs and Arms

Hi Everyone,

Tonight's workout uses a combination of static and dynamic exercises that will focus on toning and sculpting your arms and abs. The combination of isotonic and isometric exercises provides a versatile challenge for your body that will help increase muscle endurance and strength. You may find that you are surprised by which exercises you find the most challenging!

I enjoy switching my workouts, and seeing how my body adjusts to the new demands. Not only does this keep workouts fresh and interesting, but it allows your body to develop a new skill set. Every challenge you present yourself teaches your body something new. 

After this workout Jesse and I went outside for a run. The weather was in the 60s again, but the forecast is calling for it to drop back into the 30s. We took advantage of the weather and got in 3.5 miles at a comfortable pace. 

I hope that you all enjoy the workout! I will see you tomorrow with a new one. :) I am teaching yoga tomorrow evening, so I will try to get it posted before class. If I don't I will post a link to one of my older workouts on my facebook page:

Have a great night!

Beginner: 10 reps, 30 seconds static exercises
Intermediate: 15 reps, 45 seconds
Advanced: 20 reps, 60 seconds

1. Burpees
2. 1 Minute Plank
3. Angel Abs
4. Reverse Plank
5. Tricep Dips
6. Extended Supine Stretch
7. V-Up with Hip Lift
8. Left Side Oblique Plank 
9. Left Hip Drop
10. Right Oblique Plank
11. Right Hip Drop
12. Up Dog
13. Dive Bombers
14. Flat Back
15. Prone Heel Taps
16. Burpees

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Building Up to a Pull-up/Increasing My Pull-Up Reps

Hi Everyone!

There will be a new workout tonight. In the meantime I wanted to share with you my pull-up routine. One of my New Year's resolutions was to increase the number of pull-ups I can do consecutively. 

The video explains my routine, and also shows how you can build up to a pull-up. 

I accidentally deleted my first version of this video, so I immediately had to re-film. My arms were a bit tired for the second time through, but it was a nice challenge. 

You can also use an assisted pull-up machine at the gym, have a friend boost your legs, or place one foot on a chair to give yourself some additional support as you gain the strength necessary to do pull-ups. 

For years I thought it was impossible for me to do a pull-up. From the time I turned 12 until just a few years ago I would hang from the bar writhing, and struggling to pull myself up to no avail. With effort and training you can do it! Being able to lift your own body weight is an important and functional skill. Just think of all the action movies where people find themselves hanging on the edges of cliffs or buildings. Hopefully you won't find yourself in that position, but if you do you want to be able to pull yourself up! ;) 

Have a great day! See you tonight with a new workout!

PS Pull-ups are also great for ab development!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Strength, Fitness, and Stereotypes about Femininity

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday was International Women's Day. As someone who runs a blog about Health and Fitness I am often confronted with body image, stereotypes, and confidence issues. I have also had the pleasure of receiving messages from women about how much stronger and more capable they feel after doing my workouts. 

Inevitably (but is it really inevitable?), I have also had the whole spectrum of comments written about my body. These are some actual comments I have seen: No curves. Not lean enough. Surprised you don't have abs. Ewww, manly arms. I could never be with a woman stronger than me. Looks like a man. Boobs are to big. Boobs are to small and you would get more viewers it they were bigger and you showed them off more. You were much leaner in this video, maybe you should go back to doing whatever you did then. 

I share this with you for two reasons. My first reason is to show that no one person has a "perfect" body that will appeal to everyone. Second, every time I see comments like these I realize that many people don't understand what I am doing with my blog. It's not all about how you look. My muscles are a result of the physical strength and endurance I have developed through my workouts. They are a result of the mental strength and consistency that are required to develop and stick to a workout plan. My confidence does not come from the comments people leave me (be they positive or negative). It comes from knowing that I am mentally, and physically prepared for any challenges life will throw my way. It comes from knowing I am capable. 

People, women in particular, have been trained to think of the mind and body as separate entities. You can have one at the exclusion of the other. Either you must not care about how you look, or you're prideful/boastful if you do care. Smart and Pretty are not mutually exclusive. Your body, your mind, and your spirit are all a part of you. They are all important. You should not fixate on one at the cost of the others. 

My lifelong friend, wrote this and I LOVE it: 

Because I was steered toward the arts and away from the sciences. 
Because the women in my classes are always the quietest. 
Because when I stand beside a male colleague he is addressed first. 
Because when someone sees me for the first time in a while, the first thing they comment on is how I look. [Because part of me appreciates that validation.]
Because when I get asked, "when are you getting married?," and I reply with "I have no intention of doing so," I'm so often met with incredulity or hostility and am asked to explain myself to someone who isn't really listening.
Because if people thought I wanted to marry a woman, they probably wouldn't ask me that question.
Because when I get asked, "when are you having children?," and I say " I do not want children," I typically have to hear "you'll change your mind."
Because my mother still tells me I should find a man to take care of me. [Because part of me likes the idea of being taken care of, from time to time.]
Because if my body is subjected to unwanted attention, I probably invited it with what I was wearing, where I was, the way I moved, or anything I did or didn't say or did or didn't do.
Because my number of sexual partners somehow suggests something about my character.
Because I have been told to my face that I am too fat, too skinny, my boobs are too small, my thighs are too big, my legs would look okay if I didn't have cankles, my nose is too big, my ass is too big, my hands are too big, I'd be prettier if I had clear skin, I shouldn't wear makeup, I should wear heels, I should buy a gel bra, I should go to the gym, I'd be hot if I had green eyes, it's a good thing I don't have more freckles, I should eat less, and countless other things in a tone that suggested that I should care. [Because sometimes, in those moments and after, I did care.]

For these reasons, and so many more, I need feminism. What are your reasons? Celebrate International Women's Day.

So, my question is how do you define being a woman? How has a stereotype affected your workouts or self image? You can respond in the comments section below or on my facebook page:

I love the messages on these shirts:
Strength is Feminine Tank Top from Nutrition Snob
I'm Not Strong for a Girl. I'm Just Strong Sweatshirt


PS My thesis paper in undergrad was on "The Lived Female Gender Experience." I studied the prevalence of traditional gender roles and how they affected the gender image of each individual in my study. I am really interested in hearing your opinions. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ultimate Body Weight Workout: Full Length

Hi Everyone!

This is the full length version of my Ultimate Body Weight Workout. A full length version of this video was requested on my facebook page. It is a great full body, fat burning workout. Intervals are incorporated throughout to maximize the fat burning, while also allowing you to build lean muscle mass. 

The workout was tough on me! It took me about 30 minutes to complete. I definitely have to work on my one leg squats, they used to be a lot easier for me. It's a good motivation to start putting them back into my workouts. 

I was able to go through this workout almost 2 minutes faster than my original time. I also added a twist to the oblique drops this time, so I could have gone through it faster if I stuck to the original variation. I was happy with my time. It shows that my level of fitness has progressed (even though the workout is still tough!) 

At the very end of the video, the camera went into "stand-by" mode, so you miss about two reps of the workout before it kicks back in for the last exercise. Technical difficulties are unavoidable sometimes. 

This is a more advanced workout. It can be modified based on your level of fitness. I wrote down my recommended number of reps below the video. Remember to build yourself up, and listen to your body. You will get stronger if you keep challenging yourself. 

Have a great day! I hope you enjoy the workout!

PS Fit Fashion today is from If you like it, remember to use the code BenderFitness at checkout to receive 15% off. 

 Ultimate Body Weight Workout 
 Beginner: 10 reps, 30 seconds timed exercises 
 Intermediate: 15 reps, 45 seconds 
 Advanced: 20 reps, 60 seconds 
 *Unless otherwise noted 

1.  Burpee (Beginner: 5, Intermediate: 8, Advanced: 10 reps) 
2. 1 Leg Jumping Pushups (Beginner: 5, Intermediate: 8, Advanced: 10 reps) 
3. High Knees (timed) 
4. 1 Leg Squat Right (Beginner: 5, Intermediate: 8, Advanced: 10 reps) 
5. 1 Leg Squat Left (Beginner: 5, Intermediate: 8, Advanced: 10 reps) 
6. Lunge Jump (timed) 
7. Mountain Climber (timed) 
8. Bow Pose Kicks/Prone Hamstring Curls (Beginner: 15, Intermediate: 25, Advanced: 30 reps) 
9. Jump Squats (timed) 
10. Runners Lunge to Balance/Warrior 3 (right) 
11. Runners Lunge to Balance/Warrior 3 (left) 
12. Pendulum Squat 
13. Oblique Drop (right) 
14. Oblique Drop (left) 
15. Plie Jumps (timed) 
16. Side Plank with Leg Lift (right) 
17. Side Plank with Leg Lift (left) 
18. 3 Part Abs 
19. High Knees 
20. Diagonal Lunge Reach 
21. Burpees (Beginner: 5, Intermediate: 8, Advanced: 10 reps)

This is the original tutorial: 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bikini Ready Arms and Abs

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout is all about Arms and Abs. This workout targets the key muscle groups from a variety of angles to maximize the benefits. I am often asked for workouts targeting the arms and abs. It becomes more common as warm weather nears, and people want to wear bikinis and tank tops. It's never to early to get started! 

I am now less than 4 weeks away from my first NPC bikini competition. I will be sharing more about my diet with everyone this week. I have been meaning to take photos of my meals, but work has been keeping me super busy. I will be making time to get some photos to share.  

I will also be sharing my recipe for tilapia soft tacos. I hope you all enjoy your night, and the workout! 

See you tomorrow!

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

1. One Minute Plank
2. Tricep Dip with Leg Lift (right)
3. Pump Handle Abs
4. Tricep Dip with Leg Lift
5. Superman Heel Tap
6. Side Plank Hip Lift Reach (right)
7. Side Plank Hip Lift Reach (left)
8. Bicep Curl (right)
9. Bicep Curl (left)
10. Slow Leg Extension Circles
11. Plank Extensions
12. Full Extension Burpee

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tight Booty, Toned Abs Workout

Hi Everyone!

It has been a productive Sunday for me! I filmed this workout, and then went outside for a run with Jesse. We got in 5.55 miles. It's about 25 degrees outside, so it was pretty cold, but I still managed to work up a good sweat. 

It's also a Sunday food prep day, so I will be taking pictures to show you guys what I am cooking. I will also be sharing a breakdown of a typical day of eating for me. My bikini competition is 4 weeks away (as of yesterday) so I will be updating your on my progress, and posting links to Month 2 of my contest prep workouts. People have been asking me if it is possible to prepare for a bikini competition solely with home workouts. I will keep you all posted, and we will see how it works out for me. :)

I hope you all enjoy today's workout! So far I have gone through it once (right before my run). If I have time after my cooking is done I will repeat it 1 more time. 

Have a great day!

Beginner: 5 reps weighted, 10 reps body weight
Intermediate: 8 reps weighted, 15 reps body weight
Advanced: 10 reps weighted, 20 reps body weight

1. Squat (weighted)
2. Squat Jump
3. Bicycle Abs
4. Weighted Step Up (right)
5. Single Leg Hop (right)
6. Crunch Tap Abs
7. Weighted Step Up (left)
8. Single Leg Hop (left)
9. Knee Drop Plank
10. Curtsy Lunge Twist (weighted)
11. Side Lunge Jump
12. Temple Tap Crunch