Sunday, September 21, 2014

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

Ladies, do you shy away from weights? Only 21% of us incorporate weight training into our workouts. So many times, weight training is focused on males but there are so many benefits to weight training for women. Using weights in your daily workout will NOT make you bulk up but instead can provide you with these 5 benefits.
1. Improve Everyday Performance and Injury Prevention
Greater muscle mass can make it easier to complete your everyday activities. As you might expect, muscles play a role in many of the tasks that we do every day, such as climbing stairs, carrying a child, or completing housework. Building muscle through weight lifting will make it easier to go about your day to day life.  The stronger we are the less chance of an injury. This is especially important as we grow older. 

2. Increased Metabolic Rate
The secret to weight loss is strength training.  When you engage in strength training you'll be increasing your metabolic rate by increasing the calories you burn on a daily basis. The more calories you burn, the more chance you have to drop body fat.  Women who lift weights burn about 100 more calories in the following 24 hours than women who only do cardio. 

3. Increased Lean Muscle Mass
YOU WILL NOT GET BIG AND BULKY BY STRENGTH TRAINING!  As a women, you do not have enough testosterone in your body.  Adding lean muscle mass will increase the amount of calories you burn a day.  According to the CDC, muscle burns a lot more energy than fat, so increasing your muscle mass will also allow your body to burn more calories throughout the day.  For every pound of lean muscle mass, you burn 35-50 calories per day!  Therefore, if you have 10 pounds of lean muscle mass, you will burn between 350-500 calories a day. 

4. Decreased Risk of Coronary Disease
Strength training can reduce your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. With heart disease being one of the highest killers of women in America every year, strength training for women should be a must.    

5.  Feeling and Looking Better
Who doesn't want to feel the best they can?  Enhancing our muscles and reducing body fat are two key ways to prevent our (ahem)....sagging body parts from sagging too much. Strength training has been shown to increase muscle tone and decrease body fat.  Besides the physical benefit of lifting weights, there is a mental one as well.  When we lift weights, there is a feeling of power, accomplishment and strength. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wall Exercises- No Excuses

Have you heard of wall exercises?

I remember gym class where we all lined up in the gym and had to hold the standard wall sit for what seemed like 5 minutes but was probably 30 seconds.  It wasn't until an Instagram video came through my feed of someone doing 3 ab exercises with the use of a wall.  The competitive part of me instantly thought, 'can I do that'?  I could but man it wasn't without some heavy breathing.

Exercising without equipment has always been pretty intriguing for me.  What better way to get in an awesome workout with no equipment just your body?  You literally could do these anywhere there is a wall.  We've all had/heard the excuse of not having enough money for a gym membership or not having a room large enough room for equipment.  That changes now!

Everyone has a wall in their house and the natural weight of their body so there are no excuses to not try these out.
** Yes that is my little one in the background.  She's my daily workout partner :)** 

Wall Lunge (Abs, Butt, Thighs):
Stand on left leg with back to wall about 3 feet away, ball of right foot pressed into wall, hands together at chest. Bend left knee and lower into a lunge (as shown). Return to start for 1 rep. 
Do 20 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Leg Lift (Butt, Hamstrings, Abs):
Lie face up with head away from wall, right knee bent and foot on floor, left knee bent 90 degrees with foot pressing into wall. Extend right leg toward ceiling and lift hips until body forms a straight line from left knee to shoulders (as shown). Pause, then lower hips for 1 rep. Do 15 reps, switch legs and repeat. 

Plank Climb (Shoulders, Back, Thighs, Butt, Abs):
Start in plank, hands under shoulders, feet in line with hips and pressing into wall. Pull right knee toward chest (as shown), then return foot to wall. Repeat immediately on left side. Continue, quickly alternating legs, for 1 minute. 

Wall Push-ups (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps):
Stand facing a wall and ex­tend your arms in front of you. Lean forward slightly and place your palms against the surface. Bend your elbows until your nose nearly touches the wall. Push back out to start.  Do two sets of 15 reps.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Cream

I love coffee but even more, I love my sweetened coffee cream.  Waking  up and having a warm mug between my hands is such a comfortable feeling.  Sometimes I wonder if I crave the warm routine or the coffee itself.  

Over a year ago, I parted ways with my chemical creamer that I loved oh so much.  Since I started this health journey the past year, I've decided that if I can't pronounce all the ingredients then I shouldn't have it.  Needless to say, my Coffeemate cream was one of the first things to go.  Lately, half and half has been a bit boring so I finally decided to make my own French vanilla coffee cream.  

I had it this morning and boy is it yummy.

French Vanilla Coffee Cream
1 TBSP = 55 calories

14oz Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 3/4 Cup Milk or Cream* (I used 1% milk) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*(whole, lowfat, skim, almond, soy, heavy cream, half & half etc.  The more fat, the more creaminess)

1. In a bowl, add all the ingredients.
2. Using an immersion blender, blend for about 30 seconds.
3. Pour mixture into a mason jar or old coffee container, cover and date.

The mixture should be used within a week of making the creamer.
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