Sister Chicks Guide to Fitness & Exercise at Home!

Welcome! You've landed on my personally-touched business page highlighting the wit and wisdom of how exercising at home (or anywhere!) can be positive and fun!

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thankful for 2013! And Hopeful for 2014!

It's the final day of 2013, and as I sit here reflecting on this past year, I am thankful for my clients that I have had the pleasure and honor of having in my home to exercise with me!  Lots of pounds and inches have gone away, and have been replaced with strength.  Strength... not only in muscle strength, but the strength in their confidence and attitudes.

When a new client starts classes with me, she generally tends to be apprehensive in picking up a dumbbell that she thinks might be too heavy for her, or she might say she can't do push-ups or planks.  But what she learns very quickly (through the encouragement from me and from others in the class) is that she CAN do it!  And every time she tries, she gets that much more confident in herself.  It's a beautiful transformation to watch!  My passion for teaching small group women's exercise classes is all about that transformation!  

  • I love watching their cars start lining up in my driveway to start that day's class together!
  • I love greeting them on the front porch or in the front doorway of my home!  
  • I love the small (and sometimes deep) talk that we share before, during, and after class!
  • I love the laughter that fills the room!  
  • I love the friendships and camaraderie that continue to develop!
  • I love the encouragement they give to each other, not only about exercise, but about life in general.
  • I love seeing them work hard during class to challenge their bodies to get stronger!
  • I love hearing that they are making healthier changes in their food and drink choices!
  • I love it when they step on the scales and see the positive results from their efforts!
  • I love them... my Sister Chicks... and I wouldn't be in business without them.  I'm thankful for their friendships and for trusting me to be their fitness instructor.
As I look towards 2014, I am hopeful and seek God's direction in continuing my business by bringing new ladies into our group.  I would love the privilege of being a positive impact and encouragement to more women, and I trust God will bring them my way in the coming days!

2014 also brings a larger menu of services that I can offer.  In addition to the small group classes that are offered, I will now be taking appointments for one-on-one personal consultations where we can sit down together and talk about nutrition and bettering your eating habits, or we can use that personal time for exercise instruction.  These one-on-one hourly consultations are available whether you are a member of the small group classes or not.

*If you have further questions about details of my classes, etc., please do not hesitate to contact me!  Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you in the next couple of days!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The "Miracle" Diet... a Journey about Healthy Eating

As I begin to crack open my brand new textbooks for becoming a "Fitness Nutrition Specialist", I am looking forward to bringing you little bits and pieces of knowledge about how important eating right is.  My "Group Fitness Instructor" certification requires me to add continuing education credits to my resume; and so I have chosen to explore the nutrition area to specialize in.  Knowledge of exercise PLUS knowledge in nutrition sounds like a good match! 

A regular exercise routine several times a week is WONDERFUL!  There are so many benefits to exercising.  But it's only about 1/4 of the story.  The other 3/4 of the story, is what you're eating and drinking.

There are a lot of diet plans and miracle pills out there that claim a lot of promises. Some are helpful.  But most are just downright ridiculous AND dangerous!  As we jokingly hear so very often, "It's on the internet, so it MUST be true"... this statement makes me cringe, especially when it pertains to something as important as proper nutrition.  These are our bodies we're talking about!  Please do not buy into diet plans and miracle pills that sound too good to be true. Major red flag!

A good goal to set about what you eat and drink should not be about "losing weight".  But instead, it should be about fueling your body with balanced, healthy nutrients... and in return for fueling your body properly, one of the awesome "side effects" is the losing the weight part!

We live in such a fast-paced society... the get-it-quick, needed-it-yesterday, microwave vs. oven way of life has seeped into our mentality of how we should lose weight.  But if you really want the weight loss to stick, I want to encourage you to be patient and be smart.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

So, as I begin this journey of study time for the next couple of months, I hope you'll join me as I share little tidbits with you along the way.  Here's to us both learning something new and refreshing about eating smart!

Smiles and blessings,

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Souvenirs for My Mantel

I have a collection of "souvenirs" this morning.  What do I mean by that term?  It means I have several sore muscles from my exercise routines yesterday.  Yes, that was plural... "routines" with an "s" at the end.

My Sister Chicks small group exercise classes that I hold in my home are held in 8- or 9-week sessions with a typical one-week break in between sessions so that I can give my body a break and time for healing and rest. By the way, that's super important... to give your body a rest once in a while.

Well, yesterday was the first day of the first week back for our new 8-week session.  I do 3 morning classes a week, and 3 afternoon classes a week (with Saturdays and Sundays off).  On Mondays, I do both a morning AND an afternoon class (with only one class per day for the rest of the week).

So you might imagine that after taking a week off from all exercise, and then coming back and doing two classes on the first day... well, I was fine DURING the classes... but today... WOW!  What a collection of souvenirs I could put on my mantel right now!

So, what is muscle soreness?  Why do we get sore from a workout?  There are a lot of "experts" out there on your search bar that could tell you all about it, using big words... and 3 pages later... you're still confused by it all.  Some of the information is correct... and some is a little off.  But the most simple way to explain it is that when you work a muscle that you haven't used in a while (even as little as just a handful of days... trust me on that! ha!), or you use that muscle at a different angle than you have for a while, the muscle (under the strain of the work put on it) will develop small microtears in the fibers of the muscle.  These small tears are perfectly normal!  And the body is a wonderful God-made machine that heals quickly within a day or two.  

Some people take supplements or pain relief meds.  Some use massage therapy or compresses to relieve the soreness. And some just tough it out and enjoy their "souvenirs" as little reminders of time well spent in the gym or in an exercise class.  How you handle the pain of the soreness is up to you!  But, the next time you're sore... put a smile on your face (as long as those smile muscles aren't sore, too), pat yourself on the back (if your sore chest and arms muscles will let you reach back there), and tell yourself "good job"!

And if you want to read a little more on this subject, here's a relatable post called Fact or Fiction? "No Pain. No Gain."

Smiles and blessings - Tonya

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Enjoy the Journey - No Matter What Your Pace!

So, there's this small lake just a couple of miles south of where we live, and we (our family) recently discovered that it has a 2-mile, asphalt-paved path that winds through some beautiful scenery... lots of trees that provide constant shade, deer who are not afraid of humans, birds, butterflies, flowers, and a bridge that crosses over the lake.  It is all just absolutely beautiful.

A couple of nights ago, my husband, two of our kids, and I decided to go over there and walk the loop.  And, when I say walk, I mean stroll... or even perhaps, amble... our way around it.  Why so slowly?  Because we weren't in any hurry, and the scenery just stops me in my tracks where I just have to pause and enjoy God's amazing artwork.

From the Bridge:  A tree-lined horizon and beautiful clouds reflecting off the lake.

The pathway is wide enough that on many occasions, the four of us would happily move over to the right to let faster walkers and several runners go past us.  It kind of made me feel lazy, comparing myself to those passing us, for not having a faster pace.  But our goal for the evening was to "enjoy the journey"; not to finish the race in first place.

The ironic thing was that 2-mile loop, no matter how fast you walk or run it, burns the same amount of calories... approximately 200 calories for your average-sized person.  It's just that most people burned off their 200 calories a whole lot faster than we did because they were going at a faster pace and finished the 2 miles before we did.

What's my point of this article?  A couple of things:

1) When you're exercising, enjoy the journey at your own pace.  If you have plenty of time, feel free to take your time.  It'll take you longer to reach the goal, but you can still have fun doing it.  Finding something you enjoy makes it seem less like exercise, and more of just pleasure.  What a great way to burn calories, and not even realize it!  Enjoy the journey.

2) On the flip side, if you are short on time, you're going to have to pick up your pace, work at a higher intensity (get that heart rate and breathing rate up), and challenge yourself more to get those calories spent in a shorter amount of time.  And, that's ok, too!  Your journey will be shortened, but you will reach your goal that much faster!  There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing you worked hard in such a short period of time!

Both of these scenarios are still getting the job done.  You're being active at whatever pace you choose and you're making great use of the time that you have!  It's a win-win... as long as you get yourself up and be active in one way or another.  :o)

Smiles and blessings - Tonya

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just a Spoonful of Sugar

Mary Poppins said (or sung it) best:  "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down; the medicine go down; the medicine go down. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, in a most delightful way."
Washing down the medicine or not, I admit it... I have a sweet tooth.  Actually, I have a FULL SET of sweet teeth!  So, what's a girl to do?  I wish I had a good answer to that.  However, I CAN help educate you and hopefully convince both of us of how sugar is of the devil, and we should avoid it as much as possible.  :o(

So, What is Sugar?  Sugar is one of three kinds of carbohydrates... the other two are starches and fiber. In food, sugar is classified as either natural or added. Examples of naturally occurring sugars would be such things like the lactose in milk, fructose in fruit, honey, vegetables, and maltose in beer. Added sugars come from corn, beets, grapes, and sugar cane, which are processed before being added to foods.  However, our bodies cannot tell the difference between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars because they are identical in their chemical makeup. Food that has naturally occurring sugars DO provide vitamins and minerals, BUT still accounts for high calorie count.  Food containing added sugars provide mainly calories and very few vitamins and minerals... and therefore are referred to as "empty calories."  On the Nutrition Facts panel of a food label, "sugars" include both added AND naturally occurring sugars.  But, on the ingredient list, only added sugars are listed. Added sugars would be ingredients like corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrins, granulated sugar, invert sugar, and concentrated fruit juice sweetener.

How Much Sugar Does a Person Need on a Daily Basis?  Zip. Zero. Zilch.  Although our bodies DO need about 130 grams of carbohydrates per day for energy and other necessary functions of the body to be healthy, we don't need to get ANY of those carbohydrates from sugar.  We can rely on starches and fiber to meet that daily requirement.  Important Side Note:  For anyone reading this who is on (or is considering) a "low-carb diet", please make sure that your definition of "low" isn't too low.  You seriously NEED some good carbs in your diet every day (as I stated above: 130 grams daily is a good number; and more if you are active/exercise).  Without that essential amount of daily carbs, you will begin to feel sluggish, grouchy, and lethargic.  Yes, you'll probably lose weight on a low-carb diet... but who wants to be around an irritable, skinny person?!  :o)

Food and Drinks that are High in SugarSo, what should you avoid if you want to flee from the Evil Sugar Devil?  Soda is the #1 culprit; followed by sweetened fruit drinks.  Also at the top of the list are sweets such as candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, cereal, breakfast bars, donuts, muffins... (takes a deep breath)... pastries, honey, flavored milk, flavored coffee (yep, that includes your endearing, sweet Starbucks drink), yogurt, pancakes and syrup, frosting... I could go on, but it's just too depressing.

NOW, is artificial sweetener a good substitute for sugar?  As far as calorie count -- yes.  But as far as being "better" for you... hmm, that's very debatable.  Both have their long list of cons.

So, next time you go to the grocery store, and you're ready to cut back on those Ever-So-Yummy Sugary Items from your diet, just start flipping over those packages and reading some labels.  Look closely at the "sugars" line, and keep that number as close to zero grams as possible!  Will you have withdrawals while you are learning to lessen the amount of sugar you're ingesting?  Probably.  But, this too shall pass... and most likely sooner than you think!  Give it a try!  And maybe I will, too!  Maybe. ;o)

I leave you with this:

Smiles and blessings -- Tonya 

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Every "Sweater" Should Know About Weight Loss

No, not THAT kind.

But, THIS kind...

MYTH:  "I'm sweating... therefore, I must be losing weight.  The more I sweat, the more fat is melting off this body of mine!"

TRUTH:  Sweating is NOT a good indicator of weight loss.  Maybe a LITTLE water weight is lost during exercise, BUT not much of any measurable amount... especially if you take into consideration that you're putting fluids right back into your body when you drink water during and after your workout.  But as far as FAT loss?  Chances are, if you're working hard, you ARE losing fat... but it's NOT because of the sweat dripping off the tip of your nose! (A little further below, you'll read how you know you ARE losing fat.)

EXPLANATION of SWEAT:  Sweating is the body's thermostat that regulates temperature control... it cools the body off.  "Goose bumps" and shivering are at the other end of the thermostat spectrum... it's trying to warm the body up.

Some people just sweat more than others.  Most professional athletes sweat more than the average person because their bodies are more efficient at using sweat to cool down. However, people who are overweight tend to sweat more than those who are not. The temperature gauge in someone who is overweight has to work harder to keep the body cool, which results in more sweat production.

And, then you have some people who break out in a nervous sweat, and some who sweat when they look cross-eyed at an ice cube.  I'm pretty sure they're not droppin' many fat pounds by doing that!  :o)

SO, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU'RE LOSING FAT WEIGHT??? The best way to know that you are burning up the calories, and therefore melting off the fat, is by getting your heart rate up and your breathing rate up. If you are able to carry on a casual conversation with your workout buddy without huffing and puffing, you are not getting much done... except for catching up on current events or on the latest bit of gossip.  Instead, getting in as much "cardio" (exercise that raises the heart rate and breathing rate so that it's very difficult to carry on a conversation) for as long as you can stand it is a great way to shed those extra pounds...

... as long as you're not scarfing down a quarter pound cheeseburger and a milkshake to reward yourself for a job well done!

So whether or not you're a heavy sweater, a glistener, or a glower... go hop on that treadmill or elliptical, or join a spin or cardio class, or grit your teeth in a breath-taking resistance training course... you can do this!  "NO SWEAT!"

Smiles and blessings - Tonya  :o)

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Exercise... the Other Half of the Story

Eating healthy or "dieting"... whatever you want to call it... is a great way to lose weight, and I STRONGLY PROMOTE good, healthy eating habits!  BUT exercise is the other half of the story... and here are 4 reasons why it is so VERY BENEFICIAL to us women:

1. Women tend to store up fat and flab a lot easier than men... I know, it's not fair.  However, exercise (especially resistance training) is what helps you SCULPT AND FIRM your body (which dieting alone cannot do).  AS YOU BUILD STRONGER MUSCLES (and I'm not talking about big, bulky, boy muscles) YOU WILL INCREASE THE FAT-BURNING PROCESS.  And adding cardio/aerobic exercise increases that process even more!

2. As women get older, we need strong muscle tone and strong bones for good health (to help decrease the possibility of bone breakage, poor posture, lack of energy, and overall loss of strength).  Exercise and resistance training is a great way to help prevent those issues.  Starting now, at your current age... you will thank yourself later in life!  It's not too late!

3.  Over time, our balance and flexibility decreases.  As people age, you hear of some falling and hurting themselves (sometimes severely).  This is often due to balance and flexibility issues.  Exercise and resistance training can greatly help in this area, too!

4.  Women are dying of heart disease and respiratory issues at a very high rate.  Exercise can help prevent you from falling into this serious statistic.  When you begin exercising, I agree, it is hard to keep up (your heart feels like it's beating out of your chest and you can't catch a breath).  HOWEVER, this is very short-lived as your heart and lungs grow stronger with each and every session of exercise.


With all of this said... I want you to know how much I care about you and your health.  My passion is to strike an excitement and motivation in ALL women to begin exercising... AND ACTUALLY ENJOYING IT... and reaping the benefits of good health (both now and as we get older).

The time is now... even if you have to literally drag yourself to my house for classes (or to the gym, or popping in a DVD at home)... it WILL get easier!

I beg you to join me in this quest for getting in some exercise - several times a week... if not for yourself... how about for those that you care for?  In a very short amount time though, you'll realize that it IS for you as well!

Smiles and blessings - Tonya  :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" AND the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)  

Monday, July 22, 2013

You Can Do it!

As a fitness instructor, something that really thrills my heart is to see my Sister Chicks (my clients/my friends) do something that they don't think they can do!  I hear them say, "I can't - it's too heavy.  I can't - it burns."  But then, almost in the same breath, I see their facial expressions (face scrunched - gritting teeth - neck tendons popping out!) say, "But I'm going to try it anyway."  And they do it!  I love these kinds of successes!  It's my favorite part of my job!

One of my Sister Chicks doesn't particularly like it when I announce during a set, "8 more!" because it sounds like too many reps are left in whatever exercise we happen to be doing.  But if I quietly count down in my head, "8, 7, 6, 5..." and then say out loud, "4 more!" she knows she can accomplish it.  She knows that she can do 4 more of anything... and this works for her.

What works for YOU?  Maybe it's, "Only 10 more minutes left until cool down time." (That's definitely our favorite part!) Or, "This is good for me.  This is good for me. This is good for me." Or maybe it's, "What doesn't kill me will make me stronger!"  Most of us have our own thought processes of how we push ourselves to complete a workout and how to succeed at something.  And if you don't have a thought process to keep you going, maybe you're lucky enough to just have a really obnoxious and/or encouraging instructor who believes in you!!.jpg

So, when you think you can't do any more reps, or you don't think you can hold that plank any longer... just remember YOU CAN DO IT!

Smiles and blessings - Tonya :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" AND the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o) 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Love Relationship with My Business Partners (aka My "Really Good Shoes")

After my business was well established, I made an important and worthwhile investment... I hired four "Business Partners".  Yes, my business is small in appearance... so why would I need business partners?

OK, fine, I'll admit that my so-called business partners that I hired were actually the purchase of two pairs of Really Good Shoes.  I had never had Really Good Shoes, and my body was suffering from it.  Prior to the Really Good Shoes purchase, I wore just Ordinary Cheap Shoes that just did not have the support and cushioning that my feet, legs, and back deserved.  Wearing Ordinary Cheap Shoes can INJURE you!  And that, they did.  I found myself with a lot of lower leg pain and extra muscle fatigue that I blame on the Ordinary Cheap Shoes.

Once I hired my Business Partners, things started looking up!

Strapped on for their first day on the job!

Sometimes it's hard to justify paying for Really Good Shoes, but it also can be expensive to pay when you get injured (time off from exercising and/or doctor's bills).

When you are looking for Really Good Shoes for yourself, consider your needs and what you'll be using them for.  Consider how much impact will be involved and what kind of flooring or ground will be under your feet when exercising.  Do you have high arches that need support or low arches that need extra attention?  Do you have weak knees or bad hips or a hurt back?

Buying shoes online is convenient, but you run the risk of not getting what you really need.  I suggest going to shoe stores that carry Really Good Shoes, and try on as many different brands and styles as you have the patience for.  Take your time.  Do your research.  It's an investment that you'll really appreciate!  Once you find your Really Good Shoes, it's up to you whether you purchase them in the store or find the exact same ones online for a better deal.

Oh, by the way, two of my Business Partners went on a little adventure with me and my family yesterday... they went on a nature walk in the woods!  I think they were a little excited to leave the comforts of their "office" and going somewhere new, but I'm not sure how they felt about the mud, the funny smells, and the deer pellets.  They're gonna need a bath today!  :o)

My hubby and our youngest daughter leading the way through our nature walk while my Business Partners and I brought up the rear!

Smiles and blessings -- Tonya

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" AND the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o) 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Listen to Your Body - It Knows What It's Talking About!

This morning's class was difficult.  Yes, we were smiling and laughing, and enjoying each other's company like we always do; but the actual physical exercise was difficult today.  It wasn't just me.  Several of us were sluggish and fatigued.  The exercises were the same that they've been all week, but today some of us were just "off".

Do YOU ever have an off day where you just don't have the "mojo" to keep your energy level up?  I think we ALL have those days.  It can happen for a number of reasons:
  • Poor quality sleep last night
  • Didn't eat - or didn't eat WELL
  • Dehydrated
  • Over-exercised (body fatigue)
  • Fighting off a virus bug
  • Bad mood
These are just a few reasons for not being 100% during your exercise time.

When you're feeling this way, it is important to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!  Your body knows what it's talking about.  If you are committed to a class, it's ok to still show up (as long as you're not actually sick); but just go easy on yourself that day.  Get in some activity, but don't feel like you just have to kill yourself over it.  Be nice to yourself.  :o)

Now, on the other hand, if it's your BRAIN telling you not to go to class because you're just feeling lazy, or you have laundry to do instead, or you just don't feel like it... your brain might possibly be telling you a little fib. I encourage you to ignore the negative thoughts, get yourself up, lace up your shoes, and go do something good for yourself!  Because, most likely, once you're there you'll be glad you did it!

Smiles and blessings, Tonya

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" AND the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o) 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Porch Ponderings #2 - Birds of a Feather

I just came in from taking care of my flower garden and making sure the bird feeders were topped off.  As I worked and piddled around in nature's goodness, I started thinking about how each kind of bird has certain "taste buds" for what is palatable to them.

Some, like the Robins, peck at the ground for worms.  While others (the Cardinals, Finches, Tufted Titmouse, Chickadees, Mourning Doves, etc.) enjoy gathering around the feeder for seeds.

After some experience and research, I have learned that depending on the type of seed that I provide, I can draw in certain types of birds (which, in turn, keeps some away). I have also learned that there is a difference between getting "cheap" (yep, pun intended) filler seed vs. investing in the nicer wholesome seed that carries more nutrients.  

  • Some birds will eat anything that is out there for them.
  • Others are more picky about what they eat.
  • And, some absolutely refuse to eat the good stuff.

Hmm, it's almost sounding like I'm going somewhere with this.  :o)

We humans are very similar to how we choose to eat, aren't we?  Where are YOU in this above list? 

May I encourage you to begin to be more selective in what you choose to eat?  Perhaps flocking towards the nutritious foods rather than the cheap filler foods?  It's worth the investment!

Smiles and blessings - Tonya :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" AND the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Guinea Pig Monday

Every other Monday, in my small group classes that I teach in my home, is called "Guinea Pig Monday"... or just "GPM" for short.  Why?  I'll get to that in a couple of minutes.  :o)

I teach 8-week sessions at a time, and every 2 weeks (on a Sunday), I sit down and create a new routine for us to do for class.  This involves usually 9 or 10 songs (we use praise and worship music) ranging from upbeat music that we do cardio and other quick-moving exercises; to moderate tempo songs that include exercises with dumbbells, lower body exercises, etc.; and then on to slower music for our cool down... which, OF COURSE, is our favorite part of class!!!

Anyway, back to "Guinea Pig Monday".  What I DON'T do on Sundays when creating a new routine is actually stand up and go through the movements to practice the choreography.  I like to wait until Monday morning and be just as surprised as my Sister Chicks whether it works out or not! haha!  There's usually at least one song that we discover that needs a little fine tuning with the timing or movements to make it run more smoothly.  And for those awkward moments when that happens, it's like we are test rats in a laboratory... hence, "Guinea Pig Monday."  And, by Tuesday's class, all is well!

In case you're wondering why I change up the routine every 2 weeks, it is very important to keep your body guessing about what is coming next.  If it gets used to the same routine over and over again with no change, it will adapt and eventually you will no longer see any progress.  And if you're anything like me, it'll get VERY boring and monotonous!  So it's important to change up your routine often to continue to see progress.

For example, if you are used to walking 2 miles on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour, and you've been doing this same thing for quite some time, you'll probably be able to think back to when you first got started and remember how challenging it might have been for you.   But now, after a week or more of doing your 2 miles at 3 mph, it's gotten pretty easy, hasn't it?  So, it's time to kick it up a notch... either by increasing your distance or increasing your speed... and before you know it, you'll be running a marathon!  Hey, it can happen... my hubby is the perfect example of that!  :o)   -- And so it is with any exercise program... whether you increase the weight of your dumbbells, increase how many squats you're doing, or by exercising for a longer period of time, you'll need to keep challenging yourself more and more as you get more fit.

If it's getting easy, it's time to promote yourself to higher challenges!  And as you change up your routine to the next level, you might run into a glitch or two -- maybe you chose too much weight on the dumbbells, or maybe running on the treadmill at 37 mph wasn't such a good idea  :o) ... that's ok.  Just smile and chalk it up as a "Guinea Pig Monday" kind of day.

Smiles and blessings, Tonya  :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" and/or the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

To Weigh or Not to Weigh... That is the Question!

So, you're trying to lose weight?  That's a wonderful goal, and I fully support it if you have weight to lose!

How often are you jumping on the scales?  I don't believe there is a right or wrong answer to this.  Some of us like to weigh ourselves every day to keep ourselves in check.  Others like to weigh once a week for a progress check to see if the scales budged during the week.  Some people don't weigh themselves at all, and might not even own their own scales.  Again, in my opinion, there is no wrong or right answer.  To each his or her own, right?

However, can I encourage you that sometimes it's not always about how much weight you're losing each day or each week?  YES, it is dangerous to be extremely overweight and/or obese... and, YES, it is good to set reasonable weight loss goals... please don't get me wrong on that.  But, if you are doing your best... you are eating right and you are exercising, why not just be happy that you are, indeed, DOING YOUR BEST AND FEELING GOOD EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY FOR YOUR EFFORTS!?

We are so hard on ourselves, aren't we?  It's ok if the scales don't tip in our favor every time we look at them.  Will you join me as we seek to just DO OUR BEST?  To know that we are daily doing something healthy for ourselves by keeping our calorie intake in check, and by being physically active, we will be providing a HEALTHIER ATTITUDE and POSITIVE OUTLOOK as we continue to strive to reach our goals!

Smiles and blessings - Tonya  :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" and/or the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fact or Fiction? "No Pain. No Gain."

"NO PAIN.  NO GAIN."  We've all heard the saying, haven't we?  But is it accurate when it comes to exercise?

Well, yes and no.  Many people assume that in order for them to see results (better muscle tone, less body fat, healthier cardio/respiratory, etc.), then exercise must be PAINFUL.  However, exercising to the point of actual pain can do more harm than it can do good.  An exercise routine or program might be UNCOMFORTABLE at times (mostly caused by temporary lactic acid build-up).  But it shouldn't be painful -- pain could be a hint of an injury developing.  And no one wants an injury, right?

There are a lot of programs/DVDs on the market that are crazy insane, and you feel like you've been run over by a truck because of how intense the workout is.  How long will you continue to stay with a program like that if that's how you feel during and after your workout? I don't know about you, but I'm not a glutton for that kind of punishment!  :o)

I encourage you to look for an exercise routine that is sensible... one that puts a reasonable demand on your heart and lungs (getting the heart rate up and your breathing rate up); and one that puts a reasonable demand on your muscle and skeletal systems.

What we're looking for is a lifestyle change... something that has longevity... something more permanent.  So why not find a program that gives you a workout that definitely challenges you and makes you want to come back for more; BUT, one that doesn't go to extremes where you could easily take it too far and end up with an injury??? Now, THAT would be a PAIN!  

So, am I promising you that you won't have sore muscles after you start a new routine?  Definitely not.  But, I wouldn't call that a PAIN.  Instead, I like to call muscle soreness a "SOUVENIR" of the goodness you did for your body! 

Exercise is a blessing to our bodies, and it most definitely doesn't need to be a punishment.  Find something that you like to do, and go for it!  And when you feel those "souvenirs" the next day, smile and know you did something good for yourself!

Smiles and blessings - Tonya  :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" and/or the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4:51 a.m.??? Really???

I wake abruptly to the sounds of loud, laughing, early bird DJs screaming into the still darkness of my bedroom. I roll over, bleary-eyed, to stop the insane noise. I smack the button on my old school digital alarm clock radio that I've had since at least 1987 (Yep, it's still running, but it's stuck on one station... the hard rock metal head music station... which, by the way, is not ok to wake up to at 4:51 a.m.).

Yes, 4:51 a.m.  You heard correctly.  Thankfully, I still have 9 minutes of blissful snooze time.  After about 2 minutes of the snooze time goes by, I finally realize why I'm getting up so stinking early... my Sister Chicks are on their way for our Early Bird 6:15 a.m. exercise class!

Yes, 6:15 a.m.  Again, you heard correctly.  There are crazy ladies out there that have convinced me that 6:15 is an appropriate time to get our exercise on during the summer months.  Aren't summer months for sleeping in?  Nope, not when you're the owner and group fitness instructor for Sister Chicks Fitness Headquarters!

The full 9 snooze minutes go by... it's now 5:00 a.m.  Time to make the donuts.  Oh wait, donuts... exercise... a cryin' shame those two things don't go better together.  Fine, I'll just make coffee instead.  :o)

The coffee is started.  I have Swiffered the floor.  I have my one-and-only pair of my favorite capri exercise bottoms on, my "The Lord is My Strength - Psalm 28:7" custom-made tank top in place (that I somehow managed to not put on backwards in the still darkness of my bedroom), and my "business partners" are tied to my feet where I'd much rather just have on a pair of my fuzzy slippers.  But the show must go on.  More about my "business partners" can be found on the right margin of the main/home page of this blog site.

Before you envision this huge, elaborate, state-of-the-art gym attached to my house where I hold classes, let me stop you right there.  The truth is, I dream of that room... but for now, I do with what the Good Lord has given our family:  A 1977 ranch home with a large enough family room that I am able to slide the furniture to the perimeters of the room, making room for me and up to six Sister Chicks at a time to get in a good exercise.  Only once in a while does someone get in a good kick that knocks over the TV or pops someone else in the teeth.  Kidding.  Hasn't happened.  Yet.  But that's why I have good insurance.  :o)  In the corner of the room we have an area that holds all of our exercise mats and a weight rack that holds lots of sets of dumbbells.  So, we make due in our humble abode that I call home. 

And, I wouldn't have it any other way.  God has given me the gift of hospitality, and I absolutely LOVE having 18 - 20 clients total (not all at the same time) bless my front door and home as they step in and have such a great attitude about getting healthier and more fit through exercise.

It's unique to have classes in a home.  It's not intimidating like a gym setting can be for so many people, especially women.  Classes are small - which makes for some wonderful friendships to form.  Everyone gets to go at their own pace depending on their level of fitness - which provides a safe place to exercise at our best capabilities, but without the judgement of others who might be in better shape.  Conversation is rich -- we can go from talking about our greatest personal concerns to cracking a joke about how there are way too many things on our bodies that bounce when we jump!

My Sister Chicks.  I love them.  They inspire me.  They encourage me.  They make me laugh.  They remind me that God has given me this purpose in life.  God is good, and I thank Him for my Sister Chicks.

Smiles and blessings - Tonya  :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" and/or the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Do-Over Monday

Monday.  The day to jump back on the bandwagon of exercise, dieting... whatever your turning-over-a-new-leaf goal might be.  After a bad weekend of eating, or after a week on vacation... Monday seems like a good day to just start fresh, doesn't it?  A do-over button might be just what you need.

Most of us have good intentions to stay on the right track to getting healthier and more fit through eating right and exercising.  But, if you're "normal" (like I am... however, depending on who you talk to, some might not say I'm normal... but that's a whole other topic), our good intentions can very quickly turn into failures.

Failures of missing a workout.  Failures of eating one too many cookies or chips.  Failures. Failures. Failures.  Sometimes we think to ourselves, "Why even bother?  I'm never going to have the will power to overcome these weaknesses and failures."

Can I encourage you to stop focusing on the so-called failures, and start looking at the positives of meeting little baby-step goals instead?

So, you ate that candy bar.  It's over and done with.  Stop beating yourself up over it. Forgive yourself.  Get up... brush yourself off, and go do something positive to overcome what you might have seen as a failure.

Here's a great way to stay positive and reach your goals:  Saying to yourself, "I need to lose 20 pounds this month" could easily be setting yourself up for that so-called failure.  By being more realistic and saying, "TODAY I am going to drink more water than I did yesterday" or "TODAY I'm going to keep my hand out of the cookie jar better than I did yesterday," you're much more likely to succeed!  It's all about the baby step goals!  I'm all about succeeding... how about you?!  :o)

So, raise your glass of water high, and cheers to TODAY... "DO-OVER MONDAY"... or Tuesday, or Wednesday... you get the point.  EVERY DAY... or even EVERY MINUTE is the perfect time for a do-over!

Smiles and Blessings - Tonya  :o)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Porch Ponderings #1 - The Goodness of Water

As I sit on my front porch this morning during this 3-day rain-soaked 4th of July weekend, I could easily get gloomy over all of this rain.  It crushed the spirits of those who wanted to watch the fireworks displays last night (that ended up getting cancelled/postponed) and bummed out those who had outdoor plans and grilling out meals to prepare.

But on the other hand, as I sit out here, I see the grass getting taller, and I see my flower garden springing forth with new life.  Vibrant color is popping everywhere! I am imagining the stems of those flowers soaking in the goodness of WATER.

This is such the opposite of what I witnessed last year at this time when we first built and planted this garden.  The weather was extremely hot and very dry that season.  My infant plants and flowers desperately needed water, and the garden hose and I were their only hope of survival.  I tended to them several times a day, watching over them, checking on them to make sure they had plenty of water to survive on.

They survived!   Why?  Because of the goodness of WATER!

Our bodies are the same way.  We need water.  Most of us are walking around (or lying lethargically around on our couches) so parched and dehydrated from not taking in enough water, and we don't even realize it.  If you were to search the internet to learn from all of the experts out there exactly how much water you need, you'll get many different answers.  I don't believe there is a magical number of ounces, quarts, or even gallons to take in every day.  But, what I do know is, we NEED WATER.

Just like my flowers, water keeps us alive.  It keeps us alert.  And it helps us bloom into the beautiful people that God intended us to be!  As we bloom and become more vibrant, we become healthier and happier... and hey, maybe even more attractive to others looking at us!  OK, that might've been a stretch with the whole flower analogy thing, but it was worth a shot! :o)  But, I do know this, when we treat our bodies with water and other proper nutrients, we DO feel better... which, in turn, helps us bless others better.  Don't you agree?!

So, after you leave me a comment... go grab yourself some water!  Your body will thank you!

Smiles and blessings -- Tonya :o)

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" and/or the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Where Did the Past Year & 10 Months Go Anyway??? Well, I'll Tell Ya... It Might've Been the SQUIRREL!

So, I was sitting on my front porch the other day (like I love to do) enjoying my flower garden and the songbirds... just chillin'... thinking about what my next step in life should be in order to occupy my time while my kids are occupied during this upcoming school year.  When along came the hubby, who sat down beside me, and frightened my fears away...

... Well, maybe not fears... but ponderings.  He says, "I don't know why you are not blogging.  You love to write, you love to relate to others... so, why not blog?"  Funny, my best friend said the same thing to me about a YEAR & 10 MONTHS ago.  Now, take a little peek back up at the title of this entry.  Yep, similar, eh?  I got so excited that I jumped in with both feet and started writing immediately... (pause) a whopping grand total of 5 articles! Uh, not too stellar.  But, here's why...

After the last article that I cranked out back in September of 2011, I either a) got writer's block, b) got distracted by a squirrel ("SQUIRREL!"), or c) found myself with my head planted in some very important curriculum, or d) all of the above.

This 11-second video sums up my hiatus!  :o)

The honest answer is D... all of above, but it was mostly about C... C for Curriculum!  I needed to get my priorities in order, and decided that it was time to study up on becoming a Certified Fitness Instructor.  So for many months, I studied and studied (with distractions all around me -- family, teaching exercise classes, keeping the house somewhat decent... you know, mom and wife stuff... and of course the dreaded "SQUIRREL" distractions!).  Finally, exactly a year ago this week (in July of 2012), I was as ready as I was going to get... I took and passed the test to become certified!  Now, mind you, I was already teaching classes in my home for a couple of years at that point...  I suppose the knack just came naturally to me to do it without the book knowledge.  But, we decided I'd better get "legit".  So, legit I got! 

Fast forward to today:  I am now reunited with this blog page, it's all dusted off and it got a facelift, and I actually have a plan this time to keep it running with a variety of topics that I hope you enjoy.  Some posts will be about amusing things that happened (or were said) during exercise class (my "Sister Chicks" are crazy fun!), research on exercise equipment and clothing/shoes, healthy recipes, advice on staying motivated to exercise and to eat right, articles on different types of exercise, etc.  Or possibly writing about my family, my flowers, my songbirds, or the distracting SQUIRRELS in my life!

So, stay tuned... and in the meantime, I invite you to read the past 5 articles that I wrote so long ago so that you are even more in tune with what this site was (and will continue to be) about!

Smiles and blessings - Tonya

**If you would like to comment on this post and/or continue following my blog entries, I invite you to please click on the "Join this Site" and/or the "Follow by E-Mail" areas which are located in the upper left hand margin of the site's main page.  (These options might be limited if you are viewing this on your smart phone instead of your regular PC.)  Thanks for your encouragement and support!  :o)