The problem most moms have, but never talk about

  In my fitness business I train a lot of moms. Including my own mom. It is one of the things I really love about what I do. Moms continue to amaze me with what that they are able to accomplish. I mean think where we would be without the patented "mom licking her thumb to get something off your face" move? We would be living like savages.     Giving birth is not a pretty scene, let's just put that out there. The beauty of childbirth is a myth along the lines of Bigfoot. It is a miracle for sure, but an ugly miracle. There are also many changes that occur with childbirth, but there is one that continually crops up pertaining to exercise.   The peeing problem.   Yep, I'm going there. Because it is a real thing! Hardly a day goes by when I don't see a jumping jack turn into a flapping of the arms with no jump. I don't even ask any more, I know. There is about to be trouble up in here if she keeps jumping.   So my purpose is to offer a fix for this problem in the form of a little something called Kegels. What are Kegels? They are exercises for the muscles of your pelvic floor that get their name from a doctor named Arnold Kegel. I’m working on getting an exercise named after me one day. Hopefully a totally different muscle group will be involved.   The purpose of Kegels is to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. Just like any other muscle if you exercise it, the muscle will improve. On the flip side though, if that muscle is not exercised or gets damaged it will not function like it used to.   Why so you need to do Kegels?   Besides, the main reason I mentioned earlier, there are several reason why you should do kegels. Lately I have talked to several people who have older parents suffering from incontinence. It has been a horrible experience for both the parent as well as the child, as you can imagine.   It is not just age that can cause incontinence; the pelvic floor can be adversely affected by giving birth, a sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight. Along with incontinence (of the bladder and bowels if you really want to know), weak pelvic floor muscles can cause prolapse of pelvic organs and decreased sexual enjoyment.   How do you perform Kegels?   Like all heartwarming stories, this one starts in the restroom. Next time you are urinating, contract the muscles that stop the flow of urine. These are the muscles you are looking to work. Chances are you have done Kegels before and didn’t even know it.   Have you ever been peeing, heard a suspicious noise, and cut the stream off? If so, then you have gotten your Kegel on! That looks much worse in writing than I imagined, but I’m still going with it.   Once you figure out the correct muscles to contract, don’t do it any more while urinating. You can actually weaken these muscles by continuing to contract the pelvic floor muscles while urinating.   Start off by contracting these muscles for 10 seconds at a time, then build up as your muscles get stronger. You can do these every day and at just about any time of the day. You might get a funny look on your face, but who cares?   This is a simple, but effective technique that can really improve your quality of life. If you know of anyone this article can help, why not pass it on to them? Anyone can do them and they can help everybody.  

The 12th Challenge-How fast can you do this workout?


Last week our challenge was to cut down on the amount of times you eat out. With a little planning and extra effort, you can save yourself a lot of money and weight gain by cooking your own meals.

This week we will be doing something a little more "fun". As part of our boot camps we do what we call personal challenges. They are different every time, but the main idea is to prove to every participant just how far they have come in 4 weeks.

I would highly recommend doing challenge workouts for yourself. A funny thing happens when you flip your mindset around into focusing on your fitness and just weight loss or inches lost. You will look at yourself one day and realize that by focusing on your fitness, you also lost inches and pounds along with it.

This challenge will be piggy backing on the Pick it up a notch! challenge from a few weeks ago. A challenge workout you can

Time yourself doing this workout and then re-test yourself a few weeks later.

You can modify each exercise as needed (example-pushups on your knees), just make sure to do the same the next time you test it. Want to know how fast I can do it? Tell me your time and I will tell you mine :)

Easy Crock Pot Recipe and the Harlem Shake

Easy Crock Pot Chicken This is probably the easiest recipe you will ever come across. Next time you are in a rush, try this one right before bed.   Throw one bag of frozen chicken breasts in the Crock Pot, season it with salt and pepper (or however you roll), cook on low overnight. By the time you wake up it will be ready. No need to thaw the chicken either, it will thaw as it cooks and provide enough moisture to keep the chicken from drying out.   The Harlem Shake is harder than I thought  
The Harlem Shake is harder than I thought
The Harlem Shake is harder than I thought

Do more housework or you might get fat

Did you happen to read the study that came out recently claiming that women are overweight these days because they do less housework? Before you ask, this study was done by a man. Apparently a man who has bodyguards, is incredibly brave, or has a death wish.
While the premise of the study may seem insulting, you have to dig down a little deeper to get an important lesson from it. Th study found that women in 1965 did 25.7 hours per week of housework, and in 2010 that number had dropped to 13.3 hours per week.
Or in another form, they went from burning 3486 calories per week doing housework to burning 2518 per week. At nearly 1000 calories fewer burned per week, you can imagine where that would contribute to weight gain.
That would be true no matter how you had an extra 1000 calories per week in your life. If you kept that up over a year's time it would put nearly 15 extra pounds of fat on you.
What is the most effective way to combat this?
Move more!
Housework is already covered under a sneaky way to burn calories called NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. So you need to make your life NEATer.
Here are a few other examples how:
•Calf raises at your chair
•Take the stairs
•Stand more
•Ball chair instead of an office chair
•Drink more water (you'll be on the "go" more)
•Walk and talk rather than sitting in your office all day
There are hundreds of ways you can work more movement into your day without actually taking time to go to an actual workout.
These aren't structured exercise programs, but they are ways to get more movement into your day. You will not only burn more calories, you will also feel more energized and your muscles will not be as stiff.
Or you could always spend nearly 30 hours a week doing housework...

The 10th Challenge- Try Something New


Time to change what circle you are in

  It is hard to believe we are already on our 10th challenge in this challenge series. How did you last week trying your affirmations challenge? For some it may be a little touchy feely, but that stuff works!   This next challenge is a little more on the fun side. Your challenge for this week is to try 3 new physical activities this week.   Examples would be: -trying an exercise you've never done -trying out a new fitness class -going on your first hike -Using a kettlebell for the first time -trying a rock climbing wall -doing burpees for the first time (life changing)   The purpose is to stay out of the exercise rut and to continue to challenge your body in new ways. There are so many awesome ways out there to stay in shape, go try them all!   If you would like to come try one of me boot camp classes, you can come as my guest any time this week. Or if you need suggestions on classes that fit your needs, I can help you with that as well. Send me an e-mail  at info@HuntsvilleBootCamp.com and I will set you up.   Thanks again to all of you for participating in this challenge, keep up the good work!

Is running making you fat?

  It sounds like a simple enough plan. Go run for several miles and the fat will melt off no problem. It does work for a while, but you eventually get to a point where it will slow to a halt.   For instance, you have been running 5 miles a day but not losing any weight. What in the world is going on? There are probably several things going on.  I knew a guy when I used to work in the gym who would run at least an hour every day, did several marathons, and still carried about 50 extra pounds in his belly. Crazy right?   One major factor is that the more you run, the more efficient you become at it. Great for running, but not so great for fat loss. Your body will get to a point where it burns less calories to do the same amount of work it used to.   Getting to the point where you can run 5 miles was probably a great milestone at one time, but if you keep doing the same mileage in the same amount of time you're not making progress. You need to run farther or run faster. This goes for any exercise you do. If you are doing the same speed, reps, weight, etc... every time you are spinning your wheels. That's the bad part about exercise, you have to keep trying! I know that's tough.   This also leads to another factor and that is overeating. Some runners will assume they can eat and drink whatever they want because they have put in so many miles. If you are still taking in junk calories it will catch up to you. Think about how hard it is to burn off 500 calories running and how quick you can eat or drink 500 calories.   Another contributing factor can be skipping out on your strength training workouts to focus solely on your cardiovascular training.  Strength training will not only help keep you injury free, but it will also help tremendously with fat loss.   Strength training workouts will not burn the same amount of calories DURING the exercise session as cardiovascular training, but you will continue to burn calories for hours AFTER your workout is completed. This effect is called the afterburn and there are documented cases of subjects burning calories up to 36 hours after the workout was completed.   Also, the more lean muscle mass your body has on it, the more calories you can burn sitting around watching people on The Biggest Loser be put in coffins. Did you see that by the way? Dude...   While it is possible to lose muscle from doing too much cardio, it has to be an excessive amount to do so.  You just  need to pick a lane. Are you training to look good or training to be a better runner? You have to be careful if all you are doing is cardio. I speak from experience. I tried it and it made me skinny fat.   When I was running a lot, I got to where I weighed about 185 pounds, which is a good weight but I was a soft 185 pounds. I weigh around 195 now, hardly ever do long distance running, and my body fat is much lower. So I would encourage you to pick a lane!

Quick and Dirty Workout (no weights required)


What you do in your leisure time can kill you


Lemur me alone, I'm watching the game

Most people can do pretty good during the week. You get into a routine, you do your scheduled exercise program, and you handle your business. Then the weekend comes and it is laying on the couch surrounded by pizza boxes and bon bons. Maybe that’s just me...
A study in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine found that people who were sedentary during their leisure time (watching TV, video games, computer time, etc...) were 3 times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Pretty scary right?
So I want to help you out. Here is the official Joe Martin Stay Healthy on the Weekend Plan. 
1. Get 30 minutes of fun, physical activity in on Saturday and Sunday
Just get out and move for 30 straight minutes, preferably outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine do a body more good than you think. It can be a walk, a bike ride, chasing your kids (sometimes not classified as fun), etc...
If it rains, I will even count some Wii or Kinect video games. I want you to be as active as possible, as often as possible. You can’t just count on your workouts to reach your goals, you have to lead an overall healthier life. If you exercise for 5 hours a week, sleep for 8 hours a night, that still leaves 107 hours for you to make or break your fitness program.
Find some healthy ways to fill in those gaps. Stand up more at work, park farther away, use the stairs. Little things become big things when you do them consistently.
2. Make better, bad choices 
Choose the cheeseburger, small fries, and small drink over the Big Mac with Super Sized Drink and Fries, apple pie (Now with free stent for your heart!) Drink 3 55 calorie beers over the 6 margaritas. Choose the guy who is unemployed and missing some important teeth over the guy on Death Row.
3. Try to get it right 90% of the time
If you can do that, especially on the weekend, you will be doing better than most. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t get every meal perfectly balanced with vitamins and nutrients. Pizzas happen, alcohol happens (a lot on the weekend), just don’t make it happen all the time.
4. Eliminate the negative self talk
Why would you ever talk bad about yourself? That’s other people’s jobs! Never talk bad about yourself, it doesn’t do you or anybody else any good. Thoughts become reality, so pick the good ones.
5. Use Sunday as a day to prep your food for the week
Chop up vegetables and fruit. Bake, grill, or Crock Pot a large amount of healthy, lean proteins. Prepare healthy snacks for the week. The more you do to set yourself up for success, the better your results will be. You know how crazy the week gets, take advantage of this time to help yourself out. Think about what you tend to eat when there is nothing prepared. Not good is it? Having systems in place beats having will power.

The 8th Challenge- Pick it up a notch

  Last week the challenge was to start performing maintenance on your body to keep it in proper working order. Now that we have the body fine tuned, it's time to pick it up a notch.   Intensity is usually the difference between people who get results and those who just get through their workouts. Look back at how some of your recent workouts have gone.   Could you have gone further? Gone faster? Lifted heavier? Done a few more repetitions?   Just a few random examples:   Have you been running 2 miles? Push it up to 2.5 miles.   The challenge this week is to pick it up a notch! Have you been running 2 miles in 20 minutes? Now try to do 2 miles in 19 minutes.   Have you been using the same weight for months? It is time to go heavier.   Have you been doing the same amount of repetitions every workout? Time to do more.   The main thing I want you to do is look back at your last few workouts. What gave out first, your body or your mind? The mind can take the body places, you never thought it could go.   Before your next workout, set a goal that you are going to reach firmly in your mind. Do not stop until you get there. Do not settle for average, do not settle for ok. You are stronger, faster, and fitter than you are giving yourself credit for.   Go prove me right, I know you can do it.

Healthy Valentine’s Day! (Partner Workout, Dessert Recipe, and Bonus Article)

You know the old saying "Couples that sweat together stay together"? Whoever came up with that saying was not married to a trainer. Little advice for any trainer looking to give tips to their significant other. Just skip the advice and go straight to being quiet. Saves you from the whole "Stop correcting me!" Just trust me on that.
So just in case you are looking for a workout to do with a partner, it just so happens that I have one.
Partner Workout
For partner exercises 1-3 each partner will do their exercise for one minute, then switch exercises, and do that exercise for one minute. For exercise 4 and 5, there is no exercise pairing. Go through the entire list 3 times, for a full body workout in a fairly short amount of time.
1A. Plank jacks- In the pushup position, you will jump your feet out like jumping jacks. Make sure to keep your hips down.
1B. Plank hold- Hold the pushup position or hold the same position on your forearms. Don't let your hips sag down or let your hips go up in the air.
2A. Squats- feet shoulder width apart, push your hips back, sit back and away from your knee caps, making sure to keep your knees out and don't let them cave in.
2B. Seal Jacks- Start with your arms and feet out wide. Jump your hands and feet together.
3A. Jumping jacks- like what you think.
3B. Flutter kicks- lay on your back, sit with your hands on the side of your butt cheeks. Kick your feet barely off the ground like you are swimming.
4. High five pushups- Set up in the pushup position head to head arms length apart from your partner. Lower yourself down at the same time as you come up you will high five your partner at the top of the pushup. Alternate hands each time, feel free to do fist bumps instead.
5. Leg throw downs- One partner lays on the ground while the other partner stands at their head. The partner on the ground will reach back and grab the standing partner's ankles to steady themselves. The partner on the ground will raise both legs up at the same time. The standing partner will lovingly throw the feet back down. The partner on the ground will control their legs and do not let them touch the ground, then raise the feet back up again.
Grilled Banana Splits Recipe
4 ripe bananas 2 Tbsp chocolate chips 1/2 cup non-fat, frozen vanilla yogurt 4 tsp chopped walnuts Directions: 1- Preheat oven to 400 degrees 2- Place each banana on its side on a piece of foil. Cut a slit lengthwise across the top. Leave the skin attached. 3- Push 1/2 Tbsp chocolate chips into the slit of each banana. 4- Wrap the bananas with the foil, leaving the top open. Grill or bake about 15 minutes or until the chocolate melts. 5- Loosen the foil and press the bananas open a little. 6- Top each banana with 2Tbsp of the frozen yogurt and sprinkle with 1tsp walnuts.
Extra article 
I wrote an article for Our Valley Events that covers some other tips on taking care of your own health on Valentine's Day. Yes I am a little bit strange.
Hope you have a great day!
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