Stress, It Is Not Always Bad, In Fact, It Can Give Meaning To Your Life

So today I have something to share that I really think is worth a listen!  Seriously, please listen to this snipet, about 13 minutes, from a talk Dr. Kelly McGonigal gives about stress and how it absolutely can have a POSITIVE IMPACT on your life!  

 

http://seancroxton.com/quote-of-the-day/160/ 

 

This snipet is from Sean Croxton's podcast, The Quote of the Day Show.  He is a genius and I highly recommend his podcast so listen to this and then look him up and start to follow him.  

 

Stress can be POSITIVE, what?  I know, I am not one to believe stress is good for any of us and I have talked about it in my posts and challenges.  My head is spinning a bit after listening to this just now while I am sitting at a busy coffee shop working on meal plans and being stressed about getting them done!  

 

She turns the tables on us and talks about what the research shows about stress and it has to do with HOW WE LOOK AT STRESS.  If we look at it negatively it affects us negatively (adrenal fatigue, low energy, low ambition, weight gain, etc.) and if we look at it in a POSITIVE LIGHT it gives us a lot of meaning in life AND we do not suffer the consequences as readily as if we looked at it negatively.  

 

Wow!  This makes my head spin but really it shouldn't.  I mean I talk about mindset all the time and how our mindset determines our outcomes, why should it be different when we think of stress?  I think the word "stress" makes us cringe so we immediately go down the negative path.  I for one am going to challenge myself to look at it much differently starting NOW!  

 

I took 2 years off of work when we moved to Seattle and then last year I started up the Clean & Lean Challenges.  I was lost those 2 years, in terms of my worth in the professional world.  I mean, I spent a lot of money to get an BS & MS in Exercise Physiology and I was doing nothing with the degrees (and thousands of dollars spent on my education).  I was not spreading my passion of fitness and health at all and it bothered me a lot!  

 

Starting the challenges last year brought a whole new level of stress into my life but I felt that piece of my soul that was missing was refreshed even though it was rather stressful.  I did not look at it positively though, I let it get to me and it affected my family.  It is weird when you think about it, I am a very positive person EXCEPT when I think about stress.  Hmmm, this is shining a light on an area that needs improvement!  

 

I wonder if I had looked at the stress as a positive booster to get me revved up and excited to spread my message and make an impact on people's lives, if I would have struggled less and if my family would have seen a difference?  I bet it would have and I am excited to try starting now!

  

Please listen, again here is the link to Sean's podcast episode featuring Dr. Kelly McGonigal, http://seancroxton.com/quote-of-the-day/160/.  

 

 

Do you need a mindset shift when it comes to stress?  I bet we all do to some extent.   I think the first step is to recognize when we are being negative about something stressful in our lives.  We have to "catch" ourselves and make the mindshift.  It is a lot easier said then done but I am up for the CHALLENGE!  

 

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Blogging and Workouts from the past week, Feb. 13-17th

Happy Friday Friends!

 

I will be honest, blogging has been my nemesis.  I so want to do it but I am afraid I can not stick to a consistent schedule so I have just not even tried.  Well, no more!  I am going to make a plan and do my best to stick with it.  I love to share, teach, inspire, and coach people to make healthy habits a reality and I can not think of a better way then blogging (well in person would be the best but that is not my reality these days:).

 

I am still formulating my blogging schedule but I hope to blog at least 2 times per week.  I promise to commit to the day(s) I will publish once I get going with this again.  I want to be able to deliver what I promise!

 

So on with today's post......I get asked all the time about my workouts so I decided to spell them out for you and link up the video workouts I did this past week in case you want to check them out.  

 

My week was pretty typical in that I had a plan and it did not work out exactly as hoped so I did have to improvise.  I did however stick to my goal to get back to early morning workouts and walk every day for at least 30 minutes.

 

I love early morning workouts, love the feeling of being done and feeling accomplished before 7am!  Don't think I am superhuman, I do have days when I absolutely do not want to workout but I usually suck it up and get it done.  This particular winter has been tough to get up early.  See I workout in my garage here in the Seattle area because it really does not get super cold (usually).  In fact, my treadmill is in my garage.  I love it because I do not like to workout on carpet and my whole house is carpet and I also love it because I feel like I am leaving the house in a way and am alone.  The problem this winter has been the crazy cold mornings we have had.  It has been just one of those winters and my weights are so darn cold in the morning I can not lift them without my hands freezing.  That is not ideal when you want to lift heavy!  I was delaying my workouts until 9 or 10am and sometimes 3pm, the worst part of my day energy wise.  I did my workouts but it was harder at those times.  My body wants to workout before the sun comes up!  Anyway, I was able to get back to that schedule this week because of the above 40 temps overnight.  Yeah!  It felt so good!  

 

I should also tell you I do not have time to fit my walk in each morning.  I always do some form of cardio on strength days following my strength session.  It might be a quick 5 minute finisher like 30s of burpees on the minute every minute for 5 minutes or a 10 minute finisher where I just do whatever cardio move comes to mind in a tabata format (20s of work, 10s of rest).  My walk is during the tough part of my day, around 3:30-4:30PM.  I like it there because I am usually low on energy and craving food (I swear I am always hungry) and walking at that time wakes me up and distracts my mind from thinking of food!  

 

I do not eat before I workout at these early times.  I do have a few sips of coffee (I have cold coffee everyday all year so it is easy to just take a few sips and put it back in the fridge until my workout is complete).  That is it though, I take my dog for a quick walk to warm up and I go straight to the garage.  

 

I use either my IPhone or my laptop for the workout videos.  I am pretty blessed in that I have a husband who works from home so we have the absolute best internet.  It is so fast so I never have issues with YouTube videos.  I know that can be a cause for frustration for many who workout at home.  

 

So I warm up, do the strength part of my workout, then the cardio finisher and I am done within 30-45 minutes.  

 

The graphic outlines my workout this week.  I was not terribly specific and if you wish to get more info. please comment below this or email me at kmaxfit@gmail.com.

 

I do want to share the videos I did this past week.  They were all good and from You Tube Channels I use for workouts all the time.  

 

Tuesday I did a Pilates Glute Focused Video (10 minutes) - https://youtu.be/C8X96ItgyOg

 

Thursday I did a Cardio Video - https://youtu.be/tbbZBtdd20U

 

Friday I did a Lower Abs Video - https://youtu.be/zQLPMsV0Kgc

 

I did not add that I stretch a lot these days!  I either stretch, foam roll, and/or do a yoga video almost everyday.  This particular week I did not have the time to do a yoga video but I have done so many now that I incorporate many yoga poses in my stretch routine.  I stretch anywhere from 10-20 minutes just about every day.  I find stretching/mobility work a MUST at this point in my life!  I am starting to think about getting old and how I want to workout till I die.  I truly think the only way I will be able to do that is if I take care of my body with restorative exercises like yoga and stretching daily.  Make time for it, I insist!  Once you stick to a consistent schedule of stretching or body work and reap the rewards you will wonder why you have not been doing it for years!

 

Make today great and dream big!

 

Kim

 

 

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Homemade Chocolate Chip Larabars

Hello Everyone!

 

I love when I find a recipe for something that my whole family can enjoy and it is halfway healthy!  These larabars are really good and I am so glad I found the recipe (thank you Fem Fusion).  I honestly have never thought to try dates, they are ugly looking, like raisins!  I prefer to use Medjool dates but for this batch I tried a cheaper version, the Sunsweet Dates I found near the raisins at the grocery store.

 

If you are staying away from sugar then this is not an ideal recipe but at least dates are a natural sugar.  5-6 dates = 26g of sugar!  This recipe calls for 1 cup of dates which is about 10 dates by my wonderful measuring skills!  The rest of the recipe is made up of nuts, vanilla, sea salt, and chocolate chips (as little or as many as you wish, obviously they add to the sugar content).  The combination of flavors really make this an appealing snack.  They are super soft, chewy, and do not crumble which I love for my kids.  Like I said, my entire family enjoys them and 1 batch (8 bars) only lasts me 2 days tops.

 

They do not take long to whip up but be aware they need to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours before cutting.   I try to make them along with dinner so they are ready for the next morning.  

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashews 

1 cup of pitted dates cut in half

1 cup of walnuts or pecans (both are really good)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp sea salt (I had run out so used table salt, bad Kim!)

1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips (I personally love Enjoy Life chocolate chips  but they are pricey)

 

Directions:

Chop the dates in half.  Measure out the cashews and soak both the dates and cashews in the same bowl of water for 10 minutes.

 

While the dates and cashews are soaking I highly recommend you toast the pecans or walnuts, pecans especially.  It really brings out the flavor.  I simply throw them in my skillet and constantly stir them over medium heat.  Once I start to smell the goodness I pour them in a bowl to cool a bit then blend them into tiny chunks in the food processor.   You can skip the toasting if you are short on time and the bars are still yummy!

 

Once the 10 minutes of soaking is up and you have blended the walnuts or pecans, drain the dates and cashews and simply combine all the ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) in the food processor.  The photo below is pre-blending.

Blend it up until a ball forms (hopefully).  Half the time I get the ball and the other half I do not but it seems to still work regardless.  Sidenote, I am not going to pretend I am a great chef or baker because I am not so many of my recipe posts will just tell you how I do it and there could be a much better way that I have no idea about.  I am teaching myself along the way which is how I learn best.  

 

If I get the ball I make a well in the center and pour in the chocolate chips.  If the ball does not form I just pour in the chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine it all.  It will be gooey and sticky when all combined.  

 

Spoon out the gooey mess onto a sheet of parchment paper and use some parchment paper to flatten them out.  I spread them out to 8 x 8 and place them in my 8 x 8 glass dish to put in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  I do not cover them.  Over time in the fridge if you do not cover them they tend to get a little crusty on the top so I recommend after a day or 2 covering them.  

Above is the finished product after I have pressed the top down and spread it out in my 8 x 8 glass dish.  I put this in the fridge exactly as is and then when it is set (again a few hours to overnight) I make 8 bars out of it.  You can see the size in this photo, only 3 are left and I made these this morning!

So, there you have it!  Yummy chocolate chip larabars!  I hope you like them as much as we do here in the Maxwell household.   Below is the recipe and directions without the photos.

Chocolate Chip Larabars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashews 

1 cup of pitted dates cut in half

1 cup of walnuts or pecans (both are really good)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp sea salt (I had run out so used table salt, bad Kim!)

1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips (I personally love Enjoy Life chocolate chips  but they are pricey)


Directions:

1.  Chop the dates in half and measure out the cashews and place them in a bowl of water to soak for 10 minutes.

 

2.  While they are soaking you can choose to toast the pecans or walnuts to bring out their flavor or you can skip this step.  Regardless which you choose (I enjoy toasting them over medium heat), blend them in the food processor until they are tiny chunks and leave them in there.

 

3.  Drain the dates and cashews well and place in the food processor.

 

4.  Combine all the ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) in the food processor and blend until a ball forms scraping the sides from time to time.  It does not take too long to blend this up.  Sometimes I do not get the ball and it still works for me but I am told the ball means you did it all right.  No idea why I do sometimes and other times I do not.  

 

5.  Once it is all combined and if you get the ball formed you can make a well in the ball and add in your chocolate chips.  If the ball does not form you can simply add the chocolate chips to the food processor.  I pulse it up a few times and and it is good to go.  I like chunky chips so I don't blend it that long but you can definitely blend it to your liking.

 

6.  Spread out a piece of parchment paper on your countertop and spoon out the dough.  I then use another piece of parchment paper to press it out to a 8 x 8 square.  I then place the square in my 8 x 8 baking dish on the bottom piece of parchment paper in the fridge for a few hours to overnight to set.

 

7.  Once set, I cut 8 bars and enjoy!  

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MRT Workout

MRT Circuit

Happy Hump Day Everyone!  I can not believe it is Wednesday already. 


I have a simple, effective MRT Circuit workout for you today.  MRT stands for Metabolic Resistance Training.  MRT training is "HOT" right now.  This form of training, if done with intensity, takes the place of boring cardio workouts.  You DO NOT have to spend hours running or at the gym.  I can attest to this as I was a cardio queen, more like a running queen for so many years.  This past year I have been forced to try relying on MRT Circuits with a little running (1-2 days) sprinkled in.  I am leaner and stronger than ever before (as long as I eat what I am supposed to:).  I hope you can learn to trust me on this and give MRT training an honest try.  Those of you short on time, this is the training you need to adopt.  Better yet, you can do many circuits without any equipment if you are not interested in purchasing any for your home.  If you have a gym membership you can easily do these at the gym.  If you travel, these are incredibly simple to do in a hotel room (the bodyweight versions).  Stay tuned as I plan to post a body weight MRT circuit next week.


Let's break this workout down.  Depending on your fitness level you can set a timer anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 or 25 minutes.  Obviously the more rounds you complete the more metabolic effect you will get (your after workout caloric burn).  When I first started MRT workouts I set a goal to complete 3 rounds and now my goal is at least 5 rounds.  In this particular workout I have you completing 6-8 reps of each exercise (exception being the mountain climbers with 20 singles).  Pick your rep range and it may change as you go through your rounds.  Rest is another huge component to MRT.  You want to aim for the least amount of rest possible.  You may need to work on this and that is ok.  For now, rest enough that you perform each exercise safely.  My goal is to rest only 15-30 seconds after each round, not between exercises.  


I apologize for not having links or photos for each exercise.  Please email me at kmaxfit@gmail.com if you have any questions regarding this workout.  I am working on creating photos and videos for every exercise I put out on my blog.


Make today count!  Do your best to be and give your best today and everyday!  


Your friend and coach,

Kim 

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Thanksgiving Workout

Download
Thanksgiving Workout 2013
Thanksgiving Metabolic Interval Workout
Microsoft Word Document 126.3 KB

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I pray you have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving Holiday with your family!

 

I would not be doing my job if I did not talk about exercise and food before the big day.  My advice for a traditional eating day like Thanksgiving is to eat but watch portion sizes, only fill your plate one time, go for more veggies and plain turkey, 1 dinner roll, 1 small piece of pie (1 TBSP whipped topping), drink lots of water, 1 glass of alcohol, and EXERCISE preferrably when you get up in the AM, first thing.  You will fill so good about yourself.  You will  possibly eat less because you worked hard and don't want to spoil that.  You will handle the stress of the day better (cooking, family, kids, etc.).  You will enjoy the day more because you got that (exercise) out of the way and it is not on your mind.  Those are a few reasons you want to get up tomorrow and get it done!  

 

Hopefully I can help you do that with this interval metabolic workout.  If done right, you will be breathless and you will be creating a metabolic inferno in your body that will last a few hours post workout.  You want that tomorrow!!

 

Here is your 2013 Metabolic Interval Workout.  I wanted to keep it simple with exercises that you all know.  Perform 1-3 rounds of 8 exercises, 1 minute each, minimal rest between exercises, 1-2 minutes rest between rounds.  Make it COUNT!! ***You can download and print this too.

 

Warm up for 3-5 minutes.

 

1.    Squats or Jump Squats (Level 1:  no jumping, regular squats, Level 2: use your arms for momentum and stand up tall on your toes, Level 3: jump squats)

 

2.    Pushups (Level 1:  modified, Level 2: full, Level 3 power pushups – in the down position push and power your hands up off the floor and come back to the ground with soft elbows-don't lock elbows is all that means)

 

3.    Bridging (Level 1:  both feet on the ground, heels close to bottom, Level 2: both feet elevated on the edge of couch or table or stability ball, Level 3:  1 leg off the ground – switch after 30s)-Lift hips up and squeeze gluts for 2-3 seconds and lower

 

4.    Skaters (Level 1: stay upright and skate over your mat, Level 2:  get low and cover some ground, Level 3:  touch the ground and keep your back foot off the ground)

 

5.    Plank Series (hold side for 20s, front for 20s, other side for 20s) (Level 1:  modified – knees on the ground, Level 2:  regular plank, Level 3: hip dips on each side and in front alternate raising 1 arm at a time off the ground)

 

6.    Alternating Reverse Lunges (Level 1: halfway down, Level 2: regular lunges – get the back leg as low as possible, Level 3:  grab weights – hold at shoulder level and when lunge back each time perform an overhead shoulder raise)

 

7.    Russian Twists (Level 1:  no weight, slight lean back and keep heels on the ground, Level 2:  weight in hand (kettlebell or dumbbell), decline back, heels on the ground, Level 3:  weight and heels off the ground)

 

8.    Burpees!!! (Level 1: walk through each rep., Level 2:  regular burpee without a jump, Level 3: regular burpee with the jump or even a tuck jump)

 

After your workout don’t forget to STRETCH!

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Blogging and Workouts from the past week, Feb. 13-17th

Happy Friday Friends!

 

I will be honest, blogging has been my nemesis.  I so want to do it but I am afraid I can not stick to a consistent schedule so I have just not even tried.  Well, no more!  I am going to make a plan and do my best to stick with it.  I love to share, teach, inspire, and coach people to make healthy habits a reality and I can not think of a better way then blogging (well in person would be the best but that is not my reality these days:).

 

I am still formulating my blogging schedule but I hope to blog at least 2 times per week.  I promise to commit to the day(s) I will publish once I get going with this again.  I want to be able to deliver what I promise!

 

So on with today's post......I get asked all the time about my workouts so I decided to spell them out for you and link up the video workouts I did this past week in case you want to check them out.  

 

My week was pretty typical in that I had a plan and it did not work out exactly as hoped so I did have to improvise.  I did however stick to my goal to get back to early morning workouts and walk every day for at least 30 minutes.

 

I love early morning workouts, love the feeling of being done and feeling accomplished before 7am!  Don't think I am superhuman, I do have days when I absolutely do not want to workout but I usually suck it up and get it done.  This particular winter has been tough to get up early.  See I workout in my garage here in the Seattle area because it really does not get super cold (usually).  In fact, my treadmill is in my garage.  I love it because I do not like to workout on carpet and my whole house is carpet and I also love it because I feel like I am leaving the house in a way and am alone.  The problem this winter has been the crazy cold mornings we have had.  It has been just one of those winters and my weights are so darn cold in the morning I can not lift them without my hands freezing.  That is not ideal when you want to lift heavy!  I was delaying my workouts until 9 or 10am and sometimes 3pm, the worst part of my day energy wise.  I did my workouts but it was harder at those times.  My body wants to workout before the sun comes up!  Anyway, I was able to get back to that schedule this week because of the above 40 temps overnight.  Yeah!  It felt so good!  

 

I should also tell you I do not have time to fit my walk in each morning.  I always do some form of cardio on strength days following my strength session.  It might be a quick 5 minute finisher like 30s of burpees on the minute every minute for 5 minutes or a 10 minute finisher where I just do whatever cardio move comes to mind in a tabata format (20s of work, 10s of rest).  My walk is during the tough part of my day, around 3:30-4:30PM.  I like it there because I am usually low on energy and craving food (I swear I am always hungry) and walking at that time wakes me up and distracts my mind from thinking of food!  

 

I do not eat before I workout at these early times.  I do have a few sips of coffee (I have cold coffee everyday all year so it is easy to just take a few sips and put it back in the fridge until my workout is complete).  That is it though, I take my dog for a quick walk to warm up and I go straight to the garage.  

 

I use either my IPhone or my laptop for the workout videos.  I am pretty blessed in that I have a husband who works from home so we have the absolute best internet.  It is so fast so I never have issues with YouTube videos.  I know that can be a cause for frustration for many who workout at home.  

 

So I warm up, do the strength part of my workout, then the cardio finisher and I am done within 30-45 minutes.  

 

The graphic outlines my workout this week.  I was not terribly specific and if you wish to get more info. please comment below this or email me at kmaxfit@gmail.com.

 

I do want to share the videos I did this past week.  They were all good and from You Tube Channels I use for workouts all the time.  

 

Tuesday I did a Pilates Glute Focused Video (10 minutes) - https://youtu.be/C8X96ItgyOg

 

Thursday I did a Cardio Video - https://youtu.be/tbbZBtdd20U

 

Friday I did a Lower Abs Video - https://youtu.be/zQLPMsV0Kgc

 

I did not add that I stretch a lot these days!  I either stretch, foam roll, and/or do a yoga video almost everyday.  This particular week I did not have the time to do a yoga video but I have done so many now that I incorporate many yoga poses in my stretch routine.  I stretch anywhere from 10-20 minutes just about every day.  I find stretching/mobility work a MUST at this point in my life!  I am starting to think about getting old and how I want to workout till I die.  I truly think the only way I will be able to do that is if I take care of my body with restorative exercises like yoga and stretching daily.  Make time for it, I insist!  Once you stick to a consistent schedule of stretching or body work and reap the rewards you will wonder why you have not been doing it for years!

 

Make today great and dream big!

 

Kim

 

 

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Athena 900 Club Boot Camp Challenge

It is time for our NEW Fall Challenge!  I am calling it the Athena (or Spartan if you want to drag your hubby along with) 900 Club Bootcamp Challenge!  Drag a friend along, remember they get a free week!  I am sure they would love this workout!!

 

There are 12 exercises, 25 repetitions of each, 3 rounds to be considered the Awesome Athena or Spartan.  You can challenge yourself however you wish, go for all 3 rounds, go for 2 rounds, come and push yourself to go hard for only 1 round, it is up to you!  I will time you for however many rounds you decide to set your goal for.  We will do this same challenge again in December to see what progress you can make.

 

300 = Oh Yeah!  Good Job!

600 = Rockin Bootcamper

900 = Beast!, Awesome Athena or Spartan

 

Here are the exercises and you must complete them in this order and the full number of reps. to complete the challenge.

 

25 Jump Squats

25 Jumping Jacks

25 Pushups

25 Russian Twists (2=1)

25 Skaters (2=1)

25 4 pt. Bridge

25 Bicycle Crunches (2=1)

25 Lunges (forward or reverse, 2=1)

25 Tricep Dips

25 Low Squat In and Outs

25 Belly Blasters (plank position on elbows, lift hips high in air and look at your feet, return to plank)

25 2 Arm Rows with DB

 

Hope you eat a good breakfast on Saturday and come prepared to kick some butt!

 

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Something is Better than Nothing!

This concept, something is better than nothing, has got to be one of the hardest principles to adhere to.   We tend to think of a workout in terms of length which is not necessary.  Research shows that intensity is the key and it does not have to be hours long!  We/you can get a great workout in 10 minutes if you do it right.  Interval training is the ticket.  Workout hard for a short period of time (10-45 seconds) and rest for a short period of time (10-30 seconds) and repeat for the length of time you have available.  The work phase has to be a solid near 100% effort.

 

This is such great news for us busy moms!  We do not  have to go out for 30+ minutes or do a video for 30-60 minutes to see results.  On those days that are just packed with activities and you don't know how in the world you will fit in your workout remember this concept and try out one of the 2 10 minute workout ideas below.  One is a running workout (you can also power walk) and one is a bodyweight full body 10 minute workout.  

 

Carry this principle with you, remind yourself, SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN NOTHING!  Make it count ladies!

 

Running Interval Workout

Picture a straightaway on a high school track.  Go outside your house and look up and down your street and see if you can mark off close to that length (no measuring just eye ball it).  you may have to use a block if you street is not that long.  This is so simple.  Perform repeats running hard for 20 seconds (some of you can sprint others need to practice a hard jog, pump your arms, think hot sand, pick those feet up).  Walk for 20 seconds, repeat for 10 minutes.  Easy to implement, yet will be tough on your cardiovascular system.  An easy way to time this is with a Gymboss timer or you can download the Gymboss app on your Smart Phone (this one is free).   

 

10 Minute Full Body Interval Bodyweight Workout

15 seconds of all out, 15 seconds of rest - each exercise listed below perform twice in a minute and move to the next exercise so 10 exercises total.

 

High knees  (minute 0-1)

Power Pushups (minute 1-2)

Mtn. Climbers (minute 2-3)

V Ups (minute 3-4)

Squat Jumps (minute 4-5)

Tricep dips (minute 5-6)

Power Jacks (minute 6-7)

Burpees (minute 7-8)

Bicycles (minute 8-9)

V Jacks (minute 9-10)

 

 

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