Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gym Offenders Caught!

We've all seen them, we've all rolled our eyes at them, and we may even *gasp* be friends with one of them! They are the notorious gym goers engaging in the most obnoxious, annoying, and sometimes just plain rude activities. Whether it is hogging the machines by resting on them (as if they've never heard of the term 'working in' should you be so bold as to ask them), grunting like a gorilla at the bench press, leaving big sweaty pools on the equipment and walking away, or looking like a kind of Gym Barbie, no matter your location these stereotypes are apt to follow.

True, many of these habits are essentially harmless (unless you happen to lay back on a huge sweat spot!) but they surely grind your gears. And what better way to let out that frustration than to poke a little fun at these folks! So we have for your entertainment Gym Offenders Caught! Hopefully you will get a little chuckle, and if you see something that hits a little too close to home, then maybe you can take note and help to make each and every gym out there a bit more enjoyable for the rest of us!

slow-walker-on-treadmill


Ahhh, the Lackadaisical Lucy of the cardio equipment...but has anyone ever told her that plodding along at 2.0 mph does not a workout consist? The key to any kind of workout is to actually work...feel that burn because that will yield you results. Ramp up that intensity, Lucy, and those pounds will start to budge; she also should pick up some weights and engage in strength exercises to build lean muscle which will increase her metabolism. Finally, she needs to adjust her diet and make sure she's eating the right kinds of carbs, getting plenty of protein, avoiding saturated fats, and keeping everything in balance. Yet the most annoying part of Lucy's behavior is that she is the one constantly complaining and professing that, "exercise just doesn't work" which we all know is a nasty, ugly, jiggly-thighed lie! :)



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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Squeeze in those workouts so you're not squeezing into your jeans!

Happy Holidays! This time of the year is often associated with our favorite food fares, plenty of parties (with ample amounts of drinks and spreads), and a sort of 'throw your troubles to the wind' attitude. Unfortunately, what many people also do is allow their workouts to be tossed to the wayside as well.

Neglecting fitness during the holidays can be attributed to a variety of reasons: you're busy traveling and just don't have time to cram in a workout, the holidays should be spent with the family not breaking a sweat, and of course the steadfast, "I'll get fit in the New Year." Yet there really is no reason why you can't do your body a favor and stay active throughout the entire year...again, fitness is a way of life! So here are a few things to keep in mind between parties and cups of hot cocoa as well as some tips for even the busiest of folk.

  • Keep Your Fit Mindset: Athletes and fitness fanatics alike don't view this time of the year much different than any other. Of course you should allow yourself to be a bit more flexible in your schedule and indulge in some of the more decadent foods as well, but you should still stick to your workout regimine. Remember all the hard work you've done to attain your current level of strength and stamina and that doing nothing for even a couple weeks will set you way back.
  • Get Sneaky With It: Even if you are waiting for a connecting flight or not in a typical 'gym' environment, that doesn't mean you can't get in a mini-workout. Yes, you may need to kick your self-consciousness to the curb, but you can find a secluded corner and bust out a few sets of push-ups, crunches, chair dips, and even jumping jacks to get the heart rate elevated.
  • Get Everyone Involved: Going for a family run (they even have a few fun runs on Christmas!), snowshoeing, and even a little competitive soccer game are all ways you can both get in your workout and bond with the family.
  • Set the Alarm Clock: While in an ideal world everyone would share your same motivation to workout, but that's not reality. If your family isn't one that is all too keen to breaking a sweat, and there are even instances where us fitness folk catch some flack for being cited as cramping their plans, wake up earlier and get your workout in before any of the planned events. You'll feel better about yourself, be energized for the rest of the day, and your workout won't effect anyone else's schedule.
  • Savor those Treats: Any diet should include some of your favorite foods, everything in moderation, and view this time of the year as that. Allow yourself some of the things you truly crave, but you don't have to think of the buffet table as a challenge. Take a look at all that is offered and then fill your plate with a healthy balance; pick a few things you usually may not allow yourself but don't negelect healthy eating habits.
Another great perk, and motivating factor, to keep up your fitness program is that burning off all those calories grants you even greater leeway when it comes times for cookies and cake! You'll also be ringing in the New Year wearing the same jeans size and feeling far better about yourself.


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Calorie Burning Factor - Which Cardio Machine Burns the Most

While the benefits of working out are far more than simply burning calories, a vast number of people hitting the cardio machines in the gym are hoping to shed some pounds of fat. And let's be honest, one of the greatest perks about being a fitness fanatic is that you are granted the liberty to be a little more flexible with your diet and indulge in your fav fares. So when it comes to what kind of specific cardio activity or cardio machine that burns the most calories here's the skinny.

A couple of things to keep in mind are that the more muscle groups that you engage the more energy you will be expending, and similarly the more calories you will be burning. Also, the larger the muscle group, the more the caloric expenditure will be. (For example you'd be working harder doing an activity with your legs, like running, than you would if you were using your arms, like with an arm biking machine.) Here are how the most popular cardio machines at the gym stack up:

1) Treadmill: Running burns the most calories per minute of exertion than any other activity. Think about it, you're using pretty much every muscle in your body from your legs propelling you, your arms pumping, and if you're using proper running form your core muscles are taut. The only negative here is that running is a very high impact sport and is hard on the joints; so you need to be carefull about not doing too much if you are prone to injury.

2) Elliptical: This is very similar to running, but it negates a lot of the impact on the joints. You'll burn slightly fewer calories than actual running but you can make sure to make the most of your cardio effort by using your arms as you would in a running stride. Some ellipticals have moving arms, but even on those that don't you should swing your arms and not rest them on the side rails; nor should you support yourself on the rails or hunch over.

3) Stair-Steppers: These also engage most of your muscles and just as the case with the eillipticals you shouldn't drape yourself over the arm rests and 'cheat.'

4) Rowing Machine: Surprised? Many people think the rower is only an upperbody machine...but they're wrong. You are using your legs to push you back and forward, your core is engaged, and then of course your arms are working hard as well. Don't underestimate how hard this baby can be when done right; I did a lot of cross training on this back in high school and I can attest to how high I was able to get my heart rate up to!

5) Bikes: The bike is an excellent cardio activity, but it burns the least amount of calories per minute because only your legs working. Don't poo-poo it though because you can crank up the resistance and trust me, Lance Armstrong is no slouch and those bikers are known to put down some serious food to keep up their energy stores. But for gym-goers you can take advantage of this tip: go for an upright bike over one with a back that allows you to recline as you'll be working less on the latter.

In closing, it really does come down to the level of your exertion in anything that you do. You also want to pick an activity that you enjoy and you will be consistent with. You want to elevate that heart rate, keep it there, and remember...that burning feeling is a good thing! :)

You can check out some awesome calorie blasting workouts at http://www.amandarussellworkouts.com/


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Monday, December 13, 2010

Hello…Now Let’s Get You Fit!

Hello Everyone and by gosh, Amanda, you have me blushing!

I am super excited to be a part of the Amanda Russell Workouts team and look forward to sharing with you all tips and workout philosophies that I’ve gleamed over the years. I also hope to do it in a way that is amusing enough to keep you reading and wanting to come back for more (always gotta keep ‘em hungry, right?!), but most importantly get you excited about your workouts, achieving your fitness goals, and debunking the propaganda insinuating that workout is a ‘bad’ word!

So, off my pedestal now…for those who may have heard it’s been a rather tough year for me. We don’t need to go into the gory details, but the short of it is, that for a girl who’s literally ALWAYS on the move (we’re talking I’ve never even attempted to sit through a single Lord of the Rings flick for the sheer fact that there is NO WAY I’d be able to sit in a theater for more than an hour and a half), going through an accident that left me bed bound for months felt something akin to a death sentence. Thankfully I have some incredible people in my life that helped me make it through one day, and then the next, as I couldn’t have done it without them.

So, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, and what does this have to do with working out??”…don’t worry I’m getting to the point. The point is…the way I made it through is that I took it one day at a time, actually more like one hour at a time. I didn’t think about the long road ahead of me, I didn’t think of all of the ‘what if’s’ and I didn’t even really look beyond one measly task at a time. First it was wiggling my big toe then it was trying to move my foot. When I was AT LAST able to attempt walking, and then doing the elliptical machine, I forced myself to disregard anything I had ever done in the past and didn’t compare the ‘new’ me to the me of the past.

I’ve had so many people say to me, “I really want to be a runner, but I just can’t go more than two minutes without having to stop!”; the rest of their end of the conversation usually winds up with them stating that they ended up getting so frustrated by what they can’t do that they just stopped and gave up even trying. They wind up not doing anything at all. But the thing is, by beating themselves up they not only end up feeling like a failure but they also make it impossible for them to ever improve. Don’t look so far down the road, or even to the ultimate goal that you want to reach; instead, accept where you are today and set mini-goals along the way, (think of them sort of like check points) eventually leading up to a bigger goal.

A year ago I would have laughed at myself for feeling like I’m going all out on the elliptical when the tension setting was at level 1. But at that point I was just so grateful to be doing ANYTHING that it felt like a victory; I had achieved one of my mini-goals and I set out to conquer the next.

Alright, I hope this wasn’t too incredibly long-winded, but I thought about what I wanted my very first post to be (yes, even nervous like that first day of school feeling…Are they going to like me?!?!) and I thought I had to at least kind of introduce myself without jumping straight in…but I also wanted to make a very important point in regards to your own fitness. The mind is usually our BIGGEST limiting factor…don’t out-think yourself of achieving what you want to do. If you want to be a runner but don’t think you can, take those two minutes you CAN do and set your first mini-goal to be able to make it to three minutes. Don’t look past that benchmark until you are there…and in time, you’ll have traveled so far down the road you’ll look back and think, “Huh, well, I guess it was possible!”

-Cait :)


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Friday, December 10, 2010

Introducing.......


Hello Friends,
I am so excited to tell you that I will be updating the blog much more often now AND it will be MUCH more entertaining, all because of a special person.
Last winter, I happened to reconnect with a former teammate. Those of you in the running world may know her name or recognize her from various magazines, as she was an American Track Super Star, her name….Caitlin Chock.
The story of how we reunited is quite interesting, and absolutely fateful, so I wanted to share it with you here (I will give you a very brief summary).
We first met at the University of Richmond, where we were teammates for only one month, before Caitlin left the University to train with the Nike Project in Portland, Oregan. Despite our short time training together, Caitlin and I shared a special connection, however, with the politics of her ‘move’, we were separated and lost touch. We never imagined that, as fate would have it, we would wind up having nearly parallel experiences while living on opposite ends of the continent.
While I had dealt for years with my own injury and its repercussions, as well as mourning the fact that I may never run again, I was called to reality. One March evening, sitting in my hotel room I stumbled upon the blog of Caitlin Chock. I was immediately captivated – according to her blog she had just survived a major car accident, Yes Caitlin Chock, one of the best female runner’s I had ever known as immobolized! The ‘hit and run’, resulted in near loss of her right leg; bones exposed, tendon severed, it took multiple surgeries and plenty of metal to merely close the wound. The doctors informed her that her running days were over.
The ever-positive and competitive-minded Caitlin decided she would not let this accident end her life in athletics. She became a diligent student in all things fitness; integrating what she learned from renowned coaches and experts and competing as an elite athlete she guided her own rehabilitation. From that she has devised methods and techniques that mirrored my philosophy.
It became evident we had both been through our own debilitating experience that would end our elite running careers, but through this we both realized our passion for fitness and ability to go back to it and turn it into something that could help other people.
I immediately called Caitlin that night, and it was like no time had been lost, we have been in constant communication. The majority of our conversations revolve around all things fitness, what works, what doesn’t, the newest thing we’ve tried , our ideas for the future, the ridiculous things we see at the gym, etc.
After much talk, shared passion, enthusiasm and the fact that Caitlin is an incredibly interesting and witty writer, Caitlin will be tag-teamming with me as a contributor to this blog. In the New Year she will also be joining my team at The AR Program as a bi-monthly columnist.
So, with no further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Chock (Cait)! I’m so excited to have her on here J

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Gift for only $3.99!

Hey Guys,

I just wanted to pass along this info to help your winter workouts! I know winter is a hard month to get to the gym, but if you follow my workouts, you know none of them require a gym! In fact, the only piece of equipment I ever use is a STOPWATCH.  It is the most effective piece of workout equipment I have ever owned.

Whether you follow my workouts, create your own, or practice interval training, this is one thing I HIGHLY encourage you to invest in. AND I just found a really good one online for only $3.99 brand new! For the price of your latte you can invest in yourself and make a commitment to step up (or Start up) your fitness regimen :)

Here's the link: 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Inviting You....

To transform your entire life - a perfect Christmas gift to yourself or someone you know!

I am now taking personal one-on-one clients. My approach is customized and holistic, I work individually with clients by taking a complete lifestyle and health inventory to determine one's individual strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and goals.

I work side by side to hear your needs and create a customized realistic plan, that works with your schedule, your body, and your needs ANd most importantly will meet your goals. This is not simply a fitness training program, it is a holistic approach to making changes that benefit your whole-being. Most clients come to me with aesthetic goals in mind and end up achieving their pre-determined goals but also find themselves with renewed energy, happiness and excitement about life!

Free 15 Minute Consultation for inquiries :)

Click <http://www.amandarussellworkouts.com/node/25 for more information or to refer a friend!



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New WEBSITE - It's About Time!


Hi Guys!

So after all the hype, I have finally launched my new site, if you already haven't had the chance, I would love for you to check it out. My goal was to make it easy to navigate and highly resourceful, informative and interactive.
More than anything, I truly value your feedback, as it is my mission to make it the BEST site for YOU! So any insight or ideas on programs, topics or workouts you would like to see- please contact me anytime!

In the meantime, check it out and help me pass it along to friends or family - we could all use a 'pick-me-up' every once in a while :)

http://www.amandarussellworkouts.com/

Amanda

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NEW WEBSITE COUNTDOWN!

Hello My Friends,

I just wanted to let you know that I have been working on a totally NEW and IMPROVED website platform which I'm so EXCITED ABOUT!!


It's actually more like an application that you can use than a website! There will be new and different features and easier navigation. AND - in response to several requests, I have decided to take on clients personally for a holistic one-on-one fitness/nutrition and lifestyle coaching.


I will be doing a soft-launch over the weekend!! For all the new workouts and FREE subscription go to http://amandarussellworkouts.com and sign up for your free account. I will then automatically put you on my friend/newsletter list!

Have a great YOU day!


Amanda

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Five Tips to a Flat Stomach Fast


Need a flat belly for your party tonight? But thanks to your diet soda with lunch and gum in the afternoon you now have a nice stomach bulge? Abdominal bloating not only looks bad, but can cause physical discomfort. The good news? Experts say stomach bloating is a condition you can avoid pretty easily.

We're not talking about extra pounds of stomach fat here, but the temporary abdominal distention that plagues most everyone from time to time. Unless your stomach bloating is because of a medical condition, such as liver or heart disease, the only real cause is intestinal gas - not "water weight," says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrinologist and obesity researcher at Mayo Clinic.

“It is a myth that bloating in the stomach is from fluid accumulation in healthy adults, because the abdomen is not a place where fluids accumulate first," Jensen says. "Instead, you would see it in your feet or ankles as long as you are upright."

So here are a few tips to reduce bloating and skinny down your tummy!

Flat Belly Tip No. 1: Don't Overdo Carbonated Drinks.

The fizz in carbonated drinks (even diet ones) can cause gas to get trapped in your belly, Blatner says.

Instead, drink water flavored with lemon, lime, or cucumber. Or just reduce the number of fizzy drinks you consume each day. Try some peppermint tea for a soothing beverage that may help reduce bloat.

Flat Belly Tip No. 2: Don't Overdo Chewing Gum.

Chewing gum can also lead to swallowing air, which can cause bloating.

If you've got a gum habit, alternate chewing gum with sucking on a piece of hard candy or eating a healthy, high-fiber snack like fruit, vegetables, or lower-fat popcorn.

Flat Belly Tip No. 3: Watch Out for Sugar-Free Foods.

"Many of my patients suffer from bloating because they consume too much sugar alcohol in artificially sweetened foods and drinks," which can lead to bloating, Blatner says.

Experts recommend consuming no more than 2-3 servings per day of artificially sweetened foods and drinks.

Flat Belly Tip No. 4: Limit Sodium.

Highly processed foods tend to be high in sodium and low in fiber, both of which can contribute to that bloated feeling.

Get in the habit of reading food labels. When buying processed, canned, or frozen foods, shoot for no more than 500 mg of sodium per serving in any product -- or a total of 2,300 mg of sodium per day

Flat Belly Tip No. 5: Don't Eat Too Fast.

Inhaling your food in a matter of minutes and not chewing your food well can cause you to swallow excess air which leads to bloating.

So slow down and enjoy your food. Your meals should last at least 30 minutes. Also, keep in mind that digestion begins in the mouth, you can decrease bloating just by chewing your food more.

There's another benefit to slowing things down: When you take your time to thoroughly chew and taste your food, your snack or meal becomes more satisfying. And studies have shown that if you eat more slowly, you likely end up eating less.


Try these tips for some relief from bloating purgatory!


Speak Soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The ‘BUTT-LIFT’: Get rid of your SAG and follow these steps to building your NEW BUM




It IS possible to build the perfect bikini bum. But how many of us can dedicate ourselves to a strict, clean diet along with working out 6 day/week for 90 min or more/day? Exactly. So today’s article focused and requires discipline, but it’s not so intense that you’ll give up after one day.

In all honesty, a perfect butt cannot be acheived overnight, especially if you’ve spent the last 20 years or so just sitting on it all day, what with all the desk jobs, post-work drinks and great TV and movies we have these days.

However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your perfect butt won’t be either, but if you follow this workout, you will feel sore at first, but you will see results in six weeks, without question!

It’s not just the exercise

What you put in your body is so important that it dictates the way you’ll ultimately look, with or without exercising. This definitely does NOT mean starving yourself– which is actually the worst thing you can do and will actually hinder your ability to build muscle and dramatically slow your metabolism.

1. So the first thing I’d like you to do is start eating more often throughout the day, but cut the portions of your meals in half. So instead of eating three times a day, you’ll eat six times a day, although it seems counterintuitive to weightloss and toning, it will help keep your metabolism supercharged and force your body to use fat for fuel. And keep in mind that six is not set in stone. If you’re hungry – eat!

2. Second thing I’d like you to do is cut down the amount of simple carbs you eat every day. That is, sugar, baked goods, white bread, white pasta, potatoes, etc. You know what they are. Key words are ‘cut down’ not ‘cut out’.

3. Third thing you need to do is eat more protein in the morning, this will increase your metabolism by 20%, I kid you not! So, whether it is eggs, peanut butter, yogurt, or cheese, add some protein to your morning meals. I actually add whey protein powder to my morning smoothie and I can’t tell you the difference it has made in my body and my energy levels. (I have some great smoothie recipes –I will post if you’re interested).

4. Lastly, load up on water. It is one of the most important parts of any diet. How much water? Well, divide your weight by 2, your answer is how many ounces or water you should be drinking per day. (Example: 130/2= 65 ounces of water)

Cardio training

In order to drop the fat and allow your muscles to shine on through, you need to do cardio exercise at an intense enough level to sweat and have trouble holding a conversation!! And in order to keep the focus on your potentially perfect butt, I want you to opt for butt-focused cardio exercises like walking/running uphill on a treadmill or walking/running stairs. I know many women are scared of biking in fear of ‘bulking up’ – disregard that thought – biking has given me the best butt and legs I’ve had in my life.

Your aim should be to complete about three to four hours of cardio exercise per week.

Perfect butt exercises

There are a few mainstay exercises in the buttocks world that you will incorporate into your workouts for good. However, because the body, the fantastic specimen that it is, manages to adapt quickly, you will need to switch up your workout every four to six weeks in order to continue seeing results.

The changes could be as simple as switching up which exercises you do first to switching how you execute the actual exercises (more slowly with heavy weight, more quickly with light weight, changing # of reps). I will explain this more in-depth in future articles.

Dumbbell Squats

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your back straight and your heels planted firmly on the ground, bend down as though you’re going to take a seat in chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Be careful not to let your knees surpass your toes. Return to your original position.

How many: 3 sets of 10 – 12 repetitions

Lunges

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, take an elongated step forward, ensuring that both of your feet are pointing in the same direction as your body, with the heel of your back foot off the ground. Lunge down so that the upper thigh of your front leg is parallel to the floor and your knee is aligned with your ankle. Return to your stance and continue until you complete the reps with this leg before switching.

How many: 3 set of 10 – 12 repetitions (per leg)

Hip Extension

Lie on your stomach on a platform or a balance ball with your hips on the edge of it. Keep your legs straight with your toes lightly touching the floor. Balancing yourself with your hands, lift your legs into the air until they’re above your hips. Remember to squeeze your glutes and hamstrings with each repetition.

How many: 3 sets of 20 (per leg)

Kickbacks

Using a mat, get on your hands on knees with your back parallel to the ground. Lift one leg in the air with your knee bent and your thigh in line with your butt. This is your starting position.

With controlled movement, thrust your foot into the air as though you are going to step on the ceiling. Return to your starting position.

How many: 3 sets of 20 (per leg)

Enjoy building your perfect butt

Eventually, I will discuss variations of these exercises and will help you perfect the deadlift, an exercise that requires perfect form but very effective in the battle against the saggy butt.

Until next time, perform your own ‘’butt-lift’!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cross-Training: Does It Work??


People often associate cross training with the non-impact exercises they are forced to do when they get injured (which is usually the result of running or another high impact sport). I have to be honest, I started cross training for this reason exactly. I had the mentality that it was the second best thing to do if I couldn’t run. It made me feel ‘better than doing nothing at all’.

However, I cannot scream it loud enough: Cross-Training is one of the best things that ever happened to me!!! In fact, I no longer refer to it as cross training, now it is simply part of my workout routine, but for the purpose of this article I will call it CT (cross-training).


I used to think there was nothing that would make you more ‘fit’, lean, toned or FAST than running. To me, it made sense that the only way to get faster in running was to run, AND what could possibly burn more calories –leading to a better body, right? WRONG!


When I was running, I was constantly injured, I fought plateaus in my speed and endurance; I was skinny as a rail with chicken legs and no tone or definition (think coat hanger) – attractive? Not quite…. However, when I got badly injured, I was forced to not only find temporary CT solutions, but I had to make CT a part of my life. In fact, during this time, I learned and mastered every possible type of CT I could find. At first I hated it, thinking, “I’m not really getting a workout.” “I’m never going to be as fit doing this.” “I’m going to be so much slower.” Instead I had a revelation! Here is what I found:


• Cross Training Burns just as many calories as Running – in the end it’s about your intensity, your energy expenditure, trust me! (Some of you may ask why I put calorie-burn as my first point but I know many men and women who use this as a gage for exercising)

• Incredible Tone and Definition: The variety of exercise you do target a greater variety of muscle groups and so you see fast results

• Avoids/Decreases Overuse Injuries: Varying your workout so you aren’t constantly pounding your body the same way decreases your likelihood of injuries such as stress fractures, tendonitis etc.

• Beats Boredom: Adding variety to your workout keeps you from getting tired of the ‘same old thing everyday. Try something different each day of the week. For example, you may do strength training Monday, cycling Tuesday, swimming Wednesday, kickboxing Thursday, yoga Friday, rollerblading sat etc.

• Break Through Plateaus: If you do the same thing everyday – plateauing is inevitable (both in terms of weight loss and fitness level). One way to break a plateau is to increase intensity, but another way is to cross train with different activities. This helps strengthen other muscles and make you a stronger overall individual, plus keeping your body guessing is the best way to get into the shape of your life. I did my best running with the most cross training.


If you are reading this article, I’m sure you have your own thoughts and perception of cross training, but I ask you to give up your routine for just a short time – unless you have already achieved your peak level of fitness and perfect body - try it! I wouldn’t be screaming this message from the treetops if I didn’t believe it gets results! ;-)


Amanda

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are You Natural?



I used to think that being natural pertained to aesthetics. Living in New York City, I am immersed in the height of image-obsession. So, to me, ‘natural’ meant being free of restructuring bodywork, from nips and tucks to inserts and pulls. However, the past few months have led my life on a new journey, both in terms of my health and my career and have drastically altered my perception of the term ‘natural’ and what it means to my life. I truly believe (as cheesy as it may sound) that God only gives us what we can handle, and for every seemingly ‘bad’ thing that happens, there is always a ‘good’ that comes through- trust me, I have learned first hand...


For those of you who follow my blog, you have probably gathered that I have had to postpone production of my first video series. I have had some health problems and was recently told the reason was likely due to a version of celiac disease. The lamens definition for this disease is: “A chronic nutritional disease, caused by the inability to metabolize gluten, which results in malnutrition, and causes a host of other problems in the body. The disorder can be controlled by a special diet that emphasizes the elimination of all foods containing gluten. In the beginning, people with this disease must also eliminate all refined sugar and dairy from their diet”.


Let me tell you, everything I ate up to this point contained one if not all three of these things – so the diet I must now adhere to is traumatically life changing and difficult to follow. Going through this I have seen some of the best western and eastern doctors in the world, along with top nutritionists. Not only did I want to learn how to eat this way, but I wanted to know everything I could about our bodies (celiac or no celiac) and how nutrition plays a direct role. At first, I thought “no dairy, sugar, sweetner or gluten?? My life is over, I might as well live in a cell, and even inmates probably have more to choose from”. However, I have learned that it basically means everything I eat must be true whole, natural food. If you think about it, this is what our bodies were originally meant to eat in the beginning. Hundreds of years ago, humans did not eat processed foods, refined sugar etc. They ate whole fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils and meat. Eventually I will be able to add back in dairy and sugar, but I am no longer having withdrawals, I have a new way of eating and cooking which I enjoy and makes me feel better than ever. I’m not going to lie, I still have my cravings and it’s not always easy, but it’s a discipline just like anything else and it’s one with a positive outcome. Keeping my eye on the goal is what keeps me motivated and eating ‘clean’ really does make you feel different – I urge you to try it even just for a week!





Above all, this journey taught me more than just nutrition, it changed my state of mind, I learned that natural is not just physical & aesthetic, its also what you put IN your body. It’s all about mindset and the way you live your entire life, which includes how you eat, how you train, the way you carry yourself and how you treat the world, the environment and others. Bill Lange, VP of Marketing at ZICO Premium Coconut Water put it best when he said: “It’s about believing in the value of “being natural” and having the discipline to act that way in almost everything you do”.


My connection with ZICO has been fateful to say the least. I have recently taken over the face of their ‘natural enough’ campaign, while simultaneously going through one of the scariest health problems of my life. The ironic part is that aside from water, almond milk and seltzer I don’t have many beverage choices… but ZICO is the one brand I can still drink. I actually got into ZICO last January when a friend introduced it to me as an incredible recovery drink, then I started drinking it after flights to rehydrate and restore energy, now with this disease I’ve had to eliminate anything unnatural or remotely unhealthy – GOOD NEWS: Zico is all natural!


In working with ZICO I have met some of the best quality people. When I told Bill about my condition we had a lengthy discussion about it and how the team at Zico could help. Being natural in every aspect of life is truly what they are all about which is why I see Zico has having a completely different brand personality and value than any other beverage choice. I am proud to be working with them and enlightened on how the combination of my condition and working with ZICO has turned me into a healthier, more natural person. For more Zico benefits visit: http://zico.com/products/benefits

Monday, August 16, 2010

Behind the Scenes

The Crew





Hello!

Wow, I know I've been talking about news to come for quite some time, and to be honest, I jumped the gun a bit and wanted to spread the good news as soon as I could, but needed to hold off. However, the information was released publicly today, so I will be soon to follow on my website with the full details of everything. It has been an incredible experience and I am so thankful to everyone I work with and also to you, the readers who follow my blog. I want you to know that I personally read all emails and try to respond as quickly as I can to any questions you have.



I have recently been asked a lot about a couple of the new pictures I have posted on my facebook page and website. Yes, I do modeling, mainly swimsuit and fitness but have been branching into other areas. I decided to start sharing some of the work that I do, and will put up a few galleries. The modeling industry is something I have been fortunate enough to get to know and has been an incredible experience. Most of us only see the finished product so I thought it would be interesting to see a glimpse into what goes on 'behind the camera', and what a typical day on set looks like. I had someone take pictures at one of my recent shoots and will get them online as son as I can, in the mean time here are a few! Thanks to everyone at this shoot!

Cheers,

Amanda



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ANNOUNCEMENT!



I know I have been talking about my big news for 2 weeks and still haven't said anything (I really couldn't)! I'm sure you're probably wondering if there actually is any - well the time is finally coming! I will make my announcement Monday which is very special to me - if you are in NEw York City area, you can come in person! It will be at the corner of Thompson and Watts in Soho at noon - so drop by on your lunch hour if you can!!

And the perk: I will be giving away free samples of ZICO PREMIUM COCONUT WATER!!

Hope to see you all there, and if we haven't met - please introduce yourself, I'd love to meet you :-)

Amanda

Monday, August 2, 2010

How to be Caffeine Free - 5 ways to wake up without coffee


Caffeine gives many people the perfect morning jolt they need to make it through until lunch hour…but for some, the dreaded “caffeine crash” that comes along with a cup of coffee is just not worth the high it initially provides. Try one, or all, of these tips this week in those early morning hours rather than reaching for your usual cup of java.

1. Take a cool shower - not a cold shower! A freezing cold shower will shock your body (making you less than happy) but a cool shower will rev up your senses for the full day of work ahead of you. The clean, refreshing feeling that you experience after taking a shower will energize you and kick-start your day. Don’t have time for a shower in the morning? Splash cold water on your face for a mini pick-me-up.


2. MOVE! Take a brisk walk (or run) around the block in the sun. The exercise will release feel good chemicals to your brain and pump energizing oxygen throughout your body, while exposure to sunlight in the early AM hours increases energy and keeps you alert. Because exposure to sunlight also increases your level of serotonin, your level of fatigue will decrease and your mood will skyrocket.


3. Eat an energizing breakfast. The wrong morning meal will send you straight down the rabbit hole and back into sleep mode before lunchtime. Avoid sugary foods such as danishes, doughnuts, and sweet cereals – the sugar high you get from these will quickly dissolve. Your breakfast should include some complex carbs and proteins. Try egg whites with turkey bacon (hold the salt!) or whole grain cereal with skim milk and fresh fruit.



4. Have an icy cold glass of water. After you roll out of bed and before you do anything else in the morning, the first thing you should do is stumble your way to the kitchen and get a tall glass of icy cold water and drink it in its entirety. Providing your body with fluid in the AM hours will prevent dehydration, which can easily tire your body throughout the day. Not only will the water energize you, but it will also fill you up and make you feel better.


5. Listen to something. Waking up to a radio alarm clock, flipping on the TV during your morning routine, or even turning on your favorite audio book could help you to snap out of sleep mode and into alert mode. Listening to your favorite workout tunes could get your blood rushing and pump you up, while even just engaging yourself in the current events of the TV or radio station could instantly perk up your mood and make you more alert.


Rid yourself of the caffeine dependency, and try to go ‘au natural’ in the morning. Not only will you free yourself of the 3 o’clock caffeine crash you’ll save some serious money in the long run! Happy Energizing!

Monday, July 26, 2010

5 Myths About Your Partying and Drinking Habits


1. Detoxing or “Pre-toxing” during the week cancels out the effects of partying on the weekend.

False. “One drink a day can be good for you,” says Lisa R. Young, R.D., Ph.D., author of The Portion Teller. “But if you skip Wednesday and Thursday, that doesn’t mean you can have three drinks on Friday and toast to your health,” she says. “Your body (namely, your liver) can’t handle so much alcohol at once, even if you didn’t drink for a few days beforehand.” It’s better to drink moderately than to do restrict and binge pattern.

2. Alcohol Makes Sex Better.

Wrong again. Alcohol can make people feel less uncomfortable in a social situation. But the reality is that alcohol can actually keep guys from getting or keeping an erection, and it can lower girls' sex drives, too. More importantly, alcohol can affect your decision-making ability: You might put yourself in a risky situation; you might think you're ready to have sex when you're not or you might forget to use a condom — which can result in pregnancy and/or contracting a sexually transmitted disease. And if that’s not enough to deter you, alcohol induced sex tends to make for sloppier sex and more known to be ‘bad sex’.

3. Diet Soda Mixers Gets you Wasted Faster.

Diet mixers, such as low calorie tonic water, diet margarita mix and low calorie soda, spare calories but speed the rate that alcohol enters the bloodstream. High sugar liquids empty from the stomach more slowly than water or low calorie drinks.

Diet mixers contain little or no sugar, so the alcohol in the drink leaves the stomach quickly and enters the bloodstream rapidly, which makes you drunk faster. Australians researchers, using ultrasound, measure the rate that drinks containing diet or normal mixers emptied from the stomach.
Drinks using diet mixers left the gut 15 minutes sooner and caused nearly 50% higher blood alcohol levels. Women should be particularly care using diet mixers. Consuming the same number of drinks, blood alcohol increased more in women then in men. Also, women are more likely to use diet mixers.

4. Mixing Red Bull and liquor let’s you party longer.

True. Red Bull and other caffeinated drinks let you party longer — but not smarter. They make you feel like you’re alert but don’t reduce the real effects of alcohol, including slower physical and visual reactions. And be extra careful: They can make you think you can drive when you’re actually seriously impaired. In addition, mixing liquor with Red Bull is a straight-path recipe for a hangover. All of those sugars are going to dehydrate you and really that's what leads to your feeling less-than-great the next day.

5. Beer Before Liquor Never been Sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.

False. This is an urban legend shared but not scientifically true. In reality, alcohol is alcohol, and the overall quantity you intake will determine your resulting sobriety or hangover. Drinking beer before drinking hard liquor may prolong the onset of inebriation. However, it won’t ultimately matter whether you drink beer first or last; it’s the quantity of alcohol that does the damage.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SWITCH UP MY EXERCISE ROUTINE???


If you’re like me, you probably get bored with your routine, but often it is too uncomfortable or time consuming to try to figure something else out. Then you wonder – how often should I change my routine?

I usually see two different situations when it comes to people changing their exercise programs. On one hand, you have individuals who rarely change their programs at all. They go into the gym and repeat the same mundane routine (i.e., same exercises, same reps, same equipment for the same amount of time). These people often look the same after months of training.

Then, there is the other group. These people change their training programs way too often; for some, almost every workout. Ironically, many of these people workout with a trainer. I always tend to get on the fitness topic with these people when they find out what I do, and they'll start to tell me all about their training regimen. The conversation usually goes something like this:

"I love working out. I have a trainer who I see three, four or sometimes even five times per week. He or she is so amazing. Every time I go to the gym, we always do something different."

Now, at this point in my career, I've had this conversation a hundred different times. So basically, I've come up with this analogy to see if I can get them thinking as to why this might not be such a great idea.

"Interesting ... and, what if I was to say to you that every time I see you I am going to try and teach you a different foreign language. (They usually look at me like I'm nuts, but I continue on.) Do you think that you will ever be able to understand, speak or fully master any of the languages that I'm trying to teach you?"

They usually give me a very puzzled look. So, then, I explain to them that when you are training, you are not just training the cardiovascular system and the muscular system, but you are also training (i.e. programming) the nervous system. The nervous system is what actually sends the messages to the muscular system to perform a particular exercise. It's also what helps you refine various exercises and allows you to get stronger and have more control and fluidity when performing these patterns.

According to my training and conversations with world-class strength and endurance coaches, unless you are an elite level athlete, you do not need to change the training program as frequently as many people do.

Of coarse elite athletes will need to change their program about every six workouts, but consider the volume that they do. Back to my analogy, if you spent your full time job learning languages, then you could probably learn them more rapidly than if you just learned them in your recreational time.

I recommend intermediate/advanced level exercisers change their program every three to four weeks. Beginners can stay on the same program even longer—up to six weeks. Now this does not mean you have to do the same thing every day for three weeks. It means you may do cardio on day one, lifting routine A on day two, cardio + yoga day three and, lifting routine B on day four. The idea here is to keep this the same for 3-4 weeks. Then switch it up! If you were running, switch to biking, or run longer or faster

So rather than feeling pressured to do something different every time you workout, or on the other end, maintaining your same workout day-in-day-out for weeks or months, have confidence in knowing when to switch it up and when to keep it the same. Master where you are at, and then move on!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fit Tips for Airport Travel

There’s nothing like the feeling of long travel days, the dehydration and swelling you experience from those oxygen-lacking flights, the less-than healthy processed foods you grab in the airports and the skipped workouts. All of this combines to make you feel, well, less than your best self.


My schedule entails a lot of time in airports and on long flights so I am no stranger to this feeling. Every trip I go in with the mission to combat this feeling and attempt to stay feeling good, energized and fit.


After personal trial and error and experimentation, I have found a few things that have drastically help me both look and feel better, as well as keep fit and healthy on those travel days. So next time you’re in for a long one give these a try – Happy Travels!


ü HYDRATE! – If nothing else, stay hydrated, I under-estimated the importance of this. Just look at what happens to a bottle of water (all suctioned at the end of a flight), this is essentially what happens to your body. Dehydration not only makes you feel sluggish, your skin will look dull, and you will likely feel hungrier, causing you to eat more than you normally would.


ü Go to the Bathroom every hour on flight – This forces you to stretch your legs and help get your blood flowing again, reducing the amount of swelling in your body. Challenge yourself to drink enough water that you actually need to use the restroom every hour. This is harder to do than you may think on the plane, but you will feel exponentially better if you can do this.


ü STRETCH – Try to stand up and stretch you arms, legs and back. Stand in place in the aisle for a few minutes and do this. I tend to stretch my quads a lot on flight because these muscles seem to tighten up most for me (plus it’s an easy stretch to do – just bend one knee and grab your foot with your hand).


ü SNACK – If a flight is short, I encourage you to eat meals either before or after the flight. The airport options are not diet-friendly (and don’t think ordering a salad is a healthy option – most airport salads are loaded with high calorie ingredients and dressings that are worse for you than a standard fast-food meal). Try to bring your own snacks such as apples, nuts, bananas, whole grain bread with almond butter etc. These snacks should keep you feeling satisfied and get you to your destination without packing on the high-fat, high-calorie options.


ü If you must have a MEAL…..choose your meal wisely (think of what you will feel like after versus what looks good in the moment). Opt for a sandwich and soup or chili. I love Wendy’s baked potato and chili. Baked potatoes are often avoided because of common ‘carb-phobia’ but they are actually high in something called resistance starch, which speeds up your metabolism, keeps you full longer and activates mood-boosting hormones in your brain. So go ahead – indulge!


If you are in for a long flight and must eat on the plane – they usually give you an option of meat or pasta + a vegetable + salad + appetizer + dessert. Go for the meat and eat the veggies and salad – skip the dessert if you’re really trying to keep healthy.


ü WALK- Weather it’s a long layover or you have time to kill before boarding, airports are huge areas with lots going on – so get out and walk around. Rather than going directly to your gate and plopping yourself down for an hour, explore the airport, browse the shops, and if you’re lucky enough to have minimal carry-on luggage take a brisk walk around for 10-20 minutes. You will feel better and more relaxed on flight.


ü Wear comfortable shoes and clothing so you are more apt to move around, walk and if you have enough time, you can pay a small fee to store your belongings at the airport and go for a walk or jog outside.


ü When you reach your destination, the best thing you can do to rejuvenate yourself and fight jetlag is to get in a workout. It doesn’t have to be long; even 15 minutes can do the trick. As tired as you may feel, the hardest part is getting started, it will be more than worth it! Bring a jump rope and try my 15 min rope workout: http://dynamicworkouts.blogspot.com/2009/10/jump-your-way-fit-in-less-than-15.html


ü

Fun Flying!!

Amanda