New blog, same content

We have MOVED!  Since we completed some rearranging on how we are currently structured with the roll out of our brand new website, we have a new blog and everything from the Northern Grrrls blog has been moved over to the new site.  We VALUE our blog followers and if you want to keep receiving information from Northern Grrrls, spin playlists, and boot camp workouts… head on over to  grrrlyblog.wordpress.com and follow us!  Thank you!

 

Oh and our new fancy schmancy website can be found at northerngrrrls.com!

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Fit Mommas ROCK

Fit Mommas ROCK

Okay mommas… sometimes it is easy to feel guilty for taking the time to be fit and healthy and work towards your fitness goals… print this… share this…pin this… whatever your need to do!

Forget the Scale

Great blog entry from Athleta on WHY you need to forget the scale and focus on inches and the way your clothes fit….

 

Original Blog Entry: Forget the Scale

May 10, 2013 By 

My latest life’s lesson came to me during my recent doctor’s visit when I had to step on the scale. I was actually reminded of a lesson learned long ago, and the reason I don’t own a scale.

Sandy Sanders forgets the scaleBack in the day, I USED to be a slave to the scale. Had it still been back in the day, I would have been MORTIFIED at what I saw during my weigh in. I thought my weight was around 115/120 lbs – the ideal weight I’d set for myself YEARS ago. Like many I know, this was some ‘magic’ number I pulled out of my arse. There was no medical reasoning behind it; and no nutritionist or doctor prescribed it. It was just a weight that I “felt good at.” Well, these days I feel great so I figured I was hovering at my “great weight.” Imagine my surprise when the scale registered almost 130 lbs. At first I thought, “Surely the scale must be broken,” as I stood there and stared at the numbers. Then I realized it was a doctor’s office and I was pretty sure their equipment was working properly.

Other than momentarily surprising me, seeing my actual weight didn’t do anything to me. Ask me if back in the day a vision like that wouldn’t have sent my 5’2” frame RUNNING to the treadmill and pool! But the only thing it did was cause me to make a mental note, so that I could share one of my life’s lessons (or unsolicited advice ;-) ) with any members of my Athleta family who might be slaves to their scales.

I wasn’t at all bothered by 130. Heck, I don’t even mind putting my weight out there like that. There’s a reason I don’t own a scale – those numbers no longer mean a thing to me. The TRUE test is how my clothes fit, whether or not I can maintain the paces I’m used to while racing, or whether my race times are improving. THOSE are my only indications of my fitness level.

I have this friend who started working out. Excitedly, she watched the numbers on her scale drop, then became frustrated as she later saw the numbers climb. I asked her how her clothes fit and she said that they had become loose. I asked her if she really heard what she was telling me. The woman was LOSING inches, yet was frustrated by what the scale showed.

So my life lesson is actually a bit of unsolicited advice for my awesome friends out there, either starting on or feeling stagnant in their health and fitness journey: Please do not be a slave to the scale. Sure, scales may be great initially (because as you watch the numbers drop, you see your progress quantified), but as you continue to exercise, your muscle density will increase, and your fat will decrease, and the scale will start to tip heavier. That’s when you need to put “your friend” away… far away. Heck, even give it away. At that point, your motivating friend becomes your demotivating albatross. Don’t let that albatross weigh you down so much that you get frustrated to where working out is no longer fun and exciting, but frustrating and treadmill-ish – where you seem to be running in place and getting nowhere, and losing no weight.

So f(orget) the scale, and pay attention to things such as your endurance level as you’re working out, and the way your clothes fit. If you’re able to workout longer without getting winded, or you’ve run that 5K just a little bit faster, then that should tell you something right there. And just as your clothes told you that you were getting a bit heavier as they hugged you a bit tighter, they’ll also tell you that there’s less of you to hug as you’re toning up and getting fitter.

What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Recently, Fitibie had a great article on 5 Things to Look For in A Personal Trainer and then one of my favorite bloggers, StrongFitBeautiful, expanded on the topic even more. Both did a fantastic job capturing all the things to consider when looking for a personal trainer- so I’ve summarized all the tips below!

1. Your personalities click
Trainer tip: Don’t be afraid to shop around
Personality is paramount when it comes to considering working with a trainer. A trainer can have all the qualifications and experience in the world, but if you don’t connect, then it will be difficult to develop a relationship that leads to commitment and success. I always encourage potential clients to interview me during our initial assessment to make sure our personalities match.

2. They put their clients before the program

Trainer tip: The first session will say it all
Going through a workout at the first session can be a sign of a bad trainer. It is impossible to receive personal training until the trainer knows the person behind the program they are creating. Your trainer should become familiar with your goals, history, likes and dislikes, schedule, current movement abilities, and areas of pain.

3. They’re all ears and a lot of heart
Trainer tip: Make sure you do most of the talking
A good trainer has good listening skills, a compassionate disposition, and generally feels like someone with whom you connect personally.

4. They never stop learning
Trainer tip: They are committed to their own ongoing education
Make sure your trainer has a NCCA-accredited personal training certification and also has committed to ongoing learning by attending workshops and conferences. The fitness industry changes at warp-speed, so it’s important for all fitness pros to stay up with the latest trends, knowledge, and practical ways to deliver results.

5. They know why it’s called personal training
Trainer tip: Be sure the workout is about  your specific goals
When you pay top dollar for one-on-one workouts, you deserve more than a canned workout. While every trainer has some favorite moves that they may use for multiple clients, your workout should be very specific to your goals, your shortcomings, and your level. Be sure that your trainer focuses on your individualized needs–and doesn’t just give you the same workout she gives every client.

6. They have references
Trainer Tip: If you know people who are like you who love their trainer- it’s a good bet you might too!
Do a background check. No, I’m not talking do they pay their bills on time – but rather their experience.  Which professional certifications do they hold? How long have they been training? All of these are great questions to ask to make sure you are working with a qualified professional – not just somebody who looks like they work out a lot. You can look up most trainers on IDEAFit or other sites. Here is an example (yep it’s mine) of a trainer profile!

7. It Needs to Be the RIGHT FIT for Both of YOU!
Trainer Tip: You will be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure it works for you both.
Your training should fit your life – and your schedule. If you know you aren’t going to be out of bed and to the gym by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, find another time (and if necessary, another trainer). Many trainers will still charge your hourly fee if you don’t keep your appointment time – and you aren’t going to make any gains (or losses) if you aren’t committed to putting the work in! Also, be clear about what you want to accomplish in training. A trainer can only help you achieve your goals if he or she is clear on what they are. Are you trying to lose weight? Bulk up? Feel healthier? Different goals require different strategies – and just like people are not one size fits all, neither is training.

Perhaps above all, your trainer should be upbeat, motivational, and committed to helping you become a better version of yourself.what-doesn-t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger-p-source

Shoot for a 500 calorie deficit per day

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I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say “…muscle weighs more than fat so that is probably why you are not losing weight.” Baloney! Let’s clarify this.

Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat, any more than rocks weigh more than feathers. A pound is a pound is a pound. Where the confusion comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, so that, by volume, it seems to weigh more.

That is, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat. This is why taking your body measurements is so crucial! You may find yourself frustrated as you work out and see an increase in body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit and your body measurements!

Stumbling is Not Falling! AKA Sh*t Happens.

Okay so I’ll admit it… I am not always the perfect example of health and disciplined eating.  No matter how hard I try and how strict I am about my eating and exercising habits- slip-ups happen. I skipped two workouts last week and ate and drank my way into a caloric coma  with my very best girlfriend. Whoops- but it was completely worth it and we had a great time!

What I DID NOT next do was go off the deep end and eat everything in sight!  I got my butt back in the gym and scheduled an extra Saturday workout for myself and my boot camp participants.  However, this experience got me thinking about the minor setbacks and mistakes that we all make in our “fitness” habits.  We can learn a lot about ourselves from the manner in which we choose to learn from our errors and move forward.  A bad choice is not the end of the world.  Just “grrrl up” and track that piece of cake and glass of wine and move on…

Here are some tips from an article about what to do when you fall off the diet wagon by Connie Bennett as published in the Huffington Post.

“Stumbling is not falling.” ~Portuguese Proverb  

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1. Be sweetly accepting.

If you ate those no-no foods and ignored your good intentions, now is not the time to beat up on yourself. Instead, use your “falling down” to shower yourself with warmth, sympathy and compassion. Yes, you turned to junk food. Now, graciously accept that reality and get ready to move on.

2. Embrace your humanity.

People who are addicted to sugar or junk food or who often overeat tend to expect themselves to be perfect. Of course, that’s simply not possible. In fact, planning for perfection instead paves the way for a big letdown. So, now that you’ve “fallen,” use this as an opportunity to accept and welcome the fact that you’re human. That means you’ll make “mistakes” or slip from time to time. So what? Admitting your humanity can be quite freeing.

3. Give thanks for your “failure.”

This tip may seem counter intuitive, but I invite you to try to be grateful for your slip. Be thankful that you ate junk foods or fell off the healthy-food wagon. Be appreciative that you behaved in an unloving manner to yourself. Now turn your “failure” into something positive. In other words, take your slip and turn it into a transformational teaching moment.

4. Commit to grow.

Now that you realize the value of your “failure” and how it can become an amazing learning experience, accept that this may be the impetus you needed to finally pick healthy foods on a regular basis or to finally lick your bad habit (what I call a babit™). Now, search inside and commit to do whatever it takes so you can grow to reach your goal.

5. Get going with gusto.

It’s now time to slip on those sneakers (metaphorically and in reality) so you can begin again. After all, don’t you get more excited, impassioned and committed when you begin a project?

6. Watch the horrible outcome of your slip.

At this point, I invite you to study how bad you feel because of your sugar or carb spree or other counter-productive pursuits. For at least four days, keep a diary in which you write down the results of your binge, whether your reactions are emotional, physical or spiritual. Admit how your unhealthy habit is leading to horrible headaches, excessive exhaustion, embarrassing irritability, blowing up at co-workers or annoying “brain fog.” When you dispassionately study yourself in this manner, you’ll easily call to mind these horrible outcomes the next time you’re tempted to veer off the track. In fact, remembering how bad you felt can help you to stay on course next time and conquer your sugar temptation or other bad habit.

7. Dwell on what you really, really, really want.

Now that you’ve accepted your humanity, thanked your failure and observed how your sugar slip harmed you, think about what you want. As fitness instructor Patricia Moreno likes to say likes to recommend, think about what you really want in the depths of your being. (Patricia talks about this concept in her s exciting new book, The IntenSati Method: The Seven Secret Principles to Thinner Peace.) In other words, do you really, really, really want to be sugar-free, full of energy, slim, trim, toned, sexy, happier and more enticing to yourself and others? Kicking sugar and eating real food — the kind that grows on trees, pops out of the ground or swims in the ocean — can give you all of that and more. So zero in on the many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits that eating healthy will give you.

8. Create a vision board.

Now that you’ve decided you really, really, really want to go sugar-free or eat healthier foods because of the many benefits, I invite you to actually illustrate your goal. By this, I mean, create a vision board where you paste on photos, words and images that capture what your new, healthier life will look like. You can learn how to do this by reading The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz. Look at your vision board every day and make sure when you look at it that you also relish the glorious feelings that your new, healthier life would give you. Even better, do powerful “feelingizations,” as Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life With the Law of Attraction, puts it. (Ford coined this appropriate word to convey that when you visualize, you really feel them.)

9. Proclaim your freedom.

Now that you’re getting back on track, create one powerful affirmation or mantra and repeat it over and over all day long. You can clean your house or work out while you repeat your affirmation. (Of course, the power and effectiveness of affirmations are discussed in the bestselling film and book,The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.)

10. Make a pleasing plan.

When starting a healthy diet or new way of eating, it’s always wise to figure out in advance what, when and where you’ll eat. It’s a good idea to choose ample, modest amounts of protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbs such as vegetables and low-sugar fruits at every snack or meal. So I encourage you now to decide what, when and where you’ll dine or snack tomorrow. Put it in writing. As you begin anew, remind yourself why you’re doing this. You may want to lose weight. You may want to get more energy. You want to have better relationships with your loved ones. You may want to be sexy and svelte. Or you may want to be more productive.

Always remember, by giving up sugar or junk food, choosing healthier foods and/or dumping other bad habits, you will instead live a happier, healthier, more meaningful life.

 

Alcohol & Exercise?… We are in Wisconsin after all.

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Enjoy the occasional spirit? Really look forward to a beer after a long day at the gym? It can be confusing to understand the fitness community’s stance on drinking when they now market a beer to runners and have created an entire line of alcohol that is “Skinny”.

The fitness industry’s anti-alcohol stance is due, in large part, to the (lack of) nutritional content contained in alcoholic beverages. Ethanol, the type of alcohol found in drinks, has toxic metabolic byproducts called acetaldehyde and acetate. Both by-products help create that queasy nauseous feeling you get when you’ve put a few too many back. Chronic ingestion of alcohol can also mess with your digestion, making it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients like amino acids, B vitamins, and impairs protein synthesis. One study also suggests that two to three beers per day can lower a man’s testosterone levels.

Alcohol consumption can also mess with a carefully planned out diet. Many alcoholic drinks are calorically very dense and packed with sugar. If you’re mixing your alcohol with things like energy drinks or juices from concentrate, or even having a few glasses of wine, you are giving yourself a sugary rush with each sip. Let’s also not forget that alcohol totally impairs your judgment. Those late night post-bar pizza runs can’t be too good for your summer beach body.

However, if users are able to practice some moderation with alcohol, a drink or two on occasion will not effectively poison your body and make you irreparably fat. There are some studies that suggest moderate alcohol consumption can provide health benefits. Much has been made of the heart healthy components of a glass of red wine, but did you know that moderate beer consumption can improve your immune response and can reduce harmful C-reactive proteins (linked to heart disease)? All in all, alcohol is harmful when overdone. It can mess with your digestive system, liver, and diet. But if done within moderation and with clear judgment, it can be beneficial, and of course a ton of fun. – Men’s Fitness Magazine, Zack Barangan, NCSF-CPT

Hey Fat Girl, I got something to say to you…

I had to re-post this.  This is the time of year when I like to remind you fellow fitness fanatics that while the New Year’s resolution gym crowd can be frustrating,  those very people need  encouragement and support- not your attitude of superiority.  When you encounter newbies out there in the coming days at the gym or the pool or wherever… Be patient with them and the people who are clueless in your workout classes. Each of these individuals are starting a new scary journey and have their own challenges to overcome. Show them how to use the treadmill. Tell them what equipment they need for class if the instructor is busy. Smile at them.  Make them feel welcome in your gym so that they want to return the next day.  Become inspired by them!

Hey Fat Girl, Image

Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe. 

You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you. 

You are awesome. 

If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others. 

You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.

You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.

You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.

I bow to you.

See original post on Flintland…

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Success in Weight Loss… Do the Math and Get Results!

Keeping a Food Diary Can Double Your Weight Loss

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If you are taking in more calories, fats, sugars, and carbs than you are burning, weight loss will be a challenge. Period. You can workout 5 times a day, but if you are eating more calories than you are burning, you will not see the scale move (except for maybe up). There are several online apps and programs that can help you record your meals.

My favorite 100% free app & website is MyFitnessPal. It will work on your laptop, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Windows phone. It has over 2 million foods in the database, provides you with a support community and the ability to “friend” your workout buddies to help each other stay on track. You can also enter your workouts into the system to track input vs. output each day.

Since we are on the topic of the additional importance of tracking your activity and workouts… let’s talk about that for a moment. There are a TON of apps and websites that will track your activities and caloric output like MyFitnessPal, but not all allow you to track nutrition. Here is a list of just a few that I have experience with:

Nike+: This is the program I started with years ago simply because they were sort of the only game in town. Nike+ works both with GPS on your phone or Nike+ watch or you can go old school and use the pod in your Nike shoes (if you don’t have Nike shoes, you can purchase a little pouch for your laces). Nike has improved their Nike+ system quite a bit and their website is interactive with lots of challenges and colorful graphics. The biggest drawback I think for Nike+ is if you are running it off your iPhone or other device it will drain power very quickly as my friend found while training for Grandma’s Marathon. It also can be quirky if you live in a rural area with a lot of dead cellular spots.

Endomondo: This is a website/ app that has both a free and paid version. It acts as a personal trainer and social fitness partner. Endomondo is ideal for running, cycling, walking and any other distance-based activity for which you want GPS. This program too has the ability to participate in challenges with your friends or strangers and tracks your caloric output as well as mileage etc. The paid version is not worth the money as far as I am concerned. The best feature of Endomondo is that it will sync with Garmin and Polar devices and also will connect to your MyFitnessPal account which eliminates duplicate entry!

MapMyRun (or MapMyRide / MapMyWalk): Powered by MapMyFitness, Inc. these apps have been selected as About.com 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards Best Running App and Best App for Walkers, respectively. Bonus part of these applications are that they allow you to seek out new routes if you are in an unfamilar area. Again it has a community, nutrition component called the Nutrition Dashboard to understand your recommended calorie and nutrient intake and track your eating habits. One stop shopping! The mobile app has the same issues as Endomondo and Nike+ however if you live in an area where your workouts may take you in and out of cell service which will affect the GPS. You can also use this on your laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.

Garmin / Polar: These are the most expensive option as you will need to have the GPS watch in order to use their sites. There are a number of huge benefits in investing in a satellite based watch and tracking system in a rural area. Garmin Connect and Polarpersonaltrainer.com both allow users access to a community-based website for runners, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts who track their activities with Garmin devices.

I truly cannot stress enough the importance of tracking your food consumption. Every person I have ever worked with who struggles with weight loss is taking in more than they are burning. It is easy to become deluded about the food that you are eating. Something seems healthy because it is whole grains? Or lots of fruit is good for you right? Wrong. A few cookies is no big deal… etc. You will be shocked when you start tracking everything- how quickly it adds up. Oh and don’t forget what you DRINK. Alcohol packs a ridiculously huge punch in terms of calories and sugars. Soft drinks and fancy coffees also count for your daily calories. I have known people who don’t count their drinks at all or who drastically underestimate how much alcohol they have consumed because they don’t want to admit they just slugged back two days worth of calories in beer. DON’T DO THIS. You are only cheating yourself and will become quickly frustrated as to why you don’t see the results that you want. Please don’t set yourself up to fail- you deserve better than that.

I am a huge proponent of WeightWatchers since it is the program I started with and had success on. Whatever website/app/watch you choose – the main goal is to find one that works for you! Find a software or method that works for you – even if it is a plain old notebook. And do not get me wrong… I am the first person to agree that skinny does not mean fit & strong. However, most individuals have fitness and weight loss goals that go hand-in-hand. So get going and start tracking! And stick with it for at least a month… I bet that you will be surprised how the results begin to change!

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GET MOVING! Set Your 2013 Fitness Goals Now!

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A new year is almost here and this is the time to set your fitness goals for 2013. Why now? If you set your plan in motion now, you’ll have plenty of time to research new gyms, fitness classes, races, and training groups!

There are an abundance of options to kick off the new year in a new frame of mind. If you need inspiration,  13 Hottest Fitness Trends to Try in 2013  is worth a read!  If you still need help narrowing the scope of what you hope to accomplish, talk to a fitness professional or friend.

If you are not sure where to start in your fitness goals, work on setting your goals on a number of levels:

First you create your “big picture” of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 4 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.

Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your BIG goals. Make these achievable! You want to set small goals for each month and week as you work towards meeting the larger overall goal! For example… Ride 40 or miles each week in June,July, and August (then you’ll be read y for the September Iron Girl and also be working towards overall fitness).

Finally, once you have your plan, GO! There is not any point in “waiting till Monday” or “starting after the holidays”. Once you have your plan, move into action!

Find a supportive friend or group of friends with similar goals and share your plan with them.  You will be amazed at how much a bit of peer support can help you along the way!
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