Fitness, get fit, get healthy, Health blog, self care

Four Easy Ways To Make Time For Fitness

The Cheese-Puff is nude more often than he’s clothed.  Shirts, shorts, and shoes are such an unnecessary bother when sensory processing is a daily struggle.  “Clothes on,” I say, at least twenty to thirty times a day.  Pulling a shirt back over his skinny-winny little bare naked body, I take time to kiss his tomato red hair.  Who could resist?

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Hopey dumps waaaaaaay more water from her cup than she drinks from a straw.  She sometimes pours it over her own head … sometimes over mine.  Why?  I wish I knew.  But she thinks it’s hilarious.  After the water is spilled, she runs off on her tippy toes and giggles with abandon.  “No, Hopey,” I yell, as she ditches me for the hidden shadows.  At every moment, though, I choose my battles.  And water just isn’t that big of a deal.

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Bringing up two kiddos who sport an extra chromosome and who are non-verbal is challenging.  Neither speak one word, but they still fuss and fight like typical siblings.  And both vie for my attention constantly.  One goes to bed with the chickens and rises early.  The other is a night owl and is like waking the dead.  One can tag you in the head with a ball from twelve feet away.  The other can climb your body like you’re a tree and have his arms around your neck before you know what’s happened.  They try to get away with jumping on beds, climbing on tables, and rolling the house in toilet paper … every single day.  They’d rather dance to a Luke Bryan song than eat.  They’re master escape artists.  And if I leave the house without them, you’d think the whole world has come to an abrupt end.  You’ve never seen the drama these two can cook up.

I travel, kayak, explore, and dance like a fool with Hope and Charlie.  My life is so much fun, but it can also be chaotic.   And hard.  If I didn’t take time to be on top of my game, I’d be overthrown in a minute.  My secret to being the consistent queen of my brood is fitness. Exercise boosts my mood, gives me energy, and is empowering.  Do I have time to be fit?  Ummmmm, the answer to that question is a hard no.  Do I always feel like working out?  I’m fifty years old and am outnumbered by two kiddos who have more energy than a zoo monkey, so the answer to that question would be a hell no.  But I make fitness a priority so I can remain the queen.  haha.  At least in my own mind.

This begs the question of HOW to make time for fitness.

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If you’ve read this far, you’ve checked off the biggest and most important box by realizing you need to make fitness a part of your routine.  If I can do it, you can too:

First, make a schedule and stick with it.  Carve out thirty-five minutes of time, five days a week, and make that time a priority.  Even if you don’t feel like working out, push through it.  Eventually, it will become a habit.

Second, plan your workout ahead of time.  If you try to workout on the fly, you won’t make near as much progress.  Every other day, use weights to focus on arms, shoulders, and back.  The other days, work legs and glutes.  Take five minutes each day for abs and set aside fifteen minutes each day for cardio.  It’s can actually be that simple.

Third, find someone who will hold you accountable.  Without an advocate who will push and encourage you, the beginning of this journey will be nearly impossible.  Your head will give you every reason under the sun why it’s not normal for a woman to sweat.  You won’t be able to sit down on the toilet seat, climb out of your car,  or bend down to pick up the quarter you dropped when checking out at Publix, because your muscles will be aching.  You’ll wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.  You’ll think you’re too old, too fat, too tired, too busy, or too depressed.  Trust me, you need someone lined up who will remind you that if you want to be a queen, you must continue to tackle those push-ups, squats, and burpees.

Fourth, change your point of view.  Your workout isn’t optional.  It’s sacred.  You wouldn’t skip eating or sleeping.  You wouldn’t miss an episode of The Bachelor or that Starbucks visit with your college roomie.  With statistics overwhelmingly proving how a regular fitness routine boosts your health and increases longevity, why wouldn’t it be sacred?  It’s a no-brainer, and can be achieved with only 35 minutes per day.  Yassssss, Queens (and Kings)!!!!

Here’s a quick 35 minute routine to get you started:

Download Tabata Stopwatch Pro

Settings:

  • Initial Countdown = 5 seconds
  • Exercise Interval – 25 seconds
  • Rest Interval = 10 seconds
  • Number of sets:  30

 

Week 1:  

(Use your Tabata stopwatch with the settings above.  It will prompt on when to begin each exercise and when to rest … Just do as many reps as you can within the exercise interval, making sure to implement correct form.  Don’t rush.)

Arm Day:

  1. Bicep Curl and Overhead Press
  2. Tricep Dips
  3. Bent Over Flies
  4. Chest Press (lie on mat or on bench)
  5. Chest Flies (lie on mat or on bench)
  6. Skull Crushers (lie on mat or on bench)

Leg Day:

  1. Prisoner Squats
  2. Front Kicks
  3. Side Lunges
  4. Squat Jumps
  5. Donkey Kicks
  6. Walking Front Lunge

Fifteen minutes of cardio:

Walk three minutes, jog three minutes, walk three minutes, jog three minutes … alternating until you’ve completed fifteen minutes.  Go as hard as you can.

Five Minute Abs:

  1. 20 crunches
  2. 20 crunches with legs bent into stomach
  3. 20 crunches with right leg up in the air / left leg still crunched to stomach
  4. 20 crunches with left leg up in the air / right leg still crunched to stomach
  5. 20 crunch toe-taps (crunch legs into stomach, then extend legs down to tap floor)
  6. 20 crunches (cross right leg over left knee — bring left elbow to right knee)
  7. 20 crunches (cross left leg over right knee — bring right elbow to left knee)
  8. 20 bicycle crunches
  9. Two 30 second elbow planks 

PLEASE send me a private message if you have any questions … or feel free to comment.  I’ll be your advocate, your cheerleader, and your go-to!!!

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Just my thoughts!

Melanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fitness, get fit, get healthy, self care, skin care, Summer Fashion, Summer Style

Hats, Baths, & Masks

HATS:

Hats are a must have for the summer months.  Not only do they protect our faces from the sun, they protect our hair too.  UVA rays dry out and damage the outer layer of our hair, making it appear brittle.  Add in the daily humidity, and summer hair can be the worst.  If you’re not having that great of a hair day, put your hair in loose braids or pull it back into a low pony and sock a cute hat on for instant style.  If you have short hair, you’re already ready to just wear a hat and go.  Most females overthink hats, but it’s actually a simple addition.  Solid colors are easier to coordinate and straw hats go with everything.  Just have fun with it.

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My black hat sort of reminds me of Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies, but I really like it.  haha.  It’s a bit stretchy, not too tight, and is lightweight.  I’ve paired it with a shirt I pulled off the sale rack at American Eagle for $10.00 and some cut-off jean shorts (also from American Eagle).  With black sandals, I’m ready for any outdoor event.  Here’s a link to the tops currently on Clearance at American Eagle.

BATHS:

Do you sweat?  I’m a fitness freak.  Every day I do high intensity interval training and also run a couple of miles.  In the summer, especially, I sweat a lot.  Exercising to the point of producing lots of sweat is so good for us.  It manufactures happy feelings, gives us an energy rush, reduces aches and pains, and releases toxins from our bodies.  But getting that sweat off of our bodies is equally important.  The bathtub is a perfect solution.  Not only will it cleanse your body, but it will also restore and relax your body.

After a long day outside, it’s important to pamper our skin.  Again, the sun will do some damage.  Find a good moisturizing bubble bath, light a candle, turn on some soft music, and relax.  I experiment with different kinds of bubble baths, bath bombs, and body washes.  This one from Caress really does have a buttery burnt brown sugar smell as advertised.  It. Is. Yummy.  Here’s the link … I picked it up at Target.

 

 

Masks:   

If caring for our entire body is important, our faces should be at the top of the list as the most important part of our bodies.  Caring for our faces every day needs to be a priority.  I’ve said it before, and will say it again, don’t ever go to bed with makeup on.  It will age your skin.  Cleanse your face everyday.  Exfoliate often.  Pamper it with moisturizer two times a day, morning and night.  And try to make time for a mask once a week.

 

This mask is by a company called Yes To.   I’d heard the company was started by two guys who played soccer, and was definitely curious to find out what these dudes know about skincare.  As it turns out, they apparently know a lot.  They use 95% natural ingredients in their products and make sure all are free of toxins.  This was my first time using one of their masks, and I have to say I might be hooked.  It was thick and creamy, had a nice gentle scent, went on easy, and left my skin feeling so soft.  If you aren’t married to a certain type of mask, give it a try.  Target carries this product too!

The takeaway is self care.  As women, we’re so adept at taking care of others, aren’t we?  We check off lists all day every day.  It’s part of our DNA.  I swear, when God made Eve, that woman probably opened her eyes and immediately got to work sprucing up the Garden of Eden.

Adam was like:  “Hey, God made sex, and He says it’s very good … wanna have a go at it?”

Eve:  “Ummmm, yeh, sure thing.  But first I need to figure out how I can turn a pile of palm leaves into cute throw pillows for our bed, clear away all the brush so our outdoor digs will be tidy, prune a couple of trees to give some sharp curb appeal, and gather more fruit and veggies in case the Lord stops by for dinner … plus, don’t we have babies to tend to?”

Adam:  “Well, no … we have to have the sex first.”

Can you relate?  The housekeeping and the lists will wait.  The kids will wait too.  It took me fifty years, but I’ve finally embraced the importance of putting myself first for a couple of hours a day.  Living in the moment.  I’m very type-A … if I can do it, so can you.

Exercise, take baths, experiment with different beauty products, and love yourself.  Age is just a number, but life is short.  You’re worth the extra effort!

Just my thoughts,

Melanie

Fashion, Fitness, get healthy, Turning Fifty

On Turning 50

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I’ve had a year to prepare.  Actually, I guess I’ve had forty-nine years to prepare.  But who can ever be adequately equipped to reach the age society refers to with such doom and gloom?  I mean, the latest studies agree.  By age fifty, we should drop flip flops, ditch denim, toss tanks, swap shorts for capris, and chop our hair into an age-appropriate bob or pixie.  And the latest trend?  Don’t even get me started.  “Just allow your hair to go graaaaay,” they say.  “Gray is the new black,” they say.  And my favorite:  “Gray is sexy!”  Hmmmmmm.  On Jamie Lee Curtis, a gray pixie cut is sexy.  On Jamie Lee Curtis, capri pants may even have a snow ball’s chance at looking hot.  But can we agree that she’s been an exception to a whole slew of rules for many many years?  Say this with me out loud:  “I, (insert your name here), am not Jamie Lee Curtis … and no matter how much ACTIVA I ingest, I will never ever ever be Jamie Lee Curtis.”

(Deep breath)  I’ve actually had well-meaning women tell me that I need to cut my hair and throw out my denim shorts because I’m “getting too old”.  Please, for the love of all things good and true, can we at least agree to give denim a break?  Denim has been with us through thick and thin … literally.  And has stood the test of time as much as we have.  Maybe more than we have.  If I can say anything here today about fashion, it would be that we should ALL own some denim.  Until. We. Die.

I’m sorry, but the thought of all the false fashion notions that are prevalent on the internet brings on a mild panic attack with me.  Even right now, my heart is in a rush as I picture myself being yanked away, kicking and screaming, from the gorgeous diva who colors my hair.  Can anyone else relate?  As long as my hair is perfect, I can take hold of satan himself by his pointy ears and firmly place him behind me.  In the south, after all, hair is everything.  Gray is not the new black.  It’s just not!

Let’s be real.  When a person reaches fifty or sixty or seventy … or even eighty … the last thing we should be discussing is age appropriate fashion and/or hairstyles.  That person has lived five or more decades of life, which these days, is a feat.  And because of their years on the planet, they’ve earned the right to look however they want to look.  I may be waging war against capri pants and pixie cuts for myself, but for whoever chooses them, I’ll give 100% support (as long as the pixie cut, gray hair, AND capri pants aren’t paired together — a fifty year old female can only be stretched so far.)  My gripe is when the fashion police puts us into a middle-aged box of do’s and don’ts when what should truly matter is the sum of our experiences.

For instance.

At age fifty,  I’ve experienced two marriages and divorce … healthy relationships and abuse … having a successful career and being a stay at home mom … raising typical kiddos and raising kiddos who are differently abled.  I know what it’s like to have a close knit family, but I also know what it feels like when the family unit crumbles with estrangement.  I’m the very proud momma of two adopted kiddos, and can tell you that my love for those two is the exact same as it is for the three I birthed.

I’ve weighed too much and too little, and now have determined the scale doesn’t matter near as much as choosing good health.  Reveling in the highest of highs one moment, I’ve also walked through the deepest valleys of depression the next.  I’ve written books and songs, have earned my place in 5k races, attended law school for two years, and ran for state senate as a write-in candidate to bring light to a law that would have been unfavorable to the special needs community.

I’ve been fortunate to have formed associations with individuals who, just by their very existence, make me dare to believe there is a God.  At the same time, though, I still wrestle with the heavy weight of disbelief.   I’ve mourned the loss of loved ones.  I fear for the future of my children who have Down syndrome.  What if I die first?  And as the former owner of a non-profit that provided free clothing to teenage girls who are fighting through the ravages of poverty, the foster care system, and an addiction to self harm, I can tell you without a moment’s hesitation that “those kids” are amazing young women who are striving for a better future.  They cling to hope, as do I, for a society that will choose the attitude of love, peace, and charity over selfishness, fighting, and suffering.

These are the things that matter.

I get it.  I’m fifty.

And in the eyes of much of society, that means I’m now over the hill.

Regardless, my fifty years of life has mattered.

And your life matters too.

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Happy Birthday to me!!!!

~Mel

 

 

get healthy

Soak Your Troubles Away — Self Care

I’m turning fifty in April (insert a big gulp) … and like many of my best girlfriends, I’m refusing to grow old gracefully.  I mean, us gals could sit back and let age take over.  But why would we want to go and do a crazy thing like that?

Yes, I work out regularly, I eat healthy, and I step on the scale every single day.  But even more important, I pamper myself.  And no matter what stage of life you are in right now, you should too.

As a mom with four kiddos living at home, two who have special needs, it’s vitally important for me to stay as healthy and strong as I can.  That fact clicked with me a long time ago.  However, until fairly recently, I didn’t get the pampering part of the equation. As a result, I’m catching up on lost time.

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To put it plainly, pampering is equal to air.  Without it, we suffocate.  I didn’t even know I was suffocating until I started making self care a part of my daily ritual.  Now, I’d never go back.  I think of it this way.  If we don’t fill ourselves with love first, making sure to fill our tanks to the brim, how are we going to have enough love to give out to others?  So … with that in mind, here’s a quick tip:

One of the ways I show myself love is to soak in a hot tub WITH bath bombs and a 1980’s love song playlist (thank you Spotify!).

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Bath bombs can be found at most big retail chains for a variety of prices, but my favorite (so far) is the 100% Natural Bath Bombs from Natural Spa Bath.  They are made in the USA with premium sourced essential oils and use no synthetic dyes or preservatives, which is all a big plus.  They turn my bath time into sanctuary time and can be found on Amazon by clicking here .   If you haven’t tried bath bombs yet, by the way, you haven’t lived.

What about when you don’t have time to soak?  Do you skip the bath?  No, no, no.  Say these four words with me:  “Never forgo the bath.”  Seriously.  When I only have ten or fifteen minutes for a bath, I make sure I still pamper myself by using a body scrub and a bath brush.  Because bath time is self love time and plain water will never do:

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My favorite body scrub is the Ginger & Cardamom Olive Oil Body Scrub by Bath and Body Works.  The scent, for some reason, makes me feel like I’m Cleopatra in Egypt, and at only $6.00, it is an inexpensive extravagance.  (Cleopatra, by the way, believed herself to be a living Goddess … I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that she pampered the heck out of herself.)   To follow up, since I’ve exfoliated with a scrub, I nourish my body with 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Shea Moisture .  Rich in Vitamin E, the Coconut Oil has natural anti-aging properties.  As a bonus, it is also very good for people who battle chronic dry skin, psoriasis and/or eczema.  If you combine these two products, I promise, your body will be as soft as a buttery biscuit.  (You know, the inside, when you pull back the outer layers and it’s like a yummy cloud.)

And after my bath, I always pull on something super plush:

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When you go to the trouble to get your body all soft and smooth, you can’t just throw on something scratchy.  And not to digress too much, but speaking of smooth, ladies, can we all just agree to shave or wax our legs regularly?  I get the whole movement toward “it’s our right and our bodies, so we don’t have to conform to society’s expectations” … but by shaving our legs, we are making our legs more beautiful.  It’s a fact.  Hairy legs are not pretty.  I know I don’t want to feel prickles of hair against my jeggings or my leggings, do you?  Lord, no!  It takes five minutes to shave your legs.  Just do it.  Anyhow, this comfy sweater is from one of my favorite stores, American Eagle .

So, to wrap up.  Pamper yourself and soak those darned troubles away.

~Mel