Fitness

So You’re Over Forty And Ready To Begin Building Muscle?

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Getting older is such a pain, isn’t it?  What used to come so easy requires much more effort.   Even sleeping now requires effort … what is that about and whyyyyy?  Just over three years ago, I found myself at a real crossroad in life.  Everything fell apart in one fell swoop, and I wanted to curl up in a hole and disappear.  But I was still responsible for two kiddos who have special needs and who require constant care, so retreat wasn’t an option.  You’ve heard of flight or fight?  I thankfully chose to fight and have been fighting like hell ever since.

You may not be at a major crossroad in your life, but perhaps your waistline is.  haha.  You can’t really run from your waistline, so maybe it’s time to fight back.  Want to lose some of that fat?  Decrease the risk of Osteoporosis?  Burn more calories?  And improve your heart’s health?  Then, you better hit the weights and get to lifting.  When you’re ready to take that first step toward build muscle, as with anything, it’s best to begin with a simple solid foundation.  Three really good tools for your cache are the foam roller, the medicine ball, and Yoga.  I’d suggest to begin by spending one month, 30 minutes a day, becoming a student of these three fitness weapons that will assist you in initial steps toward slaying your body.

  1.  Foam Rolling:  Do you foam roll before or after a workout?  Yes.  Both.  It only takes a couple minutes of time and is worth every second.  Rolling Massagers reduce muscle tension and tightness, reduce soreness, and reduce levels of stress hormones.   Some studies say it even fires up your central nervous system, helping to regulate heart rate and blood flow.  I don’t know much about the scientific evidence, but I do know how foam rolling has benefited me.  I work out hard six days a week, and still run and do yoga on the seventh day.  As a result, muscle pain has become my norm.  I kept reading about roller massagers, but was a major skeptic until one day I found one on sale and decided to give it a try.  Aaaaaaand it works.  After rolling, my muscles feel energized and aren’t nearly as sore.  As with anything, rolling can be overdone, so I keep it to only a few minutes twice a day.  Most rollers are around $30.00, so it’s not much of an investment to add to your fitness arsenal.  If you’re looking for a first step, then buy one!    foam roller
  2. Medicine Ball:  Medicine Balls were used by ancient Greek Athletes and Gladiators, and they’re still around today, so there must be something special about them, right?  Absolutely.  Not only will you burn calories with the medicine ball, but you’ll build strength, power, balance, and work your core.  Abdominal curls, Russian twists, big circles, standing torso twists, woodchoppers, lunge twists, wall sits, chest pushes, hamstring curls, knee crushers, and squat leg raises are all examples of what you can easily do with one simple medicine ball.  With three sets of 12 reps, building muscle with these exercises will be no problem.  To buy a 6 lb. ball, click here.  For an 8 lb. ball, click here.pineapple clothing 2

    3.  Yoga:  Last, but far from least, is Yoga.  I cannot say enough about Yoga.  It has transformed my life and my body.  To build beautiful lean muscles the right way, you need to be physically flexible, and Yoga will definitely improve your flexibility.  More than that, however, yoga will also increase your muscle tone, improve your energy, help you maintain a balanced metabolism, improve your circulatory health, produce a gorgeous posture, and as an added benefit, will greatly enhance your mood.  Formal Yoga exercise classes can be found at most gyms, but Yoga instruction can also be found on DVDs and at your fingertips on convenient phone apps.  I have the Asana Rebel application loaded on my cell phone and use it every day.  The most magnificent thing about Yoga is you can jump in at anytime, at any age, and at any level … and grow into it.  It’s something you evolve into slowly, but the benefits are almost immediate.

     

     

    As with anything, building muscle takes time, dedication, hard work, and patience.   Consistency pays off.  If you begin with these three simple building blocks, you’re off to a strong start.  Just stick with it, and then slowly incorporate other exercises into your life.  Each new challenge will bring a brand new reward.
    If you ever need any help getting started, and if you live close by, just let me know!
    ~Mel

 

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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