This really doesn't have much to do with the months changing, but I thought it was funny :)

This really doesn’t have much to do with the months changing, but I thought it was funny 🙂

Holy cow…. It’s Christmas music time. Let’s say goodbye to November with a quick recap!

Best Quotes:
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”—Vince Lombardi

“Courage is only an accumulation of small steps.” –George Konrad

“The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.” –Denis Waitley

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” –William James

Best Songs:
“Everybody, Everybody” by Black Box
“Let It Rock” by Kevin Rudolf ft. Lil Wayne
“Im’ma Shine” by Youngbloodz

Best Recipes:
Black Bean Burgers
Spaghetti Squash

Best Articles:
My “There’s No Easy Way Out” post
My “The Day After: Game Plan” post
Leo Babauta’s “Why the Fitness Habit is More Important Than the Plan”


Best Workouts/Moves:
My “The Day After: Game Plan” WO 

1/2 Burpee: In plank position, jump the feet together toward the chest, then back to their starting position, then jumping jack them out wide, then in together, then complete one pushup. Continue for 30-60 seconds.

BodyRock’s Sexy Sweat On Me WO

Blogilates’ Victoria’s Secret Modal Ab WO


Jillian Michaels Extreme Shed & Shred (2011)

Extreme? Eh, kinda. Shed & Shred? Eh, kinda. Mind-blowing? Not really. A good workout? Yeah, not bad.

It’s Jillian. Looked new and different. I was intrigued by how it claimed to include “everything from kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to yoga to weight training.” And I needed something different while I was at my parents’ for Thanksgiving. So, why not?

Where I Got This DVD: Amazon
Length: Approx. 100 minutes
Workouts: Two 45-minute workouts (or, if done together, it’s about 1 full hour workout)
Instructor: Jillian Michaels
Team: Bashira (sp?) (advanced) and Haley (modified)

Level 1

  • The warm-up includes two rounds of the following: arm circles, jump rope, arms hugs, jumping jacks, and alternating hand-to-foot taps. I liked this—it was a good, simple, somewhat relaxed warm-up.
  • There are four circuits and each includes about 5 moves (either cardio, kickboxing, alternative (Jiu-Jitsu), weighted, ab/core, or yoga).
  • They range from decently easy (sidekicks) to mediocre (lunge + swing/chop) to tough (one-leg mountain climbers).
  • Each circuit includes around 10 reps of each and 2 sets.
  • Haley always does the modified version and I was happy to see that it was indeed easier, but not static. She worked. And Bashira always showed the “normal” move and then the “advanced” move.

Level 2

  • Same warm-up.
  • This level has 5 circuits, but they are the same style—about 5 moves per circuit and 2 go-thrus (sets) of each.
  • The moves got tougher—more plyos (jumping lunges, squats, mountain climbers, etc.), more weighted moves (statue of liberty, bridges with overhead presses, renegade rows with leg raise, etc.), and tougher yoga moves (bird-dog, warrior II to warrior III, full bridges/wheels, etc.).
  • This workout definitely made me sweat and worked me more, however, it was pretty shoulder- and wrist-heavy.

Instructor: Jillian Michaels did a good job of being intense, explaining why we were doing each move, and didn’t talk too much. However, she didn’t always explain how to do the moves long enough before she just started doing them and counting. I got a little lost on a few.
Moves: I liked the variety—from ones I knew, to ones I didn’t, to new twists on ones I use and like. The transitions were definitely quick, so it made each move and workout intense.
Best Workout: Level 2—go big or go home.
Intensity Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Buy It?: Actually, overall, I did like this workout. It’s not often to see moves like those in workout classes and you don’t need much equipment—just one or two sets of weights. Is it going to get you shredded? No, prolly not. But if you’re an at-home exerciser and getting bored, then this could be a good DVD to throw into the mix because it’s challenging, but not over-the-top, Jillian has enough motivating words to keep you going, and the modifications make it customizable.

Motivation Monday

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Music, Quotes, S&S Workouts

Prepackaged junk food just really isn’t worth it. Neither is pop. Or a lot of the crap on the grocery store shelves. Put it back.

Don’t. Stop. Now. Don’t stop at all. Ever. You only stay sharp by learning every day, and it’s the same with your health—you only stay healthy and strong by exercising and eating well every day. It doesn’t matter the time of year…. Don’t ever stop trying to be better.

Use these—what Doug and I are using—this week to stay motivated despite the cold weather, the fewer hours of light, and all the crazy-good food.

SONG: “Lick It” by Kaskade & Skrillex

WORKOUT: Amanda Russell’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Big Burn Workout (I’ve tried it — several times — it’s a good one!)

QUOTE: “My dad would tell me to, ‘Play for those who couldn’t play.’ So my motivation is for people who struggle in life daily.” –Misty May-Treanor, two-time beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist


Don’t stop believing that you can. Treat yourself with respect and watch what happens!

Was this you last night? Stop being full and mad at yourself and do the work to feel and look better!

I did forget one HUGE thing I’m thankful for: The ability to follow my passions of fitness and writing by being both a fitness instructor and trainer as well as a freelance writer and editor. Not to mention, I’m very lucky and thankful to have such a great group of people that I work with and work out every single day. Thank you all for supporting me, encouraging me to be better, and motivating me to keep going. You all rock!!!

Okay. So. Are you still full from yesterday? I was a little too full last night, but luckily I stopped early enough so I didn’t feel too bad before bed. How did your day and evening go? A little better than planned? Congrats! A little worse than planned? That’s okay, just DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. You can start undoing some of the damage today. Right now!

Your Day-After Game Plan:

  • Drink as much water as possible. A glass an hour would be great, so you’re taking in 10-12 throughout the day.
  • Stick to tea for your non-water drink. Or coffee. But be careful on the cream/milk and sugar in both. Opt for as little as possible and choose green tea. It’ll help you digest, give your immune system a boost, and kick your metabolism into a little higher gear.
  • MOVE IT! Multiple times. All day on and off, if possible. Get a workout in, but also try to stay active all day. Power walk it while Black Friday shopping. Go up and down the stairs as much as possible. Take a walk with friends outside.
  • Minimize TV and computer time. Or, when you’re watching TV, get some squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and sit-ups in during the commercials.
  • Eat as many whole, raw, real foods as possible. And whole grains. Choose fruit and oatmeal for breakfast, a salad (with very little dressing or none) with a piece of fruit for lunch, and brown rice, lean protein, and steamed, raw, or roasted veggies for dinner. Keep snacks to fresh fruits, raw veggies, and nuts.
  • It’s okay to have a little left-overs, just don’t recreate Thanksgiving! Try to only choose one leftover to have. Like a piece of pie and whipped cream for dessert. Or turkey for a sandwich at lunch. Or leftover potatoes or stuffing for dinner.

Your Day-After Workout:
*Complete 10 reps of each exercise below in this order, then repeat for a total of 2-3 times.
*To make it harder, hold light weights or increase the number of sets.

  • Regular squats (feet just wider than shoulder-width)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Pushups (make it harder: put your feet up on a step)
  • Close-legged squats (feet together or directly under hips bones)
  • High knees (count every RIGHT knee)
  • Tricep dips (make it harder: put your hands on a step and straighten your legs)
  • Wide-legged squats (feet wider than shoulder-width, toes out)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Bicycle crunches (count every RIGHT knee)
  • Alternating forward lunges
  • High knees (count every RIGHT knee)
  • Pushups
  • Alternating backward lunges
  • Jumping jacks
  • Tricep dips (make it harder: put your hands on a step and straighten your legs)


Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted: November 22, 2012 in S&S Tips&Tricks

He he. This sounds like something I would do. But I didn’t. Dangit. I dropped the ball.


I am thankful. For a great many things. I encourage you to make a list of things you are thankful for today and make a promise to take advantage of and then also respect them.

I am thankful for my wonderful, supportive, loving family. I’ve already told every one of them that and I am also spending the day with my parents.

I am thankful for my amazing, encouraging, fun, loving boyfriend.  I already told him that, too, and plan to stay in touch with him all day, despite us being apart for the weekend.

I am thankful that my eyes can see, my ears can hear, and my body can move. I will be taking a walk/jog outside later, talking and listening to family and friends, and exercising for a second time today (I already got one sweat session in!).

I am thankful for the privilege of an abundance of delicious food. I will try a little of everything that looks good, but only stick to homemade stuff versus the store-bought goodies. And I’m promising myself not to go overboard. Just because I don’t have it often doesn’t mean I can’t have it again, so there’s no sense in gorging myself and feeling disgusting.


What are you thankful for and how are you going to honor those things?


A few tips and tricks to get you in the mindset of a happy, healthy Thanksgiving:

  • Create a lighter dinner by substituting: skim milk for whole milk, roasted veggies for creamed ones, and fresh veggies and fruit versus canned versions.
  • Focus on still getting in your servings of veggies and fruit in. Eat some fruit for breakfast. Break it out as a snack. Request it as a dish at dinner (or bring it!). Same for veggies. Snack on raw veggies throughout the day and get some in at dinner, too. It won’t negate all of the other calories, but it’ll fill you up a bit and help you get your daily vitamins, minerals, healthy carbs, and natural fiber servings in!
  • You can let yourself indulge! Just stick to modest proportions and don’t go back for more than one serving.
  • Savor every bite. Focus on the taste, the smell, the color, the texture. Experience your food.
  • Don’t even think about how you’ll have to go on a diet tomorrow. There is no better day to focus on control and a healthy LIFESTYLE than today.
  • Try not to imbibe too many cocktails. Alcohol means cravings.
  • Remember the day is about way more than eating and Black Friday shopping planning. ENJOY your family and friends. RELAX. Spend QUALITY TIME with people. Listen, learn, talk, and smile.


Enjoy. Laugh. Smile. Love. And play. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

There’s No Easy Way Out….

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Music, S&S Tips&Tricks

What you’d have to do in order to burn off what you usually eat on Thanksgiving…. Are some foods really worth it?

This is my pre-Thanksgiving pep talk, brought to you in part by the wonderful car and old-school workout jam “No Easy Way Out” by Robert Tepper. Yes, it is the song from Rocky IV after Apollo dies and Rocky is cruisin’ in his car deciding whether or not to fight Drago. Yes, Rocky IV is my favorite of the Rocky movies. Yes, I do hope it’s on TV tomorrow. Yes, I do dramatically sing along to it in the car. And while I teach Spinning….

Aside from that, this post was inspired partially as I spun to that song this morning. Because it’s true when it comes to fitness–there’s no easy way out, there’s no shortcut home. What do I mean by that? There is no shortcut to health and fitness. There is no magic pill or magic machine to get you lean and ripped. It’s all about hard work, because we’re not indestructible–we need to take care of ourselves. You can’t eat like crap today, say you’ll do better tomorrow, and then expect everything to be easy. Same goes for exercise. Being, feeling, and looking healthier is a matter of constant vigilance (Mad-Eye Moody, anyone?)–you need to be constantly aware of what you put into your body, when, how much, and what you do to expend calories. No, it’s not rocket science (vegetables are better than candy, water is better than juice), but there isn’t an easy way to achieve those things. You have to work at it day in and day out. Truthfully, I do, too.

I have a lot of trouble during the holidays because I am such a simple eater at my own home. When I’m with my family for the holidays, there is food that I never cook or bake, so my eyes and taste buds go into overdrive. And because of my history of being a binge eater, I really have to watch myself. It sucks. It’s hard. I’m not pretending it’s easy. And it’s not always fun to stop eating something before you feel like you should, but sometimes you just have to in order to save yourself.

It’s very true that Thanksgiving meals can pack an extra few THOUSAND calories on you. Most people eat a good two times as much as normal. Don’t be one of the statistics. Be your own statistic. Choose homemade foods over store-bought ones. Take walks throughout the day. Offer to play with the kids outside or run laundry and food up and down the stairs.

There’s no easy way, there’s not shortcut home, but givin’ in CAN be wrong.

Take care of yourself this Thanksgiving.

Motivation Monday

Posted: November 19, 2012 in Facts, Music, Online WO Reviews, Quotes

Don’t be a Peter during the Thanksgiving holiday! MOVE IT!

It’s going to be a long week…. So start it off right!

2 Fun Facts:

  • Apples may help prevent breast and liver cancer.
  • A single, large turkey leg with the skin has over 1,000 calories and 155 percent of the average person’s daily cholesterol allowance.

2 Hip-to-the-Hop Songs:
“Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart
“Im’ma Shine” by Youngbloodz

2 Motivating Quotes:
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” –William James

“If you always put limit on everything you do, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” –Bruce Lee

2 Workouts to Try:
Victoria’s Secret Model Ab Workout

Amanda Russell’s 4 Minute Body Blaster