Everything Southern & So Cotton Pickin Cute

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Stepin' It Up a Notch #GetFit

I can't believe I've been exercising regularly for 6 months now. I'll tell you something else. When they say you'll feel better and have more energy, they're not pulling your leg - it's really true.  Do you want to get more done while feeling less tired?  Then get up and move!  I know what you're thinking, 'but I'm too tired to move, how can I exercise Tracy?'  Keep reading...

I used to get really sleepy during the day and I've found that if I'll go outside (fresh air is awesome) and take a quick walk, I come back energized and can keep going.  Whereas, if I do lay down, I don't take a quick 20 minute nap, I sleep for a couple of hours and usually wake up lethargic.  Actually I never even nap anymore, except when I'm laying on the beach. :)

With swimsuit season in full swing, this week I decided to step my routine up a notch. I've added 4 new exercises. (I'm only showing you 3 here, I also added squats).

Another change, I'm back to drinking more water.  Actually it's Apple Cinnamon water. It's a great metabolism booster, not to mention a whole lot cheaper and healthier than cokes.  And no I've haven't given cokes up completely - get real folks!  But I am drinking a whole lot less of them.  I even drank my AC water with dinner tonight and once I finish working out, I was craving it instead of a coke.  That's huge progress for me!! You can see the AC recipe here along with a delicious Strawberry Chicken Salad recipe.

So today I'm going to talk about the best exercises for your butt.  They are the ones that I've added to my routine. You can read about the 15 minute exercise routine I was doing here. These will help my glutes and quads, i.e...my butt.  The exercises I've been doing up till now have been crunches for my belly, and mostly upper body ones that have been concentrating on my chest and arms.  So these are much needed, especially now that it's swimsuit season.  Yeah, starting months ago would have been better, but like they say, 'better late than never'.

Here's a quick breakdown:  

A typical workout might be comprised of 3 separate circuits.  Each circuit is usually 3 to 5 exercises.  For the first circuit, you do one exercise after the next - around 10 to 15 reps of each - with no rest in between.  Once you've completed all the exercises, you then rest for about a minute, and repeat the entire circuit one to two more times.  When you've finished, you move on to the second circuit, and then the third, following the same procedure for each.

I couldn't have done this a year ago.  When I first started doing crunches in December I could barely lift my shoulders off of the ground, and I thought I was a lost cause.  Not so! Start where you're at today.  Just Start!  It all begins with a simple step.  Before you know it, you'll hate to miss a day of working out.

Exercise 1: Single-Leg Hip Raise

  1. Lie faceup on the floor with your left knee bent and your right leg straight.  (Your right leg should be in line with your left thigh.)  Now try to make your stomach as skinny as possible and hold it that way.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.  (Your left leg should stay elevated the entire time.) Pause for 2 seconds, as you keep your tummy tight and continue to squeeze your glutes.  Then lower back to the starting position and repeat.  *Key pointer:  Your torso and hips should move as one unit.  So the arch in your lower back should remain the same from start to finish.  This way, you're primarily doing the work with your glutes, not your lower back and hamstrings.  *If that's too hard: Do the same movement, but with both feet on the floor.  *If that's too easy: Do the same movement, but cross your arms over your chest instead of bracing them against the floor (as shown).

Exercise 2: Reverse Lunge

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm's length next to your sides, your palms facing each other.
  2. Step backward with your right leg, and lower your body until your left knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your right knee nearly touches the floor.  Push yourself back to the starting position by pressing into the floor with your left heel.  That's 1 rep.  Do all your reps, then repeat with your right leg.  *If that's too hard: Try the exercise with just your body-weight.

Exercise 3: Stepup

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm's length at your sides.  Stand in front of a bench or step that's about knee-height, and place your left foot firmly on the step.
  • Press your left heel into the step and push your body up until your left leg is straight and you're  standing on one leg on the bench, keeping your right foot elevated.  Lower your body back down until your right foot touches the floor.  That's one repetition.  Do all your reps with your left leg, then do the same number with your right leg.  *If that's too hard: Try the exercise with just your body-weight.  *Add variety: Stand sideways, with your right leg next to step. Then cross your left foot in front of your right leg and place your left foot on the step. Now perform a stepup. Focus on really pressing your left heel into the step to push yourself up.


Most of us believe that you can't get rid of cellulite without strange messages or going to the extreme of getting a medical procedure done.  But according to celebrity trainer Valerie Waters, that's simply not true.  (good to hear)

Valerie says with hard work, 3 or 4 times a week, along with a good diet will do the trick. The truth is that cellulite is fat and it can take up to a year to go away, according to Valerie.  The upside is that even though it can take up to a year, you can start to get noticeably better in weeks.  This is where consistency and patience and patience pay off.

So what is Valerie's secret?  First and foremost, you have to eat a healthy diet.  You can get slower results or faster results, depending on disciplined you want to be.

For the fastest results you should eliminate processed foods altogether.  That includes foods that contain added sugar - soda, baked goods, and candy as well as those products that have been highly refined such as white bread, white pasta, and french fries.  Uh-oh! In others words you eat a whole foods diet, with an emphasis on lean meats and fresh produce.  It doesn't mean that you have to eat grilled chicken and steamed broccoli forever.  But six weeks of being super-dedicated can speed your results and give you the momentum to keep at it.

Do I believe I can do that?

In one word no, but that doesn't mean that I can't make so pretty big changes.  I'm keeping a lot more fruit in the house as well as fresh veggies compared to the canned ones. I'm also replacing a lot of coke with my AC water.  We already eat a lot of boneless skinless chicken breast, fresh shrimp and salads, but I do use a lot of butter (it's a southern thing), so I'm working on changing that.

I just switched over to a whole wheat bread.  That was major for me because I love my white bread!  I'm starting out my day with eggs for protein and fruit, so that's a help.  And I'm also, looking into buying a good protein powder so if you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment below.  I want to start making shakes, so I can add more green veggies to my diet and stay fueled longer.

Physical exercise is important, but don't neglect your spirit which is even more important. Make it a priority to carve out some time for meditation and prayer.  Start your day with gratitude and you'll find that everything seems to be brighter and go smoother.  Adjust your mind while you build your body.

**Coming Soon I'll be hosting a giveaway with Hapari Swimsuits.  One winner will receive a $100 gift certificate!! Keep watching - it's coming soon.  Thanks Hapari!

Stay fit y'all...

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

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