Saturday, September 7, 2013


I love to look at pictures. Blogs with beautiful pictures just draw me in. Photography has never been one of my strengths. I want to be able to capture snippets of our life, but I just don’t know anything about it. We have a decent SLR camera. I have never really ventured out of auto mode. Hopefully that will change.


I have found this course online today. I read through the first 8 lessons for the beginner. For some reason this is something that just doesn’t “click” for me (pun intended). Not giving up though!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cardio Workout-Tabata HIIT

Here is a Tabata workout that I have done. The only thing you need is a watch or clock, but a towel to dry up all the perspiration might be handy as well. Kind of gross, these workouts are no joke!

A few words before you start. Make sure to work VERY hard during the work interval. Work at 90-95% of your maximum. You should be breathless and unable to talk. It might sound scary, but remember there is a 10 second break coming. During the workout if you feel dizzy or lightheaded, slow down and march in place. Keep moving and the blood flow will return to your head. These workouts are intense, so pay attention to your body and work at an appropriate pace for YOUR fitness level. Do your personal best. Enjoy!

Cardio Workout_HIIT_Tabata

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Effective and Efficient Cardio

Everyone needs to get cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis. It can be tough to fit one more thing into our schedules. The CDC  recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. The amount of time needed to meet our cardiovascular exercise needs is directly correlated to the intensity of the exercise. Intensity matters! If you work hard, you can get your weekly cardio done in half the time. If the thought of spending less time and getting the same or better results sounds appealing to you, you need to know about HIIT.

I Heart HIIT

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. You alternate intense exercise with intervals of recovery/rest. The key is to work VERY hard during the intense intervals. You want to work at 90-95 % of your maximum. You want to be breathless and unable to talk. During the periods of recovery or rest you either slow way down to about 50% of your max or completely rest. You need to be able to get your breathing under control and say a few words.

A HIIT workout really never needs to be longer than 30 minutes. I get great workouts in 20 minutes. Always start with a 2-5 minute warm-up. Perform 3-10 intense intervals with a period of recovery after each intense interval. End your workout with a 2-5 minute cool down.

There are many variations of HIIT. You can alternate 30 seconds of intense work with 30 seconds of recovery. You can work hard for 1 minute and recover for 2 minutes. You can do a pyramid (30 seconds intense/30 seconds recovery, 60 seconds intense/60 seconds recovery, 90 seconds intense/90 seconds recovery and then work back down). My favorite form of intervals is called Tabatas. You do 20 second intervals with a 10 second rest period for 8 cycles.

This article by Rachel Cosgrove does such an awesome job explaining HIIT. She gives some of the science behind this form of cardio training and why it is so effective. She compares steady state cardio (for example 45 minutes of running) with HIIT. I was a believer in interval training before I read the article, but this sealed the deal for me.

I will be posting some HIIT workouts that can be done in your living room. Abe and I do these workouts often when we don’t have time to get to the gym. We are always a sweaty mess and so glad to be done!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Strong and Lean!

It is no secret that I love fitness. It is one of my favorite hobbies. This past winter/Spring I got certified to teach group exercise classes.

AFAA Certs

I learned a lot, and I also discovered that teaching a class is very different than exercising on your own or participating in a class. My hat is off to the excellent teachers I have had in the past. There is so much to think about and do while teaching. I am working on sharpening my skills as a teacher and hope to start teaching in the next 6 months to a year.

While trying to get my foot into the teaching scene, my own fitness was put on the back burner. I was focusing on studying and taking lots of classes. My fitness level has somewhat surpassed the strength training classes, so I decided to try out a strength training plan on my own.

This article has been my guide (please excuse the immodest pictures). There is a lot of great information packed into this article. They dispel the myth that lifting weight will cause females to get bulky. Thankfully, we don’t have the ability to get big and bulky without the help of added testosterone. No worries about looking like Arnold Schwarznegger. Weightlifting will lead to toned muscles. Who doesn’t want that!?!

It was intimidating to go out onto the floor with all of the muscle bound dudes. I put my headphones on, turned on Pandora, and went to work. Now I am not bothered at all.  Here is the schedule from the article:

Weeks 1-4

During weeks 1-4, you will be lifting in the 8-12 rep range. What this means is that you want to complete at least 8 reps but no more than 12 reps for each set. If you cannot complete 8 reps, then the weight is too heavy and you should decrease the load. If you can complete more than 12 reps, then the weight is too light and you should increase the load.

Weeks 5-8

During weeks 5-8, you will be lifting in the 6-8 rep range. What this means is that you want to complete at least 6 reps but no more than 8 reps for each set. If you cannot complete 6 reps, then the weight is too heavy and you should decrease the load. If you can complete more than 8 reps, then the weight is too light and you should increase the load.

Weeks 9-12

During weeks 9-12, you will be lifting in the 4-6 rep range. What this means is that you want to complete at least 4 reps but no more than 6 reps for each set. If you cannot complete 4 reps, then the weight is too heavy and you should decrease the load. If you can complete more than 6 reps, then the weight is too light and you should increase the load.

This phase of the 12-week program is going to be very challenging and produce accelerated results.

Here are a few thoughts about the program. I am in week four and I LOVE the workouts. The results have been pretty awesome. Each strength portion takes about 30-40 minutes. I don’t always take the full minute rest. I let my heart rate regulate a bit and get back to work. This saves some time. If you are beginning your fitness journey, you will probably need the full minute. I have been tracking my reps/weight on the notes app on my phone. This helps to see where I left off and track progress. I do the strength portion and then a 22 minute interval workout. With cardio, my workouts take about an hour. I do Upper and Lower A on Mondays and Tuesdays, Cardio Intervals at the gym on Wednesdays, and Upper and Lower B on Thursdays and Fridays. One tip for the Dips/Pull-ups portion of the Upper B workout. You will more than likely want/need an assisted pull-up/dips machine. These moves are very strenuous for even very fit people.

The recommended cardio workouts in the article are really great; however, I have been working off another schedule and taking my favorite class at the gym for my cardio.

I hate pictures of myself, but I will have to take some to track the progress. It is unfortunate I didn’t take them at the beginning. Better late than never. Hope others give this strength plan a whirl. You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Last week my dear Aunt Karen lost her battle with cancer and she is now with her Lord. She was diagnosed on February 6th of this year, and it was a hard, painful fight. We are told in God’s Word that there is no more pain or tears in Heaven. That is so comforting.

However, I am really struggling with imagining her in Heaven. In so many ways Heaven is unknown. We aren’t told that much in Scripture about what to expect. I think my fallen nature is not allowing me to fully appreciate the fact that being in the Lord’s presence brings unending peace, joy, and happiness. I can read it and know it in my head, but I just have no idea what that will be like. I am asking the Lord to build my faith in this area to know that He who has given me so many good gifts on this fallen earth is the same God who sits in Heaven. Heaven must be marvelous!

In so many ways I have been spared from deep grief and sorrow. God has been abundant in blessings to me. This is the first family member that I have lost. We don’t mourn without hope. Nevertheless, she is gone. I loved her deeply and it hurts to have her ripped away from us. I can’t imagine the pain of losing someone without hope. The Lord is by our side and especially with Karen’s dear husband and children. May God continue to pour out His presence upon them.

There is a season

Friday, August 2, 2013

Way too long!

It has been so long since I have written a blog post. The thought has crossed my mind many times to get back to writing, but I get overwhelmed by how much time has gone by and don't write. A vicious cycle! Life is mostly good, but we have been struggling with some illness in our extended family. Nothing like a dear loved one(s) battling with illness to bring perspective to life.

I can't wait to write some updates about the kiddos, post some craft projects, and even throw in a workout or two that I have done lately.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mom jeans!?!?!

Last Fall I was so excited to find some jeans at Old Navy that had a higher waist than the extremely low rise jeans sold in most stores. They really helped this girl with a super long torso that shirts often don’t cover. I got tired of my shirt rising up and my back and “other” areas showing.

Well, I came home one day and caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. I couldn’t believe it. I was wearing “mom” jeans. It was not a flattering look at all. I was covered, but not in a good way. Ugh! I stopped wearing them, and went back to my lower rise jeans.

The other day my friend posted a blog about Old Navy/Gap jeans. I was seriously laughing out loud. Her claim was that these stores sold “gateway” mom jeans and that some styles were straight up mom jeans. She went to the store and took pictures of herself in the different style jeans. She compared the pictures to herself wearing designer jeans. The contrast was striking. It was amazing how much more flattering the designer jeans were on her body.

I had to laugh when I found my Old Navy “sweetheart” jean in the post. That was the style she mentioned as being straight up mom jean. Oops!


She mentioned Vault Denim. I think I am going to look into ordering some jeans from them. Owning a  few pairs of nice jeans rather than lots of unflattering pairs of pants seems like a much better idea. The Vault Denim consultant will come to your house with 120 pairs of jeans. They are sold for about half the cost of store prices. Anyone up for a GNI to try on nice jeans!?!?!