Modern Everyday Superwomen

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Chickpea Salad, Dance Workout and More!

I’ve been spending quite a bit more time on my .com these days so I apologize for the lack of blog posts.  Eventually, I will be referring all of my traffic from here to there, but until I have my computer wiz hubby do that for me, I’ll just manually direct you to my latest posts.

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Today I posted the recipe for one of my FAVORITE side salads:  Chickpea Salad from ‘Joy of Cooking’You absolutely need to check it out.  If you are struggling to find a healthy side salad to have for dinner, or if you just need a new recipe idea for lunch – you’re going to love it!

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If you’re looking for a fun workout, check out ‘Dance With Me’.  I have listed some of my favorite songs to ‘shake it to’ and links that take you directly to the video instructions for how to do them.  Have a little fun while burning calories!!

Please take a few minutes to check out the entire site:  ModernEverydaySuperwoman.com and let me know what you think!

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Re: ‘What is up with my glutes?!’

Last week I wrote a post titled, ‘What is up with my glutes?’, asking my fit friends to give me and my readers some advice on building a rounder bum.  I received a wonderful letter from a MES reader responding to that post, and I wanted to share it with you.

Here is her response to building the gluteal muscles:

1. Anatomy –  The trick to isolating muscle groups is really understanding the anatomy and the proper form of the exercise.  Be your own trainer.  Learn the anatomy of the glutes: http://teachmeanatomy.info/lower-limb/muscles/gluteal-region/.  Once you understand anatomy and form all the current trending “best butt blaster workouts” or whatever are just revisions of what you already know (and you can easily figure out what would actually work and what is kind of silly). 

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Check out this great article: ‘Butt-ology 101’ at BreakingMuscle.com

2. Recovery – All muscles need recovery time after training to build/repair; it is very important to give your muscles two days or so for recovery and eat protein. Understand the types of muscle fibers (we want both, of course but the slow twitch has the bulk). If you want to build the gluteus maximus (the one that protrudes), building muscle with high weight and low reps is the way to go. At the last rep in each set you want your glutes to be maxed out (couldn’t do another rep) – so you need weights or resistance bands. Also be sure to work all the muscles in the glutes.

3. Embrace what God gave you. Some of it is just genetics and how your hips/spine/muscles/fat deposits are structured.

Exercises:

I love, love, love, the weight machine that isolates the glutes. It takes the thinking out of it. If you’re not not at the gym you need either ankle weights or resistance bands. Here’s how to replicate it at home:

Ankle weights:

Lay down on stomach and bend one knee so foot is parallel to ceiling. Engage your core and VERY slowly, keeping your knee bent only squeeze your glute (not your back or hamstring muscles) to raise the knee off the floor keeping foot parallel to ceiling, hold and lower very slowly. Have enough weight strapped around your ankle/calf that you can only do 6-8 reps. Do 2-3 sets of this on each side.

( ^ I did this on Friday – very effective!)

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Bands:

Place a chair in front of you and secure resistance band with enough tension. Facing chair place one foot in strap and bend knee at 90 degree angle (foot parallel to wall behind you). Engage core and place hand on back of chair for support. Focus! Only using the glutes, and keeping leg at 90 degrees push foot towards the wall behind you. Do not use hamstrings or back muscles. Make sure the resistance is strong enough that you can only do 6-8 reps before maxing out.

Other glute exercises:

Clam shell: Laying on your side bend both knees – feet in line with your hips and shoulders, knees make a triangle. Leaving bottom leg on floor, use the maximus medius / minimus to “open the clam shell”, raising the top knee up. Strap the ankle weights around your top knee so that you’re using high enough weight to max the muscles out.

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Of course, there are squats, lunges, all sorts of leg lifts and all of those are really good too. But, they don’t isolate the muscle groups as much, which is important if you want to build a particular muscle group.

 

Thank you Rachael for a fantastic answer to our glute questions!  I only have two things to add and those are my favorite booty exercises:

The Single Leg Hip Raise is a great one but it BURNS, which is a good thing so don’t quit until you can’t do another rep!

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I switch position of the raised leg and sometimes point it toward the ceiling and sometimes keep in in line with the grounded leg.  If I’m feeling like I need a challenge,  I like to play with the raised leg while in bridge position and lower it to point horizontally and then raise it back to the ceiling before lowering to the ground.  This is difficult, but it does work the glutes nicely!

Last but not least, here is a great workout I found on Pinterest from FitBodyHq.com that really set my glutes on FIRE:

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Image from FitBodyHq.com

 

So there you have it!  If you’re looking to build a bodacious behind – you now know what it takes and have some great workouts to get you started.  Thanks again to Rachael for a great response!

 

Is there anything that we missed?  If you have any suggestions or comments, PLEASE SHARE!  I love hearing from you!

 

Check me out on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

 

 

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What is up with my glutes?!

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Image from Vrouwen.nl

Ok, fellow fitness bloggers, who can tell me the truth about building strong (and round) gluteal muscles??

Not only have I found it much harder to build my derrière than really ANYTHING else on my body, I’ve found that information on glute building can be completely misleading and totally false.  I am looking for the truth, not just for me, but for all the other ladies out there who are struggling to get results and are being mislead by false claims, crazy websites, or ridiculous videos.

For instance, one website states that you need to work them daily in order to have any results – and they list off about 10 exercises you should be doing to stimulate muscle growth.  On a different website, they advise only working them out once a week to avoid plateau.  Some routines advise doing a full lower body workout twice a week and say you should really burn the muscle out, yet still other programs have you do evertying from lunges to fire hydrants to lyring leg raises to bird dogs and insist you come back every day to do these.

 

So which is it?  What has worked for you?  Is anyone else frustrated with the mixed messages out there?

 

Comment below or contact me at ModernEverydaySuperwoman@gmail.com.

Also, find me on ModernEverydaySuperwoman.com, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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How To Stay Fit On Vacation

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Who wants to exercise on vacation???

……

Yep, that’s what I thought…I probably have one reader who excitedly yelled, “ME!” while the rest of you decided to skip this part and scroll down to the good stuff.  But I hope I still have your attention…this can make your life so much better!

Here’s why you should stick to some form of exercise while on holiday:

 

1.  You’re consuming more…

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably consuming at least 500-700 extra calories a day on vacation.  I know, that sounds terrible, but with all the quick stops during travel (and I like to munch while driving on long trips), and then the restaurants, drinks, desserts, beach snacks…etc…it adds up.  And for me, I start ‘vacation eating’ the day before I leave and keep it up until at least a week AFTER vacation.  You’re shaking your head at me, but I promise I’m not the only one!

 

2.  You’re not working out…

Most of us like to take a break from exercise on vacation.  I mean, lets face it, you’re out of your element, you don’t have YOUR gym, or YOUR workout space/equipment and lounging by the pool is a lot more fun than working out.  So you take the week off.  There isn’t anything wrong with taking a week off – actually it’s good to take time off.  But vacation might not be the best time to do it.  Keep in mind if you combine vacation ‘fun food’ with no exercise, you’ll probably gain.  So, take a week off from working out once you’re home – where you have a little more control over the food you eat and wont be as tempted by junk food.

 

3.  It’ll help the vacation blues…

This is perhaps the most important reason (for me at least):  Keeping up with exercise will help fight off the ‘after vacation blues’.  And I get those BAD.  It’s already hard enough to come home and get back to the real world, but add in a 7lb weight gain (or more) and you’ll feel even worse.  Not to mention, if you didn’t exercise all week, you might find it hard to get motivated after a week of being off.  Chances are though, if kept it up through vacation, it wont be as daunting to jump back in on Monday.  So enough said, do your workout ladies!

 

My suggestions???

 

20 minute brisk walking each day

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^ Last week we took a mini vacation to WV, but didn’t let that interfere with our regular evening walks!  We had a great time exploring the town while getting in some after dinner cardio 🙂

Make up your own HIIT!

This is the best vacation workout option in my opinion.  No equipment?  No way to view videos?  Limited on space and time?  Do a 20 minute fat burning cardio HIIT!  I made up my own and it was harder than a lot of videos I follow.  I was dripping with sweat by the end, but it felt soooo good.  I wrote down everything I wanted to do and for how long and added it up to make a 25 minute workout including warm up and cool down – but not stretches (I did those separate).  Example:  high knees, burpees, jump rope, jogging in place, mountain climbers, etc.

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^ Right after my homemade vacation HIIT last week – you can’t see the sweat, but it was definitely there!  Hope this motivates my Superwomen to get up and move!

Jog

I love getting in a morning jog on days I know that I’ll be busy.  It’s easy, requires no equipment, and is actually quite soothing.

Hike

Last week, we had the opportunity to explore the mountains on our mini vacay.  It was an incredible workout.  So, do a little research and find out what is around your vacation spot that you could explore.

Pushups, Squats and Plank

Set a timer and then run through some basic exercises until time runs out.  Just make sure you warm up and cool down!

 

There are lots of ways to get in a little fitness on vacation, just make sure you set out time for it.  Do a little Yoga in the A.M., swim laps in the pool before anyone else gets up, find some willing participants and play a little football or soccer…just get moving for at least 20 minutes.  You’ll be so happy that you did.

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^ And here is the ‘proof of sweat’ photo.  Gross I know, but this is what keeps me going.

 

So, if you want to maintain the body you’ve been working so hard for, do yourself a favor and keep up with exercise while away.  Would you stop brushing your teeth on vacation??  I certainly hope not!  So treat your body with the same discipline, even when you don’t feel like it.  After it’s over, you’ll be glad you did.

Got a vacation coming up?  Share your ‘post workout selfies’ below to help motivate each other.  Don’t be ashamed!  Be PROUD!  Can’t wait to see my sweaty fellow superwomen!!

And don’t forget to follow me!

 

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Challenge Your ABS

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I’m going to be honest – I don’t like crunches.  I’m actually not crazy about working on my abs at all.  It’s the worst part of my workout.  Once I learned that the uncomfortable sessions that make me want to quit were the ones that got me results, I started hating working my core, but especially the crunches.  There are plenty of ‘maintaining’ exercises that I don’t mind, like toe taps, side plank, etc…but crunches?? Oh no.

So, I started looking up videos to give me a little variety – and I’ve found some incredible ones that make ‘crunching’ a little less miserable, although, I’d still prefer to skip that part.  (Of course I’m going to tell you my favorites are from FITNESS BLENDER!  No, I am not paid to advertise for them, they just freakin’ rock!  Go see for yourself!)

Home workouts are great.  Except, you have to be your own personal trainer.  Which is all fine and good until you realize you’ve been doing something wrong.  When you are your own coach – you have to PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to the instructor/instructions.  Always keep your ears open while following the motions – don’t just watch and copy.  You might not have it right.

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There are all kinds of things to listen for…”Keep your back pressed into the floor” or “Lift your shoulder blades OFF of the ground” or the one that caught me off guard the other day (I am totally ashamed to admit this) “Make sure that belly button is pulled in toward the spine”.  Nope, I hadn’t been doing that.  And boy did it hurt when I started using correct form!  It made a HUGE difference!

I’m not just lecturing you here – just giving a friendly reminder because I screwed up and I want to make sure you avoid my mistakes 🙂  I would like to point out that one of the MAIN reasons I recommend Fitness Blender is for their very clear instructions and awesome guidance…I just let myself get distracted and quit listening fully.

So, because of my poor form, I decided to take it back to Pilates – where I originally learned to keep my ‘belly button drawn in and back pressed to the floor’.  I figured it would help drill it back into my head…we shall see.  Here’s the first video I followed:

pop pilates

 

This was truly a ‘killer’.  Boy, my abs were screaming at me by the end.  I’m sure that makes you want to try it, right?  Just take a look – you might really enjoy it 🙂

FOCUS

What is your favorite OR least favorite ab exercise?

 

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How To Lose The Baby Weight

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20 MIN A DAY

My guide to losing weight while caring for an infant/toddler:

 

YESTERDAY, we talked about the issues that can arise when attempting to workout after giving birth.  I know how desperate you feel to get back to ‘normal’ after having a baby.  I was affected both mentally any physically and the struggle to get back on track was rough.  I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I realized my ‘pre-baby’ wardrobe was not going to be an option after my son was born and that I’d have to settle in to my maternity jeans at least for another season.  If you’ve been there or if you’re going through it now, below you’ll find the things I did that actually got be back in regular clothes.

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Sore boobs, back and … ‘ahem’ …??  A light sleeper?  Bladder issues?  Here’s how to handle that:

Forget the HIIT, Insanity, P90x, etc…at least for now.  For all of the issues listed above, I was able to combat the discomfort with things like Pilates and Yoga.  Great for a sleeping baby and great for body pain.  Try alternating between the suggestions below for a full weeks worth of workouts that can all be done at home:

Pilates –

(Grace and Gusto by Ellen Barret, Caroline Sandry…)

Yoga –

(Rondey Yee, Nancy Goodstein, etc)

Fitness Blender –

‘Quiet Cardio’

They offer a variety of ‘low impact’ workouts

Squats –

Squats <— they do more than you think!

Light weight training

(if you’re cleared by Doc )

Here is a very informative article on weights after birth

(Note:  If you have not been active for a while, always view the video prior to actually doing it and definitely consult your doctor.    Pick something you can complete time wise and physically – you’ll feel empowered and be more driven to do it again.  The ‘Don’t quit til you puke, pass out or die’ quotes are NOT for people who haven’t been exercising. (Those are kinda sick quotes anyway). If you were to pass out while baby is sleeping, that is super dangerous.  So, don’t push too hard if you’re a newbie!!  But don’t sit down or take lengthy breaks – keep moving just slow your pace. And remember, if all you can do is 20 minutes – great! 20 minutes a day is 2 hours and 20 minutes a week you spent burning calories!!)

NO BABY-FREE’ TIME?  NO PROBLEM…

2:  Break out the stroller!

Ok, so we’re going to get that cardio in ladies – with baby!!  Put that cutie in the stroller and go for a walk!  My kid was born in the middle of winter – but I didn’t give up my walks! There are all kinds of wonderful inventions out there to keep them warm while you’re out.  I used the stroller, the sling, and the front carrier to make sure I got my walks in. So, summer or winter, take that little one on a walk.  Pushing the stroller gives you added resistance that will help burn a few extra calories.  If it’s too cold/hot – head to the mall and do laps (great idea for early mornings since not many people are there at that time).  For me, I had to work up to a faster pace and longer distance.  So, start small but do a little extra every day.  Add one minute or even just 10 more steps before turning around and heading home.

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3:  Put on a show for baby –

That’s right, fit in a 10, 15 or even 20 minute workout while baby watches.  I LOVED doing this because it made my son laugh to see mommy moving all around.  I did the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (which was super hard at the time and I did not make it 30 days – more on this later), but my son thought it was entertaining.  I would put him on one of those ‘Play/Gym’ mats so that he was beside me and could watch everything I was doing.  You may have to stop what you’re doing a few times to adjust your little one but don’t let that stop you!

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4:  Dance –

Oh this one is great!  Babies love it and it definitely works up a sweat!  I danced all around with my son and sang while I did it.  Just be careful not to do jerky movements.  It is a great bonding experience and you’re burning calories while teaching baby rhythm…what’s not to love?  My husband and I also entertained him a lot with dancing all aorund the house while he watched – which was an incredible workout.  Need dance inspiration?  Try belly dance with The Belly Twins ( I LOVED doing belly dancing with Veena!)

On a finishing note:

Obviously naptime is your friend.  Use that time wisely!  My naptime order of importance was as follows: catch up on sleep, workout, cook, clean.  Definitely get the sleep you need, but don’t feel guilty for fitting in a workout instead of washing dishes.  The dishes can wait.

Exercise goes way beyond just getting ‘thin’ again…you are actually doing so much more than JUST LOSING WEIGHT.   You are setting yourself and baby up for success down the road…and I mean from just a few weeks to years down the road.

A happy mama is a happy baby.  A healthy mama is a healthy baby too.

 

Exercising will boost your energy, confidence, ability to fight stress and it will inspire you to eat better.  Obviously, all of that will come in handy with baby/child care.  Exercising also helps you to get a better nights sleep and, lets face it, you need every minute of sleep to count right now.

In addition to all of the positive effects it will have on you, it also creates a healthy atmosphere for baby to grow up in.  SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

In Review

Any suggestions that I didn’t mention?  Please comment below and let me know your experience!  What was the hardest part of losing weight after baby for you?

Tomorrow I’ll have a brief post on food suggestions for the new mom – so be sure to check back!

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The Quiet Workout

(Please note:  If you are reading this blog, you agree to my disclaimer)

Look Better Naked

At the beginning of last year, I had purchased two pairs of Yoga pants and two workout DVD’s that were ‘guaranteed’ to help me lose the baby weight (according to another mom on some forum).  I got my Yoga pants and was so excited to use them but wanted to wait until the videos arrived.  I had a plan and it felt SO good.  I kept telling myself ‘This weight is coming off ASAP!’

The first DVD came in the mail, (‘Look Better Naked’), and I hurriedly threw on my new yoga pants and popped that sucker in.  I WAS SOOO EXCITED.  I only made it through five minutes.  No, not because it was too intense (it might have been but I only did five minutes, lol).  And not because it’s not a good workout – I’m sure it is.  My problem was that it was LOUD.  Does that sound insane?  Maybe, but my two month old son was down for his nap and woke up the second he heard all of the ‘jumping’.  Can you imagine my disappointment?!

So, I tried again the next day.  I said, “I’ll just do the movements softly”.  Well that didn’t work.  They move entirely way too fast for me to ‘land soft’ and because of my weight and lack of muscles, I had little control over how I landed anyway.  I gave up again around the five minute mark because of the noise I was making.  Isn’t that ridiculous?  But it’s reality.  It would be a good workout…if I had a basement.  But I don’t.  I have a one story house and my living room (where my TV is located) is right in the middle of the house.  I was so frustrated!  I did try it again a few weeks later – the last attempt – and again, it woke my son up.

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My little man right around 2 months old – when I started my workouts

You’re probably thinking, ‘Your kid is a ridiculously light sleeper!’  And he is.  Some of you may have babies that can sleep through an earthquake or fire alarm…but I know there are other moms out there who have a baby that wakes up if the wind blows…like mine does.  So this post is for other mothers who’s precious little one doesn’t want you to get a chance to ‘Look Better Naked’.  We are going to get you there.  I still recommend watching the DVD, even if you can’t go through the motions – you will probably be inspired AND, if there comes a day when you can do it, you will know the moves a little better.

So, last Monday I did my usual cardio routine for about 20 minutes but instead of following it with a 20 minute cool down walk, I decided to try a ‘low impact cardio’ video that I’ve been wanting to review.  And that sparked a few posts on losing weight after giving birth.  (Crazy how that works right?)  What video started this?  It was Fitness Blenders ‘Quiet Cardio Workout’.  And I loved it.

Quiet Cardio Workout

It is a terrific workout if you are just starting out, have a sleeping baby around, or if you are looking to do a 20 minute cool down after a more intense cardio.  I loved it, my body felt amazing afterwards and I kept thinking, ‘Why didn’t I discover this last year?!’

If you enjoyed this post, please follow me and share!  Thank you!

 

Up next:  ‘The Truth About Exercising After Having A Baby’

 

 

 

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HASfit Stretching

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Found this video yesterday after my workout and LOVED it!  This guy has really great energy!  Thought I’d share it with my fellow Superwomen…

I wish the stretches were longer than 15 seconds – buy hey, I’m not sore today so it must have worked fine.  I know it is kind of a beginner routine but it’s always good to refresh our knowledge of stretching.  You might learn new stretches or you might learn how to do the ones you do know better.

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