Weekend Workout: 3/25 Good Friday!

Happy Good Friday everyone!  We hope your weekend is filled with easter egg hunts, family, and a minimal amount of Reese’s peanut butter eggs. If you get some free time and want to test your metal over the Easter weekend, here are a few workouts to challenge your grit.

 

Level 1:  The Ant-Man

antman

50 Pushups

50 Squats

50 Lunges

0.5 Mile Run

25 Squat Jumps (standing in place)

1 Minute Plank 

 

Level 2:  The Iron-Man

iron-man-civil-war-salary-wide

100 Pushups

100 Squats

100 Lunges

1 Mile Run

30 Squat Jumps

2 Minute Plank

 

Level 3:  The DeadPool

deadpool_poster2a

150 Pushups

150 Squats

150 Lunges

50 Lying Leg Raises

1.5 Mile Run

40 Squat Jumps

3 Minute Plank

 

Good Luck Wreck It Crew!

Weekend Workout

Each weekend I will be bringing you a different challenge workout.  There will be three levels:  Level 1 – Torturer, Level 2 – Sociopath, and Level 3 –  Behemoth.  Have fun with these workouts and feel free to incorporate any of the exercises/movements into your normal routine.  Push yourself and see how hard you can go!

 

Level 1: Torturer

TorturerArt

8/10 second wind sprints – rest 1 minute in between runs

50 Full-Body Squats

15 Burpees

4 x 25 second rounds of mountain climbers

45 second plank

20 Leap Fogs (squat and then jump as far forward as you can)

 

Level 2:  Sociopath

sociopath

8/12 second wind sprints – rest 45 seconds in between runs

75 Full-Body Squats

20 Burpees

5 x 30 second rounds of mountain climbers

1:30 minute plank

25 Leap Fogs (squat and then jump as far forward as you can)

200 Jumping Jacks

 

Level 3:  Behemoth

hulk behemoth

10/10 second wind sprints – rest 30 seconds in between

100 Full-Body Squats

30 Burpees

6 x 30 second rounds of mountain climbers

2:00 minute plank

25 Leap Fogs (squat and then jump as far forward as you can)

200 Jumping Jacks

100 Pushups

 

Post your level and time, ask questions, and get inspired by others in the comments below. Do it with a fitness pal for some extra competitive edge!

Good Luck Wreck It Crew!

Sugar: Reality Check

We have all seen the news and heard the data revolving around refined sugar.  It is bad, plain and simple.  The problem is that sugar resides in almost everything we eat in modern society.  Companies crank out candy, chocolate, pastries, soda, and candy coated anything like it’s going out of style.  But sugar also hides in our canned/bottled sauces, condiments, creamers, milk, protein bars, jerky, juices, granola, breakfast cereals, pastas, and breads.

candy

We can consume 50-100 grams of sugar in a day without even realizing it.  Even if we cut back on  “bad foods”  we will still, somehow, exceed the recommended daily dose of sugar (25 grams/6 teaspoons).  There is literally no escaping the sweet stuff.  Ingesting too much sugar, over an extended period of time, has been linked to a multitude of harmful side effects such as:

  • Cardio vascular disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Liver Damage
  • Metabolic Dysfunction
  • Immune Dysfunction
  • Hypertension
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimers

This is just a short list.  Each of these issues can be expanded on at length, along with an alarming number of other problems that excessive sugar intake can cause.  We don’t think about these problems and diseases because they don’t affect us immediately.  That cookie won’t kill you today, but 20 years of cookies will most certainly lead to something that will.  I wanted to give a top down view of the effects that large amounts of sugar can have on the body.  My ultimate goal is to give you enough knowledge to help you navigate nutrition effectively, without getting too deep scientifically.

When you eat sugar, your blood sugar level rises (obviously).  Your pancreas proceeds to release insulin.  This hormone is used to transport the sugar, which is toxic in high amounts, out of the blood stream and into your muscles.  The catch:  your muscles can only hold so much sugar at one time for energy output.

If you haven’t done any sternous exercise right before you ingested your treat, the excess sugar is then carted off to your fat cells.  These cells gobble up the remaining sugar and store it for later use.  Because your blood was flooded with insulin to remove the sugar, your body enters hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and your brain hates that!  You are instantly sent signals, even if you’re full, to ingest more sweetness and the process starts over again.

Over time, your body becomes tolerant to the effects of sugar and you require more to produce the same energy and euphoric feelings you used to get from that one donut.  This creates addiction like symptoms.  Your body and brain constantly crave sweets with a vengeance and, if you go cold turkey, you can experience similar withdrawals akin to an avid opiate user (to a lesser degree).

This cycle of highs and lows will continue until you cut refined sugar and process carbs down to a minimal level.  Your body sees processed carbs (bread, pasta, and pastries) as if they were sugar in disguise.  It simply doesn’t know the difference between a slice of toast and a snickers bar.  With our diets revolving around these types of carbohydrates and dessert like snacks, it becomes extremely difficult to remove our sweet teeth.

If we continue to eat the way we do, we are destined for more and more of our population to enter into the realm of obesity.  The way we eat is slowly making us sick.  Companies want their food to be sold because it tastes great, but if their products are inevitably killing off the population, who will be left to buy cereal or twinkies?

sample_hospital

We have to adopt a different style of eating that benefits our bodies and our minds.  Rewarding yourself with a sweet cheat meal once in a while is fine and even beneficial to your sanity in our society.  It is when you wash down your bag of chips with a 20oz coke, followed by a honey bun on a daily basis, that the grim reaper starts to take notice.

Try to taper your reliance on sugar over a few weeks.  Replace a dessert with fresh fruit and some whipped cream.  Cook three dinners a week at home with your family, with an emphasis on healthy meats and good greens.  Keep a healthy nut mix (almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts) by your side throughout the day and focus more on good fats (coconut, almond butter, butter, olive oil) and minimize the processed carbs.

If you feel a sweet craving coming, grab your significant other and go for a stroll in the neighborhood.  You could even keep a journal dedicated to your food intake and reward yourself with a treat after 5-6 days of honest eating.  The possibilities are truly infinite.  Be creative and learn from your mistakes.  Don’t feel bad for cheating.  Use it as a reward and slowly add more days before a cheat meal.  You will be amazed by how quickly small tweaks will catapult you further and further from sugar town.

keto food pyramid

Remember, you are not just doing this for your waistline, which will inevitably shrink once you cut out the processed crud, but you are also doing this for your health.  You don’t want to be in a hospital regretting every piece of cake you destroyed or skittle you popped.

The risks of sugar and processed carbohydrates are real and catastrophic.  Do yourself and your family a favor.  Eat better, live longer, and enjoy the time you have been given.  Don’t let your sweet tooth check you out too early.

If you have about 45 minutes and want a more in-depth look at sugar and its effects, here is just one documentary on youtube by CBC News: The Secrets of Sugar.

A Man with No Arms

Its always easy to assume that my situation is intolerable, especially when I have a less than stellar day.  I get lost in my own “pity party” and find excuses for my sub-par attitude.  I often blame everything and everyone else for my string of bad luck.  I forget that 99.9% of my problems are caused by my own dumbassery.  I forget about how amazing my life is and how lucky I am to have the things that I do.  Sometimes I need a little shock therapy to give me some perspective on how privileged I truly am.

bouncy pit

I had the opportunity to enjoy a day at a trampoline park with my brother, girlfriend, and friends.  The entire floor was made of trampolines.  There was a foam diving pit and a jumping dodge ball arena.  It was a child’s dream.  Yet, here we were, a group of grown adults, waiting in line behind an endless sea of 10 year olds for a chance to run, jump, and flip into a bottomless foam pool.  It was amazing.  We found ourselves in the dodge ball course slinging bullets at a string of adolescents.  This was even better.

Eventually, a middle aged black man walked into the arena with his children.  He took his position across from us and prepared for battle.  There was one issue.  This man had no arms.  We looked at each other, rather dumbfounded by the situation.  How were we supposed to proceed?  Do we aim for him?  Of course not!  This dude was missing both of his arms.  No decent human would conceive of throwing a dodge ball at a man missing the key components to actually participate!  I glanced over at the employee supervising this shindig.  He seemed unfazed by this insane scenario unfolding before us.  In the midst of this confusion, the whistle blew.  Game on.

It was truly something out of a movie, or a whacky dream.

Balls began whizzing by as we jumped to avoid the onslaught from the children on the other side.  I jumped closer to my friends to try and figure out this ridiculous scenario.  As I ducked under another foam projectile, I noticed something.  The man without arms was bouncing lightly across from me with his right foot clenching a dodgeball.  I paused for a few seconds for my very slow brain to process the image before me.  SMACK! I was out in an instant.  A ball had crash landed onto the side of my face with some pretty significant force. As I jumped to the exit of the arena, I realized that the man without arms had kick/thrown his dodgeball directly at my head.  He had used some sort of Randy Johnson side pitch form with his leg that propelled the ball violently towards his victims.  It was truly something out of a movie, or a whacky dream.

The armless agent’s team won the round and we all piled in to take our places at the restart.  The whistle blew and one of my friends immediately launched his ball at the two limbed warrior across from us.  The ball landed and the guy seemed shocked that the first ball was thrown his way.  I don’t think too many people throw dodge balls at people missing limbs all too often.  My buddy’s excuse was simple:  the guy was good and the guy had gotten him out last time. #revenge.  With the other teams ace on the sidelines, we easily took the win.

dogeball

We ended up playing for many more rounds.  Sometimes we won, other times the fingerless destroyer’s team triumphed.  After our bouts concluded, we got a chance to meet the zero ten toed gladiator that had kicked multiple balls into all of our faces.  He was a truly remarkable human.  This man gets dressed, works, makes phone calls, drives, takes care of his children, and brings these kids to the trampoline arena on a weekly basis.  The guy literally didn’t stop smiling the whole time he was playing with us.  I have never seen such a display of positivity, determination, and happiness from someone who had every reason to be miserable and depressed.  He was making the most of the life he was given and the cards he was dealt.  One of my friends even went for a fist bump, out of pure habit, and the guy reached his foot up and gave a strong “foot bump”.  This guy was the epitome of what the word “man” stands for and a true testament to the capacity for a human being to overcome any obstacle life throws in the way.

My worst days are still days that I was able to breathe oxygen, eat food, run a mile, or use my hands.

Whenever I get into a slump, I think back to that dodgeball arena and the armless man that had pegged me on multiple occasions.  I think about his children and the example he shows them every day of how to work through life’s difficulties.  I realize that my life is one of joy, wonder, blessing, and bliss.  My worst days are still days that I was able to breathe oxygen, eat food, run a mile, or use my hands.  Selfishness is own of my major character defects.  My natural tendency is to worry about myself and only myself no matter what is going on around me.  I have to work on a constant basis to train my brain to think of others and put my situation in perspective.  What ever I am dealing with is irrelevant, because there is always someone out there in the world that is doing a lot more with much less than me.  If this no armed man can bring his kids to a trampoline dodgeball arena every week, then there is nothing I, or YOU, can’t do.

Women in the Weight Room

When I walk into a gym, regardless of where I am or what time of the day it is, I know I’m going to find women on every treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike in the building.  But the one place that women rarely go is the weight room. Everyone has a different reason: “I don’t want to get bulky,” “The number on the scale is going to go up,” I don’t know what to do,” or my personal favorite, “I’m too sacred to ask anyone for help.” When I think back, I can remember a time when a few of these questions applied to me. I was sacred to gain weight, I really had no idea what I was doing, and I did not want to look stupid trying to figure things out.

When I was 15 years old, I had gained about 15 pounds and my parents didn’t let it get past me. They asked if I had looked in a mirror lately, or if I really needed another cookie. I know they were not trying to hurt me, but as a teenager, those things stick with you. Shortly after, I got a personal trainer and began to diet. Within one summer, I had lost all the weight I put on, and I actually began to see muscle definition. I still remember the day when I was about to do pull ups, and my mom walked by and told me I looked good. Hearing those words and knowing I had made her proud got me hooked.

In for the next 3 years of high school, I worked out twice a day, ate healthy, and became obsessed with fitness. But I still wasn’t doing it for myself. I loved knowing that if I kept up the way I looked, my parents would be proud and I would be someone that others could look up to.

Eventually, I moved 3 hours away for college, and none of those things seemed to matter anymore. I ate whatever I wanted, drank more than I like to admit, and didn’t step foot in a gym for at least 3 months. Then one day, I decided I’d had enough. I  joined a gym in Monroe, and began eating healthy again. It was a slow process at first, but with time and consistency I started to see results.  I no longer had a trainer, so it was up to me to figure out what I was going to do when I went to the gym.

I still wasn’t doing it for myself. I loved knowing that if I kept up the way I looked, my parents would be proud.

Between bodybuilding.com, Pinterest, Instagram, and the workout suggestion board at the gym, I was able to put together workouts that I enjoyed doing. I’ve never been one to do cardio, so the weight room is where I felt best. I don’t look like a man, or have huge, bulging muscles. But I do have confidence, which is something I never had before. The thought of discovering new muscles on my body fuels my love for lifting even more.

For those of you who have no idea where to start when it comes to lifting weights or having a healthy lifestyle, I have some advice for you.

First off, do not be afraid. Ask questions, look dumb and make mistakes. Trust me when I say it is half of the fun of it. Trying new things will make you realize what you like and what you do not.  Bring a friend with you. Someone who is going to encourage you, help you, and laugh with you when you decide that sumo squats are not for you. Work hard, but never jeopardize your health or safety. Don’t think you can squat 200 pounds your first time in the gym. It is not going to happen.

the number on the scale DOES NOT MATTER. You should never define yourself by what a scale says.

When it comes to food, eat….A LOT. But eat good foods. The only way your body will be able to burn fat is if you are giving it fuel to do so. Anything that was once living and has never been processed is exactly what you need.

Know that it is ok to be sore. Eventually, you will come to love the feeling of your glutes cramping after leg day, or not being able to straighten your arms fully because your triceps are so tight. It is the little things like that, which make lifting weights so rewarding. And the muscles that come along with the soreness make the reward that much greater.

With that being said, the number on the scale DOES NOT MATTER. You should never define yourself by what a scale says. As long as YOU are happy with the way you look and feel, no number or person can bring you down. This is a journey for you. Don’t do it because your parents, friends, boyfriend, or husband say you need to. Do it because you want to be happy, and you want to be healthy.

It is never too late to start. You just have to make the commitment to yourself. In time, being healthy, lifting weights, and eating right becomes a way of life. This can only benefit you in the long run, so why not give it a shot. You might end up loving it.

Guest Post:  Brooke Barringer

 

brook b

 

Why do I care what I eat? Taking responsibility for one’s health

No matter what your activity level is or what your specific health goal is, it is always beneficial to eat better. I understand how anxiety-provoking it can be to recognize the impact of our dietary choices and consider making changes. But it’s also exciting and tremendously rewarding! Along my journey, I have found it to be incredibly empowering to take responsibility for what I put in my mouth, and to realize the great service I am doing for my health and happiness when I eat well. Exercise gets the spotlight as the way to good health in the vast majority of media and marketing ploys, but it is only a piece of the puzzle. It’s well worth your time to closely examine and possibly change your food choices!

Nutrition plays a role in every possible function of the human body. If you think about it for just a second, that will seem pretty obvious. We are LITERALLY what we eat at the cellular level. It makes sense then that nutrition plays a causal role in the development of diseases, including America’s top killers—heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It is an absolute shame that we do not hear about this more, but doctors have simply not been provided with nutritional education and do not get reimbursed when they counsel patients in the lifestyle changes that can literally save their lives.

This is a close-up of vegetables and fruits.

Plant foods have the power to turn off genes that promote the development of killer disease processes. For many young folks, this is not enough motivation to change one’s habits. With youth comes a mindset of invincibility. However, by and large, young people already have the beginnings of heart disease in their blood vessels. SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT of 12-to-14-year-olds have early signs of cholesterol disease in their hearts. That’s the vast majority of tweens, and I imagine you’re likely older than 14 if you are reading this.

If I still don’t have you, consider this: you will look and feel a whole lot better. Plants have the power to provide an abundance of energy, mental clarity, enhanced athletic performance, and a myriad of desired effects, such as fat and weight loss; soft, clear skin; healthy, lustrous hair; strong bones, teeth, and nails; decreased bloating and puffiness; better digestion; reduced body odor; clear, bright eyes; and more! Interested in losing weight and leaning out? Diet, above and beyond physical activity, is the most efficient way to do just that.

SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT of 12-to-14-year-olds have early signs of cholesterol disease in their hearts.

Granny’s advice to “eat your veggies” is absolutely correct. The problem is typically implementation. In both my professional and personal lives, I’ve heard the reasons why. “It costs too much to eat healthy.” “I don’t have time to prepare those meals.” “I don’t know how to cook that way.” “My kids/spouse/partner won’t eat that.” “I don’t like fruit/veggies.” That’s all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is YOUR life and YOUR body. It is YOUR choice how you feed yourself. How you choose to eat will have consequences. It is within your power to determine the trajectory of those consequences—aspiring towards extremely good health and a long life, or towards the typical American path, riddled with disease, low quality of life, and premature death. This is not meant to scare you, but to be a reality check. Your health is in your hands, not your doctor’s. And that’s pretty cool if you ask me.

Guest Post:  Taylor Norris

Taylor Norris