Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Foodie Penpal Reveal!

Ok so you may have heard of a penpal before but you may be asking, "What the heck is a Foodie Penpal??" Well, it may be the best thing since sliced bread for over 200 of us bloggers, food/fitness junkies :)

Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean came up with this fantastic idea back in September and it has just blown up to a whole new level. She matches you up with another fellow blogger, food lover, health nut, what have you and for that month you are to send them a package of your favorite goodies. The best part? You receive a package from someone else--so you get to make 2 new friends every month! I have been a part of it for two months now and can't speak more highly of it!

This month I received a package from Taryn from Sweetly Serendipity . She is a Bostonian that has a serious love for food. (Just look at her blog!) Not only is she too cute and nice for words but her package made my day! Anyway, when I opened up her "bag of tricks", there was such a variety! I love this because this means that I can have the goodies at different times and with different things. I even got a treat thanks to a recommendation from her boyfriend! She is being a good influence! :)

The first thing I noticed? The amazing blueberry fruit spread in the cutest jar. Let's just say the next morning I took full advantage of this treat. I had recently got Yoga Bread (Have any of you tried this bread?) It is basically whole wheat bread with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds in it. I toasted some slices, put some lowfat cream cheese on it, then topped it off with the blueberry spread. YUMMY! A delicious, simple, easy breakfast!

REAL blueberries in this spread! Love it!

The next thing I noticed were the cheese straws. Oh. My. Gosh. A girl after my own heart. Cheese is the magic word in my book and she hit the nail right on the head. In her note she mentioned they may not be the healthiest thing in the box but hey, it's alright to indulge every now and then! Especially with cheese! These made a wonderful late night snack while sitting at work!

Tea I like to drink about 4 nights a week so the tea? Gone. Almond butter...gone (which I put in a protein smoothie!) February was just a great Foodie Penpal month for me!

If you would like to see what I sent to my foodie penpal, Ashley, this month, be sure to check out how she liked everything over at Simple Food Healthy Life !
If you would like more information on how you can be a part of the Foodie Penpals, head over to Lindsay's blog here!

I have loved the last couple of months being a part of the Foodie Penpals program, meeting such inspirational and motivating women and making new buddies! Of course, it is always exciting to receive a package in the mail knowing what is inside--food! It is so comforting to know that I can be a part of a "close knit" community where every day they make me be walking on my own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Monday, February 27, 2012

End Your Workouts With a Bang!

In the past, we thought our workouts were effective based on our heart rate “zones.” It turns out the hours spent hunched over a spin bike or acting like a hamster on its wheel on the treadmill is not only boring, but not the best way to lean out and look smokin’ hot.

Quick Workouts, Quick Results

            Research has shown lately that the calories we burn can be increased with short bursts of anaerobic exercise (short and intense, and relying mostly on sources of energy other than oxygen). Examples? Lifting heavy weights or sprinting across a football field. Women who participate in resistance training at higher intensities (heavier weights and shorter breaks) sizzle more calories postworkout!

            So what does this mean for you? A steady 45 minutes on an elliptical does not torch as many calories as a session spent lighting circuit weights. Since the total number of calories you burn is what is important (not the percentage that comes from fat), increase your intensity to get more “bang-for-your-buck” routines!

Hint: “Finishers” are high-intensity exercises done at the end of a workout. Do one or two rounds of finishers for a speedy stand-alone routine. Remember the key to success is keeping it peppy but controlled!

These two finishers blend body weight, free weight, and band exercises to improve upper body strength and definition. Add one (or both!) of these to your program when your metabolism needs a boost. The best part? They can be tacked on to the end of ANY routine!

Finisher 1

Exercise                                               Reps                                      Rest

Seal Jump                                             60 seconds                           ALAP*

Incline-Bench Dumbbell Curl             8                                           ALAP

Barbell Overhead Press                       8                                           ALAP

Walk-out Plank                                   8                                           30-60 seconds

Repeat circuit once.

*ALAP = as little as possible

Finisher 2

Mountain Climber                              60 seconds                            ALAP

Rolling Triceps Extension                  8                                           ALAP

Push-Up Plus                                      Just under your max             ALAP

Band Face-Pull                                   8                                           30-60 seconds

Repeat circuit once.

Benefits of Finishers:

·       Better at burning calories

·       Enhanced fat loss while developing strength

·       Improved aerobic (fueled by oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) fitness levels.


1.     Seal Jump

Targets: whole body

Stand with your feet together and your arms extended in front of you; your palms should touch. Jump, bringing your legs out to the sides as if doing a jumping jack. At the same time, move your arms out to your sides. Land with your body in a “star” position, then jump your legs and hands together; repeat. TIP: Make your reps explosive and speedy!

2.     Incline Bench Dumbbell Curl

Targets: biceps brachii, brachialis

Lie faceup on an incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top, then lower until your elbows are semi-straight. Repeat. TIP: Don’t move your upper arms with each rep!

3.     Barbell Overhead Press

Targets: anterior and lateral deltoids, triceps brachii

Hold a barbell, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing forward. Keep your elbows pointed down while maintaining neutral wrists. Press the bar overhead; your arms should finish beside your ears. Lower to chin level and repeat.

4.     Walk-Out Plank

Targets: scapular stabilizers, abdominals

Stand tall with feet together, then squat down. Walk your hands forward until the are in front of your shoulders. Carefully reverse, stand and repeat. TIP: As you walk forward, brace your core and squeeze your glutes!


1.     Mountain Climber

Targets: abdominals

Start at the top of a pushup position. Keep your elbows locked, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Quickly alternate bring one knee towards your chest, maintaining a neutral spine as you “climb.” Continue alternating for your entire set. TIP: Your back should remain flat as you move your legs forward and back.

2.     Rolling Triceps Extension

Targets: triceps brachii

Lie faceup on a bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand straight over your chest, with your palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, lower the weights towards your forehead. Roll your elbows behind your head, then reverse fluidly. Repeat. TIP: You’ll press up rather than extend your elbows if the weight is too heavy.

3.     Push-Up Plus

Targets: pectoralis major, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior

Get into pushup position, with your hands slightly turned out and roughly shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, and keep your legs and feet together. Bend your arms, keeping your elbows slightly tucked, to lower towards the floor. Extend your arms, then protract, or press your shoulder blades away from each other; it will look like you are slightly rounding your upper back. Repeat. TIP: The rounding of your back is subtle, but you should feel it!

4.     Band Face-Pull

Targets: rotator cuffs, posterior deltoids

Anchor a band at a point higher than your height. Hold one end in each hand, with your palms facing down, towards the floor. Pull the band towards your face, leading with your thumbs. Flare your elbows out and rotate through your shoulders. Finish with your hands near your head. Extend your arms to return to the starting position, then repeat. TIP: Don’t pull too low towards your chest because you will not externally rotate your shoulders, and you will lose the effect of the rotator cuff muscles.

Add these to your normal workouts and feel that extra burn! If you have questions about your form, make sure you ask a personal trainer! We don't want any injuries! We want you to be able to show off you new and improved bod... on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Friday, February 17, 2012

No Pain, All Gain!

Women are hitting the gym…hard. (Yess! Get it ladies!!) In record numbers in fact. But training injuries have LEAPED to 63%! Of course, none of us want this. You can still get all the benefits of pumping iron while avoiding unnecessary injuries so you can come out of the gym strutting, not limping.
I am closely tied to this issue since I have been dealing with my foot condition. While I will be on crutches/knee scooter for about 4 months, I want to make sure I come back strong but smart!

The Mistake: Skipping Your Warm-Up

Would you launch yourself into a full-on sprint as soon as you got on a treadmill? So you shouldn’t be jumping into deadlifts as soon as you get to the free weights! Cold muscles that start to work out can lead to sprains and tears. Warming up is done to increase circulation and improve range of motion. It is your muscle’s prep time!

The Fix: Choose a dynamic warm-up. After completing a 5-10 minute walk or jog, do 10-12 lunges and pushups before starting a routine. Stretching should be completed AFTER workouts, not before. Dynamic stretching is always a better warm up than stationary stretching!

The Mistake: Using Sloppy Form

Probably the single most important factor in injury prevention! Many women don’t give it much thought, especially when you all are on a time limit. Well, thanks to our lovely wider hips (which we all love I am sure), we are more susceptible to form-related injuries (leg and foot especially!)

The Fix: Before starting any routine, trainer Robbi Shveyd says to think “S.E.A.K.” Stand straight (head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over feet), eyes on the horizon (looking down encourages shoulders to round and the chest to lean forward), abs tight (helps to stabilize your pelvis), and knees over your second toe (women’s knees have a tendency to turn in because of the angle of our hips).

The Mistake: Stressing Out Your Shoulders

Women who lift have less stable shoulder joints than those who don’t lift at all. I know, I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. Doing too many exercises where your elbows are pulled behind your body (chest flies and rows) can overstretch connective tissue in the front of the joints. If your shoulders are tight in the back, you’re even more likely to overstretch the front, increasing the imbalance at the joints.

The Fix: Modify your moves. Don’t allow your elbow to extend more than 2 inches behind your body. (Be mindful in the lowering phase of bench presses for example!) Also, don’t position a bar behind your head. Being the lat pulldown bar in front of your shoulders, and when doing an overhead press, use dumbbells instead of the bar and always keep your weights within your line of vision.

The Mistake: Neglecting Opposing Muscle Groups

Having strength imbalances can make you more prone to injury. Sometimes it’s your personal lifestyle (hovering over a computer all day tightens and weakens your hip flexors while glutes become overstretched and inactive). Often times, it is because both sides of the body are not worked out equally (for example, working out your quads but not your hamstrings).

The Fix: For every exercise that works the front of the body (chest, biceps, quads, etc.) complete an exercise that targets the rear (back, hamstrings, triceps).

The Mistake: Doing Too Much Too Soon

More does not always mean better. If you increase things too quickly, your body may not be able to handle the overload. Gradual conditioning is best because the muscles and connective tissue have time to adapt.

The Fix: Learn how to do an exercise using only your body weight. When you can do 15 reps with proper form, add weight. Stick to one set with light weights for 2 weeks or until you feel comfortable with the move. When you can properly complete your reps with proper form, add another set or more weight (you should increase weight by about 10% each time).

Be careful in the gym ladies! Of course we want to see those results but we want to see them accomplished in a safe and healthy way! I want to make sure you can show off those muscles...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Foodie Penpals and Giveaway!

Finally! I don't know why my internet has been throwing up its middle finger at me lately but I am glad to finally get this post out!

About a month and a half ago, I emailed Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean to sign myself up for her Foodie Penpal program. With over 100 "members" she matches each of us up with another blogger/food lover to send a small package to. You send a package to one person while someone different sends one to you. For more information on how you can sign up, check out her blog!

If you want to see what I sent Courtney from A So-Called Runner, check out her post here! Here is a preview though:

Last week I received a package from Joanna over at Joanna Does It All . She sent me a couple of Mexican inspired goods since she lives over in Arizona! Woohoo! Thanks Joanna!

I haven't had a chance to try them all yet but I did get a chance to try The Bee's Knees peanut butter (with honey in it! Gives it a more sweet taste!) and the Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate! Yummmyyyy!!

The peanut butter bag is flat and the Hot Chocolate box is opened if you can't tell! Tore through these first!

She sent me a lot of gluten free things too, which, honestly, I haven't really tried before. I am excited to try some GF goods and to connect with a fellow blogger who loves food as much as I do!

Giveaway time!

If you participated in my Jog for January challenge, you are in luck! As promised, I am giving away a GOSportID so you can run in style! Here are some ways to enter:

  • Let me know how many miles you logged in the month of January!
  • Follow me on twitter!
  • Follow GOSportID on twitter!
  • Tell me the quote you would put on your very own!
  • Become a follower of my blog!
  • Tweet the following: " @i_will_overcome is giving away a @gosportid so you can run safely! Enter here: "

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry!

You have until Sunday, February 5th at 11:59EST to enter! I will announce a winner by Monday at noon! Good luck and keep on runnin'!

I hope you join in on the Foodie Penpal "club!" There are a lot of great bloggers, inspiration, and people who are just livin' their own life...on their own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...