Saturday, March 3, 2018

My Light Weight High Rep Workout: Fun and Effective

If you want to try this workout, crank up your favorite slow to mid-speed tunes and get ready to enjoy a fun and effective light weight high rep workout.

Light Weight High Rep Workout image courtesy of Pixabay

I recently chatted at length with a  friend who works out and has for years.

He helped me put together a plan for my own workouts following his preferred light resistance and high repetition workout theme. 

The first part of the directions he gave me were to listen to my body, followed by, keep the resistance going both ways - never just let the weights drop after the initial part of the move.

This is because keeping the resistance going in both directions lets you work deeper into the muscle and get better results.

I start my resistance workouts with some simple stretches and side lunges. I find the side lunges don't stress my knees and I feel warmed up quicker.

I then pick up my three pound dumbbells and do 25 of each move - working each muscle group. 

To keep my pulse up a bit, for a cardio effect, I move directly from one exercise to the next.

I alternate muscle groups to keep one set of muscles from getting overtired.

I also keep my core (abdominal) muscles tight throughout the standing portion of the workout.

Whenever I feel I need more intensity, I throw in some squats - a minimum of 50 - interspersed throughout the workout in sets of ten. 

Then, I grab either my five or ten pound dumbbells, depending on how much more I feel my muscles need to hit a good intensity, and I put a pillow under my shoulders on the floor to do some presses, flies and pullovers. (Again - I go with 25 reps.)

I follow this up with between 100 and 130 crunches to really work my abs.

Finally, I get back up and stretch, really good, because in spite of fairly light weights, this is a very intense workout.

I do this every other day and enjoy some freestyle dance time on my off days for pure cardio fun. 

So, my friend said I shouldn't expect to see visible results until at least two months of doing this workout consistently.

And, while not really visible results, I have seen some measured results only two weeks into it. 

I checked my weight before I started - I've dropped two pounds. Not much, I know, but muscle is heavier than fat, so the fact that I've seen any loss while in the muscle building stage is great!

I also have 12 spots on body that I measure to help me stay on top of changes. Some spots have seen an inch (chest) to an inch and a half (hips) loss while others (my stubborn waistline) have gained 1/4 inch.

Overall, though, over the 12 spots I've lost over 14 inches in about two weeks.

While I don't see any changes when I look in the mirror, seeing those numbers drop is highly motivational for me. 

In fact, that's my big tip for this post - choose lots of spots to measure, because one may lose a lot while others stay the same or drop - so the more spots you measure - the more chances you have for motivating results.

If you try my light weight high rep workout, let me know what you think of it - but most important - listen to your body and if you have any doubts or concerns - talk to your doctor or personal trainer.

This info isn't intended as advice, but rather, I'm sharing info on the workout my friend helped me develop for my personal needs, the results I've seen fairly quickly, and my experience with the routine.

Please note, the two places I linked the word dumbbells above are affiliate links. If you buy dumbbells through eBay after clicking the links, it does not affect the cost you pay, but Fat and Cranky does earn a small incentive through the affiliate links. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Positive Ways to Overcome Interactions With Toxic People

When you have to deal with people so toxic you need a gas mask...
I have another site, Intrinsic Vicissitude, where I write a lot about interacting positively with toxic people. I guess because that's a recurring theme in my life. I decided to drop a short piece about finding a positive way to interact with toxic people here today, because dealing with emotional toxicity can be such a powerful trigger for overeating, and for the kind of depression that leaves you emotionally paralyzed and physically unhealthy.

Examples of Toxic Family Members

When the person who 'messes you up' emotionally (Mom or Dad!) is also one who claims to love you most, it's one of the most emotionally paralyzing things you can ever have to deal with - but you can deal with it. It just takes some work, and you have to kind of 'step outside of yourself' and look at that person with compassion instead of rage. (I know - it isn't easy - believe me, I know.)

Spouses also have a huge negative impact on your psyche if you get a toxic one. After all, who has more influence on your life than the person you interact with daily and you depend on, or should be able to depend on, as a partner in life.

Kids, are even able to be a toxic influence in your life, more as they grow older and pick up the behaviors of the negative people around you.

Really, any family member you care about has the potential to be the 'bringer of psychological toxins' - and it falls to you to learn how to build a protective shield around your psyche. The problem is - that's not an easy thing to do. 

Strategies to Help You Deal With Toxic People

  • Give yourself something positive to hold onto.
    • Focus on it for a few minutes every day - multiple times a day if you interact with toxic people a lot.
    • Find things you love about yourself or your life - this can be things you've done, your faith in a higher power, charity work you help with, being a good cook, being organized - anything that makes you feel positive. 
    • Write it on a little paper, or take a picture, so you can look at it any time you need a boost after dealing with the toxic person in your life.
  • Get a simple talisman to wear.
    • This can be a ring, a key ring, a piece of jewelry like a brooch or necklace, anything really. 
    • Focus on your 'positive thing' while holding the talisman, and let it represent that positive thing in your mind. 
    • Wear or take this talisman everywhere, and any time you are dealing with your toxic person, touch the talisman as a reminder that this person is nothing - that they have no power to control your emotions - because you claimed your own power and it is in your fingertips to use.
  • Practice compassion.
    • Normal, emotionally healthy people do NOT go around destroying other people - so if someone is being toxic to you - it is because they are not emotionally healthy.
    • They deserve your pity, not vice versa.
    • So, even if that person gets you upset and even enraged, try to focus on the fact that this person who is trying to hurt you emotionally is acting from a place of fear and pain.
  • Don't engage in the toxicity.
    • When you catch yourself reacting to another person's negativity, don't talk louder.
    • Don't argue with them.
    • Your negative reaction to their emotional abuse - and that's exactly what it is - emotional abuse - is what they feed off of - simply end the discussion, or smile sweetly and change the subject. 
  • Find some non-toxic people to be part of your life.
    • Not everyone sucks.
    • If you're surrounded by toxic people, give yourself permission to go somewhere positive people hang out. This can be church, or somewhere you can volunteer to do charity work.
  • Accept the unconditional love of a pet.
    • If you aren't able to have a pet where you live, or you don't have time for a full-time pet, you can always volunteer at an animal shelter to get your fix of unconditional love from a pet.
  • Write it out.
    • Write a letter to the toxic person, detailing how they make you feel and how angry it makes you - cuss - rant - rage - let it all out. 
    • Do NOT send it.
    • The toxic person does NOT deserve to know how you feel and they would just "feed" off of it anyway.
    • These are your words and thoughts about how you've been treated, and once you write them down, they are out of your heart and you have the choice to let them go so they are not - or do not have to be - part of your existence any longer.
    • I personally burn these letters in the fireplace after I write them, and picture the smoke floating into the sky carrying the hurt and anger away. (It's a little cheesy, but it works.)

Positivity Versus Toxicity

The most important thing is that you find positive ways to deal with the toxicity other people throw at you. It isn't an easy thing to do, overcoming the toxic behavior of other people, but it can be done, and most important - you can do it. Don't let someone else's negativity ruin your day - or worse yet -your life. Own the good things about yourself, and if you screw up, like every human being on the planet does occasionally, own it and move on. 

Someone else's opinion about you is just that, THEIR opinion - and honestly - if it's negative - it has more to do with how that person feels about themselves than it does with you. So, Mom, thank you for telling me four times yesterday that I'm stupid. Stupid? I went to college, worked hard, earned a degree and extra certifications, and graduated WITH HONORS - I'm not stupid! But - - It's good to know how you feel about yourself, Mom, but give yourself a break, you may be mean, but you aren't stupid, either.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Calculating the Nutrition Info in a Recipe

Calculating the nutrition info in a recipe can be  a lot of work if you do it by hand. Tonight, I found some apps that figure out the numbers for you. I tested out the one on SparkPeople, because everything else I've tried on that site has been so great and easy to use.

Calculating the Nutrition info in a Recipe image courtesy of Pixabay

My Experience With the SparkRecpes Nutrition Info Calculator

I made a chicken and broccoli stir fry for dinner, (not the one shown above, mine didn't turn out that pretty) and I was sitting down to enter the nutrition info for each separate item, it occurred to me to look for something that would let me enter the whole recipe and then break it down into serving seizes. I found several apps that looked good, but SparkPeople came through for me again, with SparkRecipes.

I entered everything I had thrown in the pan. Then I hit "Calculate". In about 2 seconds I was looking at an extremely detailed nutrition info label that was easy to read. But, I had forgotten an ingredient. So, I went back, thinking I would have to start over, but nope, everything was still there. What a time saver!!

Calculating Nutrition Info By Hand

To calculate the nutrition info in a recipe when you don't have an app available, grab a piece of paper and a pen.
  • Write the calories for each ingredient, then each other piece of nutrition info you track, like carbs, proteins, and fats.
  • Add up the calories, and other info types.
  • Divide each total by the number of servings.
Okay, it's only 3 steps, but when you add in the fact that you're doing it for every detail you want to track, it can get pretty time consuming. Using an app that calculates your recipe's nutrition info for you just makes it so easy and fast. 

Thanks for reading, and be sure to share your experience with nutrition info calculators and which one you like best. Oh, and if you're interested, join us on Facebook for updates and other info shared on the F&C page.

When Do You Like to Exercise?

I've always enjoyed exercising, but when I gained weight, it got harder and harder with each few pounds and I stopped. It was a vicious cycle, because without the active lifestyle, the weight kept coming, and with the weight building up on my body, it got harder to exercise.

When Do You Like to Exercise? image courtesy of Pixabay

Bedtime Exercise Routines?

So, lately, I've been exercising every day, making a point of it, and most days I end up squeezing in a workout right before bed because I forget to do it when I'm working. (And, as a copywriter, I live a very sedentary lifestyle.)

Logically, I know that's not the ideal because it can interfere with sleep. Plus, it would be very easy to forget and just go back to slacking off because, well, at the end of the day I'm tired. (Who isn't?)

Morning Workouts?

Today, I was logging my breakfast on SparkPeople, because I find their app easy to use and I helps me to see the details of what I've eaten. Plus, I love the little charts they provide that make it even easier to see how I'm doing.

Seated Dumbbell Workout

So anyway, while I was recording what I had eaten, I noticed a link to SparkTV. I clicked it and it was a bunch of free to watch exercise videos! I picked out a 9-minute seated dumbbell workout first and used my 3-pound weights. It was great and I got a surprisingly good burn in my upper body muscles, abs, and arms.

Seated Cardio Workout

I was having fun at that point, so I picked an 11-minute seated cardio workout with the same instructor. I had my doubts when I picked it but figured it was worth a try. It was great! And, surprisingly intense, though the instructor did explain how to increase or lower the intensity by adapting the movements.

So, now it's still morning, and I've completed a task I normally put off till the end of the day, and I feel great about it. That leaves me wondering; when do other people enjoy working out?

emoticon I would love to hear how everyone else fits in their workout and if you get the same positive feelings after finishing a good workout!

Feel free to share in the comments, browse around the site for more information, and be sure to join us on the Facebook F&C page.