Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How To Do A Box Jump (without face planting) Plus Advanced Box Jump Variations

It's not easy to try new movements or equipment in the gym, which I personally know. But when amazing strength and hardcore improvements become more important than obeying your comfort zone, then I can help instruct you. Box jumps are an explosive movement that trains your fast twitch muscles, give you phenomenal speed training and will make you feel POWERFUL ! Also, the equipment you need is almost as available in the gym as the 2-pound dumbbells. There the plyometric box is, just sitting there with a quirky grin, waiting for you to jump on it.

How-To Do Box Jumps

  1. Decide on the height of the box you will jump on. If you are lacking courage, start with a shorter box. In Crossfit, 20" is a standard height for girls and 24" for guys. Be brave.
  2. Face the box and mentally tell it what is going to happen. (I am going to jump on you Mo-Fo!)
  3. Stand about 12" away from the box (or where ever feels warm and coziest for you) 
  4. Start with step-ups. This is to warm up your hips and teach you the height of the box. Just alternate each leg stepping up to standing with both legs. Jump or step down. Do 5-10 on each side. 
  5. Jump on it like you mean it. When you feel ready, bend your knees a little and explode up to jump on that box! You will have so much fun, you will want to use the box at every workout, promise
  6. When jumping down, listen up! Your achilles tendon will NOT want you to jump up and down quickly. You want to extend your hips at the top of the box and then jump/step down to avoid an injury of monumental proportions.
As a useful tip! Remember that box jumps have the potential to put you in a face plant and or scrape/cut your shins if you don't make the jump. In fact, my good friend Adam had to get stitches from an failed box jump landing. Two things to avoiding this happening is to mentally focus on each jump, don't let your mind wander. When your mind wonders away from the task at hand, it makes you sloppy. And no one wants to cringe as you perform sloppy box jumps. The second is to know when your legs are jello. Shaking legs do not make for good box jumps. Push yourself but don't overdo it.

Advanced Box Jump Variations:
 Once you get the basic box jump movement down, and want more explosive movements, try these:

  1. Box jump overs. My post here with a video. You don't jump onto the box at all, instead you jump over it like a frog (a really large, mean, burly frog).
  2. Burpee box jumps. Do a burpee but instead of clapping your hands at the end of the burpee, you jump up onto the box 
  3. Side jumps on the box. Face sideways to the box, with your right leg close, then jump to the right and land on the box. Switch sides and do your left. This requires some coordination and a little faith.

Inspiration for box jump variations? A quick video from Dean Somerset who's leading the way to greatness:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Your Best Body in Record Time! 4 Days to Glory...Emergency Body 101

Have an important event coming up, vacation, big date or just ready to feel more confident in that bikini already? If you are motivated and want to show off your absolute BEST body, then I have some phenomenal tips/tricks up my sleeve to give you the best 'you' version you can get in record time (um, 4 days.) These are my fail-proof miracle-body manipulations. It's a hard core plan, and it will take discipline to do, but it freaking works!
AFTER - 4 pounds lost in three days

Have you seen the contestants on the Biggest Loser drop 40 pounds in one week? Water weight or not, the scale did not lie, it was pounds lost and you can visibly see a difference in their body structure. You also can rid yourself of unneeded bloating and pudginess with these tips and you don't have to hop on a scale in front of the nation. I would hope you would try all the tips to get the full effect but I assume if you only want to do some parts, you will likely see great results also. Of course, my disclaimer is that you will want to consult the doctor before doing this and you should ALWAYS listen to your body's queues. This is not something you can maintain long term, not that you would really want to either but its a great short term fix!

THE PLAN: 4 days to Glory:

1. Daily hot bath with Epsom salts  - This is powerful. If you do Epsom salt baths daily by itself, I think you would be impressed and want to come thanking me with big hugs. I can't stress enough how amazing Epsom salts are good for flushing out excess toxins and old cells that we don't need. Epsom salt is cheap and I bought my last bag of it at the grocery store in the bath area. I think 2 cups in a regular sized bath tub should work, and use as hot water as you can, then plan on soaking for 30-45 minutes.

2. Drink a gallon of water everyday (or two!) - The more water you have in your system the happier your liver and kidneys will be. If they are operating at 100%
then your body will be ready to flush fat, water weight, and toxins out of your body.              Happy liver+happy kidneys= fat burning mode

3. Take MagO 7- This is a powerful colon cleansing product, take it every night (start with 2-3 pills/night) on an empty stomach before bed with water. These are amazing at clearing out your colon and you will get your digestion back in order by the 3rd day of taking them. These are what got my stomach to stop being bloated after taking them for two nights. Beware! You can take up to 5 of these at once but I don't recommend it. These are a detox for your body, so be aware of the mild effects of detoxing. In the mornings, you will be visiting the bathroom, so make friends with the idea of getting rid of what your body didn't need anymore.You can buy these at health food stores.

4. Eat dinners EARLY - Eat (light) dinners before 6pm, if you can. Or about 3-4 hours before bedtime. You want to give your digestion a well-deserved break and go to bed on an empty stomach, which allows your body to clear out the food you consumed that day.

5. Eat breakfast late - Eat breakfast after 9am, or later. The longer you can go between dinner and breakfast is the better for your digestion. I aim to get a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and the next day's breakfast. This time between meals will create a fasting effect. Fasting is known to benefit SO many things including weight loss, gaining lean muscle mass, increasing energy and clearing out old "stuck" thoughts. Read more here or here.

6. Stay busy - Boredom makes me sooo hungry... it can bring out the hungry demon within ALL of us. Grab some meditation CD's or music from the library & get yourself to a good, happy, confident place. Be proud of yourself, do some positive self-affirmations and discover the you that's been in hiding. Need help staying positive, go here. Need help with your self-confidence, go here. What are your goals? Remember them, write them down in a journal and always keep them on the fore-thought of your mind.

7. Close down the kitchen- Just the sight of food will make us all hungry, as it often triggers something emotional. I recommend putting the food away in cabinets or the fridge. Then mentally tell yourself after your meal that you are closing the kitchen down. Sometimes I have to tell myself to simply WALK AWAY because the longer you are there is the more you will consider going back for a second helping or the easier it will be to justify grabbing something for your sweet tooth. But remember, you have gone down that path before, and it's time NOW to try something new. This is where meal planning can help, by  knowing how much you want to eat ahead of time. Also, refer to #6, stay busy. Plan a walk after your meals or do something else you love doing. You need to have activities after your meal so you can eat and pull yourself away from the food easily. Maybe even plan just to brush your teeth, clean teeth can often deter more eating.

The Food:
The primary foods are veggies and meats. It's simple. Anything else might be OK in moderation but remember, we are looking for BIG results in a short amount of time. Focus on your goals through this process, they will make the self-discipline all worth it. Here are the food staples of this emergency plan:

  • Salads: Loads of veggies to fill you up with the vitamins and nutrients your body wants. Great salad ideas here. And, if you are going to eat anything outside the food list, eat it ONLY after you have eaten a salad first. Give yourself the nutrients and often you won't want the other stuff after that. Think of wedge salad with yummy bacon or a big ass chicken salad with bell peppers and carrots. For your dressing your best bet is olive oil and vinegar but if you splurge here, don't worry about it, just follow the plan as close as you can. And don't shy away from eating a salad for breakfast, it's a delicious and different way to start the day!
  • Green smoothies: Recipe here. Feel free to change this up by adding steamed broccoli, asparagus or cilantro - or any kinds of veggies to feel good about. A half a lemon (clean it, chop it and throw it in there) will help cut the bitter taste or if you MUST, add steamed carrots or roasted beets.
  • Chicken - Have some already cooked & you will have an easy protein salad ready to throw together. The easiest way to cook chicken is to bake it in a bath of chicken broth in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. So easy! 
  • Veggies- My favorites are carrots, red bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, beets, raw or steamed broccoli or asparagus. You can even make up some guacamole. You can get your veggie inspiration here. Cut these up and have them ready to grab so you aren't tempted when it's time to eat. Veggies are just more appetizing when they are cut- up and ready to grab. 

Things to Avoid:

  • Processed Foods - Your body treats them as toxins. It will hold onto extra water to wrap around the cells to save them from the foods that are poisonous to it.
  • Salt - Your enemy when you need to slim down. Surprise, you don't need it! 
  • Alcohol - The devil in disguise. If your liver is burdened by removing booze from your body, then it doesn't get a chance to burn fat. More info here, under water section.
  • Gluten/Breads/Pastas/Chips - Reach for the bread bowl and it's welcome to bloat city for you! Also these foods turn into sugar in your body & cause unwanted insulin spikes. when insulin is in your system, your body will store calories. 
  • Fruit - We are going to avoid fructose which also causes insulin spikes & tends to cause bloating in some of us (me!) Plus the sweeter taste will cause a domino effect and you to crave more sweet things. Best to avoid it and make life easier. It's just a few days, you won't miss it that much.
  • Nuts - Just for a few days, you want to steer clear of these yummy treats. This includes nut butters and nut flours. This one in particular was really hard for me since I tend to eat almond butter like the world is ending.
Workouts! (my favorite part!)
These are the extra bit you need to put you in turbo fat burning mode: Plus you will probably feel energized by this eating style and want to put that energy to good use. And working out keeps you busy, you WANT to stay busy. Also, remember with these workouts that you want to be gasping for breath, not just breathing hard. Out of breath and difficult to say hi to someone means that your body is increasing the good muscle-building hormones and silencing the others. 

1. Sprints! This means different things to different people. It could mean walking faster intermittently or it could mean sprinting like there are mountain lions chasing you either on foot or by bike. Read this if you have any doubt of the AMAZING benefits of sprints. Run for 30-seconds, at an all out speed and then run at a slower pace to catch your breath for a minute or two. Then repeat that and aim for doing 6 rounds. If that's too much, just do what you can & you can hug me as a thank you later. These will make you feel like a God and your human growth hormone level will increase significantly.

2. Tabata It's a funny word for a simple movement. Tabata research has been done in controlled studies and has proven effective in putting your body into fat-burning mode and increasing your VO2 Max. The best part is it's something that takes minimal time (4 minutes!) and is intense enough to make you break a sweat. You are welcome to read here on the why's if you need convincing. You are basically doing 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds. There are numerous exercises you can do this with such as burpees, power cleans, push ups, mountain climbers, and my personal favorite is squats. 

Let me know how this goes and be sure to share your results! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fueling the Fire, Replenishing Muscles Post Workout

DIY protein shake!
Just recently, I was noticing the effects of my workouts to be leaving me drained & randomly irritated. This undesired effect and had me wanting to start bringing a pillow everywhere with me (both for sleeping & hitting people with). And since part of the glory of working out is that it sources energy for you (genius!) I figure I needed to evaluate my fueling habits.

Score! I nailed down the best way to refuel without sugary, store-bought, additive-laden protein shakes. Introducing my new training partner, the Do it Yourself protein shake. 

Here are the purposes for each (yummy) ingredient:

GELATIN – builds muscle, repairs connective tissue, lessens inflammation
SWEET POTATO – replenishes muscle glycogen
CINNAMON, GINGER, NUTMEG, CLOVES – powerful anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve muscle and joint pain. Cinnamon also has high levels of manganese that serves to build connective tissue. Ginger improves the absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Nutmeg and cloves treat inflammation and muscle pain.

Let this stuff be your BFF if you want to build muscle! It's also good for your skin win-win!

Paleo Protein Shake:
1 Cup Water - Try to avoid milk following a workout as it slows down nutrient absorption
1 Sweet Potato (small or half of a large one) I took the skin off
2 Tablespoons Gelatin (buy some grass fed here)
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg, ginger & cloves
Maple syrup, coconut sugar or raw honey as a sweetener (only if you need)

Also! In my research, I came across some VERY important info! It is vital that you avoid fructose (fruits) after your work outs. This means avoid most fruits after you work up a sweat, as well as sugar! his is because the Human Growth Hormone is suppressed with fructose and sugar. You also do not want the insulin spike because it will halt your progress (oh hell no!) Lots of research on this for you to look up but for now, just trust me on this and nix the fruit after you exercise!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Notorious B.L.O.A.T, Beat Water Retention NOW

Just now, I decided being bloated should be illegal, and if you are feeling anything like me right now (chunky) then we are both two sad little puffins. Yesterday, I was in yoga class and deliberately sat in a spot where I wouldn't have to look at myself in the mirror. That level of self loathing is no way to feel when you are being a yogi. Also, because I am going to Las Vegas (think bikini. think pool.think fun) in TWO days, I have decided to pull out the big guns and get rid of this very unnecessary (illegal) pooch.

Bloating NO MORE:
1. Drink water. This had me reaching for water immediately, read on!

  • Water aids your liver in converting fat into energy.  When you don't drink enough water, your kidney cannot eliminate fluids and needs help from your liver. Your liver is already super busy and thus helping out your kidneys, your liver becomes overworked. Then the liver doesn't get to do its primary work of converting your body fat into energy. Moral of the story is, water retention makes you bloated and fat
  • GO BIG, drinking 1-2 gallons/day. Maybe consider a milk jug companion for a bit? This works but does take a lot of effort (bringing that water cup to your face can be exhausting) and plan on many trips to the bathroom. But I promise you will feel really good when your cells are fully hydrated!

2. Seriously consider salt. This is a two part trick. First part is don't sprinkle that salt on your meals, it makes you hold onto water. The second part is take a 30 minute Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are anti-inflammatory plus they draw out toxins, extra fluids and cellular waste.  You will need one bath tub, hot water, and 2 cups Epsom salts. The Epsom salts will pull water out of your system, and the bath will help us feel like gods and goddesses instead of chunky puffins. 
3. Eat diuretic foods. Eat real foods that are delicious! These foods have a high water content so it's a tasty way to hydrate.  I love eating foods with a purpose. These are some of the foods that would love you to stop being bloated:
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Cucumbers
  • Leafy greens (parsley, spinach)
  • Asparagus
  • Celery

4. Drink Tea. Add tea in with your 1-2 gallons of water drinking a day and you will be peeing like a race horse (in a good way!) Two kinds of tea that I have the most experience with are both Traditional Medicinals brand, one is Dandelion root and the other is called Weightless. Dandelion root is pretty bitter (kinda gross) but good for liver support. Weightless is cranberry based but has other beneficial herbs blended in. Drink at least 3 cups of tea/day. 

4. A special rub. Found this is my Mother Earth Living magazine, something special that requires no consumption at all. A belly rub made with 2 Tbsp olive oil, equal drops peppermint, basil, lavender & ginger essential oil (just a few drops of each.) Mix together and rub a teaspoon on the belly & then apply heat from a heating pad or hot water bottle. It's relaxing and purposeful, a win-win in my book!

5. Take a water pill. Diurex is a brand they sell over-the-counter in drugstores or online here. Some might say this is cheating, but sometimes you need to slam down the hammer! Although I recently took one and I didn't notice a difference, most people report good results. Plus, I might have needed to take more doses than I did. This will essentially push water out of your system but it could throw your electrolytes out of wack so make sure it's worth the risk to you. 
Seaweed body wrap, yes please!

6. Get a seaweed body wrap! These are so much fun if you don't mind stripping down naked (sure don't!) in front of a stranger who lathers you up with green slime. One spa I went to took my measurements before and after the wrap and I literally lost inches! These aren't cheap ($75-300) but they are incredibly effective. 

Have any amazing results or recommendations about bloating? Post in comments or shoot me an email, I would love some feedback on this topic!

Monday, June 2, 2014

How to Flip a Tire Like You Mean It, Thoughts of the Michelin Man

I get major kicks out of man-handling something that weighs more than me. So it was only a matter of time before I got really into tires. In fact, one could say it was love at first flip (sigh) so much that I added a tire (my Michelin Man!) to my backyard toy collection. On a side note, recently I was told my tire would be good for planting a garden, (Gasp!) both my tire and I were offended. My Michelin Man is not made for flowers, no sir, my tire is hardcore, and he makes me feel tough, so together, we are bound to a committed relationship of being badasses.

You can get more detailed into different methods of tire flipping, no doubt, but this is just the basics for a lighter tire. When the tires get heavier, you might need to rest that bad boy on your leg while you shift your hand positioning or regroup mentally. You will want to feel completely ready to shove it over like you f*ing mean it. Some people describe tire flipping like it's a dead lift or a clean and jerk - if that helps. I just think of it as lifting something heavy but that's just me, simplifying it.

Fun tire Activities (feel the LOVE!)
1. Sledge hammer hits - pound it like you mean it
2. Strap a rope to your tire & pull it
3. Box jumps onto the tire
4. Jumping in & out of it - think fast, quick speed work
5. Carry it, or bonus points if you carry it over your head

If my Michelin Man tire enticed you and you are interested in getting one for yourself for free, I can help!  I contacted Mullen Tires in Denver and they were borderline ecstatic letting me take one of their tires. If you are outside the Denver metro area, contact your local tire shops and ask around for some free, heavy tires.  I had to make a few phone calls to find my Michelin Man, but it was well worth the effort of a few calls to create such a dedicated relationship with my Michelin Man!