Monday, November 30, 2015

Why I workout In the Morning !

If I had to pick between a morning and a night workout, I will always choose the morning time. Starting my day with a workout is the best feeling that I am getting myself going for the day. My body is so used to it now that it knows what I am going to do before I even go to the gym. My theory is simple: Get it done early so you have no excuses !!

Many times people wait till after work to workout. But take a second and think off all the things that can get in the way and all the excuses you can make to just skip the gym. If you get it done right in the morning you just eliminated the excuse and you will now be working optimally all day because of the extra metabolic boost !
Over 90% of people who exercise on a continual basis do their workout  in the morning. So if you want to exercise regularly as it may be to your advantage if you get it done right away in the morning. Get yourself into a routine because your body will learn how to adapt to training. If You train at about the same time each morning, and ideally wake up at about the same time on a regular basis, so adapts to the body's endocrine system and circadian rhythms to this. Physiologically, so it helps to be beneficial things start happening in the body; a couple of hours you wake up, your body begins to prepare for waking and then start a physical activity because it "knows" the regularity that it is about to happen. Why? 

Your  body "knows" your morning routine that you do every day so you can take advantage of it in several ways: 
a) It is much easier to wake up on a schedule. If you wake up at different times every day, confuses your body and thus it is never really "prepared" to awaken you. 


B) Your metabolism and all the hormones involved in physical activity and exercise begin to increase already below while you sleep. It will probably help you feel more alert, have more energy from the start and is ready to move with you when you wake up. 
C) Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to muscles, etc.

Getting up early isn't always easy but it doesn't have to be hard. You need to plan ahead a little. I make my food the night before so my pre-workout meal is ready. My gym bag is packed and my workout is already planned for the day. I have all my alarms set and I am already mentally committed !!! However, if morning workouts are not your thing, you are better off going at a time that you will be consistent and just make sure you find the time to train.

If it's worth it you MAKE the time !


Love, hugs, and happy training !

Healthy Cookies !!!

Everyone needs a go to cookie recipe. You don't need to derail your diet in order to eat healthy and still feel like you are enjoying yourself. Especially if you are doing a cookie exchange with your friends, you should be the better friend and have their interest at heart with making a healthy cookie.
Try these tasty quick-to-make ‘guilt-free’ cookies for family and friends around the holiday season!
Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies
Ingredients
1.5 cup of oats
1/2 cup of coconut flour (very high in fiber!)
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 banana
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 tbs all natural honey
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Try the use the Enjoy Life brand. They are dairy, nut and soy free)
1/4 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries (Ocean Spray brand has 50 percent less sugar)
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate chips and cranberries in a blender until batter is smooth or consistency of your desire.
3. After you have your batter made, add in dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Make little balls on a baking sheet and then bake for 15 minutes in the oven.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Train with me !

Don't wait for the holiday's to be over !! There is no better time then right now to start on getting yourself fit and healthy ! Let's get started today and I will help you reach any goal that you have !!! 

I get asked quite often how to stay motivated. Before I start this blog, I want to say that you need to be motivated from within. If you are constantly making excuses for yourself such as I have no time to workout, I have holiday parties to attend, I just don't have the willpower to stay consistent. Well if you have that attitude you will NEVER get to where you want to be. If you are TRULY motivated, nothing will ever stand in your way !! 

Training Plans

$50 per training program 

If you are already and ADVANCED lifter and just need help with programming this is the perfect solution for you ! I create and detail training plans for all different types training situations. 

Plans for the following can be detailed to you:

-Body part split training for a globo gym : 5,4,3- day split; Upper/Lower; Total body

-Metabolic Conditioning HIIT training

-Cross Fit WODS

-Mixed workouts include both body part split plus cardio to enhance physique

-Total body programs for home based with minimal equipment

-Specialized programs for any sport or event needed

-Custom built plans

Nutritional Plans

$50 per nutritional plan with one 30 minute initial phone call 

Combining training with nutrition is the only way to see long lasting benefits in your physique. Training is only 70% with Diet consuming the other 20% and genetics with 10%. Learning how to EAT and FUEL your body will determine your physique and how fast your results will follow. 

Nutritional plans include the following:

-one 30 minute initial phone consult

-Detailed meal plan set up based on macro nutritional breakdown for your goals

-Plans for dietary restrictions such as auto immune disorders, gluten free, soy free, vegetarian, etc.

-Exchange sheet included to add variety

-Grocery shopping list

-Meal prep planning and preparation



If you just allow yourself to become great.. nothing can stand in your way !! 


Friday, November 27, 2015

One Month Progress !!! I don;'t Conform ... I Adapt !

Today marks one month since diving back into my training for NPC. Originally I planned to do Figure again but then I realized that my heart has always been to compete for physique so I made a decision along with my coaches to start training for NPC Women's Physique. I post more natural in physique and I am more confident just training HARD !!! My love for moving heavy weights and just hard training is why I love being able to have a bigger size in this sport !

Taking progress photos is always a challenge as I am very critical of how I look and always expect to see a "stage" photo. But after taking countless photos and then comparing them to last month its nice when you can see obvious changes in a good way !!! I am more excited now that my body is adapting amazing to training and diet as I was giving myself a break and I did CrossFit for about 4 months as a "new" style of training. However, my love is bodybuilding and I like the way I feel and look when training that way. If I am training hard I want to have the obvious external look of aesthetics to match that.

I know to some it might sound conceited but the bodybuilding world has many challenges that needs to be faced and overcome. Hours of prep, dieting, training, sleepless night, early mornings and constant concern of how your body will look on stage are just a small part of what goes on during prep. I enjoy looking, performing, and feeling good about myself and when I train like a bodybuilder I have the perfect harmony of all three.

Since I am involved in both sides, CrossFit and Bodybuilding, I am always the outsider in both domains. In a "regular" globo gym, I am that obnoxious CrossFit person if I am doing HIIT cross training with oly lifting. The same goes for the CrossFit community with the ongoing joke of me doing "Bro Workouts" with my Bro Diet.  The funny thing is that my style of training is just to have fun doing it and enjoying every minute. I adapt to my surroundings. I push the limits of both and I am happy being the oddball !!!

So here is a sneak of this months progress :

I will never settle for anything less than what I am capable of ! 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Mental Challenges... Making it Personal !

I am making this a journal for everyone to follow my journey in fitness, life, and to help as many people along on their journey through finding themselves again. I get asked the question of where my motivation for training comes from?? For me this is an easy answer in my head but hard to explain to others. In order for me to be able to express my passion you must know where it comes from. For me training is my out.. my quiet time... my safe place. For all of you that know a little of my past, I had/ have many disordered thoughts around food, body image and self esteem. Dealing with everything from eating disorders, body dysmorphia and and low self esteem, I used fitness as a way to battle all of that. If you know someone who ever dealt with any of these issues, you understand the extreme stress, anxiety and sad place it can be.

Training is a way to just zone out of life. I used it as a place of comfort in the mess I created in my mind. I found my passion for feeling powerful, lifting heavy weights, and feeling a sense of accomplishment in the gym. My training will always be my safe place.... a place that I feel confident, strong, determined and proud to be me. There is that deep desire to just lift till I can't feel anything and that's where it stems from. Through my passion I want to help others feel confident without having to deal with the struggles that I faced to get there. Everyday is a battle that I must overcome. Everyday is me vs. me and there sometimes is no winner as I fight tooth and nail to survive. Just hearing these words might help someone who feels like they are lost in their journey. I want to help inspire others.

The truth is, I want to be able to impact people through learning how to live a healthy life. You are capable of more than you can ever know if you allow yourself to be. Training, lifting, dieting and being on stage is what I love because of the feeling I get from it. When I train, life stops, when I step on stage my confidence just beams out and I feel unstoppable. If I can bottle that feeling I would. I know that I was placed in a position in life to help people. To help others understand that they are worth more than what they think. To empower people to try to do things they never imagined they were capable of doing. It's a passion to really be in relationships and see the changes people go through.

If you are ever in a position that you feel you need something more, just look where your mind wanders to. You are more than numbers on a scale. You are more than what the media portrays. You have the ability to change your life if you let yourself be amazing.

I hope you can see that even those who appear strong, struggle. I want others to hear my story so I might be able to help someone else. I want to change the mindset of people through overcoming the mental battle, the internal struggles and to face the inner demons they hold tight. It's time to let go. It's time to learn to accept that you are worthy of everything in life. It's time for you to take hold of your dreams and passions and make it a reality!! 

Happy Thanksgiving !

Happy Thanksgiving !! Today is a day to just enjoy the family and friends that surround your life filling it with love. You should take time to just relax BUT before you do, think about getting in a good sweat session to make room for the turkey !! You will have a few good days of filling foods and you shouldn't use this time as an excuse to just lay off the workouts !! This is the perfect time to put the turkey to good use !
No equipment or gym required! Do as many reps of each exercise as you can in one minute, moving from one to the next without stopping. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit a total of three or four times.
1. Jumping Jacks
2. Squat Jumps
3. Side-to-Side Hops: Keeping your knees slightly bent and feet together, imagine you're jumping back and forth over a line on the floor.
4. Burpees: Squat to place your hands on the ground, jump back into a plank position, and do a pushup. Reverse the move to return to standing, jumping off the ground to finish each rep.
If you ARE going to a gym try out this interval cardio post lifting to speed up your metabolism
To up the effort, increase the incline, resistance, or speed.
0-5 minutes: Warmup (easy effort—you can sing at this pace)
5-7 minutes: Moderate effort (you can carry on a conversation)
7-10 minutes: Hard effort (you can speak a few words at a time)
10-12 minutes: Moderate effort
12-14 minutes: Recovery (easy effort)
14-16 minutes: Very hard effort (you're huffing and puffing too much to talk)
16-20 minutes: Cooldown (easy effort)
Be sure you follow up your training session with good healthy foods like turkey and this is the perfect time to feed your muscles some carbs !!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Keep it FUN !

One of the best ways to keep on track with a fitness goal is to have something to work towards. One of the best starting goals is to do a 5 k. It's a mid range run for 3.2 miles that many people can learn to do within a few months if you put your mind to it. There are some really cool beginner strategies that you can use to help motivate you to push towards that goal.
Here are 5 Tips to Take Your Fun Run to the Next Level
1.) Hydrate
A lot of people think the 5K is such a short race that hydration is not as important. Wrong! Hydration for even the shortest races is still important. Especially is you want to get to that sub 20 minute level we are talking about. Make sure you are drinking enough water days before the race and then after the race replenish with electrolytes and sodium to replace what was lost.
2.) Negative Splits
Another big issue with people wanting to run a fast 5K is going too fast too early. People feel like they can just run a FAST pace from the start of the race and then they try to keep a ridiculous and unachievable pace. This will create a huge burnout for the last have of the 5K. Try to have a medium pace for the first mile and settle into the run. Mile two increase and your final mile just give it all you got and GO !
3.) Run More Than the Race
If you are training for a 5K that doesn’t mean run a 5K everyday, or worse, run less than a 5K and plan on the “X-Factor” making an appearance on race day. You need to mix it up with different distances, intervals, hills etc..But most of all make sure you can maintain an uncomfortable pace past the race distance. This will not only help out your conditioning a ton, but it will also help you mentally. Because if you have already been there you won’t be scared.
4.) Speed Work
One of my favorites is speed work, if done correctly, is one of the most beneficial. You alternate intervals of fast paced running with a recovery pace for rounds throughout your run. This will help increase your pace time and also keep things fun !
5.) Have Fun
Last but not least, have fun. If you can’t find any fun in what you do you will soon despise what you do. Make sure you have a good time when you are running a race. Get a free t-shirt, take some good pics, and have a great time!
So go out there, get motivated, find a running buddy and sign up for a local 5k fun run and enjoy training !

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Unclutter you Life !!!

Did you know that what you have on your counter in the kitchen can be a direct influence on your weight ? It's true, as the saying goes: Out of sight out of mind. What if your counter is full of sweets, treats and clutter ?? A new study from Cornell University underscores the negative effects of having "treats" on the counter. Women who kept fresh fruit out in the open tended to be normal weight, while those who stored breakfast cereals and soda where they could see them weighed significantly more. In fact, in homes with counters that housed soft drinks the women weighed 24 to 26 pounds more than those who kept their kitchen surfaces clear of sugary beverages. Women with kitchens that displayed cereal boxes were on average 20 pounds heavier.
Why ?? onclusions are probably pretty obvious to assume that when you keep unhealthy foods visible and within reach you’re much more likely to overindulge. The opposite is also true if you are stashing less than healthy options in cupboards reduces the chances you’ll grab them, either due to hunger, boredom, or habit. So how can you fix this ?? Easy !! Start by getting the good for you foods in the front of the fridge and in the cabinet and put the treats far in the back where you have do dig to get them.
Here are some tips !
Rearrange your refrigerator
Devote the bulk of the space in your fridge to the healthy foods you want to eat more often; it’s also smart to make these easily accessible.That means cut, chop and peel anything that you can grab quick and eat as a healthy snack! If they are ready to eat you are more likely to eat it !
Pre-portion foods you may overeat
When I store pre-cooked whole grains in my fridge, like quinoa or brown rice, I always leave a half cup measuring cup right inside or on top of the container to measure it out. If you tend to grab a too generous handful of nuts, take a few minutes to divide a larger jar into several small bags or containers. It’s a small but highly effective step, because let’s face it, you’re lot less likely to stop to do this when you’re hungry or busy.
Create hurdles to getting to your goodies
Make your treats harder to access. Put it on the top shelve or all the way in the back. You are less likely to want to bend and dig to get it and by the time you reach it you feel like it's not worth it anyways. You also can do the sticky note method and write phrases on them such as: Is this bringing you closer or farther from a healthy lifestyle ? It makes you stop and think for a second!
Pre-cook meals for the week
If you plan ahead you are more likely to stick to your plan. By doing this you are creating success and have ample healthy foods to pack for the week of meals !!!
Don't let tiny slips spoil your healthy lifestyle ! Use these tips to create a functional habit that you can use for the long run !

Monday, November 23, 2015

Clean Eating !

I eat clean but what is eating clean ? Your answer and mine will have variations. What is eating clean ? Is it eating foods that are not processed? A clean diet could include meat, dairy, and grains, or it could exclude one or all of these groups. With all of these options and more, it’s hard to know which approach is best.
Often you might think your diet is healthy because it is full of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. And yet the scale isn’t moving the way you would like it to and your body isn't changing. What could the problem be? You might be making small nutritional errors that are holding you back.
First, are you making the right choices when choosing snacks? Are you eating mindlessly or are you eating for your goals. Snacks sometime can become mindless munching and you don't even realize it until the bag of chips are gone.Choosing snacks that are raw such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are some great options.
Do you track your food? Do you measure? How do you know how much you are eating if you are not keeping track of it? It might seem like more work to weigh and measure your food but in the long run you will have a better idea of what you are consuming thus you will then have more control over your body and nutrition.
Learn how to can food, or make friends with someone who cans. Canning your own food has loads of benefits like longevity, better taste than store-bought, and no mystery chemicals or additives. You can also can food in Mason jars instead of aluminum cans, which gets rid of the metallic taste of grocery store canned foods. Plus they stay good for a long time and who doesn't want fresh foods all year round.
Speaking of fresh foods, support your local farmers and buy your produce from a fresh market stand. There are many places that offer services that deliver fresh produce, dairy, and meat to a location near you. This is a great way to experiment with fruits or vegetables you may have never tried, like kohlrabi or jackfruit. You also support local farms and gain access to fresh, clean food.
On a final note, understanding how your body works with foods is important. Do you have any intolerance? Is your gut health in check and working properly? Locate food sensitivities and don’t ignore them. Sensitivities may be caused by fruit, gluten, or dairy. I even have a friend who is allergic to red meat. Both major and minor food sensitivities can disrupt digestion and cause stomach aches, so pay attention to the symptoms. When your stomach is uncomfortable, reach for what is comfortable. Avoiding discomfort altogether is the way to go.
By combining these tips with what your already doing might help you overcome that plateau and see more changes in your body with a simple exchange !!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sit better to move better

If you want to move better you need to learn to "rest" better. I don't mean sitting on the couch, I mean using active resting positions like squatting, kneeling,sitting cross legs, sitting long legs and side ways!
Let's start with the squat! It’s a fundamental building block of human movement. The full squat puts the legs in the unique position of triple flexion, flexing the ankles, knees, and hips. This brings length to some of the most overworked muscles in the body. Ideally the squat is done with feet facing forward, heels close to the ground, and knees tracking toes without collapsing into the arches of the feet.
Kneeling is overlooked as an adult.Kneeling gives the body a huge number of options to explore. You can kneel low or tall, with toes tucked under or pointed behind you.Some individuals will need padding under the butt to rest comfortably (particularly if the quadriceps have excess tension). If your knees are sensitive, make sure to pad beneath them as well. From kneeling, you can easily find the fold up position (or child’s pose) to bring more length to the back in global, whole-spine flexion.
Long leg sitting is my favorite !Sitting with the legs extended in front of you can be quite revealing. Ideally you should be sitting on our ischial tuberosities, those bony bumps beneath the pelvis. Explore this position with both legs out, or one leg tucked in.
If doing a long leg sit is hard try a cross legged version of them. Just cross your legs into a pretzel shape and find a comfortable position to rest into.
The last position to try is side sitting. In this position, one hip is in internal rotation, while the other is in external rotation. This position may strain the knees if they are forced to compensate for overly tight hips. Pay close attention to differences as you switch from one side to the other. You will have a better side just like with life. You might prefer the non dominate side even ! !
These are natural positions for the human animal. If your body doesn’t work the way a body should, movement will suffer. One surprisingly simple way to improve your movement is to rest better. Use these resting positions to tap into the body’s natural ability to tune itself.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Reset and Recover

Working out and eating right are two very big things when it comes to changing your body. Now you need to add in the proper amount of rest and recovery for your body to fully repair and strengthen to produce results. Making time for active recovery and rest is critical for your success. Rest days are not lounging on the couch days but they are for staying active and moving. The idea is to move your body with gentle activity for 30 to 60 minutes. This kind of activity will help stretch out tight areas, get some blood flowing to ease soreness and shake out the kinks from your joints. However, it won’t burn too many calories but active rest will help flush out toxins and facilitates muscle repair. It also acts as a cross-training technique, which helps reduce the incidence of overuse injuries such as tennis elbow, tendinitis and shinsplints. It can promote the reduction of stress hormone levels in the body, which in turn boosts fat burning and bolsters immune system response.
Active rest can be any activity you can think of, so long as it’s not too strenuous. Here are some great ideas for your active rest days that you can do solo or with friends and family.
YOGA
There are many kinds of yoga to choose from, but for active rest days, try a restorative or gentle-flow class that focuses on breathing and easy postures to help relax and oxygenate your muscles and reset your mind for the week to come.
WALKING
This is a great activity for anyone of any fitness level. If you think walking is boring, find a new area to explore nearby a park, beach or neighborhood. If you are on a treadmill, set the incline higher that 7% and at a 3.5 MPH.
HIKING
Hiking is another great way to change things up and enjoy nature while still moving your bod. Unsure where to start? Check out everytrail.com to find a nearby hike, its length and difficulty rating. Then pack a healthy lunch and take the whole family with you.
WATER SPORTS
Kayaking, paddleboarding or slow swimming is a great way to get outside, in the environment and relaxing all at once. Remember, this is a recovery day and you shouldn't be out there to workout! The water is also a great place to stretch out because your limbs are more buoyant. After you’re done with your active rest activity, spend another five to 10 minutes stretching tight muscles while in the water.
BIKING
Set aside your inner Armstrong and opt for a leisurely ride around your neighborhood, local park or boardwalk. Alternately, set your stationary bike on a low resistance and pedal to some slow jams. Think sightseeing rather than Spinning.
Make your rest days more FUN days than anything and enjoy your efforts in the gym !

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Have Fun with Training!!

Hey everyone !!

So I thought I would write about training especially training for a competition or a specific goal. I have been training for a long time. I have set many goals to accomplish and prepping for shows has been the biggest one that I have done which is mental challenging just as much as your body is. Knowing how to push yourself on days that you are not feeling like training or going to do double days can become difficult at times. Not to mention that you will be making choices to eat healthy around the holiday's and might miss out on social events. All of these things play a HUGE role in your perseverance.

There are many ways to get distracted.. I'm tired, I'm sore, I just can't find the time. But in the end if you truly want to be successful in ANY aspect of your life, you need to put your mind to it and just make the time happen. The same goes for your fitness and healthy living. You need to make the time for you and for your training.




Making your training FUN and enjoying it will always keep you on track ! Never do something you hate over and over again because that will cause you to quit and not accomplish your goal. For instance, my training for competitions are the same for a full month but I continue to challenge myself through lifting heavier and enjoying the training session. I get one day of HIIT where I just go and "play" through my training. Most of the time my HIIT days are harder than regular lifting because I get caught up in the fun and just keep going.

I enjoy training, challenging my body, challenging my mind. Most of all I enjoy just having fun in my training. I want to be open with everyone through this prep. It's never an easy journey but it is a FUN one. I wouldn't trade anything I do or complain about certain parts. You find your love, embrace the process, and enjoy every moment of it !

If your ever looking for advice or help let me know !!! Make sure to check out my Instagram page @burdafitness_sara or my FaceBook page ! https://www.facebook.com/sara.burda.7

Sara

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Healthy Snacking !

Need a healthy snack? Tis the season for pumpkin and all things fall! Pumpkin is not only delicious, but it is also such a versatile vegetable that it is often used in sweets such as cookies and cakes, as well as in savory dishes such as ravioli, soups… and today in a hummus dip! This Spicy Pumpkin Hummus has an awesome combination of flavors from the pumpkin, chickpeas and tahini paste, and with just the right amount of of spices. It’s smooth consistency makes it a perfect dip for veggies, pita chips, apple slices, etc., or it can be a perfect addition to your favorite wrap, and can even be spread on top of grilled chicken or fish! There are so many possibilities so make it and enjoy!
PUMPKIN HUMMUS
Ingredients
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 TB sesame tahini paste
1 clove garlic
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust up or down depending upon desired level of spiciness)
3/4 tsp. cumin
5 tsp. olive oil
4 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes (garnish, optional)
How to Prepare
1. Put pumpkin and chickpeas into a food processor, and process until smooth.
2. Add remaining ingredients to food processor and process again until smooth.
3. Scoop into a bowl and garnish with red pepper flakes (optional). Dig in!
NUTRITION DATA
Per 1/3 cup (recipe makes 6 servings): 130 calories, 3 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber), 7.5 grams fat
Keeping your body in shape is hard work and, yes, it absolutely does mean making sacrifices when it comes to the foods that you choose to eat! However, the key is to still enjoy the foods that you love by simply recreating them into a healthy version. That’s what I’m here for! I’ll take the guesswork away from you and bring you new recipes each and every week! It’s all about being creative with good-for-you foods!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Meditation for Stress !

Are you stressed out often and don't know how to relax your mind and body ? You might want to explore and incorporate meditation into your regular health and wellness routine. One of the greatest challenges can be identifying the right type of meditation to meet your individual needs and preferences based on your personality and goals. Fortunately, there are dozens of types of meditative practices many with different emphases, different postures, and different underlying philosophies which means plenty of options for you to find the practice that works best for you.
Mindfulness meditation has been growing in popularity in the past two decades. It is increasingly growing on the subject of empirical studies focusing on its potential psychological and physiological benefits.Though generally considered non-religious, this type of meditation stems from the Buddhist tradition and emphasizes an awareness of breath, a focus on the present moment, and letting thoughts come and go without judging them.
Mindfulness meditation may also involve focusing on specific parts of the body. This type of meditation is generally practiced while sitting cross-legged on the floor with a straight spine or in a stable chair.
Heart rhythm meditation (HRM), much like mindfulness meditation, emphasizes the breath, but also incorporates the heart, and involves coordinating the breath and heartbeat in order to direct and circulate energy. Different types of breathing techniques, which include inhaling, holding, and releasing the breath in various rhythmic patterns, are common to this practice. Though the benefits of HRM have not been thoroughly studied, many of its practitioners believe that it can be a powerful tool for emotional healing.
Qi gong, based on the Taoist tradition, is a type of meditation that uses the breath to circulate life energy, or qi or chi, through the body. The practice focuses on aligning breath, mind, and body so that you may realize your full potential as a human being. Along with a focus on breathing and relaxation techniques, qi gong frequently involves movement and is a key component of some martial arts practices.
Guided meditation is a popular technique that isn’t specific to any one meditative tradition, and instead may be done for a number ofdifferent types of meditative practices (including those mentioned in this article). The key element of guided meditation is that an instructor is verbally leading the participant or participants through the practice.This is generally intended to teach the participants the practice, so they are able to do it on their own when necessary. Guided meditation can be a great option for someone who is new to meditation and prefers the option of working with a teacher as he or she learns more about the ins and outs of the practice.
In identifying a type that’s right for you, it’s useful to think about what you want out of your practice. Whether it’s improved concentration as in Zen meditation, incorporation of movement as with walking meditation, or someone to walk you through it (as with any form of guided meditation). It’s also important to remember that not all practices are ideal for all people. You should feel free to experiment and try different practices until you find the one that works best for you.
References:
1. Ramesh Manocha, "Meditation, mindfulness and mind-emptiness." Acta Neuropsychiatrica 23, no. 1 (2011): 46-47.
2. "Meditation: An Introduction." NCCAM.http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm (accessed July 17, 2014).
3. Scott Bishop, et al., "Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Defition." Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 11, no. 3 (2004): 230-241.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Build a Better Booty !

So you want to build your booty ? Don't know where to start but you know that it's time for some serious glutes !!! Squats can get BORING but there are a ton of great variations to get your rear in gear !! Try out some of these exercises next time you are in the gym !
-Back Squats
Learning how to squat properly is your number one goal. You should have control on both the down and up phases of the squat. Your goal is to reach 90 degrees. Keeping your chest lifted, squat down with an upright torso as low as you can safely go. START LIGHT and keep practicing. or lower in the bottom position.
-Kneeling squats for the glutes
Start on a smith machine because if offers more control. You will want to be in a kneeling position and the bar on your back. To set it up, use a pad on the floor for your knees and set the bar just below your shoulders from standing up on your knees. Place the bar on your upper back and engage your glutes while you move your booty back and lower with control. When your butt just barely touches your lower legs or heels, move your hips forward while squeezing your glutes.
-Jefferson Squats
Take a wide stance, with the bar between your legs. Squat down and grasp the bar with one hand in front and the other hand behind you (the bar will be between your legs). With your chest lifted, squeeze your glutes, keep your knees from collapsing inward and rise up out of the squat position with the barbell, without locking out at the top. Try to keep your glutes contracted the entire movement and get LOW in this squat.
-Pause squats
The more time, the more tension, the more damage to your muscles, the more growth and change! Pick any squat and any stance you like and instead of just squatting down all the way and rising up for one rep, you’ll squat down, rise up about halfway, go back down all the way, then rise up to equal one rep. You’ll hate me, but I look forward to your new booty!
-Overhead Squat
This move is for more advance lifters who have proper shoulder development to hold the overhead positioning. Start in a standing position with a light barbell and pressing the bar into a wide grip press directly up overhead.. Anytime you’re doing a squat with the load above your head, the dynamics of the movement change substantially. Keep an erect spine and squat down into a traditional squat position, with your knees pushing out and not forward beyond your toes. Squeeze your glutes and rise back up. You should feel this EVERYWHERE— shoulders, core, back, legs and glutes!
Take some time and have fun adding in new exercises into your fitness routine and see how small changes create new muscle growth !!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

.Fish Oil for Brain and Body Health

If you are looking to supplements, one of the MAJOR ones i recommend is Fish Oil. ish oil is a form of fatty acid that is derived from the tissues of oily fish. It contains the omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Supplementing with fish oil may support a healthy blood cholesterol profile already within a normal range. Adding 3-6 grams of fish oil a day can help promote healthy ratios of HDL to LDL, as well as healthy levels of triacylglycerol concentrations in the body when they are already in healthy range.If you can start using fish oil, as well as eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, you will support overall health and well-being.
Excessive post-workout inflammation can negatively impact many aspects of recovery, slow down tissue repair, and even undo some of the benefits of your workout. Fish oils to the rescue. Research has consistently linked higher omega-3 intake to reduced levels of inflammation. In practice, this means that fish oils could be a valuable tool in helping you recover faster from your workout, and subsequently making your next workout safer and more effective.Omega-3s may also increase blood circulation to muscles, which in turn helps to boost recovery and reduce post-workout swelling. Any kind of strenuous exercise causes muscle fiber damage, which again triggers that pesky inflammatory response; omega-3s help inhibit this response and increase microvascular oxygenation, thus promoting faster muscle repair and speedier recovery.
Research has indicated that including fish oil in your diet on a regular basis may offer mood support.The diets of many people are so filled with processed foods that there isn't enough quality nutrition coming in to support a healthy system. This only adds to the stress build-up that may exacerbate mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Fish oil consumption helps support the levels of serotonin in the body, which is often termed the "feel-good" hormone. You'll typically reap the benefits of serotonin after eating a carbohydrate-heavy meal, which is what puts you in a relaxed and peaceful state. For this reason, individuals typically crave high-carbohydrate foods when they are stressed.
Make sure you are getting a daily dose of 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg of long-chain omega-3 (EPA and DHA) especially for physically active people.Most people don’t eat oily fish every single day, are averse to the strong taste, or have reservations about possible contaminants. While everyone should look for the supplement that best serves their needs, my personal favorite is the Coromega fish oil squeeze shot, which delivers 2,000 mg of fish oil, and is clinically proven to absorb 300% better than softgels.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

EOD-130 Memorial WOD ! .

Hey !!

Happy Veterans Day to everyone who has served or is serving in the military. As a military wife I am honored and blessed to be a part of the Air Force community of people and it's an honor to have many people who have the common goal of protecting our country. Today I was able to be a part of an EOD-130 memorial WOD that we held at our box,  Fitness Heroics. The EOD 130 Memorial Workout is in honor of the 130 EOD Technicians in the Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Air Force who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11. All proceeds benefit the EOD Warrior Foundation non-profit organization.

The workout is to be completed as a 2-Man EOD Team, consisting of 4 couplets to represent each of the services.  Each couplet has two exercises totaling 130 reps, one rep for each of the fallen.  After each couplet there are 16 partner over burpees as a throwback to the dreaded 16 point hit at EOD School.  

The workout was as follows :
65 front squats 
65 kettebell swings
16 Over the person burpee
65 hang cleans
65 shoulder to overhead with kettlebell
16 Over the person burpee
64 pull ups 
64 box jumps
16 over the person burpee
64 hand release push ups
64 bent over rows
16 over the person burpee

I was lucky enough to do this workout with a friend who is in the Air Force and we finished it in 21:41 using 75# barbell for all movements. 

The EOD Warrior Foundation (EODWF) serves the EOD community by providing financial assistance and support to active-duty and veteran wounded, injured or ill EOD warriors, families of our wounded and fallen EOD warriors and by maintaining the EOD Memorial.

The foundation offers four pillars of support and handles each request on a case-by case basis. The immediate and ongoing assistance and resources provided by the foundation to those in the EOD community are intended to provide support above and beyond the budgetary constraints of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
II.   Education
III.  Hope and Wellness
IV.  EOD Memorial Care



I.    Emergency Financial Relief

Our support includes financial assistance and additional services such as morale events, peer-to-peer support, educational programs, connections to resources and sustained contact with our EOD warriors and their families.
The foundation believes that the EOD family is for life. Our ongoing mission is to disarm the challenges of the EOD family by providing our support with compassion and caring to every individual we serve.
The EOD Warrior Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that was established through the March 1, 2013 merger of the EOD Memorial Foundation and the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation to streamline and increase our capacity to support the EOD community.

Please take part in some of the amazing events to support our troops who are there protecting us every day ! 

http://www.eodmemorialworkout.com/#!donate/c1sxh

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

No More Short Cuts

You want to have a great physique but you keep falling a tad bit short. Maybe the problem is not with your workout regimen. Maybe it’s in your diet and the types of food you eat. Many people fail to see this. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 54% of U.S. adults now have abdominal obesity, up from 46% in 2000. In case you fall into that category, it’s now time to consider lessening or even avoiding consumption of these 5 foods:
Avoid refined grains. Not sure what a refined grain is? It’s an ingredient found in foods like white rice, white bread, and regular white pasta. The unrefined stuff which is classified as whole wheat, brown rice and quinoa is a healthier option to eat. Pennsylvania State University researchers found that people who ate whole grains in addition to keeping a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and protein lost more weight from the abdominal area the group of people who kept the same healthy diet but ate all refined grains.
Try to limit the amount of starchy foods you eat. One of the biggest culprits of this are potato products and potato chips. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine followed the weight changes of more than 120,000 men and women for up to 20 years. The participants were checked every four years and, on average, they gained 3.35 pounds each time which adds ups to almost 17 pounds by the time the study was finished.
Avoid processed meats ! Yes, put down the lunchmeat and eat REAL food. Not only are they filled with a lot of fillers but they are laced with nitrates and other byproducts that your body should not be consuming.
YUMM frosting... put the spoon down. It is loaded with trans fats. How bad can trans fats be? Researchers at Wake Forest University gave groups of monkeys two different diets; one group ate trans fats and the other ate unsaturated fats. The results: The group eating trans fats upped their body weight by 7.2 percent in six years and the other only gained 1.8 percent. Not only did the trans fats add new fat, it was also responsible for moving fat from other areas to the belly. Check for trans fat in other foods like pre-made baked goods, snack foods, and frozen pizzas.
Diet soda or ALL soda for that matter. t’s easy to get fooled by the zero-calorie label, yet sodas made with sugar substitutes are believed by many to play a role in weight gain. A new study published this month found that people who drank diet soda gained almost three times the amount of abdominal fat over nine years as those who didn’t drink the no-cal stuff. Recent research from the Weizmann Institute of Science found drinking water with artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame and sucralose makes you vulnerable to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.The combination of those two things are known to lead to weight gain.
If you learn to eat healthy and clean from all natural sources you will see better results in the long run than trying to find short cuts along the way !

Monday, November 9, 2015

Do you Know Your Body type??

he number on the scale isn’t the only reason to exercise. If your only goal is to lose weight, you might not stick with your workout regimen because that is not enough motivation to keep it up. I always tell my clients that there are plenty of reasons to exercise, and your motivation shouldn't be based only on what you weigh but how you perform and feel. Regular exercise is a big part of a healthy lifestyle and you should commit to it for a longer life. Here are a few more reasons to get moving:
Exercise produces a natural high and feel-good chemicals called endorphins are released in your body. These endorphins spark a positive, euphoric feeling. Did you ever realize how you feel after a workout ? Your mood is better and you have a better sense of life. Your sweat session brings out the best in you!
When you exercise you feel better, you look better, you get stronger, you feel a sense of accomplishment, and that rush of endorphins has a ripple effect on everything you do. When you feel better, you feel empowered and more confident. You now feel more energy and can have the ability to continue on your day. Along with feeling better you now reap the cognitive benefits of exercise. Even moderate walking helps boost cognitive functions like reasoning, memory, attention span, and the expansion of information and knowledge.
The Fountain of Youth isn’t some magical water source; it’s exercise! When we exercise we infuse our bodies with better health, boost energy levels, feel better, and look better. We can't stop the clock but we can slow it down.We reach our peak bone and muscle mass by the time we’re 30, and by our 40s we begin to lose it. With proper nutrition and regular exercise, specifically resistance training by lifting weights and/or body resistance training several days a week, you can slow and even reverse this process. Keeping your bones and muscles strong also helps you stay more aerobically fit, leaner, and decreases your chances of osteoporosis.
Better cardiovascular health? Check. Stronger muscles and bones? Check. More energy and confidence? Check. These are just a few of the important reasons to exercise, but feeling happier is one of my favorites. And all you have to do is get off of the couch and start moving. You got this. Now get up and get to it!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Get some SUN!!!

Vitamin D is something that flies under the radar for most people, we all know it comes from the sun, but it is also one of the most critical vitamins in your body. Here are a few of the main reasons you should be supplementing with Vitamin D:
1. You're probably deficient.
Depending what study you look at, you can find varying levels of the percentage of population that are deficient in Vitamin D. What they all agree upon though, is majority of people are Vitamin D deficient - up 75% for those with light skin and 97% in those with dark skin!
2. It helps to prevent injuries.
If you have high Vitamin D levels you are less likely to become sick as well as have a less incidence of getting injured.
3. It makes you stronger.
Those found to be deficient on Vitamin D are probably deficient in Testosterone as well. A year long study found a 25% increase in testosterone supplementing with 3332 IU of Vitamin D daily while the placebo group showed no improvements.
4. It makes you sleep better.
Sunlight = happy, while darkness and indoors can cause depression which then you are not getting enough natural sunlight.
5. Its a super vitamin.
Vitamin basically does it all; can help improve cognition, reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Increases bone strength, regulates hormones and combats inflammation.
If you are not already supplementing with a Vitamin D supplement, you might want to look into the benefits of it. You can always just go outside and take a walk in the sun for just a mere 15 minutes to reap the benefits of a supplement !

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tips for Success ! How do I do it ??

The following are my three personal tips on how I manage to remain focused, disciplined and on track. Many people ask me "how" I do it. I am just like any one else and some days need more convincing than others to get moving. But with a vision and a plan all things are possible!
1) Find a sense of comfort in the uncomfortable. You cannot be afraid to work hard.
If you want to be successful, you have to STOP looking for the easy way out. Do NOT surrender yourself to find a short cut. There is no magic pill or instant fat loss fix. You will not miraculously drop 30 lbs in a month, or somehow shape your flat butt into a beautiful round set of glutes in a week. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned over my last 10years of training myself is that nothing happens overnight. You have to be willing to dedicate time to work hard, day in and day out with passionate consistency for weeks, months, even years to get to where you want to be. Hard goals require a hard focus.
2) Accept personal responsibility. Don’t point fingers, do not pass blame, and don’t expect others to step in and assume responsibility for you. Be a self starter.
By quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger he said that “the mind is the limit, that as long as the mind can envision something, it can be done.” Physical strength is directly correlated to mental strength. You cannot build a strong body if your mentality is weak. The two mirror one another. And ANYONE who is successful knows that personal responsibility is the foundation of a strong and efficient mind. Personal responsibility builds mental strength. Know that NO ONE is responsible for your life other than you.You have the power to choose- whether to eat well, or eat junk, whether to skip the gym or whether to hit your training hard. Blaming others for your problems, for your lack of willpower, of self control, or lack of dedication is nothing more than weakness, and you cannot be strong in the gym if you’re weak between the ears.
3) Find what works for you, and do it. Don’t worry about whether it’s the right way, or the wrong way, or even the best way. Find YOUR OWN WAY.
The fitness industry is full of trends, and full of enticing information about the latest miracle exercise or the newest weight loss fix. And I’m sure we ALL know that one person who seems to always be on whatever the latest and greatest diet or training plan is. Despite all their efforts and their constant search for the next miracle fitness fix, they never seem to ACTUALLY improve how they look. That’s because they’re more concerned with being up on the latest trend than they are actually formulating a plan that works for them. You have to find what works for you, and do that. It doesn’t matter if the latest trend is to eat 3x a time and do intermittent fasting, if those methods don’t work for you and don’t fit your lifestyle or goals, then don’t use them! So many people are constantly swept up in re-evaluating their own approach based off of what is working or not working for others rather than focusing on doing what works for you
The bottom line is that you HAVE to be strong minded, consistent, independent, and unafraid to get a little obsessive with your goals. The word “obsessive” has such a negative connotation to it. And yet one of the synonyms for obsession is PASSION. And passion means intense desire, fervor, zeal. Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it because it means that much to you. Passion is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition materialized through action..

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Journey to the Stage !

hey everyone !! I think it's time to put this out there that I am headed back to the stage for my 3rd show in April ! I am beyond excited for this prep and I am attacking it like no one can stand in my way. I am going to document my journey and give you the TRUTH about prep so you can see the backside of the "glamour" you see on stage. Some days are great and other days are a fight to the finish but in the end it's always ME vs. ME.

One of the biggest assets I have this time around rebuilding my body basically from the ground up. I took a solid four months off of training like a bodybuilder to try to learn a new sport of CrossFit. My love of bodybuilding will always overpower any other style of training. I did well in CrossFit placing 2nd in a competition but my desire to get back on stage has more meaning to me.

Prep JUST started this week, I am 24 weeks out from the show. It's a little different this time around. I have amazing support and I am in a good place mentally for this upcoming season. I am planning on competing in Figure with the hopes of going into physique next year. I am going to keep training HARD and never settling for anything less than my ultimate best.

If I can give some advice for people wanting to get into the competition lifestyle there are a few things you need to know:

-Know that it takes TIME.. A LOT of time to get your body into the shape you need for a show. It's not just a quick 12 weeks.

-Give yourself that time. IF your body is ready to be on the stage you don't need to do any crazy depletion of water or sodium.

-Follow your plan. If I know one thing it's following a plan. Everything is given to you for a reason and you should trust in your coaches.

-Get a coach. Even if you 'think' you don't need one, get one anyways. Yes I do coaching and I have a coach for myself. It's important to have another set of eyes on you.

-Practice posing and walking in those heels. Learn how your body moves and get comfortable in positions that flatter your body.

-Take progress photos !!! These are the best to determine what you body looks like and how you need to adapt your training and diet.

TRUST THE PROCESS ! There will be days that you doubt yourself and days that you feel like you are moving backwards. Keep at it and keep moving forward. Never let fear or doubt stand in the way of your dreams !!

I am going to keep you posted on how this prep is going and I hope to help someone out there !!

Sara

5 Self Defense Moves you NEED to know!

What are 5 self-defense moves every person should learn how to do? You should never allow yourself to become a victim to any one person. Knowing how to defend yourself is something that is important to learn and to be able to execute if needed. Here are five moves to learn and practice just in case you ever need to use them.
1.)Defensive Push Kick (Primary Long Range Lower Body Combative)
Target: Groin
Surface Area: Push Kick
Range of Motion: Hip Thrust
How to do it: Drive the ball of your foot into your attacker’s groin.
2.)Defensive Knee (Primary Close Range Lower Body Combative)
Target: Groin
Surface Area: Kneecap
Range of Motion: Hip Thrust
How to do it: When you are in a close range or achieve a temporary control hold, drive your knee into your attacker’s groin.
3.)Palm Strike (Primary Medium Range Upper Body Combative)
Target: Chin/Nose
Surface Area: Heel of Palm
Range of Motion: Combative Twist
How to do it: Drive the heel of your palm through the attacker’s chin or nose.
4.)Hammer Fists
Target: Face/Back of head/Groin (depending on angle)
Surface Area: Side of Fist
Range of Motion: Combative Twist
How to do it: Begin with a basic Downward Hammer Fist to drive the side of your fist down on your attacker’s face (if they’re upright) or on the back of their neck (if they’re pummeled over from a groin strike).
5.)Bracing
How to do it: The brace is a ground survival position that will prevent an attacker from gaining access in between your legs. It requires you to bend both legs at the knee joint and transition to one side/hip so that the shin of the higher leg goes across the attacker’s hips. This is a very powerful and also empowering move/position to obtain as the legs can push the attacker’s body back without high levels of strength.
Knowing these 5 moves can be the key to saving your life if you are ever put into a position. Never say never and always be prepared !

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Do you count sheep at night ???

One thing that is really frustrating is being so tired yet you lay down to bed and can't fall asleep. Somehow all the things your thinking about are just in full blast racing through your mind. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for optimum health, recovery from exercise, brain function and even improving the immune system. There are so many people that are suffering from sleep issues that it is affecting daily functioning.
Not being able to sleep can be caused for a number of reasons but there are a few things that you can do to make sleeping more of a priority to wind down instead of keeping your body and mind on the go. The following are some remedies that you can do to increase your sleep and decrease your stress.
-Cut back on caffeine early. Caffeine is a stimulant that can disrupt your body and natural rhythm of your sleep cycle. Foods that have caffeine are not just coffee related but also think of chocolate and soft drinks which also spike your insulin levels causing you to have energy then a big crash. Try to avoid caffeine products after 3 pm.
-Turn off your computer, TV, phone and anything that has a blue light at least 1 hour before bed. The blue lights it radiates can interfere with your natural sleep hormones. Try to use this time for meditation or reading.
-Get moving. It helps you reduce anxiety and stress which can help you to fall asleep faster.
-Take a bath using epsom salts and natural oils like lavender to promote sleep. Epsom salt has magnesium in it to help promote sleep.
Sleep is important and if you are not getting enough of it you should try out all natural remedies first. You can supplement with 5-HTP, melatonin, and magnesium. Your body and mind will thank you !