No, weight lifting will not make you bulky!! Women simply don't have the hormonal make up to turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger without taking steroids or other banned substances. So...what will happen if you lift weights? You'll decrease your risk of osteoporosis and you'll lose body fat while gaining muscle faster than if you were just doing cardio (treadmill, running, elliptical etc.) exercise alone. It's because the more muscle you build the more calories your body burns at rest which means if you lift weights you get to eat more food. Seriously. I'm in love with weight lifting.
About two weeks ago I got "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" and decided to give lifting "heavy" weights a try. To put it into perspective the most I had ever lifted before was a 10-lb weight during a particularly ambitious Jillian Michael's workout. The moves outlined in the workout plan are simple and I was able to do them all at home with just one set of adjustable dumbbells that I bought on craigslist. By the way, I highly recommend these dumbbells, the Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells, because they're easy to use, easy to store and with slight modifications you can use them to accomplish every exercise in your own home. That said, if you have a gym membership this program shows you how to use all that intimidating equipment in the weights section so you can feel confident lifting with the guys.
I've done about 8 weight lifting workouts so far and I feel great. I've already seen my body fat percentage start to decrease and I've been eating more to fuel my workouts. I used to eat 1200 calories a day but I've bumped it up to 1800-2000 calories per day. Insane right??!! And, I am still getting smaller. Also, by adding in healthy foods that I used to stay away from because of high calories or carbs, like bananas, peanut butter and sweet potatoes, I feel like a real person again and not a starved crazy woman! The calculator tool I used to get an idea of how many calories I should be eating is here: Fat2FitRadio. You should check it out...you'll be surprised how many calories you burn simply by existing (your basal metabolic rate). I learned that my body wasn't growing muscle because it didn't have enough calories to build the muscles. And without muscles growth my weight loss was stalled. By increasing calories I fuel my fat burning muscle. I'm already happy with my results but I want more so I'll keep you all updated on my progress!
I got such a great response from the ice cream post last week I decided to make another one! This is a recipe for low carb, dairy free vanilla ice cream that you can make at home using a basic ice cream maker like this one from Hamilton found on Amazon. It's made with coconut milk and vanilla whey powder so its full of protein and healthy fats. A quick tip, for some reason homemade ice cream tends to get rock hard when you take it out of the freezer so let it thaw on the counter for a few minutes before you plan to enjoy it. I've also included the gluten-free cookie recipe below so you can make the ice cream sandwiches in the picture...they're delicious :-) I'm baking a lot more now because I've gone completely gluten free again (more on that in another post) so I'm dusting off all my old g-free recipes. Enjoy!
Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream
Dense Chocolate Chip Cookies
A few nights ago I was desperately perusing Gelson's Market looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth when I stumbled upon this fantastic brand of ice cream: Halo Top Creamery. It's soooo creamy. Most low-carb ice creams taste like water mixed with whey protein. This actually tastes like ice cream...granted not full fat fat ice cream but it is delicious none-the-less. You can eat the entire tub for 280 calories and 16 net carbs...not bad at all. In fact, it's allowed me to bring back Pint Night!! For the initiated "pint night" is a girl's night in each woman buys (and devours) a pint of her favorite ice cream. Back in college having a 1,000 calorie Ben and Jerry's binge every once in a while wasn't a big deal but my metabolism ain't what is used to be so "pint night" was sadly retired. Not anymore!! You can rest assured that I will be indulging in every flavor. As always, I received no compensation for this review. I'm just one woman sharing her personal opinion with friends! Enjoy :-)
One of my favorite things to do on a getaway weekend is to shop. There's something about being in a new city and buying a new outfit to wear to dinner that's fun and exciting. I think part of what makes it special is that when you're on vacation you don't have any errands to run so you can spend 4 hours trying on everything in the store if that's what you want to do. Here are a couple of my finds from the weekend that you should be able to find in your local Ann Taylor or online. Ahhh...relaxation.
I'm planning on wearing this lovely number to my brother and sister's graduation parties in a couple of weeks. Both Tim and Emma are graduating from college so it's going to be a fantastic party. What I love about this dress is the flow. The bottom has a lot of movement and gives great tummy coverage so you can have that extra slice of graduation cake without needing an extra pair of Spanx.
Striped Maxi Skirt / $88
I wore this out to dinner in Portland to Brasserie Montmartre and had a fabulous evening drinking a delicious Germain-Robin Craft Method Brandy that my bartender recommended and listening to wonderful live music. If you're even in Portland you've got to check this place out! But, back to the skirt. I got four compliments while wearing this skirt. Four! And, it was all about the skirt. Stripes are obviously in right now and this maxi delivers. The slight chevron pattern is very slimming and makes everyone look taller. And, this skirt can be made cold weather friendly by paring it with boots or perfect for warm weather by switching to sandals and a tank. A great transition piece.
LOGO by Lori Goldstein Regular Knit Cropped Pants / QVC.com / $42
"These pants are the best pants in the history of humanity." That's the exact thought that popped into my head as my plane started to take off from Portland airport a few minutes ago...love inflight wifi! I've been in Portland for just under 48 hours and my flight home has been delayed, cancelled, rebooked, delayed, cancelled and finally diverted...needless to say, it's been a long weekend and these leggings got me through it all. They were perfect for the flights, perfect for running around Portland and perfectly comfortable when I stress snarfed a plate of sweet potato fries at an airport diner...which incidentally saved my rear by keeping me in the airport long enough to find out my previously cancelled flight was actually being reinstated and diverted from LAX to nearby Ontario...but I digress. These leggings are stretchy and comfortable but they have some tummy control at the waist to hold you in...just enough to look good but not so much that you feel like a stuffed sausage. They're cropped just above the ankle so they look stylish with boots, flats or heels...pretty much everything. And, the material is thick enough that these look and feel like pants rather than skimpy leggings. I wore these to the office and got rave reviews from my female co-workers. Work appropriate? Check. Great for travel? Double check. Comfortable? I fell asleep in these after arriving in Portland at 2am. Check. Check. Check. I think I'm going to buy these suckers in every color. Oh yeah, and they come in petite sizes. Happy shopping!!!
Spending the weekend in Portland, Oregon just for fun and relaxation! Stay tuned for some pics of delicious gluten free cake and donuts from Petunia's Pies and Pastries :-) And, I also found some great dresses and skirts at Ann Taylor this weekend. Will post them soon...XOXO!
I just found out I've been burning over 75 calories more per workout than I thought!!
Which means my new favorite toy is my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor because it lets me ACCURATELY track how many calories I burn during each workout. Before I got this, in order to get an idea of how many calories I burned during each workout I would go online to MyFitnessPal and use the exercise calculator but I discoverd I have been seriously underestimating how hard I Was working. For example, MFP told me I burned about 254 calories doing 35 minutes of circuit training (for example, a Jillian Michael's "Ripped in 30" workout). But, my new heartrate monitor showed me I was actually burning 332 calories. That's a big difference! After doing some research online I decided to get a Polar brand watch because they're the most accurate and trusted brand. I purchased my Polar FT7 from Amazon because that's where I found the best price but you can find these in most sporting goods stores and it comes several colors.
Also, I find that the hear rate monitor motivates me. If I start to slack I look at my heart rate and if it gets too low I know I need to dig a little deeper. It's helped me burn more calories each time I workout even if I'm doing the same DVD or time on the elliptical. For example, on the first "Ripped in 30" workout I did using the monitor I burned 287 calories and the second time (same DVD) I burned 332 calories. Not too shabby! Also, you can track your progress on www.polarpersonaltrainer.com. It's not the best website but I like that it shows you when you need to take a rest day based on how hard you've been working out. I don't know why I was so resistant to getting one of these. I guess it just seemed like a hassle but it's actually super easy. I didn't even bother to read the instructions when setting up the watch because it was all intuitive. You have to wear a chest band but it's stretchy and comfortable so I don't even notice it during my workouts. The only negative is that in order to load the data from the watch to my computer I had to buy a FlowLink which cost an additional $40 bucks but all in all the extra boost it's given to my fitness has been worth it. It's supposedly waterproof and while I haven't tried swimming in it yet I have done hot yoga with it and had zero problems with the heat or moisture. My two cents...if you're looking to take your workouts to the next level or you just want to get a better idea of how many calories you're burning it's well worth the investment to get a good heart rate monitor.
I don't know what to say except that I ache with sadness and simply cannot fathom how something like this could happen. To my readers who know that my husband runs marathons and that my sister lives in Boston: they are both safe. My sister is staying with my parents in Maine and my husband did not run this particular race. Luckily, all of his friends who did run today finished the race prior to the explosions. To everyone affected by this tragic event, the phone number for those who wish to try and find missing people is (617) 635-4500. Other individuals who have information to share about these events can do so via 1-800-494-TIPS. Additionally, you can go ot the website: http://google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions/. My heart goes out to you all.
Confession. My scale says I've gained 6 pounds and its making me crazy. The problem is that the scale lies. Yes, I have gained "weight," as in my relationship with gravity has changed. While it's a myth that muscle weighs more than fat, it is TRUE that 5 pounds of muscle takes up a lot less space that 5 pounds of fat. So, it is possible to weigh more and look thinner if you're replacing fat with muscle.
Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor / $29.99 / Free Shipping
How does this happen? Over the past couple of months I started introducing weight training into my previously all cardio all the time routine. This has been great because I've gotten stronger and leaner and the leaner me looks hot! But, the leaner me weighs more than the fatter me. I shouldn't care because I look great, right? I understand this intellectually but getting past the emotional gut punch of seeing the scale continue to tick upwards is a whole different story. So I decided to measure body fat instead of weight to reduce some of the crazy. I tried using the body fat monitor on my bathroom scale but broke up with it for two reasons. 1.) You can't get to the BF % without seeing your weight. 2.) The BF % was wildly inconsistent and inaccurate. Then I invested in the Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor which for about $30 has completely restored my sanity. It's more consistent and accurate than bathroom scale BF monitors (for some reason its more difficult for the signal to track through your feet) so I can track my progress. In the morning, instead of hopping on the scale, I pick up the omron, like this:
It's not perfect, if I'm bloated it will actually tell me my body fat percentage is lower than normal but after tracking it for over a week I can tell that I'm continuing to lose fat. Ultimately, I wish that I didn't care about the numbers as long as I felt happy and healthy. But, I'm not there yet. Right now, this helps me feel good about tracking my progress and that's okay by me.
So I guess technically there's no fudge in this recipe but these brownie are so dense and fudge-like that it would be a crime against humanity not to call them fudge brownies!! They've got a lovely rich, chocolate flavor from all the cocoa and the grapeseed oil keeps them nice and moist. These babies are made with almond flour so if you use a granulated sugar substitute like z-sweet or splenda they're super low in carbohydrates. Anyway, the main point is how great these taste with all that yummy chocolate flavor! So if you've craving a homemade treat give these a try!