Saturday, December 20, 2014

At-Home Foam Rolling Workout

If you haven't foam rolled before,then you are seriously missing out. I use my foam roller as soon as I get out of bed to stretch my muscles for the day. I also love using it for sore muscles after a hardcore workout.

Foam rollers range anywhere from $10 to even $50, depending on the material and brand and you can get them at any fitness or sporting goods store.

Some benefits of foam rolling are:
  • improves circulation
  • loosens tight muscles and "knots" by massaging
  • helps prevent injuries by stretching
  • increases flexibility and range of motion
  • removes lactic acid within the muscles

Here is an easy little foam rolling workout that you can do prior or after your main workout to help warm up and stretch those right muscles. You can do each move for anywhere from 60 seconds to 90 seconds a day. This workout is short and easy and takes 15 minutes or less!

1. Back
  1. Lie down on the floor with the foam roller underneath your back.
  2. Begin rolling from your lower back all the way up between your shoulder blades (some even like going to their necks), back and forth.
  3. This will also make your back pop and it feels amazing!
2. Shins
  1. Kneel over the roller so that both shins are on it.
  2. Keeping your knees off of the floor, place your hands in front of the roller to balance.
  3. Keep your weight on the roller, and not your hands. 
  4. Begin rolling back and forth on your shins.
3. Lats
  1. Lie on your right side with the foam roller placed under your right side. Use your forearm to prop yourself upwards.
  2. You can place your left hand down on the floor or on the roller for support.
  3. Begin rolling from your right upper hip up towards your armpit, back and forth.
4. Hip Flexors
  1. Lay facedown on the floor, propping your forearms up.
  2. Place the foam roller beneath your thighs and begin rolling from your knees towards the top of your thighs.
5. IT Band
  1. Lie on your left side with your outer thigh on the foam roller. 
  2. Use your forearm to prop yourself up.
  3. Roll back and forth between the knee and the hip bone.
6. Hamstrings
  1. Sit upward with your arms propped behind you and legs extended.
  2. Roll the foam roller from your knees up towards the bottom of your buttocks.
  3. Roll back downwards to your knees.
  4. You can do this stretch for 60 seconds or as long as you'd like.
7. Calves
  1. Sit on your bottom with legs extended outwards, with hands propping your body upward.
  2. Using your arms to balance, roll both of your calves firmly against the foam roller.
  3. You can also cross your legs and do one calf at a time.
8. Chest
  1. Lie facedown with roller one right side of your chest.
  2. Roll back and forth across your pec muscle from the edge to the center of your chest.
  3. Repeat on opposite side.
9. Hip Adductors
  1. Lie on your stomach, supporting your upper body with your forearms.
  2. Bend your knee to the side and place the foam roller underneath.
  3. You should feel a deep stretch within your hips and inner thighs.
  4. Repeat on opposite side.

Don't Look Like Me.

This morning, I woke up to check my email to find the message below from one of my followers:

It read:

 "Hi, I would like to say I'm ashamed of myself.. you look better than me when you were pregnant and now you look amazing. I wish I would have your body one day."

This truly breaks my heart. 

No woman should ever feel ashamed of their bodies due to how another woman looks. 

I never want to make you feel awful about your bodies. Ever. I do not care if you are my worst enemy. I have struggled with body image before and suffered through an eating disorder and I can tell you that it is a hard battle to fight. Even to this day, I am overcoming my body dysmorphia to see myself for how I really look and not how I think I may look. Yes, even I still get insecure! I am human. I am not your idol. I make mistakes and I fall short, too. Even when it come to this.

When I was 50 lbs. heavier and unmotivated, I used to spend countless moments looking at photos on the internet of "fit girls" and how much I wished I could be them or have their bodies. Then, it would make me feel terrible about my own body and I would get depressed and down myself in a tub of ice cream and say "Fuck it, I will never look like her."

I was right. With that attitude, I wouldn't. Instead of reading what these women did to attain that body or to get fit, I would automatically say "That won't be me." Sadly, this is a concept I see a lot of. 

The first thing that you must realize is that every woman is truly unique-shape, size, features, you name it. It is what makes us beautiful. If we all looked the same, how boring would that be?

I do NOT expect you to look exactly like me. Acually, I do not want you to look like me. Here is what I DO want. I want you to look like the happiest, healthiest, and best version of YOU.

If you feel ashamed of your body, I am here to encourage you with that-it is my JOB. This is what I dedicate my days and my life to-helping you get fit, happy, and most of all healthy. My job is never to discourage you, though. 

When I chose to keep up a fit pregnancy, I got so many nasty comments such as this one:

"She's bragging and throwing it in my face and I am sitting here on doctor's orders, unable to workout. She makes me feel like a lazy slob."

Hello. Since when did my actions and my choices affect your conscience? You feel the way you do for a reason, but nobody can make you feel a certain way. You choose to feel the way that you do. I know this. I have been there.

If you feel ashamed of your body or feel the need for improvement, work for it. Don't sit there and say "I wish I looked like you or her or "Mary Poppins." Do work. Be a go-getter. Kick some ass. Believe in yourself.


Cause' you're worth it. 

So, don't strive to look like me or to "have my body." Strive for you, strive for your body.

Write your OWN success story! 

Ultimately, your health lies in your own hands. Today is a new day. Take advantage, love yourself, and DO WORK.


Sia Cooper

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fit Bodies Are Made in the Kitchen.. But Weights Help, Too

We have heard that abs are made in the kitchen, but what about your whole entire body?

While experiences have proven time and time again that you cannot out-work a bad diet, I wanted to shed some light on an experience of my own to see just how much difference a good diet can make without exercise versus a bad diet with a good bit of working out.

Yes, exercise and a clean diet go hand-in-hand when it comes to acheiving the ultimate fit body and you simply shouldn't focus on one over the over. People tend to think its crazy to place so much emphasis on diet, but I will show you why we do it.

Since losing 45 lbs. when I discovered clean eating, I was all into it! I was so excited with my results from dieting alone that I did not step foot inside of a gym becuase I did not think I needed to. However, it left me skinny-fat with little tone. I realized at this point that I wanted muscle.

The picture below shows my body on eating clean alone-no working out. (I was 4 or 5 weeks pregnancy here)


After seeing how skinny I was and how I wanted more definition, I gave up on clean eating for a while and, instead, I upped my workouts 4 times a week for about 30-45 minutes. I ate processed junk and even skipped breakfast some days. BUT, I was working out. And as many people like to believe, you can eat whatever you want and workout to look great-but, sometimes, due to genetics and our chemical makeup, not everyone can do this. Take me, for instance, I couldn't.

After a few weeks, I appeared bloated and bigger (though the bigger part might have been due to the weights).  


When my husband and I got the news that we were finally pregnant, I decided that I needed to eat clean and to workout to have the fittest pregnancy possible. So, I decided to finally combine a clean diet with going to the gym. I went back to staying away from refined and processed junk food as well as fast foods and sugar. I did not skip meals and started eating 5-6 small meals a day, including taking protein.

I have done this since a month before my husband and I conceived my little one and it has been continuing even to this day-10 1/2 months postpartum. I have my best body ever, thanks to the gym and clean eating: combined.

The results speak for themselves.


I would have to say, yes, fit bodies are made in the kitchen... but they are also made in the gym, too. If you choose one without the other, you will have some off-balanced results, as I have shown above.
You cannot outwork a bad diet.. But you also cannot eat your way to a toned physique, either.

What Happens When You Eat Without Washing Your Hands? The Results Will Shock You

Don't care to wash your hands before eating a meal? Sometimes, we often are in a hurry or are too hungry that we often don't think of taking those extra few minutes to wash off, but after seeing this, you might want to reconsider.  

This picture, posted by a teacher, Courtney Lee Simpson, on Facebook shows just how important handwashing can be.


She wrote along with the photo,

"To all my teacher friends this is the grossest yet coolest experiment. I did this while teaching about germs and how they spread. You use three pieces of bread. You let all the kids see you put a piece of bread in a baggy with a glove on hence "controlled" then you wash your hands and put a piece of bread in a baggy for "clean" last but definitely not least you pass a piece of bread around and let every kid in class touch it then you put it in a baggy and label it dirty. Watch how the bread changes over time due to germs. It is so cool and a great way to teach the importance of hand washing."

This, my friends, is why they say to wash your produce as soon as you get home from the grocery store. Think twice before biting into that apple on the way home. Think of all the people who have touched that apple with their dirty hands. Now, think about what they have done with those dirty hands... Jesus, I do not even want to know. 

As a mother, I am constantly wiping butts, cleaning vomit, and such so I cannot fathom what some others are doing.

Now, let's step away from food for just a minute. Think of all the things you touch on a daily basis that countless others have touched that day as well:
  • fuel pump at the gas station
  • ATM
  • vending machine
  • shopping carts
  • bathroom stall locks & doors
  • money
  • toilet seats
  • phones
But, what if I were to tell you that some things that only you touch can be even more contaminated than the list above?

Your purse contains more than the average toilet seat, according to a new study from Initial Washroom Hygiene, a hygiene and washroom services company in the U.K.

According to an article in Women's Health magazine,

"Researchers swabbed and tested the surfaces of and the items inside 25 different handbags and compared the results to separate data on toilet hygiene. They found that the dirtiest part of the bag is the handle—it carries more bacteria than the average toilet seat—and that one in five handbags contained enough bacteria to be considered a health risk. As for the itemsin the bags, bottles of hand cream were the worst offenders. They were also more germ-infested than the average toilet seat but generally cleaner than purse handles.

Part of the problem is that people often forget to clean their handbags—both the exterior and interior, says Donna Duberg, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at Saint Louis University. And that gorgeous leather bag that you lusted after and splurged on? Thanks to its texture, it’s basically a breeding ground for bacteria, she says."

Always wash your hands-even if they are NOT visibly dirty. Please pass this photo along, share it, and show this photo to your family, friends, or even your kids and teach them that the nastiest germs can sometimes go unseen.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

15 Minute Total Body Toning Wall Workout

Getting fit does not have to be expensive, regardless of what most people tend to think. All you need is a little creativity, imagination, resourcefulness. 

Here is a total body toning workout that is sure to give you a burning! The great thing about it? You have everything that you need already at home.

For those who will ask about my tank, I got it at Motivated Tanks N Tees :)

Total Body Toning Wall Workout

60 Second Wall Sit

  1. Start with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder width and about two feet from the wall.
  2. Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Adjust your feet if you need to so that your knees are directly above your ankles (rather than over your toes).
  4. Keep your back flat against the wall.
  5. Hold the position for 60 seconds.

30 Abdominal Crossover Kicks 

  1. Get into a handstand position, but with both feet planted firmly against the wall-this is your starting position.
  2. Taking your right leg, kick over to the left side of your body. Bring your foot back to the wall.
  3. Repeat with opposite leg, kicking over to the right side of the body.
  4. Do 30 reps on each side.

10 Handstand Push Ups

  1. Get into a handstand position and plant your hands firmly onto the ground and feet firmly onto the wall, will your body long & tall.
  2. Slowly lower yourself downward to the floor, as if you are doing a standard push up.
  3. Slowly, push your body back up, using both arms.
  4. Complete 10 reps.

60 Second L-Stand

  1. Place your heels against the bottom of a wall, bend forward, and position your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  2. Walk your feet up the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor and your body forms a 90-degree angle.
  3. Hold this position for 60 seconds.

20 Wall Jumps

  1. Begin this move crouching on the floor on your hands and knees, about 6 inches away from the wall.
  2. In one swift move, kick your legs up and behind you onto the wall.
  3. In another swift move, jump back to starting position.
  4. Complete 20 reps.

15 Split Lunges (each leg)

  1. Place your right foot firmly on the ground while placing your left foot back onto the wall.
  2. The feet should be far enough apart that your front knee is behind your toes during your lunge.
  3. Take a moment to ensure you have your balance and bend your knees to lunge downward then push on your front heel to return yourself to your starting position.
  4. Complete 15 reps.

30 Second Side Wall Plank (each side)

  1. Start on left side, left forearm on floor, right arm extended to ceiling, left foot pressing into bottom of wall.
  2. Lift hips off floor into side plank and raise right leg as high as you can onto the wall.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

15 One Legged Bridges

  1. Lie faceup with head away from wall, left knee bent and foot on floor, right knee bent 90 degrees with foot pressing into wall. Extend left leg toward ceiling and lift hips until body forms a straight line from right knee to shoulders.
  2. Pause, then lower hips for 1 rep.
  3. Do 15 reps. Switch legs; repeat.

25 Wall Bridges

  1. Lie on your back with your butt against the wall and arms at your sides.
  2. Bend your knees and plant your feet 3 to 4 feet up the wall. Raise your lower and middle back off floor, keeping your shoulder blades on the ground.
  3. Hold for a deep inhale, then exhale and slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 25 reps.

30 Windshield Wipers

  1. Begin this move lying on your back with your legs up the wall in an L position.
  2. Slowly move your legs to the left while keeping your upper body straight and on the floor.
  3. Slowly return back to the middle.
  4. Then slowly, move both legs to the right, as far over as you can.
  5. Repeat for 30 reps.
Now, go have fun!

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