Sometimes it’s all Random and Stuff

So, I’ve been a little (a lot) MIA as of late.  Life is happening.  A lot of life is happening and if I’m being honest, getting to my blog just hasn’t happened.  Oh the things I have to say…they abound.  However, taking the time to stop and write a post has just fallen to the wayside.  

My brain is full of posts I’d like to write, maybe I’ll get to them one day, maybe I should start a YouTube channel, or experiment with Snap Chat and then I can just put them out there when they happen.  hmmm….

Life happening has revolved a lot around my health and the fact that it’s not exactly awesome at the moment.  Well, it’s not that my health isn’t awesome, my body is being an A-Hole with a capital A and Hole (apparently).  I’ll go in to detail, probably, later but in short it’s taking a large amount of my energy to function.

I’m seeing different modalities of physical therapy each week.  Being stuck with needles.  Shipped to Vancouver (3x in a week) to specialists and for testing.  I’m still working out (because it’s my sanity, my love & my “happy drug”) and caring for my body, but I’ve definitely had to modify things.  I’m so thankful I know how to do that.

It’s good, it’s Ok, we’re making progress though we have yet to figure out the root cause of my problem.  I’m learning to cope with it.  I’m learning that some of this might be my new normal, and that change happens whether we want it to or not.

On top of that we’re dealing with Audrey’s little body and it’s continued problems.  Again, not something I’m doing to delve into at the moment but what I will say is that this kid is an inspiration and an example of how to keep going.

With life, and therapies and work and kids and all of the everything – you can see how this has slipped a little.  I’m sorry everyone.  I needed to focus inward a little, so I did.  So I am.

Coaching is coming a long.  Have I mentioned I LOVE health & fitness?  Have I mentioned that THIS was my purpose?  Not just helping people with programs, in fact that’s the smallest part of my purpose.  

It’s the helping them find HAPPY inside of healthy, working on creating meal plans for them.  Getting into the nitty gritty of their health struggles, seeing them lose tons of weight and find that they CAN do it and it WILL last because we’re working on new habits.

Man, if you were sitting here the sound of my fingers flying over the keys those last few paragraphs would probably annoy you.  (Anyone else find typing an annoying sound?)  I’m excited about it, passionate, and in love with it!

The trouble?!

I want to help more people.  I NEED to help more people and I’m struggling on 2 levels.  

Sometimes reaching out feels hard.  Not because I don’t want to help, but because I don’t want to offer help to someone who didn’t want it and then offend them.  I’m working on it, and a lot of people don’t even know that I’m coaching.  They have NO idea what I can do to help them.  I need to put myself out there more.

The other problem?  

Well, when you want to change the world.  Help families (not just one member of them) get healthy, it’s a big job.  I need help!  I need other people who want to learn about getting healthy.  People who are works in progress who want to help others they love become works in progress.  

I need a team.  An army.  A FAMILY! of people who want to coach along side me.

Is that you?!!  If it is please, please, please let me know!  Reach out if you want help getting healthy, if you want to learn about coaching, if you just wanna chat about the fact that sometimes watching YouTube videos about bacon cheeseburgers feels good.  Whatever, I wanna chat! 

Wow, this post is disjointed and has gone in 100 different directions.  But if I’m being honest, that’s kind of how my life feels.  No, not kinda, it IS how my life feels.

As God and I are working through all that is happening.  All that is changing I need to learn balance. I need to learn to be still (I suck at sitting) and I need to learn to put myself out there more.

So, my friends I am here.  I’ll always be here.  Sometimes I’ll be quiet but I’m here whenever you need me.  I’m here!

What do you think should I start a YouTube channel and spew forth all that’s in my brain?  What would you like to hear more from me about?  Life? Fitness? Nutrition? Healthy families? Recipes?

Help a girl out and let me know what you’d like to hear/see and I’ll do my best to oblige!

 

Stretching our definition of Beautiful

stretch-marks

With great nervousness and trepidation I shared this photo on social media the other day after a conversation I had with one of our girls.  It took all the courage I could muster to take it, to look at it and then to click “post”.

Here’s the story I wrote to go with it:

“Last week one of the girls walked into the bathroom while I was getting ready for the day.

As I stood there putting on my make up, in my underwear she was quiet. I could see her studying me in the mirror and her “wheels turning”.

After a few minutes had past she stood up and traced her fingers over my hips “Are those veins Mama? The ones that shine a little?”

“No lovie. Those are my grow marks from when I was younger. Some people call them stretch marks but they just tell the story that I once was small and then grew up” Taking a breath, I waited for the critique that can come from an outspoken, honest child.

She was quiet again for a moment and then said softly, “You know what Mama? I think they’re beautiful!”

Then she jumped up, kissed my arm and ran off to play while I just simply stood there – stunned

As I looked in the mirror at a part of my body I’ve hated for 20 years I realized something… She’s right. They are.

They are a beautiful, shiny reminder that I grew up. That I’m alive, that I work hard, that I exercise, that I once was unhealthy and now I am not.

This photo wasn’t easy to take and it certainly wasn’t easy to share but now that it’s out there it’s my accountability. My reminder for me and for you to look at our grow marks, through the eyes of a child & see them for what they are. A beautiful story of who we are, where we were and where we’re going.”

It’s a sweet story right?  Something endearing and encouraging from the heart of one of my little loves.  So why?  Why on earth was it so hard to share?

Because I had to be vulnerable.  Because I have spent the better part of 20 years trying to hide those stretch marks.  Because the world says that “beautiful” is perfection.  She’s got long lean legs, perky “pecs covers” (aka boobs), shiny hair and blemish free, smooth skin.  There are no stretch marks or bruises, you can’t see her veins and she doesn’t have freckles.  Then, when you meet that criteria and only then, the world looks you straight in the eye and says, “Hang on.  Let me grab my airbrush and I’ll fix you.  Just a little here, and some there.  Ahhhh yes, now.  Now you are beautiful…”

And my friends, I am none of those things.  While my legs are long, lean they are not (strong they are!), I’ve got some perky pecs but sadly they have no covers and my hair is only shiny when I forget to wash it for 4 days.  And even then, the shine kinda smells a little.

I’ve had acne since I was 11, stretch marks since I was 13 and the fact that ALL the furniture in the universe jumps out and smacks me, means that bruises are kind of like my “thing”.  Freckles litter my nose, arms and chest and I’m pretty sure if I had an airbrush I’d end up accidentally removing one of my limbs or something.

In the eyes of the world I lack beauty, which translates to unworthy and with that comes the belief that I shouldn’t share my story.  Posting that photo shows the world my “ugly” and that was scary.

Except – I’m not who the world keeps trying to tell my I am and I’m not who it keeps trying to tell me I should be.   Instead, I’m flawed, I’m faulted, at times I’m even broken and you know, I’m OK with that.

It’s taken me years to get to the place where I can say that but I am because I am exactly who God created me to be.  He placed the freckles on my nose, gave me life to grow & stretch marks to prove it and for whatever reason turned the furniture against me.  He also filled this body with a heart that loves people, that desires deeply to serve Him and that would sacrifice all that I have for the children who are mine.

In the eyes of those beautiful babes, I am beautiful – flaws and all.  And if that doesn’t make you feel worthy, I don’t know what will.

So, I took the photo.  I wrote the story and I clicked “post” because I need to do more than tell myself I am worthy – I need to tell you that YOU are worthy too.

Look at the thing you try hardest to hide and see what He sees, what my girl saw.  A beautiful woman, living inside a strong body – worth being thankful for, worth taking care of and worth being loved.

I was Selfish & I’m sorry

The face 1
Over the past month, since sharing my weight loss & fitness story with everyone I’ve realized something.  I was completely blown away to realize it and I’ve spent the last week or so trying to think about what I can do to fix it.

I need to apologize: to my family, my friends and to a lot of you.  I was being completely selfish and I am truly sorry.

As I have talked to a great many of you (THANK YOU for all the support!), heard your own stories, goals, struggles and plans, I’ve discovered something.  Keeping my journey, the things that changed my life, the way I manage my days, the health & fitness world that I adore a secret was completely, 100% selfish on my part.

I didn’t want to be annoying.  I didn’t want to be that person who overshares and everyone is like “SHUT UP”.  I didn’t want to sound like a “know it all” or make someone else feel less than because they weren’t working out, or eating clean too.  I was (and let’s be honest, I still am) terrified of pushing away people I love, people I respect, people I’ve yet to know by putting the real me out there.

Instead, I’d mention it from time to time but otherwise I kept it close lipped.  Truly believing I was making a good choice, the best choice for everyone.

Man, was I wrong!!!!!

There have been so many people, 4 very special ones in particular who have said to me, “Man, we all were watching what was happening.  We saw you changing, we wish we had known SOONER what you were doing so we could do it too

The first time I heard that my stomach dropped to the floor.  Had I really been that evasive and secretive about how I was taking care of myself, and what I was doing to change my body?

Ya.  I was.

Many people assumed I’d lost the weight because of my corn allergy.  Which definitely plays a part in the foods I choose to put into my body, but let’s be clear.  There are plenty of things I could bake and eat, chocolate bars that are “safe” for me and excuses I could make to not workout that have nothing to do with my allergy.

Others, who didn’t know me when I was younger.  Those who weren’t around for my heavier days, assumed I’d always been fit like I am and when I’d mention that I hadn’t been, they’d scoff.  More than once, when I would offer empathy to a friend struggling to lose weight, I’d hear “Ya. as if you know what it’s like.  I can’t imagine you like that, it was probably never that hard for you”  It would sting, but I’d move on.

The thing is, it WAS that hard.  I lost 78lbs through a lot of hard work, careful choices and sweat.  Seriously you guys, a lot, A LOT of sweat!  

What I thought was being private was actually me selfishly hiding what I was doing, so that I wouldn’t be judged.

Never in a million years did I think that instead of facing judgement, I’d have been given support, shown grace and most importantly had the opportunity to help other people find their way to a healthier body too!!

If you were someone who wished I’d have shared sooner, I’m sorry I didn’t ever mean to hurt you.  Being secretive ends today.

So what does that mean?

It means from today forward I’m going to be sharing what I’m doing.  The workouts I’m loving, the ones that are kicking my butt, the meals I’m eating, my struggles, my successes, my discoveries and most of all, I’m going to be inviting you to join me. 

The thing about being successful at things, really truly successful in life is that it really doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t share it with someone.  I’m learning that and I want to change it.

I’ll be sharing here what’s happening in our lives, because I’m not the only Stone making life changes.  Corey has joined the workout train and is killing his program right now.  And my girls, are my forever cheerleaders, Audrey is a “JR. Coach in training” and Bethany is excitedly getting ready to launch their “Fit Kids Challenge Group” at the end of the month (stay tuned for more info!).

It won’t all be health & fitness, but a lot of it will be.  You can still count on me for recipes, for rants (because I HAVE to let the words out), reviews and for updates on how we are, on Audrey’s health journey (side note: We have appointments at cardiology, hematology & rheumatology all within 3 weeks at Children’s in June.  We’d love the prayers and hopefully will have answers by the end of them).  I just also want you to know that you can also count on me for support, for encouragement and for authenticity. 

So, here it is.  Me taking a REALLY big leap, putting myself out there, and extending to you the first real invitation from my heart and our lives to YOU.

If you’re interested in learning more about how I’ve managed to lose the weight and get fit.  Or if you need someone to just support you on your own journey to health & fitness PLEASE LET ME KNOW!  There is little else that would make me happier than being able to come along side of you and see you succeed!

 Leave a comment here, or on Facebook or send an email to ashleystonefitness@gmail.com and I would sincerely love to be able to hear your story too!

Dirty Little Secrets

Silly Stones

You know what I have?  Secrets.  “Dirty little secrets” that I rarely if ever let anyone see. The things I keep hidden from the outside world, the thoughts I never say (shocker – she does have a filter), the things I try not to let you see and the habits I work to hide.   

Until today.

In an effort to live my life as authentically as possible (which I’ve always tried to do with sincerity & honesty) I’ve decided it’s time to share the things that make me, me.  The quirky, silly, annoying & sometimes even embarrassing parts that make up the whole of me. 

Why?  I guess to encourage others that we’re not alone in our idiosyncrasies.   Social media has made perfection easy to fake and I don’t wanna fake it.  I want to be the true, faulted human God has created me to be, because it’s in acknowledging my failings I can work to be better (or embrace them completely).  

So, deep breath here we go!

DLS #1 – My Kitchen looks like something exploded: when I bake.  No kidding, I do my best to avoid having anyone see what my kitchen looks like when I bake.  Back when Baking Life Healthy was running, I’d keep the front blinds drawn so that customers coming to the door for warm baked goods couldn’t see the catastrophe behind me.

In general it’s a pretty clean place, especially now that we are living in a constant state of Gluten Watch but when it’s time for the magic to happen, all bets are off.  Flour flies, dishes are everywhere and there are always multiple items being constructed & experimented with at the same time.  I mean, if I’m gonna have a mess to clean up anyways, I might as well make it worth the while right?Sweat

DLS #2 – I sweat, uncontrollably: when I workout.  It’s seriously disgusting and there’s not a thing I can do about it.  I’ve got fancy workout gear, I keep the house as cool as possible, I use towels & I drink copious amounts of water.  The only thing I won’t do is reduce the intensity because, dude – if your heart’s not thundering, what’s the point?!

Now I wear deodorant (see DLS#3) but let’s be real that stuff is only meant for under your arms.  I’m pretty sure applying it to my forehead would go against manufacturer’s instructions.  That and I’m guessing nobody’s tested what happens with the aluminum sinking into your brain….(I have no idea if it does, but I wonder)

DLS #3 – If I could afford it I would TOTALLY get Botox: in my armpits! I know, I know weird right?  But not really.  You see I sweat, A LOT and it’s really gross.  I have tried all different antiperspirants/deodorants and while some work better than others, I’ve yet to find one that really does the job.  And I haven’t found ANY that help when I work out (see DLS #2).

It’s not just the sweat either, it’s the smell.  Sweat itself doesn’t smell, but the warm, moist environment is a prime location for bacteria to grow which equates to bacteria stink &  me a nasty, smelly mess.  The other problem is that I really don’t love the idea of putting aluminum on my skin, in my armpits near any breast tissue I may have (HA!), but natural deodorants are completely ineffective.  To date armpit Botox is coming up as a safe alternative to antiperspirants/deodorants.  Since it’s gonna be years before I’ll be able to afford the treatment, I have time to wait and see if it stays that way.  

DLS #4 – Sometimes I go the bathroom not to use it but to: get my children’s attention.  Sadly, this is not a joke.  There have been days when nobody is listening, nothing is getting done and I am getting hoarse from yelling (see DLS #5).  Instead of completely losing my mind or moving out, I just head straight for the nearest toilet.  Within seconds of the “click” from the light switch both my girls are meandering in there.  Then we have a meaningful conversation as I sit on the toilet, lid closed.  It’s stupid that it works, but trust me it works.

(WARNING: Should you begin to employ this method of parenting I strongly suggest you stop hiding in there to eat the chocolate you don’t want to share with them.  IF they find you with it, you’ll never EVER pee alone again.)

DLS #5 – I’m a yeller: and a cryer.  I truly hate this part of me, and it’s something I’m working really, really hard to change.  I hate that my frustration amps up my volume 25 fold in 5.2 seconds.  I hate that post hollering I end up in tears because I didn’t like to holler and I loath that there are times I hear my girls mimic that tone back to me.  

I, like everyone else am a work in progress, and I can truly say it’s getting better.  But, in an effort to be transparent it’s not as better as it could be.  I don’t yell when other people are around (unless they have really, really pushed mama’s buttons) so there’s no reason I need to do when it’s the 3 most precious people in my life.

So there you have it, just a few of the things that I’ve worked so hard to keep hidden way down deep.  I hope my being transparent with you has made you feel better or even laugh a little at my expense.  

What Dirty Little Secret are you hiding from the “real world”?

 

My Top 3 FREE YouTube Workout Channels!

You-TubeOver the past few years I’ve discovered that YouTube offers so much more than just laughing babies and train horns (seriously guys, the train horns!!).  Just about anything you might be looking to find visually, you can find there on the YouTube.  There’s cooking channels, music channels, mycarisbrokenshowmehowtofixit channels and the list goes on.

Of all the great channels I’ve discovered on YouTube I must say my favourite category is the Fitness Category.  There are so many great fitness channels making workout from home even easier and more exciting!

One of the biggest challenges I hear people say when it comes to working out is that they get bored.  Sometimes it’s that they’ve done the same 3 workout DVD’s so many times in a row they could quote the “talent”, other times they’ve purchased ones that are lame/hard/weird, for others it’s the cost – either purchasing DVD’s, subscribing to fitness websites or attending a gym can just tax the budget too much ad they have to let it go.  Whatever the cause, it sucks and I’d love to share how I’ve been able to battle some of those vary issues!

While I have a lot to say about some new DVDs I’ve tried lately, and some other great workout websites I’ve discovered today I thought I’d focus on the FREE.  I mean really, who doesn’t love something for FREE I do.  Maybe it’s just that the word FREE is fun to say (and type in caps) or maybe it’s that I’m just cheap frugal at heart but when it comes to something that is sincerely FREE, I’m totally in.

Pair FREE with fitness & exercise and you’ve pretty much got a match made in heaven!  Now don’t get me wrong, while there are many awesome YouTube workout channels there are also many duds.  I’ve spent the last year and a half sweating, lifting, squatting and sometimes tripping my way through many, many of said workout channels experiencing some of the best and worst that YouTube has to offer.

While I haven’t yet even really begun to crack the surface of the ever changing world of YouTube, I am confident that I can say, today that I’ve compiled a great Top 3 when it comes to “The Best of The Best YouTube Exercise Channels”.  Each of these channels comes highly recommended and I hope you’re able to appreciate and enjoy each and every one!  I’m including one of my fav workouts from each just so you can see what I mean about awesome!

Jessica Smith TV

When it comes to fitness personalities Jessica Smith is on my favourites list.  Her upbeat personality, clear direction, versatility and professionalism make her a great fit for everyone.  Whether you’re an exercise virgin or an avid athlete I guarantee you’ll find something at Jessica Smith TV.    Her puppy Peanut joins in on many of her workouts making for a good giggle and a distraction from the sweat-fest!

You can find her workouts on YouTube and also on her website – jessicasmithtv.com New workouts come out each Saturday and I highly recommend watching for them.

I LOVE this HIIT workout!  It’s added onto at least 1 if not 2 of my workouts each week.  This one HERE is another of my favs too – a great full body routine that I do quite often.

Lionsgate BeFit:

I discovered Lionsgate BeFit a year or so ago when I was researching one of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs.  They offer up a great variety of workouts, some are workouts from DVDs that you can purchase (Jillian Michaels 6 Week Six Pack for example), while others are workouts that have been recorded especially by and for Lionsgate BeFit.

They often use a variety of trainers some famous and others on their way up the ladder.  Again there is a wide range of workouts available from dance or Pilates inspired to HIIT and Tabata.  New workouts arrive every week day and again, I look forward to what’s next!
This workout from Tracey Mallett is excellent!  I use it as a portion of one of my slower rest(ish) type days.  The burn is great and I love her energy and accent.

PopSugar Fitness

These guys are fantastic!  This is the YouTube channel that accompanies the PopSugar (FitSugar) website.  These guys have everything!  Their website features fitness, nutrition and health info, as well as celebrity gossip, fashion trends, parenting and more.  The videos they post vary from workouts to health information to recipes.

The majority of the workouts at PopSugar are 10 minutes long and feature a myriad of famous trainers from Tony Horton (Hello, P90X!  10 Minute Trainer!), Jeanette Jenkins and Andrea Orbeck.  I love that I can add them onto whatever my routine is for the day to polish off a muscle group or try something new.

They post workouts 2 to 3 times a week, so keep your eyes peeled.
This workout is a blast!  It’s only 10 minutes but my heart is thundering and I’m dripping sweat by the end.  Do it 2 times in a row and feel the serious burn! (If I ever had the chance I would totally take this class.)  If I’m looking to slay my ARMS THIS workout with Holly Perkins is great and THIS workout with Pop Physique gives me a major booty burn!

Now I need to know – Do you use online workouts?  Is there a YouTube Channel that you love I need to know about?  Leave a comment and let me know!

*WINNER ANNOUNCED** 3 Days of Fitness Giveaways! Day 3 $25 iTunes Gift Card

Tickle Fight

I am musically driven.  I hum while I bake, sing while I vacuum (Audrey says she loves it most when I sing when I vacuum.  I’ve yet to decide how to take that….) and I desperately need good tunes while I workout.

If a workout DVD has crumby music I’ll turn it off and not do it again, if my phone dies at the gym or outside I slow down, it’s not conscious it just happens.  I need that beat to keep me moving, for inspiration.  I love nothing more to get to the end of a workout, turn off my tunes and listen to my own heartbeat thundering in my ears as proof that I’ve done something.  Silly as it may sound, it completely makes me feel alive!

So to end our 3 Days of Fitness Giveaways I’ve decided to giveaway a $25 iTunes gift card (this will be emailed to you so please ensure you have a valid iTunes account before entering).  I’d love to compile a list of my favourite workout tunes and give them away but the truth is we all like something different.  I’d hate to give you something that made you want to shove underwear in your ears or something.

2B3FA58B

That and also, my musical attention span is short.  Very short.  So what’s awesome today may be blah tomorrow.  So it’s up to you, choose what you love.

It doesn’t even matter to me if you use it for workout music, use it for what encourages you, inspires you – drives you forward.

The thing about being healthy is that it isn’t all diet and exercise.  While I agree that they are large portions of the journey they aren’t everything.  The emotional state of the heart we’re working so hard to protect plays a key role in having a healthy, long life.

For me, keeping my heart emotionally healthy requires a healthy relationship with God, the love of my family and an iPhone filled with great tunes!

Happy 2013 friends!  I hope it’s been a year to remember, I hope amongst the hard that may have been you found silver linings and people to love.  Here’s to wishing you a healthy, happy 2014!

Today’s giveaway is open to residents of Canada & the United States with a valid iTunes account.  It will run from December 30 2013 – January 12 2014.  Enter on the Rafflecopter form below answering the following question:

What makes you happy?  Truly & completely happy?
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Disclaimer: I did NOT receive any compensation for this giveaway and it’s not a sponsored post.  These giveaways and posts come straight from my sweaty heart to yours!

**WINNER ANNOUNCED**3 days of Fitness Giveaways! Day 1 – FitnessGlo

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, actually I hate them.  I believe they’re give us license to make poor decisions the majority of the year (primarily December) in hopes of a big “change” for the New Year.  They masquerade around as though they’re going to make those changes easier because everyone’s doing it together but really they’re setting us up for disappointment when those changes get hard because let’s face it change is ALWAYS hard.

Don’t get me wrong change for the positive is ALWAYS worth it and pushing through the hard parts, the challenges will only make you stronger, happier and more confident that you can do it!   The thing is, you need to make those changes because you want them, because you need them and not because we’re hitting a New Year.

Every day is a new day, it’s brand new and you have the chance to make it whatever you want it to be.  The mistakes from yesterday, the years of bad decisions, the over indulgences enjoyed then regretted can’t have today, they may try to whisper you can’t, you’ve already failed why try?” but we know YOU CAN do this!

One of favorite quotes about change is from Jillian Michaels (because of course it is!)

“Think of your weight loss journey as a car. If you were driving along and got a flat tire, would you slash the other 3 tires and call it a complete loss? No. You would fix that one tire and keep going”

She’s talking weight but I’m talking life.  Don’t think that one flat tire, one mistake is your undoing, it’s a glitch.  Throw the knife away, out, change it (or if you me call Corey, he knows what to do with that pretty red thing that hides with my van’s spare tire) and move on with your life.

Each year is filled with 365 days of fresh starts and new chances – I dare you to take that chance today!

To help out with your It’s 365 New Days of Change resolutions to get healthy and happy I’m doing 3 days of Fitness Giveaways!

Fitness GloOne of my favourite FitnessGlo! Bosu workouts with Amy Dixon

Today’s giveaway is a 3 month gift subscription to FitnessGlo!  One of my favourite online workout websites.  Featuring workouts from celebrity trainers Amy Dixon, Michelle Dozois, Petra Kolber and more, these live workouts are excellent!

With workouts for the basic beginner to intensely advance, Bosu, step and Tabata they have it all covered.  My workouts each day consist of many different workouts, but at least one if not all each day are a FitnessGlo! workout.  They also stream from many different options making them a no excuse option for getting my workout in where ever I am.

This giveaway is open to residents of Canada & the United States and will close January 3 2014!  Until the winner is drawn and announced however head over to FitnessGlo! and sign up for the 15 day FREE trial membership.  That way you don’t have to wait another day to start making your changes!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below and answer the following questions

What’s motivating you to make a change in your life?  If we began a Facebook Group for “It’s 365 New Days of Change” would you join us in encouraging and supporting one another?

Good luck and happy sweating!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I did NOT receive any compensation for this giveaway and it’s not a sponsored post.  These giveaways and posts come straight from my sweaty heart to yours!

My 5 “Must Haves” of Home Workouts

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If you’ve been around these parts for a while, then you’ll know that over the past few years my body, my fitness, our eating habits have under gone some big changes. (Photos of where I’ve been HERE  if you missed it.  Things are different physically that the latest photo there but you get the idea.)

I realized that to be around for my family, to enjoy the quality of life I wanted, to set a good example I needed to take the “bull by the horns” and make the decision to be healthy.  It was and is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Changing the way I/we ate wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.   I’ve learned so much about what’s good for our bodies, what’s bad and what things that sound like food but really grew in a test tube – it’s truly amazing and completely frightening.

The hard part came in the exercise department.  Not the doing of the exercise that I LOVE (with my whole heart!) (and my whole butt, my butt loves the exercising!) but the when, where and how part.  Corey’s schedule doesn’t permit me to visit a gym, half the time he leaves as I’m getting up at The Butt Crack of Dawn, and doesn’t get home until right about the time I’m heading to bed.  It quickly became apparent that if I was going to get fit and healthy, it was going to have to be done here at home.

It IS possible!  In fact, it’s quite easy, inexpensive and totally worth it.  Once you’ve made the decision to get healthy, all it takes are a few simple items and your “want to” to get on it and get ‘er done.

Here’s my top 5 “Must Haves” for successfully working out at home:

Yoga Mat: Regardless of what kind of exercise you choose to do a good yoga mat is key.  Planks, push-ups, crunches and down-dog (ha!) all require a padded surface, one that offers comfort and grip.

Hand Weights: It doesn’t take fancy equipment to develop those muscles.  Your own body weight, paired with sets of 3, 5 & 8 pound weights can do wonders for the way your body looks and feels!  (The stronger you get the more you can increase your weights, but these are a great start.  And don’t worry girls – lifting heavy won’t make you look bulky!)

Fitness DVDs: For $5-$15 per DVD you can create a great collection of fitness DVDs at home.  Make sure to choose a variety of workout types (yoga, kickboxing, dancing and strength training etc) to prevent boredom & all over conditioning.  If you don’t want to invest or your attention span is short like mine, most libraries stock a wide range of fitness titles you can borrow.

YouTube: The internet is filled with great FREE fitness resources, all you have to do is look!  Think of your favourite fitness styles or ones you’d like to try and search them out.

Receiving Blankets: These are my very favourite multipurpose fitness find!   I need to sop up the sweat so I can see but most towels leave my sensitive facial skin raw.  The soft, easy to wash fabric of the receiving blankets are perfect!  They’re also great for when you’re doing a lot planks/yoga that require forearm work to prevent chaffing from your mat.

I truly believe if you want to achieve something bad enough, you’ll find a way to do it.  Being fit was one of those things I wanted and these are some of the things that helped me get on my way.

Do you workout at home?  If you do, are there any “must haves” on your list that I missed here?  We’re all

Rollin’

Foam Roller

Have I ever mentioned, I love “The Burn” (yes, it requires capitalization.  It’s that important)?  You know “The Burn” (who shall now be known as TB, because I’m lazy like that) it is the result of a new exercise, a hard workout or cleaning out all the lower cupboards in your kitchen – 2 hours of a solid squat will do that to a glute or two.

It is the thing that makes getting your keister to the toilet painful, causes tears to prick your eyes when climbing stairs and has you contemplating asking your 6 year old to carry the 4L jug of milk.

It’s also the sign of progress, the evidence that all you’ve been doing is going to pay off and proof that if you keep it up that same burn with translate in to lean, carved, cut muscles – it’s proof and it’s AWESOME!

TB however is not to be confused with actual, honest to goodness pain.  Injury sourced, pulled muscle, gigantic knot causing pain is not the same as TB and while it may have resulted from very similar activities it needs to be treated, feared and at times babied.

I believe in working through TB with my workouts, progress doesn’t happen without persistence, I also believe in working around an injury.  Just ‘cuz my foot hurts doesn’t mean I can’t box and I don’t let my wrist/hand issues interfere with yoga I just work around it.   We need to heal, rehabilitate and cherish those injured muscles otherwise one day we run the risk of a serious injury or worse yet – permanent damage!

Lately I’ve been stiff, not the great TB that I’ve come to love, although it’s been there too (thankyouverymuch heavier weights!).  I’ve had achy shoulders,stiff neck and over all spot tenderness.

I kept saying to Corey I felt like I needed a massage with how my muscles were feeling but it just wasn’t in the cards.  Between the cost ($$$!) and the time (um hello life in warp speed) and the fact that strangers touching my back freaks me out (what if they pick their nose back there or strangle me?!) pretty much made it impossible.  I was doing fine, just wishing for a solution.

For months I’d been reading and hearing about foam rollers everywhere.  All my fitness magazines had them featured, my workout sites were starting to post tutorial videos and my research on muscle soreness was pointing me in the same rolling direction.

I kept reading that they were “amazing” and “life changing” but to be honest I kinda thought “blah, blah, blah” ya right.   It’s foam how amazing can it be?

The thing is, as my discomfort grew I started to wonder if all these claims were actually true.  One day as I rushed into Winners for something or other, I stopped over in the fitness section as I always do (it’s a addiction passion, what can I say?) and there they were – the foam rollers.

In what was a desperate and potentially wasteful move I picked one up.  I wandered the store, found what I needed and actually made it to the till with my purchase!  (I’m a great shopper, I’m just a really bad decider.  Spending money stresses me out, I put back way more than I ever buy).

Guys, this was THE BEST WELL RESEARCHED IMPULSE BUY EVER!

I rolled, I moved, I Googled, I watched YouTube videos and I may have rolled head first into the wall…twice (clumsy girls be warned – do this in the middle of the room!).  Then I went to bed.  Parts of the routine had hurt and others had felt pointless, I’d seriously doubted it was going to work.

Then morning came and I felt WAY mucho better!  My shoulders/neck didn’t hurt or even ache, something that hadn’t happened since just after I had Audrey….4 years ago.

It has since become a huge part of my workout routine, and my daily life.  That small piece of foam has helped not only my neck/shoulder pain, but helps release the TB when it’s too much, helps me feel stretched out and most surprisingly helped with my shin splint issues.  It’s amazing!

When it comes to things I’ve discovered along the way in this journey through health & fitness the foam roller has seriously got to top my list!

Have you ever foam rolled?  Are you a TB lover like me or do you dread the post workout pain?

(This post isn’t sponsored, it’s just me sharing stuff I love with you.)

Put on your DanceSocks!

I can’t dance.  At all.  I wish I could dance, I have musical rhythm, I can hear the beat, sing with it and play along to it, but dance I can not.  If we’re talking about anything more than a slow ballad (where shuffling in small circles is acceptable) my skills are something of an atrocity.   It’s more like an improve show where the card said “Dance Style: Chandler + Phoebe Running + Seizure = GO!”

Thankfully, I’m painfully aware of this fact and I refrain, at all costs from dancing in public.

That being said, I wish I could dance.  The tunes get cranked and the junk in the trunk get’s twitching and I get the urge to move.   To save myself  my family sever embarrassment I’ve learned to channel that urge into my morning workouts.

Dancing is a great way to spice up your cardio day and it’s a way for me to not get bored.  I’ve been “dancing” once a week or so for the past 6 months and it’s going…well, ish.

I love the dance workouts I have, despite the fact that I don’t really get the moves.  They’re fun, I work up a good sweat and it’s all good, mostly.  I do find that since I workout at home, in my running shoes there are times my feet can’t move as easily as the dancers on my TV screen.  There’s friction where there shouldn’t be and often times my knees whine that something’s not quite right.

DanceSocks

When I heard about the “DanceSocks” I was super excited and intrigued!  Check out the video HERE to see them in action.

Designed to turn any pair of running shoes/sneakers into dance shoes.  The DanceSocks are small, stretchy bands that slip over the end of any shoe instantly giving you a smooth surface to work with, helping prevent injury and giving you all the right moves.

My package arrived (2 pairs, in black or pink for $10!  One for you and one for a friend) and I couldn’t wait to give them a try.

After a few workouts I’ve decided I really like The DanceSocks.  They give me the ability to twist and spin in my workouts without the added friction of my shoes on the floor, giving my knees a break.   They also still allow my shoes to provide traction when I’m walking normally across the floor since they’re only covering a few inches at the end of my foot, which is another great bonus.  I’m clumsy at times to say the least (especially 5am) and I need all the added traction I can get.

While I don’t do Zumba but my Mom does and from what I’ve seen and know, I can see DanceSocks being the perfect match for Zumba giving you the best balance of friction and glide.

The DanceSocks were everything I’d hoped they’d be and a little more (I didn’t know it was a 2 for 1 package!).  They’re a great investment for any dancer professional or….other and are a great addition to my workout “dancing” routine.