Category Archives: lifestyle.

warm up and cool down routines to improve your workout.

cool down stretch

What happens before and after you workout is key to lessening your chances of injuries and sore muscles. Here are some quick routines to help you warm up before you workout and cool down before you call it a day.

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how to relax: just breathe.

how to relax

Some days it feels impossible to catch your breath. For me, yesterday was such a day. With the minds of three little boys to sharpen, with the hearts of three little boys to shepherd, with clothes to be ironed, with groceries to shop for and food to prepare, with dust bunnies accumulating in every corner, with thoughts and prayers burdened for struggling friends, with year-end accounting and taxes looming on the to-do list, with commitments to keep and seemingly no time to tend to them, sometimes it just starts to feel like I can’t catch a break or a breath. Know the feeling?

This perceived struggle to breathe has nothing to do with faulty lungs, but it has everything to do with the need to relax. To let go. To find peace. To realize that all I can do is one thing at a time. To just breathe. To do what I can do and not worry about the rest. So today I’m sharing what I’ve learned about how to relax: it is absolutely essential for health, it takes conscious effort, and the easiest way to relax is to just mindfully breathe. Continue reading

luxurious herbal facial steam.

Herbal Facial Steam

In the middle of all of life’s craziness, some days you just want to feel like a princess. Your stress level is a little high, your skin is dry and dull, and a little extra pampering never hurt anyone, right? Give your skin (and yourself) a little treat with a luxurious herbal facial steam. Continue reading

the art of exercising with kids.

the art of exercising with kids

As a homeschooling mom of three busy boys, I know how difficult it can be to get anything done, let alone make time for exercise. But may I encourage you not to make this your excuse? Exercising with kids can be tricky for sure unless you are a rise-before-the-kids-do kind of person. I try to be up in the morning before my kids, but honestly my consistency with early rising is dismal. So even if you can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed before everyone’s awake (welcome to the club), there are lots of things in life we simply have to accomplish in a day, and one way or another we manage to get them done (when was the last time you went without dinner?). So why not make exercise one of those things that just has to be done? Start your day with a boost of energy, a sense of accomplishment, and the upper hand on improving your overall health. Continue reading

mastering movement.

Some Day Starts Today

Yoga. Pilates. Aerobics. Zumba. Crossfit. There are a lot of ways to get your body moving. When I was a little girl I had “Get In Shape Girl” cassette tapes and I would dance around my room pretending to be the instructor. I’m guessing you’re not interested in twirling around the room to an 80s-era children’s exercise routine, but whatever your style, move you must. Our bodies were designed for movement. Modern culture has developed such that movement is not always a required part of our daily routine, but it is no less necessary. Bodies that don’t move become bodies that can’t move. Movement in one form or another stretches tight ligaments, muscles, and joints and releases tension – both physio- and psychological. So unless you still live a life without modern transportation and filled with manual labor, you need to find a way to move a little more each day. Your exercise routine doesn’t have to have a label…sorry, I couldn’t resist . You don’t need a gym membership or even any equipment. Go for a walk. Chase your kids around the backyard. Explore different routines and find what energizes you. Learn some basic moves from various exercise programs and use them to help you get moving throughout the day. Continue reading

the best move to tighten your waistline.

Want to tighten your waistline? The obliques are the muscles located at the sides of your abs, along the rib cage. Toning the obliques is key to a tight, fit waistline. The problem is that many of the moves designed to work the obliques involve twisting the upper body and improper form can cause injury and compromise results. The side jackknife is a slow, simple, and very effective movement targeted at the obliques. Continue reading

plank rows for upper body fitness.

plank rows

Given the right equipment and enough resolve, the chin-up/pull-up is superior to most other upper body workouts. But…not everyone has something to pull up from…and not everyone wants to work that hard! While no single move that I know of will have the same effect, the plank row comes very close to working the same muscles without the Spartan-like determination, strength, and confidence. The basic plank is a deceptively difficult move by itself. Making it a plank row by adding an alternating row makes the move even more challenging in terms of balance (improving your core strength and stability) and adds another element of shoulder, chest, and upper back work. Continue reading

how to do lunges.

lunges

Lunges are a good exercise for improving your balance while working the muscles of your upper legs and glutes. The stabilization required engages your core muscles, multiplying the effectiveness of the move. Learn how to do lunges correctly to get the best results and avoid injury. Continue reading

how to do a basic plank.

basic plank

The basic plank is an isolation move that engages a good majority of the muscles in your body but the primary focus will be on your core muscles. Conditioning your back and abs not only helps you to look better and stand straighter, when toned and healthy, these two muscle groups make us feel good all over. Continue reading

meal planning – a formula for success.

menu planning

Would you like me to give you a formula for… success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all… you can be discouraged by failure / or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side. ~ Thomas J. Watson (founder of IBM)

So…failure rocks…but it doesn’t feel like it. One sure fire way to fail when it comes to eating right is to go into it without a plan. Here’s a little story from my life: I was all excited to make something out of nothing for dinner and then share my stroke of genius with the world…but it was kind of…blah. And I’ll admit I was a little frustrated with my apparent lack of ingenuity. Trust me, this isn’t the first dish I’ve tried to recreate only to find that everyone wants toast after they gag down their obligatory first serving. But if Mr. Watson was right, if I keep on making mistakes, I’ll be successful in no time! Awesome. Enjoy that bowl of failure kids, we’re on our way to success! Continue reading

how to do bench dips.

bench dips

One good way to prevent your triceps from sagging is by toning them with bench dips. As with most bodyweight exercises, you get more than just one benefit out of the bench dip. You’ll also work your shoulder, chest, and core muscles. The position of your body in relation to the bench determines which muscles are worked the hardest during the exercise. Continue reading

appetites, cravings, and addictions.

appetites, cravings, addictions

As adults one of the biggest giants we face is that of our own self will. We live as servants to our appetites, our cravings, and yes, our addictions to food. Dr. Douglas Graham, author of The 80/10/10 Diet, puts it this way: “Appetite is…the socially acceptable word for craving, which in turn is the socially acceptable term for addiction.” Call it what you want, but our choices for nourishment often have very little to do with hunger and very much to do with emotion. We eat because we are happy. We eat because we are sad. We eat because we are celebrating. We eat because we are grieving. We eat because we are stressed. We should be eating to nourish and strengthen our bodies and praying to nourish and strengthen our spirit. Continue reading

how to do squats.

squats

Your upper legs and glutes are powerful fat burning machines when in prime condition. Squatting is a basic human movement, but many of us have poor habits and/or weak muscles to support the movement. The major muscles worked in the squat are your upper legs and glutes, but to perform a squat well you must also engage your core muscles to prevent lower back injuries.
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understanding caloric density.

Caloric Density

One way to evaluate your food choices is to understand caloric density. A quick look at the caloric density chart above shows us the differences between low-nutrient, high-calorie foods and high-nutrient, low-calorie foods. Continue reading