Speed Walking

Today’s Exercise Monday Post:

Hello People! Today is the last day of a year as I write this. I am looking ahead to the new possibilities of increasing my stamina and health through nutrition and exercise.  Today’s idea may not appeal to all but I wanted to throw it out there in case you were bored with the same old same old.  It’s called speed walking and if you already enjoy walking and want to kick it up a notch, well here it is:

“Do each of these speed walks once a week, allowing at least 2 days between speed sessions for your muscles to recover. Stick to a moderate pace the rest of the week. Warm up by walking at an easy pace for 5 minutes; do the same to cool down afterward.  If your walking speed is less than 3.5 MPH (or more than a 17-minute mile), aim for the lower range of steps per minute (SPM) in the chart below.  If you walk faster, use the higher end of the SPM range.  Check your pace with a pedometer to track the number of steps you take in 3 minutes, and then divide by 3.  If you don’t have a pedometer simply count your steps for 60 seconds.  as the weeks pass, you’ll get a better feel for your speed.”

Week    Short & Fast (20 min)                       Long & Steady

1                 120-130 SPM                    120-130 SPM for 35 minutes

2                 125-134 SPM                    120-130 SPM for 40 minutes

3                 129-138 SPM                    120-130 SPM for 45 minutes

4                 133-142 SPM                    120-130 SPM for 50 minutes

5                 137-146 SPM                    130-150 SPM for 35 minutes

6                 140-150 SPM                    130-150 SPM for 40 minutes

7                 143-153 SPM                     130-150 SPM for 45 minutes

8                 145-155 SPM                    130-150 SPM for 50 minutes

How Fast Are You Going?

To estimate our walking speed, count the number of steps you take per minute (SPM)

120 SPM = 3.0 MPH

130 SPM = 3.5 MPH

140 SPM = 4.0 MPH

150 SPM = 4.5 MPH

155 SPM = 5.0 MPH

This plan was found in Prevention magazine in the August 2006 edition.  It was developed by Boston based walking expert and biomechanist Mark Fenton.

French Tips

Today’s Inspirational Sunday Post:

ParisWell, let’s just get it out of the way: I am a Francophile and make no apologies for it! I have no idea how that happened, but for the past few years most of my extra-curricular activities have centered around French things.  From books, to clothing, to eating and ways of living, I am immersed in the French way of life.  One of my favorite blogs to read is My French Country Home where a woman discusses in great detail how much she enjoys living in her massive French abode. I also love fashion and read a few blogs that center around French style.

But the super Frenchy thing I want to share with you all today is the latest book I read.  It’s called Lessons from Madame Chic written by Jennifer L. Scott (she has her own blog too) and has really inspired me to live the French way which includes eating well and staying slim.

lessons from madame chic book review giveaway

Some of the chapters include:

  • Snacking is So Not Chic
  • Deprive Yourself Not
  • Exercise is a Part of Life, Not a Chore
  • Look Presentable Always
  • Always Use the Best Things You Have
  • Practice the Art of Entertaining
  • Value Quality Above All
Jennifer L. Scott

Jennifer L. Scott

Dress Your Best Always

Dress Your Best Always

Don't Snack

Don’t Snack

Entertain!

Entertain!

So what exactly do I want to point out here that can help you?  After all, this isn’t a book report blog.  There are a couple of things I want to discuss that may help you stay motivated on your journey to health and well-being.

1. The French Eat Well

They eat very well in fact.  I’ve personally known a few French chefs.  They eat butter, sugar, wine, chocolate, white bread, etc. etc.  It is all the cliches you’ve heard of.  The difference between the French and Americans though is the portion sizes.  Now Jennifer really doesn’t discuss this in her book, but she isn’t approaching her subject from a weight-loss perspective. However, I have watched French people eat and they eat portions for one at every meal.  Think about it: I just went to an Italian restaurant and ordered a baked pasta dish.  I knew ordering such a thing was going to be calorie hell, but the portion size!!! I know how to eyeball a 1/2 cup of pasta (one portion) and this big boy had at least 4 servings swimming on the plate. Most people would not want to waste such a dish (it also cost about $25.00) and take it home.  So we eat as much as we can stuff down our gullets and pack up the rest.  The French don’t do doggie bags by the way. They think it’s gauche.

2. Always Dress to the 9’s and Use the Best That You Have

It’s not about being uncomfortable (one can dress beautifully and be comfortable) or prissy.  They want to use the best because it makes them feel good about themselves and about the world around them.  When you are wearing something snazzy, don’t people give you compliments and you feel great?  Well, why not do that all the time? It will make you feel better and you will look better while you are losing weight! Use your best plates, stemware, shoes, and clothes to make every day count.  Don’t just pull these things out for special occasions. Today is a special occasion – you’re alive! I always say: “Be the one who sets the bar and set it high.” Believe me, once I started doing this, I have felt better about my life. At least try it for one day.  She also has a chapter on only having 10 pieces of clothing in a wardrobe, so although that may not be realistic for you, having a few beautiful pieces to mix and match will make you look pulled together.

I highly recommend this book just for a fun read.  But it may also help you achieve a higher quality of life if you take what she says seriously and use it.

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Peanut+Banana+Espresso Smoothie

Today’s Foodie Friday Post,

I found a great app for making smoothies and this one sounded like a delicious one for breakfast.  I especially like that it has a nice balance of carbs, protein and fat plus it has an extra kick of caffeine that many of us need to get moving for the day ahead. I’ve seen many different versions of this smoothie, but this one seems the healthiest.  If you like chocolate, you could add a scoop of Ovaltine to the mix.

Ingredients

1 banana

1/4 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter

1 cup skim milk (or almond milk if lactose intolerant)

1 Tbs instant espresso powder

1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth.

Serves 2

bananasmoothie

2013 Resolutions

Hey all,

Today’s Thursday Post is a personal one.  I wanted to list publicly my hopes and dreams for the coming year so that I will stick to them when the going gets tough.  I’m not usually one to list a goal and not fulfill it too.  When I plan on accomplishing something, I usually do.  So New Year’s Resolutions usually work for me if I intend them into existence (I usually don’t). I just so happen to be one of those weird people that actually enjoys planning and organizing and setting goals big and small for myself.  What’s frustrating is that things don’t always come to fruition as quickly as I’d hoped, but that just tells me that I need to plan better for the next one.

So here they are, in no particular order of importance, as I see them equally important.

1. Lose the Remaining Weight

Losing-weight-naturallySo, I set a goal for myself last year to lose 26 pounds.  As of right now I have lost 7.  Life has been up and down for me this past year and there have been some really difficult moments.  I wanted to make sure that I didn’t let myself get too off-track with being healthy, fit and trim so I announced on YouTube that I would be publicly losing weight and sharing what worked and what didn’t with my viewers. About 10 videos in I decided to switch over to a blog because that seemed more interesting to me.  I will still make videos, but they won’t be as regular as blog posts. More to come later on how I will hold myself accountable to this goal.

2.  Financial Freedom

freedom-1024x494Yes I am one of the gazillion people in America that used the CC too much. Too be really honest, it is because I don’t have a job that sufficiently pays for all of my needs.  This has been an uphill battle for me for all of my adult life.  Being a musician / vocal professor is nice sounding, but it doesn’t always pay the bills, so to speak. There is a light on the horizon and I will be pursuing a different career very soon.  My singing will always be a part of me, but the income needs to change and fast.  I have already put into action a CC payment plan that I had been sticking quite nicely to; then darn old Christmas came up and I am back in the red. Onward and upward!!!

3. Art Appreciation

TGSE01346_mI not only am a singer, but I love art, culture and historical places/things. This year I plan to dedicate a day to venturing out of my cozy home to visit the vast arena of options that Los Angeles offers. It may be worth mentioning that I am also a ceramic artist and have always had a great love of visual art.

4. Creating More Structure, Organization, and Planning to Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Activities

dateBookBeing one who likes goals and achieving them, this one probably comes as no surprise.  The thing is, if I don’t plan out what I am going to do – NOTHING gets done; and I mean NOTHING.  There are so many projects, outings, restaurants, etc. etc. that I want to experience and it will only happen if I write in in the calendar.

P.S. I have already planned out every day of January, leaving room for spontaneity.

5. Read 3 Fictional Books

endless-booksI read a ton on Non-Fiction and never have room for the stuff of dreams.  Heck, I haven’t seen any Harry Potter movie because I want to read the books first.  Same goes for The Hunger Games.  Three may not be a big deal to some, but this is a realistic goal for me.

6. Design & Re-Decorate Bedroom

Ok, so the pix above maybe a little out of the budget of one who is seeking financial freedom. This goal is on a shoestring amount, but I’m a crafty cat.  The only problem I can foresee will be affording someone to paint the room, but I may be able to get someone to help me out with that one.

7. Find the Best Roast Chicken Recipe

roast chickenYum! I’m always on a culinary journey.  This year I want to find something that is healthy but also delicious and versatile.  Everyone needs roast chicken in their life! Oh, except if you are vegetarian or vegan….but WHATEVER!!!

Reaching GoalsSo what about you? Are you a resolutions kind of person?

 

Workout Apps

Today’s Exercise Monday Post:

App IconHappy Christmas Eve to all!  As I write this, it is indeed Christmas Eve at 9:30 at night.  I’m just about to finish wrapping my last present and go into the kitchen to make some special treats that I also give as gifts.

I didn’t want to let the day go by again without posting something important that I feel I should share with those that read this little blog.  Today it’s about my favorite Apps (right now) that I downloaded from iPad Apps.  I’m not sure if these Apps are also for the iPhone or Mac, but it works great on my iPad because the screen is the perfect size to see all the moves. Nevertheless, try to find them because they are such a great tool to use especially if you are traveling like I currently am.

They are called Daily Workouts and they are produced by Daniel Miller. At first I downloaded the FREE versions and they were a great incentive to get the full version.  The FREE ones work great, but I wanted a little bit more variety and more options. Actually, truth be told, I initially got the Yoga App and decided to check out the other types after I had been using it for a few months.  I would label these workouts as beginner to intermediate in terms of difficulty.  But you could add extra weight to the exercises and make them more challenging. I have the Ab Workout, Butt Workout, Leg Workout, Workouts (whole body and stretching), Cardio, and Simply Yoga programs. You can choose between 5 minutes,  7.5 minutes or 10 minutes for each body part.  You can also mix up the workouts so that you don’t do them in the same sequence every time.  If you want to buy the full version of these, they cost around $1.99 each.  I think that is a good price for shaping a body while on the go. They have programs that use kettle bells and exercise balls too.

Sample of CardioJust for the record, today after my long walk to CVS, I came home and did the Leg and Butt Workouts and then did 7.5 minutes of Stretching.  Tomorrow I will do Upper Body and Abs in addition to some undecided cardio.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight!

Blonde Ambition

Today’s Inspirational Sunday Post:

Well, I’ve been a naughty blogger and have not posted in a few weeks.  If you are reading this out of sequence, at the time that I am writing this we are knee deep into the Christmas Holiday Season. I’m just going to quickly mention that the whole of the month has been fine, but one week has not and may have derailed my best intentions.  Live and learn as they say!  And onward and upward regardless.

Today I want to introduce you to a gal I see singing at a fab-O club that my trio sometimes gets the opportunity to sing at.  It’s

It's Her!

It’s Her!

called The Cicada Club and it is in downtown Los Angeles right in the heart of the jewelry district.  The area is a bit bummy, if you catch my drift, but the club is a tiny piece of heaven in the ugly that surrounds it.  One of the singers that frequents the club and sings when we are there is named Christine Nelson and in the past has hosted her own shows there:

Wow! Is she smokin’ hot or what??? I have the biggest girl crush on her and can’t get enough.  She not only is a great entertainer, but she is so glamorous on

in the middle

in the middle

stage (and off) and wears formals like no other dame.  I long to be a fraction of her beauty.  She was just at the club last Friday for The Johnny Holiday Program and was even more beautiful than the video portrays her.  Some say she is too thin; perhaps, but I am looking at the whole package. Graceful, charming, beautiful, elegant and gorgeous are all up my ally. Just thought I’d share!

her favorite drink: Champagne w/ Chambord

her favorite drink: Champagne w/ Chambord

My Exercise Routine

Today’s Exercise Monday Post:

summer-exerciseI want to include on my Exercise Monday posts my “workout routines” that I continuously rotate through.  This is a plan that I did during summer 2012 and really enjoyed it. (I have rotated to a different routine since then.)  Most likely I will do a version of it again next summer.  Doing this plan helped me shed 7 pounds off of my 26 pounds goal. I don’t know why, but I love doing those magazine tear-out routines in the summer.  Also I should mention that I don’t run anymore.  It seems that this last attempt (the 5th) didn’t make me feel 100% and decided to find another form of intense cardio to replace it.  I’ll get back to you in another post about which activity I chose. If you do want to try the running program you can see it here: Running Program (keep clicking on it and it will appear, I promise!)

P.S. Sorry this video’s pace is super slow.  I was DELIRIOUS from heat.  It was literally over 100 degrees that day in my house.

Prevention

Today’s Inspirational Sunday Post:  prevention-magazine

Really quick and to the point today.  I love Prevention Magazine. This publication has been a part of my life for as long as I can preventionremember picking it first up in my parents bathroom billions of years ago.  The articles are well researched, well written, and quick, short, and to the point.

So many things about it are important to share.  They always talk about weight loss and share tons of tips to help with that endeavor.  It also features stories about people who have lost weight and are keeping it off for good. There are also articles about not gettingprevention_magazine fat in the first place; enough information presented to the reader that you wouldn’t want to eat any other way but healthy. Also, many thoughts on overall health problems and how to sway them off early before they become a part of your life.  I love it and can’t recommend it enough.  Oh, and they have great recipes too!

Go get a copy!

Cheating

Today’s Foodie Friday Post:

to cheat or not to cheat

to cheat or not to cheat

Do you cheat?  Do you know what I mean?

If you are a seasoned dieter/weight loser type of person like myself, there comes a time in the week where you get a little hankering for something “bad.”  So you start thinking of ways to incorporate your treats into your calorie allowance.  That works for a while (maybe) and then you realize “Hey, I could just give myself a cheat meal where I eat all those things I’m craving but can’t have usually while on this stupid diet!!! Genius!!!!” The idea is, you eat what you want in that one meal and then go right back on the diet as soon as it’s over.  Some turn this into a cheat day, and (heaven forbid!) some do a cheat weekend.

I’m pondering this concept because I’m wondering what others think about this topic. I will do a Google Search and try to find other’s opinion on the matter soon, but thought I should also present the idea here first.

I think that it is possible to cheat on a diet and still lose weight.  However, this is a very complicated answer because there are many variables that must be present in order for my last sentence to be true. One must think about what type of cheat meal they will be indulging in.  Is it fast food or someone’s meal prepared in their home? Is this a many course meal with wine, appetizers and dessert to follow?  What are we talking here?  That would depend on the person and there are as many possibilities as there are people.

For me, I usually have a sense of when I am getting full and always try to tap into that feeling to let me know it’s time to put down the fork. That being said, if I’m eating something sweet that messes with my blood sugar, sometimes that feeling (otherwise known as the hormone receptor leptin) isn’t a clear bell gonging in my ear. I over-eat, in other words, often enough to not lose weight. But what if I was super careful? Like allowing myself a certain calorie allowance to go overboard? Technically it works, but it sure takes the fun out of the moment. Plus I would have to research how many calories are actually in that cheat food/meal – again, BORING!

What do you think?  No way Jose? I know the body builder Tosca Reno would say “Never.” Never is just SO LONG!!!

Heart Rate Zones & Monitors

Today’s Exercise Monday Post:

Polar_RS400_Heart_Rate_MonitorIf you are already a whiz at cardio vascular exercise and know-all-about-it, then this post is moot for you.  But I would like to say that if you don’t use a heart rate monitor, you should be; and that’s all I will say on the matter to you.

For the rest, I think that you should get acquainted with a heart rate monitor if you have been exercising (cardio) for a good amount of time and feel ready for the next challenge.  It is crucial that you go to the next level when you body feels ready for it.  Don’t try and push it.  Why do you need a heart rate monitor? Because you want to be checking your heart rate zones regularly throughout your exercise sessions. This will ensure that you are working out hard enough and not just spinning your wheels.

There are many to choose from.  Get one that fits within your budget and does the job without breaking down too quickly.  They run on batteries that need to be changed every 2 years or so; at least in my experience.  I have one that is generic, one that can go under water and has alarms, and one that tells me the caloric burn I’m getting. They all/most strap onto your chest and transmit a frequency to your wrist band.

Here is my video on the subject where I discuss in detail about heart rate zones and the levels you should be aiming for:

P.S. The heart rate monitor should strap onto your skin underneath clothing. I usually place it right under my exercise bra strap so that it doesn’t slide down while I’m working out.