8 to Great slim down challenge: Week 4

running buddy

Spring is finally here! I hope you are starting to see results from the weekly diet and workout challenges I’ve been posting. If you are genuinely following along and doing the workout at least 3 times a week you will see results.

Here’s this weeks challenge:

1) Find a workout buddy. Studies show that people who have friends they workout with are much more likely to get themselves to the gym or go for that jog then those who don’t. I even found a couple of applications that helps you find someone in your area with similar workout interests to partner with.

1) SportPartner.com

2) ExerciseFriends.com

If you use one of these sites or have used them please let me know if you had any success and if you have advice or tips on how to get the most out of using these sites.

2) Bag you snacks. Get a box of zip lock bags and portion out your snacks for the day / week. I suggested planning your meals ahead of time, this is a great way to plan your snacks and make sure you aren’t over doing it and a good way to make sure you’re not buying to many packaged good that are full of preservatives and other junk that isn’t good for you. If you are having trouble thinking of healthy snacks here are 100 ideas I found…

100 Healthy Snack Ideas

3) Workout. Here’s this weeks challenge. Again, this is an HIIT workout in Tabata format (2o seconds on, 10 seconds rest for for reps each exercise)

Round 1

1)Squat with medicine ball (if you don’t have a medicine ball substitute with some dumbbells or a few books). For this exercise you are going to squat down as far as you can, holding the medicine ball with both hand in between your legs, arms straight. Come up and swing your arms up over head ball in hands.

sumo-squat-with-medicine-ball

2) Plank with leg raise. Get into standard plank position and raise one leg off the ground then switch. If this is too difficult, knees on the floor and raise.

plank with side taps

Rest for one minute.

Round 2

1) Box jumps. Modification: Step ups.

box-jump

2) Planks with side taps. Again, in standard plank position, tap one foot out then switch. Modification: Bring it to your knees.

plank with taps

And relax…

Repeat this series at least once more, maximum 3 reps.

Let me know how you like this weeks workout and if you would like me to include anything for next weeks workout. I’m open to suggestions so please send them in!

Stay motivated, summers almost here!

Xx,

Hilary Ann Lambert

8 to Great Slim Down Challenge: Week 3

How was this week for everyone? Have you been tracking your calories, working out, eating a healthy breakfast, meditating and finding ways to fit exercise in your day besides your scheduled workout?

Do you notice that these activities are all healthy habits that you are building upon each week? What healthy habits should we create this week?

1) Think of the world as a gym. For example, I must have run up and down my stairs 15 times this morning getting my children and myself ready for our day. Some might find this incredibly frustrating but if you think of all of the exercise you’re getting it makes it quite fulfilling! Try making this thought process a habit, whenever you are “forced” to do  more physical activity to accomplish anything in your day, don’t get angry or annoyed be happy that you are getting more of a workout, burning more calories and doing something really good for your heart.

It’s proven that those who have stairs in their house live longer. And you don’t have to have a house, there are stairs everywhere! Find some and start climbing! If you live in an apartment building take the stairs instead of the elevator. I used to live in a 5 story walk up in Boston’s South End. No elevator. I would walk 2 miles to work and still go to the gym. I didn’t complain about it, I loved it because I was in great shape!

2) Sign up for a local race for charity. Isn’t it great that you can be fit and philanthropic at the same time? Find a local race that you can commit to training for and will help motivate you in your goal to get healthy. If you’re not a runner there is walking, cycling and swimming races you can train for.

3) Workout! I’ve been giving you HIIT workouts to perform, but I simply ask that you get at least 30 minutes of real deal, concentrated exercise a week. Walking, running, yoga, pilates, cycling, swimming, Barre, hiking, whatever! I don’t care, just get of your behind and commit.

Here’s this weeks HIIT. (Tabata Format, download an application on your smartphone to keep time) I will also be posting a great abdominal exercise for you to perform at least twice this week.

 Squat hop. (20 seconds on 10 second break 4 intervals) Modifications: Add weights to intensify or simply squat without the hop for less intensity.

Bicycles. (20 seconds on 10 seconds off 4 intervals)

Take a 1 minute break.

Front and back lunges. (20 seconds on 10 seconds off for 4 intervals)

Step ups. (20 Seconds) Modification: Add weights for more intensity.

Repeat this workout up to 3 times. Once or twice will still give you a great workout so don’t be discouraged if you can only get through it once! It’s tough, that’s why it burns so many calories. You are building muscle with these workouts too which heightens your metabolism and keeps it going all day long, even when you are sleeping!! That’s why building muscle is so KEY to losing weight and keeping it off.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions on how to live a healthier / happier lifestyle.

Xx,

Hilary Ann Lambert

Week 2 of the 8 to Great Slim Down Challenge!

How did week 1 go for you ladies? As a review, I asked you to count calories, find opportunities to squeeze exercise into your day and performing a tabata circuit that I provided to you 3 times a day for at least 2 days this week (admittedly this was a tough one to accomplish as getting through it once was difficult for me).

Last weeks challenge was about self-awareness. Counting calories shows you how much you are actually consuming per day and hopefully will help you find places that you can cut back. Finding new ways to squeeze exercise in your day is a great way to get into the habit of thinking of opportunities for you to get fit. And the tabata challenge was to show you that you can get an intense workout in a short period of time, and once you get started it’s easier to keep going. You just have to start!

Week 2:

1) Eat breakfast. Many people skip breakfast, including myself when I’m in a rush! Before I had children I skipped breakfast regularly. Now I realize how important it is to keeping me energized, less anxious and content throughout my day. The weight loss benefits of eating breakfast are that it kick starts your metabolism and will diminish overall hunger throughout the day.

Of course I want you to choose a healthy breakfast. An example, whole wheat toast, organic preserves, eggs whites, fruit, yogurt and granola.

2) Meditate for at least 2 minutes per day. This will provide you more clarity, awareness, good sense and the ability to take pause when necessary (like when you’re reaching for that cupcake). If you are thinking to yourself that you cannot find the time or place to meditate that is absolutely not true. That’s why I posted a picture of a woman in a board room meditating, obviouly I don’t expect you to so this but the point is that you can find the time and place to clear your head for two minutes. No excuses!

If you need pointers check out my post on how to meditate here.

3) Workout. This weeks routine is going to be another Tabata circuit. In fact all of them are and it should get easier for you each week as your strength builds and you see the pounds come off. I want you to perform this circuit at least 3 times this week, that’s the only way you will begin to see results.

This weeks routine has a focus on your thighs, booty and arms. However, all of my routines will be full body workouts.

To review, I want you to perform each move in this circuit for 20 seconds on 10 seconds off for a set of 4. A total of 2 full minutes for each move.  The entire circuit will take 10 minutes. After 10 minutes rest for 2 minutes then repeat the circuit if you can. Try to repeat it up 3 times. Remember that this is a great calorie burning session so push yourself!

1) Skaters. Modifications: Jump side to side for more intensity, if you would like less intensity step it.

2) Push ups. Modifications: For less intensity out your knees on the ground, for more intensity knees off the ground and try and lift one leg up for 10 seconds and then switch for 10.

After these 2 moves rest for one full minute and move on…

3) Jumping lunges. Modifications: Remove the jump and simply step and lunge.

jump lunge

4) Side to side planks.  Modification: Bring the plank to your knees and simply hold it for 20 seconds on one side, switch sides for the next 20 second interval.

side-plank-turn-400x400
That it! Good luck everybody! And let me know if you have any questions about diet or exercise at Hilary@ugobabyfitness.com.
 
Xx,
Hilary Ann Lambert

Body building isn’t just for boys…

Have you ever thought about body building? Or competing in a body building competition? Probably not because of it’s reputation. Generally it’s thought of as being mostly muscle-bound men who partake in this type of training. I thought the same thing until I spoke with a woman named Leah Goettsch. We were connected through a friend because of our love of all things fitness. In one of our first conversations she told me she was in “training” upon which I asked what it was she was training for. “A body building competition…” I was intrigued. My initial thought was that she must be some muscle-bound weight lifter which was completely out of my league as far as fitness and exercise goes. I inquired more about it and came to find out that there are many women’s competitions, particularly the “bikini” kind that don’t involve getting a really bulky almost manly physique. I saw pictures of her last competition and was very impressed. You can tell she has a lot of drive and motivation to stay fit.

She was kind enough to do a short Q & A with me. Whether you’re interested in body building or not, I think you will find this interview interesting and it will probably inspire you to get to the gym! Don’t be intimidated by competitions, it’s a great way to stay motivated!

First, check out these killer before and after pics from her last competition. She looks fabulous in all of them, but the transformation is incredible. If you’re looking for some motivation to get in shape, print these out and post them on your refrigerator.

1)     How did you get started doing competitions?

It’s a funny story actually.  I was in Complete Nutrition to buy some protein powder, when the salesperson and I began chatting.  I was a regular customer, so I always struck up conversations with the employees.  She helped me pick out a new powder and then casually asked if I ever thought about competing?  Having never heard of the “sport” of bodybuilding I asked, “Competing in what?”  She then went on to describe bodybuilding competitions to me and said I would do great in the bikini division.  We chatted for a good 30 minutes, she gave me her contact info and I told her I’d sleep on it.  When I got home I immediately recruited the help of Google to gather all the information I could on bodybuilding and bikini competitions.  I was completely fascinated at how strong the female body can become.  I e-mailed the salesperson that night and she pointed me in the right direction.

2)     Have you always been into working out and physical fitness?

Yes and yes!  However, my focus, goals, style and intensity of training have, and are, constantly changing.  Throughout high school I was in every sport imaginable, so my training was performance focused and determined by my coaches.  After high school, I turned into a runner. Cardio is not my forte, yet I developed a liking to it as I ran more and grew stronger as a runner.  However, running was just a pastime for me, I had no motivation and nothing to train for.  Exercise often took a backseat to the demands of school and going to the bars.  I found that I would run more when I was stressed, bored, or needed a study break.  So, at that time in my life running was a way to escape and be alone.  Soon, I found a friend who was a regular exerciser, and an early bird like me! (In college this is rare).  We established a routine where we’d wake up at 6, run a few miles on the treadmill, and finish with a quick weight and ab circuit.  However, at this time I did not realize nutrition played such a key role in seeing results.  Many nights we would meet back up and make a buffet of frozen appetizers, open a bottle (or 2) or wine, and finish it all off by splitting a pint of ice cream.  At this point in my life exercise was a social experience for me, it was gossip time, and it helped me maintain my weight with such a horrible diet.

3)     What is a typical day like when you are in training mode?

When I trained for my first competition, the circumstances were a little extreme.  I lived in one city and attended school in another city that was a little over 2 hours away.  So I lived by the 2P’s; PREPARE AND PLAN!  I ate every 2.5-3 hours but spent a lot of time in my car so most of the time food was eaten cold and with my hands.  I slept on friends’ floors some nights to save me from having to drive back & forth all the time.  However, this meant I had to prepare food for 4 days; at 6 meals a day this meant 24 meals, which I could fit into 2 coolers.  I also had to pack a gym bag for clothes and shower supplies, an overnight bag for clothes to go to class in, and a book bag.  Every weekend, for an entire semester, I would have to unpack, do laundry, wash dishes, catch up on homework, pack new clothes, prep food for the upcoming week, and still find time to train and to JUST LIVE!  One goal I had before beginning this journey was to not make it miserable for my boyfriend (now fiancé).  I knew that this was my thing, and I didn’t want to make him loathe it.  So, I made time for date nights, which ended up being my cheat nights.  With my crazy schedule, my training varied from day to day.  Most days I trained in the morning; depending where I was staying I’d wake up between 4:15-5:30, eat on my way to the gym, train, shower at the gym, eat in my car, and walk to class.  I did best when I trained in the morning because when that was out of the way all I had to do was make sure I ate every 2.5-3 hours (which was easy because all my meals were prepped and ready to go) and get my homework done.  I probably picked the most inconvenient time in my life to train for my first physique competition, however I think the structure of the process actually helped me to keep my crazy schedule somewhat organized.

4)     Tell us a little about the diet? I’ve heard it’s that’s the hardest part about training!

Because every minute of my day was planned, I actually enjoyed the diet.  I think for most people it would have gotten monotonous, but it was one less thing I had to worry about.  Basically, I got a meal plan that I would follow for a month.  Yup, that’s right, I would eat pretty much the same meals every day for a month before I got my new meal plan.  For me, at the time, that worked.  Now, that would not fly!  I have more time and I need diversity.  After all, variety is the spice of life, right?  My new plan is actually centered around macronutrients.  So, instead of a meal plan, I am free to eat whatever I want as long as I hit my macros.  This does take planning still, knowledge, a little more time, and a little more manipulating.  As with most things in life, the more you do it, the better you get, and then it just becomes second nature.

Okay, back to the training diet.  So, we wanted to slowly decrease my caloric intake the closer I got to my show.  The reason we wanted to go slow is because we wanted to ensure I had enough energy to power through my workouts, enough food to feed my muscles, and to emphasize losing fat while maintaining as much muscle as possible.  I would weigh myself once a week, and depending on the change we would make slight adjustments.  We found that I had a high metabolism so we actually had to keep adding carbs to my meal plan.

My meal plan was centered around what you would call “clean” foods.  Though I was given a meal plan, I was offered choices, so that did help a little with variety.  Here are some of the foods I had throughout my training old fashioned rolled oats, whole grains (pasta, bread, tortillas), sweet potatoes, brown rice, rice cakes, natural nut butters, flax oil, avocados, berries, bananas, apples, oranges, spinach, asparagus, green beans, peppers, onion, shrimp, tilapia, orange, salmon, lean ground beef, lean ground turkey, chicken breasts, eggs, and protein powder.

5)     How do you stay motivated?

Once I develop a routine it’s hard for me to stray away from it.  The first few weeks were an adjustment and some work, but after that the training, prepping, traveling became a part of my daily routine.  Another thing that was my greatest motivation was Instagram.  I followed other physique competitors and fitness enthusiasts and they helped me keep my eyes on the prize.  On days I didn’t feel like going to the gym, I would open up Instagram and see everyone else working out, and then tell myself, “This girl could be standing on the stage next to me.  She isn’t skipping her workouts.”  Then, I’d get my butt up and go to the gym.  Instagram was sometimes dangerous though, because there is always so much tasty-looking food posted that it would tease my cravings.  Two final reasons for my motivation is that as people found out about my training, I realized there was no backing out because I didn’t want to be seen as a quitter.  And lastly, my goal, from the beginning, for when I stepped on stage was to “look the part”, but to look the part I had to actually do the work.  I would constantly remind myself of these two things and that helped to keep me motivated through my long cardio sessions.

6)     Do you have any suggestions for anyone who may be considering training for a competition?

Do your research. Find a qualified coach.  Ask questions.  Practice.  Don’t lose yourself.  There are so many coaches out there who are not qualified to be giving nutritional or training advice.  They are looking for a quick buck, and ruining people’s lives in the process.  If you are not careful there can be very detrimental consequences to extreme training and dieting these fluke coaches are offering.

There are 1,000 different reasons many people do this “sport”.  I put the quotes around sport because some people don’t see it as a sport, but for me, that’s what it is.  It’s a competition with myself.  To me, there is an off-season and an on-season.  When I am in season, I am in competition with myself and I AM my toughest competition.  I am the only person who can get into my own head.  The training process is so much more mentally demanding that I could have ever imagined.  It is also so rewarding.  Other people compete to get in the best shape of their life, some to beat the competition, and others to hopefully become sponsored and make a career out of it.  Whatever the case, there are those who are having fun with the process and will be willing to offer advice and take the time to answer your questions and there are others who thrive on the competitive aspect and will not share anything with you.  If you run into someone like this, don’t let this discourage you.  Instead, let it light a flame under your Gluteus Maximus!

Evaluate why you want to compete.  Get as much information you can.  Find a qualified coach.  Practice by adding a daily workout into your routine and eating healthy before you actually start training for your show.  Pick a show date and write out a rough draft plan of what the next few months of your life will look like, because during this time you will have to say no to wine at your best friend’s wedding, popcorn at the movie theater, ice cream with your kids.  Ask yourself if you’re willing to do that?  Though you have to give the treats up, don’t give yourself up!  It’s easy to turn into a grumpy hermit (don’t get me wrong, there were nights when I didn’t want to leave or see anyone), but realize that it was YOUR decision to compete and your loved ones shouldn’t suffer.  I learned to do my normal life things without the treats.  I tailgated with bottles of water and chicken breast, snacked on cucumbers at the movie theater, and drank tea during girl’s night.  It was tough at times, but I told myself that it is only 12-weeks of my life.

7)     What’s next for you as far as physical fitness? Do you plan on continuing competitions, training others, doing something completely different etc…?

I am itching to compete again!  I’ve taken almost a year off of competing.  It’s been fun to just live life.  I still train intensely: weight training 4-5 times a week, cardio 1-2 times a week, but if I miss a day (or a week), that’s okay.  And until recently, I ate whatever I wanted.  That doesn’t mean I have been bingeing on ice cream and pizza.  But I enjoy eating healthy most of the time and indulging on my favorite snacks with family and friends a couple of times a week.  This past week I decided I wanted to do another competition.  I want to bring in a more muscular package.  I’ve put on quite a bit of muscle since my first show, so I just want to see if I can better myself.  After that, I will probably take a break to finish my final year of school, get married in next Fall, find a job, and hopefully start a family.

Health and fitness is my passion so I would like to keep it a part of my life.  Whether I’m training for a competition or not, I’ll always be a regular gym goer.  I am actually really interested in strength, not just looks (though that seems very hypocritical considering I compete in physique competitions), so I could see power-lifting or cross-fit in my future.

Right now I am a personal trainer at my university’s gym and I am also the personal training supervisor.

What is your go to workout what you are not training?

            Weight training by far.  Specifically, legs.  My favorite exercises are deadlifts, squats, glute kickbacks, and leg press.  Most of the time when I am not training I will just write out my workout the morning of, or just head to the gym and do whatever I want.  Sometimes it’s a quick 30-minute workout, and there are other times when I look up and it’s been 2 hours!

Thanks Leah!! This was a very informative and fun interview. I found it inspiring and think my readers will to. 

We love hearing from our readers! What do you think of body-building? Would you ever consider training for a competition?

Hilary Lambert

Founder

U Go Baby Fitness

Introducing the “U Go Baby Fitness” Re-launch…

Relaunch

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve found some new inspiration recently to eat healthier, workout better and overall live healthier. Along with that motivation comes the re-launch of the U Go Baby Fitness blog. I chose a chalkboard theme because I want this site to be a “school” for fitness and well-being. Also, it’s somewhat of a “to do” list for those of us trying to feel and look our best.

I would love your feedback on how I can make this site better and more informative for my audience. What types of articles do you like the most on fitness and lifestyle web sites? Do you like videos? Tutorials? Interviews?

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for some inspiring and informative articles, including an interview I will be posting tomorrow with a female body builder. You need to check this one out if you’re at all interested or simply intrigued by the world of professional body sculpting and training.

Sincerely,

Hilary Lambert

Founder, U Go Baby Fitness

Look on the bright side… shoveling is good for your health!

Snow scene at Beacon Hill, Boston after blizzard Stock Photo - 622544

With the tremendous snow fall, a driving ban in place, power outages all over the state and being stuck at home; I thought I’d look on the bright side and research the health benefits of shoveling snow… since we’ll be doing a WHOLE lot of it the next couple of days.

1) Cardiovascular. February is Heart Health month after all and shoveling is a great way to get cardiovascular and aerobic exercise. These types of exercise are extremely important for your heart and circulatory system and help to prevent cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of death worldwide. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. Any exercise that involves large muscle groups, like your legs, is beneficial to your heart and lungs and can help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

2) Burn Calories… many of us still need to lose the weight we gained during the holiday season. A half-hour of moderate snow shoveling can burn more than 250 calories. Just don’t drink too many hot chocolates or hot totties to make up for those burned calories.

3) Muscle builder… the act of shoveling snow is a great full body workout and will help build muscle which is  extremely important for weight loss and overall health. Muscle burns calories through out the day, even when you’re sleeping!

4) Vitamin D… being outdoors you get some of those beneficial UVB rays that help your body make Vitamin D and helps prevent seasonal depression. PS… Make sure to wear SUNSCREEN!!

5) Fresh air! Being cooped up in the house makes us a little stir crazy, so just getting outside is of great benefit to your mental state, never mind all of the physical benefits.

 

Top Ten Ways to get Fit in 2013

1) Cut out Dairy

Dairy foods are good sources of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D, but they can provide considerable amounts of fat. Once popularized as food that could help you lose weight, unrestricted dairy intake was soon shown to increase weight, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports. The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) says dairy can be included in a healthful diet, but it should be low in fat. Consumption of cheese, ice cream, and higher-fat dairy foods should be limited. Such foods provide discretionary calories and can be removed from the diet without any adverse effects. 
C/O Livestrong.com

2) Switch to Whole grains

Switching to 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread is easy, especially now that so many 100% whole-wheat products are available in supermarkets — from hot dog buns to breakfast cereals to pasta.

Whole grains are naturally low-fat and cholesterol free; contain 10% to 15% protein; and offer loads of fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and more. Whole grains can help to protect you against cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and some cancers. And you may see a difference quickly, some experts say.

C/O WebMD.com

3) Walk whenever possible! To the store, work, to pick up your kids. If it’s cold, bundle up and go!! I promise you’ll feel great if you do.

4) Get inspired by music… my current gym fav is this one, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch’s Sweet Nothing

5) Sign up for a class… Barre, Yoga, Zumba, Pilates, Kickboxing.. whatever it is sign up! Don’t join a gym if you’ve never gone before. If you sign up for a class they’ll teach you the moves and you will be in it with the rest of the group, you’ll meet people and have fun with it! Besides, you’ll be more aped to go if you pay for a class that meets at a specific time once or twice a week then if you get a monthly pass to a gym.

6) Get a subscription to a health magazine.

7) Put up pictures of your ideal body. Picturing someone who’s especially fit helps me to run a little faster and /or eat a little less.

Zoe Saldana

8) Weight Train.

9) Get a workout buddy.

10) Count Calories or join Weight Watchers and work the point system, it really works!