Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kettle Bells and The Best Fitness Applications

Yesterday, my work out was bitten by the boredom bug. Sometimes after 3 days running, I just get so bored! So today, I am going to switch is up with a different routine using Kettle Bells.
Dwayne introduced me to the wondrous nature of Kettle Bells. If you don't know what they are, they look like this. They come in weight levels all the way from 2 to 50. Maybe more but that's the most I have seen.
While I know the basics of kettlebells, I am no expert so I wanted to find something that would help me make new and better routines with these monsters. Kettlebells, because of the way the weight is distributed, are amazingly calorie burners and they build lean muscle. Plus, the handle makes them a lot more versatile for different exercises you have probably never done before.
While in my quest for a new routine, I came upon an app that would give me routines to try! It made me think that I should share the apps I use because it has taken me a long time to find good ones and some of these might be helpful for others. If you have apps that you use, please comment and tell me!
MapMyRun- this app uses GPS to track your runs outside (no good if you are on a treadmill) but it will tell you your pace, your distance at every mile you hit and its a social app too!
MyFitnessPal - this app lets you track your caloric intake by searching the foods you have eaten and tracking them in a food journal automatically for you. It gives you counts of all your vitamins, calories, fat, etc. You can also input your exercise routines and water intake and at the end of the day when you complete all your entries it tells you how well you're doing. This app is also social, I have connected with a lot of friends on it.
EveryMove- EveryMove was introduced to me by a friend and it basically rewards you for exercising by letting you earn discounts on products and services. You can sign up a team of people and you can all earn points for each other. Its pretty neat but the app sometimes has some bugs and the discounts might be small at times.
CharityMiles- This app lets you use your running and biking to earn money for a charity of your choice! You choose a charity and then do your normal workout. This app tracks it and then someone who has set up a donor profile will give a denomination of money for every mile you run or bike!
Sworkit - This all is great! It creates customized workouts for you and times them all while you do it. Every 30 seconds it will ding, give you a new exercise and at the end it will tell you how many calories you burned. You can choose which area of the body you want to work on, it even gives you a yoga routine and all of the routines can be anywhere from 5 -60 minutes long! Its perfect for people working out at home because all the exercises only use your body weight and they have videos you can watch if you don't know the exercise!
KettleBells - This is the newest app I have downloaded and it is similar to sworkit but only utilizes kettlebells and body weight! You can choose your level, watch videos on technique and it will generate a workout for you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A new sprint workout and "What do you mean by detox?"

Good morning lovely readers!

Day 2 in a row of taking time in the early morning to blog. Look at how consistent I am becoming! :p Let's start by talking about a new workout I tried yesterday - I found it to be challenging but not impossible. All you need to complete this work out is a treadmill and some free weights (I used 20's lbs)

I am a fan of using the preprogrammed hill workouts on the ellipticals and treadmills in the gym. You should always have the resistance up to make-up for the fact that these machines are actually helping you propel yourself. It always makes me shake my head to see people on the ellipticals with no resistance - you're basically taking a ride on that machine, not doing too much physically. Usually I make up for that by using the "Aerobic" or "Aerobic Plus" hill workouts which will take you on an incline of anywhere from 0.0 to 3.0-5.0 depending on which one you choose.

So, set the treadmill to one of the hill pre-programmed workouts and lets get started!
Remember, if you try this - use the paces that you are comfortable with. Some will be faster than me and some will be slower and that's okay!

Warm Up - 10 Minutes Jog at a easy pace - for me 6.1 about a 9:50 mile.

Then we get into the real meat of the work out.

10:00-12:00 Fast paced jog - for example, I took it up to 6.6
12:00-12:30 SPRINT! 30 second sprint , I took it up to 8.2
12:30-13:00 Rest on the sides of the treadmill
13:00-13:30 SPRINT AGAIN!
13:30-14:00 Rest
14:00-14:30 You guessed it, ANOTHER SPRINT!
14:30-15:00 Rest
15:00-15:30 Sprint one more time!
15:30-16:00 Rest
16:00-18:00 Fast paced jog - back to 6.5

Repeat this jog/sprint/rest four times. By the time you are done, you will be up to 35 or so minutes on the treadmill and your heart will be pounding! It will keep your body guessing since you don't know on each sprint whether you will be at a 0.0 elevation or 3.0.

Cool Down with a 5 minute walk

I like to end my heavy cardio workouts with light weightlifting to also act as a cool down. So I ended with

3 sets of 10 Bench Press w/ Free Weights
3 sets of 10 Lat Pull Downs

Today is the beginning of day 3 in a week long stretch of detoxing from a weekend on the road. One of the words that I used in that sentence is very interesting -detox. I have spoken to a few people in my life about detoxing and I realized that most people use this term in VERY different ways. When I talk about a "detox" basically I am saying that I will cut out any unnatural sugar and processed grains from my diet, replace them with more fruits, some brown rice, protein and vegetables and drink lots of tea and water. Basically being strict about clean eating.
Yeesh! Don't do it people!

When some people talk about detoxing, they are referring to weird concoctions of liquids or an actual chemical drink that flushes their system or "cleanses" them. Some of you might be toying around with the idea of buying a detox drink or drinking lemon water mixed with maple syrup and cayenne pepper and you thought about reading this blog for some tips or perhaps my opinion on the whole matter. Well, here it is! I strongly believe that the BEST detox of any kind that a person can do is to clean up your eating and drink plenty of natural liquids. I do NOT condone the use of the chemical detox programs and drinks. These detox drinks can cause major health issues AND its not what our bodies were meant to do. The body has very specific ways of detoxing itself without the use of chemicals or weird drinks. You simply have to let it do its THANG by fueling it correctly.

These detoxes or cleanses promise you that you will lose 20 pounds in a week! WOW! but let's be honest - if you lost 20 pounds in a week than you probably have a serious medical condition or it's all water weight and now you have dehydrated yourself. I challenge any reader to do a week "healthy eating" cleanse and see how you feel after 7 days. No processed foods,  only fruits, vegetables, whole and complete grains, a ton of water and some lean protein (eggs, chicken, turkey, etc) and sorry - no alcohol but it's only for a week! : ) Track how you feel on day 1 versus day 7. I promise you -the difference will be much better than any cleanse!

There is also a movie that you can find for free on that I really liked that is about cleansing naturally. Its called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and it follows a man around the world finding out about processed vs healthy foods while juicing. Obviously, I don't think its possible for people to juice all their food and I wouldn't recommend that either but it's a short and interesting video.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Life Updates (Big Announcement) and My Next Year

Hello all my blog followers- of which I am sure there are only a few at this point if any because I haven't blogged in quite some time! Sorry about that but life in Charlotte has been absolutely crazy with my job sending me all over the country and working 50-60 hour weeks at times.

Also, can't forget to mention taking care of this little guy: ) Who isn't so little anymore! He has changed from my 30 pound puppy to a 60 pound cuddle monster.

As you can see, he is obviously quite the handful even if he is a puppy school graduate! I decided to take blogging back up (if my schedule will allow it) because there is a something quite important that I need to really focus on my health, fitness and stress level control to get ready for in the next year. If you are a close friend you already know what I am talking about. If you are just as avid reader of the goings on in my life but from a distance, it is my job to tell you that I, Mackenzie Farone, am getting married in a year.

My amazingly and devestatingly handsome now fiance proposed over Thanksgiving dinner at a cabin in Bryson City and now we are taking that leap down the aisle after about 4 years of dating. I couldn't be more excited and stressed at the thought of planning this thing and the only reason is because we live in Charlotte, North Carolina but will be getting married in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So, I figured a good stress reliever and a good way to keep myself on track to push a little harder than my normal fitness routine could be to blog! So my dear, dear friends this blog will now become (at least for the next year) my health/ fitness/ talking about wedding plans blog.
We have finally chosen a venue in Pittsburgh after a VERY long weekend of searching but we haven't signed a contract yet. Once we do, I will certainly let everyone know! I am so very blessed to have had one of my old college roommates and an amazing friend of mine take our engagement photos while we were in Pittsburgh. Rachel Tokarski is an amazing photographer and I can't wait to see what she does with our wedding photos next year! She actually blogs too about her photography and she does a ton of sports photos for Pittsburgh Hockey teams - you can't beat that! Check her out here  They aren't edited yet, we are still in the process of choosing but I thought I would share some of my favorite raw photos!

The one thing that I will say is that the weekend of searching for venues, seeing friends (which I loved) and running around was stressful and I noticed a major change in my body when I got back including stomach gurgles, tiredness and my brain wasn't functioning on all levels. I figured what a great time to get strict again about my healthy eating habits! I have one year until the wedding where I will probably be looked at and photographed more than any other time in my life sooo... I should get it together. Plus, it will help me more than I can imagine with handling stress.

Don't get me wrong, health and fitness had still been a HUGE part of my life even if I wasn't blogging about it but my workouts have turned from 5 times a week to 3 times and my company candy dish has been calling my name on a daily basis. SO! come with me on my fitness journey with just a dash of wedding 'goings on' in the mix too.

Yesterday was a detox day full of fruits and vegetables and I could tell the damage I had done with a week of no exercise and bad eating habits because I felt sick on the treadmill. This only happens when my work out comes as a total shock to my body.

Today, I started off with the yummiest of yummy breakfast shakes full of super foods! I suggest this green monster to anyone!

- 1/2 cup Almond Milk
-1/2 cup strawberries
-1 cup spinach
- 1 scoop of protein powder
- Ice

Let me know what you want to hear about! Future blogs will contain my workouts, new recipes, trials and tribulations of exercising and nutrition. Also, I will update everyone on exciting steps in the wedding planning process including the venue, save the date designs, my beautiful wedding party all right up until the big day!!