Tag Archives: Fitness

My “March Madness Mama” Goals

Winter months are always harder anyway, so I know I’ve had a little extra “mama bear padding” between holiday celebrations and the natural “hibernation process” that occurs in colder months. This last weekend, I stepped on the scale and noticed that my weight has been inching back up over the last few months. After having my son two years ago, I found it relatively easy to drop my pregnancy weight, which I contribute entirely to nursing! Thankfully, I was able to nurse for a little over a year, but as soon as I stopped nursing–you guessed it–I almost immediately gained 10 pounds back! And the scale has been tipping upwards ever since that point. With spring around the corner, it’s time to take control, shed the pounds, and get trim again!

I HATE fad diets and am actually pretty, vehemently opposed to dieting in general, but I do agree with following a healthful lifestyle, which includes a healthful diet (“the kinds of food that a person…habitually eats”) as well as regular exercise, sleep, hydration, etc. (Check out my post about the inspiration of MJTL’s blog banner here.)

My ultimate goal in doing this is not a number on a scale or to look good in a bathing suit (see posts on Biblical views of Health and Beauty), but to be fit for service–service to God, my family, and my community. I debated between Trim Healthy Mama (THM), Whole30, and Paleo plans, and I may be a crazy-mad mama, but starting today, these are my goals for this March:

  1. Be in the Word every single day! (I’m currently studying the Gospel of Mark.)
  2. Get active 5 days per week, at least 25 minutes per day, and I must break a sweat!
  3. Drink 1 gallon of water every day! (That’s 16 cups or 8 16-oz. glasses.)
  4. Eliminate dairy from my diet (I may add this back later, but it’s easier to say “none” than “limited” and be tempted to eat it too often).
  5. Follow the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) basic principles (essentially, keep your fats and carbs separate; eat healthy proteins with every meal; and eat small meals or snacks every 3-4 hours to keep your metabolism up).

Below is a basic overview of THM that I found on Brea Getting Fit‘s blog. And I’ll be saving more tips and recipes on my “THM and Whole30 Inspiration” Pinterest board, if you need some inspiration.

What are your “March Madness Mama” goals? Even if you’re not a “Mad Mama,” will you join me on the journey to be fit for service to God and our communities?

Getting Back on the Wagon

The last year or so was a little hectic, to say the least. And a few pounds have found their way back to my waistline. Things have slowed back down and become far less stressful, so it’s time to get back on the wagon!

Last night I went through my “Exercise & Health” board on Pinterest and wrote down about 50 different exercise routines on 3×5″ cards. Each day, I plan on picking a random card and doing whatever routine is on it. Sometimes it’s as simple as “walk 1 mile” or as complex as a full 90 minute routine. I even threw in a few “rest day”s!

So, this morning, I used the following video: Fit Sugar TV’s Sculpt Your Core in Just 10 Minutes with Core Fusion! on Hulu.com. Then I had a small glass of orange juice and some shrimp and grits. Lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich on cranberry walnut bread and another 20 minutes of walking and squats. I had a handful of nuts and a square of dark chocolate for a snack. Then a simple dinner of toast, chicken breast, swiss cheese, and carrots.

Tomorrow is a new day. One baby step at a time. Who says you have to wait until New Year’s Day to make a change?! Who’s with me?


Biblical Fitness: Practical Tips, Common Pitfalls, and Scriptural Principles

I wanted to share a few things I’ve been studying and learning recently about a Biblical view of Fitness. Much of this was in preparation for sitting on a panel discussion about biblical health and fitness at a recent event at our church. I’m thankful to God for the opportunity to learn and grow in Him and for the privilege to share some of my journey with others.
A Few Practical Tips:

  • Start small and build up.
  • Small successes are still successes.
  • Accountability is key.
  • Be consistent.
  • Don’t sabotage yourself.
  • If you miss, don’t quit. Just get back up again.
  • Stretch before and after.
  • Equal and opposite actions on muscles – upward motion followed by downward motion, forward motion followed by backward motion, etc.

Common Pitfalls:

  • Comparing Ourselves – II Cor. 10:12.
  • Dishonoring our bodies (specifically, given over to lust) – Rom. 1:24.
  • Anxious/Obsessive about bodies, clothes, and food – Matt. 6:25 and Luke 12:22-23.
  • Defilement – II Cor. 7:1.
  • Abuse (even for “spiritual” reasons) – Col. 2:23.
  • To be seen/to win – I Cor. 9:25.

Scriptural Principles:

  • Created by God – Genesis and I Cor. 12:24.
  • Bought by Christ – I Cor. 16:10.
  • Commanded by God to Care for our bodies – Hebrews 10:12.
    • We are commanded to be good stewards – I Cor. 4:2 and I Pet. 4:10.
    • Bodily exercise is valuable, but godliness is more valuable – I Tim. 4:8.
    • Control you body – I Thes. 4:4, James 3:2.
    • Keep your body blameless – Heb. 9:10, I Thes. 5:23.
    • Discipline your body so you are not disqualified from service – I Cor. 9:27.
    • Commanded to cleanse/bathe regularly, especially during disease or times of uncleanness – Leviticus.
  • Picture:
    • We are members of Christ’s body – Eph. 5:30, I Cor. 6:15 and 12:12, Ro. 12:5.
    • Body is the temple of God – Jn. 2:21 (Christ refers to his body as a temple), I Cor. 16:9 (believers’ bodies are God’s temple)
  • Purpose:
    • We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God – Rom. 12:1.
    • The life of Jesus is manifest in our bodies – II Cor. 4:10.
    • Body is for Christ, not for food and sex – I Cor. 6:13.
    • Honor Christ in your body – Phil. 1:20
  • Other Principles:
    • Gracious words bring health to the body – Prov. 16:24.
    • Future glorification of our body – Phil. 3:21.
    • See “Inspiration Behind the New Banner” for more thoughts on living a healthy, balanced life.

I came across an encouraging devotional for women that fits right along with this topic. Check out “How Can God Bring Good From This?” by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Lysa is the author of Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. This book was referenced at last Tuesday’s workshop. You can purchase your copy here.

For more from the Ladies Health Workshop, check out the latest post here and download a free PDF of the presentation.

Book Review: Food, Fitness, and Faith For Women

Review: Food, Fitness, and Faith for Women: A 21 Day Journey to a New You, by Freeman-Smith. 239 pages. ($9.99 on Amazon.com or $6.95 on FamilyChristian.com)

This book is a quick and enjoyable read! I would highly recommend it for anyone! If you read one chapter a day, it should take you 5 minutes or less each day. It subscribes to the adage that it takes about 21 days to form a habit. It’s full of practical tips to help you start or continue your journey towards a healthy lifestyle in every aspect of your life, beginning and focusing on biblical truth and principles. Freeman-Smith uses lots of Scripture references from multiple translations for ease of understanding and application. The last few pages of the book contain a suggested “Read the Bible in a Year” plan.

This book is NOT…

  • Overwhelming
  • A workout guide
  • A meal plan
  • Or even a spiritual road map
  • And it’s not just for women (in my opinion)

This book IS…

  • Encouraging
  • Challenging
  • Simple
  • Practical
  • For Anyone! (would make a great stocking stuffer)

21 chapters, each consisting of…

  • Practical tips for emotional, physical, and spiritual health
  • Page of Scripture passages
  • Page of Motivational quotes
  • Page for Journaling with a thought-provoking question at the top

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Healthy living is a journey, not a destination, and that journey requires discipline” (p. 12).

“Food ought to be a refreshment to the body, and not a burden” (St. Bonaventure, quoted on p. 48).

“Regular exercise allows you to build your muscles while you’re clearing your head and lifting your spirits” (p. 59).

“Measure the size of the obstacles against the size of God” (Beth Moore, quoted on p. 68).

“Physical fitness is not the result of a single decision that is made ‘once and for all.’ Physical fitness results from thousands of decisions that are made day after day, week after week, and year after year” (p. 90).

“Remind yourself that on every step of that journey, you have a traveling companion: your Heavenly Father” (p. 95).

“God wants you to get enough rest. The world wants you to burn the candle at both ends. Trust God” (p. 125).

“He does not believe who does not live according to his beliefs” (Thomas Fuller, quoted on p. 151).

“You don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful,” and “If you’re a woman who has become discouraged with your inability to be perfectly fit, remember that when you accepted Christ as your Savior, God accepted you for all eternity. Now it’s your turn to accept yourself” (p. 220).

PS – They have one for men too:

Get Fit Routine by Anna Netz

This looks great! Check out the rest of the website for all kinds of health & wellness tips.

Get Fit (from healthandwellnessclub.com)
Revitalize your routine with this whole-body blast.
by Anna Netz with Kim Husband

Start off the new year by energizing a new you!

With two toddlers and one on the way, I’m pressed for time. That’s why I devised this ultimate workout. It’s a whole-body routine that targets both the cardiovascular system and the major muscles of the upper and lower body — all in less time than it takes to watch a “Friends” rerun.

You can do this workout before or after your regular cardio session, or on days you’re not doing cardio. You can also do the upper body components Anna Netz, the National Health and Wellness Club’s personal trainer and online fitness consultant, is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor. Kim Husband is a freelance editor and writer.one day and lower body the next. Once you know the moves, they’ll take just 20 to 30 minutes.

When you’ve completed the ultimate workout, stretch for 3 to 5 minutes to cool down. And you’re done!

What you need
Long resistance band with handles (beginners can omit it)
Ankle resistance band
Pair of 5- or 8-l free weights (dumbbells). Beginners can start with little or no weight and work their way up.
Sturdy athletic shoes
Exercise mat

Ultimate benefits
• Burn more calories throughout the day
• Build strength to prevent injury
• Increase bone density
• Release natural endorphins to combat stress
• Look and feel better

Ultimate legs

Do two sets of 12 repetitions on each side.

Squats (thighs and glutes)
1. Stand in starting position — feet shoulder width apart, back straight — with hands at shoulder height holding resistance band handles.
2. Squat on a slow count of three as if lowering yourself into a chair. Keep your knees aligned over your ankles.
3. Rise to starting position on a three-count.

To burn more calories:
Add plyometrics — explosive movements that develop power. After you’ve done your resistance band squats, drop the band.
1. Squat.
2. Jump straight up as high as you can and repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.
Do the lower body set first. Starting with bigger movements warms up large muscles to prevent injury.

March and hip extension (quads and glutes)
Keep movements medium-sized, and keep hips stable so you’re working just the targeted leg muscles.
1. Stand in starting position. (Beginners can touch a wall for balance. To improve balance, stand on your own.)
2. With ankle band on, raise knee toward the ceiling, then lower.
3. Still standing, extend straight leg behind you, then lower.

Lift and sweep (inner and outer thighs)
1. Use same starting position as March and Hip Extension.
2. (inner thigh): From starting position, with ankle band, turn toes out at 45 degree angle, then sweep leg out in front, leading with the ankle, then lower.
3. (outer thigh): From starting position, with ankle band, flex foot and lift ankle out to the side, then lower.

Don’t let legs rest on ground between repetitions.

To burn more calories:
Add plyometrics. Spring from side to side as if skating in place. When you hop to your left, touch your right foot to the ground behind you and vice versa. “Skate” fast for 30 to 60 seconds.
Ultimate upper body
Do two sets of 12 reps of each exercise. Work both arms at the same time.

Push-ups (upper body)
1. Start with knees and hands on the floor shoulder width apart. Hold weights to support wrists.
2. Lower body so elbows bend to 90 degrees. Align hips with shoulders; don’t let rear poke upward.
3. Straighten arms to come back to start position, but don’t lock elbows.

Chest press (chest)
1. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Start with weights raised toward the ceiling, inline with chest, touching each other. Palms face feet.
2. Lower elbows until they’re bent to 90 degrees (fists remain raised — don’t relax all the way down), then straighten.

Row (back)
1. Sit on floor with legs straight out in front, spread legs as far as possible, back straight. Loop band around bottoms of shoes. Hold band in hands. Start with elbows next to hips.
2. Squeeze elbows toward one another behind you, then come back to start position.

Note: Posture — an erect spine and tight abs — is especially important here.
Triceps press (back of upper arm)
1. From same position, separate arms so wrists are above shoulders. Palms face each other.
2. Hold ends of weights. Lower weights toward floor until elbows are bent at 90 degrees, then straighten.

Biceps curls (front of upper arms)
1. Stand on band in starting position, palms facing forward.
2. With elbows tight to sides, bring palms toward shoulders, then back down.

Note: Don’t bend wrists.

Front lift (shoulders)
1. Stand in starting position, hands holding weights, palms on thighs.
2. Raise arms straight out in front to shoulder height, then lower.

Don’t hold your breath. Exhale as you exert force — for example, while lifting a weight — and inhale as you return to the starting position.

Good posture is key to doing the exercises correctly and decreasing your chance of injury. So keep your:
• abs tight
• chest lifted
• shoulders pressed down

Ultimate abs
Do two sets of 12 reps of all the core exercises two to three times a week.

Crunches (all abs)
1. Lie flat on floor with legs extended, feet flexed. Press belly button downward so lower back is flat. Place hands beside head.
2. Lift chest off the floor, then sink again, but not all the way.

Note: Don’t use hands to bring head up. Lift independently.

Diagonal crunches (obliques)
1. Lie flat as before, same as crunches. Raise left knee and right shoulder toward each other. Repeat on both sides.

Press belly button down and don’t relax down completely between crunches. Exhale as you rise, inhale as you sink.

Plank (all core muscles)
1. Lie on belly with knees touching floor, forearms flat on floor, elbows at 90 degrees, so torso rises. Make a straight line from shoulders to hips. Beginners stay in this position.
2. Hold, squeezing abs tight, shoulders relaxed, for 30 to 60 seconds (just once).
3. For a challenge, bring knees off the floor and hold.

Bird dog (lower back)
You must do this if you do any abdominal exercises in order to keep muscles balanced.

1. From all fours, extend right arm straight in front and left leg straight behind. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides. Do a total of 10 reps (five each side).

Anna Netz, the National Health and Wellness Club’s personal trainer and online fitness consultant, is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor. Kim Husband is a freelance editor and writer.