Back and Shoulder Workout

Morning, ya’ll! Hope you’re having a great start to the day.

Last week was crazy- we had a snowstorm that basically kept us indoors for 2 days. The weekend was filled with visiting family and friends. When all was said and done, I only got to the gym 3 days. Life happens, people! Anyways, one of the days I did this shoulder and back workout and really enjoyed it. Be sure to read the exercise descriptions at the bottom for variations and options. Enjoy!

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Pictures and descriptions of each exercise are shown below.

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01: Stand holding either dumbbells or a barbell. I prefer to use a 18-20 lb Body Bar. Lift the bar to chest height, bending your elbows as you lift. Lower to start.

02: Stand holding dumbbells with arms bent at 90 degree angles. Keep arms engaged at all times, do not lower. Rotate your torso to the right as you press the dumbbell in your left hand upward. Reverse back to start. Repeat by rotating to the left and pressing right dumbbell up. That completes one rep.

03: The Cheerleader consists of 3 actions, although only 2 are pictured. To begin, punch your dumbbells forward and cross your arms. From there, open your arms up into a “w” shape, also pictured. From the W, raise your arms up into a V (not pictured).  That completes one rep. From your V, punch forward to begin second rep. *Choose your weight accordingly, I completed this exercise with only 3 lb weights and was challenged!*

04: Bend over, keeping a straight back. Open arms up the side, squeezing your back as you raise your arms.

05: For back extensions, you can complete as shown if you have that particular piece of equipment or belong to a gym that does. Otherwise, you can complete on a stability ball. Start with your body in a straight line. From there, lower down and raise up to complete one rep.

06: Lie down on a mat. Extend your arms overhead. Raise your arms and legs simultaneously, feeling the squeeze in your lower back. Hold for 2 breaths. Lower.

I did the workout in 2 mini circuits. I did the first 3 exercises circuit style, 12 reps of each exercise, 3x through. I followed this with exercises 4-6, 12 reps of each, 3x through. Let me know if you give this a try!

What are other back and shoulder exercises you enjoy?

Bacon, Chicken, Avocado Quesadillas

Sadly, I’ve been promising ya’ll this recipe since September. Yikes- sorry! Well, it’s finally here and I recommend you make this ASAP! This is one of our top meals- it’s on constant repeat in our house and never gets old,  it’s just that tasty!

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  • Tortillas (we use Chi Chi’s multigrain)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 3 slices bacon (we use regular bacon or turkey bacon)
  • 1 chopped chicken breast
  • Shredded Mexican cheese

Begin by cooking your chicken and bacon. We grill ours on the Foreman.

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Once ready, chop the bacon, avocado, and chicken.

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Sprinkle some shredded mexican cheese on a tortilla. Top with your other ingredients.

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Depending on how hungry you are, you could simply fold in half or top with another tortilla (I always fold in half and Pete makes a whole and a half).

Spray some cooking spray on a griddle and put burners on medium heat. Place quesadillas on griddle pan.

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Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cheese is melted and the tortillas get golden brown.

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Serve alongside some rice. We use Success Boil-in-Bag brown rice.

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Quick weeknight meal with delicious flavors. A must-try!

1 Quesadilla: 318 calories, 16 grams  fat, 20 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein 

Glute and Thigh Trimmer Workout

Howdy, readers! As discussed in yesterday’s post, I’ve been focusing most of my workouts lately on strength training. When using weights, I like to switch it up between the machines and doing functional exercises. I get a lot of ideas for functional exercises on fitness blogs, Pinterest, and by observing other women doing routines in the gym. I’d like to share my workouts more often on the blog. After all, I started blogging many years ago to document my fitness journey, so why not focus on that a bit more?!

Today’s workout is a leg workout I developed specifically to target thighs and glutes. Enjoy! Let me know if you give it a go and what you think 🙂

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Pictures and descriptions of each exercise are shown below.

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01: Hold a 5-10 lb. dumbbell in each hand. Step up onto a bench with your right foot. Meet with left foot. Step down with right foot.

02: Repeat exercise 01 with left leg.

03: Place 10 lb. dumbbells on the ground in front of your. Position a stability ball against a wall behind your back. Pick up the dumbbells. Squat down, rolling the ball against the wall as you squat. Return to standing.

04: Place a 15-20 lb. body bar on your back. Open legs wide and turn feet out to a plie position. Squat straight down and up.

05: Place the soles of your feet together. Lift up into a bridge and squeeze your thighs and glutes while lifting. Lower without touching butt to floor.

06: Get into a plank position. Alternate kicking back each leg, activating the glute muscles.

Hope you’ll try this workout out soon!

What are some of your favorite thigh and glute exercises?

Why We Joined Gold’s Gym

Recently, Pete and I joined a new gym. The membership at our old gym was about to expire and it was the perfect opportunity to shop around a little bit. Our old gym was very costly for a small space with limited equipment so we knew we were interested in moving elsewhere.

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We ended up joining at Gold’s Gym because it had everything we were looking for. If you’re in the market for a new gym, here is what interested us:

1: A vast array of weight training equipment / A goal of mine is to focus more on strength training. To do so, I needed a gym that had a variety of equipment. Gold’s has kettle bells, dumbbells in every weight, resistance training, TRX, free motion, cardio galore, racks, and much more. Everyday I’m learning something new and trying a new piece of equipment. Two of my favorites right now are Jacob’s Ladder and Ab Solo.

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2: High energy clientele / At my old gym, I was always staring at the clock, longing for my workouts to be over. I was bored of the same old machines, the boring music, and the crowd. At Gold’s, the music is blaring. You can smell the sweat in the air. People are toned and working hard. It’s incredibly motivating. The energy of others keeps me going strong. If I look at the clock, it’s not out of dread, it’s just to gloat in how long I’ve been dominating!

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3: Knowledgeable personal trainers / There’s a fine line when it comes to personal training. I’m looking for someone who is in shape (seems to go without saying, but unfortunately is not) and someone who can answer my questions. If you don’t ask me about my goals and nutrition, then I’m not hiring you. Another plus about Gold’s is that you get two complimentary sessions with a trainer once you become a member.

4: Protein shake bar / This is a feature I would have overlooked…that is until I tried it. Having access to protein shakes right after your workout is acutally quite amazing. I’ve tried a couple and they’ve both been delicious, filling, healthy, and full of protein. Plus, the staff will tell you all about their benefits, nutrition, and differences.

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5: Price / The cost to join Gold’s Gym was extremely reasonable. We are actually paying quite less then our old gym, which was a fraction of the size. It seems insane to think back on how much we were paying now that we’re getting so much more for our money.

In the two weeks that we’ve been there, I’ve been focusing a lot on strength and have really been enjoying my workouts. The gym has exposed me to many new exercises and equipment, broken me out my comfort zones, and is building my confidence- I’m loving it.

What do you look for in a gym?

Skin Care Regimen

Hi, everyone! Sorry for the brief hiatus- we’ve been super busy lately and I haven’t had much time to check in. Happy to be back and updating, starting today with a facial care discussion 🙂

So I started noticing mid-December that my face was breaking out often. I usually have pretty clear skin, maybe an occasional blemish here and there, but the breakouts started coming on fast and were not clearing up. It got me wondering about a couple of factors:

  1. Does age have anything to do with it? The breakouts started just weeks before my 30th birthday. I kept joking around that all I needed for my 30th was come concealer!
  2. Perhaps changes in diet? It’s no secret that it’s tough to eat healthy in December. For me, the weeks leading up to the holidays bring a slew of cookies and other holiday treats that are only around once a year and so difficult to deny!
  3. Have I made any changes in my skin/facial care regimen? At the time, yes. I had just been using soap and water to wash my face for a while. Being soap is known to really dry out the skin on your face, this may have been a problem.
  4. How about stress? It builds up around the holidays, with making sure all the presents are bought, house is decorated, still keeping up with work, etc.

Well, I’ve had a few revelations lately about my own skin care, plus have found some really great products I wanted to share. Hence, my first (and probably only) beauty post begins. Why do I say my only? Because I do not wear makeup. At all. Never had, never intend to. In fact, I’ve only worn makeup twice. At my wedding and another wedding I was in. I grew up with the very hippie mentality of not changing one’s appearance. So in addition to that, I’ve also never dyed my hair…with the exception of a freak experiment with Sun-in during middle school. But without further adieu, here are the skincare products I’m loving lately.

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01: Bare Escentuals Blemish Therapy / With truly knowing nothing about makeup or beauty supplies, I stumbled into a Bare Escentuals store after hearing about their bareMinerals line. Knowing that their products come right from the earth, I felt comfortable trying them out being they are natural. This particular product you simply tap on your blemishes with the provided brush. It helps to both disguise and heal them. It uses sulfur, which naturally fights blemishes. Be aware that sulfur does have a smell to it, which several reviewers claimed turned them off, but I love it. It reminds me of the volcanoes I’ve visited in Italy and St. Lucia.

02: Bare Escentuals Purifying Facial Cleanser / I purchased this product as a daily facial cleanser to use in the shower. It is also a makeup remover, but since I don’t wear makeup I do not use it for that purpose. A small dab is all you need to create a lather and then rinse off. It leaves my face feeling refreshed, but also a bit dry. Be sure to moisturize afterwards.

03: Bath and Body Works Shower Gel / This one may sound strange, but something about their shower gel just works for me. I’ve tried a lot of products in the shower and many leave me with further blemishes and red spots. Whatever they use in this formula just works for my normal/dry skin. The fact that they all smell amazing is just an added bonus!

04: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind / My mom gave me this product to help conceal the many blemishes that kept popping up around the holidays. All it takes is a very small amount to brush on your face. A couple of dabs with your fingers and it blends right in, concealing the redness.

My face has definitely cleared up now that the holidays have passed. But to be honest, I have my own self analysis of what occurred. I feel a lot of it was due to the way I was eating. My diet stays very much the same on a daily basis and when I deviate from it with sweets, I do see the breakouts occur. So for me, who’s got a massive sweet tooth, sweets will always be a part of my life. But moderation is certainly the key!

What products are essential to your face/skin care? How do you treat your breakouts?