Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Challenge - The Tank Top Challenge!

Today is the last day of our Squat/Crunch/Plank challenge, so it's time for us to start another one!   Congratulations to those who stuck with it and made it to 150!  150 Squats, Crunches and a 150 Second Plank!  I NEVER would have thought I could do it!

This time we'll be working on maintaining the strength in our abs (we did work awfully hard to get our strength up), but we'll be adding more arm work in order to get our arms in shape for tank top season!  I, for one, can't wait to see the changes as I'm addicted to tank tops and would love to have some beautiful guns to show off while wearing them. ;)

So, without further ado, here is our new challenge!
(Please note:  I borrow all of my challenges from other websites so be sure to check out the websites I get them from and give them the credit for the changes we're making!)

The Tank Top Challenge!

It's a 30 day challenge, so we will be starting Saturday, Feb 1st and completing the challenge on March 2nd.


As you can see, each day we will be doing 2 sets of the numbers listed (day 1, 2 sets of 5 push ups, 15 second planks, and 5 chair dips, and so on).  Once we reach day 16 and on, we will be doing 3 sets of each.  Looks easy?!?  Yeah, so did the squat, crunch, plank challenge. ;) 

BUT, I'm not leaving it alone with just this challenge.  We'll also be adding Burpees into the mix.  So, as well as completing your 2 or 3 sets from the chart above, Burpees will be completed to the number based on the chart below.


And look, I even found two challenges that have rest days on the same day!!  Yay!!!

So, now, the disclaimer:  Please check with a professional before performing these challenges.  If you feel any pain or discomfort, do not continue.  Be sure to check your form for every exercise and check back with this blog regularly to ensure you are still doing the exercises correctly.  

Last but not least, have fun, encourage one another and don't give up!  Even if you miss a day or can't do the full amount, do what you can!  Anything is better than nothing!!! 

Proper form for each of the exercises:

Push ups with or without knees down:

Proper plank (if you did the former challenge, you should be familiar with this one):

Proper chair dip form (start with knees bent and if you can, work towards straightening legs more):



And last but not least, the burpee: 

Drink plenty of water, breathe and have fun!!!  You're doing something great for your body!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oil Pulling - My New Found…..Quirk


I blame the internet for all of my strange habits and tendencies.  BUT, it's the reason I have become as mindful as I have about my body.  So many of us are becoming more in tune to our bodies, listening to them as they scream at us for various reasons.  We all see the changes people make and the mindful things they do in the name of feeling great, and we all want to feel that way too.  People will do (almost) anything to see progress in their health, habits, love, and life in general.

The newest craze (not really, most people still don't know about it) is oil pulling.  I heard that term from a friend of mine who mentioned it as something I should do alongside a cleanse (that I'll be doing soon).  She said the words and my instant visual was strange to say the least...I had NO clue what she was talking about.  And so began my research (because I can't leave anything well enough alone...we all know that!!!).

Here's a better visual than the one I had, of what oil pulling actually is.  He looks much cuter than I do while doing it…and it'd be more accurate with a little dribble of oil going down his chin.  ;)





Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that started becoming popular in the US in the 90's.  It's purpose is detoxification and rejuvenation.  It's the practice of swishing oil in the mouth for 15-20 minutes, every day if possible, to pull the harmful bacteria, toxins, fungus and other organisms, that do not belong, out of the mouth, teeth, gums and throat. 

A story about oil pulling (click to enlarge):



When brushing our teeth, we can not rid the mouth of all of the bacteria, so this practice daily will help eliminate the bacteria/organisms we can not clear.  The mouth is a gateway for everything that enters our body, for our food, drink, sicknesses, etc.  If we're not clearing the buildup of the "bad bugs", our overall health begins to decline.  We've all been told over and over that our oral health is a direct correlation to our overall health, so we need to take better care and be proactive, and oil pulling does just that.

How to oil pull (best time of day is first thing when you wake up):

• Take 1TB of Sesame, Sunflower or Coconut Oil (preferable cold-pressed and organic)
(please note: I only take about 2tsp as 1TB was too much for me to swish without drooling ;) )
• Swish the oil in your mouth (yes, even the solid oil, it will become liquid within 10-20 seconds) for 15-20 minutes, no less, no more
• Dispose of the oil  (do NOT swallow, it's full of bacteria and toxins that you want to get rid of)
• Rinse with lukewarm water or sea salt water
• Brush your teeth and tongue
• Enjoy the results!  You'll start seeing them within no time!


Benefits:

• Whiter teeth
• Clearer skin
• Improves overall oral health
• Prevents mouth diseases
• Lessens congestion and allergies
• Asthma cure?  Many say so.
• Helps with neck, back, joint pain
• Clearer head
• Reduces headaches (migraines)
• More energy
• Better sleep
• Some say it cures many diseases (cancer to name one)
• Improves PMS symptoms and regulates cycles


The dangers of oil pulling:

• I'm still looking.....

Here's a photo of my teeth on day one and day 6.  My teeth are already becoming whiter!



I've also been sleeping harder, waking up more energized, and (TMI, I know), my monthly visitor, that I despise, was 2 days shorter!  I don't know if it's just coincidence, but I'll take it!!! 

After the first couple days, I became addicted.  My mouth feels so much cleaner and my breath is fresher. 

I've made this part of my morning routine, oil pulling while either showering or making juices for the family.  Distraction is your best friend to ensure the time doesn't drag, but be sure to swish and put thought into making sure you're getting the oil all over in your mouth.

So, in summary, all I have to say is, what have you got to lose???  Give it a shot, make it part of your hygiene routine.  Your body will thank you in so many ways!!