Saturday, August 8, 2015

Somewhere down the fitness road....the top tips I've learned about working out.

Well it's official.... I've been working out regularly for about 6 months.  I go to the gym about 3-4 times a week and the routines have changed pretty often. For a while I was lifting weights every other day and running the days in between, plus throwing in some yoga or hiking, and riding horses. As of lately I've been doing weights and a lot of walking (thanks to my fitbit!)      (Sorry something is wrong with my formatting thing today. It is determined to center everything....ugh.)

 Anyway, when researching working out and fitness tips, I feel like there is always something to contradict what you just read. Some of these examples might be "Hit the gym hard every day to shred and lose the weight you want...." or "You only need to work out effectively 5 minutes a day to lose the weight you want!" "Bananas make you gain belly fat.." "Bananas speed up your metabolism!"
etc. etc. I have read a lot of fitness articles, magazines, you name it.

So... based on everything I have read, this is what I have decided are they key points to exercise and what I try to follow. My personal fitness goals haven't been to lose weight (which is good, because in fact I have gained weight from working out.) I don't necessarily want to turn into a body builder or anything, but I want to shape some muscle and just be healthy, strong, and fit.

1. Continue to change your routine so your body doesn't plateau. It's easy to do the same thing over and over and just start increasing weight or whatever, but you need to change it up. Try a different exercise, or experiment with different  angles (some times just changing the angle of what you're lifting makes you realize how not strong you still are. 

2. Balance cardio with weights. Only cardio will cause you to burn through carbs and fat, but you don't gain any muscle tone. Only doing weights will cause you to bulk up, but if you don't burn fat things will just look bigger and not more defined.

3. Speed up your metabolism. We have all heard that you should eat several small meals a day and its true. The goal to burning fat is to keep your metabolism active all day which you can do by 1. eating small meals every 2-4 hours. 2. work out later in the afternoon when your metabolism and blood sugar starts to drop 3. start the day off with cardio or going for a nice long walk before breakfast.

Walking in the mornings has become a new favorite thing of mine (and my dogs. They wake me up every morning so we can go at the same time.) We walk for about an hour or two and half miles. Even though I have met my running goal I still hate doing it, and this way I can feel refreshed by the time I sit down to eat breakfast, and I'm  a responsible dog owner as well.

4. Nutrition is everything. Sure you should probably count calories because you will soon realize how much you are over eating. But the quality of food is most important... Eat a lot of protein and lean meats with slow burning carbs (brown rice etc.) healthy fats (such as nuts) and make small changes. 
I don't drink soda or eat junk food and my body reacts very unhappily now if I do. (Don't get me wrong...I have no problem indulging once in a while with pretzel bites at a movie or with a thing of ice cream. You have to be healthy but you still have to live life!) Incorporate healthier foods, fruits and veggies, and try not eat things that don't come from nature. Simple. 
But remember it is important to cheat every now and then...then you won't find yourself losing control and binge eating all of the bad things for you.

I read an article on that put everything into a super complicated equation with how much protein to eat etc. and you can look it up if you're really looking to gain mass. What I took from the article was this:

Every other day should be cardio- such as brisk walking or running. Try to make this day low with starches and carbs, and focus on mostly fruits and veggies. The days in between should be weights, followed by  a little bit of cardio (such as walking up hill on the treadmill for 15-20 min briskly.) Start the day with low carbs, and post working out its time to over feed (yay!) Frequent meals full of protein to recover and build muscle.

5. Don't live by the scale. It will put you in a  bad mood if you do... Yes have a scale and check your weight often to use as a guideline, but remember that a lot of things factor into what it is telling you. Water weight, inflammation, time of day, etc. because your body is constantly working and changing. Try to check your weight consistently to keep similar factors (such as first thing in the morning before breakfast and no clothes.)

I would also take monthly pictures...because when you see results you like you know that something is happening. This has been particularly important to me, because like I said, I've actually gained about 5 lbs since I started working out. Normally this would cause me to totally freak out...but when I look at my monthly pictures I see things are shaping into how I want them to and I'm not just putting on fatty weight. (I always gain it first in my butt and hips. That's the tell tale sign!)

The best tip I think I have read was this: "There is no such thing as toning. You either have muscle or you don't. You either have a bunch of fat over that muscle....or you don't. If you want to "tone" you need to strengthen and build that muscle while equally losing fat over the top of it."

Sounds pretty solid.

So below are some pictures I've taken.... (sorry there's really terrible lighting upstairs and makes the pictures very grainy) The first one on the left is from February when I started this process, the middle is some time in between, and the right is August. When I first took them I was a little disappointed because I feel like I've worked harder than what I can see....but really what I have done is change my lifestyle to have way healthier habits and to exercise often. I don't have the dedication to become a bikini model (those women have serious self control!) I love to eat food and don't have the discipline to follow formulas and eat only a few limited things. (Thus I'm not ripped and haven't shredded!) But I have gotten much stronger, and though I've actually gained about five pounds my hips have gotten more slim, my tummy flatter, and I have more muscle in my legs, back, and arms.

Which is all I've really been looking for so mission accomplished!

Good luck to everyone and their own personal journeys with their bodies. <3

And please ignore my awful shorts tan line. Lordy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dog Nannying in an Eclectic Home....and Riko's birthday!

My thoughts while Dog Nannying in an Eclectic Home…

My job as a dog walker has been wonderful and entertaining- not only because of the flexible schedule and the adorable pets with a multitude of personalities, but also for a peek into people’s lives.

Not to sound creepy.

But it is fun to get a snapshot of what different people are like.
So far I have visited a variety of homes: people who are moving and hectic, a very clean military home with a taste for decorative beach items, a Japanese themed condo, a dirty and disgusting home with no furniture and itchy dogs, and now an eclectic home of an elderly couple. It contains collections of all sorts- hats, tea cups (so many tea cups!) dolls, books, native American heritage, and more! They are sweet elderly couple with adorable elderly dogs and several cute birds. There’s also noises of all sorts (all kinds of chimes from several different clocks, songs when you open the doors, a door bell song….its like being inside of a music box.)
I like looking at pictures on the walls and wondering about strangers lives and thinking about stories they might have. Everyone has a story to tell.

Anyway, so I’m here dog sitting, and decided I should write a tribute to my baby boy since his birthday is tomorrow! He will be eight years old. (oh god another clock just started chiming…) I have about a thousand baby pictures of Riko….but unfortunately they are all in Colorado. Regardless, I compiled a few- among thousands- of pictures that highlight our time together. He is the best dog I could have ever asked for!

So... this is the one picture I have on my facebook of Riko as a puppy. (I really need to get my hard drive/ photo album because I have thousand of pictures of him!) This is the day I got to bring him home from Colorado Springs. He shit himself the whole way home and long into the night....I had to take the poor little guy outside at 1 am and clean him off (he freaked out being alone and in a kennel.) Strangely enough...he fell asleep cuddled up next to me and there he stayed. 
(Ignore my braces. Holy moly.)

We have had a few good adventures in the snow as well! The other husky here is my friend's dog- they made a pretty good pulling team. And the brownish colored dog is my sweet boy Baloo ( he passed away several years ago now, but he used to love come with on our snowy excursions. He wasn't thrilled about Riko  coming home with me and taking my attention, but soon he accepted him as any grandfather is forced to.

Riko was a big brother to a few pups as well (the chocolate lab was my friends puppy. Back in the day!)

He has shared the home to all of my animal projects- including everybody I have ever dog-sat for since I was 15 years old, as well as all of my friend's dogs, service dogs I started training, and he often came with to dog kennels that I worked at. (So many dogs. Is it obvious they have been a huge part of my life for ever?)

This fuzzy critter is named Krazy, who was Riko's friend for a good part of his childhood!

This is his girlfriend Pebbles. I took care of her for about a month while her owning was trying to find somewhere to live.....he was legitimately in love with her and went through a serious bout of depression when she finally went home.

My mom's rescued dog named Marley. They are still buddies!

He took senior pictures with me.... (including candid shots.)

We have graduated high school together....

We went to college together....(we are driving off to Fort Collins to our first rental house. In my first car....

We adopted a couple more siblings at some point....

And we bought our first house that had a huge open space to run and play in!

He helped me get married and was my sanity through the wedding day.... and also took a massive poop in the guest house during the reception. Typical.

We have had some fabulous hiking trips and made lots of friends....

And now we live in Hawaii and spend time at the dog beach!!

Happy Birthday Baby Boy! We have had an eventful 8 years and I'm positive we have many more memories to make and adventures to have!