Power Circuit

You don’t have much time. 

Your motivation to workout isn’t exactly where you hoped it’d be. 

Your period cramps are starting to kick in. 

You have things to do, people to see- the gym isn’t your only obligation.

Whatever the reason is, you need a quick & effective workout. You came to the right place!

I needed a lift that wasn’t too labor-intensive…but I wanted to sweat & feel the burn in all of my muscles. I made up a circuit workout that let me take care of those needs, but still get of the gym to do the things I had planned for the day.

All you need for this workout is a barbell & some plates (or various dumbbells) & about 20 minutes. In just 3 moves you’ll use almost every muscle in your  body, build muscle strength, & get your sweat on 🙂

*I did about 15 mins on the treadmill (walking) to warm myself up before lifting. For a video of this workout, check out my Insta: @leedle_g*

Hang Clean ~ Hang cleans are sort of a deadlift variation… Accessory work HANN. 

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance & your hands shoulder-distance on the bar. 
  • Bend at the waist with the bar just below your knees. Keep your back straight, stick your butt out, keep your knees loosey-goosey. 
  • Spin around 3 times. [HA! Don’t spin around, just making sure you’re paying attention.] 
  • Now, pull the bar up along your legs into a forearm curl. Move the bar back down in a controlled way.

You just worked your whole front & back body. Yay muscles!!

Bent-Over Row ~ Bent-over rows use your upper back to pull the weight ~against gravity~

  • Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-distance. Bend at the waist with your knees loosey-goosey again. 
  • Keep your chest loud & proud! 
  • Pull the bar up by bending your elbows & squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the bar back to start.

Military Press ~ Military press primarily works your shoulders & back. Everyone loves to work on their shoulder aesthetic. Back aesthetics are pretty lit too. Not to mention-you get stronger, you can hold weight over your head…it’s a terrific accessory lift.

  • Start with the bar parallel to your shoulders, either in front or in back of your head. 
  • Put your hands shoulder-distance or wider on the bar. 
  • Push the bar up using the power of your legs. Trust yourself! You got this, you can hold yourself & the weight of that bar. 
  • Slowly bring the bar back down to your shoulders. 

You’re using your shoulders, chest, upper back, & even your legs to successfully move weight through this lift!!

~ Repeat each lift 8-12 times (heavier weight, lower reps..lighter weight, higher reps) & complete the circuit for 4-6 rounds. Circuit workouts like this are great for strong, fat-burning, time restricted gym sessions. Your muscles get confused, they work during each lift, & your ticker (heart) gets a run for its money. This particular circuit also involves 3 compound moves; this means you’re utilizing multiple muscles to perform each lift. Efficiency at its best!

I went with a barbell circuit for this workout for multiple reasons. I’ve been working on my deadlifts…which means I’ve been working on my entire body’s strength & endurance. I’ve adopted some CrossFit-esque lifts (as you can see from this workout) in my efforts to add plates to my deadlift. That means more barbell-based lifts. More hang cleans, more overhead presses, more compound lifts. More sweat, more gains, more pain, more food, more sleep… Yeaaa…

Give this workout a try! You’ll feel strong, productive, & all-in-all like a badass.

Happy lifting, my friends!

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Bulletproof Coffee

Here’s how you can do for your coffee what it does for you; make it bulletproof. 

I feel that coffee is best when you brew yourself a cup so you can enjoy the taste, rather than drinking it because you need it. But let’s be honest….some mornings/days getting out of bed feels like entering hell & coffee is the only thing that can bring you back. You need it to be bulletproof!

Making bulletproof coffee is super easy & actually adds to the health benefits inside your mug! 

Brew your coffee as usual. Pour it into your favorite mug….or whatever mug happens to be clean.. 

  

Stir in a tablespoon or so of butter (organic/grass-fed butter has the most health benefits). You can also add coconut oil for a supercharged drink.

Better yet: blend the mixture!! The butter emulsified & creates a heavenly coffee energy drink..

  

Top it off with milk/vanilla/cinammon, whatever your usual coffee routine is. I drink my coffee black, but this is a superb alternative to cream. The coffee tastes less bitter but it’s flavor is unchanged, there are way less chemicals/added crap in butter, & it will give you extra energy rather than leading you to a crash. It’s a creamy cup of coffee goodness. How can you go wrong?! 

   heaven in a mug
Ta-da! Now your coffee will not only help you stay alert, it will also help you burn fat throughout the day 😀 By providing your body with the healthy fats it needs, you’ll kickstart the fat burning potential of your body. The fat in the butter also helps you carry the caffeine longer. More energy, less crash! 

It’s important to fuel your day in a way that benefits you- & this is a great place to start! 

I’m sure there are tons of other variations of bulletproof coffee out in the universe. Let me know how you make yours, I’d love to try something new!!

~peace & all good~

Detoxifyin Myself

I’ve felt a little under the weather lately. Not in an ‘I have an illness’ way…more in an ‘whoa I don’t feel my best mentally or physically’ way.. 

The beginning of this week was when I felt the worst & decided to make an effort to fix this crappy feeling. I was sitting at my desk & felt completely wired yet exhausted at the same time. My eating over the past days had been shit, I wasn’t getting any satisfaction from my workouts, I was tired as hell… Being attentive to my body helped me realise something wasn’t right. I took a break from lifting (sad face) & focused more on tending to my body’s immediate needs (happy face). 

   Taking time to put things on pause & just breathe has been much needed.. My sister says this pic looks like I’m giving my soul away LOL nah fam, I got full control of that 😉

Ive also been trying to cut out processed foods & coffee from my daily routine. (yes, ik it sounds terrible but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do..)

Now that it’s Friday & I’m a few days into this restart, I feel really good! The things that are working well I’m going to continue (duh) & see how much more detoxed I can get. To me, making a change like this isn’t about anything complicated- it’s about paying attention, noticing…how do I feel after eating certain things? How do my days go when I do certain things?

More fruit & vegetables: pretty self explanatory.. I’m back on my salad flow. Getting creative with the foods I bring to work & planning for how hungry I’ll ACTUALLY be rather than pretending a smaller amount of food will suffice. 

  Breakfast: instant oatmeal with peanut butter & a ground cocoa/flax mix

  Lunch: greens with beans, feta cheese, & seasoning
Coffee replacement: a large glass of ice water. I’ve been drinking it before even peeing for the first time in the morning & it’s actually made me feel really awake. More importantly, I didn’t tell myself I couldn’t have coffee…I just didn’t let myself think I need it..

Tea: What more is there to say?! Tea is the bomb! The variety of types, the soothing powers it has, the wonderful ness. Yea…basically. Also- tea is a good way to help ease your minds worries about a lack of caffeine. You’re not taking it away, you’re just having it in a less intense amount.. 

Vitamins: I decided to bite the bullet (or pills..) & go for a daily, guaranteed source of vitamins my body clearly is in desperate need of. I haven’t been able to give my body everything it needs- yet I’ve been taking so much out of myself by working out/working/being alive.. I’ve always been sort of skeptical about vitamins, but this change is way overdue. I’ve been taking the Shaklee Women’s Vitalizer pack of vitamins everyday & tbh I feel great. WHICH I JUST REMEMBERED THAT I FORGOT TO TAKE TODAY ….

Not sure if it’s a combination of everything I’ve been doing to refresh myself this week, but whatever it’s from I’m feelin it. If you’re feeling ‘bleh’, try some of these changes! It seems difficult but it really hasn’t been that hard.. I didn’t think about this as staying away from bad things, I’ve been thinking about it as doing more of what’s good. Positive change rather than negative change. 

Start feelin good yall! Don’t deprive yourself of anything, just replace what you don’t need with more of what you do need 🙂 Live in abundance…maybe not in the ways you’d like (financially, materially, etc..) but in the ways you can directly control (happiness, energy, etc). 

~peace & all good~

A Berry Delicious Smoothie

Ha…See what I did there??

Here’s a quick, healthy smoothie you can make for breakfast, lunch, a snack, pre-workout, post-workout, whenever! All you’ll need is a banana, some strawberries, blueberries, & whatever fresh/frozen fruit you can get your hands on! 

I used fresh berries because we had an abundance of them in the house & I figured why not freeze them for a smoothie? 

  I folded the larger bag in half when I froze it so I would remember to use the berries in 2 smoothies. 

Frozen fruit is a great option because it saves $$ & lets you enjoy your favourite fruit even when it’s out of season!

Fill your blender with about a cup of water (or milk if you want it creamy). A smaller amount of liquid will keep the mixture thick like an actual smoothie. 

Now it’s time to throw in your fruits.

   (it looks like more water because the fruit displaces it)

If this is your breakfast/pre-workout snack- keep your coffee or tea close..

  
I added chia seeds & vanilla protein to my mix. If there’s anything else you desire, there’s no time like the present. Add away!!

It’s blending time 

If your mini blender is anything like mine, you’ll have to help the whole blending thing actually happen…annoying side effect of getting a cheap blender. 

  
Enjoy your healthy, delicious little creation! Get creative with the next one 😉 

Adding smoothies to your regular diet is a great way to give yourself more energy. Being consistent is a little difficult at first, but once you start feeling the benefits in your body it’ll be worth it! Having more fruits & veggies will be a good thing.

~peace & all good~

Just Breathe.. Right Now

Seriously, do it. It’s the middle of the week…maybe even the middle of your day. You have to breathe anyway in order to stay alive, so why not get something out of it?

I wanted to share a quick breathing practice I do when I’m feeling lost/anxious/confused/frazzled/off-balance/crappy/etc..

Put yourself in whatever position is available to you at the moment- sit, stand, lay, do a handstand, whatever suits your current location. Take a minute to close your eyes & just assess where you are mentally, emotionally, & physically. If you’re like “OK I think I’m on the edge of losing my mind” ….I’m right there with ya…pretty much every day of my life. I think my mind may be very lost & it’s possible it will never be found. But that’s a different story for another day.

Wherever you feel you are at this moment, try to be fully aware of yourself. How does your body feel? Are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Energized? What thoughts are running through your mind? Maybe there’s way too many to every process, that’s okay!

Take a deep inhale in through your nose for as many seconds as you can. Exhale for a few seconds longer. Try to do both through your nose, but don’t stress if you’re a mouth-breather…it happens.

While you’re taking deep breaths in & out, start to repeat a positive thought to yourself. Here’s an example: “I am going to have a successful day”, or “My life has a purpose”, or “I am letting go of today’s frustrations”, or anything else that you feel will brighten your mental space.

Once you feel like you’ve de-stressed, gotten rid of some anxiety, or get interrupted- restart your obligations with a calmer mind!

*** If taking some deep breaths isn’t enough for you to clear your mind & you’re under extreme stress- try Bach’s Rescue Pastilles. These little chews are all-natural stress relievers. They’ve helped me numerous times when I felt I was going to be taken over by anxiety.. So! I highly recommend them if you experience high stress/anxiety. You don’t have to do it alone 🙂

YOUR SIZE DOES NOT MATTER

Read that again. One more time..

You, my friend, are not a number. Whether that number you always stress about is on a scale, the inside of your jeans, the back of your bra, the inside of your shoe. It’s not you. Let go of those stupid numbers.

I’ve observed a lot in my few weeks at this new gym of mine. The way people dress, the difference in people’s demeanor as they enter the gym vs. when they leave, what classes people go to. The biggest learning observation I’ve made is this: size/weight is NOT an indication of being fit.

IMG_8681

It starts with the group exercise instructors. These are some amazing people. They represent all different shapes, sizes, personalities, & ages. I’ve taken almost all of the hour-long group exercise classes available. None of them are easy. All of them are fun, & all of them are led by people who are full of unending energy.

But let’s start here: You walk into a cardio class. Most of the people in the class appear to be of varied fitness levels (you’re making this assumption based on the way they look- size, shape, etc.). The instructor isn’t the typical ‘Cardio Queen’ image that running magazines & fitness brands have painted for us. So you’re like ‘ok, this shouldn’t be so bad’… WRONG. As the class starts you realize that everyone around you is holding their own quite well. The instructor is doing all of the movements and talking. Not just saying things that you can’t decipher, either…she is giving you direction, encouraging you to keep up the good works, & occasionally singing along with the music.  You can barely keep up! So now you feel like an ass & realize that your ideas were wrong & you want to sit down to think about why you judged people’s physical ability based on how they look…. Thank you social media & incessant advertising of skinny = fit. *middle finger*

Next. You work in a fitness & health club. A place people come to de-stress, build strength, take selfies in front of large mirrors, maybe lose weight..maybe not, & grow into better people. There is not a single scale in the entire building. Why? Because your progress is not representative of what you see on a scale. How you feel is representative of your progress. How you are able to suddenly lift more weight, or walk for 10 extra minutes, or take your yoga pose to the next level is representative of your progress. Being able to sleep better, healthy choices becoming second nature, taking time to yourself- all representative of your progress.

My whole point is that we shouldn’t be caught up in the numbers of our journeys. We’re so conditioned to look in the mirror & critique the things that are ‘too big’ or ‘too small’ or ‘too jiggly’ or ‘gross’… We should all make an effort to stop this nonsense.

You may have fat on your body, but you are not fat. You are a human being with a personality, a heart, a face, a booty, a stomach, eyes, ears, a soul, a distinct laugh….there’s a lot going on in each one of us! Even if you see things that you compare yourself & your journey to, at the end of the day try to let your thoughts end on a positive note that applauds everything you’re doing.

So get out there & laugh in the face of all those numbers that have been torturing you!!!! Laugh your abs on. Laugh your way to the bank$$$$. Do what you gotta do to make sure your scale/pant size/whatever doesn’t rule your day.

~peace & all good~

Soul Food: Hike to Heal

Hiking is a loaded form of exercise. It’s obviously great cardio, but I think there’s so much more to gain from a good hike. I might be reaching here- but bear with me!

 ~Bull’s Hill in Cold Spring, NY~

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do (although I don’t necessarily do it that often). I really enjoy the peacefulness of the nature around me, even though I usually can’t breath for most of the time I spend on a mountain… Within about 15 steps I’m probably sweating & losing my breath….but that’s beside the point!

I’ve had a lot of realizations while on hikes. Usually keeping them to myself, sometimes sharing them with whoever I’m with at the time. The main one that I think should be shared is that hiking parallels life. It takes a lot of the same things to be successful in both.

Be in the Present

The path up a mountain is not typically well-cleared. There are rocks & bumps & tree branches & other treacherous qualities about trails. It requires you to stay focused solely on the path that’s right in front of you.

If you look ahead to try & figure out what’s coming up, it’s almost guaranteed that something will trip you. Trust me, I know this from experience…& not just once…

Looking back means you stop moving forward. Of course it’s always cool to look back down the trail you’ve travelled once you get to a high point. You keep trudging for who knows how long, & all of a sudden when you turn back the place you started seems so small & far away. But if you look back too often you’ll slow down your trip & it’ll take you forever to get to the top!

  a view along the way up Bulls Hill

How is this like life? Wellllllllllllllll. If you focus too much on the future, you won’t have time to enjoy what’s going on right now in your life. Challenges you need to face in the present will pass you by & your progress will take a hit. You’ll be too concerned with what may/may not happen to truly observe & appreciate where you are now.

And if you only focus on the past….we all know that’s a bad idea. I’m sure everyone can relate to the thoughts of ‘ugh my life was so good when I had _____’ or ‘wow I was so happy when I dated _____, why can’t i go back to that? *sadface*’. Yeaa…..stop that. If you never turn to move forward you won’t get anywhere. However, looking back is great when you’ve made accomplishments/met goals because it lets you see how far you’ve come.

Determination

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Hiking is not easy…it’s tiring, can be boring in some stretches, it makes you hungry & sweaty.. But once you get to the top it’s so worth it. Imagine if you stopped right before the best viewpoint because you decided it wasn’t worth it to keep going. That would really suck because you were so close, but let the difficulty turn you away from your end goal.

In life, we have to be determined to reach our viewpoints. Whatever goals you set for yourself, you have to remind yourself of them to keep yourself motivated. It’s so important to give your determination fuel during your journey. I like the idea of vision boards- they’re a simple reminder of what’s important to you in life. Even just simply taking the time to actually think about what you want to accomplish can be super motivating. Whatever you do, keep your eye on the prize 🙂

  a little yoga at the *almost* top of Lamb’s Hill in Fishkill, NY

So, maybe this will make you want to go for a hike…I’m hoping for one soon too.

Maybe you’re going to take more time to enjoy your journey.

Maybe this will give you the extra push you need to keep working for what you want.

Maybe this just made you laugh..

I don’t know! But I hope you enjoyed the read & hopefully got something out of it!

~peace & all good~