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“The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
-Stephen R. Covey

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Basic Exercise recommendations from ACSM and AHA-

If you are wondering how much exercise is enough here are the guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Heart Association (AHA)-

Guidelines for healthy adults under age 65

Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week


Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week


Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.

Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.

It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.

The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.

These are just the basic guidelines. I will elaborate on each point later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Welcome to Personal Challenge Fitness!

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find information about exercise, nutrition, goal setting, motivation...pretty much anything to help you reach your health goals. Much of the information will be related to weight loss as I will be using this blog as a resource for my personal training clients, but all the information can be used for whatever your health goals are. There will be plenty of information for the experienced exerciser and health nut as well. Whatever your goals, I will provide the challenge.

I have found as I have searched the internet for other fitness and nutrition blogs/websites that there is a lot of useless and confusing information. So I have made it my mission to do the research, test the exercises, try the recipes, count the calories and organize the information so that you the reader have a one stop blog for all your fitness needs. Please check back often as there will be frequent posting. Also please feel free to comment or email if you have any specific questions. I will do my best to help you out.

I am looking forward to joining you on your journey to better health!

Remaining Enthusiastic...

Weight loss can be a bumpy road. Especially if you are one who uses food to sooth your sorrows. It is necessary to remain enthusiastic about your goals. Even more, it is important to remain enthusiastic about your day to day life. The power of a positive attitude will go miles in terms of reaching your ultimate goals.

I really like these quotes-

"Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hope rise to the stars...the sparkle in your eye...the swing in your gait, the grip in your hand, the irresistible surge of your will, and your energy to execute your ideas. Enthusiasts are fighters. They have fortitude. They have staying qualities." ~Henry Ford

Businessman Charles M. Schwab- “A person can succeed at anything for which there is enthusiasm.”

So today as you face your challenges make it a goal to do so without complaining. Be a fighter!

To help you out here is a fantastic recipe to remind you that healthy eating can taste delicious...

Wild Rice Soup

prep: 20 min total:40

Adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook

2 med stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)

1 med carrot, coarsely shredded (1 cup) I dice my carrots

1 med onion, chopped (1/2 cup) I use red/purple onions because I like the flavor

1 small green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)

3 TBSP flour

1/4 tsp pepper

1 pouch (from 10-ounce package) frozen cooked wild rice (1 1/4 cups) You can use any kind of wild rice you want. Just cook the rice before you put it in the soup.

1 cup water

1 can (10.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup fat-free half-and-half

1/3 cup silvered almonds, toasted I used sunflower seeds because I had them on hand

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Spray 3-quart saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Cook celery, carrot, onion and bell pepper in the spray about 4 minutes, stir occasionally, until tender.

2. Stir in flour and pepper. Stir in wild rice, water and broth. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in fat free half-and-half, almonds and parsley. Heat just until hot (do not boil or soup may curdle).

Makes 3 servings (1 1/2 cups each).
About 245 calories per serving

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Weight Training Circuit

I am a huge fan of this circuit. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Since the workout is made to do 8 reps, the weight is going to have to be fairly heavy. Although I don't recommend going as heavy as the girl unless you know you can. If you haven't ever done these exercises before do this workout with lighter weights and focus more on form and technique. Once you have that down you can increase your weights.

Beginners' Ab Workout

If you are just starting a workout routine try these 5 abdominal exercises. Learn the form now so you will be able to progress to a more advanced workout once you build the strength.

"Drawing in"- Lie on your back with hips flexed to 90 degrees, draw the belly button toward the spine. Arms can be placed on the floor by your side or cross them over your chest. Gradually extend one leg parallel to the floor then slowly bring it back to the starting position. Remember to keep the belly button 'drawn in' the whole time. Alternate 15 reps on each side.

Side Raise on Stability Ball- Kneeling next to a stability ball, lean over to the side until the upper body is resting completely on the ball. Then extend your top leg to help with stability. Your arm closests to the ball will just hang over the ball. Place the other hand on your hip. Slowly raise the body laterally off the ball, then lower your body back down. Perform 15 reps on each side.

Reverse Crunches-This is just a crunch with the lower body. Lie on your back and bring knees to 90 degrees. Place the arms by your side with palms on the floor. Keeping the belly button drawn in, lift your hips up off the floor. Be careful not to rock your hips. It is a small movement, but you will feel it in your lower abs. Perform 20 reps.

Core Control- Kneel approximately 18 inches behind a stability ball. Lean forward and place forearms on the ball, clasping your hands together. Slowly push the ball away from the body until arms are fully extended, then pull the ball back. To protect the lower back make sure to maintain a slight posterior pelvic tilt. Perform 15 to 20 reps.

Supermans- Lie on your stomach on the floor with arms extended. Simultaneously raise both arms and legs off the floor. Try to keep legs as straight as possible and be sure to squeeze the gluteus muscles...pinch the penny! Hold briefly at the top then lower back down to the floor. Perform 15-20 reps.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Advanced Abdominal Workout

I know not all of you are on the road to weight loss. So here is a killer ab workout just for you. Make sure to pay attention to his form. He executes the moves perfectly. This video clip is just instructional. So get a piece of paper to jot down the exercises. Then turn on some motivating music and give it a try. Let me know how it goes.

Goal Setting: A Strong Support System

If you have not yet read the post about Planning For Success please click here. This entry is the 2nd step in our goal setting process.

Once you have decided upon a goal, gone through the process of asking “why”, and feel you truly know the reason you are embarking on this health journey it is time to set up a strong support system. We live in a fast paced world. To keep up you cannot think you can do it alone.

Think of a world class boxer or wrestler. Or maybe an Olympic runner. For a moment they may have to compete on their own, but waiting for them in the corner of the ring or at the finish line you will find coaches, friends and fans cheering them on. Even they don’t go it alone. And neither should you.

Yes ultimately it is up to you to see that you reach your goal, but your support system is going to be the strong foundation that helps you avoid crumbling when things get tough.

Who will be your cheerleader?
Who will keep you on your toes?
Who will be your example and knowledge source?
Who will be your inspiration?
Who will try to sabotage your progress? And how will you get around this?
Who will be your buddy?

I know we are not discussing rocket science here, but often this is a step we forget to include in our goal setting process. Or we don't take seriously those we pick for each role. So before you proceed be sure to answer these questions honestly. And make sure each of these people know what role you need them to play. In particular pay attention to who you pick as the one to keep you on your toes. There is a reason people fork out mucho bucks for a personal trainer...they need someone to kick their butts because they won't do it on their own. Sometimes your family members and closest friends may not be the best fit. Be honest with yourself. What is it going to take?


If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. ~Milton Berle