Monthly Archives: January 2014

28 DoF Check-In: Week 3

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Sookie Sookie Now!!! Only one week to go chicas and chicos!!! Time to update us with your 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge progress for Week 3: Days 15-21!!

And don’t forget to check out our FB Events page where many folks are updating daily! In a work-out rut? You’ll can find tons of ideas for home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts to mix it up and beat boredom!! If you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!

As for my week, the struggle continues. I’m still not getting up as early as I’d like. A 5:30 am wake-up can be beastly in the winter when it’s still very dark and cold and especially when it seems to be snowing EVERY OTHER day in NJ! Ughhh!! So, I was still fighting the time crunch most of the week and ended up doing late night workouts on Friday and Saturday.

WEEK 3 RECAP

Day 15/335:  Hot Yoga / Vinyasa Flow at Younique Yoga studio in Sparta, NJ (75 min).

Day 16/336: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min). In my defense, I cleaned house ALL day … well, I mostly dealt unpacking (ummm … see, what had happened was … Okay. I have no excuse. I just fully unpacked from the honeymoon on MLK Day. I know. Sad. But, whatcha gonna do?). So, I sorted, organized, and shred a lot of mail/paperwork and washed, folded, and put away a crap-load of clothes.

Day 17/337: 10 Minute Kickboxing with KieraLashae (don’t get it twisted, you will get your sweat on with these 10 minutes, IF you give it your all).

Day 18/338:  Lauren Brooks Joint Mobility Warm-up and 12 Minute Full Body Blast x2 (29 min).

Day 19/339: FitSugar’s Treadmill Pyramid Intervals to the 22 minute mark, then 6 minutes to cool down (28 min).

Day 20/340: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 Minutes)

Day 21/341: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 Minutes)

Day338

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We’re in the home stretch now!! How did you do Week 3, days 15-21? 

What are your plans for your final week?

(Hair) Lessons Learned 2013

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A couple of weeks ago, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did this post about what she discovered about her natural hair in 2013. I had been thinking about doing something similar and her post was the incentive I needed to write down my (hair) lessons learned.

As she said, these are things I learned about MY hair and may not apply to others. But, they are things that I found helped improve my hair and will hopefully allow it to get better in 2014.

So, here is what I learned in 2013.

  1. Inadequate consumption of water and dehydration is not only bad for the body/skin, but it can cause excessive hair breakage and shedding too. I had a bout of bad breakage last winter all over my head and I believe it was very much related to my unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excess caffeine, and insufficient water consumption. My hair is recovering and regrowing, but the breakage was bad, creating a fuzzy halo of “flyaway” hair over my entire head. So, I try to make certain I get at least 48 ounces of water a day to ensure that I’m hydrated from the inside out. (Note: I’ll be doing a post on this topic soon!)
  2. My hair does better with wet detangling only. I lose a lot less hair and am able to detangle just fine without thoroughly finger detangling during a dry pre-poo. When I pre-poo now, I just smooth and smush the oil/conditioner down my hair with some minimal separation to make sure I coat each section.
  3. Using a comb and/or shampoo brush after finger detangling results in a less stressful detangling sessions the following wash day. It also makes for smoother, more defined braid/twist-out sets. So, I reincorporated these tools into my regimen.
  4. My hair LOVES goat milk in styling products and deep conditioner!!! My hair has been rejuvenated by it, especially my ends, which were starting to feel pretty rough. My stubborn crown has softened and become more supple and stronger!! My shedding and breakage have been drastically reduced. And finally, the straighter “tail” of my nape that used to hang now holds a curl when I set it on perm rods!! The goat milk DC has replaced Aubrey GPB as my light protein conditioner of choice (note: I also use Joico K-Pak conditioner on wash day, which also provides light protein).
  5. Cosmetic grade aloe vera gel works great for setting my hair in twist/braid outs and for smoothing/setting my edges.  It provides flexible hold and softness without product build-up. (I think this gel began to work well for me because my hair started behaving so well once I incorporated goat milk products into my regimen).
  6. The braid n’ twist n’ curl is my new go to style because the braids keep my roots smooth, but the twists gives me the fullness I desire. As the braid at the roots result in three sections once the set is released, I don’t need to separate my hair any futher to get fullness, which also means less manipulation and frizz. Also, the BnTnC dries more quickly than a braid out.

And that’s what I learned about my natural hair in 2013. Here’s to better hair in 2014! Onward and upward my friends!!

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What did you learn about your hair’s likes and dislikes in 2013?

28 DoF Check-In: Week 2

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Woot!! Woot!! We’re at the halfway point folks!!! Time to update us with your 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge progress for Week 2: Days 8-14!!

And don’t forget to check out our FB Events page!!  The home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts continue to roll in!! I tried a new 10 workout myself last night!! And, if you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!

As for my week, I’m getting back into the groove of morning workouts … but still not getting up as early as I’d like. I went from a 6:30 am rise time to 6 am. So, that was good. But, my goal this week is to get back to 5:30 am. If you remember, I’m also doing a personal 365 Days of the Word challenge with YouVersion’s One Year Bible. So, I do my reading and prayer first (along with my cup of coffee ;)), then workout.

WEEK 2 RECAP

Day 8/328:  Hot Yoga / Vinyasa Flow at Younique Yoga studio in Sparta, NJ (75 min). I hadn’t been to hot yoga in 2 months, so I was bit nervous. But, I didn’t do too badly! I definitely was tighter than I had been, but I’ll work out the kinks soon (I hope ;))!

Day 9/329: Lauren Brooks Joint Mobility Warm-up and 12 Minute Full Body Blast x2 (29 min).

Day 10/330: Run on treadmill – 5 min warm-up; then 5 min at 5 mph and 10 min at 5.5 mph at 1.5% incline; 5 min cool down (25 min total). I would have liked to run longer, but I was short on time. I know it’s better for me to get a shorter workout in the morning than try to wait until after work for a longer one and end up doing NOTHING!

Day 11/331: Angie Miller Kettlebell Bootcamp with 15 and 20 pound bells (45 min). I was using the 15 lb bell for the entire workout, but am progressing and working towards using the 20 lb bell for the whole routine.

Day 12/332: FitSugar’s Treadmill Pyramid Intervals to the 22 minute mark, then 5 minutes to cool down. I was short on time again!!

Day332

Day 13/333: 60 seconds x2 sets of bicycle exercise for abs, 15 recline leg lifts, and 20 “superman” back extensions in the am (5 min); Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel in the pm (10 min)

Day 14/334: Cardio Crush Workout by BeFit on YouTube (10 min)

Feeling good!! I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do when my 365 days are complete. Will I keep going or start taking off days? Hmmmm … I’m feeling like I’ll keep going. But, I’d like to challenge myself in a different way. Maybe run 365 miles in a year … or, what I’ve really been thinking about is doing a different fitness challenge each month for 12 months. Or … maybe a year long daily yoga challenge as it’s amazing to be able to do things with my body that I’ve never been able to do in my life! Hmmmm …

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Okay my peeps!! How did you do Week 2? Give us the rundown of days 8-14!!

What victories did you achieve this week?

Vanity Fair’s “Fair-Skinned” Lupita Nyong’o

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I’m not going to go into a big, long diatribe here. But, I saw this picture of the STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS Lupita Nyong’o on IG the other day and immediately thought, “What the heck is that about?!?!? Why does she look so light?” The idiotic thing about it is that they featured her in a white dress, surrounded by white balloons. It seems pretty obvious that she often wears white and bright primary colors, because the contrast against her lovely dark skin is BREATHTAKING.

Any questions?

I would assume that’s why they chose the white dress and balloons for the shoot. However, by lightening her skin, they watered down her beauty and the impact of this image. Stupid Vanity Fair. Stupid. And pathetic.

You can read more about the tweet from Vanity Fair and some of the resulting backlash in the Huffington Post article HERE.

#andthatsallIhavetosayaboutthat

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What say ye? Do you think Vanity Fair Lightened Lupita’s skin intentionally?

28 DoF Check-In: Week 1

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It’s that time!!! Time to update us with your 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge progress for Week 1: Days 1 -7!!

Now, a lot of you have been updating our FB Events page and that has been absolutely awesome to see the variety of things everyone is doing to get in their 10 minutes!! If you haven’t checked it out, please do!! The variety of home, outdoors, YouTube, DVD, app, and gym workouts is great!! And, if you aren’t on Facebook and/or want more ideas, check out the new Fitness Playlist I created on my YouTube channel to share fitness videos that I like!

Okay, now let’s get to my update! But, before I do, let me preface this by saying that I was oversleeping this week, because what I thought was my 5:30 alarm was my 6 o’ clock alarm!! And then, when I figured it out … I still slept in a couple days. Ummm … yeah, so, I ended up just barely getting in my 10 minutes several days this week. And, when I got them in, I didn’t want to do anything that made me sweat because I didn’t want to have to take a shower late at night and have to take another one the next morning. Because, the plan was always to workout in the morning … ended up being the failed plan most days last week.

Anywho … here’s my quick run down … remember, I’m doing this concurrently with my 365 Days of Fitness, which I haven’t yet completed.

WEEK 1 RECAP

Day 1/321:  10 Min. Fat Burning Kickboxing with KeairaLaShae – I got this one from one of our challenge ladies who posted it on my FB page on Day 1!! It’s not the most polished of videos, but it got the job done! I broke a NICE sweat!!

Day 2/322: 60 secs x 2 sets of bicycle for abs in the morning;  20 min walk on treadmill (5 min warm-up; 5 min @ 3.8 mph w/4% incline; 5 min @ 3.8 mph w/8% incline; 5 min cool down).

Day 3/323: FitSugar Treadmill Pyramid Intervals workout (as pictured above) (30 min). I got this one from my sister who was a varsity runner in high school and just did a half marathon in December! She was impressed with how it improved her performance. I was fine the first half, but once those “rest/recovery” intervals picked up to 5.5 mph, I had to take them down to 4.0 in order to recover from the 7, 8, and 7 mph again sprint intervals!! And, I added 5 minutes of additional cool down to the end! 4.0 mph is a cardio walk pace! It is NOT a cool down!! LOL!! And, anyway, I did the first minute of the program cool down at 5.5 mph and the second at 4.5 mph. You can always increase or decrease the speed to accommodate your fitness level when doing any High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Day 4/324: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min)

Day 5/325: The Biggest Loser Cardio Max Level 2 Workout (40 min)

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Day 6/326: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min)

Day 7/327: Tamilee Webb’s Abs of Steel (10 min)

And that was my “Week 1!” Started week 2 pretty well with a 75 minute hot yoga class this morning! So, hopefully, that will be the kicks I needed to get back into waking up in time to exercise in the morning, before going to work!! Wish me luck!!

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Okay folks!! How did your Week 1 go? What did you do Days 1-7?

Most importantly, how are you feeling? I hope great :)!!

Building Defined Abs

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Jan_Dec2013_AbsAbs progress Jan-Dec 2013 (148.5 lbs to 122 lbs)

I often get asked about what I do for abs. I’m hourglass shaped and tend to hold most of my excess weight between the area beneath my navel to mid-thigh. So, my upper body and abs are the first to show the results of weight loss/strength training. If you are more apple-shaped/top heavy, then it will likely take more work for you to see results in the abs just like it takes me more time to results in my legs/glutes. With that caveat, here are the things that I do to get defined abs!

1. LOSE WEIGHT/FAT: Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym?” It’s true. 90% of getting defined/tight abs is losing weight/fat. You’re not going to see muscle covered by fat. If you do a lot of ab work, but still have a tummy/gut/Dunlap disease (your waist “dun lapped” over your belt … LOL!), then it’s likely your six-pack is hiding under subcutaneous fat and losing weight will make them come out of hiding. Cardio is a necessity to burn calories and strength training helps boost base metabolism. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an effective way to burn calories and boost base metabolism! A simple 25-30 minute HIIT treadmill workout for beginners is: warm-up walk for 5 minutes; 1 minute sprint (fast as you can) followed by 1.5 min walk/jog, repeat 6-8 times, cool down walk for 5 minutes. I used this C25K week 1 treadmill workout as my time guide.

2. ABS OF STEEL by TAMILEE WEBB (VHS): I’ve used this tape for 20+ years. It has three 10 minute workouts and I’ll do it 3-5 days a week (abs don’t need rest/recovery every other day. 1-2 days of rest in a week is adequate). I recently found that the VHS I use can be found on sale on eBay (pink box/blue leotard) and you can download it to your computer at TamileeWebb.com!

3. BICYCLE EXERCISE FOR ABS: I just added in the last few months because my lower abs were not progressing in strength the way I wanted or had experienced in the past. I realized that this was likely because I wasn’t doing the Captain’s Chair lower leg lift exercise that I used to do 1-2 days a week when I worked out at a gym. I corroborated with some online research that this is one of the top three effective exercises for abs as proven by EMG testing (see article here). So, I started to think about buying a Captain’s Chair for my home gym. But then I looked at the #1 exercise (Captain’s Chair was #2) and discovered it was something that required NO equipment, can be done anywhere, and is the most effective for the total core (upper abs, lower abs, AND obliques). It was a no brainer. I started incorporating one to two 60 second sets (60 sec rest between sets) into my workouts 1-2 days a week. I saw my lower ab strength increase within a week or two and that resulted in improved performance during running and yoga (especially inversions).

Bicycle for Abs Demo

via LiveStrong.com

So yup! That’s what I do for defined abs. But again, remember number one is the most important!! Case in point, I’ve been doing Abs of Steel almost every day for the last several weeks, but barely doing cardio and still eating like I’m on the cruise! So … the abs aren’t looking like they did in December!! So, it’s definitely time to get the eating back in order and cardio back in effect for real! With that, time to get on the exercise gear and hit the basement for The Biggest Loser Cardio Max for Day 325 of 365 Days of Fitness (and Day 5 of 28 Days of Fitness).

Lata Gatas!!

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How do you get “six pack”/defined abs?

My Lazy Woman’s Diet

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So, some of you have embarked upon the Hairscapades 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge. And among a variety of goals, one of the most common is to lose excess pounds to improve health issues, energy, and/or self-esteem. As you may know, that is partly what motivated my 28 turned 365 Days of Fitness challenge almost a year ago. I started at 148.5 pounds (I’m 5’1″) with a goal to get back down to my preferred weight of 120 pounds and ultimately, I did reach my goal. So, I often get asked, “Did you have to change your diet?”

Ummm. YES!! LOL!

I have never been a person who lost weight with only diet or exercise. I have to do both. There is no way around it, in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. Simple. Truth. You can work out 4 hours a day. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat as many calories as you burn, your weight will remain the same. I can’t tell you how many people I saw in the gym REGULARLY who always looked the same … overweight. And I’m not talking about the folks who only seemed to go to the gym to socialize. I’m talking about the people really breaking a sweat who looked the same year … after year … after year.

So, I’m telling you this now. You can get stronger, you can build more muscle, you can improve your endurance, and you can improve your health with exercise alone. But 80-90% of weight loss is diet. You will not lose weight if you don’t know/understand how much you are eating and how much you are burning. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to look at your diet and figure out how to eat enough to fuel yourself while still creating a calorie deficit. Also, you can’t tone fat and muscle is already toned. So, if you are looking to get tighter, leaner, lose the jiggle or the spare tire … you HAVE to increase muscle mass and lose fat weight.

All that being said, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. But, what I will do is share a very simple food fact and then what works for me.

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THE SIMPLE FOOD FACT

FOOD IS COMPRISED OF THREE SOURCES OF CALORIES ONLY! THREE.

  • FAT (9 cals per gram)
  • CARBOHYDRATES (4 cals per gram)
  • PROTEIN (4 cals per gram

That’s it. There’s nothing else. Most people can readily identify protein and know the difference between lean and fatty cuts. And we know whole fruits and vegetables are mostly low calorie and the good for us carbs (fresh or frozen). So, if it’s not protein or fruits and veggies, it’s fat or carbs and often both (and dairy has all three). Reduce the fats and non-fruit and vegetable carbs and you’ll probably lose weight. Because, seriously, I don’t know anyone who binges on grilled, skinless chicken breast, broccoli, or apples. LOL!! And, even if they did, the damage would probably be minimal to none. Oh, and don’t think I’m saying fruit and veggies are the only good carbs. I co-sign on whole oat oatmeal, rice (particularly brown), white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (my faves).

Okay, so that’s my spiel on that.

Now, on to my diet when I want to lose weight. As some of you may know, I am not a fan of cooking and rely heavily on Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen meals for lunch and dinner when I am “counting calories.” Because of that, I’ve coined my diet, “The Lazy Woman’s Diet” aka “Cooking? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” LMBO!! That being said, this is what it typically looks like

MY LAZY WOMAN’S DIET

  • Breakfast:
    • Green smoothie (1-2 c. kale or spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, handful of frozen sliced strawberries, 1 c. almond milk, 1 scoop Vanilla Bean or Strawberry Mousse Nectar Whey Protein Powder), or
    • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal or 1/2 cup cooked Grapenuts with 1/2 cup blueberries (Dole frozen/thawed) and 1/2 c. plain almond milk
    • A cup of instant coffee w/2 packs of Truvia, 1 tsp Agave and a little powdered skim milk.
  • Snack:
    • Fage yogurt (fruit variety/2% or 0% fat)
    • 9-10 almonds or handful of walnuts (occasionally)
  • Lunch:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish with rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta)
    • 1/2 to 1 c. added frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, sugar snap snow peas, mixed veggies)
    • Piece of fruit
  • Snack: Organic baby food
  • Dinner:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish w/rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta) w/added vegetables (spinach, broccoli or sugar snap snow peas)
    • A piece of fruit (occasionally)
  • Post work-out: Nectar Whey Protein Shake (w/banana if after yoga) (I only do this if a regular meal doesn’t immediately follow my work-out)

LCRewardsMy bucket of un-entered Lean Cuisine Rewards Codes. Told ya.

If you are concerned about the amount of sodium in my “diet plan” due to the frozen meals, check out this post I did earlier last year about Sodium and Weight Loss.

So that’s it. Wait. No it’s not. One tip that I would give on “dieting” is to not worry about the amount of calories when you start watching what you eat. Think about the QUALITY of the calories instead. Rather than jumping into reducing your calories to 1200-1500 or whatever, just get rid of food that has little to no nutritional value, ESPECIALLY calories that you can’t chew (except green smoothies ;)). Seriously, soda, juice, milk shakes, lattes, etc. … squash them. Replace those empty calories with nutritious ones so that you don’t feel like gnawing off your arm by noon!! Fruits, veggies, low fat/sugar yogurt, whole grain crackers, granola, nuts, brown rice, low fat popcorn, etc. are all options. Get your body adjusted to eating a healthier type of calories. Then, you may find that you are naturally able to reduce your calories because you won’t find yourself overeating whole, healthier foods. And, because you are eating every few hours, you’ll reduce cravings and be able to start cutting back on calories without losing your mind.

WAIT!!

(Who remembers Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures? ;))

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS!! At least, that’s what I believe. As I said the other day on FB, some healthy foods taste great, but I don’t care what anyone says, nothing makes my toes wiggle like buttercream icing!! LOL!! That being said, I believe that we can indulge in our favorite bad foods every now again and still lose weight. It might take a little longer, but it’ll happen. So, enjoy your life along the way ;)! Because this is the thing. You can’t go back to eating the way you did before you lost the weight and expect to keep it off. Therefore, it’s important to learn to eat in a way that you can sustain a lifetime.

Aaaaaaaaand … I’m done!!

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If you have struggled with weight loss, what are the challenges you’ve faced? If you’ve overcome them, what did you do to make a “diet” work for you?