Maya Fit Girl

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How to Create A Home Gym Under $100 March 24, 2015

Filed under: Exercise,Fitness — Maya Fit Girl @ 10:05 am
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Having kids, a home to manage, a job to go to and countless other things to do on a daily basis, may be just the reason to keep us from going to the gym. So why not make your own gym at home with very inexpensive equipment?

Start with a yoga mat.  Not only can you do yoga on it, but it’s also good for any exercise movements or stretches which may require you to have some type of padding or non-slip surface. Starting at about $10, this is a great investment.

Since a rack of dumbbells costs at least $300, having resistance bands are great alternatives. With resistance bands, you can do just about any type of strength training exercise, which would normally require heavy weights — chest presses, rows, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, bicep curls, squats, and more! And all starting at the low, low price of $9.95.

This next piece of equipment is the most expensive, but can be utilized for many things. The adjustable weight bench can be used for chest exercises, tricep dips, step up movements, inclined or declined movements, ab work, and lots more.  Starting at $50, you will definitely get your money’s worth after the first use.

Ready for a good cardio workout? Stroll down memory lane and pick up a jump rope.  With the ability to help you burn over 100 calories in only 10 minutes, this small piece of equipment will be one of your best kept secrets. Starting at $6, it’s a steal!

Now throw in a few workout DVDs and you’re well under $100 for a perfectly equipped home gym.  There’s nothing like saving money and saving time, all while staying within the comforts of home.  Have fun!

Be sure to check out the Fit Girl by Maya website for recipes, videos, workouts, apparel and more!

 

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How to Avoid Getting Cooties at the Gym March 17, 2015

Filed under: Exercise,Fitness,Health — Maya Fit Girl @ 10:00 am
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It never fails.  I always hear stories from friends about how they may have caught a cold, foot fungus or some other germ at the gym.  If you have been a victim or would like to prevent becoming a victim of the gym cooties, here are a few ways to keep the germs at bay.

There are areas within the gym that have been shown to be the worst at hoarding germs.  Those areas are free weights, weight machines and the exercise ball. Which pretty much sums up the whole gym, right?  Well, don’t fret, most gyms have those handy anti-bacterials wipes available, if not, you should bring your own personal pack.  Wipe those areas down where they will touch your exposed skin and you are good to go.

Be careful in the locker room. It may look clean and it may even be cleaned several times per day, but what about those times in between.  Never sit naked on the benches because others may have been naked there as well. Vaginal yeast, fecal matter, and lots of other grossness has been found, so be cautious and use a dry towel (you brought from home) to sit on.  Also, be sure to wear your flip flops or shower shoes if you decide to go in the sauna, steam room and shower.  The floors in those areas are sure to harbor fungus and bacteria that causes ringworm and athlete’s foot.

You know that treadmill, bike, or elliptical you love? Well, it may get wiped down throughout the day, but to be safe, wipe it down before and after each use on the areas where it touches your exposed skin. Be sure to include the seat area on the bike and any buttons.

Check out this quick checklist of things you should do to prevent getting any germs at the gym:

  • Cover any cuts or broken skin with a bandage.
  • Wash hands before and after your workout.
  • Wipe down machines before and after use.
  • Bring your own water bottle, towels, and exercise mat.
  • Don’t sit on the locker-room bench naked.
  • Always wear flip-flops or shower shoes in the locker room and shower.
  • Don’t shave at the gym or immediately before going there.
  • Whenever possible, shower at home after your workout.
  • Keep dirty clothes and shoes in separate gym bag compartments or place  in a plastic bag.
  • Wash gym clothes after each use.
  • Examine your skin weekly. If you find a painful red spot or a bump, see your doctor.

Practice these tips each time you go to the gym. You want to keep  yourself safe and also prevent spreading any infections to the kids.

Be sure to check out the Fit Girl by Maya website for recipes, workouts, videos, apparel and more!

 

 

Photo by: i.huffpost.com

 

Don’t Get Discouraged…You Can Do It September 22, 2014

Filed under: Exercise,Family,Fitness,Health,Woman — Maya Fit Girl @ 12:04 pm
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Living a healthy lifestyle is not easy, especially if you are a mom. We have about 10,000 things on our daily to do list and we are usually very close to the bottom. With so much to do and so much to keep up with, how can we keep aligned with our fitness goals.

Taking time to prepare our weekly meals, plan our workout routines, and then actually carry them out is hard, but we must not get overwhelmed. That feeling of being overwhelmed is what ultimately makes us keep quitting and starting over. We get so excited to start a new plan and reach new goals, but when we see how much work it will take, how much temptation we are faced with, and how little time we have, we give up…until we get tired of unhealthy ways and start the cycle all over again.

Here are five ways I keep myself from getting stressed out and overwhelmed.

1. Take it one day at a time

Try not to think about how many days it is going to take to reach your fitness goals. Just know it won’t happen over night. Period. Each day is a new opportunity to stick to your plan, don’t worry that you may have to eat the same lunch for three or four weeks. Concentrate on today.

2. Talk to yourself

There are times when I am faced with life-changing dilemmas (well, maybe not that dramatic)- should I take a bite of this muffin my son left on the counter or can I wait til my next meal? This is where I have to have a conversation with myself—sometimes out loud. I say, “Will this bite of muffin get me closer to my goal of placing 1st in my next competition?” or “Are the added calories, fat, and sugar worth it to my body and what I am trying to accomplish?” Usually after I ask myself those questions, I’ll throw the muffin away (but not without inhaling the smell of it for about 30 seconds).

3. Find an alternative

When I get a craving for a chocolate bar, fries, or things like that, I have to become creative and figure out a healthy alternative. If suddenly I want a Reese’s peanut butter cup, I will pull out the blender and make a choco-peanut butter smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk, chocolate whey protein, a tablespoon of peanut butter and ice. Voila! Craving, satisfied.

For fries, I would slice a sweet potato long ways, drizzle a little olive oil over them and sprinkle on a little sea salt and bake them for about 25 minutes. Yum!

4. Get busy

The times where I am most likely to want unhealthy foods are when I am bored. I’m sitting on the couch watching some random, waste of time show and start wanting some potato chips with hot sauce on top. As soon as I get that feeling, I immediately turn off the television and head to the gym. If I have already worked out, I will start cleaning some area of the house, read a book or magazine or go outside with the kids. There’s always something to do other than stuffing your face with the wrong foods and then feeling bad about it later.

5. Get your own space

I found that when my food is mixed in with the family’s food in the cabinets and refrigerator, I am more likely to want the foods I am not supposed to have. If I see my son’s chocolate chip cookies next to my raw almonds, the almonds may get left on the shelf—not good. So, I decided to have my own cabinet in the kitchen allocated for all of my food items. I even have my own refrigerator in the garage. That way I won’t eat foods not on my plan and my family won’t eat up all my food, mistakenly. The key is out of sight out of mind.

No one said being healthy was easy, as long as you remember your goals, take things one day at a time, and be conscious of the decisions you make, you will make it through. Be patient with yourself and you will be successful.

 

Photo by: http://www.catholiclane.com

 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Weights September 16, 2014

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[As originally contributed to http://www.ThisFitsMe.com on 8/5/14]

Recently, I hosted a fitness workshop and found that all of the women in attendance exclusively had cardio in their daily routine with Zumba being the favorite.  Zumba is fun and gets your heart pumping, running for miles and miles really improves your endurance, running on the elliptical and treadmill are great for the legs, but what about weight training?

There is a myth, among many women, that lifting weights is a man thing or that if you lift too much, you will end up with the physique like a man. Let me let you in on a little secret…both are false. Women have been lifting weights for just as long as men and the only way that you will end up with the body like that of a man is if you are taking steroids and/or lots of testosterone.

Incorporating strength training into you workout creates a great balance for the body.  Adding a little muscle to can help fill out the body and, depending on how heavy or light you lift, can really get you the curves you desire.  And just know that lifting weights doesn’t mean that you start with a 300 pound barbell. If you are not looking to achieve that ripped, super defined look, lift light, yet challenging weights for longer repetitions (reps). For instance, curl 10 pound dumbbells for 20 reps, instead of 35 pound dumbbells for 10 reps.

Aside from gaining muscle tone, here are five other reasons you should start lifting weights.

1. Lifting Burns that Baby Fat

High intensity lifting and metabolic training stimulates lipolysis or the fat breakdown and release and increases the body’s metabolism hours after your workout is complete. You not only burn calories during your weight training session, but you’ll continue to burn calories long afterwards.

Your body becomes strong, defined, and lean. No more will you feel ashamed or lack self-confidence when you are naked.  You will look and feel better than you did before you had your baby!

2. Post-Workout Burn

A high intensity lifting session burns approximately 500 calories per hour and boosts your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the minimum number of calories your body burns at rest, working out, or lying down.

What this means is that you not only burn calories while working out, you also continue to burn them up to 24 hours afterwards. The more intense you lift, the more you burn through your boosted metabolism.

This also means that the more muscle you gain, the less fat you’ll have. The less fat you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Gaining muscle gets you lean and keeps you lean.

3.  Prevents Your Metabolism From Declining

As we increase with age our metabolism typically decreases, starting around the age of 30.  To prevent this from happening, incorporate frequent weight training in your fitness life.

With your metabolic rate elevated, you will stay in shape well after the kids leave the house!

4.  Improves Posture

Lifting weights strengthens your muscles, including your back, neck, shoulders, and core (abdominal area).  Strength in these areas helps you to stand up taller, improve your posture, preserve the spine and reduces back pain.

Who wouldn’t want to look strong and confident on a daily basis?

5.  Reduces Stress and Improves Mood

Exercise and weight training release endorphins- neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and enhance pleasure.  Endorphins are released during long workouts where the intensity is moderate to high and breathing is difficult.

With all of that release going on, your stress levels decrease, along with any anxieties and depression. You begin to feel happy with each breathless set you complete! The kids love it when you smile, so should you.

Being strong is not a “man thing.” Being strong is what you are everyday and in everything you do. Believe that.

Be sure to visit www.FitGirlbyMaya.com for FREE recipes, workouts, and fitness apparel.

Photo by: http://www.fitsugar.com

 

5 Ways to Stay on Track While Traveling July 10, 2014

Anytime I have travel plans, whether for work or for leisure, I not only have to plan basic things like daily attire, toiletries, outfits for special nights out (which never happen, but at least I plan for them) and maybe a travel snack or two.  But when you’re either competition training or living a healthy lifestyle, you must take a lot more things into consideration when traveling.

Here are the top 5 things I do when planning for travel while training:

1. Do Reconnaissance of your Accommodations

Snip20140709_10Call the hotel at which you are staying and ask the following important questions:

Is there a mini fridge in the room? If not, what is the additional cost to add one to the room?

(If having a fridge is not an option, you should count on bringing a cooler or purchasing one upon arrival and store you pre-packed food in the cooler. Feel free to return the cooler back to the store before you return home.)

Is there a fitness center on premises? If so, do you have [insert the specific equipment you need to use]? For the equipment they don’t have, plan to modify your workout to have exercises that can replace the ones you can’t do.

If there is no fitness center on premises, ask if there is a gym nearby. Most gyms give one week free trials.

Is there a microwave in the room? If not, is there one in or near the lobby? If a microwave is not an option, determine if the foods you are bringing can be eaten cold and/or raw. Whichever the case, be sure to cook all the foods you can prior to departing.

2. Cook, Pack, and Prep Your Food

 

Once you know the number of days you will be gone, cook and prep the meals you will need for each day. Don’t forget to include your travel days.   I have a step by step guide to meal prep here.

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Once prepped, I pack my food and supplies inside of my 6 Pack Bag, which you can purchase here.

Be sure to bring extra plasticware- forks, covered food containers, and water bottles. Also, be sure to bring extra condiments- sodium free seasoning, sea salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or whatever seasonings you normally use.

If smoothies are on your plan, take/purchase a portable blender. I have this one from Oster , but the NutriBullet will work and others just like it.

3. Pack For Your Workouts

In addition to your regular day time outfits, you must also ensure you pack for your workouts.  The types  of workouts you do will help you determine what to pack.  Because my workouts usually take place indoors, I usually just pack shorts, tanks, socks, a pair of gym shoes, weight belt, and lifting gloves.  I also throw in my headphones and headband.

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If you run outside, you may include a light running jacket and any other accessories you normally use.

4.  Make a Date With Your Workouts

You’re used to your at-home workout schedule, but what do you do when you’re on the road and your schedule is turned upside down?

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Start by scheduling your daily workout(s) based on your daily itinerary.  As your schedule may change on a daily basis while on the road, be sure to go day by day to set your workout schedule.  If it’s on your calendar and already planned, you are more likely to stick to it.

So set it in your phone alarm!

5.  Know Your Area

So, you already did some research on your accommodations, now you must research your surroundings.  You need to know where to go if you need some extra bananas, bottled water, or even socks.

Check the hotel gift shop, local convenience stores, and/or discount stores like Target or WalMart to make sure that, if needed, you are able to get the supplies you need to stay on track.

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Do you have any other tips to add to stay on track when traveling? I’d love for you to share!

 

Maya’s Favorite Things: Fitness Edition May 18, 2014

There have been about five key things that I have found that I can’t live without, when it comes to my fitness routine. We all have those things that we must take with us every time we go to the gym, go for a run, or for a quick workout at home.

Here are my 5 must haves:
(links get/purchase each item is included in each section)

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1. Songza
If you haven’t heard of Songza, you are really missing out. I stumbled across this free music app one day while ready an article on shape.com. Songza is much like Pandora, except without all of the commercials and with a more comprehensive selection of playlists that you can actually choose from, as opposed to searching blindly.

To give you an example, you can choose the “Brand New Music” icon, which brings you to six music categories to choose from- Big Hits, R&B, Pop, Country, Rap, and New Playlists. Whichever one you choose, you will be lead to comprehensive playlists that includes songs that you can thumbs up (keep on the list) or thumbs down (remove from the list).

There are even playlists that reflect your mood or your current activity. There is a category for driving music, singing in the shower, waking up happy, and more!

My fave playlist for working out is “Today’s Club Bangers” found under the “Working Out” category under “Fast-Paced Rap.” This list is full of all new rap songs that, as suggested in the title, you would hear at the club- perfect for a rigorous workout. Tracks from Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Eminem, and even Justin Bieber. I may have only thumbed down about five songs. And the great thing about the playlists are that they are automatically updated. What may have been a “club banger” three months ago will be replaced by a new banger this month. Awesome!

To download to your phone, go to the app store for your device. You can also listen on your computer at songza.com.

2. Cell Phone Armband
I recently purchased a Samsung Note II armband from ebay for for $4.50. It is made of neoprene, which helps it from slipping down my arm and keeps the sweat away from my phone. I could have easily gotten an armband from a regular store (for about five times more than what I paid), but it has been my experience that those armbands don’t fit my arm correctly. They either slipped down my arm all of the time or the velcro didn’t go around the band far enough, so that it could be secured.

It has two areas in which you can put the band through, depending on your arm size. And it also has a place for your key, in which I place my gym locker key. This is a great feature because I don’t usually have pockets to put it in.

This was a great deal for less than $5.

3. Weight Belt
If you lift weights, whether light or heavy, a weight belt is a great addition to your workout gear. The weight belt helps you to stabilize your core and your back to help prevent injuries when lifting. It also helps to lift heavier weights easier.

I’ve had some ladies tell me that they thought weight belts were only for men. This is obviously not so. You can find weight belts in lots of different colors and designs tailored to women. I did not go the feminine route with my belt. I bought a plain black leather one from amazon.com for about $15.

So do yourself and your back a favor, invest in a weight belt and start getting the most out of your lifting.

4. African Shea Butter

When you start to really taking care of your body by consuming all of the right foods to take care of your inside, you want to make sure you are also taking care of your outside.

I used to put Vaseline on my skin to keep it moist and smooth, but when I realized that I was putting petroleum on my skin, which according to livestrong.com, “side effects of petrolatum include finding the petroleum byproduct in breast tumors, suffocation of the skin, premature aging and aggravated acne.” Um, no thanks!

I first discovered African Shea Butter at a hair show with some friends. I saw a man shaving the shea butter out of a huge shea nut with a huge knife. He was shaving the shea right into the container from which they were selling it. You can’t get any more natural than that! Needless to say, I bought a couple of tubs of it on the spot. You can also purchase it from amazon.com.

Raw unrefined shea butter is said to be effective for curing skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, scars, stretch marks, frost bites, burns, athletes foot, insect bites and stings, arthritis and muscle fatigue. Yes, please!

Using just a little bit goes a long way. Because I shower two times a day because of my two-a-day workout schedule, must make sure I stay sufficiently moisturized. When I get out of the shower, I apply some while my skin is still a little damp to really lock in the moisture. Results- healthy, glowing skin all day for less about $10, lasting about 6 months!

5. Yurbuds Earbuds
Over the years, I have tried all kinds of earbuds and have never found ones that would accommodate my abnormally small ears. Maybe I’m alone in this, but my ears are so small that I can’t even put a pencil behind them without it falling off. The same is true for any and all earbuds I have used in the past. I put them in my ears (using the smallest bud selection that comes in the package) and about 5 seconds into my treadmill sprint or one rep into my weight lifting set, they fall out of my ears.

I all but gave up and started using my wide head bands to keep my earbuds in my ears. That worked fine in the winter and cold months, but I don’t want a band around my ears in the summertime making the sides of my head sweat more than the rest of my body. No, thank you!

Fortunately, I found the answer to my earbud prayers while perusing the electronic aisles at Target a last week on Mother’s Day. Lo and behold, there is a product out there just for me and my fellow small-eared ladies.

Yurbuds created a line of earbuds specifically for women with small ears and are “guaranteed never to fall out”- just what I need! Being the skeptic that I am, I was still a little unsure, but was quickly proved wrong. When inserted correctly, these babies don’t move and fit snug in the ear without any movement at all. For about $30, they have acquired a customer for life. To top it all off, the buds were designed by a woman for all of us small-eared women. Thanks, Anna Karayiannis!

Are there any must-haves you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

7 Awesome Back Stretches to Help Ease Pain May 8, 2014

Sometimes when faced with a challenge, it seems much easier to relent than to actually do what it takes to overcome and push through whatever challenge we face.  But when it comes to our health, the opposite should be true.

We should do whatever we can to preserve ourselves so that we can enjoy our time here on Earth much longer. But you say, “Maya, I have back issues and have limited range of motion.” I don’t know if you realize this, but your back, under a doctor’s supervision, can be improved with regular and frequent exercise.  The opposite is true if you decide to use rest as the only way to treat your back pain.While resting and limiting any strenuous movements can help when needed, it can do more damage than good.

Keep in mind, the healing process is gradual and so should exertion be through exercise.  Start small working your way up to more difficult movements. Back exercises done in a very focused, gradual and progressive manner helps to get needed fluids and nutrients into the muscles and spinal cord to keep them healthy. Consequently, having a regular routine targeting your specific back issues helps to avoid stiffness, weakness, and decreases the chance of the pain or discomfort from returning. More importantly, it helps to reduce the severity and duration of potential future recurrences.

A balanced workout program of back exercises should include stretching, strengthening and low-impact aerobics.

Try these 7 movements suggested by the Mayo Clinic, which only takes about 15 minutes per day. To easily integrate into your daily routine, complete these stretches when you wake up and again before going to bed.

Knees to Chest

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor (a). Use both hands to pull one knee to your chest (b). Press and hold for 15-30 seconds. Return to starting position (c). Repeat with opposite leg (d).  Return to starting position and repeat stretch by bringing both knees to the chest at the same time (e). Repeat routine three times.

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To see the rest of these great back stretches, including step by step video instruction with exercises and stretches to help overcome back pain, click here for part one of my entire article featured in the May issue “Health, Hair, & Happiness” on pages 12 and 13.

 

 
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