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90 Days & Beyond

To say that I have been under intense personal construction and refinement these past months is an understatement. The choice to "not ...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Resignation For Now

Life is full of choices, and not always the ones we want to make. I find myself having to choose between numbers of pursuits and teaching four grades to four kiddos. Part of the struggle is finding time, energy, and ability to do blogs, research, continuing education in addition to workouts or any self-care in union with teaching, rearing, and caring for four kids. For now, I'm choosing to do my core job of kids; therefore, having to forgo blogs and/or any online pursuits/offerings (outside of my Scripture blog). Trying to keep up this blog offering, planning for online studio, etc., just isn't feasible at this time, so I reluctantly say goodbye for now. Take care! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Core Sense

Concentrating just on crunches and your rectus abdominis to reduce your fluffy center and get a six pack just won't work!!!  Why, you may ask?  First of all you cannot spot reduce your trouble areas.  Second, your abs are mostly a result of how clean you eat. 

And finally, your ab work needs to address all of your core muscles and not just one set (the rectus abdominis).  

Tips To Keep In Mind:
1) Be sure and pair your abs exercises with lower back work to balance out and address your whole core.
2) Always engage your core during your daily activities as well as during every strength training activity you do.
3) Flexing moves such as crunches target your rectus abdominis.  Planks address your core stability.  Rotational movements such as twisting lunges target your obliques.  

"Don't let age dictate what you can and can't do for abs training.  Let your ability dictate that."
 ~Tosca Reno

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ab Facts

A good write up on the "why" situps are not an effective ab enhancement choice from Women's Health.

"You have five lumbar vertebrae, and each one gives you about seven to nine degrees of motion, for a total of 45 degrees," says Mary Kirkland.  That means to truly work your core, you need to stay between zero degrees (like a plank) and 45 degrees (like a crunch).  "From 45 degrees to a full situp, you're engaging your hip flexors, which attach directly to your lumbar spine.  Too many reps will not only make your hip muscles sore, but your lower back will start to hurt too."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Days 64-70

Days 64-70 of 90 Day Nutrition/Fitness Challenge:

Life is busy! To make time for just one other thing seems impossible and like it will throw everything you have "working" off balance! It will and it won't. One of the struggles of the past weeks has been: "if I add workouts in this time slot, then I will fall behind on x,y,z (cause it's never just one thing), but if it doesn't go 'here' then it won't happen at all". Yes and no. Adding or deleting activities/to-dos means rearranging how things work, but it doesn't mean they instantly won't work. It's about carving and finding and moving and shifting things around until they work. That's what I've been doing and fingers crossed it will and will stick. The balancing act comes in with not overdoing dysfunctionally or underdoing by giving up/in.

I think for my time(sake) and keeping my ability to do what I need to in order to stay on track, I am going to journal/post my days weekly for the remainder of this 90 Day Challenge:

Days 64-70 Reporting:
Workout/Run:

  • Day 64 (Mon) was Resistance (Aug B modified for where I am currently). It's always important to remind ourselves that "currently" isn't forever if we get going and progressing. Discouragement can always be lingering, but allowing it to take up residence is defeating which leads to quitting (there is no progress in quitting). Since the B workout is very cardio filled, I saved Intervals for the following day. Additionally, I did 20 minutes later in the day of Pilates (attempting to focus on my Core strength for next few weeks to get back to my fitness level). 
  • Day 65 (Tues) was a mile/half run followed by Intervals (40x20 8 rounds of Knee Highs/Jumping Jacks on the driveway jamming to Pandora) followed by some additional Core work (Side Planks/Saw Forearm Planks). Your ab muscles are the only ones you can strength train days in a row (other muscles need a day in between break to heal/repair/build). I won't do this ongoing....just until I'm in a different fitness place. 
  • Day 66 (Wed) - Day 68 (Fri) was a disappointing and unplanned days off for working out...long story, but suffice it to say the kids got the better of my abilities to cope. Homeschooling 4 kids is not for the faint of heart...some days way more so than others!
  • Day 69 (Sat)  was a 1.5 mile jog/run/walk with my almost 10 year old little man (who loves to run) followed by Resistance (Aug A 3 rounds, full workout) followed by Intervals (40x20 for 10 rounds of Burpees) followed by 20 min of Pilates and then finally stretching.
  • Day 70 (Sun) day off from working out....

Yoga:

  • Day 64 (Mon) restorative Yoga stretches for legs/hips/buttocks. 
  • Day 65 (Tues) Power Yoga (full body, fast paced). Also, got in some handstands following morning run/intervals/abs (inversions are the bomb diggity) . 
  • Day 66 (Wed) - Day 70 (Sun) had intended to do Yoga but intentions aren't worth anything if there is no follow through....and yeah I didn't follow through.....I stretched intermittently, but as far as a full Yoga practice goes...nope :-/ Guess this wasn't "the week" after all....

Eating: Started out great Mon/Tues/and most all of Wed with 90/10 clean with limited gluten/dairy. Still lacking in my complete goal of 8-10 servings of produce consistently, but getting there. Then, my succumbing to stress, anxiety, desperate frustration, I fell to 70-75/30-35 for the remainder of the week....Not the worst, but definitely not the best either.....Here's to a better week ahead!

Sleep: With one day exception, I got in 6-7 hours each night...only one night at 5 hours.

**Note, that while it seems like a lot of workout/yoga time in places, it's really not. Resistance Workouts take 15-20 min tops, Intervals take 10-15 min tops, Runs take 30 min tops, Yoga is anywhere from 30-45 min tops....cause that's all the time I have. If I need to take time from somewhere to simply get in the workouts/runs/yoga, I take it from leisure time (TV, Facebook, etc.).....provided of course it's not days like Wed-Fri of last week, and then my resolve at this stage is no f@#$ given....It's about figuring out what you want and how to go about doing it.**

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Produce Serving Sizes

A question that gets asked a lot is what constitutes a serving size of produce.  First know that the information contained on this blog is not medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health-care professionals. I am not a registered dietician. Consult your physician before beginning or making changes in your diet or exercise program, for diagnosis and treatment of illness and injuries, and for advice regarding medications.  That said, the rule I go by is to eat a minimum of 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.  I try to weight the fruits earlier in the day due to the sugar content and I always combine my produce with protein. Eating Supportively Page  The serving sizes I utilize are as follows:

1 Fruit Serving Size is Equal to:1 medium whole fruit (e.g., apple, banana,, orange)
1/2 cup small fruit (e.g., berries, grapes)
1 cup chopped large (e.g., melons)
1/4 cup dried fruit

1 Vegetable Serving Size is Equal to:1 cup cooked or raw
2 cups leafy greens
1/2 cup beans/legumes

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Muffin Top Elimination

Aside from wearing "mom jeans" that tuck under your boobs, there are only two real and effective ways of eliminating the good old "muffin top".


  1. Eating Habits don't have to be perfect a 100% of the time, and you don't have to forgo all of your favorite foods and libations. Key, is you do have to eat balanced at least 80% of the time...meaning protein, whole grain carbs, veggies, fruit, fiber. Cheats/Indulgences need to be restricted to 20% or less for the remainder of your week. For faster results, 90/10 and only 2-4 indulgences/week; as well as, restricting foods that cause bloating (e.g., large amounts of gluten, dairy, sodium, alcohol, soda).
  2. Core, core, core....Specifically your Transverse Abdominis (TA) muscles! You cannot "spot" reduce any of your trouble areas with your abs being no exception, but you can engage those muscles to tighten, strengthen, engage to maximize their effects on your body's movements, fat burning abilities overall, metabolic effect, etc. Think of your TAs as your natural girdle holding your center together. It is the deepest abdominal muscles in your core. A strong TA lends itself to good posture, better ability to move upper/lower body more functionally, and to assist in the strengthening and engagement of your other core muscles (Rectus Abdominis, Obliques). With the TA engaged during regular exercise and in all exercise (whether it be legs, arms, butt), it then is engaged during all daily activities. Being in tune to your TA throughout your day continues your core strengthening. Just even holding yourself taller with good posture by engaging your TA changes the way you carry yourself and changes the way you look in those jeans (reducing muffin top appearance). Not engaging your TA and not working your core, allows for those muscles to be lax, your posture more likely to be slumpy, and your muffin top to pooch even more than necessary cause you've lost your suck and hold abilities that come with using your natural girdle. Worse, if you wear external girdles and the like, you are further removing your TA from its job which will overall impact your posture, movement, and muffin top even more. Just by adding plank holds to your regular exercise routine, you are strengthening your TA and giving your core and ongoing ability to work for you well beyond your workouts. 

Days 50-63

Days 50-63 of 90 Day Nutrition/Fitness Challenge:

A much needed break from sharing all my stuffs so I could find my pace. I share to help folks, but I do not share because I need to or desire to open myself up....I prefer to keep my personal, raw self to my inner circle and myself. I'm not an extrovert by nature and I am not keen on 'being all out there'....I don't need anyone to notice, approve, or validate me, so the practice is just uncomfortable most of the time. So, why the blogs and all the sharing? Because I feel led to share what I think will help others. It's conflicting and sometimes overwhelming which is why I go through periods of time where I'm absent from doing it....it's in those times where it is taking too much out of my soul to share. I need time to just me and my thoughts without the vulnerability of sharing with the public. I needed the last couple of weeks to figure out my stride in my health and family without overthinking what's best for anyone other than myself and my family. It was exactly what I needed to get back to all the basics and find my rhythm that I can maintain and be consistent. So why come back to blogging if it's better for me to not? Same reason I've always done it....I feel strongly that by sharing, I can help folks that might need a push of motivation, education on their pains and struggles (internal/external), understanding that they are not alone, and, very importantly, so they can have access to knowledge of the body without it coming from someone trying to sell out to get ahead or promote false bs to sell product or self. I've followed so many fitness folks over the years and am always disappointed when they "sell out" and start pushing crap that they used to rail against just to move ahead in their field. Fame and profit become more paramount to them than what they started out doing which was basic and good. Which is definitely not what I'm about.

I was in a health crisis and major life change when I started this 90 Day Challenge. I wasn't in a place to "be on track" and the best example of what I know to do consistently...which is why I have zigzagged all over the place in these 90 days. Since I'm not doing this for my ego, it was a good way for me to relay all the good, bad, ugly of starting out or starting over in gaining good, sound fitness and nutritional habits. I thought by sharing the struggles in this way would lend itself to truly helping the majority who struggle in similar ways, so they could see the possibilities and try, try, try again without totally giving up on their fitness journeys or themselves. It's in sharing the struggle to find balance in good habits and a healthy lifestyle that I thought would be even more beneficial to all the beginners or those who are starting over again and feeling like beginners. Sure, I could have waited til I found my healthy balance and then (full of ego and consistency) just shared all my good habits, etc., but what would that prove or how would that help anyone? It wouldn't! When I'm fully in my zone, everything is spot on and appears to just be easy, etc. I feel and look fabulous and that helps no one but me. I don't share all this learned mess to help me...I experience it, so in that don't need to share.....I share the struggle and hard learned information gained to help get you to the fabulous!


Days 50-63 Reporting:
Workouts/Runs: On/Off while I tried to figure out what truly works for me right now. My inflammation is almost totally gone and this is the best my body has been in years regarding my body overreacting to every little thing. I finally am back to a mental place where I can trust that what I push my body to do won't backfire (with muscle tremors, joint pain from inflammation, etc.). Just this week am I truly back at a pace I can sustain. I have a ways to go to get back to the fitness level I was two years ago, but I'm excited to finally be in the physical and mental place to get there again without all the step arounds and sidetracks of the past couple of years. I finally feel free to do what I know and move forward.
Yoga: Spotty and not yet daily although this week seems to be the week it will be. As long as I mentally wasn't all in, I couldn't quite connect to my body the way yoga requires to be most effective and that was holding me back. Yoga is what keeps me fit and healthy and on track, so getting connected to it and my body is what will get me where I'm going (joint stability, flexibility, feeling good, consistent nutrition/fitness habits).
Eating: LOL well I've been all over the place with this...first was reactionary to all the autoimmune mess (eliminating everything that triggers issues which meant very strict and unhappy) to just doing what I know to work, but not fully mentally on board to do it consistently. I believe all my tantrums of where I've been, what I was and lost and starting back over (kicking and screaming) are done, and I've finally (finally) clicked over to the fit and healthy for all the right (non-reactionary) reasons that make being consistent a habit and not a chore. My stride at the moment is in the 85/15-90/10 range during the week and more 75/25 on the weekends. I'm a little more indulgent than I should be (still) on the weekends (for now), but it's what keeps me mentally in check....and that's way better than not at all. Yes, being overindulgent slows progress, but for me (right now) progress is key (however slow)....as is staying focused and setting the habits with all the to-dos of daily life. I'm not in a race to results, just results that stick and habits that are consistently good.
Sleep: More 7 hours a night than 5 hours so that's definitely better. Occasionally an 8 hour night or 6 hour night, but finally the 5 hours a night throughout the week are gone. Sleep is good!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Good Reason Not to Quit

Need a good reason to keep moving forward with your exercise practice?  If I haven't already provided enough good reasons, here is one more:  According to the principle of reversibility, when you stop performing resistance exercises you will lose the strength you gained in about one and half times the rate in which it was gained!  Worth a break?  Did you really just put all that effort into yourself to walk away and have to start all over again?  I didn't think so!

"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this--you haven't."  ~Thomas A Edison

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August 2016 Workout with Description

August ‘16 Workout
Christina Gibson, ACE-CPT


A Workout: SuperSets = 2-4 Times Through

  • VSit DB Unilateral Bicep Curls 10-12 Reps
Set Up: Begin sitting on the ground with legs in front of you spread open (forming a “V”), toes pointed up (knees and toes pointing toward ceiling and in alignment), back straight, core engaged. Only opening legs out as far as you can maintain a straight back and straight legs in good form (for tight hamstrings or weak core, legs will be closer together). Work towards being able to have legs far apart.
Action: Holding one dumbbell in right hand (at hip/floor), tucking elbow into side ribs, and curling dumbbell toward shoulder. From shoulder, slowly release the dumbbell back toward hip/floor. Once the right side is completed the desired number of repetitions, repeat on the left side.
You are working: Legs, core, back, biceps

  • Vsit DB Unilateral Shoulder Press 10-12 Reps
Set Up: Begin sitting on the ground with legs in front of you spread open (forming a “V”), toes pointed up (knees and toes pointing toward ceiling and in alignment), back straight, core engaged. Only opening legs out as far as you can maintain a straight back and straight legs in good form (for tight hamstrings or weak core, legs will be closer together). Work towards being able to have legs far apart.
Action: Holding one dumbbell in right hand (above shoulder, palms front facing), slowly push dumbbell up to full arm extension (without compensating form in Vsit position). From full extension, slowly lower dumbbell back to starting position above the shoulder. Once the right side is completed the desired number of repetitions, repeat on the left side.
You are working: Legs, core, back, biceps, triceps, deltoids

  • Vsit DB Double Grip Tricep Extensions 10-12 Reps
Set Up: Begin sitting on the ground with legs in front of you spread open (forming a “V”), toes pointed up (knees and toes pointing toward ceiling and in alignment), back straight, core engaged. Only opening legs out as far as you can maintain a straight back and straight legs in good form (for tight hamstrings or weak core, legs will be closer together). Work towards being able to have legs far apart.
Action: Holding one dumbbell overhead (dumbbell will be vertical, hands will be holding both sides of the head (underneath) of the dumbbell with thumb pad of palm), slowly lower dumbbell (by bending elbows) until elbows are fully bent and pointed up (keeping by side of the head, and hands are at the back of the head (lower part of dumbbell against upper back). Repeat movement for desired number of repetitions.
You are working: Legs, core, back, triceps



  • DB Behind Neck Bilateral Hold Bows 12-15 Reps
Set Up: Begin standing with legs under hips (toes and knees facing forward and in alignment), back straight (good posture, core bracing), holding either head of a dumbbell behind the neck (elbows will be bent and weight should be balanced between resting on neck and being hovered). Head should not thrust forward, but stay in good standing posture alignment.
Action: Bow forward until torso is parallel with the floor (never moving weight in hands), bracing core and returning to upright position. This is not a deadlift and the contraction is coming from back and core, not glutes as primary mover, so you will be moving first from shoulders (unlike the deadlift where the movement is started by hips moving backwards). Repeat movement for desired number of repetitions.
You are working: back, core, arms, legs

  • DB Sumo Squats 12-15 Reps
               Set Up: Begin with your feet 6-10 inches wider than shoulder-width apart. Point your toes   
               out to the
sides. Hold one dumbbell in front of you with both hands (dumbbell in vertical position, holding top head of dumbbell) in front of hips.
Action: Lead with your hips/glutes back as you lower your body down into your heels (not forward into your knees) as you were lowering yourself to sit in a chair, and until your thighs are as close as possible to being parallel with the floor. Squeeze (contract) your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and return to starting position. Repeat movement for desired number of repetitions.
You are working: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, inner thighs



  • Half Boat Unilateral Leg Extension Exchange 10-15 Reps each leg or 30-50 seconds
Set Up: Begin sitting slightly back on hips with back straight (from the vertical created by being back on your sitz bones) and heels on ground in front of you with bent knees. Bring legs up so that knees are in front of hips in the air and shins feet are in direct alignment with knees (toes pointed upward). Arms are in front of you in extension from shoulders (and parallel to shins). Keep core braced and back straight throughout entire movement.
Action: From this Half Boat Pose position, slowly straighten right leg (straight from hip forward alignment, forming a partial “V”/Full Boat Pose) then slowly returning right leg back to starting position and repeating process on left leg. Alternating between right and left legs for desired number of repetitions (or time).
You are working: Legs, core

  • Criss Cross Figure Eights 10-15 full rotations or 30-50 seconds
Set Up: Begin lying on the floor in a straight line, brace core and bring legs up off the ground (half way between vertical (perpendicular to)  above hips and floor).
Action: Legs parted slightly (about six inches apart), with right heel just in front & to the side of left toes as you dip your legs below half way position and to the left. In a figure eight movement (and changing foot positioning with left heel just in front & to the side of right toes) bring your legs back to center/half way position and to the right as you dip below half way position. Repeating/alternating left/right for desired number of repetitions (or time).
You are working: Core



B Workout: Plyo Quickie 50x10 Circuit = 2-4 Times Through

  • In/Out Squats
Set Up: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward in line with your knees. Lead with your hips/glutes back as you lower your body down into your heels (not forward into your knees) as you were lowering yourself to sit in a chair, and until your thighs are as close as possible to being parallel with the floor. You will not come out of this squat down position for the entirety of this move.
Action: From the Squat (and without bobbing your hips up/down), jump your feet together and then back out shoulder width apart (maintaining the down squat for all jumps of feet together/apart). Repeat movement for desired amount of time.
You are working: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, inner thighs

  • Plank Moguls
Set Up: Get into the top of a Push Up Plank, keeping abs braced (not sunk into shoulders), body in a straight line from knees to neck/shoulders.
Action: Jump legs to right, outside elbows (fully bending knees on landing), then back out to straight plank, then to left outside elbows, then back out to straight plank (this is one full movement, once back to straight plank from both sides is completed). Repeat movement for desired amount of time.
You are working: Legs, shoulders, core

  • Jumping Lunges
Set Up: Begin in standing position with feet under hips.
Action: Jump right leg behind as wide (front to back) as possible without losing balance or upright positioning as you come down (both knees bent (right knee over heel / left foot on ball of foot/heel up), then jumping up and back to starting position before repeating on the left leg. Alternating between right and left legs until movement for desired amount of time is completed.
You are working: Legs

  • Mountain Climbers
Set Up: Get into the top of a Push Up Plank, keeping abs braced (not sunk into shoulders), body in a straight line from knees to neck/shoulders.
Action: Keeping your body parallel to the ground, drive your right knee up towards your chest alternating
back and forth with your left knee (as if running, do not bob hips up/down but maintain parallel alignment throughout entire movement of legs). Repeat this movement for the required number of seconds.
You are working: Arms, shoulders, core

  • Burpees (Thrusters or w/Push Up)
Set Up: Begin in a standing position (good posture, core braced) with feet together and arms by your sides.
Action: Thrusters: Squat into your heels (contracting glutes, not forward into knees), bringing buttocks lower than knees, lean forward placing hands under wrists and thrusting feet back coming into top of Push Up Plank (wrist below shoulders). Jump legs forward underneath hips/shoulders (think frog), then jump to upright as high as you can then back to standing. The movements should be fluid and fast, moving between each position repeatedly until set amount of repetitions or time is completed, while keeping your body aligned throughout the movements. If adding Push Up for full Burpees, then add Push Up between Push Up Plank position and jumping legs underneath to upright.
You are working: Legs, core


August 2016 Workout

August ‘16 Workout
Christina Gibson, ACE-CPT


A Workout: SuperSets = 2-4 Times Through
  • VSit DB Unilateral Bicep Curls 10-12 Reps
  • Vsit DB Unilateral Shoulder Press 10-12 Reps
  • Vsit DB Double Grip Tricep Extensions 10-12 Reps

  • DB Behind Neck Bilateral Hold Bows 12-15 Reps
  • DB Sumo Squats 12-15 Reps

  • Half Boat Unilateral Leg Extension Exchange 10-15 Reps each leg or 30-50 seconds
  •  Criss Cross Figure Eights 10-15 full rotations or 30-50 seconds



B Workout: Plyo Quickie 50x10 Circuit = 2-4 Times Through
  • In/Out Squats
  • Plank Moguls
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees (Thrusters or w/Push Up)


Modifications

A Workout: SuperSets = 2-4 Times Through

  • VSit DB Unilateral Bicep Curls 10-12 Reps
Ø  You can modify by being in a kneeling position (still keeping core braced and torso tall) & reducing number of reps to 6-8

  • Vsit DB Unilateral Shoulder Press 10-12 Reps
Ø  You can modify by being in a kneeling position (still keeping core braced and torso tall) & reducing number of reps to 6-8

  • Vsit DB Double Grip Tricep Extensions 10-12 Reps
Ø  You can modify by being in a kneeling position (still keeping core braced and torso tall) & reducing number of reps to 6-8

  • DB Behind Neck Bilateral Hold Bows 12-15 Reps
Ø  You can modify by doing this bodyweight (no dumbbell) and/or reducing the range of motion to between upright and torso being parallel to the floor
Ø  You can reduce the number of reps to 8-10

  • DB Sumo Squats 12-15 Reps
Ø  You can modify by doing this bodyweight (no dumbbell) and by reducing how wide your leg positioning is along with not going down quite as far (all the way to legs parallel with the floor)
Ø  You can reduce the number of reps to 8-10

  • Half Boat Unilateral Leg Extension Exchange 10-15 Reps each leg or 30-50 seconds
Ø  You can modify by not taking the legs up in the air to Half Boat Pose position and keeping heels on the floor; and, focusing on bringing one leg up at a time into Half Boat
Ø  You can reduce the number of reps to 6-8 or time to 20-30 seconds


  •          Criss Cross Figure Eights 10-15 full rotations or 30-50 seconds
Ø  You can modify this by reducing the range of motion, or simply changing the move to leg lifts from floor to perpendicular to the floor and repeating for the number of reps/time
Ø  You can reduce the number of reps to 6-8 or time to 20-30 seconds



B Workout: Plyo Quickie 50x10 Circuit = 2-4 Times Through
Ø  You can modify this entire circuit to eliminate the plyometric (by stepping through the movements instead of jumping), as well as by reducing the amount of time in the circuit to a 40x20

  • In/Out Squats
Ø  You can modify this by coming into the squat, but by stepping one leg at a time out (toe touch with leg straight to the side of body) and alternating each leg stepping out for amount of time

  • Plank Moguls
Ø  You can modify this by simply holding Push Up Plank Pose position for the amount of time

  • Jumping Lunges
Ø  You can modify this by doing Lunge without the jump, or by doing Lunge Pulses on one leg for half the time and the other leg for the remaining half

  • Mountain Climbers
Ø  You can modify this by holding Push Up Plank Pose position while stepping right leg to side, then left leg alternating for the amount of time

  • Burpees (Thrusters or w/Push Up)
Ø  You can modify this by stepping back to the Burpee Thruster position instead of any jumping