Keeping Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution  

Article by: Jaded Jenn 

We've gotten through the first few of months of 2017, so let me ask you…Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to get fit? Lose weight? Gain muscle? How are you doing so far?? 

You're probably to the point that you're tired; tired of dealing with the crowds at the gym, or you're just not losing the weight! Well, I'm here to get you back on that horse! Here's a few tips to get you back in the game: 


Did you start off way too hard? Maybe you went into full-on beast mode from the get-go and it made the gym seem more like a torture chamber than it should be. Here's how to re-engage: When you initially started, what were your goals? Did you try to reach for that goal a little too quickly? Slow down there, killer!! Rome wasn't built in a day! 

Like everyone, I had a first day at the gym. It was a little embarrassing being the newbie at the gym because even though I was 111 lbs., I was not in shape. I could not run .25 miles on the treadmill without having to stop and walk. In order to graduate from basic training, I needed to be able to run 2 miles in 21 minutes or better. So my overall goal was to be able to run a 10-minute mile (6 mph) before I shipped off to basic. I knew I could not run that fast right away, I had to take baby steps to get there. My first goal was to be able to run .25 miles without having to stop and walk. Once I met that goal, I moved it up to .50 miles, and kept increasing it by .25 miles until I could run the full 2 miles. Eventually, I could run the entire 2 miles at 5.3 mph. No, it wasn't fast enough, but it was progress. After setting those small goals, I eventually got to where I can run a 10 min mile...even better, I could run faster than that! 

Your goals should be “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. You want to go in with a plan. Know what you want to achieve and make sure it has a value (i.e.: I want to be able to bench press 200 lbs.). You can't do it right away, so you have to start small and work your way up. Also, ask yourself if you CAN even lift 200 lbs. Don't try to do it if you have an injury or anything else that can hinder you from lifting that amount. Give yourself at least 2 weeks before you “graduate” up another 10 lbs. The bottom line is, don't start too hard at first, you'll burn yourself out very quickly! 


Oh, that darn number!!!! It can make or break your motivation! You may have noticed you lost a lot of weight at first, then all of a sudden, no matter how hard you work, your weight loss slowed down significantly, or just stopped all together. Then people are like, “Nope, it's not working anymore!” 

Let me ask you this: How are your clothes fitting? Do you see visible evidence of weight loss NOT on the scale? Did you take measurements? There's a saying out there, “Muscle weighs more than fat”. While I don't really agree with that saying, I feel obligated to clarify. We all know that 5 lbs. are 5 lbs. But it takes less muscle to make 5 lbs., and more fat to make 5 lbs. Think of it as 20 lbs. of rocks vs 20 lbs. of feathers. It's not going to take that many rocks to make 20 lbs., so think of the rocks as muscle. It's going to take more feathers than the rocks to make 20 lbs., the feathers are the fat. So you could be losing fat while gaining muscle, and that's why the scale isn't moving. 


I hate when people use the term “diet” as temporary. A diet is never temporary. A diet is “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”. Let’s stick to that meaning. You probably went from eating fast food to trying to meal prep. Again, let’s go back to the SMART goals! You went from one habit to another and face it, old habits die hard! Let me help you make the transition a little bit easier. 

I love me some tacos! Hamburgers, spaghetti, etc.! You don't have to give those things up, just find healthier alternatives. For the taco meat and burgers, use ground turkey. Taco shell, use whole wheat tortillas. Same with hamburger buns, whole wheat! Spaghetti, I have recently discovered spaghetti squash and love it! Or instead of using regular pasta, go whole wheat or quinoa noodles. Ditch the vegetable and canola oil, go for olive oil. These small changes will take some getting used to, but you'll still enjoy your meal! 

Think of your body as a car. It runs more efficient on quality does your body. Feed it well and it will do you well. And your car takes you further on a full tank of gas, so do not deprive yourself. Most people think starving themselves is the way to go, but it's not. You'll only mess up your metabolism, so fuel yourself! Make healthy eating a lifestyle. And it's okay to be “bad” once in a while, as long as you get back on track! I like to enjoy a big, greasy burger from Five Guys every now and then! 


I hear you on that. At the gym, it's a struggle even us gym rats go through in January. We have to zig-zag around a crowd of people, you think you're in a mosh pit! It's probably safe to return! Most of the New Year’s crowd dies down towards the end of January (and you better not be one of them!!!!). As much as we would like to see people keep going, it's the reality of the situation. We know a lot of people are not in it for the long haul. So look at it as their loss is your gain! Besides, you still got your “resting gym face”, put it to good use! 


Who cares? We all have to start somewhere! It's a struggle that anyone of any shape and size go through. I've heard people say they didn't want to be the fat person at the gym, they were afraid of getting judged by all the fit people. Think of it this way, maybe some of those fit people used to be the fat person. Or that big-muscled guy over there, he was probably a skinny looking kid that got tired of everyone telling him he needs to go eat a cheeseburger! The gym is there for a reason, it's there FOR YOU!! 

If anyone judges you for not being fit, then they are a douchebag! Showing up to the gym means you're putting forth effort. Don't let a few shady people throw a wrench into your goals. Fitness is not just a physical challenge, it's also a mental one. You have to mentally prepare yourself for anything that comes your way. You're going to have haters, nay-sayers, the negative voice in your head telling you “you can’t” have to overcome all of those. 


Staying Fit Over The Holidays  

By Jaded Jenn 
It’s that time of year again: Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas treats…we all know we’re going to indulge ourselves right? And what else happens in the winter months? The nights are longer…the sun rises later and sets earlier. It can be very frustrating for some of us when that gives you the perception that there are not enough hours in the day. A lot of us are at work during hours of light and by the time we get home, it’s dark, leaving really no time for any outdoor activities we would normally enjoy during the summer. And when it’s cold outside, who wants to be out in that? Maybe a few of us, but safety can be in question when there’s snow and ice on the ground. 
The best approach to beat the holiday weight gain is to have a plan. We know it’s coming, so just be proactive. Make a winter workout schedule that includes indoor activities, because face it, weather is not going to be cooperative at all times. For us in Colorado, we know that it can change in a minute! If your workout does include outdoor activities, have a backup plan! 
Instead of that outdoor run, hit the treadmill. Times like this, it’s really good to keep some home workouts handy. If you’re anything like me, you have this thing about avoiding unnecessary travel at all costs during inclement weather. I can pop in a DVD in the comfort of my own home and still get my workout, travel to the gym not necessary! Another option, get home workout equipment. If it’s not within your budget, check your local resale sites and social media pages, there’s always someone getting rid of them to make space in their home. Most people are willing to give them away for free or super cheap if you can just come pick it up. There are ways to get that workout in, you just have to get creative! 
So getting the workout in is part of the battle. The other…those treats!!!! Now, I wouldn’t be human if I said avoid them altogether. I wouldn’t recommend that by a longshot! Besides, everything is good in moderation. The part that needs to be avoided is overdoing it. Thanksgiving Day, on average, people consume more than 4,500 calories! But it’s just one day, right? One day isn’t going to kill you! Same with the Christmas festivities. Because we all know that our places of employment like to have parties and potlucks around this time of year. 
Again, it’s all about having a plan in place. Once in a while won’t hurt, but it’s a matter of keeping the situation under control. Make something out of the leftover turkey, turkey is not bad for you! Or just practice portion control with your leftovers. Better yet, give some food to the homeless. You could have them take some of that food out of your hands and you’re doing it for a great cause! 
I hope this helps you guys stay ahead of the game. We all know our summer bodies are made over the winter, so keep pushing! Get that workout in somehow and treat yourself, just don’t overdo it!

True or False: 4 Fitness Myths Fact-Checked.  

By Jaded Jenn 
“The right shoes will make you run faster” 
Somewhat True: 
While just getting new shoes won’t cause you to be a faster runner overnight with the ability to jump 10 feet in the air, it is important to be put in the right shoe. All runners are not alike, we all run/walk differently. So what’s important here is being fitted with the right shoe for your activity. Running is an action that’s very hard on the knees and joints, so it’s very important you are put in the right shoe to avoid injuries. 
Take me for example, with 14 years of active duty, running is pretty much our life until we retire or no longer have to do the PT test. I bought a new pair of shoes and was wondering why I was constantly rolling my ankles, causing further injuries and shin splints. Since Colorado is a state that’s very fit with a lot of runners, I’ve gotten a lot of suggestions to check a running store in the area. 
The one I went to was The Boulder Running Company. They put me on the treadmill with a camera behind my feet and was able to slow down the video footage. They showed me how I’m a pronating runner (I turn my feet slightly inward when I run), and the shoes I was wearing were more designed for people who turn their feet outward. 
They measured my feet and brought out some Brooks® running shoes. I noticed a difference instantly, the shoes were offering the support I needed and even my knees felt a difference! So while there is no magic shoe that’ll make you a speed runner, you can get put in the proper shoe, avoid injuries, and in turn, improve your run time. Yes, those shoes are expensive, but spend money on the shoes, not the hospital bills on the injuries! 
Note: Brooks® may or may not work for you. Just because I said it worked for me doesn’t mean it’s the right shoe for you. GET FITTED!!!!! Check with your local athletic shoe stores for a free gait analysis. 
“Lifting weights makes you bulky/too swole” 
Mostly False: 
If you’re just lifting for strength training, you’re not going to get big! So many people are afraid to lift in fear of getting big--women especially. You’re not training the same way as Dana Linn Bailey (or any other female bodybuilder), so you’re not going to look like her! Getting big through weight lifting happens if you train for that. There’s more to just lifting weights; there is diet, supplementing, and very strenuous training to achieve the big/swole look. You will get some good muscle definition, so pick up some weights! Strength training is not about getting big, it’s about human performance! 
“If I do sit-ups/crunches, I will get 6-pack abs” 
While I don’t want to discourage you from abdominal or core strength training, just doing sit-ups or crunches alone is not enough to accomplish getting 6-pack abs or losing fat around that area. It’s going to take cardio and diet. There’s a saying I came across, “Abs are not made in the gym, they’re made in the kitchen”. Doing those crunches will strengthen those muscles, but it’s not going to burn the fat. Cardio and a healthy diet will. Remember: calories in, calories out. You must burn more than you consume. But whatever you do, don’t eat too little calories--try to keep it above 1200 – 1500! Anything less than that is very bad! 
“It’s bad to eat after 7pm, it’ll hinder you from losing weight” 
The calories still add up the same way! Have you heard “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and dinner like a Beggar”? Looking at it from a metabolic standpoint, you do want to make your breakfast your largest meal since you’ve been inactive the last 8 or so hours. But again, if you do the math, the calories add up the same. So really, it’s your call on how big you want to make your meals.

Fitness Q & A from Jaded Jenn 

Hey this is Jaded Jenn. I have been an avid fitness enthusiast, part-time fitness instructor, and Certified Physical Training Leader for the Air Force for several years. I decided to answer some of my fellow Metal Maiden's fitness questions. 
Disclaimer: I'm not a credentialed personal trainer.
Everything I have learned was through trial and error in the 14 years I've been involved in fitness and feedback I have received from others. 

#1. “I want to know how to get rid of my baby belly pooch without killing myself with crunches!? So I guess core exercises I can do at home.” 
Guess what? I have great news for you! You don't have to kill yourself with crunches! But here's a little bit of bad news, “Abs are made in the kitchen!” I say that because I know that the diet aspect of a healthy lifestyle is the hardest part. Sure, you can get away with being naughty every once in a while, but when you're trying to cut or lean out, your diet has to be on point! With that being said, the best way to get rid of that belly pooch is being calorie deficit. Crunches and other ab strengthening workouts are going to just work the muscles, not get rid of the fat. So you can still have strong muscles covered with a layer of fat. 

To lose the fat, you got to hit the cardio in addition to the healthy diet. And keeping the diet on point is hard, which is why I allow myself a cheat day or cheat meal. Back in my younger days, I too, thought spot training would get me that 6-pack abs. I could bust out some crunches, but I did not have the 6-pack I wanted. I finally got a 6-pack when I was more aware of how much I was eating. Track your calories and your activity. A good program for that is “My Fitness Pal”. If you're still looking to strengthen your core, you can do other things like side bends to work the obliques, utilize resistance bands to work the core (I learned some great moves from Turbo Fire Core 20 workout), planks, even funny as that sounds. But you do use your core to keep the rigid head-to-heel form for push-ups. As someone that does a lot of kickboxing, throwing kicks helps the core when you use it to chamber the knee and throw the kick. 

#2. “An exercise regimen for at home. People stare at me if I go to a gym, then there's the random meat head that walks up and asks about my tattoos!” 
You know what I say about those people watchers... “eff” those guys!! They want to stare, let them stare. If they're going to stare, give them something to stare them how badass you are! Show those guys how it's done! That's the thing, I go to the gym for me, not these other people. I also have a shirt that says, “It's simple, DO NOT DISTURB, I didn't come to the gym to listen to you give your mouth a workout”. You can go on Amazon and find a ton of shirts with catchy little phrases like that. And I also have my, “resting bitch/gym face”. I go there, I'm not playing around! Go to that gym with confidence! 
As for at home programs because there are times I just don't feel like driving to the gym, Beachbody offers a ton of at home workouts. Most people are familiar with Insanity and P90X. I own a few of their programs myself, my favorites being Turbo Fire, Turbo Jam, and Les Mills Combat. Their programs are a bit pricey though. You can even check YouTube and see if there are any programs. I do know Hulu has “Daily Burn” and I've heard pretty good feedback on that. But don't let a bunch of “Lookie Lous” hinder you from meeting your goals. They want to stare, make it worth their while! 

#3. “Healthy eating and some good booty exercises” 
Healthy eating is a pretty broad range. It depends on your goals. For starters, you can still enjoy food you like by substituting ingredients. Example, hamburger meat, use ground turkey or lean ground beef. Sweet potatoes instead of white (I will not demonize potatoes for they are a great source of carbs, which gives you energy). Bake instead of fry. Use whole wheat instead of white bread. Eat more veggies. The more protein you eat, the more full you will feel. I'll tell you what a personal trainer told me, “If God made it, then you can eat it.” Meaning if it's not made in a factory, then go for it. If you do get that “Big Mac Attack”, nothing wrong with making it a once in a while thing. Just don't do it all the time. As for booty exercises, ah yes, LEG DAY!!!! That's where my booty gets the workout! Leg presses, squats, deadlifts, lunges to name a few. If done correctly, they will work your glutes. 

#4. “How to get rid of love handles, work out your back, and low impact cardio.” 
All right, so for the love handles, refer to the answer to question #1. It's the same deal, it's a layer of fat you need to lose so diet and maintaining cardio activity is key. For back workouts, I do a lot of deadlifts for lower back, rows for upper back, lateral pulldowns, upright rows, back extensions, “Supermans” to name a few. 


When it comes to back workouts, please keep safety in mind! I was told by a nurse that for every 10 lbs. you lift while bending your back is 100 lbs. to your spine. When you do back exercises, deadlifts especially, you want to keep your back straight. If you don't, you risk injury. Tell yourself, “Butt up, back straight, chest up, shoulders back, look straight ahead.” 
“Is there anything I can do that will help my chest area to give me some lift without looking like a swollen ass body builder?”  

Absolutely! But you don't have to worry about looking swollen when lifting. People who get swollen, that's what they're training for. Getting swollen is more in the diet aspect so if you're not eating like a body builder, you don't have to worry about looking like a body builder. Some good workouts for your chest is the pec fly, chest press, seated chest press, push-ups. But also keep in mind, boobs are fat too! So don't be surprised if those seem like the first to go in your fitness journey, ladies!! 
If you are unsure about the workouts I named, you can always Google them and see images that show how they are done.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to direct them to my Facebook page  


8 Things You Need to Know About the Proper Diet 

8 Things I Have Learned About Proper Diet
I have been involved with fitness for about 13 years now. It started as something I had to do for my job; but then I started to see some results. I began to see more and more benefits of staying healthy through proper diet and exercise. Then I began to enjoy it. It became a lifestyle. Now I'd like to share some things I have learned with you, starting with a few diet tips:
1. You cannot out-train a bad diet!
This was a big thing I learned the hard way over the years. I was still eating like crap, killing it at the gym and was still putting weight on. I had no idea what I was doing wrong! I was getting better with my physical fitness, but I was still packing on the pounds, and it was slowly coming up. What gives? Then one day, it hit me... there must be something to this calorie counting thing. So I decided to read food labels and keep the calories low and still keep killing it at the gym. Finally, the weight decided to drop! But I regressed and gained the weight back. I joined a local gym and got to talking to personal trainers, then I learned the whole concept of calories in, calories out. You must burn more than you take in to lose fat. From that point forward, I knew what I had to do to get the job done.
2. Cheat meals are a must!
There’s no shame in having that pizza, burger, or whatever in moderation. Here’s the thing, if you limit your calories all week, your body is going to adjust to that. If you spike the calorie count one day, it’ll confuse your body and reset your metabolism. Not only that, if you eat clean most of the time and you take that one day to splurge, why not? Get that temptation out of your system and move on! One day is not going to kill you, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! I’ve came across people that think that cheat meals are a big no-no and I just look at them like they’re crazy. Abstaining can lead to binge eating! And we don’t want that, do we? Everything is okay in moderation!!
3. If you leave the “bad stuff” alone long enough, you won’t desire it anymore.
Soda, heavily fried foods, FAST FOOD (big culprit), the list can go on. I gave up on soda back in 2008. No turning back. I used to be a huge Dr. Pepper drinker, you could always turn around and find one in my hand. Then, when I started the whole calorie counting thing, it was a Diet Dr. Pepper. Regardless, ALL soda is not good for you. Diet sodas are worse. With that being said, I can’t stand the carbonation anymore, so I just don’t miss it. Heavily greasy food, I come from the South where everything is deep fried. And we also have the convenience of fast food joints. Last summer, I had Chick-fil-a, I haven’t had it in a long time. Later on that night, my stomach felt horrible. Later on, I had Wendy’s... same thing. My stomach felt bad that night. So now I make it a point to eat good when I’m out and about if I have to. Because fast food and fried foods are just going to aggravate my stomach and make me feel like I caught a nasty stomach bug. You no longer desire these things because your body is not used to it, and to you, it’s not worth feeling like crap over.
4. If it’s frozen and in a box, leave it alone!
I used to be into eating the Smart Ones, Healthy Choice Meals, etc. Now I admit, I have eaten these if I’m in a pinch, which goes back to the whole “everything is okay in moderation!” But really, those things don’t fill you up. I would eat one and feel hungry again. Plus, it’s processed food, which leads me to my next point:
5. It’s quality, not quantity!
So you hear this, “It’s too expensive to eat healthy” crap... yes, it’s CRAP! That’s no excuse. I can buy a large pack of chicken breasts for $9 that’ll last me up to a week. Buy real food. Frozen veggies are okay. Yes, it takes time to cook this food, but believe me, it’s worth it! Chicken, lean beef, fish, eggs, loaded with protein. Protein makes you feel full. You don’t need to eat a large meal to feel full, you just need to eat the right foods!
6. Meal replacement shakes? PSH!
Don’t waste your money on these. You’re going to feel hungry shortly afterwards. Don’t use these to replace a meal, but maybe to supplement. I drink a protein shake daily to get that extra 25g of protein in my diet. And I’m usually on the go anyways, so it comes in handy, as well as protein bars. But again, protein makes you feel full anyways! Remember?
7. Don't skip meals.

People get the misconception that if they skip meals, they can lose weight. Actually, skipping meals does the opposite. Have you heard of starvation mode? What happens is that your metabolism is slowing down because your body believes its food supply is running low. You won't perform as well, and you'll start to feel irritable because you're blood sugar is dropping. It will also make you feel hungrier when the next meal rolls around. This can lead to binge eating. You will not only consume more calories; you will also be reinforcing bad dietary habits. It's best to listen to your bodies cues to maintain proper caloric intake. If you have to skip a meal because of time, try to plan ahead and get something you can eat on the run.
8. A “diet” is not temporary fix; it's a lifestyle change.
We've all heard stories about fad diets that don't work. We've also seen people who go on a diet and lose weight only to gain it back once the program ended. What went wrong? Why do all these different diet programs seem to fail? The problem is all these programs advertise themselves as a temporary solution. “Lose weight in just 90 days,” they promise. And then what? Do you go back to eating junk food and sitting on the couch? The harsh truth is; diet and exercise are not a temporary fix. They are a way of life. When it comes to staying healthy; you need to think long term. You need to look at it as a life style change. Change can be scary, but it can also be exciting.
Push, by Chalene Johnson.

Article by Jaded Jenn