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Choose the Right Toning Workout for You


Losing weight is the main objective of a lot of people who join a gym or start a fitness regime, but when you’ve achieved that goal where do you go next? The best answer is to move on to a toning routine.

Plenty of weight loss exercises overlap with ones to get your body nice and toned but there is a difference between the two aims. Therefore there are things you should be doing differently to ensure your muscles become tight and defined. Create a workout tailored to you by taking note of the following advice.


Endurance workouts such as long runs or bike rides are good for losing weight but for toning interval exercises are the best. These are shorter but higher intensity exercises that actually save you time when working out.

On an exercise bike or treadmill alternate between short ten to twenty second bursts going all out and around 80 seconds at a comfortable pace for about 20 minutes in total. You can even do this outside, mixing sprinting in with a longer run or bike ride.


All weights use different muscles and work towards strengthening and therefore toning them. To be most efficient pick weight exercises that use more than one muscle at a time, such as squats and deadlifts. Mix your session up with two lower body weight exercises and three or four upper body ones, aiming for heavier weights with fewer repetitions as this leads to quicker fat burning and faster toning.

You don’t even need weights or to go to a gym for some effective toning exercises. Lunges and press-ups are excellent for working various arm muscles and your abs without using weights. Planks are good too and require little time or space to complete.


Your workout routine should be based on your current level of fitness. At least three times a week you need to be working out to see the difference in your tone, with two rest days. If you lead a busy life with little time to visit the gym then Fitness Warehouse has plenty of equipment you can use at home, from dumbbells to benches.

What you eat and drink has a big impact too as you need to be burning more calories than you take in to get toned at first. Eat enough for energy but cut out any extra fatty foods or do extra exercise to burn it off.


How to Mix up Your Cycling Workouts


Cycling is an excellent form of exercise as it involves strength, power and endurance and can be done inside or outdoors with the right equipment. However, constantly going for the same five or ten mile bike rides does not only get dull but you can soon lose some of the fitness benefits by sticking to the same routine.

For this reason it’s important to mix up your cycling workouts to keep things fresh, interesting and maximise your training routine. If you are a regular cycler then it’s good to do each of the following at least once a week with a rest day or two as well.

Endurance Rides

Depending on your fitness levels an endurance ride could be anywhere from 30 minutes upwards. The important thing is that you cycle continuously for the full time (not counting necessary stops due to traffic etc.). Stick to a pace that you are comfortable with so not to run out of steam straight away.

Longer rides are far more enjoyable done on a real bike outside, so plan your route so as not to overdo it. During winter using a gym exercise bike will work well to see your pace, and you can catch up on some TV or an audio book at the same time.

Tempo Sessions

As their name suggests, tempo sessions are done at a higher intensity. Again cycling continuously, aim for a faster pace but during a shorter time period. If you can manage an hour for an endurance ride spend around 25 minutes cycling at a constant fast speed that you can maintain for that time.

This will help increase your overall speed for longer rides and help you not tire as quickly when tackling steep hills or stepping it up during an endurance cycle.

Speed Sprints

The shortest but possibly most painful cycle workout is the sprint. You can do these on a bike outside, just ensure the way is clear, but it is best on an exercise bike indoors.

Cycle your fastest for 30 seconds then rest for 60 to 90 seconds and go again. Repeat this six times and as you improve start bumping up the time to 45 and 60 seconds sprints and repeat more often. This will increase your pace and power by getting your body used to lactic acid flowing through it. It may be tough at first but it will be rewarding in the end.


Strike a Pose, a Yoga Pose!


Disclosure ~ Compensation was provided by Stayfree via Mode Media.
All opinions expressed are 100% that of the author (Sheila) and are not indicative of the opinions of Stayfree.


I can’t remember when I first fell in love with yoga, but I know it was probably in my early 20’s.  I think I saw a tv commercial for some video program that was for yoga and I was sold.  Over the years (20 years or so), I have gone through many phases where I do yoga daily, and then times when I do it maybe once a week or so.   Even if I don’t find time to do it daily, I do use many of the moves daily to stretch out my body.   But, my favorite yoga is hot yoga.  I love love love sweating all the stress and toxins out of my body.    But, as most women know, we all have challenges we face when doing certain moves.  Not challenges doing the moves, but challenges with the clothing we wear and how things shift when we are in some of those moves.  And for me, I sometimes tend to twist certain ways where my bladder might not agree with me and if you know how thin yoga pants are, you know that nobody wants that.   Wearing a sanitary product isn’t always appealing when you have skin tight, thin, show everything, yoga pants on.  My solution, Stayfree® Ultra Thin liners.  Not only do they stay put, but they have Thermo Control® Technology that wicks moisture away.   So, when I am sweating and possibly leaking doing what I love, I have no worries.   I actually turned a friend of mine onto using Stayfree® at one of our hot yoga sessions.   She used to put toilet paper in her undies.  YIKES!  I can’t imagine.

Did you know yoga is great for depression?   I know this first hand, as I suffer with depression bad in the winter.  Being a Minnesota girl, the winters are long and dark and cold and I am not an outside person when it’s cold.  So, I like to get up early when it is still dark out and load a great workout on my laptop from Gaiam TV, and start my day off by striking a pose.   It stretches my body, helps me get my mind in the current day, and puts a smile on my face.

Strike a pose and let your stresses float away and start your day fresh.    Poses like Body Awareness, Child’s Pose, Cobra Pose, Bridge Pose, Mountain Pose, Warrior Pose, and Forward Fold. No matter the pose, just let your body slip into the movement and enjoy every breath you take while feeling your body give into the move.

Have you tried yoga?  Wanna give it a try?  If you purchase Stayfree® in stores or online between Jan 8th and March 12th, you can get a 30-day membership to My Yoga on Gaiam TV.    Easy, just purchase and upload an image of your receipt to redeem your free 30 day membership.  I have been using Gaiam TV for a while now and love it.  There are so many choices that a person can do a different yoga routine every day.

So now you have no excuse to not try yoga, right?  No worries about being comfortable as you can choose the Stayfree® product that is right for you, the yoga routine that fits your needs and let yourself just enjoy doing your body good.  Make sure to keep your Stayfree® of choice in your gym bag like I do. I never know when I might be in town and a friend might invite me to a hot yoga class.   I am always prepared.



Tell me your favorite yoga pose.

New year, new you! Yoga is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and who better to lead the yoga-lution than you. Inspired by athletic wear, Stayfree® pads feature flexible layers that move with your body from child’s pose to side crow. Visit to find which product best fits you or visit our Facebook to learn more about our mission. Also, don’t forget to use your Stayfree® purchase to get a 30-Day membership to My Yoga on Gaiam TV and access FREE yoga classes online now through March 12!

Snowboarding or Skiing: Which Is Best for Fitness?


Snowboarding and skiing are two of the most popular winter sports with many overlapping similarities between them both. Up every snowy mountain you’ll find people arguing over which is better, cooler or more fun. If you’re thinking about trying one out you’re probably wondering which, if either, is best for improving your fitness.

It’s a close run thing and there isn’t much between them, but if you’re looking for a specific fitness benefit such as burning more calories or improving strength there is a slight difference. Either way a lot of the gear and equipment required is the same and available from High Octane Sports.

Muscles Worked

As your stance and movement is different for both sports there is a difference in the muscles used. Both involve core muscles for balance and skiing uses quadriceps and hamstrings when bending at the knee while snowboarding relies on them to get the board moving.

Snowboarding also maximizes use of your calves for turning and guiding the board and muscles in your feet and ankles more than skiing. A big difference is that skiing uses gluteal muscles a lot, for stabilizing other muscles and allowing flexion which is essential for steering your skis. Arms muscles are obviously used a lot more to control the poles in skiing too.

Calories Burned

The amount of calories you burn depends on various factors such as your height, weight and age along with the steepness of the slope, quality of snow and how fast you go. This makes it hard to determine which burns through more calories.

One study found that Alpine skiing burns about 500 calories an hour while snowboarding is fewer at 450 per hour. As it’s such a slim margin if you are already capable of snowboarding but just learning to ski it’s likely you’d get a better workout from snowboarding and vice-versa.

Injury Risk

Skiing has a higher risk of leg injuries, in particular ACL ruptures due to the stance and movement involved. Ankles sometimes suffer with snowboarding but that’s about it for the lower body.

Both have a risk of upper body injuries mainly due to busier slopes and the increased chance of knocking into other skiers, especially as better equipment makes everyone go faster. However, snowboarding has an extra risk as you’re more likely to fall on your front which can lead to broken wrists and collarbones, or your coccyx if you go down backwards.

Keep your Fitness on Track with Sears FitStudio

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Sears.
I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.


The most popular New Year’s resolutions are health related, including eating better, getting more exercise, and losing weight. People are often derailed from achieving their goals for numerous reasons. My issue is generally lack of focus. When it comes to resolutions that are long term, it’s best to determine the overall goal and then break it down into attainable steps. Sure I say I want to be more active, but without clearly defining specific goals, it’s much easier for my efforts to get sidetracked. My specific goals are to maintain 10,000 steps per day with an additional workout as often as I can but shooting for at least three times per week. With this defined, I can then rely on amazing resources like Sears FitStudio to keep me on track.

FitStudio is everything I need to tackle my resolution of being more active. After a quick sign up, FitStudio allows you to connect your apps and devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone – so you’re easily able to access all your fitness data in a single place. Visit the Goal Center to input your goals and how you’d like to track them. Track by number of workouts, calories burned, time, distance, and more. For mine I selected three workouts per week for four weeks, naming it “Complete 12 Workouts”. The goal then shows me how many workouts I have to finish, how many days are remaining in my goal, and other factors. I then have the option to create a new goal, extend it, or delete it. When I use an app or device that I’ve added to FitStudio, it automatically tracks the workout. Alternatively, I can add them in manually. At a glance, I can see all workouts from the week, month, or year.

A feature on FitStudio that is extremely helpful is the Workout Center. I know I want to work out, but I don’t always know which exercises I should do and sometimes I might need assistance on how to do those I choose. This section of FitStudio shows individual exercises and how to do each which detailed instructions. Or there are pre-set workouts and programs like The Busy Mom Workout or bunch of targeted workouts that focus on specific areas. All of which have me working up a sweat. There are also challenges where you can compete against yourself or head to head against other people. Check out the video challenges to learn more. FitStudio also offers reviews on equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise cycles. Read the good, the bad, the ugly. Each is given a FitStudio score based on performance, features, value and other criteria.

By far my favorite feature of FitStudio are the rewards. Yes, I’m rewarding myself by being more active and in turn being healthy. But how about something a little more tangible? FitStudio gives you points that are then redeemed for savings at Sears and Kmart. Earning for exercising? Yes, please! You get 2,000 points for signing up, 2,000 for completing your profile, and 1,000 for connecting a device. #Achieve15 is an easy way to earn 1,500 points by walking/running 15 miles or burning 1,500 calories! That’s an easy way to start earning. You’re then rewarded with points for each fitness activity and social activity! Burn calories? Earn points! Share your progress? Earn points! I’m all for positive reinforcement, especially when it comes in the form of shopping.

You do need to be a Sears Shop Your Way member in order to earn points, but that’s an easy sign up and totally worth it. Shop Your Way members who are registered users of FitStudio earn Shop Your Way points when they complete a qualifying activity as described in the activity description. The amount of points available for completing a qualifying activity vary. There may be limits to the amount of times a qualifying activity can be completed to earn points. There are many other perks to being a Shop Your Way member too.

Make sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter also.

How can FitStudio keep you on track?

5 Ways Walking Will Improve Your Health


Improving your health and fitness doesn’t have to involve splashing out on a year’s gym membership and working your body to the bone every day. Walking is something everyone should be doing daily and bouts of brisk walking can have some serious health benefits you may not have expected. It’s free, requires no equipment and can be done almost anywhere. So what are you waiting for?

Tones Your Body

It’s important to have a good posture and wear high quality footwear when you walk to fully reap the benefits. Walking strengthens your calves, quads, hamstrings and gluteal muscles as well as your abs and arms which are where most of your speed comes from. Going up and down hills further tones these muscles as they are worked harder.

Strengthens Your Heart

Regular walking will strengthen anyone’s heart as it gets it working more which reduces levels of bad cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in line. This works to reduce the risk of heart disease in people with a high risk of heart attacks and type 2 diabetes. Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day and attempting to do around 10,000 steps daily is the recommended amount to help combat such illnesses and stay healthy.

Reduces Body Fat

Not as effective as going for a run or doing more intense exercise in the same time period, walking will still reduce the amount of body fat when done regularly and coupled with a healthy diet. Walking will help build muscle too, and those with more muscle have a faster metabolism so you should start burning more calories when not exercising too.

Improves Your Mood

Walking helps wake you up and gives you plenty of time to think (or socialise if you go walking with others). It releases positive endorphins which help to reduce stress and anxiety without having to push yourself if you were doing more physically demanding exercise. Walking has been shown to help improve memory and other cognitive functions as well.

Lengthens Your Life

By strengthening your heart, muscles and mind these all add up to improving and increasing your life. The faster you walk has been shown to result in a longer life too, as well as burning more calories. So if you’re plodding behind it may be time to crank it up a notch. Wherever and however you walk it will all be beneficial in the end though.


Get in Shape with the ActivMotion Bar

Disclosure ~ Living Smart Girl received product/compensation for sharing our views of the ActivMotion Bar.  All opinions expressed are 100% that of Living Smart Girl.  @ActivMotionBar @FitApproach  @ActivMotion_Bar @FitApproach  #SweatPink #ActivMotionBar


It’s a new year and that means many are on the search for a new them.  If you are one of these people, like I am, then you will love exploring fun ways to get your sweat on.   My latest obsession for fitness is the ActivMotion Bar.   Never heard of it? Well that’s ok because neither had I.  At first look I thought, now how can a bar filled with weighted balls really be effective.   Boy, I will tell you after my first workout my body was telling me how wrong my brain was!


The ActiveMotion Bar was created by a guy named Derek Mikulski.  Derek was a very unhealthy and overweight young man tipping the scales at 260 pounds.  Derek took control of his life, lost over 80 pounds and is now helping others do the same.  So, out of his passion for fitness came the ActivMotion Bar.   The unique internal rolling steel weights inside the bar help to engage both body and mind to enhance strength, balance and mind – muscle awareness.   Like I said, I was really not sure about this until I tried it.  Wow…  you really have to concentrate on what you are doing.   The balls roll, and you are working your whole body to keep things flowing smoothly thru your workouts.


The ActivMotion Bar offers a variety of packages for anyone looking to add this to their fitness routine.   I received the 6 pound bar and 5 DVD’s.   The ActivMotion Bar has huge versatility because the workout programs can be used to improve balance, core strength, flexibility, muscle tone, cardiovascular fitness and sports performance.    I like that the exercises one does with this are fun and refreshing, and also effective.    And I know for many who can’t get to a gym, or can’t fit a ton of exercise gear in their home this would be perfect!  It is a pole, so fits anywhere in your home.

I made a video to show you some of the moves I like the most.   Check it out ~


There are so many great workouts to do with the ActivMotion Bar and that makes this a perfect workout tool for pretty much anyone.    This is even approved by the ACE, MASM and AFAA programs for continuing credits.   If you are a fitness professional this would be a great class to offer in your area.

I am enjoying my ActivMotion bar and adding it to my weekly fitness training.   I would love to know if you have tried this, or plan to try this.

Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and G+.


5 Ways to Lose Fat Without Surgeries

In some cases, weight control surgeries may be ideal. However, not everyone absolutely needs these procedures. What was first ideal to save a life has become more tied with vanity. There are many ways you can lose fat without checking yourself into the hospital. The best part is, many of these methods are not costly or difficult.

Eat in Moderation

One of the most obvious forms of losing fat is by eating in moderation. However, many people think that means going on a diet. In reality, you can still enjoy all the foods you love as long as you eat the correct portions. For example, most cans of soup are packaged for two servings, yet many people will eat the entire can in one sitting.

Monitor Your Snacking

Instead of eating a bag of cookies for a snack, turn more towards fruits. Not only will you get the natural sugars to satisfy your sweet tooth, but many of these can help fight a variety of illnesses including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. This is especially true in most berries such as blueberries and strawberries. In fact, having a serving of dark chocolate can be more healthy as it provides a large amount of iron and less carbohydrates.

Natural Supplements

Dietary supplements can help burn away fat by using natural herbs and chemicals to enhance the body’s ability to burn it as energy. Companies such as Chemist Australia sell Fat Blaster products and the like which are made with a variety of these natural components. Many of these assist the body by using the fat that is stored while providing anti-oxidants and other benefits.

More Physical Activity

Physical activity is the cornerstone of reducing body mass. However, it doesn’t take a lot in order to make an impact on yourself. Walking to the corner store, vigorously cleaning house for 20 minutes a day and other movement beyond what you’re regularly accustomed can make a difference in weight loss. The more active you become, the quickly you can lose fat.

Online Competition

There are several websites available that are free to use that can help drive your need for healthier living. Some weight training sites provide points for exercises you do while comparing your score against others from around the world. This provides a layer of entertainment and getting the competitive juices flowing in order to surpass thousands of others.

Although getting lean may help your appearance, there are many reasons why you should take better care of your body. Not only will you look better, but you will feel better as well. Your physical and mental capacities are all controlled by your overall health. By putting more effort into improving yourself, it’s even possible to change your general moods throughout the day to live a happier life.

Extreme Weight Loss: The Real Facts on Fat Loss



Every year, millions of people struggle with weight loss effort. And, for some, the success doesn’t bring the kind of lasting happiness that they thought it would. Why not? Excess skin. You see, when you lose a massive amount of weight, there’s sometimes the issue of excess skin that’s left over after the weight loss. This is skin that’s had to accommodate the added fat mass which isn’t needed anymore. Sometimes, weight loss is an inner journey too.


Feel Accomplished For What You’ve Done


It’s easy to feel beaten up when you lose the weight you wanted to, and yet there’s still evidence of your obesity hanging around. It’s not uncommon for excess skin to appear around areas where you held the most weight. But, this skin normally doesn’t stick around. Your body will adjust and everything should shrink back into place.


In the meantime, you should be happy with your accomplishments. Many people who try to lose weight fail.


Stop Comparing Yourself To Others


One of the biggest mistakes people make is they compare themselves to other people. In a world that glorifies models and people with zero body fat, it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of criticism and self-depreciation.


There’s always someone who is skinnier than you. There’s always someone prettier than you. But, weight loss isn’t about you meeting an external standard. It’s about losing body fat, reducing that ratio of fat to lean muscle tissue, and improving markers of health.


The goal, in other words, is to become healthier, not hit a specific number on a scale or match up to a T.V. star or model.


Get a Tummy Tuck


If excess skin is really bothering you, or if your doctor has told you that it’s unlikely that your skin will tighten, you could look into plastic surgery. “Tummy tucks” or any kind of surgery that removes excess skin will change your current appearance to something you may find more favorable or attractive.


Want to know what is possible? contains before and after photos of women just like you who have undergone surgery to alter their appearance. While not all women opt for skin removal after a consultation, many do, and the results are pretty impressive.


Surround Yourself with People Who Appreciate You


This is probably the best thing you can do, when it’s all said and done. Not everyone appreciates you for you. The people who knew you when you were overweight, and didn’t hold it against you, are your real friends.


Sometimes, we find new friends or we discover a new found attraction towards us after we lose a lot of weight. It’s not that these people are shallow. But, at the same time, they may not be interested in us as people but rather as status symbols or sex objects.


Surrounding yourself with people you know appreciate you builds a strong support network, and this is what really makes you happy.


Based in Pasadena, Dr. Kevin Ruhge serves patients from throughout southern California and the United States. A busy plastic surgeon, he likes to write about his experiences in order to help people live better lives. Look for his helpful articles on many lifestyle, health, wellness and medical websites.


Fitness Tips For The Holidays


Fitness Tips For The Holidays

The holidays are approaching quickly and many people don’t want to derail their fitness and progress over a few celebratory months. Although it may be tempting to cheat on your healthy eating and push aside your fitness, it’s important to stay on track. These fitness tips for the holidays will keep you going all year long and if you follow them closely, you’ll be able to keep celebrating your success instead of starting over at New Year’s!
1. Make time to work out, even if it’s at home.
Often times, people travel during the holidays and end up putting any and all exercise on the back burner, especially if they’re away from their gym. The good news is that in today’s age, there are so many resources right at our fingertips! Between YouTube video workouts, Netflix, or even just running outdoors, there is still plenty of ways to get a great workout in during the holidays! One of the best fitness tips for the holidays is to never stop exercising. Once you do, it’s extremely hard to get back into the habit!
2. It’s okay to splurge, but be realistic.
Of course there are tons of treats around the holidays, and it’s often tempting to gorge all season long. Eating right and staying away from them is one of the best fitness tips for the holidays you can follow! As much as exercise and the gym are great, 80 percent of being healthy is eating correctly. Keep in mind that it’s okay to have a treat here and there, but don’t overdo it, and realize that it might cost a little more in the gym!
3. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself!
Just as with eating treats in moderation, it’s okay to take rest days in moderation during a vacation as well! Try not to get too into the habit of taking time off from exercise but if you have big plans, maybe skip the workout that day. Especially for something like a trip to the zoo, since you’ll be walking and exercising a lot anyway!
4. No zero days.
No zero days is a great fitness tip any time of year but definitely one of the most helpful fitness tips for the holidays! Essentially, you want to make sure you are doing something beneficial for your health every day . Whether it’s a walk at the mall for Christmas shopping, avoiding a large section of holiday baked goods, or getting in a great workout, just make sure that every day you put in an effort!
5. Drink plenty of water!
Drinking water is a huge part of gealth, weight loss, and overall fitness. Again, this fitness tip applies to all year, but as far as fitness tips for the holidays, it definitely ranks in the top! Making sure you stay on top of hydration and water intake is a huge deal, especially because it can be tempting to drink other holiday beverages like egg nog, or alcohol. It’s totally okay to splurge on those things but keep in mind that water intake is the most important!
What is the hardest part about staying healthy through the holidays for you?