Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Don't Go, by Lisa Scottoline

If you’re a Lisa Scottoline fan, Don’t Go will not disappoint.

Personally, the legal/crime drama isn’t my favorite genre. This book was last month’s read for our book group, The Novelties. One of my favorite things about this group is that I end up reading some books I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own if not for the group. This is one of them. I’ve read some of Scottoline’s work in the past, and while she’s a wonderful writer and storyteller, I just don’t usually enjoy the suspense of following the emotional fallout of a battle as it unfolds in the courtroom. Ok, there’s my disclosure.

That being said, I will re-state, if you like this type of story this will be a book you won’t want to put down. The unexpected turns come at you quickly and keep you in suspense. Actually, throughout the first third or so of the book, I was beginning to think the story didn’t feel like classic Scottoline style. The courtroom drama didn’t begin until closer to the end. 

The meat of the story takes you through one, “NO WAY!” scene after another as you get to know Mike Scanlon, the main character. The things that kept happening to him make you want to jump into the book and defend him yourself. At the same time, some of the things he went through started to feel a little bit too outrageous to be believable. And then, just when you thought you wouldn’t be able to handle another, “NO WAY!” it all comes to a head and you finally get some relief.

If I were rating this book out of 5 stars, I would give this one a 3.8. I’m glad I read it, and I would recommend it, especially if you like the legal drama type of stories.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Intimidated In The Gym?

Do you ever feel this way? 
I found this picture on Facebook, and it made me laugh. I wonder if any of you ever feel this way sometimes like I do.

I remember feeling self-conscious about working out in the gym. Just like anything new you try, weight training can be a little bit intimidating when you’re first getting started, especially when the weight room is crowded and it feels like everyone is staring at you. Don’t let that stop you from getting in there and sticking with it.

Even after four years of the Marine Corps and several years of being a group fitness instructor I was still a little nervous about going into the weight room of the gym at first. I felt like others in there were pros and I was a newbie, and that my newbie-ness would be apparent and the pros would judge. Sound familiar?

How did I get over feeling awkward in the weight room? I faked it! Yep. I pretended I was as comfortable in there and that I belonged there as much as the “pro.” Specifically, I went in with a plan, stuck to the plan, was polite to everyone around me, and focused on my workout. The best way to become comfortable with something new is to educate yourself on the subject and then get started. Knowledge and experience (just do it!) are the tricks.

If you’re new to working out, my advice is to hire a personal trainer. He or she can help you feel comfortable in the weight room and serve as your ‘wing man’ while you learn your way around. I can’t say enough about the value of a qualified personal trainer for teaching, coaching, motivating and accountability. Meanwhile, here are some tips on etiquette in the gym. 

  • Put your weights back after you use them. 
  • Wipe down the machine or bench after each use.
  • Don't camp out on the equipment. Allow others to 'work in' (do a set between your sets). 
  • If the room is busy and a piece of equipment you need is being used, politely ask if you can 'work in.' This means you're effectively sharing the equipment, alternating a set of theirs with yours.
  • Walk away if you must take a cell phone call.
  • Don't leave a trail behind you. If you're carrying a water bottle, towel, etc., take them with you when you vacate an area.
  • Don't spend time socializing with others. This can be distracting to those who are serious about training.
You'll notice that most of these tips are basic common-sense good etiquette for how to act in a public place anyway. That's how it is in a gym - it's no different than any other public space. You belong and have a place there as much as anyone else.

Also remember that there are as many methods of weight training as there are people in the gym. The pumped-up dude who looks like he was born and raised in the gym isn't the only one who knows how to work out, and he certainly isn't doing a workout that is necessarily right for you. And the beauty of it is, that's ok!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Moment, 8/26/13

The Truth About Marissa Mayer: An Unauthorized Biography
This article talks about how Mayer beat out the man who assumed he had the CEO position all wrapped up. I love reading about successful women!
Live Longer, Cut Out the Crap
Live Longer, Cut Out the Crap
Live Longer, Cut Out the CrapL
Live Longer, Cut Out the Crap
Live Longer, Cut Out The Crap
Back to basics: This is a great guide on how to eat for good health.
I found Eat This Much from this article and LOVE it!
The title says it all. (You guys know I'm a book freak!)
(...and a coffee freak!)

Effective people are not problem-minded; they're opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.
-Stephen Covey

Sunday, August 25, 2013

6 Characteristics of a Goal

Many of us have ideas of what we want. Those ideas sometimes get interpreted as our “goals”. What’s the difference between having ideas and having goals? There are six characteristics that set an idea apart from a goal.
  1. A goal must be well defined. As the old saying goes, “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” Cut your ‘elephant’ into bite size pieces. For example, instead of “I want to lose weight,” try “I want to weigh 135 pounds.”  Or turn “I want to feel better,” into “I want to have more energy throughout the day.”
  2. A goal must be stated in writing. When you write down your goal, it feels more like a commitment. Write it down and keep it with you to look at often. 
  3.  A goal must be stated in the positive. A positive statement acts as an affirmation that you’re heading in the right direction. It’s always better to look forward to what you’re working toward, than to look back to what you’re running from. Your actions will follow what you’re focused on. Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want.
  4. A goal must have a deadline. This is another point that turns your goal into a commitment to yourself. With a firm deadline, you can schedule daily and weekly objectives to realistically move you toward completion. If something unexpected comes up that throws you off track, simply adjust the deadline and hop back on the train.
  5. A goal must have sincere emotional appeal. In other words, define your “why”. In order to be successful in meeting your goal, you must truly want it and be doing it for the right reasons. What is that sticking point that will keep you moving forward when it gets difficult?
  6. A goal must be challenging, yet realistic. Remember my article on pushing past your comfort zone? By definition, a goal must challenge you to step outside of the box you normally keep yourself in and improve on your current situation. However, you must be able to see yourself as successful in order to be confident you can get there.
You can live from one day to the next, just doing the necessary things to get by and dealing with issues as they come up. Or you can have well-defined goals for many areas of your life. When it comes to overall wellness, there are many areas you can take a look at and determine where you want to be in a year, 5 years, when your kids are grown… whatever it is for you:
  • You want to look and feel your best when: You take that cruise vacation next summer; Your son/daughter gets married next spring; You go to your 10 year class reunion this fall… (insert any upcoming milestone here).
  • You want to be strong and healthy by the time you’re ready to start a family in three years.
  • You want to be in the best shape of your life when you retire so you can enjoy the traveling you’re planning to do.
  • You want to avoid the health pitfalls you see your parents falling into as they age.
  • You want to be healthy and fit so you can enjoy your children as they grow up.
The time to set goals for your health is now. No matter what stage of life you’re in, set goals for the next one.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our New Rooms!

Scott and I got our exercise today doing things that reminded me of something Cross Fit would be great preparation for. Cross Fit classes work your body using functional exercises – exercises that are closer to the way we use our bodies in everyday physical activities.  

Today we decided to rearrange two rooms in our house. We have two living rooms – one we use as a family room with our TV in it, and the other is full of books and comfy seating to lounge and read. The family room was the lower level living room on the back of the house that walks out into a screened-in porch. The upper level living room is on the front of the house and has big windows across two walls, and we used that as the reading room.

Because the family room has the TV, we spend more time in it. We decided it was time to reverse the rooms so that we’re spending more time in the one with more natural lighting from the front of the house.  

We started by me taking all of the books off the bookshelves while Scott re-wired the rooms for the cable/internet/phones. 


Then we started moving the heavy stuff. I'm very thankful my hubby is a big guy. He handles the furniture like it's nothing more than moving around some pieces in a game (ok, maybe that's exaggerating a bit, but sheesh!). 

We finally got the rooms put back together, and then I did the fun part of placing our books, pictures and other stuff around to make the rooms feel warm and cozy.  

Here are some pictures of the final project.
New family room
New reading room

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Do I really need to include a warm up and cool down in my workouts?


Why is it important to warm up before and cool down after your workout?

If you’re exercising to maintain or improve your current fitness level, and your workout consists of weight training or cardio, a brisk five-minute walk on a treadmill will serve to prime your muscles with the additional blood flow to be able to handle the work load efficiently. If you head straight into your workout without first warming up, your muscles may not give you peak performance until your body has sufficiently caught up with the additional blood flow your muscles need. 

After your workout, especially a weight training session, another brisk to slow walk on the treadmill for five to ten minutes will help to bring your body systems back to resting rates. While you’re working out, the muscles being worked can receive up to 85% of the oxygen and blood flow your body produces. After you cool down, those resources will return to a more even distribution through all of your organs (your kidneys, liver, stomach, etc.). An active cool down can accommodate this re-distribution more effectively than just stopping and resting right away. It can also help remove built-up lactic acid and reduce muscle soreness.

Where does stretching come into play? You should stretch the muscles you just worked directly after working them to help eliminate the waste produced by the exercise (lactic acid). These stretches should be done before your cool down, because during and after the cool down your muscles lose some of the elasticity they have as a result of the warmth from working them. Stretching for this effect should reach the point of just before discomfort and held for eight to ten seconds. If, however, your goal is to improve range of motion, stretch to the point of mild discomfort and hold the stretch longer (up to a minute). If you perform a stretching regimen as your exercise session, be sure to take extra time to warm up your muscles before you begin.  

It may seem like a good idea to shave ten or fifteen minutes off your workout by skipping the warm up and cool down, but your workout will be more effective and your recovery less painful if you don’t.