foxyolive

Journey to the best health of my life (yes, the journey includes olives)


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My favorite exercises – no equipment needed

I’ve been working out regularly since 2008. I worked with a personal trainer for 4 years during that time. He showed me so many different exercises and, although I try to keep my workouts varied, these exercises are always in my routine. I love them because they kick my butt – every. single. time. Also, they are great for people of any level and can be done anywhere, anytime – no excuses!  It is important to move – even a little is better than nothing.  Incorporate exercise into your daily life – it is so important!

 

Do you have any favorite exercises?  I’m always looking to bring variety to my workout so please share in the comments!

 

Squats

Half squats, full squats, with no weights, with weights, two legs, one leg – this exercise has many challenging levels.  If you want to look good great from behind then you WILL do them!  They are tougher than they look, but they will get you results.

Lunges

This is an exercise with huge variety. Forward walking, reverse, sideways, jumping (in one area), with a twist, with weights in front, weights above. Two lunges for every step, five for every step.  You can even add kicks and punches to the lunges.  Variety is important and this is one exercise that you can change up so many times.

Push-ups

You feel push-ups all the way to your core.  Push-ups on your knee, full push-up on the ground or on an elevated bar, push-ups with a twist, with one leg, with a clap, with feet elevated, push-ups with a wide grip or narrow grip.  Again, I could go on and on with variations.  There is a style of push-up that you can do, and there will always be a style of push-up that will challenge you.  Do not shy away from this exercise.

Planks

Keeping your body in a plank position is probably harder than you ever imagined!  Once you have 10 seconds down you can work on 20, 30, 60 and so on.  You can do it with your arms straight, or rest on your forearms, or even as a side plank on one arm.  Try it on one leg, or alternating legs.  You can also incorporate various movements – legs stepping or jumping out and in,  walking around a medicine ball, shoulder taps, lifting alternate arms, climbers.  You can simply go up and down from straight arms to your forearm and back up to straight arms.  Your body will never bore of this exercise as long as you keep pushing yourself.  Why not try a 30 day plank challenge?

Skipping rope

Ok, so this one technically needs equipment (or imagination!).  It’s simple and effective.  I find it a great way to include this as a quick burst of cardio during a HIIT circuit.  If you don’t have a rope try jumping jacks instead.  This video will give you some idea of the variations in this exercise.

Turkish get-ups

If you don’t know this exercise then learn the steps and do it.  I typically do it with a light weight in my hand.  I know – I said no equipment, but this exercise is too good to leave off the list!  If you do not have any weights handy, a can or bottle of water will do!  All you need is a floor to lie down on – and then just get up.  Simple, but a challenging and effective full body workout.

Burpees

I saved the best until last!  This one kills me every time (in a good way!).  I couldn’t do them before.  I look so ungraceful, but exercise is not about being graceful!  I tried and tried again, and I have got better.  I can even do a few in a row (read: big accomplishment!).  One day I will be as light on my feet as this guy:

 


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30 Days of HIIT: DONE!

I’ve been quiet on the blog about 30 Days of HIIT, but I promise that I was completing the daily challenges and am now DONE!  I sweat, I burned, I pushed, I conquered – that’s right: I kicked butt!

A lot of my comments for 30 Days of Cardio Blast spill over into this so I will refrain from repeating myself 🙂

I mentioned the awesome general stopwatch in another post but what I didn’t mention was that each daily workout has its own stopwatch at the bottom of the daily page with beeps to let you know you need to switch exercise.  See here for an example.  This was really useful during 30 days of HIIT because the exercises were based on time, rather than a specific number of reps.  All I had to do was listen out for the beep to move to the next exercise.  On a (technical) side note: the beeps did not work on Firefox for me, but they did work on Chrome.

I enjoyed the HIIT challenge just as much as I enjoyed the Cardio Blast challenge.  Yes, that’s right, I enjoyed it!  When I found it really tough I reminded myself that there was only seconds remaining and that helped me to keep pushing and not give up.  It is a really well thought out 30 days and I did not get bored.  I love that Neila Rey takes away all the thinking!  All I have to do is just do it!  As with my last 30 day challenge I saw noticeable improvements in various exercises.  It is truly amazing what a few minutes of dedication a day can do!

I’m glad I had completed the Cardio Blast challenge before doing the HIIT challenge.  I was already familiar with some movements, and it gave me confidence to try exercises that I was not necessarily comfortable with.  Some of the exercises in the HIIT challenge definitely took me to another level.  I’m completing these challenges while also keeping up with my regular workouts.  I feel like I’m getting stronger at a faster rate because of these challenges.  I see the difference in my regular workouts.

Most importantly, I feel really good.  I set out to complete two 30 day challenges and I’ve done them both!  Did you get that?  I met two goals!  I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it and I know that my dedication will pay off in the long run.  I am feeling very positive about the future – it has been a long time coming.

I’m starting my next 30 day challenge (thank you voters!) this week!

 

 

 


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Remove limescale naturally [electric kettle]

If you’re anything like me then you use your electric kettle all the time. I love hot water with lemon and can easily have a few cups in a day. Every so often I’ll see limescale build up in the kettle. Limescale is the deposit of calcium carbonate and a residue left behind by hard water. If there’s too much build up your kettle will not heat effectively and you will end up needing to buy a new one. Plus, it will look yucky!

There is a really quick, effective and natural way to clean your kettle – with white vinegar:

If you have coils then cover the coils with white vinegar and top up with water to the max level. If, like me, you don’t have coils showing then add approx 1/2 inch in height of white vinegar and top up with water to the max. Boil the kettle and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour out the water/vinegar mix. Your kettle should look shiny new! It will likely have a strong smell of vinegar. To get rid of the smell you need to fill the kettle with fresh water to the max level, boil and pour out the water.

I have been using this method for years and it works every time. It’s cheap, safe and doesn’t take much effort at all. Happy cleaning!


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The results are in! [my next Neila Rey challenge]

Screenshot of the results

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.  You are all wonderful!  Neila Rey’s 30 days of strength won by a landslide!  I will complete this next and will keep you updated with my progress.

For those of you wondering, I have finished 30 days of HIIT and will write a summary soon. 🙂


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Sweet potato hash with eggs

When I first saw this Whole30 friendly recipe I knew that one day I would definitely make it!  I finally made it yesterday and it was so good.  I’m 6 days into my Whole30 and I’m doing great. Yesterday I definitely felt the need for more carbs though.  I made this delicious meal which was tasty and satisfying.  I had it with a big salad on the side.

Ingredients

1/2 sweet potato
1 large pinch of Himalayan sea salt
A few shakes of a mixed herb powder
1 tablespoon of fresh crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 egg (if you want)

Peel the sweet potato and shred it.  If you have a food processor then you can follow what nom nom paleo did.  If you don’t then you can use a spiralizer like I did.  It was a bit tricky, but once I got the hang of it the spiralizer worked great!  Put the shredded sweet potato into a mixing bowl and add the salt, herbs and garlic.  Use your hands to mix it up.  Feel free to change it up for your taste buds.  You can add pepper, chili flakes and various other herbs.  Melt the coconut oil in a pan and add your shredded yam.  I cooked it with the lid on for a few minutes until I could see the potato browning on the bottom layer.   On the side make an egg (I always use coconut oil to cook my eggs).  Eat while hot!


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Whole30: Day 1

As promised, my first day is done! Normally the first day is pretty easy right? I prepped on the weekend, and had all my food ready and planned.  I opened my fridge in the morning and it just made me smile.  I have a variety of freshly cut up and ready to eat vegetables which look so good.  I was ready to go!  I had my breakfast (eggs, a small salad, half a grapefruit).  That kept me going until lunch where I had some pork, a large salad and the rest of the grapefruit from the morning.  Then came the challenge.

Day 1 challenge

A few people at work went to get coffees.  Last week I told my colleagues that I was starting a 30 day clean eating challenge on Monday.  One colleague asked if I wanted something from Starbucks.  I said no, and that I was fine.  She came back with a coffee for me – one of the new ones for the season (caramel something?). She insisted I have it.  I reminded her that I just started a clean eating challenge.  She responded saying that I could just make it a ‘cheat day’ – everyone has them.  I’m not even going to get into ‘cheat days’ right now, and how I absolutely hate that term.  I’ll leave that for another post.  And a cheat day on day 1 – or any day for that matter?!  I don’t think so!

So, I thought, what do I do now?  How to I handle someone at work that is trying to sabotage my 30 days of clean eating?  It may be coming from a good place, but she is still trying to sabotage me.  I have real health issues, and may have even more serious health issues if I do not focus on clean eating.  I’ve been vocal about my 30 day challenge and I just wish that everyone respected that.  At the same time I did not want to offend her.  All to often ‘not offending someone’ has led me down a path that away from my health goals.

I decided I was not going to let the Starbucks coffee sabotage day 1.  I poured it down the sink.  I felt terrible because by taking the coffee and not drinking it I was not being honest with my colleague.  Maybe one day I will be able to just say no, and not worry about offending others.  However, when I evaluated my day I felt really good about the decision I had made to not break a promise to myself.

I will face more challenges over the next 29 days.  I hope I have the strength to make the right decision every single time.

Have you faced challenges like this?  How do you deal with it?  I would appreciate any tips!


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Which Neila Rey challenge should I do next? Please vote!

Thank you to everyone who has voted so far! There’s still time to vote if you haven’t already (or if you want to vote again 😉 ). Voting ends Friday November 7. I really appreciate it – you’re all awesome!

foxyolive

I am 15 days into my second Neila Rey challenge. I love having a daily mini challenge and I’m already thinking about what to do next. Please help me make up my mind by picking one of the options below!  Thank you 🙂

Here are the direct links to the 3 options.
1. 30 days of strength
2. 90 days of action
3. 30 random workouts

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