Have you ever completed a task (a rather large one at that) and after doing so said to yourself: “holy crap, I did that!?” Well that’s exactly how we feel about this first year of Smart Fit Girls (SFG), and we couldn’t have done it without the support and love from our friends and family! We know many of you are interested to hear how the first ever SFG program went, so we’ve included a brief synopses/timeline for you here.
Women are awesome.
In fact, we think it’s about time people start recognizing just how awesome women are. So, Smart Fit Chicks is starting a new weekly post via social media titled #womenwednesday. We’ll start by highlighting some inspiring, kick-ass women in our lives. But, as time goes on, we’d love for you all to submit stories about those women who motivate/inspire/empower you! So who will be our FIRST EVER #womenwednesday highlight? The one, and only, Ms. Kryssy Johnsrud.
As many of you know, I recently spoke at a local event called Ignite Fort Collins. What is Ignite? Well, it’s a series of short, five minute “TED-like” talks. But, there’s a catch- in that 5 minutes, not only do you have to get through 20 slides, but the slides AUTOMATICALLY advance every 15 seconds.
Oh Colorado how I’ve missed your beautiful scenery, fit-minded lifestyle, and most of all, really awesome people! Recently we were asked by Marissa of Barefootcolo.com to write a guest post for her blog followers. We think Marissa’s pretty damn cool (and super inspirational) so make sure to follow her on all her social media outlets for great fitness and health tips. Because we LOVE you all, we decided to share Chrissy’s post with all our Smart Fit Chicks followers as well. So here it is: 5 tips for improving self-esteem. ~KW
Like most people, we tend to think that our day-to-day routines are pretty normal. What else is there to do other than eat, sleep, and lift, right? We have recently been asked to reveal our day-to-day routines. So, here’s what it’s like to be a Smart Fit Chick.
A typical day in the life of KW
Fitness goal at the moment: Maintain muscle mass and strength as I continue to build mileage for my marathon training.
As many of our followers know, last summer Smart Fit Chicks did a crowdfunding project to raise money for the design and implementation of our after-school program for adolescent girls, called Smart Fit Girls. We are happy to announce that we’ve launched the pilot program and it’s off to a GREAT start!
We recently had a Facebook follower reach out with a great question we thought we’d address:
“I find that I learn better (read and retain more) and I perform better at work with consistent exercise. Ironically, my professional life has accelerated by devoting 1-2 hours in the gym and I FULLY believe it has to do with benefits of exercise. Am I crazy or is there a link?”
I grew up with dogs…nine of them to be exact (not all at the same time, although that would have been an adventure). Whether I was hugging my sheltie Danny, crying into his ball of fur about something mean my brother just said about me (sorry Matt), or chasing my dog Rueben across Clemson University after he jumped out of my sunroof while we were driving (yes this really happened). My life literally would not be the same without the dogs I’ve had, and currently have, in my life.
As you can tell, I’m somewhat of a “dog person”…and for good reason. In addition to their loving demeanor and ability to understand humans better than most other humans, dogs can actually make us healthier. Here’s why…
Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone! This week’s Smart Fit Chicks FitTip of the week is all about healthy holiday eating/drinking. See our video on YouTube and learn how to make a great low calorie Hot Toddy-super delicious! Thank you Sean and Ingrid for taste testing this for me! For more healthy holiday tips, read our Thanksgiving blog from last year. 🙂 Have a healthy, happy, holiday!
We realize that here at Smart Fit Chicks, we’re often talking about WOMEN’S health issues… But we also want to recognize that you MEN have unique health challenges as well. In fact, you guys have an entire month devoted to raising awareness about Men’s Health, and it just so happens to be THIS month, known by many as “Movember”. You’ve probably seen guys sporting all sorts of mustaches… from the bushy, overgrown, full-on-beard to the creepy, you-have-no-business-trying-to-grow-a-mustache type. Men from all over the world grow out their mustaches to raise awareness for Men’s health issues during this month.
Hello SFC followers,
Chrissy here! I realize I have not posted in awhile, so I want to give you an update on what I’ve been up to, as well as some thoughts on some research I’ve been reading.
First, what I’ve been up to… I’ve just finished taking my qualitative exams (“comps”) for my PhD. What does that mean? Well, one of the stepping stones (I’d argue the biggest one) in a PhD program is passing the qualitative/comprehensive exams. While every program is different, in our department this involves sixteen hours of written responses to questions from committee members (two 8-hour days…whew!), followed by a four hour verbal Q&A session with the committee. Now that I have passed those the remainder of the year will be spent finishing up my research and writing manuscripts. My goal is to graduate in the spring, so we’ll see.
- Start with your feet hip width apart as you stand on the flat side of the BOSU ball. Try to maintain a neutral alignment in your spine and remember to have a soft bend in your knees. Think about pushing your glutes back first, then bending your knees. Your back should stay flat, trying not to extend your knees past your toes.This is an advanced move, which requires a lot of balance. If you are new to the BOSU ball, try doing a squat on the dome side (blue side) first. Once you feel comfortable there, progress to the flat side but have something near by to hold onto for balance (e.g. a wall). More importantly-HAVE FUN!
Some of you may be thinking, “Why is Kellie writing a blog post about smoking cigarettes? Isn’t that old news?”.
Yeah. You’re right. It is old news…which is exactly why it baffles me to see young college students smoking like chimneys! As part of my schooling, I recently took a trip to Disney World (hard life, I know) with ~ 130 undergraduate students. Of those 130 students, about 15 of them were smokers, and every time we stopped on our drive to and from Disney World, all of them would run off the bus to squeeze in a quick smoking session. So the purpose of this blog post is to remind people why smoking tobacco is so terrible and what you can do to help someone quit.
To weigh, or not to weigh, that is the question. Dorky introduction, but really…that’s what this article is all about. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me “how frequently should I weigh myself?”. I’ve always given the textbook answer of “find what works for you” or “everybody is different, so it depends”. Frustrating to hear, I’m sure. BUT…after reading some really interesting research articles, it seems my semi-vague answer is actually right (whoo hoo!). Based on the most recent literature, it appears that the effects (physical and psychological) of weighing oneself frequently is dependent on multiple factors.
Hello SFC Followers,
I am working on the follow-up to the metabolic damage article from a few weeks ago, but in the meantime I have come across a couple articles that I hope you’ll take the time to read. (By the way, TONS of you contacted us with stories on struggling with metabolic damage, so thank you for sharing.)
Most of you know that Chrissy and I are creating a program called SmartFitGirls , an after school program aimed at improving self-esteem and body image in adolescent girls. If you are interested in supporting our cause, please spread the word and/or donate today! As timing would have it, Girls Gone Strong (GGS) member Molly Galbraith recently wrote an amazing article about her struggles with body satisfaction, even as a “fit” women. Trust us-it’s a great read!!!
One of the things I’ve been very interested in lately is something that many people have termed metabolic damage. Basically, this is the idea that by eating VERY low calorie diets (VLCD), a person can end up DESTROYING his/her metabolism. This has become of interest to me particularly after competing in my figure show back in August. After the competition (during which time I was on a relatively VLCD), I gained A LOT of weight back, VERY rapidly. Not only this, but once I started to try and diet again, it seemed that NO MATTER WHAT I tried, nothing was working. So, like any good Smart Fit Chick would do, I dug into the research to try and investigate whether this whole idea of “metabolic damage” was a real concept, or something I was using as an excuse for my weight gain.
Think back to your high school years. Think beyond the awful music, the reckless behaviors, and the young love. Specifically, think about how you perceived yourself at that time. Were you confident? Happy? Were you comfortable with who you were?
Last week, I shared my deepest, darkest secret with you all. I told you about ED, the terrible voice in my head that controls my eating and self-image… sometimes so much so, that I wonder how I’ve been this productive in my life.
As part of that post, I promised I’d continue to blog about him, about all that I’ve learned, how I view him, and what has helped me deal with him.
For those of you who know me well, you’re probably laughing right now, thinking “there goes Kellie again…ranting away”. And you’re right. However, this time I think my ranting may have a positive impact. You see, I could have easily titled this blog “rack your damn weights, you idiot”, but I didn’t. I’m being nice. You know why? As a director of a fitness facility, I’ve come to realize that there is a rather large segment of gym “goers” out there who don’t actually KNOW what is and is not normal behavior in the gym.
Being a west coast girl, I find this snowy weather (IN APRIL) depressing, frustrating, and just….ugly. BUT-it won’t stop me from working out and it shouldn’t stop you either! 🙂
So if you are sitting at home thinking…I really should workout today, try our At Home Circuit Workout! It’ll take ~20-30 minutes and the only equipment you’ll need is a theraband (or you can use anything that is heavy to lift….children? j/k) and a set of stairs or a chair. If you don’t know what some of the exercises are, don’t worry-we’ve included a link to a YouTube video where Chrissy demonstrates all of these exercises.
Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. So go challenge yourself! 🙂
Deep breath… here we go. Okay, I have something to share with you all. This is something I’ve thought A LOT about, for months really… whether or not to disclose this information about myself to our readers. For YEARS it’s been something I’ve hidden from most people, including most of my family and many of my closest friends. See, for a perfectionist who tries desperately to impress every individual with whom she comes into contact, full disclosure can be REALLY scary. Admit that I struggle? What? NO WAY. What would people think?? They might start to realize that I’m not perfect, or even worse, they might think that I’m WEAK… This could destroy my facade that everything in my life is put together just perfectly. Well, the reality is far from that. And while I’ve done a pretty impressive job of keeping this to myself, I’m no longer interested in doing so. For one, it’s exhausting- trying to act like nothing is wrong while fighting a Battle Royale inside myself! Second, I’ve realized lately that my struggles are much more common than I ever thought, and that by sharing them, people may actually be able to relate to me better than before. Most importantly, I’ve realized that by sharing this with people, those with similar challenges may actually benefit from knowing that they are not alone, and that it can get better. In fact, having shared this now with a few people, I’ve already come to realize this fact.
Hello SFC followers-
Today I’d like to give you a little update. For those of you who don’t know, I (Chrissy speaking) am competing in my first raw powerlifting meet in two weeks. What does this involve, you ask? Well, it involves doing a maximal lift on squat, bench press and deadlift. I’ve been training for this officially for about 6 weeks. I’ve been amazed to see the strength gains in this short time, thanks to programming by my good friend, Brian.
Bret Contreras, a fitness professional best known for his glute workouts, recently posted a blog titled: 120 Tips on Strength Training for Women. We read through them. Some of of them were spot on, others….not so much. But, now we’re curious.
What are your thoughts on his 120 tips?
How many of you have found yourself spending countless repetitions on the ab/adductor machines (aka inner and outer thigh machines) in hopes of losing fat around your hips and upper thighs? Or maybe this sounds familiar: you want to get rid of your “jiggly back arm fat” (this has literally been said to me) so you do tons and tons of triceps work? This form of “training” is known as “spot reduction” training, and unfortunately, it doesn’t work.
HIIT– What is it? What does it do? How do you do it? Should you do it? If you are curious about any of these questions, read below.
1. What is it? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is essentially a version of interval training, whereby you alternate short periods of nearly all-out exercise with longer, lower-intensity recovery periods.
2. What does it do? Well, studies have shown that performing anywhere from 4-12 weeks of HIIT has all sorts of beneficial effects on the body. Some of the more notable and widely accepted effects include increased VO2 max (a measure of aerobic capacity) and improvements in body composition (i.e., muscle gain and fat loss). Importantly, these effects are seen above and beyond traditional endurance training.
3. How do you do it? Well, it’s actually fairly simple (but let’s not confuse simple with easy). The nice thing is, it can be done using whatever aerobic exercise you choose (e.g., biking, road or stationary, elliptical, treadmill, stair master, or running outside). What you’ll do is warm-up, then alternate short, nearly all-out bursts of exercise with longer recovery periods, followed by a cool down. So, how long are the short and long periods? Well, there are really two types of HIIT you can perform. We’ll call one of them SIT (sprint interval training) and the other AIT (aerobic interval training). SIT involves bursts of all-out effort of approximately 30 seconds, followed by 2-5 minutes of lower intensity exercise. So, if you were doing this outside, you’d warmup by jogging for about 3 minutes, then do an all-out sprint for 30 seconds. Then, either walk or jog for another 2-5 minutes (depending on how long it takes until you feel recovered). AIT is different in that you perform longer bouts (about 4 minutes) of high-intensity exercise (as hard as you can go and maintain for the entire 4 minutes) and then back off for about the same amount of time. So if you were doing this on a spin bike, you’d warmup again, then up the intensity to about an 8.5-9 out of 10 for about 4 minutes. Then you’d back it off to about a 6-7 (out of 10) for about 4 minutes. Either way, studies suggest doing about 4-6 cycles of these will help you lose/maintain weight and improve your cardiovascular health.
4. Finally, should you do it?? Well, for those of us who are looking to reduce our body fat, or improve our aerobic fitness, it’s not a bad idea. Plus, could be a fun way to switch things up. Why else? As you can imagine, this tends to be a much faster way to improve your aerobic fitness. Some studies comparing steady state cardio (45 minutes) to SIT (3 minutes of ACTUAL sprinting, not including recovery time) have shown that just 3 working minutes of SIT results in greater body composition and aerobic fitness improvements compared to steady state. BUT, fair warning, this isn’t for the faint of heart. Nearly all-out bursts of highly intense exercise can result in burning (QUADS), cramping (SIDE), and crazy shortness of breath! As always, we recommend you consult with your doctor prior to engaging in any new exercise regimen.