Bridge Exercise – Finish It Friday

Also known as the hip raise, bridges, butt exercises, and other names the bridge exercise is a great option for a quick office workout.  The bridge exercise is one that a lot of people who have worked with a trainer or have performed yoga know about but not everyone does.  Bridges are a wonderful exercise because they allow you to work out multiple parts of the body at the same time.  Bridge exercises work out the following parts of your body:

  • Abs
  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings

You can do the bridge exercise pretty much anywhere that you can find enough room to lay down.  It is best to make sure it is relatively clean if you can bring a yoga mat with you to work to give you a clean surface.  Not all workspaces are clean after all.  Other than the optional yoga mat there is no required equipment for the bridge exercise.

How To Do The Bridge Exercise

To start the bridge exercise lay on your back with your feet flat against the deck (floor).  Your legs will be just shy of straight up from the floor.  Your arms will be at your sides with the palms down on the floor.

Lift your hips from the floor towards the ceiling while keeping your thighs parallel.  Ensure that you are lifting from your hips and not the arms.  Lifting from the arms will take away from the workout that you receive from the bridge exercise.

Hold your legs up for 5 breathes or 5 seconds then slowly lower them back down to the floor.  Lowering your body fast to the floor can hurt your muscles and you will also gain a better exercise by lowering slowly.  Make sure that you hold your body parallel as much as possible.  This may be difficult at first but it will get easier.

Perform as many repetitions as you desire.  Many people do the bridge exercise until they can no longer hold the form.

Here is a video for how to do the bridge exercise:

Importance of Sleep for Your Body

Sleep is fun, I love it.  I sleep in a lot more than I probably should at times.  With my busy schedule though I don’t always get time to sleep in.  I don’t always get the recommended amount of sleep either.  I probably don’t get it nearly enough.  During college my doctor told me that I should try to get more sleep but they never really explained why.  Now that I have graduated and gotten more interested in health I have a better idea of the importance of sleep for your body.  And boy do I wish I had known it earlier.  Sleep can help with your weight loss efforts and here is how:

As a disclaimer I am not a medical professional, I have done research into this topic and spoke with a new doctor about the importance of sleep.

Importance of Sleep #1: Hunger

Importance of Sleep

The above-seen Jack in The Box meal is very often considered to be geared towards the stoner population.  While the name is definitely a play on that there is science behind the Munchie Meal.  When you lack sleep your body’s hunger trigger gets turned back on and you start to crave food despite the fact you are not actually hungry.  So next time you see that Munchie Meal commercial and its past your bed time, remember the importance of sleep and get to sleep, not Jack in the Box.

Importance of Sleep #2: Fat Storage

When you eat fat your body starts to store some of it and metabolize the rest.  When you lack sleep your body starts to store more fat than normal.  This is done because of the increased blood sugar and production of insulin.  Your body starts to build up additional fat and the time it takes for it to process said fat goes up.

If you eat when you are sleep deprived you will start to notice that you are putting on more weight or not losing any, even if you do exercise.

Importance of Sleep #3: Hormone Control

You know the importance of sleep if you know about your body’s hormones, unfortunately, many of us don’t know as much as we should about our bodies.  I know I don’t know enough, that is one of the reasons I started this blog.  When you lack sleep you are knocking your hormones way off balance.  Two major hormones are affected by lack of sleep: growth hormone and cortisol.

The growth hormone is what allows you to grow and build muscle.  When you lack sleep the growth hormones are not produced as rapidly, meaning it is much harder to build muscle, grow taller, or any of the like.  Even your workouts will have less effect because when you workout you still need the growth hormone to succeed.

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone.  The more of it you have in your body the more stressed out you will feel.  When you lack sleep, it builds.  I am no expert but this is probably why you feel better after a good night’s sleep, you don’t have as much cortisol in your system.  Not only does the stress hormone make you more stressed out when you wake up but it affects how you sleep.  You will get less of the resting sleep that you need.

Importance of Sleep #4: Your Brain

Sleep helps your brain, and body, repair itself.  During sleep your brain works to build new pathways and repair old ones.  If you don’t sleep your brain is forced to try and repair and rebuild the brain while you are awake.  It can’t do this so you will start to see the effects that are most commonly related with the importance of sleep, they are also very similar with the effects of alcohol.  You will start to lose coordination, the ability to make decisions, and to think.  You can even start to see things.  This is all because your brain isn’t able to operate properly.

What to Do About It?

Now that you know the importance of sleep what should you do about it?  You need to get sleep is what you need to do.  I need to do it too.

First off, start to think of sleep as a cherished part of your day.  This helps you and your brain to associate it with a pleasure.  This makes it more likely for you to enjoy going to bed.  Mind of matter really does work in this case.  You just have to convince yourself of the importance of sleep and the fun of sleep.

Schedule time for your sleep.  Just like you have a work schedule and a cleaning schedule you should schedule your sleep.  In advance plan out what time you are going to go to sleep every night.  One of my coworkers has been staying up too late playing games and doing other things, he realized that it was hurting his sleep and his performance.  His solution was to start setting an alarm clock for when he has to go to sleep, not just when he needs to wake up.

Lawmakers have been trying to place anti-drowsy driving laws on the books for years.  Study after study has shown that the importance is sleep is so big that it can be considered crucial.  Here is a list of drowsy driving-related laws.

Stop avoiding sleep and get to it.  It will help you with your work, driving, and even your weight loss.  It could be what is hurting your current goals.

A Note About The Delayed Post

The Progress So Far
The Progress So Far

Today’s post was delayed because I was working on packing and had to meet with the maintenance man.  We discovered that our sink had been leaking when we started packing.  Luckily it is a very small leak and it hasn’t damaged anything.  Until we are moved in and unpacked at the end of next week my post may be delayed but I will do my utmost to make sure that I deliver them on time, every day.  At the very least I will make sure that there is a new post every day.

Weight Loss Milestones and How To Celebrate Them

Technology makes our lives easier.  There are a lot of different ways that it can help us out.  One of the many ways is tracking our weight loss goals.  Tracking our progress isn’t all that goes into motivation, though.  Setting weight loss milestones helps many people, including me, in losing weight and staying healthy.

While many weight loss apps and food tracking apps will include milestones for weight loss you can definitely come up with your own.  There are many milestones that you can come with to help encourage you to keep up with your goals.  Here are some great ways to track your weight loss progress with weight loss milestones!

Weight Loss Milestones

Weight Loss Milestones #1: The Great 5’s

There are many weight loss milestones that are multiples of five.  These come often so you need to decide which ones that you want to celebrate.  There are a lot of multiples of five so you should decide ahead of time which ones you wish to have as milestones.  These are the most popular:

  • First 5 lbs lost
  • First 10 lbs lost
  • 25 lbs lost
  • 50 lbs lost
  • 100 lbs lost

Weight Loss Milestones #2: The First Time Your Clothes Are Too Loose

This weight loss milestone is one of the most motivating.  Putting on your pants and noticing that they are too loose to wear makes you feel as if you have accomplished something.  Along the same train of thought putting on a pair of pants that didn’t use to fit and having them fit again is inspiring.  In my opinion, there is no better weight loss motivation.  I actually have a box of clothes from the start of college in my closet, I am hoping when I get to my goal weight, or before that it will fit.  After my move, I am going to go through them and see what I have in more detail.

Another similar goal is to lose notches on your belt.  Before my old belt broke I had lost 2 notches.  For both notches, I felt much better about my progress and each hole didn’t take too long.

Weight Loss Milestones #3: Your First Compliment

A lot of things that you notice about yourself can be good milestones but the best milestone is when someone else notices.  When your first comments start to come in it is time to celebrate.  It means that not only you have noticed but you have done such a good job that others are noticing.  The more people notice, the better you will feel.

I don’t know about you guys but one of the major reasons that I am trying to lose weight is so that I feel better.

Weight Loss Milestones #4: You Can Accomplish More Physically

One of the major goals of losing weight is to be able to accomplish more physically.  I have always been able to be physically active, but I want to be able to do the things that I have always had trouble with, running for example.  Being able to achieve something, such as a 6.5-minute mile, is a great milestone because it shows that you are closer to your final goal of being better, not just losing weight.

Weight Loss Milestones #5: You See it On Screen

 

Celebrating Your Weight Loss Milestones

Celebrating Weight Loss Milestones

You should celebrate all of your weight loss milestones, but you have to do it properly.  When trying to lose weight you avoid the foods that you want to eat, like cake and cookies.  Unfortunately, when celebrating a weight loss milestone you shouldn’t be eating junk food as a way to celebrate.  This will set you back.  I still have trouble with this sometimes.

Instead of eating here are some fun ways to celebrate weight loss milestones.

New Clothes

When losing weight one of the best ways to celebrate milestones is to buy new clothes.  It allows you to feel good about yourself and show that you are proud of what you have done.  You shouldn’t spend a fortune on new clothes because you are going to continue to lose weight.

Take on A New Outdoor Activity

Try taking on a new outdoor activity.  Hike a new trail or walk a new street.  This way you can continue your weight loss goals without spending money or setting back your goals.

Publicize It

Upon reaching weight loss milestones publicize it on Facebook or Twitter.  Others will see that you have met your goals and like it.  Even if it’s just your friends and family you will see that you have people who want you to succeed.

You never know, by publicizing your success you might be helping someone else who is trying to lose weight.

Find Healthy Treats

There are plenty of healthy treats you can find out there that are healthy.  Think banana chips or gluten free deserts.  Remember, don’t overdo it.  You don’t want to set yourself back.

The only person stopping you from achieving your milestones is you.  Get out there and achieve your milestones.  If you are curious about my milestones check out my new milestones page.

Weekly Check-In

Hello!  This last week was not a bad week for many things.  We arranged movers and started packing.  However, when it comes to step goals, I was a little bit under a few days.  I actually missed two days on my Pact which is weird because when I looked at my Fitbit at midnight it registered over 10,000 steps.  I am beginning to wonder if Fitbit has some sort of scanning and auto-correction it performs every day to erase steps that it thinks were accidental readings.

While I am not too happy about this it isn’t the end of the world.  I will get back up on the horse and start again, better this week.  I spend most of the day packing today and so that is why this update is coming in so late.

Monday 9/14 – 17,439 Steps
Tuesday 9/15 10,818 Steps
Wednesday 9/16 – 5,505 Steps
Thursday 9/17 – 12,493 Steps
Friday 9/18 – 9,926 Steps
Saturday 9/19 – 23,252 Steps
Sunday 9/20 – 9,953 Steps

That makes for a total of 89,386 steps.

The Weekly Check-In Weigh In

So when it comes to weight this week I lost another pound (1 lbs) exactly.  This brings me below a good milestone to under 180 lbs at 179.6 lbs.  I am extremely happy about this because it means that I am making process.  It isn’t happening fast like a miracle but it is happening and I am making it happen.

Let’s see if I can do better next week and increase my step counts each day that I was under.

Angled Push-ups for Finish It Friday

Push-ups are a very common workout activity, they are simple and don’t require any special equipment to perform.  Additionally, they are used on many different physical fitness tests from the military to law enforcement to sporting teams.  When you are at the office though it is hard to do traditional push-ups, that is where angled push-ups come into play.  While they may not be as aggressive as a traditional push-up they still provide you with a workout and you can perform angled push-ups almost anywhere.

Angled push-ups can be done anywhere you have a surface to place your hands against.  Angled push-ups are performed in the exact same manner that a tradition push-up is performed.

There are two main concepts for how many push-ups you should do at a time.  The traditional method is to perform 20 repetitions of push-ups then hold in the lean and rest position (arms extended head at 90 degrees).

The other typical stance on how many push-ups you should do is to continue on until you burn out or cannot do anymore.  This method is becoming increasingly more frowned upon because it is can damage the body and muscles.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge yourself though.  Constantly push yourself to do more.

How To Perform Angled Push-Ups

Find a surface such as your desk and put yourself in the typical push-up position with the difference being that you are leaning against the desk.  The closer to a traditional push-up you get the more you work your muscles.  Your arms should be just over shoulder length apart and extended.

When you start your first push-up lower your arms to 90-degree angles.    Push yourself back up.  The slower that you lower and raise yourself, the better the workout.

You will want to make sure that at all times your back remains straight.  You will want to let your butt stick up in the air but you cannot let it.  Allowing your butt to rise into the air will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your workout.

Here is a video of how to perform a proper push-up.

Night Exercising: Your Safety and Security

Night Exercising can be amazing.  There is nothing but you and the exercise in most of the places you will encounter.  This means you can be you while you are running, there is no one watching you.  However, exercising at night brings out its own difficulties and obstacles that you must overcome for your safety and security.  These tips will help you stay safe while night exercising.

Night Exercising Tip #1: Be Visible

While wearing dark colors during any outdoor exercising can be dangerous it is especially dangerous at night.  Cars, trucks, and other vehicles will have a very difficult time seeing you while night exercising if you wear dark colors.  Try to wear as many vibrant colors as possible.  Vibrant colored shoes never hurt either, and they are fun!  I love my pair of bright colored shoes.

Wearing a reflective vest will boost your visibility exponentially.  I have a reflective vest like this one.  It is small and doesn’t easily get in the way.  You can wear it over just about anything.  I probably don’t wear it as much as I should but its a great tool when it is used.

Run, walk, or otherwise night exercise against traffic.  This will allow you to see anything that is coming your way without having to look behind you.  But just because you are expecting traffic coming from in front of you, make sure to check behind you.  More DUI accidents happen at night than they do during the day.

Night Exercising Tip #2: Headphone Safety

When you are out night exercising you should not wear headphones but I won’t blame you if you do.  I do too.  What you should do is be safe wearing them.  Keep the volume low and only put in one ear piece.  Alternatively, you can get a set of headphones like these that leave your ears free.  I have a set of basic Bluetooth headphones that have a neckpiece to hold the ear pieces.

As a general rule of thumb you should be able to hear someone stepping lightly behind you.  You should also be aware if a car is coming behind you at a crosswalk.

If you are going to have earbuds in it is always better to be talking on the phone than to be listening to music.  This allows anyone who may be watching you to know that there is someone else involved.  If they were to come after you, they know someone would be ready to call the police for you.

Night Exercising Tip #3: Be Aware of Your Surroundings

You have probably been told that you should be aware of your surroundings, it is true.  Even more so at night.  When night exercising you should keep your head on a swivel.  Keep your eyes checking your surroundings to make sure that there is no one walking close behind you and no cars following you despite the fact you are walking/running way below the speed limits.

It is an unfortunate but true fact that you need to be wary of other people.  Night time, especially in cities, is home to people who want to make money off what you own.

Night Exercising Tip #4: Keep it Shorter

By keep it shorter I don’t mean that you need to take a shorter night exercise but you should use a shorter route as many times as you want.  Being closer to home makes it easy to get back home if you need to.  It also means that you will be able to notice something out of the normal quicker.  You can do many laps on a short path and still get a workout.

When considering the path of your workout you should also think about lighting.  Your night exercise route should be well lit so that you can see your surroundings and others can see you.  If you can’t find a well-lit place to run in, try adding lights to your clothes.  If your night exercising includes riding a bike you have no excuse.

Night Exercising Tip #5: Bring A Buddy

Exercising with a body is always fun.  Night exercising is both more fun and safer with a buddy.  Find someone who likes working out at night as much as you do and always go with them.  If you don’t know someone who likes night exercise you can find a group online.  There are plenty of Meetup groups out there.  You will also be more visible at night when you bring a buddy.  The more people you can find, the better.

If you aren’t running with a buddy make sure someone knows when and where you are going.  Share your exact route with a friend and if you deviate from it, text or call them.

Night Exercising Tip #6: Be Smart

No matter what you do the most important thing to remember when night exercising is to be smart.  If something doesn’t feel right, get out of there.  Also, if you think there is something you should do for your safety, do it.

Safety first, last, and always.

Fitbit Connected App:Wokamon

Website | Android | Apple


 

NooDum, which I find suspiciously close to No Dumb, is an app company that created Wokamon, a Fitbit Connect App turned game.  The idea behind the game is that you have a collection of creatures that grow the more that you walk.  The more your creature grows, the more crystals you earn.  You can also get more creatures based on how much you walk.  These aren’t just normal creatures, that are the weirdest creatures you could think of.  Here are just a few of them:

Three Wokamon - Fitbit Connected App

You can also upgrade your Wokamon with clothes and accessories that are unique to each Wokamon.  Each Wokamon can have three different clothing items.

Spyke Clothes - Fitbit Connected App

As you can see each one of these accessories has a price in crystals below it.  Crystals are earned through drops of boxes but also through tapping the screen.  Whenever you buy one of these accessories it multiplies the amount of XP that you gain from walking, making it easier to level up.  There is also a star system that allows you to earn stars to unlock large amounts of crystals.  Stars can be earned through random drops and by unlocking in-app achievements.

You may be thinking, I don’t have a Fitbit so this app won’t do anything for me.  Wrong.  There are a variety of ways to log your steps for Wokamon.  You can use it as a Fitbit Connected App like I do, a MI Band, Google Fit, or your phone itself.  Of course, a fitness tracker is the more accurate way of tracking your steps but you can join in the fun as long as you have an Android or Apple phone.

What I Think of Wokamon The Fitbit Connected App Game

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I love Wokamon.  And once again, the reviews I do here are NOT paid.  Wokamon is the reason that I had over 28,000 steps on Saturday the 12th.  It is also the reason why I had over 17,000 steps yesterday.  In their press release Kit NooDum says that over 60% of users became more active when using Wokamon and I don’t doubt it.  Like many other apps out there it manages to hook you and make you want to level up.  The more you walk the more you can play.

The characters and accessories are also really inventive.  I enjoy seeing what I will get next.  So far each character has had fairly unique accessories, the only similarities that I have seen have been one has had an acoustic guitar while another has had an electric bass.  The only reason I noticed this was because I choose two characters that both happened to have guitars.

One big benefit that this app has: lack of pay-to-win.  There is the ability to buy stars but why would you do that when walking will help you level up and earn more crystals?  Buying stars isn’t required for the game in any way.

The only problem I was able to find with this game is that you don’t get credit for sharing the Wokamon like you are supposed to.  I don’t have much of an issue with this, although it would be nice.  Overall everything else works and I haven’t had any issues with the app crashing.  Much nicer than the other Fitbit Connected App game that I tried, FitRPG.  Stay tuned for more reviews of Fitbit Connected Apps and other informational content.

Weekly Check-In

And it’s time again for another weekly check-in.  This week I lost another pound.  I am down to 180.6 lbs.  Overall I had a fairly productive week when it came to steps.

Monday 9/7 – 1,381 Steps
Tuesday 9/8 13,433 Steps
Wednesday 9/9 – 15,497 Steps
Thursday 9/10 – 14,365 Steps
Friday 9/11 – 12,947 Steps
Saturday 9/12 – 28,915 Steps
Sunday 9/13 – 10,001 Steps

As you can see Monday was very weak but the rest of the week was pretty strong with the exception of Sunday.  Sunday I did not meet my 12,000 step goal but I still met the Pact goal of 10,000.  My feet were pretty sore from the day before.  I had a total of 96,539 steps.  That is about 4,000 more steps walked than the week before.

I am happy to be at a point where I have conquered two belt loop sizes.  Unfortunately, my beloved belt that I have had for years broke this morning when going to put my work pants on.  The belt was old and the leather was starting to fall apart.  It is just a little sad to see a belt go that has lasted for so long.  What it does do is give me an opportunity to go out and look for smaller belts.

Over last week I also found a new apartment that I will be moving into in not too long.  The idea of this move makes me really happy and I am hoping that the slightly bigger kitchen will give us enough room that we can cook more often.  There is also a yard and stairs.  Overall, I think it will be more conducive to my weight loss efforts.  Having a good place to come home to makes it easier to relax and be fresh for the next morning.  Sleep is an important part of the weight loss process and not getting enough of it can hurt your weight loss goals.

A Website Glitch

Over the weekend Google Analytics made me aware that there was a glitch with the post Weight Loss and Why I am Doing It.  Somehow the URL to the post became corrupted.  It needed a new home and it was assigned one.  As I posted over the weekend, the post is back up and viewable.