Bodyweight Bootcamp

Good morning!

I hope your summer is going spectacular. Isn’t it semi-crazy trying to fit workouts in during the summer months? Work, picnics, the pool and extra-curricular eve​​nts make it challenging to fit in your workouts.

I have been wanting to post a series for a while about bodyweight exercises. This bootcamp requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Each week this summer I will post a short video. The bodyweight bootcamp will have three exercises  that make up the workout.

You can take this bodyweight bootcamp to the beach, baseball games and at the park.

What are bodyweight exercises? Bodyweight exercises can be done with your own bodyweight and no equipment is needed! Bodyweight exercises help develop strength, power, and stamina. These exercises improve your body’s ability to move with skill and efficiency. These exercises are beneficial when paired with interval training. Below are a few tips for mastering bodyweight exercises.

  • Start with foundational exercises first. Basic jumping jacks,planks, squats, mountain climbers, push up’s, and dips. I don’t suggest jumping in the jump squat in the video if you haven’t exercised recently. You could simply step each foot up and squat three times. Gain strength and form before you start adding high-impact to your body weight bootcamp.
  • Focus on your form. I can’t stress this enough. Know your body and your limits. When in high plank, spread your fingers wide to protect the wrists, keep your core tight, don’t let your hips sag and line your shoulders and hands.  Gradually increase the intensity and time your performing bodyweight exercises. You could start in a modified wall plank and progress to the ground, and perform plank on your knees.  when you feel ready perform a full plank you can then add in the taps and oblique exercises.
  • Consistency is the key in making progress. If you want to see results and progress in your workouts you have to remain consistent and gradually increase your workload over time. If you look back a month or even a few weeks you will start to see small progress in how long you can hold plank and your stamina increasing while performing squats and jumping jacks.
  • Check with a doctor before beginning any exercise program. Warm-up 5-7 minutes and cool-down stretch when you have completed the workout.
  • Maximum Interval Training- By: John Cissik and Jay Dawes was referenced and used when writing this post. 

The video below is an advanced bodyweight bootcamp. You should be able to perform a plank fifteen-thirty seconds before you begin tapping and twisting. In order to perform the bodyweight frog hop you should be able to perform a minimum of twenty bodyweight squats and maintain good postural alignment through the exercises.

You can perform the exercise video below after a solid warm-up.

  • 8 plank taps
  • 8 oblique twists
  • 3 frog hops
  • Return to plank and repeat 3-4x
  • Take a 1-2 minute break between each circuit

Stretch 5-7 minutes when you have completed this workout.

I’ll be posting these every Friday! Happy bootcamping! ​A special thanks to my hubby who is my videographer. I was gardening and decided to get a quick bodyweight bootcamp in!

 

The Day You Stop Letting the Scale Determine How You Feel About Yourself

IMG_4776You prep, food log, you are simply killing it at the gym, and pack enough water for a cross country hike in your book bag. Then there is that day you get on that scale. Thinking this has all paid off right? If I follow this plan I’m going to have these results, exactly when I want…

A feeling in your stomach makes you feel like your stomach is dropping to the bottom. Leaving you feel defeated, unloveable, not good enough, and you allow yourself to jump back in the cycle of feeling like you have failed yourself once again.

You order dessert, you give up, and the cycle begins again. I’ll start again Monday and then it is I’ll start again the following Monday.

Have you been there? I have. Let me tell you loosing weight it’s not easy. It’s downright frustrating and if you are like me when you don’t see the results right away you think to yourself why even bother?

I’m here to tell you today that the cycle in your mind, in order for you to reach your goals and be successful in forming a positive body image, you need a big old pair of courage pliers to cut some hefty chains. You have to break chains in order to have a positive body image.

Working with women as a personal trainer over the last several years has opened my eyes to what we as women face. A viscous cycle of trying to love on our bodies and not let a number on a scale or pants size determine our value.

Women who have been through eating disorders, heart ache, faced awful circumstances who know they somehow just want to feel better about themselves.

Feeling better about yourself doesn’t start with a number on a scale and today I simply want to share with you a few ways you can begin to break this cycle and how I am constantly working with my clients to value the uniqueness in how they have been intricately created.

  1. Throw out your scale. Yep. You heard me. Throw it out. Don’t weight yourself anymore. Identify with how your clothes fit. If you are working out consistently and hitting the weights you will start to notice your pants feeling looser and areas that are becoming more defined and that is more important than the number reflected on a scale.
  2. Learn to eat in moderation. A cookie isn’t going to completely throw off your health game. However 4-10 cookies might. Learn to a live a fit life. Eating healthy most of the time and allowing yourself to enjoy the simple pleasures of life once in a while.
  3. Find an accountability partner that builds you up and tells you that you’re worth it. That the hours at the gym, time spent meal prepping and grocery shopping will improve your lifestyle. Leaving you feeling like you have more energy, which leads to building confidence, taking ownership of your health journey, which in turn will help you begin to form a positive body image.
  4. Be ok with knowing this process is one that takes a long time. Change is overwhelming and it’s ok to hit road blocks. If you fail and learn from your mistakes you will come out stronger in the end.
  5. If you get a bit off track, don’t make yourself feel guilty. You aren’t going to lose your gains in the blink of an eye. Jump right back on the workout wagon and don’t beat yourself up.
  6. Workout to feel good not to punish yourself for what you ate. We all need carbs to fuel our bodies and movement to help set off endorphins that make us feel good!
  7. Love where you are at. Know that forming a healthy lifestyle like anything else in life takes time, effort and enjoy the process.
  8. When a negative thought comes to mind, replace it with a positive thought. You are beautiful, you are worthy, and you can overcome!

Learn to love the process and know that results take time and a lot of beauty comes out of being content with right where you are at. Let’s break the cycle, let’s toss the scales and commit to loving the process and move toward a fit body, mind and soul.

Blessings, Michelle

 

 

 

Living Fit For Life: Success Story: Lisa

Living Fit For Life: Success Story: Lisa 

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I met Lisa at our church where she is in charge of the Tree House Kids program. I love Lisa’s heart for children and all those that she comes in contact with. Lisa is just such a beautiful person both inside and out.

Lisa was looking for someone to help her work on implementing a fitness regimen into her schedule when she contacted me. Lisa and I sat down during the consultation and problem solved ways that she could slowly begin to incorporate a training plan into her current eventful life.

It was during summer when Lisa and I met and we were able to get outside and workout together. Lisa wanted to have a way to workout with me when we weren’t together so I would let her video me doing the exercises I incorporated into her training plan.

Lisa shares more about that here: “ Michelle has allowed me to record our training sessions so I could duplicate them at home.  She is very motivational with her own health and wellness program.  Besides the fact that there is something very intimate about praying with the person you are working with, that takes new meaning to emotional health”.

Lisa began forming a schedule that consisted of  a weight training, cardio and flexibility plan. I was able to meet Lisa where she was at and help progress in her training.

A positive mindset and coaching helped Lisa stay consistent with her goals. Lisa talks about this positivity and attitude here:  “Michelle regularly checks in through text messages, encourages me through Facebook posts and her own positive attitude. Michelle always changes things up, encourages you to move ahead or not if you aren’t ready.”  

Lisa was also able to take the information that was shared during our sessions and in the online private group for my Live Fit Women’s Fitness clients and apply it to her life. She talks about that here: I love the articles that Michelle shares on facebook regarding recipes and the challenges she gives us regarding sharing what we are eating too.  I actually won a fitness session from her for doing this challenge”.

Lisa even involved her family with cooking new meals.  Lisa realized: “ I have learned that fitness is a way of life, not just a binge to lose weight.  I have also learned that my entire family has to eat the way that I do and promote to them as well the importance of some sort of exercise routine”.

It was such a joy working with you Lisa and I am so proud of how you made this a lifestyle!!

You can continue to read Lisa’s Testimony here: My name is Lisa Glaser and I am a 50 year old female.  I have never been overweight but have reached my weight limit and knew that I needed to do something and fast.  That’s when I reached out to Michelle Volpe.  I needed a good routine that could become a way of life, not just a 30 day weight loss program.  I have to admit, that I have fallen off the wagon a few times but manage to catch myself and get back on.  I do notice that when I don’t meet with Michelle that’s when I have the most problems.  She manages to keep me accountable for my eating/exercising habits through motivation and just her gentle presence.

One of the things I enjoy the most about working with Live Fit, is that you can take these exercise routines anywhere.  Over the summer, she helped me develop a routine that I could utilize while camping.  

I feel like this has to be a complete way of life through food and weight training and with help of God and Michelle, we will do this together.  

My goal is to be stronger, healthier and just feel better about myself overall.  I have lost a few pounds and several inches but I think it’s more about my self-evaluation rather than a number on the scale.

I encourage anyone who needs this accountability, to contact Michelle and sit down and discuss your goals with her”.   

Thanks For Sharing Lisa!

Living Fit For Life: Success Story: Rachel

Living Fit For Life: Success Story: Rachel

 I met Rachel through LoveCanton Church way back when I first started Live Fit Women’s Fitness. I loved her zest for life and genuine personality. We instantly hit it off and trained for a turkey trot 5kt together.

It was after Rachel had her first daughter she was ready to start working out again and she contacted me.

During our consultation Rachel was trying to decide if Live Fit was a good fit for her.

She recalls a conversation from our consultation: “Michelle said something that has stuck with me. She said, “Big goals are great and really helpful, but I want you to set one goal every day and work towards that.” That completely changed my attitude and approach. That’s what has helped me stick with my training regimen and not get frustrated. I also love that Michelle keeps my workout routine fresh. I get bored really easily, so her constantly switching things up has been perfect for me.

Rachel and I met on a weekly and monthly basis. I worked around her schedule and was able to set up plans tailored to her hectic lifestyle as a new mom. When we weren’t meeting I would check in with her.

Rachel enjoyed the accountability piece of our partnership together. She explains a little how it works here: “ She’s always texting me verses, quotes, songs, recipes, etc. I love it! She makes me want to do something on the days that it would be easy to come up with excuses not to work out. She’s also set up a private Facebook group for all of us clients where we can check in after workouts, ask for prayer requests, and share in successes.”

As Rachel progressed through her training regimen she had some minor setbacks that we worked through together. We were able to persevere through these and celebrate her victories together.

Rachel shares how the encouragement helped her stay motivated during her exercise program: She’s always encouraging me to keep going! I had to start a new medication that my doctor warned me would make me sick, and she has been both empathetic and encouraging. I missed a lot of workouts this month, but she’s kept me from getting discouraged and helped me persevere. Additionally, when I hit my first goal, she celebrated with me but followed it up with encouragement to add weight for lifting and add time to my cardio. She didn’t let me get stagnant”.

Rachel has learned how to implement the time we shared together into living a fit and healthy lifestyle. I really love what she has taken away and applied to her life through our sessions.

I love this Victory she shares:Michelle constantly reminds me that fitness is a lifestyle not a quick fix. She’s helped me to realize that it’s as important to my health as eating and sleeping. Fitness is crucial, not optional. Healthy habits have become just another part of life, and I feel so much better as a result. For example, it’s become more relaxing to put the baby in a stroller, grab the dog’s leash, and head out for a walk than to sit and watch TV. I feel much more productive and better at the end of the day when I do that”.

Rachel and I talked about how “abs are made in the kitchen. That we eat to work out and don’t work out to eat.”

She reaches for avocados and carrots these days instead of buffalo dip!

Thanks for sharing in your success with us Rachel and Living Fit for life!

 Rachel Hunka and her husband Corey live in Canton, Ohio with  their precious two girls. They recently launched a church called 3rd Street Community Church. When Rachel isn’t mothering her two little ones or helping at church, she is on the side-lines coaching the Malone Cheerleaders. 

You can connect with Rachel on

Twitter: @msrachelelyse

Instagram: @msrachelelyse

Facebook: Rachel Elyse Hunka

Website: https://rachelelyse.wordpress.com

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Adding Variety To Your Workout

This is part 1 of a five part series. You can read more here to find out more about this series: Introduction

Today we will focus on Aerobic exercise or otherwise known as Cardio. 

I am sharing a brief memory of how my love for running started before I get to the nuts and bolts of why aerobic exercise is so important for our health.

I can remember being a kid. My father owned a tree farming business and still does and we lined our back fields with rows upon rows of tree’s. I loved nature and the great outdoors. I especially loved riding my bike to the highest hill and taking my feet off the pedals and coasting all the way down to the bottom. My mom told me after I flew down the hill I would ride around the house anther fifteen times before doing it all over again.

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Seifert’s Tree Farm October 2013

It was in grade school that I remember my best friend who was a year older then me asking me to try to go on a run with her. While I chuckled and thought basketball is the only sport for me. I decided to join her. She assured me running to the stop sign and back was easy and that I could do it.

I remember in that moment a little seventh grader thinking, sheesh… this girls nuts. Huffing and puffing along I made it to the stop sign and back. I’m pretty sure my best friend ran five miles before I finished my two. I ended up running track that year and have been hooked ever since. I went on to run in college and coach 400 and 800 runners shortly after I graduated college.

My best friend and I still run when we can get together and I can’t explain to you how thankful I am that she encouraged me that day. There are special people in our lives that have the ability to encourage us and help you feel empowered. She is defiantly one of those people.She believed in me and in turn it helped me believe in myself. Running has been an outlet for me as I have gone through the grief of loosing my daughter and battled through depression over the last two and a half years.

My dad used to tell me growing up to train and surround myself with people who were better. It pushed me and continues to grow me. What a wonderful training slogan for life.

It has allowed me to understand that with change comes growth. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and learning new ways to add variety to your workout help you from becoming stagnant in your workout routine. Aerobic exercise is one of the five ways to add variety to your workout.

The information below on aerobic exercise has been taken from an article from Everydayhealth.com . There are many benefits of aerobic exercise.  Mental benefits include an increase in confidence, emotional stability, memory and brain function. 19 million Americans experience depression every year and is is believed that aerobic exercise helps improve the symptoms of depression. Health benefits include strengthening your heart and lungs, lowers your cholesterol, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, improve your immune function and lower blood pressure. Physical benefits include burning calories, which helps shed excess weight. Aerobic exercise tones the muscles and improves posture. It helps you look and feel better while increasing your stamina. Providing more energy for work and play. You will sleep and handle stress better.

My clients say this often: “I just all around feel better”. 

Now that you see the benefits of adding aerobic activity to your workouts. You might be wondering how much and how often?

The most recent guidelines published from the American Heart Association and the American College of sports medicine recommend 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise five days a week or 20 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise 3 days a week to maintain good health and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

If you are just starting out slowly increase your intensity with the help of a trainer. Maybe start with first deciding what type of aerobic activity you enjoy most. Options are and not limited to: biking, running, hiking, dancing, and swimming.

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Photo Credit: Easterday Creative

Below is a quick and effective running circuit I do if I am short on time. If you are new to exercise check with your doctor before beginning any new training program. Use the FITT principe to slowly increase in Time, Intensity, Type, and Frequency.

Warm-up 5-7 minutes by jogging. Perform 4-6 short bursts sprints between 30-60 seconds at a time. Take a 1-2 minute break or until you feel recovered enough to perform your next short burst sprint. Cool-down 5-7 minutes

You can use this same workout on a bike, swimming, on an elliptical and while walking.

Next week we will talk about why adding variety with strength training is such an important component to your workout regimen.

 

Living Fit For Life: Success Story: Jen

Living Fit For Life: Success Story : Jen Kauffman

I first met Jen at a bible study and we became friends quickly. She grew up in West Branch on a dairy farm and shared a similar love for running like me. Jen is a busy wife and mom of four (Blake 11, Mason 8, Kariyas 6, and Aniela 4).

Jen approached me looking or help to get out of a fitness rut that she had become stuck in.

As I began to work with Jen we really focused on incorporating strength training along with a three month training plan for an upcoming half-marathon that she was training for.

Jen started to lift consistently and loved having the training programs to keep her on track.

Jen Writes:

“ I didn’t have to think about what I was going to do that day, it was already laid out for me. I felt like I was working towards a certain outcome and that was exciting”.

As Jen progressed in her training program she started to see the benefit of consistent weight training.

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I love this action photo of Jen!

I love this victory she shares:

“Michelle made me realize the importance of lifting weights. My fitness was lots of running and cardio before I started working with her. I’ve never felt better about how I look since I started lifting. I have more control over my weight and my confidence about myself has increased”.

Jen learned that as she turned fitness into her daily routine living that she is was a much happier and pleasant person if she got her workout in. It’s her time and she can’t live without it! It recharges her to care for her family. It prepares her to have strong arms for the tasks ahead of her each day.

Jen has also learned the importance of healthy portions and has enjoyed content I provide my clients in a private online group.

Jen states: “Her posts on the facebook page have been informative about healthy portions. I love that they aren’t long articles but sometimes just what she is doing at home. I love her transparency with her own fitness journey. It makes it real”.

Jen enjoyed the check-in’s via text message as they helped her keep going. She loved being encouraged if she felt off track or had a rough day. It helped her learn healthy habits that she has continued over the last two years.

I love how Jen took the knowledge she learned from her sessions to grow both in strength and confidence. Jen used the information I provided  and has created healthy habits and a solid foundation keeping her feeling healthy and strong for all the adventures, love and memories she makes with her family of five! Way to Live fit for Life, Jen. Thanks, for sharing your story!

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Photo Credit: Easterday Creative

Making our Moment’s Count

One night a week we pack in the car and head to gymnastics. The smell of feet looms as we enter the gymnastics center, we usually scramble to get our kids to class and find a seat. Dennis, Amelia and I settled into a seat and couldn’t help to watch a little 18 month old baby play in the corner with her parents. She had blonde hair and blue eyes. As I glanced over at Dennis we both knew what the other was thinking without saying a word, he was watching her too. Amelia was coloring her picture and looked up.

“Mommy.” Amelia called for me. I answered yes, “I really miss my sister Angelina.”  I replied, “ I really miss her too Amelia.”

I stopped hugged her and moved onto getting her ready to head to her class.

This whole post circled in my mind……

(I feel like I have a lot to share today and please let me tell you I am no grief expert. That what I have found is that everyone processes and is affected by grief differently. That you should never compare one loss to another because all are considered such huge losses no matter what the circumstances. Dennis and I keep our family life very private. What I share with you here in this space is how I have seen God actively move in my family’s life. God has called me to share, it’s uncomfortable and most importantly my hope is that our story can bring you some comfort and offer you a ray of light if you are feeling that you are in the dark).

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Today Angelina would be three. Three years old. It’s such a fun age. Reflecting back to my two older girls….. It’s an age where you can laugh and giggle for no reason, the kids don’t just waddle around like they do when they first start walking they run, they get into everything, and I MEAN EVERYTHING! They learn how to pick out clothes and dress themselves. Dinner is fun because they finally can hold little silly conversations. Oh how I loved tea parties, letting my girls help me bake, and they started to show interest in digging around in the garden. I would take the girls to the track at three and they would run with me while I did intervals. Daddy time was always the best moment of the day. The pitter patter on the hard wood floors as Dennis arrived home. Squeals of excitement as the girls would hear his truck and come running directly at him as he came through the door.

I wish she was here. I miss her just like Amelia. I wish I had a cake and three tiny candles to blow out with Angelina today.

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When I look back over these last three years and the past two and a half years since Angelina has been gone. I come to this place of knowing during year one, I was completely numb. Year two, I started to bring myself to a place where I knew I needed healing and during the last six months I have really just wanted to find joy again.

Grief sucks. Loss sucks. I prayed this prayer this morning. “God I really miss my daughter, help me have a joyful heart. Help me in spite of the everyday sorrow I feel to find joy amidst the pain of her absence in our family.

Grief changes you. I really can’t explain it but it does. The things that once were really important are no longer that important. Grief teaches you to come alongside of other people without any judgement, to show compassion in ways you never might think you could, and it has just taught us to love the way Jesus loves.

Last year, I typed this post and I felt like God was saying for me to bloom where I had been planted. It seemed really silly to me. How in the world could I live life among grief when I just wanted to curl up in a ball and never leave my bedroom.

You see we allow grief to be this uncomfortable thing. We run from others experiencing loss because we might not have the perfect words or never experienced what they have. Grief has taught us while we might have not experienced tough situations others may have experienced we still can listen and be a source of support.

To our family this is a part of our reality. It’s not uncomfortable because we live a life that involves a tragic loss and absence in our family every single day. Not only do we have to process grief in order to heal. We have to be present for our children while they try to process and make sense of the loss of their sister.

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The thought of the future over the last three years has been foggy. To dream and hope after the loss of our child has seemed like the last thought on our mind. Trying to pick up the pieces and try to put them back together is at times very painful.

When you move through healing you are trying to figure out a new reality. Things will never be what they once were and we have accepted that. 

If you ask us what we might be doing three or six months from now. Maybe we will tell you something different each time you ask. We are simply still processing. We are waiting on God’s perfect timing. For the first time ever we have learned how to be in a season of simply receiving God’s love.

Romans 5:2-5: “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”. (Translation: NKJV)

You see every part of our lives has been turned upside down and as we learn how to live right side up again it gives our lives an eternal perspective. The eternal is what we are preparing for and while we learn to live more for the hope of heaven and being reunited with our daughter we begin to worry less about the carnal here on earth.

As we try to have joy again I keep seeing this phrase: “Look-Up.”

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3

A little gift from Angelina from the heavens. She’s telling us to look up for our help and strength.  It’s certain when we look down we are missing out on life and that she would want us to keep our head up. When you have hit the bottom, been through tragedy and the toughest parts of life what is there left to do but, look up.

I have taken this two word term to the heart. My friends this life is but a vapor. So, stop wasting it on the things that simply don’t matter. I’m going to say this again. Let’s stop wasting our life on moment’s that don’t matter.

“ Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your Life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” -James 4:14 (Translation NKJV)

Angelina has taught us how to cling to Jesus and to make our moments count. This is still hard to do on those rocky days grief throws our way but we are trying with all our might.

On Angelina’s Third birthday we are going to make our moments count. Even the ones that involve tears because tears are the truest sign of the love we hold for our loved ones that have gone to soon.

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Over this last year I finally realized that when a flower comes to bloom it looks up toward the sun. God is the light that shines ever so bright in the darkness and it’s his light that helps us bloom. When we try with all our might to love the way he loves us we give off a sweet smelling aroma wherever we go.

“In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse”. -2 Corinthians 2:14 (Translation: The Message)

As we learn to receive his love and we are able to love like him it enables us to be Jesus to those who desperately need him.

We are going to live with an eternal perspective, Angelina, and in honor of you try our best to make our moment’s count.

I recently came across this quote. So don’t be discouraged. Never Give up. Bloom where your planted. What you do has eternal significance in God’s eyes. -DHR