Archives for category: Super-Action Hero Tips

It’s time to get serious with my workouts. I’ve got another 15-20 pounds of fat to burn, and I want to burn it off by the end of June. I know I can do it, but I have to work hard to do it. There are  some general rules to keep if I’m to be successful:

1) Weigh, measure, track: every bite and morsel needs to be tracked. I’ll stay within my points, aiming for average days of 1,300 calories.

2) Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans & lentils. Meat, sweets and alcohol will be consumed sparingly.

3) Be dedicated to exercise and strength training. That means running, abdominal work, and getting to the gym daily.

Here’s my workout plan for this week, Week 1:

Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)

Plie dumbbell squat, 3 sets of 15 reps, 45lb weight
Alternated with Dumbbell lunges, 12 reps, 15lb weights
Leg press, 3 sets of 12 reps, 100lbs
Leg curls (machine), 3 sets of 12 reps, 70lbs, alternating “toe positions”
Standing calf raises, 3 sets of 15 reps, 70lbs

Abs: Day 1

Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Chest, Triceps:

Pushups, 2 sets of 15 reps
Machine bench press, 3 x 12-15*
Incline dumbbell press, 3 x 12-15*
Butterfly machine, 3 x 12-15*
Tricep dips, 3 x 12-15*
Stability ball overhead tricep extensions, dumbbell, 3 x 12-15*

Abs: Day 2

Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Back, Biceps:

Prone trunk extensions, 2 x 15
Floor bridges, 2 x 15
Wide-grip lateral pulldown: 3 x 12-15*
Assisted chinups: 3 x 12-15*
One-arm dumbbell row: 3 x 12-15, 20lb weight
Lying T-bar row: 3 x 12-15*
Back extension: 3 x 12-15
Alternating dumbbell curl: 3 x 12-15*

Abs: Day 3

Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Shoulders: ….I need to work out this routine.

Abs: Day 4


Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)

Plie dumbbell squat, 3 sets of 15 reps, 45lb weight
Alternated with Dumbbell lunges, 12 reps, 15lb weights
Leg press, 3 sets of 12 reps, 110lbs
Leg curls (machine), 3 sets of 12 reps, 70lbs, alternating “toe positions”
Standing calf raises, 3 sets of 15 reps, 75lbs

Abs: Day 5

Meet with Trainer Paul

Abs: Day 6

Jog 2 miles (20 minutes)
Depends on what I do on Friday.

Abs: Day 7


I’m taking a nutrition class at the local community college, and I’m really shocked at the foods that people say they eat. Not only is fast food a large component of their weekly menus, but so is over-processed, refined, sugary crap. In addition to that, most people get fewer than 10 grams of fiber in their daily diet. It’s really hard to eat such little fiber–at least I thought.

Since it appears I’m wrong, here are:

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Fiber Intake

1) Don’t peel it. Eat your apple, peach and potato peels. You’ll double your fiber intake this way.

2) Go brown. Stay away from white food. No white rice, bread, or pasta. Instead, have brown rice, whole grain bread–look for whole wheat!–, and whole wheat pasta. Look at the amount of fiber on the nutritional panels to make sure you’re getting a decent amount of fiber per serving, more than three grams. If not, see if you can find another brand.

3) Have beans or lentils every other day.  That’s a simple way to increase your fiber intake!

4) Sprinkle flax seeds on it. Try sprinkling “nature’s broom” into your cereal, on top of soup, into pasta, in stir fries. They are crunchy and have a mild flavor, and are a nutritious form of fiber. Do know they are *not* fat free!

5) Have high-fiber cereal in the morning. Don’t like it? Try swapping out a quarter of your cereal for high-fiber cereal for a few days, then increase it to a third of your cereal, etc.

BrainThere’s a saying that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I disagree. It’s 30% diet, 20% exercise, and 50% mental training.

Think about it. We didn’t get fat by thinking thin thoughts. When I was 267 pounds my first thought in the morning was “What am I going to eat today?” If I saw that donuts were on sale I’d think, “Two for one, what a bargain! I can’t miss out on a bargain like that!” If someone invited me to go on a hike I’d think,”What are they, crazy? I’m not one of those outdoorsy people!”

Of course that way of thinking is pure sabotage for someone on a weight loss journey. I believe the most important muscle we must build as we lose weight is our brain. Too many of us are “repeat Weight Watchers” or yo-yo dieters. Why? Because we haven’t mentally trained ourselves not to think like the fat people we once were. And it takes time to re-train our brains–which is why people who rapidly lose weight are unlikely to keep it off. They lost the weight but they didn’t lose the unhealthy thoughts.

1. Get rid of the monkey mind. You know monkey mind. It’s that little voice in your head that knocks you down. “Oh, that’s too hard, I can’t do that.” “I’ve tried before, diets don’t work for me.” “I’ll never lose weight.” “Look, you’ve lost 40 pounds and you still look fat. Why bother? Eat a donut.”

If you think like this, you won’t lose weight–because you’re setting yourself up for failure from the get-go. The most important thing to do when these negative thoughts come creeping in is to sweep them out. Shut the door. Why can’t you do it? Other people have lost weight–lots of it–and kept it off. Need some inspiration? Check out the Anti-Jared. He was over 400 pounds at his heaviest.

When that monkey mind creeps in–and it will, even after you’ve lost 20, 40, 80 pounds–remind yourself those are the thoughts that brought you to fat. Do you want to follow the monkey mind down that long, dark hall again?

2. Visualize yourself healthy. About nine years ago I went to a music festival where a big group of people woke at sunrise to do yoga on the lawn. I turned to my husband and said, “Wouldn’t it be great to be one of those yoga people?” Then there are all the outdoorsy people I used to see who loved to go hiking–they’d be talking and smiling as I trudged up the hill sweating, panting, and cursing. I hated them. And I envied them. Oh, how I wanted to be a smiling hiker!

Now I visualize myself as a smiling hiker, running 5ks and beating my time, lifting heavy weights and building muscle.

I picture myself fit and at my goal weight. That’s harder because the last time I was at that weight I was in high school, but I can picture other women’s bodies and how I might look and feel with them.

Have you seen the new Sherlock Holmes’ movies with Robert Downey Jr? In them, Sherlock rehearses each step of a physical altercation (usually) resulting in success–visualization!

3. Keep visualizing. It works. Repeated visualization and rehearsing imprints your brain and “re-wires” it–helping to get rid of that monkey mind. Visualization was a topic a few years ago during a Weight Watchers meeting and I thought it was cheesy hooey. You know, that touchy-feely crap. Two years later I’ve learned that the world’s top athletes use visualization as a form of mental training to prep themselves, and that neurological studies show that visualization really does rewire the brain.

4. Set multiple goals. Losing a significant amount of weight can be overwhelming for anyone. My long-term goal is to lose 120 pounds and to get healthy and fit. Over the past two-and-a-half years I’ve set–and reached–many other goals. Losing 10% of my body weight. Losing 50, 75 pounds. Running one mile without stopping. Fitting into a size 14. Running a 5k. Tracking every bite for a week.

As I drove over to the gym this afternoon I realized I hadn’t been there in 10 days. All of a sudden doubt crept in. I was scared.

Ten days. Would I have the same strength as before? The stamina? Oh, god. What about the willpower? If I didn’t have strength and stamina, I wasn’t sure I was going to have the willpower to keep going. In fact, I was sure I wouldn’t. I could see myself pooping out of the treadmill early. Doing on one set of reps for my resistance/weight training instead of three. And basically, screwing up a perfectly good workout day.

Instead, I went to one of the classes. It was only 30 minutes. R.I.P.P.E.D. Express. It was a quick jolt of bouncy cardio (during which I just jogged and did high knees for most of the “Zumba” type dance moves) followed by 25 minutes of biceps, triceps, shoulders, squats and planking. I didn’t hate it.

What I did hate was the really horrible music. MC Hammer was the deciding track–I would have stayed for the second 30 minutes of “Abs and Assets” but I just couldn’t stand the loud, awful music. I grabbed my own tunes and hit the treadmill.

30 minutes of The Living End, Alkaline Trio, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes–with a little bit of 60s lounge cha cha music mixed in for fun–and I had a good transition back to the gym.

Yes, I did say cha cha music. I’m sure someone would hate my music too.

Super-Action Hero Training Tip: When you’ve fallen off the horse, try a class to get back on it. Find one you don’t have to sign up for multiples and just have fun trying something new.


Do you want to be a super action hero, but you’re not quite there yet?

Here’s a tip to make you look–and feel–like one:

Stand up straight. While you’re at it, sit up straight too.

Imagine a thread is coming out of the top of your head. Someone gently pulls on it, straightening and elongating your spine. Shoulders down and back. Chest out. Chin up. Now smile–just a hint of a smile. Breathe.

Don’t you feel better? I guarantee you look better, too.

Sarah Connor stands tall

Ellen Ripley stands tall

Jamie Somers stands tall


Sydney stands tall