Viya’s Health and Wellness

September is here! I’m looking forward to the autumn season: cooler weather, changing leaves, all things pumpkin and apple, scarves, harvest festivals, Oktoberfest, Halloween…. it truly is my favorite time of year. With the many outdoor activities that happen in the fall, it’s time to post my September Challenge Groups so that we can Fall into Shape this month together!

SEPTEMBER 12th: Viya’s Club Challenge Group
Do you want to try out some new exercises and recipes but aren’t committed to purchasing a program? Join me to try out the 30-day FREE trial of Beachbody’s TEAM CLUB MEMBERSHIP. That’s right, you’ll get online access to workout videos with their celebrity trainers, guides for good nutrition and great places to log workouts and meet others who are doing the same things you are.

SEPTEMBER 19th: FREE 2-Week Crockpot Meal Challenge Group
With school starting and schedules filling up, sometimes it’s hard to get meals together when activities are piling up one after another. For 2 weeks join me as I put together my favorite healthy crockpot meals for you so that you are ready to take on the colder months with delicious food that will fill you up but not pack on the pounds.

SEPTEMBER 26th: 21 DAY FIX Challenge Group
Creating new, healthy habits is much easier with a support group! Join me and my fellow challengers for 4 weeks (prep week + 21 Days) to kick those bad habits and find new ways to incorporate healthy eating and fitness into your life! Although this group is geared toward the 21 Day Fix program, you can join with ANY of the Beachbody programs for added support and accountability.

You can sign up for any of these groups by contacting me here through this blog or contacting me through my Facebook page Viya’s Health and Wellness.

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The Madness of March

March is upon us!  Spring is ALMOST here!  I LOVE being outside and being more active when the weather warms up.  It’s like awakening from a state of sleep for me, and I’m finally ready to shed off winter and enjoy what spring has to offer.  With that in mind, I wanted to share two Facebook Challenge Groups I’m going to be starting on MARCH 15 to energize and encourage others who want to use the spring to “spring into good health.”

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21 Day Fix Challenge Group

     This is the program that I have been doing consistently since December 20th, 2015.  Though I purchased it in the summer of last year, I was not consistent with it until after Christmas, when I looked at my holiday photos and held my holiday belly and realized I had had enough.  I was tired of feeling unhealthy, unhappy, and unattractive.  Most of all, I was tired of feeling out of control of my eating habits.  People can be beautiful and confident at any size-I strongly believe that- however how you FEEL on the inside is what matters and I needed to change my lifestyle to change how I FELT.  The weight loss for me was a bonus side effect of getting healthy.  That’s what this program is.  Simple tools for getting healthy.  Portion control containers + clean eating + 30 minute exercise + support= the best you possible!

      The challenge group I’m setting up through Facebook will add the support, motivation and accountability aspect of the program into place.  You can eat from your kitchen, practice at home, and check in with others trying to get healthy and lose weight from the comfort of your computer.  This was the key piece for me.  With two little kids and my choir schedule, I don’t have time for the gym, and I prefer to exercise at home.  I am NOT good however at staying on track without someone to vent to and someone to encourage me.  If you need that too, send me your contact information here or find me on Facebook through the link on the side of the blog and I’ll get you started in the group.  Once you purchase the program on my Beachbody website, I’ll be your coach for life and help you through any of the programs to get you as fit as you’re willing to get.

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March Madness Fitness Challenge Group

     This challenge group is my FREE March fitness group, based on the basketball competition that has enthralled millions all over the U.S.  Technically, you don’t have to be a fan of basketball to play, but I’m sure it will make it more enjoyable.  Here are the rules to the game:

  1. Pick one team at beginning of challenge. If that team loses, you are allowed to pick another team to keep up with the fitness, however you will be ineligible for the grand prize.
  2. Each sports team is designated a certain fitness routine and recommended reps. As your team plays, do the fitness reps for your team and the team they are playing that evening.  You may choose to do the recommended reps or challenge yourself to do one rep for each goal scored in the game.
  3. Post pictures, videos or comments (each one gives you a participation point) about the game on the Facebook group to gain eligibility to win the participation prizes.
  4. You can do more fitness reps for other games outside of your team choice for participation points (i.e. the more games you watch/do workouts for the more points towards the participation prizes).
  5. The challenge group is FREE, however if you do decide to place an order for Shakeology before or during the challenge then you will be eligible to win the bigger prizes.
  6. The person with the most participation points will win a free custom Beachbody t-shirt.  The person who ordered Shakeology with the most participation points will win a free custom Beachbody t-shirt and other Beachbody swag.  If a person who ordered Shakeology chooses a team at the beginning and that team wins March Madness then they will win the grand prize, a free custom t-shirt and a free basic Beachbody program of their choice!

 

Again, send me your contact information via this blog or on Facebook and I’ll set you up in the Facebook group.  Both begin on March 15th and you are welcome to join both!  Start building your summer body this spring and regain your health with some fun programs together with fun people!

8 Fun Ways to Workout with Kids

Whether you have little kids yourself, in your family, or you occasionally babysit them, you have the perfect opportunity to add some extra fitness to your routine.  Kids are like new phones; their batteries are extra long lasting, they have so many features that it takes you forever to learn them all and when you do they upgrade to the newest model and you have to start all over again.  Luckily, in my experience most children in the toddler/preschool/early elementary range like two things: 1) playing make believe and 2) silly adults.  With these two things you can get your exercise in and entertain children (particularly necessary on a rainy winter day like today) in the process.  My kids like when I show them my yoga moves, and there are definitely some that can be done together, but these animal inspired fitness moves are a little more cardio and much more silly.

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Make your best chicken face, flap your elbows, and hop from foot to foot, making sure your knees stay high and your abdominals are tucked in.

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After practicing your roar and sharpening your claws, stalk your prey and jump into a squat, like you are sitting in a chair, with your knees tracking behind your toes.

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Stand with your feet wide and turned out, chest up and abdominals pulled in, knees behind toes and squat down to put your fingers on the ground.  Hop around returning to this position.

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This variation on a sumo squat is a great workout for your quadriceps.  Stand in the same position as the frog hop, but keep your back straight and walk around like this, possibly chasing the kids you threaten to tickle with your crab claws.

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This balance move possibly comes after you’ve been flying around the room after the kids, like when they won’t put their clothes on.  Perch for as long as you can on one leg and then switch, provided the kids don’t come by and knock you over.

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When you’re too tired of cardio and too inflexible for bow pose, a nice fish curl helps to stretch your back out.  You can add some arm workout by crawling away on your stomach as they run over to climb on your back.

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Sleeping snake is a nice stretch to make the kids think you’re not paying attention until they get near and then you can strike, catching them with the element of surprise.  They’ll never see it coming.

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This is the pose that best describes the end of a long day of “animal” wrangling.  Usually I’ve been tackled by my two enough that this is exactly how I feel.

Whether you fully channel your inner animal or just use these moves to invite your children to play, you can always engage in the play of children to get some extra workouts in.  In the big scheme of things, it’s the play they’ll remember.

Blizzard workout

As a Texas girl living in Maryland, I am not used to snow.  Sure, it’ll snow in Dallas, but for most of my life, snow would fall for half a day, a few inches at most, and then turn to ice if it would stick at all.  Most of the time we would be so excited that there was actually something white falling from the sky that I never realized that there is so much nuance to a snowy day.  My favorite is the lightly falling, big flaked, pretty snow that looks like something out of a movie and is pleasant to walk in.  The few times it snowed like that growing up are vivid memories.  After moving further north I have now had several experiences with the phenomenon know as: the blizzard.

This last blizzard I saw more snow in one weekend than I ever have before.  Lookup #snowzilla and #snowpocalypse if you weren’t in the area to see the kind of reactions the east coast had to that storm.  Since we didn’t lose power (though were prepared if we did) I was very excited for the storm.  The whole family was cuddled up at home, playing games and watching movies, and I kept making calls to my family back home to give them updates on HOW MUCH SNOW COULD FALL FROM THE SKY!  (Yes, I’m sure on the phone I was speaking in all caps.)

On Saturday morning there was a small break in the otherwise constant barrage of snow, so I decided to shovel our driveway before another foot or more of snow were to pile on top of the first.  So, I wrapped myself up in layers, took my shovel, and prepared for a couple hours of physical activity.  Luckily, weeks of strength training and 21 Day Fix workouts prepared me for this shoveling.  Though I was tired at the end, it felt like a good workout and not the terrible ache of someone whose muscles were screaming at their unpreparedness.  Here are a few moves to train you for the next snowstorm.

#1) Lunges & Squats

     Yep. Good old fashioned lunges were key to helping protect my lower back as I bent to put snow on my shovel.  I used a wide lunge or squat, making sure my knees were at right angles in my bent legs, to give me a firm foundation.  Having tucked in abs and strong legs by practicing forward lunges and side lunges helped me shift the balance of snow and move it more efficiently.

#2) Wood chopper

     In the 21 Day Fix program, there is a weight exercise called the “squat to wood chop” we practice with weights.  Starting with feet hip width apart, squat with the weight over the right foot, then push up, twisting the body until the weight is up in the air facing the left side.  This translated perfectly to the twist needed to fling the snow over my shoulder to make sure it got over the banks of snow already piled on either side.

#3) Ab and oblique exercises

     A tight core is important for lower back health in general.  A combo of crunches, bicycle twists, oblique stretches, and scissor twists (crunches with the legs alternating up and down) are good ab exercises to add to your routine.  The upside is that all those ab exercises preparing me for snow shoveling will pay off for bikini wearing in the summer.

  Happy exercising!

Putting the “F’s” in my chores

Chores are not my favorite pastime.

Cyclical chores, like doing dishes and laundry, are those necessary rituals I dread daily.  It’s ever present, ever needed, and once I finish it’s time to start them all over again.

I need to add a couple F-words to my f*n chores:

Fitness

FUN!

It may not solve my problem of having to do the same chores over and over, but for me, a person who just gets bored with the monotony of chores, perhaps finding a way to combine my exercise moves and creativity will be the “spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.”  (Thank you Mary Poppins.)

#1) Kitchen Cleanup Dance Party

Having music playing in the kitchen is a must for me, especially when cleaning.  I clean faster when I have something to focus on, like chopping veggies to the new Hamilton soundtrack or even lathering dish soap to the Piano Guys.  When my kitchen is a real mess however, it’s time for upbeat 90’s music- the music of my childhood.  (You can pick your preference however.)  Since my kids are too young to be embarrassed by my terrible dancing, I incorporate lunges, squats, oblique stretches and other twists to make putting away dishes more exciting.  Even while I’m standing in front of the sink, I try to keep my hips moving and feet shuffling and abs taut so that I can get the most out of the activity.

#2) Yoga Laundry

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I’m terrible about folding laundry.  I’ll finally sort, wash and dry, but that last step gets lost in the distractions of the day.  I have that special chair that people forget to sit in because they think it is just a mountain of clothes- at least it’s clean right?  Aside from the music aspect of #1, I like to incorporate yoga moves into my folding to make it feel like I’m doing something good for my body- and to keep me less stressed when my kids come over and knock over or grab the pile of folded clothes.  Grrrr.  Putting clothes on a clean spot on the floor and folding while in forward fold stretches my lower back while multitasking nicely.  Folding tank tops while in warrior 1 gives my legs a nice stretch.  Practicing my balance in tree pose while folding socks also helps me later.  If it’s late at night, sometimes I just have to lay in corpse pose and fold things on my stomach.  It just depends on the day.  Do what works for you.

#3) Reality TV Organizing

Sometimes it’s more fun organizing your stuff if you pretend it’s someone else’s stuff.  I’ll pretend I’m on a TV show, like Hoarders meets Biggest Loser, pick a section of house to tidy up, and see if I can put things in their baskets as quickly as possible.  Sometimes I set a time limit, but usually when I play this it’s because someone is about to stop by and the pressure is on anyway.  A special treat awaiting me if I finish my tidying or sweeping within the allotted time also helps.  Now, since it’s already February, I’m going to have to make an Ultimate Challenge Game this weekend to FINALLY put away my holiday decor.

These are just a few tips I can offer to add some spice to your routines.  If you have any other ideas or suggestions, feel free to comment below.  There are always ways to add some FITNESS and FUN to your life here and there, so I encourage you to engage in what works for you.  You can’t get anywhere in life without a little movement.