Beginner Leg Workout

 As you know, I love using stability balls when I train beginning clients. They force you to use more core and make it more interesting, in my opinion. I have put together a beginner routine for the week to get you started. For toning, I recommend 3 sets of 15 reps. For building muscle, I recommend 4 sets of 8-12 reps.


Remember to pull your belly button towards your spine for support, Keep your feet shoulder width apart, make sure your knees stay behind your toes.

Ball Squat    

 Focus: legs, glutes, core

Single-leg Lunge to Balance    

Focus: Legs, glutes, balance, core


Leg Extension with Ball    

 Focus: Quadriceps (front of legs.)

Ball  Bridge    

Focus: Hamstring, glutes

Side Leg Kick    

Focus: outer thigh and glutes


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Misbah Syed Bramonth: Fit Girl of the Month

I really like to give recognition where it is due and I have felt one of our Fit Girl sisters has really stood out. A couple of months ago Misbah wrote on The Fit Girl’s wall said she was at a plateau and wanted some suggestions. After talking I realized her calories were too low and suggested her upping them. This is her story and what I appreciate most about her is her openness to try something new and to take it on without fear. Misbah, may you have much success and happiness in this journey to live a healthy life with those you love. 
“So my weight loss journey started after the birth of my sons. I was always small and had never had trouble maintaining my weight. After first son I gained 60 pounds and lost all but 15 pounds before I became pregnant with 2nd child. With the second one I had a mishap with the epidural and had to have a spinal tap which caused severe back pains. I could not work out for a 1 1/2 years. Still have back pains from time to time.
Well, to lose weight I reduced calories, since working out was not an option. I went from eating over 2000 cals to about 1600 and lost weight. Then as back got better added workouts but did not increase my calories, I lost 5 more pounds then hit a plateau. I was not sure why so increased workout and lowered calories not really thinking about the effects. I honestly did not think I was eating less than 1200 cals but after chatting with you and tracking calories I found I was eating 850 to 1100 calories a day.
I took your advice and upped the calories to 1400 a day, more if I worked out. I added more meats (chicken mostly) and nuts to my diet. Well I lost 3 pounds!!! I then upped my weights and reduced cardio (due to not being able to get out of house due to sick kids and hubby not home). This had me put 2 pounds back on but not in fat in MUSCLE!!!! (actually I think its water weight just got done with that time of month). Not only have I broken the plateau but dropped from a size 8 to a 6. Well as of 3 days ago a very loose fitting size 6 my pants that I just fit into a week ago are loose!!!!!
I am very small boned so muscle is hard to put on. I can actually see definition in my arms and my butt is up higher. I cannot believe that adding the right kind of calories would help me lose fat. Eating less calories just caused me to plateau and not really change my body shape.
I thank you for suggesting calorie counting it truly helped me. I will keep you updated on my progress.”
Thank you, Misbah for your hard work and openness. You are a great example to all of us.
Fit Girls, remember to eat the right amount…not too little and not too much. For more information, please check out our TDEE calculator and my blog on “The Starvation Effect”. May all of you find success and reach your goals and live a full, long life of health .

Do you have your own success story? We would love to hear it. 


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MSG - mmm...mmm...good?

I have two small children and really try to do my best getting them to eat healthy, unprocessed foods. It is a battle, though and I sometimes find myself buying things that I know they will like. As I was over the stove one day I saw that one of my items I was cooking for them had MSG. I shuddered at the thought that I was knowingly feeding them MSG and began to wonder what the long term affects would be on their palette. Everything tastes better with MSG and what will they think about normal food?   
I am not a granola type, but am finding myself more and more concerned about the effects of MSG and other preservatives in the food my family eats.
I got really alarmed when my husband had a series of allergic reactions after eating highly processed foods. He is from Canada and a lot of their food is more natural. He then moved to the states and had allergic reactions to food about an hour after he ate. I jokingly call him my "canary", because I know if our food is high in preservatives, corn syrup and MSG because he breaks out. As soon as I started cooking from scratch, his reactions went away completely.
My best friend cut out processed foods and her monthly cycle changed from an irregular 39 days to regular 29 days.
I am a wife and mother, not an expert. I do my research, though and try to be aware of what I am eating. I always looked for the name MSG in the label, but a friend one day told me that they put it under other names that parents don’t recognize. I was shocked and thought, “Ooh, how sneaky!”
The Goldfish Crackers that my children cherish have “Yeast Extract”. No wonder they taste so good and has my child ever had anything that was not altered? I am going back to basics and am either cooking from scratch for them or have found alternatives like, “Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies”. They taste the same and are organic and not that much more in price.
I have included a table that has the most common alternate "MSG" names found in today’s labels.
Calcium Caseinate
Monosodium glutamate
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Textured Protein
Monopotassium glutamate
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
Yeast Extract
Autolyzed Plant Protein
Yeast food or nutrient
Glutamic Acid
Sodium Caseinate
Autolyzed Yeast
Vegetable Protein Extract
Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)
Yeast Extract
MSG is a substance that we have all heard about and most of us probably avoid when we know it is obviously present. I am not promoting getting panicked about this, but getting informed and looking more closely at what is in our food. I want to know what food really tastes like and am suspicious of why they need to enhance food. If we tasted food without it, would we be impressed?
I hope this article helps and for anyone wanting more information on MSG here is a link that explains the chemical properties.
Do you look at food labels and if so, what do you try to watch out for?
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