Belly Tricks or Treats….

October 31st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Fitness | Wellness - (0 Comments)

Whether you’re just starting an exercise program, or you’ve been at it for years, there is one thing on everyone’s wish list: a toned stomach. I certainly have learned this first-hand since having my son one year ago!  Done are the days of having the expectations of a potential six pack.  Nope, now days, I would just like to have less of a muffin top!  Knowing that my time is limited and my workouts need to take less time than pre-motherhood, I have learned some great tips that have helped me to train less, yet see better results!

You Need To Burn fat. Okay so I read it somewhere, so I am going with it…but did you know that most people actually DO have strong, defined abs…they just happen to be covered by a layer of fat. I like to think this is my situation 🙂  You can do all the sit-ups you want but it won’t burn the fat on top of your muscles!  To accomplish this, you need a combination of regular cardio (aerobic) exercise and a healthy diet!

Don’t crash diet. Some people will swear that a key to their flat abs is what they eat—or don’t eat. Whether they omit dairy, milk, wheat, sugar, or something else, you do not have to drastically change your diet (or limit certain foods or food groups) to lose the belly bulge. Simple, healthy eating habits (not deprivation) will help you drop excess weight from all over the body.

Train the abs like you would any other muscle. You should strength train all of your major muscle groups, which typically involves 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions per exercise. There is no need to do 50, 100 or thousands of crunches each day. In fact, if you are doing your exercises correctly, 8-15 repetitions are all that you need to feel the muscles working and get results.

Here are a couple of my “Spooktacular” abdominal exercises: 

Modified Plank:  This pose is a great core strengthener—especially when you need a break from crunches.  Work yourself up to 1-3 sets of 30 seconds each.

Crunches on a Ball. As boring as they may seem, studies show that crunches done on a stability ball are the most effective exercise for the abs.

Don’t forget the lower back! Include at least one lower back exercise every time you work your abs. These muscles work together all the time. Strong abs help prevent lower back pain, but so does a strong back. Remember that when focusing on that muscle group, you should feel the muscles working—which is not the same as back pain. Do not attempt any exercise that actually hurts your back in any way.

So there you have it!  Follow these tips and before you know it, you can say bye-bye to that muffin top and hello to your strong abdominals!  I’d love to hear from you, what’s your favorite way to work your abs?

Try it Tuesday: Kosama Body Transformation

October 30th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Fitness - (1 Comments)

Face it, the name itself, Kosama (ko-saw-maa), is intimidating, but I convinced myself and a few unsuspecting coworkers to try it with me. Kosama, is an relatively new body transformation program located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that features an ever changing combination of plyometrics, kettlebells, kickboxing (my personal favorite!), TRX bands, body bars, power yoga, and cardio exercises.  A team of seasoned trainers leads you through each hour long class up to 6 days a week.

Everyone is given a  ‘pre-assessment’ to see all of those lovely numbers like weight, fat percentage, measurements,  as well as before photos, and various fitness tests, then it is on to day one. Day one is never nice on any workout program or diet and Kosama is no different. I recall myself sitting in the car after I arrived home, too tired to walk up to the door. It was rough and so was the rest of the week, but really what was I expecting? A walk in the park? I got exactly what I signed up for, a hardcore kick-me-into-shape, bootcamp style workout. The biggest obstacle, for seemingly everyone, was working out while you were so sore and tired from the day before but, after ten minutes that was the last thing on your mind.

Eventually, the soreness stopped and I felt fantastic! The energy, drive, and confidence I received from Kosama was and is so new to me with this whole world of ‘extreme fitness’ and a real dedication to working out but I found it fun and I looked forward to going each day.

By the end of 8 weeks, I found myself down 20lbs and over 20 inches! I think the biggest lesson I learned here is to never underestimate yourself. If you go into any workout program expecting to fail or doubting yourself, it makes it so easy to give up. Show yourself you are strong enough and worth the effort. There will be a day when there is not a trainer or class pushing you, will you rise to the occasion?


Try it Tuesday Recap

Fitness Level: Moderate to Advanced. Anyone can begin this program, it will just take time and dedication for you to excel and get past that ‘beginner’ level.

Intensity: Sweaty! You will work up a pretty good sweat with this one every single day. Probably during the warm up!

Size: Medium to Large Group (depending on what time you go to the class)

Fun Factor: Definitely something different each day! Something new always rates high on my interest level.

So, get moving South Dakota!

Do you have a class, workout or recipe you would like me to try? Let me know!

Be Well South Dakota does not endorse or promote any particular fitness class or regime but simply offers an unbiased opinion.
All classes and memberships are paid for by Be Well South Dakota.


I stepped on the scale today and wasn’t happy with the answer! After I had broken my foot, I wasn’t very good about keeping track of my calories, more accurately, I didn’t keep track. I still biked a little with my boot on, but not enough to have any positive effect on my weight. Now that I have completed my physical therapy and can even run on my foot, it’s time to get to work on that mid-section.

Now, in a previous post, I stressed how having a goal when starting a workout plan was imperative to my success. So, this means if I want to lose weight, I better think of a goal. Therefore, I decided to do another triathlon. There are many triathlons in the surrounding area in the summer. A great site to find one in your area is

Once you find the race, the next step is to find a training plan. I have used and have been satisfied at how prepared I was for the race. I prefer to pick the longest training program, like an 18 week program. I feel the most prepared when I do this. Well, now I am ready to start. I will keep you posted on my progress.  Until then…Swim, Bike, Run!

Photo Credit:


Welcome back to my final post on It’s More Than a Pink Ribbon.

I am excited to share the multiple surgeries, months of chemotherapy and radiation have worked…this December marks my 4th year cancerversary!   One of the many things I learned through my cancer journey is that good health is a gift that we give ourselves and our loved ones!

Each year, more than 572,000 Americans die of cancer; about one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight.  Personally, I can’t wait until the day when cancer is no more! Until then, here are some “yes” lifestyle choices that can help decrease your risk.


Say “Yes” to eating a healthy diet.

Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk.  Here are some tips to help you and your family build a healthy diet plan:

  • Choose vegetables, whole fruit, legumes such as peas and beans, and other low calorie foods instead of calorie dense foods such as French fries, potato chips, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets.
  • Eat smaller portions when eating high calorie foods.
  • Read food labels to become more aware of portion sizes and calories.  Be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” does not necessarily mean “low calorie.”
  • Limit your intake of sugar sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit flavored drinks.
  • Eat at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • This is easily accomplished when you include vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack.
  • Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat.
  • Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking or broiling, instead of frying.
  • If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.
  • Limit your intake of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats, and hot dogs.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
  •  Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.


Say “Yes” to becoming more active.

When you become more active you reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control, improve your hormone levels and boost your immune system.

The latest recommendations for adults:

  • Thirty minutes of moderate intensity activity at least 5 days a week

Moderate activities: Those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk.

  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Housework
  • Gardening

When it comes to physical activity, the biggest challenge is to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, and watching television.

No matter what your activity level, choosing to be more active than usual has many health benefits.


 Say “Yes” to controlling your weight.

Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes. Also, excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth. The key to weight control is to say “yes” to eating a healthy diet and to say “yes” to more physical activity.

Remember losing even a small amount of weight has significant health benefits.

 My plea to you…remember one third of all cancer deaths are related to diet and activity.  Please join me in the challenge to lose some extra pounds, increase physical activity, and to make healthy food choices!



Resource: American Cancer Society

Photo Credit: 2


Hello and Happy Wellness Wednesday!  By show of hands…..Have you had every intention of eating the broccoli that’s been buried in your fridge for weeks (hey, we’ve been there) or what about the lettuce that you planned to turn into a salad for dinner (yep, guilty of that one, too) and the bananas you meant to bring to work for a snack (ditto). If it sometimes seems that you can’t eat the healthy food you buy fast enough, you’ve got plenty of company….and you can put your hand down now….

Guess what?  The average family of four in the United States tosses out about $1,350 in groceries every year, according to Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It). “Fruits and vegetables top the list of most-wasted foods,” Bloom says. “It’s often because we forget what we bought. Things get pushed to the back of the produce drawer, and out of sight is out of mind.”

Shop a little smarter and you won’t have to trash good food or your hard-earned cash. As a bonus, you’ll boost your diet and your bank account at the same time. Check out these money-saving ideas before you hit the checkout line and you can thank me later……

Plan, Plan, Plan and then Plan Some More:  The single best way to save at the grocery store is to plan out your dinners for the week and shop with a list.  I am sure this seems like a no brainer to you and something you have heard before, but most people don’t do this!  Take a quick inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer so you know what you’ve got on hand. Then decide on the recipes you want to make for the week and start your grocery list!

Shop for What Is in Season:  The freshest foods have better flavor and more nutrients, and they’re also less expensive. In the off-season, try frozen fruits and veggies, which offer the same healthy benefits for low prices.

Buy in Bulk:  Don’t be afraid to hit your local Sam’s Club or grocery store that offers items in large quantities.  I know my husband and I often stock up on our ground turkey and other meat and when we get home, we divide it out into smaller servings before we freeze it.  Knowing that we both also pack our lunches for work every day, we go through a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables so even though we are just a family of 3, when you factor that we work to have our 5 fruits and vegetables/day…that’s a lot of bananas and carrots J

Veg Out Tonight:  Go vegetarian one or more days a week and you can slash your grocery bill big-time. Swap beef and chicken for beans, grains, and eggs.  Have a breakfast meal for supper such as pancakes, turkey bacon and fruit or a vegetable stir fry!

I’ll Have Some Water Please:  Your very best option is free.  Drink water.  Water is better for you than any other drink and will help you on your weight loss efforts.  Not a fan of water, try adding a lemon or a flavored packet such as Crystal Light.  Is it easier to drink your water ice cold or do you seem to drink more when you have a straw?  Whatever the case, your best happy hour drink is WATER!

This next week I encourage you to incorporate these tips into your wellness plan and hey, with the money you save from being a savvy shopper, you will have more for yourself and your family!  If you have any other tips on eating healthy on a budget, comment below and think of the people you can help by providing your own tips!  Until next Wednesday South Dakota….Be Well!


Photo Credit: 1 and 2