Friday, July 24, 2009

The Sister Pact - win a free copy

The Sister Pact will be in bookstores August 1st. Yeah! I'm doing a giveaway on my blog - and on Goodreads. Here's a little info about the book. (Hope you can read this, I inserted as large a picture as I could!) For more info go to my website - or you can read the entire first chapter here -
Thanks, friends!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Self-control is the key in improving the lacking areas of my life. I want to be a fun, interactive Mom (control my time-wasters so I can focus on the boys), I want to push myself physically and accomplish my writing goals, I want to eat reasonably and feel healthy. I searched the web for some kind of self-control tips, but the best article I found talked about how we don't need willpower, we need to make choices. Here's an excerpt from it:

Chant the following each day, several times. They are mantras that will save your life:

- The choice to do nothing is still a choice and yields nothing.

- I am responsible for my body. If I don’t take responsibility, who will?

- I make choices daily as to how I'm going to fuel my body.

- I will STAY aware

- Choice IS control (i)

I like this list. We have choices to make every day. I falter because I let myself think that certain choices won't make a difference in the long-term or I justify my behavior. (I ran hard this morning, I deserve this bowl of ice cream!)

How do you keep yourself in control? How do you motivate yourself to make healthy choices?

(i) A Guide to Empowerment and Self-Control by JLee Davis -

Monday, July 20, 2009

Becoming a runner

My little sister, Abbie, has been working diligently to become a runner. She started by walking a block then running a block, gradually increasing the ratio until she was running a mile then walking for a few minutes before running again. Saturday we ran five miles together. Such a proud moment for me.

I know not everyone can run because of joint or health issues, but I found this great article in Prevention about how to become a runner. And it's well worth trying. "Minute for minute, running burns about twice as many calories as walking." (i) Running has been proven to be one of the top cardiovascular means to burn calories. Also running stimulates more good-mood hormones in the brain so runners report enjoying their workout more. (No wonder I'm so addicted to my run even when it hurts like a bikini wax.)

So if you've ever wanted to try running, here's your chance. Check out this link -

(i) Turn your walk into a run ... and drop a size in 4 weeks by Marianne McGinnis, Prevention, July 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Metabolism Boosters

I see articles on metabolism every day. Why is everyone so excited about increasing metabolism? If you can get your metabolism working for you instead of against you, you’ll burn calories even when you’re sitting around reading The Sister Pact (had to throw that in there).

I’ve compiled a list of metabolism boosters to help you kick yours in gear.

1. Lift weights - Personal fitness trainer Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, ACE, notes that every pound of muscle in our bodies burns 35 calories a day, while each pound of fat burns just 2 calories per day. While 30 minutes of aerobic exercise may burn more calories than 30 minutes of weight training, Calabrese says, "in the hours following the cessation of exercise, the weight training has a longer-lasting effect on boosting metabolism." (i)

2. Lift heavier weights – “When exercisers lifted identical volumes (such as 10 pounds 10 times or 20 pounds 5 times), those using the heavier dumbbells burned about 25 percent more calories when they were finished.” (i)

3. Drink plenty of water - if you're dehydrated you will burn fewer calories throughout the day.

4. Drinking ice-cold beverages can burn an extra ten calories a day - that may not seem like much, but it adds up to a pound lost a year. My question now is - if cold beverages burn extra calories, does ice cream have the same effect? Hmmm. I'd better do some research. I'll try a bowl a day for a year and see what the results are.

5. Eat more often. It may sound crazy to those trying to lose weight by severely restricting their daily caloric intake, but the problem with this old school of thought, explains Michigan dietician Julie Beyer, is that it actually slows metabolism. “Every cell of the body is like a flashlight bulb,” she explains. “When our bodies don’t get enough food, or fuel, every cell burns less brightly.” Recent studies show that eating smaller meals every three to four hours aids metabolism and weight loss. (ii)

6. Move more all day. You can burn up to 350 extra calories daily – enough to shed more than 35 pounds this year-simply by pacing while you talk on the phone, getting up to talk to someone rather than e-mailing, and walking rather than driving for short errands.” James Levine, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic and author of Move a Little, Lose a Lot. (iii)

7. Spicy foods can give you a temporary 23% boost in metabolism. Bring on the salsa - I wonder if the metabolism boost balances out the tortilla chips.

8. Exercise outside – You can burn 10% more calories by doing the same run or walk outside as you would on a treadmill.

9. At least once a week have a long cardio day. Exercising for sixty minutes could burn five times as many calories post-workout than thirty minutes.

10. Eat more protein - it's harder for your body to process, you can burn twice as many calories digesting protein as carbs.

11. Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don’t.

12. Avoid stress. “Stress can actually cause weight gain, particularly around the tummy,” says Shari Lieberman author of Dare to Lose. Stress increases cortisol which slows metabolism. (iii)

13. Include interval training two to three days a week. High intensity exercise burns more calories during and after exercise. Some studies have shown women who did a twenty-minute interval workout lost five times as much weight as those who did a forty-minute steady-paced workout.

14. Sleep. Oh, I like this one. “Research shows that people who don’t sleep for seven to eight hours a night are more prone to weight gain. Additionally, we now know that lean muscle is regenerated in the final couple of hours of sleep each night.” Julie Beyer, dietitian. (ii)

Combine all these tricks and you could call metabolism your friend and not have to stress if you eat a few bites of Ben & Jerry’s every day.

Cami Checketts is a wife, mother, exercise scientist, and author. Her third book, The Sister Pact, will be in stores August 1, 2009. Please refer to her blog for strength-training routines.


(i) “The Ultimate Over-40 Fat Fighter!” by Selene Yeager - Prevention Magazine

(ii) “Boosting Metabolism: 10 Tips That Work” by Susan Woodward for MSN Health & Fitness

(iii) “Make the Most of Your Metabolism” By Colette Bouchez WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature -

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Try Something New

The human body is amazing. It adapts quickly to stresses placed upon it. This is a very good characteristic for our ancestors. Not so great for us.

Variety is key when you're trying to lose weight, get past a plateau, or become more fit. If you do the same cardio or same weight routine over and over it will become easy. This is a good thing because it means you're getting stronger, but it also means that you are burning less calories because your body is used to the demands placed upon it.

You can fix this problem by upping the intensity, duration, and speed of your workout or by changing the type of workout you do. Cross-training will recruit different muscle groups, challenge your body in a new way, and help you burn more calories.

If you always walk, try riding a bike or going for a swim. If you love the elliptical machine, try the Stairmaster. If you faithfully go to step aerobics, try yoga, pilates, or a kickboxing class. If you workout at home and need some variety, rent a new workout video or borrow one from the library.

Can't wait to hear about all the new exercises you're going to try,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Combining Bands & Weights

New studies have shown that combining weights with exercise tubing and bands can provide three times the sculpting power of ordinary weight routines. (i) The reason is the band provides resistance throughout the entire move while the weight and band combined fatigue your muscle in far fewer reps, increasing strength, muscle density, and metabolism.

Sounds pretty good? So how do you do it?

Combining your resistance band with free weights isn't rocket science, but it's very individual. Most people can hold onto the handles of a resistance and small dumbbells at the same time without sacrificing form or safety. If your bands are the "Pilates" style ones that are flat and don't have handles, you can usually wrap them around the dumbbell handle. But if you find these options too uncomfortable, you can probably rig your band to your dumbbells in whatever way suits you best—just make sure it's secure, you can grip the dumbbell without risk of dropping it, and you aren't sacrificing form to try this technique. Be creative when it comes to exercises. You could add dumbbells to nearly every exercise that uses a resistance band, or the other way around. (ii)

You can also do some funky moves with the band such as "sword draw", "tabletop balance," and "scissor press." Click on this link for pictures and descriptions -

If you're short on time this can be a really effective way to tone and increase your metabolism without buying a lot of extra equipment. All you need is a pair of hand weights 5-15 pounds each and a band. For a really inexpensive band go to a medical supply store and have them cut you a length of tubing. It will cost less than a dollar and be perfect for wrapping around the weight.

Happy toning,


(i) "Speed Shrink your Trouble Zones" by Melissa Daly, Prevention Magazine, June 2009

(ii) "Dumbbells Plus Bands Equals Twice the Results" by Nicole Nichols -

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Exercise Toys - Do you need them?

A friend told me a couple days ago that she was going to buy some piece of equipment she saw on t.v. that targeted hips, then she could finally get rid of the fat on her hips! As you all faithfully read my blog, you understand that you cannot spot reduce, so any exercise toy that claims to burn fat off a certain part of your body is a waste of money.  

Never believe that something is going to be a miracle and reduce your thighs or your abs or anything else for that matter. You can build muscle by working the specific muscle, but you cannot burn fat in a specific spot. You burn fat by combining weights and cardiovascular exercise with a reasonable diet. That's it. No tricks, no gimmicks.

Some exercise toys and equipment are useful. A good treadmill, elliptical, Stairmaster or bike are invaluable - especially in the winter when you can't exercise in the fresh air. Hand weights and bands are essential and if you can afford it - a cable machine. I also enjoy exercise balls and benches that will adjust.

I cracked up the other day. I was reading a fitness magazine and the editor said how useless exercise balls are and spent several paragraphs bashing on them. Then the magazine included four articles utilizing exercise balls! Exercise balls are not the key to great fitness, but they are fun to mix things up. I love them for ab work, decline pushups and stretching.

The bottom line is you need exercise equipment, but you don't need to spend a lot of money on it (unless you're buying a decent treadmill, bike, elliptical machine, etc.). Try to use free weights, your body weight, and the great outdoors whenever possible.

Happy fitness!