Archive | January 2014

The Best Exercise to Reshape Legs as featured in the Houston Chronicle

The Best Exercise to Reshape Legs

by Jesica Salyer, Demand Media Google

Focus on targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves to reshape your legs. 

Lunge It Down

Lunges are very effective at targeting your thighs, especially your hamstrings. Start by taking a large step forward with your right leg, then dip your butt down. Your right leg should form a 90-degree angle. Drive your weight down through your heel to push your body back to a standing position. Repeat this move using your left leg. Form is important to make this move effective. Focus on keeping your torso upright as you lunge. Also, do not let your knee surpass your toe, as this would welcome knee injury. Aim to do three sets of 16 repetitions.

Squat Jump it Up

Squats are one of the single-most effective exercises to target your quadriceps. Transforming the squat move into a jump supercharges the effectiveness of this move in reshaping your legs by also incorporating your calf muscles. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and drop your butt down so that your knees are over your toes. Drive your weight downward through your heels to propel your body upward, becoming airborne for a moment. You should feel a burn in the front of your thighs after three sets of 10 repetitions.

Kettlebell Deadlift

Deadlifts are a move that can be done with either a dumbbell, barbell or kettlebell. This move helps reshape your hamstrings and glutes. Start by standing upright with your legs shoulder-width apart, holding your weight in front of you. With your back arched and shoulders back, bend at the waist. Bring the weight down to the ground, then pull your torso upright again. You can also start this move by raising up on your toes to incorporate your calf muscles. After three sets of 15 repetitions, your hamstrings and glutes should feel tight.

Laying Leg Curl

You can isolate and reshape your entire backside by practicing this move. Your hamstrings and glutes should feel tight after performing this move. Start by laying down on your stomach with your legs extended and your arms out to either side of you for balance. In a controlled movement, lift your toes off the ground, bringing them closer to your butt. Then, tighten your butt in order to lift your thighs off the ground. Lift them up as high as you can then slowly relax them and bring your toes back to the ground. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.

Cardio for Legs

In addition to implementing resistance training into your efforts to reshape your legs, engage in cardiovascular activity. According to “Fitness” magazine, “One of the best ways to maximize fat loss and get more out of your aerobic training is to vary both the duration and intensity of your cardio workouts.” You can accomplish this by varying the types of cardio you do. The treadmill, stair stepper and elliptical trainer are three effective pieces of indoor cardio equipment. Mix it up by taking a few walking or running workouts outdoors. Aim to incorporate three cardio workouts per week into your routine.

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Bridal Wedding Workout Plans as featured in the Houston Chronicle

Bridal Wedding Workout Plans

by Jesica Salyer, Demand Media Google

Toning up your arms, shoulders, chest and back will boost your confidence in your wedding gown. 

As your wedding day approaches, you want to look and feel your best. Implementing a workout routine at least three months in advance will give you time to tone up all of the areas on your body that you’ll be showing off on your big day. According to “Fitness” magazine, spend the most time toning your upper body, as this will be the only body area exposed throughout the entire day for most brides.

Constructing Your Wedding Plan

Having a plan intact is key to success. In the months leading up to your wedding, aim to do resistance training five days a week and cardio, such as swimming or running, on the other two days. This plan does not have to be a strict, detailed regimen. However, it’s important to keep your goal in mind and be mindful of how to accomplish it. A bride will benefit from including moves that target the entire upper body, such as curls, shoulder press, pushups, tricep dips and rows. Including all of these moves in your workout will insure that your entire upper body becomes more beautifully toned.

Curl to Shoulder Press

Regardless of what your dress looks like, you’re likely to be showing your shoulders — or at least the shape of them. Give yourself confidence in showing them off by performing bicep curls, followed by a shoulder press. Start with 10-pound dumbbell in each hand. Keep your elbows static against your torso and your wrists locked as you curl the weight upwards toward your shoulders. From that position, push the weight above your head. Bring the weight back down to your sides and repeat. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.

Traditional or Modified Pushups

Pushups, whether traditional or modified, engage your entire upper body. You can do pushups from your knees, as that way encourages proper form. Pushups especially isolate your chest, and will help tackle the armpit fat that forms at the base of your arms. Start with your knees and your palms on the ground with your back flat and in line with your butt. Bend your arms at the elbow and bring your torso down to the ground, making your nose kiss the ground. Push your weight back up from there. Do three sets of 15 repetitions for optimum results.

Triceps Dip Down

The back of the arms is an area on women that often becomes soft when it is not exercised. When replaced with muscle, those fatty areas become flat and toned-looking. Use a chair, couch arm or stair to do tricep dips. Start with your back to the chair and reach both hands back to cup and grasp the edge. Place both feet flat on the ground. Bend your arms and let your butt sink down towards the floor, then extend your arms and push your body back up. Aim to do three sets of 15 repetitions.

Row It Back

Bent-over rows target and toning your upper back. Start with a dumbbell or kettlebell. Bend at the waist and hold the weight with both hands. The weight should be almost touching the ground. From this position, pull the weight upward and toward your chest, clenching your shoulder blades together. Maintain a controlled motion as you let the weight back down toward the ground. Aim to do three sets of 15 repetitions for optimum results.

Importance of Diet

It’s important to remember that exercise is only one half of the puzzle in regards to prepping your body for your wedding day. As you burn more calories as a result of working out, it’s important to replenish that energy. However, the key is making good choices when choosing which foods to eat. According to Harvard Health, you’re likely to get better results if you start improving your diet and increasing physical activity at the same time. Focus on eating lots of fresh, whole foods and drinking plenty of water to optimize your body’s ability to look its best on your big day.

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iHerb Coupon Code: SDG314

iHerb Coupon Code: SDG314

Hey Everyone! Im excited to share this coupon code that iHerb has provided me with to share with all of you. Simply enter “SDG314” upon checkout to get $5-$10 off of your order. I shop iHerb for several of my everyday supplements, health and beauty products. If you need recommendations, feel free to comment and ask me!


How Jogging Changes Your Body as featured in the Houston Chronicle

How Jogging Changes Your Body

by Jesica Salyer, Demand Media Google

Jogging on a low-impact surface like grass can help avoid joint fatigue.

Regular jogging impacts the body in a variety of ways. Luckily, they are almost entirely positive for your physique and health. With a supportive pair of jogging shoes, a low-impact jogging gait and healthy knees, jogging can be an excellent habit to work into your daily routine. As with anything else, jogging can be overdone. Always be aware of and listen to your body in order to stay healthy and free of injuries.

Changes in Musculature

If you’re a fairly sedentary individual that takes on a new jogging regimen, you can expect to experience a few aches and pains as you begin. This takes place because your muscles are having demands placed upon them that are not familiar, forcing them to adapt and grow. When you run, your legs endure repetitive strain and stress amidst each stride. According to “Harvard Health,” a typical runner’s legs will have to absorb more than 100 tons of impact every mile. Because of this, it’s also important to minimize stomping as you run.

Lung Capacity Adaptation

Just as your body’s musculature will change and adapt to the new demands that jogging places upon your body, so will your lungs. The ability of your body to take in, process and expel oxygen is referred to as your body’s VO2 max; this is one measure of fitness. Over time, your ability to process oxygen will improve as you jog more. This explains why you will eventually feel that you can do the same amount of running more easily than you used to. This is ultimately very beneficial to your overall health, as your lungs help expel impurities from your body.

Raises Endorphin Levels

You are no stranger to endorphins if you are a jogger. Endorphins, according to the “New York Times,” are “the body’s home-brewed opiates, with receptors and actions much like those of pain-relieving morphine.” In other words, these little chemical messengers are responsible for the positive mood or “runner’s high” that you may experience after a jog. Endorphins linger in your bloodstream “after prolonged workouts,” as the “New York Times” notes. They are basically the natural pain relievers of the body, which partially explains why we can endure more strain amidst a workout. This is one of many perks that comes with jogging regularly.

Requires More Fuel

When you begin to regularly engage in an activity like jogging, your daily caloric expenditure will increase, thus you are burning off a significant amount of energy. In order for your body to stay revitalized after each day, you will need to put more food in to get more energy out. You will likely feel an increased level of hunger because of the calorie deficit you’ve created within your body. In addition to jogging burning calories, it can also increase your muscle volume slightly. Because muscle burns more than fat does, your body will require more fuel for that reason as well.

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Are Pushups Bad For Women? as featured in the Houston Chronicle

Are Pushups Bad for Women?

by Jesica Salyer, Demand Media Google

Increase the challenge of a pushup by placing a stability ball under your legs. 

Contrary to what many have been conditioned to believe, pushups are anything but bad for women. Pushups are most beneficial when incorporated into your workout routine three to five times a week. This move, when practiced with proper form, will help improve the strength and muscle tone in your chest and arms.

Pushup Variations

Knocking out several consecutive pushups is likely intimidating to most women. Fortunately, there are a several pushup variations that will allow you to crank out multiple pushups without sacrificing your form for repetitions. According to “Harvard Health,” “Women should do half pushups, supporting their weight on their knees instead of their toes.” Try this modification as a starting point until you work up to a full pushup. To target the fat around your armpits, widen your hand placement on the floor. Work your triceps by narrowing your hand placement and keeping your elbows close to your body.

Proper Form Is Key

Proper form is the first thing to fall by the wayside when you are trying to do pushups without much upper body strength. Instead of sets or repetitions, focus on doing as many pushups as you can while maintaining good form. If you are doing pushups from your knees, always keep your back posture strong with your shoulders back and your core tight. You want your chest and arms to be doing all of the lifting work. Challenge yourself to bring the tip of your nose all the way to the floor. If you cannot do that, then work up to it.

Pushup Benefits

Pushups come with special perks for women. The exercise targets the chest muscles beneath the breasts. When this muscle tissue is weak, the fat storage above it (breast tissue) tends to sag and become less taut over time. Luckily, regular pushups (do three sets performed until failure, three to five times a week) can help keep those muscles tight and firm. Pushups also tone the biceps and triceps. A strong upper body, one result of doing pushups, enhances your overall posture.

How to Incorporate Pushups

Not only can you do pushups on your toes, your knees and with varying hand placements, but you can also do pushups using several unexpected items in your daily life. For example, all you need is a park bench to incorporate a pushup break during an outdoor run. Place your hands on the top of the bench’s backrest and push your body up from there. You can also use the back of your sofa, the side of a heavy table or a stair on a staircase to assist you in doing modified pushups.

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If You Do 5 Things for Your Health…


It seems to me that many individuals are seeking a healthier lifestyle, but struggle with where to start. Some questions I often hear are: Is it bad that I eat this? What should I start eating? What’s the best work out? 

In my opinion and based upon my own experiences, I believe that there are 5 great places to start. There are no overnight fixes, but if you implement these small changes, then you will be on the road to forming habits that will serve your health, not hinder it.

1. Stop cold-turkey or ween yourself off of soda.

-I understand what it’s like to have a routine with what you drink (I’m a coffee drinker). That said, I also understand that some people fail at quitting soda cold-turkey. Whichever way you choose to stop drinking soda, do it. It’s worth it-and there are plenty of alternative drinks that are chock full of nutrient dense wonderment. Swap the soda for Kombucha, coconut water, or something as simple as adding lemons & limes to your water.

2. Fill your refrigerator with food you would be proud of eating.

-There’s nothing that will enable you to keep making poor food choices more than having that food around you all the time. Shop for good, whole, real food. Think: vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, plant based milk (coconut or almond milk), free range eggs & grass fed beef. Also, find a non-gmo protein powder that you like and keep that around for a quick protein smoothie. Buy organic when you can.

3. Practice the 90-10 rule.

-Nothing turns me off quicker than hearing about over-obsessed eaters who are on the verge of a full blown mental disorder because of their relationship with food. The point is not to fear food, it’s to focus on good food and eat that the majority of the time. Aim for this: 90% of the time, eat the good stuff-like I listed above. The other 10% of the time, let yourself eat dinner out at your favorite restaurant, or enjoy a glass of wine with your significant other. It’s about balance, not being neurotic about food.

4. Find a fitness routine that you have fun with.

-There’s a great quote for this one; I can’t say it better than Laird does:

“Fitness doesn’t have to be a duty. It doesn’t have to mean charts and graphs and heart rate printouts. It should be a pleasurable part of your life, and it should include things that you do purely because you enjoy them. Fun is an ingredient that people often forget in their fitness program.” -Laird Hamilton (professional surfer and world-class athlete)

I can tell you first hand that I have not been a runner since a young age because it’s a chore that I must do. I run PURELY because of how it makes me feel. I feel happy, relieved, de-stressed, empowered, strong and revitalized every time I run. Nobody else has to understand why you do what you do, or why you run 10 miles a day, or why you spend hours in the gym. The important thing is that YOU are being true to what makes you happy in fitness. So, find a routine that makes your inner light shine and do it daily. Turn on your favorite music, dance a little if you want to, and challenge your body.🙂

5. Don’t forget to lift weights. (this elaborates on #4)

-I think this one is incredibly important because of my own experience with lifting. So, here’s a story:

I have been an athlete for as long as I can remember, training for various sports. The running aspect of my training was always easy for me-I went out and did it because, at the risk of sounding corny, it fueled my soul.

However, I knew that I “should” be lifting too.

But, I didn’t enjoy it as much. I was so stubborn. I thought, “I like to run, it’s good for me, so that’s what I’m going to do. Screw lifting.” Luckily, with age I’ve become increasingly less stubborn about fitness. I am more open to new things if I believe they will truly benefit me.

About a year ago, I started lifting. I mean, REALLY dedicating myself to lifting-making it a priority. I lift every day now, with a rest day every week or so. Despite being sore and feeling a little weak at first, I almost immediately felt stronger and more powerful. My body started to change, I was becoming a bit leaner.

But, how could I be enjoying this process? I didn’t like lifting. My point in all of this rambling is that sometimes if you step outside of your comfort zone or what you think you’ll have fun doing, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. You’ll find out that you grow to love it because it is positively impacting your body.

Healthy Eating Habits for Women Volleyball Players as featured on

Healthy Eating Habits for Women Volleyball Players

Last Updated: Jan 23, 2020 | By Jesica Salyer

Eat healthy, fresh meals such as vegetable salads frequently. Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Along with disciplined and rigorous training, eating real, whole foods is of the utmost importance for a volleyball player, if you wish to reach your potential. Healthy eating habits for women volleyball players are no different from the eating strategies for women athletes in other demanding sports. Keep in mind, if you fail to plan your meals, you should “plan to fail” at eating healthfully.

Eat for Sustained Energy

The energy your body has available to burn off during exercise comes from the foods you put into your body. As a volleyball player, you will need to eat a larger amount of calories to keep up with the energy demand. It’s important to eat adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrates, especially; carbohydrates provide the energy for your exercise efforts, and protein builds muscle and repairs body tissues. Nutrionally dense foods such as lean meats, greens, seeds and nuts will help give you the fuel you need to perform well.

Avoid Processed Foods

If you were to develop one healthy habit as a volleyball player, it should be to minimize or eliminate processed foods from your diet. Refined carbohydrates such as refined or white breads, overmanipulated meats and sodas should all be on that “bad” list. Swap those foods for whole grains, local and organic meats and kombucha — a fermented tea that helps with digestion. Eating foods that are nutritionally depleted will impact your performance and vitality on the court. “What I eat can have a big impact on how I feel and how much energy I have,” shares professional volleyball player Rachel Wacholer-Scott in “Fitness” magazine.

Have Daily Rituals

Set yourself up to succeed in sticking to eating healthfully by implementing rituals that you adhere to daily. In other words, have a similar routine in the morning that precedes your first workout. For example, make a cup of coffee and a robust omelet with lots of fresh vegetables, and eat a banana. It also helps to tweak what you eat every day slightly so that you don’t get bored. Eating first thing in the morning is a great habit because it ramps up your metabolism and provides your body the fuel it needs to take on your day of volleyball workouts.

Eat Smart at Restaurants

Eating out at restaurants will present the biggest challenge for you to make healthy choices. According to the website Choose My Plate, it’s helpful to start with a large salad because it satisfies you sooner. Learn how to make healthy swaps such as brown rice for white; include vegetarian options when they’re available; and always stick to water as your beverage. Many common restaurant chains have healthier options including vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. You can even find viable options at fast-food restaurants when need be.

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