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Healthy Meal Plans, a Short Shorts Workout & More!

From demystifing healthy meal planning (with challenges to make it fun and easy!) to a killer legs-and-booty workout (feel the burn!) to some pretty freakin’ great websites for women (us included!), these FitLinks have us using lots of exclamation points.

Healthy meal plans you’ll love. —Fit Bottomed Eats

Whether or not you like short shorts, we like this workout! —POPSUGAR Fitness

How pets keep us healthy — beyond them just being cute and fuzzy (although that’s clearly an awesome perk). —happify daily

Twenty-three days, six countries, one American — all in the name of peace. —European Peace Walk Project

Is your activity tracker causing you to put on pounds?! —Today

Six ways to know your running is improving. —Hungry Runner Girl

Your mindset about your body after baby matters. Love yo’self, mamas! —Fit Bottomed Mamas

Protein … on the go! —Greatist

The best websites for women. —Marie Claire

What do dietitians eat? This! —Peanut Butter Fingers

A beautiful and honest post on loving your body — and teaching your daughter to do the same. —HuffPost Parents

What link left you wanting to use exclamation points, too? —Jenn

Source: Healthy Meal Plans, a Short Shorts Workout & More!

Abs without crunches!

Forget sit-ups and squats in front of the tele. These strategic more-in-one moves will accidentally whip your abs into rock-hard shape.

Cooking your favourite meal every night is a fast way to turn a delicious dish into one you’ll never want to look at again. The same philosophy can be applied to your workout, and is the reason many exercisers see their results plateau when repeating the same series of movements day in, day out. Crunches are a main culprit in this all-pain-no-gain category, as they call for repetitive movements to which your body will become immune.

The best ab workouts are based on consistently performed movements that cover a range of motions and employ weights. Exercise physiologists Gabrielle Maston and Kate Save say the areas you should be targeting for a coveted flat stomach are the transverse abdominis (core), rectus abdominis (abs), triceps, pecs (chest) and deltoids (shoulders). According to Save, crunches and sit-ups have long been overhyped for working these areas, and may even be doing more harm than good.

“Most people activate their hip flexors during sit-ups, which prevents the abdominals from activating correctly. When this exercise is incorrectly performed, it may cause muscular imbalances and injury to the lower back,” she says.

Try:

Prone forward Swiss ball rolls (pictured):
Save is a fan of Swiss ball ab workouts, which work most effectively when alternated with weights-based exercises. Start this exercise by kneeling on a mat with your forearms positioned on top of a fit ball. Position your body so that you are in a horizontal plank position on your knees with your weight resting on the ball. Slowly push the ball away from your body as far as you can, extending the arms almost straight then bringing them close to your chest. Given this exercise is very advanced, Save advises initially performing this under the supervision of a gym instructor or personal trainer. “This exercise is dynamic, and when performed correctly, will activate both the internal and external abdominals for maximal results,” Save says.

Hanging leg raises:
Maston recommends this body-weight exercise often performed by gymnasts for getting your abdominals working. “The hanging position allows your arms to be used in an isometric fashion, allowing them to build strength while all abdominals and hip flexors are also being strengthened,” she says. “It’s quite an advanced movement, but if you can pull it off, you will reap the rewards of a full body workout in one exercise.”

NEXT: 15 extreme ab workouts>>

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Source: Abs without crunches!

Pulling straps

Time-poor? South Yarra fitness PT Melody Carstairs demos moves that target multiple muscles for an intense one-hit workout.

Targets: Shoulders and back

You’ll need: A mat, straps or something similar.

Hold the end of the band in each hand, and lie face down on the mat with the band under your body. With your legs together, stretch your arms out wide in line with your shoulders. Keeping your arms straight, try connecting your shoulder blades, and release, returning to staring position. Remember to maintain pace with this exercise so the bands don’t pull your arms back to the floor.

Aim for three sets of 10 reps.

NEXT: Browse more workouts for super-toned arms>>

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Source: Pulling straps

Diagonal crunches

Want a flat stomach? Diagonal crunches are a killer workout for abs. Nikki Fogden-Moore shares her top tips.

How to

Start in a classic crunch position with your lower back firmly on the floor and your head well supported in your hands. Elbows back. Chin off your chest. Crunch and twist. At the same time, bring your opposite knee up towards the elbow.

Squeeze your obliques and focus on your abs as you crunch in. Lower back to the start. Repeat on the other side. 15 to 20 reps.

Controlling your speed is paramount.

Tip

Keep your head heavy in your hands so you are not straining your neck.

NEXT: 5 Pilates moves for abs>>

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Source: Diagonal crunches

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5 exercises for a Brazilian butt

Want gorgeous glutes? Try this 4-week butt lifting workout.

The, er, bottom line is a combo of moves that target your entire butt – not just your gluteus maximus

You also need to home in on your gluteus medius and minimus to truly defy gravity. Part B is geared to framing your derriere by minimising surrounding body fat. (There’s no point having rock-hard glutes if they’re hidden.) Which is where the cardio and clean eating come in. Incline walking and running, stepping machine work and bike interval sessions are great ways to simultaneously burn calories and, therefore, body fat and further steel your glutes.

Exercise 1: Heel sky raise

What it does: This exercise will give your butt shape and firmness.

How to do it: Start on your knees and elbows. From here, put one leg out straight and flex your foot. Focus on lifting this leg from your butt (leg must stay straight or you are not using your butt). Slowly raise your leg from the ground until it’s in line with your body and lower back to the ground.

Do it right: Perform this slowly, pausing at the top of each repetition. This is a small and controlled movement. If you raise too high you will use your back muscle instead of your butt. To really make it work, keep the height range between the ground and your torso.

Single leg balle kick - Exercises for glutes - Women's Health & Fitness

Exercise 2: Single leg ballet kicks

What it does: Creates long, lean hamstrings and a perky butt.

How to do it: Start by correcting your posture, drawing your belly into your spine while finding something straight ahead to focus on with your eyes. Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, bring one hand down to touch the opposite toe, staying perfectly aligned and getting the back leg as high as you can.

Do it right: Your aim is to get maximum stretch down the hamstring of your standing leg. This exercise is to be performed slowly and with lots of control. With practice this exercise produces amazing results.

Lower half lunge - Exercises for glutes - Women's Health & Fitness

Exercise 3: Lower half lunge

What it does: These lunges will have your legs burning while forcing your glutes to contract without rest, targeting several muscle groups simultaneously and elevating your heart rate.

How to do it: Start in a lunge position with your back knee on the ground. Keeping your chest up, torso straight and belly pinned to the spine, bring your knee off the ground until you’re halfway up. Then go back to the ground.

Do it right: Do 15 pulses each leg and perform slowly for best results.

Bottle - 5 exercises for glutes - Women's Health & Fitness

Exercise 4: Bottle

What it does: This exercise cleverly targets all areas of the glute and will help give you a pert, rounded butt!

How to do it: Start by lying on your stomach with perfect alignment and hands placed on the ground under your chin. Feet should be together and flexed. Using one leg at a time, imagine you have a bottle on the outside of your foot and you’re trying to get your foot up and over the bottle. Come back to starting position, making your way back over the imaginary bottle.

Do it right: During this exercise, keep your leg straight and glute contracted as you want to focus on using your glute to lift your leg.

Pelvic tilts - 5 moves for a perky butt - Women's Health & Fitness

Exercise 5: Pelvic tilts

What it does: This exercise will help lift your butt and stop it looking as though it’s sitting on the back of your legs.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees up and toes pointed up (on your heels). Slowly raise your hips off the ground until your pelvis is like a bridge. Hold this position for five seconds, focusing on squeezing your glutes up and belly down (imagine you are trying to get them to meet in the middle). Release and repeat.

The rules - 5 moves for a perky butt - Women's Health & Fitness

The rules

Cardio: Do cardio sessions on days between strength training days. If you’re doing interval training (HIIT), aim for 20 to 30 minutes. For low-intensity cardio sessions (LISS), aim for 45 to 50 minutes. HOT BUTT TIP: If you can only fit three to four workouts into your week, optimise workouts by choosing strength and HIIT over steady state cardio sessions.

Strength: Integrate this butt workout into your strength training, which you’ll do three to four times a week. Repeat these exercises as a circuit and work up to three sets of 15 reps.

NEXT: 8 exercises for a Brazillian butt>>

Workout: Hayley Roper (pictured); Photo credit: Matthew Parkes

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Source: 5 exercises for a Brazilian butt

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A Closer Look at the Role of Mitochondria in Athletes

A recent editorial reviewed the role of the mitochondria in extreme situations such as high altitude and fasting.

Any athlete and coach who has ever taken a biology class will find themselves immediately drawn to the mitochondria. This little dynamo inside your cells is responsible for aerobic energy production, which dominates every activity you do that lasts longer than a few seconds. Mitochondria are also responsible for your unconscious processes like the beating of your heart and digestion.

read more

Source: A Closer Look at the Role of Mitochondria in Athletes

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Prepare for the Ultimate Girls Weekend in Atlanta

Black Girls RUN!
Black Girls RUN! –

By: Shana Adams (@bbgtonline)
Headed to the ATL with your girls for the Sweat With Your Sole Festival and looking for fun things to do? It IS Atlanta, and there is always fun to be had in the A. The ultimate girl’s weekend consists of shopping, sight-seeing, great food and of course night life! Whenever I’m in Atlanta, I make it a point to hit my favorite spots and even some new ones if I have time.

Lennox Mall

If you haven’t heard about it in your favorite song, Lennox Mall is the place to go for shopping. There are a variety of stores-some high end and some things for those of us who are on a budget. If you don’t feel like shopping and just need to kill some time, this is a great place to do it. Who knows, there may even be a celebrity sighting.

The Underground

If you’re like me and you’re always looking for a good deal, The Underground is where you need to hit! I’ve found nice earrings, dresses, and shoes for the low and I have no doubts you and your girls will get a few deals. It’s centrally located downtown and it’s literally underground. It doesn’t cost much money and you may catch some very talented street performers out front.

Glady’s Night’s Chicken & Waffles

Get here early! The downtown location is very busy and visitors eat here on a daily. I would suggest you get an early brunch before you go sight see so if everyone is ok with eating at 11:00 ish, then this is the spot. GNCW is home to soulfood with a twist and I guarantee you will love it! Make sure you get the “Uptown” tea for your beverage, so divine!

Majestic Cafe

There is an old school feel to this restaurant. The motif is 50’s ish. It reminds you of the set in that movie Grease. It is also close to downtown (I sense a theme here!). They serve great food at phenomenal prices and if you decide to hit the club, then are hungry afterwards, it’s open 24 hours!

MJQ Concourse

This club was so much fun. It wasn’t crazy, It wasn’t mellow either…it was just right! I haven’t gone recently but the last time I went, it was 90’s night. They played great music and they run drink specials all night. If you’re looking for a relaxing night without club drama, bar atmosphere with some B-boys showing off their moves, check this place out! By the way, it’s underground so it has a NYC feel to it.

I could go on and on about places to go but these are some of my faves. If you want to have a good time with your girls, be sure everybody has their spending money and check out the events calendar online by clicking here. Create an itinerary that has a good mix for everyone. Be sure to look into the following:
The Punchline

The Georgia Aquarium

World of Cocoa Cola

MLK Mueseum

Shana is a 25 year old communications professional who took her health into her own hands and started her weight loss journey mid 2010, but really took charge when she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2012. She is the creator of the health and fitness blog Big Boned Gets Toned! You can also view her Big Boned Gets Toned! weight loss vlog on YouTube.

Prepare for the Ultimate Girls Weekend in Atlanta
Toni Carey

Source: Prepare for the Ultimate Girls Weekend in Atlanta

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Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 7/25/14

Going to keep this short and sweet today, because 1) I’m itching to get to the gym to conquer some squats (squats = gainz!) and 2) I’ve got a few deadlines this afternoon I need to meet. Also 3) #myeditorsaregoingtokillme

Oh, and just a heads up to everyone checking in today. I rarely do this but I’m going to be posting an EPIC bonus blog on Sunday written by Neghar Fonooni whom I highlighted as one of my “go to” sources for female fitness last week.

It’s titled A Woman’s Journey of Strength and I feel it’s something that’s going to resonate with a lot of people, especially women. I’ll be tossing up a notice on social media (Facebook, Twitter) this weekend, but on the off chance you don’t follow me on either of the two*, this will serve as your nudge to check in.

And on that note, here’s some stuff to read.

Price of the Platform – Bryan Krahn

Easily one of the best articles I’ve read this year. Kudos to Bryan (and those interviewed) for being so forthright and honest

4 of the Biggest Quacks Plaguing America with False Claims About Science – Cliff Weathers

I’ll admit the title is a bit sensationalistic but it’s spot on.

10 Principles for Better Programming – Charles Staley

It’s not the sexiest article ever written on programming, but then again….since when does anything related to program design need to be sexy?

I love to keep things simple and this article is right on point with that philosophy. Loved this one by Coach Staley.

* = Oh, I see how it is. When you want something you’re all like “hey baby, I love you.” But the second I ask for something you can’t be bothered. Whatever. YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE!!!!!!!

Source: Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 7/25/14

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A Woman’s Journey of Strength: How Lifting Changed My Life Forever

Note from TG: Today I have a special weekend edition post from fitness & lifestyle coach, and writer, Neghar Fonooni. Neghar was someone I featured on my “go to” female resources last week and she’s also the wife of my good friend, John Romaniello, which basically makes them the fitness equivalent of Beyonce and Jay-Z.

I don’t typically post on the weekend, but I felt this article deserved some special attention. It’s flippin fantastic!

I’ve been lifting weights, seriously and consistently, for eight years. That’s eight years of deadlifting, squatting, pressing, swinging, and even pull-ups. It’s been an incredible journey, but it actually started with a great deal of frustration.

Let’s go back to 2006. I had just given birth to my son, Isaac, and after gaining 50 pounds during my pregnancy, I was feeling pretty out of shape. I’ve always been active, playing sports since I was a kid, and having (and using!) a gym membership since senior year of high school. In fact, I exercised throughout my entire pregnancy, running 3 miles a day until I was 7 months pregnant and switched to walking for comfort purposes.

But until those first few months post-partum, exercising for me had always consisted of running, yoga, and machines.

Don’t get me wrong, running and cardio have their place in a well-balanced fitness regimen—especially if you participate in endurance sports. Plus, well-programmed cardio has a lot of benefits, including mental and emotional health. And, as an avid yogi, I have developed a very advanced practice over the last 14 years, and am no stranger to how challenging bodyweight workouts can be. I’m not ripping on yoga and cardio here, as I utilize both regularly and I think, with the appropriate application, they are invaluable tools.

What I am saying is that all I was doing was running and yoga—to no avail.

I didn’t feel as though I was in control of my body, and I felt weak and defeated. Add to that the inevitable stress of raising a beautiful infant, and I was just fed up.

Discouraged with my body and my lack of progress, I knew that if I continued exercising the way I had that nothing would change. But, like many who have never embarked on a journey of strength, I lacked guidance and education, and was lost in the endless sea of exercise information. I’m embarrassed to say that even as a certified personal trainer, I would often pull workouts out of women’s fitness magazines and rarely followed an intelligently designed program.

So, out of sheer frustration, I began to delve deeper into the world of strength training, reading every book I could get my hands on, and learning from great coaches like Mark Verstegen, Mike Boyle, and Gray Cook.

I started by following their programs, and eventually learned to write effective and efficient programs, no longer looking to Shape or Self for quick fix workouts. I learned how to properly squat and deadlift, was introduced to Olympic Lifts, started sprinting instead of taking long runs or spending 60 minutes on the elliptical, and my yoga practice even benefited from my jaunts in the weight room.

I lifted weights initially with the intention of losing fat and transforming my body, but eventually shifted towards lifting because it was good for my soul. I was empowered, and felt truly capable of anything, for the first time in my life.

Six months post-partum I’d lost all the baby weight, but perhaps more relevant is how different my body looked and felt than it did pre-pregnancy. I was more muscular, athletic, lean, and strong, even though I weighed the same as I did before the baby. My body and mind had completely transformed, all through lifting weights.

Today, while I practice yoga regularly, take leisure walks on the beach, stand up paddle board a few times a week, and do fun things like trampoline jumping and salsa dancing, the heart of my exercise regimen is still (and always will be) smashing weights. It’s the firmest foundation of any fat loss program, and its benefits are vast and undeniable. While an exercise program can be comprised of a myriad of activities, lifting weights is at the top of the fat loss and fitness hierarchy.

Muscles and Metabolism

Lifting weights regularly promotes the growth of lean mass, which is an integral part of any fat loss journey. Put simply, muscle helps cultivate a healthier metabolism because the more muscle your body has, the more calories it will burn at rest. In addition to increasing metabolism, lifting weights promotes natural growth hormone production, which in turn helps reduce insulin sensitivity.

In my time as a coach, I often hear ladies afraid that lifting weights will make them “bulk up.” They can sometimes be deterred from lifting weights for fear of being “manly” or “too muscular” so let me go ahead and allay your fears: lifting weights won’t turn you into She-Hulk overnight (although I would argue that She-Hulk is pretty much the best Super Heroine ever, as she promotes body acceptance and self-love).

You’ll build muscle through strength training, of course, but you won’t pack it on in absurd amounts and it won’t happen instantly.

Simply put, women do not have the testosterone necessary to support that kind of muscle growth. If gaining muscle were so easy, body builders wouldn’t spend hours in the gym for years on end in an effort to bulk up.

Genetics, nutrition, and training methodology all play a part in how your body will transform, but if you train to be strong, and eat to support that, you’ll end up with an athletic, feminine physique.

Not to mention, that although you can certainly lose fat and gain strength doing a number of things, only lifting will allow you the most bang for your buck. As a busy mom and entrepreneur, I understand deeply how precious time is. It’s our only non-renewable resource, and we must use it wisely, especially when we’ve got multiple commitments and obligations.

I don’t always have a lot of time to devote to exercise, but if time is limited, I always prioritize lifting.

You can easily make use of 20, 15, 0r even 10 minutes of weight training to maximize your time, by speeding up the rate at which you lift or ramping up the intensity. Utilizing training methods such as Metabolic Resistance Training, Complexes, Density Training, and what my good friend Jen Sinkler calls “Lifting Weights Faster” you can burn fat and build strength even when time is of the essence.

Meaning that you don’t have to spend an hour doing cardio, and another 30 minutes on the machines, followed by 30 minutes of stretching. You can save time and attack your fitness goals, all by choosing to prioritize weights. “I don’t have time to exercise” can be a statement you never utter again. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of setting a timer for how much time you do have, and then doing as much as possible in that time frame.

If you utilize the right training programs, you’ll build a strong, athletic, lean physique—provided that your nutrition is on par with your fitness intentions.

You’ll want a good mix of strength training and metabolic resistance, paired with a nourishing diet packed with protein, fresh produce, and healthy fats. If done correctly, lifting weights will help turn your body into a fat loss machine—making the weight room one of the most important stops on your fitness journey.

The Power of the PR

I remember the first time I performed an unassisted pull-up.

It was early 2008, and I was (unfortunately) awaiting knee surgery for an old sports injury. The extend of my infirmary kept me from doing any lower body training, which although it was frustrating, encouraged me to focus more on strengthening my upper body.

So, strengthen my upper body I did, paying special attention to things like pull-ups, pushups, and overhead pressing.

One day I had an “I wonder if I can do that moment,” deciding to forgo the band, and try my hand (or my lats) at an unassisted neutral grip pull-up. Astonished at my body’s ability to get my chin over the bar, I hopped down and looked around the crowded gym; “did anyone see that?!” I wondered. To this day, it remains one of my proudest moments.

Note from TG: Oops, obviously the video I posted right before that last paragraph doesn’t jive. You get the idea folks. Carry on.

Every single time I workout, I get better. I lift heavier, or faster, or even more efficiently. I might be able to stick a handstand more easily, manage a heavier squat, or do one extra pull-up.

Sometimes it’s not a matter of more, but simply better.

Other times, my progress is more intrinsic, lying in my ability to give my body a break when it needs one. Regardless of the exactitudes, I find myself consistently improving in some way, shape or form. This is what my friends at The Movement Minneapolis have termed “PR every day.”

Breaking records, or setting PRs, is incredibly mentally rewarding. It keeps you coming back for more, and creates a sense of purpose in the weight room. While aesthetic goals, such as losing a few inches on your waist, are certainly worth pursuing, performance goals are notably more sustainable.

It really wasn’t until I shifted my intentions towards performance, and away from aesthetics, that I was actually able to significantly change my physique.

What I didn’t realize completely the moment I performed my first pull-up, was how much that simply act would profoundly affect the rest of my life.

That pull-up, as benign as it seems, sparked a greatest sense of self worth, an escape from feeling defined by what my body looked like, and instead taking pride in what it could do.

If I can pull myself up over a bar, without any assistance, what else can I do? Feats of strength in the gym began to translate to strength outside of the gym—the intrinsic strength needed to thrive and excel. When I crushed it at the gym, I felt more capable of crushing it at life. And without stressing out over my weight or my body composition, my body changed as a result.

Lifting weights helps boost confidence like nothing else I have ever seen. I’ve helped timid, overweight, stay-at-home moms go on to crush feats of strength and then start their own personal training businesses. I’ve seen beginners afraid of lifting a kettlebell move on to chasing a double bodyweight deadlift while breaking out of their comfort zones.

Physical strength contributes to strength of character, which in turn boosts confidence—and there’s just no downside to that.

Being strong makes everything else easier

Moving furniture? Carrying multiple bags of groceries? Hoisting a heavy carry-on into an overhead compartment? Keeping up with your kids? All of these things are not a problem when you’ve got strength on your side.

When my son was in kindergarten, I visited his class to speak about the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. I’ll never forget an adorable little kindergartener named Lizzie, with her long locks and her matter of fact demeanor. I asked the class why they thought exercise and strength were important, and Lizzie said, “because it makes everything easier.”

Lizzie was one smart little 6-year-old. Exercising to be strong, mobile, and fast makes every day tasks less cumbersome.

I spent many years as a single mom, unable to rely on another adult in the house to accomplish household tasks. It’s because of the strength I’ve gained from lifting that I was able to carry a sleeping child from the car with minimal effort, and move a twin sized bed into the apartment with no help whatsoever.

Bottom line: Strength reigns supreme.

From fat loss to empowerment, there isn’t a downside to lifting weights. All you need is a willingness to learn and listen to your body, and a program that will support your intentions.

Note from TG: Neghar’s Lean & Lovely program is something I can’t recommend enough to any woman looking to improve her health and fitness in a way that DOES NOT fall into the “I’m not sexy enough” trap that the mainstream media often conveys.

It’s not about being “sexy” anything. It’s about making the best version of YOU possible.

The long and short of it is that it’s an amazing program that will help women get fit and gain confidence all while loving their bodies and not hating them!

Unlike a lot of program out there this one does NOT sell sex or use target terms to make a woman feel she’s not sexy enough or has to look a certain way to feel sexier.

Rather, the message of Lean & Lovely is for women to meet their body where it’s at, and to be more mindful of the transformation – both physically and mentally.

Every part of this program is incredible, and every part will help you in some way. Here’s just a few pieces…

  • Firstly, as mentioned before, there are 12 full weeks of amazing, fat burning workouts
  • Then there’s the comprehensive Nutrition Handbook, which will teach you how to lose fat without dieting
  • There are over two dozen bonus “sweat session” workouts to do whenever you like, with minimum time and equipment
  • Instructional videos to teach you how to do every exercise in the program.
  • A series of MINDSET exercises and strategies to help you be happier, more positive, more productive, and make the program more effective

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For more info click HERE.

About the Author

Fitness & lifestyle coach, writer, veteran and mom, Neghar Fonooni is passionate about empowering women through strength.

A Los Angeles native with 14 years experience in the fitness industry, Neghar believes that a positive mindset is the most important aspect of a fit lifestyle. Through her blog, Eat, Lift & be Happy, she teaches women how to embrace their bodies and enrich their lives with food and exercise.

Neghar is a contributing blogger to several sites, including My Fitness Pal and Schwarzanegger.com, and is the author of the 12-week total transformation system, Lean & Lovely.

An unabashed sci-fi and fantasy nerd, Neghar snorts when she laughs and loves lifting weights, yoga, red wine, dark chocolate, travel, fashion, and reading and collecting books. She resides in Santa Monica, California with her husband, son, and two silly bulldogs.

Source: A Woman’s Journey of Strength: How Lifting Changed My Life Forever

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I’m Breaking Up With The TV (Okay, Only When I Eat … )

Yes, I had to include my shih-tzu, Henry, in the pic.

TV and eating — they seem to go hand in hand at the Morgan household. I remember the days when my family used to sit down for dinner and there would be a debate between my sister and I about who had to set the table. We actually had conversations about our days and enjoyed the food we were eating. Oh, how times have changed …

My work station (aka the kitchen table).

My sister moved out when I was 13, leaving only myself and my parents. Everyone was on different schedules. The idea of sitting down at the table just became impossible, and I sure wasn’t about the sit-down at the table by myself. No, instead, my new companion became the good ol’ (evil) television. Any time I ate something, I had to watch TV — and that eating-in-front-of-the-TV habit never stopped. Sadly, it only got worse.

Any time I eat, I have to be watching TV. Any time my family eats, we sit in the living room, TV on, and eat away — helping ourselves to seconds on commercials. Do you remember in Matilda how the family always sat down in front of the TV to stuff their faces, in the dark, with their food trays for every meal? Yep, that’s my family. Our conversation mostly consists of who gets to choose what to watch that night. It’s so sad and quite honestly, something that is quite embarrassing. It has become a habit that I can’t break. The thought of not watching TV while eating, well, seems … unrealistic. I know why I do it — I’m bored. Period. I’m not even hungry the majority of the time!

So after some real soul-searching, I have come to conclusion that this is a habit that I need to break. Like now. I have decided to go on a 21-day journey — a cleanse from this toxic relationship between television and eating. Any time I eat a meal, I will have no distractions. No TV, no phone, no computer, nothing. I will sit my junk in the trunk down at the dinner table and enjoy every. last. bite.

I will be sure to update y’all halfway through and at the end. I will be recording my weight, how much I eat in comparison to eating while watching TV, and how it affects my life in general. You will hear the good, the bad and the sure-to-be struggle. I’m sure I will also be filled will tips galore at the end.

Am I the only one who does this? Or can anyone else relate to this terrible, terrible habit of eating while watching TV? —Erika

Source: I’m Breaking Up With The TV (Okay, Only When I Eat … )