May Arm Challenge Results

I am so excited to post the results to my May 2015 Free Printable Arm Challenge. I hope you were able to find time to reach your fitness goals in May. I was so pleased with my results from the April Printable Arm Challenge, that I could hardly wait to see if there would be a difference after the May Challenge.

I wasn’t sure that I would be able to notice the results at the end of a second month of working out my arms exclusively. I knew for certain that the exercises would reap some benefits even if they weren’t tremendously noticeable so I went on with the challenge with no great hopes in mind.

smartandsavvymom Free Printable May 2015 arm challenge resultsThis month I actually timed myself since I had added more reps of each move and added weights which were definitely making the exercises take longer than the April Challenge. I was surprised that it was still less than 5 minutes!

If you are thinking about doing this, don’t let time be a factor. You don’t have to do it at the same time each day, you can find 5 minutes any time and do this. This challenge is so simple and so quick.

I can’t help but wonder what else I could change in 5 minutes a day. Imagine the possibilities in 15 minutes a day. I could really start dreaming about abs and better skin, but for now I am focused on this arm challenge.

After two months of arm challenges I am so pleased with how much improvement I have made.

 

Free Printable May 2015 arm challenge results My real goal for the arm challenge was to find a way to improve how I feel about myself in the mandatory short sleeves of summer. I wanted something that was going to be quick and was not going to be so difficult that I would quit early on (I have a tendency to do that).

I did some research on which exercises worked best for the different muscles in the arm and made a challenge I thought I could keep up with. I am so glad that I didn’t wait and started right away. My triceps are so much higher and tighter, I see a little roundness in my biceps and an indent has appeared over my triceps and under my biceps.

My children are excited too and they help me count, and they grab the little 1 and 2 pound weights and pretend to do the exercises along side of me some days. My 6 year old tells me “You are strong now”.

This is definitely working. I feel like it is necessary to mention that in the before pictures I am flexing as much as I can.

May arm challenge 3 part 60 day results For June I am repeating the May Arm Challenge, adding 8 pound weights, and 5 pound weights for the upright rows. I just did not have time to create a whole new challenge for June.

So far the challenge has been quick and easy and effective. I like to run or walk or do aerobics at home, but strength exercises at home is brand new for me.

Adding the 8 pound weights this month has caused me to have some soreness for the first time. I sailed through the first two months with no soreness at all, but I actually like that little ache and reminder that I worked out.

smartandsavvymom printable arm challenge results for april and may
Here is a picture of the 3 part results, so you can see how the results progressed over time. I have no idea why the lighting is so much different at the end of April. Maybe I had my flash up too high, but you can still see the change very well.

I hope that if you are feeling a little less than confident about how your arms look this summer or if you are just looking to feel a little better about yourself please check out my Arm Challenges from April and May (they are printable and free).

Have a great and fit and fabulous month of June.

April 2015 Quick and Easy Arm Challenge

Okay, March was a rough month for me as far as fitness is concerned. I have been struggling to get into a fitness routine since we have moved to South Carolina. My husband’s hours are a lot different than they were. Before we moved he would get home early and I would go for a run, and then come home and make dinner. It worked pretty well most of the time.

Now however, that is not possible, but I am hoping with the recent time change I will be able to do a later run when it is still daylight outside. What I would really like to do is figure out a way to workout indoors (or out in the yard) while my husband is at work and I am home taking care of the kids. Also, it would be stellar if it did not interfere with our home school schedule. What can I say? I want it all.

I am trying to gradually get back into a fitness routine and I am starting with a VERY EASY arm challenge.

I caught a glimpse of my arms in the first short sleeve shirt of spring and was a bit embarrassed. I try not to be too self conscious, but it sneaks up on me, you know, every time I pass a mirror.

I digress.

I was looking at arm challenges on Pinterest and something occurred to me. I am a wimp. I am not fit. I could hardly find a single one that I felt confident I would be able to do each day.

So I set forth to create something simple that would workout my biceps, triceps, shoulders and chest, even if just a little. Working on slow and steady progress.

quick and easy  beginner arm challenge preview smartandsavvymom

Here is what I came up with, alternating between 2 sets of exercises every other day. Basically, one set is standing and one set can be done laying down or kneeling. Made sure to include a set of exercises where you didn’t have to lay down, so that I didn’t have that as an excuse.

Starting out with 10 reps of each exercise (except for push ups, because those are more difficult for me) and one burpee to kind of top it off, just for fun.

Did it today and it took less than 5 minutes! Super quick and easy, even my 6 year old daughter played along with me. I admit that I tested a lot of different arm exercises before I settled on these ones so my arms are already sore.

I know that I did not include very many rest days, but this is less than 5 minutes of work so I am hoping that I can do it 6 days a week. I know that sometimes you don’t know how sore you are until you are a few days in to a workout, but I am going for it anyway.

Of course I made it printable so I could have it in front of me while I am working out. I will also add it to Pinterest. (Are you following me on Pinterest yet?) so you can just pull it up very quickly on your phone or wherever you use Pinterest. I made a new board with pics of all the arm exercises listed if you need a visual reference.

The reps will increase as the days go on. I am hoping to do it again next month depending on how it goes, increasing the reps from where this challenge ends. It would be awesome to be able to work up to 20 consecutive push ups, and then who knows, maybe actual full out push ups.

I am interested to see what the result will be, I am not looking for anything drastic, just better than I started. I really would like to just develop some arm strength, although I am able to carry these babies around for a while. My right bicep is on point.

Hope you will play along with me. Here is to a great April!

Download your printable Arm Challenge Here >>April 2015 Arm Challenge Print Here <<

 

 

My 10 Favorite Christian Running Songs

Over the summer I started running, it was a rocky (and sometimes painful) start, but I stuck with it and it turns out I love – it a lot. There are so many aspects of running that I enjoy, including having an opportunity to listen to music without interruption. At home I have tried to listen to music at different times throughout the day, but with the kids around it is just too noisy. I play music for the kids during homework time, but I just connect with the music in a different way when I am running.


I always keep one ear bud tucked into my shirt so I can hear traffic or people approaching (or dogs). Still, most often when I run it is quiet and peaceful, and I am focused on my pace, and my form, and the words in the song. When running becomes muscle memory there is time to really hear the words, and I love that. I don’t only listen to Christian music when I am running; my whole playlist is a bit varied. I do, however, really look forward to the songs that praise God; they make me all happy and grateful when I am running. I love getting all in praise mode when I run, then I come home feeling all uplifted. (As well as sweaty and sore)


I am always impressed by my ability to hear the music in a meaningful way while simultaneously running, checking for traffic, and obstacles on the road ahead, keeping my form and my turnover and being mindful of my pace during my intervals.
I know some runners that love to run with no music, just listen to the sound of their feet hitting the ground and their breathing. That’s beautiful and I do that sometimes as well, but I really look forward to listening to music when I run.

10 christian running songs by female artist
Maybe when I run I am all girl power, but I just prefer to listen to all female artist when I run. So on my run list you won’t find any male artist (sorry boys). I try to keep it light; I don’t want to become overcome with emotion when I run (or in public – ever). I also want to be encouraged and inspired, I want to hear words that will give me motivation to keep going. I rotate a lot of songs on and off of my playlist, but these ones have stuck with me. Some songs are newer than others, but really as far as realease dates, they’re all new to me, and good music is definitely timeless, so if you see something you don’t recognize, give it a shot.

In no particular order

  1. The Sun is Rising – Britt Nicole
    Lines that motivate me –
    “You’re gonna make it; you’re gonna make it. The night can only last for so long…there’s a promise for the ones that just hold on”
    • “In the moments you’re so weak you feel like stopping, let the hope you have light the road you’re walking”
  2. Beauty From Pain – Superchick
    Lines that motivate me –
    “After all this is past, I still will remain (because sometimes the run is a struggle)
  3. Not For A Moment (After All) – Meredith Andrews
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “Not for a moment do you forsake me, after all here you are constant, after all, you are only good, after all, you are…
  4. He is With Us – Love & The Outcome
    Lines that motivate me –
    “We can trust our God, he knows what he’s doing, though it might hurt now, we won’t be ruined” (I squeal a little in excitement when this one comes on, can’t help it!)
  5. Sweet, Sweet Sound – Sarah Reeves
    Lines that motivate me –
    “I am an instrument of the living God”
    • “I live to glorify my king”
    • Hear the song of my life; let it be a sweet, sweet sound. ..I raise this anthem high…”
  6. The Broken Beautiful – Ellie Holcomb
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “Your love can take broken things and make them beautiful”
  7. He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “I’m not meant to just stay quiet. I’m meant to be a lion, I’ll roar beyond a song with every moment that I’ve got”
  8. You Carry Me – Moriah Peters
    Lines that motivate me –
    “Feels like it’s been miles and miles, feels like it’s an uphill climb. Sometimes I get weary on the way. But when I look back at where I’ve been, when I look back I’m sure of it. I was right there in your arms” (Yes, I always pretend she’s singing specifically about running when she sings that line)
  9. Fireflies – Jessa Anderson
    Lines that motivate me –
    “Caught up in the mystery, I can’t deny; Everything around me, reflects your light”
    “I am running with an empty jar, I’m chasing after your heart”
  10. Who I Am – Blanca
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “I’m running to the one who knows me, who made every part of me in his hands”

So if you’re looking to pretend you are in a music video next time you go running, I think you’ll have some awesome moments with this list.

I can be serious sometimes you guys, but this is just more fun.

Click on the song titles to buy them on Amazon (affiliate links), quite a few of these are free to add to your library if you are an Amazon Prime member, so definitely worth checking out, or of course there is always Spotify.

After a thorough preview on Spotify I try to purchase a few of my favorite songs so I can go ahead and host my private concert on the way to the store to run errands. :) Hope you like something here.
If you’re looking to copy and paste here is a cleaner version of the list
1. The Sun is Rising – Britt Nicole
2. Beauty From Pain – Superchick
3. Not For A Moment (After All) – Meredith Andrews
4. He is With Us – Love & The Outcome
5. Sweet, Sweet Sound – Sarah Reeves
6. The Broken Beautiful – Ellie Holcomb
7. He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli
8. You Carry Me – Moriah Peters
9. Fireflies – Jessa Anderson
10. Who I Am – Blanca

I admit that this song list does not appeal much to my husband, he seems to never be in girl power mode when runs. Seriously thought, he is just not as interested in running as I am, (fine with me) but none the less I do need to find some more music by male artist to add to my get fit list so we can share. I think my husband might appreciate a little praise music on his way to work. He has a lengthy ride to work each day, but he is more of a talk radio guy so he’s not likely to come across any songs he likes that way. I guess it is up to me. One day I will have teenagers and they will do things like this for us, right?

Do you ever listen to Christian music when you run? Please feel free to leave your favorite song in the comments I’m always looking for new music to run to!

Modest Workout Outfit

I don’t know how long it will take me to adjust to the ridiculously lovely weather here in South Carolina. There is a part of the mid day here that seems to be eternally warm. So far 2pm around here is just  always fair weather. Of course, as lovely as that is (and it is lovely) I am not able to go running at that time of day.

So I made the investment into a few items that would keep me warm while running on a cool day. I love getting in all my matching running clothes and then going out and getting all sweaty. (too much sharing?) If you’ve never enjoyed running, I encourage you to go again.

You have to get dressed to go out and get fit, so might as well put on something fabulous right?

modest run in purple 2I like color, turquoise and purple, I try to go green and orange when I run, in my desperate hopeful attempts to avoid being hit by a car.

My Saucony running shoes don’t match everything I wear when I workout, but they sure are wonderful on my feet. I try to be as modest as I can when I run, but I like my clothes to fit me a certain way, and that way is tight. I know that isn’t a modest way to be, but I don’t like the feel of the clothes rubbing and flapping around when I am running. I like compression on my calves and tummy, the less things that jiggle the happier this mommy is. (Whoops there I go over sharing again.)

My go to easy modest running solution is a lightweight drawstring skirt from Kohl’s. I bought a couple of these during some crazy deals last year for just $6 each and they have certainly been worth the investment.

modest run in purple smartandsavvyTakes me a while to get going, but once I take those first steps, I could run forever. (or at least 8 miles) Getting something that looks great to workout in, makes it more fun. Cute workout clothes keep me motivated to run. I feel like it is super easy to be modest when you run (some other exercised are a bit trickier). When I’m feeling hot, I just remember how much I love that sweat and that no power on God’s green earth can make me expose the belly that carried 4 children (it’s not that bad you guys) on a public street.

Bonus of having long sleeves is that when I put on my armband it didn’t get so sweaty. Hardest part of going on a run in my neighborhood is running away from my children (who are usually playing outside) and trying to convince them not to run after me. Having to tell them that they cannot go with me breaks my heart too, but once I get about a half mile behind me, I am in my zen place and nothing negative can touch me (unless, of course, I fall haha)

It was still a bit cold in the wind, and as warm and sunny as it appears in this photograph, I could have used something to cover my ears. purple modest fall running out fit, workout styleHoping there is more running in my immediate future, I am grateful for being able to run on the weekends, but I need some week day running in my life! And who doesn’t want to be able to justify buying more fitness apparel?

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon.

Update on My Get Moving Challenge

See my Original Challenge Post HERE

Okay so I started doing this challenge on Nov. 2nd so we are just about half way through my challenge which I am sad to admit is not going as successfully as I had hoped. I am staying positive though because while I did not turn into some amazing fit mom overnight, I do feel like things are moving in a positive direction. And according to my scale I lost 4 lbs although I don’t see it as much in the mirror.

1. Weigh In Daily – This was a pretty easy one to get done, I just get up and do it early in the morning (also great time to fit in about 15 minutes of yoga)

2. Cardio Workout Five Times per Week. haha – more like five times total. I am working on this still

3. 7,000 steps per day. – Well this just is harder than I thought, I almost never leave the house without the kiddos and when they are with me it is all about getting back home as fast as possible. I got over 7,000 steps in about 6 of the 14 days otherwise between 3k and 5k

4. Go for a Walk or Run Every Day – Those 5 days with the 7k steps, that was it, might have to scale back on this goal for the next challenge

5. & 6. Lower Body or Upper Body Strength Exercises. – This is easier than I expected it would be. I can do some pretty creative things with just a few minutes and a limited amount of space and supplies

7. Core Exercises – Well my core is pretty well useless after all these kids. At one point I was in so much pain I thought I was suffering some type of infection, but after some qt on web md I figured out I was just extremely sore after some very effective exercises.

8. Yoga – Love this part of the challenge. Been doing pretty well with this and my daughter sometimes does it with me (if she is awake) I love yoga and am glad to get back to it. Now to master that pesky v pose.

9. Lunges & Push Ups. Wow so it has been a long time since I have done lunges. I like to do the walking ones since I think I can feel those more, but this is tough, doing these til “muscle failure” 3 times a week and it does hurt less now. Push ups… I have only done once or twice  :(

10. Reading – I have surprisingly gotten in some reading. Mostly I have been doing research on effective ways to do strength exercises from home with out having to purchase anything additional.

Well that’s it for now. I am going to make sure these last 16 days go better than the last 14 days. Some success some not so much but I am definitely moving more than I was. I am keeping a chart so I can track my progress, hopefully I can share that with you when this is all done.

30 Day Self Challenge: Get Moving

Wow, I had a harder time writing this than I thought I would. Spent a lot of time staring at this page wondering what I was going to say. I am not interested in being embarassed but I want to share my journey with you for 2 reasons

Keeps Me Accountable: Well I don’t know about you but I make potentially life changing decisions all the time. All the time. I write them down. I commit myself to them and then I succumb to the distractions of being, wife, mommy to 3 under 3 years old, homekeeper, laundry washer, the list goes on and on and I am sure you know it well. I am selfishly hoping by sharing this here, it will keep me accountable and help me be successful.

To Encourage Others – I know that I get so much out of reading stories from people who seem like they are going through the same struggle that I am. Hopefully, while I share this with you, you can finds something you can relate to or something useful that you can take with you in your own journey

THE PLAN

Okay I have 10 goals I am trying to reach every day or every other day.

I am willing to put up to 2 hours into this every day. Though I haven’t quite figured out where I will get the time from. I am hoping to be able to multi task a couple of things and involve the kids a few days a week that way I don’t always have to find time away from my family to get things done. So here is the list.

1. Weigh In Daily – On my Wii Balance Board. I like using the Wii, because it keeps me honest.

2. Cardio Workout Five Times per Week. I am aiming at burning around 2,000 calories a week. Hopefully it is enough.

3. 7,000 steps per day. This is going to be tough considering most days I don’t leave my house which is less than 1,500 square feet. Going to be doing a lot of walking in place.

4. Go for a Walk or Run Every Day – Probably going to be doing this on my treadmill since I’m not really into being cold. Figured I would have to add this if I was going to have any chance at those 7K steps

5. & 6. Lower Body or Upper Body Strength Exercises. Going to be pretty basic at first til I have time to do a little more research, but I want to make sure I do these every other day alternating between the two.

7. Core Exercises – Congrats to all you moms who have an awesome core after baby, not me going to try and work on this every other day as well.

8. Yoga – I love yoga. I love the way it makes me feel physically and emotionally, so I am hoping to find just 15 minutes to do this every morning before the kiddos get up so we will see.

9. Lunges & Push Ups. I think I am going to use these as a measurement of my improvement. I can do a few push ups but true lunges are a struggle. So hoping to work on these a few times a week and keep track of how many I am able to do. I will keep you updated.

10. Reading – Well I am no fitness expert so I am going to try and take in a good amount of articles and books to help me along my way. Probably will spend this first portion of it trying to find exercises that I can do from home.

Well I am starting officially tomorrow, hopefully