Ready to Get Fit? (Huge Discount on Personalized Fitness Programs!)

It’s a great time to work on getting in shape! 

(Technically, any time is a great time to work on getting in shape – but we all tend to think about it a bit more after eating extra pie and fudge…)

I can’t even tell you how much I’ve benefited from Getting Fit With Jen’s personalized training program. She’s very gifted at creating workouts that fit an individual’s needs – no matter what your physical needs, limitations, or strengths. I’ve had to work hard, but by following Jen’s programs, I really am getting more fit. I love it!!

This month, Jen is offering $10 discounts on her personalized workout programs. Take advantage of this – and you will not regret it! 

Time to get fit and feel great!

Sometimes I Don’t Feel Like Working Out (Until After I’m Done)

Most of the time I crave it, love it, and can’t wait to hit the pavement and/or the weight room to get in a good workout!

But every once in a while, I just don’t want to do it. Not even a little bit. The very idea reminds me that I might just feel hip pain. And truly, there are days when I just don’t feel like I can add one more item to my to-do list. Working out? Is it really necessary?  After all, I ran up and down the stairs four times this morning to switch out laundry. Doesn’t that count for something?

This week I had one of those days. I was tired, my muscles were sore, and I was crazy busy. I had two hundred things to do (which, of course, is not an exaggeration or an overstatement at all because I would never do that in a million years). The thought of leaving my house for even a short workout just made me feel stressed out. One more thing to do? I don’t want it!

But Jen, my workout buddy and trainer, showed up to my house as planned anyway.  The nerve. ;)

I smiled (sort of). I stretched. I put on my running shoes. And we went for a short, but fast paced walk for 30 minutes. It wasn’t long. It was certainly not the hardest workout we’ve ever had. But it was a good workout nonetheless. I worked up a good sweat, got my heart rate up, and burned off some stress. But I really thought nothing of it.

Once we got back, I continued with my afternoon, finishing some of Malachi’s school work with him, then running Asa up to the soccer complex so he could referee a game.

It wasn’t until I was pulling out of the complex that I realized:  Wow. I feel really, really good.

It was amazing actually. Before the workout, I had been sore, tired, and discouraged thinking about all the work that loomed before me – wondering how I would ever get it done.

After the workout, I felt relaxed, energized, and ready to tackle the to-do list. I was breathing deeply, smiling, and well, I kind of needed a shower…but that’s beside the point. :)

The moral of this story:  If you don’t feel like working out? Do it anyway. You’ll feel better, and you’ll get more done than you would have if you would have skipped the workout to do something else.

Disclaimer:  Obviously, you shouldn’t workout if you don’t feel like it because you are puking, have a broken bone, or are otherwise bedridden and under doctors orders to stay immobile. I think you knew that, but in the effort to cover my tracks, I felt as though I ought to say it anyway. 

Ever feel like you just don’t want to work out – then feel so grateful that you did afterward?

Swimming – A Different Kind of Workout

I suppose it’s a little late in the season to be sharing this oh-so-inspirational fitness thought with you, and truly, it’s not like you probably haven’t already thought of it yourself. In fact you’ve likely been doing it all summer. But I’ll just share my recent experience with you anyway.

Jen (from Getting Fit With Jen) and I have been walking, doing specialized resistance training circuits, and lifting weights regularly now for eight months. I absolutely love it and continue to feel so much healthier. 

Recently though, I’ve been getting a different form of exercise and it is so great! During the past three weeks, we’ve been going to our friend’s swimming pool where Jen has been giving our kids and another friend’s kids swimming lessons. (Yes, she is multi-talented.)  :)  It’s been awesome!  The kids have all come so far and have loved being in the water. That’s saying a lot for our younger boys.

And what have I been doing while the younger kids have learned the fine art of going under water without sucking water into their lungs, and the older kids have been learning to dive? I’ve been getting a water workout!

Water definitely provides a different variety of “resistance training” than what I’ve been doing otherwise. Plus, being in the water has felt incredible during the crazy heat wave we have had. I didn’t even think I liked to swim! But I guess I just proved myself wrong. (Of course, no one is allowed to watch me as I have completely improper form…)

I’ve made it a point to just “keep moving” in the water for a good 30-45 minutes each time we’re there. I swim up and back and up and back in the pool over and over. I tread water. I swim up and back again. I do “standing crunches” in the water. It all feels sooooo good!

Anyhoo…just wanted to encourage you, if you’re taking your kids to the pool anyway, to try to get a little exercise in while you’re there. It’s the perfect opportunity!

You sure won’t be seeing pictures of me showing you how it’s done, but my boys were happy to show you some of their new skills!

Malachi is getting ready to go underwater without holding his nose…

Looks like Asa and Justus were finished with their “lesson” for the day and were just goofing off at this point.

And then there’s Elias. He’s our most timid and hesitant boy. Now he can float on his back and his tummy, and swim underwater all the way from one side to the next. So proud!

 Are you a swimmer? Have you found yourself getting some exercise in at the pool this summer?  What’s your favorite thing to do at the pool?

Staying Fit While on Vacation

Many people that I talk to share how they can be on a roll in their fitness routine, then go on vacation and everything falls apart. It makes complete sense. While on vacation, we’re out of the “norm”, we don’t have the same equipment, we’re on a different time schedule. I think these are all very valid reasons to struggle to keep up with working out. But is there any way to avoid falling off the workout wagon while on vacation?

Because I am getting ready to go on a short vacation soon with two of my sisters-in-law, this has been on my mind quite a bit. I asked Jen, my workout buddy from Getting Fit With Jen, to give me some pointers on ways to avoid losing the workout momentum we’ve had for so many months. Here’s what she had to offer. (And I have to say, she makes it seem so simple. I do believe I was making it more complicated than I should have.)

1. Go with a plan.  

If you don’t plan some workout time into your vacation and travels, it will be very easy to let it slip. Figure out how and when you can fit exercise into your trip. Make a plan, be prepared to be flexible, and do what you can to make your plan work. 

2. Make modifications to the norm.

You may lift weights when you’re at home, but taking dumbbells in your suitcase isn’t very practical! How about packing your resistance bands instead? You may take long walks or do workout videos at home, but your vacation may not allow time for either. How about taking advantage of short breaks between your travel activities to squeeze in a shorter walk or some crunches, lunges, squats, and/or push-ups?

3. Recognize that some of your vacation is likely to involve exercise, intentional or not!

You’ll get great exercise while you’re walking through an airport, swimming in the pool, taking a stroll with the family – even shopping! Hopefully your vacation will include plenty of rest, but don’t discredit the exercise you’ll be getting while participating in some really fun activities.

4. Give yourself a break.

Hey, you’re on vacation. Enjoy some down time. If you regularly work out pretty hard, your body may appreciate the rest and recovery period. 

5. Get right back into your workout routine once you get home. 

The longer you wait to get back into a regular workout routine once you get home, the harder it will be to get it going again. Be intentional about starting your exercise program within a day or two of settling back in. Your body will appreciate you for it!

And with that, I feel like I’m ready to head off for my vacation. I will power walk through the airport, shop till I drop, and without a doubt, I will eat cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. What?  Did you or did you not read number four above?  ;)

Fat and Calories – How Much is Too Much?

Typically I let Jen, from Getting Fit With Jen, help me out with answering questions in these posts. However, this time I wanted to speak from my own experience. Rest assured, Jen and I talk about all of this quite frequently while she’s working my tail off engaging in a long, lovely stroll with me as we work to get into shape….

I often receive questions about fat and calorie intake, so I thought it might be nice to address Crystal’s question here in case the rest of you have similar questions:


I also weight train like you do, but have just began eating this way. I was on a high protein, low fat diet, but have switched to raw milk, butter, and all the other good stuff you use. Could you share with me how you balance your calorie intake with the high fat food? I feel great, but am concerned I am taking in too many calories.

This is a bit of a tricky question, simply because everyone is different, and there is not a “one-size-fits-all” nutrition plan that will work for everyone. However, I will share with you what is working for me..

First of all, I have to say that I haven’t counted calories since I was a newly-wed, almost 18 years ago. This isn’t because I am one of those people who can just eat anything and not worry about weight gain. If only.  I simply found the process of counting calories to be tedious and frustrating.  I have since learned more about listening to my body. I now work to be intentional to only eat when I’m hungry, and then to stop eating when I’m full. This has been the most successful method I’ve found to help me maintain a healthy weight. If I get into a habit of over-eating (which would, of course, mean that I am consuming more calories than I need), or if I’m eating a lot of “empty calories”, I definitely start noticing my pants getting tighter. But if I am disciplined to eat only what my body is truly asking for, I find that counting calories is not necessary for me.

As a side note, now that I’m working out regularly, I find that I definitely need more calories, but I have no idea how many. I’m simply listening to my body, eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, eating protein when I crave it, eating vegetables and fruit in larger portions as I need them, etc.

Easy Breakfast Casserole with Applesauce Bread and Fruit is a great, balanced meal. 
By the way, ignore the juice in this pic. We rarely drink it. 
We must have had company the day I took this picture!

But now let’s get to the fat of the matter. :)  If you’ve been reading here long, you likely know that our family eats a fairly very high fat diet. I don’t hold back on the butter, cream, whole milk, meat, or eggs. I trust our food sources, and I know that whole foods are best for us, even if they may be higher in calories. These high fat foods, when balanced with fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods, are filling, satisfying, and delicious. (Except for those times I eat more food than I should and my pants start getting tight. But let’s avoid bringing that up again, shall we?)

I believe that God made a lovely balance of foods -some which are  naturally high fat/calorie foods (like cream) and some which are naturally low fat/calorie foods (like carrots). I believe that all of these foods, in their whole form, have nutrients in them that our bodies need. 

I also believe that we have stripped many nutrients out of what was originally a whole food, creating “empty calories” (like white pasta) which do little to nothing to nourish our bodies. These foods may be lower in calories than some, but they provide nothing for us, making them a waste of calorie consumption. (And yes, I do still occasionally splurge and eat empty calories, knowing that the majority of the time I make better food choices.)

I believe that eating too much of anything will make you gain weight, whether it’s good for you or not. If all you eat is carrots, and you consistently over-eat them, you will gain weight, even though carrots are low in calories and fat free. (You’ll also turn orange, but that’s beside the point.) ;)

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the matter, but these are my thoughts based on my research and experience. I’d love for you to share your experiences with eating a whole foods, nutrient rich diet and how you work to acheive a healthy weight.  (In addition, if you’d like to talk about the times your pants get tight, feel free. Stinkin’ cookies.)

Why Exercise Gives You More Energy

Last week, I had a chance to visit with my friend Nicole about exercise. She’s been reading about my new fitness goals and workouts, and was encouraging me to keep it up. Who is this “friend Nicole” that I speak of? Oh, just my friend who just trained for and ran a half marathon a few weeks ago – something that completely and totally impresses my socks off. I’ll take her encouragement any time!

One of the things Nicole and I talked about was our increased energy. Both of us (are pushing 40 and) sat there pretty much gushing over the fact that the more we exercise, the more energy we have. Amazing, isn’t it? You have to use energy to work out, but the energy you gain in return is amazing!! Our conversation quickly turned toward the idea of, “oh how we wish more women understood this and would join us in getting fit!”

And now, since I have your ear, here I am writing this post to try and help more women understand this!! I wish I would have understood it earlier. Seriously, I have so much energy now, I am amazed! I keep telling people that I am feeling better than I ever have before, and that is the truth. I’m not sure I can ever run an actual half marathon like Nicole, but sometimes I feel like I’ve run one around my house, knocking out all kinds of tasks that need to be done. It is invigorating! It feels so good to feel this good!

I asked Jen, of Getting Fit With Jen, why this is true? Why does using energy to exercise give us more energy? Here’s what she told me:

When we exercise, we increase blood flow. This helps deliver more oxygen throughout our bodies. We need that oxygen to create energy. As more oxygen is being delivered throughout our bodies, more energy is created.  Therefore, after a workout, you are likely to find that you feel much more energetic.

Also, exercise releases endorphins in our bodies. You don’t want me to go into the chemistry mumbo-jumbo to explain that, so I’ll just say that endorphins released in our bodies will give us a “feel good” sensation. In addition, working out gets us in better shape which in the long run means that we don’t get as tired as quickly, which is much like having extra energy.

Ah, I love how Jen always helps me understand the “whys” behind what I’m experiencing when I workout. (Oh, and she’s always really nice about not frequently mentioning the fact that I’m pushing 40. Love that girl.)  ;)

Have you experienced the “feel good” sensation of exercising giving you more energy?

What Time of Day is Best for Working Out?

Is there a time of day that is more beneficial for working out? Does working out in the morning prove to be a more effective exercise time than working out later in the day?

Those are questions Jen, from Getting Fit With Jen, hears often. Here’s what she has to say about it:

There are a variety of studies that “prove” different theories on the subject of what time of day is best for working out. Most studies will tell you that working out in the morning is better and more effective. The thought behind this is that early morning exercise will energize you, get your day started right, and boost your metabolism.

Is this true? Sure, working out in the morning can be beneficial in these ways. But what if you’re the type of person who is groggy in the morning? What if getting up extra early for exercise just doesn’t work for you? What if you simply do not have time to work out first thing in the morning?

Occasionally some find that working out at night before bed makes it hard for them to sleep because of the endorphins that have been released during the workout, pumping them up and giving them extra energy. Some people find that working out at night doesn’t affect them negatively and that, in fact, they actually sleep better immediately following a good workout.

I say:  Exercise during a time that works best for you. If morning works for you – great. If afternoon works for you – great. If night time works best for you – great. As long as you are finding time to exercise, no matter what time of day it is, you will reap the rewards!

Read more of Jen’s thoughts on this subject in her post:  Finding Time to Exercise. If you’re interested in having Jen set up a personalized work-out program for you, read more about the services she provides here. I have benefited so much from having her as my “personal trainer”. :)

The Benefits of Exercise (It’s About More Than Weight Loss!)

I humbly consider myself to be thoroughly kicked in the pants. Good grief – why have I avoided exercise for so many years? Since I began to workout faithfully in January, I feel healthier and more energetic than I have EVER felt!

You know one of the main reasons I avoided exercise? Okay, two of the main reasons? 1) I didn’t really need to lose much weight and 2) I have asthma.

Oh dear – I was really afraid that my asthma would flare up if I exercised? Let me tell you right here and now – and this is the part where I have been kicked in the pants – exercise has made my asthma better, not worse! Beyond that, being at a healthy weight is great, but that’s a silly reason for me to think that I didn’t need to exercise.

Shucks, exercise can certainly help a person lose weight (sweet!), but as I have been working out with Jen, I have learned all kinds of reasons why exercising has been beneficial to me. I’ll let her share about those reasons here in a minute, but first I need to gab and gush about how good I feel.

Here’s the deal:  The past couple of weeks, my family has been passing around a cold  – and I didn’t get sick. This never happens to me. Any time my kids are snotting and hacking, I catch it. Within days, infection typically hits my asthmatic lungs, causing some major issues like bronchitis or even pneumonia.

This time, I began to get a sore throat, then began to fear that sickness and lung congestion would lay me flat. I upped my vitamin intake, drank plenty of water, and worked to get enough rest. And would you believe it? I fought that cold and did not get sick.

You may not understand the significance of this. But trust me, Matt and I are astonished. All of the cardio workouts and the weight lifting I’ve done during the last 4 1/2 months have really built my immune system and strengthened my lungs. I feel strong! I feel healthy. I can fight now!!! (Fight infection, that is – not the children. I do feel strong, but I still don’t feel the need to get on the floor and wrestle, just in case you were starting to picture that…)  ;)

I asked Jen, of Getting Fit with Jen, to give me a bullet list of all the amazing benefits to exercise:

~ Lowers your blood lipid profile (cholesterol)

~ Makes daily living/every day activities easier

~ Reduces your risk for cardiovascular diseases

~ Improves bone health, which helps fight osteoporosis

~ Improves mood and mental health

~ Lowers your blood pressure

~ Transforms your body shape

~ Helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight

And oh yes, exercise can strengthen your immune system.  I realize that exercise isn’t preventing me from ever getting sick again.  But I have seen so many improvements in my overall health since beginning our workouts. I’m in this for the long haul!

What benefits have you seen from exercise? If you haven’t been exercising, what improvements would you like to see if you were to start an exercise program?

Getting Fit With Your Kids

My great friend and personal trainer, Jen, of Getting Fit With Jen, has said it to me time and again:  “Sometimes, working in time to exercise can be as easy as getting up and playing with your kids.”

The statement makes perfect sense and ultimately, I agree. But I also have to say that doing this has often been a struggle for me. I’ll admit that I don’t often just stop and “play”. There is work to be done!!! Often, I find that the best time to get that work done is when my kids are off happily playing…on their own. Happily playing children means that I have a moment of peace to focus on other tasks. To take the time to stop my cooking, laundry, website work, house work – and instead go play with my kids? It almost feels as if I would put myself behind in some way. That I would be more stressed out because of the growing “to-do” list that didn’t get finished.

All of that may be true sometimes. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of quiet moments and content children when there is work to be done. But – I promise you that I have never, ever regretted time I have taken out of my “very busy schedule” to go play with my kids. And when that play involves some sort of exercise? Well, I do believe we can call that multi-tasking. :)

Remember the day I scored five!!?!?!? (Why yes, I did just give you the link to that post so that I could brag some more in case you forgot that story.)  It was a great workout, and wow did we all have fun! A few days after that, while waiting for our seven year old to warm up for his soccer game, I headed over and kicked a ball around with our 10 year old. You should have seen his face light up once he saw me and recognized that I was there to play with him!! Golden. Never will I regret taking advantage of opportunities like this to play with my kids.

Remember how my kids were doing this:


And then they talked me into doing this:


I loved every minute of that – and so did my kids!

Jen is right. Now that I’m being more intentional about being active with my kids, I’m finding that there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy spending time with them in this way. And lo and behold – all of my other work still gets done somehow. ;)  After playing, I get right back to the house work or computer work – this time full of extra energy because I’ve just been up moving around!

Here are some specifics Jen had to share on this topic:

Anything that involves moving for several minutes at a time will increase your heart rate and be beneficial for your health. Go outside with your kids. Kick a ball around, chase them, play some sort of tag, play catch, go for a walk or bike ride – the ideas are limitless. Your kids will love this time with you and you will be burning calories, building muscle, and increasing your endurance level.

Do recognize your limitations so that you don’t injure yourself. Don’t break into a full on sprint to chase your kids if you aren’t used to running. Pace yourself, maybe taking short breaks between play times. Remember, even 10-15 minute segments of activity will be good for your body.

Your example to them will encourage them to want to be fit as well. Get out there and be active with your kids!

Be sure to visit Getting Fit With Jen to learn more about how you can make fitness a part of your life.

Is It Expensive to Start Working Out?

I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear that several of you are involved in or have now started a workout routine of some kind!! Way to go!

I love how much energy I have now that I am exercising regularly, as well as how healthy I feel overall. If you’re still hesitating to do some sort of exercise, I really encourage you to give it a try. You won’t regret it. (Even if you are sore at first!)  :)

I am also very excited to have Jen, from Getting Fit With Jen, on board here to help answer so many of our fitness questions. She has taught me so much while we’ve been working out the past few months. It would appear that I’m not just getting fit, I’m becoming a little bit smarter too. How ’bout that?

Several of you have already taken advantage of Jen’s personal online training services, which I know will be a blessing to you. Having someone tell you exactly what you need to do, having someone to be accountable to – I find it all so helpful.

Today, I was able to bend Jen’s ear for a little while and ask her some questions about fitness and finances. If money is holding you back from getting started in a workout program, I think you’ll like what Jen has to say.

My conversation with Jen…

Laura: How much would you say it costs to get started with a workout program?

Jen: I feel like you can actually get started without spending any extra money at all. Walking, for instance, doesn’t cost a thing. Resistance training can be done simply by using your own body weight, your little ones, and well, since we’re talking about this here at Heavenly Homemakers, I’d even throw out the idea of using your bags of wheat. :)

Laura: Ha! I’m pretty sure I could find a bag of wheat around here somewhere. :)  So you really think a person can have an effective exercise routine without spending any money at all?

Jen: Absolutely!

Laura: If someone does have some money to invest in their fitness journey, what would you recommend they look at first?

Jen: The first thing that comes to mind is a good pair of shoes, if you don’t already have some. A set of resistance bands or dumbbells are also great to have. Resistance bands are very inexpensive, very versatile, and they don’t take up much space. Once you know you’re serious about exercising, some high quality workout DVDs can be a great investment because you’ll have them forever, and you can workout at home when it is convenient for you.

There are some other pieces of equipment that you may appreciate owning (like an elliptical machine or a tread mill), but be sure you’re serious about using them before you take the financial plunge.

Laura: Is there anything you would say is NOT worth spending the money on in order to get fit?

Jen: Watch out for any product that “guarantees results”. Some of them are legit, but not all of them are. I’ve seen some gimmicky workout equipment that simply isn’t necessary, such as “ab belts”, which promise to give you a six pack. If you want a six pack, you’re going to need to work for it! Save your money for some of the above mentioned gear and be ready to invest time and energy into achieving the results you’re looking for!

Watch for more of your questions to be answered in our “Ask the Trainer” feature next week. Have more fitness questions? Be sure to leave a comment here. And check out Jen’s site, Getting Fit With Jen for more great fitness information.