Monday, March 29, 2010

No News

No news means no news in the O’Neill household…

Well, besides the fact that I am going to PARIS in 2 days!!! But, I am sure you already knew that.

As for Joel? He and Carson are headed to DC to visit family. Good luck babe!

I am really sad to be leaving my boys, but I keep reminding myself that in just over 48 hours I will be looking at this:

And that makes me feel a wee bit better.

Au revoir

Monday, March 22, 2010

14 Months


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He’s walking.

He’s talking (a little).

He’s a lover.

He’s got a great laugh.

He’s an entertainer.

He’s shy.

He’s a cook.

He’s a mommy’s boy.

He’s an explorer.

He’s a daddy’s boy.

He’s our pride and joy!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Fitness Friday

These are my most frequently asked questions:

Are free weights better than machine/cable weights?
Free weights generally challenge an overall muscle group more intensely. They assist in the development of core trunk strength, stabilizing muscle strength and balance. However; for the purpose of weight loss, muscle toning and overall fitness, both groups will serve an adequate purpose.

How many calories are burned while walking or jogging a mile?
On average, the caloric expenditure per 100 pounds of body weight, per mile is 62 calories. So if you weight 200 pounds, walking or jogging a mile will burn about 124 calories.

How many calories do I have to burn to lose a pound of fat?
A pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories. If you’re goal is to lose 1 pound of fat per week you will need to increase you activity levels by 500 calories per day, reduce you caloric intake by 500 calories per day or settle on a combination of the two.

I want to lose weight. Is cardio enough, or do I need to lift weights too?

Cardio does burn fat if you remain in a low-intensity zone, but what matters most is how many calories you burn. We tend to burn more calories in 30 minutes of cardio work, compared to one-third to half as many in 30 minutes of resistance training.  However, lifting weights builds muscle—this is key. Muscles are our engines and the big calorie burners in our bodies. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, even at rest.  If you increase muscle mass by 3 pounds, you will raise your metabolism by 4%, boosting resting energy expenditure by about 60 calories per day, or about 1,800 calories per month.

This is slightly more than a half-pound weight loss per month.

Okay. So if I want to build body mass, should I skip cardio?

Building mass may be an important objective in a fitness routine, but it should not be the only one. Even serious bodybuilders know that skeletal and cardiac muscles need attention. Focus on lifting moderate to heavy weights, using a high number of sets (eight to 10 reps each) and two to three exercises per body part.  Also, incorporate 20–30 minutes of aerobics at low-to-moderate intensity to burn fat and show off muscles you are building. And the heart is one of the most important muscles, so train it with cardiovascular activity.

What’s the best exercise to lose the belly/get great abs?

Sorry, but there’s no way to burn localized fat, or “spot-reduce.” When you exercise your metabolism goes up, which triggers fat deposits to be used as fuel during and after your workout. To decrease fat from any body part, do aerobic exercise for 30–45 minutes at moderate-to-high intensity, circuit-train(TABATA and HIIT) and have a healthy diet.

I lift weights and have met my initial goals, but I’m no longer improving. What can I do?

You must create new challenges to the muscular, nervous and hormonal systems. Your body becomes more efficient the more it is asked to do something.

For further results, increase the volume of your workout (the number of exercises per muscle group, or the number of sets and reps per exercise) or the intensity of your workout (the amount of weight you lift).

Remember that adding new challenges to your routine may affect your recovery time.  Improve your recovery with a good diet and sleep. And evaluate your nutrition. Diet and exercise cannot be separated when it comes to your fitness or sports objectives.

I keep a very healthy diet but I’ve stopped losing weight. What should I do?

In my experience the most common mistakes that prevent continued weight loss are:

• Drinking your calories. You can have a very healthy diet, but if you drink three lattes a day, it will easily equal an extra meal.

• Overdoing the condiments, dressings and seasonings. It’s very easy to add 400 calories to your diet in oil—just a spoonful has 120 calories.

• Excessive portions. Maybe you eat fruits and vegetables, lean protein, good fats and omega-3 fatty acids, whole-grain carbohydrates… a nutritionist’s dream! But look at your plate. How big is that fruit salad or that bowl of cereal?

• Eating too little. Don’t cut back too much to enact change. Severe calorie restriction is hard to keep up, and it also slows your metabolism. Generally, taking in less than 1,000 calories per day will significantly lower your resting metabolism, making it difficult to continue losing weight. You must eat to maintain your resting metabolism and burn calories. Try to eat five or six small meals throughout the day.

How do I do keep a healthy diet when I have to eat out a lot?

I eat out for lunch almost every day, travel frequently and still meet my diet requirements. Always look for vegetables and lean meat, or what you eat at home. Dismiss temptations and start with a salad or a broth soup, ask for everything plain (dressing on the side), don’t drink your calories with sodas and juices, and instead of dessert have an espresso or tea.

Should I have one diet for me and another diet for the rest of the family?

No. Eating a healthy diet with the appropriate amounts of vegetables, fruits, lean protein and grains should be a long-term family goal. Portion control is the answer.

My husband and I started a diet, but he has lost more weight than me, and in less time! What am I doing wrong?

Men have an advantage when it comes to weight loss. They tend to be more muscular than women, which mean a higher resting metabolism, because the metabolic activity of muscle is considerably higher than that of fat.

But don’t let differences between the genders discourage you. Just be conscious of what you eat and make good food choices.

I have high cholesterol and take statins. Do I need to exercise and watch my diet? Is one more important than the other?

You must follow a good, healthy diet and participate in an exercise program that emphasizes cardiovascular activity. One frequently cited study found subjects taking statins who followed a heart healthy diet (< 30% fat and < 7–10% saturated fat) and an exercise program aimed to burn 1,600 calories per week were able to arrest the progression of coronary artery disease. In the same study, subjects taking statins, following a heart-healthy diet and expending 2,200 calories per week in an exercise program demonstrated a reversal of coronary artery disease.

I practice tennis(play another sport) three times a week.  Should I still hit the gym?

According to the recently published federal guidelines for physical activity, yes! An adult should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity performed almost every day (e.g., 30 minutes a day, five days a week), a minimum of 60 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise (e.g., 20 minutes a day, three days a week), or through a combination of vigorous and moderate intensity exercise. Playing tennis, depending on how skilled you are and whether you play doubles or singles, can qualify as moderate to moderately vigorous exercise. How long and often you play (e.g., three times/week for 60 minutes/session) may allow you to satisfy the aerobic component. However, you also need resistance training two to three times per week to strengthen muscles and bones. A proper resistance program will probably help your tennis game and reduce the likelihood of injury.

 Now its your turn. What questions do YOU want me to answer?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Wednesday is always my busiest day. Between my clients, activity days (my calling), grocery shopping (my other job), and my normal motherly/wifely duties, I have little to no time left for anything else.

I like being busy, but by the end of this day, I am fried. Especially because I grocery shop around 8 pm. I used to love grocery shopping. It was relaxing, fun and low stress. These days my grocery shopping is like a full contact sport; intense, fast paced, and MUST be organized.

My weekly grocery trip is about a 9 step process. I’m not joking. I won’t bore you with the details, but I do it that way to ensure we  save money and don’t spend more than we have to for anything.  I have become very thrifty in my 5.5 years of marriage.

So, I’m sure you can imagine, I get very peeved when I go through so much to save money and the cashiers/registers ring things up improperly, charging me more than it should be. This happens to me EVERY week. I have to go to the service counter, wait in line, explain what happened, and plead my case all get my money back.

I used to not ‘care’ about a few dollars here and there if I were overcharged because I thought my time was more valuable than waiting to get a couple dollars back. But, now it’s my job to save us money and I realized it totally ads up. Plus, why should stores get more moolah for something than they advertise it to be? If it happens to me every week, I guarantee it happens to the majority of other people too, they just don’t check their receipts.

So, the moral of this rant? I’m not quite sure it has one. What I am sure about is that that was very therapeutic ‘cause I feel much, much better now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fitness Friday

Spring is upon us. For me, that means back to running outside (or  even running at all). As you know from my previous posts, most of my workouts have been in my house with my kettlebell, jump rope, stairs, and my very own bodyweight. I am so ready to hit the pavement and have some serious ‘me’ time.  YAY! I am so excited.

Running seems to be getting more popular by the moment, and dare I say ‘trendy’? Really, everyone I talk to wants to or is training to run a marathon(or half). In my mind, there is nothing wrong with jumping on that bandwagon. In fact, I think it’s great.  But, how many stick to their training schedules, withstand injuries, and actually finish their race? Not that many.

Admittedly, I would love to run a marathon and just haven’t found it in me to train that quite that much…

So, for all you ‘wannabe’s’ who have a goal to run a marathon, half or even just a 5k this year but don’t know where to start, here are 3 training programs to follow:


Half Marathon


Before you start the program make sure you have a good pair of shoes that fit your feet well and support your gait. Good shoes are more expensive, but if you want to enjoy running, make the investment. Trust me, your feet and knees and hips and back will thank me later!

If you are in the MKE area and would like to run some road races with me this Spring/Summer/Fall, let me know! I would love running buddies!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The {little} Mr.

He loves me…


He loves me not…

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He loves me!!!



Sometimes my brain is like a pin-ball machine. Joel so kindly pointed it out to me on Sunday as we were discussing one thing and then I started talking about something else while he was clearly still stuck on the prior subject.  His brain doesn’t move as fast as mine, I guess.

Anyway, he calls me random and complicated.  I call it multitasking and efficient. I think know females have this capability more than men. With that being said, this post is for all the women out there who can follow my random thoughts of the day. Men, don’t even waste your time reading this. You just won’t get it.

- Somewhere over the 5+ years of being married, I have changed. Duh, of course that happened. I can’t tell you exactly how or why, but I have.  Sometimes I don’t like what/who I have become. I find myself crotchety, negative and self-centered far too often. I am working on this.

- Being a mother is very challenging and rewarding at the same time. I am on a roller coaster with this kid, and the highs are high and the lows are low. It’s the craziest ride I have ever been on.

- I am an all or nothing person. I’m either in it it to win it or a big fat, zero hero. I don’t really have a ‘grey’ area.  Yeah, I’m working on this too.

- I love friends and girlfriend time. I wish I had more of both. 

- I am a defensive person but only with those who know me really well.  I am afraid of getting hurt and even though I know those closest to me wouldn’t hurt me, I still am quick to defend myself. Weird, I know. You would think that strangers would get me going, but I could care less about what strangers think or say.

- I want to date my husband again.

- I want to have more passion for life, every day.  My days, although busy, can be quite mundane. I have become the lady who you see in her workout clothes at 3pm. I have cute workout clothes, but still, I think getting dressed will help me feel more productive.

Wow, that was more like a tell-all from the Bachelor or something. Speaking of the Bachelor, did you see the wedding last night?

See men, I told you you wouldn’t get it. Ladies, are you with me?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fitness Friday

The best exercises for a booty-licious, J LO style,  kickin’, tight a$$:

Bent-Knee Deadlift

Intermediate Bent Knee Deadlift

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand at inner thighs.
  • Bend knees 30 degrees, coming into a shallow squat.
  • Keep your back straight as you bend forward from the hips, lowering weights toward the floor.
  • Squeeze your glutes and slowly stand.
  • Complete 3 sets of 15.
Single-Leg Bridge

Intermediate Single Leg Bridge

  • Lie on floor and place your feet hip-width apart on a couch or bench, knees bent 70 to 90 degrees.
  • Extend left leg, pointing toes.
  • Press into your right foot and lift hips toward the ceiling.
  • Complete 3 sets of 15 reps, then repeat on opposite side.
Lateral Step Extension

Intermediate Lateral Step Extension

  • Stand with your right side facing a step bench, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
  • Step up sideways onto the bench with your right foot, then lift your left leg 45 degrees to the side, toes pointed.
  • Hold for 3 counts.
  • Step down and repeat for a total of 15 reps.
  • Switch sides.
  • Do 3 sets.
Balancing Deadlift

Advanced Balancing Deadlift

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent about 30 degrees.
  • Holding a 5-pound dumbbell in left hand, extend right leg back and lower weight toward floor.
  • As you stand, kick right leg forward to hip height.
  • Lower to start and repeat.
  • Complete 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

    Walking at a steep incline on the treadmill.

    Good ‘ole fashioned front and reverse lunges.

Remember, it’s impossible to spot reduce fat from one area, but it is possible to strengthen and isolate a muscle. Strong muscles also promote a better shape than fat…and don’t we all want a shapely backside?

*pictures courtesy of Fitness Magazine*

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blame it on the…

O-O-O-O-O-lym-pics. Blame it on the  O-O-O-O-O-lym-pics.

I’m out of my groove. My rhythm. My routine. Call it what you may, but I am out of it. I was mesmerized for 17 days. I got sucked into Bob Costas, the moving athlete profiles, the duh, duh, duh duh duh duhhhhhhhh( NBC’s oly song), and the tight speed skater outfits. Uh, did I say that out loud?

On Sunday after the closing ceremonies (lame, might I add), I even asked Joel if my butt looked wider. I swear it’s flatter from sitting on it so much, but I enjoyed {almost} every second of it.

My favorites were the half-pipe, alpine skiing, and the snowboard cross. I normally like ice skating but the long program proved to be way.too.long. Like 5 minutes too long. I don’t know, maybe I just have a short attention span.

Regardless, I love the spirit of the Olympics. I always have. I love the athletes’ resiliency and perseverance and sacrifice and passion all in the name of their sport and desire to be the best. I love the pride that they exude in representing their country. Mostly, I love that for a couple of weeks, the world is united.

I think we can all learn a little something from the athletes. Secretly, I wish I could be a little more like them. Driven and focused and mentally tough. You know, when the going gets tough, keep going.

And, I’ll admit it. I always have a little twinge in my heart when the flame is extinguished. To me, the flame is a representation of all the good the Olympics embody and to see it go is sad. But, it won’t be long before we see it again and we are ‘lit up’ in excitement. I am really looking forward to the the 2012 Summer games in London. I love London and I love the Summer Olympics. We will be there!

Want one??

I have been making frayed rosette necklaces for quite some time. I absolutely love them. Every time I wear one- which is quite frequently- I get tons of compliments. They are the perfect accessory to a plain t-shirt, your favorite cardigan, or your Sunday best. They dress up and dress down. 

All my friends said I should sell them, so here I go: If you are interested in purchasing one, leave me a comment with your email address or email me directly. You will be able to personalize your color scheme and number of rosettes on the necklace.

I know you want one!