Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What We're Up To: Petting Farm

On Monday morning, we headed out to The Hunt Club petting farm. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Amelia is going through a bit of a fearful stage, especially in regard to animals. She absolutely does not like the squirrels running around our little patio and birds sometimes scare her. Since I taught her the sign for bird and made it a little game to point them out, she's a little less afraid. She wasn't afraid of the animals, but she wasn't as into petting them as Eleanor was.

The first thing that greeted us was this giant turkey. He was not shy at all. He was just strutting around (not in an enclosure) and had zero problem coming right up to you. I have to admit I was afraid of him at first. Turkeys are huge and they are kind of imposing when they're making weird noises and running straight toward you. I think he just really wanted us to feed him.

The little goats are always my favorite. Baby goats are so cute and affectionate! There were several mommy goats there, one of which still hadn't had her babies. This little goat jumped right into my lap when I squatted down to take his picture. He also attempted to eat my shoe laces and camera strap.
The baby goats in this particular enclosure were very small, so we couldn't go in. But they definitely jumped right up to get a pat on the head through the fence. Amelia was sold.

Both girls really liked the chickens. You could go right into the coop and pick them up if you wanted. I liked the chickens ok, but the freak me out. The chickens were funny to watch though. I didn't get many pictures of the girls petting them, but they got a huge kick out of the chickens. We visited the chicken coop twice.

This pig is a character. I was squatting down to get a picture of Amelia and a goat when this pig came running at me. I thought it was going to come get me or something. Nope. He ran, flopped down, and rolled over so I would pet his belly. It was hilariously funny. And now I kind of want a pig as a pet.

This was such a cute baby goat. It's just a gratuitous picture. haha.

Overall the petting farm was a hit. :) I would recommend going to it if you're local. Definitely worth the 5 bucks per person (and kids under two are free). They had a huge variety of animals, many of which I didn't get pictures of. They had several ducks and geese, peacocks, llamas, a donkey, a huge pig, some calves, and some bunnies.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fit Mama: Thoughts on Intervals

Banker's Health Care Group , a finance group that offers many different finance options for healthcare professionals, asked me to share a few thoughts about fitness trends. Banker's Health Care Group runs a blog designed to allow healthcare professionals to discuss different health topics. I appreciate this conversation because it keeps our healthcare professionals looking at new information and informed on different topics that we, as patients in their offices, might bring up. BHG asked me specifically to share some of my thoughts on HIIT vs "a back to basics approach", as outlined in this blog post on the BHG 360 blog.

First, HIIT = high-intensity interval training. Essentially you're supposed to work to your max effort for a set amount of time and then recover for a set amount of time. There are many things that are or could be HIIT. As a runner, I've done HIIT running by running intervals on the treadmill. I would run as fast as I could for a minute or two and then recover for two minutes and then repeat for several intervals. Running intervals helps increase speed in general, so they're great to do when you want to make your race time better.

As you know, I also started beach body's Insanity. I'm about half way through it and it's definitely what I would consider an HIIT workout (Shaun T calls it max interval training though). You do a move as fast as you can for a minute and then rest for thirty seconds. So far I've seen great results: My overall fitness level has improved, I've lost weight, and I've lost inches. I have fun doing the workout too, even though it is very hard because it's such a varied workout.

HIIT workouts can truly be tailored to any fitness level. Your intervals can be intense for you, no matter where you're at. If you're a beginner your HIIT workout can be jogging for one minute and then walking for two. If you're not a beginner you can sprint for one minute and then rest for one minute. If you're not a runner at all you can exert yourself to an intense level with any activity-- biking, rowing, walking, jogging, boxing, random other cardio moves (like Insanity or even Jillian Michael's shred workouts). But that's the key-- you have to push yourself to feel the effort and then recover and do it again. I also like HIIT because I feel like I can see my results faster. I spent a week running intervals and then the next week, I shaved a full two minutes off my 5k time. Insanity has yielded quick results too.

I think a more back to basics approach is also a good approach to take that incorporates more body-weight strength moves, like planks, push ups, and sit ups. I think this back to basics approach to fitness is also a legitimate way to go-- it requires no, or very little, equipment and it's something you can really do anywhere. You don't need to pay a lot of money at a gym to use your own body weight to train.

Ultimately I think no matter what type of activity or fitness philosophy you follow it's important to like what you do, because that's what will keep you committed to working out. For the most part I don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" in reference to picking a style of working out. Injuries can happen no matter what you choose. My experience tells me that to prevent injury in any workout situation is to make sure your form is correct. If you're not sure about it, ask someone who knows to help you! I also have found legitimately warming up helps prevent injury-- you never want to blast full into a workout of any kind. Take a couple minutes to move around, stretch, and then go for it.