Fun with Free Weights


Good morning!

Last night I decided to ditch the movie for a little brain stimulation and cracked open the latest Dan Brown book! I had been waiting for it to come out forever and completely forget that Ben bought it right when it went on sale! I’m only a couple chapters in, but I can already tell it’s going to be a good one. I love a good historical/secret society/DC thriller, so I can’t wait to dig in!!


Breakfast this morning was warm and satisfying – a Honey Wheat Bagel with Jam.


Aww, anyone remember the "Bread & Jam for Frances" book?


Unlike Frances, my breakfast refused to pose for a nice shot, but it was hearty and comforting. I bought these bagels fresh out of the oven at Costco this weekend. They are dynomite!


Lunch today is a Chili Cocktail! Kind of looks like it with that cornbread perched on the side, huh?


Nah, just some leftover chili. :)


FYI – I’m certain you could make these cornbread toppers with any corn bread mix. They are SO GOOD – and fun, too!


So last night I talked a little bit about New Year’s resolutions. I’d like to add another one to my list – start lifting weights. Weight lifting is so important and I simply don’t do it. In case you didn’t know, incorporating weight lifting into a healthy diet and regular exercise routine:

  • Improves bone density, which can help prevent osteoporosis
  • Strengthens connective tissue like ligaments and tendons
  • Boosts endurance and cardiovascular health

Yes please, to all of those things!

I actually used to life weights quite frequently. If I wasn’t taking a weight lifting class, I would most often zip through this easy, yet effective circuit. Read on!

Bicep Curl

Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. With palms facing out and away from your body, raise weights toward shoulders. Pause at the top and slowly lower. Repeat 8-10 times.

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Front Arm Raise

With feet shoulder width apart and palms facing your thighs, raise weights in front of your body, until they are parallel to the floor. Pause and slowly lower. Repeat 8-10 times.

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Lateral Arm Raise

Start with feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides and palms facing your sides. Raise arms to the side until they are parallel to the floor. Pause and slowly lower. Repeat 8-10 times.

*Be sure to keep back and neck straight. Resist the urge to arch your back.

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Shoulder Press

Start with feet shoulder width apart and hands at ear level, palms facing out. Raise arms until weights meet above your head. Pause and slowly lower to original arm position. Repeat 8-10 times.

*Be sure to keep back and neck straight. Resist the urge to arch your back.

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  • I usually do 8-10 reps of each exercise, then repeat the whole circuit 4 times.
  • I use 5 lb weights (~$15/set at any sports store). Use heavier or lighter weights according to your preference and ability.
  • Incorporating lunges and squats with any of these exercises is a great way to tone your entire body at the same time.
  • Form is everything. Arching your back, straining your neck or lifting too fast can lead to injury.
  • Weight lifting doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. This circuit is just as easy to do at home during commercial breaks, as it is to do at the gym!
  • I do not normally smile while lifting weights. :)

New to weight lifting? Check out FitSugar’s Four Weight Lifting Mistakes to Avoid (a good reminder for seasoned lifters, too!)

And don’t forget that you have up to 3 ways to enter the Vitalicious SuperSampler Pack giveaway by 3pm central on Wednesday! Lots of yummy, goodies to be had!

Have a great Tuesday! :D


Do you read for fun? What kind of books do you like?

Like I said, I love to get lost in historical thrillers like the ones Dan Brown tends to write, and a lot of fiction stuff. Honestly, I’ll read anything though…except romance novels…!

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  1. I love to read for fun – usually chick-lit fiction, but not trashy romance.

  2. Evan Thomas 12.29.2009

    I wish I had more time to read for fun. When I do sneak in a few moments, I go for foodie magazines

  3. Niki 12.29.2009

    I love to read but haven’t been able to due to school. Way too much text book reading! However, I am sneaking in the new Nicolas Sparks book, The Last Song, before I go back to school Jan. 4th! So far it’s a great book!

  4. I’ve been wanting to read Dan Brown’s new book!

    My ultimate favorite books are chick lit :)

  5. Maura 12.29.2009

    I am totally a chick lit kind of girl. I do like a good Dan Brown thriller though (Fun fact: Dan Brown lived 20 mins away from me in NH when I was in college).

  6. Nonfiction and biographies are my faves. I love to read about nutrition, exercise, and psychology!

  7. Dawn Hutchins 12.29.2009

    You will have to let us know what you think of the new Dan Brown book. I haven’t read it yet! I saw there is a new Stephen King one I want to read too.
    Good for you getting back into weights. I do a lot of weights and yoga so for the new year I’m trying to add back a bit more cardio. I used to run and do half marathons but I’m trying to find cardio that is a little lower impact on the joints now. I like spinning and we have a stair machine at the gym that is like an escalator that I like.

  8. Yasmin 12.29.2009

    Great post…I love lifting weights during commercial breaks. You’re going to like The Lost Symbol…it’s really interesting and thought-provoking. I normally read cheesy chick lit fiction with a few best sellers thrown in.

  9. I need to lift weights more as well and in general just do more strength training.

    I LOVE to read – so much so that it’s in the title of my blog. :-) I love historical fiction as well. I’m reading “Ahab’s Wife” right now and it’s really great. I may be starting up a long-distance book club (not a traditional book club in any respect – more like a swap) – let me know if you’re interested. I’ll have a full post about it probably next week sometime.

  10. Amy 12.29.2009

    I love historical fiction too! I’ve enjoyed a few of Philippa Gregory’s books. I recently read The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent. I loved it! It takes place during the witch trials. I found it hard to put down. A few years ago I read The Historian (can’t remember the author) and really liked that one as well. It’s history and vampires all rolled into one. Have a great New Year’s! Amy

  11. Beth 12.29.2009

    I love to read! My husband surprised me with a kindle for Christmas that I am loving. I like to read fiction, but not so much chick lit.

  12. I miss reading books. The most I read are magazines…
    Thanks for the strength training moves :)

  13. Kelly 12.29.2009

    Thanks for posting this! One of my “resolutions” is also to get serious about lifting, so this will be really helpful!

  14. Carrie 12.29.2009

    I am a HUGE advocate for weight lifting, especially heavy weights. It has totally transformed my physique. The heavier I lift, the leaner I look. I was always a scrawny girl growing up, so to pack on pounds of muscle and to be able to do 50+ push-ups in a row and pull-ups feels amazing.

    This year, I’d love to get into high intensity, interval training to take it to another level.

  15. jeri 12.29.2009

    The Frances books were my FAVORITE when I was little. Loved them. :) I really liked The Lost Symbol also. It was my 2nd fave book of his, behind Angels & Demons. Hope you enjoy it!

  16. Cindee 12.29.2009

    I am reading “World Without End” by Ken Follett it is a sequel to the amazing “Pillars of the Earth.” I am an avid reader and am always looking for the next great book.

  17. Thanks for the weight-lifting lesson Kristin! You’re right, it’s so important. Great advice :).

  18. Whit 12.29.2009

    haha, I read everything. Except HARLEQUIN romance. Regular romance is fine. I sniff at Harlequin though. Such a snob, I am.

    And I agree TOTALLY with weight lifting! LOVE IT. NEED TO DO IT.

  19. denise 12.29.2009

    Aw, I love Frances! That book is adorable.

    I love to read but really need to make time for it. I’ve been reading “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” for months now. A few pages a night in a 608 page book just doesn’t cut it…

  20. Mikael 12.29.2009

    Thanks for the weight tips! Definitely worthwhile to have…
    My brother got me the Lost Symbol for Christmas and I’m a few chapters in as well! It’s kinda cool to think we’re reading the same book at the same time =)

  21. I definitely want to start lifting weights more this year, too! I did it A LOT about 2 years ago but it’s fallen by the wayside since I started running!

  22. Kara K 12.29.2009

    I’ve never seen anyone so happy when they are weight lifting :) I was sucked into Twilight … I’ve finished the first three books since last Thurs. Silly teeny-bopper lit :)

  23. Erin 12.29.2009

    Chili and toppers look good! My dad is moving in with me next week and I’ve been meal planning using a lot of IGE recipes in addition to writing some of my own.
    I love to read, live to read – right now it’s the Lovely Bones, but I love the Twilight books, chick lit, historical fiction, poetry, autobiographies, magazines, etc. Anything I can get my hands on.

  24. Julie S. 12.29.2009

    I like the same kinds of books you do (no romances!), although I will make an exception for Nicholas Sparks books. I read the Lost Symbol several weeks ago & thoroughly enjoyed it. Have you tried Richard North Patterson? He writes political thrillers. I also really like Nelson DeMille & Harlen Coben. I also LOVED the Harry Potter series, & the Twilight series wasn’t bad either.

  25. Emily 12.29.2009

    I’m not much of a reader…unless it has to do with foooood! :D

    Ummm I totally remember “Bread & Jam for Frances”! haha How cute!

  26. Wendy 12.29.2009

    I don’t have much time to read these days, but I am majorly addicted to audiobooks (I get digital downloads free from my local library). I love just about any kind of fiction, including romance. I used to turn up my nose, until I started reading Nora Roberts & got hooked. Basically, I just love a good story!

  27. Sara 12.29.2009

    Great exercises. I love to read for fun! My favorites are mystery/suspense, fun reads (like Harry Potter and Twilight) and lately I’ve been into Christian mystery/romance.

  28. Emily 12.29.2009

    I’m so glad someone else knows Bread & Jam for Frances! I often get blank looks when I reminisce about it, so I’m glad to hear you’re a fan.

  29. Kristen 12.29.2009

    My sister and I started a book club with some friends. This is a great way to get in more reading. I also have read a lot of books that I wouldn’t have normally chosen for myself.
    I have read some Dan Brown. I have to get this newest one.

  30. Melissa 12.29.2009

    TOTALLY remember that book–we were also big fans of A Birthday for Frances at my house.

    The Jillian Michaels Shred DVD is my usual go-to weight workout, but I will definitely add yours to my routine!

    If you like the historical/political thrillers, you should try Daniel Silva’s books . . . they make you think! Love that! :)

  31. sheila 12.29.2009

    My hubby just asked me the same question the other except he asked it in a different way. I loooove to read! But I’m not really into fiction books. I love reading biographies and anything educational. I find it fun! I mentioned to my husband that growing up I use to read Children’s Encyclopedias. Maybe that’s the reason why I like non-fiction books. I do occasionally like to pick up a fiction book, right now I’m working on Wicked.

  32. I love chick lit.

    I have to remind myself to do free weights but feel so much better doing them.

  33. […] 20 minutes or so, to do my daily abs routine and then do a few rounds of Iowa Girl Eats’ “Fun with Free Weights” so that better than nothing, I […]

  34. […] 1 arm weight lifting circuit […]

  35. […] I headed to the weight room to use the free weights. 3 sets of 10 reps doing the exercises outlined here. Ummm – my left arm is as weak as a kitten. How did that happen?! Oh I know, I haven’t […]

  36. sue 09.09.2011

    If your a fan of historical thrillers then I am sure you have read “devil in the white city” by Erik Larsen
    Loved it!

  37. […] A little while after I ate, I did a 20 minute free weight circuit (which I got from Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats)¬†using 4 lb weights. I did bicep curls, front arm raises, lateral arm raises, and shoulder […]

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