Battling Ropes

Battling Ropes

Today I wanted to perform an exercise that I haven’t done in a long time and this is, battling ropes. Battling ropes are a tough exercise but it is a great workout.

Battling ropes are very good for building shoulder strength, core strength, and strength within your defensive stance.

Here is a list of the exercises I did:
1. Double slams: small, medium, and high slams
2. Alternate slams: small, medium, and high slams
3. Side to side
4. Make circles with the rope: both directions

Below you can view a short video I filmed to demonstrate for you on how to battle the ropes. This will allow you could get a visual of what the different rope exercises are.

I challenge you to give battling ropes a try. These ropes give you such a great workout!

Happy Lifting

Much love,
Jae Taft

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Mini Workout

Day 7 – Mini Workout

For today’s workout I decided to do more body weight exercises. My workout consisted of completing a ten minute 40/20. A 40/20 is where you perform your exercise for forty seconds followed by a rest of twenty seconds.

The exercises I performed were…
1. Reverse crunches
2. Alternate leg raises
3. Push-ups
4. Side planks
5. Frontal plank
6. Sideway leg raises

I did repeat some of these exercises.

You can choose any exercise you want. Tonight, I will do another round because these are quick exercises and I will still be getting a good workout. To switch some of the exercises up, I will add squats with a mini band around my knees and bat wings which work your rhomboids.

I suggest these types of workouts if you don’t have much time or if you don’t feel like lifting heavy weights.

There you go… my workout for the day!

Much Lovemuch love,
Jae

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My Fitness Journey

As a basketball player and overall fitness enthusiast, I love to workout. My family is very athletic, so playing sports is in my blood.

Strength training is something I really enjoy. It is also necessary for me because of my disadvantages. I am five foot two and entering my junior year of high school. I have always been the smallest player on every team I’ve played on. Most of the time I was one of the physically weaker kids, my advantage was speed. I have been taught since a young age that I am at a disadvantage with other players because of my height and strength. I had to learn how to not use my size as an excuse.

This is what I did…

• Worked on my ball handling.
• Focused on my overall game.
• Improved my strength.

While I was working hard, my teammates and opponents were growing and maturing. Unfortunately, I was not. By the time my eight grade year was over, I was approaching five feet and let me tell you there were not many five foot players who played varsity. However, this didn’t discourage my goal of starting varsity as a freshman.

I knew if I wanted to compete with varsity athletes I needed to be stronger. During the summer of my freshman year, I put a huge focus on my strength training. I strength trained three times a week. It worked and I accomplished my goal. To this day I strength train an average of four times a week not only because I need to maintain my level of play with other players, but because I love doing it.

That brings me to the point of this post and that point is how to become stronger. Throughout the month if September I will be posting my workouts, meals, and fitness tips. I am inviting you to train a long side me and join me in My Fitness Journey. Starting today, September 1, I have three exercises that I want to focus and improve on before the end of the month.

Here are my focus exercises:

• Number of pushups I can complete in a row.
• Improve weight on the clean.
• Improve weight on the dead lift.

You now know mine, what are yours?

Join me in this fitness journey and let’s become stronger. Send me your workout, meals or fitness questions you may have. I would love to correspond and find out how your workouts are going.

Happy Lifting!

Much love,
Jae Taft

PS – Here are my current maxes:
Deadlift: 140 lbs.
Clean: 105 lbs.
Push-ups in a row: 16

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High School Pressures

High school can be a fun and exciting experience. High school can also be a bad and stressful experience, too. During your four years of high school you may fail a test in math, be bullied by mean kids, get into an argument with your friend, or fail to make a team. How you let it effect you is your choice. You have the choice to let it affect you in a negative or positive way. I’m not saying it easy to ignore a bully or study for a big test, however if you take little steps to improve your all-around happiness you won’t regret it.

During your high school years you can face a lot of pressure situations. In reality, there are very few important “pressures” that actually come along with being a high school student. Just so we make this clear, the important pressures are ones like earning good grades, completing your school work, and maintaining good character. These are just normal stuff that comes along with high school.

The negative high school pressures that I’m talking about are dating, drinking, and drugs. Take it from me, I am going to be a junior this year and I have never dated. Guess what? I’m fine. My personal opinion is dating right now is not best for me because I have goals in my life I want to accomplish. Dating would conflict with my goals. I am not saying you should never date in high school. I’m just saying be careful. Most people have goals that they want to accomplish whether it is for that particular year or for life after graduation. If you are not one hundred percent committed and focus to your goals, then dating can influence you and prevent you from reaching them. I have always told myself if I date in high school, then my boyfriend would have to understand my commitment to basketball and my other priorities. The reason I set this standard for myself is because my goals in life are very important to me and I don’t want anything to stop me from reaching those goals. Don’t be afraid to have this conversation before you become in a committed relationship. And hey, it’s high school! There is a very small chance you will marry this person anyway. My advice to you is never feel pressured that you have to date in high school.

The second and most important point I want to strongly stress to you is to not be one of those teens who fall under peer pressure by trying drugs and becoming drunk at parties. I cannot say this enough. There is nothing good about drugs and underage drinking. Unfortunately, we will continually to see underage drinking until people wake up. Many kids who have so much going for them will have it all taken away in the matter of minutes. Using drugs and alcohol have only negative consequences. You will get caught, possible loose a scholarship, be expelled from school, or unfortunately sometimes death occurs.

Please do me favor and more importantly, do you a favor. Don’t try drugs and alcohol even once. If you feel that you won’t be popular or one of the “cool kids” by not trying drugs, then you need to change your way of thinking. If you feel alone and you think that your emptiness inside would be cured by trying drugs, don’t listen to yourself. In fact, talk to me or reach out to a friend. There is always someone willing to listen and help.

High school can be such a fun experience. Don’t let silly things ruin the only fours years you have. Life is too awesome to become caught up in stuff that will bring you down. Remember, to always be yourself, stick to your morals and good things will come your way. I promise.

Much Lovemuch love,

Jae


photo credit: Lotus Carroll via photopin cc

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Back to School Breakfast Idea

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Every morning I like to start the day off right with a yummy, nutritious breakfast. This morning I was in a mood to cook and ideas were flowing through my head. I decided to make quiche in a muffin tin. Basically it is egg muffins. I made a fluffy pancake to go underneath the quiche. For my side dish I put a bunch of fresh fruit in a bowl and finish it up with a glass of orange juice.

Breakfast is very important, especially on a busy school morning. You may not have time before school to make this exact breakfast idea, but at least grab some fruit or a piece of toast with peanut butter. You might even consider making it the night before and simply warm it up in a toaster over.

It was a lot of fun making this breakfast creation and even more fun eating. Give this back to school breakfast idea a try!

Enjoy!

Quiche
6 eggs
1/4 cup of cheese
3 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk (cow’s milk is fine too)
A big handful of spinach (optional)

1. Set your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Rub a little coconut oil in the muffin tin to prevent your eggs from sticking the pan.
3. Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl.
4. Pour your egg in the muffin tin.
5. Put your eggs in the oven for 15 minutes.
7. Take them out of the oven and enjoy

Yields 6

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Summer Time Recipes

My family and I eat healthy by choosing all natural, whole foods. Some people think eating all natural foods means eating grass for dinner. Yes, some of my friends have pretty much thought that, however, it is not true.

Eating whole foods are super healthy for you, taste good, and easy to make. Foods consumed in their nature state supply more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to help you feel great and be well. Really, the easiest whole foods are things like fruit, veggies, and nuts. However, it is very easy to put whole foods together to make some delicious recipes. I thought I would share with you a few whole foods recipes I enjoy making and eating during the summer.

They are healthy, yummy, and quick to make. Give them a try!

My All Time Favorite Smoothie
1 cup of water
Six frozen strawberries (can be unfrozen if you prefer)
2/3 cup of blueberries
2 big handfuls of spinach
A drizzle of honey

Instructions:
1. Place in blender and blend it up

Fruit Popsicle

Assortment of fruits (strawberry, blueberry, kiwi, etc)
Any fruit juice or water
A Popsicle container

Instructions:
1. Cut your fruit in small pieces.
2. Place small amount of fruit in each container.
3. Pour juice in each container over the fruit.
4. Put the Popsicle tops on.
5. Place in freezer.

Raw Cookie Dough Bites
(Found this on the web a few years back)

2/3 cup raw almonds
2/3 cup raw walnuts
2/3 cup raw oat flakes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp cacao nibs or dark chocolate

Instructions:
1. In a food processor, process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon, and salt to a fine meal.
2. Add the agave nectar and vanilla and process to combine.
3. Next, add the cocoa nibs (or dark chocolate chips) and pulse just to combine the chocolate into mix.
4. Roll the cookie dough into balls about a tbsp each and place on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer for an hour so your cookie dough bites can harden. Store in a tightly covered container in the freezer.

 

I hope this help you find some new summer time recipes that you will enjoy during the summer months!

Much Lovemuch love,
Jae

 

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Fun in the Sun

Summer is by far my favorite time of the year. I love the warm temperatures, freedom from school, and the fun opportunities summer offers.

It is awesome to being able to walk out my door without having to put on a jacket. For me, warm weather makes my attitude towards everyday situations more positive. Warm weather is a mood brightener and makes you feel good about life.

Summertime is an escape for students like me. There is a huge break from homework and we don’t have to get up bright and early in the morning, five days a week. I am an early riser, but six o’clock is too early for me. Summer is a great stress reliever from school. Students have time to relax and not worry about a three page essay due in only a few day.

Opportunities are endless when summer comes around. During the summer I become more focused on writing my blog and creating YouTube videos. It also gives me opportunities to put more time into training for basketball and strength. You may have certain things in your life that you would want to put more focus on and summer is the perfect time to do so.

Travel with your family, sit poolside all day, go to the zoo, or start a summer long project. Summer is full of adventure if you want it to be, so go explore it!

I wish you a very sunny summer. And remember, have tons of fun in the sun!

Much Lovemuch love,
Jae

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Be The Change You Want To See

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

This quote by Mahatma Gandhi is one of my all time favorite quotes by far. I carry it everyday with me. I can guarantee that all of you have heard this quote at least once but the meaning behind it is so true.

I have stated in some of my videos and blog post that I believe everyone has something amazing to offer to the world. Or how I like to say it, “Spread your nuggets of awesomeness.” Go out into the world and show them who you are.

If you want to see a change go out and make it happen. Talk to people and get them involved.  Keep pushing and trying your hardest to make the change you wish to see.

If you truly believe in something, it can be accomplished! If you want to see change, make it happen. You can do it.

Much Lovemuch love,

Jae

P.S. – Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for my fun videos.   Click here to check it out. Thanks for reading and be sure to share! 🙂

 

 

 

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How to Survive Finals

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Are you ready to take some finals?

We can all agree that finals are definitely not the highlight of the year. Finals are not for me, but we all have to take them so why not make the best of it.

Here are some tips for you on how to survive finals with no problem…..

Healthy Eating

Choosing healthy eating options can really help you maintain great focus while studying or taking the actual test. You have probably heard this a bazillion times but make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. It is so important. Some examples of a healthy breakfast could be eggs and toast, a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, or all natural Greek yogurt with fruit. My advice for you is to stay away from the sugary cereals and breakfast pastries because those foods can make you crash and lose focus fast. Eating a healthy breakfast starts you off right for the day and helps you survive that early morning final with great focus.

Refueling your body is just as important. When your stomach is telling you it’s time to “feed me”, you will need to put good healthy foods in there. Avoid junk foods like candy, chips, and pastry-like snacks. Trust me, if you put better foods in your body your focus and performance will be much better.

Another little tip is to drinks lots and lots of water. Focus on limiting your intake of soda and other surgery drinks. A challenge for you is to cut soda and other sugary drinks right out of your diet. If you cut out those drinks you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

Studying

I can guarantee studying is not on your top 5 favorite things to do. I know it’s not on mine! We have to do it so why not make the best of it. The biggest tip I can give you is to not procrastinate. Procrastinating can cause unwanted stress and worry. You will find yourself rushing to study the material and you might miss over some important details about your test. This is not good.

Start studying about 4-7 days before your test. Study a little at a time because you don’t want to cram a bunch of information over multiple subjects in one night. You won’t retain the information as well as if you studied over a period of time.

When it comes to studying, index cards are so helpful. They help you memorize your information a lot quicker. I love using them. To make studying a little more fun grab some markers or colored pens and when you are writing on you index card use those instead. It jazzes up your studying!

Another tip for you is to ask your teachers if they have any additional study guides you could use to review. Study guides are essential to have when you are studying for a test. Personally, I always preferred to use a study guide because I like to know what the majority of the test will be over. And it’s just my luck to study too much of the wrong material.

Get Those Brain Fluids Going!

When studying, it is important to be focused. If your brain is tired your focus is not going to be all there. Here are some tips to get those brain fluids going!

Exercise will help your brain get back its energy. It can be as simple as doing a few sets of push-ups, taking a run around the block, jumping a rope, dancing around your house, or even playing in the yard with your dog. Whatever activity you choose would work.

As I mentioned before, eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water is very important. Your brain really appreciates when you feed your body with healthy nutrients because it benefits you more.

Rest

One more tip is to get plenty of rest. You have probably heard this advice more than once. I know I have! But it’s true. You want to get plenty of rest so your body can recover and rebuild itself. If you keep treating your body well then your body will return the favor by performing well.

After reading this post, I hope you will use these tips to survive final. As we all know finals can be a nuisance, however if we try to make the best out of them there will be some great results in the end!

Much Lovemuch love,
Jae

P.S. – Summer is almost here. You’re close to the finish line. Keep working hard and it will pay off 🙂

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Overcoming

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“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” -William Shakespeare

Over the years, I have heard so many comments people have made about me and my height. If only I had a dollar for every comment made, I would be a rich girl!

The comments usually made go something like this: “She is too short to play high level basketball” or “She is to small to even consider playing at the next level”? A short comment even come from past teammate. Once, while giving some rebounding pointers to this particular person, she told me she was not taking advice from someone shorter than herself. As if being short meant you were incompetent on knowing how to rebound.

Having only reached 5’1” so far, I have always been the smallest and shortest one on my team. But, that’s never stopped me from playing or giving it my all.

My mother once told me, you are always going to be short and small, so you have to figure out how to play big!

Here is how I have overcome being short:

1. I have worked extremely hard on my ball handling skills so no one could touch me. Over the years I have spent a lot of time in my basement and garage dribbling the basketball perfecting my ball handle skills.

2. When I make a mistake, I never use the excuse I am too small to play. During the summer before my freshman year of high school I worked extremely hard on strength training so I could compete better with bigger, stronger varsity athletes.

3. I continued to work towards my goal and ended up the starting varsity point guard and I was only a freshman.

4. Today, I continue to constantly work on my ball handling, shooting and strength training so I can keep raising my game and not use my height as an excuse.

My story is very important to me and I know there are many more who have faced a bigger challenges than mine. I would love for you to share your story. I am very sure it help someone else trying to overcome some obstacle. If you felt led to share your story, please leave me a message below.

Much Lovemuch love,
Jae

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E is for Enough Effort?

When you hear the word “effort”, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is “how much work have I put into something”. Effort can really define you as an athlete. It can define you as a person. It can really impress a coach or it can really disappoint a coach.

Everyone gives effort. Some give more than others. Some give effort when they feel like it and some give effort all the time.

If you really want to be the athlete you say you want to be, then you must give good effort all the time and to your fullest capability. Like the old saying goes…”Give 110% all the time”.

Coaches notice more than you think. They will be able to pick out those athletes that give a ton of effort all the time and they will notice which athletes give effort only some of the time.

Learning to give effort as an athletes can transfer over to your everyday life. When things get hard in school or everyday life, do you push through to do your best or do you just do enough to get by?

There have been times when I have been guilty of not given full effort, especially when it comes to school. Have you found this to be true with you? Have you found yourself to tired to study for a test, not feeling like going the extra mile work on a skill, or thinking a certain assignment is simply to hard to even learn. Bottom line is, we have to continuously remind ourselves that we will get through the difficulties and we have to work hard at it!

I have an idea. Why don’t we set a challenge for ourselves this week. How much effort can we give? Let’s set a goal and give it more effort than we every have. And, let’s just not apply it to sports. Let’s apply to everyday life.

Much Lovemuch love,
Jae

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Being a Leader

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Different sports are played in different seasons, while some seem to always be in season. Whether your sport is in-seasons or  pre-season,  I hope your training is going well.

I wanted to take a minute and write about what it means to be the “point guard” or the “quarterback” of your team. Keep in mind, I am not just talking about the sport of basketball or football. I talking about what defines a leader of a team. Most often if you are placed in one of these two positions, you possess leadership qualities. This is not always the case. If you don’t currently have the characteristics of a leader, there is no reason why you cannot learn.

Characteristics of a Point Guard

Here are a few characteristics that are very important to possess:

  • Carry the Team on Your Back– By this I don’t mean you have the best stats on the team. What I do mean is the players on your team know that you have there back . You lead them to success. You take the blame for some things that you know it’s not your fault and you do things that help benefit the team.
  • Be an Encourager– Be your teammates biggest fan. Always clap and talk during practices and games. Be very enthusiastic and upbeat.
  • Always Make Eye Contact– Always know what’s going on. Regularly look your teammates in the eyes and show them you care. Be a great listener. Always have eye contact with coaches while they are teaching you and have a nice solid stance. Stand with feet shoulder width apart with your arms in front or behind your body. Do not lean on one leg looking around or day dreaming about what is going on after practice.  I can’t emphasize this enough….always make eye contact!
  • Be a Respectable Person – Be a great competitor on the playing field. Be nice and respectful to people. Post game, be sure to clean up after yourself or team. If you see a piece of trash, then pick it up and throw it out.  Have integrity and don’t just be a good person when your coach is watching. Be good person all the time. Simple remember…no trash on or off the floor!
  • Be Vocal – Direct your teammates and encourage them. You don’t just yell at them in a hateful manner because they made a mistake. Walk up to them and explain what they should have done, followed up by giving them a few compliments on what she have been doing well.  Don’t forget to continue with the  encouraging words.

These are just a few tips to help you be the “point guard” of your team. It might not be easy to do these things all the time, but trust me if you keep working and constantly practice using these characteristics  they will become second nature . Your teammate will have nothing but great respect for. You can be a leader even if you are not involved in a sport. All of the topics I wrote about can be applied to your club or activity that you are involved in.

Much Lovemuch love,

Jae

photo credit: lumaxart

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I’m Possible

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“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible!”

I really love this quote by Audrey Hepburn. Too often many young women aspiring a dream believe things are impossible because it might seem hard at first.

Sometimes we give up too easy and don’t realize the goal or dream we are striving for is right around the corner.

Always remember, anything is possible if you put your mind too it! You have more power to reach your dreams than you think.

Much Lovemuch love,
Jae

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