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Category: Beginner

‘YOUv2’ Workouts Focus on the Fun

I had a few different fitness setbacks pile up, so between a cranky achilles on one leg and an IT band flare-up on the other, followed by dental surgery and a cold … let’s just say I’m a little deconditioned and in need of a good beginner workout to get me back in the swing. […]


I had a few different fitness setbacks pile up, so between a cranky achilles on one leg and an IT band flare-up on the other, followed by dental surgery and a cold … let’s just say I’m a little deconditioned and in need of a good beginner workout to get me back in the swing.

And I found it! I’m not sure where I first saw it, but a video of trainer Leandro Carvalho (he’s the Brazil Butt Lift guy) having the time of his life with a room full of “real-sized” women had me seek out his new YOUv2 workout DVD set.

I ordered it and promptly popped the first disc into my DVD player.

OMG, fun! Seriously, I’m in love with this workout set.

It’s not a big, complicated “system” — you get two discs with six 30-minute workouts. They’re primarily cardio but a couple of them focus on bodyweight sculpting.

You get a guide that goes over each workout, a four-week journal for charting your goals, “daily vibe,” and inspiration, a calendar to keep track of your workouts (with a cute backside of motivational sayings), and a Keep It Super Simple Meal Guide that features some good-looking recipes and a weeklong sample meal plan.

These aren’t intense, hard-body workouts by any stretch but that’s not what I was looking for. I glanced down at my Fitbit and saw that my heart rate was at a respectable 150 bpm while in the cardio phase.

Leandro is motivating and cheerful without being condescending — something that often crops up in workouts meant for the less fit. The background exercisers, diverse in age, race, and size, are freaking delightful — none of them fit the typical workout DVD mold, and they all appear to be having a blast. The music has a bit of a Baby Boomer vibe with songs like Love Shack, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, and Let’s Get Loud.

Best thing about these workouts — I promise you can complete them all without any modifications. That alone is a huge motivator. In fact, the only background exerciser doing anything different is the woman wearing weighted gloves for a little more upper-body resistance.

The set is available on DVD through Beachbody and Amazon and is also offered through its Beachbody On Demand streaming channel, which is available on many platforms, including Roku and Amazon Fire. One little extra in the streaming version is that there are kid-focused workouts, featuring younger exercisers.

How do you get back into the swing of exercise after a setback? —Gail



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10-Minute Zen Barre Workout (No Equipment Needed!)

Have you guys heard of Zen Barre yet? We mentioned in this post how Kristen and I are getting certified in it, and today we’re sharing a bit more of what a Zen Barre workout is like with this 10-minute routine you can do at home! Instructor Kasey put this 10-minute Zen Barre workout together […]


Have you guys heard of Zen Barre yet? We mentioned in this post how Kristen and I are getting certified in it, and today we’re sharing a bit more of what a Zen Barre workout is like with this 10-minute routine you can do at home!

Instructor Kasey put this 10-minute Zen Barre workout together just for FBG readers to give you all a taste of what you can expect in a class. As you’ll see, it’s a hybrid class featuring the best of barre, yoga and Pilates. And, the best part is, for this one you don’t need any props or equipment — just yourself. Try it!

10-Minute Zen Barre Workout

Okay, what did you think? Did you feel the mindful burn like we did? Be sure to check out where you can take a full Zen Barre class live here. And, if you want to get certified like we are, be sure to use the code “fitbottomedgirls” for 20% vff! Jenn



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What It’s Like to Be Able to Eat Just One Cookie

I really didn’t think my relationship with food was too screwed up in my 20s. Well, other than a few dalliances with trying to figure out just how few calories I could get away with eating (and obsessively tracking each bite) and subsisting for days at a time on steamed broccoli and Slim-Fast before breaking […]


I really didn’t think my relationship with food was too screwed up in my 20s. Well, other than a few dalliances with trying to figure out just how few calories I could get away with eating (and obsessively tracking each bite) and subsisting for days at a time on steamed broccoli and Slim-Fast before breaking down and binging on Doritos and Chips Ahoy, that is.

Pretty typical for a girl coming of age in the late 80s and 90s, right? It wasn’t much different than what I saw basically everyone around me doing. I sipped my Diet Coke, told my stomach to stop growling and spent a ton of time on the elliptical, because, hey, wasn’t that the true path to a bikini body?

Yeah, hindsight sure is 20/20.

I wasn’t entirely unaware of the fact that I was developing some less-than-ideal habits. I knew that I couldn’t open a sleeve of Thin Mints unless I had someone to share them with … because I would eat them until they were gone. So mostly, I just didn’t open them — until, you know, I couldn’t take it anymore and tore them apart, leaving nothing but crumbs in my wake. And then I’d beat myself up over having no willpower, which felt terrible (because GOLLY do I hate to be criticized, even my myself), so I’d just feel like the most hopeless failure imaginable. The shame spiral started there and worked its way into just about every other aspect of my life, because if I wasn’t a strong enough person to resist a the siren song of Girl Scout cookies, how could I expect to ever succeed at anything? And, also, NO WONDER people didn’t like me and I wonder what other things I’ll fail at in my future …

via GIPHY

Oh, right. I was in a loving relationship, had a whole group of wonderful friends and supportive family, and although I wasn’t exactly in my chosen field just yet, I was moving right up in my place of work (and, unbeknownst to me at the time, would soon move into a career in digital media that would fulfill my dreams and then some).

But it was really hard to see the good stuff, let alone feel grateful for it all, through that toxic haze of self-loathing.

Did I mention I was also coaching youth volleyball at the time? So as I was battling with my own sense of self worth, I was spending a few nights a week trying to drill the love yourself/appreciate-your-body-for-what-it-can-do message into the minds of young women. And no, I didn’t see the disconnect between being a champion of body image one minute and scowling at my stomach in the mirror the next.

I didn’t experience the kind of ah-ha moment that Jenn did, so I feel like every time I tell the story of how I truly came to embrace myself, perceived flaws and all, it’s a little different. There were just so many things that brought me here. And they’re all important.

However, I have to give a lot of credit to the sport of triathlon. The sport got me to really push my limits — and, as I did so, I really had no choice but to learn about nutrition from a place of curiosity rather than judgement. I knew how terrible I felt during my first half marathon (during which I refused to eat or drink anything but water because I wanted to lose weight, and therefore I bonked), and I knew I never wanted to experience that again. As I learned more about what my body actually required to compete and train, my unhealthy associations (hunger with shame, eating with guilt) began to subside.

They eased further as I surrounded myself with more and more people who loved to be active — and also really, really loved to eat. We celebrated long runs and races with meals together, and if there were feelings of having “earned it,” it wasn’t about burning off those calories. It was about sharing things we enjoyed with people we like while celebrating things we were proud of.

At this point in the story, my emotions around food itself were pretty well in check, but my weight and body image? Less so. And while I didn’t consider many foods truly off-limits, I still struggled with binging on foods I really loved but didn’t have often.

So, what happened to change that? More and more tiny steps, every single day. I worked hard to stop negative self-talk about my body. I said kind things to myself in the mirror. I became more vocal in social settings when someone would put themselves down or make a disparaging comment about looks or weight. (I also changed my method of birth control around this time, which I think was a factor in both my mental health and weight — but it was only one of many factors.) I treated myself like I would treat my best friend — not because I was desperate to lose weight, but simply because I knew I deserved unlimited compassion. We all do.

What do you know? Clothes began to fit better, and, when I finally decided to weigh myself, I was at a lower weight than I’d been in YEARS.  Mind you, that was without actually making weight-loss a priority like I had, ohhh, the entire rest of my life up to that point.

via GIPHY

I continued being kind to myself (encouraging others to do the same), and my body continued to respond.

And so did my brain. The more love and acceptance I showed myself — and the less judgment I showed myself when some of those craving-inducing foods appeared — the easier it was for me to have just a cookie, just a bite, or … believe it or not, even just say, “No thank you,” without feeling deprived or restricted or sad. It’s just me respecting my body and what I actually want in that moment.

kristen seymour
Nearly a decade older — and EVER so much wiser.

Now, I fully embrace the idea that I can eat what I want, when I want — but damn if it isn’t an incredible feeling to also know that I can choose to eat just a little bit of it if that’s what I want. Today is not my last shot at a cookie. When I have one, I enjoy the hell out of it. I don’t judge any feelings that might come up while I’m eating it. And when I’m done, I simply ask myself, “Are you satisfied?”

You already know what the answer nearly always is.

via GIPHY

I continue to be astonished at how quickly my body caught on once I wrapped my head around the idea of ditching all that judgment. From here on out, I’mma just leave the judging to Judy, because I’ve got nothing but love to give.

Well, love and support for other women working on their own weight-loss journeys in our 10-in-4 Challenge, and we’ll be kicking off another round in January so feel free to sign up now if you’re interested! —Kristen



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Workout I Did: Learning to Surf

We all have that one thing that we’ve always wanted to try to but for whatever reason we just haven’t. For me, that thing is surfing. I grew up in the mountains of central Pennsylvania with a family that wasn’t big on beach vacations. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I started spending any […]


We all have that one thing that we’ve always wanted to try to but for whatever reason we just haven’t. For me, that thing is surfing.

I grew up in the mountains of central Pennsylvania with a family that wasn’t big on beach vacations. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I started spending any time near the beach. And yet, the idea of surf lessons still seemed far off.

Then, on a recent trip to Myrtle Beach, my chance finally came — at age 37, I was finally about to check surfing off my bucket list. For having this on my list for so long, I still hadn’t even Googled how to surf. On the plus side, when we arrived on the beach for our morning lesson, I had zero expectations and was open to anything.

We were greeted by our surf instructors, Jack and Nick, who had laid out a variety of longboards on the beach for us. As we looked out at the ocean, Jack pointed out that there was some good ground swell from Hurricane Irma, which was approaching but still a couple days out. But, he pointed out, these are perfect wave conditions for learning to surf. One very important variable was in our favor — yay!

On the beach, Jack walked us through how to position ourselves on the board, paddle out and “pop up” from a belly-down position to standing on the board. Then we worked on refining our stance on the board — which foot goes in front, optimal distance between our feet, and how to find balance.

For people who’ve spent some time working out, the popping up maneuver should seem pretty familiar. I mean, look at this slow-mo video of me and tell that this doesn’t look like a cockeyed burpee.

Once we got that down, we headed out into the water with our instructors. We paddled through the breaking waves close to the beach and settled into a relatively calm pocket of flat water not too far off shore. Our instructors stood beside our boards as we hung out on top, waiting. And when a suitable wave approached, they would give us a push on the board toward the shore and tell us when to start paddling. When the moment was right, they’d tell us to pop up.

To my shock and surprise, on my very first wave I made it to my knees and rode the wave to shore. By my second run, I was up on my feet. From there on, I was on fire. I even caught one wave and rode it all the way into shore until I (literally) ran aground.

At this point, I was grateful for my fitness. It was exhausting to work your way through breaking waves, heave your body up onto the board, and then paddle out using only your upper body fighting the water every step of the way. If I was lucky, I’d get a minute to catch my breath before being pushed right back toward shore and popping back up onto my board. So much upper body and core work went into this process. But as tiring as it all was, I was drawn back out over and over again — totally hooked.

Despite all my success on lesson one, I don’t pretend to think I’m prepared to go beyond the safety of the breaking waves near the shoreline just yet. Everything I’ve read and heard since talks about how long and frustratingly slow the learning process is. But I do wonder — why did I wait so long to give this a shot?

Curious to try it for yourself?

Three Things You Should Know

1. Be prepared to be humbled. Surfing might look pretty, but the reality is that it’s far more difficult than it looks. I found that it was easy enough get up onto my knees out there but it took a ton more power (and courage) to get my feet on the board and then stand up. Wipeouts are inevitable — even for seasoned surfers. You’ll get tossed about by the waves and clobbered over the head with your board — it’s foam, you’ll live.

2. Wear the leash. If it’s not securely fastened, your board becomes a projectile. When you’re up on your board, the waves are trying to rip it out from under you. On a few occasions as I was going under mid-wipeout, I could feel my board being launched forward. The leash was only thing keeping me from losing my board and potentially taking someone out.

3. Start small. You begin by essentially learning to ride the whitewater, the smaller and more frequent breaking waves near the shore. This was plenty for me to deal with. What looks like a small wave from the beach looks massive at it approaches you in the water. Over time, as you get more experienced and build confidence, you’ll move farther out and away from shore.

A huge thanks to my friend Jennifer Mitchell for catching the awesome video of me!

What’s on your fitness bucket list? —Alison



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4 Ways Yoga Helps Your Regular Workouts

Are you one of those people who doesn’t do yoga because you think it’s not a good workout? You believe that flowing through a sequence of postures simply cannot bring you the same benefit that comes from a heart-pounding cardio kettlebell and interval-training routine? Or maybe it’s the sitting still part of yoga that drives […]


Are you one of those people who doesn’t do yoga because you think it’s not a good workout? You believe that flowing through a sequence of postures simply cannot bring you the same benefit that comes from a heart-pounding cardio kettlebell and interval-training routine?

Or maybe it’s the sitting still part of yoga that drives you crazy. Those long holds which constantly kick up a sea of emotions while sending your to-do list into a swirl around your brain is not your thing.

And you probably already have a friend or two who raves on about the amazing yoga class she just came from as a preamble to her ongoing attempt to convert you to the practice. Which gets a little annoying.

Well, don’t worry! I’m not going to try and get you to become a yogi. I’m only going to explain how including yoga in your regular exercise routine —like an add-on — will not only enhance your workouts, it will also make you happier in your life.

4 Ways Yoga Helps Your Regular Workouts

1. Breathing. Enter a yoga class and there’s a good chance you’ll hear an instructor counting breaths out loud. In fact, this may even be the scope of her instruction. Why? Because breathing is the foundation of yoga. In order to truly advance through the practice, you must be connected to your breath. It enables you to use your muscles more efficiently while allowing your body to move more fluidly. And guess what? The breath will do its magic outside of a yoga class. So if you’re a runner, connecting the breath to your stride will provide an even steadiness that gives you more control.

2. Stretching. You probably already know that your body needs a good stretch post-workout. And the five minutes tacked onto the end of class is fine if you’re looking to reduce muscle soreness. But in order to prevent injury, you want your muscles to be in tip-top shape so they are flexible and receiving optimum blood flow. Yoga as a cross-training exercise will help you do this. On your rest day, consider adding in a series of poses to lengthen your muscles, which will help keep them from pulling and overuse. Also, in conjunction with the contraction that comes from activities such as weightlifting, the stretching from yoga will give you a better range of motion. Plus, being more flexible (especially as you age) feels good.

3. Stabilizing and balancing. While you don’t need to stand on your head for 10 minutes a day, working on your balance is important for both your workouts and your everyday life. The muscles engaged while balancing help stabilize the rest of your body to prevent overuse that can lead to injury. Yoga as a balance practice teaches you to ground into your center, engage your core and lengthen the spine. So if you are a cyclist or Spinner, yoga teaches you to work from this center which will improve your form, posture and core strength.

4. Mindfulness. No need to get all fancy on this term, mindfulness simply means being present — which is the equivalent to keeping your head in the game. And this is the whole purpose of yoga: to stay connected to your body and breath throughout the practice (and in the rest of your life!). The discomfort that this can cause — like unwanted emotions — can be a turn-off to many non-yoga people. But really, this is key to living a fuller and richer life. If you can keep your mind present while you’re working out, you will have better results that can help build endurance and strength along with preventing injury. While most people probably do not want to pay attention to the aching hip on a run, if you use this discomfort as a sign to slow down, or even stop running, you could be protecting yourself from a muscle tear. On the flip side, if you feel a burning sensation in your quads, and you stay with it, you’ll push past your limitations which will thrust you across the finish line in the race.

Are you convinced? How do you think yoga could enhance your regular workout? —Elysha



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6 Unexpected Truths About Your First SoulCycle Class

Interested in taking a SoulCycle class? Amy Williams has all the deets on what you can expect. As an attorney and freelance writer who’s curiously exploring ways to make healthy living more entertaining, Amy blogs at Bibsandblisters.com and Tweets from @aymer22. Be sure to check out her post on what to expect training for your […]


Interested in taking a SoulCycle class? Amy Williams has all the deets on what you can expect. As an attorney and freelance writer who’s curiously exploring ways to make healthy living more entertaining, Amy blogs at Bibsandblisters.com and Tweets from @aymer22. Be sure to check out her post on what to expect training for your first half marathon, too, here!

Preparing for your first SoulCycle class can feel a little intimidating, even for the most fitness-savvy gym rats. From rented shoes to dark rooms and candles, SoulCycle is an experience far beyond the typical group exercise class. Before you reserve a bike and commit to your first class, get up to speed on these unexpected truths about that first class.

1. You will sweat.

This may not seem like an unexpected truth; obviously you will sweat during a 45-minute cycling class. It’s actually the amount that you will sweat that is unexpected. Even after you wipe your face on the towel draped across the bike’s bars, you will feel the sweat running out of your pores. It’s a tight room, filled with others also gushing sweat, so leave your self-consciousness at the door. Just don’t plan to immediately head to brunch when class is over.

2. You may feel an urge to cry, shout or smile.

Even if you expect the physical workout to be a challenge, you may feel unprepared for the emotional workout. The SoulCycle instructors have a unique way of pulling you inside yourself in almost an aggressive meditation. Between cues to increase speed or resistance, the instructors also call out positive affirmations or challenge you to create something in this particular moment. Between bouts of utter physical exhaustion, there’s an emotional release that you might not expect, but don’t want to miss.

3. You feel like a member of the “pack.”

If you’ve tried group exercise before, you already know there’s a certain magic to the shared endorphin rush of a hard group exercise class, but this is different. After one visit to a SoulCycle class, I felt like I became part of the “pack.” From the instructors to the experienced participants to the friendly staff, newbies aren’t just welcomed, but are initiated and applauded. The round of applause at the end of class for the new members was a great pick-me-up after a challenging workout.

4. You don’t have to push yourself; the music does.

Don’t worry about being able to keep up with the pack during the class — the music has a way of forcing you to keep up. Once you click those rented shoes into the bike’s pedals, the beat of the music will be the push you need to go faster or push harder. Follow the music and don’t worry too much about pushing yourself.

5. Your arms will burn, too.

Obviously, you expect your legs and buns to burn after a SoulCycle class, but the added arm workout is an unexpected benefit. Don’t scoff at the two-pound weights on the back of each bike because it’s actuallu the number of reps — not the amount of the weight — that leaves your arms burning.

6. There’s no room for personal space.

The bikes are packed very tightly into an already small studio. If you’re at all claustrophobic, try to reserve a bike nearest the door and toward the back. Once the class gets going, you will probably be too busy to care that 45 strangers are packed around you — all sweating and cycling to the beat — but when you’re climbing over bikes to find yours, it can feel a little intense. Arrive early, find your bike and take advantage of the staff’s willingness to help you find just the right position for your body.

Despite the unfamiliarity you may initially feel when you enter your first SoulCycle, you’ll probably leave feeling eager to go back. Regardless of your fitness level, check it out and enjoy your experience! —Amy Williams



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The 20-Minute Workout That Had Us Burning at the FBG Retreat

We held our first ever live retreat earlier this month and, guys, it was AMAZING. Kristen and I will get into the hows and whys and ah-has and ALL of that in a later post (with deets on how you can get involved with fun stuff like that going forward — like here and here and […]


We held our first ever live retreat earlier this month and, guys, it was AMAZING. Kristen and I will get into the hows and whys and ah-has and ALL of that in a later post (with deets on how you can get involved with fun stuff like that going forward — like here and here and here), but for now, we wanted to share the 20-minute workout that had us FEELING IT. Both inside and out. ‘Cause you know that’s how we roll …

If you’re not familiar with the AMRAP style of workout, it means “as many rounds as possible.” So, it’s basically a circuit you go through as quickly as you can (albeit safely and with good form, obviously) for the time allotted — in this case, 5 minutes for each! And be sure to track how many rounds you get through of each. As you get fitter, challenge yourself to go faster and do more. It’s SO fun to see yourself improving!

And, as always, feel free to modify any moves that you’re not feeling that day, so squat jumps could be squats, star jumps can be jumping jacks, etc. Or, kick it up a notch by taking things to a single leg or adding weight when applicable. If you have a specific question about a modification for one of the exercises listed, drop it in the comments!

Try it and let us know how it goes. We all found it to be challenging but doable, which all made us feel pretty awesome afterwards. —Jenn



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Your Illustrated Guide to CrossFit

We’ve written about CrossFit quite a bit. Because — especially for the beginner — there’s a lot to learn. Like, what the lingo means. The myths. The workouts. The gear. And, how to stay injury-free. And this infographic created by eReplacementParts with the foundational movements, WODs and benefits of CrossFit breaks it all down in […]


We’ve written about CrossFit quite a bit. Because — especially for the beginner — there’s a lot to learn. Like, what the lingo means. The myths. The workouts. The gear. And, how to stay injury-free. And this infographic created by eReplacementParts with the foundational movements, WODs and benefits of CrossFit breaks it all down in a really cool, illustrated way.


Source: eReplacementParts.com

Another benefit of CrossFit that I can personally attest to? Improved self confidence and an overall feeling of badassness. It’s my favorite benefit, in fact. —Jenn



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That Time I Went to the Gym But Came Home and Lifted Wine Bottles Instead

I recently joined Planet Fitness. I’ve been struggling with my exercise regimen recently, so I was excited for the option to have the personal trainer there create a workout for me. The trainer and I met a few weeks ago to create my plan. We decided I’d do 2-3 days per week of cardio for […]


I recently joined Planet Fitness. I’ve been struggling with my exercise regimen recently, so I was excited for the option to have the personal trainer there create a workout for me.

The trainer and I met a few weeks ago to create my plan. We decided I’d do 2-3 days per week of cardio for 40-60 minutes. I have that covered with my weekly indoor soccer games, so that’s perfect for me. On non-cardio days, at least twice a week, I would do the strength workout he designed. I was nervous for this because I’m not used to using anything other than cardio machines.

My first try went like this …

I started with 5-10 minutes on the stair climber, which was great. I’m comfortable with that. It’s like cardio on steroids. It definitely gets my heart rate going. And from way up there, I could scope out the next stuff I needed to do. This was important because it was really busy that evening.

After that warm-up, it was time to move on to the weight machines. I’m less comfortable with them, but it’s a “judgment free zone,” so it doesn’t matter if I stand and look at the pictures on the machines a little longer than necessary to fully understand what to do. But first, I had to find an available machine I was supposed to use. That was pretty challenging considering how packed it was (at 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday). Almost every machine was taken.

I could pick out most of the machines I needed. I spotted the leg press, but it was busy. I moved on to the glute extension. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was supposed to alternate my sets between leg presses and glute extensions. That didn’t happen. I did three sets of 10 reps on each leg at the glute extension machine. I went back to the leg press when it was free.

I tried to go to the hip adduction and abduction machines next, but I didn’t realize I sat down where a girl already had her things. She was about to wipe the machine down, so I moved on. I came back later and did two sets of 15 on each machine. Again, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be alternating sets. I did them consecutively.

I moved on to the lat pull down machine. And, yep, you guessed it, I was supposed to be alternating. This time should’ve been with the chest fly machine, but I couldn’t find it. I did three sets of 12 reps on the lat pull down.

I gave up on finding the chest fly machine and went to the free weight section. But I panicked. I had never used free weights on the gym floor before. I had used them in group classes, but that always includes a lot of guidance. I watched one girl who looked really serious for a while. I got more nervous.

I knew I was supposed to do three sets of 10 curl and presses, three sets of 10 tricep lifts, and three sets of 10 front raises. I had to check with my fiancé Evan, who has an exercise science degree and much more experience weight lifting than me, before I went to the gym to make sure I knew what each of those movements was. I did. But when it came time to do them, I chickened out. I wanted to be efficient and use both arms at the same time, but I didn’t know if that was normal. And it was crowded. And I had been there for a long time already. And I was tired, but mostly, I was intimidated.

So I left.

I decided to finish my routine in the comfort of my own home. I thought we might have free weights, but I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t find them when I got home, so I improvised. I grabbed the only things I could think of that were shaped the same and were kind of acceptable in weight: wine bottles. I weighed them on my kitchen scale. They were only 2.5 lb each, but hey, they got the job done.

I did my curl and presses, my tricep lifts and my front raises. I finished out with two sets of planks for 30 seconds each and 30 v-ups (a crunch with legs extended in the air).

I felt pretty silly for getting scared and leaving the gym, but I was also pleased with myself for finishing the workout, even if it meant sort of making it up.

I went back later that week and did the full workout. Evan helped me through it. I now know what to do for next time, and I definitely know to avoid the busy times to feel more comfortable. I don’t think I’ll need to use the wine bottles again, but in a pinch, they’re better than nothing.

Have you ever had a first-time-at-a-new-gym experience like this? Ever lifted wine bottles? Do tell! —Megan



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Keep Your Back Healthy With These 5 Exercises

Since last fall, I’ve been going great guns on my daily yoga practice. One month turned into three and then nine. On top of that I walk my dog every day; 3.5 miles is the norm. This routine seems to meet all of my physical and mental needs. I think I look pretty good and […]


Since last fall, I’ve been going great guns on my daily yoga practice. One month turned into three and then nine. On top of that I walk my dog every day; 3.5 miles is the norm. This routine seems to meet all of my physical and mental needs. I think I look pretty good and more importantly I feel good.

That was until I threw my back out, and no, it did not happen in yoga. I was bending over to pick up a stick; a freakin’ stick!

The doctor said I had overextended my sacroiliac joint due to an anatomical imbalance in my posterior chain. The sacroiliac joint, or SIJ, is the part that connects your sacrum to the pelvis. (You have two, one on each side of your spine. Put your hands on your low back and stretch to find it.) In laymen’s terms, he was nicely saying that while my core strength and flexibility were excellent (thank you, yoga), my backside could use some work.

Ouch.

5 Muscle-Strengthening Exercises for the SIJ

Balance, as always, is key. The SIJ is a finicky little bugger; it needs to move, but just a little. To hit that Goldilocks zone you need to have strong glutes and hams, good core stability and muscle flexibility, plus hip mobility. In other words, you’ve gotta have it all!

The following exercises are recommended to keep the SIJ stable and in good working condition:

1. Bear Crawls. Reciprocal or alternating movements (like the bear crawl) guarantee that both sides of the body put in the same effort.

2. Glute Bridge with March. If you sit all day, your whole body will love this hip-stabilizing exercise.

3. The Plank. On your elbows or with straight arms, do all the planks to strengthen your entire core.

4. Dead BugThis exercise works on coordination, strengthens the core and corrects muscle imbalance.

5. Squats/Split Squats. Our glutes are the strongest muscles in the body; they surround the SIJ and keep it and the pelvis stable.

As we age, we lose muscle mass and function; it starts in our thirties. Even if you work out every day, you’ll still lose some! It sucks, but it’s a fact of life. It’s estimated that 25 percent of all low-back pain is caused by the SIJ. Work these exercise into your regular routine to keep your back strong and pain-free.

Is your workout routine balanced? Since my injury, I have continued with my daily yoga (the benefits are too great to stop), but have added two days of strength training to my routine and have been pain-free ever since. —Karen



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20-Minute At-Home Body-Weight Workout

Got a busy job? A busy life? Haven’t found a gym you love? Dude, home workouts can be AWESOME. You can do them when you want, in whatever you want (PJs … undies … shoes or no shoes … anything!) with no drive time to factor in. AND, with this 20-minute workout from Quill, you don’t […]


Got a busy job? A busy life? Haven’t found a gym you love?

Dude, home workouts can be AWESOME. You can do them when you want, in whatever you want (PJs … undies … shoes or no shoes … anything!) with no drive time to factor in. AND, with this 20-minute workout from Quill, you don’t even need equipment — just your body!

Great for beginners or intermediate exercisers, it’s a fantastic series of moves that will target all the major muscle groups of the body while also getting your heart rate up. For an extra cardio boost, we recommend repeating the jumping jacks between every move and resting as little as possible during the full workout. Try it!

What’s your favorite body weight move? I love me some push-ups. Always a challenge! —Jenn



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How to Successfully Transition From Road Running to Trail Running

Are you a road runner who wants to venture onto less-traveled trails? If running the same paved route is starting to feel monotonous, then developing your trail-running skills and spending more time in a natural environment could be your ticket to better — and happier — running and fitness. But many women view trail running […]


Are you a road runner who wants to venture onto less-traveled trails? If running the same paved route is starting to feel monotonous, then developing your trail-running skills and spending more time in a natural environment could be your ticket to better — and happier — running and fitness.

But many women view trail running with some apprehension, because they’re unsure of how to navigate the terrain, how to stay safe, and what trail-specific gear to get. A new book, The Trail Runner’s Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trail Running and Racing, from 5Ks to Ultras, delivers everything a gal (and guy) needs to know to hit the trail. Written by trail-running coach Sarah Lavender Smith — a 48-year-old working mom of two teens, whose running resume includes several top finishes at 70-plus marathons and ultras — the book is both a practical training guide and an inspiring read full of real-life trail tales. (For example, want to know what it’s like to get your period unexpectedly at Mile 12 of your first 50-mile race? Read the section, “How to Pee, Poop, and Deal With Your Period on the Trail.”)

The Trail Runner’s Companion goes beyond coaching technique; it also reveals the ethos and spirit of the sport. In this excerpt from Chapter 1, Sarah explains how to develop a trail runner’s mindset, to successfully transition from road to trail. (Excerpted with permission from The Trail Runner’s Companion, which can be purchased here. For more info on Sarah and trail running, check out her blog, TheRunnersTrip.com. )

The First Step: Think and Act Like a Trail Runner

The first thing to realize is this: Trail running is about more than the physical surface you’re running on and the environment surrounding you. It’s a mindset, an attitude, even a culture.

This mindset, and the culture around the sport of trail running, tends to be:

  • More flexible than prescribed about pace, elevation change, and terrain
  • More adventurous than cautious
  • More inclined to run by feel than by data output
  • More unplugged than attached to and distracted by devices
  • More interested in going long and steady than short and fast
  • More friendly than standoffish
  • More humble than arrogant

6 Ways to Adopt a Trail Runner’s Mindset

David Laney, of Ashland, Oregon, was named UltraRunning Magazine’s 2015 “Ultrarunner of the Year” because of his accomplishments at prestigious, ultra-distance trail races. But he also is a 2:17 road marathoner, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about crossing over from road racing to long-distance trail running.

When asked during an interview with UltraRunnerPodcast.com if he had any advice for runners who are just starting to get into trail running, his answer nicely captured the trail runner’s mindset:

“The biggest thing is to just kind of chill,” he said. “The trails are really, really different. The intensity is different, the way it beats you up is different; it’s really fun, but you have to take it slow at first.”

Beyond “chill,” how can you act and think more like a trail runner? Try these:

1. Be exploratory and even playful during your regular road runs. If you always run the same sidewalk on the same loop around your neighborhood, deviate from the route to explore a side street. Hop off the sidewalk, over the curb, and weave in and out of the street (avoiding traffic, of course) so your sidewalk run incorporates subtle shifts and movements in different directions, as in trail running. If you spot a grassy area, run across it just for fun. If you run past a parking structure, run up the stairwell and down the ramps. Even on a familiar road route, challenge yourself to try new things or go new places while running.

2. Make at least one of your weekly runs a trail run in a mostly natural environment. Over the weekend, plan your schedule of runs and workouts for the coming week; find a time and place to fit in a trail run. Research trails and choose a new one to explore. Make a commitment and look forward to this special run.

3. On both your road runs and trail runs, don’t be distracted by your phone. Turn off its notifications, and pack it away in a pocket or hydration pack rather than carrying it in your hand, so you’re not tempted to look at it and check messages or social media. Also, try running without music. You might find this boring at first. That’s the point: to develop patience and tune into your present surroundings, which can trigger some of your best thinking. Save your music and podcasts for extra-long, multi-hour runs when it’s okay to tune out for an hour or so.

4. Pay attention. Cultivate mindfulness — an awareness of your present surroundings. Open your ears and eyes to what’s around you. This is for your own safety, because on trail runs, paying attention is key to avoiding hazards. A keen awareness of your surroundings will help prevent you from bonking your head on a low tree limb or tripping over a root.

5. Minimize the amount you check your GPS during your run. Many runners become addicted to the pace and mileage settings on their high-tech watches. On trail terrain, measurements of average pace and cumulative distance are more likely to be inaccurate or lag behind real time. The signals that track your location and speed can be imprecise when you’re in a remote, woodsy environment with steep switchbacks, for example. You may find yourself frustrated if the pace and distance showing on your watch is noticeably different from what you feel to be accurate. Just chill out and ignore what your watch or smartphone GPS app says! Listen to your body instead. But keep your GPS running so that you have a general sense of how far you have gone, and at the end of your run, you’ll have a somewhat precise, but not perfect, tally of your miles and average pace. Don’t worry that you’re going “too slow” if your watch says your pace is a minute or more slower than you anticipated. Aim for less quantifiable, more intuitive efficiency and steadiness on the trail.

6. Smile. Seriously, smiling will help you feel better and run better! When you smile at others or just smile for the sake of smiling, even if you inwardly feel grumpy or fatigued and don’t genuinely want to smile, you are doing at least three beneficial things: spreading your joy and making other people more inclined to be friendly; improving your running form by relaxing your facial muscles and the tension in your upper body; and, increasing your odds of feeling and performing better for the remainder of your run. Think “fake it ’til you make it”; by smiling and acting positive, even if it’s somewhat faked or forced, you are increasing the likelihood that you actually will feel better. Trail runners “grin and bear it” — that is, they suffer discomfort during their runs with stoicism and humor — and by doing so, they work through those low points.

The only question is now, what trail will you hit first? —Jenn



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Our Fave Tracy Campoli Arm Workout

Looking for an arm workout that you can do at home with some light dumbbells in about 15 minutes — something that won’t get you too sweaty but has you feeling the burn? This Best of Arms Workout from Tracy Campoli is the ticket, yo. You’ll work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back … the whole […]


Looking for an arm workout that you can do at home with some light dumbbells in about 15 minutes — something that won’t get you too sweaty but has you feeling the burn?

This Best of Arms Workout from Tracy Campoli is the ticket, yo.

You’ll work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back … the whole arm situation. And while there are some moves in here you know and love (hi there, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks), there are other ones you probably don’t normally do, like Raise the Roof!

So what are you waiting for? Lift it and flex it, girl!

While we also love lifting heavy, it’s crazy how just light dumbbells can have you really, really, burning, right? Gets me every time. Also, if you love Tracy Campoli, be sure to check this workout she did just for FBG—Jenn



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8 Steps to Become a Runner… For Anyone Who Doesn’t Really Like Running

Running is a love/hate-activity for most people. It takes some willpower to get going, it hurts a bit during the run, but the feel-good payoff afterward makes it worth the effort. But for others, running is just a hate-activity, as in “I hate running!” And that’s completely fine. You don’t have to run to be […]


Running is a love/hate-activity for most people. It takes some willpower to get going, it hurts a bit during the run, but the feel-good payoff afterward makes it worth the effort.

But for others, running is just a hate-activity, as in “I hate running!”

And that’s completely fine. You don’t have to run to be fit and healthy. At the same time, have there ever been instances when you wish you liked it? (I bet you have.)

Whether it’s the social aspect of running with friends, all the amazing fitness benefits running offers, or the opportunity to train for a goal or raise money for charity, running certainly does have its perks.

If only you liked it …

How Can You Start to Like Running?

I used to hate running, too.

In fact, as a kid I once faked an injury so that I didn’t have to participate in a 5k Terry Fox Run to raise money for cancer research. (I know, what a jerk move!)

But I love running now.

I love popping in my earbuds and tuning out the rest of the world while Drake or J-Biebs gets me energized. (Yeah, I like Bieber — I said it!) Running has become my favorite fitness activity.

How?

There are 8 simple steps to become a runner — even if you think you don’t like running — before summer swings into full gear. Besides, it’s National Running Day, so there is no better time to start than right now!

Step 1: See Your Doctor

If you’re completely new to exercise, this safety step is not one to skip. Check your blood pressure, your heart health, iron levels, and ask if any other health conditions could impact your safety while running.

Step 2: Consider Your Nutrition Timing

To actually enjoy the process of running, your body needs to be properly fueled. Running on empty (or over-full) can make your run painful.

Try eating a small snack consisting of mostly carbs about an hour before your first run. For example, half of an apple plus 8 almonds works for many of my clients. You’ll get a little energy boost without getting that “bouncy” feeling in your stomach as you run.

Also drink a little water before you leave. Half a cup should be plenty.

Step 3: Start Small

By far the biggest mistake you can make is taking on too much, too soon. You don’t want to stress yourself on your first running day. In fact, you may want to start with walking at moderate pace for 30 minutes.

On your next day, try walking for 30 minutes again, but this time, do five 1-minute jogs evenly spaced throughout. In other words, slowly build up to running for longer times and distances.

Remember, there is no pressure. Walking on its own is great exercise, so adding even a bit of running is pure bonus!

Step 4: Recover

“What? I only jogged for 5 minutes. I don’t need a day off!”

You might be right, or you might end up getting injured by pushing too quickly. Why not take a day off to rest and to see how your body feels? Running will be there for you tomorrow.

Start by walking/jogging every other day. After two weeks, if you want to add a fourth day per week, go for it. Give your body time to build up to withstanding more frequent runs.

Step 5: Run For Time, Not Distance

Distance can be daunting. Telling yourself,“I have to run 5k today!” places very specific expectations on your body.

What if your legs are tired today?

What if you didn’t sleep well last night?

What if the weather is exceptionally hot or cold?

There are many reasons why a 5k run today might not feel like it did yesterday. Instead, commit to going out for a specific time. This allows you to adjust your pace according to how you feel in the moment. Again, there’s no pressure to perform — your goal is to get moving.

Step 6: Get Proper Running Shoes

Shouldn’t this be the first step?

Nope. The more barriers you create to the idea of running, the less likely you will be to try it. If you say, “I can’t start running because I don’t have the shoes, and I need to get special shorts, and…” then you might give up before you begin.

Remember, your first runs might actually be walks. You don’t need any special equipment to walk.

Once you’re past the two-week mark into your running journey, then it might be time to invest in some proper shoes that will protect your feet, ankles, knees and hips. Think of this as a reward for sticking with it for two weeks — you get to go shoe shopping!

Step 7: Keep a Journal

Again, I want to emphasize that there is no pressure to perform. Logging your run details isn’t so that you can compare week-to-week stats; instead, it’s so that you can see what you’re accomplishing!

Imagine how great it will feel when you can flip back through the pages a couple of months from now to see how committed you’ve been. Even though you might not stick perfectly with your intended schedule, each run that you do complete is one more than you were doing previously. These wins are worth celebrating!

Step 8: Get a Dog (or a Friend)

No, seriously, if you don’t have a dog, you may want to consider getting one to become your running partner. If Scooby is dying to get out for a walk or run, guess who has to go too?

Not a dog person?

You can get a human-version running buddy. However, don’t pick just anyone. Accountability buddies are great unless they become enablers. “I don’t feel like running today. Want to go out for lunch instead?” Don’t pick someone who might drag you down.

After all, at this point, you’ve proven that you are serious about building a love for running. So, you deserve to do it with someone who is equally as excited!

Now it’s time to get started. What’s your run going to look like today? —Dave



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The 9-9-9 Workout

They say it’s your birthday … via GIPHY Number 9 … Number 9 … via GIPHY Beatles fans, get the hints? In case you missed it, we’re celebrating our nine-year birthday this week! (You can see all the special posts here including — yes! — AWESOME giveaways.) And, of course, we’re going to celebrate with […]


They say it’s your birthday

via GIPHY

Number 9 … Number 9

via GIPHY

Beatles fans, get the hints? In case you missed it, we’re celebrating our nine-year birthday this week! (You can see all the special posts here including — yes! — AWESOME giveaways.) And, of course, we’re going to celebrate with you in the best way we know how: a killer workout. A workout that’s all based on the number — you guessed it — 9.

Here’s the basic idea: 9 moves. 9 reps. 9 rounds. Whether you’re an exercise newbie or been working out like a beast for years, you can do this workout and take it as fast or as slow as you need to (and, of course, modifying as necessary, too — taking high-impact moves to low-impact, push-ups from the knees, walking instead of jumping back for the burpees, etc.). It’s full-body and bodyweight only, so it’s a great one to do at home, when traveling, at the park — wherever!

Be sure to warm up with five minutes or so of marching or jogging in place and cool down with some stretching and more walking once you’re done.


The 9-9-9 Workout

9 moves, 9 reps, 9 rounds

  1. Jacks
  2. Squats
  3. Mountain Climbers
  4. Lunges
  5. Burpees
  6. Sit-Ups
  7. Push-Ups
  8. Plyo Jumps
  9. High Knees

How fast did you do it? And when are you going to do it again to try to beat your time? —Jenn



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5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Buying a SUP

Two years ago, I moved to a neighborhood just a couple of miles away from the beach, and immediately my husband and I began to discuss getting stand up paddleboards (SUPs, if you’re fancy). It took a while (because they certainly aren’t cheap!), but we’re now officially a two-SUP family. We’re also a one-car garage family. […]


Two years ago, I moved to a neighborhood just a couple of miles away from the beach, and immediately my husband and I began to discuss getting stand up paddleboards (SUPs, if you’re fancy). It took a while (because they certainly aren’t cheap!), but we’re now officially a two-SUP family.

We’re also a one-car garage family. And a family where one of us is frequently on the road.

I have a point, I promise.

Since getting SUPs, Jared and I have learned a few things about being a SUP owner. You can find great advice on what kind of board will best suit your needs all over the internet, but when it comes to having one’s own, there are a few things I’ve learned (and a few products I’ve purchased) that also would’ve been nice to know before saving up and making that big purchase.

1. Where to Buy It

If you know a lot about SUPs, you can probably walk into any store that carries them and pick out exactly what you want. If you’re not sure what length, width, or material is best for you, then you might want to consider shopping at a specialty store with staff that’s really knowledgeable about the boards. That way, you can just describe what you want to do (leisurely paddling, racing, surfing, yoga) and they can point you to the best board for you. Doing the research ahead of time (which we did) might save you some cash (because if you know what you want, you can buy it anywhere), but saving a few bucks isn’t worth it if you’re not getting just what you want.

2. Storage

SUPs are big. Really big. Like, you’re probably not going to want to just try to stash it in a guest room. As I mentioned, we have a one car garage and no basement (thanks, Florida), so when we brought the first board home, we had some planning to do. Fortunately, Jared is quite handy and kind of a master at creating a space for everything in that tiny garage, so he found a way to hang the board from the ceiling of the garage — and even left enough room for us to do the same with the second board while still being able to pull the car in.

SUP storage
Ignore the laundry and other sundry items — but this gives you a look at how we made the best of our space!

There are lots of storage options available — wall hooks, bags, etc. — so if you’re determined to store your board at your house, I have no doubt you can do it. (A friend of mine has his proudly displayed on the wall inside his house, and honestly, it looks awesome.) Just know that it’s something you do need to consider.

3. Your Vehicle

If you’ve only ever rented a board, you probably never worried about any transportation beyond toting it down the beach. But, unless your back door opens up to the water where you’ll be paddling, that’s not likely to be the case once you’re embracing the BYOB (bring your own board) life.

I assumed this would be a piece of cake because, hey, I have an SUV with roof racks — you’d think I’d be all set! What I hadn’t realized was that, despite the fact that I’m pretty tall, my car’s roof is a little too high for me to comfortably load and unload a board alone. If you plan to paddle by yourself frequently, you might want to seek out lighter weight boards, a roof rack system that offers some loading assistance, or, if you’re really serious, a vehicle with a roof that’s low enough to make the process manageable.

4. Waterside Transportation

Will you be walking far from your car to the water’s edge when you paddle? It’s not a big deal to carry a board with just your arm for a little while, but if you’ve got a bit of a trek (and we do — our beach is long), it might be smart to consider picking up a shoulder sling designed to make carrying your SUP a bit easier. Seriously, it make a world of difference. (This is what we got, but there are tons of options.)

5. Clothes and Gear

When you take out a board for an hour or so during your beach vacay, you probably just wear your swimsuit and some sunscreen. But if you’re heading out for a long paddle (and doing so frequently), sun protection becomes more important, so having a rashguard (or lightweight, quick drying long-sleeved top with UV protection) and a big hat is really helpful. Water-friendly, leggings are also a good idea.

Do you have a stand up paddleboard, or are you thinking about picking one up? Got any questions? Lay ’em on me. —Kristen



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Train Like a Beast With This Track Workout

Think track workouts are only for serious runners? You know, the super speedy people wearing tiny shorts as they try to bring their 6:30/mile pace down to 6:15? via GIPHY Think again. Track workouts are great for all kinds of runners — including newbies and back-of-packers. Running around a track (even if it’s not a […]


Think track workouts are only for serious runners? You know, the super speedy people wearing tiny shorts as they try to bring their 6:30/mile pace down to 6:15?

via GIPHY

Think again. Track workouts are great for all kinds of runners — including newbies and back-of-packers. Running around a track (even if it’s not a real track and it’s just a set, visible distance) can really help runners find their different gears, learn what it feels like to push through, and get an idea of what kind of recovery they need before they can push again. It helps build stamina and speed.

But those aren’t the only reasons I love hitting the track.

I’m slower than most of my runner friends, which means that meeting them for any sort of a sustained run generally means I meet them at the start and then we catch up over coffee at the end — we don’t *really* run together if they’re wanting to run their own pace.

At the track, though, it’s different. For one thing, because I’m better at sprint-type workouts than long distance cardio, there’s less of a difference between my pace and my friends’ at the track, at least for the shorter distance workouts. And even if I’m getting lapped by someone, I’m actually getting lapped, which means that I’m at least seeing the same faces throughout the workout. We’re cheering for one another (or at least giving each other finger guns if we can’t breathe well enough to speak), and sometimes, just seeing a friend who’s giving it their all while you’re doing the same is enough to push you to go just a smidge harder.

That was the case for me at Camp Brooks Altitude Training track workout when I was in Albuquerque this spring. (As you might recall, we’re Brooks Running ambassadors and they covered my trip, but everything here is just my honest opinion!) I’ve run with my fellow ambassadors before, and many of them are fast. And when we were teamed up with some elite athletes from around the country, well, there was a lot of speed happening on that track. Even though our paces might’ve differed somewhat drastically, the experiences was shared, and the outcome was the same — we were pushing hard. It was awesome.

Also awesome? The actual track workout we did, which was not one I’d ever done before (and I’ve done a lot of track workouts!), so I knew I had to share. Thanks to Coach Danny Mackey for putting this one together, and to the Brooks Beasts for putting us through our paces. Having professional runners cheering for you and screaming for you to hit your times is every bit as motivating as you might think.

track workout

Brooks Running Track Workout

Repeat the following 3-5 times

  • 3 minutes @ 5k pace
  • 2 minutes @ slow jog/walk
  • 200 meters @ mile pace
  • 4 minutes @ slow jog/walk

The real kicker (for me, anyway) was having the mix of going by time and going by distance — it was a bit of a mind game, which is a good thing now and again when it comes to running, right? I’m not the only one who thinks it’s tough, either. Garrett Heath, one of the Beasts, later told me, “That’s one of the hardest workouts we do, and you guys did great! We expected a lot more carnage.” Glad I hadn’t known that going in!

Are you a fan of track workouts? What’s your favorite? I come back to this one any time I show up at the track without a set plan. Kristen



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Videos That Are Inspiring Me to Sweat Right Now

You guys know how I love turning to social media when I need a little inspiration to get my butt in the gym, right? Well, it’s not always me asking my Facebook friends and Twitter contacts to help me out — sometimes people just share videos that make me think, “Okay, closing the computer and hitting the […]


You guys know how I love turning to social media when I need a little inspiration to get my butt in the gym, right? Well, it’s not always me asking my Facebook friends and Twitter contacts to help me out — sometimes people just share videos that make me think, “Okay, closing the computer and hitting the gym NOW.”

And these three videos are the most recent examples in my life.

First up, we have a Very Good Dog who (along with his person) probably trained really, really hard for this competition, and, well. Ever been totally into your superset and going hard as can be … and then realized you have no idea what to do next, or that you just did a completely different exercise than you were supposed to do? Ollie here knows that feeling. But his enthusiasm is contagious!

Providing me with a completely different form of motivation is Thor. Shirtless Thor. Sharing part of his workout with his trainer. If just watching it gets your heart racing, does that count as a warm-up? Asking for a Thor — I mean a friend! Asking for a friend.

And if you guys think I don’t have this whole routine DOWN PAT due to practicing it daily in my kitchen while I wait for my coffee to brew? All I have to say to that is PAT YO’ PANCAKE.

Kind of a mix, but they’re all inspiring in their own way, right? Which one has you ready to rock a workout? And also, who’s gonna dance to Shape of You with me? —Kristen



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How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout on the Treadmill

Confession: I kind of love the treadmill. I don’t have one at my gym so any time I’m traveling and am in a hotel fitness center that has one, I’ll always try to hop on for some interval running or just a light jog. I find them so convenient for pacing and pushing the speed […]


Confession: I kind of love the treadmill. I don’t have one at my gym so any time I’m traveling and am in a hotel fitness center that has one, I’ll always try to hop on for some interval running or just a light jog. I find them so convenient for pacing and pushing the speed and just de-stressing. After all, when you’re on the treadmill, it’s not like you have to watch for traffic or anything. And how fast you’re going is right there in front of you.

But, I know that the treadmill is nicknamed the “dreadmill” for a reason. It can get boring, static — I mean, it basically is a fancy digitized hamster wheel. My husband — the closest Fit Bottomed Dude in my life — abhors the treadmill. And I have a feeling he’s not the only guy (or gal) reading this who feels that way.

Which is exactly why we wanted to share this awesome infographic on how to get the most out of your workout on the treadmill from Fix. With tips, pointers on form and even workouts, it might just convert the biggest treadmill haters out there.


Source: Fix.com Blog

What do you love and hate the most about the treadmill? —Jenn



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Your March Madness Workout for the Whole Tourney

  I am a basketball super-fan, so I get very excited each year when March Madness rolls around. And this year, I have a special challenge for you … No, I’m not talking about picking the winning teams in a March Madness bracket challenge. Let’s make March Madness more rewarding by trying a fitness challenge […]


 

I am a basketball super-fan, so I get very excited each year when March Madness rolls around. And this year, I have a special challenge for you …

No, I’m not talking about picking the winning teams in a March Madness bracket challenge. Let’s make March Madness more rewarding by trying a fitness challenge that coincides with the tournament.

I know what you may be thinking right now: B-O-R-I-N-G, especially for those who don’t love college basketball, but remember two things:

  • Summer is just around the corner, so this is the perfect time to start getting back in top shape and maybe drop a few pounds after a long winter spent mostly indoors
  • March Madness is three weeks long, which makes it the perfect time frame to up your fitness game!

Quick Inspirational Fact: Americans drink an estimated 220 million gallons of beer during March Madness + 120 million chicken wings + 55 million slices of pizza. Not this year. Not you and me!

#MMFBGChallenge: Game Plan

When?

From March 13, which is the day after the NCAA unveils the actual bracket, through April 3, the Championship Game.

Who?

Whether you’re rooting for a specific team, you just love the sport, or you couldn’t care less about basketball and have no idea what the heck March Madness is, you’re welcome to take part in this challenge.

You can either participate in the challenge alone, or invite your friends to make it more fun. The more people, the more fun it is!

Spread the word about the challenge on social media using the hashtag #MMFBGChallenge to get your friends into this madness!

How It Works?

Scroll down to see our March Madness bracket listing the exercises assigned to each of the competing teams.

The Bracket

When the actual March Madness bracket is unveiled (March 12), you’ll have to write the competing teams in their corresponding boxes (1-16 for each Division – Midwest, West, East or South).

Don’t worry if you’re new to all this “bracket” talk. It’s easy. The March Madness bracket will be published on every sports website and sports section in the newspaper. Just copy it onto our bracket here.

The Exercises

There are a total of 64 unique exercises, one for each team in the tournament.  All 64 exercises are divided into four divisions (Midwest – Abs; East – Upper body; West – Lower Body; South – Cardio).

All exercises in the #MMFBGChallenge are performed as a superset, which means that the two exercises are performed one after another with no rest in between them. Doing both exercises once each = one superset.

Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute between each superset. Do 3 supersets in total.

Not sure how to perform an exercise? No problem — these are very common exercises, so just drop the exercise name into YouTube and you’ll find tons of tutorials to guide you.

Example

Take a look at Team #1 vs. Team #16 of the Midwest (Abs) division in the first round of the tournament (AKA the “Round of 64”). Every time Team #1 plays, you’ll be doing straight-leg wipers, and Team #16 indicates bird dogs. So, that’s your superset for this particular game: wipers and bird dogs.

Sound too easy for you?

There are a LOT of games happening during this tournament, so you will be building some serious home workouts when you combine the supersets from all the games that are happening day-to-day!

Why It Works!

  • All exercises are bodyweight exercises, so you can do some awesome resistance training and cardio at home with no equipment. Yep, even while watching the March Madness games!
  • Each division has a different fitness focus, so you’ll be getting a true full-body workout.
  • The workouts are designed with progression in mind. They get a little more challenging as the tournament goes on. This is the perfect way to continually challenge your body to get stronger and leaner.

Your Game/Workout Schedule

Remember, the #MMFBGChallenge begins after the NCAA unveils the actual bracket. Here’s your workout bracket that you can follow throughout the tournament:

download-bracket-760

Round of 64

This round includes the First Four and the Round of 64. That’s a total for 8 supersets for each day (division).

March 13: Perform each superset of the Midwest (Abs) division for each of the competing teams in the round.

March 14: Perform each superset of the East (Upper body) division for each of the competing pairs in the round.

March 15: Rest.

March 16: Perform each superset of the South (Cardio) division for each of the competing pairs in the round.

March 17: Perform each superset of the West (Lower body) division for each of the competing pairs in the round.

Round of 32

Now that 32 teams have been eliminated, there will be still 8 supersets for each day, as you’re going to be breaking a sweat for two divisions in one day now.

Plus, you’ll notice that the number of reps and duration has increased — yes, this is getting more challenging!

March 18: Perform each superset of the Midwest (Abs) and the West (Lower body) divisions for each of the competing pairs in the round.

March 19: Perform each superset of the South (Cardio) and East (Upper body) divisions for each of the competing pairs in the round.

March 20-22: You get 3 days of rest! Enjoy it because things get tougher next round!

Sweet 16

Now that 16 more teams — and their corresponding exercises — have been eliminated from the tournament, you’re going to perform 8 supersets in one day, covering all the four divisions at once.

March 23: Perform each superset of all the four divisions for each of the competing pairs in the round.

March 24: Rest.

Elite 8

Now that 8 more teams have been eliminated and only 8 teams are remaining, you’re going to perform 4 supersets in one day, covering two divisions in one day.

March 25: Perform each superset of the Midwest (Abs) and the West (Lower body) divisions for each of the competing pairs in the round.

March 26:  Perform each superset of the South (Cardio) and East (Upper body) divisions for each of the competing pairs in the round.

March 27-31: Rest from these workouts, but stay active however you enjoy.

Final Four

Finally, only 4 teams are remaining in the March Madness tournament. You’re going to perform 4 supersets in one day, covering all the four divisions at once again.

April 1: Perform each superset of all the four divisions for each of the competing pairs in the round.

April 2: Rest. Get ready for the championship game!

Championship

One of the remaining 2 teams will finally be crowned as the National Championship. , as you’re going to perform 1 superset in one day.

April 3: Perform the final superset of the tournament. It’s a tough one, but it will go quickly.

What’s Next?

Recruit your friends, family, and co-workers to join you in the #MMFBGChallenge. Then, let us know how you did. Did you make it through the entire tournament? And if so, how are you feeling afterwards?

Good luck! —Dave

Dave Smith is a fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. He is the editor-in-chief at Total Coaching, and hosts a weekly Q&A fitness podcast at makeyourbodywork.com. Contact him any time for answers to all your exercise and fitness questions!



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5 Motivational Tricks to Get You Pumped to Work Out

This post is sponsored by NordicTrack. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. Wish you were a gym rat? One of those folks who loved to hit the gym, hit the pavement and, well, HIIT it? Well, researchers have been studying the psychology of motivation for a looong time now, and they’ve learned a […]


This post is sponsored by NordicTrack. Find more on our sponsored post policy here.

Wish you were a gym rat? One of those folks who loved to hit the gym, hit the pavement and, well, HIIT it? Well, researchers have been studying the psychology of motivation for a looong time now, and they’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to making a habit of exercise. We partnered with NordicTrack (which, by the way, guys: have you seen this — it’s a treadmill like running outside!) to pare all that research down and pick out the tricks that really work, so that you can use them and start getting hooked on exercise fast. Try ’em!

1. Connect With Your Why

We are HUGE proponents of finding — and then connecting with — your “why” every day. Why do you want to be healthy and fit? Why do you deserve to make time for workouts? Why are you worth taking care of? Get really honest with yourself and answer those deep questions, and then, every morning, remind yourself of your whys. Finding your deep inner motivation (and everyone’s is a little different!) and keeping it top of mind will go a long way in helping you to not just get motivated, but to stay motivated.

2. Give It Five

Does the idea of an hour … or even a 30-minute workout … have you saying UGH? Then go with one of our favorite motivational tricks: just commit to five minutes. Yes, five minutes! Hey, you can do anything for five minutes, and often times the hardest part of exercise is just getting started. Once you’re five minutes in, you probably won’t mind going for another five … and then another … and then another!

3. Grab a Bud

Whether it’s a friend, romantic partner, co-worker or family member, there is power in numbers! And people with workout buddies tend to not only work out more regularly but they also have more fun doing it (okay, so science doesn’t prove that second part, but we know it to be true!).

4. Set Yourself Up for Success

So much of being fit and healthy is just being prepared. Are you wearing shoes and clothes that allow you to move when the opportunity arises? Do you have access to the right equipment (like those cool treadmills we mentioned earlier)? Are you thinking positive you-can-do-it thoughts? Are you making time for you and your workouts? Just like anything, in the right healthy environment, you’re more likely to thrive!

5. Use a Mantra

We all have healthy and not-so-healthy days. And that’s cool. That’s life! But if you’re needing an extra motivational kick in the pants, pick a mantra that inspires you. Maybe it’s a quote or a line from a poem or an ad or a phrase you just really like — whatever it is, use it as often as needed.

What other motivational tricks work for you? Going along with the mantra idea, I like to play certain songs (like — confession — “2 Legit 2 Quit”) to get me going! Jenn



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Rollerblades for Runners

I’m not ashamed to admit when I’m scared — but I’m also typically game to face my fears. I’m terrified of heights, so I jumped off a cliff. I was nervous about my ability to complete a long course triathlon after having some knee issues, so I did a half Ironman. And experiencing some major butterflies about […]


I’m not ashamed to admit when I’m scared — but I’m also typically game to face my fears. I’m terrified of heights, so I jumped off a cliff. I was nervous about my ability to complete a long course triathlon after having some knee issues, so I did a half Ironman. And experiencing some major butterflies about leading a workout in front of a thousand of my newest friends didn’t stop me from doing just that at the Lincoln Center last year.

But, every once in a while, I’m surprised by the fear I feel about something — and, believe it or not, that turned out to be the case when the folks at Rollerblade sent me a pair of their Macroblade 100 skates. (For those who aren’t in the know, the 100 refers to the wheel size — 100 is larger, which means you can go fast, but there’s also the Macroblade 84 and Macroblade 90, both of which are great for the type of training I’m gonna touch on below.)

Let me back up a minute. Or maybe more like a decade … or two. I used to have a pair of Rollerblades and I loved them. In high school, I had a summer job scooping ice cream at a beach and, after work, I’d strap on my skates and take off for a workout with friends without thinking twice. And yes, that led to one pretty good tumble when I took on a steep downhill that I hadn’t properly vetted — but for the most part, I just did a lot of skating and went as fast as I could and it was awesome.

Fast forward to the present day, a few weeks after my 37th birthday, when I assumed I’d pick up where I left off … only to find that I felt way more like this.

via GIPHY

My eyes might’ve been bigger than Bambi’s on my first time out, to be honest. I just couldn’t believe how unsteady I felt. I mean, earlier that day I’d been out on a stand up paddleboard — battling wind and some decent waves — and never even came close to falling. I’d done hella balance poses at yoga the day before. And yet, on my skates, it took … well, a while before I would release the deathgrip on my (very patient) husband’s arm and skate the length of the sidewalk solo.

Don’t worry — it gets better, and so do I.

A couple of days later, we headed to a nearby empty (and smooth) parking lot, and boy, did that make a difference. It didn’t take long before I was building speed, practicing turns, and attempting to learn to stop (although I’m still mostly relying on a mix of Jared catching me, skating into the grass and prayer — braking is haaaard).

rollerblades
Umm, safety first, guys. I didn’t think to put on my helmet and pads for this quick pic — although, obviously I made sure my socks matched my skates, because PRIORITIES.

And that’s really good for a couple of reasons. First off, in Hawaii, I learned from some of the surfers I met that Rollerblading is a really great way to train for surfing — and you know how much I want to be able to actually surf.

But, even better (or, at least, more pertinent to my daily life), it’s also awesome training for running — in fact, Rollerblade has a training program specifically for runners. And it makes sense if you think about it, since inline skating works a lot of the same muscles you’d use for running, but (assuming you don’t flail and fall all over the place) with less impact, so you can skate either as a replacement for, say, a long slow run, or as cross training in addition to your regular runs.

rollerblade macroblade 100
Pretty, right?

I won’t lie — I’m still building my skill level (not to mention my confidence), so I haven’t incorporated too many drills just yet (unless you count “remain upright and move forward” a drill, which isn’t totally unreasonable). But I’m seriously excited about how much improvement I’m seeing every single time I put my skates on. In just a few more sessions, I think I’ll be working that one-foot swizzle like a boss … and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be mixing in some skating sessions as I get my run on this race season.

When’s the last time you slipped into a pair of Rollerblades? Think you could get right back out there if you did it again today? You might wanna give it a try, because, from what I’m seeing out on the bike trails and boardwalks these days, they are back—Kristen



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HIIT or LISS: What’s Better for Your Heart?

Boy, do I love me some cardio. And you should to. Think about it: of all the muscles in your body, none is as important as your heart. It’s the only muscle that never gets to stop contracting … well, at least not if you wanna stay alive. It’s a pretty well-known fact that heart disease is […]


Boy, do I love me some cardio. And you should to. Think about it: of all the muscles in your body, none is as important as your heart. It’s the only muscle that never gets to stop contracting … well, at least not if you wanna stay alive.

It’s a pretty well-known fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country. According to the surgeon general you should be getting 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (like brisk walking or bicycling) or 75 minutes per week of more vigorous exercise (like running or group fitness classes) or some equivalent mix of both.

For years, the debate over whether HIIT (high intensity interval training) or LISS (lower intensity steady state) is better has raged on. When asked, I always say it depends on what your goals are.

If your goal is to build a powerhouse of a heart then listen up, I’m about to break it down for you — strictly in terms of heart health.

What You Need to Know About HIIT

HIIT workouts, also known as or interval training or metabolic conditioning, involve short bouts of high intensity (hard) work followed by a periods of rest. HIIT is mostly anaerobic which means that during exercise your body is fueled primarily by stored carbohydrates rather than relying exclusively on oxygen. By doing HIIT exclusively as your cardio work, you might believe that your heart is fitter than it actually is because when you venture outside of the aerobic (oxygen-fueled) zone, you’re not actually getting the full cardiovascular benefits.

Additionally, due to the intensity, a HIIT-only diet can actually strain your cardiovascular system and stress out your heart out. Too much HIIT can also negatively affect your nervous system and trigger symptoms that look and feel like anxiety — elevated heart rate, sleep disturbances, lack of focus, agitation and restlessness — all of which just continue to stress your heart out.

The Benefits of LISS

LISS is a term used to describe an activity that’s performed at a consistent, steady effort for an extended period of time. The intensity is lower and that’s what allows you to maintain the activity for longer without the need for rest in the middle of the workout.

Since LISS keeps your heart rate in the aerobic zone, it’s fabulous for conditioning your heart and improving blood pressure and circulation. Because of this, LISS causes your resting heart rate to decrease — a signal that you’re heart doesn’t have to work so hard just to pump blood to the rest of your body and keep you alive.

LISS is much easier on the body so it’s excellent for beginners and can be done more frequently than HIIT without stressing out your ticker more than it’s able to bounce back from. The point of LISS is to place just enough strain on your heart to make it have to adapt and get stronger but not so much that it freaks your heart out.

The Verdict

HIIT and steady state cardio are both great ways to get fit. In a perfect world, you’d include a little of both but if you could only pick one and your goal was purely heart health, I’d suggest LISS. While HIIT certainly has its pros — shorter workouts and awesome metabolism-boosting effects — but when it comes to heart health, nothing beats the aerobic benefits of LISS.

Now, I know that LISS isn’t nearly as glamorous as HIIT, but if you needed another reason to include a little more LISS in your life, here you go: in order to do HIIT, your ticker has to be strong enough to recover between high-intensity bouts … this is a function of your aerobic system. In other words, by doing LISS you strengthen your heart in ways that will ultimately improve your performance during your HIIT workouts because those hard efforts rely heavily on your aerobic system to get your heart rate back down during rest intervals.

How do you like to get your daily dose of LISS? —Alison



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7 Reasons We Heart Crunch Fitness — And How You Can Join the Workout Party for Free

This post is sponsored by Crunch Fitness. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. We think every workout should feel like a party — fun, exciting, inclusive and high-energy. Those are the kind of sweat sessions that get us out of bed in the morning and keep pushing us to be better, fitter, faster […]


This post is sponsored by Crunch Fitness. Find more on our sponsored post policy here.

We think every workout should feel like a party — fun, exciting, inclusive and high-energy. Those are the kind of sweat sessions that get us out of bed in the morning and keep pushing us to be better, fitter, faster and more awesome. You feel us?

via GIPHY

You know who else gets that? Crunch Fitness. And, OMG, guys, they are the coolest.

via GIPHY

If you’ve been to Crunch before, you probably know this. They have the much deserved rep of being so fun and on the cutting edge of all the workout trends — in fact, they actually create trends. #SquadGoals

via GIPHY

Going into a Crunch Fitness is like joining a healthy party. And we so dig it for all of the reasons listed below. (And be sure to read until the end — there’s a special offer just for YOU!)

7 Reasons We Love Crunch Fitness

1. The facilities are awesome. If you want a gym with the best equipment that’s totally clean and inviting, well, this is it. Behold the beauty …

crunch-fitness-equipment

2. It’s more than just a “gym.” But Crunch goes beyond just equipment and cleanliness. They have the best and most motivational instructors, trainers and staff that basically live for your post-workout high-fives.

2. The music is incredible. If you love tunes and classes with pumpin’ music, you’ll get that. SO MUCH OF THAT. Their music-driven, heart-pumping group fitness classes are basically a party for your muscles.

3. There are so many classes. Specifically, more than 100 class offerings. From yoga to dance to cycling to strength to all kinds of stuff you’ve only dreamed about (see below), get ready to say bye-bye to workout boredom.

crunch-fitness-jumping

4. It’s for EVERYONE. Regardless of your fit bottom’s shape, size, age, race, gender or fitness level you will feel welcomed at Crunch. Crunch is truly a community and gym for all.

5. No shade is thrown … anywhere. The brand’s motto is “No judgments,” and you’ll see that and feel that from the moment you walk in.

crunch-fitness-no-judgements

6. You will get all the support you need to crush your goals. Need some extra help to reach your goals? They’ve got that too! Let one of their personal trainers develop fun (yes, seriously, fun!) programs just for you and then high-five them like the badass that you are when you cross that finish line.

7. You do you. Want a rock a group class? Have a personal training session? Pop in your headphones and just zone out solo on the treadmill? YOU CAN DO ALL OF THAT. It’s your one-stop-shop for all things fit, awesome, fun and inclusive. It’s fitness for all of your moods and needs. Seriously.

How You Can Try Crunch Fitness for Free

Good news, guys! Crunch Fitness is offering FBG readers a free three-day pass to its locations so that you can try it out yourselves! Get the pass here or click on the image below to score your free trial.

crunch-pass

Have you ever been to a Crunch Fitness? I’ve been to one in NYC and Chicago for group classes and both were some of the best and most fun workouts I’ve EVER done. —Jenn



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5 Tips for Starting a Fitness Journey

After a wake-up call, Becca Kaner of the blog A Life Without Recipes knew that she needed to revamp her eating habits, change her workouts, shift her thinking and lose the weight for good. And, she did! Read on as she shares more about her journey — and what she recommends for anyone looking to start […]


After a wake-up call, Becca Kaner of the blog A Life Without Recipes knew that she needed to revamp her eating habits, change her workouts, shift her thinking and lose the weight for good. And, she did! Read on as she shares more about her journey — and what she recommends for anyone looking to start theirs for Love Yo’Self Week.

Hardships usually end in lessons and mine was quite clear: the life we desire can be fully designed if we have the power and the patience and the gumption to “just do it.” This year-long period of time helped birth my life’s and company’s motto: not one eating plan or type of workout is universal; it is critical to find what works for us as individuals, and what works alongside our body-types, talents, abilities, personalities and so much more.

5 Tips for Starting a Fitness Journey

1. Be ready — like really, really ready. Like with most things, desire starts from within. Lean on others for great workout suggestions, and test the waters and see what piques your interest, but be really, really ready, from within, to work, sweat and begin this new phase of your life.

2. Patience is a virtue. Understanding your body type and metabolism are important first steps in your fitness journey, and will serve as great indicators of how long it may take to see your desired results. Do not be alarmed if at first the weight comes off slowly. Slow but steady wins the race!

3. Exercise is an actor while nutrition is the star of the show. Statistics vary when measuring the importance of nutrition vs. exercise when it comes to weight loss. The most important thing is that you stick to what works for you, and be patient in finding the most suitable way of eating. Don’t be afraid to have your favorite foods every once in a while!

4. Don’t stick to someone else’s workout “recipe.” Not one workout “works” for everyone. Be persistent with your search. Some people swim, others run and some just lift weights. You’ll find what works for you, and it can even be a mix of all workouts in the world!

5. Don’t be afraid to pick up the weights. Weight training is a great way to tone your entire body from head to toe. Since I personally LOVE cardio, I always intersperse three to four cardio sessions per week with two to three weight-training sessions per week. I have seen excellent results from both and you just might, too!

How can you start to see your fitness as a journey and not a destination?—Becca Kaner



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Our Best Advice for Exercise Newbies

We love our readers. And we always want to help them any way we can. So when Eiri in Kansas sent us this video and an email saying, “I just started a vlog to document my journey to a healthier me because I cannot afford a gym or a dietitian or anything like that, and […]


We love our readers. And we always want to help them any way we can. So when Eiri in Kansas sent us this video and an email saying, “I just started a vlog to document my journey to a healthier me because I cannot afford a gym or a dietitian or anything like that, and I was hoping that by reaching out online I could get some people to give me some more tailored advice to help me achieve my goals,” we were like: we got you girl.

Here’s Eiri’s first vlog entry:

And here’s her big goal and motivation: “My biggest goal is just to be healthy and in shape, but I’d be lying if I said the idea of dropping 40 pounds by next summer doesn’t appeal to me. My biggest hurdle is exercise, though — I just don’t know how to ease myself into it, and what I’m supposed to be doing. I want to lose fat, but also put on a little muscle, but I am basically just going on long walks right now because I am at a loss for what to do!

I want to make these changes because there are a lot of things I want to do with my life. Adventurous things, like running a marathon and bungee jumping and hiking Zion National Park — BIG stuff. But I can’t do any of them if I’m not living the healthiest lifestyle possible.”

Inspiring, right? We think so — because we firmly believe that everyone deserves to create and live a healthy life that they love.

And therefore we answered her question in the same way she shared it with us: via vlog!

And here are some of our best bodyweight workouts that we think Eiri will love once her habit of exercise is set!

And now we turn the question to you readers. What advice would you give Eiri to reach her goals? Leave it in the comments and thanks in advance for helping a fellow reader out! Jenn



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Surprising Lessons from the Weight Room

I recently wrote about my experience hitting the heavy weights at the gym. How I got fed up with feeling intimidated and outnumbered over there and vowed to get comfortable with the heavy stuff. If you’re looking to do the same this year, may I also recommend my accompanying post with tips on how to […]


I recently wrote about my experience hitting the heavy weights at the gym. How I got fed up with feeling intimidated and outnumbered over there and vowed to get comfortable with the heavy stuff. If you’re looking to do the same this year, may I also recommend my accompanying post with tips on how to feel much more comfortable among the big dudes and big barbells.

Like I said in those posts, I’ve done pretty much everything in my fitness life. From yoga and Pilates to a Tough Mudder and a half marathon, I’ve dabbled in everything. I’m a dabbler. But I’ve never taken weights too seriously when I wasn’t working with my own personal trainer. That’s why I wanted a concrete workout program that I could use to help me get over my lifting anxiety, so I turned to a book we’ve reviewed before: The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I’m over a month in to the program, and I can even more wholeheartedly recommend it to the person who wants to step off the treadmill to make the most of his or her gym membership (yep, I think even the dudes can benefit from the book).

One of the first surprises for me was how quickly my strength progressed — and how I had not been pushing myself by not picking up the heavier dumbbells. Because my focus had been on running over the recent months, I hadn’t been lifting anything other than my 2-year-old. I progressed quickly from 7.5-pound weights for dumbbell shoulder presses to 17.5 pounds — a weight I don’t think I’d ever picked up before for that particular exercise. I was also a bit surprised at one of my weaknesses — grip strength! Using heavier weight for exercises like step-ups does more than just tax your lower body; it taxes your grip too. Sometimes my forearms would be crying uncle well before my glutes were.

The book emphasizes following it by the book (har har), so if you’re tempted to add moves to make your workout more difficult, resist that urge. Likewise, they say that if you want to skip the rest periods to speed up your workout, go for it, but they let you know that you’re deviating from the written workout. I heeded their recommendation and do my 60 seconds of rest between exercises, which feels really, really odd to me. Standing around waiting for the next move instead of rushing on isn’t something I’m used to. And okay, I may not give it the full 60 seconds each time, but I give it a good 30- to 45-second college try for the times I don’t do the whole minute of rest.

Another thing I love is the online following this book has. There are numerous forums that pop up when you have questions about any of it, so there is almost always someone who has asked the same question you’re wondering about the program (see grip strength above). In a way I feel like I’ve found a bit of a workout home in the book, and there are a great many sequels that will give me a place to go when I’m ready to move on.

Now I’ll just have to figure out how to scale back the lifting when I have to scale up my running for my next half marathon. Always something to figure out… —Erin



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Improve Your Balance With StrongBoard

In today’s world where many of us spend our days working from a desk, it’s safe to say it can be tough to stay moving throughout the day. I’ve tried standing while at my computer but it didn’t last very long. It really is hard to just stand there without having anything to do with your […]


In today’s world where many of us spend our days working from a desk, it’s safe to say it can be tough to stay moving throughout the day. I’ve tried standing while at my computer but it didn’t last very long. It really is hard to just stand there without having anything to do with your feet!

That’s why this gem caught my eye: StrongBoard Balance. There’s a lot of balance boards out there now, including the classic Bosu, but this one offers features that differ from any others.

StrongBoard Balance

Getting Off and On

The one aspect of SBB I really enjoy is that it’s easy to get off and on. There’s an “on/off” instructional card that comes along with the unit, and you can also take a look its learning center and YouTube channel to make sure you get on and off safely.

Stabilization

SBB uses multi-spring technology which makes it impossible to stabilize; this is a good thing. It causes your muscles to contract, thus burning more calories.

Range of Motion

SBB offers boards with 4 inch and 6 inch springs — which don’t limit your motion during full-body exercises. 

Standing Exercises

Standing exercises are made so much easier thanks to SBB’s flat platform. You don’t have to worry about straining your ankles, knees and hips, which is common on other balancing equipment. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Well, Bosu has a flat side.” Actually, come to find out (I just found this out), Bosu itself does not recommend standing on the flat platform.

Weight Limit

SBB’s suggested weight limit is 500 pounds.

Customization

Here’s one of my favorites parts: you can customize your board to whatever size (four or six inch springs) and color you want. SBB comes in red, white, blue, black, yellow, orange, pink, purple, green and turquoise. SO many choices, right?

 

StrongBoard Balance

Even though I primarily use the StrongBoard Balance in the comfort of my home, it can be used in a wide variety of situations and environments: sports performance, family fitness, senior fitness, military and tactical use, commercial gyms and physical therapy.

I recently went skiing for the very first time — and guys, I struggled with that damn sport. (Like, I have literally never been so frustrated in my life.) But I probably would have struggled even more if I hadn’t been practicing my balance on the StrongBoard a few times a week. I can feel a difference in my core and have more body awareness than ever before.

While my typical use of the StrongBoard includes me balancing on it while working on my computer, the workouts you can do on it are endless. You can literally create an entire workout just with the StrongBoard — so, I did.

sbb-beginner-workout

sbb-inter-workout

sbb-advanced-workout

When doing these exercises, keep in mind that despite your fitness level on non-moving flat ground, it’s completely different on the SBB. Be very careful — it takes practice to achieve a similar fitness level that your used to.

StrongBoard also offers group exercise classes throughout the country, regular contests, pop-up classes at conventions, virtual training and a certification program.

What do you do to help keep you movin’ and groovin’ throughout the day? —Erika



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