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Category: Cardio

5 Ways to Sneak in a Quick Workout Over Lunch

I get it. You’re busy. You work full time, the house needs cleaning, grocery shopping needs to be done, etc. Where on earth do you find time for you? All you really need is 30 minutes a day. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re living in fast-forward like almost all of us […]


I get it. You’re busy. You work full time, the house needs cleaning, grocery shopping needs to be done, etc. Where on earth do you find time for you? All you really need is 30 minutes a day. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re living in fast-forward like almost all of us are, 30 minutes is almost impossible to spare.

Most employers allow a 30- to 60-minute lunch break. For those on the shorter end, I realize it’s a tight squeeze, but honesty 20 minutes is better than nothing. Here are some tips on how to sneak in a quick workout over lunch.

5 Ways to Sneak in a Quick Workout Over Lunch

1. Take the stairs. Almost every building has a stairwell. Toss on your sneakers, put in your headphones and get climbing! Before you know it, you’ve checked off your workout for the day.

2. Go for a walk or run. Everyone needs a little fresh air and some vitamin D. So get up, get out and get lost for a bit! If the weather creates an obstacle, find an inside loop to tackle. Some wellness programs even have facility walking maps available.

3. Lift. Keep a pair of hand weights in your desk and hit the nearest conference room for a strength training session. You can cover every muscle group by focusing on different movements. If the hand weights are too much, use your own bodyweight. It’s just as effective.

4. Do some yoga poses. Calling all yogis! Keep an extra mat in the office, hit that conference room and get your Namaste on. Invite others to join. Working out as a group helps keep you consistent and on track.

5. Try your employee gym or fitness classes. Some wellness programs are upping their game by offering employee gyms or fitness classes. If you’re lucky enough to have this opportunity, take every advantage.

And When Your Lunch Workout Is Done …

If you followed these tips then, CONGRATS! You snuck in a quick workout over lunch but actually need to go back to work now. How do you avoid not smelling like B.O. the rest of the day, especially if your employer doesn’t have a locker room? No problem! You care enough to work out, so you’re kind of a badass anyway, which means you don’t mind roughing it a bit. Wash your face (touch up that makeup if needed), lotion, spritz off with your fave body spray, reapply deodorant, toss on some fresh clothes and you’re off.

Oh, but you still need to eat? No problem for you with your on-the-go busy lifestyle. Pack a smart lunch and enjoy it at your desk or during your next meeting. This is life and neither is perceived as out of the ordinary (other than the fact that you’re a ROCKSTAR for kicking your to-do list in the butt!).

NO EXCUSES. Conquer today and every day! —Nichole



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‘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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2018 Workout: 18 Moves, 18 Reps

What’s the best way to celebrate a brand spankin’ new year? With a brand spankin’ new workout, we think! And because — yep, it’s 2018 — we’re doing 18 different moves and 18 reps of each. via GIPHY Yes, if you do the math that’s 324 total reps, but don’t let that scare you. It’s […]


What’s the best way to celebrate a brand spankin’ new year? With a brand spankin’ new workout, we think! And because — yep, it’s 2018 — we’re doing 18 different moves and 18 reps of each.

via GIPHY

Yes, if you do the math that’s 324 total reps, but don’t let that scare you. It’s a challenge, but totally doable.

via GIPHY

Plus, you need no equipment except a chair or stair for the tricep dips! Please modify, take breaks as necessary and always, always listen to your body.

via GIPHY

So grab your water, your inner motivation and some tunes (here are some workout playlist suggestions), and let’s do this! (For an added challenge, start a timer when you begin — you’ll find out why below!)

via GIPHY

How long did it take you do? Jot that number down and see if you can beat it next time! —Jenn



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How to Run for a Cause This Winter (and Stay Warm Doing It)

You know that a good run always feels awesome. But running for a cause? That feels even better. And, via our blog ambassadorship with Brooks Running, we’ve got two ways you can do that — plus a bonus review of a new piece of apparel that’s gonna make running outside SO. MUCH. BETTER. UNICEF Kid […]


You know that a good run always feels awesome. But running for a cause? That feels even better.

And, via our blog ambassadorship with Brooks Running, we’ve got two ways you can do that — plus a bonus review of a new piece of apparel that’s gonna make running outside SO. MUCH. BETTER.

UNICEF Kid Power Band + Brooks Donation

Have you guys seen the UNICEF Kid Power Band yet? Basically, it’s an activity tracker in which kids can transform their activity into lifesaving nutrition that UNICEF delivers to severely malnourished children around the world. And, if that wasn’t cool enough, Brooks is sweetening the give-back deal by donating $15 to UNICEF USA for each Kid Power Band sold on brooksrunning.com in the U.S. until Jan. 31, 2018. If you don’t have one yet for yourself and all the kids you know, stock up!

Soles 4 Souls

Wanna give back but short in the cash department? Consider giving your gently worn shoes and apparel to Soles 4 Soles, who will get them to those in need. Brooks recently gave 8,000 units of apparel and 8,000 pairs of shoes to hurricane relief efforts — and we can all chip in another pair or two, right? Right.

brooks running victory collection

Now that your insides are all warm and fuzzy from helping the world be a better place, let’s warm up your outsides with running gear that you can take on your winter-running adventures!

Cascadia Thermal Vest ($110)

Let me just say that I love this vest. Love. It. See the light behind me? I swear it’s the running gods shining down upon me with their vest-delivering brilliance.

This is my current favorite winter-weather layer (and, yep, we’re an affiliate) — both for running and athleisure. First, it’s cute. Second, it’s warm but not overly bulky. Third, it cuts the wind (and we all know that it’s not the cold that’ll get ya but the wind). Fourth, the collar is soft and snuggly if you zip it all the way up (and totes comfortable if it’s not totally freezing out and you have it down). Fifth, it has an awesome small zipper that’s smooth as butter going up and down. Sixth, it fits like a warm hug — snug and cozy while still being breathable and flexible with stretch side panels. Seventh (yes, we’re still going here), it has two front pockets with an inner security pocket and media port in the right one. Eighth, it has front and back reflectivity. Ninth, it makes minimal swish-swish as you run. Tenth, did I say it’s cute? It’s hella cute. And I’m wearing it over everything I wear. (And, I imagine that the Cascadia Thermal Jacket is just as awesome if you’re looking for similar-type warmth but want sleeves.)

Do you run for a cause? We were thrilled to learn about Brooks’ Run B’Cause commitment to helping folks in all kinds of communities and of all backgrounds run happy and have the ability to incorporate running into their lifestyle! Just another reason why we love partnering with them. —Jenn



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Mindful Running Workout

We recently ran a mindful running post on Fit Bottomed Zen with the 411 on Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) from William Pullen, the psychotherapist who has literally written the book — Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy to Improve Low Mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression — on it. And today, we’re sharing a mindful running workout from that same book that puts DRT into practice! Mindful Running Workout […]


We recently ran a mindful running post on Fit Bottomed Zen with the 411 on Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) from William Pullen, the psychotherapist who has literally written the book — Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy to Improve Low Mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression — on it. And today, we’re sharing a mindful running workout from that same book that puts DRT into practice!

Mindful Running Workout

  1. Once you are on the move, find a comfortable pace. This may be a different pace on different days, depending on your mood.
  2. Take a moment or two to become mindful of the weather and your surroundings. Be conscious of the colours, smells and shapes around you.
  3. Once you have a little momentum, remind yourself of your intention to run mindfully.
  4. When you are ready, choose a foot, whichever feels more comfortable, and count each time it hits the ground. Remember only one foot, and the same one each time.
  5. Count ten steps, beginning once more at one when you have done so. Keep this going.
  6. When invasive or unhelpful thoughts come, just acknowledge they have come and then let them go before returning to your mindful running.
  7. If the thoughts return, then once more let them go. It may take some time for you to get familiar with mindful running and there will be days it is harder than others.
  8. If the thoughts are saying you cannot go on any longer, ask yourself if they spring from your mind or your body. If they come from your mind they are just thoughts and not the truth, let them pass on by.
  9. When you find yourself in the kind of zone where the world disappears and it is just you and your steps, then you are in your flow.
  10. If you want to mix things up, you can try counting your breaths instead of your steps. Be mindful of the fullness of the breath as you do so. Enjoy the sensation of filling and emptying your lungs.

Mindful Running Workout: Variation 1

  1. Repeat steps 1–3 above.
  2. When you are ready, start to concentrate on all the sensations you are experiencing. Begin with your body — really feel the sensation of your heel as it hits the ground. Feel the breeze on your neck or as it hits the sweat on your brow. Note how the fabric of your running gear moves with each stride and how it feels against your body. Continue through the rest of your senses. This exercise is about becoming present to your body and its sensations.
  3. As above, when invasive or unhelpful thoughts come, just acknowledge them and let them go before returning to your mindful running. Only sensations should be in your mind.

Mindful Running Workout: Variation 2

  1. Repeat steps 1–3 above.
  2. When you begin to run, look at your surroundings as you pass. Really look at the detail of what is around you. This may mean the path in front of you or the trees and flowers around you. Make this your mindful running practice. Become one with your environment. This exercise is about raising your awareness and absorbing as much of your environment as you can.
  3. As above, when invasive or unhelpful thoughts come just acknowledge them and let them go before returning to your mindful running. It is only sensations that should be in your mind.

From Running With Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression by William Pullen, published on September 26, 2017, by Plume, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2017 by William Pullen



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The 12 Days of Christmas Bodyweight Workout

Is it just me or do the holiday songs seem to come on a little more fast and furious every year? Now, I love me some holiday tunes —  I actually look forward to them for most of the year — but after about a week or two of them being like EVERYWHERE I start […]


Is it just me or do the holiday songs seem to come on a little more fast and furious every year? Now, I love me some holiday tunes —  I actually look forward to them for most of the year — but after about a week or two of them being like EVERYWHERE I start to get a little tired of it.

So maybe this year we should change things up a bit. Maybe change up the words a bit. Maybe turn a holiday favorite into a workout … say what?! Now we’re talking. I mean, come on, we’re FBGs — we can turn anything into a reason to workout.

So, here’s how it goes: the workout flows just like the song does – start with the first day and climb up through the 12th day, each day repeating all the days that came before. Instead of getting French Hens and Maids a Milking, you get Broad Jumps and Reverse Lunges.

Ready to do this? Alright, let’s go!

I promise you’ll never think about this song the same way once this workout is done. Enjoy! —Alison



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3 Fresh Running Finds We’ve Fallen in Love With

Three fresh running finds we’ve “fallen” in love with. See what we did there? via GIPHY Yeah, it’s fall. And we love it. via GIPHY Especially for running. And here are three new pieces we’ve tried from Brooks Running (remember: we’re an ambassador, so we got to try these on the Brooks house although all […]


Three fresh running finds we’ve “fallen” in love with. See what we did there?

via GIPHY

Yeah, it’s fall. And we love it.

via GIPHY

Especially for running. And here are three new pieces we’ve tried from Brooks Running (remember: we’re an ambassador, so we got to try these on the Brooks house although all opinions and bad puns are independently ours).

Canopy Jacket ($120)

This lightweight jacket keeps wind and rain out — and lets air in. With a cute design, a streamlined hood that keeps your noggin warm without limiting too much of your peripheral vision, it even has soft, stretch thumbholes and it can be packed into its own left-hand pocket which you can wear around your arm — meaning you can carry it with you everywhere, without tying it around your waist. (Now, that, is a long sentence.)

Why Jenn loves it: Besides the thumbholes and light material that is quiet (this jacket is nothing like the athletic pants of the 90s that were all like swish-swish-swish as you walked … anywhere), I love the zippers on this one. Zippers that stick or catch annoy the ever loving you-know-what out of me. And these zippers are so smooth they practically glide. Totally pet-peeve free!

Why Kristen loves it: Being able to pack a jacket into its own pocket isn’t entirely revolutionary — but providing a simple, comfortable way to carry that small package around? It’s everything. Here in Florida, it’s rare that I need a jacket for a full run, so having an easy way to transport it so I can wear it at the start (and then maybe pull it back on afterward when I go meet a friend for coffee) is the best thing ever. EVER.

Ghost Crop ($72)

ghost crop

This is our second time trying the Ghost Crop and although it’s in a different pattern, all the things we love about our first pair ring true for this pair. These are so lightweight and breathable that they almost feel like a second skin — they are definitely lighter than any other tight we’ve worn and feel great on.

Why Jenn loves it: Not to, like, be totally self-absorbed, but the first time I wore these, I got FIVE separate compliments from five separate people — many of which I didn’t know and literally just stopped me on the street. So, I think that’s saying something, right? Right.

Why Kristen loves it:  I want to second Jenn on the lightweightness — because again, hi, I live in Florida. But I think it’s important to note that, as thin as they are, they don’t, like … show stuff that shouldn’t be shown. And I love the way they stay in place, both for running and yoga/stretching. One tip — I had these in my usual Brooks bottoms size (medium), but ordered up to a large this time because I find this style is quite snug, not just at my waist, but on my calves. Both sizes work, but the large is more comfortable for a longer period of time. (I’m talking to you, fellow peeps who wake up, put on workout clothes, then don’t hit the gym until way late in the day.)

Levitate ($150)

brooks levitate

The Levitate utilizes groundbreaking technology in its signature midsole to enhance energy return — and you don’t have to be an elite runner to notice. This shoe went through nine rounds of development, seven rounds of wear tests, and was worn during thousands of trial runs before it came to market in its current form. The release of this shoe was a big deal for Brooks — we actually got to take part in a Google Hangout with some of the employees and athletes involved in the creation of it — and we’re pretty psyched to see it living up to the hype.

Why Jenn loves it: I’ve run in A LOT of Brooks shoes, and I have to say, straight out of the box, from the first run, these wowed me. They feel PERFECT. For shorter distances … longer ones … they’re light and springy and feel like they were made just for me. Seriously, the one time I won’t wear these running is if it’s raining. Because, who wants to get such pretty shoes dirty? Hehe.

Why Kristen loves it:  The big deal, to me (and to a lot of runners, from the buzz I’ve heard), is the cushioning. It’s made of a brand new material that distributes the energy you put into it back up into your run — so, instead of the material in the sole springing out in every direction, it sends that energy right back at you, putting a legitimately new spring in your step. However, all that cushion doesn’t keep you from feeling the road, so no responsiveness is lost in the transaction. I’m seriously digging them, and I honestly have yet to talk to anyone who’s not.

What are you running in this fall? Seriously, guys, if you need new running shoes, consider Levitate. It’s life-changing (or at least run-changing)! —Jenn & Kristen



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The 10 Best Fitness Marshall Workouts

With more than A MILLION subscribers to his YouTube channel, the Fitness Marshall has a serious following. And if you love a good dance workout, it’s easy to see why. His workouts are insanely fun, super poppy, full of attitude and they make you sweat. So, pretty much the best thing ever, right? Right. While […]


With more than A MILLION subscribers to his YouTube channel, the Fitness Marshall has a serious following. And if you love a good dance workout, it’s easy to see why. His workouts are insanely fun, super poppy, full of attitude and they make you sweat. So, pretty much the best thing ever, right? Right.

While every Fitness Marshall workout we’ve done is awesome, these 10 videos are — hands down — our faves. Crank up your speakers and get ready to sweat (and laugh)!

Fifth Harmony: Worth It

There’s a reason why 17 million people have seen this video. Baby, you’re worth it!

Ed Sheeran: Shape Of You

Hilarious. All of it. Now, pat yo’ pancake.

Britney Spears: Work B**ch

Get to work … hair flip!

Sia: Cheap Thrills

For when you want to dance from your soul. (So, um, all the time.)

Anaconda: Nicki Minaj

You knew we’d love one about butts, right? OF COURSE.

Meghan Trainor: Me Too

The only thing better than his facial expressions are the background dancers tearing it up behind him.

Taylor Swift: Look What You Made Me Do

Kinda perfect for Halloween, huh?

Usher: Yeah! Feat. Whitney Thore

Can you imagine walking by and seeing them film this?! EVERYTHING.

Justin Timberlake: Can’t Stop The Feeling

Proof that The Fitness Marshall workouts aren’t just for girls.

Portugal The Man: Feel It Still

Look at you, you little go-go dancer. LOL forever.

Also, guys? He’s on tour! Later this month, Kristen will be at the Fitness Marshall event in Lakeland, Fla., put on by the PHEEL GOOD Foundation (a really cool non-profit started when the founder’s husband, Phil, was killed while riding his motorcycle to work earlier this year, and the mission is to bring communities together to enjoy quality events that make them ‘pheel good’ — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). Will we see any of you out there — or will you be hitting an event in your neck of the woods?

What’s your favorite Fitness Marshall workout? Hope we’ll see you at the concert! —Jenn



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Sightseeing on the Run: My London Running Tour

I truly believe the best way to get a good feel for a city is by exploring it on foot. I didn’t fall in love with New York until I had an opportunity to stroll the streets from the Lower East Side up to Central Park — but from that day forward, I totally got […]


I truly believe the best way to get a good feel for a city is by exploring it on foot. I didn’t fall in love with New York until I had an opportunity to stroll the streets from the Lower East Side up to Central Park — but from that day forward, I totally got it.

My husband and I recently visited London for the first time, and it didn’t take nearly so long for that city to claim my heart — but maybe that’s because, from the moment we stepped off the train from Heathrow, we spent a lot of time walking around, sometimes getting a bit lost and constantly finding cool new corners of the city to explore.

But, you guys know me — I wasn’t entirely content to just walk. The second I laid eyes on Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, I knew I had to run those paths. Our time was a bit limited, but on our last full day, I set an early alarm, laced up my sneaks, and headed out to get in a few miles.

kensington palace
Kensington Palace — gorgeous view and hey, free wifi!

Running as a tourist is much different than running in your own city. For one, obviously, you are less familiar with the area, so I had a map pulled up on my phone and kept it handy so I could make sure I didn’t get too lost on the way. (And good thing I did. London is amazing, but it’s not exactly laid out like an easy-to-follow grid.) The going was extra slow for me because, not only did I have to navigate loads of crosswalks, but — well, they drive on the other side of the road there, you know, and if you’re thinking that’s only wiggy to someone behind the wheel, let me assure you that it’s also something you need to be mindful of as a pedestrian. There’s a reason most of the busy crosswalks have “Look Left” or “Look Right” written in big letters on the street! So, every time I crossed a street, I stopped for longer than was strictly necessary to make sure I wasn’t darting out in front of a double decker.

But those aren’t the biggest differences. For me, at least, the biggest one is the fact that I tend to stop every half mile or so to look at things. Buildings, flowers, people, pubs that I definitely want to stop in later … I didn’t know when I’d be going back, so the whole time I ran, I was looking, watching, taking it all in, and stopping to really soak it up when needed.

Big Ben and the London Eye
Big Ben and the London Eye. (Not seen on this specific run, but I walked by both numerous times.) If you look closely, you can see the “Look to Your Left/Right” notes on the street.

What’s quite cool about this is that, all in all I ended up logging about five miles — which is considerably more than I’d really planned to do. It wasn’t speedy, and the only time my heart rate really shot up was when my wifi connected in front of Kensington Palace (thank you, FREEPALACEWIFI) and I received a notification that my flight home had been canceled (but I made it home eventually — don’t worry), but my legs got a killer workout, and I experienced a bit of zen at the same time.

With all that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for having a super successful, totally touristy run the next time you find yourself in a new city.

london phone booth
If you can get past the flyers for escort services pasted all over every single one of these in the city, they’re awfully picturesque!

Tips for a Sightseeing Run

Safety first. If you’re traveling with someone, either have them join you or tell them where you’re going — and approximately when you expect to be back.

Know where you’re headed … at least somewhat. I LOVE getting myself lost on a run … but only to a certain point. Be aware of areas you might want to avoid, and have at least a loose idea of the direction you want to go. If you’re not sure and are staying at a hotel, ask the concierge. Some might even have pre-planned running routes available for you. If you’re capable of logging some miles, you can often see a lot of sights within a city while you get in your run!

And know how to get back. Sounds obvious, but make certain you know the name or address of where you’re staying. It’s one thing to come back via the same route you took when you left, but it can throw you off if you come home a different way!

Don’t go empty handed. If you don’t know the area, take a map or your phone (make sure you have a map available to use offline if you don’t have data available; there are loads of map apps with that functionality, often for free or pretty darn cheap).

Have a backup plan. In addition to my phone, I had a credit card, my ID (but not my passport) and my public transportation card (pro tip — if you’re visiting London, get a Visitor’s Oyster card. You are welcome) so that if I got way off track or hurt or the weather turned, I’d be able to pop into a cafe, at the very least, or find an alternate way home if needed.

Be aware. I know that, as my heart rate soars, often my cognitive faculties … don’t. Even if you’re sticking to safe areas, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out so you don’t get pick-pocketed, followed, or worse.

Don’t miss a thing. This isn’t a hardcore training run. This is a sightseeing jogging tour that you can take at your own pace, so make it what you want it to be. You can sprint from one spot to the next or take everything in at a slower speed. Just be sure you take the opportunity to really see it all, because hey, that’s why you’re there!

In hindsight, I kind of wish we’d spent part of the previous day running the city at a leisurely pace together. We walked the bulk of the day anyway, and you can get in more running miles than you’d think when you’re stopping to gawk as often as we did. Oh well — next time! (And there will be a next time — I can’t wait to go back!)

Have you ever taken a running tour? Where, and what did you see? Got any tips you’d add to this? —Kristen



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Row, Row — and What to Know

The World Rowing Championships (WRCH) began this weekend, and it’s an even bigger deal than usual for many of us because, for the first time over 20 years, it’s taking place in the United States. Not only that — it’s right in the Sarasota area where I live! (Want to follow along with what I’ve seen? […]


The World Rowing Championships (WRCH) began this weekend, and it’s an even bigger deal than usual for many of us because, for the first time over 20 years, it’s taking place in the United States. Not only that — it’s right in the Sarasota area where I live! (Want to follow along with what I’ve seen? Get thee over to Instagram!)

The WRCH, taking place until October 1, brings together 1700 athletes from over 60 countries — along with thousands of spectators. Competition includes youth regional challenges, para-rowing, men, women, with sculls (boats) ranging from singles to eights. If you’re in the area, you can still pick up tickets, and even if you’re not, you can follow along using the app.

Now, the championships bring together the best of the best — but there are a lot more rowers out there of all ages and levels. Masters (meaning adults) rowing is big enough in my area that there are multiple teams! In fact, one of my close friends, Holly Weber, is a rower who recently competed in a few events at the 2017 USRowing Rowing Masters National Championships, so I hit her up (i.e. supplied her with a big ass salad and wine) to learn a little bit about the sport. Here’s what I learned.

There’s a decent chance that you can find a club in your area. You can check out a map of USRowing clubs here, and while not every state is represented, you might be surprised by how many landlocked states have options!

Interested? You should try it. Seriously. You might watch the Olympics (or World Championships) and assume you need to be tall and muscular, but that’s really not the case, even among highly competitive masters rowing teams. Holly insists that there are all body types involved in hers, as well as ages and backgrounds. Some people join after rowing in high school or college. Others learn the sport in their 70s. And there’s a place for everyone!

Rowing teaches you about a lot more than how to move a boat through water. Sure, there’s a fair amount of body awareness and muscle memory you’re taught, but it goes well beyond the physical. Holly said that rowing has taught her a lot about being patient. “You want to have the perfect stroke immediately, but it takes time and practice — and you still probably won’t ever have the perfect stroke.”

She also shared that it’s taught her some important lessons about dealing with people. If you’re rowing with seven other people, chances are good you won’t absolutely love every single one of them as a person. But as a teammate, you have to support, respect, and encourage them — their success is your success.

You can’t help but form bonds. Some of Holly’s rowing friends are among her closest because of the shared experiences. When you’ve met multiple mornings a week — early, early mornings, I should say — and worked toward a common goal, you will form friendships, perhaps with people you wouldn’t otherwise have gotten a chance to know.

It’s a commitment. If you’re rowing on a team, it means you have to be there for team practices. In Holly’s experience, attending about three workouts a week is typically the minimum, and often, those practices are very early in the morning because that’s when the water tends to be at its best. However, if you’re not a morning person, don’t let that discourage you — talk to the clubs in your area to see if there are other options.

It’s a joy and pain like you won’t experience elsewhere. If you’ve ever hit the rowing machine (which, according to Holly, is a pretty darn accurate replacement for rowing in a scull) and given it all you’ve got, it probably won’t shock you to know that this is a serious full-body workout. Your legs take the brunt, but your core, arms, shoulders and upper back all have to engage — over and over and over — in order to keep the pace. Summer is for shorter races, winter is for longer ones (just like running), but each distance brings with it its own fun and challenges. Yes, it’s low-impact — so can be an awesome replacement for runners who can’t hit the pavement any longer — but it’s hardcore.

So, what do you say? Anybody out there think rowing is worth a try? —Kristen



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Race Recap: What It’s Like to Run Up Pikes Peak

13.32 miles. 7,815-foot vertical incline. 14,115-foot elevation. Holy crap, this flatlander ran up a mountain! You’d think that the final moments captured in this picture were epic … and you’d be right. They were, 100 percent. That moment you trained sooo hard for … the sweat, the emotions, the anticipation. After all, I could hear […]


13.32 miles. 7,815-foot vertical incline. 14,115-foot elevation.

Holy crap, this flatlander ran up a mountain!

You’d think that the final moments captured in this picture were epic … and you’d be right. They were, 100 percent. That moment you trained sooo hard for … the sweat, the emotions, the anticipation. After all, I could hear the announcer starting at mile 9! That’s a long ass time considering mountain miles aren’t your typical road-mile pace. Longest mind game EVER.

Although a joyous moment, what you can’t see in the photo above is that the altitude had completely depleted me: my oxygen, my strength, my ability to think. Just lifting my leg was the most difficult task. All I wanted to do was lie down and close my eyes (this started at mile 8). But I wouldn’t allow it. I kept shaking my head to snap out of it, squeezing my hands to regain circulation and telling myself to put one foot in front of the other. I just tried to breathe in whatever I could, which was next to nothing. It was one of the most daunting challenges I’ve ever experienced.

But enough about the end. Rewind! Let’s back this crazy train up to the beginning, shall we?

Pikes Peak Ascent Recap: The Days Before

With the race being Saturday, it was recommended that I be in Colorado at least 48 hours before the race (that was, if I couldn’t be there two weeks prior to acclimate … which I couldn’t). Talk about jumping in feet first!

I managed to keep it together until I laid eyes on the massive peak I’d soon get in the ring with. Intimidation is an understatement when you’re staring down — I mean up — a 14,115-foot peak.

I anxiously arrived at the cutest little cottage I’d call home for the next few days. It was just a half mile from the start. Now what? I couldn’t sit still, so off to the expo I went.

Packet pick-up? Check. Race merchandise? Check. Contemplating my sanity with other nerving athletes? Check.

In the days before (why does that always sound so eerie?) … nothing really exciting went down. Just a couple of girlfriends hiking the Garden of the Gods, reading the day away and carbing up. (All you can eat spaghetti dinner? Yes, please.).

Gear prep was its own adventure. I had to pack light but smart. Mountain weather can shift at any given moment. It’s not uncommon to get caught in torrential rains or snow storms (in August!). As a result, I monitored the forecast like a hawk until the moment I fell asleep and immediately again upon waking. Race officials warned that if the weather turned and we didn’t have proper gear, they’d pull us. Heck, no. I didn’t come this far to let that happen!

Pikes Peak Ascent Recap: Game on

Before I knew it, I was standing at the start line. Surprisingly, I felt really good. I had done the ritual porta potty line and felt light as a feather. (No shame here!) I hydrated beyond belief. In fact, I didn’t think it was physically possible to drink as much as I had.

Prior to the gun, I looked at my girls and said, “Don’t go out too fast. Pushing the jogging stroller, ladies!” They laughed, which eased the nerves for maybe a second and then 3, 2, 1 … BANG! We were off and running.

When you spend countless hours training together, of course you want to stay together. We even practiced finish-line poses (as if we really thought we’d have energy for that!). We stuck together pretty well through the city streets, but the moment we hit the narrow congested trailhead with 15-percent incline, we were forever separated. I couldn’t help but feel guilty as I quickly learned how to weave around others in order to pass. It was a constant “On your left!” The “I’ll never let go,” Titanic scene replayed in my head as I could no longer see my crew. However, I knew this crazy burst of energy wouldn’t last forever and I was determined to take advantage of it while I could.

Surprisingly, I felt awesome when I reached the first cut-off point, Barr Camp (7.6 miles). HECK YEAH, I MADE IT! Shocked by my pace, I thought, “This is sooo much fun!” Note the smile in the photo …

Pikes Peak Ascent Recap: Reality Check

Little did I know that my pace and strong word choice of “fun” would be shorted lived. Things took a drastic turn from Barr Camp to A-Frame (second cut-off point, mile 10.2). The course got sooo steep and the air was crazy thin. I started to struggle taking in nutrition and hydrating. My lips were beyond dry (fail on packing that lip balm), I was lightheaded, and my fingers were swollen like sausages.

Yet I kept pushing forward. Mileage signs had disappeared. (Oh wait, I was just moving slower.)

There it was … !

Where’d the trees go?! Did I miss A-Frame? Everything was a blur! The sun was beating down yet I was shivering. All I wanted to do was sleep. I have a whole new respect for those stories you hear about people falling asleep on the mountain and not waking up. It’s like there was a voice in my head encouraging me to just close my eyes and rest. Something to ponder … If nothing can live above tree line, how on earth are we expected to breathe?

Pikes Peak Ascent Recap: What the BLEEP?!

When I saw the “3 Miles to Summit” sign I tried convincing myself that this  was like running a 5k. Whoa. Who was I kidding?! Switchback after switchback … and where in the hell did the air go? And then I remembered: yep, this was that 2,050-foot elevation gain everyone warned me about.

Decomposed rock with dirt and loose gravel combined with my inability to think straight made for an interesting wobble. It was a recipe for disaster, causing me to slip and slide everywhere.

Athletes were nipping at my heels, but I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t passing. It was because they physically couldn’t. I wasn’t the only one suffering, after all. People were sleeping on rocks, cramping, hyperventilating, screaming … yes, screaming! I remember passing one girl leaning up against a rock holding her leg and yelling at the top of her lungs “I CAN’T MOVE IT!” I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t grateful to the individual ahead of me that stopped to assist, as physically and mentally, I don’t know if I could have. I couldn’t even speak. Thankfully there were search and rescue teams everywhere. Volunteers are amazing. Not only were they there to help, but also they were singing, cheering and even playing a finish-line rendition on a kazoo. (Think about how impressive that is with little to no air!)

I was sooo close to the finish, yet sooo far away. Then came the sixteen Golden Stairrock step-ups. Wait, wait, wait … you expect me to lift my body weight and scale these ginormous boulders?! With what strength?! I felt as if I were moving in slow motion. No — let me rephrase that — someone paused the DVR. It was ridiculous! I was in complete Grim Reaper watch. The last mile took me 35 minutes!

The overall race cut-off time was 6.5 hours. Us newbie flatlanders were told not to expect to finish much before that. Although I proudly finished in five hours (seriously, just happy I finished), I laugh when I recall the moment I looked at my watch and actually thought I might finish in four hours. I had no clue what I was in for!

Pikes Peak Ascent Recap: Yes, I Can!

Did I think about quitting … HECK YEAH. Like every second from Barr Camp on. Why didn’t I? What kept me going? Sometimes it’s the smallest thing. Mine was the back of a shirt: “COURAGE to Start, STRENGTH to Endure, RESOLVE to Finish.” I thanked that complete stranger as I passed for keeping me going. She responded “I wore it for you.” *Insert sappy “I can overcome this” song.*

August 19, 2017 is a day that I will not soon forget. But without a doubt, I am a better person because of the journey that brought me to Pikes Peak Summit. Why would I do something as crazy as running up a mountain — especially being a flatlander? The answer is simple: self-growth.

 

Challenge yourself in ways you could never imagine. NOTHING is impossible! —Nichole



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This Bodyweight-Only Workout Is Great When Traveling

The morning of the eclipse, I woke up with the desire to move. We had traveled to a friends’ house in Columbia, Mo., to see the total eclipse, and I hadn’t really planned on fitting in a workout, but I really, really wanted to the moment my eyes opened that morning. (Side personal thing I’m […]


The morning of the eclipse, I woke up with the desire to move. We had traveled to a friends’ house in Columbia, Mo., to see the total eclipse, and I hadn’t really planned on fitting in a workout, but I really, really wanted to the moment my eyes opened that morning.

(Side personal thing I’m just now realizing: I tend to like to work out the morning of any any milestone-esque day. The day I quit my full-time job to do FBG … the morning I found out I was pregnant with Gwen … before I did this speaking engagement. A good workout clearly just sets a good tone for a good day — which is even more important on the big days, ya know? You know.)

And so I did! I only had workout clothes and a pair of running shoes — no equipment and I wanted to do some cardio and some strength training, all in about 20 minutes. Here’s what I did!

Travel Workout 1: 12-Minute Tempo Run

It’s pretty self-explanatory: just go out and run or walk fast at a faster-than-normal pace for 12 minutes.

It gets you nice and sweaty — in not a lot of time. And then, if you want more …

Travel Workout Two: 8-Minute AMRAP

For this one, you set a timer for 8 minutes and then see how many times you can get through this circuit (AMRAP = “as many rounds as possible”):

  • 12 walking lunges (do 12 on each side)
  • 10 plyo squats
  • 10 plyo side lunges (also called super skiers)
  • 10 push-ups

This one will get your legs burning like whoa, get your heart rate up and still work your upper-body and core with the push-ups. Talk about a full-body travel workout! AND, you have just 8 minutes to see how many rounds you can get, so push yourself. (Obviously, it’s made a touch more challenging after that 12-minute tempo run!)

After doing this, I felt great. Totally accomplished and energized. After a quick shower, I grabbed some food and water, and was treated to this later that day — alongside a glass of wine because balance. (Although the photo does it no justice — my phone simply couldn’t capture the ring!)

Thanks, Mother Nature. YOU ARE SIMPLY AMAZING.

Wanna follow along live during more of our workout and life adventures? Follow us on Instagram at @FitBottomedGirl! And tell me what your eclipse experience was! I expected it to be cool, but, guys, it was, like, mind-blowing cool!Jenn



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Go on a Gratitude Run

It’s safe to say that we all have stuff we’d like to change in the world — and in our lives. Like A LOT. And we should absolutely go out there and change and grow and speak our minds and make the world a better place. FOR SURE. But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t […]


It’s safe to say that we all have stuff we’d like to change in the world — and in our lives. Like A LOT. And we should absolutely go out there and change and grow and speak our minds and make the world a better place. FOR SURE. But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also take a little time now and again to reflect on what we do have. Or the ways in which the world is beautiful. And just how amazing our bodies and this human experience is.

Because for every negative news story, there’s a positive one.

And we can choose to see the good, even when shit is bad. And that helps give us the energy to go out and do the stuff we need to do. Like be kind — kind to ourselves, kind to others.

Which is exactly why now is a great time to go on a gratitude run.

What’s a Gratitude Run?

It’s pretty much exactly as it sounds. Go out for your usual run. (Best if you can run outdoors, but you can also do this on a treadmill.) Except, leave your earbuds at home. Instead, really pay attention to everything around you: the air, the smells, the sights, how every single part of your body feels as it moves.

Then, with each couple of steps, think of something you’re grateful for. They can be big, important things or itty bitty things that bring you joy or comfort.

Here’s a few to get you started:

  • People (and animals) you love: Just think of ALL the people and pets you love (and have loved)!
  • Your body: There are so many things it does — thank it for all of ’em.
  • Your surroundings: Everything in your home, everything in nature, every trip you’ve ever taken, everything you see or have seen!
  • Food and drink: Lots of delicious options here. We’re looking at you, dark roast coffee (and even light roast coffee).
  • Your soul: What aspects of yourself would your loved ones say are your best? Thank yourself for all of those.

That’s it! See how long you can run without repeating one. We bet you can get through your whole run, and tomorrow’s run and the one after that … !

Check in With Yourself

After your run, do a quick check-in. How does your body feel? How does your soul feel? Do you have more energy? Do you feel lighter? End your run with a huge THANK YOU to yourself for going on a gratitude run in the first place. Because you know what? Endorphins are the best — but paired with gratitude, they’re even better.

Have you gone on a gratitude run? How did it make you feel? Tell us! I’ve found that this is seriously the best way to turn a bad day around. —Jenn



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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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Work Out Like a Ball Kid: Speed Drills With the World’s Fastest Feet

If you’ve ever been to a pro tennis match or watched a tourney on TV, you’ve probably in awe of not just the athletes — but also the ballpeople. I mean, they are SO fast and SO agile. They’re basically tennis ninjas. And really, they don’t get the kind of respect and attention they deserve, […]


If you’ve ever been to a pro tennis match or watched a tourney on TV, you’ve probably in awe of not just the athletes — but also the ballpeople. I mean, they are SO fast and SO agile. They’re basically tennis ninjas.

And really, they don’t get the kind of respect and attention they deserve, ya know?

Well, we’re doing our part to right that wrong today by not only giving them a virtual high-five, but also by sharing this speed and agility workout from Luis Badillo Jr. — AKA the man with the fastest feet in the world — and courtesy of Reebok. He developed these five drills to help ballpeople practice their speed and agility and learn the most crucial skills for hard courts, but it’ll also help any non tennis ninjas improve their overall quickness.

Speed Drill 1: Getting Off the Line Quickly

Set up a standard agility ladder and run through it with high knees, focusing on pulling your knees to your chest.

“Exaggerated movements like high knees help you practice technique so you’re ready for the real situation when it comes,” says Badillo. “In this case, it teaches you to stay light on your toes while moving fast, which is crucial to developing speed starting from a crouched position.”

Speed Drill 2: Picking Strays Up on the Fly

Set up two cones about eight feet apart. Run by them, staying low enough to tap the top of the cones with your hand as you pass them.

“Staying low is important so you can pick up balls without breaking your stride,” says Badillo. “Don’t waste time running upright and then having to bend down to pick up the balls.”

Speed Drill 3: Sprinting Across the Court

Set up hurdles a few feet apart across the length of the court and sprint over them as fast as you can.

“The hurdle is for explosiveness, or how fast you can get your feet off the ground,” he says. “This drill teaches you to achieve maximum speed over a short distance.”

Speed Drill 4: Stopping on a Dime

Set up two cones about four feet apart. Run two ovals around them then continue your run across the length of the court.

“Ballpeople have to be comfortable changing direction quickly,” says Badillo. “Lean forward and keep your center of gravity low so you can take sharp turns without falling down.”

Speed Drill 5: Picking Up Multiple Balls at Once

Set up a ladder and place two tennis balls on either side, evenly spaced apart. Run through the ladder with two feet in each box and then two feet out, picking up the balls as you pass them.

And now we’re dying to know, besides the ballpeople, who else are you rooting for at the U.S. Open this year? I’m a proud Fed Head. —Jenn



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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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Why You Should Walk Your Dog (or Someone Else’s) Today

Taking your dog (or someone else’s) for a walk is seriously awesome for the both of you. And this post written by Casey Dickson, community member at Rover.com — which is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers — breaks down why. These days exercise takes many forms, and many of […]


Taking your dog (or someone else’s) for a walk is seriously awesome for the both of you. And this post written by Casey Dickson, community member at Rover.com — which is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers — breaks down why.

These days exercise takes many forms, and many of them are expensive. From gym memberships to studio classes, it can be hard to find a consistent workout regimen that fits within a reasonable budget (and that you work into a long-term routine).

We all know that walking and moving around in general is good for us, but how good is it … really? And how do we implement it into our routine in a way that will allow us to consistently reap those benefits? How about with a good ol’ regular walk with a pup! Here are four reasons why walking the dog is truly awesome.

Improves Your Mood

Getting those muscles moving calms down your nervous system and leaves your mind free to wander, ponder or simply smile at the sweet friend trotting along next to you.

Boosts Creativity

Walking kicks your brain into a higher gear. Research has shown that walking gets those creative juices flowing much faster than sitting at a desk with a cup of coffee.

Gets You Fitter Without the Impact

Walking is an incredible way to boost your health and your fitness — with no added stress on the joints and extra equipment necessary!

You Can Make Some Movin’ Money

Many sources of income are earned from behind a desk under fluorescent lights — with a bottom firmly planted in a seat. Not the case with a dog-walking job. You can actually work as a dog walker — which you can sign up for easily on Rover.com. It’s a trifold kind of hustle: earning you extra cash and calories burned with a serious uptick in mood. And on your journey to better fitness and an improved mood, you get to make a whole host of sweet canine friends.

Have any good dog-walking stories to share? Leave them in a comment! Casey Dickson



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How a Flatlander Trains to Run Up a Mountain

FBGs, welcome our newest contributor: Nichole Curran! Nichole is a thrill-seeking two-time Ironman triathlete and Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualifier, and today she’s sharing the new challenge she’s taking on — Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon — and how she’s training for it even though she lives far from the mountains! According to the Merriam-Webster […]


FBGs, welcome our newest contributor: Nichole Curran! Nichole is a thrill-seeking two-time Ironman triathlete and Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualifier, and today she’s sharing the new challenge she’s taking on — Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon — and how she’s training for it even though she lives far from the mountains!

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, flatland is defined as “a region in which the land is predominantly flat and lacks significant variation in elevation.”

Wiktionary breaks it down further, describing a flatlander as “a person who lives at low altitude (used by those living at higher altitudes).”

Now I may be mistaken, but this Kansas City girl thinks walking to the mailbox and back is quite the uphill climb … no?

So a flatlander I am.

Let’s Do Something Crazy

Apparently finishing two Ironmans and a handful of half Ironmans wasn’t enough. What’s a thrill-seeking, endurance-junkie, always-looking-for-the-next-big-challenge FBG to do next?

If you’re me, you find yourself out on a leisurely group trail run with your girls, talking about life, taking in nature, thinking about what you’re going to eat later, and then out comes: “Let’s run a up a mountain!”

A mountain? Where is such mountain?

This particular mountain is Pikes Peak, located just outside Colorado Springs, Colo. It’s the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

What could possibly be going on there? Only the toughest half marathon in America: Pikes Peak Ascent.

Halfmarathons.net breaks it down for us: “You’ll run literally up the side of a mountain at this race, which starts at 6,300 feet above sea level and climbs all the way to 14,115 feet.” A fourteener! “Temperatures at the start can rise to the 90s during the day, while runners might face near-freezing weather at the summit.”

Game on.

How to Train for Running Up a Mountain (When You Have No Mountains Around)

Being a flatlander, how on earth do you train to run up a mountain? Raw answer: the best you can! Here are a few more tips …

1. Utilize any and every resource you have available. You know that friend who randomly has an altitude-training mask (yep, the one that makes you look like the evil Bain character on Batman)? Borrow it!

I’m pretty sure I gave many children nightmares, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! Strap it on, turn up the altitude and go for it! This thing will literally leave you breathless. There were times it caused me to have minor panic attacks. ripping it off as quickly as I could. But you know what? I didn’t give up. I put it right back on and I went further the next round. Push yourself!

2. Train on stairs. How about those Rocky Balboa wanna-be stairs downtown? Run them … REPEATEDLY! Wake up those muscles that have been hibernating and climb your heart out! Want a more intense stair workout? Skip a step and stride! It’s a killer.

3. Hit the trails. Lots and lots of trails! Look down. Trails make you focus by eyeing each and every step. You never know when you’ll encounter a rock, tree root or animal(!). Hence, running trails trains you to be alert and aware.

4. Stay safe. Safety first! Never run secluded trails alone. The buddy system doesn’t just keep you safe from other unsavory characters, but also, if you were to take a tumble or roll your ankle, you’d want the comfort of knowing someone was there to help.

5. Train in the heat. The temps are still hot. Take advantage! Lather up and (safely) get your heat training on. Check out this Runner’s World article for more.

6. Fuel properly. All that training (especially in the heat) can be hard on the body. So be sure to fuel properly with these tips and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with these tips.

7. Focus on mind over matter. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely terrified to take on this beast of a race. I mean shaking-in-my-boots, wanna-run-away-and-hide kind of terrified. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my years of racing, it’s all about mindset. Yes, it’s going to be hard. Yes, it’s going to hurt (like hell). Yes, I’m going to want to quit. BUT I didn’t come this far and train this hard for nothing.

I’m a true believer that if you think positive, positive things will happen. Vice versa, if you think negative, negative things will happen. The moment those “I can’ts” start to creep in, shut ’em down. YOU CAN! Of course things will happen that are out of our control and we must know our body well enough to listen when it’s talking. Push your limits, but know your limits.

With that being said, put your go-getter attitude on, check your fears at the door and get it done! You have three options … give up, give in or give it all you got.

And stay tuned for the upcoming race recap … I can’t wait to share how the race goes!Nichole



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Review: Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow

Immediately after I finished Susan Lacke’s new book (it’ll be out in November, so pre-order now!), Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow, I sent her an email. Susan wrote for us from 2012-2016, and I’ve always found her to be not only a great writer but also one of the most hilarious people around […]


Immediately after I finished Susan Lacke’s new book (it’ll be out in November, so pre-order now!), Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow, I sent her an email. Susan wrote for us from 2012-2016, and I’ve always found her to be not only a great writer but also one of the most hilarious people around — the kind of person that will say something so funny that your green smoothie shoots right out of your nose. And her book? It’s all that and more.

Susan tells the story of her unlikely friendship with her uber fit boss Carlos, who helps her get healthy, finish multiple Ironmans and — in many ways — find and accept her true self. It’s poignant. It’s vulnerable. It’s real. It’s inspiring (anyone can do an Ironaman!). It’s funny. SO funny. But, Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is also deeply personal and reflective.

I finished it in two nights — it’s not a long read, but it’s the kind of story that makes you look within. The kind that makes you want to call up your best friend in the middle of the night and say “thank you — from the bottom of my heart.” It’s the kind of read that makes you want to write a bucket list and start checking things off of it now. It’s the kind of book you should probably read with a box of Kleenex near by. Really, it’s a book everyone should read.

Here’s our email exchange …

Jenn: Just finished reading your book … f*cking beautiful. 💙

Susan: No, YOU’RE f*cking beautiful. XOXO

Extraneous use of curse words aside, it’s just like Susan to deflect the praise of her book with a joke, but seriously, this book is SO F*CKING beautiful.

Pre-order it now! And maybe buy a couple extra as holiday gifts for your fit friends. Jenn



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Summer Running Gear: Had Us a Blast, We Were Running So Fast

You know how new, cute running gear can make you feel (at maybe even “look”) fast? Well, that’s exactly how this new apparel we got to try from Brooks Running is making us feel. And — remember — we’re a brand ambassador and affiliate of theirs, but this review is totally and 100 percent our […]


You know how new, cute running gear can make you feel (at maybe even “look”) fast? Well, that’s exactly how this new apparel we got to try from Brooks Running is making us feel. And — remember — we’re a brand ambassador and affiliate of theirs, but this review is totally and 100 percent our honest-to-goodness thoughts, as always.

Women’s Distance Tank

This tank may look simple and basic — and it is. But don’t let that fool you. It’s still made of odor-resistant fabric that breathes beautifully. And it’s light and relaxed, with a really flattering look. The ruching on the back is extra cute, too, no? Perfect with a pair of shorts on a hot day, or even with capris on a cooler morning or evening.

Greenlight Capri

Running tights shouldn’t be complicated — they should just fit well, feel good, stay in place, and, ideally, look cool. These capris do that and more (especially if you opt for one of the funky geometric prints like we did!). The  Greenlight Capri is super soft and offer significant support, probably thanks to the DriLayer® HorsePower fabric used. Either that or fairy dust and magic, whatever. Instead of a drawstring, it has a wide, flat waistband, as well as two pockets (one of which is sweat-resistant). Plus, the capri length is where it’s at for summer, unless you want to wear shorts, in which case …

Chaser 5” Short

We expected these shorts to be a bit on the long side, but, honestly, they are PERFECT for running. Super light and airy, but with a fitted waistband that stays put (hooray!), we’re especially in love with the petal hem slits towards the back. They’re not only flattering, but also allow for a full range of motion. There are even two pockets to store your stuff, including one that’s sweat-resistant and fits an iPhone 6. Even the moisture-wicking mesh brief liner is comfy. Seriously, these are great!

Run-Thru Hat

Want to wear a hat to keep the sun out, without feeling like you’re actually wearing a hat? This would be it. Stretchy, comfy, insanely light and with a shorter bill so it’s got a slim profile, you might just forget you have on a hat at all. Our only complaint about it, is that for people with smaller heads, the back velcro closure doesn’t stick as well. But if you have a normal-sized head, you’ll be totes fine.

Sherpa Running Hat

Brooks’ new running hat is sleek, soft, lightweight and moisture-wicking with reflective details and an easily adjustable velcro back. The color options are dope — we went with the solid blue and got loads of compliments on it immediately, but it was a tough choice between that and the stripes! It has a longer bill than Run-Thru hat (so, a little more sun/rain protection), but like the Run-Thru, it might not be the best fit for very small heads. It fit our standard-sized noggin quite well, but a much smaller head would run out of adjustability.

What gear makes you want to run fast? —Jenn & Kristen



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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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Two Ways to Work Out at Home (Equipment Needed)

As a stay-at-home mom who freelances, I’m constantly on the go. Finding time to hit the gym is not always my top priority and, as such, it often falls to the bottom of my list — and then it just doesn’t happen. But after baby number two (my last) I’m bound and determined to get […]


As a stay-at-home mom who freelances, I’m constantly on the go. Finding time to hit the gym is not always my top priority and, as such, it often falls to the bottom of my list — and then it just doesn’t happen.

But after baby number two (my last) I’m bound and determined to get back into pre-baby shape (hey, even pre-second baby would be okay with me at this point). That means I need to find ways to stay motivated and do quick workouts from the comfort of my own home so there is no room for excuses. Here are two products I recently tried to do just that!

Bowflex Max Trainer 3 Review

For my birthday back in March I was lucky enough to get the Bowflex Max Trainer 3. It’s like an elliptical and stair climber in one machine. It is pretty compact, which was key since I don’t have a ton of space now that there are two times the toys around our house. It does have a fan, which makes some noise, and there is a dinging when you change intervals, but it is quiet enough that my nine-month-old sleeps through it.

The reason I purchased this machine was because it touted a “14-minute workout” with its interval setting. I try to do it three to four times per week, and I increase the resistance one level every few times I use it. In the beginning I could barely make it through the 14 minutes and definitely broke a sweat. Now, I’m about two months in and I’m up to level 7 and can definitely do the 14-minute workout, still breaking a sweat and feeling it, but my stamina has increased.

It may not be the whole-body workout I get when I go to a class at the gym, but, it’s better than me phoning it in every day and doing nothing but running after my two munchkins (although don’t get me wrong — that is also a workout). I feel good after I’m done and I have definitely noticed my legs are more toned. It boasts that you can get a good upper-body workout as well, but I have to admit I have not seen the same results on my arms as I have my legs.

Booty Belt Review

To supplement this cardio workout I also purchased the Booty Belt. I saw this system on my Facebook feed and when I did, I just happened to be looking for a way to tone in addition to my cardio workouts at home. I don’t normally buy infomercial-type things like this, but it has a 30-day money-back guarantee and I heard that Kate Hudson uses it (hey, who wouldn’t want her body?). It also boasts that you can get toned doing it just five minutes, three times per week.

It comes with a DVD, a pamphlet filled with exercises you can do on the fly, a mat for your knees and three levels of bands.

I’ve only used it a few times thus far, but it is HARD (and that is just the beginner-level bands). I barely made it through the pamphlet of suggested exercises, but I’m going to keep at it and I think I will definitely see results. I feel it already in my core, legs and back.

All in, I’ve spent $1,300 for both systems and I would say I’m pretty happy so far. It may be quite a bit of money, but it is keeping me motivated and there really is no excuse for me not to do something every day when I walk by both items multiple times a day. My husband has even started using the Bowflex (he’s a marathon runner) and says it’s a good workout, which makes me feel good, too.

What do you do to keep motivated with little ones and what kinds of exercises do you do at home? —Jenn A.



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Not Your Mama’s Water Workout

Summertime is the best time to hit the pool — but it’s also a great time to focus on your fitness. So why not combine both? That’s the goal of Melis Edwards, author of the new book Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Melis has more than 30 years of experience […]


Summertime is the best time to hit the pool — but it’s also a great time to focus on your fitness. So why not combine both? That’s the goal of Melis Edwards, author of the new book Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Melis has more than 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, and has participated in Ironman distance triathlons as well as the Western States 100-mile endurance run. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. And she’s got a workout that you’re gonna want to try out the next time you have a chance to hit the pool!

Want killer abs, glutes and thighs? Hit the water!

Water workouts are not just for your grandma. I know, it can be hard to shake the image of a standard water aerobics class, but if you want a mega muscle burn and are tired of your same ol’ land-routine, try water. Now, we’re not talking the shallow end; this is going deep — the deep end of the pool. Working out in water allows you to push your muscles harder than you could on land and enjoy faster recovery times! This means you can work harder, recover faster, and do a kick a$$ workout in a shorter period of time. What’s not to love?

I suggest doing a water workout 2-3 times a week to change out your land-based training, and you don’t even need to know how to swim! Aside from a swimsuit the only equipment you’ll really need is a flotation belt. It might feel weird at first, but the belt will give you just enough buoyancy to really focus on your form.  

pool workout

A Workout for the Deep End of the Pool

Try for 3 rounds through of the following exercises, anywhere from 3 to 4 reps of each exercise. I like to aim for 15-30 seconds of each each at a 75-85+ percent effort, with a recovery 10-20 seconds between each rep. Change up the workout by switching the order of the exercises or create more intensity by decreasing recovery times. As you get stronger consider adding water gloves or resistance bells.

  1. Water Run with Resistance Bells: Long stride run works the entire bod … bells add an extra bang to your core. Keep your body vertical in the pool with a slight lean forward and move as if you’re running on land: opposite arm and leg movements. Don’t panic if your chin is in water, but obviously make sure you can breathe. Try to use a nice long stride to get the full benefit.
  2. Cross Country Uppercut: Broad sweeping motions with an upper punch takes your core, glutes and quads to a whole other level. With opposite arm and legs movement, drive your fist (palm up, like Rosie the Riveter) through an arm swing which starts from behind to the front of your body and crosses your midline, by about 4-6 inches. Moving your legs in a sweeping motion like a cross-country skier gives the  movement a torso rotation, activating your obliques.
  3. Karate Kick: Think of the movie Kill Bill and Uma Thurman knocking out two people with one motion; a kick to the front and back. Your quads, hamstrings and front shins (tibialis anterior) will thank you. Include a punch with your arms and your core will just not get a break. Your legs should stay bent as they travel under the body before each rapid kick. The quick interplay against the water resistance ramps the exercise intensity. Make it harder by throwing opposite punches (forward and back behind the body).
  4. Flutter Kick: Arms above, legs stretched out toward the pool bottom; core, quads and glutes have to hammer to keep your head ‘n shoulders above water. Think of propelling a paddleboard straight up; keep your arms straight up above your head to level up the difficulty.
  5. High Knees: The femme fatale is the High Knee; like playing hacky sack, but in the water. Think of running through tires, keeping your torso straight and pushing down with your heels. Arms above the head for an extra challenge; if you are not sinking for your life, you are not doing this correctly.  

Have fun- your body will thank you! —Melis

Workout adapted from Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for more info.



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How to Keep Your Metabolism Burning Long After You Leave the Gym

Love the feeling that comes with a really great workout? Hey, us, too! And today, in this guest post, Brent Frayser — a media relations representative for Orangetheory Fitness and a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in  business administration — is telling us how to get our burn on both in […]


Love the feeling that comes with a really great workout? Hey, us, too! And today, in this guest post, Brent Frayser — a media relations representative for Orangetheory Fitness and a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in  business administration — is telling us how to get our burn on both in and out of the gym, all day long. Brent was born and raised in the South and is very outgoing, with a strong sense of determination. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, coaching baseball and football, and spending time with family and friends. Read on for his best metabolism-boosting tips!

To stay in good shape, most people need to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. But, most people do not have a lot of time to spend in the gym. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to stay active and get that metabolism going, even when you’re away from the gym!

Do High-Intensity Workouts

My first tip is to do high-intensity workouts. High-intensity workouts, such as those that are done in classes by Orangetheory Fitness, make your body work as hard as possible during a shorter exercise session. When doing a high-intensity workout, you will likely only have to exercise at a high intensity for 20 to 30 minutes, five days per week. This is much shorter than some workout routines that suggest doing more than one hour of exercise at a time at a lower intensity.

Lift Weights

Another tip that can keep you burning is to lift weights. The process of lifting weights can be intense, which leads to short bursts of hard activity. This process alone is considered a high-intensity workout. But, lifting weights regularly will help you to build lean muscle mass, which burns far more calories than fat. This means that the more muscle you build by lifting weights, the more you will burn fat once you are away from the gym. You should focus on lifting weights at least twice per week, hitting the major muscle groups (legs, back and chest).

Find Time to Move

Think outside the gym and find time to move during the day. While you will burn the most amount of calories during a good workout, most people can still find a few times throughout the rest of the day to bump up their activity. Ideally, you should find a way to go for a quick 5-minute walk or do another task, getting your heart rate up every hour. While these mini workouts may seem small, they really add up by the end of the day!

Stay Hydrated

One of the most important tips is to stay hydrated, both during your workout and afterward. All adults should try to get at least 64 ounces of water on a daily basis. This can help to prevent short-term dehydration, which has been shown to slow your metabolism. Furthermore, drinking water can help prevent you from feeling hungry, which can help you avoid snacking during the day.

Nail Your Nutrition

It’s also important that you follow a healthy diet. Focus on eating plenty of whole grains, proteins, and fruits and vegetables. This will give your body plenty of fiber, which will keep you feeling full and energized. Furthermore, avoid eating added sugar and processed carbs, particularly during the first hour after you have completed a workout.

What’s your favorite way to burn … and burn … and burn? Brent Frayser



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Workout I Did: Murph

My cheatsheet … I’m an athlete not a math-lete. This year, for the first time, I joined my CrossFit community at CrossFit Become in completing Murph. If you’re not familiar, “Murph” is one of CrossFit’s hero WODs — intentionally challenging workouts each named for fallen soldiers to honor their sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Murph is performed by […]


My cheatsheet … I’m an athlete not a math-lete.

This year, for the first time, I joined my CrossFit community at CrossFit Become in completing Murph.

If you’re not familiar, “Murph” is one of CrossFit’s hero WODs — intentionally challenging workouts each named for fallen soldiers to honor their sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Murph is performed by CrossFitters around the world on Memorial Day weekend.

“Murph” the Soldier

This WOD is named for Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy who was killed in action at age 29 on June 28th, 2005, in Afghanistan during a reconnaissance mission. Lt. Murphy was later posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous and selfless acts which ultimately led to the recovery of the one surviving member of his SEAL team and the remains of those who were lost on that day. The story of his team is portrayed in the movie “Lone Survivor”.

“Murph” the WOD

As I mentioned earlier, hero WODs are intentionally very tough and as you can tell from the write-up above, this one’s no different. This type of workout is known as a “chipper” in CrossFit — meaning that the reps are high and you “chip” away at it. It’s all about patience, determination and grinding it out.

There are many ways to attack this WOD. Many athletes do the three bodyweight movements in mini-sets, specifically 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats (the rep scheme of the benchmark WOD “Cindy”).

I opted to attack each set in sequence rather than breaking it up into mini-sets. I rationalized that decision like this: I expected the pull-ups to be the hardest for me, followed by the push-ups, but I wasn’t worried at all about the squats. So it made logical sense to me at the time to knock out the most problematic movements first so that the WOD got easier for me as I got more and more fatigued. But, that’s not really the way it played out.

First and foremost, I didn’t wear the weighted vest — chuck that in the “Goals for Next Year” bucket. My first mile was pretty quick, then I took a couple of breaths before diving right into the pull-ups. I made it through the first 65 and then realized I needed to change up my game plan.

At that point, I was only able to bang out a few at a time and the time it took to recover enough to get a few more reps was killing me — especially since I had a one-hour time cap because I was coaching the second heat of Murph. My new plan was to stick with the pull-ups until just before muscle failure, then bang out a few push-ups just to keep the count going so I wasn’t killing so much time just standing around.

Before I knew it, the part I dreaded the most was over and I was on to the push-ups — which ended up being the real killer. Now, I’m pretty strong with push-ups so I really wasn’t expecting it to suck as bad as it did — but it turns out, 200 push-ups is a lot of work.

I was pretty solid until around my 90th push-up, then the breaks I needed to take to gather arm strength got longer and I was regretting not breaking it up into small sets and trying to plow through them in sequence. It was a very long, slow march to 200 as I sprinkled a few sets of squats in there to keep the rep count rolling. Words cannot express how happy I was to be done with the push-ups.

From there, it was fast and furious plowing through the squats, and I was out the door for the final mile. I returned exhausted but feeling really accomplished with a time just under 55 minutes.

Would I do this WOD again? Absolutely (albeit with a very different strategy). As with all chipper workouts, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the shear number of reps still remaining. But every rep is another step closer to completion. You’ve just gotta stay focused and keep moving. In that way, it’s a lot like life.

And the fact that this WOD honors Lt. Murphy and all the brave service members who selflessly defend our freedom and safety made the work so totally worth it. I consider it a privilege to honor them in this way and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Ever completed Murph? —Alison 



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How a Professional Snowboarder Strengthens Her Core

Professional snowboarder Spencer O’Brien is a six-time X Games medalist, Olympian, FIS World Champion, TTR World Champion, Winter Dew Tour Champion and five-year veteran of the Canadian National Team. Whoa, that’s quite the resume, right?! But get this. She first learned to snowboard at age 11, and then turned pro just five years later at […]


Professional snowboarder Spencer O’Brien is a six-time X Games medalist, Olympian, FIS World Champion, TTR World Champion, Winter Dew Tour Champion and five-year veteran of the Canadian National Team.

Whoa, that’s quite the resume, right?!

But get this. She first learned to snowboard at age 11, and then turned pro just five years later at the age of 16. Her career hasn’t been without hardship though. In 2013, O’Brien was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis — just two months before the Sochi Winter Olympics. While dealing with pain and overcoming obstacles to identify the right course of treatment, O’Brien has kept kicking butt in the sport of snowboarding.

And today, we have the workout that helps to keep her core strong and her snowboarding tricks ON POINT.

Spencer O’Brien’s Core Workout

  1. Diagonal plank matrix, 3 x 12: Start in forearm plank position,. Reach out with your left hand, then your right, keeping your torso square. Then push up to full plank and do two mountain climbers. That’s one rep!
  2. Plank arcs, 3 x 6: Spencer’s tip: “Keep your torso square and your bum down.”
  3. Stability ball V-ups, 3 x 12. If you don’t have a ball, you can do these on the floor.
  4. TRX diagonal mountain climbers, 3 x 10: Make sure to do 10 on each side!

Spencer’s Core Workout Video

Kick-ass, right?! Right now Spencer is training to represent Canada at the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Games Olympics in 2018 in the Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air disciplines. We wish her so much luck! —Jenn



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Podcast Ep 38: Toni Carey of Black Girls Run

Talk about finding a need and kicking major booty as you meet that need! Our special guest is Toni Carey and she helped create Black Girls Run back in 2009 to help women of color find their bliss in running shoes. Since then she has literally helped hundreds of thousands of women get healthy and […]


Talk about finding a need and kicking major booty as you meet that need! Our special guest is Toni Carey and she helped create Black Girls Run back in 2009 to help women of color find their bliss in running shoes. Since then she has literally helped hundreds of thousands of women get healthy and active.

In this interview, we talk about the inspiration for Black Girls Run, her hopes for the future of the organization, the importance of physical activity and living a wholesome life, and the need for more diversity and inclusion in outdoor sports.

Some of our favorite quotes from Toni’s interview:

Podcast Episode 38 Highlights With Toni Carey

  • The reasons why she and Ashley Hicks-Rocha created Black Girls Run
  • The challenges she sees in the black community when it comes to running and exercising
  • How their Facebook groups raised their profile nationally
  • Their partnership with Girls on the Run
  • The latest trends in the running universe
  • How to approach running with a zen-like passion
  • Tips for wannabe runners who have no idea how to start
  • Her favorite ways to crosstrain
  • The need to increase diversity and representation in retail and in the media

Also in this episode, Jenn, Kristen and I discuss how we each try our best to help our own communities. You can get more information about the charity Kristen mentions here at More Too Life.

Get the episode with Toni Carey!

Get more info on our podcast here and be sure to subscribe on iTunes so that you never miss an episode!

What are your best tips for newbie runners? Let us know in the comments below!—Margo

Want to sponsor the show? Yay! Drop us a note at advertising@fitbottomedgirls.com and let’s make the world a healthier place together!



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