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Category: Cardio

Mantras That We Run (and Live) By

Did you guys happen to see our Brave Like Gabe Insta story from a couple weeks ago? (We got the scoop a little early because we’re blog ambassadors and affiliates of Brooks.) Because, dude. Her story is SO inspiring that we barely have words for it. But we’re writers, so of course we have words. […]


Did you guys happen to see our Brave Like Gabe Insta story from a couple weeks ago? (We got the scoop a little early because we’re blog ambassadors and affiliates of Brooks.) Because, dude. Her story is SO inspiring that we barely have words for it.

But we’re writers, so of course we have words.

Hey, if she can undergo cancer treatments and still run at the professional level … well, we can be brave and strong, too.

Because, like Gabe, we know how important workouts are for helping us get through challenging times and showing us that we can do more and be more.

Here are the mantras that we’re running — and living by — to be brave like Gabe, but in our own ways.

The Mantra Jenn Runs (and Lives) By

Okay, fine. I have two mantras that I run by. The first one is my all-time favorite go-to and it’s simple: You’ve got this.

Sometimes I just need that affirmation that I CAN do it. Because, of course I can. I can do damn near anything I put my mind to.

And then there are other days when I’m not feeling quite as confident — or I’ve got something on my mind that I’m really processing. On those days, I use a line from an En Vogue song (p.s. I miss them): Free your mind. And the rest will follow.

Love this shoe? US. TOO. Get it here — limited edition!

With each step I take, I literally repeat these two lines in my head and focus back in on my breathing. I try not to push any thoughts away, but instead I set the intention to release them. It sounds woo-woo, but it works. Especially since I love that song so much — and the idea that I’m using a 90s song to find inner peace? Well, that just makes me smile.

The Mantra Kristen Runs (and Lives) By

I’ve been known to mix up my mantras a bit, but the one I’ve gone back to over and over again for years is: I run because I can.

This mantra is onion-like in the layers of meaning it has for me. At its surface, it simply means what it says — I’m able to run, so I will. But given my history of knee issues, asthma, and other injuries, the whole concept of “can” is pretty major. And it’s never far from front of mind that, although I can run now, that might not be the case when I’m older. (Told ya — layers upon layers!)

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Plus — yeah, I’m not done — I find tremendous inspiration in the idea that I should make the most of what I can do, not only for myself, but for those who can’t. For people who’d like to run but are physically unable, or who have had it drilled into their heads that they will never be a runner, or who live in areas that aren’t safe enough for them to go out and run a few miles alone. I run because I can. I run for me, I run for them, I run for what I’ve overcome, and I run to prepare for what lies ahead, no matter what that might be.

Tell us: What mantra do YOU run by? And how are you brave like YOU? Also! Consider running and donating your miles to #BraveLikeGabe. More deets here. —Jenn & Kristen



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86 Awesome Facts About Runners and the Sport of Running

We all know that runners are a separate breed of awesome. And that to be “a runner,” all you have to do is, well, RUN. It’s a community of peeps that we are proud to be a part of. We mean, just look at this infographic from 16best.net that highlights 86 unbelievable facts about running. […]


We all know that runners are a separate breed of awesome.

And that to be “a runner,” all you have to do is, well, RUN.

It’s a community of peeps that we are proud to be a part of. We mean, just look at this infographic from 16best.net that highlights 86 unbelievable facts about running. While our personal focus isn’t ever to burn off calories or food, it is damn amazing to see just how running can impact various aspects of your health … along with how you stack up to other runners in all kinds of ways ranging from music to average miles run in a week!

What was your favorite stat? The fact that 97 percent think that a run improves their day made us smile. Because it’s so true. A good run always makes your day better! —Jenn



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It’s Never Too Late to Learn How to Ice Skate (and 9 Reasons It’s an Awesome Workout)

This post is sponsored by Learn to Skate USA. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. Still on a motivational high from the Olympic Games? US. TOO. And although we probably can’t, like, go out and bobsled or ski jump tomorrow morning, do you know what Olympic sport we can all go out and learn starting now? […]


This post is sponsored by Learn to Skate USA. Find more on our sponsored post policy here.

Still on a motivational high from the Olympic Games?

US. TOO.

And although we probably can’t, like, go out and bobsled or ski jump tomorrow morning, do you know what Olympic sport we can all go out and learn starting now?

Ice skating.

Yep, just like Bradie Tennell and Adam Rippon.

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(Okay, minus the quad lutz.)

But seriously, no matter your age or your previous experience on the ice (or … not on the ice, for that matter), you can learn how to ice skate with adult lessons. And, ladies, you should try it because ice skating is an amazingly awesome workout!

Credit: Learn to Skate USA

9 Reasons Ice Skating Is an Awesome Workout

1. It will improve your cardio health. Fun fact: every 11 laps around the ice skating rink is a mile. And lap after lap, you’ll get your heart rate up while your muscles feel the burn. Love intervals? Try adding in some sprints down the long sides of the ice. Talk about a fun way to mix it up!

2. It helps you build muscle. While skating laps improves cardiovascular health, learning new skating skills improves your muscular strength. Try your hand at swizzles to engage those inner and outer thighs, or turn dips into on-ice squats. (You’ll learn both in the Basic Skills 1 and Adult 1 curriculums in the Learn to Skate USA program.)

3. It’ll better your balance and coordination. Unlike yoga or tai chi, skating challenges you to balance your weight on a slippery surface over a blade about 2 mm thick — that’s about as wide as a toothpick. By mastering your balance on blades, you’re improving your balance, coordination, posture, and core strength. Bad ass, right?

4. You’ll boost your metabolism. By increasing your heart rate, working up a sweat and engaging your muscles, you’ll also boost your metabolism when you hit the ice. In fact, ice skating can burn around 460 calories per hour.

5. It can make you feel better about yourself. We all know how important self care is — and “me-time” on the ice is simply awesome. You’ll also master new skills which helps you to develop greater confidence and self-esteem. I mean, if you can learn to skate … what else can you do?!

6. It will enhance your flexibility and mobility. The extensions and body-lengthening movements involved in skating increase flexibility and mobility through your entire body, which can help to prevent injury. You’re basically stretching … on ice!

7. It provides the opportunity to bust out of your comfort zone. Learning a new sport is a great way to keep yourself motivated because it challenges your muscles in a way they’ve never moved before. You’ll be learning a new activity with the bonus of staying active in the process.

Credit: Learn to Skate USA

8. You can track your progress. Just like PRing a 5K or getting in shape to be competitive in a league, skating allows you to train for an event, set goals and achieve them. Test your skills with Compete USA or simply work toward skill evaluations at the end of each Learn to Skate USA class session. Master one level, then move on to the next. Learn to Skate USA will even give you a record book to chart your progress.

9. It’s FUN with new friends! Learning to ice skate gives you the chance to meet new friends with a common interest. And we all know everything is better with fun and friends.

How to Get Started: Sign Up for Adult Ice Skating Lessons Today

Credit: Learn to Skate USA

The best way to get started and start reaping all of those amazing benefits above? Sign up for adult ice skating lessons with Learn to Skate USA! Simply click “Find A Program” at the top of the page and enter your ZIP code to connect with a program near you. (Contact that facility directly for class schedules, session dates and prices.)

Learn to Skate USA is the only skating program endorsed by the national governing bodies of all three skating sports — U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey and US Speedskating. With more than 1,000 programs across the United States, they offer the highest quality instruction with a standardized curriculum for all ages. So, you know you’re in good hands.

The adult skating curriculum is designed for both beginning and experienced adult skaters who wish to improve their skating skills. Whether you’re looking to skate as a hobby or as a fit and healthy lifestyle, there’s a program for you. Get more deets on that here.

Bottom line: Ice skating is not just for kids; it’s for the kid inside all of us.

Whether you’re entering a rink for the first time or rekindling a lost love years later, you’ll discover the ice is always there, waiting for you to come out and explore. Follow Learn to Skate USA on Facebook and Twitter for skill-building activities and fun fitness challenges, like the Skate-A-Marathon Mileage Tracker. 

Alrighty, who’s ready to hit the ice with us?! —Jenn



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6 Ways to Make Old Exercises New and More Effective

Getting in a routine at the gym is fantastic … until it’s not. On the one hand, knowing what you’re doing — and being able to do it with confidence — rocks. via GIPHY But on the other hand, getting comfortable with what you’re doing can lead to complacency. And that’s not the way to […]


Getting in a routine at the gym is fantastic … until it’s not.

On the one hand, knowing what you’re doing — and being able to do it with confidence — rocks.

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But on the other hand, getting comfortable with what you’re doing can lead to complacency. And that’s not the way to improve your fitness. Gotta keep those muscles guessing!

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So today, we’re sharing a few tips for mixing up your workouts without reinventing the wheel from Bryan Forsing, a certified personal trainer from Anytime Fitness.

1. Try supersets.

“Supersets are great for burning more calories, without adding weight,” says Forsing. In case this is Greek to you, a superset combines two exercises using opposing muscles, done back-to-back, like a bicep exercise followed by triceps, or a leg extension followed immediately by a leg curl. And yes, immediately means no rest in between the exercises!

2. Add a move.

Got your plank nailed down? Add something to increase the level of difficulty or number of muscles worked. “Try kicking up a traditional plank by adding a move such as a one-arm row, a leg lift, hip tilt, or leg twist,” says Forsing. Or, if you’re used to doing a straight crunch on the stability ball, try going to the side to hit your obliques. Lift one leg to decrease stability. You get the picture — be creative!

3. Move your feet.

Sometimes, just a slight change of stance will really change up the muscles worked. Take, for example, calf raises. Try them with your feet facing straight ahead, and then try at an angle — both facing outward and in. Feel the difference? A key here, though, is to continue to focus on safety, so always keep your knees aligned without going out over your foot. The same safety rules that apply to a basic move still apply when you change your position.

4. Switch it up.

Adding weight, instability or even reversing a motion can all be great ways to mix things up. “Variations of standard lunges, such as adding a barbell or trying out a reverse lunge are great for restarting that muscle burn, says Forsing, suggesting that beginners start in a forward position with no added weight, then add a barbell behind the neck, keeping the head back — making a double chin will help hold your head back. “Now you’ve changed your center of gravity to activate your core,” he says.

5. Walk the other way.

“Going in a backward motion on an elliptical or trying out a direction change on the treadmill is an effective way to activate your hamstrings and glutes,” says Forsing. Go forward for about five minutes, then back for about five, maybe 15 to 20 min total. You can throw some sideways steps in there, too!

6. Add variety.

If you have a standard cardio routine, try varying your intensity, speed, incline, or interval length on the treadmill, or build a simple circuit using a few machines, suggests Forsing. But remember, if you’re switching machines, you should transition quickly to maintain an elevated heart rate. Change speed, intensity, incline on the treadmill, do intervals with hard efforts, then easier ones.

If you have a regular circuit — either cardio or strength — that you go to, change it up in anyway you see fit. “Even just do everything you’ve always done and do it backward,” says Forsing. “It changes which muscles fatigue first,” and that changes how hard different muscles work in the beginning of the workout and at the end.

Are you good about changing up your workout? I am with most things, but if I’m leading myself in a yoga flow, I really struggle to change up the order. I’m just so used to what I always do! Kristen



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I Tracked My Workouts With My Cycle for a Month, Here’s What Happened

You know how sometimes you do a workout and it feels great? Like, you are freakin’ Wonder Woman and totally unstoppable? via GIPHY And then other days — despite eating well, sleeping enough, not overtraining and keeping your stress levels down — your legs just feel like lead or you just have no energy? via […]


You know how sometimes you do a workout and it feels great? Like, you are freakin’ Wonder Woman and totally unstoppable?

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And then other days — despite eating well, sleeping enough, not overtraining and keeping your stress levels down — your legs just feel like lead or you just have no energy?

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Well, I decided to do a little sleuthing on my own. To see if — after reading this interesting article on Women’s Health — my hormones and my cycle played a role.

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Because that bad-workout-for-no-reason thing is not fun. And if there’s a hormonal reason, well, I’d like to get to the bottom of it so that I can work with my body instead of against it. Here’s what I found …

(And let us all remember that “normal” cycles can vary in length, so this was just my experience with my body — and just one month. I’m not a scientist. I just pretend to act like one on the internet.)

Week One

The science: Estrogen and progesterone are low and you’re on your period. But, despite the cramps, you’ve got a higher pain tolerance and your muscles recover more quickly.

My workouts: Over that first week I did a mix of workouts — a few hour-long Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) classes, a short but super hard HIIT session and a 90-minute OTF. Overall, I felt really great in the workouts — particularly early in the week. In the 60-minute OTF classes I had the energy and drive to go hard and the HIIT workout was tough but it felt good to push hard. The 90-minute OTF class though? I bonked hard at the half-way point and didn’t recover until almost the end of the class.

Conclusion: You really should work out when you’re on your period. Even if you don’t want to, it’ll most likely feel pretty good.

Week Two

The science: Testosterone levels are up and it’s easier to build muscle, so weight training is a good choice.

My experience: This week I did a CrossFit workout of push-ups and pull-ups mostly, plus a few OTF classes. And you know what? I crushed the CrossFit WOD and felt so solid and great. The OTF classes though? Although I generally felt good on the rower and when using dumbbells and the TRX, I had heavy tired legs when running. In fact, I’d never been more excited to get off the treadie in my life.

Conclusion: Yup, the science holds for me in week two. (Off to make a note to lift heavier this week of my cycle … )

Week Three

The science: It’s ovulation time! And, therefore, estrogen peaks, which can help your body to use fat for workouts. This make steady state cardio workouts ideal.

My experience: Let me first say that I generally ovulate a bit later than day 14, so take that into consideration, but I generally felt pretty “normal” this week. I did some Tabata early in the week and it felt good but not great (which makes some sense since Tabata is pretty much the opposite of steady state cardio), and my OTF classes (including both a 60- and 90-minute class) felt very doable but not fantastic.

Conclusion: For me, I wouldn’t say this week either lived up to the expectation or contradicted it. So, more study needed.

Week Four

The science: We all know this one well. It’s PMS time, baby. Progesterone drops and you feel like a crazy person. Although there’s no scientific reason not to work out, basically, you’d rather crawl up and watch TV.

My experience: Like the other weeks, I did a mix of CrossFit workouts and OTF plus some walking (I always enjoy walking when I’m PMSing). I did take an extra day off this week because I just didn’t feel like it but the workouts I did make it to felt okay. Like, I wasn’t super pumped but I was glad I did them. I found the short and mildly intense ones to feel best — not too tough and not too long.

Conclusion: Science has it right. PMS sucks and totally messes with your motivation.

Overall Thoughts

I’m already pretty aware of my cycle for fertility reasons, but this was pretty eye-opening when it came to my workouts. I’d never linked them before. And now, the next time I do a workout and wonder: why did that rock so much or suck so bad? I’m going to check where I am in my cycle. AND, depending on what my workout goals are, I’m going to hone in on my timing a bit more. Because you know what? Science is cool. Way cool.

Anyone else ever do this? Or will you try tracking your cycle and workouts together, too, to see if there’s any rhyme or reason for you? I plan to do it another month or two … especially to figure out week three! —Jenn



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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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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