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Podcast Ep 78: RAD Experience Fitness Expert Robbie Ann Darby

Ever wished your workout felt more like a party? (Haven’t we all!) Well,  get ready because today we’re talking with Robbie Ann Darby, an actress, dancer, and fitness expert who hosts a series of RAD fitness events where, as she puts it, “event planning meets fitness.” However, her personal journey has had its rough moments beginning […]


Ever wished your workout felt more like a party? (Haven’t we all!) Well,  get ready because today we’re talking with Robbie Ann Darby, an actress, dancer, and fitness expert who hosts a series of RAD fitness events where, as she puts it, “event planning meets fitness.”

However, her personal journey has had its rough moments beginning with an eating disorder which began between middle school and high school. The pressure to stay thin and popular, as well as Robbie’s admitted perfectionism, created the perfect storm for disordered eating that lasted well into grad school. She’s vocal about her struggle as well as her recovery in the hopes that she can help others face their issues in a more positive way. 

After years of therapy, Robbie now serves as a role model for women, and especially women of color, who are struggling with their own food and self-image issues. The L.A.-based actress/model/fitness instructor is passionate about this mission, but she also gets pretty darn excited about the best mascara and lip stains to last through a workout session. Plus, in this fun ep, she also talks about filling her wardrobe with colorful athletic gear — years in New York City created an almost all-black wardrobe that needed some sprucing up!

Speaking of athletic gear …

Did you know that FBG now has a pair of exclusive leggings made by Four Athletics? They’re available for purchase now (and they are so cute and they have amazing pockets) — but only until April 25. So! Be sure to grab a pair (you can get them right here) while they’re still available!

Our favorite RAD quote from the interview …

Podcast Ep 78 Highlights With Robbie Ann Darby

  • How eating disorders are not just a “white girl’s disease”
  • The origin of her eating disorder and how it cropped up again while she was in grad school
  • How hard it is for women of color to talk about body image and depression
  • Her journey from being a gawky, awkward preteen to a popular high school student — and how that messed with her sense of self
  • How most films that cover the subject of eating disorders do a disservice to their audience
  • Her favorite beauty products and why she loves to look glam while getting in a sweat session
  • The differences between New York and Los Angeles in fashion and fitness (plus the secret way all of those celebrities really get to those award shows!)
  • Plus, the FBGs are super excited about our new pair of leggings created especially for us and our followers by Four Athletics.  

Get the episode with Robbie Ann Darby here or below!

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

What are your favorite fitness fashion brands? —Margo

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



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Ask the FBGs: What Couples Workouts Do You Recommend?

Today we’re featuring an Ask the FBGs post, where readers like you ask the FBGs for advice. Nothing is off limits, although we do prefer that it’s fitness or nutrition related, so send your undying health questions to AsktheFBGs@fitbottomedgirls.com. You just might see them posted here or addressed in a podcast ep in the future! Question from DJ: What’s […]


Today we’re featuring an Ask the FBGs post, where readers like you ask the FBGs for advice. Nothing is off limits, although we do prefer that it’s fitness or nutrition related, so send your undying health questions to AsktheFBGs@fitbottomedgirls.com. You just might see them posted here or addressed in a podcast ep in the future!

Question from DJ: What’s a Good Couples Workout?

Hello!

My husband and I took a marriage class last night. The takeaway was trying to maximize the limited down time you have after the kids go to bed to do an activity together and not just sit and stare at media. We would like to buy (or stream via Amazon Fire or another online source to our TV) a partner workout DVD. This can lean towards a sexy inspired workout or a true calorie burner. We’d buy both.

Can you please make a recommendation? Or five?

Thanks!
—DJ

Answer from the FBGs

Oooh, we love this question, DJ! After all, the couple of that sweats together, stays together, right? (That’s the phrase in our house!) Especially when you’ve got kids and are trying to do all the things — what a great way to make sure you both get a workout in, but also get to spend quality time together.

We honestly haven’t covered many couples workouts recently, although we reviewed this one years ago and really liked it. We also really like this book — it’s got some really unique and fun ideas.

Another option are workout streaming sites like Booya (hey, we’ve even created programs on there!) or Daily Burn. While they may not have specific couples-themed workouts, they do have a variety of different types of workouts that you can do side by side. (Kristen and her hubby have been doing Bob Harper’s Black Fire and are loving it — total ass kicker, and it’s an easy one to get competitive with, if that’s your jam.)

Additionally, keep checking the YouTube! There are always new ones going up that might be fun. Here are a few of our faves (a lot of them are more friend than romantic partner, but, hey, they work!):

Have fun sweating together, guys — and thanks for your question!

—The FBGs

Anyone else found any good couples workouts? Share ’em in the comments, please! —Jenn



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How to Start Swimming as an Adult (and Why You Should Jump In)

Wanna go for a swim? If that question just left you feeling mildly (or highly) panicked, you’re definitely not the only one. While lots of people are perfectly comfortable bobbing around in the shallow end, the Centers for Disease Control reports that more than one third of adults in the U.S. cannot swim the length […]


Wanna go for a swim?

If that question just left you feeling mildly (or highly) panicked, you’re definitely not the only one. While lots of people are perfectly comfortable bobbing around in the shallow end, the Centers for Disease Control reports that more than one third of adults in the U.S. cannot swim the length of a pool.

As someone who could literally swim before I could walk, I can’t tell you how much this breaks my heart. Not only because it’s dangerous and scary, although that’s certainly a huge factor. (I mean, 10 people drown every single day in the U.S. alone.) But also, oh, you guys — if you have no idea what it feels like to glide through the water on a hot day, and if you’ve never experienced the pure joy of jumping into a pool with no purpose but to create the biggest splash possible, you’re missing out on one of life’s simplest pleasures.

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Also? Swimming is a hell of a workout, and it’s one that many adults are able to continue long into their senior years as higher-impact activities become troublesome.

I actually feel strongly enough about this that I recently got certified as an Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor with U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS), and, because April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month, I wanted to share a few ways to get started swimming, regardless of your current ability level — and address a few common complaints I hear all too often.

How to Start Swimming as an Adult

Suit up. You don’t need anything too fancy, but you will want a swimsuit that stays in place with some movement (which means that wicked cute strapless push-up bikini top is not an ideal choice), goggles, and, unless your hair is very closely cropped, a swim cap. Pro tip: If your hair is long-ish, braid it before tucking it up in the cap. It’ll make it easier to manage when you put the cap on, plus it’ll be far less tangled after the fact.

Find a pool. If you have a swimming background and just haven’t been in the water in … forever, then maybe all you’re lacking is access. Lots of gyms and fitness centers have lap swimming, although if you’re considering a membership somewhere new specifically for the pool, I’d recommend asking specifically about their lap swim times, as some only have a few lanes and may dedicate them to other aquatic classes fairly regularly. Make sure ahead of time that you’ll be able to swim laps when it works for your schedule.

Find a class or instructor. If you’re afraid of the water or truly don’t know how to swim, working with an instructor or joining a class specifically designed for brand new adult swimmers is absolutely the best choice. I know I’m biased, but I think USMS is a really solid resource. You can easily search for instructors with the Adult Learn-to-Swim Certification in your area. You could also reach out to your local YMCA and any public pools, as they’re likely to have information on current or upcoming programs that would be a good fit for you.

Find a coach or a club. If you have no problem cranking out enough laps to constitute a workout but know you’ve got room to improve, well, let me tell you from experience that joining a local club just might rock your world. I honestly thought I was pretty good — I was able to hang with reasonably speedy swimmers in my first couple triathlons, at least for the first half of the swim. But after just a few classes where I swam with a masters club and got actual instruction, I realized how far off my form had been. (Turns out, you want your face FULLY in the water. Like, all the time!) Swimming became easier, faster, and far more fun. Plus, swimming with a group (and, swimming with a planned workout — more on that in a sec) is a million times more motivating than swimming alone. And I say that as someone who loves to swim!

Complaints? Lay ‘Em on Me

I’ve heard them all — and, honestly, probably used one or two myself back in the day. If I don’t hit up your specific concern, drop it in the comments and I’ll help you with a solution!

Swimming is too hard. Well, yeah — if you don’t do it much, it probably is pretty taxing. It’s a full-body workout, it uses muscles you don’t use and in ways that are pretty unfamiliar. But when you do it more (and do it properly), it becomes easier — fast. Don’t worry about how many laps you can do in a row to start — that’s really not how swimming is measured outside of a race. Focus on learning and using good form and getting in the water consistently, and you’ll be racking up yards in no time. I promise.

It’s boring. I acknowledge that it’s a repetitive movement (but hey, so is running, so is cycling …), and sure, that line at the bottom of the pool doesn’t offer a ton in terms of thrilling scenery. Unless, of course, you happen to share a lane with Aquaman, am I right? 

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But I will also argue that a swimming workout can be anything but boring! Here are a few tips:

  • Have a plan — and some variety. I never show up at the pool with a goal of getting in and just swimming for 2,000 yards. Because, yeah, that’s dull. Instead, I have a warm up (usually 300 swim, 200 pull, 100 kick, 4×50 drill/swim), I have a main set that incorporates drills and speed work on various intervals. I do some 50 yard sprints, I do some easy 200s. Maybe I even add some different strokes in. Breaking up the workout makes it easier to focus on what I’m doing in the moment. (Plus, let’s be real — it’s the only way I’m ever gonna keep track of how far I’ve gone!) You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, either — if you don’t have a workout in mind, check out one of these.
  • Play with toys. Kickboards, pull buoys, paddles, fins, snorkels — these have specific uses to help you with your form, and also help serve the same purpose as above with breaking up the workout. Plus, they force you to focus on certain muscle groups, allowing you to give other muscles a bit of a break. Also? Toys are fun. They are!
  • Try some tech. There are loads of cool options out there if you feel like exploring the world of swimming technology. There are watches that track your laps and provide feedback on your stroke (and no, they won’t take the place of a coach on deck, but feedback can certainly help!), devices that whisper your heart rate in your ear, and you can even swim to your favorite tunes. None of this is necessary, of course — but if you find it fun and it helps you spend a little more time in the water, go for it!
  • Join a group. I realize I recommended this already, but I’m dropping it here because it’s so pertinent to the boredom issue. I swim harder, farther, and with far more joy when I hop in the pool with other swimmers for a workout. You don’t have time to get bored if you’re trying to keep up with the rest of your lane!
  • Change your environment. If you always swim at the same 25-yard pool (which is the standard length you’ll find for lap pools), ask around to see if there are any long-course (50-meter) options near you. It’s a really different experience! And if you have access to open water, look for groups conducting group swims, or form your own group and get out there.

I’m not old/not fast/not serious, so I’m not joining a masters team. Okay, “masters” just means that you’re over 18 — and, as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t make you “old.” I’ve been lucky enough to swim with a few different teams, and each of them has included members of all different ages and speeds — and everybody’s there with their own goals, coming from all kinds of backgrounds. Lots of people swim masters and never go to a swim meet, although you just might realize you love competing. Basically, in my experience, joining a masters group has been the easiest (and most cost-effective) way to swim in an organized group. You might have other options near you — I just urge you to consider masters as you search for your tribe.

I’m a triathlete, so I don’t need to learn all the strokes they make you do in masters. So many triathletes just view the swim as something they need to get through in order to do the sports they’re competitive in. And it’s true, you don’t need to know how to swim a perfect breaststroke in order to complete an Ironman. However, spending more time in the pool is great cross training, and do you even know how much easier the rest of the race feels when you haven’t used up a huge amount of energy on the first (and shortest) part of the race? Also, I’ve never had a coach force me to do a specific stroke (although they’ve all been willing to help me work on them). If you only want to work on freestyle, I bet you can find a coach, club or class that’ll work with that.

I’m uncomfortable wearing a swimsuit in public. This is a tough one, because while I know in my heart that fit bottoms come in every single shape and size, I also know that so many of us have a whole lotta feeeeelings around wearing a bathing suit. All I can offer you is this: You deserve to be there. You have the right to show up at the pool, get in a lane, and do your workout. Nobody’s workout — no matter how fit or fast they might seem — is more important than yours. NOBODY’S. If it helps, ask a friend to join you as you get in, even if they aren’t going to swim.

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Moral support is the bomb, yo.

Remember, the more you go, the more comfortable you’ll feel. And, my darling, nobody is judging you the way you’re judging you. Guaranteed.

Did you love to swim as a kid? What’s keeping you out of the pool as an adult? Even if you’re not sure you want to swim just yet, you can still get a heck of a water workout with these techniquesKristen



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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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Let’s Give Props to Yoga Props

When I attended my first yoga class, I made the same mistakes many newbies make — I compared myself to others, and judged myself for not being able to get into or hold poses that other people (who appeared to be less fit than I) seemed to do easily. I pushed, I forced, I … […]


When I attended my first yoga class, I made the same mistakes many newbies make — I compared myself to others, and judged myself for not being able to get into or hold poses that other people (who appeared to be less fit than I) seemed to do easily. I pushed, I forced, I … well, I felt really totally demoralized, and when the instructor came by with a strap and a couple of blocks, I took it as an insult.

Fast forward 20 years or so and … yeah, I’m well aware that this is not how yoga is supposed to go. And when it comes to props? Oh my gosh, give ’em all to me, please.

Yoga isn’t about winning. Sure, it feels good to finally nail a pose you’ve been working toward, especially some of those fun balance poses, but yoga is more about experiencing the practice than achieving a certain level. It’s not like you earn a certain color mat once you can hold Crow, you know? And that means that it’s far more important to move into and hold poses correctly than to force yourself into a pose for which your body isn’t ready.

And that’s why props are so great! A block or two (here are our fave ones to use) can allow you to execute poses like Triangle (Trikonasana) or Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) properly. A strap lets you experience Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) without sacrificing form — but oh, trust me, you will still get plenty of stretch. Using a pillow, bolster, or folded up mat allows those of us with tight hips to settle into Pigeon (Eka Pada) and receive the glorious benefits without engaging balancing muscles that really have no place in the pose.

Are you picking up on a theme in the words above? Allow, let, receive — isn’t that so much more in line with the goal of yoga than forcing? Let it be easy, yo!

I’ve been really lucky to take classes with a number of truly excellent teachers, and you know what all the best teachers seem to have in common? They encourage the use of props — for their students of all levels. Even the strongest, bendiest yogi has days when they feel a little stiff, a little sore, or just want to take it a little easier, and props make it easy to adjust your practice from day to day.

So, let’s all give some props to our yoga props, shall we? I think they’ve more than earned it.

What are your thoughts on props? Do you have some feelings you need to get over, too? —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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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Shoulders

Last week, I was in the mountains of Western Massachusetts at a yoga retreat center assisting my teacher Sage Rountree in some trainings for seven days. It was a dream come true, but also potentially nerve-wracking since I was less than a month out from my first CrossFit competition. I’d been to this facility in […]


Last week, I was in the mountains of Western Massachusetts at a yoga retreat center assisting my teacher Sage Rountree in some trainings for seven days. It was a dream come true, but also potentially nerve-wracking since I was less than a month out from my first CrossFit competition.

I’d been to this facility in the past so I knew that I’d be without my usual playground of barbells, kettlebells, and workout buddies. Uh huh — I’m a little spoiled. But what better time to test my workout creativity than this new challenge?

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Shoulders

Speaking of this upcoming competition, one of the lifts that we’ll be trying to max out at the event is the barbell strict press. I love this lift and do it often, but I’ve been stalled out at 95 pounds for a few months now. Being the problem-solver that I am, I’ve been brainstorming ways to get over that hump and finally break into the triple digits.

So I took this trip away from my comfort zone — to the land of no barbells — as an opportunity to mix up my training a bit and try a different approach. Armed with only dumbbells, I worked my shoulders hard and here’s what I realized: Dumbbell work is a super effective way to compliment your barbell training. Using dumbbells puts a different demand on your muscles, particularly the stabilizer muscles. So it adds a new layer of challenge, which will ultimately lead to new adaptations in muscle strength.

Also, dumbbells force both sides of your body to work equally. In life, we use each arm to perform different tasks. This, if left unchecked, leads to muscular imbalances that may contribute to shoulder injuries down the line. However, when you work with dumbbells, each side of your body must support an equal amount of weight and neither side can do the work of the other. The benefit is that those sneaky little imbalances are exposed and you’ve got a golden opportunity to work on correcting them.

In short, dumbbells can make you stronger when you pick up that barbell again — just what I needed. And guess what, shortly after I got home for the trip, I nailed that 100-pound strict press!

Here are the best dumbbell moves to keep your shoulders strong and healthy:

And if you’re jonesing for a kick-ass shoulder day, try this workout out:

Check this video out for all the exercise demos.

How do you like to give your shoulders some love? Share in the comments below! —Alison



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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

My friend, and fellow CrossFitter, Sam, recently went on a work trip that involved a hotel stay. When she arrived, she posted on her Instagram story a sweeping view of the hotel gym she had to work with for the length of her stay. Needless to say, it wasn’t her usual set-up … essentially, her […]


My friend, and fellow CrossFitter, Sam, recently went on a work trip that involved a hotel stay. When she arrived, she posted on her Instagram story a sweeping view of the hotel gym she had to work with for the length of her stay. Needless to say, it wasn’t her usual set-up … essentially, her options were a few pieces of cardio equipment and some dumbbells.

For those of us who are used to the convenience of having a full gym nearby that provides all the fitness (kettle)bells and whistles, this sort of situation can be somewhat disconcerting. But it certainly doesn’t have to be — it’s totally possible to get a great workout with just dumbbells.

With so much awesome fitness equipment out there, we’ve gotten a little away from the basics. Let’s breathe life back into this old faithful fitness friend, shall we?

In my last post, we covered the best dumbbell exercises for your chest. This time, we’re focusing in on your booty.

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

When it comes to working your glutes with dumbbells, there are some serious advantages. Dumbbells force you to stabilize differently than with a barbell. Because only one arm holds the weight, there tends to be more movement that your body is required to control through the full range of motion, translating to more functional strength.

Through combining dumbbells with single-leg work, you can also create more balance in your body because each side of your body has to be able to work independently. If each of your glutes can perform well solo, they’re better able to perform better in concert with each other.

So, without further delay, here are the best ways to boost your glutes using only dumbbells:

Put them into a workout and you got …

And if you want a visual of what each move looks like, check out this demo video.

What are your favorite dumbbell exercises to strengthen your booty? Share them in the comments. And check out our fave dumbbells here!Alison



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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.

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 improve your fitness. Gotta keep those muscles guessing!

via GIPHY

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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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Chest

It’s amazing to me how much fitness equipment is out there now. Just yesterday, I had a call with a start-up company that has designed a new piece of equipment which they’ve asked me to test drive. On one hand, I love all the enthusiasm and innovation in the fitness industry. On the other hand, […]


It’s amazing to me how much fitness equipment is out there now. Just yesterday, I had a call with a start-up company that has designed a new piece of equipment which they’ve asked me to test drive.

On one hand, I love all the enthusiasm and innovation in the fitness industry. On the other hand, it’s no wonder so many people feel lost and overwhelmed when it comes to working out.

If you like all the whiz-bang fitness gadgetry, no problem — and rock on with yo’ bad self. But if you feel completely bewildered by the huge number of options out there, listen up. If you’ve read my posts on this site before, you probably already know that I’m a huge fan of simplicity. So I’m revisiting the good ol’ dumbbells.

Over the next few weeks, I’m gonna give you the best dumbbell exercises — including a workout — for your every part of your body. Feel free to use each as individual workouts or mix and match them to get a total body workout.

The Best Dumbbell Exerises for Your Chest

My biggest complaint about working my pecs on chest day is that I need a spotter for the barbell when I bench press. Dumbbells are a great option for those days when I find myself at the gym without my trusty workout buddy, Liz.

Dumbbells provide a ton more ways to work your chest muscles than just your traditional bench press would and just by changing the grip (which you can’t do with a barbell) you can challenge those muscles in a completely different way. I used a box to lie back on but you could use anything really — a bench, a stability ball, etc.

So, without further delay, here are my favorite ways to strengthen my chest using only dumbbells:

Put them into a workout and you got …

And if you want a visual of what each move looks like, check out this demo video.

What are your favorite dumbbell chest exercises? Share them in the comments. And get our fave dumbbells here!Alison



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5 Signs of Exercise Addiction

I’m probably not the first to tell you that working out is fantastic and so good for you. We believe in it so much here at FBG that we’ve built an entire website around making exercise a bigger part of your life, maintaining your workout mojo, and finding new ways to work out. And if […]


I’m probably not the first to tell you that working out is fantastic and so good for you. We believe in it so much here at FBG that we’ve built an entire website around making exercise a bigger part of your life, maintaining your workout mojo, and finding new ways to work out. And if you’re like us, working out is truly the happiest hour (more or less) of your day.

For some people though, that love of exercise can quickly turn to an addiction, forming an unhealthy obsession with working out. Exercise addicts experience uncontrollable urges to exercise to the point of excess, where other aspects of their lives take a back seat.

And in this time where people seem to be getting more and more sedentary, exercise addiction might sound like a good problem to have. But it’s a serious condition that can cause significant psychological and physical damage.

At its core, exercise addiction is an addiction to endorphins and dopamine released by the body during exercise. An addict essentially gets hooked on the high that comes from working out — a high that fades once the workout is over — so these individuals feel compelled to keep exercising constantly in order to keep experiencing that high. For someone who is addicted, that high will get prioritized over every other aspect in her life and ultimately becomes more important than her relationships, responsibilities, and overall health.

On other words, it’s serious business. The bottom line is that too much of a good thing isn’t balance. There comes a point when an obsession with working out will throw your whole life out of whack. So it’s critical that we learn to recognize these tell-tale signs of exercise addiction.

5 Signs of Exercise Addiction

1. Your workouts or training interfere with your relationships. This goes beyond friends or family giving you a little crap about how much you work out. The problem is when working out actually alienates you from those around you. You might consistently skip social activities/events or family obligations in flavor of working out. You might even start to resent anyone who makes you feel guilty about working out or tries to interfere with you getting more. Red flags should go up if the importance you place on training or the amount of time you spend working out is a constant bone of contention or causes your relationships to suffer.

2. Your workouts or training interfere with your responsibilities. If your workouts or training get longer (and I don’t mean like your long runs for marathons training get predictably longer every week) and you still can’t get enough, it’s an issue. And just like other addictions, over time it’ll take more and more exercise to get that same sense of satisfaction that you’re looking for. You may find yourself prioritizing your workouts over work or — worse yet — over sleep making it impossible to perform tasks around the house and causing your work or school performance to suffer. Excessive amounts spent on gym memberships or fitness equipment may make it impossible to pay your other bills.

3. Your workouts or training are prioritized above your health and well-being. Most of us start working out as a means of improving our overall health and well-being. But when your workout is more important to you than actually taking care of yourself — say like when you’re sick, hurt, exhausted, or burnt out — it’s time to reconsider. And while exercise is known to be an effectively strategy to combat feelings of depression, if the only times you feel good are when you’re exercising or immediately after, it’s time to consider whether working out is really helping you or just feeding your addiction. Anytime you find yourself engaging in a behavior that is directly or indirectly causing you physical or emotional harm, it’s time to seek help.

4. Your workouts or training aren’t yielding a higher level of performance. The great paradox with exercise addiction is that performance is not commensurate with the time spent training. An addict favors quantity and when all you care about is getting more workout time in, your performance will suffer. Unlike a well-balanced training program that involves periods of rest and recovery, an addict will try to go hard all the time and will have difficulty scaling back.

5. Your workouts or training are tied to your self-worth. Look, having physique or fitness goals isn’t inherently bad. The problem begins when you attach your self-worth to these goals. An addict loses perspective of their overall worth and tends to only see their worth in terms of the gains she makes (or doesn’t make) in the gym. And when gains slow or cease, self-esteem goes down the drain and it will manifest as self-hatred, disgust, anger, depression or agitation at the thought of missing a workout.

An important distinction to make here is that is has less to do with the amount of time you spend working out and more about the intent behind your workouts and how much importance you place on it relative to the rest of your life. For most of us FBGs, fitness is a form of self-love … and rightfully so. But when the need for more and more fitness overtakes all other priorities in your life, well, that’s NOT self-care or balanced living.

If any of this sounds like you or someone you know, find a counselor to speak to. Remember that exercise should have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, not destroy it.

Have you ever struggled with exercise addiction? What resources did you find helpful to break away from it? —Alison



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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?

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 GIPHY

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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How Our Own Breakthroughs Are Going …

You guys remember this post? via GIPHY The one where we shared the different areas of your life that you can have a breakthrough in — and how the gym can actually help you get there? via GIPHY Well, we’re back today with a personal update on how our career breakthrough is going by getting […]


You guys remember this post?

via GIPHY

The one where we shared the different areas of your life that you can have a breakthrough in — and how the gym can actually help you get there?

via GIPHY

Well, we’re back today with a personal update on how our career breakthrough is going by getting Zen Barre certified (they offered us the chance to do it and we jumped at it!). Because, yep, we practice what we preach!

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Jenn’s Update & Workout Realization

So, I’ve been doing similar-type workouts for a long time now. Pretty much HIIT, running and CrossFit-style workouts. And they’ve done amazing things for my body, my fitness, my confidence and even my flexibility. But you know what I’ve been noticing now that I’ve been going through the online Zen Barre certification process and doing more barre workouts?

ALL THOSE TINY MUSCLES.

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Even though I’ve been regularly pushing myself at the gym, by actually slowing things down and really focusing in on some of those smaller supporting muscles I feel like I’ve taken things to another level — another more mindful and more aligned level. Because the one thing you can’t do in Zen Barre? Zone out or push through. It’s all about intention, control and that mind-body connection.

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I’m about halfway through the certification process and I can’t wait to see what else is to come. Talk about exciting!

Kristen’s Update & New Focus

It’s no secret that I want to be Wonder Woman, and generally, when I’m doing a tough workout (running, lifting heavy weights, etc.), my thought process is basically that Wonder Woman wouldn’t quit, and neither will I.

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However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, all that Amazonian training has been off the table for, well, close to two months now due to an injury. But the idea of just … not doing something that challenges me? Unthinkable. So having the opportunity to really focus on barre— which leads to many shaky, sore muscles but without the larger movements that I can’t currently do — has been amazing.

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Seriously, it’s so, so welcome. The timing couldn’t have been better.

I’ve always had a decent knack for workouts that involve smaller, targeted movements and lots of core — like Pilates — and getting certified as a Zen Barre instructor was just the nudge I needed to get back into that kind of low-impact exercise. And you’ll notice I said “low-impact,” not “easy” — and that’s on purpose. Just because a movement is slight doesn’t mean it’s not effective, and my sore glutes (and abs, and quads) are proof.

I’ve been hitting my local barre studio, partly as preparation for my Zen Barre certification, but also because, guys, it’s way more fun than I’d remembered. It takes a little getting used to, because when you’re using light weights for loads of small movements, ev-er-y-thing about each move matters, and there’s definitely a learning curve involved. But I’m picking up on it quickly and find myself looking very much forward to both my in person classes and my Zen Barre instructor certification training.

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Speaking of the certification, let me add that I’m nearly finished with the classes and tests — just prepping for the final exam now! And it’s been really illuminating. Even though I’m doing the coursework from home, I have access to videos of sample classes, which is super helpful because Zen Barre has a very specific format incorporating elements of ballet, yoga and Pilates with strength work targeting upper and lower body, and there’s not a Zen Barre studio near me (yet, anyway). Basically, they make it possible to learn allll about it, even if you don’t have the opportunity to attend a Zen Barre class during your certification. As someone who’s traveled far for some in-person trainings … let me just say I’m a big fan.

And, guys, you didn’t miss our 10-minute Zen Barre workout here did you? No equipment needed! Oh, and if you want to join us and get Zen Barre certified, too, you can actually save 20 percent with the code “fitbottomedgirls” here! —Jenn & Kristen



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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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A Workout From the Bench

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been on the bench. I’m on the injured reserve. I’m showing up in street clothes to the big game. And, obviously, I am not thrilled. via GIPHY (Accurate AF, Julia. You truly get me.) I managed to separate my pelvis at the gym — how exactly, I don’t know, and no, I’m […]


Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been on the bench. I’m on the injured reserve. I’m showing up in street clothes to the big game.

And, obviously, I am not thrilled.

via GIPHY

(Accurate AF, Julia. You truly get me.)

I managed to separate my pelvis at the gym — how exactly, I don’t know, and no, I’m not pregnant (even though, as Erin learned a few years back, it’s a common injury for women who are expecting because your hormones are relaxing all your ligaments and tendons and stuff). I can legitimately say that it’s the most severe pain I’ve ever experienced, and although my chiropractor quickly moved things back into place, plenty of damage was done. Recovery is similar to what you’d do for a bad ankle sprain — rest, ice, gentle movements to keep it loose, and time.

However, it’s worth noting that the seemingly gentle, easy exercises I’m doing are … well, my booty is sore! And yes, I’m coming at this from a less fit place than usual, but I figured it was worth sharing what I’ve been up to because we all get injured from time to time, and it’s nice to find something that gives us a bit of a burn, right? So the following is a workout that incorporates some movements that don’t seem to bother me, plus a few of my physical therapy exercises.

(As always, it’s best to warm up first — do what works well for you and feels good, using caution if you’re injured! If it feels good to do more, go for it, and if you need to cut back on reps or time, that’s fine. When you’re trying to recover, listening to your body is key.)

It’s almost funny to look at this compared to other workouts I’ve done and loved, because I truly enjoy pushing my limits and feeling badass and strong. But I never want to experience that pain again if I can help it, so if the experts say give it time, that’s what I’m going to do. And I hope that by sharing this here, it’ll be a good reminder to a few of my fellow badass workout pals that going all out isn’t always the quickest road to your strongest self — sometimes you’ve gotta take it slow and easy in order to get back to where you want to be!

Anybody got a “road to recovery” story they’d like to tell? Maybe something about coming back and being better than ever, or lessons learned? —Kristen



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5 Tricks Ultrarunners Use

If you’re looking to log some big miles this year, today’s guest post from Dave Essinger is one you can’t miss. He’s sharing the tips and tricks that he and other ultrarunners use to run far, train hard, and stick with it even when it’s beyond challenging. Dave’s new novel about ultrarunning, Running Out, is available […]


If you’re looking to log some big miles this year, today’s guest post from Dave Essinger is one you can’t miss. He’s sharing the tips and tricks that he and other ultrarunners use to run far, train hard, and stick with it even when it’s beyond challenging. Dave’s new novel about ultrarunning, Running Out, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing Company. See more at www.dave-essinger.com.

As someone who runs absurdly long distances for competition or fun, I’ve given a lot of thought to what keeps us going when a workout gets difficult, whether it’s a few easy miles on a day you’re just not feeling it, or a race through a hundred miles of mud. In my recent novel Running Out, when my protagonist is stranded in the remote wilderness of northern Quebec, I’ve tried to explore just how far an ideally trained and extremely motivated individual is physically and mentally capable of pushing themselves.

Most of us, though, aren’t running because we have to, or in such dire circumstances; we’re doing it on purpose, by choice, and because it’s something we tell ourselves we want to do. It’s no secret, though, that most workouts and races are not fun and easy all through, no matter who you are or how well-trained, whether you’re gunning up to finish your local 5k, or Shalane Flanagan killin’ it in the New York Marathon.

So what tricks do experienced runners use to keep themselves moving?

Limit your options for quitting.

Kimberly Durst, a multiple finisher of the Vol State 500k ultramarathon — it’s a road race across the state of Tennessee, the long way — has told herself, “If nobody can scrape my carcass off the road until tomorrow, I might as well run all night.” On a smaller scale, if we set ourselves up with limited options to quit on a workout — an out-and-back course, for example, that’s half as far out as we want to cover — then we can plan and take into account our lulls of motivation, when we’d bail if we’d didn’t have X miles to go.

Bring someone you can’t let down.

Other runners bring loved ones to the finish line. Runner Aneta Zeppettella, race director of the Broken Toe 50k and the Dog Gone Long Run in southern Ohio, says, “my 11 year old daughter was waiting for me at the finish line wearing her ‘Strong Like Mom’ shirt. How can you quit?”

Break it up.

Many runners will break a race or workout into tiny, achievable parts. No one goes into a 100-mile race thinking about the entire race. Accomplished ultrarunner Seth Chin-Parker practices “localized optimism.” He says, “You can’t go in thinking ‘I am going to run 100 miles so fast.’ Instead, get through the race by focusing on what you can do… Stay positive. Focus on the immediate.” This is a principle that works on any scale: if the next mile feels daunting and far, just run to the next tree or telephone pole. Then, sight in on the next one.

Think of your “sweat equity.”

By the time you’re tired, you’ve invested a lot of energy already, and quitting partway in means you’d have to repeat all that work just to get back where you are now. Derek Tinnin, who runs the Order of Ultra group online, tells himself during long races, “If I stop here, I have an entire year to think about it, and then run all that again just to get back to this exact same spot.”

“Suffer forward.”

Jessica Croisant, who blogs and podcasts at Sugarstride, argues that if it’s going to hurt anyway, you might as well keep moving. “It’s going to hurt. Not if but when. When it does, I tell myself to keep going. You can suffer slowly or you can suffer forward. Suffer forward and make your pain productive.”

And that’s what we’re out there for, right?  Making our pain productive, achieving something we wanted to do, whether it’s covering one mile or one hundred?

Durst — the first runner quoted above — adds, “Nobody fetched my carcass. I ran all night, and decided if I’d gone 157 miles I might as well go the other 157,” illustrating that we all rely on the same kinds of tricks, whether we’re going 5k or 500k.

What tricks do you use to run farther — or are these all new to you? —Dave Essinger



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5 Mistakes to Avoid to Get Your First Pull-Up

The strict pull-up … it’s the holy grail of bodyweight exercises. More and more women are adding them to their fitness goals and for good reason — pull-ups do great things for your posture and they’re super empowering. The problem is we’re not really sure how to get there. It’s not a movement that we’ve […]


The strict pull-up … it’s the holy grail of bodyweight exercises. More and more women are adding them to their fitness goals and for good reason — pull-ups do great things for your posture and they’re super empowering.

The problem is we’re not really sure how to get there. It’s not a movement that we’ve grown up with the way our male counterparts did. Our first attempts often involve gripping the bar, pulling with all our might, and then getting frustrated when we go nowhere.

But rest assured, it is possible to get there with focused work and a few adjustments.

The Reasons Why You’re Still Struggling with Pull-Ups

1. You don’t use your core. You might have been under the impression that pull-ups are a back and upper-body exercise but they’re actually a whole-body exercise. Everything must be tight and turned on, especially your core. Without your core, your arms are pulling dead weight … good luck with that. I see so many people attempting pull-ups with their knees bent — and they struggle and struggle and struggle. Bending your knees is keeping you from really engaging your core enough to help your poor arms out.

The Solution: Be in a hollow body position while you’re hanging from the bar. Either cross your feet at the ankles and squeeze your legs together or skip the cross and just squeeze those thighs together like you mean it. Think about zipping up the center line of your body and stay tight the whole way up and down. Practice on the floor by doing Hollow Body Holds and Dead Bugs.

2. You don’t activate your lats enough. Most of us live a forward-oriented life which causes our upper back and shoulders to round forward for most of what we do during our days. This position leaves our lats overstretched and weak, which makes it difficult to turn them on when we want to use them. Activating doesn’t sound as sexy as strengthening but, trust me, it’s way sexier (and critical) because you can’t have strength without activation.

The Solution: Work on actively turning on and using your lats. Try Ring Rows and Inverted Rows. Also, spend time working with Face Pulls, Resistance Band Pull Aparts, and Barbell Rows (check those out below). Focus on engaging the larger muscles of your back to initiate the movement.

3. You only ever use band assistance. This is the most common mistake I see. The first few inches of pulling from the hang position (the bottom of the movement) are the hardest. So many people turn to bands for a boost because bands provide the most assistance at the bottom of the movement (since tension on the band increases as it’s stretched away from the anchor point). For this reason, bands aren’t very effective at getting you strength there at the bottom where you need it most.

The Solution: While band-assisted pull-ups certainly have their place, don’t only do them. Mix it up and try:

  • Scap Pull-Ups (aka Lat Pulls): Grip the bar with your arms fully extended. Without bending your elbows, squeeze your shoulder blades together on your back. Hold there for several seconds at the top, then release and repeat.
  • Flexed-Arm Hangs: Use a step to grip the bar with your chin over the bar and hold there by squeezing your back muscles (not by scrunching up through your shoulders) while maintaining the hollow body position.
  • Slow Negatives: Either use a step or jump to get your chin over the bar then slowly lower yourself all the way until your arms are fully extended. Try not to just bail out toward the bottom where it gets hard — fight through those last few inches so that you build up the strength there at the bottom.

4. You don’t let yourself struggle. Often we get hung up by thinking that in order to get stronger, we need to be doing sets of 10-12 reps — which forces us to pick an assistance option where that higher number of reps is possible.

The Solution: Instead, try different rep schemes like 5 sets of 3-5 reps resting 2 minutes between sets. Go with options that are more challenging and do more sets (higher volume) of less reps. You should be able to complete all reps with good form but the last one or two should be very challenging. Let yourself struggle a little.

5. You don’t do enough pull-ups. Spoiler alert … in order to get better at pull-ups, you need to do more pull-ups. Seriously, you’ve got to work on them a lot. The more consistent you are, the faster you’ll get there.

The Solution: Try committing to 30 minutes of pull-up accessory work three days per week. If you’re serious about nailing that first one prioritize it, commit, and make it happen.

Do you have pull-up goals? —Alison



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2018 Workout: 18 Moves, 18 Reps

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


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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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



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Friends With Workout Benefits

Everything is better with friends. Including workouts. Not only do buds make workouts more fun, but also — not matter what type of workout you do together — they give you a better workout. Check out the infographic below from Woodside Health and Tennis Club to see why that is! Who are your best workout buds […]


Everything is better with friends. Including workouts.

Not only do buds make workouts more fun, but also — not matter what type of workout you do together — they give you a better workout. Check out the infographic below from Woodside Health and Tennis Club to see why that is!

Who are your best workout buds and what are your fave workouts to do with them? Shout out to all these ladies whom I love to do burpees — or really anything active — with! —Jenn



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5 Ways to Upgrade Your Next Workout

Ever been on a flight and randomly gotten upgraded and said, “No thanks. I’ll go ahead and stay in coach”? Yeah, us neither. via GIPHY Which is why today we’re upgrading your next workout in five fun ways. via GIPHY (Sorry, we don’t have much clout with the airlines, but if we could we’d upgrade […]


Ever been on a flight and randomly gotten upgraded and said, “No thanks. I’ll go ahead and stay in coach”?

Yeah, us neither.

via GIPHY

Which is why today we’re upgrading your next workout in five fun ways.

via GIPHY

(Sorry, we don’t have much clout with the airlines, but if we could we’d upgrade you there all the time, too!)

Upgrade Your Intensity

You’ve heard of HIIT and probably know the results it can get, but are you doing it right, really? An easy way to track if you are or not is with a simple heart rate monitor. There are tons of them out there (although we just were sent the Nokia Steel HR for a sponsored campaign and it was AWESOME — so simple to use and looks more like a pretty watch than your usual fitness tracker), and they’re a great way to see if you’re truly getting up in that 80-plus percentage range of your maximum heart rate.

Another option is to take a class like Orangetheory Fitness, which actually tracks your heart rate during the class and helps you to get in the right zones.

And, if those options aren’t right for you, don’t discount the rate of perceived exertion! Basically, to truly do HIIT, you need to be working so hard that you can’t say much — and then recover back down so that you can chat before you push hard into another interval again. (We’ve got tons of HIIT workouts to try here.)

No matter how you do it, changing your intensity can be a great way to get results. (And remember, as you get fitter, you’ll likely need to switch things up or make them harder in order to truly challenge yourself.) Oh, and if you always go hard, try slowing it down for other perks.

Upgrade Your Hydration

We love water. We love water with lemon. And lime. And berries. And orange. And pizza (just kidding).

And water is great. But for really sweaty or long workouts or when we just can’t seem to get fully hydrated even though we’re drinking all the water (hello, jet lag), we also really, really dig Liquid I.V.

The name sounds a little clinical, but it’s basically a clean (no preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, gluten, dairy or  soy) powdered drink mix with electrolytes. It tastes  great (with half the sugar and calories of most sports drinks) and adding one packet to 16 ounces of water has the same effect as drinking two to three glasses of water because you absorb it better. Cool, eh?

Upgrade Your Recovery

In a lot of ways, your next workout is only as good as the recovery from your last workout was. Hydration, sleep, protein and proper nutrition are obviously key to recovering well, but so is the pain that hurts so good: foam rolling. We’ve reviewed tons of foam rollers over the years, but one that we’re currently digging on (or cursing at) is the Sissel Myofascial Roller.

It’s not the most dense foam roller we’ve ever been on (this is), but it definitely digs in to those muscles deeply and we love how ergonomic it is. Plus, notice how it has place for your hands to hold built straight into it. Brilliant!

Upgrade Your Mindset

What thoughts are you thinking before, during and after your workout? What thoughts are you thinking about your body? Your performance? Your life? What thoughts are you thinking about YOU? In order to reach your full potential in and out of the gym, the right mindset is essential. And in case you need a little help getting there, we created the Fit Bottomed Reset Email Course just for you. It’s totally free and totally waiting for ya to take it here.

Another resource we love for getting your mind and body healthy is the 10 in 4 Challenge, our weight-loss with self love program. Get deets on it here now.

Upgrade Your Weights

How heavy are you lifting these days? Have you moved past doing modifications of certain moves, like push-ups on your knees? You know how the saying goes: if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you. So get challenged!

That may mean trying strength training for the first time. Or reducing the number of push-ups you can do but doing them all on your toes this time. Or picking up a barbell. Or investing in some awesome strength training gear for your home (here’s our fave stuff!). Or doing a new workout (we recommend this one to go heavy.) Whatever it is, do it for an instant workout upgrade.

Did you try one? How did it change your workout? —Jenn



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

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


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

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

10-Minute Zen Barre Workout

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



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5 Ways to Keep Your Energy Up When an Injury Keeps You From Exercise

If you’re committed to a regular workouts to keep both your mood and energy up, you may be in for a rude awakening when an injury slows you down. Aside from the frustration of not being able to do your workout, you may sink into a state of lethargy from not frequently moving your body. […]


If you’re committed to a regular workouts to keep both your mood and energy up, you may be in for a rude awakening when an injury slows you down.

Aside from the frustration of not being able to do your workout, you may sink into a state of lethargy from not frequently moving your body.

To keep that lethargy from becoming your new normal, it’s wise to engage in other activities that feed your mind, body and spirit the same way that your exercise routine does, but without aggravating your injury.

Here are five ways to keep your energy up when an injury has got you down.

1. Play Music

Put on a song, but not just any song. Choose something that speaks to you directly so it will impact your mood. Studies have shown that listening to music releases a mood-enhancing chemical in the brain, so you may experience something similar to a  runner’s high when you pop on your favorite Stevie Wonder tune. Add a little movement while you listen, and you just may find yourself dancing — another excellent way to keep your energy up.

2. Eat Clean

If you’re unable to work out regularly, sticking to a healthy eating plan will help you feel better. Eating junk will not only make you susceptible to weight gain, it will also trigger mood swings and energy crashes. While you don’t have to restrict yourself to the point of dissatisfaction every time you eat, you do want to make healthy choices most of the time so that your meals provide nourishment and energy.

3. Meditate

Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, sitting still in meditation allows your mind and body to relax, which restores your well-being. By focusing on your breath and allowing your thoughts to calm, your nervous system resets in a way that is similar to taking a nap. And don’t worry if your thoughts never calm; the act of simply sitting will still boost your energy.

4. Take a Walk

While sneaking in a walk by parking far from your destination or taking the stairs instead of the elevator is always a good idea, you’ll experience even more benefits when you make walking a part of your routine. You may notice that by strolling outside you inspire more creativity in your life as it provides the space you need to clear your head. And now with temperatures dropping, the brisk air will serve as a major wake-up.

5. Exercise

Depending on where you’re injured, you may still be able to participate in a modified workout by focusing on the areas that aren’t hurt. This means if you’re suffering from a twisted ankle, try an activity that you can do seated or lying down (like Pilates) so there’s no pressure on your ankle. You could also do upper-body weight training (like this workout). The point is to keep your blood flowing and to move your body regularly because this ultimately will keep your energy up.

How do you keep your energy up when you can’t do your regular workout? —Elysha



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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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5k Pace Track Workout

I have loads of friends who are strong runners who don’t bat an eye at training for a half marathon (or something even longer) — but they hate doing speedwork. Now, I find this fascinating because I find the longer runs and clocking of major miles to be a drag, but hitting the track to […]


I have loads of friends who are strong runners who don’t bat an eye at training for a half marathon (or something even longer) — but they hate doing speedwork. Now, I find this fascinating because I find the longer runs and clocking of major miles to be a drag, but hitting the track to knock out some hard, fast intervals? I’ll join you any time.

To each, his or her own, right?

Of course, you can technically do speedwork anywhere, just so long as you can clock distance and time. However, the track is my go-to. I prefer it to an outdoor straightaway because I like to be able to gauge how far I’ve gone and how much is left when I’m working at a specific pace. And, although you certainly can use a treadmill for this, that approach has a different mental aspect because it’s not your body setting the pace, but a machine (and your body just has to keep up).

Anyway, since I’ve dedicated this year to focusing on shorter races and improving my 5k time, the track has become especially important in my training. And now that temperatures are dropping, I’m finding my pace is picking up naturally — so I’m really excited to see what my splits look like when we get well into our Florida winter!

Here’s one I did with my track club recently. And, as a quick refresher for those of you who haven’t been on a track in a while: 400m = 1 lap on a standard track, so 1200m = 3 laps, 800m = 2 laps.

As written, this workout gets you a little over 4 miles. If you’re looking for more, add an extra 1200m in before the second 800m effort. Need less? Cut the distances in half, reduce the intensity, or increase your recovery. Listen to your body and push hard — but maintain good form. No workout is worth developing an injury!

5k Pace Track Workout

Do the following one time through with a 400m or 1:30-2 minute recovery between each hard effort. If your recovery pace doesn’t get you anywhere near 400m within 2 minutes, go with time rather than distance.

  • 1 mile easy warm up
  • 1200m @ goal 5k pace
  • 800m @ goal 5k pace
  • 400m @ goal 5k pace
  • 800m @ a few seconds faster than goal 5k pace
  • 400m @ a few seconds faster than goal 5k pace
  • 1 mile cool down (reverse direction on the track if possible)

I found this workout to be a tough one — but it was also a confidence builder, because I was able to hit my paces on every interval. Maybe that means I should speed it up, huh?

Do you prefer a long, slow run or speedwork? I know there’s a time and place for both, but we all know where my heart lands. Kristen



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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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6 Creative Ways to Get Your Workout on While Traveling

Ever feel like it’s impossible to get your workout on while traveling? There’s packing (did I forget something?), getting to where you need to be on time, delays, outings, social gatherings, food temptations (I mean you’re on vacation, right?), among many things. With so much working against you, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s […]


Ever feel like it’s impossible to get your workout on while traveling? There’s packing (did I forget something?), getting to where you need to be on time, delays, outings, social gatherings, food temptations (I mean you’re on vacation, right?), among many things. With so much working against you, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important — taking time for yourself.

Whether at home or on the go, make yourself a priority. It’s a choice you need to make to research the resources available and put in the effort. Don’t know where to start? Check out these creative ways to get in your workout while traveling.

6 Creative Ways to Get Your Workout on While Traveling

1. Be picky where you stay. You (and your pocketbook) are in control of where you stay. Most hotels have some sort of a gym. Make sure that you’re filtering your search criteria based on accommodations that offer a workout facility. It doesn’t have to be the most glamorous gym. Most hotel gyms aren’t, especially if you’re on a budget. But don’t let a small outdated gym discourage you from reaching your goals. Make the most of what’s available. Something is always better than nothing.

2. Check out the local gym scene. Many gyms offer reasonably priced day passes. Some even let you join in on group classes (which may or may not require a drop-in fee). Don’t have a car? That’s okay! Hail a taxi, grab an Uber or hop on local transit.

3. Pack that running gear. Running, although physically challenging, is one of the simplest ways to work out while traveling, not to mention, it’s a GREAT way to explore new places. Packing your kicks and an extra outfit won’t take up too much space. Try rolling your clothes instead of folding. It makes a world of difference. Still a tight squeeze? Ask yourself what you can live without. Do you really need that extra pair of heels?

4. Set up a circuit. Not comfortable venturing out in a new place by yourself? Don’t! Set up a circuit where you’re staying. Hit the parking lot (who cares that people can see you!) or grassy area, grab sticks or rocks for markers, space them a good distance apart and run from one to the other doing an assortment of moves in between (jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, burpees, step-ups on a curb, bear crawls, etc.).

5. Make the most of that computer you’re lugging around. I get it — sometimes we just don’t want to leave the hotel room. Heck, most days I don’t even want to get out of my pajamas. You don’t have to! You can get an internet connection just about anywhere. Boot up the computer, navigate to YouTube and find a workout video that meets your needs (we’ve got some great ones!). Staying in the boonies and not sure if you’ll be able to find a connection? Pack a workout DVD and pop it in your laptop or download a video on your tablet before hitting the road. Enjoy working out in the luxury of your own room and top it off with room service if you like.

6. Make the airport your own personal walking track. Stuck in the airport? Two-hour layover and not sure what to do with your time? It’s way too easy to sit around and munch on all of that ridiculously priced airport food while waiting for your flight. Don’t be a victim! Get up, get your walking shoes on and make your rounds. Luggage in tow? No problem. Consider that carry-on a bonus weight to your workout. Think ahead and consider your situation (although not always expected) so you don’t over-pack. Pack smart and no matter the situation, you’ll be ready.

What’s your favorite travel workout? —Nichole



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