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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?

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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?

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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.

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(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.

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

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

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

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



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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.

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

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(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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Running Through reputation

Taylor Swift just dropped her sixth studio album, reputation, and I kid you not, as an avid Taylor Swift fan, my thoughts went straight to exercise upon first listen. This album is FULL OF JAMS. There aren’t many songs in the world that legitimately make me think, “I would love to run on a treadmill to this,” […]


Taylor Swift just dropped her sixth studio album, reputation, and I kid you not, as an avid Taylor Swift fan, my thoughts went straight to exercise upon first listen. This album is FULL OF JAMS. There aren’t many songs in the world that legitimately make me think, “I would love to run on a treadmill to this,” but many reputation tracks did exactly that.

So I used that inspiration the most logical way: I hopped on a treadmill and made a track-by-track interval workout for all of you who feel the same way I do. If you can’t contain yourself grooving to this new album, this is the workout for you. Or if you’ve never heard the album or even if you don’t like Taylor Swift music. I mean, haven’t you heard? The Old Taylor is dead. And New Taylor brings some serious jamz.

Quick note: This works best if you have a treadmill with the capability to quickly switch between speeds. You can definitely control the speed using the up/down arrows, but you’ll only have a few transition seconds each time. No big deal. I did it that way, but the quick settings would be optimal. This could also totally work outdoors or even on an elliptical or bike — or anything really. Just estimate your speed and do what feels right.

reputation, Track by Track

1. … Ready For It? (3:28) — Strong start: I recommend getting a slight walking warmup in before this track starts. Set your treadmill to 0.5% incline. Get yourself situated on the treadmill and get your headphones all in place and everything, because this one is upbeat from the beginning. If you’re up for it, jump right in at about 7 mph. Feel your stride syncing up with the beat. Take the last minute or so down to a walk, 3.5-4 mph.

2. End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran & Future) (4:05) — Slow run: Increase the incline to 1.5%. Maintain your walk until Future’s verse starts, then take it up to 6-6.5 mph. Stay steady throughout the song. Again, feel yourself syncing your stride to the beat. Enjoy Ed Sheeran. Think about how silly the line “I swear I don’t love the drama; it loves me” is. Take it in. Walk at the end if you need.

3. I Did Something Bad (3:59) — Fast: Keep your walk (3.5-4 mph) going until the beat picks up, about 0:45 in. Pick your pace up to 7 mph. Lengthen your stride. Take it to your fastest comfortable speed (7.5-8 mph) at 2:00. Hold that until the end of the chorus, about 2:30, then walk it during this “light me up” phase. Take it to just below your fastest comfortable speed for the last minute of the song.

4. Don’t Blame Me (3:56) — Long, slow run: Walk through the first verse, 1:00. As soon as the chorus starts, take your speed up to 6 mph. At the second chorus, 2:10, take it up a notch, 6.5-7 mph. You’ll think you want to slow down for a second, but you don’t. Just lengthen your stride and take some deep breaths because you want to keep up the pace for the last round of chorus. A break is near! Keep it going!

5. Delicate (3:52) — Elective, slow: Depending on how you’re feeling at this point in the workout, you can take it down to a walk here for the whole song or some combination of walking and a slow jog. The important thing here is to get your heart rate back down to about 130 or less after taking it up for so long on the last jam. No shame in taking a nice breather here. You’re delicate. If you’re on a tight schedule, you can skip all or some of this song. (Sorry, Swifties — it’s good and everything, but, priorities!)

6. Look What You Made Me Do (3:32) — Mid-pace run: When the beat starts, take it back to a jog. Match your pace to the beat, about 6.5 mph. Kick it up to about 7 mph at the pre-chorus, 0:45. Lengthen your stride when the beat slows down to maintain your pace and syncopation. If you’ve had enough, you can walk 2:15 – 3:00 (when the Old Taylor is dead). Jog it out until the end.

7. So It Goes… (3:48) — Elective 2, slow: Walk. This is another one to skip if you’re short on time. Increase your pace to a 6.5 mph jog on the choruses if you’re going that route.

8. Gorgeous (3:30) — Mid-pace run: Listen and appreciate the lyrics, and think about how gorgeous you are as you maintain a 6-7 mph jog for the whole song.

9. Getaway Car (3:54) — Quick changes, fast: Start off walking. Start to pick it up at the pre-chorus, hitting a full run when the chorus starts at 0:35. Imagine you’re escaping something like the characters in the song. Back to a walk for the verse at 1:10. Full run starting again at 1:45. Sneak in a 30-second walk once more before the final choruses, whenever you think it’s time.

10. King Of My Heart (3:34) — Quick changes, fast: You can walk in the beginning, but as soon as the beat drops, take it up to as fast as you feel comfortable. Let’s this banger drive your steps. Try to hold back from any dangerous dance moves on the treadmill. Walk when the verse starts if you need, but pick it back up at the bridge. Repeat. Enjoy.

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied (3:32) — Mid-pace run: Walk as long as you need for your heart rate to come down some, or until 1:00. Take it up to about 6.5 mph with a long stride. Sneak in a walk 2:25 – 2:50 if you need. Pick it back up at the end for those serious ’80s vibes.

12. Dress (3:49) — Elective 3, slow: You can walk as much or as little as you want during this. While the song is a long awaited gem, it doesn’t provide a beat as strong as the some of the others. Skippable if you’re in a time crunch on the treadmill. You might be able to figure out a different kind of workout for this song… at home.

13. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (3:27) — Mid-pace run: Settle into a nice 6.5-7.5 mph run from the start. Get into the groove of the chorus. Revel in the pettiness. Appreciate that your life isn’t filled with such drama (probably!? But hey, shoutout to you if you have Kanye drama.)

14. Call It What You Want (3:23) — Slow run: Slow it down. This is your last effort in your workout. If you’ve got some gas left, stick with a 6 mph jog. Jog as much as you can, alternating with walking as necessary.

15. New Year’s Day (3:56) — Cool down: Walk. It. Out. Congrats. That’s about an hour’s worth of exercise, and it totally just flew by, right!? All that fidgeting with the pace (and, if you’re like me, your Bluetooth headphones!) made it seem like no time at all, riiight?

What’s your favorite album to run to? I seriously can’t wait to get back on the treadmill to do it again.Megan



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6 Moves for Enviably Strong Arms

I love my arms. And (clearly) I’m not afraid to say it because I work really hard for them. But it’s not just the way they look — I love how freaking strong they are. When I first started working in the fitness industry, I was told my arms were too muscular on several occasions […]


I love my arms. And (clearly) I’m not afraid to say it because I work really hard for them. But it’s not just the way they look — I love how freaking strong they are.

When I first started working in the fitness industry, I was told my arms were too muscular on several occasions (as if that’s an actual thing). Now, times they are a changing. And thank goodness for that. I love to see that strong women are getting the positive attention they deserve.

I believe we all have the right to be anything we want to be. Each of us has the right to train our bodies to in a way that makes us happy. And you know what makes me happy? My big, strong arms.

So today I’m sharing with you my big six moves for a super strong upper body. These secret weapon exercises will get your arms working in all directions to build functional strength on all planes of movement — which means you’ll not only look strong, you’ll actually be strong.

The key is consistency and increasing resistance. I cannot stress this enough: don’t be afraid to go heavy. You’ve gotta challenge those muscles if you want them to grow.

How Many Reps?

Always start with a good warm-up.

When working with the barbell, do a set or two of 10 reps with a light weight (recommend 50 percent of your one-rep max, if you know it). From there, gradually build — increasing the weight by 5 percent every round until you can no longer complete the full set with good form.

Also, I recommend mixing up the rep counts you use. Sometimes I do sets of 10 (lighter weight), other times I do sets of 3 or 5 (more weight), and about once a every four to six weeks, I go for a one-rep max (lots of weight).

My Big Six for Enviably Strong Arms

1. Resistance Band Pull Aparts. Hold a resistance band out in front of you at chest height with your hands shoulder-width distance apart, palms facing down. Fully extend your arms extended. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the band apart with control. Slowly return to start position.

2. Shoulder Press. Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Grip the barbell in front of your shoulders with your hands just outside your shoulders. Engage your core and tighten up your belly. Drive through your heels and press the bar straight up until your arms are fully extended overhead with the bar over the center of the body. Lower the bar with soft knees and hips to absorb the shock.

3. Pull-ups. Grip the bar just outside of your shoulders, palms facing away from you. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your feet slightly out in front of your body, legs straight to keep your core engaged. Initiate the movement by drawing your shoulder blades down and back then pull your chin to the bar. Feel free to scale as needed (using a resistance band or machine for assistance).

4. Bench Press. Lie on a flat bench with your eyes directly under the bar, feet flat on the floor. Lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Grip the bar with neutral wrists. Unrack the bar and move it right over your shoulders, arms fully extended. Lower it to your mid-chest and press the bar back up above your shoulders. Be safe — have a spotter nearby when handling heavier weights on the bench.

5. Reverse Grip Barbell Rows. Stand holding a barbell, palms facing forward. Bend your knees slightly and hinge slightly forward from your hips. Keep your back straight and your head up. Squeeze your mid back and draw your elbows back close to your body to lift the bar up to your belly. Slowly lower the weight by straightening your arms.

6. Face Pulls. Loop a resistance band around a sturdy object (or stand facing a cable pulley machine) at eye-level with a palms-down grip. Step back until your arms are fully extended in front of you, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart and your knees bent. Engage your core, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows back, bringing the band (or cable handles) right in front of your face with your elbows high. Slowly release to starting position.

What are the strength moves you swear by? —Alison



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The Treadmill Workout That Changed My Running

I’m not a fan of the treadmill. Yes, I own one, but I think of it less as an indoor running option and more as a foul weather contingency plan — well, with one big exception. There is still a workout that I routinely use the treadmill for — 400-meter hill repeats. If you’re like […]


I’m not a fan of the treadmill. Yes, I own one, but I think of it less as an indoor running option and more as a foul weather contingency plan — well, with one big exception. There is still a workout that I routinely use the treadmill for — 400-meter hill repeats.

If you’re like me, the idea of running up a hill over and over sounds more like a punishment than a workout — but hear me out. Seriously, this workout changed my running. When you’re done with this one, you’ll feel like a running rock star.

Over time, this workout that seemed so dreadful at the start has become a staple in my race training schedules — for myself and the athletes I coach — because they’re simple and they work. Nothing builds confidence and strength as efficiently as this workout and it does so without increasing the risk of injury. BONUS!

Why Hill Repeats?

Hill repeats are an excellent strength-building workout involving — you guessed it — running quickly up a hill repeatedly followed by periods of recovery. Uphill running is similar to doing a ton of single-legged squats as you climb a flight of stairs, which is why it jacks up your heart rate, gets you breathing heavy, and makes your legs burn (in the best possible way).

In addition to strengthening your legs and improving your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, there are tons of benefits in doing this type of workout. First and foremost, if you train yourself to maintain good form while running uphill, it becomes much easier to maintain it just about anywhere, particularly when you’re in the late stages of a race. Plus, the risk of injury is reduced since there’s less impact involved in uphill running compared with flats or downhills. It’s also a great way to teach you mental toughness and focus while dealing with a bit of physical discomfort which is critical to racing well.

Even if you’ll be racing on a flat course, these repeats will make running on race day feel much easier and more comfortable.

Of course you could run hills outside — assuming you live in a hilly area — but the treadmill adds consistency. When I’m running hill repeats outside, it’s harder to maintain a consistent incline and pace throughout all the repeats and that’s a critical component. On the treadmill, I can set the incline and the pace and let the machine keep me honest.

The Workout

Here you go — a nifty graphic you can save and take with you to the gym.

A Few Notes on Form

  • Take small but quick steps, landing near the back of the ball of your feet — not on your heels or on your toes. Focus on a strong leg drive backward using your glutes.
  • Don’t let your chest and shoulders collapse even as you’re finishing each hill. Instead arrive strong and confident, standing up tall and proud — YOU MADE IT!
  • Keep your shoulders over your hips and run tall and don’t slouch, hunch over, or hinge forward.
  • Use your arms to help propel you by focusing on pressing your elbows back rather than pumping your arms forward at the shoulders. This will help you keep your chest open and collarbones wide to help better support your breathing and posture.
  • Let yourself be a little uncomfortable — that’s a big part of the training benefit here, learning to mentally manage some physical discomfort.
  • Remember that every hill repeat ends.

Ready to get reacquainted with the old dreadmill? —Alison 



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New Tech for Next-Level Workouts

We all go through it. Every once in a while, we experience phases when our workouts feel very lackluster. Sometimes we get lucky and those phases quickly pass. Other times, they linger and cause us lots of anxiety and frustration. But — good news! — there are a bunch of new tools that can help you […]


We all go through it. Every once in a while, we experience phases when our workouts feel very lackluster. Sometimes we get lucky and those phases quickly pass. Other times, they linger and cause us lots of anxiety and frustration.

But — good news! — there are a bunch of new tools that can help you bust out of your workout rut and take your fitness to the next level.

I tried a couple of new gadgets recently that promise to help up-level your fitness, and here’s what I found that’s worth checking out.

Next-Level Cardio with Zoom HRV

This Zoom HRV goes well beyond the standard fitness/activity trackers on the market by measuring and tracking your heart rate without the use of a chest strap. It can even measure your heart rate while you’re swimming and it will count your laps for you — how cool is that? The Zoom Pod can be worn on your wrist, forearm, upper arm or ankle. A single charge delivers about five days of continuous biofeedback.

One of the coolest features is the workout readiness detail. Heart rate variability monitoring detects signs of physical fatigue to provide recommendations on how much you should exert yourself in your next workout. This helps to answer that question of when it’s time to push and when its time to rest, limiting the chances of overtraining. I used this feature this week in advance of the Chicago Marathon to monitor my training recovery. It was super cool to watch the workout readiness number go up as the race approached and confirmed that I wasn’t running any of my short shakeout runs too hard.

In addition to providing tons of valuable heart-rate based information about your current fitness level and recovery status, this little gizmo tracks your sleeping quality and patterns, ambient light exposure, workouts, average daily heart rate, steps, and calories burned.

Zoom HRV is available for $139.99. The arm and ankle band are sold separately as a set for around $19.99. Zoom HRV is compatible with iOS and most Android devices.

Next-Level Strength Training with Beast Sensor

The Beast Sensor is an excellent tool to help quantify the quality of your performance in your lifts. It uses three on-board sensors — an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a compass — to measure power, speed, strength, and explosiveness.

You wear the yellow sensor in its accompanying wristband. When you lift, the sensor then streams data in real time to your mobile devices for immediate feedback on every rep and every set, and provides motivation to give it all you’ve got for each rep (translation: less half-assing). The Beast App also tracks your performance over time — energy burn, weights, reps, sets and progress — and assists you with making better decisions about the amount of weight and number of reps you should use to reach your goals, like increasing strength, power, or speed.

The Apps rest timer is a nice feature that helps keep you on track while you review the detail from your previous set and check out the recommendations for adjusting your weight or rep counts. Pretty cool since I tend to get distracted easily and lose track of my rest periods.

In short, you get lots of very sophisticated information to take your lifting up a notch and performance data that you might not otherwise have access to. At the end of your workout, the Beast App will even tell you how many tons you lifted during your workout — makes you feel like a total badass.

The Beast Sensor costs $249.00 — a bit steep, but if you’re looking for serious consistency and power with concrete numerical evidence to show how you’re progressing over time, then it’s a small price to pay. The Beast Sensor is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Wanna see it in action? Check out this video.

How do you keep challenging yourself in your workouts? —Alison



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5 Things to Love About the Chicago Marathon

I love the marathon. As I write this post, I’ve run 16 of them and No. 17 is only eight days away. I would say I have a “problem” but I really don’t see it as a problem (my husband might tell you otherwise). Having run most of the marathons near where I live, I’ve […]


I love the marathon. As I write this post, I’ve run 16 of them and No. 17 is only eight days away. I would say I have a “problem” but I really don’t see it as a problem (my husband might tell you otherwise).

Having run most of the marathons near where I live, I’ve been branching out a bit over the past few years and starting to run more marathons around the country. And since I’ve never really been good at choosing when there are so many options on the table, I’ve taken to letting the marathon gods decide my fate — entering lotteries for the races I’m interested in and simply letting the chips fall where they may. So, at the end of last year I started plotting which lottery I would enter for 2017.

I had only ever been to Chicago once and that was 19 years ago when I was a senior in high school. I figured what better reason than a marathon to return and check out the city. So I threw my name in the hat for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and figured a few years from now, I would be selected — I mean, it took me six years of attempts to get into the New York City Marathon. Imagine my surprise when I got the notification that I was confirmed to run Chicago on my very first try.

Honestly, when I entered the lottery to run Chicago, I figured — if nothing else — it was one step closer to earning the coveted World Marathon Majors Medal (a medal awarded to runners who complete the six world marathon majors, which are Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo, and London). I truly didn’t expect it to be one of my favorite marathons — but it totally was.

Here are some of my favorite things about the race.

5 Things to Love About the Chicago Marathon

1. It’s flat. I live in a town full of hills. Everywhere you run, it’s hills. Because I’m used to training on them, I’ve never really sought out flat marathons. But, wow, it makes a difference! My pace throughout the race was far more consistent than many of my other marathons. It’s so flat that this course boasts four world record times — not that I’m in the running to get close to any of those.

2. It starts and ends in the same place. The course is a giant loop that begins at the northern end and ends at the southern end of Grant Park. In between, you run through 29 distinct neighborhoods, getting a full tour of all this city has to offer. Logistically, this was a dream for an out-of-tower like me. I was able to book a hotel that was only a mile away — an easy walk to the start and back from the finish.

3. The crowd support is otherworldly. There are something like 1.7 million spectators that line the course, and when you’re out there among all that cheering, it’s totally unreal. There were only a few small stretches of quiet among the huge pockets of noise, which made me glad I didn’t wear headphones for the race.

4. You get your name in a major newspaper. After you complete the race, be sure to grab a copy of the Chicago Tribune. The day after the race coverage includes a Marathon Commemorative Section, including a full race recap and the names of every runner who finishes the race times in under 6:30:59.

5. Chicago’s a really cool place to visit. I’m an East Coast gal, born and raised. I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C., area for the past 15 years and New York City is still one of my favorite cities to visit. With that said, Chicago really surprised me. It had all the city offerings with a splash of Midwest charm. There’s so much to do in this city, so many open spaces and diverse cultures but with a more mellow vibe than what you’d find on the East Coast. I really enjoyed my time in this great city and would love the opportunity to return.

What’s your favorite city to run in? —Alison



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3 Fresh Running Finds We’ve Fallen in Love With

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


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

via GIPHY

Yeah, it’s fall. And we love it.

via GIPHY

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

Canopy Jacket ($120)

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

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

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

Ghost Crop ($72)

ghost crop

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

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

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

Levitate ($150)

brooks levitate

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

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

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

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



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5 Questions With Camille Leblanc-Bazinet

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, the 2014 Fittest Woman on Earth (AKA winner of the CrossFit Games) and all around badass, is currently recovering from a recent shoulder injury — but using that time to help with a cause that’s near and dear to her heart. We recently got to talk to her about all of that, plus more, […]


Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, the 2014 Fittest Woman on Earth (AKA winner of the CrossFit Games) and all around badass, is currently recovering from a recent shoulder injury — but using that time to help with a cause that’s near and dear to her heart. We recently got to talk to her about all of that, plus more, in this quick (yet deep) rapid-fire interview, on behalf of Rehband and its awesome partnership with Barbells for Boobs (yep, you read that right).

FBG: Why was working with Rehband a good fit for you personally?

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet: I believe in safe and smart training so I can continue to achieve my goals. I trust the quality of Rehband’s products because they are medically classified and patented designs. I’m confident that they will allow me to protect my body so I can continue to train and perform, especially while I rehab my recent shoulder surgery. Rehband collaborates with athletes to develop products we need. Last year I worked together with their R&D team to produce a wrist sleeve based on an idea of mine!

Can you talk a little about their support of Barbells for Boobs and what that means to you?

One out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and 7 percent will be under the age of 40. That’s why this October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), Rehband is taking a stand against these statistics by supporting Barbells for Boobs, an organization that mobilizes and empowers people to take action in breast cancer. Through their programs, Barbells for Boobs has impacted over 1,000,000 people and counting, in the form of access to procedures, navigation, connections and support. I’m a large advocate of the importance of physical strength as well as wellness — which means advocating for yourself by taking action over your own health. Through the purchase of pink Rx line products from Rehband (knee, calf, wrist and elbow sleeves) during the month of October, you can not only promote your own physical support, but also sponsor wellness empowerment for women across the country through Barbells for Boobs.

After being named the fittest woman on Earth in 2014 — which is a HUGE accomplishment — how do you continue to stay motivated?

I think that the true challenge is finding the best version of yourself, and any title or prize can’t stop the search to become that. It’s exciting to have rewards and motivation, but I think when your focus is on constant progress and your focus changes to something that has nothing to do with fame or money, true happiness comes through and true enjoyment of the journey also comes through.

What fitness/personal goals are you working towards now?

Becoming the best me! With my business, as a graduated chemical engineer, as a wife, as a daughter, as a sister and as an athlete. My goals right now are to go back to the CrossFit Games healthy and show what I am made of, to try to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo in weightlifting and to build my brand online.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about life? What’s the best piece of advice you can give?

Nothing is about you! That’s the best advice I got. We tend to think that the world is against or with us, or make story in our head about why something went a certain way, but the truth is that nothing is ever good or bad and it’s all about perspective. Stuck in traffic? Good, I got to practice my patience. Get injured? Good, I got a chance to learn to move even better, etc.

Now, we’ve heard some great gems of advice, but this one is fantastic, right?! SO, SO, SO true. —Jenn



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Love at First Lift: Meet the Couple Who Got Married at a Planet Fitness

You may think you spend a lot of time at the gym, or maybe you even consider it to be like a second home, but this couple probably has you beat. They feel such a connection to their gym that they recently got married there. And one of the staff members officiated! Stephanie Hughes and […]


You may think you spend a lot of time at the gym, or maybe you even consider it to be like a second home, but this couple probably has you beat. They feel such a connection to their gym that they recently got married there. And one of the staff members officiated!

Stephanie Hughes and Joe Keith tied the knot in early September at their Planet Fitness in the Cincinnati area. Stephanie wrote a Facebook note to Planet Fitness, which responded with the offer to host the wedding. They shut down the location for the day and decorated the building in purple and gold to honor the couple who met and fell in love in there.

When they first started dating, Joe and Stephanie would spend almost every night as workout buddies. They’d continue to hang out there and talk to get to know each other after their workouts. As soon as they were engaged, the couple thought it was a great idea to have the wedding at Planet Fitness.

Their guests agreed that it was a perfect fit for them.

“We had a lot of people compliment us on how cool it was, how unique and fitting it was for us, how fun it was, and how awesome it turned out,” Stephanie says. Wedding guests included the owner’s family, friends who are Planet Fitness employees, and even some friends the couple met there.

The wedding was easy to plan with the help of corporate and the local owners. “I thought it would be challenging,” Stephanie says, “but corporate and the owner actually made it really easy by helping us and answering all of our questions along the way. They let us set it up the way we wanted to set it up and it turned out perfect. We even had a rehearsal.”

The reception included cookies with Planet Fitness’s thumbs-ups logo, barbells, muscles and other gym themes, and the couple each had a pair of gym shoes made with the words “Bride” and “Groom” on the tongues.

After all of the excitement, Stephanie and Joe know their new married life won’t change their exercise habits.

“The gym is a place we love, and we have set goals there,” Joe says. “I think it helps a lot because we have similar goals in and out of the gym.”

“Working out together is kind of like a date for us. We teach each other things and motivate each other,” Stephanie says.

Did you ever meet a significant other at the gym? —Megan



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13 Things to Know Before Training for Your First Ultramarathon

  Ultramarathon. It has nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Nothing inspires oohs and aahs quite like mentioning that you run them. The odds are that once you’ve got a couple of marathons under your belt, the thought will — at some point — cross your mind to try stepping up to the next distance. […]


 

Ultramarathon. It has nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Nothing inspires oohs and aahs quite like mentioning that you run them. The odds are that once you’ve got a couple of marathons under your belt, the thought will — at some point — cross your mind to try stepping up to the next distance. Wanna know how I know? I’ve done six ultras in the past three years.

Ultramarathons typically start at the 50k distance — or 31(ish) miles. Now, it’s really tempting to think of it as “just a few miles longer than a marathon” but ultras — which are typically done on trails — are a completely different animal than a road marathon. Unless your goal is to hate the experience of running your first ultra, don’t assume that your standard marathon training will do.

Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Training is the hardest part. I mean, sure, it’s tough to run 31+ miles, but it’s the grinding it out day after day after day that’s the toughest part. Staying motivated and positive through months of training through all sorts of conditions is hard — especially if you’re training alone. Honestly, if you can get through training, you’ve got the chops to get through the race.
  2. Have a training plan. You may have been able to get away with willy-nilly training for other distances, but it’s a supremely bad idea to do an ultra without a clear plan. There are free plans online (be sure they are from reputable coaches) for first-timers which you could adapt to your own schedule or — better yet — hire a coach with ultramarathon training experience to write one for you.
  3. Back-to-back “long” runs are where ultrarunners are made. This is the bread and butter of ultra training — a weekly long run that increases (similar to the way a marathon long run would increase with a mileage cutback every couple of weeks) and a second shorter “long” run the next day. The object of this second “long” run is really just to be on your feet for 60-90 minutes to learn what it feels like to have “dead legs” while still keeping your running form together.
  4. Train for your course. Research the course you’ll be running and spend some time training in similar conditions. For example, if you know that your course has a huge climb at mile 20, pick routes that have uphills toward the end of the course and/or include more hills in your second “long” run. Also, be sure to put in as many miles as possible on a similar surface to what you’ll encounter on race day.
  5. Be okay with walking. This goes double if you’ll be on trails. Road hills are built to accommodate cars so they’re never as steep as what you’ll see out there on the trails. Often, it’s far more energy efficient to walk up certain hills than it would be to run them. Also, some downhills can be steep and dangerous — especially if it’s wet out there or if you’re on loose rocks. But even in general, walking is totally acceptable on ultra courses. We all do it — seriously. Don’t try to be a hero; walk when you need to.
  6. Be ready to make sacrifices. Ultra training is a big, time-consuming commitment. No doubt somewhere along the line, you’ll get an invite for a happy hour the night before your long run. And you’ll want to go and you’ll really want a drink. I’ve totally been there — but trust me, you’ll pay for it in your run the next day. Be ready to make sacrifices for the sake of training.
  7. Recovery rituals become critical. Stretching overused muscles, foam rolling, restorative yoga, epsom salt baths, etc. become more important than ever. You can’t train if you’re too sore (or mentally burnt out) to run. Stress-relieving activities throughout your week will help your body and your mind gain resilience rather than breaking down. Be proactive with your recovery. Above all else, keep your rest/easy days sacred.
  8. Your fueling has to be on point. This is a biggie. You need to fuel and hydrate appropriately while training — it’s non-negotiable. Just because you’re running all the miles doesn’t mean can eat all the crap. On your runs, always take more fuel with you than you think you’ll need because trail conditions can vary widely. Also, consider using electrolyte tabs during your long runs to help keep muscle cramping at bay. Replenish after every run.
  9. Practice your race day strategies with your race day gear. Use the hydration pack you plan to wear on race day, consume the same energy gels/gummies, etc. Everything down to your socks should be thoroughly tested during training.
  10. Expect to have tough runs. Like any other distance, some runs will be inexplicably tough. Get through them and know that this is the mental side of training well. You have to struggle a little to become tough enough to endure whatever gets thrown at you on race day.
  11. Aid stations on the course are like mini parties. Unlike other race distances, runners actually stop at aid stations in ultras — they eat something, refill a hydration pack, have a conversation, take a seat, fix a shoelace, or put some petroleum jelly on the spots that are chaffing. Know where the aid stations are on your course and allow yourself the time to stop — it could be an hour (or more) before you see the next one.
  12. Run your own race. I mean it, eyes on your own paper! Stick with the pace and fueling that you’ve tested throughout training. Going out too fast in a half-marathon makes the last six miles suck. Going out too fast in a 50k makes the last 16 miles suck … badly. Aim to be comfortable for most of the race, moving at a pace that you feel confident you can sustain. As the final miles approach, you can always take it up a notch — but you can’t get back the energy you blow in the first 10-12 miles.
  13. Smile. It’s an adventure and an amazing accomplishment. It requires dedication and mental toughness. But it’s totally doable. And if you take the time and energy to do it right, you’ll be really glad you did it.

There are as many ways to train for an ultra as there are ultra runners. As with any distance, don’t expect that you’ll get it right your first time. Every time you complete an ultra, you gain a ton of experience — you come back next time stronger and wiser.

Be honest: did I talk you into (or out of) training for your first ultra? —Alison



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The 10 Best Fitness Marshall Workouts

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


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

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

Fifth Harmony: Worth It

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

Ed Sheeran: Shape Of You

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

Britney Spears: Work B**ch

Get to work … hair flip!

Sia: Cheap Thrills

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

Anaconda: Nicki Minaj

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

Meghan Trainor: Me Too

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

Taylor Swift: Look What You Made Me Do

Kinda perfect for Halloween, huh?

Usher: Yeah! Feat. Whitney Thore

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

Justin Timberlake: Can’t Stop The Feeling

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

Portugal The Man: Feel It Still

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

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

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



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Workout I Did: Learning to Surf

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curious to try it for yourself?

Three Things You Should Know

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

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

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

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

What’s on your fitness bucket list? —Alison



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Sightseeing on the Run: My London Running Tour

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for a Sightseeing Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Push, Pull & Twist Countdown Workout

Everybody has workouts they love and workouts they hate and workouts they love to hate. And everybody has their go-to workout for when they’re time-crunched at the gym. Today, I’m sharing one of my faves with you. I’ve written countless conditioning workouts in my time but this is the one that I reach for time […]


Everybody has workouts they love and workouts they hate and workouts they love to hate. And everybody has their go-to workout for when they’re time-crunched at the gym. Today, I’m sharing one of my faves with you.

I’ve written countless conditioning workouts in my time but this is the one that I reach for time and time again. I usually find myself pulling it out on days when I’m not sure what to do with myself and am in need a quick shot of badass.

I love it for it’s simplicity. It’s only three moves that require very little set up and space. Some days I go lighter and faster. Other days I load up the resistance and push myself to dig deep. And that’s the other thing I love about it — it’s totally customizable.

I even use it as a benchmark workout for myself. I keep track of how long it takes me to finish it and what weights I used. Over time, I’ve watched my times decrease and my weights increase. So cool to see the progress in action.

I’m not gonna lie to you though, this countdown workout is tough. The one thing you’ve got going for you is that the reps are reduced as you move through the rounds, which, as you can imagine, is so much better than the alternative.

If you don’t have access to a rower, feel free to run instead or use any other form of cardio that works for you. While I used a barbell for my push presses and a medicine ball for the twists, you could easily use dumbbells for either or both of these moves.

Push, Pull & Twist Countdown Workout

To make it even easier to save and share, here’s a graphic for you!

What are your go-to moves for unleashing your inner badass? —Alison



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