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How to Unleash Your Inner Wonder Woman

If you found yourself as moved and motivated by Wonder Woman as I was last year, listen up. I’ve been looking for ways to hold onto that emotion — that inspiration — ever since the first time (out of three) that I saw it in the theater, because while watching it over and over again […]


If you found yourself as moved and motivated by Wonder Woman as I was last year, listen up. I’ve been looking for ways to hold onto that emotion — that inspiration — ever since the first time (out of three) that I saw it in the theater, because while watching it over and over again certainly does the trick, I don’t want to miss a bootcamp because … I was too busy watching a movie so I could get pysched for my bootcamp. You know? You know.

So, here’s what I’ve been doing. And it’s working.

Take up space.

I’ve referred to the Amy Cuddy TED Talk on power postures countless times — and I’m sure I will do so countless more times. But why wouldn’t I? Simply standing in a power posture (like, say, the way you envision Wonder Woman standing as she prepares to fight for justice) for as little as two minutes can increase your confidence (and Wonder Woman-esque attitude) on a chemical level. So stand up straight, widen your stance, and don’t be shy about taking up allll the room in the room.

Wear clothes that make you feel badass.

There are a few companies picking up on the fact that we all wanna be Diana Prince. My choice of Wonder Woman Halloween costumes last year was plentiful (and I was thrilled with my pick, although it wasn’t ideal for running a five-mile race), which was awesome, and I recently received activewear samples from Nuyu, which has three different Wonder Woman collections — Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary, Warrior Collection, and Wonder Woman Nuelle by Nuyu.

I’m sporting the Fitted Tank and Gladiator Princess Leggings, both from the Warrior Collection, and, oh my gosh, I feel like such a rockstar wearing them. The material is soft and the gold foil print is really striking. Plus, I love the fact that it looks appropriate for a warrior straight off of Themyscira without looking like a costume.

Surround yourself with girl power.

Find playlists that make you feel feminist AF. Embrace workouts that make you feel like your best self — and sure, that might mean picking up some heavy weights, but it also might mean getting into a serious yoga groove or hitting your favorite dance class. Spend time with friends who build you up — and put your energy into building them up as well, because that’s what strong women do rather than tearing one another down.

And, above all, speak to yourself with the same kindness and encouragement you’d show your closest girlfriend. Positive self-talk isn’t just a nicety — it’s a tool even top athletes and leaders use to achieve peak performance. If it works for Olympians, seems like it should do the trick for you, too, right?

Is Wonder Woman one of your idols as well? Or do you have another icon you look up to? —Kristen



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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

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


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

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

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

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

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

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

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

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

Put them into a workout and you got …

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

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



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How Oscar Chavez of the The Voice Australia Lost 160 Pounds By Changing His Mindset

Looking for a little healthy inspiration and body positivity? Look no further than the following interview we did with Oscar Chavez of the The Voice Australia who has lost 160 pounds by opening up, getting real and doing the deep inner work that real, lasting change requires — and often times isn’t talked about, especially with […]


Looking for a little healthy inspiration and body positivity? Look no further than the following interview we did with Oscar Chavez of the The Voice Australia who has lost 160 pounds by opening up, getting real and doing the deep inner work that real, lasting change requires — and often times isn’t talked about, especially with men. You can read more about his journey here — and below, obviously!

Many people experience an ah-ha moment when it comes to lasting weight loss. What was the moment when you knew you needed to change?

I was sitting in the doctor’s office, recounting my daughter Arianna’s first steps as my blood pressure was being taken. Suddenly, my doctor’s eyes shoot open wide and he tells me that my blood pressure was through the roof! He laid it out to me in all seriousness: “If you don’t lose weight, you won’t live to see your kids’ kids. You should get lap band surgery.” I was scared at the prospect of not seeing my kids build a family of their own. I was also terrified at the prospect of surgery. I wanted to LIVE — more than I wanted to keep up with the excuses. I wanted to prove my doctor wrong and that I could do it on my own.

Can you tell us a little about your experience yo-yo dieting? How did it affect you?

I yo-yo dieted for 10 years, trying all the diets and products the industry threw at me. Meal-replacement programs put me on a severe calorie restriction and I was left feeling lethargic and hungry all the time. I lost weight temporarily, but put it all back on (and more) as I spiraled back into my old ways. My confidence and self-esteem took blows every time I failed at another diet, fueling my bad eating habits even more.

How did you overcome it?

I did my own research. Meal-replacement programs gave me the tools to lose weight, but once I got off the program, I didn’t have right mindset or the knowledge to beat my food addiction. I hit the internet and started reading about nutrition, the human body, metabolism and exercise. I documented all my findings so that I could help other yo-yo dieters escape the endless cycle and achieve lasting weight loss as well.

What’s the one mistake people make when trying to get healthy?

Severe calorie restrictions. The body needs a certain amount of calories just to keep functioning. If people are not eating enough, the body starts to compensate for this, slowing down the metabolism, preserving more of your fat stores. Your ability to think clearly is also negatively impacted and a myriad of other issues will start to follow. Losing weight is one thing, doing it in a way that doesn’t compromise your overall health is another.

What’s the best health advice you can give?

Love yourself enough to nourish and nurture your body. A physical transformation is not possible without first addressing your mindset. When we are overweight, we live for years with that Inner Bully who is always in our ears, telling us we’re not good enough, we’re not worthy and that we’re not loved. What we need to do is embrace that Inner Warrior who will fight for our happiness and has the courage to tackle challenges head on. The key to unlocking health and happiness is within us all. We just have to be prepared to look within and listen to our hearts.

If you could go back in time and tell that 354-pound guy on The Voice Australia one thing, what would it be?

“Wake up! If performing is what you want to be doing, you better make sure that you have the health that will take you through all the performances, all of life’s challenges and all of life’s precious moments with your kids. Neglecting the issue and living in denial isn’t going to send a good message to your kids. Be the father that they can be proud of and the role model they need in life. You’re missing out on precious moments by living life at your current state. Listen to that inner voice, begging to you to be healthy. Once you let that person out, you will experience happiness like you never imagined possible.”

Pretty powerful, right? Oscar, thanks for sharing your experience with us … and the world! We loved hearing your truth. —Jenn



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6 Ways to Make Old Exercises New and More Effective

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


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

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

1. Try supersets.

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

2. Add a move.

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

3. Move your feet.

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

4. Switch it up.

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

5. Walk the other way.

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

6. Add variety.

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

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

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



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4 Ways to Ease Your Sciatica Naturally

If you’ve ever experience sciatica pain then you know that it’s pretty much the worst. But do you know what’s really causing? Today Dylan Jawahir, founder and CEO of Battle Balm — a natural plant-based topical pain reliever — is giving us the scoop on a possible hidden reason for this pain. (And if you want to […]


If you’ve ever experience sciatica pain then you know that it’s pretty much the worst. But do you know what’s really causing? Today Dylan Jawahir, founder and CEO of Battle Balm — a natural plant-based topical pain reliever — is giving us the scoop on a possible hidden reason for this pain. (And if you want to read more about Dylan — he’s amazing! — be sure to read our interviews with him here and here!)

Your Sciatica Could Literally Be a Pain in the Butt

The new year has arrived and you’re feeling motivated to become the best possible version of yourself. Now is the time for a new and even better you! You’re ready to start 2018 in a healthy way by getting in shape and being more active.

Nothing can hold you back, right?

… Until your nagging sciatic pain returns. It occasionally shoots down your leg when you’re sitting on the couch. It surprises you on your daily walk with friends. Sometimes, it jolts you right as you’re headed out the door for a workout. It’s unpredictable, painful, and keeps you on high alert.

You know this could be your happiest and healthiest year ever, but dragging your bum leg around isn’t the workout routine you imagined.

Let’s talk briefly about the culprit behind your pain. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body. It begins in the lumbosacral area, or lower back, and winds its way down through the pelvis, behind the femur and eventually stretches far enough to tickle your big toe. Sciatic pain comes from impingement, damage, or degeneration to the sciatic nerve somewhere along that route.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Many people (including doctors) point to the lumbar spine as the source of all sciatic pain. Our spine compresses as we get older and thus, it makes sense that some of the nerves exiting the spinal column can be squeezed enough to send shock waves into the affected leg. The truth is that there is another likely source of sciatica: the tight muscles in your butt!

The sciatic nerve travels deep to the gluteus muscle group on its way down the leg. These gluteus muscles, also called the glutes, are the visible ones that give shape to your butt. Their function is to externally rotate and extend the upper leg. Underneath the glutes lie other, smaller muscles that assist in the external rotation. One small muscle in particular can be tight enough to irritate the nerve in question sending pain downward towards the feet. This is the piriformis muscle. It bothers the sciatic nerve in so many folks that this relationship has a name: piriformis syndrome.

Symptoms of piriformis syndrome are very similar to sciatica, hence the common confusion. The difference is that you can treat piriformis syndrome and send your pain away quickly.

4 Ways to Ease Your Sciatica Naturally

1. Get a butt massage. It sounds weird, doesn’t it? Your glutes are some of the hardest working muscles in your body. They are working for you non-stop and have more than earned a day of pampering. A butt massage can improve range of motion in your hips and as a bonus, it can alleviate chronic low back pain.

2. Stretch. One of the best stretches for the piriformis and other external rotators of the hip is pigeon pose in yoga. This stretch, when done properly, will elongate all of the junk in the trunk and give you your flexibility back. Regular stretching improves blood flow, too!

3. Trigger those points. Use a foam roller and roll out your butt. Make sure to roll out gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and piriformis. To balance out the hips, roll the gluteus minimus and tensor fasciae latae. Tune in to YouTube for some great videos with step-by-step tutorials to roll all of these muscles effectively.

4. Call Suzanne Somers. She was on to something with the Thighmaster. Humans are designed to forcefully externally rotate the hip. Internal rotation is a different story. The Thighmaster is for strengthening the normally weak internal rotator muscles. These muscles that close your thighs together will facilitate proper hip joint stability once they are strengthened adequately. Though a Thighmaster is great, you could also get away with using a rubber kickball from the toy store. Find a comfy chair to sit in, place it between your knees, and squeeze away.

These ideas and practices are great, not only for sciatica due to piriformis syndrome, but they are perfect for including in your workout and recovery routine as a preventive measure! —Dylan Jawahir



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Common Running Injuries (and Water Workouts to Try While You Heal)

Today’s post comes from Melis Edwards, author of  Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises — and you might recall that she shared a great pool workout with us last year. Melis has more than 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, and […]


Today’s post comes from Melis Edwards, author of  Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises — and you might recall that she shared a great pool workout with us last year. Melis has more than 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, and has participated in Ironman distance triathlons as well as the Western States 100-mile endurance run. She holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. And she’s got some great tips for workouts runners can do to overcome common injuries.

Runners like to run — plain and simple. From trails to city streets, races to social runs, they look forward to their feet hitting the ground. I have been a coach, trainer and athlete for years and I can tell you, the kiss of death for a runner (or really any passionate athlete) is an injury.

Runners hear the words “no running” and cannot imagine what they’ll do instead. This leads to what I have seen over and over again through the years — people running on injured body parts when they shouldn’t. I seen runners limping from plantar fasciitis or an ankle sprain, bent over with poor posture from tight hips or weak core muscles, bands strapped on their knee suffering from iliotibial band syndrome or patellar chondromalacia, you name it.

What gives? Do they not know how to rehabilitate properly? Or are they so set in their ways that they are not open to other possibilities? On multiple occasions I’ve suggested an injured athlete crosstrain or work with a physical therapist and been met with skepticism.

Well, I used to be a skeptic, too. I thought I could work out my injuries without assistance. However, over time and injuries/accidents, I realized I could heal faster and stay injury-free longer with the right assistance.

So, if this is remotely sounding familiar to you or someone you know, consider entering the world of water training. It’s a serious mode of rehab and cross training for any sport, but especially for runners because it can help strengthen and stretch a runner’s body with low (or no) impact. In deep water, the runner experiences a complete open kinetic chain motion with zero impact to joints, and even in shallow water, the buoyancy means that ground force trauma is far less than with land-based movements.

I’ve listed a few of the most common running injuries I see, along with the workouts I suggest for rehab. Your first step, though, should be to consult with your physical therapist or doctor so they can guide you to exactly what you should do on your own. Then, you can ask them about pool training as a rehab choice. I co-authored my book (Deep End of the Pool Workouts) with a physical therapist (and amazing friend of 30 years), Katalin Wight, and these workouts have her approval.

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain can take a few days to many weeks of rehab. You’ll experience pain, swelling, instability in walking, so being in the water with little to no joint impact can help you get back into the running game.

Try: Hopping. Hopping in the shallow-end of a pool will help with getting the ankle strength back. Remember, the more underwater your body is, the more buoyant you become, so start your hops when you are in the pool at about chest level (or about 70 percent buoyant). Perform the hops one foot at a time with a straight leg, but soft knee joint — the power shouldn’t come from your knees, and instead, rely on your ankle/calf by using ankle plantar flexion to hop straight up and out of the water a few inches then allow the foot/ankle to dorsiflex fully to land back to a flat foot.

Next step: The higher you hop out of the water, the more ankle flexion comes into play. If the rehab is going well, try hopping from side to side to work the medial and lateral ligaments. Start off with light hops, as the lateral motion will put more force out the medial and lateral aspects of the ankle region.

As your ankle strength improves, you can increase the effort by moving into more shallow waters or hopping at different angles.

Plantar Fasciitis

Suffering from plantar fasciitis (PF) means the tissue on the bottom of your feet are inflamed, and you can experience anything from weakness to debilitating strains. PF can last for a few weeks or for much longer, and it’s often worse in the morning, feeling better as you move throughout the day.

Try: Water Running. Use of the deep end of the pool and a hydro belt to ensure you are keeping your body perpendicular with the floor of the pool and with your head just above the water’s surface. In addition, the belt will allow you to control your efforts.

When water running, your legs move through a full running stride, but it works your muscles very differently than on land. It promotes flexibility of the ankles and works the calves, both areas in need of attention when addressing plantar issues.

Water running. Credit: John Winnie, Jr.

Piriformis Syndrome, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or Tight Hips and Hamstrings

If you have piriformis syndrome, you may have experienced tightness/pain of this small muscle on your upper aspect of your gluteal region. When inflamed, it can aggravate the sciatic nerve. If you’re suffering IT band syndrome, you might feel a slight tightness on the outside side of the knee, which goes away once you start running. Tight hips and hamstrings — which often come paired with back pain — are common complaints among runners, especially those who sit at work all day.

These injuries are lumped together because the rehab that can be done in the pool for all of them can be similar. The one difference is that, if you’re dealing with more hip/back pain, you’ll want to slow the movements down and emphasize the stretch and mobility rather than power of the exercise.

Try: Water Walking. As with the water run mentioned above, the following strokes require the use of the deep end of the pool and a hydro belt. Water walking promotes full torso engagement, hamstring strength and flexibility, and engages the gluteal muscles especially for the outward swing of the leg. Think of a water run, but rather than have the leg move directly beneath the body, the leg moves from that same forward lengthened position and migrates laterally in a short arc to finish almost in the same spot a regular run would finish (behind the runners body). The muscles of the hamstrings and glutes should power the movement and the leg movement is countered with the upper body and arm swing on the opposite side.

Water walking. Credit: John Winnie, Jr.

Try: Cross Country. The cross country is another broad, sweeping stroke which can open the hips, increase range of motion while building strength in the quads, hamstrings, abductors and piriformis. The Cross Country is a reciprocal stroke, with the leg movement forward being equidistant and balanced with the leg movement to the rear. When the leg moves to the forward stroke, this promotes hip flexion and quad strength, a slight dorsiflexed foot working the tibialis anterior and stretching the calves, and lengthening the hamstrings. When the leg moves to the rear position, the hips are extending with the gluteals engaged.

Maybe you’re not experiencing any of these injuries right now, in which case, congratulations! But let me offer an idea. This season, why not heed some advice and try a deep water cross-training method before you get injured, especially if you know you are prone to these typical running injuries. Whether it be shallow or deep water training, the replication of running on land can be achieved and water can be your go-to for a healthy running season! —Melis



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Goal-Setting Words Of Wisdom From Top Health Bloggers

We were so honored to be featured in this article from NordicTrack on how top bloggers make their resolutions stick — and we’re so pumped to be able to share some fantastic snippets from it below!  We’ve jumped feet first into a new year. Hello, 2018! Say goodbye to the yuck of 2017, cherish the […]


We were so honored to be featured in this article from NordicTrack on how top bloggers make their resolutions stick — and we’re so pumped to be able to share some fantastic snippets from it below! 

We’ve jumped feet first into a new year. Hello, 2018! Say goodbye to the yuck of 2017, cherish the good from the past year, and get ready for another roller coaster ride. We might not know exactly what’s coming for us in the future, but by setting a few goals for ourselves, we can take control and bring a little predictability to our daily lives.

Goal setting is tricky. Many people shy away from new year’s resolutions because of failed attempts in the past. But don’t give up yet! Plenty of people are able to bring their new year’s goals to fruition, so what’s it going to take to be one of them? NordicTrack has gathered insight from a number of popular bloggers to give you some tips and tricks to goal setting (and achieving). Let’s get right into it!

Brian St. Pierre, Precision Nutrition

Brian St. Pierre is the Director of Performance Nutrition at Precision Nutrition. Armed with technology and a forgiving mindset, he gave great insight on how to keep our resolutions.

Brian chose to floss more consistently this past year, shooting for 80 percent regularity. He chose this number because, “a larger number certainly felt beneficial, but more likely for me to backslide into that all-or-none mindset and approach again.”

He used a habit-tracking app to help him account for how he progressed with his goal. By keeping an accurate record and not trying to shoot for perfection, Brian avoided guilt, knowing, “I could skip that night and know that my goal wasn’t negatively impacted.”

So, try out Brian’s approach and avoid the trap of perfection. For the rest of Brian’s great advice, read the rest of his interview.

Aeshia DeVore Branch, Pretty Girls Sweat

Founder of Pretty Girls Sweat, Aeshia DeVore Branch had some top-notch advice on how to develop the mindset you need to set solid health and fitness goals.

No one wants to fail at their goals, least of all Aeshia, who said her big goal last year was to launch PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT fest in Atlanta, Georgia.

One of the things that helped Aeshia succeed was surrounding herself with positive and supportive people. She said, “Without them as well as setting small goals with deadlines, PGSF would have just remained a page of notes in my journal.”

Once you have the right support, Aeshia stressed the importance of having the right mindset. Weight loss is often set as a goal by many people, but without the right mindset, it is easy to go back to old eating habits.

To combat this, Aeshia recommends, “When setting a health or fitness goal, motivation tends to diminish over time, and old habits start creeping back in. You must be clear about which goal is most important to you and focus on easy ways to meet realistic expectations.” By making realistic lifestyle changes and narrowing your focus, you are much more likely to meet your goal.

Be sure to check out the rest of Aeshia’s full interview to get more advice that will help you reach your goals this year!

Lauren Abbott, Treadmill Reviews

Lauren Abbott is a fitness enthusiast, avid runner, and writer for for Treadmill Reviews. Not only is she a great resource for running tips and exercise routines, she is a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions.

Like Brian St. Pierre, Lauren uses tech tools for tracking and reaching her fitness goals. She currently uses iFit for tracking every workout, planning her family’s meals, and more. However, she has learned that simply purchasing a workout program wasn’t going to guarantee her success. She still had to fight her inner demons telling her to take it easy and skip her run on days when she wasn’t feeling so motivated.

Lauren found success with a fitness app because of the following reasons:

  • She’s a frugal woman, saying: ”If I invest my money into it, I’ll invest my time into it”.
  • She also knew that with a clear display of her results and steady progress, she would be more motivated to continue working on herself.

“I dream of running ultramarathons through the mountains like my muses I follow on social media. But I’m currently not at that level athletically.” — Lauren

Instead of focusing her sights on conquering mountains, she focused her eyes on the baby steps it was going to take to build up to ultramarathon running: speed training, distance, endurance, and nutrition. Using her fitness app, she created a schedule for weekly training goals. Focusing her sights on shorter time frames helped her to navigate work, family life, and training and unplanned events arose.

Lauren’s advice: “By all means, set a large goal! But instead of sprinting from the starting line, pace yourself.”

See what else Lauren has to say about iFit and training in her full interview here.

Adam St. Pierre, CTS

As a CTS running coach and experienced long-distance runner, Adam St. Pierre knows all about the importance of patience in goal-setting.

He warns against setting goals that are too vague. They’re almost always guaranteed to fail. For example, a goal to “run 3 times a week” is less likely to be achieved than a goal to run a specific local running trail Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 p.m. each week.

Adam makes sure that he sets super exact goals for himself. He set out to run a local trail he enjoyed 100 times in one year. He paired this goal with an already existing running schedule he had set for himself. “Instead of wondering, ‘Where should I run today?’ I just defaulted to running Mt. Sanitas.”

For all goal-setters, Adam gives this encouraging advice: “A realistic goal is one that you can achieve. A worthwhile goal is one that will make you better. A goal should motivate you, not be such a reach as to discourage you.”

Take Adam’s advice: consider your strengths and weaknesses. How can you combine the two to create a worthwhile, achievable goal for yourself?

You can read more from Adam St. Pierre in our full interview here.

Dr. Lori Shemek, Dr. Lori Shemek

Dr. Lori Shemek is an experienced goal setter and achiever who has helped so many men and women do the same.

We were grateful that Dr. Lori Shemek was able to take some time to offer some goal-setting advice. As a best-selling author as well as being a leading health and weight-loss expert, Lori has helped countless people reach their goals.

Concerning personal goals she’s set, Lori committed to doing 5 pull-ups every time she walked through the doorway in her home which had a chin-up bar installed. She also decided to add extra push-ups into her nightly routine as she watched the news.

Lori said, “I already had both of these in my exercise program, but simply adding in a few more a day has allowed me to increase my strength and the number of them.”

When we asked her how she helps people set realistic goals, Lori said,”I believe that a worthy fitness goal must primarily be intrinsically motivated — coming from within or behavior that is driven by internal rewards.” Many of us seek motivation from others and try to rely on social feedback to keep us going. But when things become difficult, Lori said, “If the motivation is coming externally, it will not last, nor will there be quality workouts. “

Overall, Lori’s advice to anyone making new health and fitness goals for 2018 is to “Be That Person. Be the person who does XYZ.”

Check out the rest of Lori’s full interview to get more advice that will help you reach your goals this year!

Jennipher Walters, Fit Bottomed Girls (Hey, That’s Us!)

Jennipher is a health coach and certified personal trainer. As the Editor-In-Chief of Fit Bottomed Girls, she shares her wealth of fitness industry knowledge to her devoted readers.

Setting fitness goals comes down to being realistic and having the appropriate expectations for yourself: mind and body. If you plan to work out two hours a day, every single day, after being basically sedentary for a long time, you’re setting yourself up for failure — the goal is too great (for most people). One of Jennipher’s past fitness goals was to perform one pull-up, unassisted. Jennipher shows us that goal setting doesn’t have to be out-of-this world. More so, a goal needs to be just beyond our reach.

To reach her seemingly simple goal, Jennipher had to reach a list of many simpler goals. Imagine a ladder, each rung being a smaller goal to reach the goal at the top of her ladder. She focused on building strength in her back, arms, and hands. Months of hard work helped her to manage her goal.

“I was successful because the goal was realistic. I was patient, had a plan to do it and was consistent in working towards it.” Jennipher said.

More wise advice from Jennipher: “[Goals] have to be done with a lot of self-love and thought to what happens when you fall off track. Because no one is perfect — and you can learn so much from your ‘mistakes’.”

Before deciding on a goal for 2018, Jennipher suggests you “think about your why.” Recognizing deeper intentions for your goal-setting will give your more solid motivation for reaching them.

To read Jennipher’s entire interview, click here.

Ready to Set Some Goals?

Now, are you ready to set and crush your 2018 goals? We hope that you have been inspired by these interviews because we certainly enjoyed them. NordicTrack appreciated the time and thought the bloggers put into their responses and encourage you to visit their websites for more fantastic content.

For those of you setting health and fitness goals, be sure you have the right equipment at your fingertips. NordicTrack produces top-of-the-line treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, bikes, and more so we can help you meet all of your fitness and health goals. Be sure to check out what NordicTrack currently offers, as they are constantly innovating to help everyone live their best life.

Thanks so much for featuring us and sharing so much goal-setting wisdom, NordicTrack! —The FBGs



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Podcast Ep 67: Nike Trainer Alex Silver-Fagan

Nike Master Trainer and strength training expert Alex Silver-Fagan is our special guest is this episode and she is on a mission to get more women to lift heavy weights (woot!). Alex, who is also the author of Get Strong for Women, turned to strength training after exploring a career in bikini competitions — an […]


Nike Master Trainer and strength training expert Alex Silver-Fagan is our special guest is this episode and she is on a mission to get more women to lift heavy weights (woot!). Alex, who is also the author of Get Strong for Women, turned to strength training after exploring a career in bikini competitions — an experience she found dispiriting to say the least. 

In this lively discussion, Alex talks about how to advance your strength training program, the super quick (and super sweaty) HIIT workouts she turns to when she’s short on time time, and her weekly workout regimen which is no joke! Alex is serious about her training — but don’t be intimidated, because at the same time, she’s like your fun, down-to-earth workout BFF who will have you grabbing that heavier set of dumbbells in no time flat!

(Know what else you can do in no time flat? Find The Fit Bottomed Girls Podcast on Spotify! Listen here.)

Our favorite quotes from this ep:

Podcast Episode 67 Highlights With Alex Silver-Fagan

  • The real deal on bikini competitions and why she doesn’t think they are healthy for women
  • Her top reasons why women should pick up heavy weights (and why the fear of get bulky is unfounded)
  • Knowing how much weight to lift and advice on doing so properly
  • The exercises women should — but often, do not — do
  • Her current favorite workout trends
  • Key pieces of workout equipment you should have at home
  • Plus, the FBGs discuss the dangers of “Fitspo” posts on social media and how to avoid “the comparison trap”

Get the ep with Alex Silver-Fagan here or below!

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

What are your favorite strength exercises? —Margo

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



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5 Signs of Exercise Addiction

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


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

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

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

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

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

5 Signs of Exercise Addiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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The Emotion You Need to Release to Create Lifelong Healthy Habits

Talk about a woman after our own body-loving hearts: Christa King is the CEO and founder of Fitlandia and 30 Days to Thriving, an online holistic fitness program that focuses on the four cornerstones of fitness: daily movement, nutritious choices, community support, and harnessing the power of your mind. After reaching her highest weight of 192, […]


Talk about a woman after our own body-loving hearts: Christa King is the CEO and founder of Fitlandia and 30 Days to Thriving, an online holistic fitness program that focuses on the four cornerstones of fitness: daily movement, nutritious choices, community support, and harnessing the power of your mind. After reaching her highest weight of 192, she hit a wall and was determined to crack her own code for a making a healthier lifestyle change. Leaving a successful 23-year career in hospitality behind, she became a certified hypnotherapist, life coach, and nutritional therapist. By putting these pieces together, she saw what was truly missing in the diet and fitness industry: a holistic approach that starts with strengthening the mind. Her signature Mind Zoning process helps people create new neural pathways in the brain to enable them to make a permanent lifestyle change. And today, we’re happy to have her sharing a post on how to release shame — and why it’s essential when it comes to losing weight and getting healthy.

The Real New Year’s Resolution: Releasing Shame

If you’re anything like me (and most women), by the time you’ve reached your 40s you’ve been a chronic dieter for two-thirds of your life. Possibly you’re on one right now; some form of restriction that has you wondering what happens after the diet? How can I possibly keep this up? While it’s a positive step to want to harness the power of intention for the New Year, the reality is 92 percent of us will fizzle out somewhere between three weeks to three months; leaving us to deal with the shame, guilt and frustration of yet another failed attempt. Holding onto these emotions only holds us into an unhealthy pattern we don’t want. So, let’s get you releasing shame so you can keep moving forward on your fitness journey with success!

First, I want to share the two main reasons we fall back into old patterns to help make this process easier. Then I’ll give you my favorite tips to making a healthy lifestyle stick.

The Reason Diets Fail

1. Physiological reliance on sugar, refined carbs and alcohol. You may have heard some buzz about ensuring you have enough good bacteria in your belly to outweigh the bad guys, but how does this play into failed diets? We know having the good bacteria helps boost immunity, repair tissue in the body, and even aids in absorbing nutrients. But we also must reduce the bad bacteria in the gut because these send messages to the brain to go get its required fuel source: sugar. This is primarily what’s driving your cravings — these bad bugs telling your brain that it’s hungry for sugar, refined carbs and alcohol.

Having that knowledge, you can start to appreciate the physiological cause of deep cravings and why the idea of willpower to overcome them simply doesn’t hold up.

2. Thought patterns in the brain. Okay, so now look back on your life and the eating patterns involved with celebration and sadness alike. For many of us, we had cake at our first birthday (and every year thereafter) or feasts during the holidays giving ourselves permission to overindulge. Maybe your parent gave you a sweet treat to soothe your physical pain, sadness or loneliness. Perhaps, when you’re in a really stressed state you reach for a treat to soothe those uncomfortable feelings.

Over time, our brains developed a thought-pattern or neural pathway that associates celebration and ease of discomfort with foods that hit that pleasure center in the brain so that we can feel safe.

When we eat highly processed foods or foods with loads of added sugars, our brain loves it because it fires up the reward center. In fact, serotonin, the feel-good hormone in our brains, is released when we eat these things. We feel good when we do it.

Think about thi —, when we get stressed, what do we want more than anything? To feel good again! Hence the cravings and a return to addictive cycles.

5 Tips to Release Shame and Create Lifelong Healthy Habits

When we hold onto shame, we hold onto our current state. You simply cannot begin to adopt the healthy lifestyle you desire without first letting go of the shame you’ve held on to regarding your past or present lifestyle. You deserve to have a fresh start.

By simply understanding there is a physiological and mental reason for your cravings, you can let go of the idea that you’re not good enough. In fact, your brain is working perfectly to help you feel protected. So, let that shame go!

The best part of all this … you can create new neural pathways in your brain to support healthy management of stressful times, as well as enjoying festive times without deprivation or overindulgence. Here are my top tips for creating new, healthy habits:

1. Adopt a meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be complex. Even five minutes per day can make a huge impact on your mental well-being. If you have a busy mind, try a guided meditation to support you.

2. Move every day. You don’t have to do an intense, one-hour CrossFit workout to reap the brain benefits of movement. Even a 30-minute brisk walk can have a big impact on generating those feel-good hormones in the brain.

3. Focus on good nutrition. Taking a break from sugar, refined carbs and alcohol, and incorporating more non-starchy vegetables is a fantastic way to starve the bad bacteria and allow the good to flourish, reducing the craving cycle. Find a holistic detox program to support you if the idea of trying this on your own seems daunting.

4. Connect with your tribe. Did you know you’re three times more likely to succeed at reaching and maintain your fitness goals when you’re connecting with others on the same path? Find those deep connections and rely on your tribe to support you when you need it most.

5. Create new, healthy thoughts. Give your brain a surge of positive thoughts to create new thought-patterns that will drive healthy habits. This mental programming is a powerful tool to help you recover from setbacks and keep moving forward on your journey!

Here’s to your health and vitality in the New Year! —Christa King



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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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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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Don’t Make These Goal-Setting Mistakes

Are you sick of hearing about resolutions yet? Too bad, because I’m not! via GIPHY Now, if you’re as into seeing the New Year as an awesome opportunity to start living a healthier, happier life as I am, you’re in the right place. Because regardless of the resolution itself, there are a few really common mistakes […]


Are you sick of hearing about resolutions yet?

Too bad, because I’m not!

via GIPHY

Now, if you’re as into seeing the New Year as an awesome opportunity to start living a healthier, happier life as I am, you’re in the right place. Because regardless of the resolution itself, there are a few really common mistakes many people make when setting them — and I’m super psyched to give you the scoop on what those mistakes are as well as how to avoid ’em.

Mistake 1: You only look at the big picture.

via GIPHY

The big picture is great, and it’s important to have an overall idea of where you want to go — but you can’t go from A to Z without a few steps in between, and in order to make sure you’re on track to reach your overarching goal, you’ve gotta have a plan in place. Saying you want to eat healthier is great — but what specifically does that mean, and what can you do on a daily or weekly basis to really track whether or not you’re doing it?

Mistake 2: You go in with an all or nothing mentality.

via GIPHY

It’s not that your intentions aren’t admirable, but when your goal is perfection rather than progress, there’s only one way to succeed — and dozens of ways to fail. Set yourself up for success by allowing for a bit of flexibility as the healthy changes you make become new habits.

Mistake 3: You set a huge goal that doesn’t take your life — or your actual self — into account.

via GIPHY

Lots of people set goals that are more about friends or people they admire than they are about themselves, and you wanna guess how often they reach them? Rather than aiming to get legs like Serena Williams or run like Shalane Flanagan, think about what the strongest version of your legs might look like, or what a major running goal looks like for you given your real-life body, experience, and training time available. Confidence rocks — believe in yourself, for sure! But striving to look or perform like an elite professional athlete when you’ve only got 30 minutes, five times a day to put toward that goal might not quite add up.

Mistake 4: You assume that only big changes lead to the results you want.

via GIPHY

Seeing a theme here? Sure, big changes are sexy and exciting as hell — but how likely are you to stick to something that’s turned your world upside down beyond, say, this week or this month? Don’t discount the impact that small changes can have on your health. Going from eating steak several nights a week to being vegan is … well, quite a challenge. But making a point to celebrate Meatless Monday regularly? You’ve got that — and that step will make the next steps easier.

Mistake 5: You decide to go it alone.

via GIPHY

When it comes to making changes — and sticking to those changes — support and accountability are enormously important. That doesn’t just mean telling a few friends what you hope to achieve, although that’s a start. What really makes the difference is enlisting the support of someone who cares but who will also hold you accountable, and that’s a big part of why we’ve seen major success in our 10 in 4 Challenge. Women join us looking to lose weight — and they do — but what they gain is a whole community of like-minded individuals who support, encourage, share and celebrate with one another. We’ve got another round starting up quickly, so if it’s sounding like 10 in 4 might be your jam, join us!

Now that you know what you need in order to set your New Year’s resolutions, you wanna bust through some of the hidden beliefs that are keeping you from reaching your health, fitness, and weight-loss goals? Join us on January 2 for our free webinar to learn what they are — and how to break right on through to the healthy side. Register today to reserve your (virtual) seat! Kristen



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The One Resolution You Shouldn’t Overlook

This post is sponsored by VARIDESK. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. As the end of the year approaches, I find myself surrounded by people making incredible commitments to their health. They’re going to run marathons and swap the weekly pizza night for homemade kale and quinoa salads and, oh, do I want to join […]


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

As the end of the year approaches, I find myself surrounded by people making incredible commitments to their health. They’re going to run marathons and swap the weekly pizza night for homemade kale and quinoa salads and, oh, do I want to join them for Dry January? (Erm, probably not, but thanks for asking.)

I’m proud of these friends who know that they’re worth the effort it takes to be healthy. I will be their biggest cheerleader.

via GIPHY

But!

I’m also over here, thinking … you guys know there are much easier ways to make a big impact, right?

Call me lazy (I like to call myself efficient, personally), but I’m all about finding ways to make the regular things I already do every day a little bit better for me. And the best place to start when trying to figure that out is by looking at what I spend a large portion of my day doing. If you’re like me and spend much of your workday at a desk, the answer might be, well, right below your keister.

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Isn’t it crazy to think about how much effort we put forth at the gym and in the kitchen … and then we go and sit for eight hours a day?

Fortunately, that also means that one of the most overlooked but super simple resolutions ever is one you could — and maybe should — make this year. It’s as simple as vowing to spend less time sitting and more time standing or moving while you work. And I’ve got a few tips for making that resolution a reality.

How to Sit Less and Stand More

1. First, come up with a plan. As I discussed last month, even the fittest among us might struggle to go straight from sitting to standing (and, actually, your end goal shouldn’t be to stand all day, anyway — it’s all about mixing it up!) so think about what it is that you want to accomplish — and how that can realistically work with your schedule and duties. Can you set a reminder so that you get out of your chair for at least a few minutes every hour? Are there specific tasks you know you could do on your feet? Instead of just saying you want to stand more, set specific goals — both short term and longer term — so that you can truly tell whether or not you’re hitting the mark.

2. Then, make sure standing is an easy option. This will come as no surprise at this point, I’m sure, but my VARIDESK standing desk solution (which adjusts really easily from sitting to standing and back again) is one office item I can’t imagine living without, and I’ve encouraged everyone I know to get one of their own.

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Of course, this was easy for me to implement because I have a home office and I’m the boss, so there’s nobody who’s gonna say no. But, if you’re in an office and the powers that be need a little convincing, make sure they know that a recent study out of Cornell University has shown that standing doesn’t just burn more calories than sitting, but it boosts productivity — significantly. If you’ve been dealing with back pain or other musculoskeletal issues, standing can also help with that.

3. Finally, look into ways to incorporate more movement during the day. Personally, I find this waaaay easier to do when I’m already standing — stepping back and stretching or even knocking out a quick 5- or 10-minute yoga flow or strength workout between meetings is an actual thing that happens in my life these days, guys. And a few years ago … it was decidedly not. VARIDESK has a few tools that make movement simple, too, like the ActiveMat Rocker (which allows you to swing one foot back and forth while standing at your station) and the Monitor Arm (which lets you move your monitor to loads of positions so you can work from more places without disrupting your desk).

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My ActiveRocker is sturdy enough to feel solid, even with much of my weight leaning on it, but small enough to fit neatly beneath a desk when not in use. Unless, of course, there’s a dog there.

Small changes might not seem quite as sexy as plotting a huge health overhaul, but they’re the key to creating habits that stick. And, if you think about it, changing the way you spend nearly half your waking hours — even subtly — isn’t actually so small a change at all.

How does your work space stack up? Are you able to stand and move or do you feel stuck in your seat? Remember, just because you have to be at your desk, that doesn’t mean you have to be sitting at your desk. Kristen



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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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Packing for Workouts When You Travel

Deciding what to wear for a workout when I’m at home isn’t hard. I have types of clothes I prefer for different types of workouts, and I know what undergarments work with various fitness tops and bottoms, and I can pick which shoes I want to wear based on activity or distance. But when I’m […]


Deciding what to wear for a workout when I’m at home isn’t hard. I have types of clothes I prefer for different types of workouts, and I know what undergarments work with various fitness tops and bottoms, and I can pick which shoes I want to wear based on activity or distance.

But when I’m traveling on a plane and space is at a premium?

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Different story.

But I’ve gotten pretty decent at it over the years, so I thought I’d share my top tips for ensuring that I’m never without workout-appropriate gear … and still have space to pack my snorkel. (And, reminder, some of the links below are affiliate ones, so if you decide to purchase them, you’re helping to keep this site going — thanks!)

Do double duty.

Instead of a sheer tank, I might opt for a top  (like this) that would also work under a cardigan for a casual day early in my trip — or even on the flight. Solid leggings can be worn for loads of non-workout situations if they’re nice quality, fully opaque, and you pair them with a tunic, long sweater, or go with a full athleisure look. One note on leggings, however — if you have a possibility of being upgraded on your flight or are flying on an employee’s buddy pass, you might want to stick to true street clothes depending on the airline’s rules.

I avoid bringing more than one pair of sneakers when at all possible, so I’ll often choose a pair that also looks good with a cotton dress or jeans and will work for workouts. (I wore an older pair of gray Brooks PureFlows all over London and Italy while walking, cycling, and running, and I think the Revel is pretty much made for just what I’m talking about.)

Ditch accessories.

Running shorts might be less versatile than leggings, but they don’t take up much space and probably don’t require you to pack undies for them. Plus, in most cases, they’re pretty quick drying, so you can easily give them a rinse during your post-workout shower and hang them to dry so you can wear them again for your next workout. Tanks with built-in bras can be great options for lower-impact activities like yoga, but I would recommend having at least one sports bra with your usual support on hand for just about anything else. A mile into a 10k isn’t the time you want to realize that your top wasn’t made for this.

Strip down.

Even if you’re not comfortable running in just a sports bra at home, doing so when you’re in a new location might be different. You’re not seeing people you see all the time, and, if you’re visiting a beachy area, chances are good that you’re getting sweaty surrounded by loads of people wearing far less. Being able to leave a few tops at home can free up quite a bit of space — especially if you’re able to rinse and dry your sports bra every day or so to rewear it!

Wash up.

Maybe you aren’t comfortable with just a basic rinse of your clothes after a killer workout. I get it — I’ve been there. In that case, if space is truly an issue, it might be worth inquiring ahead of time about laundry facilities wherever you’re staying. If we’re talking about a long trip with many clothes that require serious washing, you might want to check out the Scrubba Wash Bag. I used one the first time I went to Hawaii and it saved my socks after some incredibly muddy hikes.

Bag it.

I am obsessed with my space-saving travel bags. There are all sorts of options out there (travel cubes, vacuum sealed bags, etc.), but the ones I got don’t require any additional tools, seal tightly, and are small enough to serve as organizational tools, too. I use one for workout clothes, one for socks and undies, and one or two for my other clothes. As I work (i.e. sweat) through what I’ve packed, I switch one to a dirty clothes bag so I can easily keep things separated without sacrificing space. Plus, because they seal, if you’ve gotten a few items real stinky, you can keep them from smelling up your clean clothes, easy peasy!

Got any other hot tips for packing light? Whatever I pack for sleeping also doubles as workout wear, just in case I happen to run short. Kristen



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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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6 Tips for Transitioning to a Standing Workspace

This post is sponsored by VARIDESK. Find more on our sponsored post policy here. You know how we’re always talking about how the only changes that actually matter are big ones, and that you should always take giant leaps toward your goals and never work up to them little by little? Oh, right. We don’t say that. […]


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

You know how we’re always talking about how the only changes that actually matter are big ones, and that you should always take giant leaps toward your goals and never work up to them little by little?

Oh, right. We don’t say that. EVER.

Small steps and daily choices make a big difference to your overall health. And our lives are full of opportunities to add new, healthy habits! You can opt to walk the dog after dinner rather than settling in for a few hours of TV, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, you can bring your good-for-you lunch to work instead of going in on a pizza with your coworkers.

And, while we’re talking about work … raise your hand if your booty is a liiiiittle too familiar with your office chair.

Yep, I thought so.

We all know that sitting too much is no good for us, but did you know that spending just half your 8-hour workday standing up would burn an extra 130 calories a day, which equates to the calorie burn of running a 10k every week … or 11 marathons per year? And not only that, but that every two hours you sit has been shown to actually negate 20 minutes of your workout. Yikes, right?

A few weeks ago, I told you how adding a VARIDESK standing desk solution to my office is a simple choice I’ve made to improve my health, and one of the best features of VARIDESK products is that they make it easy to go from sitting to standing and back again, as many times per day as you’d like. That’s super important, because you might think that standing all day is no big deal — after all, you’re killing it in the gym and can run 10 miles, so how hard can it be to stay on your feet? — but it’s actually a pretty major transition to make.

So, to make it an effective — and long-term — change, you’ve gotta be smart in your approach. Here are the tips and tools I’ve used to successfully become someone who spends a good portion of the workday standing up.

Tip 1. Set yourself up for success by making it easy to go from sitting to standing.

Years ago, before I got my VARIDESK, I attempted to become someone who stood during the workday, and my solution was to unplug my laptop and carry it to the kitchen counter when I wanted to stand, then back to my office to sit. It was laborious — and didn’t stick. Make it as seamless as possible! Easy choices are easy to make. (Also, speaking of choices, you should know that the desk you’re seeing in my pictures is just one of many VARIDESK options. They offer various colors, sizes, shapes, solutions to go on your existing desk, others that take the place of your desk, and more.)

Tip 2: Set goals — and timers to keep you on track.

Y’all know how much I love a SMART goal, right? And that can totally apply here. Maybe you start out standing for 30 minutes, then sitting for an hour, and see how that feels. If you’re someone who can easily get lost in work for a couple of hours, set a reminder or alarm so that you get out of your seat regularly. Even if you find you can’t remain standing for as long as you’d initially planned, it’ll set the habit — and trust me, you’ll build up to standing for longer and longer periods of time. Pro tip: Using a mat (like VARIDESK’s anti-fatigue mats) to provide some cushion while you stand will be an enormous help.

Tip 3: Stand — but don’t just stand there.

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Standing with zero other movement might burn more calories than sitting, but … we can do better. Providing your body with a bit of movement and some opportunities to engage a variety of muscles will allow you to get the most out of your standing workspace. You can do this by making a point to stand on one leg at a time, putting a foot on a small ball, or utilizing products made just for that purpose. I’ve been rocking (haha) the ACTIVEMAT ROCKER, and it’s not only fun, but has been a lifesaver on days when I had a tough leg workout in the morning. Turns out that keeping my muscles moving a bit allows them to stay loose — and that means way less soreness later that day or the next morning.

Tip 4: Think beyond your legs.

It’s not just your lower body that feels a difference when you go from sitting to standing — depending on how your computer and monitor are set up, your new standing posture might change the angle at which you look at your screen. VARIDESK has several options for monitor arms — single, double, with laptop cradles, you name it. It’s pretty quick and easy to install and adjust, and, as a bonus, it really opens up your desktop compared to having a monitor on a big stand. And that’s not the only reason I dig it …

Tip 5: Make stretching and quick workouts accessible.

kristen stretching

I don’t have a ton of space in my office. It’s a shared space with my husband (who has a desk, some storage items, and a pinball machine in there), my two dogs (who obviously have to have a large bed in there), and my cat (who simply must have a kitty condo so she can look out the window). But even with the limited space, I’m able to carve out a little room for wellness. I store a resistance band, kettlebell, yoga blocks and a couple of weights in a small shelving unit, and when I want to take a break, I turn my monitor toward the middle of the room (which is easy with the aforementioned monitor arm!) and pull up a workout video (or one of these inspiring clips).

Tip 6: Don’t stop when you sit.

For starters, posture is always important, no matter what chair you have. We all find ourselves slouching on occasion, but next time you do, think about engaging your core, drawing your shoulders up and back, and sitting up straight and tall. If you want to take that a step further, take a look at what you’re sitting on. An active seating solution — like the VARIChair — encourages a dynamic range of movement and the engagement of your leg, back and core muscles whether you’re fully taking a load off or just leaning back a little.

What does your office need in order for you to spend more time standing? I seriously suggest perusing the VARIDESK site for inspiration. It’s seriously like one-stop shopping for your active office needs. —Kristen



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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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How to Have a Breakthrough at the Gym (or in Any Area of Your Life)

You guys know how the gym is a metaphor for life, right? via GIPHY Like, how the challenges you face in workouts — be it a race, lifting a heavier weight or conquering a new move, like a pull-up — are a great parallel to the challenges you face in life outside of the gym? […]


You guys know how the gym is a metaphor for life, right?

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Like, how the challenges you face in workouts — be it a race, lifting a heavier weight or conquering a new move, like a pull-up — are a great parallel to the challenges you face in life outside of the gym? I mean, I don’t know how many times I’ve had to deal with something annoying like a tech issue or a flat tire, and been like, oh, hey, I GOT THIS. After all, I did 50 burpees this morning.

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It’s all about changing your perspective. And building confidence. Because when you build confidence in one area of your life by doing something new — maybe something you thought you couldn’t before — that feeling bleeds over into other areas of your life. And that’s awesome. Because confidence feels GREAT. (And looks good on ya.)

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And we want you to feel confident. And amazing. And like everything you truly are. Which is why today we’re sharing ways for you to bust out of your comfort zone in ALL areas of your life. The gym is on there of course — that’s always a good place to try new stuff and we’re certainly in favor of that — but there’s also suggestions for busting out of your comfort zone in areas outside of the gym.

Because just like a breakthrough in the gym can result in a breakthrough in another area of your life, a breakthrough in your career or relationships, can also give you a breakthrough in the gym. Neat, huh?

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Your Career

There’s so much room in the workplace to grow. Maybe it’s by asking for a raise. Maybe it’s taking on a new project. Maybe it’s mentoring someone — or asking someone to mentor you. Maybe it’s applying for a new job or researching how to start your own business. Maybe it’s going back to school.

For Kristen and me personally, we’re putting this one into action by taking the online certification course for Zen Barre (for the record, they offered us this opportunity and we loved the concept so much we jumped at the chance). We’ll be talking about this much more in the coming months, but we are SO excited. Kristen and I have certifications in other areas (her: track/tri and me: personal training/health coach), but nothing like Zen Barre, which puts a mindful/meditation twist on barre. (And, if you guys want to join us in the training, you can actually get 20 percent off with the code “fitbottomedgirls”!) It’s definitely getting us out of our comfort zones and pushing our limits — and who knows what cool things will come from it!

Your Home

Take a look around at the place you live. Is there a home renovation project you could tackle? An area that you could declutter? An art project you could take on? A new recipe you could try in the kitchen? An area that you could plant something new or start a garden? What new thing can you do to make your space more … well … YOU?

Your Relationships

There’s so much possibility to bust out of comfort zones in your relationships. Maybe it’s starting a new one. Or ending one that’s no longer serving you. Or speaking your truth (even when that’s really scary). Maybe it’s forgiving yourself or getting to know yourself better. Maybe it’s taking the path to loving yourself unconditionally or finally breaking your all-or-nothing mentality.

Your Community

Like Toni Carey said in our podcast ep with her, when you see a need in your community, fill it. How could you get out and make a difference in the immediate world around you? Could you volunteer? Go to a community event? Reach out to your neighbors? Make a new unlikely friend? How can you bust out of your daily bubble and met others different from you?

Your Workouts

Again, there’s nothing like a new workout class (hey, maybe you want to take a Zen Barre class!) or a new, kinda intimidating goal to help you see that you can tackle just about anything. I mean, after I ran my marathon, I knew that I could do ANYTHING I put my mind to. I think of that race pretty much any time I am struggling with something. Honestly, pretty much every time I run, I find myself saying: Girl, surely you can get through this 5k; you ran a freakin’ marathon!

Where is a breakthrough just waiting to happen for you? —Jenn



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7 Things You Can Do Today to Be an FBG

You know what it means to be a fit bottomed girl (or guy). You realize you were put on this planet to do more than worry about your weight. And you’re pretty damn aware that dieting really, truly, seriously doesn’t work. You get it. You get us. But maybe you’re still not sure about just what it […]


You know what it means to be a fit bottomed girl (or guy). You realize you were put on this planet to do more than worry about your weight. And you’re pretty damn aware that dieting really, truly, seriously doesn’t work.

You get it. You get us.

But maybe you’re still not sure about just what it is you need to do. Knowing all of this is great, but taking tangible steps toward a healthier, happier future?

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Yeah, that’s next level. And we’re sharing seven things you can do — today — to become an FBG. Some are simple, some might take you a little bit outside your comfort zone, but the one thing they have in common is that they’ll all help you become an even more awesome version of yourself.

Step 1: Find your why.

The real reasons most of us have for wanting to be fitter, leaner, and healthier rarely have much to do with how we look. Not that liking what we see in the mirror isn’t a factor — because it is! But the truth is that when you love who you are, and you make healthy choices stemming from a place of self love (i.e. I’m going to the 6 a.m. bootcamp because I want to be strong and have more energy, versus I have to go to the 6 a.m. bootcamp because I ate pizza and need to work off those calories, plus my thighs rub and deserve to be punished), guess what? You’re far more likely to actually like what you see in the mirror — regardless of how that reflection actually looks. Finding your why requires some digging, and maybe a big of journaling, but once you find it, get ready for your game to change.

Step 2: Figure out how you really want to feel.

Once you’ve got your why, drill down deeper and think about how you want to feel. How do you want to feel when you look in the mirror? When you wake up in the morning? When you meet friends for coffee? When you play with your kids? When you give a presentation at work? When you make love? Then dig deep into what it would take to feel that way, like more effort at the gym, a cleaner way of eating, a keener focus on your mental health. This will help you set goals — and that why you just came up with will help you stay on track as you work toward them.

Step 3: Show kindness … starting with yourself.

When a negative thought pops in, (like, “I’m not fit enough to even run around the block,” or “I have no self control around cookies,) ask yourself if you can see things differently. Maybe you’re not ready to run around the block yet, but what can you do — and how does that compare to what you could do when you tried it the first time? Perhaps you had more cookies today than you would’ve liked, but empower yourself with the knowledge that a new slate starts now — and you truly deserve the effort it takes to make better choices. It’s about progress, not perfection, and each small step you take, every seemingly tiny good choice you make, all add up to awesome results down the road.

Step 4: Then spread that message.

The more you notice — and change your thinking around — negative self-talk, the more you’ll notice it when it comes up with friends. Instead of joining in when your friends start discussing things they dislike about themselves, jump in with positivity. What do you admire about them? Think beyond physicality, too, because although we can fixate on that when we’re on a fitness journey, we all know that there’s a lot more to each of us than a body. Speaking up can be scary, but seeing your friends come around and learn to love their own perceived faults is worth working through a bit of fear. Trust us on this one.

Step 5: Honor — and listen to — your body.

It’s one thing to push yourself to your limits, but it’s another to ignore the messages your body is trying to send. Nutrition and fitness don’t have one-size-fits-all labels, so while the high-protein eating plan your friend who loves CrossFit is following might be perfect for her, know that it might not give you the energy you need. Some people do really well with a diet higher in healthy fats, some folks process carbs well. There are athletes who live for the next ultramarathon, and there are plenty of yogis who’ve found health and joy on their mats. Find the healthy foods — and the activities — you love, see how your body responds, and adjust accordingly.

Step 6: Befriend your fears.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. After all, if the workouts or types of meals you’ve been sticking to for years aren’t giving you the results you want, why stick with them? It doesn’t mean you have to stop doing things you enjoy — because, hey, if you love long walks on the beach or your Saturday morning Vinyasa flow class, stick with it. But don’t avoid trying new things out of fear of the unknown. Join a knowledgeable, fit friend at the gym (or take a class or book a session with a personal trainer) and ask them to take you through the weight room if you’re intimidated. Unable to imagine more than a day or two without ice cream? Commit to nourishing yourself with whole, healthy foods for a few days — and enlist friends or a support group to help you stay accountable. And that leads us to …

Step 7: Surround yourself with support.

The people who love you want you to be healthy — but seeing a friend lose weight and become quite fit can bring up some tricky emotions, too. It’s important to have at least a couple of people in your corner when you’re committing to a healthier lifestyle for the long haul, not only because you’ll hit some obstacles as you get started, but also because, once you get near your goals, it can be easy to fall back into old habits and lose some of the progress you’ve made. The good news? This support doesn’t have to come from people you’re around in person — you can find it in loads of places.

And, sure, we’re a little biased, but we think the support and accountability found in our 10 in 4 Challenge private Facebook group (open to all members who have ever done the Challenge) is one of the best around. Everyone there is on the same page (no Facebook-y pun intended) — they’ve learned the value of meal prep and planning, they understand portion sizes, and they’re all enthusiastic about sharing what’s worked for them in case others find it helpful. Oh, and yes, Jenn, Dave, and I are all in there too, answering questions and offering guidance as needed. It’s a pretty sweet community to be a part of.

Looking for a place where everybody knows your name — and is right there with you on your healthy lifestyle journey? Join us in the next 10 in 4 Challenge! —Kristen



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Podcast Ep 56: Dr. Josh Axe on Natural Health

Get ready for a super informative episode! Dr. Josh Axe is a certified doctor of natural medicine, a clinical nutritionist, a chiropractic physician and best-selling author with a passion to help people get well by using food as medicine. He recently authored Eat Dirt and Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and operates one of the world’s most visited […]


Get ready for a super informative episode! Dr. Josh Axe is a certified doctor of natural medicine, a clinical nutritionist, a chiropractic physician and best-selling author with a passion to help people get well by using food as medicine. He recently authored Eat Dirt and Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and operates one of the world’s most visited natural health websites at DrAxe.com.

We chatted with Dr. Axe about everything from functional medicine to adrenal fatigue to what his favorite essential oils are (hint — he never leaves home without his top pick!). Plus, he talks about his daily “spiritual triathlon,” favorite workouts and so much more.

Oh, and did you guys notice our new podcast sponsor? Yay, VARIDESK! Be sure to head on over to their site now to see all the cool active workspace goodies they offer. It’s seriously work- and life-changing! 

Some of our favorite quotes from this episode: 

Podcast Episode 56 Highlights With Dr. Josh Axe

  • The differences between traditional and functional medicine
  • The signs of adrenal fatigue and how to best treat it
  • How your food choices can affect your hormones
  • What causes a leaky gut and how it affects your overall health
  • His favorite essential oils and their different uses (and we share some of our favorites, too!)
  • Best practices for weight loss and the No. 1 food in which most people are deficient
  • The foods he keeps in his fridge and what he eats on a daily basis

Get the episode with with Dr. Axe here or below!

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

Have you ever tried functional medicine? —Margo

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



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3 Things My Exercise Injury Taught Me

There are many downsides to getting an injury — you may have pain, you may have to take a break from your exercise routine, or you may have some serious damage to your body. All of it sucks! But what if you chose to see your injury as something more than just a setback? What […]


There are many downsides to getting an injury — you may have pain, you may have to take a break from your exercise routine, or you may have some serious damage to your body. All of it sucks! But what if you chose to see your injury as something more than just a setback? What if you could use the experience as a teachable moment, an opportunity to learn so you can move forward in your life with more insight, even wisdom?

As a hip labral tear has made me rethink the way I use my body, I’m reflecting on the good things that this injury has taught me.

What I’ve Learned From Being Injured

1. To listen to my body. My injury didn’t happen overnight; it came from years of overuse. My body gave me the signs along the way that something was wrong, but I chose to ignore it. So as I was running, and my hip started aching, I ran through it. I always pushed through the pain because I was determined to stick to my workout no matter what. Our bodies know best. When something isn’t right, your body will let you know. It’s up to you on how you will respond. Now, as I go through a rehab program, I’m paying close attention to all the signs my body gives as I don’t want to trigger the injury. So if you notice a little pang of pain in your workout, tune in and notice what your body is telling you. The sooner you start to listen, the more in touch you’ll be, and the less likely you will get injured.

2. To slow down. As a yogi, I was always comfortable with the idea of slowing down — on the mat. But on the running path or during a HIIT session the last thing I wanted to do was go slow. The problem with moving too fast is that often our form gets sacrificed. As our alignment gets sloppy, we are more prone to injury. Now that I am actually injured, moving fast feels rushed. It’s harder to notice the signals when my body is rushing around. Going slowly allows me to be more mindful with my movement, which not only helps heal my injury, but also it keeps me more present in the rest of my life.

3. Nothing is permanent. The situation I’m in now, like everything in life, will change. Currently, I’m in PT for my injury, and that will eventually end, bringing me to a new situation. Whether my hip heals completely and I return to the running track, or I end up in surgery, it’s all just a phase, or season of life. If I can listen to my body and slow down along the way, I’m more equipped to enjoy myself as the seasons change.

How do you deal with injury? —Elysha



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What It Means (and What It Doesn’t) to Be a Fit Bottomed Girl

So you say you wanna live that sweet, healthy, fit bottomed life. via GIPHY But … do you know what that really means? Do you know what a fit bottomed girl (FBG) actually does? How she treats her dreams, her food, her body? via GIPHY It’s cool! It’s not like FBG is defined in Webster’s […]


So you say you wanna live that sweet, healthy, fit bottomed life.

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But … do you know what that really means? Do you know what a fit bottomed girl (FBG) actually does? How she treats her dreams, her food, her body?

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It’s cool! It’s not like FBG is defined in Webster’s Dictionary … yet, anyway. But it’s important to know that being part of our fit bottomed world actually has very little to do with the size, shape, or relative fitness of your bottom — or any other part of you, for that matter.

It’s more about attitude, because when you get yourself in the right mindset, the other things you’re looking for (weight loss, muscle tone, the ability to eat foods and live a life you really love) tend to come along with the package.

So, what would an FBG do?

She would:

  • be curious, not judgmental
  • focus on what she can add rather than subtract
  • love life with zero shame in her game
  • listen to and honor her hunger
  • respect her body
  • love herself — even her perceived faults
  • cut herself a break
  • trust her intuition
  • not take herself too seriously
  • laugh often
  • take time for herself
  • understand the importance of rest

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And she would not:

  • count calories
  • obsess about the number on the scale
  • engage in negative self talk
  • judge herself — or others
  • skip meals
  • see workouts as “work”
  • always be on the go
  • spend lots of long hours at the gym to compensate for food she’s eaten
  • restrict food for the purpose of weight loss
  • beat herself up for not adhering to any of the above, because each day is a new day and a new opportunity to grow

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Dikembe Mutombo is right — ain’t none of that allowed up in here.

Essentially, it all comes back to the idea that you can’t hate yourself healthy. When you start from a place of self-love, and you see the creation of healthy habits as a way to show yourself the love and respect you deserve rather than a way to punish your thighs for rubbing, it becomes easier to make choices that lead you down that better-for-you path.

Not totally following why we don’t consider weight loss, in and of itself, to be the best reason to embark on a healthy living journey? Remember: building a body that fits into a pair of skinny jeans can never change your life in the same way that building confidence and positive habits can. —Kristen



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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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This Is the Mindset You Need to Lose Weight

If you’ve ever dieted or tried to lose weight before, you’ve likely read a lot of different advice. And a lot of books. And been to a lot of websites. And tried a lot of products. So you, like, KNOW A LOT about what it takes to lose weight. And, if you’re like a lot […]


If you’ve ever dieted or tried to lose weight before, you’ve likely read a lot of different advice. And a lot of books. And been to a lot of websites. And tried a lot of products. So you, like, KNOW A LOT about what it takes to lose weight. And, if you’re like a lot of us, probably even more about what it doesn’t.

Information can be awesome. It’s exciting to have all the facts on nutrition and studies on workouts and really learn some cool facts and strategies to help you to be your healthiest right at your fingertips. Yeah, information is power!

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Except when it isn’t.

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Stay with me for a sec.

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You can have all the facts in the world about weight-loss … and not actually lose weight. Because weight-loss isn’t just about information — it’s about putting that information into action. Which requires motivation. And … trying something different. We say this all the time in our 10 in 4 Challenge support group (learn more about how you can join the next challenge here): You can’t expect to see a change unless you make a change.

And yeah, that can be hard. Because change is hard. But it’s the truth.

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It all begins with your thoughts — and being totally and completely open to learning something new despite the fact that you know a LOT. It’s a little something we call the “beginner’s mindset.”

What Is the Beginner’s Mindset?

A beginner’s mindset is simple. Basically, you take everything you know, and you keep it in mind, but you check it at the door and open up to the possibility that you don’t know everything. You even remain open to the possibility that what you think you “know” may not actually be working for you. (Because, hey, if it was, you probably wouldn’t still be trying to reach the same goal, right?) You soften your approach to your body and your life. Even though you’re not a “beginner” in healthy living know-how world, you change your perception and accept that there’s much, much more to learn — and you’re ready to welcome it with open arms.

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How Can I Have a Beginner’s Mindset?

The first step to having a beginner’s mindset is to simply set the intention to have one. Easy, right? Take a deep breath, acknowledge (with lots of self love) that you’ve been doing the best you could up until this point, but decide that now you’re ready to grow, learn and change. It’s time to leave what’s not working for you behind and open up to new possibilities.

Then, pay attention to your thoughts. Repeated thoughts trigger emotional responses, which, in turn, result in behaviors. When behaviors are repeated, they become habits. And you guys know how important habits are. This is why thoughts are SO important.

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Whenever you start to think: “This isn’t going to work for me,” or “I already know that I need [insert food/activity/other healthy living tip you’ve relied on for however many years here],” or you just start to resist any sort of change because you “know” XYZ … lovingly remind yourself to open up and shift back to that beginner’s mindset.

Why Does a Beginner’s Mindset Help?

It takes practice and some self-awareness, but the results can be huge. Why? Because without a beginner’s mindset, change and growth in any area of your life is darn near impossible.

Think about it. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, why would you hold on so tightly to those habits? Adopt a new open mindset and break free.

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How open are you to new ideas when it comes to healthy living? And if you guys need some extra help with this, we do a lot of breaking these patterns in the 10 in 4 Challenge, which you can get more deets for here. It’s life-changing for so many women! Jenn



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Sightseeing on the Run: My London Running Tour

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for a Sightseeing Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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