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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Legs

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the barbell. Often, it’s just my first instinct on strength days at the gym to just head to the barbell platform and get to work. But as I’ve pointed out in the past few posts of this series, that’s not always possible. We have so many […]


It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the barbell. Often, it’s just my first instinct on strength days at the gym to just head to the barbell platform and get to work. But as I’ve pointed out in the past few posts of this series, that’s not always possible.

We have so many fitness tools available to us nowadays, each with its pros and cons, so it’s important that we remain open-minded about the tools we use to get stronger and fitter. Besides, why limit ourselves when there are so many fun and creative ways to move our bodies?

There’s a place for everything in our gym routines, dumbbells (here are our fave ones to use) included. So this week, I’ll continue my mission to revive these unassuming pieces of equipment by talking about some simple ways to work your legs.

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Legs

As I mentioned in my previous post for your glutes, using dumbbells will force your whole body — especially your legs — to stabilize differently than with a barbell. The weight distribution is completely different and there’s a ton more movement that you have to control, which translates to far more demand being placed on your stabilizer muscles — super awesome if you’re someone who’s prone to injury.

Additionally, using dumbbells to perform single-leg work (as I’ve included in the circuit below) will also help you create better balance in your body. Since we all tend to have one leg that is stronger than the other, by working each leg independently we can start to bridge any strength gap between lefty and righty.

Check out this circuit for those days when you wanna hit your legs hard:

Check out this video or below to see a demo of each move featured in this post.

Have I convinced you yet to revisit the dumbbells? If you’re shopping for dumbbells to use at home, we love these so much that we’re an affiliate. —Alison



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Ask the FBGs: What Couples Workouts Do You Recommend?

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


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

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

Hello!

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

Can you please make a recommendation? Or five?

Thanks!
—DJ

Answer from the FBGs

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

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

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

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

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

—The FBGs

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



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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

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


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

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

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

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

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

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

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

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

Put them into a workout and you got …

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

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



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6 Ways to Make Old Exercises New and More Effective

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


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

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

1. Try supersets.

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

2. Add a move.

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

3. Move your feet.

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

4. Switch it up.

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

5. Walk the other way.

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

6. Add variety.

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

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

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



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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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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Chest

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


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

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

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

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

The Best Dumbbell Exerises for Your Chest

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

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

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

Put them into a workout and you got …

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

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



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

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


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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

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

Week One

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

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

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

Week Two

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

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

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

Week Three

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

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

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

Week Four

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

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

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

Overall Thoughts

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

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



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5 Ways to Sneak in a Quick Workout Over Lunch

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


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

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

5 Ways to Sneak in a Quick Workout Over Lunch

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

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

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

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

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

And When Your Lunch Workout Is Done …

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

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

NO EXCUSES. Conquer today and every day! —Nichole



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A Workout From the Bench

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


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

And, obviously, I am not thrilled.

via GIPHY

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

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

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

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

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

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



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2018 Workout: 18 Moves, 18 Reps

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


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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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



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Friends With Workout Benefits

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


Everything is better with friends. Including workouts.

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

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



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5 Ways to Upgrade Your Next Workout

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


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

Yeah, us neither.

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

Upgrade Your Intensity

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

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

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

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

Upgrade Your Hydration

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

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

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

Upgrade Your Recovery

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

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

Upgrade Your Mindset

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

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

Upgrade Your Weights

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

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

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



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

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


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

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

10-Minute Zen Barre Workout

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

1. Play Music

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

2. Eat Clean

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

3. Meditate

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

4. Take a Walk

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

5. Exercise

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

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



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Mindful Running Workout

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


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

Mindful Running Workout

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

Mindful Running Workout: Variation 1

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

Mindful Running Workout: Variation 2

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

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



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5k Pace Track Workout

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


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

To each, his or her own, right?

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

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

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

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

5k Pace Track Workout

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

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

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

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



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The 12 Days of Christmas Bodyweight Workout

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


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

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

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

Ready to do this? Alright, let’s go!

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



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6 Creative Ways to Get Your Workout on While Traveling

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


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

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

6 Creative Ways to Get Your Workout on While Traveling

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your favorite travel workout? —Nichole



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Running Through reputation

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


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

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

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

reputation, Track by Track

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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6 Moves for Enviably Strong Arms

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


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

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

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

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

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

How Many Reps?

Always start with a good warm-up.

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

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

My Big Six for Enviably Strong Arms

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the strength moves you swear by? —Alison



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The Treadmill Workout That Changed My Running

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


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

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

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

Why Hill Repeats?

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

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

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

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

The Workout

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

A Few Notes on Form

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

Ready to get reacquainted with the old dreadmill? —Alison 



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The 10 Best Fitness Marshall Workouts

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


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

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

Fifth Harmony: Worth It

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

Ed Sheeran: Shape Of You

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

Britney Spears: Work B**ch

Get to work … hair flip!

Sia: Cheap Thrills

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

Anaconda: Nicki Minaj

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

Meghan Trainor: Me Too

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

Taylor Swift: Look What You Made Me Do

Kinda perfect for Halloween, huh?

Usher: Yeah! Feat. Whitney Thore

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

Justin Timberlake: Can’t Stop The Feeling

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

Portugal The Man: Feel It Still

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

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

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



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Workout I Did: Learning to Surf

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curious to try it for yourself?

Three Things You Should Know

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

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

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

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

What’s on your fitness bucket list? —Alison



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Sightseeing on the Run: My London Running Tour

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for a Sightseeing Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Push, Pull & Twist Countdown Workout

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Push, Pull & Twist Countdown Workout

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

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



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This Bodyweight-Only Workout Is Great When Traveling

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


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

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

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

Travel Workout 1: 12-Minute Tempo Run

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

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

Travel Workout Two: 8-Minute AMRAP

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

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

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

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

Thanks, Mother Nature. YOU ARE SIMPLY AMAZING.

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



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How to Create Your Ideal Home Gym

You just got home from a long day at work and you know you’ve got a long night of household duties ahead, but you also know you need your workout to keep your life balanced. Or maybe it’s freezing cold, first thing in the morning, and you’re not super excited to leave the comfort of […]


You just got home from a long day at work and you know you’ve got a long night of household duties ahead, but you also know you need your workout to keep your life balanced. Or maybe it’s freezing cold, first thing in the morning, and you’re not super excited to leave the comfort of your home to get your heart rate going. Or maybe it’s just Saturday afternoon and your basement is a lot closer than your gym.

Or maybe you have been in all of these situations at some point in your life. You wish you had a home gym, huh? If you read about that time I went to the gym but came home and lifted wine bottles instead, you know I, too, have wished for this.

According to home-gym designer Michael Blauner, this dream may be more realistic than you thought. If you have a rack of dumbbells, a treadmill, and enough room to move around, you’re well on your way.

Blauner says the best thing for anyone to have in their home gym is a rack of dumbbells, or a universal weight rack as he prefers to call it, appropriately weighted for the individual. “Nothing works better than old school.”

The only other essential is a treadmill. “When it comes to cardio equipment, nothing compares to a treadmill,” he says. “If you’re prone to injury, you can walk at a slow pace. It’s a natural motion. It’s the most enjoyable feeling of cardiovascular exercise.” 

If you have a lot of control in your design, Blauner suggests either a hardwood floor covered with a rubber mat or wall-to-wall rubber flooring. He does not recommend tile or carpet.

Changing your flooring may be a bigger commitment or investment than you want, so a simpler undertaking is to incorporate nature and color. Painting is a great start. Blauner suggests using bright colors, such as bright blue, green, orange, or natural tones to complement any kind of nature you can pull in. It’s helpful if you are able to use a space with a lot of windows. If not, try adding artwork.

Another of Blauner’s suggestions is to include a wall of mirrors if possible. These are more to check your form than your hair, he says, and they help to make the room feel larger.

Blauner cautions against including a TV in your home gym if you can avoid it. They’re good if you need a distraction for a long cardio session, but they can provide unwanted distraction at other times. Instead, if you can incorporate music, such as with a sound system, that can help improve your workout flow. He’s had some clients feel in such a zone during a workout with good music that they barely remember what exercises they did when they were done. It may not even be something you consciously notice, but music can have a great effect on your workout.

Above all, the key to creating a home gym is to find what works for you. “Start with the basics,” Blauner suggests, “then develop from there. It doesn’t take much.”

In the possibility that is your own home gym, Blauner says, “the sky is the limit.”

What would you include in your ideal home gym? —Megan



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Can Aromatherapy Boost Your Workout?

We’re all looking for a better, more fun, more enjoyable workout. One that leaves us feeling uplifted, energized — and a bit like a badass. Okay, a lot like a badass. But, when it comes to smell — er — that’s the one thing we’re typically trying to have LESS of during a workout. However, […]


We’re all looking for a better, more fun, more enjoyable workout. One that leaves us feeling uplifted, energized — and a bit like a badass. Okay, a lot like a badass. But, when it comes to smell — er — that’s the one thing we’re typically trying to have LESS of during a workout. However, turns out the right smell, a la aromatherapy, may actually help your workout. We chatted with Tracy Griffiths — creator of Aroma Yoga, director of the Life Energy Institute and spokesperson for Young Living Essential Oils — about how and why that is, plus easy ways you can boost your next sweat sesh.

What are the benefits of incorporating aromatherapy into a workout?

“Aromatherapy, when used during a workout, helps us bring our body, mind and our intentions into the present moment, thus increasing our focus and attention on any task at hand, especially our workouts.”

How can you incorporate aromatherapy into exercise?

“Place a drop or two on the palms, gently rub the palms together, bring the cupped hands over the nose and deeply inhale, completely exhale and repeat two to five more times. As you are practicing this deep, slow breathing exercise, take this time to set your intention for your workout.”

What scents do you recommend for getting energized to move?

“The crisp scents of rosemary, peppermint or lemon can help sharpen our awareness and help us become more mentally and emotionally connected to our physical body. Because of the physiological and emotional components of the olfactory system (how our brain processes scents), we can use our sense of smell to anchor a particular feeling to a particular essential oil. So by breathing in favorite essential oils, it may trigger a positive emotional response and help us get in the ‘zone’ before working out. Most athletes know being in a positive and empowering mindset is crucial to a successful workout. Using aromatherapy in your fitness routines can be a great way to get the most out of yourself!”

Anything else we can do to boost our workouts?

“Close your eyes and visualize how you want to show up for yourself. See if you can visualize your body going through the exercises. Focusing your mind and being present can really make a difference in how you feel before, during and post workout.”

Will you try it? I’ve been using lemon oil in my diffuser to get energized to write lately. And now I’m excited to try it before I hit the gym!Jenn



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