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Category: Workouts

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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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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The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Chest

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


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

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

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

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

The Best Dumbbell Exerises for Your Chest

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

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

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

Put them into a workout and you got …

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

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



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5 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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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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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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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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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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5 Yoga Poses for Runners

If you’ve been pounding the pavement for years as a runner, an achiness may have crept into your 8-minute mile. Whether it’s soreness in the knee, tightness in the hips and groin, or an upset ankle, missteps taken along the running path can be alleviated with the right set of yoga poses. Often, with runners, […]


If you’ve been pounding the pavement for years as a runner, an achiness may have crept into your 8-minute mile. Whether it’s soreness in the knee, tightness in the hips and groin, or an upset ankle, missteps taken along the running path can be alleviated with the right set of yoga poses.

Often, with runners, it’s a weakness in certain muscle groups that places too much strain on the joints resulting in overuse. By stabilizing and strengthening these muscles, your body will realign, perform better, and stop hurting.

While checking in with your doctor is always a good idea for pain that lingers, consider adding these yoga poses into your post-run routine for more efficient use of your muscles, and less injuries along the way.

Low Lunge

This is the ultimate runners’ stretch! In addition to releasing tension in the hips, it opens up the quads, hamstrings and groin while strengthening the knee. Hold each side for five to 10 breaths after every run, and you will notice a shift in your running stance.

Half Moon

As you stand on one leg, you’ll strengthen the ankle and stabilize the glute muscles surrounding the hips, which are often subjected to overuse. By balancing and extending your other leg outward, you’ll engage your core, which is key for keeping a steady gait during your runs.

Dancer

Another weight-bearing posture that encourages activation of the glutes, this balance posture will build your core strength, and provide a quad stretch to help align and protect the knee.

Hero

The constant flexing position of the foot while running can tighten the tendons and ligaments on the front of the ankle. While this pose will counteract that position and bring some relief, it will also lengthen the quads. Be warned, many runners find this pose super intense so you may want to start off sitting on a prop.

Boat

Instead of doing crunches, which can shorten and tighten the psoas, consider doing this pose, which helps lengthen and tone the abdomen. Additionally, when you extend your legs off the ground, and engage your hip flexors, it relieves stress from the groin.

So if your runner highs are followed by the lows of aches and pains, try adding in these yoga poses to retrain your muscles and get your body back up to speed.

Which yoga poses do you incorporate after your run? —Elysha



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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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Row, Row — and What to Know

The World Rowing Championships (WRCH) began this weekend, and it’s an even bigger deal than usual for many of us because, for the first time over 20 years, it’s taking place in the United States. Not only that — it’s right in the Sarasota area where I live! (Want to follow along with what I’ve seen? […]


The World Rowing Championships (WRCH) began this weekend, and it’s an even bigger deal than usual for many of us because, for the first time over 20 years, it’s taking place in the United States. Not only that — it’s right in the Sarasota area where I live! (Want to follow along with what I’ve seen? Get thee over to Instagram!)

The WRCH, taking place until October 1, brings together 1700 athletes from over 60 countries — along with thousands of spectators. Competition includes youth regional challenges, para-rowing, men, women, with sculls (boats) ranging from singles to eights. If you’re in the area, you can still pick up tickets, and even if you’re not, you can follow along using the app.

Now, the championships bring together the best of the best — but there are a lot more rowers out there of all ages and levels. Masters (meaning adults) rowing is big enough in my area that there are multiple teams! In fact, one of my close friends, Holly Weber, is a rower who recently competed in a few events at the 2017 USRowing Rowing Masters National Championships, so I hit her up (i.e. supplied her with a big ass salad and wine) to learn a little bit about the sport. Here’s what I learned.

There’s a decent chance that you can find a club in your area. You can check out a map of USRowing clubs here, and while not every state is represented, you might be surprised by how many landlocked states have options!

Interested? You should try it. Seriously. You might watch the Olympics (or World Championships) and assume you need to be tall and muscular, but that’s really not the case, even among highly competitive masters rowing teams. Holly insists that there are all body types involved in hers, as well as ages and backgrounds. Some people join after rowing in high school or college. Others learn the sport in their 70s. And there’s a place for everyone!

Rowing teaches you about a lot more than how to move a boat through water. Sure, there’s a fair amount of body awareness and muscle memory you’re taught, but it goes well beyond the physical. Holly said that rowing has taught her a lot about being patient. “You want to have the perfect stroke immediately, but it takes time and practice — and you still probably won’t ever have the perfect stroke.”

She also shared that it’s taught her some important lessons about dealing with people. If you’re rowing with seven other people, chances are good you won’t absolutely love every single one of them as a person. But as a teammate, you have to support, respect, and encourage them — their success is your success.

You can’t help but form bonds. Some of Holly’s rowing friends are among her closest because of the shared experiences. When you’ve met multiple mornings a week — early, early mornings, I should say — and worked toward a common goal, you will form friendships, perhaps with people you wouldn’t otherwise have gotten a chance to know.

It’s a commitment. If you’re rowing on a team, it means you have to be there for team practices. In Holly’s experience, attending about three workouts a week is typically the minimum, and often, those practices are very early in the morning because that’s when the water tends to be at its best. However, if you’re not a morning person, don’t let that discourage you — talk to the clubs in your area to see if there are other options.

It’s a joy and pain like you won’t experience elsewhere. If you’ve ever hit the rowing machine (which, according to Holly, is a pretty darn accurate replacement for rowing in a scull) and given it all you’ve got, it probably won’t shock you to know that this is a serious full-body workout. Your legs take the brunt, but your core, arms, shoulders and upper back all have to engage — over and over and over — in order to keep the pace. Summer is for shorter races, winter is for longer ones (just like running), but each distance brings with it its own fun and challenges. Yes, it’s low-impact — so can be an awesome replacement for runners who can’t hit the pavement any longer — but it’s hardcore.

So, what do you say? Anybody out there think rowing is worth a try? —Kristen



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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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A Mini Band Strength Circuit You Can Do Anywhere

My clients ask about travel workouts all the time. And can you blame them? I mean, why put your training on hold just because you’re hitting the beach or going to a work conference? In the past, I’ve given them body weight workouts like this deck of cards workout but lately I’ve been getting creative […]


My clients ask about travel workouts all the time. And can you blame them? I mean, why put your training on hold just because you’re hitting the beach or going to a work conference?

In the past, I’ve given them body weight workouts like this deck of cards workout but lately I’ve been getting creative with mini bands. (These are our fave mini bands — so much so that we’re an affiliate and you can save 15 percent on them with code “AFBG15” now through Sept. 30, 2017!) And why not, they’re super easy to pack, take up no space in your luggage, and provide just that little bit of extra resistance.

And you know what? They’re so versatile that there actually aren’t many exercises you can’t do with them. After playing with my bands for a while, I discovered the possibilities are endless.

Check out this awesome strength circuit that only requires you to pack two mini bands for your next trip — taking up less space than a pair of socks. So no more excuses to ditch your strength training while you travel.

Mini Band Strength Circuit Workout

And here it is in a handy dandy graphic! Feel free to save and share!

Do you take your workouts on the road with you? If so, what’s your fave? And be sure to check out more of our free video workouts here—Alison



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Work Out Like a Ball Kid: Speed Drills With the World’s Fastest Feet

If you’ve ever been to a pro tennis match or watched a tourney on TV, you’ve probably in awe of not just the athletes — but also the ballpeople. I mean, they are SO fast and SO agile. They’re basically tennis ninjas. And really, they don’t get the kind of respect and attention they deserve, […]


If you’ve ever been to a pro tennis match or watched a tourney on TV, you’ve probably in awe of not just the athletes — but also the ballpeople. I mean, they are SO fast and SO agile. They’re basically tennis ninjas.

And really, they don’t get the kind of respect and attention they deserve, ya know?

Well, we’re doing our part to right that wrong today by not only giving them a virtual high-five, but also by sharing this speed and agility workout from Luis Badillo Jr. — AKA the man with the fastest feet in the world — and courtesy of Reebok. He developed these five drills to help ballpeople practice their speed and agility and learn the most crucial skills for hard courts, but it’ll also help any non tennis ninjas improve their overall quickness.

Speed Drill 1: Getting Off the Line Quickly

Set up a standard agility ladder and run through it with high knees, focusing on pulling your knees to your chest.

“Exaggerated movements like high knees help you practice technique so you’re ready for the real situation when it comes,” says Badillo. “In this case, it teaches you to stay light on your toes while moving fast, which is crucial to developing speed starting from a crouched position.”

Speed Drill 2: Picking Strays Up on the Fly

Set up two cones about eight feet apart. Run by them, staying low enough to tap the top of the cones with your hand as you pass them.

“Staying low is important so you can pick up balls without breaking your stride,” says Badillo. “Don’t waste time running upright and then having to bend down to pick up the balls.”

Speed Drill 3: Sprinting Across the Court

Set up hurdles a few feet apart across the length of the court and sprint over them as fast as you can.

“The hurdle is for explosiveness, or how fast you can get your feet off the ground,” he says. “This drill teaches you to achieve maximum speed over a short distance.”

Speed Drill 4: Stopping on a Dime

Set up two cones about four feet apart. Run two ovals around them then continue your run across the length of the court.

“Ballpeople have to be comfortable changing direction quickly,” says Badillo. “Lean forward and keep your center of gravity low so you can take sharp turns without falling down.”

Speed Drill 5: Picking Up Multiple Balls at Once

Set up a ladder and place two tennis balls on either side, evenly spaced apart. Run through the ladder with two feet in each box and then two feet out, picking up the balls as you pass them.

And now we’re dying to know, besides the ballpeople, who else are you rooting for at the U.S. Open this year? I’m a proud Fed Head. —Jenn



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The 20-Minute Workout That Had Us Burning at the FBG Retreat

We held our first ever live retreat earlier this month and, guys, it was AMAZING. Kristen and I will get into the hows and whys and ah-has and ALL of that in a later post (with deets on how you can get involved with fun stuff like that going forward — like here and here and […]


We held our first ever live retreat earlier this month and, guys, it was AMAZING. Kristen and I will get into the hows and whys and ah-has and ALL of that in a later post (with deets on how you can get involved with fun stuff like that going forward — like here and here and here), but for now, we wanted to share the 20-minute workout that had us FEELING IT. Both inside and out. ‘Cause you know that’s how we roll …

If you’re not familiar with the AMRAP style of workout, it means “as many rounds as possible.” So, it’s basically a circuit you go through as quickly as you can (albeit safely and with good form, obviously) for the time allotted — in this case, 5 minutes for each! And be sure to track how many rounds you get through of each. As you get fitter, challenge yourself to go faster and do more. It’s SO fun to see yourself improving!

And, as always, feel free to modify any moves that you’re not feeling that day, so squat jumps could be squats, star jumps can be jumping jacks, etc. Or, kick it up a notch by taking things to a single leg or adding weight when applicable. If you have a specific question about a modification for one of the exercises listed, drop it in the comments!

Try it and let us know how it goes. We all found it to be challenging but doable, which all made us feel pretty awesome afterwards. —Jenn



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That Time I Went to the Gym But Came Home and Lifted Wine Bottles Instead

I recently joined Planet Fitness. I’ve been struggling with my exercise regimen recently, so I was excited for the option to have the personal trainer there create a workout for me. The trainer and I met a few weeks ago to create my plan. We decided I’d do 2-3 days per week of cardio for […]


I recently joined Planet Fitness. I’ve been struggling with my exercise regimen recently, so I was excited for the option to have the personal trainer there create a workout for me.

The trainer and I met a few weeks ago to create my plan. We decided I’d do 2-3 days per week of cardio for 40-60 minutes. I have that covered with my weekly indoor soccer games, so that’s perfect for me. On non-cardio days, at least twice a week, I would do the strength workout he designed. I was nervous for this because I’m not used to using anything other than cardio machines.

My first try went like this …

I started with 5-10 minutes on the stair climber, which was great. I’m comfortable with that. It’s like cardio on steroids. It definitely gets my heart rate going. And from way up there, I could scope out the next stuff I needed to do. This was important because it was really busy that evening.

After that warm-up, it was time to move on to the weight machines. I’m less comfortable with them, but it’s a “judgment free zone,” so it doesn’t matter if I stand and look at the pictures on the machines a little longer than necessary to fully understand what to do. But first, I had to find an available machine I was supposed to use. That was pretty challenging considering how packed it was (at 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday). Almost every machine was taken.

I could pick out most of the machines I needed. I spotted the leg press, but it was busy. I moved on to the glute extension. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was supposed to alternate my sets between leg presses and glute extensions. That didn’t happen. I did three sets of 10 reps on each leg at the glute extension machine. I went back to the leg press when it was free.

I tried to go to the hip adduction and abduction machines next, but I didn’t realize I sat down where a girl already had her things. She was about to wipe the machine down, so I moved on. I came back later and did two sets of 15 on each machine. Again, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be alternating sets. I did them consecutively.

I moved on to the lat pull down machine. And, yep, you guessed it, I was supposed to be alternating. This time should’ve been with the chest fly machine, but I couldn’t find it. I did three sets of 12 reps on the lat pull down.

I gave up on finding the chest fly machine and went to the free weight section. But I panicked. I had never used free weights on the gym floor before. I had used them in group classes, but that always includes a lot of guidance. I watched one girl who looked really serious for a while. I got more nervous.

I knew I was supposed to do three sets of 10 curl and presses, three sets of 10 tricep lifts, and three sets of 10 front raises. I had to check with my fiancé Evan, who has an exercise science degree and much more experience weight lifting than me, before I went to the gym to make sure I knew what each of those movements was. I did. But when it came time to do them, I chickened out. I wanted to be efficient and use both arms at the same time, but I didn’t know if that was normal. And it was crowded. And I had been there for a long time already. And I was tired, but mostly, I was intimidated.

So I left.

I decided to finish my routine in the comfort of my own home. I thought we might have free weights, but I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t find them when I got home, so I improvised. I grabbed the only things I could think of that were shaped the same and were kind of acceptable in weight: wine bottles. I weighed them on my kitchen scale. They were only 2.5 lb each, but hey, they got the job done.

I did my curl and presses, my tricep lifts and my front raises. I finished out with two sets of planks for 30 seconds each and 30 v-ups (a crunch with legs extended in the air).

I felt pretty silly for getting scared and leaving the gym, but I was also pleased with myself for finishing the workout, even if it meant sort of making it up.

I went back later that week and did the full workout. Evan helped me through it. I now know what to do for next time, and I definitely know to avoid the busy times to feel more comfortable. I don’t think I’ll need to use the wine bottles again, but in a pinch, they’re better than nothing.

Have you ever had a first-time-at-a-new-gym experience like this? Ever lifted wine bottles? Do tell! —Megan



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Not Your Mama’s Water Workout

Summertime is the best time to hit the pool — but it’s also a great time to focus on your fitness. So why not combine both? That’s the goal of Melis Edwards, author of the new book Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Melis has more than 30 years of experience […]


Summertime is the best time to hit the pool — but it’s also a great time to focus on your fitness. So why not combine both? That’s the goal of Melis Edwards, author of the new book Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. 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. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. And she’s got a workout that you’re gonna want to try out the next time you have a chance to hit the pool!

Want killer abs, glutes and thighs? Hit the water!

Water workouts are not just for your grandma. I know, it can be hard to shake the image of a standard water aerobics class, but if you want a mega muscle burn and are tired of your same ol’ land-routine, try water. Now, we’re not talking the shallow end; this is going deep — the deep end of the pool. Working out in water allows you to push your muscles harder than you could on land and enjoy faster recovery times! This means you can work harder, recover faster, and do a kick a$$ workout in a shorter period of time. What’s not to love?

I suggest doing a water workout 2-3 times a week to change out your land-based training, and you don’t even need to know how to swim! Aside from a swimsuit the only equipment you’ll really need is a flotation belt. It might feel weird at first, but the belt will give you just enough buoyancy to really focus on your form.  

pool workout

A Workout for the Deep End of the Pool

Try for 3 rounds through of the following exercises, anywhere from 3 to 4 reps of each exercise. I like to aim for 15-30 seconds of each each at a 75-85+ percent effort, with a recovery 10-20 seconds between each rep. Change up the workout by switching the order of the exercises or create more intensity by decreasing recovery times. As you get stronger consider adding water gloves or resistance bells.

  1. Water Run with Resistance Bells: Long stride run works the entire bod … bells add an extra bang to your core. Keep your body vertical in the pool with a slight lean forward and move as if you’re running on land: opposite arm and leg movements. Don’t panic if your chin is in water, but obviously make sure you can breathe. Try to use a nice long stride to get the full benefit.
  2. Cross Country Uppercut: Broad sweeping motions with an upper punch takes your core, glutes and quads to a whole other level. With opposite arm and legs movement, drive your fist (palm up, like Rosie the Riveter) through an arm swing which starts from behind to the front of your body and crosses your midline, by about 4-6 inches. Moving your legs in a sweeping motion like a cross-country skier gives the  movement a torso rotation, activating your obliques.
  3. Karate Kick: Think of the movie Kill Bill and Uma Thurman knocking out two people with one motion; a kick to the front and back. Your quads, hamstrings and front shins (tibialis anterior) will thank you. Include a punch with your arms and your core will just not get a break. Your legs should stay bent as they travel under the body before each rapid kick. The quick interplay against the water resistance ramps the exercise intensity. Make it harder by throwing opposite punches (forward and back behind the body).
  4. Flutter Kick: Arms above, legs stretched out toward the pool bottom; core, quads and glutes have to hammer to keep your head ‘n shoulders above water. Think of propelling a paddleboard straight up; keep your arms straight up above your head to level up the difficulty.
  5. High Knees: The femme fatale is the High Knee; like playing hacky sack, but in the water. Think of running through tires, keeping your torso straight and pushing down with your heels. Arms above the head for an extra challenge; if you are not sinking for your life, you are not doing this correctly.  

Have fun- your body will thank you! —Melis

Workout adapted from Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for more info.



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Workout I Did: Murph

My cheatsheet … I’m an athlete not a math-lete. This year, for the first time, I joined my CrossFit community at CrossFit Become in completing Murph. If you’re not familiar, “Murph” is one of CrossFit’s hero WODs — intentionally challenging workouts each named for fallen soldiers to honor their sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Murph is performed by […]


My cheatsheet … I’m an athlete not a math-lete.

This year, for the first time, I joined my CrossFit community at CrossFit Become in completing Murph.

If you’re not familiar, “Murph” is one of CrossFit’s hero WODs — intentionally challenging workouts each named for fallen soldiers to honor their sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Murph is performed by CrossFitters around the world on Memorial Day weekend.

“Murph” the Soldier

This WOD is named for Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy who was killed in action at age 29 on June 28th, 2005, in Afghanistan during a reconnaissance mission. Lt. Murphy was later posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous and selfless acts which ultimately led to the recovery of the one surviving member of his SEAL team and the remains of those who were lost on that day. The story of his team is portrayed in the movie “Lone Survivor”.

“Murph” the WOD

As I mentioned earlier, hero WODs are intentionally very tough and as you can tell from the write-up above, this one’s no different. This type of workout is known as a “chipper” in CrossFit — meaning that the reps are high and you “chip” away at it. It’s all about patience, determination and grinding it out.

There are many ways to attack this WOD. Many athletes do the three bodyweight movements in mini-sets, specifically 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats (the rep scheme of the benchmark WOD “Cindy”).

I opted to attack each set in sequence rather than breaking it up into mini-sets. I rationalized that decision like this: I expected the pull-ups to be the hardest for me, followed by the push-ups, but I wasn’t worried at all about the squats. So it made logical sense to me at the time to knock out the most problematic movements first so that the WOD got easier for me as I got more and more fatigued. But, that’s not really the way it played out.

First and foremost, I didn’t wear the weighted vest — chuck that in the “Goals for Next Year” bucket. My first mile was pretty quick, then I took a couple of breaths before diving right into the pull-ups. I made it through the first 65 and then realized I needed to change up my game plan.

At that point, I was only able to bang out a few at a time and the time it took to recover enough to get a few more reps was killing me — especially since I had a one-hour time cap because I was coaching the second heat of Murph. My new plan was to stick with the pull-ups until just before muscle failure, then bang out a few push-ups just to keep the count going so I wasn’t killing so much time just standing around.

Before I knew it, the part I dreaded the most was over and I was on to the push-ups — which ended up being the real killer. Now, I’m pretty strong with push-ups so I really wasn’t expecting it to suck as bad as it did — but it turns out, 200 push-ups is a lot of work.

I was pretty solid until around my 90th push-up, then the breaks I needed to take to gather arm strength got longer and I was regretting not breaking it up into small sets and trying to plow through them in sequence. It was a very long, slow march to 200 as I sprinkled a few sets of squats in there to keep the rep count rolling. Words cannot express how happy I was to be done with the push-ups.

From there, it was fast and furious plowing through the squats, and I was out the door for the final mile. I returned exhausted but feeling really accomplished with a time just under 55 minutes.

Would I do this WOD again? Absolutely (albeit with a very different strategy). As with all chipper workouts, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the shear number of reps still remaining. But every rep is another step closer to completion. You’ve just gotta stay focused and keep moving. In that way, it’s a lot like life.

And the fact that this WOD honors Lt. Murphy and all the brave service members who selflessly defend our freedom and safety made the work so totally worth it. I consider it a privilege to honor them in this way and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Ever completed Murph? —Alison 



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How a Professional Snowboarder Strengthens Her Core

Professional snowboarder Spencer O’Brien is a six-time X Games medalist, Olympian, FIS World Champion, TTR World Champion, Winter Dew Tour Champion and five-year veteran of the Canadian National Team. Whoa, that’s quite the resume, right?! But get this. She first learned to snowboard at age 11, and then turned pro just five years later at […]


Professional snowboarder Spencer O’Brien is a six-time X Games medalist, Olympian, FIS World Champion, TTR World Champion, Winter Dew Tour Champion and five-year veteran of the Canadian National Team.

Whoa, that’s quite the resume, right?!

But get this. She first learned to snowboard at age 11, and then turned pro just five years later at the age of 16. Her career hasn’t been without hardship though. In 2013, O’Brien was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis — just two months before the Sochi Winter Olympics. While dealing with pain and overcoming obstacles to identify the right course of treatment, O’Brien has kept kicking butt in the sport of snowboarding.

And today, we have the workout that helps to keep her core strong and her snowboarding tricks ON POINT.

Spencer O’Brien’s Core Workout

  1. Diagonal plank matrix, 3 x 12: Start in forearm plank position,. Reach out with your left hand, then your right, keeping your torso square. Then push up to full plank and do two mountain climbers. That’s one rep!
  2. Plank arcs, 3 x 6: Spencer’s tip: “Keep your torso square and your bum down.”
  3. Stability ball V-ups, 3 x 12. If you don’t have a ball, you can do these on the floor.
  4. TRX diagonal mountain climbers, 3 x 10: Make sure to do 10 on each side!

Spencer’s Core Workout Video

Kick-ass, right?! Right now Spencer is training to represent Canada at the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Games Olympics in 2018 in the Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air disciplines. We wish her so much luck! —Jenn



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20-Minute At-Home Body-Weight Workout

Got a busy job? A busy life? Haven’t found a gym you love? Dude, home workouts can be AWESOME. You can do them when you want, in whatever you want (PJs … undies … shoes or no shoes … anything!) with no drive time to factor in. AND, with this 20-minute workout from Quill, you don’t […]


Got a busy job? A busy life? Haven’t found a gym you love?

Dude, home workouts can be AWESOME. You can do them when you want, in whatever you want (PJs … undies … shoes or no shoes … anything!) with no drive time to factor in. AND, with this 20-minute workout from Quill, you don’t even need equipment — just your body!

Great for beginners or intermediate exercisers, it’s a fantastic series of moves that will target all the major muscle groups of the body while also getting your heart rate up. For an extra cardio boost, we recommend repeating the jumping jacks between every move and resting as little as possible during the full workout. Try it!

What’s your favorite body weight move? I love me some push-ups. Always a challenge! —Jenn



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Our Fave Tracy Campoli Arm Workout

Looking for an arm workout that you can do at home with some light dumbbells in about 15 minutes — something that won’t get you too sweaty but has you feeling the burn? This Best of Arms Workout from Tracy Campoli is the ticket, yo. You’ll work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back … the whole […]


Looking for an arm workout that you can do at home with some light dumbbells in about 15 minutes — something that won’t get you too sweaty but has you feeling the burn?

This Best of Arms Workout from Tracy Campoli is the ticket, yo.

You’ll work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back … the whole arm situation. And while there are some moves in here you know and love (hi there, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks), there are other ones you probably don’t normally do, like Raise the Roof!

So what are you waiting for? Lift it and flex it, girl!

While we also love lifting heavy, it’s crazy how just light dumbbells can have you really, really, burning, right? Gets me every time. Also, if you love Tracy Campoli, be sure to check this workout she did just for FBG—Jenn



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