Why Inclines/DIY Hills Can Be Your Friend + Incline Workout

Why Inclines/DIY Hills Can Be Your Friend + Incline Workout

Happy Wednesday! Although I live in Florida and hills are not really a thing (unless you have bridges #SoFlo or north florida-ish), reaping benefits of hills can be tough. Luckily in Downtown Tampa where I teach, using a long ramp along the backside of Curtis Hixon Park (Tampa friends you know where I’m talking) has been good to get some incline in and where I did my workout yesterday! If you don’t have a ramp, using a stadium, stairwell, even the stair master at your gym works too! Parking garages are also a great option, just make sure you’re running them safely and during a less busy time of day.

Hills can be intimidating, a long and tough climb to the top, but they have other benefits besides just strengthening your legs:

  • Build endurance
  • Improve efficiency
  • Great way to challenge yourself before a flat course
  • SPEED- hills are basically speed work in disguise
  • Boost cardiovascular fitness

After reading up on hills, I’m planning on doing a bridge workout with my HEAT class and adding to my training as well. Look for that post up soon too!! šŸ˜‰ Back to inclines though, it all has benefits. I feel most people run them too hard, too fast up them resulting in burnout or they honestly hate them and don’t do them at all. Go slow, take baby steps up, and recruit those arms help propel you up! If you have joint issues, the downhill part of the hill is where you want to be careful. The eccentric (lengthening) part of the movement on the way down, can put pressure and extra strain on joints. Control your movement instead of “letting yourself go.” Rest at the bottom, then back over again! Your heart and legs will thank you šŸ™‚

Check out my incline workout I did with my class yesterday! As mentioned above, use a stairwell, treadmill/stairmaster, stadium, etc. if you don’t have a ramp!

Curtis Hixon Ramp Workout (no equipment–YAY!)

Three exercises per round at the bottom, middle, and top of each incline

*single count means each side counts as 1 rep

*double count means both side counts as 1 rep

Starting at bottom, focus is lower body/squats[cue Drake’s song haha] : 

-50 basic squats~~ run to middle portion of incline

50 pulse squats~~ run to top of incline

-50 jump squats/basic squats~~ run back to the bottom

~REST 1 min~

Bottom, focus is cardio:

-40 jumping jacks~~ run to middle of incline

40 burpees~~ run to top of incline

-40 Skaters (single count)~~ run down to bottom

~REST 1 min~

Bottom, focus is abs:

30 bicycle crunches (double count)~~ run to middle

-30 supermans~~ run to top

-30 flutter kicks (double count)~~ run back down

~REST 1 min~

HOLLAA you’re done! Don’t forget to stretch and cool-down after. šŸ˜‰

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Hi There! I took a small hiatus from blogging over the holiday, now I’m back with some new topics to share with you. Everyone knows the holiday season is upon us. For most people, that usually means more eating out, falling off of a workout routine, other seasonal stressors, and other ways to put health and fitness on the back burner. I myself, find it hard to juggle my workout schedule among a lot of things going on, especially during this time of year. SO, I’ve decided to share someĀ motivation, tips on settingĀ small goalsĀ for each workout, and why staying fit over the holidays matter.

Starting to feel that “dread” or “guilt” upon starting a workout or run or for not getting your workout in? I’m already there on some days honestly! #keepingitreal…LOL. Marathon training during this time of year has its pros and cons (burn off those christmas cookies right?) so I get it.

  • Motivation wise:
    • Get half of the workout done anyways. Thirty minutes or less? Make it hard, fast, intense. This goes for HIIT workouts and speed/tempo runs.
    • Holiday fun runs or a 5k—so many good reasons for a 5k! Holiday runs are especially fun since they’re seasonal and allow you dress up. Get a group together or your family.
    • Experiment with *healthy* holiday recipes–a lot are re-created with healthy substitutes. My mom does roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries. It a festive dish and its healthy.
    • Holiday Challenges—I’ve done a running streak (with clothes on–LOL!!) where you run a mile a day from Thanksgiving till the new year. Not into running? Try doing a set of ten push-ups, holding a plank, etc. every day till the New Year instead. Get your friends together and make it fun.
    • Out of the box ways to motivate yourself: make your phone screen something motivational, a good quote maybe? Seeing it often helps you focus on your goals.
  • Go in the gym with a plan…Okay, so you made to the gym. Now you’re trying to figure out what you wanna work on. You might be feeling that “dread” set in but you know you need to do something. Instead you wander around and might not be efficient with your time. Aside from just showing up, plan your workouts ahead of time (see post on using a planner). For example, know you’re gonna do an upper body HIIT workout. Its okay if you don’t have the exact plan in front of you Ā (sometimes I don’t) but knowing what you’re doing *somewhat* makes it easy to get it and get it done.
  • Staying fit matters…Yes, we like to indulge this time of year. We should!! Tasty, wonderful food and treats are among us. It’sĀ special. Try not to completely let it go to the point you hate yourself for it. All those thirty minute or less workout/runs, walks, and push-up Ā challenges, etc matter. Healthy food choices count too. Starting the new year with maintaining your goals is much better then having to start all over again with everyone else at the packed gyms etc. That thought alone makes me cringe! #packedgyms.

No one is perfect, but its the moments you don’t want to do anything that count the most! Plan it out, get it done, feel great, repeat…all season long. šŸ™‚

Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

HELLO! Over the past few weeks I’ve added some new cardio so my workouts. Lately, I’ve been all about quick effective workouts (see my last post on HIIT) and jumping rope has come to mind. I also recently read an article onĀ Runner’s World and they had some interesting points on how jumping rope can help with running. Through that article as well as some research on my own, there are tons of benefits when including jump rope to your strength and cross training routine. Not only the obvious benefits including:

  • Can be done anywhere
  • Cheap
  • Easy storage
  • Good, fast way to get cardio in

BUT also adds components that enhance running performance as well. WHO KNEW?! Check out the benefits below!:

  • Aids in good postureĀ 
    • During a race or run, rounded shoulders become more obvious as you fatigue. Training your upper body to stand tall as you jump keeps your form efficient.
  • Fast Footing
    • More efficient way to quicken your steps and stride leading to improved speed while keeping light on your feet.
  • Recruit fast-twitch muscle fibersĀ 
    • Jumping without much break in between can help with explosiveness and power at the start of a run or race.Ā 

Pretty short and sweet if you ask me! After learning these benefits, I love incorporating the jump rope! Who knew the such an oldie could reap awesome benefits in such a short time. To be honest, it is fatiguing. But my heart rate is up in no time and the added challenge is giving me something to work towards. To start, try to do 20-30 reps without stopping. Then add 5-10 more each time. I jump for time so I did 1 min when I added it to a workout. If a minute is tough, try 30 seconds and work up. Be sure your rope is not too long either. Hold the handles at your side and notice if the middle of rope touches the floor. If more than middle does, it’s too long, if not enough touches, it’s too short.

If not for enhancing performance, adding it to your cardio routine is a fun way toĀ mix it up. You’ll be reap the benefits of an old school activity whileĀ gaining cardio health benefits along the way.

Keep Going & Stay Motivated with HIIT Workouts & Two-A-Day Runs

Keep Going & Stay Motivated with HIIT Workouts & Two-A-Day Runs

Hello! Its FRIDAY! or as I like to call it FriYAY! This past week I ran my half way mark for training…thirteen miles on Halloween! (good reason indulge obviously) and felt good. Tired having been out Halloween night, but overall a good run. Now, I’m past the point of half way. This means that even during the week my runs are longer…especially this week being a six and seven miler. This is where I’m getting a little bit mentally fatigued. I’m recruiting my running and biking friends to come with me on my longer runs specifically my LONG long runs, up to 14+ miles.

Since the weather here in Tampa is getting oddly warm for November, it was hard for me tackle these distances especially before a jam-packed day. I just make sure that I eat well, drink coffee in moderation (half serious and joking here ha), and get enough rest! Since doing a six miler Wednesday morning, I felt drained. It might have had to do with the fact I ran a little later when it was warmer and more humid. Thursday morning I beat the heat and humidity…kind of, not really…because even at 6am it was still gross! GAH! That’s when I decided to break up my seven miler. I like to incorporate speed into my runs as well so I did four miles Thursday morning instead and did the other three on the treadmill after I taught my lunchtime class. Mentally I felt MUCH better! Tackling the distance into two different runs made it much easier to accomplish. I felt good with my speed work too so splitting them up worked out! Yes, I was tired, and was in bed my 10pm exactly last night, but I felt better knowing that splitting them up and doing two-a-days actually can work. Moral of the story: breaking up the distance into manageable pieces helps with the mental side of training!

Another thing I learned this week was how great HIIT workouts are! I kinda forgot about them, but realized how handy they can be. I didn’t get to my workout late Monday night, so I did 30 min of an upper body + core + cardio HIIT workout. I said exactly: “no more or less than 30 min and then you can leave” DONE! HIIT is a great type workout because it’s designed to get your heart rate up combined with strength exercises done efficiently and fast. I know people how ONLY do HIIT because its effective and fast so its perfect for people who have a busy schedule and can’t find time to workout or get to a gym. I work in fitness, and can spend hours honestly trying out exercises for fun, but Monday was not that night so HIIT came in handy!

Benefits & Reasons of HIIT include:

-FAST & EFFICIENT!

-Can be done ANYWHERE! (gym, home, outside)

-No need for equipment

-Versatile–create combinations of cardio, abs, UB, LB; weight vs. no weights; intervals of seconds vs minutes; rounds or circuits

-Go at your own pace

TA-DA! All of these reasons to me say no excuses so adding HIIT to your workout routine among other things is a great way to include cardio and strength components as well. Check out my Upper body HIIT workout I did Monday! It a sweat fest!!

Upper Body HIIT Workout (Note: if you don’t have equipment feel free to modify)

Complete each round twice through no breaks. After each round, get water and rest of 1 min

Equipment: jump rope, mat, bosu ball, medium weights

Round One, 1 minute each exercise, twice through no breaks:

  • Forward shoulder raises
  • Jump rope
  • Rocking plank

~BREAK 1 MIN~

Round Two, 1 minute each exercise, twice through no breaks:

  • Plank Push-Ups (30 sec each side)
  • Jump rope
  • Plank knee-taps

~BREAK 1 MIN~

Round Three, 1 min each exercise, twice through no breaks:

  • Push-ups on bosu
  • Jump rope
  • bicycle crunches

~BREAK 1 MIN~

Round Four, 1 min each exercise, twice through no breaks:

  • Inchworms (challenge: add a push-up!)
  • Jump rope
  • Reverse crunches on bosu

~BREAK 1 MIN~

Round Five, 1 min each exercise, twice through no breaks:

  • Bicep curl + overhead press
  • Jump rope
  • Plank

Couldn’t resist posting about my amazing shakes this week either!! I needed a new way to get in my greens so I whipped up a filling and nutritious smoothie!! YUMO!

Kale & Mango Protein Shake:

  • 1 c. vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • Half of banana
  • 1/2 c frozen mango
  • 1 c frozen or fresh spinach
  • 1 c. fresh kale
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder-Blend together for 1 min and enjoy!
    Kale & Mango Protein Smoothie for lunch...yummy!
    Kale & Mango Protein Smoothie for lunch…yummy!

    Although it was humid for November this past week, this sunrise made it worth the miles.
    Although it was humid for November this past week, this sunrise made it worth the miles.

Why Eggs Are the Perfect Post-Workout Snack

Why Eggs Are the Perfect Post-Workout Snack

Eggs are a great form of protein and are relatively cheap. They’re alsoĀ rich in muscle-friendly protein,Ā vitamin D, vitamin B12, and selenium…a good reason to add them to your diet! Eggs go back and forth with being healthy all the time it seems. “Too much cholesterol”, “too much fat”, “only eat the whites”, the list goes on. Ā I always say moderation is key. They also can be cooked several ways and can be seasoned/flavored however you like! My mom has always had hard-boiled eggs handy for snacking, but I, myself, have gone in phases with eggs. Recently, I decided to find a good recipe for cooking eggs while also trying to find the best way to peel them so they look pretty (presentation is key šŸ˜‰ ) I used some of my mom’s ideas and some of my own, but also went on pinterest looking for tips and recipes and found a couple ideas:

  • use older eggs for hard-boiling
  • boil eggs using vinegar/baking soda can help eggs peel easier
  • hummus and/or lemon pepper seasoning makes for a good addition when taking/leaving out the yolk for a hardy, satisfying snack
  • use an egg-timer, specifically the Norpro Egg Rite Egg TimerĀ fromĀ AmazonĀ 

I find that using baking soda has really helped the peeling of my eggs go smoothly! They don’t look like they’ve been massacred, which is one of the main goals, along with cooking them perfectly. Recently, I’ve been using an egg slicer and putting them on toast with a slice of cheese and salt and pepper for easy breakfast. A few weeks ago I made Curry Egg Salad from Runners World which was delicious with raisins and green onions! Really good with a slice of toast too or with a whole grain bagel. I didn’t garnish mine with avocado or cilantro since it was good without, but this recipe is versatile so go for it! Below is the recipe for Curry Egg Salad, as well as how I boil my eggs!

Curry Egg Salad from Runners World

Mix 1/4 cupĀ Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons golden raisins, 1 teaspoon Dijon, 2 sliced green onions, 1/2 teaspoon curry, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix 4 chopped, hard-boiled eggs with yogurt. Cut two whole-grain bagels in half. Divide mixture among 2 slices; top each with avocado, cilantro, and remaining bagel.

Perfectly Peel-able Hard-Boiled Eggs

Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder to 4Ā cups of water and dissolve. Add eggs to pot with egg timer.Ā Turn on burner to high and wait for water to boil. Once water boils, set timer (regular timer) for 15 min and turn down heat from a rolling boil to softer boil. Once 15 min is up and timer shows eggs are boiled, run cool water into the hot water with eggs until the water becomes cool and you can no longer feel the hot water (don’t drain the hot water!). Let eggs sit in cool water for 5 min. Begin peeling and enjoy!

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