All The Coffee: Enhance Your Endurance & Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival

All The Coffee: Enhance Your Endurance & Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival

*Disclaimer: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was able to attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival with a friend for free in exchange for social media love and this post. All opinions are my own.*

This past Saturday, I was able to attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival! As soon as I got word on this opportunity, I knew I had sign up! I mean it’s COFFEE plus tastings and demos, art, live music, and food, you can’t go wrong! A portion of the proceeds went to Bay Area Foundation for the Arts (BAFA), a organization that helps students and teachers further their knowledge in fine and performing arts. I brought a friend and we both had a great time. Great tastings and brews. It was from 6-9pm, first thought: “YES! Coffee!” and second thought: “Late night coffee?…not gonna stop me though.” Took on the brews like a champ and didn’t have *much of a problem sleeping* 😉 worth it though!

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It was inside at the Noise Box, a local venue in Brandon, FL . They had a variety of local vendors such as pottery, art, books, home decor, etc. They had a corner with baked goods to pair nicely with your brew too! All good looking options of course because what else would you pair it with? At each corner of the venue they had four tastings. All unique with different flavors. I tend to like medium roasts, so my favorite was the Colombian.

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They featured a local company, Zeal Coffee Roasters. My first time having their coffee and their cold brew was AMAZING! I don’t always go for the cold brew since it is a little strong for me, but their ‘s was heavenly with a little cream that made me melt–PUNS… get it cold brew, melt…okay I’m done. SO GOOD!

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After having walked around, tried the tastings and had our drinks, we were ready to head out. Since it was a three hour event, the event really took us an hour and half to get through because it was on the smaller side. I heard that it sold out, which I wasn’t surprised about considering a great turnout! However, there was only one roaster, which I feel wasn’t enough. Adding a second or even a third roaster each offering something unique would make it good to compare to. Overall, I would attend this event again because it offered great coffee culture, something I really enjoy and appreciate. Coffee really is an art!

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If you haven’t already noticed, I LOVE coffee. Hence, me jumping at this opportunity to blog about my experience! Aside from the tastings, demos, and info sessions, coffee has other benefits besides the caffeine kick. Although they’re are many benefits to your brew (a load of antioxidants, lowers your chances of certain types of cancer, fights depression) this reason is my favorite: Enhances endurance and improves workout performance! <— Can I get an HELL YEAH??

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For particularly tough workouts either running or a strength day (like a HIIT workout), I grab a cup a couple hour before if I can. Having that boost of energy before your workout puts that energy kick to work! When you have as little as eight ounces, the caffeine travels into your bloodstream and surpresses neurotransmitters in the brain. Once kicked in, the caffeine takes over and masks the effort you’re putting into your run or workout. Result, you can push longer and harder. Read more about it here.Who needs pre-workouts right? Pair coffee with some easy digestible carbs and a little fat and you have the perfect pre-workout snack! My favorite is pretzels and peanut butter and an 8 oz cup of plain coffee with a little stevia. During my marathon, I made sure my GU contained some amount of caffeine and I saw a noticeable difference in that, just as I did when I tried the ones without caffeine. LOL. Wasn’t quite on my A game during those training runs.

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I’ve noticed an equal kick in a grande latte from Starbucks too, so amount is dependent on you. Make sure you have water along that coffee though! Coffee is a dehydrator so I tend to double fist my Camelback thermos with water and coffee in the mornings.

Make sure you attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival the next time, enjoy your coffee, then workout afterwards and kill three birds with one stone (or cup) ! 😉

Enjoy!

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My Four Favorite Kettlebell Moves

My Four Favorite Kettlebell Moves

Hi fraaaands! Who likes kettlebells?  Anyone use them for a weight workout? Not sure what I’m talking about? No worries! These weights are great and will have you trying them in no time. I really enjoy them. I don’t use them all the time, but they are a great option for maximizing time in the gym because you can do a lot of really cool, functional moves with them. Just like a dumbbell, you use them for strength, but the way they’re designed is different then your traditional set of hand weights.

The options are endless, especially the different ways you can hold and move them. You increase calorie burn, challenge different muscles not using traditional weights, and maximize time in the gym…all which we can benefit from! Below I have my four favorite kettlebell moves. Add them to your next workout routine and cut your time in the gym in half!

1.) Kettlebell Swing– This one is great because it incorporates a swinging type motion, a unique aspect specific to the kettlebell. The root of this movement is a deadlift, a lower back and core type movement. Sticking your butt back and bringing the kettlebell to eye level works your core, especially your lower back! PS: I’m doing this in my featured pic 😉

2.) Reach, Twist, Pull/Press– I posted this on my Instagram as a video using the pull as an upright row. This is one is especially good since it incorporates THREE movements in one! YES!! A squat, the core, and a pull/press. I like to stay in the squat as I reach my opposite arm across to the weight on my opposite side. Make sure your arm is extended to the kettlebell then pull across and up (if pressing, pull up then press and flip overhead) keeping your elbow up high. Make sure you alternate sides!

3.) Squat Row– This is great because it forces you to get low in the squat, making sure that the kettlebell touches the floor! Since there’s more flexibility with this move, I find the pull part of the movement comes naturally. Starting with the kettlebell on the floor. Feet in a wide apart, toes pointed out. Putting both hands on top of the handle, squat down, and pull the kettlebell to your chin keeping your elbows up and high. Drop kettlebell to the floor and pull again. Feel free to add all kinds of upper body moves (or lower body moves) to further challenge yourself!

4.) Shoulder Stability Lunge/Squat– This one is pretty straight forward. Simply lunge/squat while keeping the weight, ball side up, as you lower yourself to the ground, then come back up. Make sure you watch your knee(s) as you lower see they don’t go past your toes. Isolating your shoulder and working the little muscles, such as the rotator cuff, to stabilize as you lower down is often ignored! If the kettlebell is too much with the grip, switch to a dumbbell and work up. This is particularly hard for me, so I go lighter over heavier here.

Add these moves a couple times a week into your strength routine to add that extra challenge! If you want to create a workout out of these four, I recommend 3 sets at 20 reps or 3 x 10/15 for each arm/leg when focusing on each side. Hope these moves help maximize your gym time like it did mine!

YOUR TURN:

-What’s your favorite piece of equipment in the gym?

-Do you find you prefer working one specific muscle group over another? Although I love a great leg day, my arch nemesis is upper body *UGH*

-What your thoughts on Kettlebells?

Beat Plateaus with Cardio Post Strength Training

Beat Plateaus with Cardio Post Strength Training

Good morning! We’re officially half way through the week…YES! If you need to freshen up your fitness routine, check out my new workout idea. I wish I had done this combination of cardio post strength day sooner, since it really is a great way to see how well you perform on tired legs (or just a tired total body) while torching extra calories.

Have you ever warmed up with some light cardio or gotten it done first, then hit the weights, and finished with a cool down? Nothing wrong with that! Pretty standard and it works. But if you always do it that way, plateau is likely to set in sooner than later. A plateau is a period of maintenance where there is no decline or progress of fitness. You maintain and that’s it. This can either be seen as good or bad depending on the person and their goals. This can happen to anyone, from the elite to the average joe.

As we improve and progress, we become more fit with a need to be more mindful of new challenges/ways to make us stronger and more fit. For someone who is very fit (think of someone working out six days a week) constantly changing the stimulus pretty often is necessary to reach goals, whatever those are. For someone new to exercise/never exercised before and needs to lose weight, they may see results with this standard routine for a bit. Eventually after keeping up with their exercise routine, they could plateau later and need to adjust. Different timelines and goals for different people!

For those of you not really in a plateau right now (or just are good with where you are now) but just wanna add variety, this is just as good for you too! Especially those of you not really into losing weight, but wanna up your running game and have a race coming up. I tried this concept to switch up my running most of all: Running AFTER strength training! WHAT WHAT! yeah, it’s hard AF. But its great and really gets your body working. Running tired especially after a leg heavy strength day last Thursday was not really on my agenda, but I felt great so I figured why not. Although five miles was not on my list either, I really did enjoy that different kind of push. The first one to two miles were tough, then my legs kinda figured it out. The last mile was definitely tough though *insert fire and explosion emoijis.* I kinda wish I had done this more during my marathon training #MyOneRegret, but know I know for next one! 😉

If running five miles post strength seems to far too soon, stick to one to three miles and keep in tough or just above a conversational pace. See my post on pace runs to add the idea of an intense and short amount of cardio. I took it slower, and still felt I got a challenge out of it. If your legs feel like they’re gonna fall off, you’re doing it right! The point is keeping the cardio for after the weights, so regardless how fast or far you’re going, you can keep it easy or tough and still get benefits from it.

All ya gotta do is tack on the cardio at the end of your strength routine (whatever that is for you) and BOOM you will feel a huge difference! Even if running isn’t your thing, a bike ride, elliptical, walk, etc. works too! Keeping the heart rate going post weights is key!

YOUR TURN:

-Any new workout routines you’ve tried recently?

-What is your preferred form of cardio?

Train Smarter, Not Harder: My Compound Movement Workout

Train Smarter, Not Harder: My Compound Movement Workout

Happy Monday!! I’ve been trying a couple things for my workouts on my own and with my classes and decided this past week (and with my sandbag workout) to switch it up. I added combined movements together, using more total body, all in one exercise. Before I would isolate just legs, back, abs, etc. While that is good too, I would spend A LOT of time–sometimes two hours on a workout. As of a couple weeks ago, I decided to ditch that idea and decided to train smarter, not harder. I took basic movements like a push-up and added to them. In a recent Instagram post, I posted about my double plank push-up. It’s nuts, one small change, and the movement is completely different!! Each of the movements incorporates total body, so there’s no need to do extra sets of anything at the end. I was wiped by the end and sore the next couple days!

This workout took me about 40-45 min. Back to back each set. Rest once completed all sets. All you’ll need is:

  • Mat
  • Weight/plate
  • Weight/kettlebell 

Compound Movement Workout

Overhead Walking Lunges with Plate; Holding a plate over your head, lunge forward on leg at a time to one end of a room, switch legs coming back) 3x both ways

Kettlebell Squat + Row+ Press–in that order! Using a kettlebell, make sure you use one arm at a time squatting to reach opposite arm to opposite foot, rowing to your shoulder, ending with pressing weight overhead; 3x 15 both arms

Double Plank Push-Up; Starting on forearms in a plank position, use one arm at a time to push yourself into a high plank. Add pushup then lower down to forearms alternating sides. 3x 15 (alternating 5 reps each arm until you get to 15)

Plank Row on Cable; Using the cable machines, make sure pulleys are placed low to the ground. In a high plank position, grab pulley with one hand and row forward stabilizing though the core. I needed a wide base with my feet for balance here. For more of a challenge, bring feet narrow. 3x 15 each arm.

YOUR TURN:

-Any movement you’ve tried with an extra challenge that you found to be tougher or easier then you thought? What did you do?

-Do you prefer bodyweight workouts, heavy weights, or both?

-Do you find yourself taking time to learn new ways to incorporate weights or you get in, do what you do, and leave?

What’s the Buzz on Online Personal Training? The Personal Trainer Perspective

What’s the Buzz on Online Personal Training? The Personal Trainer Perspective

Hey hey! It’s FRIDAY! Finishing up this two part blog post on what the hype is on online personal training. The first part of this topic I wrote from the client perspective. This second part is what its like on the other side of equation, the personal trainer behind it all.

First off, I wanna say that I LOVE offering this service. I made this clear in the first post, lol, but I’m repeating myself because its 100% true. It works well for me because my method behind my beliefs aligns great with this perspective of being online. I’m all about teaching and educating the client not just putting them through a bunch workouts. Being a personal trainer I believe education is just as important as reaching goals and getting results. Learning along the way is part of the journey. If I didn’t teach the point of the workout, and only just had my client do it, what good would it be? With these reasons, working online gives me a chance to explain and teach the workout with the client while the client works through motivation and effort.

Here’s the run-down on my side of online training. I treat the session like an in-person training session. I confirm the morning/afternoon of and treat it like a conference call. The clients I use it with use FaceTime with me so I can’t really say I’m using Skype or anything like that. I have my workout notes with me so I can keep track throughout the call. I tell them what they need equipment-wise (if they have it available), ask if they have water etc., as well as ask if they have anything in mind fitness related they wanna work on that day. I feel asking before a session and getting their input is important since they’re paying for my service, they should have a small say in what the game plan for the workout is (not the whole thing…lol but *small* say 😉 ).

When planning the workouts, I try not to make it too complicated for them. I take basic movements they’re already familiar with and add to them, usually like a kick, pulsing, an ab movement, weight, etc. so its fairly straight forward but still giving them an extra challenge. Since technology isn’t perfect, wifi can be an issue depending on the location of my client. I’ve had sessions that go in and out of the wifi which can at times can be most annoying. Thankfully I haven’t had that be too much of an issue. Lighting and camera angle is another consideration. I try to position myself so they can get multiple angles of a movement while seeing exactly how to perform it correctly. Lighting is important too on my end and their’s! No one likes being in the dark…literally and figuratively haha.

On the training side, it works great for me because I typically stay and “work from home.” Yes, I can technically train anywhere, but ideally I stay home because I’m moving around as much as they are! Sounds odd, but demonstrating moves would be awkward in certain places…think of me being at Starbucks and demoing pushups, squats, etc. LOL. Best part of training at home is getting other things in between online clients. Treating each online client as an important “phone call” I have to be ready to sit and take, I can do laundry, emails, or other business stuff right before I take the call! Once I’m done with the call, I can back to work instantly. Well, sometimes. 😉

Another non-fitness bonus on my side besides being productive between calls, I save on gas driving back and forth. I didn’t realize this until recently, but it really saves ware and tare on my car and milage. I large chunk of my gas goes to my business so saving where I can is most definitely helpful. As the client is performing the workout, I sometimes sit on my couch and drink coffee/tea, time each movement, basically sit some for the hour. I try and not get too involved in whatever I’m drinking (you know I love my coffee) but being able to chill on my couch is nice. I am moving around demoing so its never the entire time I’m actually sitting, but being in the comfort of my own home is nice and relaxing. However, with sitting/being at home during these calls, I don’t get many steps in as opposed to when I’m in person.

Overall, I love having and being able to offer online training! It’s a great idea to market and capitalize on as well as a turning point for the fitness industry. In a sense, this is what I feel will be the industry within the next few years. In-person will always be the norm, but seeing more and more of this type of service offered will become prevalent. I’m so happy to say that I am ahead! 🙂 Personal training is moving onto a whole new level and I can see gyms falling behind in this regard. Although I don’t foresee this being an issue anytime soon, gyms will have to up their PT game eventually. This reason alone is one of the reasons why I moved away from gyms altogether. I definitely made the leap to this concept of online on my own with my business, but looking back, it was totally worth it.

YOUR TURN:

-What do you think of my side on online training?

-Have you thought about doing online training or are you sold/not sold on the concept?

-What do you think the fitness industry will be like ten years from now?

 

What’s the Buzz on Online Personal Training? The Client Perspective

What’s the Buzz on Online Personal Training? The Client Perspective

As part of my small business, I offer online or FaceTime personal training to my list of services. In this day in age, everything we do is online or on our phones. Why not add personal training?? The client still gets a workout in–#noexcuses, results and progress is still made despite the distance, and motivation is taken to the next level. This is a two part post on online training with the first focusing on the client. Below are a few of the benefits for client: 

It is especially helpful for clients that constantly travel or are always on the go. I plan online training like I would a real-life personal training session. I have 1.5 clients that use this option…lol. I train my dad just online because he’s still in Delray Beach, my hometown. My dad always requests to do a workout when I’m in town, but until then I see him once a week via FaceTime. It makes for a good reason to stay in touch anyways and to squeeze in a workout. My other client only uses it when she travels, which is fairly often.

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Was working so hard, he didn’t notice I snapped a pic 😉

In case you’ve ever wondered, YES–online training is still safe and effective. It is a little different from in-person, and there is plenty of room for getting your money’s worth too. For those clients that just need instruction or are at a more advanced level, this is a great way to challenge and motivate them. Effectiveness here is based on motivation, so instructing via a formatted workout (explaining to the client what is expected of them) can be very beneficial. If a client is more of a first-timer to exercise/personal training, real-life would be a great first start. Learning movement patterns with cues and spotting before moving online, creates a solid foundation for later instruction.

Not only is online training good for staying ahead with their goals, but allows them to reinforce what they already know about different movements. It “trains” them to use what they learned during an in-person session, if they had that experience before. Although being the trainer I cue them throughout the movement, they also rely on themselves to become more aware of form, breathing, etc.

Only positive feelings last post workout via online! No more “guilt” because they were away and didn’t get in a workout in with me. As the trainer, I hold them accountable via email and text throughout the week even if seeing them in person. According to the couple clients I have that use it, they love staying ahead on their workouts knowing time isn’t lost just because they’re away. Although this method benefits me as the trainer in a few ways too, I would easily say that this is a HUGE benefit for them. Online changed the game on that one 😉  Technology, whether it be FaceTime/skype, email, text, even social media, is so powerful and impactful for this industry. I’m SO happy this is a turning point for clients of personal trainers, especially my clients! 😉

YOUR TURN:

-Have you heard or even used online personal training? Thoughts? Be honest, I wanna hear!

-Do you see this becoming a standard later on in gyms or just personal trainers?

 

Stairs, a Sandbag, & Empowerment: How I Celebrate International Women’s Day

Stairs, a Sandbag, & Empowerment: How I Celebrate International Women’s Day

Happy Hump Day! Thought to squeeze in a midweek post about my latest workout and mention a belated International Women’s Day to some pretty cool and inspiring ladies in my life. I did a pretty cool workout yesterday with stairs and a sandbag and I’d say WHAT a great way to celebrate!! Weights make me feel empowered and strong, just like some of the women in my life. Why not double up and celebrate it with an intense workout? EXACTLY.

I know not all of us causally own sandbags at home (I sure don’t but am using the Y’s!), but using weights or some form of resistance is the point. Yes, you can forgo the weight and do it bodyweight style…BUT I find the added weight adds a great challenge and the awkwardness of holding the sandbag stimulates my muscles differently compared to hand weights aka balance and grip strength strength…both of which don’t get a lot of attention. The sandbag offers a few ways of holding it complete with multiple handles depending on what you’re doing. It’s the ultimate challenge in carrying weight, AND you can do almost anything with it. You name it, it can be done. Throwing, pushing, holding, pulling, swinging, carrying, etc. the list goes on. If the stair component is missing for you, add the stair master if in a gym. If outside: a ramp, stadium steps, or just replace the climbing movement altogether and add sprints or some plyometric cardio moves like burpees or jumping jacks. You’re carrying the bag WITH you to the top and back down all ten flights (in my case) twice so don’t drop it! Reconfigure the bag each time but don’t leave it behind! 😉

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I used a parking garage adjacent to the Downtown Y. For you Tampa friends, I used the Old Ft. Brooke parking garage downtown. Since the Y is right there, it was perfect for grabbing a mat and the sandbag without going too far. I was in the mood to not be in the gym and wanted to challenge myself in a new way that wasn’t on machines or lifting traditional weights. I felt like getting creative and stepping out my comfort zone. I remembered the sandbags and stairs nearby and BOOM, I wrote a circuit, grabbed the sandbag and mat, and was ready to go!

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The sandbag I used weighed about twenty five pounds. With this workout, especially for us ladies, that’s all you’ll need…lol. Remember its bulky and awkward to hold so that is also another consideration, especially as you get tired. The workout uses the sandbag almost the entire time but some it uses bodyweight exercises without the bag and just the mat. Make sure you find a nice few flights of stairs!! I climbed ten flights twice. Needless to say I was wiped and am sitting her writing this sore, BUT it was awesome and if anything the beautiful views of downtown were worth climbing to the top for. I can’t wait to continue incorporating stairs and sandbags for future workouts!

What you’ll need:

  • One sandbag or heavy weights
  • Mat
  • Ten flights of stairs/an incline/whatever is available to you

Two sets x 25 reps each (total four sets) back to back sets. Keep bag and climb stairs to the top. Don’t forget to include a warmup and cool down/stretch. *This workout took me approximately forty/forty-five minutes with some rest in between circuits.*

Lower Body circuit (bottom of stairs):

-Reverse Alternating Lunges (double count–each leg counts as one) 25x

-Basic Squat 25x

~climb stairs with bag~

Upper body circuit (top of stairs):

-Basic pushups *using sandbag under chest as a marker to GET LOW* 25x

-Plank pushups on sandbag (good way to challenge yourself on a non-even surface and makes is softer on forearms) first set pushing from one arm, second set other arm 25x

~back down stairs with bag~

Core: Lower Back (bottom of stairs)

-Deadlifts 25x

-Supermans on mat 25x

~climb stairs with bag~

Core: Abs (top of stairs)

-Russian twists with bag 25x

-Bicycle crunches on mat (double count) 25x

~back down stairs with bag~

Cool down and stretch!

 

 

 

 

Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

*Disclaimer: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Bloggers and AT&T spokeswoman Karen McAllister, I had the privilege of getting to use the Fitbit Charge HR for nine days in exchange for this post, social media love, and tickets to Lowry Park Zoo. All opinions are my own.*

After being in touch with Karen from AT&T and Tampa Bay Bloggers, the Fitbit Charge HR was a great product to try for over a week. It gives being active a new sense of awareness. It was nice being able to see my numbers throughout the day and it gave me something to push for during my workouts! I had secretly wanted to see for myself what the hype was all about and I’m really glad I did. It was a pretty cool product and a worthwhile nine days seeing how it worked with me throughout the day while teaching my classes, training clients, and incorporating into my own workouts.

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Fitbit HR has a sleek design and felt light weight when I wasn’t checking my stats.

I specifically had the Charge HR band that tracked my heart rate on top of all the other features it came with: sleep tracker, calories burned, stairs climbed, distance traveled, active minutes etc. It read the heart rate via the radial pulse on my wrist and tracked it at rest and throughout the day. That part alone was especially cool! It was a great way to keep yourself motivated during an intense cardio session alone. During my spin class at Soho Cycling Studio it was handy to look down and check periodically throughout the class how I was doing and to see my total calorie burn post workout. As a group exercise instructor, I especially loved seeing the calories burned and steps tracked throughout my classes I teach. All the little movements and walking around really do add up to more calories burned and distance walked. Once you reach your step goal, mine was 10,000, it vibrates to notify you. From there you receive badges and can see your collection as it grows!

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A day I incorporated a strength day into my routine (note the 26 active minutes) among classes I taught and clients I saw

I would say that the Fitbit is a great tool for many people. Its a great fit for people returning to exercise after an injury, newbie to the fitness world, athlete or regular exerciser, individual with a nine to five desk job, and a cross trainer. Having this tool is great for anyone who needs that extra reminder, motivation, and awareness of their numbers at their fingertips to keep goals in check.

For the individual who are returning post injury and getting back into a routine or is just getting into fitness, this is a great first step. A few of my clients have them and I love asking how their steps are, what they burned during our workouts, their sleep, etc. It’s funny since even a few people in my group classes I teach always report to me how they did post class or even funnier–ask during class, “can we do more cardio? I need to get my steps in.”  In cases like these, I LOVE utilizing it THROUGH my clients and class participants to keep challenging them even more! 😉 From what I have learned about it through myself and others is to WEAR it, otherwise it doesn’t work. Sounds silly making this comment, but if it isn’t charged and ready to wear, don’t count on it doing it’s job. Less time wearing it = less motivation.

For the athlete/regular exerciser, this is great for the constant added challenge through the heart rate feature. I learned I could push harder throughout my spin class, so I continued to increase the intensity and after looking at my stats post class, I TORCHED about 800 calories! WOWZA!! I thought to myself, “I wonder how many I would have burned if I didn’t add the extra resistance?” Yeah no regrets there. 😉 In terms of strength training, my heart rate during the workout was not as high as it was during spin or a run, but it did take note of my elevated heart rate during my half hour strength workout. So, YES males/females that like to strength train and crank it out in the weight room–this is for you too!!

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Badges earned each time you make your goal!

Even when not active, the Fitbit HR keeps the numbers going even at work during the day. Checking resting heart rate during the day and after a few cups of coffee (like I did) I saw a small increase in heart rate! However, it does not vibrate as a way of notifying you to move…which I thought was odd. It does track active minutes, so even though there is no obvious way of notifying you, being motivated to get up and walk around during your lunch break or throughout the day does count. The calories burned and distance traveled stat will soon be your friend.

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I’m pretty sure this was rest day for me, but I did go for a walk with a friend. Tracked my heart rate even during our walk!

What if you’re not a high intensity fitness freak but still enjoy being active–in a less intense way? Maybe yoga/pilates or cross training is your thing? That counts too! Again active minutes and a jump in heart rate counts as a workout and automatically tracked in active minutes. As mentioned above, looking at calories burned is another great way to track as well!

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Each week I got a daily “progress report” on my activity. Great overview to keep me motivated!

As a runner, I LOVE/LIVE by my Garmin Forerunner 15. It tracks my pace, speed, and includes a GPS. It also has a built in heart rate monitor with a strap. I feel the Fitbit would be a good fit for someone who wants to track their overall healthy habits and activity and isn’t necessary focused solely on running. I had this product during my half recently, and chose not to wear it simply because it did not track my running stats–specifically my pace. However, it was GREAT for other activities I participated in.

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Fitbit made it to the Gasparilla Expo!
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Had to take a selfie with it after getting it from Karen!

Throughout the week I used the Fitbit, I did learn a lot about myself and confirmed some things I wasn’t sure of. I learned I can really challenge myself MORE which is exciting to know (via the heart rate feature), I really do need eight hours of sleep..lol, and I have a low resting heart rate. Aside from it being an overall positive experience, in a technological way (the app and way it worked was super easy) and motivating sense, I would recommend this product to everyone looking to enhance or maintain their fitness.

Gasparilla Race Weekend + Reward Yourself with a Customizable Decal

Gasparilla Race Weekend + Reward Yourself with a Customizable Decal

Hi Friends!! If you live in the Tampa Bay area and are a runner, you most likely have heard of the Gasparilla Distance Classic. A weekend usually in the second to last week in February starting on Saturday and ending on Sunday. If you’re a newbie to running or a veteran half marathoner, you’ve got a few different distances to pick from: 5k, 8k, 15k, and half marathon plus three challenges of multiple races throughout the weekend. Starting with a great expo on Friday and into Saturday, awesome looking medals for each distance including exclusive ones for each challenge, pre-race goodie bag, and a well-organized race in sunny Tampa and you have a great race weekend! This is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year and my favorite part of living in Tampa. Its so fun and local to this area, its hard not to run and/or spectate!

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Christina ran the 8k Saturday and Caitlyn cheered from finish! Glad to have kicked off race weekend with these two 🙂
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See ya at the finish, mom!

I’ve participated in the race weekend since starting school at the University of Tampa in 2011. My first half marathon was Gasparilla in 2012 and I participated in the Amber Challenge (5k, 15k, half) last year in 2015. Hard to believe that I’ve run the half marathon/participated in the race weekend for the past five years! Yet again, they did another great job putting the race weekend together. Unfortunately the races fall on the same weekend as the Disney Princess Half Marathon which I haven’t done yet (or any disney race for that matter) because I love this whole weekend that much! I basically walk out my front door and walk to the start, its my home running route, weather is great, and its a reasonable price (sorry disney). Not to say that I won’t do a disney race, I want to eventually, but right now this weekend is something I’ve participated in every year and I can’t break that!! 😉 Honestly though, I wanna run the Tower of Terror 10 miler in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hopefully 2017 (when they re-open the race) it will work out then!

The week before the race, of course I felt I was overdoing it a little…smh :/ I was feeling some tightness in my right foot after my ten mile run and from that moment, I got back into some foot strengthening/maintenance exercises and made sure I foam rolled (both of these I’m not good at doing regularly) and for a week I took off running. I did this before my marathon too because of a similar issue, so I repeated it again before the half. I went to Soho Cycling, strength trained, did yoga, ate well, rested, etc. All that was left was awaiting for my Mom to show up for the weekend! Another reason this race is tradition is because it always falls on the weekend after my birthday. A good excuse for my mom or both my parents to come watch and spend the weekend with me. Who doesn’t love when you get personal cheerleaders AND they help you celebrate your birthday a little longer?! My mom arrived Saturday morning and we went shopping, had lunch/dinner our favorite places. Daily Eats is BOMB has a killer shredder bowl for pre-race fuel and Oxford Exchange is AHmazing for their Chicken Burger and sweet potato fries post race. I crave a burger and fries post race of almost any distance. I think its the ultimate cheat meal especially since I don’t typically make this kind of stuff for myself during the week. Isn’t that what a cheat meal is supposed to be?! YAS.

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Who doesn’t love local strawberries covered in chocolate??

The morning of the race was Sunday at 6am so I got up around 4-ish to eat, get myself prepped, and be ready to head out the door around 5:30am. I woke up and felt like I was hit by a truck…yeah. Not a way to start a half marathon. I remember thinking, “you can go back to bed and not run or you can suck it up and run.” I chose the latter. Sweating out whatever I had could be okay. I felt confident after having deciding and warming up so I was already feeling better mentally. I made it to the start and bang went the gun and off I went! Overall weather-wise it was great. I started slow, about 9-9:30 min/mile and soon made up time as I got to mile eight. Past eight, I started picking it up. I was feeling much better! The last five 5k I was up to 8 min/mile and felt amazing. All I used was my nuun and ended up not needing any of my gu. I finished strong with a time of 1:51:51! I was so happy and proud! I had PR-ed and cut four minutes off my time from last year! Although my marathon was about a month ago, it significantly helped me mentally and physically with my improvement in my time. By far it gave me a new appreciation of running half way! BEYOND GRATEFUL pretty much sums it up.

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Post race, my mom and I walked back and got ready for the rest of the day. We had brunch with LiveSweatSleep post race, got strawberries in Plant City, did some home improvement stuff like putting together the rest of my room and defrosting my fridge–fun stuff. That night I started feeling pretty tired and worn out. I was also starting to feel that “hit by a truck” feeling aka getting sick. My mom made me homemade chicken noodle soup and we just relaxed until she left the next morning!

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Caitlyn join in for post race brunch!

Overall, besides starting off the race not feeling so hot to the weekend overall being fun and memorable complete with my PR, it was great!! An awesome way to start year 23!

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Breakfast thanks for THE Columbia for a killer way to refuel post half!

SO…have YOU run any of the Gasparilla races yet?? Maybe you’re like me and run the same race every year or you just tackled a new distance? Maybe you ran disney or another race recently and want to reward yourself for your hard work? 🙂 I gotcha covered. Whatever the accomplishment, check out these custom made decals by ThisCrazyLifeofMine!! I saw them on LiveSweatSleep‘s car and thought how cute and clever AND get all distances covered in the same place.

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They’re awesome because they make great car bling, they’re a cute way to reward yourself and show off your accomplishments, and its completely customizable 😉 From the color of the hearts, the distances, and line at the bottom, you can make it uniquely YOU. Check out This Crazy Life of Mine for more info! Be sure to email crazylifeofmineblog@gmail.com for a $1 off when you mention AliGoesTheDistance.

YOUR TURN:

-What race have you done recently? Did you try a new distance or race altogether? How did it go??

-Any pre-race rituals? 😛

Why Ladies Need To Pump Iron Too ;)

Why Ladies Need To Pump Iron Too ;)

I’m sure you’ve heard myths about how lifting weights can make women look/feel:”bulky”/”like a guy”/”unattractive.” I’ve heard that too…especially being a personal trainer. I primarily train female clients and that is one of the first things they tell me when talking about goals. “I want to look toned, but not bulky” or “I don’t want to lift heavy.” Every time I share the same answer: it isn’t possible because us women do not have the levels of testestorone males do. All of the sudden, they feel relieved and are ready to start lifting! (almost). Besides the myths, lifting weights is more then just great for our appearance. Below are reasons and benefits why you need to add strength training to  your routine:

  • Prevents osteoporosis–weakening of bones as women grow older that become brittle and fragile with age. This usually includes increased chance of falling and decreased bone density.
  • Increased muscle = lower percentage of fat–Cardio as we know helps burn fat, but muscle gains contributes to muscle growth which keeps fat in check. Muscle weighs more then fat and helps build a lean and toned look creating curves 😉
  • Metabolism jumps–muscle takes more energy to use and even at rest burns more calories then a heavy cardio session resulting in an increased calorie burn!
  • Lower numbers in blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol–we all wanna keep these numbers in check with cardio, but in the long run the added muscle gains helps keep these numbers lower for longer then just cardio alone.

Strength training doesn’t always include weights. Strength training can be anything that incorporates resisting gravity in one form or another. “Resisting” can your own body weight, resistance bands, dumbbells, sandbags, etc. The point is that your lifting something! Weights offer the best benefit (in my opinion) since you can challenge yourself with different amounts of heaviness! However, if weights seems intimidating to you (or just the thought around being a bunch of meatheads in the free weight area…you know where I’m going with this *insert rolling eye emoji*), feel free to use your own bodyweight to start off. Bodyweight strength training routines are awesome and require no equipment or gym! Don’t let bodyweight be the only form of strength training you get though, moving up from bodyweight to resistance bands or taking a group strength-based class can help immensely! Check out a couple bodyweight workouts to start off with here and here. Feel free to ask your local gym if you can get an overview of how to lift safely or think about getting a personal trainer 😉

Getting into a strength training routine of twice a week at minimum is all it takes to see a difference.  Start with two days a week and work up to three. Switch up your routine from a HIIT style/30 min workout, to a class, to muscle focused type workout (upper body/lower body or a push/pull) to keep it fresh. Don’t let yourself get bored! Keep switching the stimulus so your body doesn’t always adapt and plateau. Keep yourself on your toes while consistently challenging yourself. Check out the “workout” tab to see various routines to help switch it up!!

YOUR TURN:

-#THROWBACK! When was the last time you strength trained and what did you do, where were you, anyone join in, feelings or thoughts or your first time training? Have you gone 360 and changed it entirely or you’re still figuring out what you like? I wanna hear! We all start somewhere.

-Top three artists/music for a strength training workout…GO!