Six Reasons To Use a Training/Workout Log

Six Reasons To Use a Training/Workout Log

Hey There! Hope you all have had a great summer! It’s hard to believe the summer is almost (if not already) over. I go back to school next week so this is my last week of summer. I’m ready to head back, although not being class these past few months have been nice. Last year of grad school, I’m ready for ya!

One of my goals this summer was to crank out three blog posts. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen. I was not really motivated to create a new topics or felt the need to share regularly to be honest—until last night!

Last night I was relaxing and saw my training log journals on my bookcase. I thought it would be fun to go over and read through them. I have journals from my training through undergrad, the summers in between, and my first marathon training…2014, 2015, and 2016.

As I read through them, I was amazed how much I accomplished and the runs/workouts I did everyday! I was very motivated, and still am, but I was a little excessive looking through them. It brought back some rough moments for me (excessive training and running so I could be “skinny”) and some great ones like beating my mile time! I can confidently say my time has drastically improved from 2-3 years ago. It’s so cool to see how things changed from one year to the next mentally and physically.

As of now, I’m not using a training log or journal. I’m not sure why…clearly it works! I know after looking through these logs, I’ll be jumping back to it. I think it was because I was relying on the logs to help me get to milage and stay consistent with training during my marathons. Now that I’m not training for a long distance that requires planning, I’ve found that being flexible with training is what I feel is right. Funny how you go in and out of certain habits!

Regardless if you’re using a training log to account for training milage or just trying to get into a fitness routine, logging is a good place to start.

The log I use(d) is The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log 2017 Calendar by Marty Jerome. It’s simple to use and has enough space to be as specific about your workouts as necessary. I recommend it for everyone even if you don’t run!

OK! Here’s the scoop on this post: six reasons to log. Let’s get right to it.

  1. Boosts motivation. Simply put. Looking back at your hard work over a week’s, month’s, or year’s time is fun to see. It can re-motivate you to get back into shape, sign up for race, or get yourself to your same group class (or try a new one). Looking at mine, I did a lot of swimming and yoga on certain days. I realized I miss those workouts more then I realize and am considering hitting the pool again for cross training and plan on finding a yoga class that works for me.
  2. You see progress over time. As long as you’re *consistent* with logging and being specific to an extent, you can truly see changes being made! My mile time a couple years ago was around 9:00/9:15 per mile. Today I’m running around 8/8:15 per mile. They say progress takes time and it does!! My biggest takeaway with seeing this was that good things take time. Patience is key. Things don’t just happen over night! Taking a couple years of consistent work to make something happen is worth it.
  3. You learn what works and what doesn’t for you. My swimming and yoga workouts were on the same day and time that year and it worked for my schedule since I saw a repetitive pattern every week. Other workouts didn’t stick as well. That’s okay! Learning types workouts, best time of day, best day of the week, location, snacks/meals beforehand, music, the list goes on…can help you with establishing the best routine for you. Learning what doesn’t work too is equally important!
  4. A good reminder when motivation drops or inspires you to switch it up. Looking back, the swimming and yoga keep coming to mind. I realize I want to add this back into my fall workout schedule to keep my routine fresh. Cross training is something that has taken the backseat to and I’d like to add it back in. It also inspires me to keep my tempo runs and speed workouts on the plan to help me beat my half marathon time this spring. Seeing these parts of your training can help boost motivation to sign up for a race, try that yoga class because you know you need to stretch, or avoid Chipotle before your long run! (guilty).
  5. Repeat workout routines. Sometimes a workout routine in itself is enough to bring back. Maybe running Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8am was good way to get in your workout before work? Yoga in the evening was a good way to decompress? Associating these routines with feelings of accomplishment (or a bad experience in some cases!) is a good way to look back and add or take away certain routines.
  6. What still needs improvement or you still struggle with, what has improved from previous changes, and what stayed the same. This is like looking at your log in reverse. You can see what you still struggle with (e.g still can’t seem to find a good day to strength train–seeing options you already tried is a bonus!), what has improved (e.g seeing your mile time improve from your one time per week time trials) then seeing how you got there, and what you’ve kept along the way (e.g twice a week spin class at your favorite studio). Making note of what you’ve done to combat the struggle, what worked when hitting a specific goal, and what has been a priority in your fitness routine is beyond key to upping your fitness game or getting back to it!

I hope these six tips can be of help to you! Since last night, I feel ready to switch up my routine for some new found motivation. Sometimes we can find motivation, a new perspective, or the answer right in front of us if we take time to log. 😉

Your Turn!

Do you log your workouts? Do you find it works for you?

What has been an something you’ve learned about yourself having logged for a certain amount of time?

Do you have any fitness goals on the horizon this fall?

 

Advertisements
Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

My first blog post of the year! Hope everyone had a great first week of 2017. Looking back on 2016, there was a combination of both good and bad. Bad I feel isn’t a great word here, so I’m switching to “challenging.”

Challenges that were a lesson for growth and change. Plenty of tough real world situations, frustration, stress, and fear are a few of the characteristics I would describe tough spots this year. Even though negative at some points, I’ve gotten stronger and have learned what the real me is made of. Grateful for these experiences even though I wanted to jump out the window on a few occasions!

Good things: new friends, people, opportunities, growth, learning more about myself, and learning where I find my niche in the fitness industry. Continuing to trust myself, live independently in Tampa, and do what makes me happy are what I hope to continue in the New Year! One marathon, multiple races and miles, blogging, growing my personal training business and enhancing my group fitness skill set and classes, grad school this summer and fall, travel to Costa Rica, continue to live in sunny Tampa and meet the greatest guy, neighbor–turned boyfriend has been a few highlights of my year!

I’m not done with any of these yet, but every year I find myself getting a little bit closer to who I want to become. Big YAY!

OK. My year in review is recapped and I’m excited to share the purpose of post today!

My Garmin Vivoactive HR watch! 

I didn’t realize I would want this, but as soon as Harrison gifted it to me and I read about all it does, I was:

1.) Floored

2.) Excited to try it ASAP!

img_2484

I was in awe of such a generous and thoughtful gift, but also EVERYTHING this watch can do! Run, swim, bike, row, ski/snowboard (came in handy this Christmas in Steamboat), stand-up paddle board, golf (not really for me, but a possibility down the road!), as well indoor running, cycling, and strength training. I especially love the capability for strength training, especially during a HIIT workout or group fitness class!

It tracks heart rate as well, another component I thought was pretty sweet. Again, nothing I thought I would be sold on, but definitely a reminder to add that extra push and challenge myself during a run or cardio session. Although wearing a heart rate monitor around your rib cage is more accurate, which I still believe is, heart rate via your wrist is also fairly accurate compared to measuring my own manually.

img_2487

Sleep is also another feature I find fun to check! Again, nothing I monitor too closely since I’m a pretty sound sleeper, but seeing the amount of hours I slept, periods of deep and light sleep, movement, and awake time is handy. Sleep is a huge component of exercise performance, so knowing I’m sleeping well and sound and tracking it regularly is a feature that I’ve grown to like.

img_2490

Aside from the sport features, tracking steps, floors climbed, and intensity minutes are also recorded! All based around your profile you complete on the app, the watch determines your recommended steps per day, floors to climb (kind of tough at times), and intensity minutes for the week. It reminds you to move and congratulates you when you’ve achieved your goal! All good things to know throughout the day.

img_2488

Besides tracking fitness, the watch uses Bluetooth technology which syncs with your phone!!! Receiving calls and texts is easy and allows you to monitor notifications discreetly without the use of your phone. However, this is probably one draw back on this watch. I don’t care so much to see my texts and calls show up when I’m working out. My phone is away for a reason because I am busy! My workout time is my me time so I prefer to have that away. Luckily, this feature is not annoying and can be easily dismissed.

img_2491

I’m still get used to it, but I must say, it is easy to use and understand. Two buttons on the face, a large touch screen, and waterproof. Once set up, downloading the Garmin Connect App helps manage your stats via your phone. There you can go into details of your activity, sleep, calories burned, weight-loss tracking, and more. Did I mention you can sync it with myfitnesspal?! Too cool! I haven’t yet. Trying to decide if I want it connected or keep them separate. Will keep you posted! Pretty cool option knowing you can keep food logging and activity all on one app.

img_2489

Since there is SO many cool features, it can be easy to focus on numbers! Although numbers can be motivating, I try personally to not let them run my life.

I believe these activity trackers, whichever brand you buy, are a TOOL, not a measurement of success or failure. I feel that if I don’t track my sleep, I don’t get steps in, or my intensity minutes fall below the recommended amount, is not something to stress over. However, it is something to work on daily. Being reminded to move and take the stairs I feel are two very good features on this product–all of which doesn’t hurt any of us!

I do have my Garmin Forerunner 15 watch that is still my favorite and something I will continue to use! There’s something special about that watch–I think it has something to do with the races I’ve completed with it. In that case, I will be using it for my marathon and other races this year. General activity I will swap in with my Vivoactive HR watch for spin, walking, strength training, etc.! Overall, I highly recommend this watch since it plays a role in my active lifestyle that is more then just running! A perfect gift any time of year for the active individual in your life.

 

Five Ways To Become a Morning Exerciser

Five Ways To Become a Morning Exerciser

“I don’t workout in the morning because I’m not a morning person” or “I like working out at night because it fits my schedule. I don’t know how you morning people do it” is something I hear a lot in the fitness world. We all have our own schedules and know what works best among a million other commitments, a family, job, social life, etc. but there’s something about getting up early and taking the time for myself that I really doing for me. It’s not just about getting in the training milage for the week and “getting it done early,” but working out or running in the morning sets my day up for productivity and success.

There are PLENTY of days I enjoy my sleep too, don’t get me wrong! In fact, I kinda wish I had one recently, but that’s what naps are for. Coffee also helps when neither naps or sleeping in can happen. 😛 Over time, I’ve learned to develop into a morning person. I knew if I wanted to make my workout happen, whatever that might be AND get whatever else done, I’d have to get up early. Simply put. No excuses. 😉

Aside from deciding to get up and workout out early, I’ve always looked forward to knowing I’m getting up for my workout or “me time.” That alone excites and motivates me to wake and take that time. It’s true when you hear the saying, “people who workout in the morning stick with their exercise program the best” –there are NO distractions from getting it done first thing. You feel great after and knowing you’ve accomplished something positive first thing is a feeling you can’t beat!!

I’m not here to rant about WHY people should be morning people if they’re not, instead I’m gonna share ways that have helped me on HOW you can become a morning exerciser too! :

1.) Find something you can look forward to AFTER your workout- Something as simple as a nice long shower, enjoying a cup of coffee you can sit down and enjoy instead of taking with you or getting on the go (unless that is something you look forward to–Starbucks or Buddy Brew anyone??), or let’s be honest–a delicious breakfast!! My go to right there.

2.) Find a text message accountability buddy- The gym buddy part is hard, BUT you can always have buddy to text! I find this really helpful as my milage has gotten longer and I’ve had to run earlier. I text my boyfriend the night before or tell him in person that “I’m running at 6am five miles and I’ll text you when I’m back” type of thing. It’s worked for me because:

1.) I wrote it down/said it out loud

2.) I told/texted someone

3.) I told/texted that person when I get back

Basically, I committed myself. 😛 The best part is that this person can be ANYWHERE. They act as an accountability buddy to make sure you get it done, whatever workout that is. When you text that person you’re back/done, they might give you virtual high five or good job message. Something we can all use right? (Thanks, Harrison 😀 ). Even telling your buddy that you’ve signed up for Viking Bootcamp at 6am (*cough* Ali’s class 🙂 ) can make you back out that much less, even if you’ve already signed up!

3.) Plan your clothes the night before and have them ready to go–bonus if you sleep in them- This one I feel everyone kinda knows, but it’s true. It’s another sneaky way to commit yourself to get it done in the morning. It’s one less thing to think about too!

4) Have a plan for the rest of the day Know what you’re planning on doing after your workout helps you keep you on track time-wise too. I tend to priortize my day better the mornings I get up to workout knowing I have so much on my list to accomplish. I find don’t waste as much time in the morning and am more apt to get out of bed. Since most of us have work or school we’re getting up for, the weekend can pose a special challenge. After I run, clean up, eat breakfast/enjoy coffee, and stretch/foam roll etc. post run, I plan on making a list to either run errands, study, or meal prep so I can stick to my list.

5.) Try getting up at your new wake-up for two days in a row to start, then take a sleep in day- If the morning is a brand new concept to you or you workout in the evenings typically, try for two days at a time of morning workouts instead of trying for every day. Since it is a switch to get used to, keeping a day you go back to your usual workout time keeps your body thinking without overdoing it. Adding from two days in the mornings to three days while decreasing your “sleep in” days or maintaining them is an easy way to adjust.

GOOD LUCK!!

YOUR TURN:

-Are you a morning person when it comes to working out or do you prefer the evenings? We’re you always like that?

-What has worked for you to get up? or are you still figuring it out?! What hasn’t worked?

-Evening peeps–why evening over morning? Do you like it or is it something learning to work with so far with schedule, work, etc.?

-Have you been to Viking Fitness in Channelside? Be sure to visit me for Bootcamp at 6am!

Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Hi All! I’ve been a little MIA lately due to school, BUT I’m back in action after getting though a crazy busy last couple weeks. Between clients, internship, and having a test this past week, you can say I’ve been a little nuts. Marathon training has kept me sane through it all and has helped me prioritize my runs as much as it has my studying. Another reason why exercise is so good–boosts productivity! 😉

Even though I’m in Florida, it definitely isn’t feeling like fall. It’s still fairly hot and in some cases rainy in the afternoon. Kinda like summer weather. Florida needs to make up its mind! It’s either hot as hell or it’s either hot as hell. Florida, please choose neither and pick fall instead. 😉

With sporadic rain showers mixed with humidity or just being plain hot, speed work outside has been hit or miss. I definitely haven’t missed those workouts, but it’s either get wet outside or suck it up and run on dreadmill…I mean treadmill. Okay, it really isn’t that bad. It’s a last resort for me. It’s either I suck it up on the treadmill or it doesn’t happen plain and simple. If it is nice, then YES you bet I’m outside. With the past few times I have been on it compared and when I was training for Miami, I’ve played around with ways to keep me challenged but also distracted. First off, music is a no brainer. Gotta have music to keep you pumped and going. That’s pretty much it…besides a water and a towel. A nice view also helps!

So HOW would you say you beat boredom on the ‘mill? I’ve come up with two treadmill workouts that I’ve done in a pinch to get in some speed work when I can’t get outside. Because #noexcuses is a real thing especially with marathon training!

1.) Up The Pace

-Start out with a brisk walk on the flat surface for three to five minutes. Using either the distance you have set to run (most times for me) or time at .25 miles or three to five minutes. From there, up the speed half a speed at a time. For example, if you’re ending your warm-up around .25 miles, up your speed from 3.5 for 4.0 or as high as 4.5 mph for 2-4 minutes at a time. Continue to increase speed gradually until you reach the mile marker. At this point, you’re at fast pace/almost a sprint for the last 3/4 (.75) of the mile. That last bit is TOUGH! Once you reach the mile maker, drop back down to your start pace at the walk and repeat the gradual increase in speed until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

2.) Tempo Sprints

-Start with a brisk walk for three to five minutes. When you’re ready, up the pace to speed of which you’re at an uncomfortable “push” type pace. Talking should be minimal and breathing heavy. Stay here for maximum minute and thirty seconds or minimum of thirty seconds. Drop to jog. Drop back down to brisk walk. Repeat picking up the pace faster each time. Work until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

Anything helps when you’re on the ‘mill! These have really helped me and I’ve seen the benefits even though I’m inside. Of course outside is always best, but I like to think of it as it happens on the treadmill or not at all when it comes to days I’m stuck inside. Every time I’ve chosen to get it done with on the treadmill and remind myself I’m better for it. Then after the workout, I make a note to self the times it doesn’t rain and plan to go then. XP

Happy Friday!

 

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

So far so good with my marathon training and balancing life, school, teaching classes, training clients, boyfriend and social life, and internship…LOL. Really though, I am pleasantly surprised with how well I’m doing so far. *Knocks wood.* I am very busy, but if you know me, you know I LOVE that and wouldn’t want it any other way. This week in particular has been a whirlwind and I feel quite tired, but also invigorated. I saw a quote this week that said, “I am so exhausted today because I was busy being so awesome YESTERDAY.” That’s how I’ve felt lately. And it’s a good thing. I’m also really excited to sleep in tomorrow morning for this reason. It’s the little things that count.

This week I shared a cool new core move that I shared on my Instagram. Since I’ve been tired this week, I just wanted to get it all done in as little as one or two moves. I also wasn’t feeling totally creative, like I said up top, so combining total core with a burst of low abs sounded like a good challenge to me! Make sure you keep your core tight, pressing it into the ground. Try not to let your low back pop up as your legs come down for the flutter kick. As soon as you feel your low back arch, you’ve gone too far! Keep your core tight and neutral.

img_1742-1
Owning you, Monday!

This move works the entire core and gets you burning up in half the time!  I was like ‘what can I double up on that let’s me get everything done in one or two simple moves?’ –> then BOOM. This move was born. I was toast guys!!!! Seriously it was really good. I didn’t need to do another move because this one got it all. Can I get an AMEN? Core done: CHECK! I love when I surprise myself with my creativity on days I’m feeling meh.

As much as I love doing large muscle groups and finishing them with core, I was just into doing just core and cardio and that’s it this past week. I wanted to be done with it in thirty to forty minutes max (I can typically spend about an hour, hour and fifteen depending on what I’m doing). We all have places to go and things to do, so this is where this workout came in handy the most.

I’ve talked a little about plyometric (plyo) moves before and they’re making their way back to my workouts. Plyometrics are movements that involve power, speed, and high intensity cardio. They’re great for HIIT and workouts like this one. Fast, challenging, and powerful. I never used to like them because I felt uncoordinated and slow. But after reading about how they can benefit my running and overall cardiovascular system, I reluctantly decided to add them. From there, I’ve grown to LOVE them. I add them for high intensity and burst of cardio where space is limited or I’m short on time. I especially love them for my HEAT class I teach since it’s always a good challenge and doesn’t require equipment–another bonus!

img_1793
Checked out the new University of Tampa fitness center this week! Gorgeous facility.

Combined with marathon training, I’m still keeping my three times per strength training days. I’ve been at this for awhile and really like how it’s fit into my schedule. Especially with my training and upcoming milage, it’s so important to stay strong and injury-free. Twice a week total body plus a quick thirty to forty minutes of a workout like this one is a perfect way to get in strength workouts.

No equipment necessary for this! All you need is a mat/towel, a water bottle, and some motivation and that’s it. 😉 Get that core working and heart rate up and you’ll be done in no time.

Core + Plyo Workout

  • * using a weight. I used one twelve pound weight and had a ten pound nearby
  • Three-four times total for each round going from one exercise to the next
  • Rest at the end thirty seconds to one min before repeating
  • Start with each exercise doing forty-forty five seconds each and work up to a minute

 -Overhead crunch + flutter kick*

-Russian twist + bicycle crunch

-Scissor kick + leg lift*

-Lateral bounds + single leg hop

-Side shuffle burpees

*Repeat 3-4 times*

In terms of marathon training, I started last week. Again so far so good. Since having done one already, I feel confident about my training and what works and doesn’t work for me. Of course, there is always something to try and glitches to sort out which makes each training special. I’m following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I program with a few new changes I’m throwing in. I’m adding two days of speed work and one bridge run. My race has two bridges and yes, I knew that when I signed up. My first race was flat so I figured it was time to add a new challenge. I’m tracking my food via MyFitnessPal. Strength training three times per week. Lastly, I’m adding hip and ankle mobility work since I’m as stiff as a board and am learning through my internship that I really do need to improve this. I’m determined NOT to break with my upcoming milage! My ultimate goal is finish in one piece and injury free and I feel adding the mobility work will really be a great addition! Keeping with minimal drinking and good sources of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Carbs are a forever friend when it comes to marathon training!

img_1759-1
Five miles done before the sun

One component I’m particularly excited about is to have my boyfriend, Harrison, be part of this training. He’s into being fit (mostly lifting upper body…I help gotta help with some lower body stuff) and running for health. He’s really supportive and is excited for me and the upcoming training! I’m hoping when he’s not studying, and when I’m not too, I can get him up early to ride his bike alongside me on my long runs. If anything he’s great at keeping me accountable. We both get up early so we text/call each other to make sure where up and moving. For me, I text him when I’m about to leave on a run and when I get back, especially when I run early in the morning. I told him a lot of carbs are in the near future so he said he would be down to keep me accountable with making sure I’m well fed. HAHA. My kinda guy. 😉

img_1789
Me & my dude, Harrison. 🙂
End Summer Right: Yoga with a Twist & Splash Sundays At the Epicurean Hotel

End Summer Right: Yoga with a Twist & Splash Sundays At the Epicurean Hotel

*Disclaimer: As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was able to attend Yoga with a Twist and Splash Sundays for free in exchange for this blog post and social media love. All opinions are my own.*

Hey Friends! A few weeks ago I was able to partake in a monthly event, Yoga with a Twist, held at the Epicurean Hotel in South Tampa. Currently living in South Tampa myself, I never had a reason to go to The Epicurean, but as soon as this opportunity came up, I said it’s time!!

Now, I’m not great about doing yoga. I like it, but haven’t found that sweet studio or instructor I clicked with. I did it regularly during my undergrad because I loved loved loved the instructor, the type of yoga, and the timing of it in my schedule. I wouldn’t call myself a yogi, since I don’t do it regularly anymore, but will for sure give my damnedest when I do get a chance to go. It is definitely one area I always need to work on. Remember my post on yoga for runners and my foam rolling routine? I explain my struggle of recovery there, and am pleased to say I have been MUCH better at fitting it into my schedule. Still a work in progress but its happening—in case you all were wondering.

IMG_1484-1
Enjoying champagne with Caitlyn post yoga!

The thought of yoga makes me feel excited even though it’s not my fav. When its combined with my friend, Caitlyn, who is also into fitness-y things, plus heading to the Splash Sundays pool party after, I said YES!

Yoga With A Twist, the official name, is a once a month event held during the last Sunday of the month at the Epicurean Hotel, a local boutique hotel located off South Howard. A good way to get in a one hour yoga class, hang out at the Epicurean, and cheers with Champagne with fellow yogis is fun and a popular way to enjoy the morning.

Reservations are required and are $15 for the class and $20 for the class and glass. Each class is offered by Kodawari Yoga, Bodywork, and Wellness Studio. Make sure to bring a mat, water, and a towel. Refreshments were available during the event and cool towels were given right before Savasana (cool-down pose). A nice refreshing way to end class!

IMG_1486-1
Cheers to a great class!

There was about forty people participating in the yoga. Each person brought their own mat, water, etc. and was done under a huge white tent near the roof of the hotel, at the Garden Terrace on the second floor to be exact. Although it was hot, the tent was beyond helpful as well as the ice water and tea that was available during the class.

The class was done in a vinyasa-type style. In case you’re not familiar with the different types, I’m meh on my yoga let alone knowing the different kinds, LOL, but basically this was a flow type class. With a few variations to add a challenge, it was definitely a good class with a mix of challenge and easy. I’m right in the middle and found there was a good balance. It was also nice knowing there were two spotters nearby who help correct as needed. Since this event was once a month, I’m not sure it is always run by Kodawari Studio or has the same instructor each month. I’ll have to go more then one time to see if it is or not. ;P Have I mentioned that guests participating in the yoga get 10% of Élevage brunch menu items and 15% off spa treatments? I haven’t been to Élevage yet, but have heard it’s pretty tasty and requires a reservation.

IMG_1475
Post-yoga conversation to end our practice

After class it was super chill and everyone got champagne for a toast. After the toast, everyone hung out and chatted or in mine and Caitlyn’s case, headed to the Splash Sunday pool party!! WOO!! Did I mention the Tampa Bay Bloggers hosted Splash Sundays that week?!

IMG_1494-1

The two events don’t work together, but anyone who wanted to join in the pool party could join in for the afternoon. However, a reservation is needed and requires $15 entrance fee. Splash Sundays is offered July 3rd to September 4th from 12-5pm and includes pool time, lounge chairs, umbrellas, and DJs that provide music as you chill in the pool or get your tan on. Drinks are also available but are not included the in the reservation. Depending on if you’re getting a group together, a cabana is an option for larger parties.

IMG_1496-1

A super fun way to end your summer or way to enjoy the Epicurean, their pool, drinks, and music! I know not having a pool, this was a great option that I’ll keep in mind for next time!

IMG_1502
Enjoying this sweet pineapple float 😉

YOUR TURN:

-Do you participate in yoga?

-Do you prefer a fruity cocktail or a light and refreshing spritzer by the pool?

-What is your favorite way to spend a summer afternoon?

Challenge Your Core: How To Nail The Perfect Plank

Challenge Your Core: How To Nail The Perfect Plank

Happy Friday!! Figured I’d add a workout-type post this week since I’ve been switching up my planks lately. I practice a lot of them on myself and then add them to my workouts for my HEAT class and with my clients. In case you’re reading this and am like, “hmm what”- listen here!

FullSizeRender-7
Standard Forearm Plank

I LOVE planks let me tell you. If I can’t figure core-wise what I wanna do, my go to is a plank of some kind. There’s so many options and you don’t need any equipment to get the most of this exercise. Switching your arms, legs, and movement patterns throughout your torso and you’re bound to challenge yourself differently every time.

A plank is an exercise used to isolate your core (abs and low back). Planks are all about contracting, namely through isometric movement, known as holding/squeezing. 

Tips to good plank form:

  • Back flat
  • Butt down
  • Hands under shoulders (modified plank)
  • Forearms/elbows unders shoulders (standard plank)
  • Breath!

Planks are all about time. No need for counting any reps. What I would suggest to someone doing a plank for the first time is focus on good form first. Time doesn’t mean as much if the form isn’t there. Seeing yourself in a side view using a mirror using my tips above is the first step. However you hold yourself, keeping the core tight and engaged is key to get the most out of your plank. The goals is to have good form first, then start the timer!

Once your form is good, start the timer and hold as long as you can until you lose form. Once form is lost, stop the timer and make a note of the time of course!!! 😉 Adding five to ten seconds at a time with good form is a good way to start. Working up to fifteen seconds then to twenty, thirty, ultimately a min or more is the goal!

FullSizeRender-9
Modified High Plank (hands come under shoulders here ;P)

 

YOUR TURN!

-Favorite plank variation?

-What’s your go-to core exercise?

Strengthen The Low Back: Deadlifts & Core Warm-Up

Strengthen The Low Back: Deadlifts & Core Warm-Up

Happy Friday! Finished my first six week grad school class last week, and started my second one this past Wednesday! One down, last summer class to go. Before I start writing this, I checked out the syllabus and wrote out the semester in my planner for due dates of assignments, class topics, etc. I love my Erin Condren planner and it being so easy to plan and use, I highly suggest it if you like to write everything down!

Even with being in school, I decided to change up my goals and routine to incorporate one more extra day of strength training. I figured add in another day because I can make it happen with my schedule and having that extra workout keeps things fresh. See my post on squeezing in strength training into a hectic schedule hereOne exercise that is great for fitting into this time frame, is deadlifts, or any core exercise for that matter. Just like upper body or lower body, core deserves it’s own day too. What better way to fill the extra day of strength with all core, lower back, and abs?? I do core at the end of each upper body and lower body day, but I’ve really been enjoyed having these days just to focus here too along with mixing it up with a shoulder or arm day.

One thing I’ve concluded while working with clients that have desk jobs is that their core and lower back are especially tight and/or weak. No surprise right? I didn’t actually think of this, but I was getting a lot of the same comments from everyone like, “I feel so tight in the middle of back”, “I’m stiff constantly”, and “I have occasional neck/back issues.” Unfortunately, sitting for such long periods of time affects this. Yes, walking around during your lunch hour and taking the stairs helps, but at the end of the day, desk job employees can’t do a whole lot about the sitting part of their job. Unless, they get a stand-up desk which in my opinion, is the best option out there.

This is where I come into play. Although I’m not at work reminding them to walk around (although I’m sure they would like that!) I try and focus on regaining that strength and improving their low back and core when I do meet with them.

One key component of the dynamic warm-up (stretching with movement) I’ve done with them are:

  • Cat-Cows: It’s a yoga move it’s a great way to warm up the spine and core. It gently moves the core and spine up and down while easing low back stiffness.
  • Child’s Pose: No movement here, but a great way to release any tension between sets of Cat-Cows.
  • Torso-Twists: Rotating side to side from the waist gently twists the core and spine.

Perform each movement one after the next, ten to fifteen times each, three rounds through. Once warmed-up, I show my clients the proper form of the deadlift before giving them the weight. Deadlifts are tricky since they do incorporate the low back, an area of concern for some people. Once done correctly, they’re easy to grasp and provide so many benefits!

One mistake I find often is that people tend to add a squat to the movement. The squat isn’t necessary and tends to take away from the purpose behind the deadlift. The deadlift works to use the core, namely the low back, to lift from the hips up. I like to think of hinging at the hips/sticking the butt back as a way to describe the movement. Check out how to perform a deadlift here!

Another thing that worries people about this movement, is that we’ve been told our whole lives to “use the legs, not the back.” Yes, that is true, but properly recruiting the legs AND back is what is really key. Keeping the core tight is something that we don’t think of right away, but keeping it mind throughout the warm-up and into the exercise can help keep form together.

If you’re nervous about trying the deadlift alone, start with supermans. They work the low back the same way, but without the weight. You’re also on the ground which takes the thinking out of the movement. Check out how to perform the superman here!

Be sure to cool down and stretch the core once you’re done! The child’s pose is a good one post workout as well as the hamstrings toe touch. *BONUS* perform hamstring stretch sitting. It’s more intense this way because the floor is keeping your legs supported as opposed to standing up. Feel free to add a slight bend to the knees if you have tight hamstrings like me 😉 Work up to keeping the legs as straight as possible.

LET’S CHAT:

-Do you suffer from a tight low back? How do you keep it from getting cranky?

-Do you do yoga?

-Thoughts on stand-up desks?

 

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

Happy Friday!! Fridays have seemed like a good day to post new material so I’m getting excited about making this a more regular thing. With school, I’m able to post about once a week, if you haven’t already noticed. I’m excited to keep cranking out new posts despite the fact that school is in now happening.

Anyways, to the blog topic: Strength training! To be honest, not my favorite thing. Just like I mentioned last week recovery isn’t my favorite thing. I’ve been very real the past few posts, but its a good thing at times because no one is perfect! 😉 I really enjoy leg day, practicing my pull-ups, and bootcamp classes but nothing makes me happy as running. However, running doesn’t enhance my entire fitness. It’s cardio, comes with different benefits, and is only one part of my program.

Strength on the other hand, complements the cardio. You build specific muscles, prevent injury, and improve bone health to name a few benefits. Yes, cardio does some of that too, but strength is specific to weight bearing. Weight bearing or resistance training meaning anywhere from bodyweight, to resistance bands, dumbbells, etc. If you haven’t check it out, be sure to look at my Why Women Should Pump Iron post to get a good idea on key reasons to starting lifting!

“I know how great strength training is, but I don’t have time for a full hour of it!” –>I’ve heard a million times. No one says you have to do a full hour to get benefits! Recently I’ve changed some goals to where I switched over to doing 30-40 min workouts using smaller muscle groups that take less time. Think shoulders, arms, calves, etc. I’ve done the opposite too using big muscle groups like legs and back to hit a lot in a short amount of time to get more bang for my buck. I still enjoy a good leg day so I’ll keep one of my strength workouts closer to an hour because leg days are favorite–no other reason.

Still feeling unsure of how to tackle a short workout and getting similar benefits? View my tips below to see how to build a effective 30-40 workout!

  • Pick a muscle group: Upper body, Lower body, Core. Keep it simple!
  • Set an end time: How long do you plan on working out for? Need to be done by a certain time? Estimate a half hour to forty minutes from the current time and make an effort to get the workout done! Knowing you have a deadline makes you prioritize what needs to get done, from your rest between sets to how you order your exercises.
  • What’s available equipment-wise: In a hotel room, park, or stadium? Use the benches, stairs, or field to get a kick-ass cardio/hiit style workout in! If small weights are available add squats, overhead press, or bicep curls to the mix. The more options you have, the more complicated the workout becomes. Don’t overcomplicate anything though, use it to be creative and challenge yourself! Bonus points if you have it all set up ready to use instead of taking what you need as you go! Those extra steps back and forth add up to wasted time.
  • Make sure you build in a warm-up and cool-down before and after: This would ideally be included as part of your thirty to forty minutes of work. If you’ve been sitting for a bit, a longer warm-up might be necessary. If you’re like me and are always on the go teaching, training, running, etc. a few minutes might be enough. The key is to feel warm and ready to go. Not still stiff from sitting. Think five minutes of dynamic movement.
  • Best way to keep it at the thirty-forty minute mark–put it on your calendar!!! Book it like anything else in your life. I say time and time again that if you schedule your workout in a planner among your other commitments, you’re likely to stick with it. ‘Nuff said. 😉

Let’s Chat!

-What’s your favorite muscle group to work?

-Tips that you find helpful to fitting in your workouts each week?

-Any fun weekend plans?

Why Everyone Can Do Plyometric Moves Plus My Three Modifications

Why Everyone Can Do Plyometric Moves Plus My Three Modifications

Happy Friday friends!! Its been a while since I posted a workout, so I figured I’d share a bit of what I do with my HEAT class and what I do with them since I do a fair share of plyometric moves in a bit of each of my class’s and my own workouts.

In case you’re wondering what plyometrics are, plyometrics (aka plyo) are a form of cardio using intense amounts of effort in a short amount of time. I do a combination of them in between different exercises to add an extra challenge and calorie burn or lump them all together for longer duration to focus on cardio alone. It’s really whatever you like!! A few examples of plyo moves are lateral bounds, depth jumps, vertical jumps, box jumps, power push-ups, medicine ball throws, and last but not least–burpees. The factor that makes these “plyo moves” is the added burst of intensity, namely the jump/throw movement or using the word “power.”

With plyometrics comes with impact, just FYI. These movements aren’t something you do for long periods time because they’re intense, you don’t need to do them for long to get benefits. The longer you can go, the better you’re getting at them! Although that’s not a bad thing since it shows your improvement, it means you can also make it more challenging ;).

So you might be reading this and thinking, that you’re not up to that level or you’re coming back from an injury (do I hear cranky knees?)…that’s okay! The best part is that plyo moves offer modifications so anyone can do them! I admit, I was not great at them off the bat, in fact I was terribly uncoordinated. Wait, I kinda am still uncoordinated jumping and moving around at the rate I’m going, but overtime I worked up to it using modifications. As a result of working at these, I look more put together as a result too! Yay to looking less clumsy and more coordinated! 😉

Guess what the secrets are? You’ll be more apt to try them knowing you can drop the intensity and still get benefits with these modifications:

  • ELIMINATE THE JUMP OR POWER MOVE! Yep, simple as that. Lateral bounds without the hop in between, box jumps with alternating high knees, medicine ball press without the throw/catch. Wanna make it tougher? Add the jump, but jump HIGHER or onto something higher, throw a heavier ball, or simply increase time or reps.

 

  • Go At Your Own Pace – Just like standard cardio, go at a pace that feels comfortably hard for you. Keep in mind the talk test. If you’re huffing and puffing and can speak in short choppy sentences, you’re doing it right. If you’re at a conversational pace, you can up the intensity.

 

  • Time Work and Rest According to Ability – You’re putting through an intense amount of work in a short period of time, ya gotta rest to replenish! So how long do you rest? I’d say work for as long as you rest. An example would be work for thirty seconds then rest for thirty seconds. My sweet spot for these is forty five seconds. A period of time between thirty seconds to a minute is a good amount of time to start. Again, this is whatever you like! So think outside the box too. Twenty seconds of work and ten seconds rest is really good and tough! (aka tabata!) Try four times of work and four times of rest. Play around and see what you like.

If you’re doing lateral bounds for thirty seconds and feel tired, but not wiped you’re doing them right. Pair that with a thirty second rest and you should feel ready to tackle another hard thirty second bout again. Making the movement intense for that amount of time should leave you feeling fatigued but not so wiped you can’t continue. If you do get to that point of fatigue, instead of completely stopping, MODIFY! Remember my suggestions at the top? This is when you can use them! You still get benefits of the movements even with the modifications.

So behold, by plyometric workout below! I’ve added the plyo moves in between other moves like this one here, but doing them at the end when you’re tired is good too!

Plyometric Workout with Odd & Even Numbers

Format: Two times through each round, two times through with plyo moves*, sprint once after both rounds then rest after last round for one minute.

Lower Body = 15x, 20x; Odd Rep Plyo Moves*

-Squat Jumps

*9 burpees

-Sumo Squats

*7 burpees

-Reverse Lunges (15 and 20 reps both sides)

*5 burpees

-Wide/Narrow Squats

*3 burpees

~Sprint~

Upper Body= 15x, 12x; Even Rep Plyo Moves*

-Power Pushups

*10 lateral bounds (double count- left and right sides equal one rep)

-Lat Tap Pushups

*8 lateral bounds (double count)

-Tricep Pushups

*6 lateral bounds (double count)

-Standard Pushups

*4 lateral bounds (double count)

~Sprint~

Rest!