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.

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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!

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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.

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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?!

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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!

Push-Ups: Three New Variations & Why They’re Good For You

Push-Ups: Three New Variations & Why They’re Good For You

Cue the *UGH* when told to do push-ups. I did this before getting into fitness and cringed hardcore. I admit, I didn’t love doing them either because I felt WEAK. And who want’s to feel that way? It wasn’t until I told myself, “this is the sh*t that makes your stronger. Just do one at a time.” That’s when I forced myself to try. Now I LOVE (well, tolerate more like) push-ups because they do exactly what I want them to do, make me feel accomplished without overdoing or wearing myself out.

If you saw my post on my sandbag and stair workout, I did a similar workout, but changed it a bit and added push-ups for my upper body routine! I did two variations of push-ups: basic push-ups using the sandbag and lat tap push-ups. I didn’t do the bird-dog, but its another great addition, so I figured I’d add it here.

Having a sandbag with me was self-motivation for me to get LOW on the push-up. I made myself TOUCH the bag every. damn. time. OI! Not to mention, I am feeling it today! Two sets of twenty reps, forty total push-ups. Every time I do them I’m reminded how great they are. Even without a sandbag,  using a weight to touch or some kind of marker to get low are great self-motivators. During a personal training session, I hold my fist under my client’s chest and it works the same way. They aren’t a fan of it, but when they see their push-ups improving, they thank me.

Check out my Lat Tap push-ups on my Instagram! These I do on my knees because the focus for these is a little different. Although you do wanna get low to the floor, you want to touch your torso to the ground. Extend your arms in front and wide, tap the ground, bring hands to the sides of your armpits/shoulders, keep that core tight as you lift from the ground up. The lifting from the ground after tapping is the hardest part for me. I tend to bring up my chest first then my lower back follows. This is an indicator of a weak core/low back, as your torso should come up together. This push-up alone is another reason I do this! Making sure your keeping that core tight as well as using a mirror from the side is a good way to monitor your form. I hate admitting my weakness, but this is an obvious one to me and something I continually work on! Sometimes I have to cut my reps on these. Try doing five solid, quality lat taps with a straight back (as straight as possible) then rest.

Another good push-up variation I didn’t do in my workout, but is great for core stability and balance is the bird-dog pushup. Either on your knees or standard, perform a pushup, then extend your opposite leg to your opposite arm. For example, lift and extend your right leg and left arm. Repeat the push-up then extend your left leg and right arm. This one is SO good and incorporates balance and core that doesn’t always come with the other two.

Long story short: Push-ups are great because they have so much variety to them while gaining upper body strength without equipment. By far, my favorite upper body exercise to do with my HEAT class because NOTHING is needed and variety can be as complex or as simple as you want. Adding different componets like balance (bird-dog), core/lower back/lats (lat-tap), and the use of the sandbag to get lower (self-motivating), challenges all components, not to mention– a killer upper body workout!

Add them to your next workout the next time you’re low on equipment or you want to improve and challenge your upper body!

Join the conversation:

-How do you feel about push-ups?

-Any other good bodyweight upper body moves you do?

-How often to you strength train?

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 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.