Risks and Rewards

“Doing risk sport had taught me another important lesson: never exceed your limits. You push the envelope and you live for those moments when you’re right on the edge, but you don’t go over. You have to be true to yourself; you have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means.”

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

Push yourself, go after those big goals and lofty dreams! But when you’re injured or not up to the physical challenge, don’t kill yourself. Reevaluate what you’re doing and modify your goals.

Here’s to a week of great workouts!!!

If you’re stumped on how to mix up your routine this week, try throwing this in! Your legs will hate love you!!! Keep your abs in tight and push your knees outward when you squat. Have fun!!

Starbucks and Squats on a Saturday

I’m a sucker for Starbucks. Where else can I go to get chai that, no matter what location I walk into, I know what I’m getting. Every damn time. That’s important in my world! I don’t want to spend 5 bucks on a drink that I won’t enjoy. I want to know what I’m getting for what I’m spending. Simple. So, no matter your personal view on big-chains and corporations, knowing the value of your money pays off. Don’t worry, I’m a big fan of mom&pop shops! I just don’t buy my coffee there. . .

So today, I’m having a peppermint mocha. The Starbucks-at-home kind.

Ingredients:

Coffee, brewed to taste. I like the Blonde coffee because it’s a lot lighter than the other Starbucks coffees, but still great quality.

Peppermint mocha creamer. Warning: it’s delicious. But if you drink it all out of the carton, you won’t have any for your coffee. 😉

Lightly sweetened hot coco mix. I like Starbucks’ version because while it’s sweetened, it still has a true, dark chocolate bitterness to it. Sounds weird, but it really works well with the creamer.

Put a nice big spoonful of coco in your mug. Pour freshly brewed coffee in mug. Stir until coco is completely dissolved. Add creamer to taste. The color will be off from your regular coffee because of the coco, so go easy on it until you really get used to your ingredients.

Enjoy!!!

Okay, so I totally lied. No squats. But, we’re totally going to work the butt today!! Yay!!! Working large muscles makes your body burn loads of calories, but squats get super boring really quickly! So we’re going to use other exercises to get the gluteals into shape and burn mucho calories. And, seriously, who doesn’t want a kickin bootay?! Do these videos IN ORDER so that we can maximize how effective your cardio sessions are. Enjoy!

 

What are your favorite coffee beverages? Are they treats or daily drinks? 

Now go out into the world and enjoy your weekend!!! 

The Best Summer Salad

This is the best non-salad salad, and it’s perfect for summer! I say “non-salad” because there’s no lettuce. Seriously. None. But you can add lettuce if you want to, I’m not judging! 😉

This is the perfect salad for summer– refreshing, cold, and goes great with barbecue! Personally, I eat it all on it’s own, but I don’t turn down bbq, either. 😉

Ingredients (for either 1 personal salad, or 2 side salads):

1 Avocado

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes (but I’ve done a kick a$$ version of this with a handful of cherry tomatoes cut in halves!)

1/2 medium cucumber

Canola oil to taste (it has more Omega-3s than Olive Oil per serving!)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional: Pinch of freshly chopped Basil leaves. I do this when I’m feeling feisty. 🙂

Cut up avocado, tomatoes, and cucumber into bite-sized pieces. Place in bowl, drizzle with canola oil and salt/pepper. Mix gently but thoroughly. Careful, if you mix it too much, you’re going to have something that looks like baby barf. It’s the avocado. Be gentle! 😉

Enjoy!!!

What’s your workout today?! 🙂 How are you kicking off a healthy weekend?!

I started my morning by doing Megan‘s kickboxing class, and then moved to the pool, where I taught Aqua Aerobics and Toning. 🙂 It’s been fun subbing the aqua classes! (I will say, though, that I’m looking forward to not having the smell of chlorine in my nose all day.)

Wishing you a happy and healthy weekend!!!  ❤

Sunday Adventures

So I totally lied. Not on purpose, but still, I lied. I said I was gonna go running this morning

And then I woke up this morning thinking that TKB sounded like a better idea.

I ended up going to the gym to do cardio kickboxing instead of running. I’m using the excuse that I need to replace my running shoes to justify my actions 😉 We’re totally going to ignore the fact that my cross-trainers are way overdue to be replaced, too…

the shoes that I'll be getting

…  waiting until payday so I can get the new Brooks PureCadence shoes… but I can’t decide if I want the blinding teal, or the more subdued black… such a difficult decision…

So after feeling kinda guilty about not running, I took my son out to scout out some new running locations. I’m a weird runner: I HATE running a route more than 2 times. Just can’t do it. I get bored and I get cranky. So we (myself and my alter ego, Steve) need some new running locations, STAT!

But apparently, I took my son out at the wrong time of day… after the RoboGames yesterday, my son was still pretty tired…

helping momma is hard work

On the agenda today:

~Finish laundry (I swear, it breeds when I’m not looking! My laundry is worse than rabbits! LOL)

~Throw dinner in the oven (slow cooked chicken and sweet potatoes, anyone?)

~Get in another workout.

My workout will be one of the Insanity DVDs and a leg toning routine. I’m doing the Insanity just for something new, and I’m doing the leg routine to help figure out some new moves for my Muscle Blast class on Wednesday.

insert shameless promo video here…

And here’s the thigh and glute routine that I’ll be doing…

Try this lower body routine, and then comment to tell me what you think!!! I’d love feedback to help me put together the most amazing toning class ever! 😉

Blissed-out yoga body!!!

Is it just me, or does it feel like summer?

Today in yoga class, beautiful Ms. Megan asked us to “pay attention to how your body is feeling”, noting that some areas of our body may “feel blissed-out.” Blissed-out?! I am all for made up words! Awesome! I swear, I had the hardest time not chuckling in class!

But there’s a truth in “blissed-out!” One of the best feelings in the world is to have your legs shaking, your arms jelly, and then melting into the floor during savasana. So today, I’m giving you a yoga routine that will kick your bootay, tone your muscles, and de-stress your Manic Monday! The pictures and descriptions are from Slim Calm Sexy Yoga by Tara Stiles, but I have put together the sequence myself

You will need a mat and water, a wall, and if you’re feeling it, some music. at the end of the workout, i’ve listed some songs that i love to play during my yoga practice

Sequence:

Start on your hands and knees, back in a neutral position, neck nice and long. Hold each position for 3 deep breaths, unless otherwise noted.

Come into Plank

Half push up

Side plank, right

Half push up

Side plank, left

Come in to Downward Facing dog

Down dog split, right

Down dog side split, right

Down dog split, left

Down dog side split, left

Slowly come up into Warrior 3 hands on shins, right

slowly drop left leg down into Peaceful warrior

Stand and come into Warrior 3 hands on shins, left

slowly drop right leg down into Peaceful warrior

bring left leg back and come into Plank

Downward facing dog

Knee to forehead, right

knee to forehead, left

knee cross lift, right

knee cross lift, left

gently roll on to onto your back, Legs up wall

scoot away from wall, Hip release, right

Hip release, left

Corpse (10 deep breaths, don’t rush it!)

So now for some muuuuuuuusic! Here are some songs that I like to listen to while practicing yoga. Remember when I said that I want to teach a Pilates class to movie scores? (if not, click here) Well, the music that I use during yoga is from movie scores. You’re welcome. 😉


So now that your body is Blissed-Out, go out into the world and be your awesome self! ❤ 

Hot Hot HotBody Workout!

 

So it’s Sunday… Time to push the “reset” button on your workouts and start afresh! Let’s kickstart our week by toning and trimming the whole body! One stop shopping! Yay!

 insert cheesy fit model photo here…

For this workout, you’re going to need a stopwatch or an interval timer. If you’ve got a smartphone, get the new Gymboss 2 App… you’ll LOVE it!! I’ve heard that you can get it through the Andriod market, but since I’ve got an iPhone, I can’t guarantee anything…

You can buy the actual Gymboss timer if you’d like, but don’t use having to order it as an excuse to not do today’s workout! 😉 

Make sure you’ve got your water bottle (maybe with a little Nuun added to it), a mat, a towel, a dumbbell or kettlebell (don’t be afraid to make it heavy!), and the craving for a kickass body!

Warmup:

1 minute high-knee marching in place

10 walking lunges, alternating legs (20 total)

15 sit ups (full sit ups, no pansy crunches! If you need to, hook your feet under a couch or stretch your legs out further for added counter-balance)

Workout:

Timers set to 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest. 12 sets total. Do exercises 1-4. Repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 sets.

Jumping jacks: 3 regular jumping jacks with an air-jack. Repeat for the full 45 seconds, working up to the whole 45 seconds as air-jacks. (Warning: it’s freakin hard to do a full 45 seconds of nothing but air-jacks. Give yourself some time to get there!)

Kettle bell swing: the power and the movement are derived from standing up tall and pushing your hips forward, while squeezing your butt and abs as hard as you can. This is a quick workout– don’t cheat yourself! Do the work!!!

 

Mason twist: Keep your abs tight!

 

Push up: standard or on your knees, keep your abs in and your shoulders back. Keep your elbows close to your sides. You shouldn’t feel this in the front of your shoulders! Your chest, triceps, and abs should be on fi-ya!!

 

(from here, go back to #1 and follow this pattern until you’ve done all 4 exercises in a row, 3 times)

Cool down:

6 30-second planks

3 20-second side planks, all 3 on one side before switching sides

15 low back cobra raises

 

If you’ve got the time, get outside (or I guess we can compromise on a treadmill) and take a quick-paced walk for about 30 to 45 minutes. Your body is a fat-burning machine after a high intensity interval workout, so use that to your advantage! Go for a long walk, and if your goal is to trim fat and tone muscle, NO CALORIES OF ANY KIND FOR 2 FULL HOURS!!! (that last part is really important in weight loss, hence me ‘yelling’ it… water is GREAT, but absolutely no additives in it. NO CALORIES means NO CALORIES)

Thanks for joining me today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this workout! More to come tomorrow!!

Do you normally schedule your rest days to fall on weekends? What days do you find you get the best workouts? 

Wednesday Workout Playlist

Every Wednesday (oh geeze, I am so glad you didn’t have to witness how long it took me to write ‘Wednesday’ correctly) I teach a class called Muscle Blast. Why “Muscle Blast”? Cuz we haven’t thought up a different name. 

So what do I teach? Pilates, ballet, and yoga. It’s an awesome mix! And the music mix is great, too!

A few songs in my playlist:

So now you have some pretty dang amazing music to do your Pilates to! 

One of these days I’m gonna do a whole Pilates class to country music… and then the following week I’ll do it to movie scores!!! 😉 

And because it’s Wild Card Wednesday, and anything goes on Wednesdays, here’s something to make you chuckle: 

How to get a trim, fit, feminine physique

I love CrossFit. I love running, kickboxing, weightlifting, shadow boxing… I love a whole plethora of activities, but as of right now, CrossFit takes the cake. (hhmmm, caaaaake… Sorry, I got distracted for a moment) I love the kickassery of CrossFit and the amazing feeling of accomplishment that I get from the WODs. I love love love it!! 

That being said…

Personally, I’d rather look like this: 

Than this:

want to look like I work out, but I don’t want to look like a “gym bunny” or like someone who can kick your ass. I would much rather have a sleek, feminine physique. 

If you’re one of the people who wants what I want: read on. If not: skip this blog posting. Your kinds of posts will come later. 

I used to hear it all the time at the gym: women can’t bulk up like men can. I’m here to wave the Bullshit Flag. Yes. Women can bulk up like men!!! Do we do it to the same extent? No. We don’t have enough testosterone to get to a “man’s level” of bulk. But you better believe that if you train like a man does, you’ll become a tiny version of a man’s body, but with lady parts. 😉 

So this post is all about how to get into functional shape without building up your muscle mass!! 

First off, you want to keep doing functional training with weights! Keep up the cardio, too! If you want a sleek, feminine physique, we’re just going to change how you do these exercises!!

Your objective over the course of a week: 

  • 3 HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio sessions (15 – 20 mins long)
  • 3 long, steady cardio sessions (30 – 90 minutes)
  • 3 days of resistance training and/or yoga

How you break it up and pair it together is up to your body and your schedule, but at the end of a 7 day period, you should look at this list and say, “Yes, I’ve done all of that.” So for example:

  • Monday: 20 min HIIT workout, followed by 45 minute walk.
  • Tuesday: 30 min resistance training
  • Wed: rest day
  • Thursday: 15 min HIIT workout, 60 min walk
  • Friday: 30 min resistance training, 60 min yoga class
  • Saturday: 20 minute HIIT workout, 30 min elliptical
  • Saturday: rest or 60 – 90 min yoga class

Of course, do what works best with your body and your schedule. This is only an example. 

Now we’ll go over what your HIIT workout should be.

For your HIIT workouts, they can be as simple as alternating walking and sprinting. Since over the course of the workout you’re only going to be doing between 6 to 10 sprints, make ’em balls to the wall sprints!! Go all out!!! You can also do this on the elliptical, the stairmaster, the cardio rower, the bike. (Just please note: the bike is going to give you the least amount of calorie burn, and seriously, we’re trying to burn as many calories as we can right now. Make your workout count!) 

side note: my fave HIIT workouts are from Turbo Fire

For resistance training, focus on functional fitness (i.e.~ exercises that mirror daily life). I’m talking about squats, lunges, push ups, pull ups, planks, wood choppers… the list goes one. The key is to focus on your muscles working together, rather than focusing on one muscle at a time. Here are some great examples of what you should be doing (you can watch these on “mute” if you prefer. I’m just showing these as examples of proper form):

she’s doing this heavier than you’d do if you don’t want to bulk up, but her form is perfect!

your goal in this plank is to keep your hips as stable as possible, don’t let them swing with the weight shifts

Now that we know what types of exercises we want, let’s discuss the resistance level involved. If you fatigue or lift to failure, you will add muscle mass. Simple as that. So whether you do heavy weights with low reps, or light weights with high reps, if the last 2 – 5 reps are hard, you’re going to get the same results. That means that with all of these exercises, you need to be using weights that make you feel like you’re working, but STOP before you hit the point of “heavy”!!! This will help prevent the muscles from “tearing” and therefore, help you to strengthen the muscle fibers without making them any bigger! 

As for the types of yoga you do, choose the style that best fits you. Since yoga doesn’t burn it’s way through calories, that’s not what it’s being used for. We want to stretch, calm the mind, and focus on feeling what our body is doing. Experiment with what works best: there’s no wrong type of yoga, just maybe a yoga that doesn’t fit your personality. 


Key points: functional exercises, HIIT cardio and steady cardio, yoga, and not hitting the point of “heavy” in your weights. Stop before the reps get hard! 

Of course, eating is also a large part of how your body responds to training. Make sure that you’re following the Zone diet and that you’re getting plenty of water, fish oils, and sunshine!! 

As always, feel free to email or comment want questions that you have! I’m here to help! 🙂

Full body toning!

Welcome to Thursday afternoon!!! You’re on the downhill slide of the week, and so far you haven’t killed anyone (or at least, you haven’t been caught!) so I say you deserve a high five!! Or, a really kickbootay workout… In my world, they’re kinda the same thing. 😉 

Grab a stopwatch (or iPhone timer), bottle of water, a mat, some light-to-medium hand weights, put on your fave music, and let’s get started!!!

Feel free to email me with any questions!!!

Warm Up:

1 minute (yes, seriously, 1 whole minute. Time it. It’s longer than you think it is) jogging in place or jump rope. Opt for the second option is it’s available. You’re here to work; you might as well!

10 10-second planks. Knees or toes. Keep your abs in towards your spine, back in a natural position, and squeeze your glutes.

10 push-ups

Work Out: 3 rounds, with 45 seconds rest between rounds

2 minutes: Alternating Curtsey Lunge

1 minute: mountain climbers. Hold your abs in!!!

2 minute: sumo deadlift high pull (you don’t have to be this powerful… just boxes 1,2, and 4 should work for you today)

1 minute: push ups

 

 

Cool Down:

10 push ups

10 10-second side planks (alternating sides)

1 minute high-knee marching, quick but not rapid pace.

Hopefully you got in a great workout!! I want you sweating and to know that you worked!! You should feel a bit tired, but if you had to you could do another round… maybe. 😉

I’m trying out recipes for cookies and sweets using protein powder instead of cocoa, so stay tuned! If any of ’em turn out okay, I’ll post the recipes!!

Let’s talk LEGS!!!!

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about core. Yes, the core is an incredibly important aspect of physical fitness and health. Keeping your abs, back and hips working efficiently and effectively is very important. That being said… 

Looks have to account for something, riiiight? I mean, come on. Be serious. A lot of our perception of ourselves is in how we think we look. (But I’ll save how we view ourselves versus how others view us for another post.) If we aren’t confident in how we look, we aren’t confident in how we feel. So today, let’s work on that! 

Today is all about LEGS! Those two things that keep us in motion and we wish went on for days! My dream in life is to grow 2 inches (is 5’2″ too much to ask for?!?!) and to have Carrie Underwood’s gams. So I’m going to give you a great leg workout, just on the off-chance that you have the same dream. The Carrie legs, not the growing. This won’t have any impact on how tall you are. Unless you stand taller. Good posture. 😉

Grab a stopwatch (or iPhone timer), bottle of water, a mat, put on your fave music, and let’s get started!!!

Some of these moves are standard gym exercises, and some are ballet moves. Feel free to email me with any questions!!!

Warm Up:

1 minute (yes, seriously, 1 whole minute. Time it. It’s longer than you think it is) jogging in place or jump rope. Opt for the second option is it’s available. You’re here to work; you might as well!

6 10-second planks. Knees or toes. Keep your abs in towards your spine, back in a natural position, and squeeze your glutes.

10 push-ups. (Yeah, I know we’re working legs today, but your blood has to be able to pass through your whole body, so let’s get the whole body warmed up.)

Work Out:

Curtsey Lunge: 15 per leg. All on one side before switching sides.

30 seconds mountain climbers. Hold your abs in!!!

Plié with calf raise: 15 reps. Hold for a full second at the bottom.

30 seconds running in place or jumping rope.

Supine Cabaret Kicks: 1 full minute, alternating legs. Keep knees squeezed together and keep thighs engaged!

30 seconds mountain climbers.

Supine changement: Keep abs in and ribs down. You should feel your thighs and inner thighs on FIRE!!

Cool Down:

10 push ups

6 10-second planks

1 minute high-knee marching, quick but not rapid pace.

Hopefully you got in a great leg workout!!!!! Your workouts should be quick and to the point, otherwise you’re just wasting time. This shouldn’t take you too long, but at the same time, don’t rush through it. Make it work for you!!! 

Tomorrow, we’ll go over the glam muscles: ARMS!!!