07-24-2014

Booty Burner Workout

I haven’t posted a workout in a while, and I thought why not focus on legs? I’m going to start half marathon training in the next week or two, so it’s time to make my legs stronger.

This leg workout includes some cardio in the form of burpees! Everyone’s favorite exercise ;) Check it out, and read on for instructions.

Booty Burner Workout

I love bulgarian split squats…they are killer, and you will feel it in your glutes and quads! This is an especially great exercise for athletes, since it’s a single leg exercise. You’ll be working on balance and core throughout the movement as well.

If you’re not familiar with them, take a look at this video:

The key thing to remember is to keep your chest up and shoulders back. Start with a lighter weight so you get the hang of it, and then increase.

Let me know if you try out the workout! I love hearing feedback

Have you used bulgarian split squats in your routine?

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

07-23-2014

8 Ways To Reward Yourself For Working Hard

Sometimes, we all need a little extra motivation to push us towards our goals. For me, in a time where I’m not really training for anything, this is especially true! Or even if you are working towards something, a little treat always feels good.

I like to reward myself when I complete a goal, like finishing a marathon, or setting a PR. My favorite way to do so is adding in an extra rest day so I can truly relax ;) But here are 8 other ways you can reward yourself for working hard in the gym & out:

ways-to-reward-yourself-for-working-out

Photo Credit: kaneda99 via Compfight cc

1. Buy new workout clothes, sneakers, etc. Who doesn’t love going to the gym in new gear? I love splurging on some items (hello lululemon), but also find great things regularly at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Target and Old Navy. I think buying clothes is great for when you hit mini-goals…or basically, at any time ;)

2. Pamper yourself. If you’re like me, you don’t pamper yourself enough. I get manis and pedis occasionally but not that often. Whenever I do this, or get a new haircut, I always leave the salon feeling confident and well-manicured. Don’t get massages often? Save it for after your longest run ever, or after a tough race…what a great way to relax and work out those knots.

3. Save up. Pampering yourself costs money. A great idea I saw on Pinterest a while ago was to put $1 in a jar every time you hit the gym. If you go 5 days a week for a month, you’ll have about $20 at the end (thank you captain obvious, I know). $20 = two manicures! Or save up for a big workout clothes shopping spree…or a massage…or a blowout…or new running shoes (that’s what I splurge most on).

savings-jarSource

4. Eat dinner somewhere new. We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog.” That’s not what I mean. Find somewhere with a great, healthy selection and go out on a dinner date. Nothing better than a delicious salad or a good chicken dish after a hard workout.

5. Be a tourist in your own town. Visit a new museum, park, etc. in your town. I can name probably 10 places in my area that I haven’t been to in all the time I’ve been here. Hey, I’m 45 min outside of the city and I, myself, haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty yet. Also, check out your library for special coupons or deals. I just found out my library gives away passes/tickets to the Guggenheim Museum and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I need to do this before the summer ends!

6. Take a new fitness class. After training for a race for months, I need a break from running. Same with lifting. Taking a new fitness can help reignite your passion for fitness, and you may also find your new favorite way to exercise. If you’re in a plateau, either physically or mentally, find a new class or club (like a running club), to try out.

7. Get someone else to reward you. Hey, massages are expensive…so why not get someone else to buy one for you ;) This is a good incentive for couples. Perhaps you and your significant other (or you could also do it with your best friend) make bets based on your goals…winner gets the reward! Who else is competitive? ;)

8. Buy something you’ve wanted for a while. Recently, I splurged on a pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers. I’ve wanted them for so long but never bought them because I rarely spend a lot on myself. I always tell myself that money is put to better use. Well, this time I got the sunglasses I’ve been wanting for years. I bought them to reward myself to getting new clients for my business, and you can do the same for any big goal you set and achieve.

What’s the last thing you splurged on for yourself?

Do you like to splurge or are you like me?

What would you add to this list? Leave a comment below!

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

07-21-2014

Things I Learned In South America

I’m back in the USA!! I can’t explain how good it felt to be flying into JFK after 3 weeks away from home. While I love visiting family in Paraguay, 3 weeks is a long time to be away from your bed and pets! :) I was homesick towards the end and more than ready to come home.

I am grateful that my family got to go away for 3 weeks, and visit Rio De Janeiro while we were down there. It was all an amazing experience and I really want to go back to Rio…2016 Olympics anyone?

Before I get into a few things I learned about South America, I wanted to share a few pictures from my trip:

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background

 

dinner-in-rio

Dinner in Copacabana…if you’re ever there check out Boteco Da Garrafa!

fifa-fan-fest

FIFA Fan Fest on the beach in Copacabana for the Brazil vs. Colombia game

10513406_600304873401087_8284174794744304067_n

Cousins in Paraguay :)

I’ll be posting all of my pictures in a Facebook album, so for those who want to see travel pics, I’ll link to it once I do.

Okay so here’s what I learned while on my trip about South America:

  • Ordering a coffee to them automatically means coffee with heated up milk (cafe con leche). Even when someone makes coffee for you in their home they heat up milk on the stove top to add to the coffee. I usually just add cold milk so my coffee isn’t too hot.
  • When saying hi and bye you need to kiss everyone on both cheeks…which makes for very long hellos and goodbyes.
  • Most younger people address older people by Tio or Tia (aunt or uncle) even if they aren’t related at all. This was weird for me because I would call someone by their name but my parents would insist I call them Tio or Tia.
  • In South America (except Chile from what I noticed in the airport), you don’t throw toilet paper in the toilet. You throw it into the garbage can next to the toilet. I’m sorry but I could not adjust to this! No clue why they do it like this…does not seem sanitary at all.
  • People in Rio are very nice and everyone says Bom Dia to you (good morning) as they pass you. They didn’t care that their city was overrun with tourists, they were still nice!

And the main thing I learned?

That I am grateful that my parents emigrated to the United States when I was 1. Going to another country, especially a third world country, makes you realize all the opportunities you have.

I realize the sacrifices my parents made by leaving their entire family and friends behind in Paraguay, and coming to the US to try to build a better life. Who knows where we would be had they not done that. They have some crazy stories from their earlier time here, which I’ll have to share at some point, because it really puts things into perspective.

Anyway, I’m happy to be back and am excited to get back to blogging and reading your posts as well!

Have you gone away for an extended period of time? Did you get homesick?

Are you going away this summer?

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

 

07-09-2014

3 Ways to Get Faster

I’m back in Paraguay after 4 days in Rio De Janeiro/Copacabana! It was amazing and so beautiful. I definitely want to go back one day. Olympics 2016?? ;)

Today features another guest post by my running coach, Marc. He knows his stuff when it comes to getting faster and fitter. So check out how to get faster!

**************************

Hi everyone! It’s Coach Marc and I’m taking over Patty’s blog while she’s on vacation.  I’m writing about Ways to Get Faster.

The first and most obvious way is to run more miles.  This should be done with careful consideration to your running history and your ability to add miles.  The more miles you run, and the more often you run them will lead to massive improvements in your racing.
 
The second way to get faster is to incorporate strength training into your weekly routine.  It won’t take much – 20-30 minutes 2 times a week is plenty – to add serious punch to your running.  Find any number of strength training routines to add and you’ll be sure to prevent possible injuries, get lean, and stay strong.  One example of a strength training routine you can do is linked here.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 7.24.36 PM

The third, but possibly most important way to get faster is by hiring a coach.  A running specific coach can help you create a plan, keep you focused and honest in your training, and help you navigate the ups and downs of training for a race.  Whether you need a cheerleader or a sounding board, a coach has your best interest in mind.  Try a google search to find a coach that fits your style.  Don’t be afraid that your PR’s “aren’t good enough”.  Even the best of the best in the world have coaches to help them!

*****************

For more workout ideas and running tips, make sure to follow Marc on Facebook, and on Twitter or visit his website.

Do you incorporate strength training into your running routine? How many days per week?

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

07-04-2014

Happy 4th of July!

Just wanted to stop in and wish everyone a happy fourth of July! I may not be in the USA at the moment but still celebrating at heart ;)

image

Enjoy a delicious cheeseburger and watch some fireworks for me!

I hope you have a fun and safe holiday weekend :-)

06-30-2014

3 Workouts For Beginner Runners

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.45.26 PM

Hey everyone! While I’m away in Paraguay, I wanted to let my running coach Marc take over a few posts for me. He’s really knowledgeable on all things running, so I figured why not let him write about some running tips. Enjoy!

*****************

It’s Coach Marc and I’m taking over Patty’s blog while she’s on vacation!  Today, we are going to talk about 3 great workouts for (beginner) runners.

The first workout that all new runners should do is fartlek (Swedish for speed play).  Fartleks can be unstructured or structured – the choice is yours!  Unstructured fartleks work something like this…: Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy running, then pick a place (parked car, tree, lamp post, etc) in the distance and run at a faster pace towards it; the recovery is the next object you choose.  Go in this fashion until you’ve decided you’ve had enough.  The structured fartlek is very much the same, however, in this case you can use a watch as your guide.  Say, for example, 3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy and repeat that for 10-15 times.  Either way, you’re getting in some faster running and taking a break in between each one.

Hills are another great workout for runners.  Whether the hills are long or short, steep or gradual, you can get a great workout in.  For early season, I suggest doing longer hills at a steady pace (think 10k to half marathon).  As you get into your season, you can switch from longer & steady to shorter & faster.  This will help generate power and speed that will propel you to faster times.

400s are another great workout because you can find a track anywhere and do anything from speed work to threshold & tempo runs around a track.  Below are the three main types of workouts you can do that are 400 meters in length.

For speed workouts, you’ll certainly want lots of recovery.  The amount of them you do should be based on the amount of miles you run in a week.  Typically speed workouts should be no longer than about 5-8% of your weekly mileage.  

Interval workouts should be done at 5k pace and require roughly the same amount of recovery as the repeat took.  For example, if you do a 400 in 80 seconds, you should recover (jog) between 70 and 90 seconds.  The amount of interval 400s you do, again depends on the amount of miles you run in a week with the general rule being no more than 8% of your weekly mileage.  

Threshold workouts are the primary workouts for marathoners and are done at a comfortably hard pace.  This pace is usually 10k though marathon pace.  With threshold, you don’t need a ton of recovery because the pace isn’t all that fast or taxing.  Typically a 5 minutes of threshold to 1 minute of recovery is the standard amount of work:recovery time.  As with speed and interval, threshold work should be done, but with no more than 10-15% of your weekly mileage.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.50.43 PM

Whatever type of runner you are, fartleks, hills and 400s should always be a staple in your workout routine.  They are three great ways to build strength and stamina that will prepare you to run fast in your next race.

*****************

For more workout ideas and running tips, make sure to follow Marc on Facebook, and on Twitter or visit his website.

Which of these workouts are your favorite? I love hill intervals and 400s :)

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

06-29-2014

Vacation Updates

We made it safely to South America and today is Day 3. So far we are having fun and enjoying being with family! Our country is Paraguay, which is right in the middle of South America…sadly, no beaches =( Which is okay for now since it is winter time down here.

I thought I wouldn’t miss the heat of summer, but yesterday was pretty cold and rainy, and I was Skyping with Dan who told me it was sunny and in the 90s…jealous!

I thought of starting a travel blog site on Tumblr or something to document my journeys but it’d take too much work haha. I will post occasional updates here while I’m away for 3 weeks…and I also have some great guest posts by my running coach Marc Pelerin! So keep stopping by!

Here are a few pictures of our trip so far:

10513406_600304873401087_8284174794744304067_n

The above picture is me and my sister with two of our cousins.

10440884_412926805512113_2541551180704298077_n

Another group picture. I want to add more but WiFi is slow so I’m not able to send myself pictures from my phone and then post here…but I’ll try in another post!

We are staying with my aunt who has a little farm. So I’ve been being woken up by multiple roosters, who start crowing at 4 am! The first night I woke up and thought, “What is that??” But I guess it’s good to have a natural alarm clock right? ;)

I’ll post more later this week – just wanted to check in. Make sure to stay tuned for some great guest posts!

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

06-25-2014

10 Minute AMRAP Workout

I finally posted a new video! I haven’t posted to my YouTube account in a while…making and editing videos takes a decent chunk of time which I haven’t had. But I always do love editing them and seeing the final product.

Today, I have a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout that you can do at the gym. All you need are some boxes and a barbell. It’s total body, and includes some plyometric work too.

If you want to do this at home, you can modify by doing dumbbell rounds instead, and doing single box jumps or squat jumps.

Do as many rounds of each exercise for 10 minutes. Or you can do 3-4 rounds…whichever works best for you! Do each exercise for 12 reps.

Here’s the workout:

And here is a printable to take with you to the gym!

amrap-workout

Let me know what you think & if you try it out! I always love hearing your feedback.

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

06-25-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day (Travel Edition)

One more day and I’m outta here! I’m excited to be traveling to South America…though I’ll admit I will miss my cats ;) But at least my uncle will be home to take care of them. We were nervous we wouldn’t be able to find someone to watch over them. Yes, I have multiple cats…I swear I’m not a crazy cat lady! :)

Today’s links will be travel related for all of you who will be going on a vacation this summer. Found a lot of helpful information! A new thing I want to add to these health & fitness posts is a featured post:

Featured Post

15 Minute Hotel Workout

15minutehotelroomworkout_thumb1

Definitely doing this workout by Healthy Happier Bear while I’m away. I love timed workouts because it’s easy enough to do and all you need is a timer. Plus, 15 minutes? Perfect for when you don’t have time to dedicate to a longer workout – whether you’re on vacation or not!

Healthy Eating While Traveling

Fitness

What are some of your tips on how to stay healthy while on vacation? I’d love to hear them!

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

06-24-2014

21 Day Fix Review

So a few weeks ago I posted about being unhappy with myself. I was not happy that I had gained weight, and even less happy that I seemingly lost all motivation to eat healthy or exercise at the intensity that I used to.

During this time, my mom and I had been seeing more and more about 21 Day Fix by BeachBody.

Autumn-Calabrese

I looked up reviews and others who had tried it had good things to say about the program. I wanted something to hold me accountable and get me back on track with my nutrition.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about BeachBody in general, so I was excited to try this. Of course, there were some nay sayers who said “Why don’t you just count your calories/macros” but this seemed much simpler especially for someone who hates counting calories.

I didn’t write about it, and specifically said I’d wait until after I finished the program to document my experience. I wanted to do it on my own and see whether I truly liked it or not before talking about it on here.

PROGRAM OUTLINE

So the program comes with several different containers as well as 2 workout DVDs with 4-5 workouts on each.

What are the containers for? For portioning out your food. I have had major issues with portion control in the past, even while trying to eat healthy. You can easily eat too much “good fat” in a day without even realizing (hello cheese and hummus).

21-day-fix-boxesSource

But you can easily NOT be eating enough veggies and protein as well. I noticed that once I started this program I was eating way more vegetables than I normally do.

In the handbook, there is a calorie calculator depending on how much you weigh. I know those aren’t the most accurate…so I was a bit skeptical of this, but ate in my calorie range (around 1,500 calories) to test it out. With each calorie range, you are given how many of each container you can eat. I was able to eat 3 veggies, 3 fruit, 4 proteins, 1 healthy fats/cheese, 1 seeds, 1 oil, and 2 carbs.

On days that I did two workouts (like running + one of the workout DVDs) I did let myself have another carb or some extra fruit. Occasionally I did eat extra fruit because I’d get hungry after dinner. Fruit won’t kill you ;)

I also love that 3 days a week you can swap out a carb container for something like a glass of wine, or a cookie. It’s not restrictive. And even though I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, I actually didn’t use up many of those days. The first week I didn’t use any!

The book also comes with a few recipes to make your own healthy sweet treats. Like oatmeal cookies or double chocolate brownies. I tried the oatmeal cookies and my whole family loved them.

THE WORKOUTS

The plan comes with a workout DVD. They are pretty good workouts. Here they are:

  • Upper fix
  • Lower fix
  • Cardio fix
  • Dirty 30
  • Pilates fix
  • Yoga fix
  • 10 min. abs

They are pretty good workouts and only 30 minutes. Perfect. I did like the videos but some of them were not challenging enough for me. Sure I was sweating but I felt like I could get a better workout in on my own at the gym. So some days that’s what I did. I think the DVDs are good for those who need accountability when it comes to working out. Plus, it’s only 30 minutes so what is your excuse??

I will say the pilates one is hard! Who know leg circles could burn so much?

You only take about 10-15 second breaks which is another thing I like. Sometimes you go to the gym and don’t realize you’re taking way longer breaks than you should be if your goal is to burn calories. That definitely made it a tougher workout. My first workout was cardio fix and my mom and I were sore for days after that!

RESULTS

Okay so I have never posted progress pictures but wanted to show what you can do in 21 days with eating pretty clean. I’m too embarrassed to show my front view (maybe one day when my “after” pic is a 6 pack lol). Before starting this, I really did feel so bloated and heavy. Weeks of unhealthy eating/eating whatever you please will do that to you. Here’s my back progress pic:

20140623_212306

I’m not proud of this picture, and I have a long way to go to get back to where I used to be, but it’s progress!

I have felt more in control recently with food than in the past couple of months. This program really helped put me back on track, and control my portions better. It also helped that my mom did it with me, as well as my best friend. Accountability and a support group really help!

Speaking of support groups, if you’re planning on trying 21 Day Fix, definitely join a Facebook support group. I’ve found great recipes and tips through them. These are 2 groups that I am a part of.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really liked this program. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first – especially because the containers look so small when you first get the program.

Pros:

  • Helps with portion control. You may be surprised by how much or how little you are eating of certain types of foods!
  • No calorie counting or macro counting.
  • A lot of freedom with what types of food to eat/recipes to create.
  • Not ridiculously strict – you’re allowed 3 “cheats” per week in exchange for a carb container.
  • Surprisingly fills you up (the amount of food you eat).
  • 30 minute workouts are perfect for busy people.
  • At-home workouts that only require a pair of weights or resistance band.
  • Helps with accountability with your food intake.

Cons

  • Workout DVDs may be less challenging for those who are experienced lifters.
  • Booklet does not say how many calories you should eat if you are running AND doing a workout DVD (or other type of workout).

And that’s really all I’ve got in terms of cons. I really loved it. One tip would be to not actually eat out of the containers. They’re not the sturdiest things in the world, so I’d just use them to measure and put my food in other containers if I needed to pack a lunch bag.

So there you have it folks…my 21 Day Fix review. I would definitely suggest it to anyone who is looking to get back on track with nutrition and also does not enjoy calorie counting/tracking. I really do hate that. Once the 21 days are up, they offer a maintenance calorie calculator so you can alter your intake (for maintenance) or you can continue if you still want to lose some weight/bodyfat.

I think that once the 21 days are up, you’ll also have a better idea of how to eat on your own. You won’t need to rely on the containers as much. That’s where I’m at right now! I’m still continuing the plan even though I’ve had a few treats since then. I’m traveling to Paraguay on Thursday so my goal is to eat healthy until then!

Okay, my long @$$ post is over now ;)

Please let me know if you have any questions at all! I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts on my experience.

Have you tried any BeachBody programs?

Do you count/track calories?

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak: