12-09-2014

Gym Etiquette

I just joined a new gym and so far I love it. It’s big and has probably 30 treadmills, which means I’ll never have to wait again! (knock on wood)

But with a new gym comes new questions. I wanted to get your input on a few things, and then talk about general gym etiquette for those who may just be starting to go or plan on getting a membership for the new year.

Proper Gym Etiquette

Questions:

Okay here are my questions for you gym folks…

  • At my other gym, when you wanted to use the squat rack, you waited behind the person squatting (kind of a line I guess) and when they were finished you stepped in. Is this normal practice? If I wait behind someone at my new gym will they think I’m a creep?
  • Do you bring your dumbbells to other places in the gym? We had a room where people took equipment to do circuit type workouts. At my new gym, the way the treadmills are set up, it’d be perfect to bring dumbbells or kettlebells over to do running and strength circuits. Thoughts?

Okay so I though I had more questions but that’s basically it haha. I’d love to hear your input!

General Gym Etiquette

If you plan on getting a gym membership this upcoming year and aren’t sure where to start, here are a few “rules” people tend to follow at the gym. I mean, basically just be courteous and no one will give you the stink eye ;)

Wipe stuff down. Don’t leave your treadmill, bike, mat, bench, etc. without wiping it down. 1) Who wants to touch your sweat and 2) Think of all the bacteria that can be passed around that way. Let’s all try to avoid getting sick so we don’t have to skip days at the gym :)

Don’t hoard equipment. I know I asked above if I can take dumbbells to a room or the treadmill, but some people take dumbbells, kettlebells, a bench, a box, a jump rope, etc. etc. to their little corner and then the rest of the gym doesn’t have access for a while. If you’re doing circuits, just take what you need for the first circuit, then go exchange it for other stuff as your workout progresses (especially if it’s during peak hours).

Be quick. No one is saying to rush your workout, but don’t take a 5 minute break in between sets either. I hate when I’m waiting for a bench or the squat rack and the person on it is texting during their break, walking around talking to friends and just taking forever in general. When I know people are waiting, I take a short break, and then get right back into it. Plus, that’s a better way to keep your heart rate up anyway!

Ask someone to spot you. Don’t be afraid to do this! Personal trainers and gym staff are there for a reason. If you’re just starting out and unsure of the weight you’re lifting, definitely ask someone to give you a spot. You’ll stay safe and perhaps learn some cues and tips from the trainer who helps you.

Put your stuff away. Nothing peeves me more than when I go to the squat rack and someone left the bar on the rack with multiple weights on it. Why??? You couldn’t take the time to take the weights off?? Be courteous and put things back where you got them…isn’t that something we learned in Kindergarten? ;)

Let people work in with you. If you know you need to do 5 sets on a machine, let the person waiting work in with you. They’ll ask “Can I work in?” and then you just switch on and off. You can also ask people if you can work in. I mean, I know people who find this annoying, but it doesn’t bother me at all. What are your thoughts on this?

I want to hear your thoughts on gym etiquette…what would you add to this list? Or any general tips you’d give beginners?

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11-18-2014

How To Perfect Your Squat and Deadlift

Squats and deadlifts are two big exercises and are almost always featured in any good training plan. They work big muscle groups and recruit smaller muscle groups (like your core) as well. Today I wanted to talk about training cues for both of these exercises.

Training cues are what I used as a personal trainer to get my clients to do an exercise correctly. Sometimes you just need to hear someone say “chest up” to straighten out a bit. I use my own cues in my head while I’m lifting weights, just as a reminder to maintain correct form.

Correct form is so important with these two exercises. Which is why I’m going to give you a few cues for each one that you will hopefully repeat to yourself the next time you’re are the gym!

How To Squat And Deadlift With Correct Form

SQUATS

So we’re mainly going to discuss barbell squats here but some of these are applicable to any sort of squat (I’ll use an * for those that are). 

Here are the steps and cues from the moment you step up to the squat rack:

  1. Step under the barbell. Make sure it’s not too high or too low. You shouldn’t be getting onto your toes to unrack the bar.
  2. Get strong as soon as you step under the bar. Flex your core and legs, and really grip the bar hard. A cue I like from trainer Tony Gentilcore is “melt the bar with your hands.”
  3. Unrack, step back and get set. Stay flexed.
  4. Pop your hips back as if you’re sitting back into a chair*, this is the first move. You do not want to just squat down. First, move your hips back and hinge forward a bit.
  5. As you squat down, keep your shoulder blades tucked (think down and back).
  6. Also, think chest up, shoulders back*. This will help you maintain good posture and not have a rounded lower back. Really focus on keeping your lower back straight. If you feel it rounding, you have gone too low.
  7. From the bottom, think of exploding up. Chest up, shoulders back! Come up and focus on keeping your knees out*. Do not let them sag inwards. If they do, you need to decrease the weight.
  8. Pop your hips forward at the top*. Just a little bit. Almost like a hip thrust. 
  9. Repeat.

Another key thing to keep in mind is to try to keep a neutral spine throughout. You already know to keep a flat back, but don’t look up when you’re coming up from a squat. This puts a lot of strain on your neck. Try to keep your gaze forwards at all time.

If you feel like you can’t get your legs parallel to the floor, try putting small plates under your heels to elevate them. You should be able to get lower this way, and work your way up to removing the plates.

DEADLIFTS

If you’ve never done deadlifts, I highly suggest you ask a trainer at your gym to go over proper form. They’ll gladly help.

Let’s go over some cues for deadlifts. I’m going to be talking about Romanian deadlifts, but most of these work for other variations as well.

  1. Set the bar up right in front of your feet. Your feet should actually be under the bar, with the bar grazing your shins.
  2. Same as the squat, as you grab the bar, get strong! Before you even lift the bar, flex your back and squeeze your shoulder blades.
  3. Keep a neutral spine. Do not look up as you pull the bar up. Look down and keep your neck neutral throughout.
  4. Pull up with force. Remember to keep a flat back the entire time. Sometimes I’d tell clients to imagine almost arching their back (like a U shape), which would get them to flatten it. Obviously you don’t want a U shape, but thinking of that arch helps some people get their back to be flat as opposed to rounded. You should not have a rounded back.
  5. Once you get to the top, pop your hips forward and squeeze your glutes. Then slowly lower the bar, grazing your shins, and keeping your shoulders and back tight the whole time. The bar should be very close to your shins because if you have it out in front of you, that’s a lot of stress on your lower back.
  6. Lower the bar fully and repeat.

This is as much a back exercise as it is a hamstring and glute exercise. The pulling motion engages your lats, which is why it’s important to squeeze your shoulder blades and keep your back muscles tight throughout, as opposed to just letting your arms hang. This same cue actually goes for dumbbell or barbell rows too. Next time you do them, flex your back/shoulder blades first and keep them flexed throughout, as opposed to just letting your arms hang and then rowing. You’ll notice a difference.

And as always, as with any exercise, use your core! Both of these will work your core. I’ve had sore abs before from squats and deadlifts. Make sure to brace your core as you go through each exercise.

I feel like I’m forgetting some stuff but hopefully this is a good starting point. If you only remember one cue make it this one: chest up shoulders back! This pretty much goes for any exercise and will help you use your core, keep a straight back, and flex your shoulders.

Do you like doing squats and deadlifts? Do you prefer barbells or dumbbells?

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10-02-2014

Why You Should Keep A Training Log

Do you track your training – whether it’s lifting, running, cycling, etc.? If not…you should!

Using a training log helps you keep track of your progress. I love being able to look on old notes to see how far I’ve come, as well as what I’ve lost or what weaknesses to work on. For example, a few months ago I can look back and see that I couldn’t do any unassisted pull-ups. Well, now I can do 4.5. Though not in a row…I need a 1-2 min. break in between each one, but still ;)

I keep a training log when it comes to my lifting AND my running. So I want to talk about how you can use one for both of these different activities.

Training LogPhoto Credit: Jonathan Rubio via Compfight cc

RUNNING LOG

There are many ways to keep track of your running. You can use a good ol’ notebook, or online tools like Google docs or Daily Mile. I try to keep up with Daily Mile but I’m really bad at updating it.

Benefits of keeping a training log for running are:

  • You’re able to see how consistent you are with training (or inconsistent which has happened to me).
  • If you’re a numbers person, seeing increasing mileage and paces can help motivate you
  • You can track how you feel on runs. If you have been feeling a certain way on certain runs, write it down. You may see patterns.
  • You can track amount of time spent running, as well as cross training and lifting.
  • Once the season is over, you can review your log and see what you did well vs. what you can work on next season.

The tool I work with is Google docs, because that’s what Coach Marc has me use. His training log is seriously awesome. I am able to see my year in review, my training plan, and each month broken down into miles I’ve ran (based on what I put in obviously).

He has a notes section where I can write how I felt in each run (which he reviews to tweak my plan as time goes on). It’s so funny reading notes from my 2011 log before my first marathon. And also funny to see how my training has progressed so much since then.

Here’s a screenshot of the “year in review” section:

training log
I think it’s cool you can see previous months AND years miles. This version of his is newer from the ones I was using since 2011 which is why my yearly miles don’t show up.

Oh also, you can input what shoes you wear so you can track how many miles they have. No more forgetting when to replace your shoes!

Each month tab on the bottom allows you to input your miles, pace, shoes work, notes and more. See below:

running log
Pretty cool right? The cooler thing is you don’t have to be coached by Marc to have access to this training log. He sells them on his site. He also has a special offer for you all: if you buy the 2015 log, he’ll give you the 2014 log for free, so you’ll be set for the rest of this year and next year. Just mention my blog in the comments of his order form :)

Even if you don’t order one, start using a running log for yourself. You may be surprised at the results, and you may even improve your running! Make sure to track miles, type of run, pace, how you felt and what sneakers you wore.

Lifting Log

Okay so you don’t run? No problem. A log is just as important in strength training…maybe even more important. You don’t want to be one of those people who goes to the gym day in and day out, does the same workout, and never sees results, right? Not keeping a training log can lead to a plateau.

Here are the benefits of keeping a lifting log:

  • You can track what weights you use for every exercise. This means as the weeks go by you can steadily increase your weight, as opposed to forgetting what weights you used for what, or staying at the same weight.
  • You can track what workouts/exercises you do on certain days.
  • You can track sets, reps, and tempo. If you’ve done the same number of sets and reps for 4 weeks, it’s time to switch it up.
  • You can write notes about how you felt during lifting sessions. For example, I write down “felt good” so I know that the following week I need to increase my weights. Or I write “Stay” which means to stay at the current weight I’m using because it’s challenging.

For my lifting log I am old school and go with a notebook and pen. I have a small notepad I bring to the gym, but then I transpose everything when I get home to my bigger notebook. Yes I could use an app or the Note app on my phone but I like pen and paper for this.

Here’s what my lifting log looks like:

PS – the middle row is my brother’s weights. I wish I could bench 75 lbs.

Anyways, the information I like to write down is the exercise (and what exercise it was paired with in a set), number of sets, number of reps, tempo if I’m using one, and weights. On the right you see I have W,R,W,R repeated (for weight and rep). That denotes the number of sets. This is my system to remember how many reps I did on a certain set, because if I get to the last one and can only do 8 reps as opposed to 10, I need to remember that for next week. Did all that blabbering just make sense?

I looked up strength training log and a lot of things came up. Find one that works for you. I haven’t used this tool, but BodyBuilding.com offers a custom log creation tool. Check it out!

No matter what your workout is, keeping a log is important. Even if you don’t care about numbers or stats, wouldn’t it be cool to look back in a few years and see how much progress you’ve made? It’s almost like a diary (oh man I don’t even want to read my middle school diary). I look back on my first lifting logs ever and see that I could barely dumbbell press 10 lbs. That makes me feel awesome about how far I’ve come.

Do you keep a training log? Did you keep a diary as a kid? :-P

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09-18-2014

10 Things To Do Before & After Your Next Track Workout

Track workouts are awesome…at least in my opinion. I soooo much rather prefer a track workout over a long run.

Whether you’re a beginner runner or not, we could all use these reminders before our next track workout. I’m the worst with warming up and cooling down, but recently I’ve had my cross country runners going through a certain routine, which has made me want to “practice what I preach.”

Track Workout Tips

BEFORE

Eat something. Make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to do the work. Nothing is more frustrating (to me at least) than being pumped for a workout but stopping or slowing down halfway because I feel lightheaded or weak. Make sure to eat a good meal or snack beforehand, depending on what time you’re doing the workout.

Warm-up. If you’re anything like me, you slack on the warm-up before runs. You just get up and go…well I do. And hey, Jenny Simpson told me she does too ;) But the warm-up is so important when it comes to doing any type of speed workout. You want your muscles and joints to be primed for the action. They need to be warm and loose. Coach Marc usually has me doing a 1 mile warm up before any sort of workout.

Do a dynamic warm-up. Okay, so you did your 1 mile warm-up. But you’re not ready to go yet. Now it’s time for dome dynamic movements. I have my cross-country team do a series of moves before a workout or meet, which I wrote about here. This includes A-skips, butt kicks, mummy walks, cariocas and more. When I was personal training, I had clients go through these movements as well. It’s another way to get your joints ready and loosen up the muscles through your range of motion.

Strides. Before a workout or race I like to do a few strides, or pick-ups. Once again, it just helps loosen you up a bit and get you acclimated to that faster speed you’re about to run. Do anywhere from 3-5 for about 50 meters. Marc has me do them after runs too just do get in a little speed at the end of a run.

AFTER

Cool down. I actually hate the cool down more than the warm up. When I’m done with a hard effort, all I want to do is go home and collapse on the floor or couch. But a cool down is so important for your muscles and heart. It gradually brings your heart rate back down and will prevent your muscles from tightening up or being too sore the next day. I usually do anywhere from a half mile to a mile cool down after workouts. Pace doesn’t matter!

Stretching. Once you’re done with your cool down, it’s time for some stretching and more dynamic stretches. Before getting into static stretches, I have my runners do some mummy walks and skips. It helps get everything flowing and also stretches the muscles. Once you’re done, go through a stretching routine. I switch it up between certain yoga routines or my own routine, but stretches I always do are calf stretches, quad stretches, pigeon pose, and hamstring stretches.

Hydrate. This one is obvious right? You just had a hard effort. Drink some water!!

Protein. Within 30 minutes of any workout, whether it’s running or lifting, you should be eating a recovery meal or drink. If I’m having a shake, I have PlantFusion, which is my all-time favorite protein powder. Getting in protein right away will help with muscle recovery, which means you’ll be ready to go (and stronger) or your next workout.

Pre-hab or rehab. If you have a nagging ache or pain like I do (shins), speed workouts may make it worse. My shins are always sore after track or tempo workouts. Monitor yourself for any sort of pain and do the proper rehab right away. Don’t wait! For example, I had a track workout two days ago and right when I got home I made sure to massage my calves and shins with Biofreeze.

Foam roll. This kind of goes with the pre-hab, but while you’re watching TV after a workout, get on the foam roller or tennis ball. Your muscles will probably be tight, and a foam roller will help work out those knots. You don’t want to be tight for your next track workout! I love sitting on a tennis ball and self-massaging my glutes…even though it hurts SO much.

I just did a track workout on Tuesday and I felt awesome! Coach had me doing 8×400 and I told him I felt on fire!! 

When’s your next track workout? What kind of warm-up do you do beforehand?

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03-17-2014

Working Out At A Gym Vs. Working Out At Home

So you decide that you want to lead a healthier lifestyle and start exercising. Great! But should you sign up for a commercial gym? Or try working out at home?

workoutatgymvshome

I decided to lay out some pros and cons to each. For the purpose of this particular post, I’m going to focus on signing up for a commercial gym as opposed to small boutiques or personal training studies. Also, when I talk about working out at home, I mean doing exercise videos or using dumbbells/other small equipment (as opposed to building your own home gym).

Working Out At A Gym

Since I work out at my local YMCA, it was easy for me to think of a lot of the benefits of this. However, there could be some “cons” that may deter you from joining a gym.

Pros

  • A lot of different equipment, so it’s easy to switch up workouts.
  • Options to take classes
  • Personal trainers and wellness coaches to help you and give you tips.
  • Seeing other people working out may motivate you.
  • You’re changing your setting so you get out of the house.

Cons

  • The thought of having to drive to the gym could mean skipping a workout more often.
  • A lot of different equipment could be confusing and overwhelming.
  • Gym can get packed which could be annoying if you need specific machines or equipment.
  • Gym membership could be expensive.
  • It may be intimidating to workout around others.

Tips:

  • Take a gym tour of equipment before starting.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a trainer to show you correct form or spot you.
  • On days you don’t feel like working out, take a class instead. The group atmosphere helps a lot.
  • If possible, go at off peak times so you can use the equipment you need. Going during times that are less busy will also help if you’re intimidated of the weight room.

Working Out At Home

Working out at home has a lot of its own benefits. When I first started exercising in college, I did a lot of workout DVDs in my room. I loved Jillian Michaels! This is what inspired my recent post where I listed out my top workout videos on YouTube.

Pros

  • It’s convenient.
  • Even when you have no energy you really have no excuse, since you don’t have to go anywhere to work out.
  • You can multitask (workout while waiting for dinner to be ready).
  • You can vary your workouts by doing different workout videos and DVDs.
  • Less intimidating because you’re working out alone.
  • Great way to get family members in your house involved in fitness.

Cons

  • Unless you have a home gym, you may not have a lot of equipment to use.
  • You may not be as motivated because you’re working out alone.
  • Family could be a distraction/interrupt your workout.

Tips

  • Set up a time that you WILL do your workout. Think of it as a meeting that you can’t skip.
  • Let your family know about your time, so that way no one will distract you.
  • Make a YouTube playlist of workout videos, so you always have a selection ready.
  • Just as you would have a gym workout schedule, make an at-home workout schedule with what videos you will do each day
  • Try a new DVD each month to switch things up.
  • Get a friend or two to come over and workout with you!

So as you can see, there are great things about both options! Some days I’d rather workout at home with my mom or dad than go to the gym. It’s just more convenient and after a long day of work, I just don’t feel like getting ready and driving another 15 minutes to the gym!

There are some great fitness channels on YouTube like SarahFit and Blogilates…and myself ;)…just do some research and find workouts that best fit your needs.

What pros & cons did I forget about?

Which do you prefer? Working out at a gym or working out at home?

Do you have a personal trainer?

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03-11-2014

Save and Splurge: Fitness Items

Buying fitness related stuff can get addicting. I love shopping for new workout clothes, and when I see gadgets and other stuff for cheap at T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s, it’s hard to walk away!

I’m going to highlight some typical fitness items, with a “save” option and a “splurge” option. Some things are worth splurging on, while other things you could definitely get away with buying at a Five Below – but it really all depends on you, and how often you use certain things.

Yoga Mats

yogamatsThis all depends on how often you do yoga. I think if you do it once a week or so, like I do, then it’s okay to save on a yoga mat. The C9 Basic Yoga Mat is from Target, which also has other brands like Gaiam. I have used the lululemon yoga mat at their community classes and love it. My hands don’t slip at all. However, I don’t do yoga enough to justify buying it…but maybe one day!

Dumbbells

dumbbellsGetting adjustable dumbbells has been on my to-d0 list for a while. Once I have a home gym, I will definitely get a pair of these Reebok adjustable dumbbells (also available at Target). But, really, all you need for an at-home workout are a pair of dumbbells ranging from 5-10 lbs. The one above can be found at Five Below. If you don’t have one of those near you, check out Target or T.J. Maxx too!

Watches

watchesYou can look up both of these watches on their brand page, but I found that you can save a good chunk of change on Amazon*. The Polar GPS watch comes with a heart-rate monitor if you like to see how many calories you burn. I personally have a Garmin, but know a lot of people who own Polars and love them. I like that it’s a GPS and HRM in one. But if you don’t need all that, this Timex Women’s watch will do the trick. I like that it’s light and small, so it could be used in everyday life too.

There are a lot of other products I could include, but I’ll save that for Part 2! One thing I will say you should always splurge on is a good pair of sneakers.

Which of these products would you splurge on?

What fitness item do you have no qualms about spending a little extra on? For me it’s running shoes and shorts!

*Disclaimer: I’m an Amazon affiliate, so if you buy through the links provided, I may get a small % kickback, which helps with my blog hosting costs :)

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02-25-2014

Best Health & Fitness Apps

Do you use apps to help you workout? Or track your workouts?

I have been using a few different fitness apps over the past few years, but have found a couple that I love and wanted to share with you. Oh, and most of these are free! You can pay for an upgraded version but I have not done that on any – they work just as well in the free version!

healthapps

Apps are a great way to track your workouts, find new workouts, or try something new. I’m going to list a few that I’ve used, and then a few that I found via Google that I would like to try. I’ll link to the iTunes store, since most have iPhones, even though I’m on the Android side now ;)

What I’ve Used

RunKeeper

RunKeeper is my go-to running app. You can play music through the app, and I just set it and forget it. You can set up audio cues for when you want it to tell you how far you have gone (i.e. – every mile, every 2 miles). You can also have it tell you your distance based on the time you’ve been running (i.e. – every 10 minutes it tells you your distance). I have it set so that every 1 mile it tells me my average pace. The one thing I wish it did was tell me my current pace, like my Garmin watch does. It has a “current pace” feature but it is way off sometimes. You can also set up workouts, so that it will tell you to run hard for 20 seconds, then cue you when to jog, then start again (did that make sense). Lastly, it has various training plans you can use from 5K training to marathon training.

LoseIt!

I use this app for tracking my nutrition. It’s so simple and straightforward. They have a huge list of foods that you can search, but if you can’t find a specific thing, you just scan the barcode on the food item. You can set calorie goals for the day, depending on if you tell the app how much weight you want to lose by a certain amount of time. You can also just put that you want to “maintain” weight. I like using it so I can track my macronutrients and make sure I’m getting enough protein, carbs and fat. I wrote a more in-depth review here.

GymBoss Interval Timer

You may have heard of GymBoss timers (like physical timers). Trainers use them in videos because they beep whenever your interval is up, as opposed to looking at your phone or watch every few seconds. Well, there’s an app for that! I’m sure there are plenty of interval timer apps but I really liked this one. You set up your intervals and it beeps every time an interval is over, and every time you need to start a new interval.  You can repeat the sets for however long you want it to go for. You can save each workout you do so that you don’t have to re-set everything up each time you need it. The only downside is I think when you lock your phone it won’t beep, so make sure you turn the lock screen off.

Nike Training Club

If you’re looking for workouts to do, then this is a great app for you. You can pick from different goals, such as Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, Get Focused. I personally don’t know the difference between get lean or get toned but I digress…

You put in whether you want beginner, intermediate or advanced, and what you want to train, and it will crunch out a workout for you. It gives you pictures for demonstrations and tells you how many reps/how long to do the exercise for. Great for when you’re at the gym and not really sure what to do!

Others

Here are a few other apps that I found, or that I have had friends rave about.

MapMyRun

This is another running app similar to RunKeeper. I haven’t used it but I think most people either use RunKeeper or MapMyRun. Looks like MapMyRun is compatible with the UnderArmour heart rate monitor which is pretty cool. Try each one out to see which one you like best!

Nike+ Running

Yet another running app. I actually know a lot of people who use this one too. It tracks your runs, but is also a community. You can do “challenges” with other people, and it also gives you training plans depending on your goals. The cool thing I like about it (that I’ve seen a lot on Instagram) is you can choose a photo and then overlay your Nike+ stats over it, so you can post on social media. Like this:

Sleep Cycle

I actually used this when I had an iPhone. It’s not a fitness app per se, but it’s good to know how much you’re sleeping and whether it’s restful or not. Jury is out on whether it is reliable data or not, but it is pretty cool to try out. It did correspond to when I’d wake up in the middle of the night and stuff. It analyzes your sleep and then wakes you up when you’re in the lightest phase of sleep (as opposed to in a REM cycle). You set your alarm for a 30 minute period, so that it will wake you up within that time frame.

Blogilates

I love Cassey from Blogilates, so I had to throw this in here. I didn’t get a chance to download her app when I had an iPhone, but I need to check if there is one for Android. (Update: It is available in the Google Play store). You can access her videos through the app, along with recipes, her community and her monthly workout calendar. If you’re not familiar with her, check out her YouTube channel! She’s always so vibrant and positive, it’s hard for it to not rub off on you while you’re doing her workouts. Also, they burn.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, but these are the apps I use the most, as well as others I’ve heard about. I always love downloading new apps and experimenting, so if I have one to add to the list, I’ll make sure to write an updated post!

Which health and fitness apps do you use? 

Do you use something not on this list? I want to know so I can download it!

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02-10-2014

Workout Plan For The Week

Do you need a week long workout plan? I decided to put together some workouts I have created, and videos into a 7 day workout plan for you, that you can follow this week!

If you like trying new things or just want to switch up your routine, then this is perfect for you :)

Here we go:

Monday

gym workout

Get Pumped At The Gym

Tuesday

30-60 minutes cardio of your choice

Wednesday

Lower Body Blast



Thursday Torch Those Arms

Friday

Off

Saturday

Sunday

There you have it-a week of workouts! Feel free to move around days, or the rest day to whatever works best for you. Also, if you want a second rest day, use the Tuesday cardio day as a rest day.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of these workouts!

I’m excited I figured out how to add Pin It buttons underneath pictures, so please feel free to pin things/follow me on Pinterest :)

Which of these workouts do you want to try?

What types of workouts would you like to see more of? I always love feedback!

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01-17-2014

My First Hot Yoga Experience

Earlier this week, my local lululemon store posted that they were having a Blacklight Yoga Party on Thursday, at a studio in my area. I quickly RSVPed for my sister and me because we had never done hot yoga before.

I was really nervous…I was afraid of sweating an insane amount and being stinky and having people be disgusted (sometimes I over-think things). My yogi friend assured me that everyone will probably smell and be insanely sweaty.

I went to social media for other tips for a first time hot yoga-er, and some common ones were:

  • Drink a lot of water in the days leading up.
  • Bring a big towel.
  • Bring a water bottle.
  • Bring an open mind.

I absolutely loved it. I have had this instructor before at lululemon’s community classes, and usually it’s pretty mellow, but this class was really upbeat and fun. We got light-up bracelets at the door too!

The class started with upbeat music, and once Timber by Pitbull & Ke$ha came on, everyone was singing and grooving along to the beat. PS – I’m obsessed with that song, I could listen to it on repeat.

This was certainly the most challenging yoga class I’ve taken. Obviously, because it was hot. But also, the sequence of movements and how long certain poses were held made it tough! The good thing was that the room wasn’t TOO hot-about 97-100 degrees. I have read other reviews of hot yoga where people have said it was too hot to even concentrate, and that’s what I was afraid of.

When people say the heat helps you get deeper in your poses, they aren’t lying! I got into my deepest downward dog, usually I have to keep my knees bent, but this time they were straight and I almost got my heels to touch the ground.

Overall, it was a great class, and I love yoga in general. She ended it on a spiritual note, reading us a quote while we lay in corpse pose. I left feeling refreshed and really wanting to commit to adding more yoga into my life.

Blacklight + yoga = awesome

My clothes were definitely soaked through afterwards, but you really feel good! I would like to add in hot yoga to me exercise routine-just need to find the time and budget ;)

Have you ever tried hot yoga? Or yoga in general?

What are your thoughts about it?

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01-14-2014

4 Common Mistakes People Make When They Start Exercising

Is 2014 going to be your year? Have you committed to living a healthier lifestyle? That’s great!

You may be excited and ready to tackle everything that comes your way, but while your motivation is awesome, make sure you don’t make these mistakes in your new journey!

commonmistakes

Trying Too Many Things At Once. You may be excited to start eating healthier and workout out regularly, but don’t be too overzealous! For example, if you want to start eating healthier, try cutting out one “bad” thing for a week, then add another. It’ll be easier to manage cutting out soda the first week, then processed food the second, and excess sugar in the third, than it would be to try to cut every bad habit out at once. Same thing goes with the gym; you may want to hit the gym every day, but start slowly. Your body is just getting used to this. Start with 2-3 days per week, then add on as you get accustomed. Trust me, if this is your first time lifting (or you’re just getting back into it), you will be sore even with only 2-3 days of working out!

Not Setting Proper Goals. What exactly are your goals? Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Setting proper goals is key, as well as attainable goals. You can’t expect to lose 50 lbs. in 1 month, or squat 100 lbs in the first few weeks. Set small goals at first, such as, “I want to lose 1 lb. a week,” or “I want to lose 5% bodyfat.” SMART goal setting is a great way to set attainable goals.

Not Researching Proper Workouts. Just as you need to set proper goals, you need to assess what it is you want to accomplish. You may try out everything: lifting, running, Zumba, spin, etc. Do you want to run 5K? Or be able to do pull-ups? Because both of those will require totally different training. If you want to run a 5K (or any distance), research different training plans. Before I started marathon training, I read 3 books by 3 different authors on 3 different training approaches. Find the best one that you think will work for you. If you don’t think you will make it to the gym 5 days a week, then don’t choose a plan that has you in the gym 5 days a week!

Not Eating Enough. If your goal is to lose weight, you may think the easiest way is the good ol’ “cut 500 calories per day out” and exercise. But if you’re exercising on a regular basis, then you need to make sure you are fueling your body correctly. You may be surprised at how many calories you actually need. I thought 1,500 calories would be enough for me, then put my stats in multiple calculators which told me I should be eating anywhere from 1,800-2,000 calories! I don’t have a specific one that comes to mind, but google “calorie calculator” and try out multiple ones. Also track your intake for a few days to make sure you’re eating enough. I like the app Lose It! because you can add or scan in foods, and it gives you a pie chart breakdown of your macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat). I talk about this app more here. Remember, calories are not the enemy!

What advice and tips would you give?

Have you experienced any of these mistakes?

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