09-12-2014

The 10 Minute Leg Workout

My mom and I try to do strength training two times per week. We are training for a half marathon but also want to make sure we make time to lift as well. Some days we run beforehand and go to the gym after…so let’s face it, we really don’t want to be there for hours. We want to get in and get out.

So that’s why this past week we started incorporating this leg workout into our workout. It only takes 10 minutes when you do it for 3 sets. And trust me it’s not easy. Once you’re done, you now have more time to work on other body parts like back, arms, and especially core.

10-min-leg-workout

So you go through and do each exercise for 30 seconds, then take a 30 second rest. You do this for three sets. You need to make sure the weight is heavy enough. You should be getting 8-10 reps in those 30 seconds. If you’re doing more, then the weight is too light. I am always dripping in sweat after this workout!

Here’s a picture I posted on my Instagram showing the exercises (ignore my running splits, that was from my tempo run that day which was awesome!!) :

This workout targets all the major muscles in your legs, like glutes, quads and hamstrings. It’s great when you’re short on time or want to do something quick after a run.

Let me know if you try it out! What types of lifting do you do while you’re training for a race?

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

Follow Reach Your Peak:

09-04-2014

5 Low-Impact Exercise Ideas

You may be injured. Or just may just want a change in your routine. These low-impact exercises are great when you have some sort of lower body issue (like my shin splints) or just want to switch up your cross-training. Really, who wants to be on the elliptical for an hour?? You can try doing one (or a mix) of these instead. I’d say my favorite are the battle ropes.

low-impact-exercisePhoto Credit: Tooley via Compfight cc

Battle Ropes – I recently took a ropes type class which I’ll be reviewing next week. Let me tell you, I am sore. We did all sorts of stuff with battle ropes. My heart rate was jacked up and I could feel my core workout. Any exercise where I’m doing cardio and abs…I’m in. The great thing about using ropes is that it can be as low-impact as you need. I told the instructor I had shin splints, so she modified certain exercises for me. Regardless, I still had to take breaks because I was so winded. Talk about a great way to exercise when you’re injured and can’t run!

Here’s a great and simple move to do with ropes:

photo-3Source: powercakes.net

Stairs - For some reason, I get more winded with stairs than running. No joke, I go up like 10 steps and I’m out of breath (can anyone tell me why??). Stairs are a great way to get in some lower-impact cardio and feel the burn in your quads. If you don’t care about low-impact, add in some jumps (similar to box jumps) to really get in a good lower body workout.

Hiking – About a month or so ago I went for a 1.5 mile hike with Dan. 1.5 miles is nothing right? Well it was straight up a rocky hill, so by the end I was pretty sweaty. If you’re injured, this is a great way to cross train and be outdoors at the same time.

Suspension Training – I’m sure you’ve heard of TRX training. You can do suspension training with anything similar to a TRX. At the class I took we simply used ropes that were hanging from a pull-up bar. There are so many things you can do with suspension trainers: lunges, mountain climbers, planks, rows, single arm rows…the list goes on.

Rock Climbing – During grad school, I worked with the college Recreation department. As a team, we took a trip to the rock wall at our school. I was really scared because I had never done this before. Turns out it was actually a lot of fun AND a great workout. My arms were pretty sore the next day! Rock climbing not only works your arms, but your lower body too since you use your legs to boost yourself up each time you go for a rock. The best part is belaying all the way back down at the top!

Have you tried any of these (or do them regularly?)

I really want to do more muscle ropes at my gym but also am a little self conscious because you have to do them on the main floor where everyone is working out…hmm…

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

Follow Reach Your Peak:

09-03-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

It’s September yet it’s in the 90s and super humid this week…sweet. Not gonna lie, I’m not a fan of summer, so I’m ready for it to be over. Yeah, yeah, yeah we will all be complaining once it’s snowing out but for me, I’d rather be freezing than sweating :)

Anyway, here are some great links for you to read today!

Featured: Healthier Homemade Crunch Bars (Slimsanity)

Healthier-Homemade-Crunch-Bars-3

I used to LOVE CRUNCH bars as a kid. I definitely want to try making these because I have a major sweet tooth and this would be the perfect little treat.

  • How To Make A Protein Smoothie Without Protein Powder (Oh My Veggies) – When you think protein shake you always think about adding protein powder. This is a great guide showing other foods you can use.
  • 5 Keys To A Successful Google+ Marketing Strategy (Kamila Gornia) – So many people overlook Google+ in their social strategy but I actually really love it. I’ve gotten many new readers from Google+!
  • 5 Ways To Improve Grip Strength (Fit Knit Chick) – I’ve definitely been held back due to grip strength in the past. I could do heavier deadlifts but my forearms would be burning and I couldn’t hold on to the bar any longer. Great tips!
  • Healthy After School Snacks (You Signed Up For What?!) – Whether you’re going back to school or not, these are snacks you can easily make (at any age) :)

Have you ever had issues with grip strength/felt your forearms burning/can’t hold on any longer? This is why I struggle with farmer’s walks!

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

Follow Reach Your Peak:

08-21-2014

Desk Posture Tips

Do you sit all day? Did you know that sitting all day at work can be as deadly as smoking?? While most of you are probably physically fit, I’ve read that even a 1 hour session at the gym after work doesn’t negate the 8 hours of sitting…which seems obvious.

So what do you do about it? Try to get up and take a 5 minute walk every hour. Think about it…that will be 40 minutes of walking in your work day. That’s a good start.

But this post won’t be about how to sit less. I’m going to talk about how to sit BETTER while you’re at work. Because posture plays a huge role in fitness as well. Having bad posture can lead to injuries and affect how efficient you are while exercising.

I have horrible posture – I’ll admit it. Which is why I wanted to write about this. I wanted to do the research and see how I can help myself be better at this.

Have you heard of upper crossed syndrome? Here’s a quick picture:

upper-crossed-syndrome

 

Source

Upper crossed syndrome is a muscular imbalance in your upper body, usually from sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time. I have noticed that I have “forward head syndrome” which scares me because my neck bones have now been molded that way it seems!

Here’s what to look for with upper crossed syndrome:

  • Forward head posture – Picture the little old lady crossing the street who can’t see where she’s going because her head is jutting forward of her shoulders so she can only look to the ground in front of her and not up or ahead.

  • Increased cervical lordosis and thoracic kyphosis – The hunchback. Think about how your shoulders must compensate in the overhead position if you have a even the beginnings of a hunchback.

  • Elevated and protracted shoulders – This is when your pecs are so tight and your sub-scapular muscles (the ones between and below your shoulder blades) are too weak to hold your shoulders back so they round forward instead.

  • Rotation or abduction and winging of the scapula – Abduction means the (scapula) bone is moving away from the body which gives it a ‘wing’ looking effect when looking at it from the side or rear views. If someone can slide their fingers under your shoulder blade and grab on to it, your scapulae are winging.

A weak upperbody leads to shoulder tightness and weakness. I’ve seen it in clients before…where doing overhead presses is so hard for them because of their shoulder tightness. 

So how do we avoid all of these postural imbalances?

POSTURE TIPS

I did some Google research and found a few tips to help us all with our posture while at computers. Here’s what I found:

And I found this great infographic from Women’s Health:

posture-tips

Everyday I have to remind myself to do these things, whether it’s at my computer or just driving home in my car. I’m such a sloucher. But I don’t want to have permanent forward head syndrome (or as my sister calls it, “turtle back”) when I’m older.

Do you have good posture? What tips would you add?

If you’re a dancer or gymnast I’m jealous because you all have awesome posture!

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

Follow Reach Your Peak:

08-20-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Can you believe August is over already? (Cue song August Is Over). I’m so ready for fall though. Surprisingly it’s been an okay summer temperature wise, but I just love the crisp fall weather. Plus, it’s perfect running weather.

Speaking of running, here is today’s featured link:

Featured: 6 Ways To Learn To Pace Yourself (Run To The Finish)

6 ways to learn to pace yourself_thumb[2]

These are great tips, especially if you have problems pacing myself (I still do sometimes). I like her tip about running with music so you’re more in tune with your breathing and effort…though I hate running without music for this very reason! :)

  • College Apartment Kitchen Shopping List (Lean Clean Brie) – Whether you’re in college or not this list will help you. I just moved into a new apartment, so I’ll be taking this on my first grocery shopping trip.
  • How To Work Out For Free (Nolie’s Place) – Working out doesn’t mean you need a gym membership. There are plenty of ways to be active for free.
  • Training Burnout (You Signed Up For What?!) – Such a great post that talks about exactly how I felt after NYC Marathon in November. Remember – it’s JUST a race!!
  • Training Tweaks For More Muscle Definition (Workout Nirvana) – Bookmarking this for myself because I really want to have more definition in my arms! I know I’m way stronger than I’ve ever been, but really want to see my triceps (as opposed to the “bat wings”)

Do you have a body part you’re working on for more definition?

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

Follow Reach Your Peak:

07-30-2014

How To: Medicine Ball Slams + Workout

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you may have seen my picture tutorial on how to do medicine ball slams:

Medicine Ball Slams

 Medicine ball slams are a great exercise because it’s a full body workout. You’re working your legs and upperbody, and getting in some cardio too. You may feel silly at first doing this in a gym (I did), but it will make you feel bad@$$ ;) I have seen a lot of people doing it at the gym too, so don’t think you’re the only one. Below are the steps + a video tutorial, but keep reading for a full medicine ball workout as well!

Here are the steps:

  1. Semi squat down as if you’re preparing to jump. Keep your core tight and flat back…same form as if you were doing regular squats.
  2. Bring the ball up over your head and prepare to slam it down. As you can see in my picture, I’m on my toes as I prepare to slam it down. You don’t want to just bring it over your head – have some power to it! Be careful not to hyper-extend your back.
  3. Slam the ball down as hard as you can, and again you will end in that semi-squat position. Catch the ball on the rebound and repeat.

For those of you who like video tutorials:

Here’s a workout to try next time you’re at the gym. All you need is the medicine ball!

Medicine Ball Workout

For the tricep extensions, it’s the same thing as if you were holding a dumbbell. See below (minus the lunge):

Med-Ball-Lunge-with-Tricep

 

And medicine ball twists are your standard seated ab exercise. Make sure you keep your chest up and shoulders back the hold time. Twist solely with your arms, not your spine.

Do the routine for 3-5 sets through, or do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes…let me know which one you do!

Have you incorporated medicine ball slams into your routine? 

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

Follow Reach Your Peak:

07-30-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Ever have those weeks where you just are in a good mood and getting all your sh*% done? I’ve been feeling like that this week. And I’m excited for the upcoming week! This Friday, I’m going to see Enrique Iglesias with my mom at Good Morning America (lol)…anyone else? Then next week I start cross country practice with my team. I’m excited and nervous to be coaching!

Anyway, here are a few links you should check out. Especially the protein pancakes below…

Featured: Caramel Apple Protein Pancakes (Little B’s Healthy Habits) – I love making protein pancakes, but mine are usually plain. I just add some honey on top and I’m set. But these look amazing. Definitely trying these this weekend!

What is your favorite way to make protein pancakes?

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

Follow Reach Your Peak:

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:

07-09-2014

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: