Fitness Favorites

I was recently asked what my absolute must-haves are when it comes to working out – what items I can absolutely not live without when it comes to exercising.

WATER

Water

This girl needs to stay hydrated.  I usually go through a couple of bottles of water when I’m at the gym.  I’m constantly guzzling because I’m sweating so much (it’s super hot at my gym) and I’m always trying to quench my thirst and dry mouth.  I try not to drink too much at once to avoid stomach aches, but when I’m at the gym I’m usually there for a while and going all out and water is definitely a game changer.

COOL AIR

Fan

via Daily Mail

I cannot stand being hot when I am exercising.  I find that if I am overheating I am not crushing my workouts and just feel gross.  I tend to run hot when I exercise, so I like to ensure that I am being cooled down efficiently.  So, in addition to replenishing my water intake, I also like to ensure that I can keep cool – either with multiple fans, open windows, or air conditioning.  If I’m at the gym then I usually hog the oscillating fan(s) and also make sure the overhead fans are so (I’m nagging for air conditioning).  If I’m working out at home I usually have the windows open or the AC on (if it’s summertime).  And if I’m teaching a class I take advantage of what’s available (inside = fans or AC / outside = shade and hopefully a slight breeze).

MUSIC

iPod

I 100% need my iPod when I’m working out, especially if I’m running.  The right song can keep me going.  (My song of choice for my run lately has been Anyway You Want It by Journey.)  When I ran my first 10k a few years ago I ran along to Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen on repeat.  It kept my perfect pace.  If I’m strength training I will put on a random play list and let the iPod work its magic.

HAIR GEAR

hair ties

This includes hair ties, headbands, hats, and bobby pins.  I have naturally curly hair and a whole heckuva lot of it and it is constantly in my face.  It is my second biggest peeve when I’m working out – right behind being hot.  I can’t stand little fly-away hairs in my face so I try to make sure I have what’s necessary to keeping my Wookie-do out of my eyes.

FITBIT

FitBit

I totally had buyer’s remorse when I first purchased my FitBit, but now I am addicted to it.  I love being able to track my steps, my distances, and my heart rate when I’m working out.  I picked up the HR Charge specifically to keep track of my heart rate. Since I have a heart condition, I figured it would be interesting to track the pattern and BPM and anything else that would correlate.  I also love the step challenges – within a group or simply on my own.  I am very aware of how active I am throughout each day and honestly make more of an effort to get up and move – especially if I have been sedentary for too long.

APPs

Aaptiv

I’m really not an app-y person when it comes to my exercise routine.  I’m fairly rogue that way.  I’ve downloaded apps in the past and rarely utilized them.  But one great new app I’ve reviewed is Aaptiv.  Aaptiv is an on-demand audio fitness app that combines the guidance of a trainer with the perfect playlist.  If you are considering a fitness app as part of your routine, you should definitely check out Aaptiv.

Aside from proper footwear and a good sports bra, that about does it for my list of workout must-haves.  What are some of your favorites?

~FB

My Saturday Morning Workout

Lately, I have been killing it at the gym and in my classes.  I have been expanding my horizons and trying all sorts of different exercises and techniques and really working on improving my form and overall fitness level.  I have totally upped the ante.

I’m a huge fan and supporter of body-weight exercises.  In fact, it’s what my boot camp classes are based on.  No equipment.  100% body weight.  My family fitness classes are similar, but often we will bring out some equipment to keep the younger participants keen (although, let me just say that the kids are LOVING this program, and if you don’t think your kids would be interested in fitness and exercises, try working out with them!).  In my family fitness classes I have used jump ropes, hula hoops, and a few balls.  And aside from gliders (which are TOTALLY body-weight exercises) that’s the only equipment I’ve ever used in any of my classes.

My gym workouts and my at-home workouts, however, are an entirely different story. I try and utilize as much equipment as I can at the gym – things I can’t use at home, like the rowing machine, the Smith machine (be still my beating heart), heavier weights, even a Bosu ball (for burpees – again, a body-weight exercise).

Until recently, a lot of my home workouts were body-weight based: doing some of my boot camp classes, or videos like any of the Insanity series, P90-X, Jillian Michaels, etc.  But since I got my dream boxing bag for Christmas, I’ve been using that a lot as part of my home exercise, and often incorporating weight-lifting, and running the stairs into the routine.

Today was a gorgeous day in Nova Scotia; it has been sunny and warm and it truly feels like the start of an early spring (we’re gearing up for some snow tomorrow though.  Bummer.), so I took advantage of the sunshine this morning and moved part of my workout outside – coming back inside for other parts of the workout that I wasn’t able to access in the fresh air.

A few years ago I found a bombdiggity weighted jump rope at a local store.  I loved it so much that I went back and bought the remaining ropes.  Seriously.  I have a small stock, just in case.  I also bought one for my boyfriend so that we can both take advantage of the awesomeness.

weighted-jump-rope

For my warm up I brought the rope outside and skipped away.  It was so wonderful to be able to warm up outside.

Oustide jump rope

This was basically me this morning. (via Yahoo)

Once warmed up I moved back inside so that I could do a boxing workout.  I boxed my butt off to some upbeat music, while doing burpees and squats in between.

boxingbag

Just call me Rocky Balboa

I also took advantage of my resistance bands and my newest obsession, my suspension training system.

Squat Row

Resistance bands are really just as good as weights – and certainly more mobile. (via Google)

I did a bunch of variations using the resistance bands – from squat rows to bicep curls to overhead extensions.  I did it all.

I took my suspension training system outside and channeled my inner Candace and inner Norman and performed different variations of exercises, such as: mountain climbers, chest press and fly, to the full body row (below), planks with a leg extension.

Suspension Candace

Candace Cameron Bure (and Kira Stokes) via Instragram

Norman Reedus Suspension

Norman Reedus via Men’s Fitness

I did circuits of all of these exercises, moving from inside to outside and enjoying every bit of it.

You don’t need a lot of money or a gym membership or even a lot of equipment to get in shape.  If you’re not into body-weight training – or want to move outside that realm for some of your workouts, invest in a few small pieces of fitness gear: resistance bands usually run between $10 and $30, smaller weights can be purchased fairly cheap at places like Canadian Tire and Walmart, weighted jump ropes can be picked up pretty much anywhere, including some discount and dollar stores.  Suspension Training Systems can be pricey.  Mine was an investment that I decided to go ahead with since I can use it personally and for my clients and, well, because #obsessed.  My boxing bag was a Christmas gift and something I’ve been wanting for many years.  It too was an investment (gifted to me), but you don’t necessarily need a boxing bag to enjoy a boxing workout.  There’s nothing wrong with shadow boxing or cardio boxing <- those will definitely get your heart pumping.

And all of the above (minus an actual boxing bag) are mobile items.  So you can move your workouts outside, or pack your gear when you’re vacationing, or even take with you to a friend’s house so that you can exercise together.

The ultimate goal would be to take advantage of both body-weight training and inexpensive workout gear.

~FB

Instant Results

I saw this meme the other day on my Facebook feed and I thought how true it is and has been for many of us.

instant-results

We’re just entering our second week of 2017 and, as most people do, many of us have also made New Year’s Resolutions.  (Have you?  Tell me about them.)

I almost never make resolutions for the new year because I know I’m more than likely setting myself up for failure.  (Stop swearing.  Yeah right!)

Instead, this time I have have made the decision and commitment to work harder on my strength training this year.  For Christmas I had received a free-standing boxing bag, something I have wanted for a long time.  I was ecstatic Christmas morning.  And I have been utilizing it this past week like crazy.

In addition to the boxing, I am going to continue to my strength training in the gym (and at home) with lifting weights and, hopefully, continuously increasing the weight.  Of course, this part will depend on how my back fares.  I wretched it again just this morning while shoveling snow.  Sometimes I feel like it’s never going to heal.  But, that being said, I will work on my strength while doing my best not to injure myself any further.

work-for-it

My Whole 30 60 (I am aiming big this time) also starts tomorrow morning and I have been so excited to get going.  Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss chocolate and those dreamy peppermint mochas, but I know how wonderful I feel when doing a Whole and committing myself to completely clean eating for 60 days has me on edge in all the good ways.

But see – this is the point of this post.  Instant results would be fabulous!  But it’s just not realistic.  Oprah said years ago on her show that if there were a pill out there to make her lose weight she would be on it!  But, unfortunately, there is no magic pill. You have to work for it.  You have to.  The only instant result you get is making the choice to change your life.

That’s right, in one instant you can change your life.  You can commit yourself to a better lifestyle – to eating cleaner, to sleeping more, to getting enough water to drink, and to exercising.

30-minutes

Even 20 minutes a day can change your life!

Many years ago, when I was overweight and at my heaviest, I made that commitment. And, as you know, I haven’t looked back.  I have changed my life.

At first, I had a hard time getting through my workouts.  I was panting and huffing and puffing.  I could barely get through three minutes.  But I kept at it and I worked my way up to 10, 20, 30, 60, 120 minutes.  I have often said that 20 minutes a day can change your life  and I stick by that.  You do not need to spend hours upon hours in the gym.  But you do have to do something.  Start off with a goal of even 5 minutes a day.  Work your way up to 10 or 20 minutes over the weeks.  See how different you feel, how easier it is to breathe, how harder you can go.  Feel the difference in your body and how your clothes fit.  Commit yourself to one month.  Give yourself 30 days of eating better and working out even 3 times a week.  I challenge you* to do that. Thirty days is not a long time.  But those thirty days can change your life.

You have to work for it.

~Fit Bitch

*Anyone accepting my challenge, please feel free to comment or email me and let me know you’ve accepted the challenge, or if you want fitness tips, instructions, workout ideas, or nutritional advice/healthy eating coaching.

Results May Vary

Happy New Year Fitness Peeps!

The other night, while rockin’ it at the gym, I had an epiphany.  And I decided that 2017 is going to be another spectacular year.

I’ve been working really hard this past year on my strength training and in this upcoming year, I am going to make defining my muscle tone an attainable goal.  In fact, in helping me do so, my brother and sister-in-law got me a freestanding boxing bag…. just like this one:

boxingbag

Fitness wishes do come true!

So, now I can box my sweet heart out without having to leave the house (although, I still do love to attend a class), in addition to teaching my classes, hitting the gym, running, and attending my ritual Thursday night Zumba class.

Now, all that being said, I know that I do need to set attainable goals.  I’m getting older and my body and metabolism and hormones change.  It’s not as easy to lose weight as it once was.  So, my goals really need to be realistic.  But there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to hit them….or to strive for them.

And you can too.  You can make 2017 your best year ever.

Set yourself some goals.  Make notes on how you will change your lifestyle so that you can, indeed, change your life.  Will your “resolutions” include working out more, eating less, strength training, finding your spirituality or mental clarity, becoming more social?

Just remember that no matter what you decide and what you aim for – your results will not be the same as your best friend’s or your running buddy’s or your partner’s.

results-may-vary

You will likely not end up with the same fit bod as your favorite celebrity (although, you never know – maybe it will be better!).  Whatever you do, make sure you’re making changes for you.  For better health and for longevity.

And as always, remember:  You’re Worth It!

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Fitness

It’s December 1st!  Which means it’s Christmas and holiday month.  Which means it’s tons of food month!!

I was planning to write something today anyway, and then this little gem made its way across my desk and I thought “Hm, fitting”.  A fun little 25 Days of Christmas Fitness Challenge.

christmas-fitness

This plan is fun and pretty darn simple.  So, you can do it alone just to ensure you get some exercise in, or you can add it in as a compliment to your regular workout regime.

For me, December is bonkers – there are dinners with friends, and family get-togethers, and parties (I have one tonight!), and shopping (which, often entails snacking), and Christmas movie-watching (again, which often entails snacking) – which all lead to overindulging – in everything from sugary sweets to delicious turkey to spiced wine.

During the holidays it’s definitely important to have a workout program you can stick to.  Christmas is a celebration!  We shouldn’t have to worry about “falling off the wagon” when it comes attending the parties and dinners and enjoying all the wonderful offerings of the holidays.

The 25 Days of Christmas Fitness Challenge is a pretty basic plan.  You can get a great little workout done in just a few minutes and carry on with the rest of your holiday to-dos.

**You can also check out the 12 Exercises of Christmas from my post a few years ago, as well as my tips on Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain.  So simple, so easy.

Also, If you have a game plan for the month (or the week) and prepare for what’s upcoming, you’ll survive the holidays without freaking out too much about weight gain and sugar consumption.  For many, planning ahead is key.

For instance: tonight is Thursday.  Normally, Thursday nights I would be at the gym for a few hours then I would finish the night with a Zumba class.  This has been my ritual for a few years and it is my favorite night of the week.  But, Zumba was cancelled for this evening AND I knew there was a party planned for tonight.  So, I made sure to get to the gym last night, and I went for a run as soon as I got home tonight.  I’m also going to eat dinner here shortly so that I won’t eat/overeat this evening.  I had a game plan and I utilized it.

In fact, I have a game plan for the remainder of the weekend because I’ll be out town, there is shopping, and there is another Christmas party on Sunday (where there will be tons.of.food!!)  A GAME PLAN CAN BE A GAME CHANGER!

Remember that December is just one month.  And then it’s over.  Allow yourself to have fun and indulge a little.  Don’t stress out on whether or not you should have a little extra gravy on your turkey, or what will happen if you have another chocolate truffle.  Go ahead!  Just….maybe don’t eat all the truffles!  But if you do, know that it’s just as easy to get back on track as it is to go off.

Enjoy!

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discipline

disclipline

Truth right here, folks.

None of us ever want to work out every single day.  But, in order to get and stay motivated is to become disciplined in your routine.

I know not everyone is going to fall in love with fitness the way that I have, and you don’t have to.  Once that discipline sinks in the workout routine will become like clockwork…and you just do it.

~Fit Bitch

Online Bootcamp

A while ago I thought about running an online bootcamp. And then I side-tracked the idea.  But recently, I’ve been thinking more and more about this venture and I have decided I will be offering an online beginner’s bootcamp in the near future.

Online-Bootcamp

I still have kinks to work out, but basically anyone wanting to participate will have to register and commit to the session (6 or 8 weeks with a minimum of 3 workouts a week).  I will also offer nutritional info and advice.

The workouts can be done in the privacy of your own home (or at the gym, or outside; wherever you choose). You will have to be accountable for your workouts each week and submit your finished weekly workout to me.

Likely, I’ll have demonstrations of the exercises and make myself available to participants online – by email or chat (and possibly, if appropriate, by video chat – but this idea is still up in the air as chats would have to work outside of my regular schedule, and I know many of you are subject to time differences).  I’m hoping to create a Facebook group that only participants will have access to.  Which means, in addition to chatting me with, you’ll have the support of other bootcampers.

Please let me know if you’re interested in this new venture as I continue to work it out.  Email me at nsfitnessqueen@yahoo.ca or simply leave a comment here to let me know if you’d be interesting in registering (later), with any questions, and with contact info (for privacy reasons, emailing me is probably the best).

Cheers!

~Fit Bitch

30 Day Arm Challenge

I’ve always been a little paranoid about my arm skin.  I never thought about my arm skin until I read an article with Drew Barrymore in US Magazine when I was 14 or 15.  Drew was complaining about her arms being chubby.  (See:  Even celebrities are body obsessed.)  Since that day I’ve been obsessed with my arms.

A few years ago my arms were pretty awesome. It was after I’d lost a ton of weight and was working out and running more.  My arms seemed to be bombdiggity to me.  But now that I’m older – and since I gained weight resulting from my exercise addiction (read more about that here:  https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/confessions/) – I seem to be even more “obsessed” and have a hard time losing the arm pudge.

Over the last few months I’ve been lifting like a beast – focusing more on my strength routine and adding weight.  And it seems to be paying off some.  But there’s much more we can do to strengthen our arms and upper body.  (I do a lot of strength training in my classes and with my clients.)

That’s why when I came across this 30 Day Arm Challenge recently I was ecstatic.  The workouts contain just a few moves but will build muscle and strengthen your arms and core.

ARM CHALLENGE

I think this challenge is great for everyone – especially those who aren’t able to get to the gym or don’t have a lot of (if any) equipment to work out with.  I am a firm believer in body weight workouts.

Try this challenge for the next 30 days and see your strength improve.

~FB

Morning Workout

Don’t think you have the time to workout?  Give this morning (or any time of day) workout a try:

Morning Workout

You can do a run through of it once to get a little energized, or, you can go full throttle and do several reps to get a complete workout.

I used to love getting up early to exercise.  I felt so accomplished beginning my day with a fitness routine.  When I first started I was going to the gym.  It was a different gym than I belong to now and I wanted to go first thing in the morning because, like many, I was intimidated and embarrassed.  I wanted no part of anyone seeing me working out.  When the gym burned down I gave up for a bit but eventually picked up my morning workouts again when I began a relationship with my elliptical.

From there I moved on to other morning fitness rituals, like Insanity and Jillian Michaels, and even attending boot camp classes.  But over the last few years I’ve decided that I really like sleep.  In fact, I like sleep much more than getting up at the buttcrack of dawn and sweating it up.  And since I started teaching classes I prefer to run my sessions after the work hours.

But, spring is here and summer is coming and I’m seriously contemplating running early morning classes.  (But again, I also reallllly like my sleep!)

Now, all that being said, I challenge you to morning workouts three times a week for two weeks.  See if you can do it and see if it changes your day.  I (almost) guarantee it will.

Fall in love with the solitude of the mornings and the privacy of your living room workouts – or grab a buddy and make the above-workout part of a system routine to start your days.

Cheers.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Step You Take

Every Step you take

*insert The Police music here*

Seriously tho – truth.

Here’s a little story:  When I first started working out I was utilizing the elliptical I’d purchased the year before.  My then-boyfriend found it for me on a great sale and I had every intention of using it, but, man….it was hard!  So I gave up – and stayed overweight.  I wasn’t ready yet.

When I was ready the next year I hoped on the machine and gave it my all.  And my all was only about 3 minutes at a time before I was out of breath, fatigued, and ready to die.  But I stuck with it.  And soon enough I was ellipticalling (I just made that word up) to Oprah each night – stopping when I needed to – but making progress.  I went from 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 10 minutes and before I knew it I was on my elliptical with a good book and an hour and a half had passed.

I stuck with it and what I thought was going to kill me made me a whole helluvalot stonger!

So whenever you feel like giving up – DON’T!  Hang in there.  You may not see results right away (go read my previous post) but I guarantee the results are there.  Your heart is getting stronger, your cardio is building up, your calf muscles are strengthening, your core is tightening.  STICK WITH IT!  Like you – it’s worth it!

~FB