Start

Happy Monday Morning!!

Today is the start of a brand new day…and week.  So why not make the decision that today will be the day you change your life.

Bad Workout

Deciding to start a fitness program or healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to commit to running a marathon or hitting the gym every day or signing up for an intense boot camp class (though, you’re more than welcome to come to mine!).  You can start your brand new life by going for small walk around your block or adding in the Commercial Break Workout to your TV watching routine or even, since it’s summer, going for a swim.

Just do something.

I promise you that if you started adding a little fitness (and healthier eating) into your life your body will thank you.  And soon enough, your body will crave it.  Chances are you will feel more energized and happy and excited…and proud.

So, Happy Monday!  Make today the day you change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin (Confessions)

I saw this post in my Facebook feed this today and knew I had to write something about it.

Beginner

…Because this is truth.

We all have to start somewhere.  We are all beginners.  We will not know our full abilities until we try.

When I first began my fitness journey I could not do a full three minutes on my elliptical.  In fact, I found it so hard that I gave up.  I was winded and sweaty (I still sweat like I’m burning in Hell) and, frankly, I was embarrassed that a mere three minutes of cardio nearly killed me and I gave up!

I had bought that elliptical on a whim of trying wanting to be healthy (read: skinny) and I failed.  And, apparently, at that time I was okay with failure.  But then one day, that one particular day, I made a decision and my life changed – forever and for the best.  I swear to God, that elliptical saved my life.  I saw this with all seriousness and certainty.  I was on a path that was destroying me.  My self-esteem was shot, my mental health was in the toilet, and I was overweight to a degree that I should never have let happen.

And I jumped on my elliptical and had my first real workout.

And, although I swore I would never publicly show this photo – I realized, “well shoot!  This was me!  This is what I looked like!”  So, here goes:

Side by side

Left: Before / Right: After 

Yep!  The pic on the left with the scratched out face and the really, really badly blonde hair is me.

And you know what’s sad?  I I don’t even recognize that person on the left and I’m ashamed that I allowed myself to treat my body that way. After A Lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline, the pic on the right reflects closer to where I am today. But each day I grow in my fitness. I’m so much stronger and adventurous in my exercising. And I look forward to challenging myself daily.

Once I started exercising regularly and eating healthier, I started feeling better on the inside too.  I know not everyone gets this or agrees. But this is 100% true for me. Exercise helped bring me out of a 10 year depression. It helped with my self-esteem and confidence.  There are days when I still struggle with these but overall, I’ve become a different person.  (Give it a chance….you might be shocked to find that exercise can help you too.)

Mood changer

When I look back to those years ago and hopping on my elliptical and failing miserably at my first attempt of working out, I almost feel glad,  Because I was doing it for the wrong reason.  As I said above, I wanted to start exercising to get thin, not to have a better life.  And it wasn’t until I decided to change my life that my life changed.  That’s when I really began.

So, don’t be afraid to begin.  Even if it means you’re starting over or beginning again.  It’s when you’re really ready that you will make the effort.  As you know, my mantra for years has been “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight.” (Thank you Shaun T!)  Again, #Truth!

So, don’t be afraid.  Go ahead and begin.  And if you have to, begin again.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Boot Camp Registration

Registration for my first online boot camp will be open for one more week – closing, Thursday, September 1.  The session will begin on Monday, September 5.

BOOT CAMP

Here are the details:

I will send the week’s worth of workouts in advance. You’ll have 3 minimum per week with the option of doing a 4th workout. I will provide demos for the exercises, and modifications – whether I do them myself or not is yet to be seen. You will have to submit your workouts at the end of each week – with any additional notes, questions, comments, etc. so that I can review them. Again, the entire session will be designed so that you can do it right in the privacy of your living room. You will not require a lot of space – and likely just a yoga mat or a blanket with some padding so that you don’t have sore knees or elbows or back or bum. 😀 The cost for the online session is $50.  I will also provide nutritional tips/guidance, etc.

This session is open to everyone – no exercise experience required.

Registration is nearly full so if you are interested email me @ nsfitnessqueen@yahoo.ca or leave a comment below with your contact info.

~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

Spell Your Name Workout

This awesome workout just stumbled across my desk this morning – via one of my awesome bootcampers!!

NAME

This is an easy workout to follow – simply match the letters of your name to the corresponding exercises to design your routine.

For example:  Fit Bitch

F – 20 Arm Circles / I – 60 Second Plank / T – 60 Second Wall Sit

B – 50 Jumping Jacks / I – 60 Second Plank / T – 60 Second Wall Sit / C – 20 Crunches / H – 30 Jumping Jacks

You can do your first name only.  Or do your full name.  Or do the routine several times.  (For fun, you could also choose a bunch of numbers between 1 and 26 and then make a routine based on the corresponding exercises.)

It’s pretty basic.

Have fun!

~Fit Bitch

 

Commercial Break Workout

Ack!  I’m hosting a Bingo Fitness Challenge in my boot camp class and, I swear at one time I posted a Commercial Break Workout here (I’m certain I saw it last week).

But I’ve just gone through every post and can’t seem to find it, so, just in case, I’m adding the workouts here…now.

There are two to choose from.  They both seem fun and it’s a good way to get a little extra work in – especially on days you skipped or missed a workout.

#1

commercial-break 1

#2

commercial break 2

Another fun way to get in mini workouts when you’re chillin’ in front of the tube is to set your goal – say you’re watching a show simply because there’s someone hot on it – each time the hot person comes on screen plan to do 30 jumping jacks, or every time a catch phrase is said do a 30 second plank or wall sit.  Incorporate small weights into these workouts if you’re able.

Have fun!

~Fit Bitch