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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Strong

Getting Strong

I saw this meme the other day and instantly thought “YES!”

I can attest to its truth.

You see, for years, I wanted to get fit, healthy, strong.  But I wasn’t ready.  Yes, I wanted it, but, I was embarrassed and ashamed of who I was – on the outside.  I had struggled with my weight my entire life and my insecurities prevented me from really going for the gold with my weight loss.

Instead, I succumbed to eating disorders of many variations, to extreme diets, to weight loss supplements of all forms.  When I exercised it was in secret and privacy and for vanity, not for my health.

For several years now I have carried the mantra “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight“, and I cling to that.

When I finally joined a gym more than 10 years ago I would get up at the butt-crack of dawn, before the sun was up, and would sneak off for my workout while the rest of the world was still sleeping.  Even then, I was exercising for the wrong reasons.  It was still about vanity.  And I didn’t lose any weight.

It wasn’t until at least a year later when I decided to change my life.  That’s when the changes came.  That’s when I decided to put the work in.  Wrapping my head around that in this moment is so easy, but way back then, I just didn’t get it.

When I started to exercise and changed my eating habits, it was for my health.  And I was putting the work in.  And you know what?  The changes came so quickly.  My health improved and my insecurities subsided (to a point) and I finally felt good.  I fell in love with my life.  And with exercise.  I got over my fears of what people would think of me if they saw me on the treadmill or lifting weights or on the rowing machine.  I got over myself, essentially.  I didn’t look to anyone else for inspiration; I looked at myself.  I inspired me.  My life was worth more than how I had treated it before hand.

Sometimes it can be scary venturing into new or unknown territory.  But your health is more important than being afraid to ask someone for guidance.  Or fearing what others might think of you.  In all honesty, when I’m at the gym I’m not worried about what others are doing there (unless they’re hogging equipment).  I’m there to improve myself.  I’m not there to judge anyone.  And more than likely, the people at your gym aren’t concerned with what you’re doing.

I know, from personal experience, that when I feel like I look better, I actually feel better about myself (back to that vanity thing).  If that means swiping on some lipstick or revving up in cute (although durable) new workout gear, like Adore me, then so be it.  Do what you’ve gotta do to motivate yourself; to encourage yourself; to love yourself.

Don’t be afraid to go for that jog or kick the soccer ball around or try a Zumba class.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Get out of your head.  Give yourself a break.  And just do it already.  Your life is worth 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

Be A Warrior

Today is Monday.  Today is a new day.  It’s the start of a new week.  It could be a start to a new beginning.

Warrior

Put aside any fears you may have when it comes to yourself and starting a workout program.  Forget about any idealistic crap that may have been perpetuated by others about what you should do/be/look like.  Stop worrying about what others may think of you or if you’ll look silly.  Become your own Fit Warrior.

Become the inspiration to yourself and others.

Warrior2

He/She/We/Us/ALL!

You may struggle. You may full.  You may hurt.  (God knows you will hurt!)  You will earn it.

warrior3

Today is Monday.  Today can be the first day of your new life.

BE A WARRIOR.

~Fit Bitch

Boot Camp Addict

I saw this article the other day and had a good chuckle.  Because basically it’s true. And if you have ever participated in one (or many) of my classes, you’ll see the humor – and reality – in it.

(I don’t know how to reblog from the site so here’s the link🙂

Boot Camp Addict

10 things you only understand if you do boot camp

~Fit Bitch

Be The Fire

On Fire

Just kidding!  It’s really not that bad.

I think, for many, there is a preconceived notion that exercise and good nutrition is hard.  And it’s not worth the struggle.  The truth:  YES, it can be hard.  There are some days when you will feel like your legs are on fire from the squats and lunges, or your abs will be burning from the planks, crunches, or cuts, or your triceps will be screeching hot from the push-ups and dips.  But think about it.  Aren’t you worth it??  With everything in the entire world to focus on, shouldn’t you make yourself the primary focus?

You don’t have to commit to working out every minute of every day, or eat clean entirely.  But make the commitment that you deserve more.  Remind yourself that your body is your temple and treat it with love and respect.  Nurture it inside and out (aka nutrition and exercise), and, certainly, indulge it here and there.

For many of us, losing the weight isn’t the struggle.  That’s not where the fire is.  No, the struggle is loving yourself and accepting yourself, and acknowledging your worth.  It takes time – and believe me, I know it is often still a constant battle – but we are all worth it.

So, dive in, head first, and start that fire burning.  And eventually, hopefully, that hell will become your haven.

~Fit Bitch

Butt and Gut 30 Day Challenge

I am really bad with posting challenges at the start of the month.  But then again, a healthy lifestyle change doesn’t (have to) wait til the start of the month so, I guess I’m letting myself off the hook.  I think any day is a good day to start a workout practice or healthy eating program (not diet!!).  In fact, I’m gearing up to start another Whole 30 on Monday – no point in waiting til the start of August when I can feel so much better sooner?

So, with that being said, below is a 30 Day Butt and Gut Challenge to get you going.  Even if you’re new to exercising, this little challenge is totally doable.  And it’s a great complement to your regular fitness practice if you already have one.

And me, I’m a little nuts and completely in love with squats and lunges and planks and crunches.  And pretty much all of it…except push-ups….I hate push-ups! (The result of a serious back injury.)

This Challenge is so great because it’s only four moves but pretty much works your entire body that you can do right in your home!  It also mixes cardio and strength and will definitely get your heart rate going.  And, you get rest days.  TAKE YOUR REST DAYS!  🙂

I love this Challenge so much I’m going to do it along with my regular workouts.  Why not?  Like I said, it can be a great complement to an established fitness regime.

Give it a try and see how you feel in a month’s time.

Cheers.

Butt and Gutt

~Fit Bitch

On the Road Again-ish

Last week I decided, while in my gym routine, to try a run.  I hadn’t been running in about a month or so since my tarsal tunnel flared up and we discovered I have tendonitis on top of it.  But I figured I’d given them enough rest to try a run again.  I ran a mile on the treadmill and carried on with the rest of my workout.

The run wasn’t too bad, although my ankles were tingly afterward, I expected much more pain than what I had.  So, this week I decided to try a run again.  I ran two miles before carrying on with the rest of my gym routine.

That was Thursday night.  By Friday night, not only were my ankles completely puffy (although, the puffiness seems like it has found a permanent place in my feet), they were bruised on the inside once again.

What the heck is going on??

When I saw my doctor a few weeks back my biggest concern was the bruising and hers was the swelling.  I’m wondering now if she’d be more concerned with the bruising.

My ankles feel splintery; like shards of bone are being pulled away on the inside.  I can feel my bones clanking together where my leg meets the top of my foot.

Foot Description

Basically, we’re talking with the fibula meets the talus. *clank clank clank*

And so, it looks like running will have to be put on hold once again.  My BFF -slash – running buddy and I have a race weekend away planned for this upcoming weekend but it looks, too, like that is out of the question.

I am devastated by all of this.  Running is so important to me.  It’s something I have done, albeit off and on, for so long and to not be able to do it not only makes me sad but also terrifies me.  I’m not certain of the damage, if any, that is being done inside my legs and feet, and I know that I have to heal, but I feel defeated by not being able to pursue something that I have loved for so long.  At least for the time being.

So for now I make the choice to sit this one out – that may include this whole season, or just this race.  I don’t want to push myself to the point that I’m damaged goods for life.  Although it pains me, I need to be sensible and do what’s right for my body in order to keep it in its best form for as long as I can.

In a few weeks’ time I will attempt another mile and see how it goes.  I’m looking forward to getting back on the road again.

~FB