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

Finding Inspiration

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s.  And back then, we didn’t have cable at home.  And certainly, we didn’t have overwhelming channels that today’s folks have to choose from.  But, we had a few staple television shows that were watched – The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss? (my favorite), Growing Pains, etc.  And I was obsessed with teeny-bopper magazines that showcased all my crushes (Kirk Cameron and Michael J. Fox), and potential best-friends (Alyssa Milano).  The famous were beautiful.

When Full House made its way to my television. I instantly was in awe of Candace Cameron.  Aside from the fact that she was Kirk Cameron’s little sister AND had had a small guest appearance on Who’s the Boss?, she was the first girl I’d seen on TV that looked like me: cute curls, a little chubby, and with the “Charlie Brown cheeks” that she referred to in a later episode*.  It was wonderful that I could finally identify with someone on TV and in magazines.  I was elated.

young-cc

How cute was she?

Although Candace said she never had an issue with her weight while filming early in the seasons, season 4 of Full House aired an episode called *”Shape Up”, in which DJ goes on a crash diet to slim down for a pool party.  This was an emotional episode for me for me to watch.  Although my eating disorders didn’t begin until a year or two later, I could completely relate to how DJ was feeling and could already see my own disordered eating and outlook.  (Note: While preparing this post, I re-watched the episode for the first time in likely 20 years and had the same emotional response I had the first time it aired.  To this day, it breaks my heart because I know the struggle and I know that most little girls have and will continue to have this struggle at some point in life.)

Later on, Ms. Cameron Bure declared she developed eating disorders a few years after the show had finished filming.  (Although, she states that it had less to do with her weight and more to do with where she was in her life, emotionally and physically.)

Since her days of self-destruction, Candace Cameron Bure has completely changed her body and her health.  She has an incredible workout regime, and one of the best (celebrity) trainers, Kira Stokes, as her own.  And I have found inspiration in them both.

These two have some of the best workouts I have seen.  As a trainer – and a trainee – I am often looking for ways to keep workouts fresh, innovative, and fun.  And these two ladies sometimes help me get there.

candace-and-kira

Candace Cameron Bure and trainer Kira Stokes (photo via Cameron Bure’s Instagram)

 Aside from gaining inspiration for my workouts, I have found inspiration in Candace  herself, from how she approaches fitness and clean eating and even spiritual health.  Three topics I already have in common with her.  Her approach to how she keeps her body lean and how she looks at her muscle and her strength is refreshing and it’s nice to actually see and hear a celebrity talk about it all and show how much dedication it takes her to keep her body in tip-top shape.  Especially when so many celebrities make the claim “I eat whatever I want and don’t work out.”  Pffftt!!

candace-cameron-3-times

Via US

Although Candace Cameron Bure is a celebrity and she has personal trainers and has appeared on Dancing with the Stars where she spent endless hours each day for endless months dancing non-stop, she is also a woman who has worked incredibly hard to get to get and keep a strong, toned, lean body.  Believe me – that takes work!  And, again, I find it inspiring that she has been so inclined to share her journeys with us, the public.  Through her books and her social media accounts and her television appearances, she has been delightful in showing us that if you set a  goal – and work for it – it can be reached.

And what’s even more delightful, and something I have found truly inspiring since I was a pre-teen, is that when she was a young actress and already a very public figure, she never had issue with her body – even, as it has been stated, when other people had. She was a great role model in childhood and continues to be a role model in adulthood.

I will continue to find inspiration from her.  Where do you find yours?

~FB

Raise the Bar

Twinkle

The other night I had a new personal training client.  She’d never been in a gym before (other than the previous week when she picked up her key) and wanted me to show her around.  As I was giving her a tutorial on the cardio equipment I asked her what her thoughts were on strength training.  She admitted that she was nervous about it and didn’t want to “bulk up”.

I explained to her the importance of strength training and showed her around the weight room and demonstrated some workouts with the weights and got her going with a small routine to incorporate into her workouts.

The following we day she sent me the following note:  “Thank you for your help.  When you emailed the other day saying you were going to make me look like a rock star, I thought “she’s funny”.  Now, I want to look like a rock star!”

It was so nice of her to send me a message but what made me really happy is that she was excited to start her workout program AND start training with weights.

Try not to be intimidated by a workout.  Go into your exercise program excited and open to new ideas.  Don’t be afraid to raise the bar.

~FB

A League of Our Own

ARMS

I saw this today and thought it was pretty rad.  Okay, honestly, I saw this gal’s arms first and was totally jelly – but when I read the caption I though, yeah, I’m definitely in a league of my own.  In fact, we all are.  Especially when we hit the gym.  There should be no competition at the gym, unless it’s with ourselves.

Coincidentally, I had a gym date last night with a friend.  We totally did our own things but it’s sometimes still nice to make plans to workout just so that we can see each other.  While I was warming up on the treadmill another girl came in.  I’ve seen her there a few times before over the years.  And she’s one of those girls that goes to the gym with her hair down and curled and a full set of make-up on.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d just come from work AND I had a great hair day yesterday, but as soon as I walk thru those doors the hair goes up in a ponytail and the sweat starts to roll.  I’m not there to impress anyone.

Once I was finished warming up I hit the strength room and loaded my weights onto my buddy Smith.  I was doing my thing.  Curly Locks came in and lifted her free weights.  She did her thing, I did mine, and that was it.  We didn’t pay attention to each other.  When she was done she took her curls and left.

Maybe she didn’t want a hard, sweaty workout.  Maybe she was going  to work, or maybe she was heading to a hot date.  Or, maybe she’s one of those people who drops into the gym on occasion, gets her minimal workout in, and feels good for the next 3 months.  Who knows.  Regardless, it’s her business, and my workout is my business.  There was no competition between us because we are both in our own leagues.  My goal last night was to increase my weight.  I am constantly in competition with myself these days and I’m winning.

(Call Charlie Sheen.  #Winning)

~Fit Bitch

Misery

I’ve been running pretty much non-stop for the last year – and then some.

I’ve been so ecstatic about getting back into my running, and although I’ve had a few set backs with my tarsal tunnel, this past weekend I really feel like I’ve hit a wall.

Last week I could feel my ankles getting a little worn.  I’ve been running so much the last two weeks and I could feel the wear and tear.  Thankfully, I had Thursday night off from Zumba (as you likely know, Thursday is my favorite night of the week.  I hit the gym right from work, run a few miles, get some crazy strength training in, hit the stairs for reps (the last few weeks it’s been a minimum of 2000 steps), and finish my night with Zumba – and I love every minute of it!) and decided to take it semi easy.  I did get some strength training in, but decided to forego the run.

Friday night I didn’t run, I hit the gym and did a workout on the elliptical for a warm up and then killed it in the strength room with my old buddy Mr. Smith (Machine), but by the time I got home I could barely walk.

I’d had my shoes off at work all day and as soon as I got home I had to jump in the tub to soak my ankles.  Then I iced them.  And when my boyfriend got home I got him to rub them.  And that’s how it was all weekend:  soak, ice, rub, repeat.

It literally feels like splinters of bone peeling off the insides of my ankles.  I feel like poor James Caan in Misery with crazy Kathy Bates swinging that sledgehammer.

misery-ankle

*OUCH*

I am so cranky that I’ve been sidetracked by this pain, but there’s nothing I can do about it.  The pain is so intense that I can’t even tell if it’s a flare-up of the tarsal tunnel or if it’s something else.  All I can do for now is rest and keep soaking and icing my ankles – and hope for the best.

I mean, in all honesty, I can (for the most part) still work out – but I can’t overdo it.  I don’t want to exert too much extra weight on my ankles so I will have to modify the strength workouts.  And it’s pretty clear that I will not be running this week (although, the weather people are calling for a major storm tomorrow anyway, so perhaps my {outside} running may not have happened anyway).

I’m hoping for a speedy recovery from this.

~Fit Bitch

Arm Envy

There’s a girl in my Zumba class who I have a complete arm-crush on.

This girl is itty bitty without an ounce of fat on her little frame – and she has the most gorgeous arm muscles:  biceps, triceps, shoulders.

Look at her arms

She can also be an object of my affection.

She is always a few rows ahead of me so she’s always in view.  And there I am in the back row stalking her arms.

I have arm envy.  (I also have leg envy.  I’ve talked about that before.)

I have a very weird frame:  I’m tallish (5’6) with short legs and a long torso.  I always tease that I’m built like a football player with a wide rib cage, a narrow waist, and narrow shoulders.  I have always had thick legs and arms, and now that I’m getting older I’m working my booty off (literally) to get my limbs toned and strong.

Last night I was thinking about my strength training and I’ve decided that it’s time to increase the training and the weight at the gym.

I’ve been so dedicated to my running this last year and preparing for races that I’ve accepted that I’ve let my strength training slide a bit.  I still do it.  I just don’t do it often enough through my week.  And after I had whiplash last year I went down in weights and when I was ready I didn’t go back up enough.  So, that’s it.  I’m owning it and buckling down and am going to work at becoming my own arm envy.

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

A Workout Recap

I’m gonna brag here for a minute….I have honestly had a great week of workouts!

Monday night I taught my boot camp class.  It was the first class of the new sessions and a few new peeps were present so I wanted to keep it interesting for the regulars and just the right intensity for the newbies.  It was fan-friggin’-tastic!!  We all worked up a great sweat and felt exhilarated when the class was over.

That right there is important to me…I always want to feel exhilarated when my workouts are completed.  I want to feel good and accomplished; not like I’ve just finished a very menial task.

In fact, I had several notes after the class and the following day from a few of the boot camp participants thanking me for a great workout and that they felt great and were happy to be back.

The rest of the week’s workouts were spectacular – Wednesday night I worked out at home and I changed it up a bit – trying a combo of new workouts, Thursday night I hit the gym for a much-needed run, followed by a superb strength workout (by myself and then with my client), then I followed that up with a Zumba class.  I finished the night off with a yoga class and it.felt.so.good!

Last night it was a bit stormy here in Nova Scotia so I came home again and worked out here.  I did one round of one of my boot camp sessions and kicked it in the ass!!  It feels so good to do that kind of craziness!

I’m taking today off because my calf muscles are a little stiff and sore (likely from my run the other night) and I’m heading out for a massage shortly.  I really think I deserve that today.

Thank goodness for rest day!

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

~Fit Bitch

10 Reasons to Strength Train

Reblogged from Healthy Bitch Daily

View the original post here: http://www.healthybitchdaily.com/2013/11/19/10-reasons-to-strength-train/

10 Reasons to Strength Train

You already know that push-ups make you want to puke, and that a few cans of peas can sub for a set of dumbells in a pinch.

But beyond that, do you really know squat about strength training? What is it, exactly? And why should you be doing it?

Well, strength training is any activity that causes your muscles to contract against weight, which leads to an increase in the strength and size of the muscles. Keep reading to learn more about how lifting weights and strengthening exercises can be beneficial to your bod and your overall health.

1. Strength training may stop the spread of belly fat

A study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who participated in strength training programs two times a week vs. women who participated in aerobics alone lost more body fat AND had less abdominal fat (which is linked to metabolic syndrome, heart disease) than the aerobics-only group.

2. Reduces blood pressure

A July 2009 study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine confirmed that one hour of strength training can reduce your blood pressure enough to drop stroke risk by 25 percent.

3. Fewer sick days

People who participate in a strength training routine tend to have stronger immune systems.  By building muscle, your body has the protein it needs in reserve to draw upon during illness. Your body will use the protein to create white blood cells and antibodies to fight infection. Exercise also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is good for overall immune health.

4. Healthier joints

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the leading cause of osteoarthritis is a sedentary lifestyle. Working out with weights increases the size of your muscles and gives you stronger joints. Strong muscles also help you achieve better balance and coordination. Doing regular endurance strength training can also defend your muscles from atrophy as you age.

5. Improves Balance

Weekly yoga classes can improve strength, balance, and flexibility, which can help prevent falls as we age. Strong muscles also help you achieve better coordination.

6. Builds Bones

Bone density peaks by age 30, but through strength training, it’s possible to increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise increases your bone density by encouraging the release of growth hormone in your body, and it promotes new bone cell growth. Becoming stronger through exercise also protects your bones by helping you prevent falls.

7. Increased metabolism

Experts say that strength training of any type can increase the number of calories your body burns by as much as 7 percent a day. Muscle occupies about 30% less space than fat, so even if the number on the scale isn’t moving, you may see a big difference in the way your clothes are fitting.

8. Improves insulin sensitivity

Strength training is effective for improving your body’s insulin sensitivity, which is important to help prevent and control diabetes. Extra muscle gives your body somewhere to store glucose, and building muscle mass can help keep your body’s glucose levels in normal ranges. It also improves insulin sensitivity in those individuals with diabetes to the same extent that aerobic exercise does.

 9. Increases metabolic rate

As you get older, your basal metabolic rate decreases, which means fewer calories burned while you rest. Strength training can increase your muscle mass and raise your basal metabolic rate. Increasing your metabolic rate enables you to burn more calories both while at rest and during activity.

10. Promotes Better Mental Health

Exercise increases blood, oxygen and chemicals in the brain that help you have more focus and less stress. It also helps reduce stress hormones such as cortisol, and helps relieve symptoms of depression. Getting regular exercise enables you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer which results in a better quality of sleep. An exercise programs that includes strength training has been shown to be as effective in treating depression as antidepressant medications – but without any negative side effects. Recent studies show that after a strength training workout, endorphin levels are increased by more than 60 percent – leaving you feeling happy and calm. Ahhh….

Holly Brown, Health Educator at Greenlite Medicine

Holly is a nutritional consultant and weight loss coach. Greenlite Medicine offers personalized, comprehensive weight loss and nutrition programs that provide fast and lasting results – without any of the gimmicks. With a passionate team of experts that provide accountability, support, and resources, clients learn how to implement lifestyle changes to transform their bodies, beliefs and attitudes about food. Like Greenlite on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for low-carb recipes, healthy tips and more.