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

Safe Running

I just returned from a spectacular vacation in Florida with my family.  We had beautiful weather, days full of activities (hello Disney!), and tons (and tons and tons) walking/hiking.  In fact, we walked, on average, about 15 kilometers each day.  My FitBit loved it.

In addition to all the walking and activities, I, of course, had to venture out for a few runs.

My first trip running while in Florida happened around 9 pm.  We’d returned to our hotel from a very long day but I felt like I needed something more.  Plus, it was just so gorgeous that I couldn’t wait to slip on my sneakers and get trekking.

I left my hotel room and headed out on a paved trail around the lake adjacent our resort property.  A few minutes into my run I realized I may be a bit insane (or paranoid).  Here I was in a different country, in the evening, by myself, on a path surrounded by trees and a lake (with signs warning to watch out for alligators and snakes, mind you).  I swiftly turned myself around and headed right back to the resort.

Instead of putting myself at risk of danger, injury, psychopaths, or death by alligator, I decided to stay right on the resort, making my way up the stairs to the top floor of each hotel, running around that floor, back down the stairs to the next floor, and continuing  that cycle until I was finished the bottom floor.  Then I would move on to the next hotel.  It turned out to be a really great run/workout!  And there were security cameras and people everywhere – including kids (it was a family resort), so I felt safe the entire time.  I don’t know if I would do the same thing at other hotels, perhaps if the atmosphere was the same.

Anyway, when I returned the other day from this vacation and saw that November is National Running Safety Month AND that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series recently made a stop in Las Vegas, I figured it perfectly coincided with my vacation runs.  In addition, Vegas.com will be posting tips on their site on how runners can stay safe while running in Vegas (and, pretty much anywhere you happen to be).

With all that being said, here are my tips for safe running while in Vegas (or just on vacation):

las-vegas

visit Vegas.com  🙂

Tip #1 – ANNOUNCE YOUR RUN

Okay, so you don’t have to hop onto the loud speaker or anything, but ALWAYS let someone know where you’re going.  Even if you’re traveling alone be certain to tell someone what you’re up to.  You can advise the hotel staff that you’re heading out  for a run on your own and your ETA will be 45 minutes.  Or you can phone or Facebook a friend/family member advising that you’re at whatever hotel, heading out for a run at whatever time, expecting to be however long, and you will touch base upon your return.  (I actually do this all the time when I’m heading out for a run by myself – either from work or from home, or from wherever.  Even if I’m taking my phone, I still let people know I’m heading out.)

Tip #2 – RUN WITH A BUDDY

Obviously, running with a friend or in a group would be ideal when it comes to safety, especially when you’re away from home (like in Vegas, baby!), but that’s not always an option.  As noted above, some people travel alone….and then sometimes you’re traveling with people who have no desire to run with you (been there!).  But, if you are fortunate enough to be on vacation with someone else – who happens to also run – definitely take advantage of it and get out for a buddy/group run.  There is safety in numbers.

Tip #3 – TAKE YOUR PHONE

Cell phones are a basic staple for most people these days, so bringing yours on your run isn’t a bad idea.  Not only can you listen to your playlist while your feet are hitting the pavement, you can “check in” to places when you pass by them.  I’ll be completely honest – I’ve never checked in anywhere and am not completely sure how it works, but it’s worth looking into if you’re venturing out on your own.  This will leave a trail of breadcrumbs on social media of where you’ve been.

Tip #4 – MAP OUT A ROUTE

map-my-run

Usually for narcissists….this time for safety. 😉

Normally, I’m not a fan of mapping out a route.  Maybe it’s because most of the people I know who map out a route simply do it so they can post it to social media and wait for accolades.  It drives me nuts!  Fitness should be for you – NOT for how much applause you can get from posting about it.  But, in this case, when it’s for safety purposes then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to map out a route for your run when you’re out of town (and, I mean, if you’re taking your phone anyway….).  Especially, if you’re heading down the Vegas strip.  I still wouldn’t venture down any blind alleys or anything, but if you’re making your route public to those back home then you should be able to relax a teensy bit more when you’re heading out.  It’s still not a bad idea to touch base when you’re safely back in your hotel room.

Tip #5 – STAY HYDRATED

hydrated

We think of this one as a no-brainer – water is important.  I usually drink several liters a day.  But, let me tell you that while I was in Florida, I did not drink as much water as I normally do, or what’s required.  I was a little dehydrated on this trip.  It happens.  We’re out of town, we get busy, we’re having fun…the idea of drinking more water often leaves us.  Therefore, we have to become more aware and alert of how much water we’re drinking, especially if we’re going to be running in the Vegas heat.

Tip #6 -UTILIZE THE FITNESS ROOM

hotel-fitness-room

I love a good hotel fitness room!

I almost always check out the fitness room in any hotel I stay in.  Working out is important to me and my fitness routine and health need not suffer just because I’m away from home or on vacation.  Especially when I’m training for races, I do not want to get out of my running routine.  And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t always want to hit the streets for my runs. That’s when the hotel fitness room can be a game changer.  Jumping on the treadmill and hitting the incline can often be the way to go. Get it over with and move on to the fun stuff.  Aside from running, there are other ways to stay fit and in training mode in the fitness room (strength training, stability training, other cardio machines).  Step out of place and change it up once or twice.  In addition to the fitness room, you can make up a program (or YouTube one) in the privacy of your hotel room – or,  you can do like I did in Florida and race around the floors of the hotel.  Of course, when I did it I was going around the outside perimeter of the resort blocks, but, if you’re quiet enough you might be able to get away with running in the halls of your hotel.  Look into some awesome Vegas hotel deals here!

Tip #7 -STAY ALERT

We often let our guard down, especially if we’re relaxed, or exercising, or having fun or on vacation – especially in a place like Las Vegas – so we have to work harder at being alert.  It’s the same as with what I mentioned about staying hydrated….we simply forget or become so consumed with what we’re doing that we don’t think about it.  So, for your safety, think about it….THINK ABOUT YOUR SAFETY!  Stay alert, check your surroundings, be safe.

~Fit Bitch

Vacation Workouts

I just got back from a mini-vacation with my beau.  We spent four days travelling and visiting and having a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants adventure. It was glorious.

And as much as I was on vacation, I wanted to remain as much on-par with my fitness – especially since we had some less than healthy foods on our trip (although I did plan ahead of time and prepared some healthy-ish meals for the road, as well as a lot of fresh fruit and berries).

If you recall, a few years ago I wrote an article for Vegas.com on Staying Fit While Travelling and I cued up a few of those ideas.

Our first night away we were visiting my beau’s family.  We had a gorgeous sunny day and had planned on hitting the beach but instead got hit with an impromptu thunder and lightening storm so, instead we ended up spending the afternoon binge watching Stranger Things on Netflix.  I don’t usually recommend that much TV but, meh, we were on vacation and it was pouring.  Once the rain cleared up we were out and spent a good part of the evening walking up and down the streets of his hometown.

The next day we headed to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We were planning to travel around the Cabot Trail.  (Google it.  Seriously….the photos really can’t even do it justice.  It’s so beautiful.) but the first night in Cape Breton we stayed at a little French (Acadian – my roots!) village and toured that.  We walked the board walk and the streets and even walked to the restaurant.  And after dinner (I had lobster) we had planned to go running, but once again we got hit with rain so I worked out in the motel room.  I put together a mini bootcamp class and got my sweat on with a mix of cardio and strength.  Near the end of my workout my boyfriend wanted me to keep going so he was yelling out (dictating) exercises for me:  “burpees”, “flying squats”, “lunges”, “chair dips”.  Such a commando.

The following morning we were headed to the Cabot Trail.  We were really excited to get some hiking  in so as we climbed higher and higher into the mountains we finally reached the Skyline Trail.

Skyline-Trail-ns-boardwalk

Skyline Trail

This is a 7.5 kilometer hike that ends up on the edge of cliff.  It has been groomed for the tourists and hikers and eventually there is a boardwalk and steps that lead all the way down to the point.  It’s insane.  It’s about 1,6oo feet high – which seems a whole lot higher when you’re looking down and imagining yourself plummeting to your death.

Walking down those stairs was work enough, but walking back up them….*whew* Beau said to me as we hauled our asses back up that our heart rates would for sure be up.  Later on, for fun, I checked my FitBit’s heart rate monitor and sure enough my heart rate had spiked to the moon at the time we were climbing.

As if that hike wasn’t enough, I went for another walk that evening.  After being stuck in the car for so long (the Cabot Trail takes a few hours to go around) I was happy to get my legs moving again.

On our last day of our vacation Beau and I were up early and trekked into Town for coffee.  When we were headed back we took a different route and ended up walking another 4.5 k (mostly) up hill and checking out the scene.

Finally, once home and unpacked I felt like I had to get some more strength in as most of the exercise on my trip had been cardio.

Overall, it was a great little vacation and I am satisfied with the exercise I was able to incorporate into my time away.  As noted in my bit for Vegas.com, there are always ways to stay fit and on track when you’re traveling.

~Fit Bitch