12 Minutes with the Band

Yo. Hi. I did a super fun workout recently that I thought would be a good one to share here because it looks like you all like my quick-hit workouts. I get it. The day is only so long and working out shouldn’t take up a significant portion of it. So here it is!

Warm-Up:

Foam roll those legs. Get the quads, glutes, calves, IT bands, and hammies. Hurts so good, don’t it?

12 Minutes with the Band: Start off by pulling the resistance band around your mid-thigh. You can move it up or down to increase or decrease resistance. Note that you do not NEED a resistance band for this, but it will significantly increase the quality of the workout. Here is a good, cheap pack of bands available through Amazon Prime.

  • Hip Lifts (x30) – Lie on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up as high as you can go. Activate your core as well, for stability.
  • Lateral squat walk (x30) – Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and drop down into a squat (keep your weight in your heels). Holding this form, walk laterally. Again activate your core as you move.
  • Plank w/ twist (x30/side) – Get into proper plank position,
    on your elbows. While keeping a tight core (and continuing to breath) twist from your mid section, bringing your hip almost to the ground before slowly returning. If you start to feel fatigued and your form is struggling, you should stop. You can seriously injure your back or shoulders with sloppy form.
  • Side leg raise with oblique crunch (x30/leg) – Lay on your side with your arm supporting your head. Simultaneously lift your top leg while crunching up to the side. As you’re doing this, try to focus on keeping your quad and glutes engaged, as well as your obliques.

Repeat the entire thing three times through. Aim to focus on form, not speed. Then, move on with your day. Hooray. Good job. You did it. Yay. Go you.
loveB

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12-Minute Workout: Whole Body

Today, my alarm went off for my run. Last night, I stayed up way too late. Today, I hit snooze roughly 2,347,834 times. Today, I missed my run.jM2LoC8FitV4c

But never fear! I was able to get my booty outta bed and into my makeshift home gym (in reality it’s a dining room that currently hosts my bike, an extra couch, my desk and all of my workout equipment but zero dining room furniture). I was very short on time and didn’t really want to focus on any one muscle group. So, on-the-fly, I came up with a fun little workout that I found to be just tough enough! Check it out:

Warm-Up:

A brisk walk with my dog followed by some quality time with my foam roller.

Now I’m Ready:

  • Single-arm bicep curl with balance (15/arm) – Stand on one leg and use a dumbbell (or a bottle of wine, a candle, whatever) to do bicep curls with the opposite arm. Tip: To isolate your biceps, keep your shoulders down and pulled back, keep your elbow locked to your side.
  • Hip lifts with a band (1:00) – Lie on your back and pull a resistance band up around your quads. With knees bent, squeeze your glutes to raise your core off the ground. Tip: Make sure the lifting is coming from your glutes, you don’t want to hyper-extend your back.
  • Leg raises with weight (30) – Lie on your back, holding a weighted object (in my case an Ugi ball) above your head. Raise your legs and your arms to meet in the middle, directly over your face. Tip: Focus on keeping your back flat on the ground, don’t let it arch. Also never forget to breath!
  • Back hypers (1:00) – Lie on your stomach with feet spread about hip-width apart, bend your arms and hold your hands just to the side of your head (face down). Now squeeze your glutes and back muscles to raise your shoulders and quads off the ground at the same time. Tip: Squeeze to raise up smoothly, then release slowly back down.

Repeat the above exercises three times through. This may not be the savior of a workout that will shape your beach bod like no other, but it was a very quick, hard-hitting, enjoyable full body routine. Give it a try and shoot me a note if you want better explanations for certain activities!

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All the Small Things

Ok, so not everybody has time to work out, and not everybody has the drive to workout. That’s cool. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t extremely simple things you can do each day to help with overall health. Here are just a few things to consider as you go about your day:

  • Stairs, Stairs, Stairs: While you’re young enough and you don’t have seriously achey knees, take the stairs every single chance you get. I got into this habit because I like to cruise through the airport, so instead of waiting for crowded elevators or escalators, I started taking the stairs. Honestly, give me one reason this isn’t a good idea?
  • Walk This Way: Try to make the time to walk either aimlessly or as a method of transportation. After I adopted my dog, I saw a noticeable difference in my body just from walking her a handful of times a day. We were given two legs with an incredibly complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons that we should probably put to use, if we can, no?
  • Clean(er) Eating: I am not one for denying myself the things that I love. No fad diets for this chick. However, if there are things in your diet that are terrible for you that you could totally live without, drop ’em. One day, I decided to stop drinking Coke, and for the most part, I don’t miss it, and neither does my body. Coke, bye.
  • Water, Water, Everywhere:  Our body is 60% water (the heart and brain are about 73% water and the lungs are 83%!!!). I don’t have time to type it all, nor do you have time to read it all, but water does a gazillion things for you. Drink up, thirsty warriors.
  • Down to the Core: The jury is still out on standing desks vs. Swiss balls as chairs. But nobody believes that slouching all day long is any good for you. As you sit (for hours and hours and hours and hours) at work, activate your core in order to hold your shoulders up and your stomach in. This will actually be hard at first, but good posture leads to a stronger core and vice versa. It’s really a win-win.
  • Zzzzzzz: Get the sleep your body needs and deserves. Treating yourself right isn’t just about exercise and diet, it’s about allowing your body to relax and recover. It’s likely talking to you and you’re just not listening, yo.

Side note: If you’re young and just entering the workforce and you are at a company that glorifies a “work hard play hard” lifestyle, remember that it’s fun. Super fun, actually. But it’s not healthy or sustainable. Remember to put your FOMO aside once in a while to get a good night sleep.
loveB

 

 

A Love Story

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all lovey dovey and sentimental on you guys. This love story isn’t about two people. It’s the simple tale of a girl (me, #duh) and her running shoes (Newton Running).

In the Beginning – High school was all about New Balance and Asics. In college, Nike staged an invasion, first with the LunarGlide, then with the Nike Free. I have no complaints about any of my past shoes, in fact, I still prefer the dynamic movement of the Free for the gym.

The Great Awakening – A friend (we’ll call him Princess) took me to Newton Running in Boulder, CO and I was fit to a shoe based on my gait. I struggled a bit because the shoe was light and airy and felt so natural. But it was… ummmmm…. freakin’ ugly, to put it nicely. But I gave it a try (luckily, Newton has put a little more effort into the aesthetic of their newer shoes).

You Complete Me – Six years, 1,817 miles, and eight shoes later and I am as in love today as I ever have been. My preferred shoe is the Distance Elite, which is minimalist and best for me because I pronate and run very high on the balls of my feet.

QUIZ: Find your Newton Running Shoe

Lug Life: The Science Behind the World’s Most Responsive Running Shoe – The true secret behind Newtons are the four to five lugs under the balls of your feet. These lugs do two things:

  • Action/Reaction™ Technology – Creates a responsive cushioning for quicker bounce-back. With a standard running shoe, your power is absorbed by the foam-core sole, but with Newtons you are boosted with each step.
  • % Grade – Many popular running shoes have a heel-to-toe drop of  12mm, which is an 8% grade (for reference, 8% is the grade at which truckers are given a warning about steep roads ahead). That’s crazy talk! This slope changes your running gait and puts added pressure on unnecessary parts of your leg and foot. Newton lugs help to level you out, creating a more natural gait with anywhere from a 1.3% to 3.3% grade. Much better! See below for reference of popular “flat” or minimalist running shoes that are anything but.

Happily Ever After – Wether you’re a heel-to-toe runner, or naturally stay on the balls of your feet, Newton Running shoes will help improve and power your stride. No more calf tightness, no more achilles pain, just a boost of energy with every step and a whole new view on running. Woo hoo!

READ: Taking my Newtons on the Road

How Do Others Stack Up, Literally – Here is the heel-to-toe drop and grade of some top runners in the market (I specifically looked at women’s, but typically men’s are the same or similar).

  • Newton Distance Elite – 2mm/1.3%
  • Hoka One One Clayton – 4mm/2.6%
  • Topo Athletic Ultrafly – 5mm/3.3%
  • New Balance Vazee Pace v2 – 6mm/4%
  • Asics FuzeX Lyte – 8mm/5.3%
  • Nike Lunarglide 8 – 9.5mm/6.3%
  • Brooks Ghost 9 – 12mm/8%

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Cold Day Layers

We got our first snow of the year in D.C., today, and I could not be more excited! I was born during a blizzard, and that’s my best guess as to why I love the snow so much. It’s always been my favorite weather.

Anyway, I digress. I decided to hit the streets for a long(er) snowy run and realized that layering can be tough. So here are a few layering tips for you outdoor enthusiasts:

Up Top: They used to say you lost half your body heat through your head. That’s silly, and totally base-less. HOWEVER, any exposed part of your body is a place for heat to escape, so it doesn’t hurt to wear a hat. Plus cold ears are the WORST!

Face It: Wind burn blows (ha! I’m lame). I recently got into wearing a Buff, thanks to my friend Tricia. I use my Buff as a neck gaitor, but they can also be used as a headband, ponytail holder, scarf and much much more. I like to keep my nose warm!

That Core: Here’s where things get interesting. I tend to be cold, but HATE feeling suffocated or too warm on a run, so I have a rule of 3 (not counting a sports bra). For instance, in the 23/feels like 11 temps today, I opted for:

  1. A tight t-shirt that I could tuck into my tights to avoid any cold air getting through at my waist.
  2. A fleece-lined running sweatshirt. It’s thick and wooly inside but the zipper allows me to control the temp a bit.
  3. Finally, a vest. They keep your core and chest warm, while allowing your arms to be free. If your chest stays warm, your arms are not going to be cold.

Gloves vs. Mittens vs. Nada: I just can’t get down with mittens. But I know they’re warm and if you don’t mind them, I’d suggest mittens all day long. Recently, however, I’ve decided that gloves do not keep my hands warm. Instead, they separate all of my fingers, leaving them on tiny cold islands of despair. So today was the first truly cold day in which I tested my new theory, and it worked! I simply pull my sleeves around my hands and I’d venture to say my hands almost get too HOT!

Stems: I hate bunching, and I’m pretty neurotic about it. So I don’t wear multiple layers on my legs. I simply shop for the right tights for the season. I have a pair of fleece-lined tights that I wear when it’s below 20 degrees out. And I also have an INCREDIBLE pair of tights that feature a wind/waterproof layer that surrounds your quad, which is genius for those blistering days. But anything above 20 and I am usually good with regular tights. If I stop, my legs start to freeze, so it’s just motivation to keep my ass moving!

The Double-Sock Myth: No matter what anybody tells you, it is not, I repeat NOT smart to wear multiple layers of socks. Foot warmth is all based on circulation. Your heart has to pump blood down to your feet, and if you have multiple layers of socks, you’re constricting the flow. Instead, buy socks for all weather. I wear thicker and higher socks in the winter, tucking my tights into the bottom. Wool socks are definitely the warmest. But make sure your shoes aren’t too tight with thick socks on, otherwise you’re back to the circulation issue. If you feel your feet start to get cold, use the downhills to open up your stride and wiggle your toes with each step. PS The same rule applies for skiing. Don’t double up!

And now, you have no excuse not to #optoutside, and kick some cold-weather butt! Have any other tips for layering? I’d love to hear them, share in the comments below!

loveB

Set Your Intentions

Do you yoga?
Back in my mid-twenties, when adulting seemed to hit me in the face like a baseball bat every single day, a friend introduced me to CorePower Yoga in Boulder, Colorado. I made every excuse in the book not to give it a try, but when I finally caved…EVERYTHING changed.

Much to my surprise I fell in love. It activated my muscles in a completely new way that left me feeling totally detoxed. But best of all, it magically relieved stressors in my life.

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Practice

  • Set Your Intentions – Go into class with a goal, and focus on that goal the entire time. It may be to get a good workout, or to let go of burdensome thoughts
  • Take it Seriously – Even if you have trouble at first, continue to take each pose seriously and give it your best effort.
  • Take a Towel – You’re going to sweat, so take a towel with you! I invested in a YogiToes towel years ago, and it was well worth it. It prevents me from sliding around on my mat.

If you haven’t tried it, but are looking for something new to spruce up your daily workouts, I definitely recommend CorePower Yoga. It’s a difficult workout, a great stretch and if you allow it, an incredibly powerful mental health activity.

Give it a try, and tell me what you think in the comments below!
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I’m Back + I’ve Missed You

Hello everyone! Some of you have been following this blog for over a year. Others may be here for the first time. But regardless… WELCOME!
What’s New
I have become increasingly interested in, and challenged by, capturing my own imagery while working out. It’s a challenge that marries two of my favorite hobbies… fitness and photography. So I’ve re-named this blog FITSPECTIVES because I want the visuals to be as important as the words.

As I embark on the journey I’m calling Blogging 2.0, I really want this to be valuable to those reading along. So, let me know what you want to hear more about. Workouts? Training while traveling? Fitness fashion?

Enjoy + please share your thoughts!
loveB