7 Holiday Workouts

If you’re anything like me, the holidays are a time to eat as if the calories don’t count. Another serving of cheesy rolls? Yes, please! More wine? Duh! Donuts or cinnamon rolls? Both, por favor! But that sort of carefree eating can start to bring you down, so here is the secret to enjoying the holiday feasts without regretting it later.

The Holidays are not an excuse to stop working out!

That’s right. You heard me. Holiday vacation is a vacation from work or school… not from your health and wellness. But this is part of a larger shift in your attitude toward exercise. It’s time to stop thinking of it as “work,” and start to think of it as “me time” or “play time” or “the best damn 30 minutes of my day!” Ok, that last one might be pushing it.

Once you make this shift, you’ll find yourself looking forward to working out, even when you’re on vacation. So, this holiday season, maybe try one of these fun ways to keep yourself and your family members active in between feasting!

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Snowshoeing at Beaver Creek in Avon, CO
  1. Take a hike!: Hiking is an activity that all family members can enjoy, including our furry friends. Depending on the hike you choose, it can be a quiet nature walk, or it can be more rigorous, like mountain climbing. Get the family outside to enjoy a healthy activity together! Tip: If it’s really snowy, find someplace to rent snowshoes!
  2. Make a cameo!: Visiting a relative who has a membership to a gym? Find out their policy on guests and have a gym-date. One of my favorite things to do when I visit my mom, is to go to the gym with her. We take turns picking a workout or weight machine and we both come away with new activities to try and very sore muscles!
  3. 15-minute jam!: Busy holiday schedule? Lazy family members? Not a problem. The Nike Training Club app has tons of 15-minute workouts that are perfect for getting in a quick, but effective workout without needing any equipment. Tell mom to stop complaining about her knees; tell your sister so stop worrying about her kids’ meal schedule. All you need is 15-minutes and a good attitude. More on Nike Training Club.
  4. Run like the wind!: Gather up
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    Snowshoeing at Beaver Creek in Avon, CO

    your fitness-minded friends and family and take them on a group run. One of my favorite, recent Christmas memories is of running around my boyfriend’s hometown when we were visiting his family. We ended up at his high school and spent a while roaming the halls while he shared some pretty cool memories with me. Check out my post about running while on the road.

  5. Grab and go!: If you’re road-tripping to your holiday destination, there is no excuse not to bring some exercise equipment with you. A couple of easy-to-pack items include TRX gear, a jump rope, resistance bands, a yoga mat, or P90X dvds. In addition, you could always pack a set up dumbbells, a medicine ball or a kettlebell.
  6. Lend a helping hand!: What if you could win Daughter/Son-of-the-Year status AND get in a great workout? All you’ve gotta do is offer to help rake leaves or shovel for your parents, grandparents or their neighbors. Seriously, put in 1 good hour of raking leaves and then try to tell me your obliques aren’t on fire.
  7. Go sledding!: If you’re going sledding with friends and family, try running up the hill after each turn. The snow, coupled with heavy boots and bulky layers will prove to be a great leg workout. You’ll quickly feel it in your calves and quads. For an EXTRA good workout, take a lazy friend or a young kid with you and PULL them up the hill. I did this with my nephew last year and let’s just say that I was pretty embarrassed how sore I was the next day. But he had a blast and so did I!

So there you have it. Don’t stop enjoying the home-cooked goodness of a holiday meal. Don’t turn down a refill of a great Malbec. Just find some time to enjoy a bit of exercise while on break, and avoid having to play catch-up when you’re back to reality.
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10 Tips to Get Out of Your Rut and Back in Your Groove

We’ve al been there. Go a couple of days without exercising, a couple of days of mindless, unhealthy eating and your motivation further and further out of reach.

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I am currently recharging my own batteries. So, let’s explore some ways we can get out of these ruts.

  1. Find a buddy. As soon as I decided to make a schedule, I texted my friend and we started with just one day that we will workout together every week.

    Kat and I working on our hip mobility and glute strength after a workout
    Kat and I working on our hip mobility and glute strength after a workout
  2. Make a schedule. Just like you do with work and making social plans, carve out time to exercise each day. Paying for group classes creates great accountability as well.
  3. Make it known. Yes, posting about your workouts and healthy eating might get annoying and old for your social audience, but it also keeps you accountable.
  4. Start small. I used to think SMART goals were silly, but they work. Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-based. The key word for me is realistic. Start small, conquer it, move on to the next one.

    A new journal and new mindfulness practice
    A new journal and new mindfulness practice
  5. Journal or Blog. This not only keeps you honest with yourself, it might enhance your awareness.
  6. Practice mindfulness. Take a couple of minutes at the beginning of each day to set your intention. Decide what kind of day it’s going to be. Starting with your intentions set allows you to live each day honestly. (Note: Intentions are different than goals. Set your intention and let it float away)
  7. Forgive yourself. This is a big part of mindfulness. If you slip up or get off track, treat yourself like you would a friend or loved one. It’s not the end of the world. Forgive yourself and move on.
  8. Make it tangible. I love pictures, quotes, vision boards, images of meaning and the like. Keep them visible.

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    My bedroom wall.
  9. Stop saying should. “Should” implies someone or something is driving you. Ask yourself, “says who?” whenever you say, “I should exercise” or “I shouldn’t eat that.” If the answer is not “I say so,” figure out what it is you want to do.
  10. Play. Play around with both your exercise routine and in the kitchen. Cooking new, healthy recipes and trying new classes can help inspire you to find a new routine you won’t want to stop or de-prioritize when life gets in the way.

Share your own tips for getting back into your healthy routine in the comments below.

No More Excuses

There are so many excuses not to exercise. No equipment for strength training, no sidewalks or shoulders on the road for running, and I’m too tired are just not valid excuses.

My Current Situation

Adorable, amazing house in Red Hook, NY
Adorable, amazing house in Red Hook, NY

I am at a house in Upstate New York with my family. When I say Upstate, I mean no cell service, backwoods, 25-minutes to the nearest grocery store Upstate New York. It is absolutely beautiful. We rented a house at the end of a LONG, HILLY, GRAVELY driveway with a pool, tennis court, bocci ball and horseshoe court (or as my brother just said, you should call it a horseshoe arena), a pond and wonderful people I call my family.

The Problem

I rarely have the urge to go on a run, just like Paige rarely has the urge to pick up weights. Today, though, I was feeling it. I was so exited to get up to this house, work for a bit and then go on a nice, long run. The problem is that about every 200 ft, there is a deathly curve in the road and you seriously cannot see what is 5 ft on the other end of the curve. So running in the street is out.

Bacci Arena (Horseshoe Arena just underneath this)
Bacci Arena (Horseshoe Arena just underneath this)

My mom brought ten pound weights, which is more than enough for a killer workout, but like I said, I really just wanted to get a run in.

Enter: Adam

Adam is my oldest brother, an Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach at Butler University and a bit of a crazy person when it comes to exercise. So, after already running this morning and playing about an hour of tennis with my other brother Danny, he suggested getting a workout using the driveway.

*Please see description of driveway above. Read it again, but this time in a louder-than-appropriate voice and the tone you’d image the Devil to use when speaking.

The Workout:

Find a friend. Jog down the .3 mile-long driveway. Look up at the hill in front of you. Think unpleasant thoughts. (Adam described this as the opposite the feeling you get when you are super pumped to ski a double black diamond, then you get to the top and think about how stupid an idea this was) Change those unpleasant thoughts to positive, motivational, YES YOU CAN thoughts. Take off up the hill. Curse at each other the whole way up. Walk back down to recover. Repeat as many times as you can, then do one more.

The top of the driveway, where we finished, which seemed to get further and further away
The top of the driveway, where we finished, which seemed to get further and further away

The Finisher

5 Minutes of arms: Push ups 10x, Tricep Dips 10x, Plank Up/Downs 10 e/a

5 Minutes of abs: Slow Cross Crawls 20 e/a, Reverse Planks 10x, Side Plank Pulses 10 e/a.

Pro Tip: 

Bring bug spray with you to do the abs and arms.

I am currently working on tomorrow’s circuit training for Adam and I to do. There MIGHT be a guest appearance from my mom, in which case, I’ll explain the workout and all the ways you can moderate it for your fitness level. Until then, over and out fitness peeps.

– MB

Just Show UP

Partner planks with my friend Chuck at November Project.
Partner planks with my friend Chuck at November Project.

Recently, I’ve had a few people ask me about the workouts I do at the Lincoln Memorial. They’ve either seen my posts, or pics that I’m tagged in. Hooray for Instagram. Hi, my name is Rebecca and I am an Instagramaholic. But I digress…

The group is called November Project DC (shout out to Molly for introducing me to the tribe a little over a year ago), and their mission is to bring free fitness to cities across America. Oh, and it’s a group of anywhere from 50-200+ people. It’s freakin’ awesome. I found that it was a great addition to my routine, which mostly consisted of running days and lifting days. It got me outside more, and helped me work on muscles that I wasn’t reaching at the gym. It’s also a different form of cardio than my body is used to.

Question: What’s the key to great calves?
Answer: Running stairs. #JustShowUp

You can read more about NP, including the tribes from other US cities here. But the DC tribe meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30 a.m. to 7:30-ish. (if you’re insane, they’ve also got a 5:30 a.m. group on Wednesdays). Here is a general idea of what the workouts look like:

  • Monday: Meridian Hill Park – Run hills. Die a little. Give sweaty hugs. Love yourself later.
  • Wednesday: Lincoln Memorial – Run stairs. Mix in some body-weight strength training and aerobic exercises. Leave with a phone full of sunrise pics, and a handful of new friends.
  • Friday: Location TBD – Each Friday, NP meets at a different location around the city. You’ll learn 15 ways to use a park bench for exercise, and other useful tips.

GO TO NP IF: 

  1. You want to change-up your workouts.
  2. You need motivation to get out of bed early.
  3. You just want to make friends.
  4. You like pretty pictures.
  5. You want to push yourself really hard, or take it easy and have a lighter day. Difficulty is TOTALLY up to you.
  6. You want to be a part of a free fitness group that is growing in size all across America and getting national media attention.

DO NOT GO TO NP IF: 

  1. You hate fun.
  2. You hate hugs.
  3. You hate the word “fuck.”
  4. You hate the idea of working out and have no intention of changing your mind about this (also, why are you reading this blog…?).
  5. You hate people.
  6. You hate pretty pictures.
  7. You hate dogs. Sometimes there are dogs there! Ahhhh I love dogs.
  8. You can’t get past the name. After a year, I still have no idea why “November” is in the name.

So, I am going to consider this my #verbal for tomorrow’s workout, and I’m going to leave you with an optional, but highly encouraged, FUCK YEAH!

#JustShowUp

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Get Over It

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I actually own this shirt. It speaks to me.

I’ve recently fallen into a bit of a running rut. I feel excited to get out on my runs, but then I just feel tired, and think of excuses to cut the run short. ’Oh look, a Starbucks, I could get some and walk home.’ ‘If I turn back now, I can totally take my dog on a quick run when I get back.’ ‘I’ll just run over to this bench and do some box jumps and call it a day.’

I have a few theories as to why I feel this way. But the important thing is that it isn’t physical. I am perfectly capable of getting out there and doing it, I just have to get over the mental block. This morning, that is exactly what I did.

I’ve been averaging three miles max for my runs recently, which is great, nothing wrong with that distance. But when I have the time, I’d like to get a couple more in. So when I set out on my run this morning, I made one important goal: GET OVER IT.

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Get Over It.

I wanted to go past the point where I feel like stopping and then past the three mile mark, and then let my body decide how much further to go. I decided that I wouldn’t watch my pace, I’d let myself take it slow, and if I needed to stop for a minute to stretch that was ok.

I ended up running five miles at a respectable pace and with just a few stops. But what I am excited about is that I’ve grown just a little bit stronger, mentally, and I know that the next time I want to accomplish a goal in a workout, it’s just a matter of climbing over that wall and doing it. I’m feelin’ great!

The Gear: Having new or fun workout clothes usually helps inspire me to get my butt out the door. So, I figured that I will include some gear information at the bottom of some of my posts.

  • Newton Running Shoes: About five years ago, while living in Colorado, a friend of mine introduced me to Newton Running Shoes. While I am always proud to support local businesses (Newton is based in Boulder, CO), I was hesitant to divert from my Nike Frees. But I gave the shoes a whirl, and five years later, I am on my sixth pair. They’re heaven. The science behind them is in the forefoot lugs. With 4-5 lugs (depending on the style) the shoe has a 0% grade, so the optimum part of your foot hits the ground first. Most other running shoes, including my beloved Nike Frees, has a much steeper grade, therefore you will either work harder to make yourself run on your toes, or your heels will touch down first, causing incorrect form and potentially some painful side affects. The shoes come in a limited color selection, but they’re bright and fun.
  • Nike 2” Rival Shorts: Last year, I visited a local Pacers store and decided to spend a little extra money on a new pair of Nike running shorts. I am pretty particular about the comfort of my workout gear. It paid off. I have since really fallen in love with the shorts and have them in a couple of colors. Sometimes the Nike outlet at National Harbor will carry them, which helps save a few. Don’t break the bank over clothes that you’re going to sweat in, but also don’t let discomfort be an excuse to skip a session. The shorts come in multiple colors and patterns!

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