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!

loveB

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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

 

 

Checking In

Oh hey there. I’ve been missing you all. I took a short break from blogging, not intentionally but because life has been busy in all the right ways recently. But I am back, and figured that a good place to start would be to check in on how I am doing with my 2017 Goals. We’re one quarter of the way through the year. Here’s my progress and the completely ambiguous score that I’ve given myself.

The Ones Who Matter

  • Current Status: In just three months, I have already made some amazing memories. I also had my first Galentine’s Day trip with two of the most beautiful souls I know.
  • What I’m Looking Forward To: A few friends are getting married this year and I hope to be able to celebrate with them! I’ve also got a killer 4th of July road trip planned.
  • Score: 7. I can do better, particularly with the long-distance friends.

My Best Friend is a Pit Bull

  • Current Status: I remain painfully aware that Annie won’t live forever, and it’s almost debilitating. I’m super fortunate to have people in my life who understand how important Annie is and include her whenever possible. We have spent very few nights apart this year, aside from some travel. And my saint of a mom came up from South Carolina to dog-sit while I was in Ghana!
  • What I’m Looking Forward To: Annie is coming on the epic 4th of July road trip. I am also excited to continue a fun tradition that we started last summer. We skateboard to a nearby park where I work out. Then we skateboard home. It’s a great way for us to both get exercise and spend quality time together.
  • Score: 8. I still think I could do more. I specifically should hire a dog walker, as my work days are long.

Selfie

  • Current Status: Feeling good. In a steady workout routine, eating pretty well at home. But most importantly, I am not letting the stress of life hold me back from doing adventurous and exciting things. Like my recent, spontaneous, trip to Ghana. I’m surrounding myself with beautiful people who raise me up and bring out the best in me.
  • What I’m Looking Forward To: Continuing this trajectory of happiness, knowing good and well that I will encounter a few potholes, but feeling confident that I’m armed with everything I need to get past them.
  • Score: 9. Nobody should ever get a 10 when it comes to self-improvement.

I am still becoming who I’ll be. And if you ask me in a year, I’ll tell you the same thing. If you ask me when I am 100, I’ll repeat myself once again.

loveB

 

 

 

Biz Trip Health Tips

Hi. I’ve missed you all! Work took me on an awesome, but exhausting trip to the Super Bowl. My business trips are usually jam-packed, high-stress and complete with a lot of fun, late nights. In order to keep up (both mentally and physically), I’ve learned a few routines that I stick to diligently. Check /em out, and let me know what you do to stay sane on business travel.

Pace Yourself: I’m lucky that many of my work trips are complete with cool parties and late-night events. But if I am going on a four-day trip, I know that I can’t stay up until 2 a.m. every night. I’m not 23 anymore. Pick and choose when to stay up late. Maybe go to the evening event, but skip the lobby party later.

Hydrate!: Hydration is always important and I am the WORST at it. But I drink water on the plane, and if there is not a big bottle of water in my hotel room, I’ll make sure to buy one first thing. Drink water throughout the day, the evening and then a TON before bed. When you change timezones, temperatures, schedules, etc. it is easy to get sick. Water is like a miracle drug, acting to both prevent and cure.

Keep Your Routine: Packing is easier when you don’t have to consider workout clothes. But if daily workouts are part of your regular routine, DO NOT STOP when you’re on the road. Making time for myself is the best way to handle stress. I wake up by 6 a.m. each day and by the time I’m done with my workout and coffee, everyone else is just rising. Here are some of my favorite parts about working out on the road:

  • Exploration: Running around a new city is a great way to learn your way, scope out restaurants, or have yourself a fun adventure. Be careful though. If you don’t know the city at all, ask the concierge. I typically look at Google Maps to locate a nearby park or river running trail. Some of my favorite cities to run in are places I went for work, like Austin, TX and Columbus, OH.
  • Creativity: Some hotels have incredible gyms. Others offer a very limited selection of machines and weights. But get creative in there. No matter what they have, you can figure out a kick-ass workout that will leave you feeling energized for the day.
  • Resourcefulness: If your hotel doesn’t have a gym and you aren’t into running, no problem. Find a nearby park with open space and maybe some benches and do a quick bodyweight workout (see below for a list of things you can do with no equipment). No time to leave the room? Move some furniture aside and do something to get the blood flowing and your heart rate up.

No gym, limited space, no problem! Here are some of my favorite activities that require no equipment:

Legs:

  • Squats
  • Lunges (many variations)
  • Single-leg deadlift
  • Hip lifts
  • Leg lifts

Arms:

  • Push-ups (a few variations)
  • Bear crawl (a few variations)
  • Tricep dips
  • Inchworm (also stretches your hammies!)
  • Plank jacks

Core:

  • Crunches
  • Plank (many variations)
  • Side plank
  • Russian twists
  • Toe touches
  • Bicycles
  • Dead bug
  • Crazy Ivans

I hope you get a little more out of your next business trip, and feel healthier when it’s all over. Thanks for reading. Love you all!

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%

loveB

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

#HikeVA

Hey D.C.-area friends! Who has some free time this week + needs to burn off some Christmas cookies? Me! Me! Me! Here’s a quick guide to some of my favorite hikes around the District.

Not Much Time?:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Island – It’s not so much of a hike as it is a great trail run (or walk). It’s about a 1.3 mile loop and has a lot of shade for those hot summer months. The parking lot for the island is located off of George Washington Parkway, but you can run there via the Mount Vernon Trail or the Potomac Heritage Trail.
  • Turkey Run – Also located off of GW Parkway, this secret spot is never crowded and is just about a 5-minute drive from D.C.. There are multiple routes, including about a 4 mile loop that I love. Most of the trail runs parallel to the Potomac, so it’s a great place to bring your four-legged friend for a quick swim.

Don’t Mind Crowds?

  • Scott’s Run – This is probably my favorite hike in the immediate D.C. area, although it’s generally crowded on weekends. There are multiple trails, so you can make your hike anywhere from 3 miles to 6 or 7 miles. It has steep grades to work those glutes and also has a few picturesque views of the Potomac.
  • Seneca Falls – I don’t even know if this is the name of this hike. It’s located out in Great Falls just a few miles off of Rt. 7. It isn’t always crowded, but you sometimes get horse traffic out that way. The trail is wide, and includes wooded areas and more open fields, as well as long stretches along the river. If you do the loop, it’s just about 3 miles.
  • Difficult Run – This one is very short, and mostly flat. It’s about a mile out and a mile back. But it runs along Difficult Run, which is a pretty beautiful area with a few small falls. There are places to stop for a quick dip during those hot summer months. (Side note: Back in high school, we used to go rock jumping here. Apparently we had a death wish.)

Want to Get Outta Town?

  • White Oak Canyon – I’ve only been here once, but it was awesome. The trail is fairly steep, so it feels like a great workout. Toward the top is an incredible natural rock slide. WARNING: The water is FREEEEEEEZING.
  • Old Rag – Surely I am not the first to tell you about this one. I’m admittedly a bit of a hiking snob because I’ve been lucky enough to live most of my life in Colorado where hiking can sometimes mean mountain climbing. Old Rag is the most like a Colorado hike. It has a nearly 3,000 foot vertical climb and features a rock scramble at the top. The views are to die for and it’s well worth the 2-hour drive from D.C.. WARNING: No dogs allowed on Old Rag. The terrain is too tough.
  • Falling Springs Falls – This one is not a true hike, but has a lot of wooded trails for exploring AND two fun rope swings! Falling Springs Falls is home to the tallest waterfall in Virginia. There are campsites nearby as well! TIP: Stand under the waterfall for a VERY loud and incredible natural massage.

What are some of your favorite hikes?

loveB