Strong Isn’t Always Brave and Little Isn’t Always Small

Hey friends. I typically try to keep my posts informative and playful. This is a fitness blog, so many posts focus on getting stronger in the gym or on the track. But recently I had the rug pulled out from under me, and my personal life is in a tailspin. The intimate details of what I am going through are not important. At times like these, what’s important is to remember that strength doesn’t equal bravery and little doesn’t equal small.

Strength vs. Bravery:

IMG_9336I was lucky enough to be taught, from a young age, that little girls can be strong and fearless. In my house, both my sister and I were forces to be reckoned with. But in all of the lessons that I’ve learned and all of the teachings about pushing for what you want, somehow I began to mistake strength with stubbornness instead of bravery. I thought that being strong meant absorbing everything that was thrown at me and carrying on despite it all. I missed the part about how walking away can be incredibly brave.

I hope that all of you reading this can recognize that, in life, bravery is doing what’s right, even if you think you can muscle through the pain just a little longer.

Little vs. Small:

IMG_8979In the situation that I’m currently in, I am constantly reminding myself that I am not insignificant. I am worthy of all I desire and no small mind should crush my huge dreams. I have to keep telling myself, despite what others may say, I am not a small girl waiting for a fairy tale ending. I am a petite warrior battling for what I believe in.

If anybody or anything has ever made your life or your dreams feel silly or wrong, I hope this helps you to remember that you, like me, are capable, brave and significant.

Fight on, warriors.
loveB

Advertisements

Gear Review: Nike Epic Lux Tights

ryan-goslingYou’ve all heard the jokes about women and their “yoga pants as real pants.” Well, I am a culprit of wearing my running tights even when I am not running. Currently, I am sitting in the middle seat of a four-hour flight, and the one thing that isn’t driving me completely insane…my running tights.

So I figured this was a good time to write a quick review about a new line of Nike tights that I found in the past year. The Nike Epic Lux are miracle pants in more ways than one:

  • Muffin top, be gone! – Because of the thick waistband, these pants never cause any muffin top.
  • Nobody needs to see your ASSets! – The thick and quality material means that these pants are never see-through.
  • So many options! – The pants come in tights, crops and capris. In addition to three lengths, they also come out with TONS of awesome designs and colors (see pic below) to spruce up your workout wardrobe.
  • One size always fits! – One of my biggest pet peeves is when you buy multiple colors of the same article of clothing and each fits different. I’ve got 2 capris, 1 crop and 2 full-length tights in the Epic Lux and each fits PERFECTLY.
  • You move, they don’t! – No matter what activity I am doing, running, lunges, planks, dead lifts. These tights stay in place. They don’t twist, or droop down. I’m never at risk for plumber crack or even worse, the ol’ camel toe.

EpicLuxLeapAs with all Nike products, the Epic Lux can be a bit pricey. They range from $95 to $110. Nike’s running tight range is $50 to $150. Although, if you’re a savvy bargain shopper, they’re occasionally on sale at places like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx and even right on nike.com. But let’s compare them to a few other pricey alternatives:

  • Lululemon Running Tights – $98 to $298. $298?!?! You kidding me??
  • Under Armour Running Tights – $45 to $180.
  • Brooks Running Tights – $85 and $165
  • Pearl Izumi Running Tights – $65 and $145.
  • CW-X Running Tights – $65 to $200.

What it comes down to is loving what you’re wearing. The comfort, the performance and of course, the way it hugs your curves. Happy shopping, y’all!

loveB

Training for Race Season

Oh hey! It’s been a while. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve been busy, and the long winter has me feeling unmotivated. I’m tired. Good thing I make more excuses about blogging than I do about working out!

1010706_10202108464698487_568135008458836320_nThis time of year, it seems everybody has a race of some sort that they’re training for. Like the 5k to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer, which my entire family races in each spring, or the GW Parkway Classic that I am running in this month.

So, I wanted to share the training regimen that I have put in place to get myself into the best shape possible for my race on April 24. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a trained fitness coach, and if you follow my below plan, please please please always listen to your body, trainers and/or doctors for expert advice.

Running vs. Lifting + Stretching:

During the five or so weeks leading up to a 10 mile race, I will cut my lifting down significantly, and increase my mileage each week. Also, it can’t be said enough, but stretching can mean a world of difference. I try to use a foam roller to massage my IT bands every single day.

Lifting:

During the weeks that I am training for a race, I will reserve two days a week for lifting. 1 day for legs (never maxing out) and 1 day for arms/chest/back. Both days, and some of my non-lifting days, will include 5-15 minutes of core.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 8.31.53 PMRunning:

The hard part for me is pacing. I am not a distance runner by nature. My body wants to run fast, but then I can’t maintain the speed while increasing my miles.

With that in mind, I have three little tricks that I employ to help me combat this common hurdle:

  • Mileage: I do 3 runs during the week that are between 3-5 miles, depending on where I am at in my training. Then I do one 5-8 mile run on the weekends. I do not pay too much attention to my pace, but I try to stay within a :30 margin. By race day, I am comfortably running more miles and a much quicker pace and it wasn’t even that painful to get there.
  • Track Workouts: I have recently gotten into track workouts, which are full of benefits. They open your stride, boost your endurance, change up your routine and drum roll….. they help increase your speed! I jog to the track, stretch and then do one of the following: Sprint 1 lap, jog 1 lap. Repeat 4-8 times. Or, run 80% pace for 2 laps, jog for 1 lap. Repeat 4-8 times. I also sometimes do pacers down the long side of the track. Start at 50% pace, increase to 75% pace, increase to full sprint. Do a few of those. They feel AMAZING.
  • Hills: They’re the devil. But the best advice I ever received was from Mr. Mahoney, my high school cross country coach. He told us that we should always work to pass people on the uphill. If you train for hills, there will be no issues come race day. You’ll be cruising on up as other runners are struggling and wondering if you’ve got secret jets hidden in your shoes! My standard hill workout: Jog to the hill, stretch. Then I do pacers up the hill, starting off with a slow and open stride leading up to the base of the hill and then try to run about 75% pace to the top.  I jog halfway down, and walk the other half. Once at the bottom,  jump right back into the next one. Depending on the hill grade and length, I will do 5-10 of these before jogging home.

If you’ve got a race coming up, I hope you find my training tips beneficial. Always feel free to reach out to me in the comments below if you’ve got any questions! Also, follow me on IG for training tips, fun pics and weird outfits. 🙂
loveB

Review: Nike Women’s 21 Days of Better For It

Hi friends (and total strangers)! About 21 days ago, I told you that I was going to take on Nike Women’s 21 Days of #BetterForIt. Now, I’ve gotta be honest here, I did most of the workouts but during that 21 day period I went on a five day vacation and we had a three-foot blizzard that isolated me in my home for four days. Needless to say, there were some interruptions, but I am here to report back to you all now that I’m finished!

BIG PICTURE:

Each morning, I awoke to reminder message in my iPhone. The reminder took me directly to that day’s workout plan. So seamless! The program gave me a balanced workout that was thoughtfully prepared and included stretching and rest days. Those Nike folks must know a thing or two about fitness.

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS:

200m sprints: It’s been years since I had a proper track workout and it felt amazing to stretch out my legs with these 200 meter sprints.

IMG_0625
Stretching before sprinting = smart.

Drop Squats: Start in the standing position, drop down to a squat touching one hand to the floor while the other stretches out behind you. Jump back up. I love squats, nuff said.

Lateral bear crawls: This exercise isn’t as difficult, coordination-wise, as it sounds. But it kicks your butt (and back, and core, and hips)!

FullBearCrawls
Bear crawls are the bees’ knees. Or something like that.

Chest press with dead bug: The dead bug may make you look silly in the gym. But combine it with a couple dumbbells and you’ve got yourself a hard-working move.chestpressdeadbug.png

Rear foot elevated single leg squat: Put your back leg up on a box or curb, it doesn’t need to be high. Squat down, similar to a lunge and feel the burrnnnnn!

Diagonal bounds: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. These little jumps (or slides, if you have the proper equipment) are a daily must.

diagonalbounds
Leaps and bounds!

AND YET:

As with any workout, there were a few things I avoided. Burpees, for instance. I fail to see the true benefit of burpees. Without perfect form, you’re much more likely to hurt yourself than do any real good. Burpees = the plague. Keep back! Another activity that I was cautious with was sprinting at the track (surprisingly, this was also my favorite activity). But I am 31, and about 12 years past my last track workout, so in the early morning cold temps, I was pretty nervous about pulling something while trying to prove that I was once a good sprinter.

All in all, I’d say that Nike’s 21 Days of #BetterForIt was a success. I learned a ton of new activities to add to my workout regime, and there was something motivating and exciting about having a little personal trainer in your phone that wakes you up with new workouts each day.

If anybody is interested in doing the 21 day routine, I’ve got all of the workouts saved and would more than happy to send you the details. Comment below if you would like me to share them!

LOVE YOU ALL!
loveB

 

 

Follow me on IG for workout tips, pics, vids and more!

Start 2016 With More Than A Resolution

This time of year always makes me cringe a little bit, especially when marketers try to capitalize on our insecurities by pushing “fitness resolutions.” Don’t get me wrong, getting healthy should most definitely be a top priority, but not because 2016 is upon us. It should be a priority because you only have one body and you need to treat it right. All year, every year.new-years-resolutions-seinfeld

My “resolution” this year is to recognize that my health, my mind and my body are a constant work in progress and I cannot accomplish everything at once. Just as I did in 2015, I will work on each of them but will not expect any certain results.

My Health: Anybody who knows me knows that I am a pretty unhealthy eater. This is an area where I have a TON of room for improvement. I cannot resolve to give up sugar, because I will fail. But I will consciously work to make more home-cooked dinners with more vegetables. The goal is simply to feed my body more of the nutrients that it needs to meet the demands I put on it.
ThoughSheBeSmall
My Mind: This past March, I made the decision to leave a very toxic work environment. The decision, which was not a New Years resolution, was one of the most important choices I have ever made and has proved to be a very big step in improving my mental health. This year, I will continue to find ways to let go of unnecessary stressors, which will not only impact my mind, but my heart as well. Here are some tips on ways to improve mental health every day.

My Body: The biggest thing I noticed as my twenties passed me by was that my body is different day-by-day. The body I had when I was 21 is very different than the body I have now at 31. I can’t expect the same results, and I cannot make goals for my 31-year-old body that are based on 21-year-old me. These days, I am working on being more aware of how I feel. I am trying to see how my diet and stress may impact my physical output. I am always working on tightening and toning, but I am also thinking about recovery and proper care for my muscles. My roller is one of my best friends these days. RELATED: Have a Body-Positive New YearIMG_9382

Those are my “resolutions.” They’re not really measurable, and they do not have an expiration date. They’re fluid and always changing as I learn more about myself. So instead of a New Years resolution in 2016, I challenge you to take a holistic view of your health, your mind and your body. Self-improvement doesn’t ever end, and it is defined differently by everybody. #YouDoYou.23d45062-b649-4be8-b2d0-348c78b9be46

Happy New Years, see you in 2016!
loveB

 

 

Follow me on IG for workout tips, pics, vids and more!

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!

IMG_4399
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
    IMG_3754
    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.
loveB

Locker Room Gossip: Fitness Myths

Hi friends. I’ve missed you. I recently joined the gym at my office, which means that I am now actually using the locker room as more than a storage facility for my coat on cold days. I actually get ready there.

In just two weeks, I have overheard countless comments from my fellow gym-rats that have caused me to worry about some of the myths and ideas that float around. So I am going to use this platform to try to debunk a few of them, and also to help empower some of my girl friends who may struggle with meeting fitness goals…speaking of, I’ve got a bone to pick with the word “goals.” More below.

GOALS: Your goal should not be so extreme or so definite that you are constantly letting yourself down. For instance, defining an amount of weight that you want to lose isn’t a great goal, because if you’re working out properly, you’re likely losing fat weight and gaining muscle weight. In fact, don’t focus on the weight at all. Put your hands up, and step away from the scale! Instead, make a broader goal that you can measure such as, “I want to run three miles without stopping,” or “I want to more clearly define the muscles in my arms,” or “I want to be proud walking around in my bathing suit this summer.” Build your goals around positive achievements, so when you meet them you can pat yourself on the back, hold your head high and be damn proud of the work it took to get there. #AllTheFeelings

BUTTER: At some point, butter got a bad rap. The delicious dairy spread was being replaced with margarine and was villainized as an evil, obesity-causing condiment. Hold the knife! Let’s think about this… we know that eating foods with as few ingredients as possible is important. Also important, eating foods with ingredients that you know and can pronounce. Let’s look at the ingredients in my favorite butter:

Simple. Natural.
Simple. Natural. (source: http://bit.ly/1jXqmRR)

And now, let’s look at a stick of Land-o-Lakes margarine:

Um... WTF? (source: http://bit.ly/20gts3T)
Um… WTF? (source: http://bit.ly/20gts3T)

Holy biscuits, that is scary. What exactly are the artificial flavors? Why is there color added?! Preservatives, really? Seems highly unlikely that anything made from science could be better than something made from a cow. I believe it was Patrick Henry who said, “give me natural ingredients, or give me death!” Or something like that…

ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL WORKOUTS: I have talked about this before, but it cannot be stressed enough that not all workouts are right for everyone. What you do in your fitness routine depends on various factors, including what you’re trying to achieve, what your physical restrictions may be, the time you have, the access to equipment you have and more. The other day, I overheard one woman recommend to another woman that she should not try CrossFit because they push you to do things you do not want to. I, myself, have not tried CrossFit. I am happy with my current routine, and have not had much interest in trying the philosophy that they adhere to. However, we are not cats so curiosity will not kill us. Asking people for their opinion of a workout or class is great, but don’t let them deter you based on a bad experience that they had. It may end up that CrossFit is the perfect exercise for you! In the end, you’ve gotta do you and do not compare your workout or your body to others.

Don’t get stuck being the gossip girl of the locker room. Be smart, be supportive of your friends, and for God’s sake eat some butter!

loveB