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.

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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

 

 

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Nike Women’s 21 Days of Better For It

If you do not follow Nike or Nike Women on social media, then you may not be aware of 21 Days of Better For It. I stumbled upon it on Nike Women’s Instagram yesterday, and started my workout plan this morning! There are a few things that make this effort truly awesome:

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First day of 21 Days of Better For It
  • No Purchase Necessary: You may complain that Nike prices break the bank, but their series of workout apps and programs like this one are 100% free!
  • Tailored for a Better Fit: The initiative, which lives on nike.com, asks users a series of questions which lead them to the best workout plan for their fitness level.
  • Seamless Integration to Your Smartphone: Once your plan is selected, 21 days of workouts are loaded to your calendar with reminders for you. The workouts range from sprints to yoga to weight circuits and, when necessary, links you to Nike Training Club and Nike+ Running apps. It also helps design workout playlists through Spotify. The entire process is quick, simple, and leaves little room for excuses.
  • A Learning Process: I think the part about this program that I am most excited about is that I will learn a few new workouts or movements. For those who are new to regular workouts, you will learn so much in 21 days and be able to build off of those workouts once the program is over.

I am off to take on the plan that Nike built for me, and I encourage you to do it too. I’ll follow up with a blog post at the end of the 21 days and let you know just how much better I am for it!
loveB

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Nike21DaysOfBetterForIt

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

 

 

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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.
loveB

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.

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

I Know I’m Annoying; It’s Because I Love You

I hear myself. I know I’m annoying. It’s because I love you (even if I don’t yet know you).
Over-zealouness really bothers people when it comes to health.

I was recently watching Last Comic Standing, and one New York-based comedian said that he turned Vegan for a bit. There is a certain negative connotation with Vegans. The comedian continued by saying something like, “Yup, I decided to be a Vegan. So, you know, I gave up meat, and dairy and friendship.”

MTO Kombucha, sold at TRUE Health and Wholeness
MTO Kombucha, sold at TRUE Health and Wholeness

I can sense my family’s annoyance with me, though my persistence seems to be paying off a bit, as I now have both my oldest brother and father drinking Kombucha daily and my brother sent me a picture of something with “Ancient Grains” in the title. So, yay!

On a recent family trip, I tried to sneak in some organic options of typical foods we eat, like peanut butter and salad dressings. I tried to convince them to use regular butter instead of substitutes like margarine. I tried to have sourdough and flax seed bread available as an option along with their whole wheat loaf.

Now, I know most of you read that last sentence and thought, soooo you want your family to be fat. I’m pretty sure that’s what they think.

Note: I am a certified personal trainer, but I am NOT a nutritionist; I listen to and I am surrounded by some pretty smart people at work (TRUE Health and Wholeness) and I read a lot. I have also been turned into a believer by following certain food rules myself.

6 am TRUE Fit Boot Camp!
6 am TRUE Fit Boot Camp!

Food, though, is just one part of health. There’s exercise for the body and mind, and there’s wellness, again, of body and mind. No one has all the answers, but we have to talk about the possible solutions, the successes and the failures in order to weed out the stupid ones, right?

My family, being health conscious, focuses mostly on calories. As a female who used to struggle terribly, and still struggles daily, with her body image, as most women do, I understand subscribing to this calories in vs. calories out method. Again, I don’t have  all the answers, but here is what I do know.

  • I feel better when I avoid processed foods to the best of my ability. Now, I don’t have the budget nor the time to cut processed food from my diet all-together, but when I make a conscious effort to cook my own food from real, whole ingredients, my body thanks me,
  • I feel better when I spend the extra $ on antibiotic-and hormone-free meat. I choose organic and grass-fed as well. When it comes to eggs, I always choose free range. I do this for two reasons.
    • In this day and age, we take enough shit to combat illness, stress and genetics that we don’t need whatever that cow was given on a farm you’ve never heard of.
    • We need to be kinder to the animals we share this planet with.
  • I feel better when I combat aches, pains and illnesses naturally. As an athlete, you’re body is your livelihood. If you’re hurting, you take something to make it feel better so you can play. Being hurt, as a competitive athlete, is a reason to keep you sidelined, not a warning sign from your body to slow down. These days, if I can take something naturally occurring in nature to help with something as simple as inflammation, I will try that first.
  •  I feel my best, my most beautiful, my most feminine, my most boss, my most accomplished, my most whatever you would like to fill in that blank with when I leave the gym. Lifting weights, lifting heavy weights helps you lose weight by increasing your muscle mass, speeding up your metabolism and dropping your body fat.

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Now, back to the beginning. I know I’m most likely annoying you with my talk of holistic this, whole foods that, heavy weights whatever, but here’s why I keep telling you this.

I love you very much and would like you to be in my life at your healthiest and happiest, for as long as possible. The goal of this post is NOT to have you say, ‘okay, Molly makes sense, she must be right and now, I am ONLY eating organic from and am going to spend 3 hours a day at the gym.’ I want you to Google, to research, to ask questions, to explore, to try and fail, to try and succeed and figure it out. I want you to wrap the people you care about up in huge hugs of knowledge and love in order to help them be the happiest and healthiest them they can be, and maybe, together, we can slowly create a healthier society.

Over and Out

-MB