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!

loveB

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

 

 

 

15-Minute Workout: Glutes

Sometimes I sleep through my alarm (don’t lie, you do it too!). And missing a workout can set a bad tone for my day. So, I have mastered the quick and easy, 15-minute workout. I change up the muscle groups, but it’s typically something I can do at my house or outside, without any equipment.

So here’s a simple workout, focusing on your glutes, to try when you’re short on time! TGIF!

Warm-Up:

Getting your muscles warmed-up is really important. Never jump into a workout cold turkey. For my warm-up I do a brisk walk with my dog followed by a very thorough foam roll session. But you could do any number of things to get your heart rate up and your muscles warm. Then give it a bit of a stretch out prior to starting the 15-minute plan.

Let’s Go!

  • Squats: 1 minute – With your feet about shoulder width apart, squat down, slowly and controlled. Be sure your knees do not cave inward as you squat, and stay back with the weight in your heels. Go down as far as you can, comfortably, aiming to get to about 90 degrees. Keep your shoulders up and push your butt out. As you slowly rise back up, squeeze those glutes! Bonus: If you have dumbbells, or an Ugi ball or any other item you wish to hold, feel free to add weight.
  • Side Lunges: 1 minute – Stand with your feet together and step one foot out to the side, lunging down, laterally, to about a 90 degree bend in your knee. Like the squats, keep your shoulders up and push your butt out. Return to starting position and then do the same on the opposite side. Keep all of your movements slow and controlled. Focus on form.
  • Hip Lifts: 1 minute – Lie on your back with your knees bent, heels just a couple of inches from your butt. Lift your hips up off the ground by squeezing your glutes and hold for 1 second. Return slowly and repeat. These sound easy, but if you’ve never done them, get ready for some sore muscles! This is one of those exercises that I love to hate.
  • Side Leg-Lifts: :30 per side – Lie on your side, bend your arm to hold your head up. Tighten your core, flex your foot and squeeze your glutes then raise your leg to about 45 degrees. Again, go slowly to maintain control, form and balance. If you need balance help, bend the bottom leg a bit. Switch sides. A couple of variations exist to make this a little more advanced. You can do the workout in a half side plank, or completely in side plank position or on a bench, if you’re at the gym. But keep everything tight and controlled!
  • Lateral Bounds: 30 seconds – Stand with your feet slightly apart. Hop out to the side, landing carefully on one foot with your knee bent, and allowing the other leg to cross behind your planted one. Then leap the opposite direction. Go slow, pausing as you land to maintain form and control. This is not specifically a butt workout, but is an all-body, stabilizer muscle activity that is just great all around. I do this every single day, no matter what workout I am doing.
  • Back Hypers: 30 seconds – Lie on your stomach with your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders and legs off the ground, without bending your knees, by squeezing your glutes, quads and back muscles. Be careful not to pull too hard on your back. Return slowly, then repeat.

Try it, enjoy it, work hard at it and have a blast. Cheers, y’all!
loveB

Twenty Seventeen

There is something so lovely about New Years. It’s that idea that we get a refresh button every 365 days. But how do you use it?

The Trouble with the “R” Word:

For those of you who know me, or who’ve been following along on my blog since last year, you know that I NEVER make “resolutions.” I realize it’s all in my head, but there is something about a resolution that feels daunting and almost as if it’s meant to expire. I am not sure I’ve ever met somebody who has stuck with theirs for an entire year.

Gooooooaaaaalllllllssss:

Instead of resolutions, I make goals. They aren’t goals for the year, they’re personal habits that I intend to work towards for the rest of my life. Much more broad than a resolution, and  his year’s goals are very focused on relationships.

READ: What I accomplished in 2016

The Ones That Matter:

I found out the hard way in 2016 just how much we need our friends and family. You may be the strongest, most brave warrior of them all, but trust me, you too can fall down. I intend to work much harder at staying in touch with friends + fam who live far away. And for those friends in the DC area, let’s hang out more. Love you all!

My Best Friend is a Pit Bull:

Almost 11 years ago, I adopted a pit bull pup. She has been through many breakups and cross-country moves with me. She is JUST beginning to slow down a bit, and I’m extremely aware that despite my begging, she won’t live forever. I have regrets about times when I could have taken her on a hike, but chose to sleep in. Or when she sat and wagged her tail, but instead of playing, I scrolled through my Instagram feed. When I adopted her, I promised she would be my number one, and I need to work harder at being a dog mom.

Selfie:

Relationships with those around you are only as healthy as the relationship you have with yourself. I am in sole control over my happiness, my sadness and my health. So while I work on my friendships, I will also place focus on bettering myself each and every day.

I’m ready for you, 2017. Let’s kick ass.

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