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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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

 

 

 

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

I’m Back + I’ve Missed You

Hello everyone! Some of you have been following this blog for over a year. Others may be here for the first time. But regardless… WELCOME!
What’s New
I have become increasingly interested in, and challenged by, capturing my own imagery while working out. It’s a challenge that marries two of my favorite hobbies… fitness and photography. So I’ve re-named this blog FITSPECTIVES because I want the visuals to be as important as the words.

As I embark on the journey I’m calling Blogging 2.0, I really want this to be valuable to those reading along. So, let me know what you want to hear more about. Workouts? Training while traveling? Fitness fashion?

Enjoy + please share your thoughts!
loveB

Apple Watch & Nike+

bpwatchFor those of you who have spoken to me recently, you probably know that I have been exercising an incredible amount of control on NOT buying an Apple Watch. I’ve mostly been holding off because I have no REAL need for a $300 tether to my iPhone. But…I caved.

The fitness-focused aspects of the Apple Watch coupled with a seamless connection to my iPhone were enough to sway me. I’ll admit, however, that running with the Apple Watch and my preferred app (Nike+ Running) was not as perfect as I had hoped. But I’ll share the good, the bad and the settings for success that I found while using Nike+ with the Apple Watch.

bpwatch2.JPGThe Bad
You still need to take your iPhone with you. Wearing the watch does not free you from the phone because it is not a GPS device and it relies entirely on the iPhone for pace, distance and route.

The Good
It did allow me to put the phone in my FlipBelt for the duration of my run while giving me a quicker way to glance at my stats. The app interface on the watch allows you to see your distance, pace, route and music.

Settings for Success

  • On the Phone – Make sure you’ve enabled Nike+ to be visible on the watch
  • On the Phone – Set the watch’s Wake Screen as “resume last activity.” This will ensure you do not have to push any buttons on the watch, while running, to check the stats
  • On the Phone – Set your preferred Nike+ settings through the app on your phone, not on the watch
  • On the Phone – Set the Nike+ app to start and stop runs automatically so that you do not need to push buttons on either the watch or phone during your runs
  • On the Watch – Pair bluetooth headphones with your watch in order to listen to music on your runs

While it is not perfect, I am very happy with my watch thus far, and look forward to having two free hands on all of my runs from now on.

Happy training, beautiful people.

loveB

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