Category Archives: Fitness

5 reasons to try pure barre

5 Reasons to Try Pure Barre for a Month

About a month ago, I tried Pure Barre for the first time, and I was instantly hooked.

Pure Barre is a 55 minute full-body, ballet-inspired workout. The 55 minutes are broken into different strength sessions focusing on isometric movements using specific muscle groups.

As much as I loved the class, I was still questioning whether it was really worth it. The classes can be expensive and I wasn’t convinced I’d see the same results I did when I was an avid Bikram yogi, or frequent weight room visitor.

Realizing I shouldn’t be making these comparisons, and instead enjoying the current fitness season I’m in, I listed five Pure Barre things to get excited about!

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So here they are (#1’s my favorite):

  1. Defy. Each new class I push both my mind and body to surpass my own limits. The varying strength sessions of a Pure Barre class focus on different muscle groups – arms, thighs, glutes, abs – working each one until it burns. Sometimes the muscles let you know just how hard they’re working by shaking.  There’s nothing like challenging yourself to push through the shakes and defy the burn.
  2. Tone. We all need strength. It’s a good feeling to have – both mentally and physically. But when you can see your strength, when you can see your muscle tone, it can provide the motivation you need to keep on working. At least it does for me. Seeing my own strength in the form of muscle tone, instead of just feeling it, makes a world of difference in my attitude towards fitness.
  3. Endure. Small, isometric movements isolating specific muscles, allow you to do more reps with less weight (or no weight at all but your own body). This increases endurance. As a runner dabbling in marathons, I’m very interested in increased muscle endurance.
  4. Mellow. The small, controlled movements reduce pressure on joints, tendons and ligaments, keeping you safer from injuries. I also find the lesser amount of pressure to be easier on previous injuries as well. A few years ago, I broke my leg and can still feel a tweak in it when running or lifting weights. With Pure Barre, I don’t feel a thing. How great that a mellowed out workout can provide the same amount of gains as one that’s much harder on my body?
  5. Transform. The different muscles groups we focus on in class, just so happen to be in my “problem” areas, and those of many other women – arms and abs.

Question of the Day: Have you tried Pure Barre? How’d you like it?

 

 

At-Home Workouts with Grokker

How’s it going friends? It’s been rain, rain, raining here so I haven’t been able to get in too many morning runs. Good thing I received the amazing gift of Grokker!

I started at-home workouts last week, but was really able to kick things up a notch this week with a new online platform full of an unbelievable variety of workout videos. From Yoga and Pilates, to strength training and kickboxing cardio, Grokker seriously delivers.

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I was more than thrilled when I received this as a gift (thank you 🙂 ), but I can say with confidence that I would be more than willing to pay for this subscription on my own. There was nothing better than being able to pull out a yoga mat at home, fire up the computer, get in a quick 30 minute ab burner, and then get right back to my day. No driving to the gym. No tiptoeing around gym showers. No one judging my form.

While it was extremely difficult to figure out where to start because of all the goodies on this site, I chose an Intermediate Pilates video. Yowza did it burn! I definitely had to push myself. And, when I was finished with the class, Grokker congratulated me and added it to my dashboard.

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What a great little dashboard right? I love that you can save workout videos for later as you’re scrolling through the library full of them, and even schedule them on a calendar to hold yourself accountable. The little icons showing how many hours of yoga or other fitness activities completed is also a great motivator  – you could set a goal of a certain number of hours per week for yourself.

Finally, Grokker is great because it also provides a number of healthy and delicious recipes. How about that? You can plan your weekly exercise and meals all in one place?! You know I’m personally psyched about food and fitness in one place.

Ok guys, go check it out now! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

Learning to Love Winter Running

Yes, running in the winter can be tough. But, you’d be surprised how many of us crazies there are that do it and actually enjoy it.

As many will tell you, the hardest part is really the mental prep. Once you’re out there, you’ll see it’s really not that bad.

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I personally learned to love it when I was training for a half marathon. The half was in February in central Florida, but at the time, I was living in Pittsburgh, PA. Treadmills and I don’t get along, and I knew if I didn’t train properly, I’d have a flop of a half marathon. So, I hit the sidewalks in the middle of winter.

Here are some tips, tricks, motivators – what have you – that I picked up along the way:

  1. Run in the morning before you’ve had time to think about how miserable it might be all day long.
  2. Run with someone else whose faster than you. It can be quite dark on a winter morning run. Having someone else a few yards ahead of you encourages you to keep up for fear of being left behind in the dark (sometimes scary) wintery abyss. Plus you get the added challenge of improving your run time, each and every time you get a little bit closer to the person ahead.
  3. Skip the headband and invest in a nice moisture-wicking hat. Even better ladies, find a hat with hole for your pony tail. This helps to keep the hat down and over your ears – so much better than continuously yanking your hat back down over your ears during a run.
  4. Layer zip clothing. It’s so hard to tell how much clothing you’re actually going to need because when you first get outside it’ll feel much more yikes! than when you actually get going and start to warm up your body. (Side note: This is one of the things I love best about winter running. You can feel your body warming from the inside out. Strange I know – but, a great energizing feeling.) If you wear layered clothing that can’t be unzipped, such as a hoodie, there’s no way to alleviate the heat if you get too warm. Zip clothing gives you options for how much fresh air you want to let in over the course of the run – allowing you to accommodate along the way.

Questions of the Day: What motivates you to get out in the cold?

Foodie vs Fitness on Thanksgiving

Hi friends! I’m sorry I’ve been missing for a few days, but I really needed a vacation. And, vacation for me means no computer and no phone. I just loved soaking up some time with friends, family and food of course.

The holidays are always most difficult for those of us who absolutely adore food. And fitness. Since I worry about the balance for 364 days of the year, I try to allow Thanksgiving to be the one day where “calories don’t count,” “sugar is good,” and “extra sour cream is divine,” but it’s still hard to change this mindset.

James and I spend Thanksgiving with hisIMG_1590 family, and his mom always prepares a wonderful spread. Knowing what we were getting into, James and I started the day with a three mile run. It was an especially good run for me because I had to push myself to run faster than I usually do in order to keep up with James (although I was still a good 1000 feet behind him the whole way). I’d like to try the Columbus or Cleveland Turkey Trot next year, so I joked about this being our own trot. If the Turkey Trot is a tradition for you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

As soon as we got back from our run, we immediately killed the fitness buzz and started Thanksgiving with mimosas.

Wonderful smells began to fill the house – smells of turkey, beef tenderloin, roasted root vegetables, brussels sprouts, mushroom ragout, sweet potato souffle, and on and on. The spread in this household never ends.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of turkey. But, the turkey this year; however it was made, was spot on. It was so moist and had the perfect combination of sweet and salty flavors. All I know is that it was made with a bottle of champagne and aromatics (instead of stuffing)… and caused a fire in the oven. Still, I hope this turkey can be replicated in the years to come.

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After salivating while waiting in line to fill my plate, I tried to behave and just take a little scoop of everything. Enough to get a taste. The only dish I took an extra large scoop of was the sweet potato souffle. In years past, this has been my absolute favorite side dish, complete with pecans and brown sugar. So excited, I dove right into the souffle first thing when I sat down, only to make a yowza! face and push the rest to the side. I couldn’t believe how much my tastebuds have changed since cutting back on sugar – what was once my favorite side dish was now too sweet to finish.

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I couldn’t help but laugh at the comparison between my plate and James. He loves his mama’s cookin’!

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We spent the rest of the day enjoying the company of family and friends, watching football, drinking wine and coffee, and playing card games. At about 10:30, the leftovers came out and we all filled ourselves on a second round of Thanksgiving dinner. At this point, I tried to limit myself to my favorites from earlier in the day: the turkey that I raved about (of course), corn pudding, and mashed potatoes topped with mushroom ragout.

With the foodie obviously winning out on Thanksgiving, James and I spent the following day devoted to fitness, hiking around Hocking Hills State Park. James spent much of his childhood splashing around the streams and climbing on the rocks in these parks, so I was really looking forward to finally getting to share these parks with him.

It didn’t matter that we went late in the fall season, the weather was absolutely perfect and the forest was still green because of all the coniferous trees. We started our day at Old Man’s Cave.

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It was almost movie-like – Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia style. There were tons of little nooks and crannies and tunnels that any child (or adult!) could spend hours playing in.

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Within the first five minutes of our hike, James rolled his ankle and stepped in dog poo, so his smile in this photo just might be a fake one!

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But, after some more exploring and stumbling upon some really neat sights, we thoroughly enjoyed our day of hiking. One of my favorite parts of Old Man’s cave was the Devil’s Bathtub. The sandstone in this part of the stream is more “cemented” together than other parts, so the water has nowhere to go but down. Legend says it goes all the way down to hell itself, which is why it got the name Devil’s Bathtub.

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By the time we made it to the lower falls from the upper falls, thoughts of swollen and ankles and dog poo were long gone.

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Next stop was Ash Cave. I’ve never been at a park so loud! The sounds of joyful children running around, playing in the sand and jumping in puddles reverberated off the giant cave wall. I would love to revisit this park on a quieter day to really enjoy the beauty of it.

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Next up was Conkle’s Hollow. This was by far my favorite park; although, for some reason I don’t have many pictures of it. I think because this was the park with the fewest people and the best overlook views, that I just shut down the electronics and enjoyed the nature.

Before heading home, we stopped at one last park – the Rock House – and climbed through some caves.

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Throughout the day we kept up our energy by drinking plenty of water and eating some delicious snacks, like this 180 Trail Mix Crunch (so, so good!). The Cranberry Pomegranate flavor was dee-lish and the Blueberry must have been even better because James didn’t even want to trade a bite with me!

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By the time we got home, we were wiped and ready to melt into the couch with margaritas. James’ mom made some absolutely fabulous veggie pizza with cauliflower crust. I’m going to attempt to replicate this when I get home because we loved it so much; however, she’s such a good cook, I’m not sure if that will be possible. I’ll definitely share it with you if it turns out well.

So, at the end of two days, I was able to find balance between my two loves: food and fitness. This mini-vacation is off to a good start!

How was your Thanksgiving?

3 Simple Morning Workout Hacks

There are three morning workout hacks I firmly standby. Whenever I share these with my snoozing friends, they reel off claims of how it would never work for them, but the truth is you just have to set your mind to it. I know. I used to be one those people reeling off excuses.

First, Make It Habit-Forming

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Building consistency will be hard at first, but just stick with it and you’ll start to operate on cruise control. I promise; making your morning workout consistent sets you up for success. I used to make up a lot of excuses, but after pushing through the hard part and setting up a cruise-control routine, I’m at the point where if I don’t adhere to the routine, my whole day feels thrown off. Routine makes a morning workout just as automatic as brushing your teeth in the morning.

Here’s a glimpse into my own morning routine:

6:00 Alarm 1 goes off
6:15 Alarm 2 goes off. Get out of bed.
6:17 Feed the cats.
6:18 Brew coffee, toast Ezekiel bread and top with almond butter and banana slices
6:23 Settle onto the couch with a blanket, breakfast, coffee and list of morning blogs to read
7:00 Dress for the gym or morning run
7:05 Out the door to work out
7:45 Shower and dress for work
8:15 Out the door for work feeling accomplished

 

Second, Make an Awesome Breakfast

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Plan your breakfast the night before. And, make it so delicious that you’re drooling as you think about it when you get in bed. I’m talking so good, that you can’t wait to get up the next morning to eat it.

 

Third, Listen to Your Body

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Do what feels right based one what your body’s telling you, not based on what the lazy Blerch circling your mind is telling you.

Even better, on the days when your body is saying “no morning workout, please,” don’t sleep in or slump into laziness. Fill the time with something else that will make you feel just as accomplished when you’re driving to work. For me, this might mean working on the blog, reading a chapter or two in my current book, or meal planning for the next week.

Now your turn. What gets you up and motivated in the morning?