Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to Survive a New Group Ex Class

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Trying anything new is always indimidating.  I was inspired to write this post as I went to my normal saturday Bar Method class, and about half the class was new.  I used to be a group ex instructor and have been new to so many classes that I’ve picked up some tips to help ease those first day jitters.

Arrive 15 Minutes Early to Class.

This way you can have plenty of time to check in, find the locker room etc.  I’m really bad with directions, so whenever I’m trying out a new place I get there extra early so that I’m not stressed out and rushing in.

Let the Instructor Know You are New

Instructors are generally there early and can give you some insight on what equipment you need for the class and the general format.  Also if you have a specific injury, let them know ahead of time that you may need modifcations throughout class.

Don’t Hide in the Back

You want the instructor to be able to give you quick feedback and that is going to be more difficult if you are in the back where he or she can barely see you.  I know you won’t want to stand front and center, but try the 2nd row. And if there’s a mirror, make sure you can see yourself.

No One is Judging You

If it’s a tough class, people are going to be more concerned about themselves making it through than anything.  Focus on yourself and how you feel.  Look around and you will see that no one is looking at you.

It’s Okay if you can’t do Everything

It can take a little while to get used to the flow and specifics of a class.  Don’t be hard on yourself the first day, do what you can and listen to your body.  If something feels painful, then stop.  If you feel like you need a water break, then take a break.  Remember this is new to your body, so let it get acclimated gradually.

Keep It Simple

Don’t try any advanced options the first day of class, really focus on your form.  It’s better to start small and build up, than try an advanced option and end up doing it wrong or hurting yourself.

Lastly, Have Fun!

Smile.  You pushed yourself, tried something new, and survived!

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I hope everyone is having a good Saturday so far! I’ve been able to do my normal routine of sleeping in, working out, and grocery shopping.  We’re heading over to a friends house tonight for a Halloween party and am doing some last minute touches on our costumes…..I’ll share the final results tomorrow!

So this is slightly random, but I need to share what I found when doing some blog reading this morning……A PUMPKIN KEG!  So cool!!! Courtney at Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life wrote a post about how to make it.  Just awesome. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll have time before our party tonight, but maybe I’ll remember that for next year 🙂

Going to any Halloween parties this weekend?

Any more tips for being a newbie to a group ex class?

Later!

~M

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Fit Apps And Monday Funny

Well we all survived Monday.  Besides Fridays, leaving work on a Monday is a great feeling- partially because I usually stay at home, sit on the couch, and relax.  (Sometimes with a glass of wine too!)  I actually used to look forward to Mondays because (don’t judge) the Bachelor & Bachelorette was on.  The hubby is pretty happy there is a little break from it for now. ( I don’t even know when the next season starts?) So now our tv is usually on Monday Night Football. 🙂

Anyways, tonight I decided to do a quick at-home workout.  On my lunch break today I was playing around on my phone and realized how much I have been neglecting my Nike Training App! So sad.  This little app is very user friendly and has so many options for workouts.

There are 4 General Categories: Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, and Get Focused.  Each category has at least 6 different workout routines included.  I chose the “Get Focused” section and the “Better Butt” routine.  Hey, why not? I have a Halloween costume to wear on Saturday night. 🙂  The app shows detailed pictures of the exercises, counts down for you (most of the routines are timed), and lets you set music to the workout!

Here’s a little sample:

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Here’s my goal for the week, thanks to Pinterest!

Lol. I had to share.

What are your favorite fitness apps?

~M

Rock Your Body Workout

Happy Sunday Blogger Friends!

I’ve had a pretty uneventful weekend, which was exactly my plan.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having social weekends, but also need my downtime.  I woke up on Saturday at 9:30 and went on to lay around, eat breakfast, and play on my phone for over an hour.  It was fabulous.

Another reason I love my quiet weekends is that I can get in plenty of workout time.  And that makes me oh so happy! I got in a run Saturday afternoon (about 5 miles) and went to my Bar Method class this morning.  Tonight we are going to stop being anti-social and have dinner at a friends house. Perfect end to a quiet weekend.

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I also had some extra time to think up a new circuit! I present to you the “Rock Your Body Workout.”  All you will need is a yoga mat and a set of dumbbells.  Grab a lighter set (3, 5, 8#’s) as this circuit is going to challenge your muscle endurance.

Perform each exercise in the circuits (the group of 3 exercises) for 1 minute. And Repeat each circuit  twice.

(Sorry the graphic on the first circuit is kind of hard to read, it looked great when I pulled it up on its own and now that it’s in the post it looks kind of fuzzy 😦 Boo! I’m still learning…).

*Circuit 1*

(Hold arms up close to shoulder height and rotate arms forward, as if you are riding a bike.  Repeat in the opposite direction the 2nd time through the set)

~Don’t Forget Your 1 Minute Plank~

*Circuit 2*

Pick one leg to start with and perform on the opposite side the 2nd time through.

~ 1 Minute Plank~

*Circuit 3*

That’s all for today!

~Marielle

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Use Your Core!

Wednesday, Wednesday.

Nothing super exciting seems to happen on Wednesdays.  For me anyways- I’m busy, tired, and in my work mode.  I decided today was a good day to take a day off from working out…..I’ve been working out everyday since Saturday, so I needed a relaxing evening.   I was actually looking forward to coming home and chilling out a bit….I think this is necessary for me sometimes to make it through the week.  If I let my days always stay “go go go”, I get pretty stressed out and physically exhausted.  So tonight I’m making dinner (baking salmon, YUM) and the hubby and I are going to watch the Season 2 Premiere of “American Horror Story.”  If any of you haven’t seen this show yet, CHECK IT OUT! It’s super creepy but really well written and the acting is pretty amazing.

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We have all heard of “Core Training” as it’s been a craze for the past few years (as it should be).  The core is an important link between our upper and lower body.  Today, I wanted to review some quick facts about why the core is important and a way to start training it correctly.  Traditional abdominal exercises (sit ups etc) have typically focused on the Rectus Abdominis muscle (the “6 Pack Muscle).  But when we neglect our deep inner core muscles, regardless of how strong our big external muscles are, we can be vulnerable to injury and our bodies may not function at its peak efficiency.

To begin core training, it’s suggested to start with the activation of the inner core muscles as a foundation.  Today I’m going to review the Transverse Abdominis (TA) and an exercise you can do to strengthen and use it correctly.  Research has also shown that strengthening the TA is key for alleviating back pain.  Ideally, the TA is the first muscle you fire when you move, which gives your body support.  With injury, pain, or disuse, the normal firing pattern can get out of sinc.

The TA is the deepest abdominal muscle that runs horizontally across your midsection.  It wraps around your waist like a corset, stabilizing your spine.

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So, How Do I Activate It? 

The goal is to isolate the TA from the Rectus muscle.  You activate your TA by drawing your belly button up and in toward your spine.  It is important to initiate this engagement down low. Think of a spot an inch or two below your belly button. Remember you don’t need to give these muscles the death squeeze- you should be able to breath normally and carry on a normal conversation.  They are support muscles, so you need them for your entire workout- not just 2 sets.

There are many cues for this action: bring your belly button to your spine, scoop in, hollow out, zip it up (like zipping up a tight pair of pants)

Give it a Try!  Practice this anywhere- when sitting at stoplights, in line at the grocery store, etc.  This is basic, but a good stepping stone to more challenging core strengthening.

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On another note I’m excited to say that I’m now a  “Healthy Living Blogger.”   Here’s a quick run down of what the HLB is all about:

“Healthy Living Blogs was designed to enhance the already tight-knit, supportive community of the healthy living blog world. An amazingly strong connection is formed when like-minded individuals come together to encourage one another, and that’s exactly what HLB is here to accomplish. Find new blogs that blow you away. Find new inspiration. Find people in your geographic area to meet and encourage and support you in real life.”

I’m happy to be a part of this community of same-minded bloggers….I hope to make some new connections and learn some blogging tips! I’ll also get the opportunity to guest post on their “Healthy Living Tuesdays.”  Exciting stuff ahead!! 🙂

I hope everyone gets the chance to relax and breath this week…..and hey, while you are doing this why not try some TA activation??

Later friends!

~M~

Booty Shaper Workout

Happy Sunday All!

I love finishing all my errands done early on Sunday and now I have the rest of the day to do whatever I want. I got a 6 miler done this morning, met a girlfriend for coffee, went to trader joe’s and now I’m back!

It felt really good to get in a long run, but I could tell it’s been awhile….the last mile was a little tough and I definitely slowed down my pace. I haven’t ran a 1/2 marathon since last November, so I’m starting to get the itch. I usually like to have about 3 months to train for a half, so I’m going to start looking for one in January or February. Im excited to get back to a training! Today I also downloaded a couple new songs to add to my playlist, which always motivates me to run a little faster. Here’s a little sample:

On a random tangent, it seems that everyone is starting to get as obsessed with Pumpkin flavored foods & goodies as much as me, and I love it. I’m excited to try this one out…..

Yummy! I also can’t believe Halloween is in 2 weeks!! What the heck. I’ll see if I can convince the hubby to go to a pumpkin patch or haunted house next weekend. 🙂

Here are some pics I took while getting a water break on my run this morning. I swear beach pictures can never get old.

Onto the Workout…

For Lunges, Donkey Kicks, & Leg Circles complete the listed # of reps on both sides!

Remember with lunges and squats always keep knee on top of ankle (not past), and in line with 2nd toe. With the bridges, make sure to keep core tight and not let your back arch.

Get off the couch and get that booty shakin’. Enjoy!

-Marielle

Desk Stretches

Happy Saturday All!

I’m slowly getting back into my normal routine since returning from our trip.  I woke up early went to my Bar Method class, got a Pumpkin Spiced Latte (I really missed these when I was gone- I don’t think Europeans are as obsessed with pumpkin as we are here), and now I’m back home doing some laundry and cleaning up.  The hubby really missed watching football the past 2 weeks while we were away, so we’ll be finding a bar later tonight to do just that. 🙂

After surviving (barely) our 12 hour flight home earlier this week, it got me thinking about all the poor people that have to sit at a desk all day.   When we got home from the flight my body felt very tight and uncomfortable.  So, I wanted to share a few simple stretches that you can try at work to relieve some of the tension and stress.   It may also be helpful to stretch spontaneously throughout the day any area of the body that feels tense for a minute or two.  Hold all the stretches for 30-60 seconds.

Hamstring Stretch

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The sitting position puts the hamstrings in its shortest position, so after sitting for 8 hours, the back of your legs probably feel a little tight.  Stand up and place your leg on your chair, with your leg straight tuck your pelvis under and bend forward at your hip until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg.  The stretch should be held at the point you feel slight discomfort.

Chest Doorway Stretch

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While staring at a computer all day you may also find your head forward and your shoulders are rounded, which puts your chest in a shortended position.  Stand in a doorway with one arm anchored in the door frame with arm bent at approximently 90 degrees, turn your body away (rotate your torso) until you feel a stretch in your chest and the front of your shoulder. Repeat on the opposite side.

Wrist Stretches

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Lots of mousing and typing can also cramp up your forearms.   Hold your arm straight out in front of you, with elbow straight and your palm facing down.  Push down until you feel a stretch on the top of your forearm.  For the opposite muscle group, hold your arm straight out in front of you with your elbow straight and this time face your palm up towards the ceiling.  Pull back on the hand until you feel a stretch on the opposite side of your forearm.

I hope these help! Now here are some of my favorite pics from the trip!

Planking away in Nice, France

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Castles in Dublin, Ireland

Big Beers at Oktoberfest

Monte Carlo….Probably the coolest place I’ve ever seen

Until next time!

Hotel Room Workout

I’m back!!! I feel like I am in a time warp since we flew in yesterday. It’s already October 10th??? Craziness! I couldn’t use my phone much while away so I never really knew what day it was or what was going on in the blog world, sad! We took a direct flight from Paris to LA yesterday that was about 12 hours. Ugh. Longest flight I have ever taken. I have a hard time sleeping on planes, so luckily I was distracted by our awesome movie selection. I watched Juno (love that movie), Savages, Lady and the Tramp, and a few tv shows. Whew! I felt so sluggish after sitting for that long. I did make sure to drink a lot of water throughout the flight, so that I could be forced to get up for a couple of minutes to go to the restroom.

We tried to get adjusted to the time change, but were seriously struggling last night. I went on a Starbucks run at 6 pm last night and we only lasted until about 8:30 (about 4:30 am Europe time!). Needless to say I woke up at 4 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. 😦 I was productive in the wee hours this morning and did some laundry, the dishes, uploaded my pictures, and started blogging. And the hubby is still fast asleep right now…lucky!

So the big question- was I able to workout on my vacation? Yes! We walked for hours almost everyday, and it was a great way to explore the cities. The last day in Rome we walked from our hotel to the Colosseum, to the Vatican, and back. We got lost a few times, which extended our walk to about 4 hours. 🙂 We also went on a hike in Dublin, and I was able to go on a run twice while we were in France. I’m still excited to get back to my regular workout routine, but am happy I didn’t come back feeling like a blob.

If any of you have traveled to Europe, then you know how tiny the rooms usually are. This forced me to be creative to get in some sort of strength work. This is also a workout you can do at home as a quick “I don’t have time to workout, workout.” (Ha- too many workouts??)

Have you ever worked out in a hotel room?

Any tips to cure jet lag?

I’ll be back soon with some pics from the trip! 🙂

-M