Traveling – the fit and healthy edition

I’m gonna go ahead and call this post the traveling – fit and healthy edition.

I basically spent all of Sunday morning prepping for my trip to Cali this week for my second week on the (new) job.

As you can see, I packed a TON of healthy food for this trip. I made my way to Whole Foods on Saturday to stock up (for some reason I had no idea how close the one nearest our house really is, two cities over but surprisingly quick trip…I’ll be back, OFTEN. I was in heaven wandering those aisles!). Some of the items I packed:

  • Larabars – *finally* found the blueberry muffin flavor and the coconut creme, plus my favorite: pb&J. These will come in handy on the plane or as an in-a-pinch breakfast in the office
  • Instant oatmeal – not nearly the same as homemade irish oats on the stove, but it’s better than no oatmeal at all while I’m away. I chose the weight control variety because it’s higher in protein and fiber so while I don’t love the added sugars in it, it’ll work in a situation like this.
  • Bananas and apples – snacks at work or in the AM as part of my breakfast
  • Barney butter 90-cal almond butter packets – to go on top of those bananas and apples (the 90-cal pack is genius btw, love it)
  • 1 oz portions of dry roasted almonds packed in neat little snack bags – to eat before I workout or mid-flight if I get hungry
  • Protein bars – again, an in-a-pinch meal substitute. Protein = filling. Something I’ll need, particularly given how out-of-whack I’ll feel due to the time change (which I’ve learned from my sis who battles it everytime she goes out west for her job)

Whew. That’s quit the list, huh?? But I kinda dig it. I feel prepared for this trip and know that even if I can’t control some of my meals entirely (dinner, especially), at least I have some semblance of control and balance as it relates to breakfast and snack options pre/post-workout and while in flight. This is how I’m creating balance while traveling, amid all that un-routine I’ll be facing.

How else will I be creating balance amid the chaos? By packing lots and lots of workout clothes! So much so that I ended up re-packing my work clothes twice. Choosing one pair of tall boots to go with the three dresses I’ll wear to the office each day. I just couldn’t fit another pair of shoes to wear with pants plus my sneakers and my workout gear. So I swapped the pants and extra shoes for a couple more dresses instead. Priorities, people!

Just for a taste of what that workout gear entails…

  • Running shorts – x3
  • Running tanks – x3
  • Sports bras – x5
  • Socks – x5
  • Sneakers – x1 (and already packed for fear of forgetting them after my pre-flight run)
  • Loose-fitting pants from my kickboxing days (that’s another hint for those of you wondering what this “out of my comfort zone” workout I’ll be trying later tonight! and no – it’s not a kickboxing class).
  • Core Fusion DVDs – x2 (yoga energy flow and power sculpt – it’s not barre n9ne but it’s better than absolutely no core and strength work while I’m away this week!)

As you can see, I had very little room for other essentials. Y’know, like stuff to wear to the office and out to dinner at night. Like I said, I had to choose my battles packing-wise. And what can I say? The workout gear won, hands-down. ;-)

So anyway, I’m en route to Cali today and feeling ready. Anxious, sure. But I’m also excited. To continue testing the waters in my new job and to see how well I handle un-routine this week. At least I know I’ll be traveling fit and healthy this week, something that makes this girl very happy. Plus, I know I’ll have a smiling husband ready to give me the biggest welcome home hug ever when I land on Thursday night. :)

Cheers friends – let’s rock this week, shall we??

Embracing un-routine

With just days left before I close one door and open another, career-wise, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of change….particularly when it comes to routine, something I gravitate towards, crave, even.

With my new job will come some work travel, not a ton, but enough that it’ll get me out of my comfort zone a bit, and well, WAY out of my routine.

My normal response to lack of routine is to get anxious and annoyed that my nice little happy routine is flying out the door. But instead of going that route – and in the name of my no limits mantra for 2012 – I’m going to embrace un-routine.

…which is a huge about-face for me – a self-professed Type-A die hard and someone who loves structure and schedules and plans.

So what’s a girl to do when faced with un-routine? 

Well, you guessed it: I’m going to create an un-routine that will become my go-to when I’m traveling for work. So I’m kind of *still* being my usual Type A/plan-y self, but I’m doing it in a new place, with very few familiar faces, and no boundaries.

What I’m digging about this new job is that it’ll force me to go into uncomfortable situations and just go for it, as fearlessly as I can. So to me that means trying new things, avoiding reverting back to comfortable habits and meeting new people.

And, here are a few ways I plan to do just that, un-routine style:

Stick to my running ways, but in a different format – Maybe I’ll use the gym at the office in CA after I’m done with work for the day vs. hiding out at the gym at my hotel. Might be a great way to interact with my new co-workers in more casual environment, and it’ll give me a chance to try out what I hear are some pretty swank gym digs at that office! Plus, this coming year will be huge for me in terms of keeping up my run-durance, even when traveling. I’ll be in half marathon, and soon, marathon training mode and can’t let work travel interfere with that…at least as much as I can avoid it. So that may mean more treadmill running than I’d like, and maybe even exploring some running routes in a foreign (to me) city…which scares the pants off me…but, again – this is me embracing un-routine, right?

Explore the studios in the area – Sure, I can feed my barre obsession with Core Fusion DVDs in my room, or self-made barre n9ne workouts, but they don’t compare at ALL to the in-studio experience, let’s be honest. But why not explore a few area studios to see what they’re about? There’s a Pure Barre and Dailey Method studio nearby the office – I’ve never tried either…but when in Rome, right? Plus, it’ll give me an excuse to make dates at the barre with blog friend Naomi (the one familiar face I know I’ll see a lot of when I visit the area!!) – bonus!!

Put my food logging ways to the test – This will be a tough one for me. Work travel invariably means far less control over your food – but it can still be in my control if I plan for it. For the plane rides to/from – I’ll be packing lots of healthy snack options (think: 1 oz baggies of almonds, apples with packets of single-serve PB, homemade trail mix, etc.). For the hotel,  I’ll hit the grocery store once I’m settled for lots of water, fruit, quick breakfast options (I’m not usually a fan of protein bars but in this situation,  it works), etc. It would be a dream come true if the hotel room had a fridge in it so I could buy yogurt and stuff, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. Lunch and dinner will be more difficult to plan for, but again, not impossible. The office café will no doubt have a salad bar where I can create a healthy and yummy lunch and I’ve already google mapped my hotel to see how far Whole Foods and/or Trader Joes is, as an option for lunch or dinner too. ;-) And I’ll be damned, there will be one night per trip where I’ll order a glass of wine for the room – or even be a rebel and drink a glass all alone at the hotel bar…that would be a huge step for me, so this one may take baby steps.

Of course – I will do my best not to be antisocial when traveling to the office in Cali – if co-workers want to go out to dinner while I’m there, I won’t turn down the offer. I want to get to know these people as much as I can especially since much of our interaction when I’m remote will be on the phone or via email. But, there’s also something to be said for a quiet night in my hotel room with my homemade dinner from Whole Foods, a glass of wine, and my laptop for blogging fun, right?

And yes, all of these un-routine tips, tricks and ideas largely stem from what my sis has learned and experienced while she’s been at this work travel thing in a much bigger way than me this past year. She has some awesome tips I know I’ll be referring to OFTEN in the next few months. I hope she doesn’t mind. ;-)

But all in all? Despite the lack of routine that comes with travel, I’m oddly really excited for this change of pace (aside from the sad goodbyes with Scott at the airport…I can’t help it, I love him so!!). I know I need this stage of “discomfort” to grow and change and evolve. And, given that this is my year of no limits, I may as well put it to the test as often as possible, in as many scenarios as possible. So this is me, hanging on for dear life, for what will be a wild ride, but one that I am more than ready for, embracing un-routine and all.

Core Fusion: revisited.

So, as I alluded to earlier this week, yesterday *may* have included a surprise visit to Exhale Spa to take a Core Fusion class with the one and only Fred Devito. My sis and I have taken two of his classes before and each time have been totally impressed with his calm, open demeanor and the way he can push you to try harder, focus more, work harder, in his classes.

And last night’s class was no different in that regard.

Fred was great, total class act, and definitely gave us the sweatfest we were looking for.

But what was different for us last night?
Two things, really.

First - how we felt in class. The last time we took one of Fred’s classes was just before we started the barre n9ne 60-day challenge. Both my sis and I were in fairly low places, body confidence wise at that point. Little did we know what the next four months was about to do for us, in us, around us. Transformative. That’s how I’d describe it, as I’ve said about a million times by now! ;-)

And last night? We both walked away feeling like we held our own. Like we belonged. Like we did our best to own the barre (trust me, it owned me plenty of times, too!). We felt confident. Happy. Strong.

Second, though? We walked away from class having an even bigger appreciation for the barre. After taking countless barre n9ne classes in the past four months, we’ve grown used to lots and lots of time (literally) spent at the barre. Much more so than what we got out of last night’s Core Fusion class.  I actually (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) found myself sort of bummed when the barre work was essentially over after 10 minutes during Core Fusion last night.

Shocking – we actually LIKE more time at the barre versus less, who knew?? <—do you hear that Tanya? Does this mean I need to brace myself for the next barre fusion or barre method class I take??

In all, I really loved getting back to Core Fusion and having a chance to see Fred again. Especially given how changed I feel today versus the last time we took one if his classes.

What it also reminded me? That I utterly and totally have the barre running through my veins.

Yes, friends. It’s official:

Hi, My name is Jessica and I am a barre (n9ne) addict. 
That is all. :)

On practicing what I preach

Soooo…apparently I’m *really* good at doling out advice and chatting up words of wisdom with ya’ll but the real question is:

Do I practice what I preach??

I give myself a “hell yeah!” on that one, and here’s why…

…last week I talked about my love/hate relationship with the dreadmill. You all offered up some awesome advice — and made me feel much better about not being the only one who has a hard time staying on the treadmill longer than a couple of miles.

So guess what I did the very next morning? I faced that dreadmill vs. going for a run outdoors (which I totally could have done that morning, too). And I managed 6.4 miles in just about an hour. On the dreadmill.

Amazing, right? Wellll…kinda.

Two things that worked for me and got me over that 6.0 mile hump:
- I tweeted out my intentions the night prior. Holy motivation and accountability! Whenever I wanted to hop off the treadmill early the next morning, I thought back to that tweet and soldiered on. Call it pride. Call it stubborness. Call it accountability. Whatever. It totally kept me moving, no matter how much I wanted to call it quits early.

- I found a TV show on-demand that I hadn’t watched in awhile and figured it would keep me good and preoccupied for the hour. Totally worked. I got caught up in the storyline and it was enough distraction to keep me chugging along (that and once I got over the 3 mile hump, it somehow felt less painful as the miles started to tick by, oddly enough).  And believe it or not, the longer I stuck to the miles, the quicker my pace – by the end of that hour, I was running in the 7.0- 7.5 range, with a final kick of 8.5!

…I mentioned staying “there” in the final mile or two of each run, focusing on pushing hard, staying in the moment versus letting my mind wander. On Sunday, I put that one to the test as well. My legs were kind of unhappy with me after Saturday’s 8-miler so we went with an old familiar 4.5 mile loop of ours. It was a gorgeous Sunday morning, nice fall feel to the air, ideal for running. My legs got me through the first 4 miles and I was about ready to phone it in for that last .5 mile. But I thought of that post, and my husband’s advice to stay ‘there” and I focused as hard as I could that final half mile. ANd I pushed it. Wicked hahd. Kinda felt like I wanted to puke near the end. Mission: accomplished. 

So yeah…I ‘spose I do practice what I preach, huh? Who knew?! ;-)

And on that note, cheers to what I’m hoping will be a fantastic week, filled with awesome running weather, lots of barre n9ne and maybe, just maybe, a surprise visit to Core Fusion (more on this later).  A fun, fitness filled week…I’ll throw that on my “to enjoy” list for the week. How ’bout you? 

On workout “cycles…”

So last night I hit up Group Kick – a class I not only love, love, love, but am also certified to teach, as you know. My sis and I reacted the exact same way to the class last night. Which totally inspired this very blog post.

Our reaction? 

In a word: “Meh.”

It was just ok. And at first I wasn’t sure why.
I thought well – maybe I was tired (truth). Or, I don’t love the new release as much as previous releases (truth). Or, maybe it was simply just an “off” workout for me (maybe?). They aren’t all going to be rockstar, right?

As soon as I mentioned it to my sis, she agreed, 100%. <—shocking, right? 

SO, in talking about all the reasons why we felt so “meh” afterwards, we came to an interesting conclusion. My sis mentioned the whole concept of workout “cycles.”

YES! That’s it exactly: whether we know it or not, we all go through workout “cycles.” Cycles where we love a particular workout, cannot get enough of it. And months later – we’ve moved onto something else.

For me, this has happened much more often for me than I realized (until I started writing this post, even)

…it’s happened with weight training. (and came flooding back, as you’ve seen here)

…it’s happened a million times with core work. (thank you Core Fusion, and now, Barre N9NE!)

…it’s happened with cardio, even. (until a particularly killer Ride class lures me back in).

…it’s happened with running.(thank you running mojo for slowly coming back!)

But one workout that never seemed to be impacted was Kick.
Until now.

I mean, sure – after the high of getting certified kind of “wore off,” I was maybe slightly less kick-crazy, but I still loved it. I still love it even though I don’t teach anymore. And until last night, I still loved getting to class at least once per week for a nice ass-kicking workout.

But apparently, it’s time for me to push Kick aside for a bit. A little time away may do me some good – and let’s be honest, timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the Barre N9NE challenge starting next week, I surely will not have time for a workout I’m not even digging all that much lately. So, I’m ready to say “goodbye” (for now) to Kick, in favor of new challenges. I’m pretty sure Kick will be back in my life in some shape or form soon, but for now, I’m at peace with it.

Does this whole concept of workout “cycles” make sense and/or resonate with you? Or am I one of few that tends to cycle through workout loves now and then? I sure hope I’m not in the minority on this one – especially since I firmly believe that switching it up is the best way to continually see results, and to stick to workouts consistently. But I’m anxious to hear what you think? Discuss, please. :)

What I worked Wednesday (and Mon, and Tues, and…)

What a week it’s been so far! I had the best of intentions to write a post today about my favorite workout of the week but guess what? It was too hard to pick just one so I figured I’d dedicate today’s post toWhat I worked Wednesday (and then some).”  I hope you don’t mind. ;-)

Sunday – leg day! Had to make up for last week’s skipped leg workout so I made sure it was a doozy.  Four sets of supersets done 3×20 style. Included lunges, squats (with and without weight), deadlifts, plie squats (still feeling those!), calf raises and side-slide and slide-back lunges. Finished off with a bit of Core Fusion abs (from my growing collection of Core Fusion DVDs of course). Love!

Mondaypuke-worthy run with Scott.

TuesdayBarre N9NE class which I LOVED so much. It was a fusion style class and kicked my behind, like whoa! I just LOVE how I feel both during a barre-style class and right afterwards. The only way to describe it is body-shaking and totally detoxifying.

Today – sweatfest of a Ride class. It was a new release today that was killer…plus the room was super warm for some reason today which left me dripping (good day to forget my towel, oy). I swear, I’m still sweating now!

Whew! Great workout week so far! Sometimes that’s all it takes to make my week that much better (in between that thing called work, right??). And there’s more to come, woohoo! So – my question to you: can you pick out your favorite workout(s) of the week? How did it make you feel? What made it your favorite?

In all honesty, I love every single workout I fit in for one main reason: I’m able and I totally appreciate that. Whoa-ly. 

Two (good) things Tuesday

There sure is something to be said for positive thinking. My all GOOD post from yesterday on how I envisioned this week panning out is paying off so far.

So today’s post is all about two (good) things Tuesday. 

First up? My run this morning. It was as close to runner’s high as I’ve gotten in months. I won’t classify it as a top ten run but it was definitely my best longer (of late) run for me. It was *only* about 4.5 miles but it was a run where the miles didn’t hurt. The brain didn’t throw me into panic-I-hate-this mode.  It was hard. And that felt good.

It reminded me of something my husband always tells me (and clearly I must have forgotten this fact) – if you’re doing it right, running should always be a challenge. It should never feel “easy” or “effortless.”  Sure – some days you might feel like you could run forever. Those are rare days in the world of running. And I think part of my problem is that I forgot that fact. In all my haste to get back to runner’s high again, I guess I sort of idealized running in my head a little bit.

Because the fact of the matter isI run because it IS hard. It IS challenging. And it makes me feel alive.
Bottom line. 

So, I’m feeling good and confident again that I am still indeed very much a runner. A runner that lost her way for a little bit, but a runner through and through. And that feels damn good.

What else is making me feel good? The fact that my sis and I discovered an awesome alternative to trekking into the city for Core FusionBarre N9NE is a studio near both of us that we tried for the first time last night (thank you Gilt Boston!). And it was SUCH fun, a great workout, and pretty similar to the barre-style that Core Fusion is known so well for. The one piece I’ll admit that was slightly amiss for me was the body-mind connection/inspiration piece that Core Fusion teachers at Exhale are known for. I really dig that part of the class – the guidance to look inward, to dig deep, to focus on connecting your breathing with your movements.

But honestly? Aside from that, I loved the class – and that it does give me an alternative to Boston which means I’m more likely to stick with barre-style sessions consistently, something I fully believe I need to continue to do to build a strong core, and long, lean muscles. But let me be clear, that doesn’t mean I am not still fully committed to Core Fusion and Exhale. They will always hold “first place” in my heart. I just can’t help it. ;-)

Two (good) things Tuesday – running, running, running, and a local Core Fusion alternative. Wee! 
What’s on your good list for today?? 

Friday faves – weight training DVD’s edition

Weeeee, it’s Friday!!!!!
Whew. Sorry – just had to get that out of my system. ;-)

ALSO – before I forget: I changed my twitter handle. I am keeping @jsutera654 for professional use mainly and have created a separate handle for my personal life (i.e. fitness, food, wine, y’know the drill by now). Please start following me here: @JessFit654. I started following all of you guys last night but if I missed you, please follow back! Who knew creating a new handle would be so stressful!!

Anyway, I’ve been riding quite a high after last night’s incredibly inspired Core Fusion class with Fred DeVito. It amazes me what a long-lasting impact just one class with him has on me. Seriously. And I’m pretty darn sore in the glutes/thighs and core region. Nice ‘n toasty, love that!

Before I get to the final post in my weight training series, I thought I’d share my workout from this morning. I won’t lie, it wasn’t my best effort, I think I was a little sleepy this morning. Plus, I think I might have held back a bit as I’m hoping to go for a run this afternoon since the weather tomorrow looks like a total fail of a forecast (rainy, cloudy, ick) so I might have to nix the run tomorrow in favor of Ride or another indoor activity. See? Always planning ahead. ;-)

Back/Biceps/Triceps – endurance-style

Back – straight sets
pull-ups – bodyweight only; 3×10
bent-over rows w/dumbells @25 lbs; 3×15
Deadlifts @40 lbs; 3×15

Biceps/Triceps – supersets
Superset#1: barbell curl @25 lbs w/lying tricep extensions @25 lbs; 3×15
Superset #2: Hammer curls @15lbs w/dips on the bench (bodyweight); 3×15
Superset #3: medicine ball preacher curls @10 lbs (double-arm); tricep kickbacks @10 lbs (double-arm) <—these preacher curls got me good, love them!

Now – onto some Friday Faves – weight training, style. A few of you mentioned you’d love to start out with doing some weight lifting at home so I thougth I’d share with you some of my absolute favorite weight training DVDs. 

Butts & Guts - this is an older Cathe Friedrich workout but my absolutely FAVORITE lower body workout. Really gets the butt GOOD. Uses mainly light handweights or body weight only activity, plus lots of floor work (love to hate). She actually just released an “updated” version of this workout called Lower Body Blast, highly recommend this one, too. :)

Pyramid Upper and Pyramid Lower Body - this is great for those of you who want to get at least one upper and one lower body workout in a week. As I mentioned in my post on styles of weight training, this workout is based on pyramids, or three sets of one exercise “up” the pyramid and then the same three exercises back down. You increase the weight to the top of the first three sets and then decrease back down. Realllly good burner. This one also has a great pre-mix that incorporates some upper and lower body workout for those of you who want to try a full body workout once a week.

STS (Shock Training Sytem) - ‘nuf said. This is an amazing workout series. It’s pricey, and it requires a time commitment (3 1/2 month rotation) but absolutely worth it).

Core Fusion Body Sculpt – my favorite Core Fusion DVD as it really does mimic the class experience the closest. Includes light handweights at the start and then bodyweight only work for the rest of the workout. Full body workout. Amazing.

Core Fusion Lean & Toned - this is my second favorite Core Fusion DVD, really focuses on the lengthening/strengthening idea behind Core Fusion. Mix of light handweights, body weight work and lots of stretching. Love.

STS Total Body – This is a newer Cathe workout as well – if you aren’t ready to invest in the full STS series, you could try this one out and see what you think. As the name implies, its a full body workout and is based mostly on the second phase of STS which is the hypertrophy phase (lower reps, mid-level weights).

High Reps - Another new one from Cathe. A great workout from an endurance perspective as it’s all about lighter weights but TONS of reps. It is killer, not gonna lie. This is another total body workout, btw.

Hm, I am pretty sure I could go on for weeks about my favorite workouts to do at home…or you could just check out this pic and you’ll spy lots more workout DVDs to try from my personal collection. ;-)

Overheard at Core Fusion…

…”Focus on your journey…a journey that never ends.(fitness)”

Spoken by the one and only Fred DeVito, founder of Core Fusion and Exhale Spas.

You might remember the last time my sis and I took a class of his last time he was in Boston. It went something like this:

That was life changing…

I didn’t think. I just moved.

And it was unreal just how motivating it was, and incredibly detoxfying. I even tried some moves I was only modifying before and I was stunned to see that I didn’t do a half bad job at the “real” version of flat back, for example. Just his encouragement was all I needed – he came by during that very move and said “tomorrow – you’ll get there” and just smiled. And I beamed with pride

Yeah, it was just like that. Again.

Only this time? I felt even more confident in my movements. Even stronger. More in control. More in the moment.

And, remember those moves I talked about mastering?
Yeah, I still haven’t mastered them. Truthfully, I never will.

As Fred said, fitness is a journey that never ends. And working through Core Fusion is part of that journey for me in such a big way. I was just so incredibly proud of myself tonight for the changes I saw in some of those moves. Moves I thought I’d never get better at back during my original Core Fusion Challenge.

The curl? MUCH stronger and more control.
Flat back/round back series? Yup, still have majorly tight hamstrings but the more I do these moves, the better it’s getting.

And I dig it. So much.

But really, it truly has become all about the journey for me. Not just with Core Fusion but with all of these fitness goals I place before me. Goals that are no longer about the numbers. Not about schedules. Not about structure.

Running.
Weight training.
Swimming (someday!).
Core Fusion.

A journey.
My journey. 
A journey that never ends.

Weight training, I promise it’s not scary

After last week’s round of comments on my post about weight lifting, I had to write a follow-up post (or two or three!) on the topic of weight training for women.

It’s sad to me that there is such a big fear factor over weight training amongst women – because truly, it is so, so, so good for you on many levels (more on this later). And mentally – I have to say, it instills a sense of power and confidence that I can’t replicate with other workouts.

So, here are my tips for how to make weight training both approachable but also sustainable. I heard from you that it is scary or an “unknown” for you, or that you just can’t seem to commit to a regular weight training routine at all. You need a goal to work towards (like a race) to stick with something, but with weights, there isn’t necessarily such a tangible end goal or “end” at all.

Weight-training-I promise-it’s-not-scary-tips*:
*Remember – I’m no pro, this is just my advice from personal experiences only

  1. If you’re intimidated by the gym…consider starting out with weight training at home. All you really need to get started are a few dumbells in various increments (5 lbs; 8 lbs; 10 lbs; 15lbs is a good starting point for a beginner) and either a handy-dandy workout “borrowed” from your favorite blogger (hint hint!) or a workout DVD that takes you through the steps (like my friend Cathe Friedrich who taught me so much about proper form – all in a DVD no less!)
  2. Take a weight lifting class at your gym. This one is huge for those of you who LOVE the vibe of a group fitness class but typically gravitate towards cardio-based group classes only. This is equally huge for those of you looking for form pointers and are afraid of injury. You should get solid direction from your instructor, and in some cases, they’ll walk around the room and correct your form if needed.
  3. If you’re comfortable, even just a little bit with going to the weight room at your gym (I know some of you are) – consider starting out slowly with your own weight routine. Start with one body part a day after you get your cardio fix on. For biceps – start with bicep curls with a set of dumbells, then shift to a set of bicep curls done with a barbell (it works the muscle differently), and finish with a set of incline curls on a weight bench. It could be as simple as that. You can start going crazy with “drop-sets” and “trisets” and “supersets” later, but get comfortable with the weights first, and the exercises (note why is that word so hard to spell?!). Get them down first before going into the more advanced weight work (and I will do a post on all of these fun types of weight workouts next, I promise).
  4. For those of you who are comfortable with weights but just can’t figure out how to stick to it? Consider a one-month rotation. Create your own 3x/week weight workout that incorporates two days of upper body and one day of lower body work (I’ll create a sample schedule for you in a follow-on post) and map it out for the month, gradually increasing your weight little by little. And by the end of the month, check out those “guns” in the mirror – I can guarantee you they’ll be more toned and defined. Feel free to measure before/after if that’s your thing. Or take before/after pics if you need that for tangible motivation. For me – my motivation is more mental, I love how weight lifting makes me feel so strong and confident. And wearing a tank top with killer arms in the summer isn’t a bad mental image either, not gonna lie. ;-)
  5. Above all else, figure out what works for you. For some of you – lighter weights with tons of reps may feel “good” for you. For others, going heavier but with less reps might be more your speed. You might hate working out in your gym but love it at home, or you might only want to take a group fitness class (like Group Power or Body Pump) because you like the group fitness atmosphere. Or you might find that you love Cathe as much as I still do, today! And maybe, just maybe you’ll realize that with consistent effort, you’ll find that sense of empowerment I mentioned above about weight lifting. At the end of the day though, this is about you and what makes you feel strong and fit and healthy and powerful. Am I right?

So yeah, this is turning into a series of posts from me. I’ve hinted at the topics I plan to cover here, but feel free to ask for others and I’ll add them in! This will be fun! :)

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And if you’re wondering…last night I ended up with a mix of my “revised” workout plan of Core Fusion but added in a weight workout. Of the leg (oww) and shoulders variety.

Shoulders – supersets, endurance-style (my favorite – high reps, low weights)

Shoulders superset #1: shoulder presses (barbell-style)@27.5 lbs; followed by upright rows (barbell-style) @27.5lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each

Shoulders superset #2: Front raises @7.5 lbs followed by lateral raises @7.5 lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each

Legs – trisets, baby!

Triset #1: Squats w/barbell @40lbs, deadlifts @40 lbs, lungs (bodyweight only)

Triset #2: slide-back lunges with paper plates (bodyweight only); plie squats @30 lbs; calf raises @20 lbs

Followed that all up with some lengthening leg work  (10 min segment) and core work (another 10 min segment) from Core Fusion Lean & Toned, one of my favorites. Niiiice and toasty when all was said and done. Just the way I like it. :)