Workout: ‘Fall Back’ Into Fitness This Season

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Has summer sidelined you from your usual fitness routine? Don’t beat yourself up; just recommit to making exercise a priority as you set your fall schedule.

Easier said than done, though, right? 

Well, give me 20 minutes, and I’ve got a fun way to help get you back on track. Perform this tabata-style routine a few times times a week, and you’ll set yourself up for better success by the time the holiday frenzy hits.

Or if you’ve been consistent over the past few months, this workout is also a great addition to your current regimen. Whether you’re short on time, need to switch up your routine or want improve endurance and speed, it’s one of the most efficient ways to burn fat and build lean muscle.

So set the timer, and get ready for what will likely feel like the longest four minutes of your life!

Are you revamping your fitness plans for fall?
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Are We Fitness ‘Fadded’ Out?

From big box gyms to boutique fitness studios. From hot yoga to cold workouts. From barefoot to maximalist running shoes. From quality of life to quantified self.

No matter which way the pendulum seems to swing, we never seem to tire of chasing after the latest fitness fad. And while each new twist on tradition is encouraging — it means that the general population recognizes the importance of being active — I can’t help but think that the more we’re consumed with distracting ourselves from the actual task at hand, the more we’re missing the point.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for keeping fitness fun and mixing up workouts to make things more interesting. But where’s the line between science and marketing, safe and potentially dangerous, effective and inherently counterproductive?

Case in point: ThighMaster, Shake Weight, 8-Minute Abs, Ab Roller (and countless more). ‘Nuff said.

Sure, fads can be fun; I’ve tried my fair share over the years. But when they derail you from legitimately pursuing better fitness, they do more harm than good.

So how do you avoid getting scammed? I’ve got five tips for deciding whether or not you should jump on the bandwagon or throw in the towel when it comes to that next trendy workout:

  1. Don’t believe all the hype. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Take celeb endorsements with a grain of salt. They’re paid to tell you that!
  3. Remind yourself that there’s no quick fix. Real, lasting results take time and effort.
  4. When in doubt, do some digging. Is there scientific proof behind the claims?
  5. Invest only in what works — for you. There’s no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all answer.

As your body evolves so will your fitness program, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

The secret to getting fit — for good — is actually a lot more simple than you’d think: Find and do what works best for you.

Are fitness fads our friends or foes? 

The I’m-Having-So-Much-Fun-I-Forgot-I’m-Exercising Workout

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It’s become a joke this season on our Team LUNA Chix Portland Run team that it’s either scorching or pouring when we meet, so after several weeks of record-high temps I knew it was time to reach into my bag of tricks to get everyone motivated amid the malaise. We did this workout a few weeks ago, and it went over so well that I wanted to share it here.

Ever get one of those days where you’re just struggling to get that workout done? Whether it’s trying to get out the door or waffling on which type of exercise to do, this is the perfect way to fool your body into getting active when your brain’s not having any of it.

The I’m-Having-So-Much-Fun-I-Forgot-I’m-Exercising Workout

What you need: 

  • Deck of cards
  • Marker
  • Track or open place to do some running (at least 100 meters at a time)

What to do: 

  1. Make a list of body-weight exercises (think moves that can be done anywhere, anytime — planks, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.)
  2. Get a deck of cards, and write an exercise on each card (I wrote in numbers for face cards: Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, Kings = 13, Aces = 14)
  3. Give yourself a little something special for the Jokers (ours were “Run a lap”)
  4. Shuffle up the cards, divide them into four piles and place one pile every 100 meters along a track
  5. Start the timer, run to the first set of cards, grab a card off the top and do the exercises
  6. When you’re done with the exercises, place the card on the bottom of the set of cards and run 100 meters to the next pile
  7. Repeat until time is up!

We did 20 minutes for our workout, and when I gave the five-minute warning everyone was shocked at how quickly time had flown by.

Between the distraction of the run-exercise intervals and the element of surprise from the cards, I guarantee you’ll have a blast — and get a great full-body workout in the process.

Got any tips for tricking yourself into a workout when motivation’s flagging? 

Get Beach-Body Ready: Summer Sizzler Ab Workout

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A strong core is always in season, so I created this quick and versatile body-weight ab routine that can be completed anywhere, anytime.

Customize it to suit your needs, whether it’s one set on your lunch break or a multiple-set, full-body workout with the addition of short bursts of cardio (warm-up, cool-down and in between sets).

Hint: As always, if you’re not familiar with some of the moves listed, simply Google the term, and you’ll be able to find a description or video of it in action.

And please remember to focus on quality of movement over speed for the best results!

What’s your favorite workout for getting beach-ready? 

Get Explosive: 4th of July Firecracker Workout

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Light up your 4th of July with a plyometric workout designed to build explosive power. Performing these moves regularly can help you increase your vertical jump, speed and strength, which directly translates to better athletic performance.

A few words of warning, though: Plyo work can be pretty intense, so don’t do this workout in the heat of the afternoon or with a full belly. Your heart rate will soar, you’ll work several muscles at once and you’ll torch calories…but the last thing you want to do is pass out or lose your lunch in the process.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a towel, some water and feel the burn before that big family BBQ!

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Hint: If you’re not familiar with some of the moves listed, simply Google the term, and you’ll be able to find a description or video of it in action.

And, as always, remember to go at your own pace and use proper form. Think quality over quantity!

Are you planning a special workout for the 4th or taking the holiday as a rest day?

June Goal Check-In

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Giving Mary, leader of NoPo Run Club, a Team LUNA Chix Portland Run sandwich!

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker

Portland’s summer has not only arrived early (I’d been warned to expect rain off and on until the 4th of July), it’s also already kicked into high gear and promises to be one for the record books. In fact, rumor has it that this heat wave is likely to last well into early July and may end up breaking records for longevity, as well.

For example, last Saturday morning’s low at Portland International Airport was 71 degrees. This is the first time PDX has ever recorded a low in the 70s in the month of June.

Not that I’m complaining; I actually like the heat, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that my first year in Oregon has been a mild one when it comes to lack of rain. But it does make outdoor workouts a bit more tricky, so early mornings and advance planning have been key when it comes to sticking to my 2015 goals.

Wondering what this is all about? Read more on the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, summer in Oregon means one thing: BERRIES! And taking into consideration the amount I’ve consumed thus far, I’m quite shocked I haven’t pulled a Violet Beauregard and morphed into a giant blueberry.

If there’s a second thing I’ve learned, it’s that summer in Oregon also means another thing: ALLERGIES. Spending an afternoon in the strawberry patch on Sauvie Island was totally worth it, even if I had to take Zyrtec for the next two weeks to keep from being a puffy, wheezy mess.

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And although I’ve started to hear the all-too-familiar siren song of fall marathon training, I’m trying to ignore it and stay focused on the present: Bouncing back from injury and enjoying that process before I sign up for my next major undertaking.

Luckily, Ben’s on board with this plan and has made it his mission to keep challenging us with weekend hikes that are as breathtaking in scenery as they are in elevation.

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2. Training Smarter

The biggest revelation — and relief — this month came from finally solving the mystery of my SI joint pain!!! I happened to overhear one of my trainer’s other clients complaining of similar symptoms and that his PT said kettlebell swings were the likely culprit. A-ha!

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Since he’s not a runner and the only common denominator in our workouts is kettlebell work, I decided to back off from swings to keep from jarring my pelvis. It’s been almost a month, and I’m happy to report that the pain has all but subsided during runs, so consider this my PSA if you’re having a similar issue!

3. Facing Fears

Swimming. My 2015 nemesis.

As I sit down to reflect and write my recap each month, I always cringe when it comes to this part. Yes, I’ve been in the pool a few times since my last update; no, I haven’t taken any of the steps needed to actually improve my technique and comfort level.

But that may have changed this past weekend. I was so inspired by watching Ben and friends in the Pacific Crest long course triathlon that I decided to re-commit to getting my ass to the pool.

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And Mary Anne, the swimmer from the women’s relay team (who kicked butt, by the way, and is training for a 5K swim later this season), graciously offered to get in the water with us and give Ben and me some pointers, so we’re going to set some dates and get moving on this.

Baby steps, right?!

4. Pushing Myself

My proudest moment this month came in the form of work: namely, launching my new company, Pulse Creative. After spending the past few years part-time for a start-up with freelance gigs on the side, I finally decided to make it official and fully align my passion (health, fitness and wellness) with my livelihood (helping people tell stories through PR, marketing and social media).

Just as coaches recognize potential and guide athletes to greatness, my goal is to work directly with small business owners to define challenges, recognize opportunities and help them develop the critical skills to be competitive and relevant in their respective market.

So if you happen to hear of anyone looking for help, I’d really appreciate it if you’d send them my way 🙂

5. Giving Back

Last but certainly not least comes Team LUNA Chix Portland Run. An extremely close second in terms of proud moments this month came in the form of being nominated for the Foot Traffic Women’s Hall of Fame for encouraging women to get active and providing a non-competitive environment in which to do so.

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Not only am I humbled at being included in the group they assembled — seriously, there were some pretty amazing competitors, coaches and local legends in there — but it also makes my heart happy to be able to contribute to the women’s running community here in Oregon.

And great timing, too, as we’ve been seeing some terrific attendance and momentum at our weekly workouts, so please come out and join us if you’re in the Portland area. We meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Duniway Park track — and all levels are welcome, both walkers and runners.

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Check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for more info!

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

Spirit + Strength: Use Yoga To Take Your Training to the Next Level

Think you’ve got to reserve yoga just for rest and recovery days?

Think again. 

Despite common misconceptions — i.e. that yoga’s purpose is simply to ease tension and melt away stress (although there’s most definitely a time and place for that variety) — a brisk, flowing session can actually do more than help you find your zen; it also improves digestion and circulation, builds lean muscle mass and helps increase your overall metabolic rate.

That’s fantastic news for weekend warriors. But it’s even better news for athletes who not only want to hone strength and flexibility, but also develop proper diaphragm use and breathing biomechanics, get back into alignment and discourage compensation patterns, as well as concentrate on activating specific muscles that have become inhibited.

“Yoga can be an incredibly beneficial practice for any athlete,” says Anabel Capalbo, a yoga teacher, spin instructor and Ironman triathlete. “A consistent yoga practice builds strength and stability, while also working to increase our body awareness and alert us to any weaknesses that could lead to injury.”

And instead of viewing yoga solely as a static practice, Capalbo says it’s helpful think of it as a moving mediation, a time for you to be present and become more aware of your body, your mind and forging a deeper connection between them.

“Not just physical, yoga turns our focus inward and towards our breath, teaching us to find a strong sense of peace and calm when on the mat. For athletes, that ability to turn towards breath and to find strength can be somewhat of a secret weapon,” says Capalbo.

Here’s a sample sequence that can help increase balance, flexibility and strength — not to mention up your athletic game, as well.


Source: Fix.com

Do you use yoga as part of your training routine?