Category Archives: Quick Workouts

#EarnThatTurkey Challenge

Holy $hit! Where did 2013 go?! I can’t for the life of me believe that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away!

I need to start looking for a Turkey Trot to sign-up for, OR find a few people willing to head up to trail with me and run/walk a 5K the morning of Thanksgiving. Bueller? Bueller?!

Typically, I prefer to roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and snuggle on the couch with the kids, to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning, but that’s not going to help me achieve my goals. This year, I feel that waking up an hour earlier, lacing up my running shoes and getting my endorphins flowing BEFORE my coffee and parade tradition would be a good idea and help to reduce the Turkey Day guilt later in the day.

Since I’ve had quite a few people tell me that they hope to avoid the typical holiday weight gain, I thought it might be fun to have a challenge group run from now through Thanksgiving Day.

All you have to do is eat clean, which means to eat natural/whole foods with as few ingredients as possible. You’ll want to avoid the drive-thru’s, sugary pumpkin or peppermint mocha lattes and any impulse purchases up at the register, that you would shove into your mouth between leaving the check-out and arriving at your vehicle. You should also aim to do 25-30 minutes of cardio daily. I know this isn’t easy for everyone, but it is a challenge. This cardio could be at your local gym, running, cycling, walking ( just not a leisurely stroll) or any at home workout video. Whatever it is, it has to get your heart rate up for 25 minutes! If you can’t do it daily, aim for at least 5 times a week and really watch your nutrition to make up for it. This might sound daunting, but you’ll thank me for the push when you can still button your jeans on Black Friday. The final part of the challenge is to tone you up! You’ll perform the moves listed on the graphic below for the number of reps specified, then rest of 30 seconds before starting all over again, for a total of 3 rounds.

#EarnThatTurkey Thanksgiving Challenge

 

That’s not too intimidating, right?!

I also invite everyone to come join me on the Facebook Page, where I’ll be posting daily tips as well as an accountability thread, so you can check in  and be thankful for your health, new accomplishments achieved and of course….this challenge!

Oh! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #EarnThatTurkey when posting on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I might even run a few daily challenges that will require it!

Now let’s #EarnThatTurkey and keep that holiday weight gain away!

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Challenge Accepted! …and completed!

Focus T25

What if I told you that in only 25 minutes a day, you could work out and still get great results? If all you had to do was follow a workout program 5 days a week, 25 minutes a day and follow a nutrition guide to lose the extra weight you’ve been carrying around and feel more comfortable in your clothes… would you be interested?

I know I was and I’ve done my fair share of programs!

What is this “magical” program you ask? Well, if the banner up top didn’t give it away, it’s called Focus T25, the newest Beachbody workout and it is a life saver for busy people who want to get fit, but just don’t have a lot of time to devote to it. If you’re ready to commit to changing your life, to getting healthy and working out hard for only 25 minutes, this program is definitely for you!

Now, I know some of you got a little nervous while reading that last line when I said “working out hard for only 25 minutes”, but please don’t be scared. This is one of the first Beachbody programs that I personally have completed that I honestly feel ANYONE can do and see results.

As those of you who follow this blog and my story know, I am an oddball, because I started with one of the hardest programs on the market, P90X. I have also completed Insanity, which if you’ve been following my story, you know was the toughest thing I think I’ve ever done. Both of those programs are no joke and part of that is because there are not a lot of modifications with them….heck….Insanity has NO modifications, but this program is different!

What I loved about Focus T25, is that Shaun T added a real modifier to this program.  Yes, I said Shaun T…the same person who yelled and screamed at me and made me cry during Insanity, created this program and shows a much calmer side in it. Now don’t be fooled., this isn’t all rainbows and kittens. Shaun really pushes you during each and every workout, but he has to because they are ONLY 25 MINUTES!

Focus T25 is all about pushing your body to its max for 25 minutes straight. There is no rest between moves. The concept of pure focus while working out as hard as you can, can bring you the same results as traditional hour long workouts. You need to get your heart rate up, move your body, and burn calories if you want awesome results in such a short period of time, and in order to do that, there is no rest…but it’s only 25 minutes and you’re done!

Ok…I lied…there is a 2 and half minute cool down after the workouts but come on….under 30 minutes and you’re done!

Throughout the program you will workout in two phases, using eleven different workouts in total. These workouts use dynamic high intensity moves and exercises, but they all have modifications so don’t get overwhelmed. These workouts are going to push you to your limit, but it’s all worth it for the results you’re going to get at the end of the 10 weeks. The workouts will be as hard as or easy as you make them, but just realize if you don’t push yourself, you’re not going to get the amazing results I’m talking about.

My first week of doing the program, I was curious as to how much you could possibly sweat doing the modifications? Well, the answer to that is a lot, so don’t worry if you have to modify. You just give it all you got for 25 minutes and you will see results!

The other plus to this program is that if you purchase it from your coach, you get the added bonus of being part of a fitness accountability challenge group for the duration of the 10 weeks. It’s really a great way to stay focused, get additional tips and stay on track. I absolutely loved the challenge group that I was a part of. I loved knowing that I was not the only one struggling with a particular move or workout, I loved the bonus challenges that were set to keep us on track with our nutrition, such as, post a screen capture of your food journal every day for a week and win a prize. Stuff like that gives you a sense of belonging, adds a little healthy competition and helps to build you up and keep you going, and that’s what getting healthy should be about. It’s about being the best version of you, you can be!

If you would like more information about Focus T25 or any of the other programs I’ve completed, please feel free to contact me using the form below or over on my Facebook page. I have Challenge Groups forming every month and I’d love to get to know you better while watching you achieve your fitness goals! As a matter of fact, I have one forming right now for those looking to get a jump start on their New Year’s Resolutions!

Holiday Challenge

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September is National Yoga Month!

AthletaYoga

Leave it to me to run a 30 Day Yoga Challenge the month BEFORE National Yoga Month. I’m going to view it as being a trend setter. Maybe being a bit ahead of myself? Okay…okay…I don’t pay enough attention to these National “_____” Day lists, lesson learned!

Thankfully the wonderful folks over at Athleta sent me an e-mail sharing a series they have put together with YogaGlo, which starts today! They’ll be offering a series of FREE on-line yoga classes beginning today, September 1st through the end of the month!

Anyone can enjoy the classes by visiting www.Athleta.com/YogaMonth and pick from the 3 practice levels available:

– Level 1 class to kick start your day
– Level 2 class for recovery after a busy day
– Level 3 class designed as cross-training for athletes

Additionally Athleta will be hosting special events at both the Upper East Side and Upper West Side stores throughout the month! Please visit www.Athleta.com/Stores for details on events and free classes happening at both stores as well as the other NY locations in Scarsdale and Manhasset.

If you participated and enjoyed the 30-Day Yoga Challenge I hosted over on my Facebook Page in August, or missed that but wanted to try a month of yoga, I definitely recommend checking this out. I love that they are offering three different levels of yoga to fit your needs, as well as special in-store events!

Also, I’ll be running a Couch to 5K Accountability over on the Facebook page this month! If you have always wanted to try running but didn’t know where to start, now is the time to give it a shot and have a group to support you on your new journey. If you’re local to me, I’ll also be hosting a live group three times per week. Leave a comment or hop on over to my page to let me know you’d like to join. I’ll be posting more info this week as our start date will be September 9th!

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August Challenge: Clean Eating & Yoga

August is upon us and with it brings us a new challenge!

First off…congrats to everyone who stuck with the July Squat & Plank Challenge. I know how hard it is during the summer to stick with these things, so even if you missed a few days (I know I did), you still did awesome if you kept coming back to it!

This month I’m changing it up a bit. I found out that many of us struggle with nutrition, so a clean eating challenge seemed like the logical way to go. I also found that many of us have a lot of stress in our daily lives, so I’ll be posting  daily yoga video on the Facebook Page to help center and relax us!

I have already posted some Clean Eating basics over on Facebook, as well as Day 1 of the Yoga routine. There is also a tab on the upper right side of the Facebook page where I have a link to Pinterest. I’ll be pinning lots of clean recipes over there, so make sure to check it often or follow me on Pinterest.

#EatCleanWithNikki

For this challenge I want us to all work as a team. I’ll help you as much as I can but expect the following from you:

  • You need to check-in daily on the Facebook Page.
  • Share any new clean snacks you may have found, as well as recipes that you’ve tried.
  • Share any slip-ups or struggles you may have. I try to be as honest as possible here on my blog and lord knows I get derailed quite often. We are all human and we can’t be perfect. If you have a slip-up and happen to not eat so clean for a meal, it’s okay! Dust yourself off for your next meal and make sure it’s as clean as you can make it.
  • No matter how much you dislike yoga, try it! If you really hate it, just lay in corpse pose for at least 10-minutes, clear your mind and focus on breathing. We all need to take a break from our daily crazy tasks to just breathe.
  • Don’t try to go cold turkey! If you use 6 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee a day, cut back or try something like Stevia in the Raw. Going from 0-120 with this will only set you up to binge. I’d rather you take baby steps to ingrain a new, healthy habit. Just make sure you are making changes.
  • Be supportive of one another!

Following an 80/20 rule will also make this less stressful and stress is one of the things I’m also aiming to reduce with this challenge!

We have a few different diet restrictions (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegetarian & Vegan) participating in this challenge as well as a yoga instructor, so please feel free to post questions! If I don’t know the answer, someone else might!

If you are on Twitter or Instagram and take photos of your yoga practice, meals or snacks, please use the hashtag #EatCleanWithNikki and be sure to follow me! I’ll share some on the blog as we go through the month!

So who’s ready to eat clean and de-stress with a quick, daily yoga workout?

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Refocusing

focusMore often than not, I seem to be refocusing. I refocus on workouts, nutrition, cleaning schedules, and priorities in general. Life seems to be a constant juggling act, and more and more items keep getting tossed in. It’s hard not to drop something from time to time.

Running is the item that got dropped a while back and you know what? I miss it.

I set a goal for this year to hit 500 miles and I stalled out at 250 due to illness, frustration and then the heat. Frustration and heat are excuses and I know it. I know that you have to push through frustration and I know that there are ways around the heat. The time has come for me to stop making the excuses and start logging miles again. I’m a happier person when I run and I’m tired of feeling like a quitter.

This past week I started to refocus with Focus T25. The amount of sweat my body produces in 25 minutes with these workouts, is both amazing and gross. I’m hoping to build my cardio back up with this routine, so easing back into running will be a little smoother.

The next part of my refocus plan is an August “Clean Eating” accountability that I will be running over on the Facebook Page. I’ll be posting the basics of clean eating, shopping guides and recipes over there each day. My eating has been pretty good, but it took a nose dive during Mike’s vacation this past week. I’m hoping that as a group, we can stay accountable, help each other find new recipes and form new, healthier habits. I’ve always had success while working in groups and I’m hoping that those participating will too.

As well as the clean eating accountability, I plan on sharing a daily yoga workout on the Facebook page each day. If there is one thing I’ve learned during my fitness journey, it’s that no matter how badly I suck at yoga, it is important to my routine. I’ll benefit from a stretching/muscle recovery aspect as well as mentally with meditation/stress relief. I always feel better after doing yoga, yet I always manage to skip it…I clearly make no sense and need to fix this.

Ultimately, life happens, and our grand plans don’t always work out as planned. As long as you take a moment to stop, see where things went wrong and refocus, your goals can still be reached.

Are you ready to refocus with me? What aspect of your routine do you need to focus on?

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Changing Course…Again!

One might say that fitness program ADHD kicked in, another might say I gave up, but I’m saying it sounded better on paper than it actually played out in real life…and it happens!

If you follow me on twitter or know me in real life, you might have seen me posting that I was doing Insanity AND Body Beast. I started Body Beast out of curiosity with Mike and I had been wanting to do another round of Insanity. In my head, doing both together seemed like a good idea and I’ve pulled doubles before. I wrote out a schedule, figured I’d be done with the whole Insanity program by the start of the final Body Beast phase and hopefully I’d gain back some of my cardio endurance while building some more lean muscle. Sounds great right? Yeah…well…introduce the kids being home on summer vacation and the never ending list of things I’ve been working on and time gets kinda slim. I was also super sore from Body Beast and found that I was dogging it in the Insanity workouts due to that. Sigh…

After a brief phone call with my coach to discuss the Body Beast program, he confirmed that I had indeed lost my mind by attempting both programs together and I decided to back off. I also decided that my days are too strained for time during the summer with the kids home so I’ve just been focusing on my July Challenge.

In the past I would have beat myself up over a decision like this, or kept pushing myself to prove a point. Thankfully, I have grown by leaps and bounds since I started exercising and I now just listen to my body and do what works for me.

The other day Mike and I were talking and we decided to get the new Shaun T program that just came out, called Focus T25. It’s a 25 minute workout, 5 days a week with a full rest day plus a stretch day. I definitely have 25 minutes a day to workout, without having to cram it in somewhere, so we are really excited about it.

Here is a video that shows what the program is:

I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of results I can pull from this workout since it’s only 25 minutes a day. I know that I have to give it my all for those 25 minutes and that there will not be any breaks, so I’m a little nervous, but excited. I also know that I need to clean up my nutrition for maximum results as well.

Do you think this is a program you would want to do? If it is, comment below or contact me on my Facebook page. A few of us are planning on starting a “Challenge Group” on August 12th for Focus T25, and I’d love to have you join us!

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{Fitness Friday} July Challenge

I can’t believe that July is already lurking around the corner! It’s crazy how quickly the months are flying by, right?!

At this point, everyone doing the June Challenge only has two more days to go (if you haven’t already completed today’s workout) and I am so proud of you all! I figured since everyone is going strong and loves to hate me, I’d keep the momentum going with a July Challenge!

Oh stop groaning…you know you’re excited!

This month has less moves since I know the summer can be super busy. It’s very similar to the May Challenge I found on-line, but since Jac and I had such great results doing it, I thought we would revisit it, with a twist.

Click to View Full Size

Click to View Full Size

Plank this month is for time, instead of a set time for each day. Some people will only be able to hold for about :30 seconds, others for over 3 minutes. I want you to compete against yourself this month. Write down your time for each day and try to beat it by a few seconds the next day. Push yourself to new limits here and make sure you hold the pose until you physically can’t anymore! I’ll be sharing some tips to holding plank pose over the Facebook Page, so make sure you “LIKE” it!

For those who are more advanced with their fitness, feel free to add weights to your squats! Remember, your lower body is very strong, but we are doing lots of reps, so don’t go too heavy. I don’t want anyone to hurt themselves! I will most likely being adding heavy weights and breaking the squats into sets with rest in-between, as we get further into the challenge. The most important thing is proper form! You’ll get better results with proper form than you will trying to impress people by going heavy. Always listen to your body and if you can do them in front of mirror, it’s best so you can check your form every rep.

As always, I’ll be doing check-in’s over on the Facebook page, so don’t be shy and join in on the conversations!

Enjoy your Fourth of July…stay hydrated and let me know if you’ll be joining the squatastic fun we’ll be having this month!

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{Fitness Friday} Man of Steel Edition

Man of Steel

As I mentioned earlier this week, Mike and I went to see Man of Steel in IMAX. While watching this movie, you can’t help but notice the physique of Henry Cavill  (if you can, you’re blind) so of course we became curious as to what he did to prepare for this role. Mike found this video and passed it along to me, so of course, I’m passing it on you!

I love that they talk about the mental and emotional side of fitness in this clip. With quotes like “He has opened my eyes to seeing past what I thought were my limits.” and “…you come to a point where your mind allows you to break through your physical boundaries, and takes you to places you never thought you could go to.” this clip really hit home for me.

I am 100% in the mental part of fitness right now. I know that my body is capable of things, but my mind holds me back many times. It’s funny because in the beginning, I was scared that my body couldn’t handle what I mentally wanted to do…and now it’s reverse. You would think by this stage of the game I would have it all figured out, but I don’t. I struggle and I fail just like everyone else, but I pick myself up and I keep pushing forward.

If you are interested in seeing the workouts that trainer Mark Twight did with Henry Cavill did to prepare for his role as the Man of Steel, watch the two videos below (they teach you how to get proper form) or go to the Soldier of Steel website where you can print them out in .PDF form.

Soldier of Steel Workouts…

I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did. While the moves in this may not be for you, I hope you at least walk away with the tips on proper form and apply them to whichever workout you decide to do!

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Who’s Ready For A June Challenge?

I can’t believe that May is almost over! I swear my birthday was just the other day but that was in the beginning of the month. Wow! 2013 needs to slow down just a little.

With the closing of May, comes the end of the May Challenge that I was doing with Jac from Nora & Jac. The challenge was all about squats and planks and we really held each other accountable all month. Of course as the end of the challenge approached, we began to wonder what we should do for June, so I came up with a challenge that will work our arms as well as our core strength. I’ve really become a fan of the these monthly progressive challenges and I think that doing another one will be perfect during June, which tends to be a crazy and hectic month for me. I like that they are quick yet effective workouts and that I can see results without devoting a ton of time.

June Arms and Abs Challenge

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I tried to change things up a bit each day, so we wouldn’t get bored. Here are some tips if you are worried about the moves listed above.

  • Push-ups can of course be done from your knees if you can’t do a full push-up yet, but really push yourself to reach the goal of doing full push-ups. Even if you can only do one or two before switching to your knees, it’ll help you improve and slowly work your way to doing more full reps.
  • Chair Dips can be done in different ways too. Beginners can start with their knees bent to give added support. As your tricep strength increases, try putting your legs out straight in front of you so can get more resistance from your body weight. If that becomes easy, lift one leg or put your legs up on a chair too!
  • Military Push-ups are done with your hands lined up directly under your shoulders. As you lower down into the push-up, your elbows stay back and tight to your body. These are still difficult for me, so don’t worry if you can’t go down very far. It’ll come with time!
  • Wide Fly Push-ups are exactly what they sound like. You place your arms out in front of you in a wide push-up pose. These tend to be easier, at least for me.
  • Mountain Climbers begin in the top of a push-up or full plank. You’ll then alternate pulling in your left and right foot…kinda like running in place. They are fabulous for building core and shoulder strength.

If you are unsure of the other moves listed her, please let me know and I’ll be happy to explain them or provide links to “how-to” videos.

I’m really looking forward to another month of teaming up with Jac and keeping each other accountable. I also just started DDP Yoga (I’ll talk about that soon in a separate post) and I hope to get back into running this month using the technique I posted about on my Facebook page last week.

So who else would like to join us for this challenge? We’d love to have you!

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Stars & Stripes Workout

Stars and Stripes Workout

 

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