So this week I’ve been working all over the place traveling to Chicago, Dallas and NYC. In all three locations I’ve been shocked by the sudden decrease in temperature. 50 degree weather in Dallas in September is unheard of! That said I have a sense of urgency to get a few more outdoor workouts in before its too cold. As I shared last week, working out at my local park is one of my favorite End of Summer/Early Fall Activities so I made up a special workout to do this weekend. To complete the workout, all you need is an open space, a 50 yard hill and a park bench or sturdy chair (no weights or other equipment required). I designed the workout as a total body HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuit so you can repeat the series below as many times as you’d like. I recommend doing it 2-3 times for a full cardio and strength training workout. It should take you ~30 minutes to complete…
Hello friends! Hope your day is going well. As I sit at my desk, hunched over my lap tap, the striking pain in my back inspired me to write a well-needed blog post about STRETCHING! Back when I was getting my group fitness instructor certification with AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) our course leaders constantly stressed the fact that there are 3, equally important, elements of physical fitness:
- Muscular Strength – “Your muscle’s ability to generate force against physical objects. In the fitness world, this typically refers to how much weight you can lift” - About Health
- Cardiovascular Endurance – “The ability of the heart to deliver oxygen to the working muscles, and the muscles ability to use that oxygen.” - Healthline
- Flexibility – “The ability of your joints to move through a full range of motion. Having flexibility in your muscles allows for more movement around the joints.” - About Health
If you’re like me, you often focus on the first 2 and neglect the 3rd – skip the stretching. I have a severe “Exercise ADD” (attention deficit disorder). I can hardly make it through a traditional yoga class without totally zoning out and I never stretch on my own, which is really bad. HOWEVER, I can get down with more dynamic stretching (i.e. stretching with movement, like Vinyasa flow yoga and PiYo) because I find it more engaging and even break a sweat once in a while.
Flexibility is SO important not only for out fitness, but for out overall well-being. Being flexible reduces risk of injury, improves posture (which makes you look slimmer), minimizes muscle aches and decreases stress through relaxation. That said, I wanted to share my 5 favorite stretches that are both effective and engaging. Try doing each of these exercises for 2 minutes at least 3 days per week. Move through each movement dynamically, keeping your body in constant motion instead of a holding the pose and straining. In doing so, your 10 minute stretch session will fly by! (Instructional photos from to stretchify.com)
Deep Kneeling Lunge (hips)
The hips are super strong – especially if you run often and do a lot of squats. Also Yogis believe that emotional tension is stored in our hips. This means that our hips are usually super tight, so we really need to focus on keeping them flexible. I recommend this deep lunging stretch to improve hip range of motion. Move forward and back slowly in this pose to keep it dynamic.
Standing Hamstring Stretch (back of leg/lower back)
The hamstring and lower back muscles are directly connected so if you have lower back pain, it’s likely that you also have really tight hamstrings. This stretch is pretty simple so shift your hips back far enough that you feel a nice stretch in the back of your leg and even a little in your booty.
Doorway Stretch (chest)
If you’re like me you sit at a desk all day (with horrible posture) hunched over a computer. This means that your chest is always contracting and you back is always expanded. Chest opening stretches help reverse that bad, hunch-back posture. To compete this stretch just a find a doorway, put your arm up and lean forward feeling a good stretch in your chest and little bit in the front of your shoulder.
Cat Stretch (back)
I don’t know why, but my back is always sore. I think when I get stressed I hold a lot of tension in my back. Fortunately, I find a lot of relief by kneeling on all fours and doing cat/cow stretches. To do this stretch, alternate cat pose (shown below, rounding your back) with “cow pose” in which you push your chest and tail bone up (arch your back).
Head Tilt (neck)
So, I have a bad habit of hunching my shoulders up to my ears when I’m tired. This feels good at the moment, but then I get terrible neck pain. Simply tilting my head from side to side or downward towards my chest helps relieve tension. For a little extra sensation, I use my hands to had some pressure.
How often do you stretch? What are your favorite stretches and why?
Hey friends – how’s it going? Hope you had a good weekend. Those of you in Dallas know that we had an oddly chilly weekend – weather in the 50’s! Cray Cray. However, that didn’t stop us from rockin’ it out at PiYo on Saturday morning. We threw on our long sleeve activewear and got our pushups, burpees and downward dogs in action at the W Dallas hotel! After class I was feeling kinda groggy (I think it was the lack of sun). This made me wanna stay inside all weekend, so I did…
In my “homebody” state of mind, I made a quick trip to Target and bought some new Nate Berkus throw pillows for my couch (can’t go wrong with black and white). I also stopped by Home Goods and got this cute gold serving tray to put on my ottoman. While I was there, I saw this white faux fur throw and had to pick it up as well to accessorize my couch. Just these small touches give my living room a fresh new look. I love it!
Last but not least, I finally framed the VOGUE magazine covers that I’ve had sitting in my kitchen drawer for almost a year. I’m really happy with how my creation came out. What do you think? Most of you know that I a HUGE fan of both Michelle Obama and Beyonce. In fact a made a Sexy Arms Circuit inspired by “Lady O” and an Amazing Abs Workout as a tribute to “Queen B” – I highly recommend you give both workouts a whirl.
On Satruday night, I stayed in and rented a movie On Demand – it was glorious! On Sunday morning, I made myself some breakfast and watched church online. It weird because I’m actually a very extraverted person and go out of my way to be around people. However, every now and then I like to have weekend all to my self – no social plans and lots of time at home. Do any of you feel like this sometimes?
Now I’m happily watching football and blogging – working on lots of cool new workouts and giveaways for you this week. What did you do this weekend? I hope you have an amazing week ahead. Lots of love, Brit
Happy Fitness Fashion Friday everyone! I’m so pumped about “scarf weather.” Does anyone else have a scarf obsession? I especially love pairing scarves with my gym clothes because they are the perfect accessory to keep me warm before/after workouts. Better yet, mixing prints and colors adds style and energy to my gym look. Here’s my fav outfit from this week. I was gonna wear it to my workout, but I thought it was so cute I wore it out to dinner instead! (P.S. it’s not to late to participate in my giveaway for a signature GRIT tank top!)
Hey y’all! Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s Core + Cardio Workout. My abs are still sore! I just made it to NYC for a work conference. I love it here. Last night I checked into my hotel and caught up on some work. This morning I went to 24 Hour Fitness in Midtown for a 30/60/90 HIIT class. It’s really crazy to be here in the city (in the Financial District specifically) on 9/11. I remember the horrible event like it was yesterday. I was a Senior in high school and we watched the 2nd plane on TV – we couldn’t believe our eyes. On a positive note, I remain so amazed by the resilience and perseverance of the families and friends who lost loved ones. We are so much stronger than we think…
I’m feeling generous today so I’ve decided to randomly giveaway one of my signature GRIT by Brit tank tops. You can choose either the black or the blue – whatever style you prefer. To enter to win, just post comment below sharing what “GRIT” means to you. You guys know what GRIT means to me, but I’d love to hear your point of view and personal stories. Also, I’m a big fan of learning from each other, so let’s spread some gritty love and words of wisdom. I’ll announce the winner next week, September 19th, in my Fitness Fashion Friday post. Be sure to include your email if it’s not already linked to your comment profile so I can contact you for your mailing address and tank top size. Good luck! luv, Brit
Hello friends. It’s been a crazy work week for me here in Chicago. During high-stress times like these it’s so important to keep up with my workouts or else I feel super groggy. This morning I did this Core + Cardio Workout in my hotel gym. It got me a good sweat so I wanted to share The entire workout takes about 30-35 minutes. If you don’t like the stationary bike, feel free to hop on the elliptical or treadmill instead.
I’m jetting off to NYC tonight for a conference – hoping to sneak in a ride at Soul Cycle while I’m there. Also, can’t wait to see the Dallas crew this Saturday at my PiYo class at the W Dallas Hotel!
Let me know how you like the workout! Lots of luv, Brit
Hello ladies and gents. Hope you are wrapping up a lovely weekend. Mine weekend was super busy (just how I like it). Last week I didn’t have to travel to Chicago for work because it was a shorter week with Labor Day. This gave me the opportunity to go to my favorite fitness classes in the evenings and volunteer at my community placement with the Junior League of Dallas. On Friday, I woke up super early, made some black coffee and taught my 6am spin class at 24 Hour Fitness. I LOVE my playlist right now – “Undressed” by Kim Cesarion is my jam!
After class I showered at the gym and headed to my office in Downtown Dallas to work for the day. We had breakfast tacos catered in from Taco Cabana – yummy! After catching up with my colleagues, completing my expense reports and finishing some client work, I scurried over to the nail salon for a mani/pedi. Now that its September, I got a Fall color – “chinchilly” by Essie . What do you guys think? What’s your favorite Fall nail polish color? Also, I had a major sweet tooth and treated myself to a McDonald’s ice cream cone (only 140 calories – not terrible right?)
On Friday night I went our for a sushi dinner with my friend Casey. I love that my friends are so engaging and positive. Just being around positive people can totally put a smile on my face. It’s like sunshine. We didn’t stay out too late because on Saturday mornings I teach PiYo for the W Dallas Hotel. Class was PACKED this weekend (as you can see). I think everyone was trying work of the Labor Day BBQ…or just savor some fun in the sun. It was a hot, sweaty BLAST!
I chilled out and ran a couple of errands on Saturday afternoon. That evening I had a BALL at my little sister’s 23rd birthday party. My sister, Kortani, is a Texas Tech Varsity Pom Squad alumn and now dances for the Dallas Cowboys. She decided to throw a pole-dancing party for her b-day and invited all of her dancer friends. I was super intimidated. We ended up drinking wine, dancing and have a really good time trying out new moves on the pole. My mom came along and took lots of pics. Long story short, I have so much respect for girls who can legitimately pole dance – HOLY CORE STRENGTH!
This morning I had a some quiet time and reflected on my week and what I want to happen during the week ahead. I skipped church today (oops – don’t tell my mom). For breakfast I toasted a whole wheat English muffin and topped it with almond butter and strawberry preserves. I also made a giant pot of black coffee which I sipped slowly throughout the morning. I need to start being careful about my caffeine intake – I’m a coffee junkie! Drinking lots of water it critical if you’re a heavy coffee drinker like me. While I enjoyed my breakfast I also learned some new moves for my Sunday afternoon Turbo Kick class – teaching Round 62. Have any of you ever taken a Turbo Kick class? If not, I highly recommend. Especially if you take it with me
After my Turbo Kick class I stopped by parents house to watch a little bit of the Cowboys game. After seeing that it was going to be a total disaster, I cut my watching time short and headed home to clean up my place and chill. I was so happy that the orange roses I bought 4 days ago are still alive and kicking. They are the perfect touch to my little bachelorette pad. I’m going to have to throw them away tonight though because I’m catching a 6am flight to Chicago tomorrow morning for work.
Now I’m packing up and getting ready to wake up early. I still need to plan my workouts for the week. Maybe I’ll do my old trusty hotel room workout tomorrow night. What are your workout plans?
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead filled with fun, fun and more fun! Lots of luv, Brit