1 Comment

How to Minimize Knee Pain in High-Intensity Workouts

Hello friends!  Hope your week is going well.  Do any of you struggle with knee pain during or after workouts?  I definitely do.  Last year I wrote a blog post titled, “No More Knee Pain”  that provides information about the knee anatomy and knee injury prevention.  Today I want to talk about minimizing knee pain while partaking high intensity and even high impact exercises.  If you’re like me, you hate having to sit on the sidelines while others are having a blast and getting a killer workout.  Despite tearing my ACL and having reconstructive surgery, I’ve found ways to maintain my participation in high impact exercise.  Essentially, I abide by these key rules…

6 Tips to Avoid

  1. Wear Supportive Shoes. I know that minimalist sneakers are really in style (i.e. Nike Frees, which I LOVE). However you should make sure that your shoes provide enough cushion to support your fit in high impact exercise. That means your shoes should enable a soft landing when you jump and provide solid support when you run.
  2. Stay light on your toes. This is especially important when jumping. Be sure to land on the balls of your feels to minimize the impact of landing. Also, avoid landing on your heels and NEVER lock out your knees.
  3. Engage your quads and hamstrings. In plyometric workouts it’s critical that you use your legs muscles to drive the movement. Proactively tighten your thigh muscles (quads and hamstrings) before you execute an explosive motion. These muscles provide critical knee support. When properly engaged, they minimize strain on your patella tendon and IT bands.
  4. Keep your knees pointing in the same direction as your toes. When your knees and toes are misaligned you put yourself at high risk of twisting your knee and getting injured.  An easy way to ensure your leg is properly aligned is to keep you knees pointing in the same direction as your toes (espcially when squatting).
  5. When Squatting, never let your knees go beyond your toes. Related to tip #5, it’s equally important to avoid leaning forward or squatting too deep to the point that your knees go past your toes.  In my classes, I always say “make sure you can see you toes.”  If you’re doing a squat and you can’t see your toes, you need to sit back more or maybe not squat so low.
  6. Compress.  Wearing a compression sleeve or a knee brace can help increase blood flow.  Adequate blood flow is important for muscle repair and recovery.  Also, the compression provides added support to your joint during exercise.

 

On this last point, a few weeks ago I was approached by Opedix to write a review on their new compression tights. ​These tights incorporate a patented knee support and have “scientifically designed ‘tensioning’ systems in the base layer to enhance the kinetic functioning of your body.” Unlike traditional compression, they also help keep your joints aligned through “Torque Reform Technology.” Given my history with knee injuries I accepted the request.

First, off the tights came to me in this really fancy box.  I was like, “Whoa – this is serious business” …

Opedix

After I opened the box and pulled out that tights, I could definitely see that they had built in compression.  In fact, I thought they looked kinda funky.  Y’all know I’m keen on stylsih, cute activewear – style and functionality are equally important to me.  Fortunately when I tried on the tights, they didn’t look too bad.  Not amazing, but not terrible.   They fit low on my waist and snug throughout my leg.  I could really feel the added support around the need joint.  On the down side, the compression squeezes right above my knee and makes me look like have an extra fat pudge on my inner thighs.

opedix compression tights

Brit’s Opedix Compression Tights – Women’s Style

I went ahead and wore them to my kickboxing class that day. (You can check out my post-workout pic on Instagram)  During the workout my legs felt strong, stable and supported.  The tights didn’t slip down on my waist nor rub on my leg to cause discomfort.  Better yet, I had a pink headband that matched the waistband on my tights so I was lookin’ good :)  After the workout, surprisingly, my knees were not as sore as they usually are – very nice.  Final verdict – BUY.  These are a legit product especially if you’ve been battling knee injuries and are looking for a new pain-relieving solution.  However, keep in mind that knee pain, in most cases, is chronic.  So it’s hard to eliminate altogether.  Hopefully applying my tips  minimize your knee pain and keep you in the game for more running, burpees and squat jumps!  ;) Lots of luv, Brit

Which exercises cause you the most knee pain?  

How do you protect your knees from injury?


9 Comments

IDEA World Fitness Blogfest Most Memorable Moments

I’m still riding high from attending my very 1st IDEA World Fitness Convention and Sweat Pink Blogfest. IDEA World is largest fitness conference in the world with people traveling from all over the globe to see exhibits of the latest fitness and nutrition developments, share expertise and listen to keynote speakers like Jillian Michaels, Tara Stiles, Cassey Hoe, Chalene Johnson, the list goes on and on… Simply put – it’s fitness heaven!

Fortunately, I made it back to Dallas in time to teach my beloved weekend Piyo and Turbo Kick classes before flying out again on Sunday night for my corporate career (double duty). As I reflect on my time at IDEA World, I want to share the most memorial moments that had the greatest impact on me.  In order of occurrence, here they go…

Cool California Vibes

Just arriving to Anaheim,CA and soaking up the sun and cool California vibes!

Just arriving to Anaheim,CA and soaking up the sun and cool California vibes!

I love me some “Cali Swag.” Every time I’m on the West  Coast I feel young, cool, hip, relaxed and imaginative. Sure enough, when I arrived in Anaheim, CA last week all of those feelings rushed through my mind, body and soul. I woke up each day at IDEA World and basked in the beautiful California sunshine, cool breeze and anticipation of all of the fitness excitement that awaited me. From day 1 I felt welcome, wanted and wonderful. I love California.

Being Surrounded by Passionate People

Brit and friends at Idea World

Hanging out with other fitness bloggers, connecting with old friends and making new ones!

It was so great to run into old friends like my Harvard Business School classmate Minal Mehta, co-founder of BollyX Fitness and also make some new fitness blogger friends like Tiffany and Tasha. To be honest, I was kind of in groupie-mode the whole time because I finally got meet, in person, so many of the  bloggers that I stalk on Instagram.  “Classy” people say you should “act like you’ve been there before” but, hey, I haven’t been!  No shame in my game :)

Being Inspired by Jillian Michaels (surprisingly)

Grit by Brit and Jillian Michaels

In awe listening to Jillian Michaels give the most inspirational keynote address EVER!

Okay so, real talk: I have never been a Jillian Michaels fan.  I appreciate hard work and brutal honesty, but I never really got on the Body Shred/Jillian/Biggest Loser bandwagon like most of America.  Wow – meeting someone face-to-face can really show you how judgmental you are.  That’s what happened to me.  I actually teared up during Jillian’s keynote address.  She’s so passionate and encouraging, not about weight loss, but about believing in yourself and having the courage and confidence to follow your dreams.  I wrote down several things she said that had a big impact on me, but the one statement that stuck the most is the quote I put on the photo I took of Jillian (above) - “Work with passion is purpose.  Work without passion is punishment.”  The moral of the story is, “Do what you love and work your butt off at it!”

 

PiYO Workout with Chalene Johnson

Grit by Brit and Chalene Johnson

Getting an afternoon PiYo sweat session and photo op with my #1 fitness inspiration – Chalene Johnson

Simply put, Chalene is my fitness inspiration. Actually it’s a tie between her andBilly Blanks (who was also at IDEA World). I was obsessed with Tae Bo when I was 15 years old,  but Chalene is the person who impacted my new-found love for fitness instruction and blogging. 3 years ago I got my very first fitness instructor certification in Chalene’s format, Turbo Kick.  Shortly after I started this GRIT by Brit blog. Since then, group fitness instruction and blogging have been my passions, my obsessions, the things that make me smile when everything else in my life is going wrong. So meeting Chalene in person was a very special moment for me – one that I will cherish forever, for the rest of my life.

 

Business and Blogging Tips from Cassey Hoe @Blogilates

Grit by Brit and Cassey Hoe

I felt empowered and inspired by Cassey Hoe who encouraged us to never give up on our dreams!

I totally look up to Cassey Hoe as social media guru and fitness entrepreneur.  Cassey writes one of the most well-known fitness and wellness blogs, Blogilates,  and quickly grew in popularity because of her effective and fun Pilates videos on YouTube.  Needless to say, I totally geeked out when I met her. Since started her blog she’s launched a clothing line, released several signature workout videos for her format, Pop Pilates, and done several top-tier brand partnerships.  I learned some really valuable tips for GRIT by Brit, like how I need to start writing a regular newsletter….looks like have work to do this week (P.S. Check your inbox).

 

Adding 3 New Headbands to My Collection

picstitch

Love these wide headbands from Living One Love

In case you can’t tell from my workout photos, I have a very serious headband obsession – I own over 50!  My excuse is that I have a big forehead (aka 5 head) so I need the extra coverage – hehe.   Any way, I’m always looking for new headbands that A) don’t slip B) are wide/thick C) have cool bright patterns.  Ladies and Gentlemen I have found what I’m looking for!  I love love love these headbands from Living One Love.  I just bought 3 for now, but there will be more…trust.

Winning a Lorna Jane Gift Card (yippee!)

Flipping through the Lorna Jane activewear catalog to pick out me free pieces!

Flipping through the Lorna Jane activewear catalog to pick out me free pieces!

I was already familiar with Lorna Jane active wear becaue my cycling studion in Dallas, Beyond Pedaling, carries their line.   Also, they just opened a store in North Park mall.  However, I don’t own any of their stuff. After seeing the Lorna Jane exhibit at IDEA World and realizing that their stuff is really freaking cute (i.e. super bright colors and inspirational saying like “run girl run”) I can already tell that I’m gonna be a Lona Jane addict. Yay for winning Blogfest raffle for a Lorna Jane gift card!  But I already feel sorry for my bank account when the gift card runs out, eek!

 

So Much Free Swag

idea world free swag
Let’s do the list:  A cross-body Zumba bag, Zen Planner water bottle, exercise-pilates ring and DVD, tons of healthy snacks, headbands, Sweat Pink shoelaces, sunglasses, ahh the list goes on and on!  Not much to say here – the swag speaks for itself.

Leaving Inspired to Take Risks and Pursue My Dreams!

photo 1

As I mentioned last week, I’ve had a pressing desire to open my own chain of fitness studios.  I want to create a place that manifests the core values of Grit by Brit .  Starting a business is risky and stressful, but it’s also so rewarding!  After my time at IDEA World, I’m convinced that being a fitness instructor is my calling.  There is nothing I’m better at and enjoying doing more than using fitness to encourage people to live their best lives.  Most importantly, I want to do it in away that’s fun and positive!  That said, I’m riding this IDEA World inspirational high to get cracking on my new fitness studio concept.  Lots of work ahead, but I’m a gritty chick and up for the challenge!   What do you love to do?  What’s your dream?

“You are worthy of happiness and you deserve to sing everyday.”

Lots of luv, Brit


10 Comments

My Herve Leger dress…and tips for turning 30

1173

Brit in Herve Leger Judith Metallic Dress

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and it was absolutely amazing!  My photographer just sent the photos back from party so I now I have some to share (as you can see).  I’m not gonna lie, in the months leading up to my big 3-0 I was kind of in panic mode (as most 29 year olds).  However, I was determined to not freak about arriving to the “3rd floor” and instead proactively embrace my new decade of life.  Here are some things I did on and before my dirty thirty that made my b-day one of the best days of my life…if you are approaching your 30th milestone b-day, I highly recommend these activities…

  1. Plan a Celebration – At first I didn’t want to make a big deal about my birthday (I actually wanted to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t happening).  But then I decided to fully embrace it.  I’m a super social person and I love love love parties.  SO about 3 months before my b-day I booked a venue, hired a DJ and started planning the biggest, booty-shaking bash of my life.  Bottom line = so much more fun than sitting at home doing nothing.  My advice is to go ahead and plan a big part-tay!
  2. Get Fit – For me, feeling good and looking good have a very high impact on my overall self-confidence and state of well-being on any day, especially my birthday.  Because 30th birthday’s are inherently filled with life expectations (i.e. I should have accomplished this much in my career, have this much money, be married, be “almost pregnant,” etc.) it’s good to have some accomplishments that you can be certain of – like being fit.  A fit, healthy body is one accomplishment I think we should all strive for by the age of 30.  Not only so we can look good and feel good, but because we are “real adults” now and we have to take our health seriously and establish healthy habits that allow us to live a long, abundant life.
  3. Do something you love – The morning of my by 3-0 I woke up and taught my beloved PiYo class at the W Dallas Hotel. Being with my class, sweating, feeling the sunshine on my face are priceless experiences for me.  This helped me realize that every single day is a blessing because I have the freedom to do things I love to do.  I should appreciate and savor these moments every day - not just on my birthday.
  4. Reflect on your blessings – I don’t know about you, but it was really easy for me to think about all of the things I DIDN’T do by the age of 30 rather than all of the things I DID.  I highly encourage you to write down your greatest accomplishments and happiest moments from your first 30 years (yes, high school graduation counts – you did that!)  Simply looking over this list can make you feel pretty freakin’ great.
  5. Surround yourself with friends and family (don’t be alone) – 3 of my best friends from Harvard Business School flew to Dallas for my birthday party and to spend the weekend with me.  We have actually established a tradition of traveling to each other’s home city to spend our birthday’s together.  Even if I didn’t throw my massive twerkfest of a party, I still would have felt the love, acceptance and joy that I experienced on my birthday because I was surrounded the people who love me most.
  6. Go big or go home – Last but not least, live it up a little bit!  I’m very a conservative, risk averse person.  But I had been eyeing this Herve Leger Judith Metallic dress at Intermix and really really wanted it.  I debated whether or not I should buy it for 3 weeks and even consulted my best friends.  In the end I decided – Carpe’ Diem!  I may only wear this dress once in my entire life but I don’t care.  I work hard, I’m celebrating 30 years of life, I LOVE the way the dress fits and I deserve to reward myself.  Maybe I’ll even get 2 wears out of it – I’m planning to bust it out for my 60th birthday! hehe

Here’s to next 30 years… and the next 30.  Lots of luv, Brit

 


Leave a comment

Just made it to Anaheim, CA for #IDEAWorld Fitness Convention and #Blogfest

What a day – phew!  To give you some insight, my Wednesday/Thursday adventures started off with a 5:30am hotel gym workout in Chicago (I’m currently working on an client project there) followed by a full day of client meetings and managing my consulting project team.  Finally, around 6pm I headed to Chicago O’hare airport to catch a flight to LAX – officially on my way to Blogfest in Anaheim, CA for the next 2 days!

IDEA_WORLD_logofinal-blackFortunately, I got to the airport a little ahead of schedule, so I chilled out in the American Airlines Admirals club, caught up on email and started winding down with a nice class of Malbec – oh hey :)

photo 1

The “type A” neurotic side of me wrote out my plan of attack of the next 2 days at IDEA Blogfest.  As you can see, I have a full agenda ahead of me – lots of cool blogging tips, fitness expertise and business advice to soak up!   While I’m taking the time off my full-time job, I still have responsibilities to manage, so I’ll sneak in a couple conference calls throughout the day – double duty!  No rest for the weary…

blogfest schedule

 

I have been looking forward to this event all week.  I totally intend to geek out and take selfie with Chalene Johnson, my #1 fitness icon.  As a PiYo & TurboKick instructor, it’s going to be so amazing to meet the person who created my 2 favorite fitness formats!

Chalene Johnson will present PiYo on Thursday, August 14th at Blogfest!

Chalene Johnson will present PiYo on Thursday, August 14th at Blogfest!

 

To make sure I’m 100% ready to go in the morning, I went ahead and laid out my outfit.  I’ll be rocking’ my GRIT by Brit gear from head to toe.  Gotta represent!  P.S.  isn’t this neon scarf super cute?  I think it looks really good with my signature crop top tank.

photo 3

Alright, I’m off to bed.  I can’t wait to meet all of the other bloggers tomorrow!  If you are in Anaheim, please let me know so we can meet face to face!  Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @GRITbyBrit throughout the weekend – I’ll be posting lots of photos and updates.  Nite nite!   xoxo, Brit

photo 4

My hotel room at the Sheraton in Anaheim – can’t wait to count some sheep and rise and shine early in the morning!


4 Comments

Push Away All Negative Vibes: 5 Tips to Maintain a Positive Mindset

Grit by Brit 12

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a pretty “smiley” person.  People always ask me, “how do you stay so positive?”  The reality is that I don’t always feel good or optimistic, but over the years I’ve started practicing some strategies to help me maintain a positive attitude.  I thought it would be a good idea to summarize my positivity pointers into 5 tips to share with you guys.  Here they go…

  1. Focus on Self-improvement – “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” – Anais Nin.  I love this quote because it’s so brutally honest.  Usually if our outlook on life is negative, it’s because we have chosen to cultivate negative energy.  On the flip side, if we focus on improving ourselves (i.e. getting physically fit, growing spiritually, developing a skill, being a better a friend, etc.) we can naturally develop a more positive outlook.
  2. Avoid Negative People – I know I sound like a broken record, but negative people are like deathly toxins.  You know who I’m talking about…that one person who no matter if they won the lottery, landed a dream job or found the love of their life would still only see the downside of the situation.  Unfortunately, we can’t control other people.  We can only control ourselves.  So it’s in our best interest to identify these negative people and stay as far away from them as possible.
  3. Write down your Happy Moments - This one is simple.  Just a take moment at the end of each day and write down 3 good things that happened.  This habit has magical positivity powers!
  4. Serve Someone  - Often we can be “Debbie Downers” because we are too focused on our own lives and our own problems.  Sometimes, simply focusing all of our energy on helping someone else and understanding their needs provides an instant pick me up.  Better yet, we can help someone else while helping ourselves.  Finding a way to serve others also helps us identify our purpose in life because ultimately we are all here to help each other.  And when we feel that our lives have purpose, it’s a lot easier to be positive.
  5. Say a Motivational Morning Mantra – My late grandmother (we called her Mudear) would always says that the first 5 minutes of your day set the tone for the rest of the day.  I’m not sure that this claim is based in science, but if an old country woman says it, I believe it.  The best way to take control of your day is wake up and recite, out loud, a positive mantra.  Now a mantra is simply a positive affirmation stating something that you believe (or want to believe) to be true.  For instance ,”I am enough.” “Today is the best day of my life.” “I am loved.” You get the gist.  There’s extra power in reciting these mantras out loud rather than just thinking them in your head.  Go ahead and give it a whirl tomorrow morning :)

Wishing you week filled with good vibes and positive energy!  Post a comment and let us know if you are going to incorporate any of these tips into your daily routine.  xoxo, Brit


Leave a comment

Brit’s Signature “Tight Tummy, Booty & Thighs” Workout #TBT

Happy Throw Back Thursday!  Here’s and oldie but a goodie workout from the Grit by Brit archives.  Lots of yummy recipes, new workouts and words of inspiration coming at you this weekend.  Stay tuned! xoxo, Brit

TBT workout


1 Comment

Chase Your Dreams Ignore Your Fears

Grit Pic 13.2Happy Sunday!  I wanted to share a little inspiration to get your week started with a positive and optimistic outlook.  “Chasing your dream” is much easier said than done.  Especially, when you’re at a crossroads in your life and the opportunity cost of fully pursuing your dream is high.

In recent years, I’ve develop my own dream of opening fitness studio in Dallas. Each time I take a few steps forward, I take 3 or 4 steps back because my fears kick in.  I often think to myself “I won’t make as much money,” “there are too many competitors,” “can I do this all by myself?”

I found this great article on Forbes.com that really hit home and gave me a little push to quit wallowing in my fears…

The 5 Way s to Overcome the Fear of Chasing Your Dream

By Steven Berglas at Forbes (click the link to read the full article)

  1. Your fear of taking action is a result of watching yourself fail to act–not the other way around.
  2. Your fear of losing a paycheck is exaggerated.
  3. Your fear of launching a start-up stems from knowing someone whose new venture fell flatter than a crepe.
  4. You won’t sacrifice a paycheck because it would be “wrong, reckless, irresponsible, etc.”
  5. No one daydreams while watching a Super Bowl game that goes into the fourth quarter with the score tied.

 

I hope these 5 tips give you the same inspirational kick they gave me.  In the near future I expect that my blog posts and your comments will reflect that we finally ditched the fear and went for it!  Be on the look out.  A Grit by Brit Fitness studio could open soon near you (wink wink)!  Send me your positive vibes and I’ll send you mine.  Have a wonderful week!  xoxo, Brit

What’s your dream?  How will you more actively pursue it?