Tone It Up Tuesday #16 – Gear for the Ladies

Welcome to March everyone! 
Is your month coming in like a lion or a lamb?
Cutest bento lunch for kids I’ve seen in awhile!

In Wilmington the weather is very confused as to what it wants to do. One day it’s very cold, the next I’m wearing shorts, then it’s raining, then it’s 75….who knows what to expect next! I have three big things to talk about this week:

  1. Goals for March Training
  2. Fitness Challenge #3
  3. The Big Give Away Prize

Let’s take it from the top!

Goals for March Training
You may remember last year when I was slightly drunk with enthusiasm….or maybe delusional when I made the goal to accomplish 1000 miles by the end of the year. Yeah, that fell through big time due to so many different factors that I have learned not to set my sights so high. This year I’ve been using SMART goal setting techniques and making each month build upon the last.

Currently I am doing my dedicated exercises every three days and that includes:

  • 20 modified push-ups
  • Warrior series 12 breaths each pose and each side
  • Pilates ring exercises for biceps and lats 3 sets of 20 each exercise and each side rotating
  • 20 physio ball hamstrings curls

I almost reached my goal last month of running no less than 2.08 miles on each of my runs, but fell short on a run while in Tulsa. I did make it up to over 3 miles by the end of the month, but have fallen short on the 4 or more days a week of aerobic training due to weather. And, unfortunately, I missed out on much of the exercise for fun (other than playing with my kiddos) at least once a week due to weather.

So, I’m hoping that March will bring me some better weather days (like yesterday) that will help me on my way. Some new goals for March include the following:

  • Run the stairs at least 15 times up and down on days I am not running or walking outdoors (that’s today)
  • Every Monday in March walk the 4.13 mile loop at Greenfield Lake with Brittany (yesterday=check)
  • Log a total of 50 miles or more (that’s the amount I did between January and February, but with the Monday walk each week it should get boosted easily)
  • To the above resistance training (because none of it has become too easy yet other than the noted exceptions with the Pilates ring) add Bird Dogs (20 each side with opposite arm and leg) and 20 Pilates scissors (that’s 10 each leg)

 

Bird Dog – Great for working the multifidus muscles of the back
Pilates Scissors – Great for working the abdominals and improving hip mobility, just keep the head neutral

Fitness Challenge #3
We’re into our third month and honestly, I’m feeling great about how strong I find myself to be on most days. However, I had a little bit of a moment this weekend while helping my husband with construction projects. I just don’t lift weights at this moment and while I can lift my own body weight, barn doors are a little bit of a challenge.

This month is when most of the people fall off of the bandwagon if they haven’t already. Something happens after Spring Break that sends people back into old routines, so your fitness challenge this month is to find a support system to keep you accountable. I did this by planning my Monday walks with a friend of mine. She and I used to live down the street from each other and we walked almost daily. A year ago I moved across town and, while she has moved closer since then, we still don’t walk daily as we did before. She also wants to get back into running more, so our plan is to use our 4 mile course to start with walking and then next month start running the first mile and walking the remaining three together. We will build from there, but even if we do other stuff throughout the week, we have one day that we are accountable to show up and do it with someone else. We depend on each other!

If you haven’t joined our challenge yet, go back and check out the other two….it’s not too late! All you have to do this month is make a pact with a friend to be accountable one day a week for your activity. It can be anything you want it to be! Then comment below and tell us how you are doing and who you’re doing it with. Remember that you have to also follow the blog (see that link to the right?) to be eligible for the end of the year give away. Full rules in these two links:

The Big Give Away Prize
So, that brings us to the final item on our agenda for today…the announcement of the prize! I’ve done a lot of thinking and one thing that would really help me in life is access to more gear. Gear being fitness clothes, shoes, quality sports bras, and other random equipment. One of my favorite places to shop for some of this stuff is Title 9 Sports. I mentioned about one of their bras here. So, to empower the rest of you to get something you might need or want to improve your performance next year, I will be giving away a $50 gift card to one random participant who completes all 12 challenges. Please see the link to Fitness Challenge #1 above for the complete rules of participation. I hope you’ll join us in having a happier and healthier 2015!
Who is your fitness support?
For what and how will you keep each other accountable?
*Special note that this blog is not officially sponsored by Title 9 Sports*

Fast Friday Tips: Nayoya No-No

It is Friday and my upper body is asking for a break due to the push-ups and extra yoga I’ve been doing…..this makes me a little nervous for my next workout tomorrow (Valentine’s Day), but I love my body enough to give it the gift of health and not quit on my routine. Yesterday I was able to try out my rollerblades and I may give them another whirl this weekend, but you’ll hear more about that on Tuesday. Today it’s time for a quick review of my Pilates ring on this edition of Fast Friday.

You can read my official review on Amazon of this product here, but here are the 5 big things I’d like to tell you about the Nayoya Pilates Ring – Premium Power Resistance Full Body Toning Fitness Circle.

  1. The ring is not very sturdy. It has shown serious signs of wear and tear and I’ve had it less than two months and only have been really using it seriously the last two weeks.
  2. The pads are too big. When I perform the exercise for my biceps by placing the ring up near my shoulder, it constantly slips because the pads are just too large.
  3. It doesn’t feel nice. The materials are sort of sticky feeling and, as other reviewers noted, it does have a smell (but I don’t use it much near my face).
  4. It isn’t very strong.  At least one other company that I had hoped to receive a Pilates ring from offers different levels of resistance. This one I would guess is close to the “light” resistance level, but I’m not sure that most people would feel resistance with the ring I have. Perhaps I’m bias as I have used the ones in fitness centers and Pilates studios over the years. 
  5. The cost is not an advantage. The cost of this Pilates ring is advertised as $28.47, but down from a list price of $44.97. NEVER in my wildest dreams would I have paid $45 for this Pilates ring! The two that I have listed below are much better quality and not nearly as costly.

If you’re going to purchase fitness equipment for your home, I recommend these three steps:

  • Determine if you will actually use it – you know, like the treadmill you’ve seen at someone’s house that doubles as a clothes rack….
  • Weigh the cost of the equipment against the cost of joining a facility that has all of the equipment you might want, plus professionals who can answer your questions about using it properly.
  • Ask a professional and buy where they do.

Most fitness centers that I have worked for purchase their equipment from companies like PerformBetter and Power-Systems. These are the two places that I investigated getting a new Pilates ring for my future use. They have professional grade equipment at reasonable prices. Check at your local gym and you’ll probably find something from either of their catalogs on the fitness floor or in a group exercise studio. Here are the links to the Pilates rings:
PerformBetter Yoga and Pilates Accessories
Power-Systems Pilates Rings

As you can see, comparable price and Power Systems offers three resistance levels. I plan to purchase the firm resistance as that is the one I am used to using at facilities I have taught at. I will keep this one because my son likes to play with it and who doesn’t want to encourage their kids to try new exercises?!

Where do you buy your fitness equipment?
Have you ever worked with a Pilates ring before?  

Fast Friday: Fitness Gear for 2015

I wrote a few weeks ago about exercising in the cold and how important the right kind of gear was for making that work correctly. I want to review different training gear for you from time to time and the latest item I’d like to get my hands on is a bar so that I can do some ABT (asymmetrical bar training).
[See this great article here and join IDEA Fit to read lots of really great fitness articles written by qualified professionals and supported by evidence based research! *not a sponsored plug*]

This might be a fitness challenge for us later this year!

For Christmas this year I received my much anticipated Pilates ring and I will be sharing some great exercises for the ring on a later date during Tone It Up Tuesday. I will probably also review the ring I got sometime next month (after I’ve had some time to break it in). But I started thinking about what other kinds of things I’d like to have in my “home gym”. So, here’s a list of some simple ideas to get you started at home for 2015!

1. A watch.

This is the one my husband and kids got me for my birthday back in September. It’s a very basic Timex Ironman watch and does everything I need it to including keeping time and has a feature for setting a timer if I want to do intervals. A watch is nice because it keeps your hands free unlike a phone does. And one of the best ways to measure if you’re improving at anything is by how much time it takes you to do or how much longer you can do it.

2. A good pair of athletic shoes.
You can read here about my current running shoes that I purchased back in August. It’s been quite a few miles and I think I am in need of an upgrade again….probably next month. I recommend switching out your shoes every 4-6 months depending upon what you’re using them for.

3. A fitness ball.

A very versatile piece of fitness equipment for you to sit on at your desk, while you watch tv, or eat dinner and it will help improve your posture and CORE strength. You can also do ab work, lower body work, and upper body work with the ball while working on balance.

4. A mat.

This is one of my yoga mats that I use for almost any exercise because I also have a carpeted floor to workout on. If you don’t have a carpeted floor to put the mat on, I suggest a cushioned mat for keeping the body well supported during many exercises. My philosophy is that if you can’t do a body weight exercise, than there is no reason for us to load the exercise, so start there….on the mat. If you plan to do yoga then you need a sticky yoga mat instead of a general fitness mat. They yoga mat is longer and “sticky” so that it won’t slide and you won’t slide on it when getting into your postures.

5. I couldn’t decide on what would be my number 5 go to for the start of the year. My thoughts included hand weights, resistance bands, my new Pilates ring, and a good supportive sports bra.
See several discussions on that last topic here with the Fit Feminists:
What’s wrong
Bra dilemma
Padded bras
And as I cannot decide, I’m leaving it up to you:

If this were your top five list, what would be in it?