Tone It Up Tuesday #26 – Why Numbers Matter Part One

Sometimes a number is just a number and there are a lot of people avoiding looking at their weight because of the number. I feel like this is so counterproductive to a lot of people’s training goals. I wrote earlier this year about my love for the scale, but there are a whole host of other ways to measure your body and what it’s made of. So, the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend I asked another trainer to measure me and give me some numbers. Here’s what I got:

Body Circumference Measurements:

Body Fat Percentage Calculated from 3 Skinfold Sites:

So, what do these numbers tell me? Well, they tell me that my body is pretty well balanced from left to right except for my right leg being slightly larger. I’m also right side dominant and I’ve been working on that. My waist (the narrowest part of my body between the bottom of the breast bone and the belly button) is a full 10 inches smaller around than my hips. This means I’m at a lot less likely risk of suffering from heart disease because I am more “pear shaped” or carry gynoid obesity vs. abdominal, apple shaped, or android obesity. (Nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk!)

And I’m in the average category for body fat percentage which means that I’m not at an unhealthy amount, but there’s always room for improving the composition of my body. I don’t know how much I currently weigh, although I was weighed at the doctor’s office recently….I was too distracted by the youngest to look at the number. If I were concerned with losing weight I could easily pick a “better” body composition and figure out how much to convert and/or lose in combination to improve. For right now, with what I do and my lifestyle and goals, I’m okay with what I see.

These numbers do impact my training a variety of ways. The more weight, and specifically more fat weight, I carry; the harder it is to be faster on the runs and bikes I do. The more balanced my body, the better I will perform at certain activities like yoga. So, I take these numbers as a benchmark….a place in time…..a check in with where I’m at on my fitness track. I don’t let them consume me and I don’t let them dictate anything. But I can use them to set more SMART goals if I choose.

I also recently received the numbers from a health scan for our health insurance. Come back tomorrow to learn more about CVD Risk and how those numbers matter.


What numbers do matter to you and which ones do you discard?

Tone It Up Tuesday #25 – Is it time for a training program?

I’ve been debating lately about what I will do next with my running, especially since yesterday’s run didn’t go exactly as planned. Last week I wrote about the next six weeks and what I plan to do there in regards to running, yoga, and my body weight training I’ve got going on. However, I wonder what will come at the end of those six weeks? I have some goals of how I’d like to see it all turn out and I’m pretty confident that I can reach those goals, but what happens when I don’t?

As a degreed and certified fitness professional, it would be great if I had all the answers when it came to my own training, but I don’t.

Continue reading “Tone It Up Tuesday #25 – Is it time for a training program?”

Tone It Up Tuesday #24 – More Sets, Plyos, and Arms

Last week was terrible for me and my running….. I took too many days off and too many 1.5 hour naps. Something was keeping me down. So, Saturday I took to the road and pushed through the best that I could. The weather is getting warmer here and I realized that I’m not so much a hot weather exerciser as I once was. So, I’m going to have to go back to the early morning stuff of my winter runs. Saturday’s run was my 3.14 mile course which I still need one more try at under 9:00/mile before moving on. It was hot and my legs didn’t feel right. After 20 minutes I walked for 2 minutes and finished the rest with a 9:16/mile pace in total.

Monday I was back at it and did intervals which I had to talk myself through. Then, it was back to the exercises. Last week I had finished my first 6 weeks of glute work and this week I added more sets, plyos, and arms. Here’s the plan for the next 6 weeks of training:

Running: M, W, F, Sa runs progressing up to over 4 miles and hopefully beyond. Mondays will be interval days of which I am at total of 5 intervals (approx 1/5 mile) and a total distance of 2.2 mi. Wednesdays and Fridays will be the planned progressive runs trying to improve distance at under 9:00/mile. Saturdays will be a free for all. Sometimes it may be a short run, sometimes long and not for time, and other Saturdays will be cross training with a bike ride.

Body weight exercises: M, W, F continuing with the glute exercises from before, but more sets and added plyos.

bridgeOn the ground: Bridges x 15, Left leg bridges x 15, Right leg bridges x 15, Bridges x 15, Left leg clams x 15 (plus a set of lifting to the left leg), Right leg clams x 15 (plus a set of lifting to the right leg), Bridges x 15



squatStanding Up: Squats x 15, Right leg squats x 15, Left leg squats x 15, Wide squats x 15, Right leg step ups x 15, Left leg step ups x 15, Squat jumps x 15





Uppers: Modified push-ups x 15

mod push up
Note the alignment here. Ears, shoulders, hips, and knees at the starting position and holding the body all the way through.

Yoga: Teaching Tu, Th and later this summer I will be adding; a yoga flow to the mix

I haven’t gotten to the point where I can add in the swimming component that I’d like to, but it’s coming this summer.

What does your next 6 week training block entail?

Tone It Up Tuesday #23 – Back Up Plans

Last week I was hit with another illness. And over and over again I remind myself that this is something temporary and I will get through. I also remind myself not to run when the illness involves anything sinus, respiratory, or otherwise makes me feel weak. Well, I should probably just say that running when you’re sick of any sort will probably make you feel weak and your body needs time to heal.

So, earlier this year I talked about my rainy day back up plan because I hate (well dislike) running in the rain. I plan to use the jump rope in the garage. This also works for days when it’s too cold to run or when I just don’t have that much time. The problem with this back up plan for illness is that it would cause me to raise my heart rate so high that I would probably choke to death on phlegm or start a massive coughing fit that would only be remedied by death. Not liking either option, so jump rope has been out this week.

I also have used the method, in the past, of a HIIT workout. Again….not great for the participant currently suffering allergies and other upper respiratory symptoms. I feel like I’m hitting a wall here….

Last week I had additional scheduling conflicts which didn’t leave my usual training days as open as I would have liked, so while I snuck a run in on Wednesday morning (bad idea in the long run), I have only really run once in the last week and a half. Scheduling conflicts need their own set of back up plans. Like, what can I do at home if I can’t make it to the gym? Or can’t afford a gym? Or have my kids around?

I have tried to maintain the movement I crave during this time by continuing to teach yoga (although modified), but not overexert myself by practicing at home; still doing my glute exercises; and taking walks. My first one was last Thursday and the little guy and I are about to head out on one again today.

Walking doesn’t tax me as hard as running, HIIT, jumping, or even cycling does. It gives me a chance to work on my aerobic endurance at a lower level and stay safe in my healing. I fully realize that this is not the same for everyone and I encourage you to consider what your body needs when you are ill. We should never push ourselves into further illness or injury. (Check out this article on blood donation and performance.) Anytime you are health compromised, consider your options, back off a bit, and do what makes you feel like you’re getting well. Your training goals will still be there when you get back!

Is anyone else having the stellar year of allergies that we are?

Tone It Up Tuesday #22 – Run Update

I had planned this post ahead of time to talk about breaking the 5K mark in my running, but Sunday I started to get sick. You know, that achy in the head and neck kind that makes it hard to swallow or turn your head and then you turn into the most evil version of yourself and hate everyone? Yeah, that was me yesterday. So, I didn’t go for my regularly scheduled run. Now it is Tuesday and it’s rainy and I am still living off of ibuprofen to keep me in check as I recover from what should be a short lived illness.

I read a post this weekend from The Cookie Crunchicles about the use of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs while you workout/run. The information in there isn’t new to me or mind altering, but it was a good reminder that I need to take it easy sometimes when I’m ill. I debated hitting the jump rope today, but I feel like my teaching twice today and prepping for classes tomorrow will be enough in my current state. I mean, I’m not on my death bed, but I’m not 100% either.

My 3.14 mile course is 2 down and 1 to go at under 9:00/mile and I’m starting to change up my runs. Check out my progress for now at my MapMyRun page. Next course I will be tackling is 3.68 miles to keep with my 10% rule and keep progressing toward my run goals for this year. I’ll have a better grasp on my training when I get through this fog of aches and pains.

Here’s hoping to be back on the pavement again tomorrow…

Tone It Up Tuesday #21 – Two Weeks of Tushy Toning

Almost two weeks ago I wrote about the workout that I’m adding to my running and yoga. This is something I’ve been meaning to do all year, but hadn’t quite settled into things. So, on Wednesday, Friday, last Monday, then on Wednesday and Saturday, after my runs I did 15 of each of the exercises listed. Why? Because I want my running to improve and I’m starting with the glutes.

What has happened in the last two weeks has been amazing! Continue reading “Tone It Up Tuesday #21 – Two Weeks of Tushy Toning”

Tone It Up Tuesday #20 – Fitness Challenge #5 – Do More by Doing Less

If you don’t know the true history behind this holiday, note that it’s not all about the cervezas and tortilla chips. Please click here to learn more. Either way, we’re here on the first Tuesday of the month to review last month’s fitness goals, set new ones, and set for the fifth fitness challenge for the year. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can click here or scroll to the bottom of the page to find the other four fitness challenges thus far.

April Review
Last month I aimed to do some HIIT training and you can read about my experiences with it here, here, and here if you’d like. The final outcome was that I plan to use some Metabolic Strength Training through HIIT while I travel. This month I don’t know if I will be traveling for any workshops, but I do have one scheduled for the first full weekend in June and I can’t wait to deploy that workout again!

I also completed my mileage goal with the help of some biking, which I plan to do much more of in the month to come. I suffered some set backs with my other training due to the overload of teaching last month and also that dreaded overuse injury that I still deal with from time to time thanks to my shoes which desperately need to be replaced…..that’s coming in May as well.

New For May
I plan to keep things about the same this month. Here is a recap of the program I’m using with some updates:

  • 20 modified push-ups
  • Pilates ring exercises for biceps and lats 3 sets of 20 each exercise and each side rotating
  • 20 physio ball hamstrings curls
  • 20 bird dogs each side with opposite arm and leg
  • 20 Pilates scissors
  • Three Mondays in May walk the 4.13 mile loop at Greenfield Lake with Brittany and run one of the 4 miles (first two Mondays will be miles 2-3, last Monday will be mile 1-2). (yesterday=check)
  • Log a total of 80 miles or more (that’s 20 miles more than last month’s goal, but the addition of biking will help with that, plus it’s slightly more than May 2014:79.5miles)
  • 50 forward lunges with rotation while holding the Pilates ring (25 each side)
  • 5-10 each side balancing single leg wood choppers with the Pilates ring
  • 20 repetitions of supine hip add/abduction

I also plan to ride the bike for at least 10 miles each week. That’s not a lot, but my good route is about 14 miles and my short split route is about 6 miles total.

Cautions for May
Things I need to be concerned about this month include watching my overuse injury of my hip to make sure it doesn’t flare up again; keep my teaching and exercising within reason; get new shoes; and keep things up while I travel. I’m going to my mom’s house for several days and driving there and back in the middle of the month. She will also be here for a week at the end of the month and I have the little guy’s birthday which always seems to throw a wrench in things.

Resistance Training Days this month: 5/3, 5/6, 5/9, (skip 5/12 for teaching), 5/15, 5/18, 5/21, 5/24, 5/27, and 5/30.

Fitness Challenge #5
From the title of this post, you may think that this is about HIIT training again, but it’s not. Have you seen the annual 30×30 challenge going around again? They ask you to get outside and into nature for 30 minutes a day for 30 days of May….which is funny because May has 31 days. Our challenge this month involves this 30×30 challenge, even though we’re already 5 days into the month. Your job this month is to look at your original goal and see how getting outside can make that goal happen. Then, dedicate 30 minutes each day to getting outside and getting it done! Remember that you must post about your plan and/or experience with the challenge in the comments to qualify for the end of the year giveaway and it’s not too late to start. Just click the links below.

For me, I want to be stronger. This means a lot to me as far as getting outdoors and into nature. I am trying to keep all of my runs, walks, and rides outside and in parks or other non urban areas. Sunday I did my resistance training workout in my backyard. Monday I was at Greenfield Lake for the walk/run with Brittany. Today I plan to take my evening yoga class outdoors. Also, I am working on my gardens (wait to see photos of that later this week). The fresh herbs and vegetables and fruits we are planting in our yards are helping us to get stronger as a family and me to get healthier and stronger in my food choices. Weeding also takes some serious fortitude of the body to stay in squatting positions. So each day I am not exercising in a green space, I will be weeding in a green space. And if I have neither to do each day I will get back to my meditations in an outdoor location. That way I can commune with nature a little more.

I will put down all of my other duties for that 30 minutes each day to do more for myself by doing less of tv, computer, etc.

How can getting outdoors benefit your 2015 goal?

Fitness Challenge #1
Fitness Challenge #2
Fitness Challenge #3
Fitness Challenge #4

Tone It Up Tuesday #19 – Fitness Challenge #4 – Are you HIITing it?

Okay, I’m going to say it again….Can you believe it’s already

I cannot! And not just April, but the 7th….a whole week in and we’re finally getting to the fitness challenge for the month. Next year I’m going to have to reconsider setting this up for the first day of the month instead of just the first Tuesday.

Let’s back pedal a little and get into how we’re doing so far:

Fitness Challenge #1 – Choose a goal; a word to describe that goal and what we hoped to get out of this year. Well, we’re 1/4 of the way done and my word was STRONGER. I posted recently (see here) about how amazing my arms are looking to me and how overall I’m feeling stronger via my workouts. But in terms of wellness (mental, spiritual, emotional, etc), there are still areas in which I want to get stronger. There are areas in my fitness I want to improve more of too and we’ll talk about that in this month’s workout plan.

Fitness Challenge #2 – Try to do more fitness for fun. This is an area in which I have really fallen short this year. I have been outdoors playing with my kids and indoors playing with my kids and just overall trying to play more, but in the grand scheme of things I haven’t hit that goal. I have used my rollerblades exactly once and they’re back to sitting in the garage. And I’ve yet to get my jump rope or hop back on the bike. The weather is really warming up and we’re doing more outdoors, so I’m going to keep playing with this.

Fitness Challenge #3 – Make yourself accountable to someone else/get some support. Well, Brittany and I have met every Monday, rain or shine, to walk. We had one Monday where we walked at the mall and didn’t hit our target distance and another Monday where I had to haul my 25+lb son on my back just to get the walk in because I was short my double stroller. The point is that we are there for each other. Yesterday was our Monday walk day and it was the first day that we incorporated a 1 mile run into the walk. It was slower because Brittany has not been running like I have and she had to pee. But I supported her and encouraged her to get through by giving her time updates and pointing out the short distance we had left to go. We made it! It helps me be accountable too. There are some Mondays that, after traveling all weekend, I just want to sit on the couch and watch tv all day. But knowing that I am meeting someone else to workout makes me get up and get going. Next week our run will fall earlier in the walk and maybe we can improve our times. (Check us/me out over at MapMyRun!)

So, that brings us to the APRIL TRAINING PLAN

  • 20 modified push-ups
  • Pilates ring exercises for biceps and lats 3 sets of 20 each exercise and each side rotating
  • 20 physio ball hamstrings curls
  • 20 bird dogs each side with opposite arm and leg
  • 20 Pilates scissors
  • Every Monday in April walk the 4.13 mile loop at Greenfield Lake with Brittany and run one of the 4 miles. (yesterday=check)
  • Log a total of 60 miles or more (that’s 10 miles more than last month’s goal, but I hit it and then some; 52.35 miles in March)
  • To the above resistance training (because none of it has become too easy yet other than the noted exceptions with the Pilates ring) add 50 forward lunges with rotation while holding the Pilates ring (25 each side)
    I walk through to the next lunge without stepping together on each.
  • Add also 5-10 each side balancing single leg wood choppers with the Pilates ring
    Something like this…only taking my time to make it smooth and keeping the up leg bent behind me
  • Add also 20 repetitions of supine hip add/abduction. I couldn’t find a good photo for this one. Basically you lay on your back with your legs in table top and engage the core by pulling your navel to your spine and zipping up the pelvic floor. Then you slowly open and close the legs while keeping them in table top. This was given to me by my midwife after my second son was born to help with the rectus diastis.

You may, or may not, realize that I cut the Warrior Series out of my workout plan here. As I said last week, the yoga teaching I’m doing is kicking my butt, but even more so, I’m finding out that I’m not getting enough out of my static postures. Just as I had learned back in December, the ability to SQUAT wasn’t coming out fully in my postures. This is why I have swapped them for the lunges. My every third day workout is still meeting my rest demands, but there’s even more that I want to do. So, without further ado…..

Fitness Challenge #4

This topic is rather pertinent for the work I’ve been doing lately. And most of it has to do with HIIT training. If you’re unfamiliar with HIIT training it’s basically interval training. So, instead of just substituting the 15 sets of stairs on the rainy days, I’m going to just flat out add in a little higher intensity training throughout the month of April. I am planning 3 HIIT days total this month. The 10th, the 20th, and the 30th to make it even. Why? Well, because adding intervals and upping the intensity of your workout from time to time can help you to overcome fitness plateaus.

Since December I have been stuck in a rut with those same 20 push-ups and I have not been able to get to where I feel ready to tackle burpee’s on the regular. Despite the addition of new exercises, more cardio training, and the currently 4 hours of yoga teaching each week, I still feel like I’m not reaching my true fitness potential. So, HIIT it is for those three days. On each of those days I will try to post my HIIT workout and I’ve included several links to HIIT articles for your review below.

As HIIT training may not be for you, your challenge this month is to just take 3 days, any 3 days, and turn up the heat on one part of your workout. Maybe you will choose to do a circuit with little rest for a few of your exercises. Maybe you will add some intervals to your cardio. Maybe you will take it up a notch with some plyos. You choose what is right for your training.

Where could you use more intensity in your training?

Understanding HIIT
HIIT Strength Conditioning
HIIT Nutrition

Tone It Up Tuesday #18 – That’s what she S.A.I.D.

Welcome back! It’s already Tuesday and the last day of March! How did we get here so quickly?! Why am I using so many exclamation points?! *Warning: this is a longer post*

Weekend Recap
So, I spent the weekend in Myrtle Beach teaching a personal trainer workshop to five amazing people with great energy and personality. They will all make great trainers when they are ready to do so because they are interested in learning the necessary skills to doing so and seem genuinely into helping others. That’s the kind of group that I like to work with.

Wish I had eaten it myself just so I could have taken my own pic, but…

The hubby and I spent a little time at one of the two Tanger Outlet centers while we were in MB and only managed to find some clothes for our kids. We also ate out at Joe’s Crab Shack (we’d never been before) where I learned that one dessert can have 1200+ calories in it. Thank goodness I don’t eat by counting calories and still chose not to indulge in that dessert. I instead devoured some blackened mahi tacos and then shared a waffle cone at Ben and Jerry’s. Yum! We were staying close to Broadway at the Beach, but didn’t spend enough time there to do the touristy thing.

But, now the weekend is over and it’s back to business. I did my run on Saturday evening on the treadmill at the hotel. The fitness center was on the 4th floor, which I found odd, and only had three pieces of cardio equipment. My workout was therefore a little limited as I didn’t take my fit ball nor Pilates ring with me. MISSED OPPORTUNITY! I demonstrate a lot of exercises on the Saturday portion of the workshop, but I don’t use my “regular weight” when doing them so I never feel like I got a great workout which makes having zero equipment that much more disappointing.

So, we got home late on Sunday after picking the kids up and Monday it was back to walking with Brittany. However, I didn’t have my usual double stroller, so I had to improvise again. This time I chose to wear Eli in a hiking backpack and push Ike in the single stroller as we hiked over 4 miles around our neighborhoods and still managed to hit 16:00 miles. Not bad in my opinion, but it hurt and I was quite sweaty by the time we finished.

Why YOGA is kicking my butt!
Today puts me back on schedule for my regular workout, but I’m not doing it. Well, not doing some of it that it. See, since I started my new position with the city teaching yoga, Tuesdays equal 3 hours of yoga instruction for me. This is going to be amped up come fall at which time Tuesdays will mean 9 hours of yoga instruction (including lecture times). Therefore, I’m choosing to cut back on my every third day training when it comes to Tuesdays.

This is my second week of teaching. What did I learn during my first week? I learned that all of my yoga abilities I had built up last fall with lots of practice had been lost over the last few months. While I was still doing my warrior series on my third day workouts, it just wasn’t enough.

SAID Principle
In training there is a principle called the Specificity principle or Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (SAID). The basic gist of this training principle is that you need to train for the outcome that you desire. For example, if I wanted to get bigger biceps, I wouldn’t just do a lot of squats. Because squats won’t give me bigger biceps.

Up until now the goal of my training has been focused on working some areas that I knew were weaker and doing things that I enjoy. However, now I need to adapt my training focus to meet the demands my body will face on Tuesdays (and Thursdays for 1 hour in the morning) and begin to prepare for the work I will expect my body to do this fall.

My few poses here and there just weren’t enough and I’m feeling it!

So, next week on Tuesday we will adjust the training program and talk about Fitness Challenge #4. Until then I am headed out for my run and just trying to keep breathing through each and every step.


Is your training following the SAID principle?

Tone It Up Tuesday #17 – I Don’t Have Time and Other Excuses

I’ve had some ideas floating in my head lately that all seemed to come together this morning and allowed me to write this post with confidence. First thing’s first….how many of you have ever used the excuse, “I don’t have time to __________.”? You can put almost anything in the blank, but most often the people that I work with fill it in with exercise. I usually try to combat this statement with all of the reasons that you do have time to exercise and all of the ways that you can fit it in easily to your day. Here’s a great article from ACE about ways to do exactly that.

How to Be More Active during Your Workday

Don’t fall victim to sedentary environmental design and increasing sitting behavior patterns and start movin . . .

However, this time I want to take a different approach and my kids, the TODAY Show, and company helped me to better understand procrastination toward exercise.

Some of you may be natural procrastinators….I admit I even fall into that category from time to time, but according to Gretchen Rubin, some of this can be taken care of by use of the 1-minute rule. I saw her segment on the TODAY Show this morning and it reminded me of me last night. Yesterday I packed in entirely too much into my day.

After breakfast I loaded the kids up to take them to the Railroad Museum for story time and a little play time. Then we dashed to drop off some work forms at one end of town and ran through the grocery store for necessary ingredients for dinner. We booked it home and then ate the world’s fastest lunch while I started on laundry and dishes. Then, we drove back toward downtown to walk with a friend (4+ miles in just over an hour) and then back home for “nap time”. Only, nap time happened just for one kid. Luckily, while the other one was “picking up his room” I got a chicken in the oven and started cleaning the WHOLE REST OF MY HOUSE. See, we were having company for dinner….who’d never seen our house before. I got the whole house cleaned, a chicken roasted, side dish started, dessert started, and a shower in in less than 3 hours time. I felt like Superwoman! But, why didn’t I start on it earlier or just cut something out of my day? Because I’m the kind of procrastinator that likes a challenge.

You may say, at this point, that none of this has to do with procrastinating on exercise because I did it….I exercised yesterday. Well, let’s take a step back and think about my oldest son and his cleaning of his room. I did three things that helped him (aged 4) clean up his room. These can help you when deciding not to procrastinate on exercise:

1. Gave him one thing to focus on at a time. I started with the puzzles. I told him that when he was done with the puzzles to come and see me for his next assignment. If you’ve been following along with our Fitness Challenge for the year you will have seen that each month you have one new focus at a time. We aren’t trying to overwhelm ourselves here.

2. I set a time limit on each task. Remember the 1 minute rule above? How many of you have ever babysat or had your own kids and set a timer for them to complete a task? I had a deadline for when it all had to be done (6pm), so I gave him deadlines to meet too. We even made some of the assignments a race between what he had to get done and what I had to get done.

3. There was a reward at the end. He didn’t nap, but he did want a snack, so he had to finish his jobs before he could get a snack. After his room was finished he had a snack and then started on other tasks around the house to help out. The reward was going to be some tv time while I showered. Adults need rewards too. Remember that the reward should be in line with the outcome of the goal you’re working on. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO REWARD YOURSELF WITH CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR LOSING WEIGHT!!!

So, here’s an idea for you the next time you feel like you don’t have time to exercise; pick any 10 minutes of your day and go all out like you have to. Do one group of exercises that you know and can do really well. Do them the best that you can like your life depends upon it. Focus on only one area, set the time, and reward yourself after you’re done. Try making the 1 minute rule (or 10 minute rule) work for your fitness routine and see if continued practice doesn’t make you crave a little more.

I promise to be back soon with another post for you about High Intensity Interval Training and how that might actually be one of the best ways to put the 1 minute rule into action. Until then, take a deep breath, it will all get done eventually!


What do you like to procrastinate on?