A Little Help from My Friends

Good Day to All!

After Saturday’s humbling 10K race, I am ready to complete a workout with friends who motivate me. I ran the entire race not knowing one person, and though I do love running and zoning out, clearly Saturday I needed the help of my friends.

Running a 10K alone reminded me of how important group fitness is to me. I know many of you are thinking, yes, of course Nicole, you have said that a million times. But Saturday, I realized just how much I do need my friends. I miss attending Jackie’s Turbo Kick classes, I miss attending Denise’s Insanity classes and I miss my cohorts from Z Studio! I used to see many of these amazing women twice a week, and now, it’s just once a week, and some I don’t see at all anymore.

I love that these women also have a smile for me, and they always have a kind word. It doesn’t matter how difficult my day was I always know when we gather for a workout, they will be by my side, and for that, I thank them all.

Unfortunately, class at the park is cancelled due to the weather, but here is the workout that I had planned for this evening. Go Get ’em!

Remember to grab heavy and light weights, a mat, water and a timer!

Legs

Toning

  1. Dead Lifts
  2. Reverse Plank
  3. Bridge

Cardio-Lunge back & shoot/Hop left foot then right

Abs-Single, Single, Double with Rain

Biceps

Toning

  1. Concentration curls
  2. Hammer curls (Up 3, down 1)
  3. Wide Curls

Cardio: Standing Mtn Climber/Jog in place

Abs: Crunch & Chop

Triceps

Toning

  1. Crab Crawl
  2. Tricep Punch Out
  3. Runner’s Pose with Tricep Presses

Cardio-1/4 Turns/Ham Curls

Abs-Toe tap plank

Chest

Toning

  1. Push ups
  2. Chest Presses
  3. Chest Flies

Cardio-Floor Jacks/Bootie Kicks

Abs-Superman roll into Pike Crunch

Back

  1. Reverse Fly
  2. Bent over row
  3. Good Morning

Cardio-Shuffle Punch/High knees

Abs-Side Plank with Hip Dips

Stay Strong!

~Nicole

 

Don’t Give Up!

Good Day to All!

Yesterday morning, my alarm clock blared at 4:30 a.m., a time when I usually roll over and go back to bed. But, I crawled out of bed and had my morning fuel. Almost every day of the week, I eat a mixture of two cereal flavors, both by Kashi. Usually, I don’t eat before a workout, but I figured I had about three hours to digest it before the big 10K.

I love to mix these two high protein and high fiber cereals together for my morning fuel!

I love to mix these two high protein and high fiber cereals together for my morning fuel!

After breakfast, I got myself together and hubby and I were out the door and on the road by 5:20. It was nice drive to Lake City, and I was surprised by how awake I was feeling. I suppose it was the excitement of the race pumping adrenaline through my body.

On the road!

On the road!

We arrived around 6:15 a.m. and I went straight to the registration booth to pick up my goodie bag and official race number. Most of the items in the bag were brochures about the area and small ticket stubs for free ice cream, free golf or free bowling sessions. Runners did receive one very bright, neon yellow t-shirt.

Free t-shirt!

Free t-shirt!

After I registered, I kind of walked around in a daze. There were lots of people there who looked like that had done this type of thing a time or two. I, on the other hand haven’t participated in an organized race in about 10 years, it was then I realized how nervous I was.

I watched as runners grouped together laughing and chatting and having a good time. They didn’t appear to be nervous at all. Then, I started to notice people who looked like they were professional runners. They were sprinting out in the grass, lunging side to side, front to back and doing calf stretches.

After walking around in a daze for several minutes, I finally decided it was time to just relax and have fun. I told myself that I have really enjoyed semi-training for this event and now it’s here and it’s time to to enjoy it. So I had my husband, Adlai, take a few pictures pre-race so that I could have this event cemented in my head just in case I decide to run another race.

Just finishing up my morning coffee.

Just finishing up my morning coffee.

Standing at the finish line pre-race.

Standing at the finish line pre-race.

We walked back to the truck so I could put on my shoes. As I started digging through my bag for my socks and shoes, panic struck. I couldn’t find my iPod and earbuds. I left them at home. Now, if you recall the blog post I talked about “Team Work,” the one where I ran without my music and Adlai followed along with his bicycle, it was awesome! So, I tried to remember that I could do it. I have run without music once, I can do it again.

For whatever reason, the race was delayed 15 minutes, so I used this time to check out the route posted next to the registration booth. I drank a little more water and I continued to stretch my muscles in preparation for this “no-music” havin’ 10K. Sigh….

Routes for the 5K, 10K and the 1/2 marathon.

Routes for the 5K, 10K and the 1/2 marathon.

At 7:15 the 1/2 marathon runners (thank goodness that wasn’t me) were called to the starting line and big, loud roar from the announcer shouted “GO!” The runners quickly disappeared up the first hill, and then, 5K and 10K runners were called to the starting line. Everyone casually walked to the starting line and waited for the announcer.

I stood at the starting line and  waited patiently for the race to begin.

I stood at the starting line and waited patiently for the race to begin.

I watched as some of the rail thin runners jumped in place and did a series of high knees. Then, I watched as the majority of runners clicked through their iPod’s and found their playlist. Sigh again….

By 7:45, the 10K began. There were people passing me left and right. I tried not to care, and I tried to keep up. I ran with the pack for as long as I could. I definitely had my game face on, and I tried to be strong, I tried to keep a positive frame of mind.

GO!! GO!! GO!!

GO!! GO!! GO!!

Hair blowing in the wind.

Trying to keep up with everyone was tough! I wondered how much prep that had prior to this race??

Trying to keep up with everyone was tough! I wondered how much prep that had prior to this race??

Little by little I was passed by the majority of the 10K runners and the 5 K runners that started about 100 feet behind us. There were even little kids passing me as I ran. I listened to my breath, I was panting hard. I felt like I was doing burpee after burpee with no rest.

I continued this pace and found a girl in a green shirt that had a great pace. She was very steady and I tried to keep up with her. I did for about the first two miles until she eventually pulled ahead of me. I slowed my pace and was able to breath again. I could focus only on the thick, humid air-it had to have been 94% humidity. I could only hear my breathing and my feet hitting the ground. Unfortunately, this was not a day that I felt like the king of the road.

I ran by myself for quite awhile until I caught up to a couple of girls that were running and chatting. I passed them and I was feeling pretty good. But, my breath was wavering again, and suddenly those girls I had just passed were passing me. I wanted to stop so badly. I wanted this race to be over! I kept watching one man run for a bit, then he stopped and walked. Then he ran. And then he stopped and walked. It looked so enticing, but I didn’t stop running. I kept going. I kept running, slow, but sure.

I finally made it to the home stretch, which was down hill, thank goodness. I noted that I either need to run more hills or find a 10K that was all flat-maybe one in Kansas or something.

Finally running down hill! The last 1/2 mile or so.

Finally running down hill! The last 1/2 mile or so.

Almost home! Hubby was cheering me on!

Almost home! Hubby was cheering me on!

And finally, I was done! My time was slow, but it seemed on par with what I have been running at home. I know that I am not ever going to be the fastest runner, but maybe next time, with a little music it will be an enjoyable run. Or at least a little more enjoyable than this one!

And although I didn’t enjoy every step of the way like many of my pre-race runs, I didn’t give up and that’s what I am going to take away from this humbling event!

Post run water break! I couldn't get enough water!

Post run water break! I couldn’t get enough water!

Has anyone had any humbling fitness experiences?

Stay Strong and have a great day!

~Nicole

The Final Countdown

Good Day to All!

In preparation for my race tomorrow, I am taking it easy today. I am getting really excited about the Circle of Life 10K, but a little nervous. I have been preparing since December, so the race itself doesn’t bother me, but the early start is making me nervous. I am not a morning person, and my race starts at 7:30 a.m. My husband is driving me to the race tomorrow, and it’s about an hour drive to the location. I think I might have to be up and ready by 5 a.m. Yikes! Hopefully, that will give me enough time to drink plenty of coffee (and water) to get me through the race. The beauty is…my workout will be done by 8:30 or so. 🙂

Don’t worry, I am not letting you off the hook for today. Here is a 3.2.1. workout that is sure to get your heart pumpin’! Remember the drill, toning for three minutes, cardio for two minutes and one minute for your abs! Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!

You will need heavy weights, light weights, a mat, ghetto gliders (2 paper plates), a timer, water and a big smile!

Toning: Legs

  1. Walking Lunges for the full three minutes

Cardio: Jump Squats/Tap side to side

Abs: in a plank position with the gliders under your toes, bring the right knee to the right elbow. The trick here is to bring the knee out wide, not directly under your chest like a mountain climber.

Toning: Biceps

  1. Lunge and curl-with one glider under right toe and heavy weight in right hand, lunge back with 90 degree knees while doing a hammer curl. (30 sec. per side)
  2. Bicep curls-raise one knee off the ground to a 90 degree angle and curl for 30 seconds. Put right foot down and lift left leg off the ground with knee at 90 degrees, curl for 30 seconds
  3. Regular Bicep Curls

Cardio: Glute Repeater/Bootie Kicks

Abs: Side plank with hip dips (right side)

Toning: Triceps

  1. Runner’s lunge with heavy weights in your hands. Palms face toward the back wall, behind the bootie. Pulse quickly. Do not let the weights come in front of your hips.
  2. Overhead extension
  3. Crab Crawl-my new favorite

Cardio: Sumo Squats/High Knees

Abs: Side plank with hip dips (left side)

Toning: Chest

  1. Crawl and Military Press-place your heavy weights on either side of the mat. Stand on the same end of your mat that you placed your weights. Walk down with your hands on the mat into a plank, do one push-up and crawl back. Pick up your weight and press them overhead. Squat down with weights and set them back on the floor, stand back up and repeat.
  2. Push-up Pyramid (4 guy, 4 girl, 3 guy, 3 girl etc)
  3. Chest Press with bridge

Cardio: Power Burpee/Jog in place

Abs: Chest Fly with leg lifts (lie on your back with legs perpendicular to the ground, as your legs go toward the ground, open your chest (holding light weights). Bring legs back up and arms up.

Toning: Back

  1. Reverse Fly
  2. Standing Row (right)
  3. Standing Row (left)

Cardio: Ski/Crescent Knee

Abs: 90 Knee press out.

Stay Strong!

~Nicole

Do you prefer activities that require toning or cardio?

 

 

 

 

Warm it Up and Cool it Down!

Good Day to All!

I spend a lot of time thinking of new 3.2.1. routines and Step routines, and I love sharing those with you. However, it occurred to me that I haven’t given you much to go on in terms of Warm-ups and Cool Downs. So I thought I would share my basic warm up and cool down routines. Keep in mind that both of these routines are meant to be completed at a slower place and reduced intensity.

According to Mayo Clinic, “A warm up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system, increases blood flow to your muscles and raises your body temperature. Warming up may also help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury.”

Mayo Clinic goes on to say that cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of heart rate and blood pressure…most importantly for competitive athletes, such as marathoners, because it helps regulate blood flow. Cooling down doesn’t appear to help reduce muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise, but more research is needed.

Despite the need for more research regarding the benefits of cooling down, I love it because it feels great! I always try to do my best in any workout and it feels like a treat for my muscles when they get a chance to relax and stretch.

My basic 3.2.1. warm up seems like a lot of steps to go through, but it only takes about 5 minutes which is a great length for a warm up. My warm up goes like this…

  1. Begin marching in place.
  2. With feet shoulder width apart and the belly button pulled in, reach high with both hands and pull down as you raise one knee (then alternate knees). Do this for 8 counts.
  3. Continue to alternate knees, but take arms wide (out to the side, reach up and pull down to the side) Do this for 8 counts
  4. Opposite elbow to the opposite knee. Do this for 8 counts.
  5. March in place.
  6. With feet shoulder width apart, squat in the center 6 times. Push the bootie back and push the weight of your body up through your heels.
  7. Step out to the right, squat 6 times.
  8. Step back to center, squat 6 times.
  9. Step out to the left, squat 6 times.
  10. Step back to center, squat 6 times.
  11. March in place.
  12. Take a wide stance and lunge left to right, pushing the bootie back and keep the weight of your body in your heels. You can put your hands on your hips or interlock them and hold them right below your chin.
  13. Hold a side lunge for 8 counts.
  14. Switch and hold a side lunge on the opposite side for 8 counts.
  15. Walk your feet in and start tapping side to side.
  16. Pull one arm across your chest, drop your shoulder away from your ear. Do this for 4 counts.
  17. Switch arms, 4 counts
  18. Keep tapping, elbow up and pat yourself on the back stretching out triceps, 4 counts.
  19. Switch arms, 4 counts.
  20. Quad stretch for 8 counts on the right and switch and complete 8 counts on the left. Make sure your knee is in line with your hips.

Once you’ve completed your workout for the day, here is a five minute cool down to reduce your heart rate.

Cool Down

  1. Lay down on your back and pull your right leg to your chest, flex your foot and give yourself a little hug.
  2. Push your heel to the ceiling, then point your toe, flex and point.
  3. Bend your knee at a 90 degree angle and roll it to the opposite side of your body keeping your shoulder blades on the mat. Look over your opposite shoulder.
  4. Switch legs and repeat.
  5. Slowly roll up to a seated position.
  6. Stack one foot on top of the other and reach for your toes. Then switch sides. This stretches the back of your legs.
  7. Come up on the balls of your feet, as you begin to stand, arch your back and drop your chin to your chest.
  8. Flatten your back and lift your chin.
  9. Arch your back and roll all the way up.
  10. Roll your shoulders back 3 times, then forward 3 times.
  11. Reach right arm across chest and drop your shoulder away from your ear. Switch to the left side.
  12. Elbow up and pat yourself on the back. Switch to left side.
  13. Quad stretch on the right side. Make sure to line your knee with your hip. Switch to the left side.
  14. Take your feet out wide and breathe in and blow it out.

My WordPress class started last week and I am learning more and more about this blog site. I think it would be beneficial to have a video made of the warm up and cool down. They are both very simple, but it takes a lot of text to explain especially if you haven’t been subjected to it. 🙂

Stay Strong!

~Nicole

 

 

 

 

The Challenges of Summer

Good Day to All!

As I sat at my desk snacking on fresh blueberries, strawberries and pears, I reflected on the intense workout and fabulous group of gals that came to 3.2.1. last night. They did a great job — you know who you are!

Although it was great to be outside getting our sweat on, there were some challenges. First, bugs. Big, bad bugs. Mosquitoes, chiggers and gnats, oh my!  But, a touch of bug spray helped us out a bit. Then, the weather looked a bit gnarly. The sky had big, ominous, gray clouds and the humidity made it a little tough to breathe, but these gals showed strength and endurance and handled everything quite well.

After our workout, I had a little treat for one lucky participant. I put all attendees names in a small cup and picked one name; that person won the “goodie bag” I had prepared the night before. Inside the bag was a little snack to keep her energized.

Two tasty apples, a packet of peanut butter and a packet of Emergen-C

Two tasty apples, a packet of peanut butter and a packet of Emergen-C

I am just about to head out for my evening run. Tonight is my night for a short run. My 10K is in four days and I am so excited to participate. I am really looking forward to getting an accurate read on what my time is for 6.2  miles. The race is in Lake City, Minnesota, and I am hoping the race has enjoyable scenery along the way.

If you would like to do your own cardio tonight go for it, but if you want to mix it up a little I have two Step routines for you. The following routines are completed on a vertical step. There is a Plank Circuit to round out your night!

Vertical Step: Walk the Box Routine

  1. 4 Charleston
  2. 4 Walk the Box
  3. 4 Knee Corner to Corner
  4. 4 Basic
  5. 1/2 L
  6. 1 U-Turn (Single Knee, Double Knee, Triple Knee)
  7. 1 Triple Ham Curl (This is where you will switch lead legs)

Repeat 3 times.

Vertical Step: Stomp the Bug

  1. 4 Basic
  2. 4 Stomp the Bug
  3. 4 Knee Walk Back
  4. 1 T with Straddle/Jump
  5. 4 Double Instep
  6. 4 Side Out Corners
  7. 1 Triple Knee (This is where you will switch lead legs)

Repeat 3 times.

Here is an Plank Circuit! Do each plank for 1 minute!

  1. Spider Plank (forearms to palms)
  2. Side Plank with Elephant arm (extend arm toward the sky, curve it under rib cage and extend to the sky again)
  3. Plank (rock back and forth on toes)
  4. Plank on Knees
  5. Plank (runner knees)
  6. Plank Jacks (plank, then feet go out/in, out/in)
  7. Plank with Arm Extension (extend right arm/lift left leg; extend left arm/lift right leg)

Done!

Let me know how you like the Plank Circuit. I am thinking about doing a Plank Challenge starting in July. Would you be interested in planking with me? Would you like a two week, three week or month long Plank Challenge?

Have a great night and Stay Strong in the workout of your choice!

~Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in the Bag?

Good Day to All!

It’s Monday, and it’s a happy one! I’m looking forward to working out with a great group of ladies tonight. To show my appreciation, I am offering a “goodie” to one lucky participant.

Here’s a sneak peek of the “Goodie Bag!”

A little surprise for one lucky participate!

A little surprise for one lucky participate!

If you cannot attend tonight, the 3.2.1. workout is listed below. You need heavy and light weights, a mat, water and a timer. If you have other equipment available, feel free to substitute your favorite exercise for one that is listed.

Legs

Toning

  1. Sissy Squats
  2. Frog Squats
  3. Alt. Front Lunges

Cardio-Sumo Squats/Bunny Hops

Abs-Single, Single, Double with Rain

Biceps

Toning

  1. Singles
  2. Hammer Curls
  3. Wide Curls

Cardio: Frog Hops/Jog in place

Abs: Side bends

Triceps

Toning

  1. Crab Crawl
  2. Tricep Punch Out
  3. Inverted Push up

Cardio-Plie hops/Ham Curls

Abs-Hollow man

Chest

Toning

  1. Push ups
  2. Chest Presses
  3. Chest Flies

Cardio-Jab/Cross Heel/Bootie Kicks

Abs-Full sit with weight

Back

  1. Reverse Fly
  2. Bent over row
  3. Kneeling Deadlift

Cardio-Glute Repeater/High knees

Abs-Plank

Please go at your own pace, but Stay Strong in the process. It is sometimes a little harder to motivate yourself when working out alone. So turn up the music and try to push yourself as you move through this routine.

Have a wonderful Monday!

~Nicole

Gimme a Break

Good Day to All!

Last night was supposed to be my short run with light toning, and it was just that. I set out to run 30 minutes as I continued to prep for my 10K coming up in just about a week. It was rainy and humid yesterday, so I opted for the treadmill at the gym. In the first 30 seconds, I knew this would be a difficult run. Everything was tight and I really had to do a lot of positive self-talk to get my legs moving. In less than 10 minutes I knew this was less about the mental challenge and more about my body just needing to rest.

It was a full week of tough workouts starting with 3.2.1. on Monday. I had a really strong run on Tuesday, followed by Step & Sculpt on Wednesday. As I continued on the treadmill, I began to feel light-headed, so I clicked the speed down to a walking pace. It was all I could do to finish my last 15 minutes.

I was disappointed when I returned home, but I knew I needed to refuel so that my upcoming long run on Saturday morning would be manageable. I decided to make Pumpkin Hummus to snack on before dinner.

Canned pumpkin has some amazing attributes —potassium being one of them. And, according to Huffington Post Healthy Living, potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best. Although my workout on Thursday night was not as challenging as I wanted, I taught an hour and 30 minute class on Wednesday night that included intense cardio and a lot of strength training. I obviously didn’t refuel very well on Wednesday night.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html

So, if you are looking for a tasty appetizer to take to a party or if you are looking for a great way to refuel after a workout, you may want to try this recipe. I took this hummus to a party a few weeks ago and it was a hit.

Pumpkin Hummus

Prepare up to a day ahead, and refrigerate.

  1.  2 Tblsp. Of Tahini
  2. 2 Tblsp. Fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 tspn. Ground cumin
  4. 1 tspn. Olive oil
  5. ¾ tspn salt
  6. 1/8 tspn ground red pepper (cayenne pepper is optional)
  7. 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  8. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  9. 2 Tblsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  10. 1 Tblsp pumpkinseed kernels, toasted (optional)
This is a quick glance at the ingredients needed for the Pumpkin Hummus. I omitted the Cayenne Pepper in the image because I am making that an optional ingredient-although I love it!

This is a quick glance at the ingredients needed for the Pumpkin Hummus. I omitted the Cayenne Pepper in the image because I am making that an optional ingredient-although I love it!

Place the Tahini and the next 7 ingredients in a food processor, and process until blended. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl; sprinkle with pumpkin seed kernels, if desired. Serve with pita wedges, your favorite crackers or veggies. Yield: 10 servings (about 3 tblsp.)

If your having a party or small get together, garnish with Italian or Flat-leafed Parsley. Yum!

If your having a party or small get together, garnish with Italian or Flat-leafed Parsley. Yum!

Enjoy Pumpkin Hummus with your favorite crackers, veggies, pita bread or tortillas.

Enjoy Pumpkin Hummus with your favorite crackers, veggies, pita bread or tortillas.

  • Calories: 117
  • Fat: 2.6g
  • Protein 3.7g
  • Carb. 20.4g
  • Fiber 2.1g
  • Chol 0g
  • Iron 1.6mg
  • Sodium 330mg
  • Calc 43mg

And, don’t think you are getting out of a workout! Here’s a little goodie to get ya sweatin’! All you need is a timer and some water.

Short warm-up-do each exercise for 20 seconds and then repeat. Start slow and then push the second time around.

  1. March
  2. High Knees
  3. Jumping Jacks
  4. Ski
  5. Bootie Kicks
  6. Squat jumps

15 minute Cardio! Do each exercise for 30 seconds and then REPEAT! BOOM!

  1. Frog jumps (start with feet wider than shoulder width; jump forward in squat position and touch the floor with two hands; hop back, touching the floor with 2 hands; jump and reach toward the sky.
  2. Jump Rope
  3. Air Squats
  4. Bootie Kicks
  5. Burpees
  6. Punch front and side (think Turbo)
  7. Plank forearms or palms (you choose)
  8. Bunny Hops
  9. Fast Feet
  10. Hop on one foot/switch
  11. Push Ups
  12. Triceps Dips on step or chair
  13. Cross Country Ski
  14. Plie Hops
  15. Suicide Shuffle

Stay Strong in all that you do!

~Nicole