Lauren Martin is a NESTA certified personal trainer, Bodypump and spinning instructor. She holds a bachelor's degree in graphic design and a master's in art education and is the author of the blog Me and the Mountains. Lauren resides in Broomfield, Colorado with her husband and two Golden Retrievers.
Out of all of the cardio machines that I have to choose from at the gym, the treadmill is usually the last one that I would choose. It’s not that I dislike walking or running – I actually kind of like it – but to me, walking or running indoors can get extremely boring. There’s something about the other machines (like the elliptical and stairmill) that just seem to hold my interest more and make my workout more enjoyable. That being said, I know that running on a treadmill can provide a great cardiovascular workout.
I almost always run outdoors and my surface of choice is definitely dirt. Unfortunately, because of weather and other factors, that’s not always possible. Recently, I decided to give the treadmill another chance, with a different approach this time.
I’m an avid hiker and walking up an incline is often a big part of my hikes. Hiking can be a great cardiovascular and fat-burning workout because it tones your lower body and (depending on the trail) can alternate between high and low intensity.
I tried utilizing the treadmill to get the same benefits of a hike by adjusting the incline and speed during a thirty minute period, which would offer the same type ofinterval trainingthat I naturally get while hiking. Walking at an incline burns more calories than walking on a level surface because your body has to work much harder to push itself uphill. You’ll definitely feel your heart pumping faster as the incline percentage increases, and it will drop as you come back down to level ground. (more…)
When I initially decided to join a gym about ten years ago I pretty much only ever stayed in one very small area of the building: the cardio section. I would walk in, jump on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes and leave. I wasn’t really sure what to do in the weight room and found it to be pretty intimidating, so I steered clear of it altogether. But then I got bored. I decided that I wanted to start doing exercise in the form of strength training to build some muscles! And then one day, as if by fate, I noticed a flyer for a new class that the gym was offering: Les Mills Bodypump.
Bodypump is described as the original Les Mills barbell class and will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast! The classes use a specific formula of resistance trainingthat is referred to as “The Rep Effect.” This essentially means that the classes focus on using low weight loads and high repetition movements for effective fat burning and production of lean muscle tissue. (Or, in my own words – it’s an hour of strength training combined with cardio moves that will kick your butt and re-shape your body.)
Nervously, I decided to give Bodypump a try, and I lovedit! Even though the class was nearly an hour long, it went by super quickly and I enjoyed every heart-pumping minute. I immediately became hooked and found myself faithfully attending the class three times a week. I loved it so much in fact that I eventually decided to become a certified Les Mills Bodypump instructor! (more…)
It might not be something that you spend too much time thinking about, but the clothing and shoes that you wear while exercising can have a pretty significant effect on how successful your workout is. Everything from what you wear on your head to your feet (and everywhere in between) plays a part in how comfortable you are at the gym, on the trails, or wherever your workout happens to be that day.
Here’s four tips to help you dress the part and have your clothing work for you when you exercise:
1. Choose clothing that is suited for the activity that you’re doing.
Wearingclothing that’s fun yet practical (and that you feel good in!) can make a huge difference in your attitude! If you’re feeling uncomfortable in what you’re wearing or constantly tugging and pulling on your clothing, you’ll be far less likely to enjoy your workout.
Consider which type of top and bottom you’ll be most comfortable in. If you are blessed to have thighs that don’t rub together, running shorts might be what you prefer. If you’re not so lucky (and experience that ever-so-fun chafing effect), consider tight fitting long shorts or capri pants that provide a bit of compression and support.
Stationary Bike / Indoor Cycling
Make sure that your pants are not loose-fitting as they can get caught in the pedals.
Wear clothing that’s comfortable and is not too tight or constrictive on the body in any way.
Consider the muscle groups that you’ll be training. I like to wear shorts when I work out my legs and tops that show off my shoulders or back when working those muscle groups. Being able to see the part of your body that you’re training might give you a bit more motivation (and help show off the results!). (more…)
I’m a huge fan of The Biggest Loser. Like many of you, I’ve been a faithful viewer since the very beginning and have been eagerly anticipating the start of season 15, which is all about second chances. I always look forward to “meeting” the contestants and seeing what kinds of twists and turns are going to be thrown into the show.
One of the big twists this year is that the episodes are only one-hour long. While I love watching the show and definitely don’t look forward to it being over, the previous two-hour format was a long time to be sitting on the couch. And while there’s definitely nothing wrong with spending some time relaxing at the end of the day, if I can get a workout in while watching my favorite show I call that a win.
Something that I’ve started doing recently while watching some of my favorite shows is creating my own drinking game-style workout. Just in case you’re not familiar, a drinking game means taking a shot of liquor every time a “buzz” word is said. While that sounds like fun, it’s not exactly conducive to calorie burning. The difference with my game is that instead of taking a shot each time a buzz word is said I perform a specific exercise; burning instead of gaining.
Play along with us! Here’s a full body workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home (using your own body weight) while watching the premiere of The Biggest Loser, Season 15. You will not be exercising for the entire hour and have the option of performing more or less exercises during each segment of the show.
During the Introductions:
As contestants are being introduced, start by warming up with some dynamic stretching such as arm circles, side to side lunges and toe touches. Every time footage is shown of a contestant eating unhealthy food or says I need to start taking care of myself or second chance, do 15 jumping jacks. (more…)
Throughout the week of October 7-12 there have been quite a few bloggers exposing themselves online. Before your mind wanders to any dark places, let me clarify exactly what exposing means in this case. I’m talking about the Exposed Movement, which was started by a blogger named Mish back in 2009. Mish got the idea for the Exposed Movement after deciding that she was tired of hating the way she looked and wanted to instead celebrate her body and all that it has done for her. She forced herself to see her own body in a different light and focused on its strengths rather than scrutinizing every little imperfection.
What happened next was a revolution of sorts. Men and women started coming out of the woodwork to take part in the Exposed Movement. One by one bloggers began posting photos of themselves at their most vulnerable (which was often in a bikini or underwear) in order to put it all out there. Rather than focusing on their flaws, each blogger wrote about what they love and appreciate about their own body. Here’s a few of the bloggers that took part in the movement in 2009, 2010 and again in 2013.
Carla, Miz Fit Online
Prior to taking part in the Exposed Movement in 2009, Carla had a little hesitation about how others would view her body. She feared that many would view her as “already fit” and it may lessen the impact of her appreciation for what her body can do. By exposing herself Carla focused on what she is most thankful for in regards to her body, which includes her eyes, brain, legs and overall health. She learned that if she gives her body the nourishment it wants, it will be good to her in return.
Four years later, Carla is very much the same person but admits that she is older and wiser. By revisiting the movement four years later she was reminded that yes, she wants to be an active mom who stays fit and healthy – but her most important and exposing traits are in her words. (more…)
Imagine that you join a gym and sign up for sessions with a personal trainer. You’re overweight, inactive and a little insecure about working out in front of someone who is in tip-top shape. Would it help to know that your trainer was once in your shoes and completely understands what you’re going through?
Trainer Drew Manning thought so. He gained 70 pounds on purpose– just so he could empathize with his clients that were trying to lose weight. Yoga teacher Trina Hall did the same, gaining 40 pounds to better understand her heavier clientele. As Manning took the weight off, he learned that it wasn’t so easy to do all of the same exercises on his larger frame; and Hall confessed her self-esteem plummeted as a result. The whole process made them both learn the struggles of weight loss and just how challenging it can be.
When I first joined a gym ten years ago, I was about 40 pounds overweight with zero athletic ability. I felt a little uncomfortable working out in the gym (where I felt like everyone was in better shape than me). I managed to get over that pretty quickly and realized that I was there to get fit! Even though I got to a point where I felt comfortable running on the treadmill or riding a stationary bike, there was one thing that continued to intimidate me more than anything else: group cycling.
I could hear the classes going on while I was pounding away on a cardio machine and I’d see the people come out at the end covered in sweat. I was convinced that group cycling classeswere for super fit, super thin folks only and that I had no place there. And then one day, I got the courage to take a class – and I loved it! It was definitely challenging and tough, but I made it. Taking group cycling classes not only helped me lose weight and get in shape, but it also made me realize how much I love group fitness. I loved it so much that I went on to get my Spinning certificationand eventually became a personal trainer. (more…)
Remember that old mini trampoline that was in your house growing up? It’s time to dust it off for a fun, heart-pumping cardio workout! I love to use mini trampolines with clients that I train- especiallyfor those with bad knees. Unlike jumping on the ground, trampolines offer a soft, flexible impact that’s gentler on the joints. I also like that a trampoline is easily portable and can be moved to wherever you want your workout to be whether it’s inside, outside, or even right in front of your television.
Here’s a super simple trampoline workout that works muscle groups throughout the entire body. These five simple moves will work your quadriceps, glutes, abdominal muscles, triceps and shoulders – just to name a few. Start with a 3-5 minute warm-up of basic bouncing at an easy pace and then move on to the circuit below. Perform each exercise for 30-60 seconds with a quick break for rest before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat the circuit 3-5 times and cool down with 3 minutes of basic bouncing, followed by stretching.
1. Low Bounce – Stand on your trampoline with your feet a little wider than your hips and toes slightly turned out. Lower yourself into a squat position (keep your knees aligned with your toes) and bounce quickly. Bring your feet closer together for more intensity.
Growing up, the word running was synonymous with a few different words. Among them were torture, punishment, pain, and dread. I remember trying to fake being sick on those dreaded few days each school year when we had to run the mile in gym class. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to run – it just seemed so awful to me.
Fast forward to the year 2003 and I’ve decided to get in shape and join a gym. After a year or two of solely sticking to the elliptical trainer and the occasional group exercise class, I decided to take up running. For some reason, I always had it in my head that you weren’t a real athlete unless you were a runner. I wasn’t even really sure how one becomes a runner, but gave it my best shot. I can still clearly remember going for those first few outdoor runs.
I started off by walking for a minute, running the next, and so on. Then my runs got longer, I could run for one mile without stopping, then two, three and so on. In 2005, a friend and I decided to sign up for a 5k race. It was my first race ever and I was nervous! I set a goal for myself to finish in 30 minutes or less. I finished in 28:30 and felt great! I registered for a number of 5k, 8k and 10k races over the next few years.
I started increasing my mileage and started thinking about running a half marathon; it seemed like a really great challenge and realistic goal considering where I was at, so I took the plunge and registered for the Baltimore Half Marathon. I trained for it by running 8-10 mile runs 2-3 times a week (and shorter runs one other day). I felt good and strong and prepared for race day. On race day, my goal was to finish in two hours. The course was pretty tough with a lot of big hills. It was also great because there were spectators along the entire 13.1 miles cheering us on. I got a sharp pain in my I.T. band around mile 7, but just kept running, and my finish time was 1 hour and 58 minutes. (more…)
Recently, a new (to me) commercial for Special Kcaught my eye. The commercial shows a number of different women entering a department store called “Rethink Your Jeans.” As they browse the racks looking for jeans to try on, they notice that there aren’t any sizes marked on the labels. A woman who works at the store emerges asking if she can measure a female shopper. As she wraps the measuring tape around the shopper’s waist she remarks “you are radiant.” There’s a shot of women’s feet under the doors in the dressing room exclaiming things like “I’m size strong” and “I like that size!”. Another woman adds, “Not seeing the number is so freeing!”
Simple text is shown on a white background reading “Let’s rethink what defines us” while a woman’s voice says, “To feel amazing, I think that’s what makes a woman beautiful.”
I’ll be honest here. I’m not really a fan of Special K’s products and haven’t purchased any in recent memory. However, I really dig this commercial and its message. It might come off as a little cliche and cheesy but it resonates with me. Apparently the sizes written on clothing labels in certain stores are proportionately smallerthan they really are in order to “flatter” the buyers. As someone who will avoid buying jeans one size larger because I don’t want to have to buy that next size up (even if they would be much more comfortable!) I know just how much power that number can hold over our minds. I know that clothes shopping would definitely be a more positive experience if the sizes on the labels were replaced with words like “inspiring” and “strong.” (more…)
I know, I know. The word twerk probably generates a negative (or even violent!) reaction because you’re automatically associating it with Miley Cyrus’ unforgettable performance on this year’s VMAs.
But don’t let that completely ruin your opinion of twerking- there’s actually a lot more to it!
If you’re wondering what exactly twerking means, let me help you out a bit. Urban Dictionary lists several fascinating descriptions of the word – my personal favorite being “to work one’s body, as in dancing, especially the rear end.” Can you paint that mental picture?
I was hiking with a friend last week who told me about a trip she and her mother recently took to North Carolina to visit her sister. During their visit, the three women decided to step outside of their comfort zone and take a class at a local studio that offered various “alternative” types of workouts. The one they signed up for was called Twerk It – and is exactly what you’d imagine. The instructor showed the class the art of twerking and all of the booty-shaking strength training and cardio that goes along with it! My friend said it was the most fun exercise class she’s ever done in her life and was totally shocked by just how much of a workout it was. (more…)
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