A Cardio Workout That Isn’t Boring: Cardi-O

A cardio workout that isn't boring…yes, please.  Lately, pounding the pavement hasn’t been my thing.  However, I really do enjoy a heart pumping cardio workout.  

If you think slaving away on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical or going for a 3 mile run is the only way to get your cardio in, think again.  You can get a great cardio workout by combining strength with a short run.  It’s different, so you won’t get bored.

Check out Cardi-O.

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Living with Intention: 2019 Goals

Alright…we are a few weeks into 2019.  How are your resolutions going?  If you read my post on tips to help you keep your resolutions, you already know that I’m a much bigger fan of intentions than I am of resolutions.

I am a huge believer in setting yourself up for success.  While I love goals, I find that resolutions {for me} can sometimes leave me a bit discouraged.  It’s like if I mess up, I feel like my resolution is over, and especially when we are only 2 weeks into the year,  that doesn’t build me up to move forward.  If you are a resolution setter, by all means, get after it.  However, if you are like me, I would love to introduce you to living with intention, and share how I plan to live with intention in 2019.

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Quick, Effective, Kettlebell Workout: Speed Rounds

Do you love spending hours on your workout?  I love to workout, but I don't love dedicating an hour or more of my time to get a quality workout.  I am definitely a fan of quick, effective kettlebell workouts.  If you've been checking out the Wednesday workouts for a little while, you can probably tell that I am not a fan of wasting time.  Time is a precious commodity, so if I can get my workouts done in 30 minutes or so, I am a happy camper.

If you want to get a great workout in a short amount of time, you need to try this one.  All you need is a watch, a kettlebell, and somewhere to run a half mile. 

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Reflect, Learn, Move On: A Look Back at 2018

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some tips to help you stick to your resolutions this year.  One of the first things that I do as I begin to look at what I want to accomplish in the coming year is take a look back at the previous year.  By taking a look back, you can reflect, learn, and move on from last year as you prepare for a brand new year.

To reflect means to think quietly and calmly.  If you have never taken the time to look back at your year, I challenge you to take about 30 minutes this week and look back.  What went well?  Where could you have improved?  Did you reach your goals?  What did you enjoy most?

Let’s take a look at a basic guide for looking back at your year so that you can learn, laugh, and prepare to move forward.

The Process

When I sit down to look back at my year, I follow a very simple process.  Note that you can use whatever process works for you.  I'm simply listing the process I follow as a guideline to help you get started.  

So, here are the steps I go through when I am ready to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of last year.

Clear your head.

You need to sit down somewhere quiet for this exercise.  You need to eliminate distractions so that you can focus.  For me, this means I get up early, sit down at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, and just start writing.

Think about your life as a set of departments.

If you sit down and just look at your life as a whole and try to reflect, chances are that you will come up with a very generic reflection that really doesn’t accomplish much.  Instead, think of your life as a company with multiple departments.  

For me, I break my life down into the following departments: personal, professional, family and relationships, spiritual, health, and finance.  This allows me to think about each specific area instead of allowing everything to blur together.

Write down your wins.

I always start with my wins.  These don’t have to be huge wins with earth shattering results.  Think about any relationships that grew, any progress you made with your finances, or any gains you made in your health.  I like to find at least three wins in each department.  Some departments are easier to rattle off wins while others can take a little more reflection.  Now, write them down.

You must be specific.  The more details you can write down, the better.  You want to go back to that win.  Think about how you felt.  Allow yourself to go back and re-live each win.  

As I am writing down my wins, I make sure to include things that I enjoyed throughout the year.  Maybe that was a family vacation or a trip with your spouse. Maybe you learned to cook some amazing meals.  These are wins, so don't forget them.

I love to start with my wins because even if I think that the year as a whole was not so great, I often find that I had a lot of wins.  

Write down your losses.

I use the word losses very loosely here.  I try not to keep a negative tone when I journal, but when I look back at the year, I know that it’s vital to face the things that didn’t go so well.  When you get to your losses, you must be honest.  This reflection is for you, not for anyone else.  Be truthful and be honest with where you could have improved.

Again, be as detailed as possible.  Here is the biggest key when you are writing down what didn’t go as well as you wanted….do not, under any circumstances, make excuses.  Just write.  At this point, it doesn’t matter why you didn’t save money.  If that was a loss for you, write it down.  If you gained 20 pounds, just write that down.  Don’t waste your time writing down every excuse about why you didn’t exercise or why you had to eat fast food four nights a week.  No excuses here.

A few things to think about....Where did you waste time?  What did you do that you did not enjoy?  Are there any areas where you know you should improve?  Did you move toward your goals?  What barriers did you allow to stand in your way?  

I don’t put a number on my losses.  I simply try to really think about what didn’t go as well as I would have liked.

Put it all together.

Now, take a few minutes to sit back and read through what you wrote.  Is it a pretty accurate reflection of your year?  Did you miss something?  I like to end with a brief summary of my thoughts on the year.

If your reflection is on point, now you can begin to look forward.

Next week, I will share my format for making my goals and intentions for the year.  I will also share what I will be working on in 2019.

My Personal Reflection of 2018

This gets a little personal, but to help inspire you to get started, here is my reflection from 2018.  This is not a complete list, but these reflections come straight from my personal journal.

Wins

Personal

  • Did a much better job of saying “no” 
  • Implemented a journaling habit, and have been consistent with daily journaling and gratitude practice
  • Less time on social media, distractions
  • Stepped out of my comfort zone, got uncomfortable, and tried a few new things
  • Vacations - Mt. Cheaha, cruise, North Carolina
  • Less worry, more focus on controlling the things I can control and letting go of things I can’t
  • Great training and race at Mt. Cheaha 50K

Professional

  • Created and successfully launched 12-week online health coaching program
  • Launched blog
  • Impacted the lives of people around me in a positive way
  • Continued the commitment to learn as much as possible through books, audio books, podcasts, blogs, and consistent research

Family and Relationships

  • More present in conversations, activities, and family time - deliberately put phone down and away as much as possible to give my full attention to the person I am speaking with
  • Removed a few relationships that were draining
  • More intentional to move relationships past the surface

Health

  • Working out because I want to, not because I feel like I have to
  • Improved strength and overall fitness level
  • Nutrition dialed in, did a better job of indulging and then getting right back on track
  • Mastered pistol squats and improving pull ups

Finances

  • Got out of consumer debt
  • Reduced weekly grocery bill by an average of $30/week
  • Established a consistent savings plan

Spiritual

  • Consistent with quiet time
  • Went through Freedom Group
  • More intentional with prayer
  • Began serving at church
Losses

Personal

  • Allowing the opinion of others to influence me more than necessary
  • Wasted time comparing myself to other people or businesses
  • Too many “what ifs” followed by a negative instead of reframing it to a positive
  • Still overcommitting in many areas so that I stretch myself too thin
  • Poor work / life balance on many days

Professional

  • Didn’t make community a priority
  • Focused on too many different things
  • Poor job of delegating

Family and Relationships

  • Not enough date nights
  • Worked too much
  • Lack of prioritization of family time

Health

  • Self care - started year off well, but started to slide with yoga, tissue therapy

Finances

  • Spent more than I would have liked
  • Focused more on materials than experiences

Spiritual

  • Not as consistent with quiet time on weekends / Wednesdays
Putting it together.

Honestly, 2018 was a major year of learning for me.  I am not incredibly sad to see it go, but I can say that I learned a lot.  I learned a lot about myself, how to deal with adversity, the danger of getting comfortable, as well as how big of a difference it makes when I simply slow down.

When I looked back at my 2018 goals and intentions, my biggest goal for 2018 was to simply be present.  My goals were specific, and overall, I feel like I moved forward in most areas.

Look Back

I hope that you enjoy the process of looking back at your year.  Reflect, learn, move on.  

I implemented this practice a few years ago, and I always enjoy going back to the year or two before and reading my reflections.  I’ve found that this process has allowed me to really see how I have grown, and it always encourages me to keep moving forward.

Get your pen out, open your journal, and start looking back.  Celebrate your wins, and be honest with your losses.  Allow yourself to learn from your year so that 2019 can be your best year yet.

~ KP

Top 3 Travel Workouts: No Equipment Needed

Let’s face it.  Sometimes life gets a little hectic.  Maybe you got stuck at the office and missed your workout, or maybe you are traveling and don’t have access to a great gym or running trail.  Life happens.  However, having a few workouts that will work absolutely anywhere and need no equipment will help you put your excuses aside and get your workout done (even if it means you have to workout in your hotel room or your garage).

Today, we’ve got our top 3 travel workouts for you.  We use these workouts when we don’t have much time, we are on vacation, or we just need to get a workout done while our kids play at the park.  All of these workouts can be done with minimal space and just your body weight.

The structures are solid, so you can use these even if you have a fully stocked gym at your disposal.  Simply change up the exercises, include some weights, or add in a run.  

Next time you are busy, traveling, or didn’t make it to the gym, don’t allow your excuses to stop you from getting a workout in.  Exercise has so many benefits.  The great news is, it doesn't take a full hour to reap those benefits.  So, give yourself a few minutes and get one of these workouts done no matter where you are.

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Keeping Your Resolutions – 5 Tips to Keep You on Track

It’s that time of year again.  Christmas has come and gone, and the thought of how 2019 will be better, different, and more kick butt in general has probably crossed your mind.  We work in the health and wellness space, so we are very familiar with the January crowd {and mindset}.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of “resolutions.”  Throughout the years, I have watched so many people make big resolutions and then feel incredibly defeated once they find out it’s harder than they imagined or they slip for a week or two.  I prefer to set intentions for the year.  For me, being intentional with just a few small actions helps me to stay on track throughout the year, not just for a few weeks.

So, do you have a “resolution” that you really want to keep?  Here are a few suggestions to keeping your resolutions so that you turn your resolution into a permanent change.

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Christmas Workout: The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my FOF trainer gave to me, 1 chest to floor burpee.  That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  All kidding aside, the FOF 12 Days of Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas workouts.  

We have done a new variation of this workout every year, but the structure stays the same.  You simply follow the song.  You can throw in weights, a run, jump rope, or just stick to body weight exercises.

Today's variation is quick, so it's a great workout to do if you are traveling this Christmas.  You don't need any equipment, and we can promise you will be singing the jingle for days.  

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First CrossFit Competition: A Recap

I’ll be the first to admit it.  I love being comfortable.  Honestly, don’t we all? Something scary happens when we step outside of our familiar little bubble.  As humans, I believe that we all really like to know what to expect, to be comfortable, and to do what we know.  

When you get stuck in what is comfortable, how do you grow?  How do you get better?  New things are scary.  The unknown isn’t a good feeling.  But, the simple willingness to step out into the unknown makes you stronger and better.  My favorite FOF shirt simply says, “Results begins where your comfort zone ends.”  It’s so true.

Well, last weekend, three FOF members and myself stepped way outside our comfort zone.  A few of us signed up for a local CrossFit competition, the Gaindeer Games, even though we don’t “do” CrossFit.  

Scary?  Absolutely.  A challenge.  Definitely.  Here’s a recap of our first CrossFit competition.

Dealing with Doubt and Fear

Let me start with the fact that this competition was NOT my idea.  Back in April, my friend (and FOF member) planted the seed.  At first, I was all over it.  Why not? Then, the more I thought about it, I heard those little doubts and fears creep in.  

You don’t do CrossFit.  You are 36 years old.  The barbell is not the same as a kettlebell.  You have never even picked up a barbell.  Those girls are strong.  What if you suck?  What are people going to say or think?  You could get last.  What if you get hurt?

Those thoughts are real, and I would make a bet that if you have ever tried anything new, you likely have experienced those same thoughts.  These thoughts will stop you in your tracks if you allow them to stick around.  You must shut them down.

The Prep

I’ll start with this.  The four of us that decided to participate in the competition do Fixed on Fitness workouts four days a week.  We weren’t new to working out, and we were already pretty familiar with high intensity workouts since that is what most of our FOF workouts are built around.  

Five months ago, four of us picked up a barbell for the first time.  We decided that we would meet on Saturday mornings in my garage, and we would just give this lifting thing a shot.  We knew we had any kettlebell movements down since we lift fairly heavy in FOF workouts.  Josh and I designed very basic workouts that incorporated moves we were used to with the barbell and took the intensity up a notch.

Slowly, we began to get better.  We were lifting heavier.  With no idea what to expect for the competition workouts, we just kept focusing on basic movements such as cleans, hang cleans, deadlifts, and push press.  Then, the workouts were posted.

With each post (now about 4 weeks out from the competition), we were finding that every movement was new.  Nothing was familiar.  First, it was a 1 minute sprint on the assault bike and a 3 rep max thruster.  We had never been on a bike (other than my triathlon bike).  We bought one that I found for cheap on the Facebook Marketplace and started practicing.  Our first practice was pretty pitiful.  I think I made it 22 seconds.  Then, we started attempting a 3 rep max on thrusters.  

The next workout included a sandbag…again, something we had never used.  We ordered one from Amazon and started throwing it around.  Thankfully, it came pretty natural for us, but the other movement (knee ups) was not so natural.  We practiced, got the hang of it, and moved on.  Thankfully, someone gave me some boxes a few weeks prior, so we were able to get some good practice for the weighted step ups.

Finally, 2 weeks before the competition, the last workout was released.  It started with a freaking 1500 meter row…as the buy in.  What?  Never having sat on a rower, we thankfully found one to borrow and went to town.  Can I just say…the rower is brutal.

It’s funny looking back at our preparation.  We seriously could have come up with 100 excuses just to bail on the entire thing.  Instead, we simply just took a few minutes each Saturday before we started working to practice the new movements.  We laughed a few times at how bad our first try was, but we picked back up.  We didn’t quit, and I am so proud of us for that.

Competition Day

So, here we go.  We signed up for the scaled division, and we were ready to go.  With absolutely no idea what to expect, we got our team shirts (thanks Patriot Grapix) and headed to check in.  Looking around, there were people of pretty much all shapes and sizes.  We clearly didn’t 100% fit in, and our tent set up was completely comical, but we were on time and ready to go.

The events went well.  Our goal was simply to show up, have fun, and try not to get last.  We gave everything we had with each event, and we were satisfied with our performance.  Most everyone we met was extremely nice, and it was fun to watch some of the more experienced athletes tackle the workouts.

I’ve run 50Ks, done a half Ironman, and countless other races like Tough Mudders and Spartans.  This event was different.  It’s all day long.  You work, then you break.  You get pumped up, and then you have to quickly calm down.  We warmed up and cooled down more than I ever have.  Mentally, it was pretty exhausting.

It was pouring down rain and slightly chilly, so we were crammed under our tent or inside like sardines, but we laughed, we watched, we chased our kids around, we competed, and we ate…a lot.  

Nutrition was tough to nail down, as we had about 2 hours in between events.  We loaded up on simple carbs, fruit, a little protein, and plenty of electrolytes.  In my opinion, that was perfect.  No one felt loaded down, but we weren’t hungry either.

Overall, for four first timers, things went pretty smooth.

The Result

We blew ourselves away with how well we did.  My partner and I actually placed first in the scaled division which exceeded our expectations.  

I always knew that we had a solid workout program at FOF.  What I didn’t realize was exactly how solid it actually is.  Our endurance was great.  We were tired but never exhausted.  We were well prepared, but not injured.

Lessons

CrossFit is a slightly different beast than we are used to.  We have some skills to work on before we can hang with the Rx division.  However, I had no business doubting our ability to go in there and actually be able to compete.

As we finished our last event, I thought back to those doubts and fears.  What if I would have let them have control?  I would have missed the incredible fellowship of our Saturday morning workouts.  Not only would I have missed out on what has become my favorite workout of the week, I would have missed out on a great challenge.  I would have sold myself short.

We got uncomfortable, and I don’t think one of us would trade the work or the discomfort for the result.  We have grown, we have changed, we have become stronger.  All four of us are moms with full time jobs and responsibilities that keep us busy, but we took the time to invest in ourselves, and I can promise we are better moms, wives, and friends for it.

Where are you staying comfortable?  Where are you seeking the familiar instead of stepping into the unknown?  Do something.  What’s the worst thing that might happen if you get uncomfortable?  I love this quote - 

“The best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Take action.  Invest in yourself.  Step out.  Get uncomfortable.

~KP

Quick Kettlebell Workout: Top of the Minute

A quick kettlebell workout...sounds easy, right?  I feel like I have to preface today's post with this...today's workout was one of the toughest workouts I have done in a long time.  That said, it was awesome.  I love a quick workout, and this one is definitely quick.

I can't say that Top of the Minute was very popular at Fixed on Fitness this week.  Everyone rocked it, but I'm pretty sure no one is going to be asking for it to make another appearance anytime soon.  

Grab your watch and a kettlebell, and let's tackle Top of the Minute.

Top of the Minute

Go ahead and get your mind right.  The next 30 minutes or so are going to be rough.  I would recommend using your normal size kettlebell for this workout.  I definitely would not go heavy.

The structure of the workout begins every minute with the one exercise.  You then finish the minute with the second exercise.  You repeat this pattern until you hit 100 reps of the second exercise.  

For example, the first set is chest to floor burpees and thrusters.  At the start of every minute, you complete 5 chest to floor burpees.  Once you finish the burpees, you finish the minute with as many thrusters as you can do.  You repeat the burpees at the top of every minute until you hit 100 thrusters.

Set 1 - 12 Minute Time Cap

  • 5 Chest to Floor Burpees
  • 100 Thrusters

Set 2 -  10 Minute Time Cap

  • 5 Rows each Arm
  • 100 Overhead Swings

Set 3 - 8 Minute Time Cap

  • 5 Sit and Press
  • 100 Chest Press w/ Flutter Kick

If you are not efficient at chest to floor burpees, take the push up out of your burpee during every other round.  This will allow you to get a few more seconds to make a dent on those thrusters.

Thoughts??

What did you think?  You could add absolutely any exercise variation to this workout.  If you have a barbell, thrusters, hang cleans, and deadlifts would be a great variation.  Double unders could also be a killer exercise to put at the top of every minute.

Get creative.  Remember, kettlebells are pretty easy to throw in your car if you are traveling over the holidays.  Grab yours, head to the garage or the park, and get this one done.

Want more workouts?  Come hang out with us at any of our Fixed on Fitness locations, or check out the other Wednesday workouts on the blog.

~KP

Establishing a Morning Routine…It Works

How did your day begin today?  Was it calm and relaxed?  Or, did you get up on the third snooze, jump in the shower, grab your coffee, and head to work?

Sadly, most Americans start their day rushed, tired, undernourished, and already flustered before they even walk out the door.  What if there was a better way?  Establishing a morning routine can help calm the chaos of your day so that you can stroll out the door and into work in a calm state, ready to tackle the day.

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