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Dancing through life – fitmob adventures!

A few years ago, I found the thought of Zumba intriguing and terrifying at the same time. For those of you new to the Zumba Fitness craze, it is a workout in disguise. A choreographed hour of dancing to Latin inspired rhythms, such as salsa, merengue, and cumbia, you don’t even realize you are working out, until you’re left panting at the end of class – strangely, wanting more.
I’ve taken Zumba at a variety of facilities, and have even received my Zumba Fitness license to teach. Admittedly, I am very critical of other Zumba instructors because I know the “Zumba formula.” As this continues to be one of my favorite cardio workouts, I used my handy Fitmob Passport to book a Saturday Zumba class (sign up here) with Justin O’Neill at the Fitmob HQ. The class was stuffed like a turkey – everyone looking to squeeze in their cardio before the Thanksgiving holiday.
I can’t say enough about how wonderfully exhilarating and exhausting the class with Justin was. He had the personality of three instructors. His moves were easy to follow, full of attitude and sass, not to mention, calorie-torching. All of the most adored divas were present, from Cher to Selena. With music like that, the hair flipping and booty poppin’ were of epic proportion. Justin believes that working out should be a party. He and the Fitmob team hit that nail on the head. I had SUCH a blast at class, I decided to play some Selena on my ride home to stay on my Zumba high.
Fitmob Passport provides me the opportunity to try a variety of classes, all around San Francisco. I had so much fun the first time, I’ve booked my second Zumba class through Passport at the Fitmob HQ. My mantra for the next month: Mob, Sweat, Repeat. I hope to see you all on the dance floor!
Don’t forget to sign up for your fitmob Passport to travel around the 1,000s of San Francisco classes during the holiday season!
I received the opportunity to take part in the fitmob campaign through my ambassadorship with Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.

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For the Love of the Run

I have been a runner for a long time. I started running Cross Country in 6th Grade. I started off slow as a turtle but progressively got faster over the years. I continued to run all through Junior High and High School. Then I joined the Navy, and continued running.

I met my husband and we would go running and to the gym together. Shortly after, I became pregnant with my daughter. I became busy being a mom. Three children later, and several years had passed, and I felt like I would no longer be able to run. Pregnancy was not kind on my bladder. I could not laugh, sneeze, dance, or even run to the end of the drive way without leaking. I tried going to the bathroom first but that would not help. I became depressed. That was when I decided to be proactive. I was tired of being worn out all the time, I needed to get back in shape (I lost all my baby weight but I was not in shape). Running was always therapy for me, helped make me think more clearly, and gave me more energy. I needed to be happy and feel healthy. I needed to make changes.

My husband bought me a treadmill and I started walking slowly. A little while later, I had surgery to lift my bladder. Running was hard at first. Every muscle and joint in my body was tight and ached. Just running down the road made my lungs burn and I was so sore for days. It was not fun and at first I was discouraged, so my husband bought me an MP3 player to listen to when I ran. That helped some. So I stuck with it. Slowly I began to enjoy it again. I even run without music now and find that I am more in-tune with my body and surroundings (unless I am on the treadmill, staring at my white basement wall. I have to have my music to help pass the time).

Running is an outlet to help me release stress, bitterness, discouragement, and depression. There is nothing like the feel of my arms and legs pumping me through a run, to feel strong, confident, and on top of the world. Running is my therapy and through running; I have learned so much about myself. I have grown spiritually, mentally, and physically. I crave the run and like a loved one; I miss it (the feel of running) when circumstances do not allow me to go for a run. Some days are harder than others, but I love running! It empowers me, and strengthens my resolve.

Now I am able to encourage my children to be active more by being a good example. We have even ran a few races together, and my son has caught the running bug!


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Four-move Total-body Dumbbell Workout

Now, I talk a lot about the workouts that I do while teaching group fitness or trying out classes around the City, but I haven’t spent a lot of time explaining what a weight-room workout looks like for me. So today, I’d like to share an awesome four-move total-body workout I enjoy, that you can do just about anywhere, as long as you have a set of dumbbells. While I like all the fancy equipment available in a big gym, sometimes a good old-fashioned dumbbell routine is just what you need.

And the best part: Outside of warming up and stretching, this workout only takes about 20 minutes.

A workout designed to maximize effectiveness

Not only does this routine work the entire body with four fairly simple compound exercises, but it also features movement in all three planes of motion. In case you’re not familiar, the three planes of motion are front-to-back (sagittal), side-to-side (lateral) and rotational (transverse), all of which are important areas to address in a workout. And this workout includes some pushing motions, followed by pulling motions, which combined will help get you strong in the front and in the back.

I designed this workout to utilize a heavier set of dumbbells, which is why we only do each move eight times before moving on to the next, but we repeat the circuit for four rounds. I used a pair of 15 lb. dumbbells and would recommend starting with 8 or 10 lb. dumbbells to build up your strength. If you only have lighter dumbbells available, say 5 lbs. or so, then you can do 10-12 reps per each move and only complete three rounds.

Disclaimer: This may not be right for you. It’s just an example of something that I do in the gym. Ask your trainer or doctor before proceeding with caution!

Four-move total-body dumbbell workout: The four moves explained

Here are the move descriptions and links to video and photo tutorials:

  1. Squat to overhead pressWorks the glutes, quadriceps and shoulders. Key things to note: Start with your feet hip-width and drop your butt back just above your knee line as you squat, with your knees in line with your toes. Also, you want to make sure you dig in through your heels as you stand up, brace your core and try not to thrust your hips too far forward. At the top of the move, your body should make one straight line with the dumbbells right above your shoulders.
  2. Plank rowWorks the core and upper back. Key things to note: Your hands should be shoulder-width and directly under your shoulders. Your body should stay super still and level as you row your elbow back toward your hip, squeezing your shoulder blades back and down. Keep your butt and thighs nice and tight. You’ll want to use hexagon-shaped dumbbells for this, so you can keep your balance.
  3. Curtsy lunge with bicep curlWorks the core, quadriceps, calves and biceps. Key things to note: You need to keep your chest lifted, keep your elbows under your shoulders and by your sides as you curl up your arms. And, your front knee should be right over your front heel, don’t let it lean in any direction. When you push back to the set position, squeeze your butt for a little extra kick.
  4. Chest fly hip bridgeWorks the triceps, biceps, chest, core and glutes. Key things to note: Keep your shoulders back and down on the floor as you open your arms, elbows slightly bent. You should dig your heels into the floor to keep your glutes and posterior chain engaged. Squeeze your pecs in as you return your arms to the set position over your body and above your chest.

There you have it. In just 20 minutes, you can tone and sculpt your whole body. Have fun!

Questions of the day

What are some of your favorite weight-training moves? How long do you like to devote to workouts?

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