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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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Get ready for the #HolidaySweat Instagram Challenge hosted by Sweat Guru and Run to the Finish! 11/17 – 11/21

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Join us as we gear up for the cold with the #HolidaySweat Instagram Challenge! Leading up to the Holiday Sweat Challenge hosted by SweatGuru and Run to the Finish, the #HolidaySweat Instagram Challenge is 5 days of fit and fab pictures showing off how we #sweat during the holidays! The winner will receive a Sweat Pink/Sweat Guru Swag Bag complete with laces, a tank and more goodies!

Every day, simply check out the #holidaysweat task for the day, snap a photo and share it on Instagram. Don’t have an Instagram account? No worries! Simply share your photo on Facebook/ Twitter and tag @thesweatguru (Follow our Facebook page: Sweat Guru) and @runtothefinish (Follow Amanda’s Facebook page: Run to the Finish)

Dates: November 17th – November 21st (5 day challenge)

Tags: @sweatguru @runtothefinish  #holidaysweat #sweatpink

Prizes: Sweat Pink & Sweat Guru Swag Bag

**To be eligible to win a Sweat Pink/ Sweat Guru Prize Pack you must:

1. Follow @sweatguru and @runtothefinish on Instagram and/or Facebook or Twitter (for those who don’t have an Instagram)

2. Look for the Daily Challenge Task which will be posted on our channels starting November 17th.

3. Complete the task and post your picture. Tag @sweatguru @runtothefinish  #holidaysweat #sweatpink

****BONUS entry: REGISTER for the Holiday Sweat Challenge! 6 weeks of fabulous workouts, delicious recipes, and motivation to help you stay on track with your fitness goals!

Remember, the challenge starts November 17th!  Let’s get ready for a rockin’ #HolidaySweat!  

Follow us!

Instagram: @sweatguru, @runtothefinish

Twitter: @thesweatguru, @runtothefinish

Facebook: Sweat Guru, Run to the Finish

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