Hot Weather Needs

It appears that summer has finally arrived in Ohio (it’s about time, right?) And for those of us getting our flex on (I can’t believe I just said that), the warmer weather comes with a whole new list of workout must-haves. You don’t have to pack up your spring time gear just yet, (we do live in Ohio, after all), but break these babies out on those 80+ degree days instead. Take a look at my hot weather needs:
  • Water, water, and more water: Now, more than ever, it is important to keep yourself hydrated. Remember to stay hydrated before, during, and after your workouts. But water can help you stay cool in other ways. Hook up a sprinkler to run through during your track workouts, or jump in the pool for a nice cool down after a long run. If you’re brave enough, hop in an ice bath after your workout to help your body recover and to cool you off.
  • Bright sports bras: Ladies, it’s officially sports bra weather. Run to your nearest Target and grab a couple eye-catching neon bras (just remember to apply sunscreen to your newly exposed areas).
  • Racerback Tanks: Let’s face it, spaghetti strap shirts just aren’t flattering during a workout. Invest in some fitted racerback tank tops. They will offer you more support and will keep you much cooler than that old cotton t-shirt.

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  • Running shorts: No athlete can have too many pairs of running shorts. They are perfect for your daily workout, or to lounge in while studying for finals.
  • JT’s New Album: Last, but not least, you’re going to need some fresh new tunes to kick off your summer workouts. And who doesn’t love Justin Timberlake, am I right?

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Power Playlists

Sometimes, all you need is a good playlist to get your legs moving and your blood pumping. And as a lover of all music genres, my power playlist is made up of 2013’s Top 40 hits, a little R&B, some twangy Mumford and early 2000’s hip-hop. Whatever your taste, I recommend putting together a killer soundtrack to accompany you on your next run.

Pick songs that fit your mood. For instance, if you’re heading out on a nice, slow long run, pick a selection of songs that will help you stay relaxed. If your going to be running up-tempo, choose songs with a faster beat. Songs with powerful or motivating lyrics will also keep you energized!

Below, I’ve shared my power playlist. See a song you’ve never heard of before? Go ahead and give it a listen during your next workout. My secrets are your secrets– enjoy!

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1. Too Close- Alex Clare

2. Fake ID- Big and Rich

3. Titanium- David Guetta 

4. Kiss With A Fist- Florence + The Machine

5. Radioactive- Imagine Dragons

6. Can’t Hold Us- Macklemore

7. Babel- Mumford & Sons

8. End of Days- Vinnie Paz

9. Seven Nation Army- The White Stripes

10. Heart of A Champion- Nelly

11. Give It To Me- Timbaland

12. Promises- Nero

13. Love, Sex, and Magic- Justin Timberlake

14. Runaway- Kanye West

15. Jumpin’ Jumpin’- Destiny’s Child

Weekly Tips and Challenges

Training for a big race? Whether its a 5k or a full marathon, use your playlist to keep track of time and distance. Play your chosen songs in the same order each time you’re on the course. This way, you can mentally assess your progress. I recommend putting your favorite song near the end of the playlist so that, on race day, it plays right as you’re kicking it to the finish line.

Avoid the Blues

So you have a routine. You’ve found a way to squeeze your workouts into your schedule and now they have become a part of your everyday life. But, eventually (and inevitably) you will begin to feel bored with the repetition of your routine and may begin to feel a little burned out. It happens to all of us, but luckily there are ways to switch up your workouts to avoid getting into a rut.

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  • Pick a new route: Something as simple as a left turn instead of a right turn can turn (pun intended) your boring, everyday run into something much more exciting. If you really want an adventure, drive 10 miles from your usual location and run on streets you’ve never been on before.
  • Pick a running partner: Having someone to chat with can spice up your workout. Also, having someone there to push you can amp up your intensity.

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  • Make a new playlist: Everyone knows that the right music can get you fired up for a great day of fitness. Download some new music and crank up the tunes (or just break out anything from the early 2000’s. Fergalicious, anyone?)
  • Make a game of it: Turn your favorite games into a chance to get fit. Pop in The Hunger Games and do 50 crunches every time you wish you were Jennifer Lawrence.

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Remember to keep things light and run to avoid breaking down. Working out should never be a chore, it should always be an opportunity to be a better you!

Weekly Tips and Challenges

This tip goes out to all of my thrifty ladies who like a good steal. When looking for good shoes to exercise in, cheaper is not always better. Find a shoe that fits, is comfortable to move in, and provides you with appropriate support. After four weeks of discomfort, I myself and breaking down and paying a little more for a shoe that my body doesn’t reject. I know that it will be better for me in the long run, and it will be beneficial for you as well!

Hot or Not?: Gym Edition

For those of you who need a little extra guidance in the fashion department, here’s a little chart to keep in mind… “Hot or Not?”
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Weekly Tips and Challenges
Need a new, healthy addition to your diet? With summer right around the corner, grab some fresh fruit and blend it into a smoothie. Here is my favorite smoothie recipe:
What you’ll need:
  • 12 ounces blackberries (3 cups)
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom

Directions:

  1. Blend ingredients in a blender on high speed until smooth, and serve.

recipe courtesy of wholeliving.com

Turning disappointment into encouragement.

We all know how important it is to set goals for ourselves in all aspects of life, including our education, career, and health. After setting such goals and working hard to achieve them, we all expect to see some kind of results. When we do, it’s like a pat on the back; a reason to celebrate and a way to motivate ourselves to  reach for the next goal. Sometimes, though, reality falls short of our expectations. It happens to me and it will inevitably happen to you. In fact, it happens to everyone.

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When we fail to reach our goals, we often let the disappointment defeat us. We think that if we cannot succeed on the first, second, or hundredth time, that we cannot be successful at all. While this is a very normal and even common reaction to failure, it is not helpful. Although giving up on these goals may seem like the only answer, there are many things you can do to turn your disappointment into encouragement. And since, by now, I’m sure you can sensed that I am a firm believer in “the list”, here are a few things you can do to use failure as a motivator.

  • Make a list (here I go again) of what you learned from the experience. Try to put your disappointment behind you and use what you learned to try to reach your goal next time.
  • Recognize the things you accomplished during the experience, even if you see it as a failure. Remind yourself that your hard work paid off, even if it was not in the way you were expecting.
  • Acknowledge your mistakes. Consider the reasons why you didn’t reach your goal, and make an effort to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
  • Eliminate unrealistic goals. Sit down and reevaluate your wants and abilities, and formulate a goal that is challenging, rewarding, and attainable.

Even the greatest of the great were not born that way; they faced failure, disappointment and adversity on their way to greatness, and overcame it all to reach their goals. We can all do the same, as long as we do not become discouraged when at first we don’t succeed. Use your downfalls to fuel your future attempts, and you will be successful.

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Weekly Tips/Challenges 

I know it’s fest season, guys, but that is no reason to skip your workout! When you pack your bags and coolers for 11fest, make sure to leave some room for a football or a frisbee to toss around. Athens is sure to be the happiest place on Earth during the spring, and with that kind of atmosphere, it won’t feel like such a chore.

Spring Must-Haves

March: the “in between” month. The “not-quite-winter-not-quite-spring” month. The “what-the-heck-do-I wear-today” month.

It is here, and it is in full swing. And while you’re probably safe to retire the gloves, hats, and running tights, hold off on breaking out the shorts and tanks just yet. This transition can sometimes be tricky, but I’m here to help you through this hot/cold/rainy/sunny/windy/crazy season. I am always looking for excuses to grab some new gear, so here is my list of pre-spring necessities.

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  • Quarter-length Tights- For the days where shorts leave you shivering, but pants seem to weigh you down, break out the quarter length tights. Because they hit right below the knee and expose the calf, these hybrids give you just enough breathing room to keep you comfortable. Grab a pair in a neon color to show off your spring break tan.
  • Rain Jacket- Speaking from experience, there is nothing worse than exercising in sopping wet outerwear. I recommend investing in a light-weight rain jacket  to ward off any surprise spring showers. Many are lined on the inside to provide you with the necessary warmth, and the water-resistant layer will keep you dry when you get caught in the rain. Some even have hoods to keep your precious locks dry, too!
  • Sunscreen- While it still looks and feels like winter, summer-time rays are beginning to make their debut. Your winter skin, after being covered for so long, will be prone to burn. Slather on some SPF and your skin will thank you.
  • Water Bottle: As the temperatures rise, your body will need more hydration. Spring time is the perfect excuse to purchase a flashy water bottle to carry between classes and to practice. Make sure to invest in one that will hold enough water to get you through the day. Adorn it with inspirational quotes for extra motivation.
  • Sunglasses- Last but not least. After endless cloudy winter days, your eyes will need to adjust to the new conditions. Squinting will create tension and may also cause headaches (neither of which you want to experience during your workout). Find a pair of sunglasses that form to your face so that they will not bounce around while you exercise.

Weekly Tips and Challenges

Now that warmer days are finally here, you can no longer use the weather conditions as an excuse to stay on the couch. Make an effort to get outside everyday for your workouts. Take advantage of this in-between weather, it is ideal for exercising! Don’t be discouraged by a little rain or wind; it comes with the territory. As my high school coach always told me, “Everyday is a good day to train, some days are just better than others.”

That “Spring Break Bod”

We have reached a point in the semester, it seems, when everybody on campus has only one thing on their minds: the glorious week long break from the stresses of the real world that we like to call Spring Break. We are in the home stretch, guys and gals, and in less than five days, we will be shelving the books and hitting the beach…or maybe just your couch, which, for me, is just as exciting.

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Many young men and women have been working extra hard lately– putting in the extra mile, choosing a salad over that juicy burger, lathering on that self tanner– to achieve the perfect Spring Break Bod. Because, let’s be honest, we all hope to look our best during our first swim suit outing of the new year.

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But Spring Break snuck up on me this year (for goodness sake, it’s still February!) If any of you are in the same boat, you feel my pain. Luckily, there is still time! Here are a few quick exercises you can do each day this week to polish up your beach body in preparation for next week’s festivities.

  • Planks, the exercise we all love to hate. Begin by laying on your stomach. With your feet flexed and your toes on the ground, balance on your forearms and lift your body up so that your torso and legs are off the ground. Keep your back straight and your tush down. Remember to breathe, and hold for 30 seconds. You can do this 3-4 times, with 30 second breaks in between.
  • Lunges, baby. Tighten those quads and hamstrings by doing 50-100 lunges. Make sure that your knee stays behind your foot to avoid injury. Maintain good posture throughout the exercise. If you’re feeling ambitious, feel free to add weights in small increments.
  • Pushups are great for tightening up your arms and chest. Make a straight line with your body, like you would while doing planks. Keep your head up and look forward, and avoid holding your breath. I recommend doing 3-5 sets of 10 pushups. Don’t be afraid to switch things up! Mix in some variety by doing standard pushups for the first half of your workout, and tricep pushups for the second half.
  • Power Jacks are a mix between two classics: jumping jacks and squats. Start with your feet together and your arms straight up in the air. As you lower your arms, jump out with your legs and lower into a squat. Then, jump back up to your starting position. If it feels like you are doing the opposite motions of a traditional jumping jack, you are doing it correctly. Do 3 sets of 30 seconds.
  • Crunches will help tighten up your abs and eliminate any muffin tops. Begin with 30 seconds of traditional crunches, then switch to side crunches for 30 seconds each. Finish out your ab workout with reverse crunches to target your lower belly. Instead of lifting your upper body off the ground, lift your lower body off the ground and crunch your legs toward your chest.

These exercises will not take long, and by doing them daily, you will tone and strengthen your arms, legs, and core. Try different combinations each day, and don’t hesitate to throw in your own favorites.

My thoughts? Let’s not settle for the “Spring Break Bod.” Let’s continue to commit to our workouts even after next week on the beach, to build our desired year-round bodies that we all so much deserve. Let’s look not only into next week, but also into our beautiful, healthy futures.

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Weekly Tips and Challenges

Girls, don’t be tempted to hit the tanning beds pre-spring break. Instead look for self-tanning lotions or spray tans. If your skin doesn’t respond well to such treatments (eh-hem…that’s me), go natural, my lovely pale lady. Be sure to use the appropriate amount of sun screen while outdoors to avoid sunburn, and embrace your pearly (not pasty) bod.

You could even get that Spring Break glow during Spring Break (crazy, I know) by hitting the sand for a game of beach volleyball or by going on a nice morning run before the day of fun zaps your energy. Enjoy yourself, and be kind to your skin!