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7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

The best laid plans don’t always pan out, and workouts are no exception. When your motivation is low, here are 7 ways you can turn it around and still get your workout in!

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1. Schedule it like an appointment

Set a time in your calendar that you can’t miss. Block it off like a meeting or a doctor’s appointment. Better yet, tell people that it’s your workout slot, which will add more accountability on your end.

2. Save your favorite content for your workout

Give yourself a show that you can only watch while working out, or a podcast you can only listen to while running. Get creative! This will serve as an extra motivator when you don’t want to move but you do want to see/hear your favorite episode.

3. Enlist a buddy

This one can be tough during a pandemic, but you could meet a buddy for outdoor workouts or even zoom/FaceTime to workout together. Having a friend makes you more accountable as you don’t want to let them down, and it adds a little more fun to the occasion.

4. Follow a plan

The lower the barriers, the more likely you are to complete your workout. And the more results you see help propel you too. This is why a structured plan is so important: it helps with both. You can remove the time and space it takes to plan your workout and see improvements that make you want to keep coming back. I have lots of options, my favorite being HIIT at Home 1, 2 + 3, but feel free to reach out and see what’s the best fit for you.

5. Hire a coach

Coaches take the planning work off of your plate and hold you accountable. Not to mention, your results come quicker when working with an expert than relying on yourself to piece it all together. I’ve worked with so many people in this position, and together, we’ve built sustainable workout habits and achieved improvements in body composition, mental health and more. If changing your lifestyle is important to you, send me a message and let’s chat about working together.

6. Try different things

Experiment with morning, evening, or lunch time workouts. Try different formats (HIIT, cycling, strength training, barre, running, etc). See what sticks! Especially if you are new to working out or are feeling burnout from what you’ve been doing.

7. Start small

Workouts do not need to be long to be effective. Set a timer for 5 minutes and go for a walk or do your warmup. Often times that little momentum will keep you going! And if you still don’t feel like doing anything more after those 5 minutes, walk away. 5 minutes of activity is better than 0, and you still created a little positive momentum. Try adding a minute the next time you use this strategy and build yourself up.

Do you use any of these strategies to motivate yourself? Tell me what’s missing/what works for you in the comments!

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How To Work Out With A Baby

Before I became a mom, people would learn about my love of fitness and say things like “just wait until you have kids..”. Has working out become more difficult with a baby? Yes, of course. And we’re still working through the kinks of scheduling. But it hasn’t made things impossible–we’ve just had to get a little creative.

The reality is: if it’s a priority to you, you’ll make it work! And fitness is a priority to me, because it fills my cup and helps me show up better in everything else I do. So, at 7.5 weeks postpartum, here are my tips for getting your workout in with a new baby to take care of.

The first step, prior to using any of the below tips, is to schedule time for your workout. Otherwise, the day can easily pass you by. Since babies notoriously resist adhering to schedules (especially in the early days) you will likely need to be flexible and get a little creative. Here are some ideas to make your scheduled time work:

  1. Wake up earlier. I currently take the 6AM slot to workout, at which point my daughter and husband are still sleeping for at least 30 minutes. They will wake up during my workout, and she will usually take a bottle at this time (which means I pump on my drive to or from the gym, shout-out to my freemie pump for allowing me to pump on the go!). Getting my day started before the baby can be tough due to waking up for night feedings, but ultimately, it adds an extra window of time to get things done. PS – my husband take the 4PM slot, so it’s not just me who needs to schedule my workouts!
  2. Ask for help. Since I am on maternity leave, it is “assumed” that I will be on baby duty most of the time. It can feel hard to ask for help (#momguilt) but ultimately, taking an hour for yourself isn’t selfish if it helps put you in a better spot as a caretaker for the rest of the day. I know if I didn’t ask for help, I’d hold resentment, and that doesn’t benefit anyone! Unfortunately, since we are in a pandemic, my options for help are limited, but my husband is here. And it’s nice that he’s able to get quality time in with his daughter by me asking for help.
  3. Wait until they baby is napping or occupied playing. This is a tough one, because naps are not consistent when babies are young (they can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours!) and they don’t quite “play” yet. But, if help is out of the question, and you had a rough night of sleep, this is definitely an option. I’ve put Stella in the SNOO and brought her monitor into the garage while I worked out, and I’ve put her on her play gym or swing next to me. This is where that flexibility comes into play! There have been times where she starts to lose it mid-workout, and I just take what I can get. In this case, something is better than nothing.
  4. Invest in a jogging stroller. The nice thing about this option is that you don’t have to ask anyone else for help or wait until the baby is occupied. They’re with you and they can be awake or asleep. If your baby is anything like mine, they’ll find the stroller soothing, so you won’t have to worry about them losing it/crying during your workout. The downsides are: if running isn’t your thing, this option may not be appealing to you, it’s not ideal to use in crappy weather, and they can be pricey. Oh, and pushing a stroller uphill while running is quite the challenge (but that’s not all bad, since it is a workout!). PS- a lot of jogging strollers require the baby being ~6 months old before use, but the one I have allows the infant car seat to click into it, so we were able to use it right away.

Ultimately, it’s about how important fitness is to you (and if it’s not that important to you, there’s nothing wrong with that!). Where there’s a will there’s a way (most of the time).

Do you work out with a baby? How did you fit your workout in?

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The Best Charlotte Trails for Walking/Running/Biking/Rollerblading

The Best Charlotte Trails

Charlotte is known for its urban tree canopy. When viewed from above, tree canopy covers 47% of the city (as of 2020)–one of the highest canopy cities in the U.S. It’s one of my favorite things about living here. Everywhere you turn it’s green and beautiful!

This also makes for great parks throughout the city. During the COVID-19 pandemic (and my third trimester of pregnancy) my husband and I started getting out to explore more of these local parks. We live on the North side of Charlotte, so our explorations also lead us into Huntersville. Here are some of our favorites!

Jetton Park

This park is in Huntersville on the edge of Lake Norman. It’s my favorite park because it’s on the water, but also wooded. Everywhere you go there’s a beautiful view. You could make a day of going if you pack swimsuits for the beach area and bring food to enjoy at one of the pavilions or picnic tables. We usually head there for a 3 mile walk or run, which requires going around the entire park twice, and we always stop to take in the lake views.

Reedy Creek Nature Center

This wooded area is not too far from Uptown and has over 10 miles of wooded trails to explore. It’s amazing to me that this park is within the city of Charlotte, because it feels like you’ve stepped into a forest that you wouldn’t see in a populated, developed area. We’ve only explored 3 miles of trails here, but plan to go back and explore more. I particularly loved the pond trail!

Freedom Park

Another park that’s close to Uptown, Freedom Park is a popular destination. Colin and I actually went here when we visited Charlotte before moving down. This has a much less wooded feel, but has multiple playgrounds, fields and open areas to hang out in. Freedom park is a great spot for a walk, run or to meet up with friends. There’s a good amount of parking available, too.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

This greenway was pretty close to where I used to live in Plaza Midwood, so I would run/bike/walk along it often. It has a very urban feel since it weaves through a populated area of the city, but the creek, statues and greenery are all still a nice touch. I particularly loved biking along this trail because I didn’t have to pack up my bike to take it somewhere, but I was still able to get off the main sidewalk and main roads of Charlotte where cars and pedestrians could interfere. If you take this far enough, you’ll also end up in Freedom Park, which is nice! One con might be that there’s not a lot of parking options unless you park at Freedom Park to pick up the trail. It was convenient for me since I lived close by, but I have rarely been back since moving.

Toby Creek Greenway

This has a similar feel to Little Sugar Creek Greenway, but a little less urban. To get to this walking trail, we park at UNC Charlotte. The trail is about 2 miles long and is meant to connect Mallard Creek Greenway to the campus and nearby shopping areas. We love that the trail is wooded, not super busy, and nicely paved. We’ve only ever walked it, but it looks like a great spot to bike or rollerblade.

Toby Creek Greenway

The Rail Trail

Even more popular than Freedom Park, the rail trail is almost guaranteed to be busy on a nice day. This trail runs alongside the light rail in South End and extends into Uptown. There are bars and apartments and shops all along it. Since South End is a popular place to live, this means it’s almost always occupied. Again, this has a very urban feel, but it’s nice to get outside and walk/run/bike along a designated pedestrian area. You’re also likely to see cool street art and run into someone you know! One thing to note: this is not someplace you can easily park and walk along (unless there is a parking area I’m not thinking of). You may need to street park and pick up the trail at a random location.

The Rail Trail

Still on our list to try..

Whitewater Center trails – I’ve been to the whitewater center many times now, but never ventured through the numerous trails in the daylight. I did once run a nighttime trail race there, which was fun, but means I can’t speak much to the views!

We’ve been to (and loved) local-ish hikes like Crowders Mountain, Stone Mountain and South Mountain State Park, but wanted to keep this list a little more local to Charlotte.

What are your favorite Charlotte trails and parks? What else should be on our list to try?

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Why You Should Be Resistance Training

What’s stopping you from trying resistance training? If it’s fear, motivation, or not knowing where to start: bookmark this page and come back to it as many times as you need! Let’s start by addressing each of these reasons why you wouldn’t strength train:

  • Fear: are you afraid of getting hurt? Choose a program or a trainer that you trust to help you get started. I recommend looking for certifications and experience. Are you afraid of “getting bulky”? Let me qualm this by sharing just how difficult and time-consuming it is to build muscle. You will not immediately “bulk up” by picking up a weight that’s more than 5 lbs–this idea came from the way the fitness industry marketed to women for years, and it’s completely false.
  • Motivation: are you struggling to feel motivated? The good news is, once you start, it’s easier to keep going because it becomes a part of your routine. I also find that setting a goal, or finding a routine that excites me plays a huge role. If you need more, check out my instagram for regular fitness motivation and inspiration!
  • Not knowing where to start: are you interested in strength training, but overwhelmed by learning how? Start simple. My Get Strong At Home program uses the basics to help you build strength before picking up any weights. And from there, I would again say, work with a trainer or find a program to follow that you trust.

Benefits of Resistance Training

  1. Boost your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’re burning just by existing. You read that correctly. By building muscle, you are able to burn more calories at rest. Muscle requires a lot of work and a lot of calories for your body to build and then maintain. By doing cardio, you are manually burning calories in the moment with hard work that raises your heart rate. This doesn’t mean cardio is bad and you shouldn’t do it, but having a faster metabolism due to muscle mass is highly advantageous when it comes to eating the way you want.
  2. Sculpt your body. While spot reduction (losing fat from a specific body part of your choice) is not possible, building a body part up with resistance training is. Lifting allows you more control over the physique you want. Do you have a flat butt that you’re hoping to grow? A properly programmed strength training routine can help you get there.
  3. Build stronger bones. Weight-bearing exercises not only build strength in your muscles, they build strength in your bones–something you’ll want as you age.
  4. Increase brain power. Studies have shown that lifting weights can improve your memory and rewire your brain. There has even been speculation that resistance training can stave off/lessen the impacts of Dementia/Alzheimer’s. On a lesser scale, I know I feel mentally stimulated after a good workout and find it easier to accomplish tasks. That’s why I love my morning workouts.
  5. Improve self discipline. Setting and achieving performance goals requires commitment, and how you do one thing is how you do everything. By sticking with that commitment and doing the hard work, it carries over into other aspects of your life.
  6. Boost confidence. I remember walking into a CrossFit gym, seeing the weightlifting movements and thinking I couldn’t do it. Trying new things and seeing improvements week over week did so much to build my confidence. As a woman, I also felt like if I could unexpectedly lift those weights, there was nothing I couldn’t do.

How to Start Strength Training

This can feel a little more challenging than usual as this post is being written during the COVID-19 pandemic, where most people are staying home. Luckily, if you’re brand new to strength training, my Get Strong at Home program is designed for beginners and requires no equipment so it can be done anywhere. If you’re more advanced (and able to train again), there are strength days in my HIIT the Gym program. And I’ve shared plenty of free workouts on my instagram!

Do you strength train? If not, what’s holding you back?

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Travel Diaries: Atlanta Recap

One of my husband’s goals is to see all of the MLB stadiums in America. Being the great wife that I am, for his 30th birthday I gifted him tickets to see the Braves and Brewers play at SunTrust stadium in Atlanta. It didn’t hurt that now that we’re in the south, Atlanta is only a 4-hour drive and the closest stadium to our home city of Charlotte. Perfect for a weekend trip!

We kicked the weekend off by taking a half day on Friday to drive to our AirBnb in Atlanta. I chose a reasonably-priced one-bedroom apartment in midtown Atlanta with free parking and gym access. It was also conveniently located with lots of great places to walk to nearby! When we travel, we typically only use the AirBnb’s for showering and sleeping, so amenities aren’t that important to me, but the gym on site was great!

Once we dropped off our bags, we walked about a block away to get dinner at Papi’s Cuban Grill. I’d never had authentic Cuban food and this did not disappoint! Their skinny marg and Pollo Vaca Frita (pictured below) was exactly what I needed after that drive. Tequila, vegetables, and chicken: what more could I ask for?

After dinner, we decided to check out the Georgia Aquarium (it was a nice little break before we started drinking more, okay?). Once I knew we were going to Atlanta, this is one of the first “must-do” activities I put on the list. I’d never been to an aquarium before and this set the bar pretty high. The range of sea life was amazing! I particularly loved the jellyfish, penguins, and the area where you could walk through a glass hallway underneath/among a huge pool of different fish. I highly recommend making the trip if you’re in Atlanta. It’s a kid-friendly activity, but as adults, we definitely enjoyed it too. As an added bonus: all of the tourist attractions of Atlanta are located right next to each other, so if you plan on touring Coca-Cola or CNN (neither of which we did) or walking through Centennial Park (this we did do!) then you can knock them all out in a few hours without transportation.

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I asked around for advice on what we should do while in Atlanta, and multiple people suggested Ponce City Market, which is where we headed next! It’s super cool and full of different shops and restaurants. We got edible cookie dough from Batter Cookie Dough Counter and walked around. I enjoyed it, but if I did this trip over again, I would’ve saved Ponce City Market for a brunch trip. It’s nice because since there’s a food hall, you can get food and (alcoholic) drinks from multiple restaurants and consume it anywhere. So, if you’re with friends and you all want different things, no problem. Order from the restaurant of your choice and meet up in the middle to eat together! We also had a hard time figuring out how to get onto the rooftop, and by the time we figured it out, we were over it and skipped out. That’s one other thing I’d do if I go back to Atlanta: get on that rooftop!

By this point we were starting to wind down and walked to a brewery near our AirBnb called Torched Hop. They had great beers and we loved the vibe! I prefer breweries during the day and have a hard time drinking craft beer at night, but they had great cocktails so I was saved. My husband loved the beers though! We were really happy to find a good brewery because the craft beer scene is so big in Charlotte that we’re used to spending more time at breweries than bars these days.

That was our last stop of the night before heading back to our AirBnb to rest up for the long Saturday ahead!

Saturday kicked off at the gym in our AirBnb. My husband and I did a partner workout (in the caption here). We like to work for our beer, so a quick HIIT session did the trick!

Post-workout, we walked to brunch at Babs Midtown, where we had Blood Orange Mimosas with our breakfast food. I don’t remember what we got to eat, but I remember it being good, and I definitely remember those mimosas!

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Once we’d kicked off the day with drinks, we decided to embark on a drinking tour of Atlanta. First stop (at my husband’s request): an Irish bar called Meehan’s Public House. I usually love Irish bars, but it was a dark bar with only indoor seating and it was so beautiful outside I couldn’t stay too long. It would be a great spot to watch a game or spend some time in the rainy weather, though.

We headed out down the block to the Atlanta Braves bar in anticipation of the game later on! I didn’t have high expectations of a sports bar in the city, but my god, the service at this place blew me away! Our bartenders were extremely friendly and carried on interesting conversations with us while slinging amazing drinks. When we decided to leave, they handwrote a list of cool places for us to check out. It was so nice! If I go back to Atlanta, I will 100% go back to this bar for the service.

Based on the list given to us by these friendly bartenders, we headed to Little Five Points (not to be mistaken with Five Points–apparently if it’s not “Little” Five Points, you’ll have big problems!). This artsy neighborhood is full of vintage shops and dive bars and reminded us of our neighborhood in Charlotte, Plaza Midwood. We went to Little 5 Corner Tavern, a fun little dive bar. This is definitely an area I would explore more if I ever go back to Atlanta! It feels less touristy than the downtown area and I’m a sucker for neighborhoods with character, which Little Five Points had in abundance!

By this point in the day, we were ready for some lunch and headed to SweetWater Brewing at the recommendation of a friend. This was one of my favorite things we did in Atlanta. The brewery is a good size and has a lot of outdoor seating (perfect for day drinking in the beautiful Southern weather). The food and beer selection was also great! Apparently, they’re pretty new to serving food, but we were not disappointed. We each had a salad and beers (mine sours, Colin’s IPA’s). It’s not my favorite brewery of all-time (currently that’s Sierra Nevada in Asheville) but I’d put it in my top 10!

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Last but not least, we decided it was time to head to SunTrust Park for the Braves game. I had not been looking forward to it (my husband loves baseball enough for the both of us–I personally find it pretty boring) but it was the surprise of the trip. It ended up being my favorite thing we did! The park is brand new and beautiful. Working in marketing, I can fully appreciate the effort that went into creating the ultimate fan experience. It’s not just a baseball stadium: there are bars surrounding it and carnival games and a zipline within it. The food and drinks were super cheap (which I did NOT expect since Yankee Stadium was my only prior MLB experience). If you plan on visiting any MLB stadiums, move this one up on your list. And if you don’t, but you find yourself in Atlanta, I highly recommend catching a game here!

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After a long Saturday, we Ubered back to our AirBnb. We woke up Sunday and went to breakfast at Flying Biscuit (YUM – biscuits are the king of breakfast in the South and I judge people who don’t order them). They’re actually a franchise with locations in Charlotte but we had never been and it was highly rated so we checked it out. It was good and the service was quick, but my favorite thing about eating here was actually that the restaurant was located right near a big, beautiful park that we walked around as our breakfast digested. This also gave us time to wait for our last stop of the trip to open up: the College Football Hall of Fame.

Again, this was not something I was particularly interested in (sensing a theme here? not a big sports fan!). And again, I was surprised. Where I was expecting a traditional museum, this was instead a digitally personalized experience. Upon entering you get a “pass” that identifies you and your team of choice. The exhibits then change to display facts about your school. I wasn’t expecting to see much as a Syracuse University alum, but I ended up learning a lot about my school’s history with football. Colin, of course, had plenty to do as a Penn State fan. We also enjoyed the indoor playing field where I threw a pretty solid spiral directly into the target! Overall, it was a pretty good experience.

I enjoyed Atlanta, and while I mentioned there were things I’d do if I go back, it’s not someplace I’m dying to go back to (unlike Asheville, where I would go 100 more times). Have you been? I’d love to know what you think of the city and what you did while you were there!

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An Update On My Fitness Journey

Over the past few months, I’ve made some changes as far as my fitness goes. I’ve tried so many new things that it’s been a lot to follow. This post is a documentation of what I tried, why I tried it, and where I am now!

When I lived in Syracuse, I didn’t venture outside of my fitness bubble much. As soon as I set foot in Urban Life in July of 2014, I didn’t try much else. There were a few reasons for this:

  1. I LOVED going there every day–the coaches and members were like family to me and I never wanted to miss a workout there! (I could honestly say a million amazing things about my time there and all that it brought me as far as personal growth, connections, knowledge, and athleticism, but that could be its own post.)
  2. I was suuuper into CrossFit and wanted to be good at it, and trying non-CrossFit classes didn’t seem to align with that goal.
  3. There weren’t a ton of options in Syracuse. Sure, there are gyms, but the city is not exactly a hotbed for innovative fitness companies.

When I got to Charlotte in July 2018, all of these things kinda went out the window. I was entering a transition period where I wanted to try new things, and that trickled into my fitness journey. I was questioning if CrossFit was still the best thing for me (even though I was really enjoying my membership at CrossFit Dilworth). I was presented with a LOT more opportunities for fitness classes, and I was seeking new connections. All of this lead to the perfect storm of me branching out and trying new things with my fitness.

In October 2018, I decided to take a break from CrossFit and try a Mind Pump program, so I got a YMCA membership and purchased MAPS Strong, a 3-month lifting program. I quickly realized that I missed the energy of group classes, but I stuck it out for the full 3 months for the sake of finishing out my investment and building my metabolism. The program had fun, interesting and effective lists, and I learned a lot by doing it, but going to a gym and just lifting is not for me.

When it was over, I decided I wanted to get back into group exercise and try a variety of fitness classes. So many gyms offer a free trial (one day, a week, X number of classes) or a deeply discounted first month. I’ll save my in-depth analysis of each class/gym for another day, but I tried:

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I had a great experience at each gym I tried, but I missed having a home base. I don’t love the feeling of not having a gym membership. I like to have a plan in place as far as my workouts go, and just bouncing around didn’t feel quite right to me, so I started thinking about what gym I wanted to spend most of my time at so I could get a membership again.

As soon as I dropped into a CrossFit gym I knew I was ready to come back. Doing CrossFit makes me feel like an athlete. The movements require a lot of skill, the environment is high energy and competitive, and the Open was calling my name.

So as of February 2019, I am participating in the CrossFit open and back to being a member at CrossFit Dilworth! I plan on doing CrossFit at least 4x/week, but I also plan to continue trying other fitness classes. I really enjoyed Yoga One, F45 and Crown Town Athletics so I will continue dropping in at each of those from time to time. I also plan on trying:

When’s the last time you tried something new with your fitness? And if you’re in CLT, tell me: what else should I have on this list to try?

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m a sucker for the holidays (hence my December 16 wedding). I love the cheer, the decor, and showing the people in my life how much I love and appreciate them with gifts!

Now that December’s here, gifts are top of mind for me. Through my own search, I’ve highlighted my top suggestions for the fitness lovers in your life below!

  1. Fre skincare. Fre is the first line of skincare created specifically for skin that sweats. The ingredients are high-quality and smell amazing–I feel like I’m at a bougie spa when I’m using them. The products really help keep skin moisturized and feeling smooth. I’ve been using Fre for months now and am so pleased with how my skin looks and feels! And to top it all off, this company has amazing values. They plant an argan tree for every 123FRÉ set sold. Out of all the options they have, I would recommend the 123FRÉ set + Glow Me. The 123FRÉ set includes the core, daily-use products, and Glow Me is a tinted moisturizer that truly makes my skin glow while lightly masking any red spots on my skin. When I use Glow Me, I leave the house feeling confident without any makeup on. Check it out–code STODDS gets you a discount at checkout!
  2. HIIT at Home. Fitness is the gift that keeps on giving! This program is perfect for someone looking to get in shape without spending hours at the gym. It requires 30 minutes a day, 5 days/week, and NO EQUIPMENT. Help someone in your life get stronger, leaner, and more confident in 2019 with HIIT at Home!
  3. Work For Your Beer Shirt. How fun are these? If you know someone who loves burpees as much as they love beer, these shirts make a great gift. There’s also a “Work For Your Wine” shirt for the wine-os out there. I get stopped and complimented on these tanks every single time I wear them. Check them out, and code CHRISTINE15 gets you a discount at checkout!
  4. Apple Watch. I live and die by my Apple Watch. I actually tried to wear it on my wedding day until my friends pried it off me, and I haven’t gone a day without it besides that. I have super aggressive tan lines to it because it’s always on. I can’t say enough about how much I love it! Anyway, it’s on this list because fitness enthusiasts like to chase goals and quantify their efforts, and the Apple Watch delivers on both. You can see how many calories you burn in a variety of workouts, see accurate mileage for runs/bike rides/swims, and set workout-specific and daily calorie-specific goals for yourself. I also love that I can go for a run without my phone, and just use my watch and Air Pods to listen to music or podcasts. Which brings me to my next suggestion..
  5. Air Pods. I do admittedly LOVE apple products (I’m obsessed with my iPhone XS max, apple watch, air pods, etc) but Air Pods are my all-time favorite. They stay in really well, there’s no cord hitting me during my workouts (I hate the sound of that), and when you pull one out of your ear, it automatically pauses what you’re listening to. The sound quality is great. Anyone who works out by themselves NEEDS these.
  6. Speed Ladder. Speed ladders are inexpensive, easy to transport and add so much variety to your training. It’s great for anyone who likes to train like an athlete or wants to add something new to their home workouts. I use my speed ladder as a finisher at the end of most of my workouts. It’s challenging and fun.
  7. Jump Rope. Similar to speed ladders, jump ropes are also inexpensive, easy to transport, and allow you to add a challenge and variety to your workouts. My rope is from double under wonder – I liked customizing it and I like having a little bag to keep it in when I take it to and from the gym.

So, there you have it! What would you add to this list?

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3 Reasons I Love To Work For My Beer

One of my favorite things about this city is the overwhelmingly popular beer fitness scene and all of the balanced living enthusiasts that come with it. That’s why when I heard about Work For Your Beer – Charlotte’s hub for all things beer fitness – I knew I had to get involved.  There are few (if any) things that I love more than a nice adult beverage after a workout! So what exactly is Work For Your Beer?

Work For Your Beer is the place to go if you’re looking for beer fitness classes. This site serves as a guide for pub run clubs, brewery yoga classes, bootcamps that end with beer, and more (there are even dance classes — Twerk For Your Beer, anyone?). Outside of the super-helpful calendar that provides details for more than 100 beer fitness events/week, they also post interesting content. The blog shares beer releases and reviews, Charlotte-specific events, and topics that balanced living enthusiasts would relate to (read one of my personal favorites here). PS – if this sounds like your thing, sign up for the weekly brewsletter–you won’t be disappointed!

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Like this shirt? Enter code: christine15 at checkout on the Work For Your Beer site for a discount!

So, why am I so obsessed with being a Work For Your Beer brand ambassador? Find my top 3 reasons below:

  1. The workout variety. So many workouts, so little time (and money!). I love that the beer fitness scene allows you to vary your workouts, commitment-free, for a small price tag. Many of the pub runs are free (you just buy your own beer afterward), and classes are around $5 (which sometimes includes a beer!). So, you get to experience lots of different trainers and exercise styles for much cheaper than a membership or drop-in fee at most boutique studios! The variety of options is great for someone who likes all different kinds of fitness.
  2. The craft beers. Beer fitness is a great excuse to try different craft beers! In Charlotte, there’s no shortage of brewery options. Within walking distance of my apartment, I can go to Legion Brewing, Resident Culture, Catawba, Pilot, and more. It would be easy to fall into a rut of going to the breweries closest to me – but the fitness events offered at other breweries get me out there, trying new things! I’ve since figured out that my fave Charlotte beers are Birdsong Jalapeno Pale Ale and Wooden Robot Good Morning Vietnam.
  3. The community of people. Beer fitness events provide a great way to get out and be social on weeknights. I love being able to connect with people who I already know share two of my biggest loves! And meeting new people is so important to me, being new in town. To all my fellow beer-and-fitness-loving Queen City residents: message me to meet up at a class together!

I’d love to hear your favorite beers, breweries, and beer fitness events (Charlotte or not) in the comments!

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My Experience Attending the CFL1 Certificate Course

*Disclaimer: this blog post is a high-level overview of my personal experience. No details about the format and content of this course will be disclosed.*

Attending the CFL1 Certificate Course

At just about four years into my CrossFit journey: I finally bit the bullet and went for my CFL1. To those who don’t know what that means, it stands for CrossFit Level One, and it’s a certificate course that provides introductory education on the fundamental principles and movements of CrossFit.

So, why four years in did I decide to pursue it? It’s something I’d thought about more than once as I started to grow as a CrossFit athlete. For one, I loved the discipline and confidence I gained through CrossFit and wanted to share that experience with others.

Then, once I became an NASM personal trainer, I knew I would have to take CEU’s (i.e. continue my education) to keep my certification active. Since all my NASM studying occurred at home, on the internet/with a book, I wanted my next endeavor to be an in-person seminar, like this.

As I started to look into the certification further, I saw that the CFL1 course was being offered in Charlotte shortly after my move. Something that had deterred me previously was the cost: not only is the course itself $1000, but it’s typically offered in bigger cities (aka, not Syracuse) so I would’ve incurred travel expenses on top of it. (Sometimes it’s really hard to justify investing in yourself, but that’s a topic for another day.) With the course coming to my city, it would significantly reduce the cost, and I was out of excuses. It was time to dive in!

Here are my biggest takeaways from the weekend I spent at the CFL1 course:

  1. It’s humbling. I always refer to CrossFit as humbling because there’s so much going on that it’s impossible to be good at everything. But this course was another level of humbling. Four years in, I’ve made a ton of improvements. I’ve “won” a lot of workouts in the gym. I’ve gone to non-CrossFit gyms and been complimented by coaches, telling me that I move well and they can tell I’m an athlete. But in this course, I was surrounded by CrossFit experts, critiquing my movements and efficiency and challenging me on things I thought I knew so well. I received an overwhelming amount of critical feedback on the simplest movement, the move that most of CrossFit is built upon: the air squat. And it wasn’t just me: all 50 athletes in the room with their own levels of CrossFit experience received a wealth of critical feedback. Which brings me to the other reason this experience was so humbling: the caliber of the other athletes also participating in the course. In most social circles, if you do CrossFit, you are (among) the fittest of your friend group. People at work refer to you as the fit one. You stand out for your love and pursuit of fitness. Not in this room: you’re now the norm, one of many. In a way, it’s a super cool experience. Think of the last time you attended an event and not one person was overweight. I know it’s not the case at most sporting events, concerts, fairs or festivals. In a room of other CrossFitters, your “edge” is gone!
  2. I’m better for it. This was one of those experiences that was pretty far outside of my comfort zone. I knew that by attending, I would be opening myself up to criticism and to different ways of thinking, which is a position I don’t often put myself in. I know that putting myself out there like that and opening myself up to that experience has already made me better as a person and as a coach. It reminded me that I can’t be afraid of revealing that I’m not perfect, and that the only way to improve is to do things like this!
  3. I learned a lot about coaching fitness that I didn’t already know. Being in person with lots of other coaches and athletes exposed me to so many different ways to coach someone. I learned helpful new verbal cues and I also learned a ton about tactical cues. I’ve never used tactical cues when coaching, and I’ve very rarely been coached with tactical cues, but we used them a ton this weekend. I realized just how much more effective they are for me to learn. In the middle of a workout, my brain shuts off and goes into “just get it done” mode, so when someone tells me verbally to change something I’m doing, I don’t always have the awareness to correct. My brain isn’t always aware of where my body is in space. Based on what I saw this weekend, I think a lot of people have a similar experience when they’re pushing hard in a workout, so I’m excited to have a better way to help people moving forward!

So where am I going from here? I hope to use this experience to improve as a coach and as an athlete. I plan to take what I’ve learned about myself (just how much my weight ends up in my toes/midfoot when I move) to improve my own form and grow as an athlete. And I plan to use the techniques, methodology, and cueing I learned this weekend to coach others into their fittest selves. Who’s with me?!

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My Podcasting Debut: Listen to My First Interview

I love listening to podcasts. On my commute, on my lunchtime walk, as I’m getting ready in the morning.. virtually any time that I can, I’ve got my AirPods in and a podcast on. I feel like I am always learning something new or expanding my perspective. Some of my favorites include Mind Pump, Girls Gone WOD, She Thrives, Meathead Hippie, The Model Health Show and PaleOMG Uncensored. It should come as no surprise that literally all of these have to do with improving your health/fitness and/or lifestyle. That’s the content I gravitate toward (although I do try to expand into other avenues from time to time so I would love some recommendations in the comments or my DMs!).

I recently had the very exciting opportunity to step into the other side of podcasting by being a guest on the very first episode of the Colin Cerniglia Podcast! If that name looks familiar to you, it’s because he’s my husband ;). He owns a full-service coaching, training and consulting firm, called Talent 409, that helps athletes discover their talent altitude. Talent 409 hosts a number of paid events (seminars, workshops, etc.) but also has some great free content, like the Colin Cerniglia Podcast, to get you started on your journey to becoming a dynamic leader.

You can hear my interview below, where we cover things like: my athletic journey, the impact of sports and athletics in my life, and my thoughts on leadership. I have found a lot of parallels between sports and the workplace which I’d love to hear your thoughts about! Give it a listen here and let me know what you think!

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