High Intensity Bootcamp Workout

Hello, friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a workout for you, so that’s what we’re doing today. This is a killer workout that my bootcamp ladies completed as their “Summer Challenge” workout in the end of July. This coming Thursday, they will repeat the workout, in the hopes of improving their time from trial 1 until now.

What point are tough workouts if we’re not seeing progress, right?

And to celebrate that progress, the lucky RGF lady who improves her time by the largest margin will be winning a pretty amazing prize — the entire outfit below, courtesy of my friends over at New Balance!

This includes the “Shapely Shaper” sports bra (amazing), this fabulous NB Dry top and bottom, AND the crazy cute Fresh Foam trainers.

It’s all from the New Balance fall line, and might I say that I am OBSESSED with every piece here. The Fresh Foam trainers are so incredibly comfortable, and the color palette here couldn’t be better. I’m so happy for whoever wins and I hope they love this outfit as much as I do!

This is a workout that requires very little equipment, so it’s easy to do on your own or with a group. You do need a little bit of space — a field where you have 100 yards of running space will be fine. You can also substitute the exercises I have listed here to suit your needs better, so it really is something that anyone can do!

So go ahead, lace up those sneakers, and let’s give this a try!

RGF Summer Challenge

Equipment Needed

5 cones or place markers

Sandbags or kettlebells (as many participants as you have)

Relatively light resistance bands (as many participants as you have)

Relatively heavy resistance bands (as many participants as you have)

The Set Up

Set up the 6 cones in a straight line, with 20 yards in between each one. The first cone is the starting point. Place the lighter resistance bands at the 40 yard cone, the sand bags at the 60 yard cone, and the heavier resistance bands at the 80 yard cone.

Lets Get Started

Starting at the first cone, run 20 yards to the second cone. Complete 10 jump squats. Run to the next cone, completing 10 reps of bicep curls and tricep extensions with the band. Continue running cone by cone, completing 10 reps of each exercise. When you have completed 10 reps of Plank Up-Downs, run 100 yards back to the start. Take as little rest as possible and continue. Now run to each cone, completing 9 reps of each exercise. Continue in this fashion until you get to ZERO reps of each exercise, which means you will run straight to the 100 yard cone and back.

The Moves

Jump Squats – Self explanatory. Go down into a body weight squat, keeping your weight back on your heels. Jump up as high as you can, landing carefully and softly back down in your squat.

Bicep Curls and Tricep Extensions – We completed these with resistance bands, Bicep curls standing on band, and tricep extensions 1/2 kneeling on band, raising band above and behind head to an extended position.

Weighted Rear Lunge – We did these as a sandbag lunge. Holding the sandbag (or weight) in front of you, step one foot back into a lunge, rotating your torso to swing the weight over the leg that is forward. Return to standing and switch legs. This is one rep.

Sumo Squat w/band – Stand with feet in a wide stance, toes pointed out slightly. Standing on a resistance band, hold the band with both hands on the outside of your legs, as close to your ankles as possible. The closer you are to your ankles, and the tighter the band is, the more resistance you will get.

Plank Up-Downs – Start in a high plank position (on hands and toes). Bring one arm down to rest on your forearm, immediately followed by the other arm. Bring the first arm back to high – plank position followed by the other arm. Continue alternating between high and low plank position continuously, with a cycle of one up and down as one rep.

The Timing

This took my boot campers anywhere from 30 minutes to 35 minutes, and let me tell you, it is a TOUGH 30 minutes! Even if you are used to longer workouts, there is no need to supplement with anything at the end of this. My bootcamp ladies can attest to that!

If you try it out, enjoy, and let me know your time!

I want to give a HUGE thank you to New Balance for supplying the winner of my bootcamp challenge with such an amazing prize. Check out their website for more of their awesome fall line — I’m pretty sure I want every new piece they have! 

Why ‘Eat Less Move More’ Doesn’t Work

We’ve all heard it. You want to lose weight? It’s simple, just eat less and move more! If it sounds easy, that’s because the concept is a little bit too simple to be true.

Yes, for someone who eats calories in excess and leads a sedentary life, the ELMM mantra can be useful to guide them towards a more healthy life. It can even help them on the beginning of their journey to weight loss. In the beginning, going from 3500 calories consumed to 2500 calories consumed and adding in a daily walk is a perfect recipe for weight loss. But what happens when your muscles adapt to a daily 30 minute walk?

Eventually, this walk must get longer, include more hills, or otherwise progress. Our bodies are adaptive creatures, and the exact same “movement” every day will stop producing results at some point. The same can be said for calories. As you begin on your weight loss journey, a caloric deficit may be easy, but what happens when your caloric intake gets down to 1800? What happens when you stop losing weight at 1800, and now have to move down to 1500 calories per day? What happens when you’re moving more, but are now down to eating 1200 calories per day?

eat-less-and-move-more-1

…but only at the beginning 

Eat Less Move More is not a finite solution, because our bodies don’t work that way. Metabolism can be a tricky creature, one which you do have a good amount of control over, believe it or not. And at a certain point, that ELMM way of life will actually become what hurts your metabolism and causes you to stop losing weight, usually once you get to that last 5, 10, 20 pounds that you want to lose.

First, let’s look at the “Eat Less” portion of this. At some point in time, women came to believe that the magical number for weight loss was 1200. Women of all ages believe that they need to eat no more than 1200 calories per day to lose weight. This is ridiculous for several reasons, not the least of which is that there is no magical number by which every woman on the planet can lose weight. What determines the number of calories you should be eating to lose weight? Your RMR, or resting metabolic rate, combined with your activity level.

And what determines your RMR? That would be your age, size, and activity level. Keeping that in mind, a 5’8″ muscular woman can eat a lot more calories (and still lose weight) than a 5’2″ sedentary woman with the same goal. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a point at which caloric intake (or lack thereof) can cause a decrease in RMR, as well as hormonal problems which make weight loss more difficult.

Now, imagine that you’ve been on the weight loss train for a while, or even that you’ve just started. You’re consuming 1200 calories per day, because some women’s magazine told you that’s what you need to do to lose weight.  So, will you lose weight? Heck yes, of course you will. You’ll also lose a significant amount of muscle mass, decrease your metabolism, and increase your levels of the dangerous stress hormone Cortisol.

What you’ll also do is without a doubt, set yourself up for failure. 1200 calories is not a sustainable amount of food for just about anyone, especially someone who is physically active (move more, right?). At some point, you’re going to reach a point where you can’t move more because you’re not consuming enough calories to support that movement. Then what? You can’t realistically and healthfully eat less than this, so how are you supposed to continue on your weight loss journey at this point? Eating less only works to a certain extent, for a finite amount of time.

So what do we need to focus on instead of eating less? Eating smarter. Consuming nutrient dense foods, avoiding an over abundance of “empty” calories, avoiding overly processed, artificial ingredients. These are the things that we need to be doing to become healthier — less is not always the answer.

Think-positively-and-exercise-daily-eat-healthy-work-hard-stay-strong-build-faith-worry-less-read-more-be-happy-228x250

See this? Eat healthy… not “less”

Now let’s pick apart this whole “Move More” aspect, although I do think that this is the more realistic part of the equation. As I mentioned before, our bodies adapt to the stresses we place on them, that’s just evolution. The first time you run a mile, your body is working hard to accomplish that mile. However, if you continue running one mile, three days per week for a month, that distance will become much easier for you. This is because your body has adapted, and has made running one mile much  more efficient. This means that you are expending less and less effort (calories) to cover the same distance as you were when you first started.

So while yes, I do believe that as a whole, we need to more, it’s again not the end-all-be-all of weight loss. There may come a certain point where you don’t necessarily need to move more, but you may need to move a little bit differently. If you’re a jogger, it may not be realistic for you to move “more” than the 3 miles per day that you’re already jogging, due to time constraints and other responsibilities.

(Wouldn’t it be nice if our only responsibility was staying fit?)

So if you don’t have time to do more, does that mean that you’re doomed to stay the same weight or size forever? Absolutely not. Maybe more isn’t the answer in this case, maybe you just need to be moving differently. Adding in some strength training, switching out a couple of those jogs for weight lifting sessions could make a world of difference. In that case, you’re not necessarily moving more, rather you’re just moving in a better way.

Your muscles and bones need to be challenged in order to stay strong, and to grow even stronger. Progressive weight training can help you to create these challenges without spending hours and hours per day on your fitness routine.

That being said, overall movement is very important, and is the reason why this is the part of the equation that I actually agree with. We should all be walking more, standing more, and just moving our bodies more. Park farther away, take the stairs, get off the train a couple of stops early — whatever it takes, just move your body on a regular basis.

So, what should we call this one? Move more efficiently? Move better?

When all is said and done, yes, Eat Less Move More will work for a very finite amount of time. But is it the ultimate answer to weight/fat loss and a healthier body? Not necessarily, depending on your situation.

I would be totally on board with changing it up just a little bit though — Eat Smarter, Move Better.

It might not flow as nicely as Eat Less, Move more, but you will get more out of it.

Rondeau Group Fitness – Extended into Fall!

I have exciting news — Rondeau Group Fitness will be extended into the fall!

RGF

I originally planned to run this group through the summer months only, but I have recently decided that we will keep going into the fall. At least through September and probably October, weather permitting! We may get a little chilly at some point, but all the more reason to warm up with some killer workouts, right?

I love, LOVE, teaching this group. There are some amazingly strong, talented, successful women who come to work out with me each week, and they bring it every time. I would like to take this opportunity to invite YOU to join us, if you’re in the Boston area!

We meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 am in Franklin Park. Please click here for more details if you or a friend might be interested!

Here’s a little bit about what we do at RGF:

We smile

We work hard

We sweat

We encourage eachother

We welcome ALL levels of physical ability — just starting on your fitness journey? Great! Just ran a marathon? Wonderful! Somewhere in between? PERFECT!

(And we occasionally do burpees…Shhh.)

Things we don’t do at RGF:

Tear down our bodies or anyone else’s

Give up because we don’t think we can do something

Mountain Climbers (seriously, you won’t do them with me, I hate them).

And don’t forget that you get your very first class FREE. All I ask is if you enjoy it, tell your friends who may be interested too. The more the merrier, especially when it comes to Plank Chains (join us to find out what that is!)

*If you want a sneak peek into what we’ve been doing, sign up for the Rondeau Group Fitness Newsletter HERE!*

So if you’ve been feeling like it’s too late to start on your summer fitness plan (it’s not), or  you have a friend who has been putting off a fitness routine for one reason or another, this is the perfect time to join Rondeau Group Fitness. Finish out your summer and head into fall with the strength, power, and confidence you’ve been looking for. And join a fantastic          group of ladies as icing on the cake! (Men welcome too, of course!)

Please share this with anyone you think might be interested, and join us soon if you’re interested yourself! Drop ins are welcome, or sign up for specific classes here. See you soon!

Fitness Lately: New Balance NBGNO and Turnstyle Rave The Roof

It is August? Whaaaaaaaaaat? I know I sound like a broken record every year, but the summer seems go by quicker and quicker with each year that passes.

I think this year it had something to do with the unexpected move that took over a good portion of June and July, but oh well. Here we are!

There is so much going on in the fitness world right now, and it’s pretty awesome. There are group workouts popping up all over the place, pop-up studios, and some of my favorite studios opening new locations. It really is impossible to stay on top of it all, but the good news is that it gives people so many options, so many opportunities to find the right fitness fit for them!

Gone are the days when all we had to choose from were Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym, now you can probably find anything you want that relates to fitness.

And along these lines, recently, I’ve been to some amazing workouts that I just have to tell you guys about. A couple of weeks ago, I went to yet another New Balance Girls Night Out (NBGNO) event. They are simply the best, and this was no exception — in fact, this was one of my favorites that I’ve been to!

NBGNO_Surf

With a couple of my favorite blog ladies, Athena and Sherri

This event was all about trying new things, and boy did that end up being true. Each NBGNO event has a 3.6 mile fun run around the city, as well as an alternate workout that changes each month. This month, the alternate workout was a Surfset workout with Stefanie Lograsso, and boy was it tough! Tougher than I expected, that’s for sure.

NBGNO_Surf4

If you haven’t heard of it (I hadn’t), Surfset is a workout you do on actual surfboards that are basically attached to something like Bosu Balls, meaning that you are wobbling and stabilizing the entire time you are on that board. With all of the lunges, planks, push ups, and even jumps (!) that Stefanie had us doing, I was a sweaty mess by the end, but I had a blast.

NBGNO_Surf5

The rest of that evening was just as fun as always, catching up with some real life friends, and some of my favorite Boston Blogger ladies. I love spending time with so many inspirational women at these events, as each one of them motivates me to work even harder in my own life and fitness endeavors.

NBGNO_Surf2

The host of this particular NBGNO was Sherri from Fun Fit Flavor, who is always charming, funny, and down to earth. She did a wonderful job hosting and I can’t wait to see her at the next event! As the host, Sherri gave a brief talk to the crowd about what trying new things has meant to her. Her story was awesome, detailing a pretty bad injury that lead her to trying things other than running, and now because of that “set back”, she’s doing more fitness wise than ever before. Pretty inspiring, I’d say!

NBGNO_Surf3

Sherri doing her hosting gig… I was OBSESSED with her outfit. How cute is this NB combo?? 

These events are always a blast, so I highly recommending trying one out if you haven’t in the past, or coming back if you’ve been away from the NBGNO scene for a while. I hope to see you at the next one!

Rave The Roof 

The other amazing workout that I attended, actually the night after NBGNO, was put on by my very favorite indoor cycling studio, although a spin bike was nowhere to be found! This was Rave The Roof, an outdoor, roof top bootcamp put on by the team at Turnstyle Cycle.

(I have to apologize for my lack of quality photos for this event… it just didn’t happen!)

Turnstyle just happens to have two of my very favorite instructors in Boston, Laura and Caroline. They are both incredibly energetic, strong, powerful women, and they know how to kick your booty in a workout while making you feel empowered at the same time! I honestly feel lucky to know them and to be able to train with them from time to time — they are both just amazing.

Turnstyle1

Caroline showing us some upcoming tricep work! 

Turnstyle2

Laura demonstrating at the legs station.

The workout was the kickoff to Turnstyle’s new studio at Ink Block, a trendy new area of the South End here in Boston. Lucky for me, this is much closer to work than their studio in Kendall Sq, so I’ll be able to hit up Laura’s and Caroline’s classes more often now! (#winning).

The theme for this bootcamp was neon, so the outfits were outrageous, and there were many tubes of neon body/face paint floating around the place.

The workout was a station-style bootcamp on the roof deck/pool deck, and I must say, the view was awesome as the sun set, it was so nice to be gazing at the pink clouds in between sets rather than a gym ceiling! The workout was high energy, and each of the Turnstyle instructors that were there put us through some grueling stations. I had so much fun, and as I said am SO excited for Turnstyle to open up the new indoor cycling in this location!

Turnstyle3

Check out this view for the workout.. can’t beat it! And that up there is a pool deck… yep, it’s a roof deck AND a pool deck workout. BOOM. 

For now, definitely check out their schedule to get your booty to one of these amazing roof deck bootcamp sessions — you won’t be disappointed, trust me.

Readers: What awesome workouts have you done lately? Have you noticed the insane amount of groups/studios that are opening up in the Boston area? Were you at either of these events with me?

**All NB pics in this post are courtesy of New Balance. <<< Click on the link to see the rest of the photos from the event!

Sweet and Savory Salad: Massaged Kale with Farro

I don’t know about you guys, but when the summer temps start creeping up into the 90s, the last thing I want for lunch is a hot meal.

I find myself turning to salads a lot more, and sometimes even just a snack plate. Just a couple of days ago for lunch I had 2 rice cakes with peanut butter, some sharp cheddar cheese, and some homemade pickles. Weird combo? Yes, but snack-lunch is the best lunch!

But when I’m feeling a little bit more civilized and don’t want a random collection of snacks to make up my meal, I do enjoy a good, hearty salad as a meal option, for lunch or dinner. This latest creation was a huge hit, and was inspired by a Saturday trip to the farmer’s market here in town.

I came home with a huge bundle of kale, with absolutely no plans what to do with it, so it was time to get creative. I ended up deciding to make a massaged kale salad, but I knew I wanted to include some delicious grains in there to make it a little bit heartier, so that it could be a full meal instead of just a side dish if we wanted.

kale_and_farro_4

The first question you may be asking yourself is “what the heck are you doing massaging your kale?” But trust me, it helps this coarse, bitter green turn into a softer, sweeter version of itself in just 5 minutes of massaging. All you have to do is drizzle a little bit of olive oil, a dash of salt, and some lemon juice to really bring out those sweet notes in the kale, and get your hands in there. Massage it like you love it, and it will love you back. ;)

kale_and_farro_5

After about 5 minutes, my kale was softer, brighter, and ready for the rest of the salad. And this is where you get introduced to my creation:

Sweet and Savory Kale and Farro Salad

Forgive me for the lack of stellar food pictures — I am not usually patient enough to wait for the right lighting, nor do I have any kind of know-how when it comes to food photography. So please let the recipe speak for itself, and give this a try!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale

3 cups cooked farro (more on this below)

3/4 C chopped cashews

3/4 C dried cranberries

3/4 C crumbled feta

And for the Lemon Vinaigrette: (Adapted from this vinaigrette recipe)

1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 C Olive Oil

Juice from 1-1.5 lemons (start with one, add to taste)

1.5 tsp honey

Instructions:

With your kale already massaged (as described above with olive oil, salt, and lemon juice), place kale in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Prepare farro (I prepared about 1.5 C dry faro to produce the 3 C cooked grain). Add farro, cranberries, pecans, and feta to kale, stir to evenly distribute salad toppings. Mix together ingredients for vinaigrette, whisk or shake in a mason jar, and pour amount desired over salad. (I ended up using almost all of it because I made a massive salad). Serve immediately.

kale_and_farro_2

This dish is also great to make ahead if you are going to a potluck or preparing lunches for the week — many greens will not last once already dressed, but kale is hearty enough to stay structured for a few days in the fridge even with dressing already added. The flavors might have even been better the next day with this one — letting the farro soak up the other flavors made for a very tasty grain!

kale_and_farro_3

With this recipe, I ended up making a massive salad. It was enough to be had as a side dish (for 2) at two separate dinners, and lunch for 1 as well. And at one of those dinners, Will had seconds of the salad so it actually made 6+ servings! (I add the + because we had pretty large servings — can’t get enough kale, so with smaller serving sizes, it could feed a larger dinner party as a side no problem).

kale_and_farro_1

So now, why farro? 

You might be asking yourself why I decided to use farro, the reason is quite simple. I wanted to add something to this salad that would make it hearty enough to be a meal on it’s own, and farro is a wonderfully hearty, nutritious ancient grain.

Not only does it have a wonderfully nutty flavor and provide a satisfying chewiness, but it is also packed with protein, B vitamins, and zinc. There are several different ways to prepare this grain, and it all depends on what type you have bought (whole, pearled, or semi-pearled).

I won’t go into all of those here, but if you do give farro a try (and I recommend you do!), a quick Google search will help you out. I used the “whole” variety, but you could use any for this salad.

Readers: Do you tend to eat more salads in the warmer months? Have you ever tried massaging your kale? Do you enjoy cooking with farro or other ancient grains?

Negative Inspiration Not Wanted

Motivation to exercise and to stick with a fitness routine can be incredibly hard to come by for some people. I have spoken to many people who have a hard time “convincing” themselves to go to the gym, or who feel like they have to “trick” their bodies into working out.

I feel fortunate, because for me, exercise comes naturally. No, I’m not saying I’m good at everything I try (not even close), I’m simply saying that the motivation for exercise comes naturally — it’s just a  part of my day, a part of my life that helps me to feel complete.  I know that I’m pretty lucky to feel this way, but why do I feel this way and others don’t? Is it something that I’ve created myself, or is it innate? I’d bet on the former, but let’s dig a little deeper.

So why is it that so many people have a hard time finding the motivation to move and to sweat?

That is something I don’t think we’ll ever completely know the answer to. But I do know one thing that doesn’t create good, sincere, long lasting motivation:

Negativity.

I was recently at a fitness class where the instructor told the group that we were working our triceps because “women want to wave with their arms, not with their flab”.

I’m not kidding when I say I almost walked out of the class right there. Inspired? No, I was infuriated.

There are so many wonderful reasons to move and to work out, so many beautiful reasons that do not include putting ourselves down. You know what? I’ve been working out for years, and I still get a little jiggle when I wave, unless I’m actively flexing my triceps as I do so (and that would look pretty awkward). But this isn’t something that bothers me, and it’s certainly not the motivating factor to my workouts.  I don’t work out because of parts of myself that I hate, I work out to improve the parts of me that are already pretty dang awesome.

positive

Every single part of you is what makes you You. You are not that photoshopped fitness model, you are not Gisele, you are not that world class Cross Fit athlete or elite endurance runner. You are you, and that’s what you have to work with. So your arm jiggles a little bit when you wave at someone? So what, you’re human. We aren’t all bronzed gods and goddesses made of 100% muscle.

You know what motivates me to work on my triceps? The fact that stronger triceps lead to better push ups, a stronger bench press, and more ease in my job which requires a good amount of physical activity and heavy lifting.

Would it have killed her to say something along those lines? “We’re working on our triceps to improve our strength for push ups!” motivates me a heck of a lot more than hearing someone put everyone down for something they really can’t control.

And maybe that’s the key. Maybe we need to look less at whether or not we are motivated, and more at what is behind our motivation. I’m no social scientist, but I have a pretty good idea that the more we use negativity to fuel the things we do, the less of a chance we have at making those things long lasting habits. The more you tear yourself down and punish yourself through workouts, I’d wager that you’ll be less likely to continue that workout or routine in the long run.

If you were forced to eat your favorite food every time you did something perceived as “wrong”, it probably wouldn’t be your favorite food for long now, would it? When it becomes a punishment, I don’t see how it could possibly be enjoyable long term. See where I’m going with this?

So if you’re working out, do so from a place of inspiration and potential progress, not from a place of hate and shame. And if you’re the fitness instructor who is shaming ladies into “better” bodies, what are you teaching them about how they should feel about themselves in the long run?

What if their arms always have a little “jiggle” when they wave — should they keep punishing themselves for eternity? What if they can go from doing 1 push up to 15, yet they still have a little wiggle — personally, I think we should be applauding that progress, not punishing the aesthetics (and genetics).

So it may be a long shot, but I really feel that someday we may be able to close this motivational gap when it comes to exercise. And I would bet that the key to that will be avoiding those negative spaces in our brains and embracing our potential as strong women (no matter which bits may wiggle or jiggle).

So tell me, why do You exercise? Where do you find your motivation?

33 Tips to a Happier and Healthier Life

33? Why 33? Well.. because…

It’s my birthday!

I’m not really sure what that means anymore, to be totally honest. I’ve gone from someone who was always obsessed with my own birthday, to someone who feels kind of indifferent about it. Maybe it’s my age (eek! When did that happen?), or maybe it’s just life, but I guess I couldn’t go on being a birthday princess forever, right?

Well, maybe I can. I’ll reevaluate and let you guys know if at 33 years old, it’s still acceptable to be a birthday princess.

Anyway, since it’s my Larry Bird year, I’ve decided to give you guys a list of the 33 Tips to a Happier and Healthier Life.

Stay with me, this isn’t all about vegetables and grass fed meat (although those are pretty top-notch things to include in your healthy life, if you ask me).

1. Eat your veggies. WHAT? I said this isn’t ALL about veggies and grass fed meet. Sheesh.

2. Eat a VARIETY of veggies. Our bodies need many many different things to run well, and many of those things include several different vitamins and minerals. Yes, veggies have a lot of the nutrients that we need, but the kicker is that they all have different ones. So if you stick with just peas and carrots (who likes peas, anyway?), you’ll be missing out on a whole slew of vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to nutrition!

3. Invest in a Kettlebell. Yep, Kettlebells are expensive. They’re also one of the most versatile fitness tools you can own, so with just a couple of these in your home, you can get in a full body workout pretty much any time you want. Efficiency is king!

4. Train to do pull ups. Yes, even if you’re a female. Especially if you’re a female! Being able to do full, body-weight pull ups is one of the most bad-ass, empowering things you can do. And yes, you CAN do it, trust me. It just takes some work, dedication, and the right training plan!

5. Master your body weight first. When many people first start out on a new fitness regimen, they often want to jump in head first with the most exciting, sexy, challenging workouts they can find. The trouble with that is that it often leads to injury due to poor form, because the movement patterns are just not there. Master the major movements with your body weight first, then progress from there.

6. Smile at strangers. I live in one of the coldest places in the US, and I’m not talking about the weather. Bostonians are hard, cold, and generally unfriendly — many people that I meet are really put off by this when first moving here. One thing that makes a huge difference? Something that takes a fraction of a second, but can brighten someone else’s day — a smile. Please don’t be creepy about it, though.

7. Eat ice cream. Life is short.

8. Try a new workout. At least a couple of times per year, try something wildly new. Take a spin class, go zip lining, run on the beach, whatever. Move your body in a way that you don’t usually — it will thank you in the long run.

IMG_8443

9. Do mobility drills daily. Foam roll, dynamic stretching, whatever floats your boat. Move those hips, baby!

10. Stretch your adductors. The muscles of the inner thigh are highly ignored during workouts. They become tight and fibrous, affecting your movement patterns more than you can even imagine. Stretch those babies every day for happy, mobile hips!

11. Don’t cleanse. Ever. Cleanses are made by the devil, for the devil. Your body knows how to cleanse itself, if you just give it the right resources (and that doesn’t include living off of juice for 7 days straight).

12. Stand at work. If you can get a standing desk, great. If not, make a point to stand every 30 minutes, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Sitting for hours on end is actually killing you, scouts honor. Stand for life!

13. Give hugs. Don’t hug people that it’s inappropriate to hug, but overall, hug more. WAY more. Hugs = happiness.

14. Learn the difference between soreness and pain. There’s a big difference between the two, especially when it comes to training/not training. Training through an injury? Not smart. Training around an injury? Smart.

15. Swim. Let your hips, knees, ankles and feet be virtually weightless for a short time every once in a while. There really isn’t any other workout out there where you can get a full body killer workout in with little to no impact.

16. Learn to be ok with a little bit of hunger. I know this sounds a little weird, and it kind of needs it’s own blog post. I think many of us feel like we need to eat something the very second we feel an ounce of hunger, but that’s not always what you really need. Learning about your body and your own hunger cues can make a huge difference in weight loss and fat loss, if those are goals of yours.

17. Eat grass fed beef, organic poultry, free range eggs, wild caught fish etc. 

18. BUT DON’T STRESS about eating grass fed beef, organic poultry, free range eggs and wild caught fish if you can’t afford it. Unfortunately, these things are luxuries, and you can still lead a perfectly healthy life without them!

19. Go on a walk. In fact, go on lots of walks. This goes along with #12, and is really just part of the bigger picture. We could ALL stand to move a little bit more, so taking a quick walk instead of 30 minutes of TV following dinner could mean the difference between healthy and not healthy at some point down the road. (No pun intended, seriously).

20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. It is so, so important to be able to laugh at yourself. We all make mistakes, we all do silly things, so being able to find the humor in these things is sometimes the only way to keep your head above water.

IMG_1677

Sometimes you have to just let you freak flag fly. Fly it high, baby! 

21. Repeat names. When you meet someone new, make it a habit to repeat their name so that you can commit it to memory. This is something that I have been working on, and something that I have slowly been improving. Remembering someone’s name and using it often makes people feel better, and also saves you from those awkward “Hey.. You!” encounters that we’ve all had before.

22. Forget what the internet has to say about health and fitness. I know, I know, I am the internet. Well, I’m a tiny tiny sliver of the internet. But the truth is, there’s no cut and dry plan that works for every single person, so you’ve got to pick and choose until you find what works right for you and your special snowflake DNA.

23. Wear a hat. Ladies, listen up. Wear a hat on the beach. Protect your face — it’s the only one you’ve got. I’m pretty sure none of us want to look like old Leatherface in the next 10-20 years, so we’ve got to get on that now. I’m pretty sure my face is consistently at least 3 shades paler than the rest of my body, but that just means my face will look 3 shades younger than the rest of me when I’m older, right?

Rondeau71214_racheldarleyphotography-949

[Photo by Rachel Darley Photography] There was just so much sun shinin’ on that dance floor 

24. Say goodbye. There are some things and some people that don’t belong in your life anymore, even if they used to. Let them go and move on, it’s ok to not hang on forever, just for the sake of hanging on.

25. Do hill sprints. They’re good for the booty. And the soul.

26. Stop worrying about getting bulky. Lean muscle mass will do more than just make you look good, it will also protect your bones. Want a much lower chance of developing osteoporosis in the next 30 years? Lift weights.

27. Stop comparing. As much as I love Facebook and Instagram, they tend to let us do what is probably the worst thing for our psyche: compare. Stop comparing yourself to the fitness models on Instagram, and stop comparing your life to your “friends” on Facebook. They are not you, they are not perfect, they have real life problems too, just like you. And sometimes they are photoshopped.

28. Get excited about 30. I dreaded turning 30. But you know what? I really, truly, love my 30s. If you’re not quite there yet, stop mourning the loss of your 20s and accept the fact that you too will grow older. And probably wiser.

29. Stop doing mountain climbers. I seriously, seriously hate them. They are one of the least effective exercises in my opinion. With so many better options out there, don’t waste your time on an exercise that provides little to no benefit, and that most people have horrible form with in just a few reps.

30. Don’t flake on yourself. We’ve all heard to “schedule your workouts like appointments”, but it’s true. Value your health and your body, and make the time for your workouts. Again, your body is the only one you have, and YOU, my dear, are worth it.

31. Don’t always “Go Hard or Go Home”. There is a lot of value in light to moderate workouts that are timed well. Recovery is essential for you to make any sort of progress in your training, so if you don’t allow yourself that recovery, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. Rested muscles = happy muscles.

32. Work out and eat well because you love your body, not because you hate it. 

33. Eat your veggies. I mean seriously. It’s really important.