Ladies. It’s officially Spring, which means the start of WEDDING SEASON!!! A season that motivates you to look and feel your best as a bride, bridesmaid, or guest. Why? Because Wedding Season includes LOTS of pictures where you are immortalized on camera for years to come.
Perhaps your bridal gown is strapless. Maybe your bridesmaid dress is sleeveless. Or it could be that all of the wedding guest dresses in your closet are form-fitting and you want to tighten and tone. Regardless of your motivation during Wedding Season, I have some must-do moves for you!
My background as a dancer, track jumper and runner, and fitness coach taught me that the biggest results come full-body exercises. When you engage your core (pull your belly-button into spine!) and focus on your posture, you activate so much more than just the working muscles.
These must-do-moves target multiple muscle groups with each exercise – so not only will your arms feel tight, toned, and sleek, but your core, legs, and booty will thank you too!
We Can Work It Out
Complete each exercise 10 times, rest, repeat for 3 sets.
Dumbbell Squat into Bicep Curl with Overhead Press
Dumbbell Stick Breakers
Dumbbell Bent-Over Tricep Kick-Backs
Bird-Dog Planks (10 total, 5 each side)
Up-Downs (10 total, 5 each side)
Side Plank with Hip-Dip (10 each side)
Progressions Included in Video
Bridge Hold with Dumbbell Reverse Fly
We love to hate them, but they are SO good – start out slow, focus on your form
Practice this circuit once or twice a week and you will be raising those arms with such confidence!
Cheers to you as you celebrate lots of love throughout this wonderful season!!!
*All wedding photographs by the wonderful POPography!
…a continuation of trying new classes, pushing myself through new physical challenges, and exploring more of the insane fitness world that the island of Manhattan has to offer.
Recently, my go-to-fitness partner Lauren and I had off the same holiday and decided to try a studio that we passed on our way to the previous month’s SoulCycle adventure: Fhitting Room.
Fhitting Room from the outside looked cool and green and why the heck not give it a go? We reserved our lucky spots on the outer edge of the room and literally had no idea what to expect….
High. Intensity. Interval. Training. From the minute class started we were on the clock. Warm-up circuit: 60 seconds on, 30 seconds rest, repeat 3 times. Circuit change up: 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest, switch spots with your teammate, repeat 4 times. Against yourself: various weighted exercises, complete set, rest, repeat every minute on the minute for 8 minutes. Partner challenge: complete kettlebell swings, goblet squats, and burpees while your partner is in a v-sit hold, switch, repeat, switch, repeat, switch, repeat!
We were non-stop until the cool down. It was glorious!!!
What I Learned
The trainers were EXCELLENT. I enjoyed how they team-taught and worked off of each other’s energy and personality. They were super knowledgable and demonstrated each and every exercise before starting the clock. While we were working, they walked around to make safety corrections, modifications, progressions (hellooooo heavier weights), and personally motivated each client.
Will I Try Again?
HECK YES!!! After class, I felt incredibly strong (and tight)! The studio was another clean and fantastic place to work-out. Lauren and I planned and DID take a second class – which was a different format within the HIIT philosophy. Just as challenging and results were just as satisfying.
Thank you Fhitting Room Flatiron! You rock and I can’t wait to get my butt back to another class!!!
Comment below if you have tried HIIT studios, classes, trainings or if you want to join my next Fhitting Session!
Here we go! In an effort to motivate others to try new experiences on the road toward wellness, I am chronicling my conscious journey of trying new things and how I felt before, during, and after the experience.
About a month ago, a friend of mine suggested taking a SoulCycle class in Manhattan. I jumped at the chance to workout with a friend! I was so excited to check out this fitness class that Lea Michele and other celebrities are obsessed with, even if spinning isn’t my favorite…
Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
I love a fitness challenge. I love changing up workout routines and being pushed mentally and physically. Throughout the years, I have tried and failed to get into the phenomenon that is spinning…it was a tough workout, I sweat like crazy, but for some reason, it was not my cup of tea.
I tried to love spinning. It has GREAT music, a cult following, is high in calorie-burning and leg-shaping, why couldn’t I get into it? I will gladly ride my bicycle outside, through Manhattan, over the Brooklyn Bridge, up and down every boardwalk and shore town, but spin rooms…meh, no thanks.
I would avoid spinning like the plague…then, in one weekend, my sister-in-law put together a spin team for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Spin-In and this SoulCycle class was on the table. After years of avoidance, I couldn’t dance myself away from a spin bike anymore.
“Dust Yourself Off and Try Again”
The entire lead up to this SoulCycle class was great: the employees took really excellent care of first-time riders, helped me figure out the science behind getting onto the bike, and the studio was so clean! The instructor shouted out her friend’s birthday ride, another rider’s 500th class, and me – the lone first-time rider (tucked away in my favorite place, the back corner).
And we were off. The lights went out, the music blared, the other riders in this PACKED 10:30 AM class were hooting and hollering and I was overwhelmed with this place. My friend who had taken a class as part of a wedding weekend (fantastic idea, brides-to-be!) turned to me smiling, loving the sense of community of this program. Our instructor was great! She was vocally motivating each rider to keep moving and her music selection totally swept me away.
What I Learned
Like in all great programs, you control your resistance, speed, and output. When I needed to back out of some of the thousands of hill sprints, I could (jk, but really). When I needed to pump out push-ups on the handles, I did so with the rhythm of the music. When my mind drifted to start thinking of funny Instagram posts to create, I was able to laugh to myself at the ridiculousness of my brain. When we were instructed to grab the hand weights from the back of the bike, I loved it for the change up. When my favorite Ed Sheeran song came on as a final push, I relished in the beat, the lyrics, and the physical challenge that I was on.
I left that class totally humbled. I thought I was “so fit”! I see why so many people take lunchtime classes and make this 45-minute spin adventure a priority. Post-class, my muscles weren’t sore like they are after a high-intensity-interval-training session or dance class or run, but they were exhausted. I felt a deep tired in my legs and arms that I haven’t felt in a long time and I was empowered knowing this was hard-earned!
Will I Try It Again?
The music and the sense of community – everyone riding on their own journey, yet simultaneously pumping together – got the dancer in me so excited to peddle to the beat. I was super excited to ride again a month later and had too much fun spinning with my team during the CHOP Spin-In.
Thank you to Lauren, Jera, SoulCycle 19th Street. Now, I don’t have an intense aversion to spinning like I did in the past!
Comment below if you’ve taken spin classes: SoulCycle, FlyWheel, boutique studio. Also, let me know if this post inspired you to TRY a spin class if you have never gotten into the saddle.
“Take your journey. Change your body. Find your Soul” -SoulCycle motto…I’m working on it 😉
Accountability (noun): the quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
Who holds you accountable? Who takes responsibility for your actions? Your choices? What I teach my students, is “YOU are in charge of you. No one is forcing you to do anything that you don’t want to. You have the power to study or read when you’re supposed to. You have the voice to suggest what foods to choose. You have the knowledge and tools to avoid drugs and peer pressure. You are in control of the choices that you make every single day, that effect your life, for better or for worse.”
This is all well and good and important to teach a young child. Hopefully, their lives contain a type of structure, any semblance of structure. Structure is important in developing good habits. Strong practices. Positive coping and management skills. The habits that we develop in our childhood have the power to shape our futures.
But what often happens when we get older? More independent? More financially settled? We can fall out of our previously stable structure.
Falling out of our structure, our former norm, can cause topsy-turvy in our lives. We may feel chaos, anxiety, low motivation. We may feel freedom, comfort, heightened excitement. We may feel a mixture of these emotions at any moment of the day. Topsy-turvy indeed!
How can we create new habits? How can we build a new, yet sturdy and stable structure? How can we take responsibility for our actions and choices and hold ourselves accountable again?
It is important to remember that our choices are only as good as the TEAM surrounding us. As children, our parents/guardians, siblings, extended family, friends, teachers, coaches, and instructors made up our team. They were rooting for us to succeed. These wonderful people showed us the skills that we needed to build our structures and supported us in our quest to find our personal successes.
When our lives become topsy-turvy and we are open and ready and committed to regain balance, we need to call upon our team to guide us, show us, teach us, and hold us accountable for crafting our structure of The Now.
Putting together your team:
Accept that you want to make a change (i.e. financial savings, increased fitness, dietary substitutions, spiritual realignments)
Reach out to supportive friends or family members with SIMILAR interests or goals in mind
Your teammate/s will feel honored that you asked them for help on your journey in building your structure of The Now
They may ask you for help in keeping them accountable on their own, similar journey
Do you frequently feel like you have “no time” to exercise? For me, it feels like the “I’m too busy” bug has been running rampant…especially with the holidays looming and the sun setting far too early for me to be productive after work. If you’re stuck in the same mentality as I am, it’s time to change it up!
The American Heart Association, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization recommend adults to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (like jogging or dancing) per week and participate in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. When you break it down, these leading health and wellness organizations are recommending you exercise at the minimum 21 minutes per day.
21 minutes. That’s one sitcom before commercials! Come on Netflix and chill-ers, stop binge-watching and start moving.
What I teach my students year after year, is that you don’t necessarily need to hit your recommended exercise minutes in one activity. That’s the beauty of physical activity! It’s defined as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure”. Break it up! Five minutes here, ten minutes there, one-minute plank hold during the end credits of your latest TV kick. By the end of the day, you’ll probably surprise yourself and exceed the minimum 21 minutes.
Here’s where you can get creative – SAFE – but creative. Below are my top 5 favorite muscle-strengthening activities that I have turned into daily habits…
Exercises while brushing my teeth: strive for 20 reps for each side
back lunges and side lunges
arabesques (slow and controlled leg lifts to the back)
attitudes (slow and controlled leg lifts to the front/side/back with a bent knee)
wide-squat hold with side crunch
Squats when you step into the restroom: strive for 10 squats before taking care of business
Walking lunges when moving around the apartment: if you have a larger space, choose your most-lived in room (i.e. kitchen) and make walking lunges your go-to locomotor move
Curtsy lunges when making copies: depending on the number of copies I have to make, the more I change up my movements
Exercises during commercial breaks: I’m just as guilty in my television indulgence
Jump rope (aerobic, but any way I can add it to my 21 minutes!)
**When performing any exercise, be aware of your BODY PLACEMENT**
knee and ankle in alignment – 90 degree angle
shoulders and chest lifted in good posture
belly button scooped back toward your spine
hips slightly tucked under and forward
Parallel squats: “find the chair”
Wide-leg squats: straight line with your upper body – shoulders-chest-hip
Alright, alright, alright. Challenge yourselves:
Simplify the word workout, move more often, and surprise yourself.
Wishing you new exercises and that wonderful “second-day sore”!