5 Fun Plank Variations​ To Challenge Your Core

Planks are one of my favorite exercises! 

I know you’re totally rolling your eyes right now, but it’s true. Planks are a great way to get a fullbody workout. They are perfect to help you build isometric muscles and can even improve your posture. Plus planks are so versatile that you won’t get bored. You can do planks on the floor, with weights, on a reformer, with a ball or even add in a little cardio. 😉 Just what you want right? I’m still kinda giggling from when I taught a circuit bootcamp class a few months ago and I taught an entire 7 minute circuit with all planks. I’m pretty sure everyone hated me during the circuit. 

Now even tho I’m obsessed with planks, I know not everyone is as in love or even knows how to properly plank. So I’m giving you a list of all my favorite plank variation to truly get a full-body workout within minutes. Before we get into some plank variations, I want to go over a few key tips for your form that you NEED to know. 

  1. Keep your shoulders right over your wrists or elbows if you’re in a forearm plank. This will activate those shoulders and help you get out of your wrists. 
  2. To protect your back by slightly tucking your tailbone, this will also help you from arching your back and dropping your belly down or deactivating your core.
  3. Keep your ears pulling up to the ceiling to help keep the back of your neck long

Now keeping those tips in mind, try these planks out! Attempt to do these for at least 30 seconds each, it should only take you 5 minutes. For the side plank 30 seconds each side.

Commandos:

Starting on your hands in a full plank, drop down to your right elbow then your left. Now you’re in a forearm plank, from their place your right hand back onto the floor then your left back into your full plank. Continues going down and up, but make sure you switch which arm is starting. The hard part is keeping your hips level and not moving then. The faster you go the more cardio this becomes. 

Carlie showing commandos.

Mountain Climbers

Most people know how to do these but they are such a great way to get a little cardio in while in a plank. While in a full plank you will draw one knee to your chest then step it back and switch legs. The faster you go the harder it is to do while keeping the correct form of your shoulders over wrist and your butt in line with your body. You can also add a little rotation to get into the obliques a little by drawing your knee to the opposite elbow. 

Side Plank:

Carlie holding a side plank. Wearing @Athleta pants and @ToeSox.

Start on your right side, you can either be on your right hand or on your forearm. The left hand can be on your hip or behind your head. Bring your top foot in front and lift your hips off the floor to get into your side plank. In this position you will hook your back toe under your front foot heel. You’re going to hold just a static plank for 30-60 seconds. 

If holding this plank is too challenging take your top leg and bend the knee to step your foot onto the floor in front of you. Now you can press down with your heel to help you keep your hips up. (I prefer this modification over going down onto your knees as I find it keeps your obliques more active.) If you need more of a challenge you can try stacking your legs giving you less stability and making your core work a little harder. Another option is to lift your top leg and hold it in the air. 😉 

Single leg balance:

While in your plank either on your hands or forearms you’re going to focus on keeping your upper body and hips completely still. Slowly start to lift your right leg off the floor about hip height and hold for 5 second then set your foot down and switch to your left leg. You can increase the challenge by reaching the opposite arm long in front of you as you lift your leg up.

Hip Dips Side-to-Side:

Holding a forearm or full plank, dip your right hip towards the floor then exhale and lift your hips back to center before dipping your left hip down. While doing this try to keep your shoulders stable and only move through the lower half really using your obliques to make the twist. 

Carlie doing hip dips side-to-side while in a forearm plank.

Planks are truly one of the best exercises for core conditioning, while also working your lower back, glutes, hamstrings and improving posture. All great reasons to hop into a plank right now. Try out these 5 planks and let me know how you feel. Can you do all of these plank variations for 30 seconds back to back without a break?

I Made The Leap

Carlie pictured at Crossroads Fitness, sporting @Athleta
and @ToeSox

I did it… I finally took the dive, signed my lease, and committed. If you haven’t heard me talk about this yet, I have officially started my own Personal Training/Pilates business. After training under and with some of the best and brightest in the Bay Area fitness community since 2010, I have decided to take the next step and become my own #bossbabe. 

This has been something I have thought about for a while, however never pursued. What started out as a random cold email to a studio owner (from Bryan actually), turned out to be a great opportunity at an amazing studio close to our home. Could it have been a fear of failure? I’m not entirely sure why I hesitated, but I’m sure glad I made the decision. I am now officially a member of the Crossroads Fitness community and working alongside a community of supportive and strong personal trainers in Burlingame . I have already felt a part of this inspiring family of fitness professionals.

Now that I’m officially my own boss, it’s essential I get my name out and start marketing my little butt off to find new clients to help train. Being a part of a communal studio and larger fitness network allows me the ability to leverage the extra resources and benefits to create a strong presence in the community. Different Pilates studios have different setups; some hire the instructors as direct employees of the studio, and others, the instructors are contractors. After working in a studio for several years, I’m excited to have the freedom to teach the preferred style that best suites my clientele and be able to make my own schedule. I am excited, albeit nervous, about the opportunity to market and position myself as an up and coming Pilates instructor down in my new home in Burlingame. 

I now have the ability to productize and monetize my own services based on the diverse fitness background I bring to the table. Thankfully, I have a strong foundation in marketing, some savvy social media skills and an already functional website. All those years of learning and perfecting this unique style of Pilates has finally paid off. My recent experience building my book of business within Rodan & Fields skincare network has also been very valuable. Over the last year, I have been able to grow my personal skincare business, create an auxiliary revenue string, and learn about how to run my own business and be my own boss. These useful skills will most definitely help grow my fitness business as well!

After I signed the lease, I thought to myself, where do I even begin. I took a look at my current website, did a content audit, and brainstormed all of the possible ways to build and optimize my new business. I accomplished some tasks I even knew nothing about, creating waivers, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for my website. It was very interesting learning about LLC formation and how to best set myself and business up for success. Some of my additional thoughts are: creating a new logo, use of different types of multimedia to promote myself and my workouts, as well as creating a newsletter. As you will probably see over the next few weeks, my website is transforming and will be more representative of me, my businesses and the hub for everything CaliforniaCarlie. This will be the go-to resource for questions, scheduling inquires, blog/lifestyle articles and other exciting news. As I continue to become a part of my local fitness community, I encourage you to do the same by staying in touch and connecting with me.

What would you like to see on my website? Feel free to comment below and share ideas on what content you would find useful. I would love to hear your thoughts on what would be of value to you!

Also, please look out for (and subscribe) to my inaugural newsletter to find out where and when I will be teaching, organizing a running club, or promoting other community and fitness-related events. This also allows me the ability to better manage my busy schedule, maintaining my day job working in operations at Amplify Partners, taking care of my pup, and working out on my own. Plus, I will also have some additional free workout content coming soon! 

If you are down in the peninsula area and looking to start adding a new routine to your schedule or want to see how Pilates can benefit your life, let’s chat and see if I can be your partner in helping you achieve your fitness goals.

Why Don’t More Men do Pilates?

Usually, I’m the one who is writing the blog posts on here about my experiences and knowledge but Bryan and I have been talking about him doing a post for a little on his personal experience with Pilates and how it has affected him. So now that he has been doing Pilates for over a year here is his opinion on Pilates and the benifits he has seen.

Until about a year ago, I never fathomed the possibility of ever taking a group fitness class. I was your typical former high-school athlete, way less limber and flexible than I was a decade ago in my glory days. My typical workout routine consisted of stationary weight lifting, with a few bouts of cardio throughout the week, occasionally mixing in a run or hike. This type of working out was a way for me to ‘maintain’ my muscle, stay fairly trim and still feel like I was putting in the time and work to my physical fitness.

Who knew that some of the best and most elite male athletes utilize Pilates as a way to master their craft? Steelers All-Pro receive Antonio Brown and Phillies pitcher Jake Arietta are two star-studded athletes just to name a few. Both of these athletes employ Pilates as a way to maintain both physical and mental well-being. Perhaps this can help remove the ‘stigmas’ that surround Pilates and its efficacy.

Fast forward to today… I am 10 years post back surgery. In 2009, I had a minimally invasive back surgery consisting of a lumbar discectomy, which in layman’s terms essentially meant I had two herniated disks in my lower back (L4, L5, S1) that were pressing on my sciatic nerve. I used to make excuses about not being able to run, my inflexibility and lack or core strength to support my back. Enter Pilates. I had never taken Pilates before, let alone even really understand the basic principles and concepts. Add in the fact that my workouts, like most, got stale over time. My body was used to the same movements, even if I switched up exercises, and I knew it was time for something new. I also had no need to keep the bulky upper body muscle that I once used in sports. What started out as a simple date idea with my current girlfriend, turned into a lifestyle alteration.

Over this past year, what I once thought was a workout meant for ‘woman’, has turned out to have more benefits than I could have imagined. Sure, the majority of my mat and reformer classes have been female-dominated, but I now have a new appreciation for the art of functional movements, flexibility, and core strength. I have developed a real affinity for the different types of Pilates I have been able to experience recently. Maybe Men just do not like being told what to do…

In my opinion, Mat Pilates is probably the most underrated form of Pilates. It requires balance, body awareness and the ability to utilize your own body weight. Most folks think you need a ‘machine’ in order to work out, but truth be told, I personally think Mat can be more of a balance challenge. The core principal relay on core strength (no pun intended), where basically every move requires some type of abdominal engagement. This engagement has been particularly useful to someone like myself, who would rather find different ways to work my core (to support my back) in ways other than your standard sit-up, which can cause back pain. The movements of Pilates are very mindful and the flows are meant to limit compromising positions and allow for modifications if need be. It isn’t just about having abs and a six-pack, but rather a strong core to support my upper body strength and back needs.

Mixing in one or two Pilates classes a week has really helped out in many aspects of my life, both mentally and physically. There are the obvious benefits, such as increased hamstring flexibility, a stronger core, as well as more toned legs. The intangible benefits for me have been less daily back pain, and the ability to run and sprint at places such as Barry’s Bootcamp (11.5! what what). Though, I still try and steer clear of intense jumping movements, I’m able to jump squat, do jumping jacks and jack squats no issue! I have been able to perform more HIIT-focused workouts, helping build more lean muscle and provide valuable fat loss.

The other major benefit for me has come in the form of snowboarding. Snowboarding has long been my favorite athletic activity. I began skiing when I was 3 years old and have been skiing/snowboarding consistently ever since, including living in Colorado for 5 years where I racked up over 100 days. The 2009 winter was the first and only winter I had missed due to injury. This was a major blow to me, as my surgery recovery spanned about 7 months from Sept- April of that year. Post-surgery. I was limited to only being able to go one day and not feeling up to going a second day in a row due to back pain. However, Pilates has changed that and allowed me to shred back to back days, without the effects I used to feel after a hard day.

Having a strong grasp of these basic Pilates principals allows me to practice flows anywhere I have a mat and some time, even without professional instruction or a studio. Hopefully, I have inspired some of the men out there or at least informed their significant others that there are amazing benefits for your male counterpart. Remember, it’s not just about the physical result, there is a strong mental component to Pilates. Whether working on your breathing, letting go of real-world stresses or just needing to ‘sweat it out’, exercising in general is a great release and way to keep you strong mentally. Pilates is a great form of exercise, something I will continue to do as I get older, plus it is a great way to get a couples workout in. You know what they say, “Couples who work out together, stay together”. My regular workouts now consist of gym workouts (3-4 times), with Pilates and HIIT workouts weaved in once a week, keeping things fun and interesting for myself.

My goal is to help break down stigmas and educate my male counterparts on this unique type of fitness platform. Young, old, short, or tall, there is some type of mindful movement for everyone.


Things to Know for all Barre Newbies

As someone who has been taking and teaching barre for years, it amazes me when I meet someone who has never taken a barre class. It seems like a lot of people are mainly just scared about trying something new, trust me I know that the unknown is scary. I’m someone who usually sticks to a routine and hates changes.

But the reason for this post is to give you some insight on what you can expect for your first barre class, so you can feel comfortable to get your booty into a class asap. I love barre classes especially at MNTSTUDIO, I always leave feeling like I got a full body and well-rounded workout. As someone who was a dancer from a young age, I love the aspect of using the music for the movement and staying on the beat. However don’t be intimated if you’ve never danced before, my boyfriend who has no rhythm(Sorry Bryan) loves these classes too.

Barre classes are focused on strength, balance, and flexibility making them great for cross-training. Within a few minutes of class, you will find yourself shaking and using muscles you’ve never used before. Generally, when we work out on our own we work on the things we’re good at and like to do. So these classes are great to work on those areas that you’re not focusing on otherwise and it will make you stronger overall and less prone to injuries.

Wear Appropriate Attire

You should wear tight-fitted clothing so your instructor can see your form, to ensure you’re doing the movement correctly and avoid injury. I recommend wearing full-length pants or capris because you might be doing some movements where you hold a ball with your leg so the bare skin would make it slippery. Also, wear grippy socks to your class, these will help you from slipping and give you traction when making sudden movements. Even if the studio you’re going to doesn’t require them I recommend having them. Think about all of the germs on the studio floor from people sweating and all the barefeet everywhere. For socks my favorite brand is ToeSox,  they are great for when you’re moving quickly during barre classes because with each individual toe separated they stay on your feet and don’t move around like other brands. 

Show Up Early

Usually, when you’re attending a studio for the first time, you should arrive at least 10 minutes early. They might need to have you sign a waiver and also may give you a tour of the studio. Showing up early is also a good idea so you can get set up with any props you may need for the class, or change into your workout clothes without feeling rushed. You should also try to get set up near the instructor, this will help when you need to see what movements you’re supposed to do. This is also very important if you have an injury. Your instructor needs to know what is going on with your body and how they can help keep you safe and get the best out of your workout.

Embrace Those Shakes

For your first class, you may not be the most graceful person, but this isn’t a dance class so don’t let that get to you. Everyone will be struggling just the same even if they come every week, so they won’t be paying attention even if you’re going the opposite direction. Most people in their first class see the weights and usually go for the heaviest ones. However, don’t be fooled! Those little 2 lbs and 3 lb weights get very heavy during class. A lot of exercises in barre are small isometric movements that work your muscles in a targeted area. So your muscles will burn and you might even be shaking uncontrollably during the class. However, always be sure to listen to your body and take breaks whenever needed. All instructors should be able to give you any modifications you may need to help with any injuries you have.

HAVE FUN!

Don’t get discouraged during your first few barre classes, it might take a few classes to get the moves down. No matter if it is your first or hundredth class, it’s going to be a great workout so just try to enjoy the class and music. Even as an instructor I still have to come out of some exercises during a class because my legs and butt are burning! I’m someone that is motivated by music so I like to sing the songs to myself a little while taking a class maybe do a little wiggly dance. 😉

I hope this helps to give you a little insight on how to prepare and feel ready for your first barre class. 

If you have any tips to share please comment below! I would love to hear from you.

Feeling tight? 5 ways to help you recover faster.

Are your muscles sore, tight and tired? The is a common issue from pushing your body harder than normal during a workout or from a new exercise that challenged your muscles in a new way. Personally I always get a little giddy when I’m sore because I know I’m using new muscles and pushing myself, but it’s not something you should be trying to achieve every workout. My favorite is when my obliques or inner thighs are sore. (I know I’m weird!)

With training for my half-marathon and Spartan Race, I’ve been pushing my body in new ways, with running and also lifting weights. So I’ve been spending a little extra time giving my muscles some much needed recovery. Research has shown that your after workout routine is just as important as what you do during your workout in order to see the results you want. Here are my favorite ways of easing sore muscles post workout!

Stay Hydrated

I know this one seems like a no brainer. But honestly it’s so easy to forget to replenish your body especially during and after your workout. Staying hydrated can help you flush out toxins in your body that can cause muscle fatigue and cramps. It will also help you avoid dehydration which can cause muscles soreness to be more painful.

I recently got this bottle that helps me track how much water I’m drinking. In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weight, every day! Within the first week of using this bottle I realized I was only drinking half that amount everyday. I was totally shocked, so this really helps to bring your awareness to the amount you’re drinking.

If you can find a bottle that is easy to carry around you will be more likely to drink more water since water will be close by.  Also, if it’s cute that helps me drink more water because I want to see it and show it off so I have it in my hands, but made sure it’s easy to close so it doesn’t leak all over.

Foam Roll

While a massage is a great way to ease sore muscles and help flush out toxins, it’s not always the most affordable. That is why having a foam roller is the best item to have at home. Foam Rolling has the same effect as a massage on your muscles, it’s a technique that’s called self-myofascial release. The pressure from rolling your muscles on the roller helps release tight muscles and fascia, plus is easy to target a specific area of your body that need a little TLC.

You should get in the habit of rolling out your muscles even when you’re not sore. Spending a few minutes with a foam roller could improve your range of motion, increase flexibility, and help alleviate any muscle tightness/soreness. A lot of people get really intimidated by rolling out or don’t know how to use it to target specific muscles so here is a recent post with some ideas.

Cupping

This is pretty much the first thing I did after my half marathon. Cupping can help loosen muscles, fascia and encourages blood flow. Cupping is a great tool to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, and migraines. The pressure from the cup pulls new blood to an area on your body to accelerate healing and is very effective at loosening tight fascia and muscles.

This is not a super common at home practice, however it’s totally doable. I purchased this at home cupping kit off amazon for $13 a year ago, and this has saved me so many times when my neck or back get knots and are stiff. You can get a kit with a hose and pump to be able to do it yourself.

I usually do 2-4 pumps depending on how it feels, and leave the cups on for about 10-15 minutes.  After it feels a little tight still but it starts to loosen up a few minutes after. Just be prepared to have weird purpleish circles on your body for a week or so. 

Stretch

Lengthening and stretching your muscles is just as important as flexing and contracting the muscles during your working to build strength, create toned muscles and avoid injuries. You should never finish a workout without stretching after. While stretching may not completely relieve the lingering pain of a intense workout it can help your muscle fibers become healthier and more elastic. Which will help your muscles bounce back faster, so you hopefully don’t have to walk funny for a week. 

Keep Moving

I know that when we’re sore the last thing we want to do it move anything, but that’s exactly what your body needs. Usually a light walk, Yoga class or swimming are great options to give your body a little break while working out some kinks and sore muscles. I always find that after a little movement my body feels so much better than if I just sit on the couch and watch a movies. Getting in some light cardio or stretching will help improve circulation and relieve your aches and pains.

 

So if you’ve done an intense workout, be sure to give your body a little time to recover but also try one or all of these little tricks to get your blood moving and body feeling like 100 bucks again!

3 Ways to Keep Rolling

By now foam rolling is something we’ve all seen or have heard of at least once, but not everyone knows how to use one. Foam rolling is such an amazing way to help ease muscle tensions, improve flexibility and range of motion in your entire body. This should only take 10 to 15 minutes — you could do it every day but I recommend at least once or twice a week. Ready? Let’s get rolling.

Glutes/Piriformis

Your glutes are such a big muscle but so many people forget to stretch them. Unfortunately, tight glutes and a piriformis can cause, back pain, runners knee, and IT band syndrome.

  • Sitting on the roller horizontally under your body
  • Cross left ankle over your right knee
  • Lean onto your left glute
  • Roll back and forth, and draw circles on your glute using the roller
  • Try a static hold on specific tight areas by holding still for five seconds
  • Roll out right glutes for 30 to 60 second, then switch to the other side

Lower Back

Lower back pain is very common especially with our culture of sitting at desks for long hours every day. Even active people find they have back pain or sensitive lower backs from running or lifting with poor form. Rolling out your back can even help with mobility and flexibility in your glutes.  

  • Sit on the ground, lift your hips up and place your lower back on the foam roller
  • With both feet firmly on the ground, lean over to the right side
  • Roll up and down the length of your lower back. Be mindful of your spine!
  • Roll out right glutes for 30 to 60 second, then switch to the other side

IT band

The IT band is a thick strand of fascia that runs the length of your thigh; when it gets tight, it can pull the knee out of alignment. This band is vital for stability in your knee especially during running, so, if you have a tight IT band you’re risking the knee to track out of alignment. 

  • Lying on your side, almost in a side plank, place your roller on the side of your thigh right below your hip
  • Roll the length of your thigh, and stopping just above the knee. Go slowly, and be sure to not roll over the knee joint.
  • Keep your top leg stacked, or place the foot onto the floor to give you less pressure
  • If you find an especially tender point, try rolling forward and back to release the spot
  • Roll for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides
  • This one might be painful, which means you really need to do this!

Good luck rolling out, be sure to move slowly at first as it can be painful! Have questions? Feel free to contact me. 🙂

xx, Carlie

5 Must Know Tips When Washing Your Activewear

Have you ever been working out then suddenly get a little whiff of what seems like week old body odor…..Instantly I always think it is me, I get super uncomfortable and start obsessing over figuring out if it is me or someone around me. Smelling bad is my worst nightmare as a fitness instructor, because I get close to clients when correcting form. Most days I’m in my activewear all day from 6am – 9pm and I don’t want someone to pass out from my stench. Or be like one of those cartoons that walk around with a green smoke cloud!

But if you love wearing workout clothes and smelling fresh, I’ve got 5 tips for you to try during your next laundry day. These tips will help you keep your clothes looking and smelling like new!

 

1. Don’t let sweaty clothes sit

Most of us will take off our nasty sweaty clothes once we get home and toss them into the hamper or maybe just in a pile on the floor…same thing right? Either way doing this right after a workout, your clothes will probably stay damp and sweaty for a few days before we’re actually able to wash them. This is just asking for gross smelling bacteria to grow and the odor to set into your clothes even after you wash them.

After an intense workout you should hang dry your clothes to prevent bad odors not only on your workout clothes but also so your normal clothes don’t start to smell in your hamper. I like to set mine aside to dry overnight before putting in the hamper.

 

2. Turn everything inside out

Turning your clothes inside out, makes sense when you think about it. All of your sweat and dead even skin cells are on the material on the inside of your clothes, so by flipping them inside out you’re actually washing the dirty part of your clothes where the sweat and skin cells are.

This is also really important to protect your clothes from fading, snagging and to keep your foil logos looking like new. I don’t know about you but I was taught to turn my jean inside out to prevent fading and also to place my delicates in a separate bag. You should be putting the same care into your fitness pieces, after all they do cost a lot of money! 

 

3. Fitness Specified detergent

Having the proper detergent can make a big difference in smelling like a grassy meadow with hints of lavender or like the current Guinness World Record holder for body odor…. You don’t want to be that person! There are specific detergents that can help fight against odor causing bacteria in your clothes. I also love using Downy Unstopables in the fresh scent.

The day after I used Downy Unstopables for the first time, I was in a class and we did a forward fold, I suddenly felt like I was in a commercial. I got a whiff of my clothes and everything around me just stopped while I kept smelling my clothes. Kinda weird when you realize you’re in a class just smelling yourself. Haha but no shame I smelled damn good!

While it is nice to have that fresh and clean smell in your clothes you need to also make sure you’re not overdoing the detergent. Using too much can actually make your clothes stink, it’s like the story about the three little bears but with your workout clothes. While too little doesn’t clean your clothes, too much could be worst. Washing machines use the same amount of water even if you add more soap, so all the excess detergent will stay in your clothes. Making your clothes the perfect home for fungus and mildew to grow. 

 

4. Use the Proper Settings

Fitness clothes are not cheap but they can last you a long time if you take proper care of them. When washing use only cold water and on a delicate spin cycle. This will help prevent fading, shrinkage and the fabric from breaking down.

 

5. Hang to Dry

Extreme heat is the easiest way to ruin your super cute workout clothes. You can quickly go from fabulous to fading in two washes! The best way to ensure your clothes don’t fade, pill, melt or shrink is it air-dry them. Since I live in the city and have little to no space it’s hard to find a place to actually hang my clothes  to air-dry but it’s possible if you love your active wear as much as I do. Just get creative. 🙂

 

Do you have other tips for taking care of your activewear and making it last? Let me know in the comments!

 

Workout Equipment You Can’t Travel Without

So often we get into a fitness routine and then right when we notice some changes and feeling strong everything seems to go out the window because a mandatory work trip pops up and we don’t workout for a week and struggle to get back into it when we return. This is so common, whether we are traveling for work or for fun. To help you stay on track I’ve picked out 5 lightweight and compact workout essentials that are perfect to throw in your suitcase and take on the road. It’s recommended that you work out at least 10 minutes a day to stay healthy, so bringing these items you can fit in a workout no matter where you are!

 

1. Resistance Bands
These bands are very lightweight and compact you can basically cram them anywhere, without sacrificing shoe space. Resistance bands offer a variety of tension to help you burn fat and tone your whole body. You can easily turn any room into a full gym with these bad boys!

 

 

2. Jump Rope
You can get an amazing cardio workout with any old jump rope. They take up very little space and are perfect for when your hotel doesn’t have any cardio machines or it’s raining outside. Plus I feel like their is something nostalgic about jumping rope. If you want to “jump” your game up a notch tho check out a weighted jump rope, it perfect if you’re looking to get a little extra arm workout. However, keep in mind it’s weighted so don’t over pack!

 

3. Gliders
I probably have clients request gliders in class at least once a week. Gilders have a way of making you love and hate them all at the same time. These are super easy to travel with as they are just a flat circle, you can also cheat and just use a face towel from the hotel. The gliders easily slide on the floor to create more instability for your workout. If you’re creative you can workout your entire body with these little circles.

 

4. Magic Circle
Take your Pilates routine everywhere you go. The magic circle helps target your muscles in your upper and lower body with a little extra resistance to up the intensity. It is also the perfect size to toss into your luggage.

 

5. Suspension Training
I’m sure you’ve heard of TRX, that style of exercise is called suspension training. All you need is a sturdy door frame to attached your equipment to and you’re all set. With these straps you can bring your workout to a whole new “angle”. You will be using your body weight while changing the angle your body is typically in for common exercises like squats and push-ups to challenge your stability and even range of motion.

 

Now that you know what to bring, you just need to remember to pack them. If you have any pieces of equipment that you love to bring with you while traveling let me know.

Not sure how to use these items? I will be posting work outs for you to use while traveling. Here is my recent 3 move glider workout.

Quick Full Body Glider Workout

I know sometimes getting into your favorite class just isn’t in the cards. Maybe you had a meeting run late, family emergency or you’re traveling. Well, I’m giving you 3 moves you basically can do anywhere, all you need are two gilders but honestly even hand towels would work.

I encourage you to stay active and try to find a regular exercise routine, even if you’re busy. Working out is incredibly important to your health and happiness in any way! I find that I get very stressed and anxious when I miss a workout. Even a mini 10-minute workout like this helps me stay healthy and mentally balanced in my everyday life. OK, now on to the workout!

Here’s The Glider Workout:

  • Reverse Lunge
  • Plank to Pike
  • Sliding Tricep Pushup

Do three 45-second sets of each move.

Equipment Needed: Gliders or towels, a smooth floor, and a positive attitude! 

Learn the moves with these lovely GIF’s I worked so hard on!

1. Reverse Lunge

Begin standing with toes in the middle of your gliders. Start to bend into your right leg and slide your left foot back into a low lunge. Then return to the starting position.

Then hold your lunge getting as low as you can, begin pulsing down in your standing front leg. Keeping your back leg straight.

Now that you feel the burn try to hold it down a little bit longer. Keep your right leg bend and start sliding your back leg in and out not letting the rest of your body move.

Repeat on the other side.

Make it easier: Remove glider from under the front foot that is not sliding back so you have more stability.

2. Plank to Pike

Start in high plank with both feet in the middle of your gliders. Keeping your shoulders over your wrist, begin engaging your core as you pike hips toward the ceiling, sliding feet in toward hands. Drop your head between your arms and keep your heels lifted. Slide your feet back to return to your position and repeat for 45 seconds.

3. Sliding Tricep Pushup

Start in a kneeling plank position with your gliders under both hands. Start to slide your right hand forward several inches, as your left elbow bends in toward your waist. Press up and away using your left arm and slide your right arm back in. Continue alternating sides for 45 seconds.

Make it harder: Perform the exercise in a high plank position. 

I hope you enjoy this workout and get a good sweat!

5 Items To Always Keep In Your Gym Bag

Getting to the gym is already hard work, don’t make it harder on yourself by being unprepared. Since I actually work at a gym I like to think I know what I’m talking about on this topic. I find myself jumping into classes at the spur of the moment all of the time and unfortunately sometimes unprepared. So I’ve created a list of 5 items that I now keep in my gym bag at all times…. I just need to remember my gym bag!

 

Water Bottle

Being hydrated is so essential for working out. I can attest to this from a personal experience a few years back. But now staying hydrated is so easy with this super cute bottle from BKR. I love having the glass bottle because I’m able to see it’s actually clean. Also, the silicone sleeve makes it easier to grip while working out and sweating.

 

Headphones

Since I danced most of my life, I find myself motivated by music a lot. My favorite part about working out in a gym is actually being able to blast my music and just zone out. Honestly if it was socially acceptable to sing while in the gym I totally would. I love using spotify, they have some great playlists for working out but I can also make my own so I stay upbeat and motivated.

 

Protein/Snack Bar

Keeping your body fueled is just as important as staying hydrated. My favorite protein bar to snack on for a workout  is a RXBAR. I love how transparent and honest they are with what is in their bars, you can literally see the ingredients printed on the packaging. Working out requires a lot of energy and if your body isn’t nourished you could get seriously injured. I’ve seen a lot of people nearly pass out from not eating before working out.

 

Face wipes

No one likes to look like a raccoon or worse “the star of a horror film!” Having face wipes is the perfect way to not only protect your skin but also your reputation for when you see that super cute boy running next to you. Make sure you clean off your face before a workout because your pores will absorb all of the dirt and makeup from the day during your workout. Then again after to clear away any sweat, grease or dirt from the equipment you used.

 

Hair Ties

Of course these are needed! I don’t know what it is about hair ties but I can’t ever seem to hold onto them, they are always disappearing or breaking. It’s a seriously struggle as a girl. Also, now with my hair short  I’ve found I wear it down more often and have no way to put my hair up for a workout class. Cue hair sticky to my sweaty forehead and neck…GROSS! I have really liked using these elastic  hair ties as they don’t crease my hair so I can take my hair down after working out and it still looks halfway decent for photos with some friends.

 

What are your gym bag essentials?