Blogs / From Erin
As I mentioned previously, I had the opportunity to go into NYC last week to be a panelist at Fitness Magazine’s recent Meet & Tweet blogger event. I was in fabulous I’m-not-worthy company of some other fabulous speakers for the day, from Brett Hoebel to Rocco DiSpirito to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, author of Your Body Beautiful. So before and after my short 30-minute panel session, I was listening attentively to all of the expertise the others had to share. Always inspiring.
Public speaking isn’t my forte—I’m much more comfortable behind a computer screen—but I actually had a blast sharing my expertise on making our blog a business. Good things usually happen when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Whether you’re talking workouts or work, doing something that scares you a little is good for you now and then. You get to prove to yourself that you can do something new, and it makes you more comfortable the next time you get the opportunity.
Besides, as I kept looking out at the crowd of fitness bloggers, I kept thinking: These girls are me! These are my peeps. Any time I’d get nervous thinking about the day, I’d remember that I was one of these girls, writing every day, hoping that people out there were hearing our message. I’d remind myself that this is the company I want to keep—no offense to all of the wonderful people I met while writing about cranes and backhoes and construction equipment back in my pre-full-time FBG days. But as I said during the panel, I definitely feel much more at home in this work environment than I have in past work lives.
I spent the remainder of the day chatting with other bloggers, checking out the sponsors and doing a kick-ass workout (more on those bits of inspiration to come). But the whole day reminded me that sometimes, in life and in workouts (that’s the theme here), you need to do something different. If you’re feeling bored with the same-old, same-old, spice it up. Make a new recipe. Attend a wellness seminar or live event. Take a totally new workout class that you know will make you uncomfortable. Inspiration is out there, and if you haven’t seen it in awhile, make sure you go find it!
Do you seek out inspiration when you’re feeling unmotivated? —Erin
Like Jenn said, HOLY COW. Five years of FBG. I don’t even know how it’s possible that I’ve been doing this for so long. In some ways, it feels like the blink of an eye. In other ways, I feel like I’ve always been spreading this Fit Bottomed message.
To say that being a Fit Bottomed Girl has been life-changing is an understatement. It’s shown me that hard work pays off, both in workouts and in life. Jenn and I have put blood, sweat (lots and lots of sweat, obviously) and tears into this site, and we’re so lucky that other like-minded people (girls and dudes alike!) have all jumped on board and come back visiting us here frequently.
FBG has motivated me to keep moving. It’s opened the door to really cool experiences and opportunities, like visiting Nike HQ and taking a workout class in NYC and getting to take a group class with Jillian Michaels and interview her. I’ve talked to Kim Kardashian and Denise Austin. I’ve run a 10K. I’ve completed a mud run. We’ve written a book!
FBG is also great for friendships—it’s ensured that I’ll never lose touch with Jenn, no matter which coast I live on. It’s brought more Tish into my life—and everyone needs a little Tish in their life. It introduced me to Kristen, who, damn. Inspiring much?
FBG has also pushed me to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. We all go to great lengths to keep our readers motivated and inspired, so we do crazy things in the hopes that you’ll be brave enough to do them, too. And speaking of getting out of my comfort zone, I’ll be hitting up Fitness Magazine’s Meet & Tweet event on Thursday. And I won’t just be going, I’ll be speaking on a panel! Jenn is the speaker; I prefer to type my words. But I’m really excited to go and share what we’ve learned about the business of blogging. If you’re going, too, come say hi! I won’t be muddy, I swear.
How has visiting this website changed your life? —Erin
So, in a bit of celebrity news, I recently learned that Gwyneth Paltrow allows herself one cigarette each week. Gwyneth Paltrow, of detox diets. Gwyneth Paltrow, who got serious about cleaning up her health after losing her dad to cancer. Gwyneth Paltrow of Tracy Anderson-following, picture-of-health fame.
She says her cigarette is her guilty pleasure. That it’s what “makes life interesting, finding the balance between cigarettes and tofu.”
We say, cigarettes and health don’t mix! This seriously boggles my mind. How is a woman who is unable to eat bell peppers, eggplant or corn—for what she calls health reasons—and avoids major food groups…and makes her kids avoid those food groups—how is she able to be okay with smoking even one cigarette a week?
As I said…mind, boggled.
While I do believe you can have, say, a Big Mac on occasion as long as the rest of your diet is healthy and balanced, I don’t believe cigarettes have any place in a healthy lifestyle. Especially for someone people look to for healthy living advice. I’ve been a smoker. As as a former smoker, I can’t fathom how she keeps it to one a week. Cigarettes are addictive; it’s really hard to keep from lighting up. And when you’re not smoking regularly, smoking a cigarette makes you feel extremely yucky. Wouldn’t she feel pretty yucky smoking one a week?
I’ve never really been one to subscribe to celebrity advice on diet or exercise, but if I ever hear GP spouting how awesome she feels on her gluten-free, eggplant-free diet, I’ll be sure to take it with a massive boulder of salt.
Do you think cigarettes in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle? —Erin
Way back when I was working out with my Equinox trainer, Jayme, she’d send me emails with our workouts so I could refer to them for future use. I’d make sure Jenn looked at them so she’d know just how much I was getting my butt kicked in my training sessions. Almost four years later (oh. my. goodness.), they are still awesome workouts. Here’s one of my favorites that will kick your bum! At least, it kicks mine…
Note: Aim for 20 of each move or as many as you can do with proper form. Repeat Combination 1 before moving onto Combination 2 (which you will also repeat). And seriously, two minutes of jump rope? Well, feel free to rest because, damn.
Few minutes on cardio machine. Roll out on a foam roller. T-raises with light weights, hip abduction machine.
- Shoulder Press
- Plank Rows
- Jump Rope—2 minutes
- Smith Machine Plie Squats
- Leg Press
- Hamstring Curls
- Jump Rope 2 minutes
Repeat Combination 1 once.
- Machine Assisted Pull-ups
- Bosu Bridges
- Bose Push-ups
- Crunches on Bosu
Repeat Combination 2 once.
- Stretch. Limp out of gym all shaky from a workout well done!
Is that not an insane amount of step-ups or what? My limbs are trembling by the time I get to the first set of Smith Machine plie squats!
Done any workouts worthy of sharing lately? —Erin
I mentioned recently how, like a panda, many of my workouts lately are more about play and less about getting to the gym and sweating it up. It’s been a lot of chaos around the house lately, so my traditional workouts have taken a back seat for a moment. I’m managing to move a lot though because as it is finally nice, we’re getting outside a ton lately.
I recently got some K2 inline skates, which I’ll review in detail in the future, but let me tell you how fun it was to pull out my inner kid and get my skate on. As a kid, I spent hours upon hours in my roller skates skating around the garage and driveway. They were white with hot pink wheels, and they were awesome. Skating parties? What could be more fun than a skating party when you’re 10? Limbo? I totally rocked the limbo on wheels. I would, of course, pretend to be Kate Moseley from The Cutting Edge. It didn’t feel like exercise because it was just so fun.
I threw on my skates the other day to do my first test run. I packed up the family, kids in the stroller, and the hubby even brought his inline skates along, too. We went to a nearby parking lot that was newly paved—so smooth and perfect for a test drive. We took turns pushing the kids in the stroller and skating laps around the lot. First, pushing a stroller on skates seriously ups the workout intensity. Second, even without a stroller, I don’t remember it burning the glutes as much as it did! But it was seriously fun.
The kids had a lot of fun watching us skate around. And my daughter thought the skates were great. She loved trying to put them on in the house, and because she was so obsessed—and because I was so worried she’d roll an ankle playing around with them—I got her her own pair of Fisher Price skates. I have a feeling next time we hit the parking lot, she’ll be all decked out in her helmet and skates, just like us, shuffling around as fast as a 2-year-old can go!
What activities did you do as a kid that you’ve revisited lately? Did you pretend to be a figure skater as a kid, too? —Erin
I cracked up when I learned our Question of the Week was about fitness spirit animals. Come on, that’s just funny in and of itself. Then when I read Jenn’s fitness spirit animal post, I texted her saying, “You really ARE a squirrel!” So then I got set to thinking about my fitness spirit animal. And it’s gotta be the giant panda.
Okay. I know pandas aren’t exactly known for their fit forms, but bear with me. (HAR! HAR! Seriously, that made me laugh.) I know my pandas. I spent ridiculous amounts of time watching the Atlanta Zoo panda cam when Mei Lan was born in 2006, so seeing the similarities was a no-brainer.
Why My Fitness Spirit Animal is a Giant Panda
1. They love to play. Watch a panda mom and her cub, and there is considerable rough and tumble play. They’ll play with each other, play with balls, flip off of hammocks, wrestle. They slide at the playground. They make the most of what they’ve got and know that being active doesn’t always have to be a “workout.” As for me, I’m always rolling around with my kids, throwing balls, pushing tricycles because someone won’t pedal, and running and goofing around with them. I’ve even been known to hit the slide, too.
2. They’re not known for their speed, but stay active in other ways. I’m no runner, but I’m a slow and steady wins (finishes) the race kind of gal. The panda will never enter any speed contests, but they can really move when they want to.
3. They eat copious amounts of leafy greens. Seriously, these fluffy buggers spend half their days eating bamboo. Likewise, it’s illegal the amounts of salad, Brussels sprouts, kale and asparagus that I can pack away.
4. They have surprising talents. Pandas are actually excellent climbers and are not too shabby at swimming either. Myself, I enjoy a good set of stairs, a nice steep hike and a good jungle gym. I don’t do so terrible in the pool either. And to my surprise, I’m even adequate on skis, even though I can’t manage to stand on my own two feet sometimes. Come to think of it, pandas have that problem, too.
5. Eats half the day. I could eat half the day.
See? I told you there are definite similarities. I’ve actually yet to see a panda in real life, but I’m pretty sure when I do, I’ll have a Kristen Bell style reaction. And I’ll probably sit and stare for at least an hour, even if the panda is just sleeping. I do that pretty well, too…reason No. 6!
Do you love a good panda cam? What’s your fitness spirit animal? —Erin
As you can see this week, the FBG team is slightly obsessed with our pets. It’s one of the reasons we’re celebrating the Fit Bottomed Pets Week. We’re all about keeping ourselves and our families healthy—and that includes our pets, of course! Along with that, we also think it’s super important that pet owners know what they’re getting in to when it comes to pets, which is why today we’re sharing a few Fit Bottomed rules of pet ownership. If you’re even considering getting a dog, read these rules.
7 Rules of Pet Ownership
1. Spay and neuter. Seriously. You’re not going to breed your pets and get rich. So just get your pets fixed. There is no need to contribute to the pet population when so many good dogs need homes.
2. Don’t forget they’re members of the family. Pets are not disposable. When you adopt them into your family, it should be a “warts and all” philosophy. Sometimes literally. My dog had a witchy wart on her chin for a month one time, and we loved her anyway.
3. Look into adoption and rescue. So many animals in shelters need good homes, so get yourself to a shelter to adopt. Or check out the numerous breed rescues that exist if you have a specific breed you’d like.
Head on over for more rules of pet ownership and share your own! —Erin
If you’ve been here before, you know I don’t consider myself much of a runner. Sure, I run on occasion—and even run (and love) the occasional race—but as far as workouts, I’m much more drawn to other activities. Running certainly isn’t my preferred method of getting fit—I’d much rather hit the streets with my kids to walk the neighborhood to get in a little exercise, throw in a workout DVD, or hit up a Pilates class.
I’ve always liked taking walks, whether it was with Jenn over lunchtime when we worked in the same building or with my roomie at college. But I feel like walking doesn’t get the credit it really deserves as a way to get fit. Running seems to get all the respect. And while it deserves respect, so does walking! If you push yourself, it really is an excellent cardio workout. Plus, with walking, I don’t have to worry about my stupid knees hurting or getting shin splints.
Because I believe so wholeheartedly in the walk, I was excited to see this bit of research that a brisk walk may be as good as a run for keeping the heart healthy. Basically, a new study just published by the American Heart Association found that walkers lowered their risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as runners. It seems to matter more that you move, rather than how you move.
So for those who think they’re out of luck because they can’t run or don’t want to run—you don’t have to! Find something you love, whether it’s walking or running or gyrating your hips in your living room. Most importantly, just move. And when you walk, walk with pride. You’re still doing fab things for your bod!
Do you walk often? Or do you think it’s not a workout unless you break into a jog? —Erin
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had it with winter. I tried not to let it keep me down or in, but after months and months of cold, I’m so done. And I think my kids are also ready for warm weather so that I don’t drag them on never-ending errands until their cheeks are bright pink from the cold. It’s seriously April and we’ve had only a couple of days where we’ve been able to go outside in months. Not to mention, I’ve had it with colds and illness. I’m getting over my millionth cold of 2013, thanks to the kids bringing home super-fun viruses from daycare. No matter how hard I try, my immune system just cannot defend against a virus that is deposited directly in my face by a coughing 2-year-old.
Even though I had a cold, I tried to take advantage of slight warmth last week. I was so excited to be outside that I got a little overzealous, pushing the stroller as fast as I could go. The kids thought it was great, but my lungs were BURNING after about a minute. Turns out, chest colds and sprints do not like each other very much. I settled for a much slower walk and playing on the playground instead. (Have you guys been on a slide lately? I recommend.)
So I’m finally feeling good again. And it is a glorious 63 degrees right now. And sunny! And nothing gets me more motivated to move than a sunny day. Life feels cheery again, possibilities seem endless. I’m ready to hit the playground, throw a Frisbee, fly a kite, kick the ball for the dog, do yard work. (Yeah, I’m weird, and I find yard work strangely enjoyable.) Shoot, give me another day or two and I’ll try that sprint with the stroller again.
Do you get motivated to move when the weather warms up? —Erin
Just a reminder that this is our new feature called Workout I Did. Read them all and feel the workout love here!
Not every workout has to be a planned trip to the gym or predetermined lineup of exercise moves. Sometimes, the best workouts are the ones that are unplanned or ones that do double duty, like Jenn’s recent snow-shoveling workout. I recently got more than I’d bargained for on what should have been a really quick walk.
It should have been about a quarter-mile round trip. The plan was to drop off my taxes while the kids got some fresh air. The office was nearby, so I loaded up the kids in the double stroller and took off. Because it was such a short trip, I didn’t think much of the bitter cold and wind. We wouldn’t be gone long!
So I was walking down the street…kept telling the kids, “It’s just up on the left!” and “We’re almost there!” and “It won’t be so cold on the way back because we won’t be walking into the wind!” All the while thinking to myself, “Are we there yet?” and “Really…where is this damn place?” But I kept pushing on. Kept pushing in the wrong direction.
When my legs and arms started burning because I was pushing 55+ pounds of kids in a tank of a stroller into the wind, I decided to check my phone to make sure I was on the right track. I wasn’t. I was on the wrong street, a block over from where I needed to be and I’d gone way too far. My quick errand quickly turned into a real workout.
I eventually got there. Dropped taxes off. And got home, with freezing cold kids in tow. But I was reminded that walking can be a serious workout, especially when you’re hauling cargo. What is it with me hauling cargo lately? My hamstrings were even sore the next day.
So just remember: Don’t discount the awesome activity you get every day, even if you’re not suiting up for a “real” workout. A “little walk” can also have great benefits!
Had any unintentional workouts lately like I have? —Erin