Blogs / From Erin
Seeing that we’re all still abuzz from the Oscars, we thought that for this Question of the Week we’d keep the movie-love going by asking each FBG: What movie motivates you to be fitter? Enjoy the responses, and be sure to leave your own fave fit movie in the comments!
While Jenn is inspired every time she sees Stella getting her groove back, I go all the way back to the early 90s for my fitness inspiration with The Cutting Edge. I was a little obsessed with this movie. I believe my brothers and I either forced my grandma to rent it each day she picked us up in the summer or we had somehow taped it from TV, because I know it was on a VHS tape.
If you haven’t seen the movie, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR. It is amazing…a retired hockey star turns figure skating partner to a snooty ice skater. It has something for everyone. For the girls, there is figure skating and a cute guy. For the guys, there is a tough hockey player and a cute girl. There is hard work, determination, competition, figure skating workouts, romance. It has it all.
I’ve probably see the movie at least 20 times, yet if it’s ever on, I always stop to watch. I don’t want to give away any spoilers because you will surely go buy it if you haven’t seen it, but this is one of those movies that demonstrates that it’s never to late to learn a new skill and with hard work and determination you can go really far—and maybe even learn the Pamchenko.
Are you an obsessed fan of The Cutting Edge, too? What movie inspires you? —Erin
Over on Fit Bottomed Mamas, we’ve talked a lot lately about cutting ourselves some slack. From telling your inner critic to take a hike to writing yourself love letters, we’ve been all about self-love. I talked about whether moms are aware of the comments they make about their bodies now that they have kids—and little ears and eyes listening and watching at all times. And it got me wondering how other moms feel about their bodies and whether they’re easier on themselves now that they have kids.
Pregnancy and childbirth put you through the physical ringer. From pregnancy aches and pains to postpartum loss of pee control (seriously) the whole physical experience of motherhood is like no other. It took me a full year to lose the baby weight with my daughter, but this time around, I hit my pre-pregnancy weight at six months postpartum. I attribute it to chasing around two kids non-stop, all day and night. But even though I’m the same weight, my bod isn’t quite the same. Weight has shifted around, skin is a little looser; things are just…different.
In a recent journey around the internet, I found what was supposed to be a humorous article from a group exercise instructor. It was a pet peeves sort of article, chiding class participants about everything from how they smell to them taking breaks or doing their own thing to what they wore. It left a sour taste in my mouth, and I hadn’t been eating anything sour.
As someone who has years of working out under my belt, I admit to still feeling a little uncomfortable about doing my own thing in the weight room. I’m getting better, but occasionally I still feel a bit self-conscious. But in all of the classes I’ve taken over the years, I’ve never felt uncomfortable or judged negatively by an instructor, even with a boot camp-like Pilates instructor and even when I took a class that was way over my head.
The article made me sad for the people who are already hesitant to try new group exercise classes at the gym—or those who have never tried a class to begin with. I’m sure many people already feel self-conscious about trying new things, particularly if you’re just starting out in the fitness world, have weight to lose and are strengthening your fitness mojo. I’m sure there are judgey instructors out there, but I find that most instructors appreciate you showing up and giving it your all, even if your all doesn’t quite match up to what they planned for the class. Good, professional instructors understand limitations from fitness levels and injuries, and should never make you feel uncomfortable for not being the best in the class. Even better, trainers should provide modifications for those who need them. It’s not a competition; they should be glad you’re showing up so that they have a job.
Trying a new class can push you out of your comfort zone in more ways than one. And if an instructor makes you uncomfortable for reasons other than pushing you to new fitness limits, try a different class. There are awesome ones out there who will welcome you with open arms, no matter your fitness level!
Have you ever come across a rude instructor? Are you intimidated by group exercise? —Erin
We are so excited to be participating today in the first of a live 4-part series on pregnancy and fitness, hosted by Pregnancy Magazine. Today’s discussion will focus on the first trimester—that exhausting, sometimes nauseating right of pregnancy passage. Can I run safely? What about doing yoga? We’ll answer those questions and more!
This is the first of a series, hosted by pregnancy fitness expert Erica Ziel, focusing on wellness during the first trimester. Watch the first episode live at www.PregnancyMagazine.com today at 1 p.m. EST. Or right here!
I recently headed into NYC for an adidas event for an unveiling that promised to change running as we know it. I figured if anything could make me like running, an adidas event in the Big Apple was as likely as any other. Plus, it was a rare case when the childcare and cool-NYC-events stars aligned, and I totally wanted to see what adidas had up its sleeve in the new running shoe department.
As is always the case with these events, they really know how to get you excited about the brand. Or maybe I’m just a dork who thought it was way cool to see the history of the company’s shoes in a timeline. Seriously, shoes have come a long way since 1930.
Also way cool? Seeing running stars like Yohan Blake, 100-m world champion. It’s not often I’m in the company of people who are that fast. (No offense, ladies.) Also in attendance and also quite fast over marathon distances? Haile Gebrselassie. He was quite funny, insinuating that the adidas Energy Boost shoes are so good that they can’t be legal.
The shoes themselves are really cool. They’ve got a new foam technology that springs back more than the industry-standard foam that’s in most other running shoes. Here they are in all of their glory. I’ll be reviewing my own pair coming up soon.
One funny note: They showed us a demo of how springy the foam was by comparing the bounce of a weighted metal ball being dropped on the foam versus other foam. (See it here.) When I collected my review pair of shoes at the end of the event, the box included a weighted ball, foam and a magnetic lid so the ball would stay attached to it. It made for a pretty heavy box of shoes—and a pretty awesome arm workout as I made the mile-plus trek back to Penn Station to catch my train.
Are you a sucker for the history of fitness and shoes? Ever walked a mile with a weighted box? —Erin
Need workout inspiration? That’s the point of us sharing our Workout I Did series. As always, these are workouts that work for us; use your best judgment if playing along at home!
It was a day where the gym just wasn’t in the cards. So I made good use of the kids happily entertaining themselves while I did a quick circuit workout. My daughter enjoyed playing along, and as you can see in the image, she also enjoyed making all of her stuffed animals and dolls plank right along with us. Ah, I love being a role model!
This workout looks super simple, and it is. But with no rest between moves, my heart rate got up quickly, and I was sweating in no time. And I was definitely sore the next day.
Circuit 1 (Repeat Three Times)
Move 1. 20 step-ups with lunge. For this move, I used a step stool. At the top, I hit a high knee; when I step off, I hit a lunge on the opposite leg. Twenty on each side, and I’m feeling the burn.
Move 2. 10 push-ups
Move 3. 20 squats. For a few of these, I was squatting with a 22+ pound baby!
Circuit 2 (Repeat Three Times)
Hold both of these as long as possible.
Move 1. Plank
Move 2. Wall-sit
This workout probably took me about 15 minutes, including a few kiddo interruptions. But it was quick, required almost no equipment and as I said, had me feeling the burn quickly and for a couple of days later. It also let me know that I have a ways to go in the endurance department when it comes to wall-sits and planks. By round three, I swear I only lasted 20 seconds on each of them!
What “endurance moves” do you like to hold as long as possible? —Erin
Dear Stairs and Stair-Climbing Pieces of Equipment,
Oh, stairs. We go back a ways. From running bleachers at the high school track to running stadium stairs in college to the stairs in my house that I go up and down 20 times a day to the StairMaster at the gym, you are a guaranteed bun-burner. I love you for your benefits, but I also kind of hate you, for oh, the burning sensations. And for that, I must start pulling daisy petals and put it to the test.
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: Stairs and the StairMaster
She loves me: I love that stairs are cardio that’s not in treadmill form—no matter what form the stairs take.
She loves me not: That awkward moment when hoisting myself up onto the StairMaster.
She loves me: Oh, the burn.
She loves me not: Oh, the burn.
She loves me: I love that quick break I get at the top before I head down to start over.
She loves me not: Sometimes that quick break just isn’t enough to catch my breath. And sometimes, there’s no break at all (StairMaster, I’m talking to you.)
She loves me: Who doesn’t feel a little like Rocky when they hit the top of a flight of stairs?
She loves me not: It’s hard to feel like Rocky when you’re slowly walking up the StairMaster, going nowhere.
She loves me: There’s always a good view from up high.
She loves me not: I’ve fallen down you a time or two. Or 20.
She loves me: I credit you for a lot of my postpartum weight-loss; running up and down you 10 times a day is not to be overlooked.
She loves me not: You’re exhausting.
She loves me: You’re everywhere, you’re rarely off limits, and you add an interesting element to outdoor workouts when I go say hi.
Ok, that’s it! It’s decided. I’m just not ready to pen a Taylor Swift-style breakup song to you yet. I do love you. Be my Valentine!
Do you have a love/hate with stairs, too? Do you hit them up when you see them during outdoor workouts? —Erin
We’re talking fitness inspiration for this week’s Question of the Week! Check back each Friday as each FBG shares which celeb or everyday person inspires her to be fitter!
I’m totally aware this is going to sound super-duper cheesy. No, my fitness inspiration isn’t as cool as Gwen Stefani. She’s way cooler than that. It’s Jenn! Yeah, I know. It’s way obvious, but it’s also way true. She’s always been a shining light in my workout world…someone who is such a bad-ass that she can climb ropes and do pull-ups. She rips callouses for crying out loud. If that’s not fit-spiration, I don’t know what is.
Back when we carpooling buddies, she’d always keep me accountable. Even though I know she doesn’t judge when one isn’t a workout fanatic, her workout and fitness encouragement still made me push myself to be my best. I know I worked out more because I’d have Jenn to report back to. We did the Self Challenge together, and walked over lunches to get in some cardio. And hello! The one who introduced me to Zumba definitely deserves a place in the Erin Inspiration Hall of Fame, should such a hall of fame exist.
Plus, it was Jenn with her super-encouraging nature that had the first inkling of Fit Bottomed Girls to begin with…and together we’ve helped our readers to find the fun in fitness and to be their healthiest selves. Jenn is that great combination of super-fit chick and totally accessible and real gal. The one who won’t judge if you eat a hot fudge sundae, but also the one who will encourage you to try kale because OMG it is delicious.
She’s seriously the kind of sister friend who makes you want to be a better person, in fitness and in health. Not to mention, she’s been a lifesaver and super understanding and my vent outlet while I’ve been dealing with all the sickness in the world for the last month.
Do you have a kick-ass fitness friend who inspires you? Are you lucky enough to have a Jenn in your life? —Erin
Although I’m no stranger to making a fool of myself at the gym (or on sidewalks)—and it certainly makes for a good story—I don’t love feeling totally incompetent at the gym. So I’m always hesitant to try new pieces of equipment for fear of doing it wrong or not being able to figure it out at all. Which is silly. How can we learn and grow if we don’t get out of our comfort zones?
So the other day, the one day I’ve been well in the last four weeks and been able to make it to the gym, I tried the assisted pull-up machine. I’d done it before back in my personal trainer days, but it’s been years and I hadn’t used this particular machine yet. So my husband, who is well-versed on the machine and also happened to be my workout buddy that day, showed me how it worked.
Can I just say, I loved the thing. First of all, there is no way on earth I could do a bad-ass Jenn-style pull-up without months, maybe years, of work on the task. So it’s nice to get the strength benefits without killing myself with the attempt at a real one. And second of all? It works the shoulders. It works the arms. It works the core. (You get a car! And you get a car!) I love how the different options for gripping give just a slight variation on the muscles worked. And I love that you can also use it for tricep dips. Plus, there is just something about doing pull-ups, assisted or not, that make you feel like a total bad-ass. I suddenly see the appeal in making doing one a goal…
If you’re thinking about giving the assisted pull-up machine a shot, just know that the selection of the weight is slightly counter-intuitive. The heavier the weight, the less of your own weight you’re lifting; the lighter the weight, the more of your weight you’re heaving up into that pull-up. This is one instance where the heavier weight is actually easier! Play around until you find a weight that’s challenging but not impossible.
I have a sneaking suspicion that all of the machines in the gym could be my new favorite machine if I’d just give them a try. What is your favorite piece of equipment at the gym? What should I bravely try next? —Erin
When I think of Philadelphia, the first thought that comes to mind is the cheesesteak. Not exactly the healthiest of all notions. But the second thought I have? Is of Rocky. What is more inspirational than Rocky running up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art? I can’t think of anything much more quintessentially fit-Philly than that. But the fam and I recently took a trip to the City of Brotherly Love and came across another site filled with healthy inspiration: The Franklin Institute.
The Franklin Institute is full of exhibits that are tons of fun for kids and parents alike. One cardiac-heavy exhibit was about all things heart. And there was a ginormous walk-through heart that stole the show. It’s so big that it would be an accurate size for a human who is 220 feet tall.
A fun tunnel allows kids to crawl through an artery. A replicated surgical area for open heart surgery makes you really want to avoid landing on the operating table—particularly when you see all the surgical instruments. A talking vending machine tells you all about nutrition of common vending machine items—and made me think it would be totally brilliant if you had that option before you buy at a real vending machine.
One exhibit was based entirely on sports, and then last but not least there was the Sky Bike, which I totally had to try. It’s a bike you can ride 28-feet above the ground across a 60-foot wire. A 250-pound weight prevents it from tipping over, although you can tip back and forth to play with the center of gravity.
Seriously, when else would I have the opportunity to essentially tightrope bike in the air? It was pretty crazy. I did try to lean to get it to tip back and forth, but I’ll admit that while I tried, I didn’t try very hard.
Have you gotten any fitness or health inspiration in an unexpected place lately? Ridden a bike across a tightrope? —Erin