Blogs / From Jenn
If you’ve been a long-time reader of FBG, you may remember the time I injured my butt, right before I ran my first (and most likely only) marathon. You may also remember me handling said injury not so great. That I felt down about it, sad and kind of just blah. And that it took lots of work and time “looking on the bright side” for me to eventually mentally make peace with it and physically heal. Well, guys, I’m injured again—this time with a tiny stress fracture in my foot. But—and this is a big but—I’m not freaking out about it or letting it get me down.
Seriously! (Oh, FBG, you have taught me so much, yet again.)
At first, I began to notice some weird soreness on the top of my foot, but it only hurt when I moved it a certain way. I thought it was bruised from climbing the rope. But then it lingered. And then it swelled. RUH ROH. A couple days of rest, and it still wasn’t right. So off to the doc I went. Doc confirmed my suspicions. Let me paraphrase his reaction: “You’ve got a metatarsal stress fracture. See it all the time. No high-impact exercise, heavy lifting or extreme toe-flexion for four to six weeks. Ice it.”
Years ago, this would have been brutal news. What about this upcoming event? Or my running? How the freak will I reduce stress—working out is my go-to stress reliever?! WHY ME?!
But this ain’t my first rodeo. Instead of being concerned with short-term losses (events, performance), I’m more hung up on what I can do to be fit and healthy long-term. So I can’t do box jumps for a few weeks? Oh, well. I want to be able to be fit and active for the rest of my life. Not just next week.
With this new perspective (age does make you wiser!), I’ve been much more calm and collected about my injury. I’m modifying as I can and kind of having fun with it. I’ve always disliked the stationary bike, but we’re becoming better friends. And, clearly, my core and upper body have a lot of fun to look forward to.
I’ve also turned to my go-to injury relaxation exercise: meditation. Like Tish, I had been meditating more lately, but now that I’m injured, I’m more committed to a daily (or at least five times a week) practice. I’ve even started doing this Trance State Lite meditation (Remember how we reviewed the full version? There’s a shorter one now!) that mentally takes you through a 15-minute visualization of running—and feeling awesome doing it. Yes, I know I’m not really running, but I am in my mind. And I can only hope that visualizing myself running like a perfectly bio-mechanic-ed bad-ass for six weeks results in it actually coming true. It’s worth a shot; and I enjoy doing it. That’s enough for me!
I’ll keep you updated on my foot-stress-fracture progress—and will share a workout I did pre-injury next week—but tell me: Have you ever calmly handled an injury? What positives did you focus on to get you through? —Jenn
Every year for FBG’s birthday, I do some reflecting. (I clearly have a thing for reflecting on birthdays of any kind.) Where have we been? Where are we going? What more can we do to make the world a more Fit-Bottomed place? But as we turn five this week, I’m also turning the question to myself. For everything I’ve given this site—the late nights, the working two jobs for three years, the writing, the editing, the emails, the events, the travel, the triumphs, the failures, the everything—it’s given me so much more back. SO. MUCH. MORE.
I know it’s not the first time I’ve said this, but each year, it just keeps getting better. Obviously, FBG has allowed me to meet a lot of cool people, try a lot of cool stuff and visit a lot of cool places. But it’s deeper than that. Being a Fit Bottomed Girl isn’t about stuff—or, in some ways—even experiences at all. It’s about a feeling. It’s about feeling good, energetic and comfortable in your own skin.
When FBG started, I really just wanted to get my experience out there. I didn’t want anyone to have to suffer like I did—I wanted them to realize that being a certain size wasn’t always a direct line to happiness and that obsessing about weight and calories was a sure-fire way to pass right over living your best life or, really, being truly healthy at all. I knew that to be true from my personal experiences then, but year after year, with your experiences and my fellow girls’ support, I now know that to be true in my soul.
But it’s more than even that. Being an FBG has pushed me to go farther, do more and be more. It’s allowed me to face fears, take chances and create a healthy life that I love. I’m more honest, more real, more me. Now, I still have off days, “fat” days (OMG, I said “fat!”) and days when I’d rather not work out. I also have things to work on, namely doing too much and people-pleasing. I’m human. But I’m a better one than I was five years ago, and that’s greatly because of this site.
I’ve learned to value being healthy and strong over skinny, but also to not have any body judgement at all. I’ve grown to trust my intuition; and even find the good in injury. I’ve realized that I really can do anything I put my mind to. And that everything is better when you give everything you’ve got.
I’ve come to know me.
All of these life lessons are not possible without you, our freakin’ amazing readers. So above all else, FBG has taught me to be so damn grateful. For ALL of it. I know Erin and I created the site, but it truly has a life of its own now, and one that’s beyond anything we could have imagined.
So, five years later, let me say it a thousand times: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. —Jenn
So, I know I just did a Workout I Did post, but I have to do another one! Because, ladies. I did a whole day of working out with FBG Tish and just have to share—like every single detail! Well, half of the details technically, as FBG Tish will be providing a run-down of the rest of the amazing workouts in her blog post come Wednesday. But enough about the logistics of our recap, let’s get down to fit-trends business!
Similar to this and this event, Jamba Juice flew me out to LA for its FiTrends Expo, where I got to meet up with Tish and have a fabulous day of hanging with other bloggers (what up, Eating Bird Food, Fannetastic Food, Run Eat Repeat, Girls Gone Sporty, Moms LA, Fitzness—and everyone else we met!), the Jamba Juice peeps, Banana Man (posing with us above)—and other amazing peeps as you’ll see below. This whole day of classes allowed us to try about 15 minutes of a bunch of a different cool new workouts and resulted in much soreness the next day.
But before we got our workout on, Jamba Juice fueled us well. Tish and I chose some fresh carrot juice to drink and some Fruit-i-licious Probiotic Power to nibble on.
Then, one of our fave bloggers was on: Blogilates! She warmed us up and burned the heck out of our legs, arms and core with tons of squats and planks. And more planks with leg lifts!
A little ways into the class, freakin’ VENUS WILLIAMS showed up. Growing up—and still to this day—I so idolized her and her amazing tennis abilities. During my matches in high school, I would always try to channel my inner Venus. (Yeah, we’re on a first-name basis now.) So the fact that I was working out just mere feet from her? Totally, absolutely, amazingly surreal. (See my geeking out face back there?!)
Turns out, Venus owns a few Jamba Juice franchises and because she (obviously) loves being fit and healthy, working with Jamba is a natural fit. We got to later take photos with Venus (squeal!) and ask her some questions, so expect to see video of that in the coming days.
If seeing Venus didn’t get my heart rate up enough (I’m pretty sure that I’m still having a moment), we also did some CrossFit with Charles “Chuck” Stumpf. The quick WOD was AMRAP: 5 burpees, 10 push-ups, 15 squats AMRAP. Which, in non-CrossFit speak means: you did a workout of as many rounds of 5 burpees, 10 push-ups and 15 squats as you can in three minutes, for two times with a minute or two of rest in between. Quick and HARD. And I really wish I had gotten a photo of Chuck’s socks—they were animal print and pink and pretty darn awesome. And let’s give a little love to Banana Man here, shall we? He’s doing burpees…in a banana costume!
We also got to try a class of LaBlast with Jodie Patterson. We’d tried the workout DVD before, but live and in person, this class was some booty-shaking fun! So fun that Venus came back out for it, too!
Clearly, Jodie moved her hips better than I, but that’s okay. It’s all about getting out there and trying your best. Even if your best is much more sexy in your head than it is on camera.
In between sessions, Tish and I fueled up with more Jamba and were particularly smitten with the new Tropical Harvest smoothie that has butternut squash, carrot, sweet potato, peaches and mango in it. Perfection! AND, we had the chance to meet and chat up Tony Horton (um, he’s just as hilarious in person as he is in P90X!). He even showed us this crazy burpee-mountain climber combo that Tish and I were pretty much in awe over.
Also at the event? Brett Hoebel! We felt like such paparazzi with how many photos we snapped. And cool jacket, no?
Then we ended the day with a workout with Venus and her trainer Samantha Monus. With more lunges and plenty of standing core work that really worked the middle as if you were swinging a tennis racquet (!), we were tired by the end of the day of workouts but so darn happy. And I kind of felt like I had, in a way, played tennis with Venus. Childhood dream, fulfilled.
It was kind of the perfect Fit Bottomed Day. Sun, people really excited about being active and eating healthy, smiles, good music and lots of fruits and veggies—perfection! A big thanks to Jamba Juice for the amazing event!
Tell me: If you could meet any athlete or fit celeb, who would it be? And, guys, go try that Tropical Harvest smoothie—it’s delish! —Jenn
It’s been a few months since I’ve done a race, and the last race I did, well, I wasn’t feeling so hot. So yesterday’s Trolley Run? One of the fastest four-milers in the country that’s mostly downhill that happened to land on one of Kansas City’s most gorgeous spring days thus far this year? And that I got to complete with an FBG team of buds, many of whom were first-time finishers? Um, SO DAMN AWESOME.
First, let’s break down how the a.m. went. We got up plenty early so that we had time to drop a car off down at the finish line—and fuel (Chi Bar review to come up on Fit Bottomed Eats soon!) and caffeinate up. You know how I love my French press…
After that, we met up with our running and walking buds, including those on the FBG team for the Trolley Run (from left to right: Ryan, Marietta, Tessa, McKenzie, me, Jodi, Kristina, my mom Nancy and Tina—shout out also to my dad Greg and Ryan’s dad Greg who aren’t pictured, and Dara, Jessica and Amanda who we sadly didn’t have a chance to see before the race!). A crisp but sunny 55 degrees at the start, it was running weather perfection. Not too cold, not too warm.
Thousands do the Trolley Run every year, which makes for a packed yet super-energetic course. The race begins in Waldo and ends at the Plaza. Did I mention it’s pretty much all downhill? (Part of the reason for its popularity, methinks…)
Now, this race is always an awesome time. In fact, way back in the day (before FBG!), Erin and I did it in a cold drizzle and still had a good time. But today was extra special. Sure, the weather was perfection. And seeing that it’s pretty much been winter here forever, the promise of sunny warmth feels awesome. But it was really special because for five of the people in our group (Tessa, McKenzie, Kristina and my parents), it was their first time completing a race. And races are always fun, but to see it through the eyes of a first-timer, well, it just makes me fall head-over-heels back in love with running and racing. I remember just how darn cool and exciting every step is!
I stuck with Tessa and Jodi for the full time, and we ran all but a tiny bit of it, crossing the finish line strong at about 50 minutes. Happy and proud smiles here at the finish line!
Afterwards we all met up and grubbed some tasty brunch, complete with a pink grapefruit mimosa for Ryan and me. Here are my parents, feeling good after their first race completed and a good breakfast in their bellies!
So, yeah, feeling very proud of my peeps and accomplished from the weekend. Such a fun time to spend time together. And I’m already planning our next race. I’ve caught the racing bug again…and I’m pretty sure I have a couple of newbies hooked for more!
What’s your ideal race-running temperature? And what was your first race experience like? —Jenn
Happy, happy Earth Day! To celebrate this holiday, I just had to get out for a run. But not just any ol’ run—a HIIT run! As we blogged about a week or so ago, we’re working with Brooks on what makes us Run Happy, and, well, running outside and doing intevals makes me happy-happy-joy-joy!
Sure, intervals are harder than going out for a leisurely jog, but when you want to make the most of 20 minutes or are looking to really boost your fitness, they ROCK. They also make a workout fly by—the intervals (especially the recovery ones, of course) just zip by.
While I dig most interval workouts, I really like this particular HIIT running workout because it changes so much depending on where you run. In my neighborhood, some streets are short; some are longer. Like Forrest says: “This workout (or, life, whatever) is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get!
Neighborhood HIIT Running Workout
Warm-up: Do some foam rolling, march in place and do a few easy moves to prepare your body for running for 2-3 minutes.
Sprint/run fast for a block; Jog/walk for a block: For 15 to 20 minutes, let the blocks of your neighborhood determine your running fate, by sprinting or running at an increased pace for one block and then recovering for the next block with a jog or a walk. Repeat for your full time. (For my run on this day, I went a mile out from my house and then back for a total of two miles. I sprinted/ran the whole thing and it took me about 18 minutes.)
Cool down: Walk for two minutes and then do a couple more minutes of stretching, yoga or foam rolling. My personal fave is foam rolling post-run.
It’s a tough HIIT running workout, but it’s effective and it’ll leave you feeling accomplished and sweaty in a short amount of time. It’s also one heck of a fun way to celebrate Earth Day—and Run Happy.
What makes you Run Happy? Do you have a favorite HIIT running workout? What is it? I’m always looking for new ones to try! —Jenn
This week in celebration of Fit Bottomed Pets’ Week, each FBG is writing about her experience with pets and how they make us healthier, happier and generally more awesome.
I know I’m a little (okay, a lot) biased, but I think my dog is pretty much the sweetest thing ever. Just look at that puppy face from five and a half years ago. Priceless. And while Siena has taught me a lot about life—take things far less seriously, always get excited when the mail comes, eat with gusto and be in the moment—and she’s become my loyal running buddy, she’s also adding a new dimension to my life that I love: going for daily walks.
Before we got her, my husband and I might walk somewhere to get coffee or dinner, but we’d rarely just walk around the block for the heck of it. And if I was out walking, it was usually for a workout where I was walking quickly with my headphones on, not a leisurely stroll to just be out and about. But ever since we got her (again, see cuteness in photo), I’ve made a point to walk her just about every day, if not twice a day.
At first, I did this because I knew she needed the exercise, an opportunity to sniff the world and get some social interaction with the other dogs and peoples we’s meet. But now that she’s older and runs with me a couple times a week, I take her out for more than just that: I take her out because I enjoy it. I love walking through the neighborhood, listening to the tree branches and leaves move, and feeling the fresh air on my face. I get a kick out of seeing her all excited to see a squirrel. I’m in better touch with my neighbors and what’s going on in my community, and it’s a stress-reliever I look forward to every day. Sure, some days the weather sucks and the walk is kind of miserable; or I’m just too over-scheduled and we have to forgo it all together. But I feel better when we do it; and I know she does, too. It strengthens our bond—and it’s definitely a part of my everyday active lifestyle. So, thank you, Siena for that—and so much more!
(Now, if only she could read that…)
Do you take daily walks with your dog (or cat—hey, I’ve seen it!). Is it as good for you as it is them? —Jenn
As a term of endearment, my dad has called me a “squirrel” since I was a little kid. To some, it might seem odd, but I’ve always found it sweet and oddly—don’t tell him I said this—accurate. Because when Kristen first came up with the idea of asking this question last fall during our FBG race and retreat, the first thing that popped in my mind as my “fitness spirit animal” was a squirrel. An ornery, jumpy and hungry red squirrel to be exact. Here’s why…
Why My Fitness Spirit Animal Is a Red Squirrel
1. I have red hair; they have red fur. For some reason, I identify with red squirrels as they are gingers like me. I know other animals have red hair, but it just doesn’t feel the same.
2. I have workout A.D.D; they’re twitchy. Squirrels are always jumping from branch to branch and digging from one spot in the ground to another spot in the ground. And I’m constantly going from this goal to that, and one workout trend to another. Me and squirrels, we get around.
3. I’m obsessed with nuts; they live on nuts. Between making immature jokes and being obsessed with new ways to enjoy all varieties of nuts, I talk about nuts a lot. And squirrels, well, they’re always trying to get a nut to move your butt. Or fill their bellies. Whatever. And you know all that chattering that squirrels do? I’m pretty sure they’re making immature nut jokes, too.
4. I like to nibble on foods found in nature; they’re always gnawing on something. Ever seen how a squirrel eats? All happily with its paws close and its attention focused? Yep, that’s pretty much me eating a plate full of veggies. Which I do often. Just ask my husband.
5. I have a freakishly small head; they have a small head. I’m pretty sure most workout headbands wouldn’t stay on their noggins either.
And all joking aside, I really do like squirrels. They’re highly entertaining. And, judging from the way they jump from tree limb to tree limb and taunt my dog, they don’t have a lot of fear. Which is something I’m always striving to do: not be stupid, but to face my fears!
So, any other squirrels out there? What fitness spirit animal are you most like? —Jenn
Ya’ll know how I’m mostly Paleo, right? Well, as I teased on Fit Bottomed Eats a couple of weeks ago, I took my Paleo eating and living to the next level by going with my bud Sheryl to the PaleoFX 2013 conference in Austin. We stayed with Sheryl’s friend, Alejandra, and the whole thing was just awesome. Austin rocks. The conference was a total science-geek-out experience for me, and I just learned so much. I’ve already shared a lot about my experience and the Paleo snacks I tried, so today I wanted to share a little of Austin’s fitness flair.
We had planned to check out a couple of PaleoFX 2013′s workout workshops, but with all of the good sessions going on, it just didn’t happen. And because we spent so much time in said sessions learning about the importance of overall well-being and stress reduction, we decided to hit up Ale’s favorite yoga spot: Black Swan Yoga for some feel-good down time. (Ladies, trust me. You do NOT want to push workouts or work/life too hard and end up with adrenal fatigue. Also, getting your zzz’s is a MUST.)
All Black Swan classes are by donation (how cool is that?!), and we decided on a full hour of “Sweaty” hatha yoga. It wasn’t full-out Bikram-hot, but the room was definitely hot. We, of course, brought the H2O.
And a good attitude. Ale and I are all smiles pre-class and ready to get our om on!
The instructor and class was great, too. He was super chill, funny and played all kinds of alternative tracks that you don’t normally hear in yoga, like “Thrift Shop.” We did about 30 minutes of standing poses that felt so damn good, followed by opening poses on the mat and meditation. We all left feeling more balanced, stretchy and just zen. Oh, and sweaty!
I seriously had the best time in Austin and at PaleoFX with these ladies. And I left feeling so inspired and refreshed to keep on doing what I’m doing: listening to my body, finding what foods and workouts work for me, and taking time to chill out and be grateful for all that I have in my life. It’s really not about doing this particular thing or eating that way; it’s more about finding the lifestyle that makes YOU feel good. And that’s a little different for everyone. It’s the FBG way!
Have you ever been to Austin? Ever been to a conference that inspired you, too? —Jenn
You know those magazine quizzes where it tells you what kind of style or personality you have? Like, are you romantic or classic or edgy? Well, I’ve always kind of sucked at those. I have trouble answering the questions. I rarely am a strong fit in any single box, and my picks always depend on my mood that day. Turns out, my inability to take those quizzes carries over to my workout personality. You guys already know I have self-diagnosed workout ADD, but I’m also learning that I’m a bit of a Rough and Tough (phrase inspired by Gwen, of course) and a Girlie Girl when it comes to my fitness.
First, proof of Rough and Tough: I like to brag about my calluses. Calluses that just the other day scratched my husband’s back when I went to give him just a nice little rub. (He thought I scratched him with my nails…nope. Now, how sexy is that?) I like lifting the heavy weights. I’m excited when I can do something the boys can do. And, even though I am rocking pink polka dots socks here, I like to climb stuff.
But, I’m clearly not all Rough and Tough. Before I do any Olympic lifting or new perceived-as-scary move, I kind of do this girlie, I’m-scared squeal/nervous giggle thing. I’ll pause during a workout to adjust my capris or my—I’ll be honest—my ponytail. And although I don’t care a thing about wearing make-up to the gym, lately I have been geeking out about beauty products. I’ve started to use eye cream at night. I’m buying moisturizer that costs more than $5. And when Neutrogena recently asked us to be a blog ambassador and give feedback on its new products, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Last month I loved its Pore Refining cleanser enough to Instagram a photo of it. (You don’t get much more girlie than that, do ya?) And I’ve even been thinking of this stuff as a “workout for my pores.”
If that wasn’t enough, I geeked out even more when we got FabFitFun’s VIP gift box in the mail. Nail polish! Lip stain! Jewelry! Moroccan oil! My Girlie Girl heart is all aflutter with so much prettiness! It’s practically like a cardio workout.
I’ve never been that into the beauty stuff, but lately, it all seems like SO MUCH FUN. Even if I do have massive calluses and calves that are too muscular to fit in most pairs of fashionable boots.
I guess, like the ever-wise Meredith Brooks sings: “Just when you think, you got me figured out the season’s already changing.” Who says I have to be either a Rough and Tough or a Girlie Girl? Not me!
What about you? Are you a Rough and Tough gal? Or more of a Girlie Girl? Or are you a little of both, too? —Jenn
I’m pretty much a sucker for anything that has “spa” in the title. Massages, facial treatments, acupuncture…if it’s supposed to be relaxing and good for you, sign me up. So when I had the chance to try an infrared sauna therapy session at Sunlight Day Spa—which is a part of the company Sunlighten that just happens to be headquartered within a 15-minute drive of my home—well, I had to. Right? Right.
Part showroom, part spa, I was ready to go inside and get sweaty and relaxed.
The lobby? Way chill and nice. In addition to the infrared spa treatments, this place also offers massages and other more traditional spa offerings.
Sunlighten makes a variety of infrared saunas that are said to do everything from help you detox to burn calories to beat stress, lower blood pressure and even promote wound healing and cell health. Now, I’m a very fair-skinned person, so hot sunny places? Well, we don’t always get along unless there are copious amounts of sunscreen or shade around. But I was assured that infrared saunas—while plenty hot (100 to 130 degrees)—don’t hit your skin with ultraviolet rays, so you’re safe from sunburn and other damage.
After a quick change into a robe in the spa’s locker room, I got myself some water and settled into my own personal infrared sauna that was set apart from the rest of the sauna with a full curtain. (This picture is from the showroom—I didn’t want to be a creeper and start snapping photos in a spa where other people are walking around in robes, but you can kind of get the idea. In the spa, all the lights were low, and it was a much more zen-like experience.)
Unfortunately, the touchscreen panel in my sauna wasn’t working, so I couldn’t track the temperature or track my heart rate during my session. (One of the cool features—you can normally track how many calories you’re burning via a heart-rate chest strap. The company says you can expect up to a 600-calorie burn in a session because your body is working harder in the heat.)
But in some ways, not having stats to watch allowed me to zen out more easily. Not to mention that my session included SO Sound Therapy, which uses sound waves to create a vibrational massage that harmonizes the body’s systems. That part was amazingly awesome and relaxing. If you ever try an infrared sauna session, spring for the SO Sound Therapy upgrade.
I sat up and meditated for the first 20 or so minutes of the 45-minute session, and then I ended up lying down for the rest. At first, the sauna just felt mildly hot—and dry; I wasn’t really sweating. But 30 minutes in, I was really starting to sweat and could feel my pulse increase. When the timer went off at 45 minutes, I was ready to hop out, down LOTS of water, shower and see the showroom. And so I did. Brooke from Sunlighten was kind enough to show me around and let me snap some pics after my treatment—her arm makes a cameo below.
For those who travel a lot or aren’t able to put a whole infrared sauna in their home (in addition to selling to spas, Sunlighten does a bunch of residential units), there’s even a portable system. Brooke said some health clubs and personal trainers use them to help with weight-loss and pain relief.
I’ve never been a big sauna girl in the past, but trying the infrared sauna was really quite pleasant, and I’d do it again. It’s funny, I didn’t feel like I had used that much energy by just sitting there, but I sure as heck was hungry after. And I left with that quintessential spa-like feeling after—relaxed and calm. Almost as good as getting a massage. Gotta love that!
Have you ever been in an infrared sauna? Ever had sound therapy Would you try it, too? —Jenn