Blogs / From 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
Remember how last year Gal Josefsberg wrote this amazingly inspiring letter to women of the world telling us all that we are perfect as we are? Well, this year for Fit Bottomed Dude’s Week we’re taking that concept and flipping it. Every day this week each FBG will share her very own personal letter to the guys of the world.
Dear Men of the World,
I love you. I really do. But let’s get a few things straight. A few things that you probably think that we ladies care about, but that really, we don’t. And, then, a few things we do care about. Consider this my personal PSA to you. You can thank me in a bit…
First, if you’re obsessed with any part of your body needing to be “bigger” or “stronger” or any different than it already is, stop fretting. We don’t want a guy that’s on the cover of a muscle magazine; we want an overall healthy and energetic fellow who’s active and comfortable in his own skin. Confidence really is sexy.
Second, I’ve seen so many more products targeted to men these days. From specific-to-guys face wash…body sprays…protein powders…the list goes on and on. We ladies have had years of ads pointed at us telling us that we’re not good enough unless we look 20, can walk down a runway and are wearing the latest fashion trends. And now, I feel like you’re starting to fall into the message of not being enough either. Resist this, boys, resist! You are enough. Just as you are. (And most of the body sprays? Ick.)
Third—and maybe this is just a personal preference—but backwards baseball caps are hot. Get sporty with it.
Fourth, if you’re balding, just go ahead and shave it off. We know hair-loss happens, so don’t try to hide it or be embarrassed about it. Just rock the head your mama gave you. And maybe, see point three above.
Fifth, do more. Don’t just watch sports and play video games, get out and do things like playing sports. Even if you’re not good at them; we appreciate effort.
Sixth, there is nothing sexier than a man who cooks. (Even if the food doesn’t taste great or comes out burned. Still sexy.)
Seventh. Be nice. Nice guys never really finish last.
And last but not least, be you. Don’t try to be anything but you. Know that you’re awesome. Carry your confidence and don’t get trapped in comparisons with other guys’ quads or bank accounts. Do your best and know that you’re a Fit Bottomed Dude!
(And, ladies, feel free to add your thoughts or additions to this letter in the comments!)
Just a reminder that this is our new feature called Workout I Did. Read them all and feel the workout love here!
Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse and Snowzilla. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, but the Midwest recently got hit with not one but two major snowstorms. Like, more snow than I’d ever seen in Kansas City—and even more than the one winter I survived in Minnesota in graduate school. So, yeah, like a lot of snow—like a foot-plus for each storm system. Which, of course, had to be shoveled. And that leads me to the Workout I Did…
For this workout, you pretty much have to wear every piece of clothing you own. No matter if it matches. I personally think that the crazier and more mismatched you can look with your stocking cap, scarf and sunglasses, the better.
And then you get to shoveling. The key here—to get a really good workout and to avoid getting injured—is to bend your legs nice and deep when you start scooping. This will not only burn the heck out of your quads and hammies, but it also saves your back from getting jacked.
For both Snowpocalypse shoveling workouts, my husband and I actually went out with the intention of it being “a workout.” So we got low and worked interval-style where we’d clear a path, break, and then get going again. We never rested more than a minute, and that was usually just to stop and look around at how pretty the snow was (or help a neighbor get out of their driveway). And, my goodness, we certainly got our heart rates up.
Have I mentioned Ryan loves, loves, loves snow? Makes him giddy. (And note the bonus use he’s getting for his cool new Brooks Running jacket!)
Oh, and for added balance work (and because she loves it), I had Siena hooked up to me on our hands-free leash. She loves divebombing in the snow and chasing anything that moves, so I was always having to balance while I was shoveling. Bonus core WOD!
Ever done a snow shoveling workout? Survived Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse/Snowzilla, too? —Jenn
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!
There are so many good answers to this question. So many. And I’m super excited to see what flicks the other girls pick, but I knew—right from the moment we decided on this question—what my answer would be: How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Have you seen this movie? It’s amazeballs.
First, Taye Diggs is in it and is, like, jaw-droppingly hot. Second, it’s in Jamaica (which I love even more now that I’ve been there!). And third—and most importantly—Angela Bassett is a beast in it. And I mean that in the best, I-want-to-be-her way possible. She is just ripped and strong. And 40 years old. And, again, having a fling with Taye Diggs in tropical paradise. (Yes, I know the story goes far beyond just that, but, really, my favorite part is the first half before all the seriousness goes on.)
She confidently rocks a swimsuit. She settles into herself by loosening up and dancing and laughing and not taking herself so seriously. She eats healthy food. She goes running—and super fast. She stands up for herself. She’s loyal and loving to the people in her life. AND, she has strong and cut arms that even Michelle Obama would covet. Seriously.
Any time I pop this movie in (which is at least a couple times a year—I own the DVD), I always feel inspired to run a little faster and lift a little heavier. Which is why, of all the movies out there, it’s the No. 1 flick that motivates the heck out of me! (And makes me want to go back to Jamaica.)
Have you ever watched a movie and instantly been inspired enough to bust out some push-ups or go for a run? Does How Stella Got Her Groove Back do it for you, too? —Jenn
One of my favorite races in Kansas City is the Trolley Run. It’s a four-mile course that starts in my neighborhood and ends up down on the Plaza (which, sadly, has been all over the news). Besides being pretty and having a start line that’s within walking distance of my house (talk about convenient!), the course is pretty much all downhill. Making it fast. So fast! I haven’t been able to do the run the last few years because it’s coincided with Coachella (poor me, I know), but this year I’ll be in town, so I’m doing it. And I’m not doing it alone!
I have a few friends who also love the Trolley Run and are raring to do it again, along with some other friends who are ready to tackle it for the first time. And instead of us all just signing up solo, I thought it might be fun to set up an FBG team. And so we have! There’s no requirement to raise a bunch of money to run, but it’s for a good cause, so I’m hoping that we all can raise some funds to help. And at the very least, make some new healthy friends in KC!
I already know we’ll have FBGs of all speeds—running fast, jogging, walking—doing this, so no matter your fitness level, I encourage you to join us by signing up! And once you do, go ahead and leave a comment so that I can email you with further details about meeting up before the race and such. Oh, and if you want a special FBG shirt that’s customizable, check this one out. You certainly don’t have to get one to be on the FBG team, but if you want something extra special to wear, knock yourself out!
So who’s ready to run together? It’ll be fun! And downhill! Sign up here and join us! —Jenn
So, it’s no secret that I like my protein. After all, protein is super important and is awesome for keeping you full and helping your body to recover after tough workouts. And seeing that I’m not a fan of the sugar (unless it’s tiramisu—and then all bets are off!), I’m always on the lookout for low-sugar protein bars that taste good and get the good stuff in my belly and quick. (Especially since I work out so darn early and don’t always wake up with a lot of time or appetite to get going!) This, ya’ll, is where Pure Protein comes in. They recently sent me a big box of goodies to try (and stay tuned to the end of the post when you can win some, too!)—all of which have just one to five grams of sugar and are high in protein!
First up, the bars. Please enjoy the obligatory hey-look-at-me-at-this-protein-bar-I’m-about-to-devour shot.
In addition to loving protein, I’m also a sucker for chocolate. So the Chocolate Deluxe Bar spoke to me. Just look at it—like a candy bar! But with protein. Twenty whole grams to make muscles happy.
Dark, rich and dense, I really, really enjoyed the flavor of this bar. I also tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter (also with 20 grams of protein, two grams of sugar and 200 calories), and it was awesome, too. Just not as chocolaty, so I lean toward preferring the Chocolate Deluxe. One of my favorite ways to eat one of these is to divide it in half and eat part of it before a workout and then the other part after. Makes the tastiness last a bit longer.
Up next on the review to-try list? This bad boy. In one 160-calorie serving, you get 25 grams of protein and just two grams of sugar.
I blended mine with some strawberries, blueberries and kale. Of course. Like the package says, this is truly a “Frosty Chocolate” experience! I imagine it would also be awesome on its own with a little banana…or peanut butter…or both!
And last but not least, I also got my protein-loving hands on some premade Pure Protein Shakes. With no artificial colors or flavors (and no aspartame!), these are a super-sweet treat with just 170 calories and 15 grams of protein. I tried the Vanilla Creme flavor and was a fan. Along with my dog, who loves to photo bomb. I even mixed a little in my coffee, which was darn delicious.
Overall, I love the Pure Protein goodies I tried! And it’s hard to pick, but the bars were probably my fave. Followed by spiking my morning coffee with the Pure Protein Shake. So great on the go!
Want to try some Pure Protein nom-noms, too? Leave us a comment below with your favorite muscle-building exercise or activity, and we’ll select a lucky random U.S. reader to win a box of the stuff in about a week. Good luck! —Jenn