There are two types of people: those who enjoy vacation workouts and those who don’t. Both types are alright in my book. Truthfully, both types are equally likely to maintain healthy lifestyles year-round. I’m in the workout on vacay camp—it’s simply part of my lifestyle. I feel better when I move my body. I have more energy, better mental clarity, and am in a better mood. Plus, it can be a phenomenal way to check out A LOT of a new city. Participating in half marathons has brought me to several new cities and I got to see things I might have otherwise missed had I not signed up.

So yes, I am a fan of a vacation workout, but I believe in balance. Run a half marathon and then visit a pub (or three). Embrace muscle soreness while you dance down Broadway Street in Nashville. Run down the beach in Miami and then sit down and read a book for the rest of the day. Balance is important to mental and physical health which is why I am sharing a few easy ways you can get your body moving while on vacation. They’ll help you keep your mind and body healthy no matter where you are.

vacation workouts: walking

1. Walk

This is one of the easiest ones and here’s the trick: don’t think of it in terms of ‘I must walk X minutes today’. Simply resolve to walk somewhere you might otherwise not. Morning coffee? Walk to the Starbucks that’s a little further away. Dinner plans? Walk instead of drive if you can. It’s crazy how quickly those steps add up.

 

vacation workouts: running

2. Run

If you’re heading on a trip with a group, have anyone and everyone who’s interested sign up for a 10k or half marathon. You’ll get both a fun trip with friends or family and exercise that feeds you dopamine. Your bonds with the people on that trip will be forever strengthened. What can possibly be better than that?!

 

vacation workouts: squats

3. Squats

I love a leg workout because working your largest muscle group is an efficient way to torch calories and get that ‘I had a great workout’ feeling. The best part? You can literally do them anywhere. Here I am doing them on a main street in downtown LA. Sure, people looked at me funny, but it was totally worth it!

 

vacation workouts: push-ups

4. Push-Ups

Since your chest is also a large muscle group, I love working that on vacation! A great workout you can do anywhere is push-ups. Not only are they wonderful for hotel rooms or outside just about anywhere, but they make your arms look incredible for beach photos. I’m just sayin’! The blood flow to the arms shortly after you work them out makes your arms look like a snack! Try it and thank me later. 🙂

 

I hope you like these easy ways to get moving during your next vacation. Now if you see me sweating in the Starbucks line getting my vanilla latte, you will know why!

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Before the new year hit, I wrote about the importance of kickstarting your New Year’s goals. We’re now 48 days into 2020 so I figured it’s time to review one of the hardest things out there: actually sticking to resolutions. Why is this so hard? Well, most of the time we fail at our goals because we are making them too draconian. We want to have attainable goals we can reach and then take a step further. Here are some tips for staying motivated at the gym:

gym motivation: ramp up slowly

Ramp Up Slowly

For fitness-related goals, I am a fan ‘ramping up’. When we introduce anything new slowly, we help make sure it sticks. This is true for all levels of fitness whether you are starting with a one-mile walk a few times a week or adding one day a week of weight training to your already packed gym schedule. What’s great about ramping up is it never really ends so I find it easier to stay motivated. You keep pushing yourself, you notice small physical and psychological improvements making it easier to keep up the great work.

 

gym motivation: workout buddy

Find a Workout Partner Who Practices Tough Love

You need someone who will be there for you week after week. Even more importantly, a buddy that won’t let you flake on them. Just as the perfect partner in a relationship varies greatly for everyone, the perfect workout partner will too. Find one that shares many of your fitness/wellness goals, your workout preferences, and your schedule. Plan to meet with them once a week to the extent that is possible. If you find the time, get two workout buddies (perhaps two people who each enjoy different workouts) that way no matter what you will workout twice a week. March 1 is National Workout Buddy Day so be sure to grab a friend to celebrate!

 

gym motivation: reward yourself

Reward Yourself

I don’t want to compare any human to a dog, but the similarities are there. Do you want to train your pet? Reward them for good behavior. You want results in the gym? Reward yourself. My favorite rewards are clothes. I love new workout clothes for a job well done. They are motivating because you want to wear them straight away! Try to stay away from junk food as a reward because it can reinforce the idea that some food is typically ‘off-limits’ and let’s face it, junk food won’t help you reach your goals.

 

Now that you’re all feeling super motivated, it’s time to get moving! If you do make it out for a workout with a friend on March 1 (National Workout Buddy Day), tag @wantable and me, @bethann.wagner on Instagram so we can cheer you on!

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You’ve heard it before—the best way to keep seeing results from your workouts is to mix it up. Sure, ‘mixing it up’ in the middle of winter can be a glass of wine by the fireplace (what a good tricep stretch, right?) but a fantastic workout might be easier to squeeze in than you think. Here are some activities to help you get out of the house (and even burn a few calories) this winter.

winter activities: skiing and sledding

Go Sledding, Ice Skating or Cross Country Skiing

If this isn’t already a winter tradition, it needs to become one. I mean, I live in LA and I’ve managed to make 2 of them happen this year! You may not think of sledding as a workout, but all that trudging up and down a hill in the snow can actually burn around 400 to 600 calories per hour. Each of these activities is super fun with family, friends, or your significant other.

 

Hot Yoga or Snow-ga

Who doesn’t love a good hot yoga class in the winter? It’s warm and cozy and gives you a break from the cooler temps outside. If you want to try something new (and very ‘gram-worthy), opt for snowga (check out #snowga for inspo). It’s a great way to soak up some vitamin D and enjoy the scenery around you. Not to mention, if you are going skiing or snowboarding, this serves as a great warm-up before you hit the slopes.

 

winter activities: take a hike

Take a Hike or Go On a Trail Run

If the sun happens to peek through, grab your hiking or trail running shoes and head out on an adventure. Be sure to dress for warmth and dryness if you live in a cold, wet climate. Moisture-wicking and water-repelling fabric can be critical to staying warm. If this is something that you do in your normal workout routine, try to switch up your route to keep things fresh and exciting.

 

Plant a Garden

Find space near you—in your yard or in a community garden—and plant some winter fruits and vegetables. Gardening can actually burn 200-400 calories per hour so you can really work up an appetite while you harvest some yummy and truly local veggies for your next winter soup.

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When thinking of trying something new like launching a side hustle or starting a new fitness program, I’ll be the first to admit that feelings of fear can creep in. All too often we let the fear of the unknown stop us from starting things that we really want to tackle when it’s actually pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones that help us grow. Example: A young woman who is new to working out was nervous about taking a spin class at a swanky gym in San Francisco. She’s never been on a stationary bike and feels nervous she might not be in good enough shape. She’s brave and she goes anyway. She started going every week and eventually bonded with the instructor. They’re married now and have two kids and a dog. (We actually know this woman.) Sure, it’s intimidating to try something new, but can you imagine if she never tried? Moral of the story: risk something or forever be the same. The benefits of trying new things are abundant. Here are some benefits of taking the risk to try something new this year.

try something new: comfort zone

1. Trying something new that shakes up your routine can really give you a fresh perspective.

2. New ways of doing things can enhance experiences that already bring you joy. Love to run? Try the same route but backward to stimulate your brain and shake things up!

3. Increased creativity often comes from trying something new. When I feel stuck on a piece I am writing, I put my phone away and look around—the trees, dogs passing by and new people on the street help me feel more alive and creative.

 

try something new: switch things up

4. New physical activities can aid you in becoming healthier. Try a boxing class or something else you’ve been thinking about. The calorie burn and endorphins alone will make it worth it!

5. You could make new friends! Head out on a yoga retreat or go to that festival you’ve never made time for. Who knows what kind of memories you will make with new people!

 

try something new: make new friends

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to trying something new, and whether it’s a big or small leap outside your comfort zone, you’ll still reap the benefits of trying new things. Get out there and do that thing you’ve been thinking about!

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Everything’s better with a friend: a glass of wine, a road trip, and a cozy night in. One thing I really enjoy doing more if I have a pal there with me? Working out. Partner workouts are not only more fun with someone there to give you a good laugh when you feel like your muscles are about to fall off but they are also a great way to stay connected with those you love even when ‘me time’ becomes scarce. While I love meeting friends at the gym, there’s a lot you can do outdoors. Outdoor workouts will give you the benefits of a fantastic full-body workout and some fresh air. I’ve put together a total body workout that will get your muscles working and (hopefully) help reduce stress this holiday season. All you need to do is grab a buddy and head outside to get moving!

total body workout: push-ups

Push-Ups: 10 Reps

I love starting out any workout with push-ups—especially if I am training with someone I haven’t trained with before. Push-ups are a great test to assess people’s current physical abilities. After watching someone execute a pushup, I will know a lot about what I may need to modify to ensure my friend or client gets the best workout for them. There are endless modifications you can make to a pushup to make it easier or more difficult! Push-ups are also a total results producer because they recruit so many muscles from your shoulders, arms, core and even glutes all while increasing your heart rate.

 

total body workout: v-ups

V-Ups: 20 Reps

When working out with a partner, I love to focus on the core because 1.) a tighter midsection is something just about everyone wants to work on and 2.) there are so many core exercises you can do with a partner! V-ups are my favorite way to get started with core work since there are many modifications. Here we are using our hands to help stabilize us, but you can also lay hands just under your lower back to increase the intensity. Or, keep your whole torso on the ground to decrease the intensity by turning it into more of a leg raise than a full v-up.

 

total body workout: scissor kicks

Scissor Kicks: 40 Reps

Leg movements will recruit muscles from the lower abs. Here you can do scissor kicks with your torso flat on the ground or at a 45-degree angle. Having your torso raised will recruit more muscles and will be more difficult. With this one, always remember to keep your spine aligned—no lower-back arching here!

Go through each exercise for 4 rounds making modifications as needed. Push your friend and yourself to go as hard as you safely can!

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In a world where we jump from one holiday to the next (sometimes even before the previous holiday is over), it can definitely be daunting to focus on your resolutions before the new year even starts. But, this is the one tradition I believe we should start early. How early? Start them whenever you’re ready—there’s no wrong time! In an effort to get ahead—and potentially use some of the magic numerologist’s place on the occurrence of 11/11—I started mine on November 11th this year. I’m not really sure if that has any validity, but I’ll try anything in the name of personal growth. I started by writing everything down in my phone on a goal-setting app. Hey, if I don’t put it in writing, it’s not happening. So far, I am happy to report there has been small but measurable progress. I’m hopeful and confident going into 2020 with a small amount of progress towards what I want to accomplish in the New Year. Plus, it’ll help ensure that I don’t give up and that I’ll reach them with less resistance than I would have had I waited. Read on for a few other benefits I have found from getting a headstart on your New Year’s resolutions.

new year: practice makes perfectPractice Makes Perfect

I personally love that getting a head start on making positive changes will give you a little grace period to put those goals into practice. One of my goals is to drink more water so I got myself a new water bottle (a huge one!) and have been adjusting to the practice of bringing it everywhere with me. I’m not quite where I want to be with intake, but have increased it with the new bottle! It’s all about giving yourself grace when it comes to implementing new habits.

Take the Pressure Off

Starting early will take some of the pressure off of you in the New Year! None of us need added pressure, am I right? Getting a head start will help you reach your goals and allow you extra time to experiment with the ways that work best for you to implement new habits.

 

new year: room for growth

Room for Growth

Many of us start with more than one resolution—which is a great thing—but starting earlier might mean you have time to conquer even more! If you realize you’re effectively acting on your resolutions, add a few more in that you had on your goals list. Adding them in small batches will feel much less overwhelming than trying to accomplish them all at once. Remember, habits take time to kick in. Don’t get frustrated if you’re not seeing immediate results!

There’s No Time Like the Present

Remember how I talked about reaching goals with less resistance? Just about every time we try to make a change, the ego, the ID, the fact that many bad habits are simply habitual will make us resist that change. Starting early gives you time to push through the resistance period and have a plan ready for overcoming any struggles that may arise.

No matter when you start, reaching any goal takes intention, hard work, and a plan. Remember to make SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Write them down somewhere you can revisit whenever you need to and consider sharing them with someone you trust so you can have some help with accountability. Happy New Year!

 

 

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Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is defined as a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality. It engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being and is regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture. When one of the happiest countries in the world makes something a huge part of their culture, we all want to follow suit. What is it about hygge that brings so much joy? Well, it embodies a sense of togetherness—think cozy family meals and nights in spent cuddling and singing. That means no Netflix!

Everyone’s needs are different, and lifestyle experts are uncovering another covetable Danish concept we might all soon be jumping on to: pyt (pronounced pid). Pyt is all about cultivating healthy thoughts to better deal with the stress of everyday life. If hygge keeps your heart and house warm and cozy, pyt is more about maintaining mental health and making your thoughts warm and cozy.

In honor of the holidays being thrust upon us (did 2019 go by extra fast or is that just me?), I am sharing a few easy ways to cuddle up, get cozy, and make the most of the rest of this decade with a little help from our Nordic friend’s tried and true principles.

hygge: get outside

Get Outside

The Scandavaians believe there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothes. Spend some time outdoors every day to connect with nature (and your family) away from screens.

Host a Simple Meal

The holidays are all about getting together and it doesn’t need to be fancy. Skip the usual holiday dress code and opt for a casual, simple meal focusing on the company and everyone’s comfort.

 

hygge: practice gratitude

Practice Gratitude

Many of us get pretty religious about practicing gratitude this time of year, but the key is remembering to practice it all year. Moms, get the kids in the habit of practicing gratitude by writing down what they are grateful for.

 

hygge: read

Read

Not just a juicy magazine in the salon for your pre-holiday party blowout, but really cuddle up with a soft pair of sweats and your best blanket to read something substantial. Alone or with your kids, this will help you settle your mind and body during this busy time of year.

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Each fall, we set the clocks back for daylight savings time. And, each fall I spend no less than one week adjusting to a new circadian rhythm and feeling a bit run down. When I’m feeling low energy and there are a dozen tasks on my plate, the first thing to go is my workouts. Who wants to go get their sweat on when it’s dark, chilly and they’re running on empty? If you’re like me and you find it a little difficult to stay motivated during the busy winter months, I’ve got just the thing you need.

Grace. That’s right. During the busy holiday months, give yourself the gift of a green light to enjoy the holidays, nights in with family, tree decorating—whatever it may be that makes this season joyous for you. Enjoy it without the pressure of hitting the gym a certain number of days per week.

Fast and effective workouts. For those days when you just really need to get your body moving, opt for a workout that torches calories fast so you can go on with your day with loads of endorphins (and increased energy) and save yourself an hour+ at the free weights.

Here are 3 plyometric exercises you can do at home (or outside if you happen to live in a warmer climate) that are guaranteed to get your blood pumping quickly. Unfamiliar with plyometrics? No worries. Plyometrics, commonly called plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time. The goal is to increase power (a.k.a stamina) so you can go on with your to-do list with the natural energy made by you! You want to do anything involving jumping or explosive movements like jumping rope, hopping, lunges or jump squats. These are 3 of my favorites:

 

plyometric exercises: lunges

plyometric exercises: lunges

Jumping Lunges:

Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, jump your left leg forward and your right leg back into a lunge with both knees at 90 degrees. Jump up and switch your legs in midair so that you land in a lunge with your right leg in front. Continue jumping back and forth pausing as little as possible.

 

plyometric exercises: burpees

plyometric exercises: burpees

Burpees

First I want to note that some trainers wouldn’t consider this a plyometric move, but a cardio move. I don’t care either way—just do them because they are super effective! Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at your hips and knees to lower yourself into a squatting position. Place your hands on the floor in front of you so you’re on all fours and kick your feet back so that you are in the plank position. Then, drop all the way down to the floor in a pushup. Bring your feet towards your hands in a frog-like leap and jump up explosively with your hands towards the sky.

 

plyometric exercises: squats

plyometric exercises: squats

Jump Squats

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible to avoid injury. Keeping your core tight will help!

My favorite part about these is that you can do them ANYWHERE: hotels, living rooms, your front yard with the Christmas lights shining down on you. It doesn’t matter and you really need no equipment aside from water and maybe a yoga mat if you need a cushion. Try to go through 4 rounds of this doing 10-12 reps of each exercise. Chances are you will be sweating afterwards and I just know you will feel increased energy and stamina throughout your busy day!

 

 

 

 

 

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Ask any trainer. They’ve all heard the same unfounded request from clients: “I want to get toned arms without the bulk.” I totally get that, because, girl, same. I have good news for you, though. You’re not going to get bulky. I’ve worked with the same trainer for over two years while I myself am studying to get my Personal Trainer’s certification. Everything I’ve heard from my certified PT and everything I’ve studied over the past 12 years of my fitness career is that women in their natural state (i.e. no muscle building supplements) are pretty unlikely to build a lot of bulk. Lifting as we would naturally, we simply won’t lift heavy enough, often enough or consume enough food to make us bulk up. Remember, you want to increase muscle and work on a healthy diet. Not just one or the other.  Still nervous about picking up the weights? Here are some things to keep in mind. If you want to build strength go for heavier weight and do fewer reps. If you want to build muscular endurance, use a lighter weight and do more reps. Here are 9 tried-and-true arm workouts that will help you build those arm muscles and help rev up your metabolism.

arm workouts: upright row

1. Upright Row

This is one of the best muscle builders for back and shoulders. Start with legs at a shoulder-width distance apart and your arms down in front of your thighs. Standing straight with a supported abdomen, lift the weights straight up towards your chin keeping elbows and arms parallel to the ground. Lower and repeat.

 

arm workouts: shoulder press

2. Shoulder Press

Start with your arms at bent shoulder height (in the shape of a “w”)  with your palms facing away from you and your feet shoulder-width distance apart. With your core braced and your gaze facing forward, press your arms straight up towards the sky. Bring them back to shoulder height and repeat.

 

arm workouts: bent-over tricep extension

3. Bent-Over Tricep Extension

Start by bending your knees slightly and leaning your torso forward (make sure to keep your back straight). With your arms in a 90-degree angle, begin to straighten your arm using your tricep bringing your forearm parallel to the ground. Lower your arm back to the starting position and repeat.

 

arm workouts: bicep curl

4. Bicep Curls

This exercise is simple but essential! They might just become your biceps best friend. Start with your arms hanging by your side. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your palms facing forward. Curl your weights up to shoulder-level keeping your upper arms stationary. Lower your forearms and repeat.

 

arm workouts: lateral raises

5. Lateral Raises

Start with your arms at your sides with your palms facing your thighs. Double-check to make sure your back is straight and your core is engaged! Slowly raise your arms up and out to the side until they are parallel with the ground. Lower your arms and repeat.

 

arm workouts: bent-over fly

6. Bent-Over Fly

Just like the bent-over tricep extension, start by bending your knees slightly and leaning your torso forward (make sure to keep your back straight). Begin the exercise with your arms hanging down towards the ground with your palms facing inwards. Slowly raise them up and out towards the side. Lower and repeat.

 

arm workouts: weighted tricep dip

7. Overhead Weighted Tricep Dip

Start with feet hip-width distance apart and—you guessed it—core engaged. Raise your arms straight up over your head, Keeping everything from your shoulders to your elbows stationary, bend your elbows bringing the weight behind your head to a 90-degree angle. Raise your arms back up and repeat.

 

arm workouts: weighted punches

8. Weighted Punches

Start with your arms at shoulder-height with your arms bent and palms facing in. In a controlled motion, punch your arm out in front of you keeping it steady and parallel to the ground. It’s okay if your torso rotates slightly! Bring your arm back in and switch sides. Repeat!

 

arm workouts: push ups

9. Push-Ups

Much like a bicep curl, push-ups are a classic workout that’s a must for building strong arms and shoulders. Start in a plank position and slowly lower yourself towards the ground keeping your elbows close to your torso, back straight, and core engaged. Push yourself back up and repeat.

 

arm workouts

I’m doing all of the weighted exercises with 8lbs here, but you do whatever is best for you. If that’s 2lb, great! If it’s 35lb, cool. Just modify this according to your goals and you will notice your arm muscles getting more defined in no time. After each workout, give yourself a hug—you deserve it! Plus it’s a great way to check your progress!

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When’s the last time you took a personal day and spent some time pampering yourself, catching up with a friend or just relaxing uninterrupted by children, work or phones? For me, it’s been years and I am not proud of that. Many of us feel guilty spending time or money spoiling ourselves, but self-care can really be one of your greatest investments as it can go a long way in enhancing your overall well-being. I’m talking about tending to your emotional wellness. What is that, you ask?

Emotional wellness is a vague, but important term. It has to do with how you generally feel—your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as a whole. It’s about your relationship with your emotions—the positive and the negative ones—and how you handle them. Your emotional wellness is all about you and how you label, acknowledge and accept your emotions. Do you generally embrace your emotions—sadness, boredom, anxiety, happiness—as a normal part of life? Do you like who you are and how you handle ups and downs? If you answered ‘yes’ you’re likely pretty emotionally healthy. Here are a few ways you can strengthen your emotional wellness and ensure you stay that way.

 

emotional wellness: plan

1. Plan for the Hard Stuff

In an article in this month’s Women’s Health, I read a short piece I really wanted to share because it is one of the best darn pieces of advice I’ve heard in a while… “Deliberately planning for taxing or irritating situations could help buffer the negative feels before they hit, research shows. “Stress is more of a perceived reaction,” says James Gray MD a cardiologist with Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. “The situation doesn’t change but you can alter how you respond.” In your calendar, use another color to highlight events you anticipate to be emotionally demanding, so you can make a mental note about what’s coming, prepare your mind, and schedule extra self-care time accordingly.” -Women’s Health, Oct 2019 pg. 78

 

emotional wellness: squad goals

2. Squad Goals Change—And That’s O.K.

Surrounding ourselves with good friends is one of the best ways to increase emotional wellness. Surrounding yourself with toxic relationships will decrease your emotional wellness. It seems easy enough, but this one can be so tricky.  If someone in your circle started out making you LOL until your face hurt but now can’t stop ranting about things they can’t control, you may need to consider letting go. We all change and adapt and if someone in your squad has really turned negative and you can’t help them turn it around, it may be best to let ‘energy vampires’ go and free up space in your calendar and heart for someone that might be more of what you need right now. You don’t have to end it harshly, but do be honest.

 

emotional wellness: ask for help

3. Ask for Help—And Offer it When Nobody’s Asking

We are unquestionably strong and independent people. Once we have a goal, there’s nothing that can stop us. Having big goals often means even bigger to-do lists and asking for help can make us feel vulnerable. Next time you get really stuck remember, there’s no better way to build a really strong support network then by supporting your community and asking them for support when you need it. Bring dinner to a fellow preschool mom who just had surgery without her having to ask. Help a neighbor carry in an oversized package. You’ll be surprised how much easier than might make your life (and emotional wellness) down the road.

I hope some of this helps you next time you find yourself under stress. Don’t forget to keep checking in with your emotional health whether it’s on an app, a journal or even better, an emotional health check-up with your S.O. or bestie.

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