It’s Getting Colder! 5 Tips for Staying Safe & Warm During Outdoor Activity

I don’t know about you guys, but here in Louisville it was fall last week. It’ll be fall next week too, but this week? It’s winter… at least it feels like it outside! Temps have literally been around freezing and that can put a huge damper on your level of enjoyment for outdoor activities. I hate being cold, but over the years have been able to take the right precautions in order to be able to keep enjoying my outdoor activities, without freezing my buns off and risking hypothermia. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, climber, or just enjoy being outdoors in the colder months, here are five tips to help you stay safe and warm during your outdoor activities:

1. Dress for it!
If you’ll be getting your heart rate up, you need sweat-wicking materials! The better fabrics you have, the warmer/safer you’ll be. My man-friend has a saying about being cold during cold-weather activity: “If you’re cold, you’re either broke… or you don’t know any better.” It’s true. When I was younger I had no clue how to dress. I was always freezing and hated being outside during winter. I had no idea that jeans and cotton hoodies were part of the problem. When it comes to athletic outdoor activity, cotton is the devil! Later, when I knew better, I was too broke to afford to buy clothes made of sweat-wicking and wind-blocking materials, synthetic tops/bottoms, and jackets filled with down feathers. If you’re somewhat financially stable, investing in the right clothing and outerwear will make such a difference! You’ll enjoy being outside during any weather and though they’re more expensive, the right clothes will last you many years!

2. Cover your head, hands and feet! 
Since most of your body heat escapes through your head, hands, and feet, it’s good to keep these areas covered. For my dome, I like this ear-warming headband and this hat (great for chicks who’ll need a hat that works with ponytails) from Lululemon.  These  North Face running gloves (to keep your hands just warm enough and still able to operate the touch screen on your phone or mp3 player) are also my jam.

3. Don’t layer too much! 
This is something I always have to remind myself of. I hate being cold so over dressing is always tempting. The last thing you want to do though is break a sweat in chilly temps. If you’re like me and know you’ll want to wear too much, do 10-15 minutes of warmup and bodyweight activity before you go outside. You’ll already be warm so won’t want to put more layers. Once you go outside you’ll know if you have the right amount of clothing/gear on to keep you warm enough, but not sweaty.

4. Pay attention to your surroundings. 
If it’s been freezing temperatures in your area, there are likely to be wet or frozen areas around you. Make sure you watch where you step, run, jump to avoid any falls. Nobody wants to spend the holidays injured. And please, if you’re with your buddies, don’t stick to your tongue to anything frozen on a dare. Even if it’s a triple-dog-dare… Who knew there was so much to learn from A Christmas Story?!

5. Double check your health conditions.
Like with most physical activity, it’s good to check with your doc beforehand to make sure there’s nothing that will harm you (or your kiddos!) while playing or working out outside. Cold weather can exacerbate some conditions like asthma or other lung issues (A few years ago I had to avoid all outdoor activities when I had bronchitis in December and January… #buzzkill). It’s better to be safe than sorry, so know before you go!

Now I gotta go layer up to take Tango out… ; ) 
Happy Friday! 
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It’s Getting Colder! 5 Tips for Staying Safe & Warm During Outdoor Activity

I don’t know about you guys, but here in Louisville it was fall last week. It’ll be fall next week too, but this week? It’s winter… at least it feels like it outside! Temps have literally been around freezing and that can put a huge damper on your level of enjoyment for outdoor activities. I hate being cold, but over the years have been able to take the right precautions in order to be able to keep enjoying my outdoor activities, without freezing my buns off and risking hypothermia. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, climber, or just enjoy being outdoors in the colder months, here are five tips to help you stay safe and warm during your outdoor activities:

1. Dress for it!
If you’ll be getting your heart rate up, you need sweat-wicking materials! The better fabrics you have, the warmer/safer you’ll be. My man-friend has a saying about being cold during cold-weather activity: “If you’re cold, you’re either broke… or you don’t know any better.” It’s true. When I was younger I had no clue how to dress. I was always freezing and hated being outside during winter. I had no idea that jeans and cotton hoodies were part of the problem. When it comes to athletic outdoor activity, cotton is the devil! Later, when I knew better, I was too broke to afford to buy clothes made of sweat-wicking and wind-blocking materials, synthetic tops/bottoms, and jackets filled with down feathers. If you’re somewhat financially stable, investing in the right clothing and outerwear will make such a difference! You’ll enjoy being outside during any weather and though they’re more expensive, the right clothes will last you many years!

2. Cover your head, hands and feet! 
Since most of your body heat escapes through your head, hands, and feet, it’s good to keep these areas covered. For my dome, I like this ear-warming headband and this hat (great for chicks who’ll need a hat that works with ponytails) from Lululemon.  These  North Face running gloves (to keep your hands just warm enough and still able to operate the touch screen on your phone or mp3 player) are also my jam.

3. Don’t layer too much! 
This is something I always have to remind myself of. I hate being cold so over dressing is always tempting. The last thing you want to do though is break a sweat in chilly temps. If you’re like me and know you’ll want to wear too much, do 10-15 minutes of warmup and bodyweight activity before you go outside. You’ll already be warm so won’t want to put more layers. Once you go outside you’ll know if you have the right amount of clothing/gear on to keep you warm enough, but not sweaty.

4. Pay attention to your surroundings. 
If it’s been freezing temperatures in your area, there are likely to be wet or frozen areas around you. Make sure you watch where you step, run, jump to avoid any falls. Nobody wants to spend the holidays injured. And please, if you’re with your buddies, don’t stick to your tongue to anything frozen on a dare. Even if it’s a triple-dog-dare… Who knew there was so much to learn from A Christmas Story?!

5. Double check your health conditions.
Like with most physical activity, it’s good to check with your doc beforehand to make sure there’s nothing that will harm you (or your kiddos!) while playing or working out outside. Cold weather can exacerbate some conditions like asthma or other lung issues (A few years ago I had to avoid all outdoor activities when I had bronchitis in December and January… #buzzkill). It’s better to be safe than sorry, so know before you go!

Now I gotta go layer up to take Tango out… ; ) 
Happy Friday! 
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Put Your Back Into It

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One of the biggest workout mistakes people make is only working their ‘mirror’ muscles. These are the muscles you see when you look in the mirror; chest, abs, biceps, etc. Most peeps forget about the backside. Here’s why that’s bad:
When you work one side of the body and neglect the other, you get muscular strength imbalances. For example, if you do a ton of push ups and chest work, but don’t work your shoulders and upper back, you’ll get really a strong but tight chest, and really weak shoulders. The result is shoulders that hunch forward or rotate inward and a back that’s rounded or hunched because of stronger muscles pulling the bones one direction and the weaker ones not being able to reciprocate. This isn’t healthy (or attractive).
What can you do about this, you ask?
Stretch the muscles you tend to work more,
then strengthen the muscles you neglect!
Do you work at a desk? Chances are you’re leaning forward all day and don’t have the best posture. You need to stretch out your chest, biceps, abs, and hip flexors. Then you need to work your rhomboids, rear deltoids, erectors (heehee), and glutes. Try a few exercises for the front of your body, then try a few with back side… see which is stronger.
Moral of the story?! Put your back into it.
You’ll be stronger.
And sexier.
’cause what’s better than a sexy back?
Cue Justin Timberlake…
*The thing I’m holding in the photo is a TRX Rip Trainer. See the sport cord attached to the bar on the left side? That makes it hard, because that resistance is pulling me to the left, so I’m resisting it with my core and using the right side of my body to keep me facing forward. It works your core like a mother. Just sayin’
**Photo taken of me by Adrian Li
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Do It All: Bootcamp

You want a fit, rockin’ bod that can do anything? Then Do It All. Try everything. Go to yoga, run, jump, skip, lift weights, swing kettlebells, suspend your feet in a TRX, take bootcamp.

Bootcamp! If there’s ever a time to push yourself, it’s during a bootcamp class. Your body can handle way more than you think you can so find a local bootcamp class and sign up. Even if you can’t do the whole bootcamp session (most are 4-8 weeks long) call and see what a drop-in price is and go take a class. Trust me! Bootcamps can be super intimidating so here are some tips to help you get the most out of it… and not die. You’re welcome.
1. Find the right bootcamp for you and recruit a friend!
All bootcamps are different so try a few if you don’t like the first one. Some people prefer to be screamed at like in the military (think An Officer and a Gentleman) but some people don’t. I like to be pushed, definitely, but if you scream in my face, I’ll likely punch you. Or just not come back. Make sure you know what you want and like the motivational level of your instructor. Talking a friend into doing it with you will help too. It’ll keep you both accountable and will serve as built-in hang out time with your buddy. Two birds with one stone!
2. Pick a time of day that you’ll actually attend.
Most bootcamps happen in the morning, before work… and before 6:30am. If you aren’t a morning person, find an after-work bootcamp. If you hate getting up early to go sit at a desk, do you really think you’ll get up earlier to go run around and do pushups? Maybe. Maybe not. So find one you’ll stick to. If you pay for it and miss half your sessions, you’ll be more bummed than you were before. Can’t make it happen during the work week? Find a weekend camp.
3. Go early.
I know I just said to go later if you’re not a morning person. That’s true. BUT if you can suck it up enough to attend the early morning sessions, you’ll be better off. It’ll get it out of the way, you’ll be more energized throughout your day, and you’ll still be burning calories while you work! Multi-tasking is the ish.
4. Recruit help.
Can’t go because you have to take kids to school? Whatev. Get the hubs to take them, find a carpool, ask a family member to help you out. It’s only a couple days a week so bribe them if you have to, but try to find a way to make it work! Remember you have to make yourself a priority too! Don’t let your other responsibilities take ALL your time. If you want to get in better shape, talk to your loved ones and make a plan that will work for everybody.
5. Get competitive.
Keep in mind I didn’t say comparative. There will be all different levels of peeps in your class, but try to pit yourself against others in there! I’m not sayin’ throw down and start talking smack or anything, but push yourself to do as many or more reps, or complete a set faster than the people around you. It’ll make you better and you’ll feel really good about it later when you’re thinkin’ “I’m a beast too, suckas!” But only in your head… not out loud. Don’t be that person at bootcamp.
6. Stay hydrated.
Drink plenty of water the day before and bring water with you. Remember: take your body weight, divide it by 2. That’s the number of ounces of water you should be drinking a day. If you’re cramping up a lot in bootcamp, most likely you’re dehydrated. Don’t sabotage your body!
7. Know your energy levels and what you need!
To eat or not to eat… Some people can’t eat early before bootcamp, but I don’t last 15 minutes in class on an empty stomach so I have to have something. Your car doesn’t run without gasoline, your body won’t run without fuel. Eat a banana or half of a protein bar right when you wake up. Passing out in bootcamp is not the ish. If you can’t eat before a morning workout, make sure your dinner was a good one, the night before. Protein! If you’re class is after work, eat a snack an hour or two beforehand. Don’t stop at Starbucks or Mickey D’s on the way to your class. Puking in bootcamp is also not the ish.
8. Don’t stop. (get it, get it.)
You may be fatigued, you may think you can’t go on. But you can. Promise. If something is too hard, slow down, do 1 arm/leg at a time, or reduce your weight/resistance, but KEEP GOING! Stopping before you’re done with a set is a horrible habit to get into. If you don’t push yourself to get two more reps in, or run a little farther, you won’t get better (think if you never did anything harder in math than basic addition, you’d never get smarter). If you don’t know how to keep going, ask. Your instructor will help you out.
9. Listen to your body.
Like my hot-yoga post, if you feel faint, it’s because your body is forcing you to stop because it can’t handle what you’re doing. If you keep going when you feel bad, your body will make the decision to stop for you. The same goes for feeling nauseated. Know the difference between stopping because you’re muscularly fatigued, or stopping because you may pass out. The 2nd one is serious. The first one means you’re being a wuss. ; ) Kidding! Kind of. But seriously, folks: Drink water, eat a snack (banana, almonds) and chill for a moment if you feel bad. You can always start back up after a few minutes. Your instructors really don’t want to perform CPR if they don’t have to.
10. Have FUN!
Yes it’s bootcamp, yes it’ll be hard, but you should like your instructor, like the workouts, and like yourself afterward. Be on time and do what you’re told, but have fun with it! It’s not the military, so don’t get too crazy. Just do it for you. Do it for your body. Do it for your significant other so they’ll want to jump on you even more when you get home with your sexy self. ; )

Be A BEAST!
Questions? Ask away: fitwithflash@gmail.com
Info on my TRX Bootcamp here


image via Barry’sBootcamp
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Do It All: Hot Yoga

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I’m going to start a new series of posts, I’ve decided, called “Do It All.” Why? Because I always get asked “what’s the BEST thing to do, or “I don’t have a lot of time, just tell me one thing I can do all the time that will work.” Usually I’m getting asked this in a grocery store or in line somewhere where people see me in fitness clothes, ask if I’m a trainer, and then proceed to get as much advice as they can out of me in those mere moments. My response: “Do it all.”
They don’t usually like this. They think our convo alone will help them lose ten pounds, but it doesn’t. So I say, “Do all of it. Go run, do TRX, swing kettlebells, take yoga, take kickboxing, go skip around, lift weights, do Pilates, jump, swim, kayak, play kickball, etc. The more different ways you move your body, the better off you’ll be.” So to start this series, I’m gonna give a few tips for one thing, then you go try it. It’ll be fantastic. Promise.
I’ll start with Hot Yoga, because I’m gonna go take a class later and it’s on my mind. Remember, there’s a difference between Bikram yoga and hot yoga. Bikram is a set series, it’s an hour and a half, and it’s typically 110 degrees. Most hot yoga places are a little less hot (100 degrees +/-) and offer lots of different class durations. I go to a hot yoga place because Bikram just isn’t my jam, I’ve found. Here ya go:
Hot Yoga Tips:
1. Hydrate the day before.
If you’re thirsty going in, you’re already de-hydrated and asking for trouble. Bring water with you to class, and put a couple ice cubes in it so it doesn’t get warm while you’re in the heat. The ice will melt and you’ll have nice, moderate temp water.
2. Don’t eat too soon before!
Everybody’s different, but most people need about an hour and a half to digest their meal. Just ate? Take a later class. Haven’t eaten in several hours? Grab something small and light, like a banana, a handful of nuts, or a protein bar an hour before. If you puke up your Starbucks latte, you’ll be bummed. And they might kick you out.
3. Arrive ten minutes early.
This gives you time to fill out necessary paperwork and to inform the instructor if you’ve never taken yoga/hot yoga before. And if you have any injuries. They need to know these things. It’ll make class better for you.
4. Bring your own mat and a towel. And a water.
You can usually rent/buy these items, but who wants to pay for that? And don’t think that you won’t need a towel. You will. And you’ll love it when you can’t open your eyes because there’s sweat in them. Not.
5. Pick the right class level.
So many people jump right into the 1.5 hour Bikram class that’s 110 degrees (when they’ve never done anything like that before) then they puke, then they hate hot yoga forever. Check out the class schedule online first. There’s usually a beginner class or ones that are shorter (1 hour) and a little cooler (85-90 degrees). START WITH THESE.
6. Listen to your body!
Your body has certain responses for a reason. If you’re about to pass out or puke, it’s because you’re doing too much for your body and it’s doing that to make you STOP. So if you feel a little weak/queasy, sit/lay down for a moment. Take a drink of water. When you feel ok, jump back into it. Most yoga places (most) want you to take it at your own pace and they won’t degrade you for taking a small break. If they do, they’re assholes. Go find another place and don’t give them your business. Anybody can do yoga, you just have to go at your own pace.
7. If something hurts, don’t do it!
You know the difference between something being hard to do, and something actually hurting you. If it hurts, wave down the instructor and they’ll give you a modification. Promise. We don’t want you to get hurt. Then you won’t come back : (
8. Don’t stretch too far!
The heat makes your muscles reeeeeally stretchy. This is good. However, if you stretch too far, you’re going to be reeeeally sore for a few days and may injure yourself. That being said: if you can touch your ankles usually but now you can touch your toes, that’s ok. You’ll be able to get a little closer in hot yoga, that’s good. If you can only touch your knees usually and now you can touch your toes, scale it back a little, buddy. You’re going too far and you’ll pay for it the next day (or week).
9. Keep going.
If you feel weird/awkward at first, duh! It’s your first time. Nobody’s great their first time at anything. So try it again. You’ll get better as you go. Promise. And you’ll see the benefits if you go a couple times a week.
10. Don’t wear cotton.
If you wear a huge, cotton t-shirt, you’ll probably regret it 10 minutes into class. You’re going to be hot, you’re going to be sweaty. The less clothes you wear, the better, but if you’re not comfortable only in a sports bra and shorts, make sure the top/bottoms you’re wearing are made of light, breathable fabrics. Your body sweats to release heat, so if you wear clothes that don’t allow that to happen easily, you’ll feel hotter than you should. I’m not just trying to get you naked, I’m serious.
Benefits of hot yoga:
Improved posture
Improved flexibility
Better balance
Sculpted muscles
Time to yourself!
You have time to breathe and chill… and what’s better than that?
Questions? Ask away: fitwithflash@gmail.com
*that photo of me is NOT what I look like taking hot yoga. it was for a shoot with this guy. I usually have a red, sweaty face, with hair in a messy, sweaty bun, looking a HOT mess. : )
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