First, thank you to some of you who have asked if I was ok…I definitely am! I took a break from blogging to concentrate on spending time with my family, and then before I knew it, I was in deep to my busy season at work.
So what has Em been up to? A lot. Since my last post in May, I had a child move up to high school and my youngest move out of grade school to middle school. We went to my favorite city, Chicago, and went on a family adventure to Alaska via the Norwegian Bliss. We took our annual trip over to Hilton Head Island and enjoyed every second being in Palmetto Dunes.
This whole year has been a journey of health and wellness for me as well. In January, I decided to rejoin a FASTer Way to Fat Loss® group to get myself back on track. After that one round, I joined the VIP group and haven’t looked back. Not only that, I’ve decided to be come a FWTFL coach – and now am certified!! I will talk more about the program a lot, but click here to learn more. And even join me on my first round I’m coaching starting January 7! Doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man or where you live. It’s an online program that provides the accountability you need coupled with the resources and tools you need to be successful at losing fat and keeping it off. This program has changed my life (and my husband’s – he loves the FWTFL lifestyle!), so I want to share it with everyone.
For now, here’s a few of my favorite pictures over the last few months!
If you’re interested in following me on Instagram, search for me at emd03! Instastories are my favorite!!
And of course what would be a post without a few fashion items…
- The Patagonia rain jacket I wore in Alaska not only repels water, but cuts the wind like no one’s business.
- The best nude colored suede booties seen in the last two pics are from Altar’d State. They seriously go with everything and are very comfortable!
- When we were in Amsterdam, I splurged on Yves Saint Laurent Tribute sandals. I didn’t get the sky high heels, so my feet thanked me.
- And if you want to wear jeans that never lose their shape, high waist, and comfortable ALL DAY, grab these Athleta jeans NOW!
I love workout gear. I would much rather buy workout gear than normal everyday clothes. I think I’ve finally found a pant that sucks me in and does NOT fall down. Hallelujah! Here is lululemon’s Fast and Free 7/8 Tight. I have to give credit to the sales woman who helped me. I told her how much I love the Align pant, but they have been slipping down on me lately while I’m working out. She said I should size down in those ORRRRRR…try a new pant with more compression at the waist. The fabric is soft like the Align, but also has the compression I was looking for. And after my workout, I’m proud to say these pants didn’t budge…and it wicked away the sweat much better than the Align. It was leg day so I was doing a ton of squats and then different intensity intervals with jumping, and yep, they stayed put. I highly recommend these pants!
This Twist Around Tank is so fun. I love how long it is (which may be too long for shorter torso gals). The mesh detail is also a plus. This gave me decent support…would probably not run in this, but I felt pretty secure. It’s on sale too, so yay to that!
Instead of wearing my traditional wedding rings to the gym, I opt to wear my Qalo ring. Then I don’t have to worry about my metal bands getting scratched up on the metal of the weights! They have a ton of color options and thicknesses. My fingers are pretty small, so I wear a size 5 (my wedding rings are 4.25).
My FitBit finally crapped out on me, so I opted to get an Apple Watch instead. And I love it! I didn’t know if I would or not, but I am so glad my parents got me one for Christmas!
And if you are looking for a lightweight shoe to wear for lifting, this Asics Metrolytes are a great option. They are seriously light as a feather, but provide great support for your feet. I wouldn’t recommend doing long runs or anything in these though.
I love good workout gear. I typically workout at least three days during the week and both weekend days, so workout gear that lasts is important to me. I used to say that I would never buy lululemon because…well basically…everyone else was. But I caved two years ago. And I caved hard. Now that there is a store five miles from my house, I’ve found myself shopping there almost 75% of the time for my workout gear.
These Align pants are my new favorites. I was hesitant to try them because on the tag it says “if you want to feel…naked.” Uh, I really want to feel like I have clothes on while I’m working out – I don’t know about you 🙂 But the salesperson said they are ridiculously comfortable. They were right. They are high waisted, which I LOVE. They hide your trouble areas, but the fabric isn’t thick. It does an incredible job of wicking away sweat. There is a hidden key pocket. And then, they don’t move while you are working out…no falling down while I’m running or doing Zumba. I’ll confess I own two pairs now…and the leggings for when fall comes.
I’m always on the lookout for good and supportive sports bras. I love this Beat the Heat Tank. Not only is the design great, but it conceals the girls and doesn’t show too much. It’s comfortable and is not too restricting, even with the good support. Highly recommend.
I won’t forget to mention my trusty weighted ball either. Love this thing! While I’m catching up on my TV smut (a.k.a. Real Housewives), I’ll stand and do squats, lunges, tricep extensions, all with the ball. It even has suggested workouts drawn on the ball! Helps me from not being lazy while watching TV.
I love shopping for new workout clothes after Christmas because there are so many good sales! I’m slightly addicted to workout clothes, but I’m in workout clothes pretty much six to seven days a week so it’s my justification to get new gear!
The lululemon by me had an incredible selection of sale gear the day after Christmas. I can’t tell you how much stuff I took into the dressing room. Their prices are higher, there’s no doubt, but I’ve had great success with constant washing and wearing with their clothes. I do think they are worth the money…BUT…I’ve rarely bought things full price. You just have to stop by often to see when things go on sale.
These Ebb to Street pants I wrote about the other day. Functional as workout pants and as leggings under a sweater! I had my eye on them for a while, and the price was finally right. I love how they hold everything in place, and they are super comfortable.
I’m cold blooded by nature, so when the temps drop, I like to work out in long sleeves. Lulu considers this Rest Less Pullover more of a mid layer, but whatevs…I wear it how I want. 🙂 It’s slightly thicker but does a great job at wicking away sweat.
Who doesn’t love a good zip up to throw on on the way to the gym? The high neck sold me on this Scuba Hoodie. I’ve worn this a ton already…and the part that has become my favorite? The hood! I’ve walked on my greenway in 45 degree temps with my hood up, and my noggin stays completely warm. I definitely have to layer a long sleeve shirt underneath because it’s not the thickest, but it does a decent job of keeping me warm.
And I can’t leave out my favorite sneakers…Asics GT-2000s. I think this is my sixth or seventh pair. I pronate in when I run, and these help balance out my gait. I always end up finding them on sale through Amazon or Zappos or even on Rue La La.
So there’s my fitness gear wrap up for the day! Happy working out!
Welcome to my world of workout gear obsession. Getting new gear just makes me happy! Do I dare say it’s even better than buying normal clothes?! Ahhhh! I’m in workout gear just as much as normal clothes, so I guess that justifies being equally as excited 🙂
Some of my crop pants were getting pretty worn out, so I was on the hunt for some new ones. I tried on lulu’s run: top speed crop and instantly liked them. The fabric is great with wicking away sweat and they are a medium rise, which I prefer (if not higher!). The fabric does have a sheen to it, so in the dressing room I first thought you could see through them. But I did my “squat in the dressing room/bend over” test, and they were not see through. The fabric is just so shiny it seems that way. You just have to be sure to get the right size because they are meant to be tight…so of course if you are squeezing it to them and are way too tight, they will be see through when you bend over!
I’m always on the hunt too for good, supportive sports bra tanks. Now I wouldn’t go run a 5k in this inspiration tank II bra tank, but it provides enough support for me while lifting, doing barre, and jogging. I love the layered look – minus having to wear layers! The fabric is very comfortable – I would like to snag a few more when they go on sale. Added bonus – it’s not low cut! The girls stay in when you bend over…so take that creeper guys at the gym!
If you’ve come across some great new workout gear you can’t live without, please share! I’m always looking for new stuff to try!
Happy Fitness Friday, everyone!
My hair is not long enough to just throw back in a pony tail. I’ve got to have some sort of band to hold my short bangs back. Because what is worse than your sweaty bangs flopping in your face while you are working out? Well I’m sure some things are worse – but you get the point.
I had a hard time finding workout headbands that actually hold my hair back AND DO NOT FALL OUT OF PLACE. Whoah you say…you just used all caps. That’s right. I’ve tried lucy and lululemon bands and they don’t hold a candle to Sweaty Band headbands! When I had those brands on, I had to constantly reposition them because they would start slipping. So aggravating while dancing in Zumba and your headband just falls on the floor mid-dance.
Sweaty Bands do not slip. Once I put it in my hair for a workout, that’s the first and last time I’ll touch it until I’m home and ready to take it out of my hair. The fabric on the underside is a velvety feel, and that is the magic trick. I was lucky enough to try out one for free…my company actually has customized ones that we give to clients. And it’s black polka dot design. Love dots!
I can’t recommend these headbands enough. It’s the best $15 you will spend for your hair. And they aren’t just for working out! Anyone who wants a cute patterned headband should shop this great band. You won’t be disappointed. If you are…well, you won’t be so I don’t have to worry! 🙂
I am in workout gear during some point of my day seven days a week. So … I own a lot of workout gear. I’ve always loved lucy and have written about it a few times on the blog. It washes like a charm. I still have pants that I’ve had for almost three years and they still have their same stretch and haven’t pilled at all. People constantly ask “Is it really worth the money? Isn’t all workout gear the same?” In my opinion, no, it isn’t.
I think lucy is completely worth the money. But you know what’s great right now? They are having an additional 30% off their sale items! This is the perfect time to pick up some new workout gear if you’ve been waiting for the price points to drop.
My favorite pants are definitely the Hatha, Ultimate X-Training, and Perfect Core. I like that these three styles have a higher rise. No one (or at least this girl!) doesn’t want to do squats and have their arse show. They have perfect stretch, hold everything in, and are thick enough not to show any trouble areas.
As far as tops go, I love the Crossbank Tanks. I really don’t like working out in t-shirts or tank tops, so these are my go-to top for working out. It is medium support and I wear it for everything – lifting, barre, yoga, Zumba. This is a staple tank for them, so they always have it is great colors and prints each season.
I also love a good pullover. They are so versatile – workout in them, throw them on to go to the gym, keep you warm on a chilly morning jog, or just wear it around the house. The Keep The Pace Half Zip is one of my favs. I’ve gotten all of mine during these sales…and I have four of them. (Don’t judge me!) Again, they always have these in great colors!
So happy workout gear shopping, everyone! Grab them while you can!
Now, I’ve been a lucy activewear girl for a while. I wanted to be the anti-lululemon. Why? Because it was the thing to buy. But recently I had one open up close to my house, and I’ve fallen in love with lululemon. Now, I know it’s pricey, but the pieces I’ve bought are such high quality and made with fantastic fabric that washes like a charm, it’s hard not to love that store!
These Skinny Groove Pant leggings are my absolute favorite workout pant I’ve ever bought. I feel like I’m wearing pajama pants. And I find myself just wearing them around the house constantly, too. I’ve found they do a great job of wicking away moisture. When I wore them to a Zumba class recently, this particular fabric did show a little booty sweat in the back creases, so if you are self conscious about that, you may want to stick with a dark or black color.
I also like that they have somewhat of a high rise. I can do deep squats and deadlifts and I don’t have to worry about these pants sliding down. And during Zumba, they stay put…which when I’m getting my dance on, the last thing I want to worry about is pulling my pants up!
And here’s another new favorite (which I got on sale in the store but it’s not on sale online) – the Race Your Pace 1/2 Zip. I constantly have cold hands, so the cuffins make me so happy. It’s the little things 🙂 I wouldn’t recommend wearing this particular 1/2 zip in freezing temps, but it will do a good job with a shirt underneath in 40+ degree weather. This shirt does a great job of wicking sweat away under the arms.
The lulu Flow Into Crow headband is also my favorite – keeps my hair in place with NO slippage my entire workout!
Oh, and meet the Em with zero makeup on. Yep, this is the way I look when I go to the gym! I am NOT one of those girls who gets all dolled up to go to the gym. I could really care less what my hair and non-makeup face look like!
I LOVE THEM!
Now, I say that because they fit my feet very well. The sizing of these Studio Wraps is a little off. I am a true 8.5 and ordered these in a Medium. They say the Medium fits sizes 7.5-9. To me, if you are closer to 7.5, they would feel way too big. And if you were closer to 9, they would pull too much between your toes and not be comfortable at all. I guess I’m a lucky one, because they fit my feet very well.
When I first wore these to class, I have to admit it took me a while to get used to them in between my toes. But once I got over that, I won’t go to class without these. They do a great job of protecting the bottoms of my feet as well. It still allows my toes to grip the mat or floor, but protects and gives a little bit of cushion to the balls and heel of my foot.
Another excellent feature – they are machine washable! They come in their own little wash sack. I’ve washed mine multiple times, and they still have the same vibrant color and stretch as when I first got them out of the box.
It seems that Nike likes to put these on sale when they come out with new prints and colors…so the opportunity to get these on sale is pretty ideal. I got mine through Zappos.
I’ve tried the socks with the grips on the bottom, and I definitely prefer these shoes over the socks. The socks tend to slip and slide a little more, when these feel more stable on your foot.
Overall, I give these Nike Studio Wrap shoes a huge thumbs up!!
I’m a sucker for a good sale, especially on my favorite workout gear! Until Monday, lucy is having an extra 30% off of sale items. Sale on top of sale. Just my type of bargain!
Lucy doesn’t have a ton of retail locations, but I’m fortunate enough to have two in the ATL area – and one in Chicago at Water Tower, where I was last weekend. Basically, the whole store was on sale! Here’s some of my great finds.
I own quite a few Crossback Tanks. It’s one of their staple sports bras, and they typically have it great solids and prints every season. It has removable bra cups, and I feel it is a moderately supportive bra. The pants I have on I’ve had for a while. They are the Hatha style, which is a mid rise pant.
I’ve also fallen in love with lucy’s pullovers. This Track Goddess Half Zip is very similar to another style, and I just loved the pink color. Their pullovers do a great job of wicking away sweat. It has thumb holes, too.
I love color in my everyday wardrobe…and in my gym wear. I love these new blue Ultimate X-Training Capris! You can see the rise on these is decently high, which I like. I don’t like my workout pants cut to low. This Track Goddess Long Sleeve shirt just had to come with me, too! I love the cutout in the back, and I liked the length on me. I don’t like shirts that hit too high on my hips.
Interesting sports bras always capture my eye. I love the back of the Sculpting Tank. The back is just so different – not like any sports bras. The support is moderate to light, as I definitely would not go running in this. Loved pairing it with the Track Goddess Tight. I can’t even tell you how soft these leggings are! They are like wearing pajama pants. I love the feel of them!! Also, there is a hidden inside tie to give you some extra support.
I don’t just love buying workout clothes…I actually do workout!! 🙂 I love feeling good while I workout, and I love the lucy brand. Don’t forget, an EXTRA 30% off sale items until Monday!
One thing about my fitness routine is I love to mix it up. Free weights, barre fusion, Zumba, TRX, circuit training, at home DVDs, Popsugar online workouts…if I don’t incorporate new things, I get bored easy. But, I’ve also found confusing your muscles is the way to shape them. If you do the same things over and over and over again, you’re going to plateau…and get bored.
A few months ago, I started going to Zumba at my LifeTime. Although I have rhythm and can dance – I was intimidated to go to class at first. I didn’t want to look silly not knowing the steps. But, I put on my big girl workout pants, sucked it up, and went into class with an open mind. And I’m so glad I did – because I feel in love with the class and the instructor! She makes the class. It’s a fun, booty shaking, chest poppin’, sweat fest. I get an incredible workout!
You may be are hesitant to go to class because you don’t know the steps. To help you feel more comfortable – head to YouTube! There are tons of instructional videos that can teach you the steps before you head to class. You can at least learn the basic steps like Salsa, Merengue, Cha Cha and more. Here are some videos directly from Zumba’s YouTube channel.
Here are my Zumba class tips:
- Have fun! It doesn’t matter if you can’t get the steps right away, just keeping moving and have fun. The point is to get a great workout.
- Stand in front! Now, I know you don’t want the attention on you, especially if it’s your first time, but get towards the front so you can see the instructor. You won’t learn the steps if you can’t see his/her feet.
- Concentrate on your moves! My instructor does a couple songs during class where we are doing squats or ab work. Concentrate on working your muscles. You’ll get an even better workout. Even when you are circling your hips, for instance, get into a low enough squat so you are working your legs and tighten that core as you circle your hips. Feel the burn even as you dance.
- Give it more than one try! So, you didn’t like the first class. Don’t give up. The more times you go, the easier the steps become. And each class is never the same! You’ll do different songs all the time. Also, if your club or studio has more than one class a week, try a different instructor.
Now get off your booty and try Zumba!!
I’m a huge fan of Popsugar! I follow them on my Bloglovin’ feed so I don’t miss out on any great workout and health tips. They put a ton of great information on their website. If you haven’t been over to Popsugar – don’t wait any longer!
Since it’s still the beginning of the year while the New Year’s Resolution of losing weight is fresh in everyone’s mind, here is a great article about tips on the best workouts to lose weight. Best part – it links to workouts they have on their site!
While I was looking through the shoe department last weekend at Nordstrom, I noticed these Nike Studio Wrap shoes. For the last couple of months, I’ve been taking a Ballet Body Fusion class through LifeTime, and I love it! I just bought some ballet/barre socks at lucy, but then I spotted these:
I have to admit, I hate the way my feet feel on the bare floor. The socks definitely help, but I’m wondering if I would like these “shoes.” They look very supportive and have great reviews on Nike’s website.
Should I bite the bullet? They are on sale for $39. Has anyone tried these and want to weigh in?
It’s the start of the year. The time of year when the gym is ridiculously busy with everyone having made their New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and workout. Now, I give these people credit for getting into the gym and putting their health first. But, I want to see your sweaty faces at the gym eight months from now.
I’m not one to make a resolution, even though I did last year. It was to read more books, which I did. But, I digress. If I were to make a resolution this year, it would simply be to continue getting my booty to the gym. Or if not going to the gym, at least getting up off the couch and do a quick Kettle Worx or Hip Hop Abs DVD. Or the newest addition to our household – the Xbox Kinnect. I’ve been doing Zumba for Kids with the girl – it’s a great way to spend time together and be active.
I won’t lie, I can be lazy. It’s definitely one of my faults. But as an adult, I’ll say to myself, for instance if I don’t want to put the laundry away, “Emily, this will only take you 10 minutes to do. Quit being lazy and get off your butt.” So it’s the same thing with working out. “Emily, you wanted to eat those 10 Tootsie Rolls at work today because you promised yourself you would workout tonight. So get up!” I guess that could be called self-motivating, right? Let’s not to mention I have a company party at the end of the month and the hubs’ company party the first week of February that I want to look fit and toned for…so even more motivation.
So do you make resolutions for the new year? If so, do you actually keep them?
I love my lucy workout gear. Love. It. It washes so well (but no dry!), and I’ve never had a problem with any of the fabric pilling or being too see-through. So if you have always been hesitant to spend the money to try lucy, now’s the time with their extra 30% off of sale.
One tip – I always size down on my pants. I am a stickler about my pants falling down when I do box jumps or even Zumba, so I size down. But, their sports bra tanks are true to size. BUT…you can return your sale items. They are NOT final sale. So if it doesn’t work, send it back.
I don’t have that many pet peeves when I’m at the gym, except this one that tops it all.
People holding on to the treadmill!!
When I look over and see someone looking all proud of themselves walking at 4.2 speed at a 10 incline holding on for dear life, I just want to say, “I dare you to take your hands off that treadmill. Just do it. See if you can still walk for more than 10 seconds. Do it. Do it. Do it!”
When you walk outside, do you walk with handrails next to you? Are there handrails when you are hiking up a mountain? Do you walk without moving your arms? Seriously, people, let’s use our brains here for a second.
People obviously don’t understand that they are reducing the effectiveness of their workout by about 40%. That’s right. 40%. Think you just burnt 300 calories by going full speed up an incline? WRONG.
There is a good article on Popsugar that describes how ineffective this is. If you don’t believe me, then listen to these fitness experts.
Ok. My rant and rave is done for the day. But, is this a pet peeve of you, too? Or am I alone in this?!
I started doing ballet when I was the wee age of four. And yes, I still have that first recital costume, too (thanks, momma!). If you’ve noticed lately, ballet-type workout classes are starting to become all the rage…Bar Method, anyone? You’ll also notice these studios cost a small fortune, too. Not that it’s not worth it, but I’ll keep my gym that has free childcare and is open 24 hours a day – even though only one Ballet Body Fusion class a week if offered for now.
But, let’s look at ballet dancer’s bodies. I can sum them up in two words. Long and lean. And these dancers are so strong. Have you ever tried to do an arabesque? How high can you get your leg – and actually hold it up there for any length of time? It’s tough.
Last year, I started incorporating more ballet-type moves into my workouts. And my favorite is what I call the Booty Kick. It’s kind of like moving your leg into an arabesque, but height of your leg is not the purpose. The purpose? Toning the booty and legs. And it’s ridiculously simple. I find myself just standing in front of the TV doing this exercise.
Posture is key. Think like a ballet dancer. No slouching your shoulders forward or bending over. Slowly raise your leg backward while keeping your hips forward. Tighten your booty the entire time. See below for how high I get my leg. At this height, I really feel it in my butt and lower back. I’m also working my shoulders by keeping my arms up. I like to do 3 sets of 20 on each leg. Try not to touch your toe to the ground each time – work on that balance!
Want to feel the burn even more? Add a band around your ankles. Works your muscles even better!!
As I was home sick and subjected to horrible daytime television, I stopped and watched a little bit of Katie. She had Hilaria Baldwin (Alec’s wife) on, who was promoting her new pregnancy yoga DVD.
As I was sitting there watching, I was reminiscing back to the days when I was pregnant – which feels like an eternity ago! As I was one of the first ones of my friends to have a baby (I was pregnant at 23 – uh, yeah, I know, we didn’t wait long after we were married), I really didn’t have anyone to give me any advice. No one to bounce all of those questions off of when it’s your first pregnancy and you’re wondering what the heck is happening to your body!
So I was thinking what my best advice would be for those who are pregnant.
Now, I had some sciatic problems during both of my pregnancies, but my booty should have been walking on the treadmill, walking the dog, or just overall being more active. I’ve had many friends who have exercised throughout, and their labors were much easier…and what everyone wants…they got back into shape much faster after their babies were born.
When I was pregnant with both kiddos, the scale tipped over 200 pounds. (Talk about jaw dropping at the OB’s office those days!!) Now, could I have gained the same amount with exercise, I just might have as some women will gain a lot of weight no matter what they try and do during pregnancy. But when I was pregnant 10 years ago, the health and fitness craze wasn’t what it is today. And I certainly couldn’t go out and “pin” my favorite pregnancy workouts or pull up workout tips on YouTube. So those who are pregnant now, take advantage of all of the techie resources you have and get moving!
Just like how exercise makes you feel better and more energized when you aren’t pregnant will happen when you are. And when you feel somedays like your body isn’t your own anymore, why not try and feel better about yourself and exercise?!
Here’s my pregnancy journey with the boy…I started showing SO much earlier with him.
Did you exercise while you were pregnant? Did it help you bounce back faster?
Who doesn’t love a good exercise that works a lot of muscles groups at once? Uh, no one! I think I discovered the Single Leg Romanian Deadlift in my Women’s Health magazine. And I love it. It works your booty, abs, lower back, and shoulders. This might sound weird, but I like doing this deadlift slowly so I can really feel my muscles working.
I typically do 10 on each side for three sets and hold 15 pound dumbbells in each hand. If you research this move, some people do it without weights or with one weight (holding the weight in the opposite hand from the leg you are lifting).
So here’s how I do this deadlift…
Just remember to go slow and watch your form. When leaning forward, try not to roll your shoulders forward. Keep your body in one, nice long line.
What are some of your favorite exercises?
Follow my fitness board on Pinterest.
My friend, Elisabeth, got me hooked on kettle bells almost two years ago. She told me how you could get a great total body workout by using this compact weight. She was absolutely right, and I’m so glad I took her fitness advice!
Once of my favorite kettle bell moves, besides the basic swing of course, is the windmill. Why? Because I love how it targets your core, yet you still work out your shoulders, back, and even your hamstrings.
If it’s your first time doing this move, I would suggest starting with a lower weight kettle bell. You’d be amazed how your normal weight will feel way too heavy, and you’ll probably lose your balance when you start reaching down.
To me, the key to this move is going slow. The slower, the better. You can really focus on tightening your core. Also, try to keep your arm that is up in the air straight up and down as you slide down the side of your opposite leg. I have seen several variations of this move, as some people go down to touch their toe. I think going as far as you can is a good goal to start with.
Try 5-10 per side for 3 sets.
Do you have a favorite kettle bell move?