T’was The Saturday Before Christmas

I’m pretty sure everyone is out shopping or wrapping gifts right now, but just in case there are some procrastinators still hanging out on the Internet I thought I’d throw up a post this morning!

First things first, the December Yoga Challenge with Champion wrapped up (pun intended) today, and the most active participant was Lisa M so she wins a Champion Sports Bra! Congrats Lisa!!! Thanks to everyone who participated, I hope you had fun! :)

I am very happy to say that I am on vacation!! Which means I will probably be posting less than usual for the rest of the year. Past years I said that I wouldn’t be posting at all over the holidays, and then I’d get bored or the itch to write and posted anyway, so this year I’m leaving it wide open. I might post, I might not, time will tell. I imagine if I post nothing else I will still put up the ZIN Song list when the new release arrives (maybe next week!).

As far as Christmas goes, I’m all ready! Well, one thing I ordered for J weeks ago hasn’t arrived (it’s on backorder so I don’t think it’ll show up in time), but other than that everything is bought an wrapped. I really pushed get it done before my vacation started so I could pretty much do whatever I wanted these next two weeks. Right now that seems like a good idea, but I bet in 5 days time I’ll be bored. Good thing I’ve got a couple long books to read!

In past years, I’ve taken a break from exercise over Christmas but this year I’m tackling it a bit different. Because of my fibromyalgia, if I go too many days (like more than 4) in a row off from exercise I start having an increase in symptoms (insomnia, increased joint and muscle pain, etc.) and I don’t want to deal with that nonsense this year.

You may (or may not) remember a few weeks ago I posted on Instagram,/Facebook that I was starting the Fitness Matters 30 Day Transform Fitness Challenge. Well, after day 1 I decided that adding an additional 30 minute workout to my already fitness filled days just wasn’t the best idea.

transform

So I set it aside with the plan to pick it back up when I started vacation (AKA today). I’ll be doing a full review of the program in the new year but even after completing just one workout I can tell you it’s going to be challenging!! But Ollie and I are ready for it. ;)

Besides, I need to do something if I’m going to be sitting around at home eating things like chocolate popcorn bark!

popcorn bark

I made this last night using G.H. Creators Simply Salted organic popped corn. What can I say? After at least a year of steering clear of popcorn because it bothered my IBS, now that I seem to be able to eat it again I’m eating it all of the time! This was a recipe that G.H. Creators sent me for Sweet & Salty Popcorn park, and it is delish! Obviously you have to be a sweet & salty type of person to enjoy it, but if you are, how can you go wrong with dark chocolate, score bits, salted popcorn and dried cherries (though I forgot I was suppose to get cherries so I had to use cranberries instead). This would make an awesome Christmas gift or hostess gift! I think my brother and his family are going to get part of this batch. J can’t eat popcorn and I certainly can’t be left to eat all of this on my own!

Speaking of gifts, it might be a bit late to order these for next week, but I’ve been having fun with my Fruition infusion bottles these past few weeks.

Fruition

Fruition is a new (Canadian!!) company making these awesome infusion bottles. What I really like about them is that they are easy to clean (not always the case with water bottles), and have a separate connected holder for the fruit/tea/whatever you are infusing into your water.

bottle

If you know someone who is planning to focus on their health in 2015, what a great gift this would be to help get them started. I’ve droned on about it time and time again, but hydration is the foundation of health and helping people find a tastier way to get their water in (especially if they don’t enjoy the taste of plain water) is a huge hurdle. I really think one of these bottles would make a great “Here’s to your new goals for 2015” gift!

blue and pink

Function aside, I think they are just so cute!

Speaking of which, I just realized it’s lunch time so I better go fill my water bottle up and get some food in my belly!

Disclosure: This post contains products that I received free of charge, are as part of a paid campaign with the company. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

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Your “Build A Home Gym” Christmas List

Still haven’t given anyone ideas on what to get your for Christmas? Well first of all, shame on you! And secondly, I’ve got you covered. Your friends and family might not be able to get these items under your tree by next Thursday morning but they can most certainly order them for you so come January 1st you’ll be all set to hit your New Year’s fitness goals hard in your very own home gym!

Let’s face it, always having to go to the gym or fitness classes in the winter months can be a nuisance, especially if you live in an area like I do where you get snow and ice conditions. Having an area and a few pieces of equipment at home that don’t take up a huge area makes working out on the fly so much easier.

Together with the help of Unique Fitness Concepts I’ve put together a list of equipment that I think would be great for building your own home gym. All of these items are available right on their website so you can easily forward this post to anyone who is still looking to get you a present and tell them to help by giving you the gift of fitness! And I’ll admit that everything on this list is something that I would like to have myself, maybe I should have put this list together sooner and given it to my family! :D

The key with having a home gym, especially if you don’t have a tonne of room is to buy core pieces that can be used for multiple things (strength, cardio, balance, etc.) and one of my all-time favourite multi-purpose pieces is the BOSU.

BOSU

I want one of these so badly! And don’t worry, if you’re not into the pink they also sell the traditional blue BOSU. I liked this kit because it comes with a workout DVD so those of you who have never used a BOSU will have some workouts you can follow as you get started and learn how to use it.

Another great multi-use piece of equipment is the medicine ball.

SPRI Medicine Ball

I have a 5kg ball, but would love to have a second heavier one. If going the medicine ball route, I would suggest buying two different weights if you can afford it (or your family can ;) ) because that way you can switch weights for different exercises as needed. Also as you get stronger (yay for building muscle) you’ll want a heavier option so it would be great to have one already on hand!

One of the absolute best pieces of equipment for someone without a lot of extra space is the resistance band. They are light, take up virtually no room at all and are KILLER. Just ask the folks in my Body Sculpt class. We are currently using resistance bands for a bicep song and by the end we are all crying inside! I found two different sets that I thought would be great, the first being your standard set of SPRI bands,

SPRI bands

and the second is a set of loop bands.

Loop bands

The SPRI band set is wonderful because it comes with 5 different levels of resistance, so you might start out with the lightest but make your way up to the heaviest over time. Another great thing about these bands is you can double them up using more than one at a time, increasing your resistance even further. As for the loop bands, they are especially amazing for lower body work since you can loop them around your legs and do all sorts of wonderful/terrible exercises with them. The same goes for these ones, as you get stronger you can up the resistance. Trust me, these resistance bands might be lightweight, but they will pack a deadly punch when it comes to strength training!

Another must-have item for your home gym is a good exercise mat. You don’t want one that will be slipping all over the place, and you also want one that is thick enough that it will cushion your knees when you are doing floor exercises. If you think you will be doing a lot of yoga, investing in a good quality yoga mat is a must. Here I’ve chosen the Manduka eKO Mat in purple, but on the site there are lots of different options. This mat is on the heavy side (7 lbs) so if you are looking for one that you can easily take with you to classes as well, you might want to pick up a lighter one (or get this one and get a little extra strength conditioning while carrying it ;) ).

Manduka

Now we come to the item the Fevens have been dying to get for years…

StairMaster TwistLock Dumbells

adjustable dumbbells. These weights take up the space of one single pair of weights, while replacing entire sets of hand/free weights. So amazing. Of course because they are fantastic, they come with a heftier price tag, but are well worth the investment. Each time I see a post on Instagram or Facebook of someone with their adjustable weights I turn a bit green with envy. One day my beauties…one day.

This final item might not be a must have for everyone, but once again it’s something I’d love to add to our collection,

RumbleRoller

the RumbleRoller. I am both terrified and excited by it at the same time. If you don’t already have a foam roller, or foam roll at the gym I would suggest starting out with a standard foam roller before moving onto a beast like this. But if you have been foam rolling for a while and are ready to get even deeper into the fascia and tissue this would be a perfect addition to your home gym. Just don’t call me when it makes you cry!

There you have it, my list of “must-haves” and one “maybe-have” for a great starter home gym. You really don’t need a pile of expensive equipment that takes up an entire room to get a good workout. A few key pieces will serve most people as well, if not better without being an eyesore.

Question:

What is your number one must have for exercising at home? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Unique Fitness Concepts, however all opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are entirely my own.

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