One huge misconception about being a fitness instructor for a living, is that I get to be paid for doing my own workouts. This is sort of true when it comes to Zumba (though I’m still doing a lot more “work” while teaching than those who are participating!), but in yoga and strength classes especially – those classes are for my participants, so aside from my demo’s I spend more time coaching and adjusting than I do, doing. Even so I do get a little bit of training, so when it comes time to do my own workouts, I’m all about short, intense workouts to make sure I don’t overdo it and give my body time to recover between workouts/classes. For me that generally means body weight exercises, but it’s also fun to throw in some equipment now and again, which is why I’m taking a few minutes today to tell you how you can make your home workouts fun with Giant Tiger.
Last week I told you about some new fitness gear I picked up recently from Giant Tiger’s ACX line, and now today I’m back to tell you about some new additions to the ACX line that you won’t be wearing – fitness equipment!
A few weeks ago they sent me some of their new equipment to play with – a slam ball, resistance band and 2 kettle bells – a 5lb and a 10lb.
Ordinary hand weights are great, but let’s face it, they are a bit boring. Resistance bands are one of my favourite pieces of equipment because they are light and provide multi-directional resistance (meaning you are working in both directions instead of just on the way up). People often scoff at resistance bands until they’ve been destroyed by one, haha. These little babies pack a powerful punch!
Now, let’s talk a bit more about the a slam ball is a crazy fun piece of equipment. It’s a ball that is weighted with sand so it doesn’t bounce. The ACX Slam Ball weighs 5lbs and is amazing for strengthening your core! As with all weighted core exercises, you need to make sure you are contracting your core muscles and being very mindful of your spinal alignment so that you don’t injure yourself.
And finally we have the kettle bells. Online I only see the 5lb option, but they do have a 10lb bell as well. If you are a seasoned kettle bell-er, these are going to be too light for you, but for beginners, or those who only swing a bell once in a while, these are a great starter. Especially if you are new to exercise and aren’t sure if you’ll be sticking to a kettle bell workout long term, they are affordable and allow you the change to decide if you want to upgrade when you grow out of these.
I’m not a slam ball or kettle bell expert by any stretch of the imagination, so I didn’t feel comfortable recording a workout video using the equipment, instead I put together this video just showing you some of the things you can do with resistance bands, slam balls and kettle bells.
Be sure to up the player to 1080HD for better video quality!
When it comes to the kettle bells and the slam ball, please make sure to bend your knees and lift them using your knees – not your back. Many people injure themselves before they even start because they hinge at the hip instead of bending at the knees and injure their back. That’s why I highly suggest seeking out a kettle bell class or workshop should to pick up one (or both) bells so you can learn proper form and execution.
You can’t improve your fitness if you are in bed with a messed up back!
And since I know you’re dying to know – yes I am wearing ACX active wear in the video! I’m seen wearing these ACX Yoga Leggings and this ACX Tank with Bra (I’m also wearing the matching ACX Sport’s Bra for additional support).
Giant Tiger not only will keep you looking cute while working out, but will help you build some serious strength with these additions to their ACX line. Be sure to check them out!
Ready to see what’s on this month’s Zumba release ZIN 61? It just arrived in my inbox and is ready for listening!
Pa’ Ponerte En On by Edward Sanchez D’RD – Merengue
I’m tragically behind on ZIN releases (as usual) so who knows when I’ll actually get to these songs, but without seeing the DVD I’m excited about at least a few of these songs!
Don’t foret to check out my Zumba page for all past ZIN and Mega Mix song lists, as well as lots of other Zumba goodness!
Sign up for my email list and grab FREE e-books right now! Sign up here: http://forms.aweber.com/form/34/1488906034.htm
Two of the most popular January resolutions are to get fit/get healthy and to save more/spend less. There is just something about the turning of the calendar year that makes us want to refresh our lives and get back on track. Which is awesome! And you know what else is awesome? Being able to pick up some cute active wear to help you feel inspired to workout (every girl knows, cute active wear makes exercising just a little bit more fun!) without breaking your resolution to spend less! Back last summer I had the chance to check out Giant Tiger’s ACX Athletic line for the first time, and I was super impressed. The cute tops, fashionable outfits and amazing prices really impressed me. Since then, the warm-up jacket I bought has become one of my favourite pieces, and I regularly wear the tanks and leggings as well. So when I was given the opportunity to check out the new line after Christmas I was really excited to see what they had in store this time around!
I was immediately struck by the gorgeous space dye patterns, and had loads of fun picking out pieces and trying them on. This was directly after Christmas, so I found myself going up a size in a few pieces to give a little extra *wiggle room* after indulging in some holiday fare, if you catch my drift… Just another reason to love this line. If you find you’ve gained a few pounds and need to pick up a few transitional pieces until you can comfortably fit in your usual fitness wardrobe, it’s nice to know you can do so without breaking the bank or feeling dowdy!
This outfit entirely came from the ACX line, but to be honest, I’m doubtful you’ll see me wear it to teach again. Why? Because this long sleeved shirt is the softest shirt I’ve ever owned. Complete with sleeves that are long enough for my long arms, and a length that fully overs my torso (which is a rare delight), this beauty is now a member of my everyday wardrobe. In fact, I just wore it yesterday. As for the black leggings, they are basic cotton spandex leggings, and I’ve been looking for a pair to have in my regular wardrobe so these fit the bill perfectly so have been upgraded out of the fitness dresser into my regular closet.
Seriously, if I wasn’t on my own save more/spend less rampage right now, I’d be going back to buy that long sleeved shirt in every other colour they have.
I’m also fully in love with this jacket
as I mentioned, I loved all the space dye prints that were available, and picked up a few other pieces in that print that will be surfacing in a future post. 😉 This jacket is like the one I got in the summer (the one I mentioned above is now one of my favourites), but this one is better, simple because of the colour/pattern. I’m so smitten. And cost wise, this was the most expensive thing I purchased, and it was $22. Such a good deal.
Finally I wanted to share that I picked up three of these ACX sport’s bras and I might go back for more. I find regular racerback sports bras really uncomfortable because they don’t allow you to adjust the shoulder strap. I have really muscular traps which means most sports bras dig in reallllly badly and leave me in pain, but these are a dream. I only use them for light exercise (yoga, strength training, seniors fitness), but that makes up a good portion of my weekly class schedule, so it was really nice to toss those other sports bras this past weekend and replace them. These also have removable soft cups, something my old Nike compression sports bras didn’t which makes them even better – and I no longer have to deal with the uni-boob in low impact situations!
If you or someone you know is in need of some cute, functional and super affordable fitness options, check out Giant Tiger. The pieces I’ve been wearing since last summer are still holding up well, and look every bit as good as some of my more expensive pieces.
Get fit, look cute, save more, spend less. Get it all done with one trip to Giant Tiger!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Giant Tiger’s ACX Athletics line. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and accurately depict how I feel.
January. The start of a new year, and for many the start of new (or renewed) fitness goals. But let’s be honest. Most of us are super busy, and finding the time for working out an hour a day just isn’t a priority or sometimes feasible. That’s where short, intense equipment free workouts rule.
As you all know (or if you are new around here, probably deducted from my blog’s name) I’m a fitness instructor, so I don’t have to worry about general movement or exercise. I get lots of that by doing my job. But the workouts I give my clients are meant to be their workouts – not mine. I purposely use light weights, and spend more of my (non-Zumba) classes walking around making adjustments and giving advice than I do, doing the actual workout. Because that’s my job. That means that I exercise, but I don’t get my own strength or yoga workouts in during classes. I have to find time to do those on my own. Which is exactly why I love Zuzka’s 15 minutes to fit workouts, and this book.
I’ve been following Zuzka since her days on BodyRock TV, and then her move to her own site. Back then I was teaching so many classes I couldn’t even consider doing my own workouts, so I watched them more for inspiration than anything. But now that I’ve made so many changes in my work schedule and got myself back on track after overtraining (which came from teaching so many dang classes!) I’m ready to incorporate my own regular workouts back into my schedule.
Short workouts are even more important to me now, both for the time factor but also because shorter, more intense workouts are less likely to spike cortisol levels, and someone recovering from adrenal fatigue like I am really wants to limit any unnecessary spiking of cortisol whenever they can!
This past weekend I sat down and read Zuzka’s new book “15 Minutes To Fit” cover to cover, and I was really impressed. It’s not your average workout book where you get your workouts, a description and that it. The first half of the book talks about Zuzka’s life, her journey to fitness, but also dives deeper uncovering the emotional side of living a healthy life, about being accountable, making habits, and nutrition to fuel your workouts.
I really appreciated her focus on whole foods rather than calorie counting. And yes, she runs a tighter nutrition ship (she avoids all processed sugars) than I ever will, her nutrition plan is still more forgiving than a lot I’ve seen in recent years.
I’m still allowing myself another week to re-adjust to teaching all my classes again (after having a light schedule the first half of December, and then having two weeks off over the holidays, my return to teaching 10 classes/week caused my usual fibromyalgia flair-up, so I want to make sure it is well behind me before adding anything else to my plate), but I plan to incorporate 2-3 of Zuzka’s workouts into my week. I think for the first round I might actual cut back and do 10 minute workouts. Since they are AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workouts it’s easy to cut the time back to 10 minutes without messing up the workouts. Then after I’ve completed all the workouts I may bump it up to the 15, or I might do a second round at 10 just for comparison purposes. 😉
If you are still looking for a program that will fit into your life, that you can do anywhere without needed a lot of space or expensive equipment, I would highly suggest Zuzka’s book. These are definitely challenging and high impact workouts, but most of the plyometric moves (like jumping lunges) can be modified for those who can’t or don’t want to do impact moves.
I wouldn’t suggest these if you are at the very beginning of your fitness journey. If a squat makes you squirm, then these workouts would put you in a full-on panic, but if you’ve been working out for a while – even casually, this might be just the challenge you need! And $27 for a full workout program – it’s hard to go wrong!
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Zuzka’s book free of charge; all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Happy Monday friends! I hope the week has treated you well so far.
I mentioned a few weeks back that I wasn’t sharing any particular goals for 2016, mostly because I wasn’t really making any. And that is true – to a point. I have a few personal and professional goals, but those really aren’t dependant on the calendar year, or worthy of sharing (for instance, I’m enrolled in a lot of online courses, so one personal goal is to finish one course/month).
But the other part of that is, I’m focusing a lot of my efforts this year on what I’m calling my soul goals.
Being self employed, and someone who gives out massive amount of her physical and emotional energy to others through their job(s), I feel like over the past 5 or so years I’ve worried to much about outside things, and left my inside a bit hole-y. And I think probably many of you have too.
I feel like many of us have created massive holes in our souls. Holes that we don’t realize are there until they are so huge it seems overwhelming to try and repair them.
Thats what 2016 is for me.
A time to try to repair my soul.
Don’t mistake me. I haven’t suffered a terrible tragedy. My life isn’t falling apart. My health is better than it has been in years. But that’s not the point is it? Shouldn’t we want to fix these types of things before they do create massive holes not only in our souls, but the souls and lives of those around us?
They are called preventative measures for a reason. Because they are meant to preventive something worse.
That’s what this is.
One day before Christmas I sat down with not a cup, but a teapot filled with tea. And I just sat there watching TV while I drank the whole thing. And I felt so calm. And relaxed. And happy. And I felt like I hadn’t felt that in way too long. I’ve always enjoyed tea but rarely took the time to really enjoy it. To make it a time for relaxation. To give my soul a breather.
Since then, it’s become a regular occurrence for me to have one or two teapots of tea each day. And for at least one of those, I sit there, doing nothing, just enjoying. And it has been amazing.
I’ve started putting my phone away more. Rarely using it at all in the evenings. This meant losing what is typically the most active time for me to post on Instagram (which means fewer likes, fewer followers, and fewer comments. And as a social media influencer that is always a concern). But I decided my life, my REAL life was more important. So I post earlier. I post less frequent. And my account hasn’t grown much since I’ve done that, but I feel better for it.
I’ve begun (finally) meditation on almost a daily basis. Something I keep meaning to do, but never doing. And now I am. Some days I am very present, some days I’m a million miles away – but as I tell my participants in classes, it’s the trying that matters.
Do I feel like I’ve made huge progress so far in 2016? I’m not sure I’d say that. But with each pot of tea, each evening spent without my phone, and each 3 minute meditation, I can feel the seams being sewn back together a little bit. The holes growing just a tiny bit smaller. My sense of contentment and inner peace growing just a tiny bit larger.
We in North America pride ourselves too much on being too busy, too over worked, too stressed, and too tired.
I’m done with that. I’m busy, I work, I get stressed and I get tired, but I’m also making a conscious effort to do the opposite too. To have more free time, work less, stress less and sleep more.
Because this year I’ve got soul goals.
What about you?