Mega Mix 53

You know it’s new music day if I’m posting twice in one day – that never happens otherwise, haha. Mega Mix 53 dropped yesterday so let’s take a look at what’s on this month’s release shall we?

Verano by Danel Batista {Merengue}

Quiero Verte Bailar by Jeison El Brother {Salsa}

Hasta el Amanecer  (Cover) {Reggaeton}

No (Cover) {Hip Hop}

Dale (Radio Edit) by Soldat Jahman & Luis Guisao feat. Kenza Farah {Dance}

La Cumbia Del Cucu by Papayo ft. Victoria “La Mala” {Cumbia}

La Vida by Arsenal {Soca}

Cheap Thrills  (Cover) {Pop}

Bolliyan by Mika, Shipra Goyal {Bhangra}

Dancing Kizomba by Alx Veliz {Kizomba}

Looks like that last one you’ll have to click through to YouTube to watch/listen to, but the song is there.

Anyway, there you have it – the new album for May 2016. I know they like to add pop songs now and again, and I do use them but it does seem a little odd to me that we’ve had 3 Meghan Trainer songs in the past year or so. Of course they need to get the rights to do a cover so maybe she is more willing to have a cover of her tunes than others. Either way I’m probably going to use No for a warm-up or something once I get my head wrapped around the idea of finding time to choreograph again!

Tags : ,

No Equipment, No Problem: Full Body Workout

Spring is one of the times of year where I find people start to feel more motivated to make some change in their life. Whether it’s because of the green grass and blooms when everything feels new again, the thought of summer being right around the bend or something else entirely, in my experience people make changes in the spring. And for many, those changes include fitness changes. In past years spring always meant the return to running for me (since I’ve always been a fair weather runner), for others that means cycling, outdoor sports or whatever! And for yet another group that means they want to find more time to spend outside with their family, and spend less time in the gym or working out.

That last one is where this post comes in! Because I’m taking the year off from running (aside from the odd 5K like the one I ran yesterday), my transition into spring training is all about short, fast, heart pumping workouts that build muscle while burning fat and helps to regulate cortisol levels. My friends at Sport Chek decided to help make the transition into spring a little bit easier with some new gear and were kind enough to make my fitness loving heart explode with new sneakers, capris, two tanks and a FitBit Blaze.

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Pictured above: Diadora Studio Lux Women’s Elastic Mesh Tank, Nike Pro Hypercool Capris (this colour not shown on website any longer), Under Armour Run Streaker Women’s Tank (in blue), Nike Free Run Distance Women’s Running Shoes, and the FitBit Blaze.

Because there are a few things that make working out a bit more fun (and yes, I too find it difficult to convince myself to exercise sometimes – even when it’s my job!), than new clothes and a fun new gadget to play with!

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

I already wrote about the Blaze last week and went on a few times about how smitten I am with it – and I really am! It’s such a cool little gadget. Yesterday in my 5K I wore both it and my Polar just to see how they compared, and I gotta admit the stats weren’t far off (max heart rate, average heart rate, pace, etc.). I think when it comes to serious heart rate training the Polar still wins for me as I like the chest strap and feel it is still a bit more accurate, but otherwise I’m all about the Blaze!

Anyway, back to my spring workout. Because I’m crazy, I decided not only to develop an 8-week exercise program for myself, I also packaged it into a virtual 8-week boot camp and have a bunch of clients participating as well! Misery loves company and all of that. 😉 And while my clients are now on week 3 (sadly I haven’t been able to participate for the past week as I am having some health issues), you can still get in on the fun with this quick  full body workout I’ve put together for you with some of the moves from my bootcamp workouts!

For this workout, you are going to do each move in order for the number of reps indicated, and then you are going to repeat the whole thing through 1 time. The plan is to time yourself, and to do each move as quickly as you can with good form. This is a workout you could ad into your workout rotation once/week for a few weeks and watch yourself get stronger and faster as the weeks go by! While they are quick, these workouts are also intense since you are going as fast as you are able (again – with good form) so no matter what your fitness level, you are pushing yourself.

For this workout you will be doing:

V Sit Dips

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Start from a seated position with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Sitting tall through your spine Contract your abdominals and lean back so that you are sitting in the spot between your sitz bones and your tail bone. If you find that it still bothers your tailbone, fold up an exercise mat and sit on that to give yourself a bit more cushion. You may leave your heels on the floor or lift them up for a more advanced option, this is your starting point. From here you will lean further back while extending your legs and then squeeze your core to lift back up to your starting position.

Prisoner Get Up

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Start in a laying position on the floor with your arms behind your head. Contract your core muscles and sit up. Next bend your left knee and press up onto it, then push through your heel and stand up. From standing, lower back down onto your left knee, then down into a seated position before laying back down on your back. Next time repeat leading with the opposite leg. If you need to modify the move, use your arms to assist you in getting up and down.

Push-Ups

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Starting from a full plank or kneeling plank position with your arms shoulder width apart, lower yourself down towards the floor as far as you can while keeping your body in one long line as you exhale. On the inhale press yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.

Curtsy Lunge Kick

no equipment? No Problem! This full body fitness workout will help you build strength, burn fat and regulate cortisol levels while helping you save time by not having to spend hours in the gym!

Standing with your feet hip width apart transfer your weight into your right leg as you step your left leg behind you into a curtsy. The weight in your left leg should be in your toes, and it is there primarily for balance with the bulk of your weight now in your right foot. Bend through your knee into a lunge and as you come back up to standing press through your right heel and squeeze your right glute and engage your abdominals as you lift your left leg and kick out to the side. then step back into your lunge and repeat. Once you’ve completed all reps on your right leg repeat on the left side kicking out with the right leg.

I’ve created a downloadable PDF for you to print off and take with you when you workout. You can download/print that by clicking HERE.

Thank you again to Sport Chek for helping me transition into spring training with some amazing new gear, all of the items I received are so light weight, they are going to make working out on those hot spring and summer days so much cooler – looking and feeling! If you are looking for some new gear to help with your transition into spring training be sure to check out Sport Chek in-store or online. And if you try out the workout above please let me know how it goes!! Those prisoner get up’s can be brutal!

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Sport Chek, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Tags : , , , , ,

FitBit Blaze {A Review}

A few weeks ago I received a FitBit Blaze as part of a project I’m working on with Sport Chek. This post is NOT part of that project. Because I have been asked many times both in person and on social media how I am liking the Blaze, I decided to write this post.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

When I first started talking with Sport Chek, they offered me either the FitBit Blaze, or the Alta. Despite the fact that the Blaze is now on my wrist, I initially requested the Alta. You see, I already have my Polar M400 and the TomTom Spark I got only a few months back so it seemed foolish to get yet another fitness watch. Especially since my Polar is still my preferred running training computer, and my TomTom is great for both teaching and long walks (since it has a built in music player and fits a bit more comfortably on my wrist). And then there is my regular non-fitness watch that I wear on the weekends and when I’m out. I just didn’t make sense to get another watch. Whereas the Alta was simply an upgrade from my FitBit Flex which I’ve been wearing for years regardless of which watch I had on the other wrist.

So why do I now have the Blaze? Because they sent it to me by mistake. When I opened the package and saw the Blaze I realized they had made a mistake, but seeing it in person I was also a bit like, “Ohhhhhhh, it looks so nice!!” So I did what any logical person in 2016 with an iPhone would do. I asked Google if I could have more than one FitBit attached to the same account. And the answer was yes. Not only that, but once you have two FitBit devices on your account it will detect which one you are using so you can switch from one to the other without having to do anything within the app or the website.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

That sealed the deal. I emailed them and said that I had received the Blaze, but now that I wanted to keep it. This way, those times when I wanted to wear a different watch I could pop my FitBit Flex back on without losing any of those precious FitBit steps. 😉

So I set it up and put it on, and took my Flex off. One thing you should know is that I wear my watch on my left wrist, and my FitBit was always on my right wrist, so moving to the Blaze meant for the first time in years I had a naked right wrist. That might not seem like a big deal, but in the past few years my fibromyalgia has started bothering my arm joints more than anything else so I regularly have wrist pain. That pain is often worse on my right side than my left (which is odd since I’m left handed), so having a bare right arm was immediately enjoyable.

I feel badly saying this, but since putting the Blaze on my wrist, I haven’t worn any other watches – including my Michael Kors watch, or put my FitBit Flex back on.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

The band is so comfortable, and it’s sporty while being stylish so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a clunky sports watch if I’m wearing it on on the weekend. I’m sure as time goes on I’ll start incorporating the others back into a rotation, but right now I’m pretty smitten.

The strap is flexible and comfortable. The size small on my tiny wrist fits snug without me putting it on the smallest setting.

After using the FitBit Flex for so long (which only has 5 lights that light up as your step count increases during the day) it was nice to be able to see exactly how many steps I have without having to open the website or the app on my phone. It’s also cool to have a constant heart rate reading. In the past I’ve poo-pooed wrist heart rate watches because they made you stop and put your fingers on a sensor to read your heart rate. I should have know technology had moved past that, and instead this uses LED lights to read your heart rate automatically. I’m sure they’ve been doing that for a while since I know the Force also tracks your heart rate.

It also explains what that flashing light I use to see when I took my TomTom off was, I guess I’m a bit slow to pick up on the LED heart rate tracking game. Anyway, if you have been wondering how these devices track your heart rate, that’s how.

The Blaze has some other fun features like FitStar which has pre-programmed workouts you can follow, a stopwatch and timer, alarms, workout tracking (which it really does automatically so I have yet to track an actual workout since mine have all been classes – but this would come in really handy during runs, bike rides, walks and whatnot).

Additionally, you can receive your texts messages and accept or decline phone calls right from your watch face which is fun – but remember your phone’s bluetooth must be left on in order for that to work.

fitbit blaze 24/7 activity tracker review

I have yet to try controlling your iPhone music right from the Blaze. Another instructor on Facebook mentioned that that is how she starts and stops (or skips) songs in Zumba and I think that is GENIUS. I don’t use my phone for my music in classes so that sweet idea won’t work for me, but it might for you!

As I mentioned bluetooth above, this is where I’ll put my one negative comment about the Blaze. In general I’m not a fan of leaving my bluetooth on 24/7. It drains my phone battery and I really don’t need to be updated on my wrist anytime I get a text message (which is pretty often). However, in the first week of using the Blaze, there were at least two times I turned my bluetooth on to sync my data and my phone couldn’t connect to the Blaze. In both those instances I ended up having to delete it from my account and re-adding it. Not a huge deal, but a bit of a pain in the butt. But that is a software issue, not a problem with the Blaze itself, and a couple days ago there was an update to the software so it’s possible this issue has already been addressed. In the meantime, I’ve been leaving my bluetooth on because it’s not very often that I am in a place where I cannot charge my phone throughout the day if needed.

So yeah, I’m pretty smitten with this little gadget. The battery lasts about 5 days on a charge, takes about 2 hours to recharge so I usually do it when I’m sitting at the computer working anyway. I’ve heard others complain that they found popping it in and out of the strap setting to charge seemed “flimsy” and that they were afraid they were going to break it, but I’ve not felt that at all. The watch frame is metal and it snaps in and out securely but not difficultly.

One of the reasons such a full featured unit can last so long in one charge (in comparison, my Flex lasts about 7 days) is partly because the screen goes to sleep when you aren’t looking at it. To turn the screen on you can tap the button on the side of the unit, but it will also automatically turn on when it senses you lift your arm or turn your wrist to look at it. It’s not perfect, but that works most of the time. That’s also why I don’t mind wearing it to bed since it doesn’t have a light shining all night long, plus it is easy for me to wake up and quickly look at the time without having to turn to my nightstand.

Is It Worth The Price?

That is going to be an individual decision based on your needs. If all you need/want is a tracker to see how many steps you are taking then one of the less expensive models will suit you just fine. If you want more functionality like the built in heart rate monitor, FitStar and some of the other features in a sleek watch styled unit – then yeah I’d say it’s worth $250.

I recently read this article where a man went to the ER and it was because they were able to look back at his heart rate reading via the FitBit app on his phone that they were able to quickly determine how to best treat him. Knowing that my husband has had heart issues in the past (he had to have an extra pathway in his heart ablated 1 1/2 years ago), this article really made me think about upgrading him to the FitBit Force or Blaze so that he could have that 24/7 heart info too in case he were to start having problems again.

And though I thought I didn’t think I cared about the heart rate monitor feature for myself, I’ve since changed my tune. As someone who has suffered from over-training syndrome and is still finding her way back to a fully healthy state from it, being able keep a watch on my heart rate to make sure my resting heart rate doesn’t do anything weird is important and I find myself checking in once a week to see whether my average resting heart rate is going up or down.

But if heart rate tracking really isn’t something that you feel you need to worry about, I’d go with the Alta because that aqua sure is beautiful! 😀

There you go – my FitBit Blaze review! I hope it answered some of the questions you might have about this cool new gadget.

Tags : ,

Three Foam Roller Exercises You Should Do Every Day

By now you’ve heard about foam rolling, if not from me then from someone else. And if you somehow have made it this far without ever hearing about it, here is a super quick crash course.

We all experience tension in our bodies whether it be from working at a desk, on an assembly line, exercise, sitting a certain way, from previous injuries, etc. When we experience chronic tension or tightness, adhesions form on muscles, tendons and ligaments which can cause circulatory issues, pain, limit range of motion and cause inflammation. Stretching cannot break up these adhesions, you need deep tissue work to break them up.

Most of us don’t have the funds or the time to go for daily deep tissue massages. At least I don’t! That’s why a foam roller can be your best friend. For a one-time investment that is less than one trip to the masseuse, you can buy a foam roller that will be able to start breaking up those adhesions and return circulation the affected areas right from the comfort of your home.

Now I won’t lie to you, deep tissue massage whether from a set of skilled hands or a foam roller is not a relaxing zen-like experience. It flipping hurts. Especially at first when those areas are so inflamed and sore to the touch. But the goods news is that like with the foot relfexology which I wrote about last week, it takes only a few sessions for the pain to begin to lesson.

In a perfect world we would all have time to spend a good half an hour or so foam rolling each day after a nice walk or workout to help break up those adhesions and prevent new ones from forming while providing the rest of our muscles with a nice relaxing message – but in case you hadn’t noticed, we don’t live in a perfect world. That is why today I want to show you the three foam roller exercises you can should be doing everyday, and they will take a total of about 10 minutes to do – so you can easily fit this in during commercial breaks of a 30-minute TV show.

The three foam roller exercises you should be doing every day.

(click the image from your desktop to pin for later)

I’ve chosen these three exercises based on my experience both personally and as a trainer as the foam roller exercises that are the most needed for the majority of the people I’ve coached.

In case you are wondering why you should listen to me, I completed a self-myofascial release programming course a few years ago so I do have professional training on this subject. 

Those three areas are the back, the ITB and the glutes.

Does it matter what kind of foam roller you use? Yes and no. If you are just starting out and have never foam rolled before, grabbing one of the less expensive foam rollers is a good place to start. The problem with those, is they are made of a lower density foam so over time will start to warp. My first foam roller now is compressed in the middle making look more like an hour glass than a cylinder.

The three foam roller exercises you should be doing every day.

My first foam roller and I having some quality time after a long run

What’s more, those less expensive rollers tend to be perfectly flat on the surface. You might wonder why that matters, well when you are foam rolling, remember you are working adhesions to improve blood flow. Yet when foam rolling with a roller that is flat on the surface, you are actually slowing blood flow even more as you “mush” (a very technical term there, haha) the foam roller into your muscles. When you use a foam roller with grooves and channels like the Trigger Point GRID, there are always areas where the blood can continue to flow and circulate while you are working. That makes it more effective, and the grooves and channels on the GRID are strategically placed to better mimic an actual massage.

The three foam roller exercises you should be doing every day.

The long narrow sections are there to mimic fingers, the wider section the palm, and in small squares you cannot see in the above photo mimic fingertips.

At this point is should come as no surprise that I highly recommend Trigger Point’s GRID Foam Rollers. I’ve had the original GRID for quite a while and love it so much. I had learned about the GRID at a fitness conference years ago, but never had the opportunity to try – and feel the difference – until I bought my own. The difference between it and my old foam roller is like the difference between night and day. It is so far superior I cannot even believe it.

And then last month Trigger Point sent me the new GRID X (pictured above) which is twice as firm as the original. Oh my gosh, once again – the difference is unbelievable. The GRID X is definitely a much firmer roller, and for that reason I would suggest starting out with the original GRID before upping the intensity.

Starting out you are going to find foam rolling painful to begin with as you first start to break up those adhesions, so you’ll want to do it with a less dense roller. Once you’ve worked out those initial areas and are starting to feel a bit better when rolling, then I would recommend moving up to the GRID X if you want to increase the intensity level.

In today’s video I’m going to be using the GRID X to demonstrate the three exercises, but the exercises will be the same regardless of which roller you choose to use.

It’s really important to remember to breathe while on your foam roller – resist the urge to hold your breathe! And if you find a spot that is really, really sore, only stay there for a couple seconds. Each time you roll it will get a little bit less sore and you’ll be able to stay there longer. And finally, make sure you can recognize the difference between muscular pain and mechanical pain. When using your foam roller you should expect muscular pain, but if the pain feels like it might be mechanical, stop what you are doing and be sure to consult a health care professional before returning to foam rolling!

In the coming months I am going to be releasing an “At-Home Fascia Release E-Course” which will provide a much more in-depth explanation on foam rolling, different exercises you can do with the foam roller and other fascia release tools. If you are interested in being kept in the loop about that e-course, be sure to sign up for my e-mail list!

Amazon.ca links:

Amazon.com links:

Disclosure: Trigger Point sent me with the GRID X foam roller free of charge, but I purchased the GRID with my own money and truly recommend Trigger Point rollers over others on the market. This post contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase through one of these links you are helping to support this site – thank you!

Tags : , , ,

Reflexology Made Easy With FootFixx

Did I ever tell you that back in my days as an office dweller, when my fibromyalgia was at it’s worst and I could barely make it through the day I took a course on reflexology? It was one of the first things I did on my journey to living a happier, healthier life. Was it life changing? I’m not sure about that, but I did learn a lot about my body and how I can help take better care of it through my feet. Anyway, reflexology is something that I realize I have stopped practising over the past 5 or 6 years, and it wasn’t until last month that I began bringing it back into my life. It all started when FlexFixx contacted me about checking out their FootFixx Massage Therapy tools.

FootFixx is a set of myo-fascial release and reflexology tools that allows you to easily release tension built up in your feet while at the same time reflexing the nerve endings in your feet that correspond with different parts of your body - all at once!

Because I am a huge fan of fascia release tools (especially ones made by Canadians!) I quickly said I would love to check out FootFixx. When it arrived they sent me their user guide along with the product, and it was inside the user guide I became re-invested in the idea of reflexology.

You see, the thing about practising reflexology on yourself is that it is pretty exhausting. I find it hard on the fingers and while my feet felt better afterwards, my hands were often left feeling sore and painful – definitely not the result you ultimately want. So while my initial interest in FootFixx was for fascia release, the idea that these tools could also provide reflexology treatments at the same time was a definite bonus! The very first night with FootFixx, I got out my reflexology manual so I could pin point all the super sore spots on my feet.  When I did I was amazed  that the spots on my feet that hurt the most, related to the parts of my body that had been giving me the most problems as of late. Those places being my back (spine) and stomach/intestines. I say I was surprised – and I was, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

The first few times I used the FootFixx balls I could barely put any pressure on probably 50% of my feet because they were sore and tender. I knew going into this that I had one area on my left foot that had “something” wrong with it, but I wasn’t sure if it was a pressure fracture or a fascia issue from wearing worn out sneakers. After only two or three sessions with the FootFixx balls that pain was gone. And as any fitness instructor can tell you, having a pain you fear is a fracture disappear is in itself a huge stress reliever!

FootFixx is a set of myo-fascial release and reflexology tools that allows you to easily release tension built up in your feet while at the same time reflexing the nerve endings in your feet that correspond with different parts of your body - all at once!

Now after a few weeks of using the system almost daily, I’m down to just a couple spots on each foot that are still really tender. These three balls have made a huge difference in my life and how my feet – and body feel in just a few short week. And those spots that are still tender are now primarily focused in my intestines, which makes a lot of sense as I typically have an IBS flair-up in the spring time.

But reflexology aside, FootFixx is wonderful for massaging tired, achy feet and helping to release that bunched up fasica. Not only does it provide three different options for relaxing and rejuvenating your feet, but it also is wonderful for people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, and other foot related ailments.

When the fascia in your feet are tight and bunched up, it can throw off your entire body. Envision an elastic that runs from your foot, up your leg, up your torso and down your arm. What happens when you pull at the elastic and tie it in a knot down at the bottom? It pulls everything else slightly out of place. That’s why sometimes you can have a pain in your hip and think there is something wrong with it, only to find out the problem is actually with your opposite knee. Or your hamstring is off because your pectoral is too tight. It’s all interconnected!

And while this is promoted as primarily for your feet, you can use them elsewhere for fasica release as well. Later this spring/early summer I am going to be releasing a fascia release & foam rolling e-course, in which I will teach you how to use these balls as well a couple other tools to help release full body tension and fascia! Be sure to sign up for my e-mail list if you want to be kept in the loop for that an other upcoming e-courses!

I’ve also found it to be really beneficial for my fibromyalgia. I can certainly tell the nights I use it from the night when I don’t. Last night I was feeling lazy and didn’t bother rolling out my feet before bed, and I spent all night tossing and turning because my arms and legs hurt so much. I can’t say for certain that had I used FootFixx that I would have slept better, but I know that on the nights I do use it, I tend to have a more restful sleep. Even if it’s a placebo effect, I’m quite content as long as I sleep!

As far as these types of massage and myo-fascia release tools go, FootFixx is definitely one of the more affordable and easy to purchase since it is sold on Amazon. For my US readers here is the direct link to their listing and for my fellow Canadians, you can order from Amazon.ca by clicking here.

But wait! The lovely folks at FlexFixx want to give my readers an even better deal so they are offering you all a coupon code for an additional 15% off your order! Simply enter the coupon code SUZIBLOG at checkout.

I hope you’ll consider checking out FootFixx, if you are active or spend a lot of time on your feet, you really owe it to yourself to take the time to take care of them. You never know, you might find that rolling your feet can cure some of those other body

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for FootFixx Massage Therapy. All opinions expressed above are 100% honest and entirely my own.

Tags : , , ,