Summer “Spot-Toning” playlist



From the Fit-Bottemed Girls blog:

If you didn’t already find yourself in a bathing suit overMemorial Day weekend, well, let me break it to you. Swimsuit season is already underway, and you should feel good about strutting that fit bottom in a bikini. Or sporting a super trendy cover-up. You know, whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Even the most confident among us likely have areas we like better than others, and while overall fitness isalways the main goal, we aren’t going to pretend that there aren’t times when we’d like to tone just that one spot—you know, get our shoulders totally tank-top ready or make sure our booties are in short-shorts shape.

So, we’ve put together a body parts summer playlist to help you hit all those spots you want to tone up. Musical motivation is always helpful, right?

Shape-Up Body Parts Summer Playlist

1. (3:32) This Ain’t a Scene (It’s an Arms Race), Fall Out Boy. Get the burn going in your arms to this song. Mix it up with reps of biceps curls, triceps extensions, flies, shoulder presses…you get the idea.

2. (5:27 for the album version, 3:44 for the radio edit) My Humps, Black Eyed Peas. You’ve got the lovely lady lumps, so let’s work ‘em in this song! Get in some squats and lunges to shape up the humps, and hit the pec deck to work those lumps. (Did we get that right?)

3. (4:04) Die in Your Arms, Justin Bieber. Is it hot in here, or are we just getting Bieber fever? His recent singleis catchy and gives you four whole minutes to work your upper limbs. What’s not to love?

4. (4:12) Booty Wurk, T-Pain featuring Joey Galaxy. There’s no question what we’re working on this song, right? Of course, you do get bonus point for popping the proper side when you hear, “Left cheek, right cheek, left cheek, right cheek.” We recommend practicing that move at home. Alone.

5. (4:39) Cold Shoulder, Adele. While we love Adele, her songs aren’t always in our workout music rotation, but “Cold Shoulder” has a good beat and, of course, fits the theme. How about throwing in a few pull-ups and maybe a plank?

6. (4:36) Legs, ZZ Top. We know you’ve got legs (and know how to use them), so we say kick it up a notch tothis song with some single leg step-ups onto a bench or box. You’ll feel like you’ve earned those short-shorts by the time this song ends, we promise.

7. (4:02) Big Ole Butt, LL Cool J. Hey, if a big ol’ butt is good enough for the sexiest rapper-turned-actor, like,ever, well, who are we to argue? Build that booty up (and channel a little LL Cool J) with some kickbox-style side and back kicks during this song. It won’t make it big, we swear. Just shapely.

8. (3:31) Dirt off Your Shoulder, Jay Z. Yes, more shoulders. We know, but believe us, strong shoulders are sexy shoulders. Work ‘em hard by alternating medicine ball throws with arm circles during this track. Remember, exercises like planks and push-ups also work the shoulder muscles.

9. (3:39) Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean. You know what? You’ve done enough weight work. Let the music take over and shake those hips (and whatever else you feel like shimmying). It certainly worked for Shakira, so we say, dance away!

10. (3:19) Hands, The Ting Tings. Take a few minutes to stretch out with this ditty. Let your hands lead your body as you stretch forward and to the side; make sure to stretch those upper arms and shoulders, anddefinitely give your thighs and booty a solid stretch. Strong and toned is awesome, but not if you can’t walk the next day!

How’s that for a fun summer playlist? What body part-toning appropriate songs would you add? Let’s hear ‘em! 

5 Pre-Run Poses for Better Running

yoga - run

Whether you’re donning your first pair of trail kicks or training for your fifth marathon, adding a little yoga to your routine is a great way to amp up your run. Seattle University Village store ambassador, Erin Jasmine Taylor, shows us a five-minute, pre-run Jasyoga sequence that will help warm you up, align your stride and prevent injuries.

five pre-run poses to warm up your engine

For maximum benefit, complete the entire sequence in order and hold each pose for 5–10 deep breaths, engaging the muscles you need and relaxing the ones you don’t.

interlace and fold

opens chest and shoulders, stretches hamstrings

• start by standing hip-width apart. On your inhale, bring your arms overhead.
• exhale as you reach your arms out and back, interlacing your fingers behind you—use a strap or towel between your hands if it’s a struggle. Take a few breaths here to broaden the chest.
• fold forward, taking your arms up and overhead, keeping bend in your knees.
• shake out your head and relax your neck. Eventually release the interlace and drop your hands toward the ground for the last few breaths.

high runner’s lunge

(from forward fold)

trains the knees to stabilize, strengthens and lengthens stride

• take a long step back with your left leg and come into a lunge with your front knee at 90 degrees, tracking directly over the ankle.
• keep your back leg straight and your front knee stable over the ankle as you raise your arms overhead.
• find your balance, relax your neck and shoulders and breathe deeply—think less effort and more ease!

high runner’s lunge with side bend

(from high lunge)

lengthens side body, stretches top of the IT band and improves balance

• place your right hand on your right hip, bend your torso to the right and reach your left arm overhead and to the right—stretching the left side of your body.
• remember to keep that right knee stable over that ankle!

warrior III

(from high lunge)

strengthens ankles, legs, core and improves proprioception

• balance on your right leg and lift your left leg behind you as you drop your torso parallel to the ground.
• keep your arms out like airplane wings, or reach them forward.

low lunge twist

(from warrior III)

stretches hips and twists spine

• step your left leg back into a lunge, dropping that knee to the ground and releasing your hands to the ground.
• put your right hand on your right thigh as you rotate your chest to the right, while keeping your left hand on the ground.
• reach your right arm up and look skyward.

and repeat…

Return to your standing forward bend and repeat poses 2–5 with the opposite foot forward…

Now you’re ready to get sweaty and hit the ground running!

Erin Jasmine Taylor is the owner and head coach of Jasyoga, a mobile yoga studio that helps athletes around Seattle—from rec soccer players to NBA basketball players—find their flow. Special thanks to Nate Burgher for all the amazing photography!

Time for change

Saturday night I ran (well, completed) the National Capital 5K race. It was pathetic. I ended up walking half of it because of a cramp and finished in 34:08. I’m embarrassed by this sad performance and never want this to happen again. As I was walking the course, I kept thinking about failure and how everyone in the race was motivated, excited, determined and ready to run. I was not.

I was humiliated, wanted to hide, and kept thinking about my wonderful, and generally supportive boyfriend making fun of me because his 65 year old Mum with osteoperosis can run faster than me. Of course he didn’t make fun of me, but I could hear it in my head. I also thought about “The Biggest Loser” and how there are these determined individuals who are excessively overweight, but with training and support they are able to accomplish great things, including running a 5K with far less effort and pain than me. I’m not overweight and I’ve always been fairly active and able to compete in athletic challenges, but I realized on Saturday that it isn’t about your size, it’s about your preparation and actually being committed to achieving a goal.

I was not prepared, committed or ready for anything on Saturday, but I’m going to change that. This blog is about seeing a difference. I’ve posted my first failure, but I’m ready to get back on track and actually achieve something. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading about the Paleo life and diet and have been waiting for the right time to try Mark Sisson’s 21 day Total Body Transformation. I’m not one for fad diets (or any diets) but I like the principles of this one. I will try to keep track of the changes I’m making and post them. First things first, I need to purge all the crap from my cupboards and fridge. Second, I will see what kind of fitness goal I can make, measure, and achieve in 21 days.

Race #1 – National Capital Race Weekend is here!

A few years ago I signed up for my first 10k race. It was Ottawa’s National Capital Race Weekend and it was the most exhilarating experience of my life. I felt like a superstar with crowds of family, friends, and running enthusiasts lining the streets to cheer each runner on across the finish line.

I think the greatest part of the experience was the energy from the spectators. It didn’t matter if you were running the 5k, 10k, half marathon, or full, people were cheering for you! For a moment I felt like a superstar and it was a feeling I never wanted to forget. I also decided I wanted to keep running. There was a high like no other and I decided I could really get used to this… I can see how people turn to running, like addicts turn to heroine.

This was probably 8 years ago and a lot has happened since then. A torn ACL and surgery, stress fracture in my ankle/shin, broken collarbone and dislocated ribs have all let me to the conclusion that maybe soccer isn’t the best sport for me as I age. I’ve also had a baby and look for things that I can do with my little girl that will be fun, keep me active, and inspire her to want to be active too.

So, here I am, ready to run!

Well, almost ready… I feel a level of shame or weakness because it’s only a 5k. I don’t feel like this is any great accomplishment, but also know that there will be some 6 year old out there on the run who will pass me. Originally I wanted to run the 10k – that would feel good to me, something to be proud of – but I didn’t sign up soon enough and it was sold out. Mind you, I’m not sure the 10k would have been a good idea knowing what I know now. I haven’t really trained – I haven’t even run in the past month! My original goal was to train so I could finish the 5 in 27 minutes… but life and laziness got in the way. I can’t imagine what I’d be thinking right now if I was supposed to run a 10 on Saturday!

Despite some of my worries, I’m excited to feel the energy of the crowd again. I’m ready to run my guts out, and hope I can push myself to finish in a respectable time. It has been a few years since I’ve done Race Weekend and I hope it will be what I need to fuel my spirit and make me want to do more. When I see motivational posters and quotes about running, I want to be that person with sweat running down my face, or the beautiful skyline ahead of me. Fingers crossed this will be my motivation to get back into something I love.

Research proves that lack of sleep leads to weigh gain. We reveal the 5 reasons why.

I’m exhausted and haven’t been posting for a couple of weeks. I’ve hit a wall in everything but the day-to-day things with work and getting stuff done around the house. I had a great long weekend and was incredibly productive getting work done in the garden, cleaning the house, and relaxing with friends, but I’ve completely lapsed with any kind of physical activity. I’m hoping to turn a corner this week…. starting with a little beauty sleep 🙂

I took this from Micah LaCerte’s newsletter and it really speaks to me… especially today:

Everyone has heard the term “beauty sleep.”  But is it all just a myth?  Can you really look more “beautiful” by sleeping more?  As a matter of fact, yes.  Getting more sleep has been proven to help men and women everywhere lose weight and look younger.

In a 7-year study of 7,022 middle-aged people, Finnish researchers found that women who reported sleep problems were more likely to experience a major weight gain (defined as 11 pounds or more!).  But why does this happen…and more importantly, how can you avoid it?

When you sleep less you will…

  • Burn less fat: Lack of sleep actually makes our bodies burn less fat during the day.  When you don’t sleep as much, you do not have the same amount of energy expenditure (the calories you burn by just being).
  • Eat more often: In research conducted by the American Heart Association, women who got only 4 hours of sleep a night ate 329 calories more the next day than women who slept 9 hours.  Not only do you have more time to eat, but you also are more prone to do some late-night snacking when you do not go to bed at an appropriate hour.
  • Crave more: Sleep greatly impacts your hormone levels.  Insufficient sleep raises the levels of ghrelin (the hormone that tells you went to eat!).  When you sleep less, you’ll eat more—it’s just how our bodies function!
  • Hang on to more fat: Lack of sleep actually affects the kind of weight you lose.  The more sleep you get, the more fat you will lose (not just pounds!).

How can you bring out your inner-Sleeping Beauty?  We have 5 awesome tips to whip you into the shape of your life and help you catch up on sleep at the same time.

1)      Wear yourself out!

Obviously, one of our favorite ways to get a good amount of sleep is to tire yourself out before the end of the day.  How?  Go on a run, lift weights, take the stairs at work or take the dog on an intense walk.  Burn off that extra energy you have before you go to sleep and you’ll be zonked out in no time.

2)      Create a sleeping environment

When the TV is blaring, the windows are open and you’re not under your covers, you are less likely to fall asleep.  Set the right environment for sleep.  Try to limit your bedroom activities to sleeping—don’t get on your computer in bed, don’t turn on the TV, don’t sort the mail.  Hang dark curtains to keep sunlight out.  Keep it cool and quiet.

3)      Keep the TV off

Many of us are in the habit of watching TV before we go to bed.  TV is bright and sometimes wakes us up more than helps us fall asleep.  Instead of turning on the tube, do some crunches, read a few chapters of a book or journal before going to bed.

4)      Find your routine (and stick to it!)

Be firm with your sleeping routine.  Try giving yourself a set schedule (be in bed by 10:00, lights out by 10:30, wake up by 7:00).  To start falling asleep earlier, try putting yourself to bed a half hour earlier every week.

5)      Wake up earlier

Oh the dreadful buzz of the alarm.  Yes, it would be nice to snooze an extra 30 minutes…or you could get up and get your day started.  The earlier you wake up, the faster you’ll fall asleep that evening.  It’s all about discipline, people!