Yes, you CAN workout on your couch – winning!

That’s right, I just made one of your favorite pieces of furniture a tool for fitness. WAIT! Don’t leave the page! This is just to show you that when ever you feel the need for a workout and its a rainy, cold, cruddy day, you can use this as an option to keep that body moving before cuddling in with popcorn, your puppies and a good movie!

Do each of these exercises for one minute and repeat as needed for a total body cardio and toning workout! As always, be mindful of any injury or condition you have and modify as necessary.

#1 The Squat

I heart the squat, it’s just full of awesome! So stand in front of your couch or chair and lean back like you are going to sit. Barely tap that booty and keep your knees above your shoelaces!

#2 Plank

Place your forearms on the cushy part of the chair or couch. Added benefit of a cushion is you have to work a bit harder to stay solid and keep a flat back. Keep that belly lifted and core tight!

#3 Lunges!

Elevate that back foot to add extra challenge to your lunge. The front leg is in a 90 degree angle with the knee aligned right over the ankle. Keep your back leg strong by engaging your glutes. Switch legs 30 seconds into the exercise.

#4 Elevated Push-Ups

Great core work as you stabilize on the cushion. Lower down keeping elbows in close to the body and back by your rib cage. Keep that belly lifted!

#5 & #6 Front lift/Side lift

Easy peasy, just lift your right leg to the front and side, avoid tapping the ground! Keep your foot flexed and a slight bend in the knee to protect the joint. Don’t lean too much on that chair or couch. Pat your hand on it throughout the minute to make sure you are challenging your balance! #6, switch to the left leg.

#7 Side Plank

Press up through that forearm and don’t sink into your shoulder. Lift your hips to the ceiling. For extra fun, lift your arm or top leg! Don’t forget the other side!

#8 Back leg lifts

Slight bend in your standing leg. Lift your back leg by squeezing your tush, not your low back. Use the couch or chair to help balance if you need. Think ballet dancer, they have amazing muscles! 30 seconds per leg!

#9 Decline push up

This is a boss of a push up. So only do this if you can keep your core tight and belly lifted. Also, keep those shoulders strong and don’t let gravity pull you down so your shoulder blades stick out. Press away from the floor and to lower, keep elbows tracking toward your rib cage!
Modification! Use the back of the couch or the arm and do incline push ups. You can also use the wall.
 

#10 Toe taps

Super quick and light on your feet! You can step and tap your toes on the cushion, alternating feet. Add a little hop in there for some extra cardio and calorie burning.

Rinse and repeat as desired! Don’t get down if you can’t do some of these moves, just find the ones that work for you and see how you improve over a couple weeks.

What do you think of this?! Leave your comments below! Or email me!

Potatoes and sparkles,

Britt

Perfection does not bring sparkles – a look at your decision to exercise

I’ve been challenged lately to slow down and take a closer look at my intentions for professional and personal situations. If you know me personally, you KNOW this gal doesn’t do slow down very well – at all.

If you are into those book things, I am gonna give a shout out to Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. This book is about how vulnerability is actually a form of courage and that striving for perfection is the antithesis of growth and achievement. Perfection is the defensive shield that we put up; an armor to hide us from what we really need to deal with in our lives.

Geeze Britt, getting deep here! Well, I write with a purpose friends 😉 Plus I feel that you can all relate to this in your lives. We want to be good friends so we say yes to lunches with a friend even though we are exhausted, we say yes to taking on more projects at work because if we say no, we may miss that next promotion. We then mask our insecurities and vulnerabilities and in the end, we are anxious, stressed, exhausted little humans. Then we come home and take the edge off with alcohol, or chocolate, or both! Or we indulge in our favorite meal or dessert because by golly we deserve it.

Brown sites another author, Jennifer Louden and her book The Life Organizer where she states that we have “Shadow comforts” that help us hid behind our shields. I enjoy a good piece of chocolate as a treat or to savor, but sometimes we gulp the whole king-size bar in an effort to soothe our anxiety. I LOVE watching Super Natural. It’s the dumbest damn show and has no point and jumped the shark like 12 times. But it’s my show and I heart it! Other times we find ourselves flipping through the 300 +channels trying to find something when we should be dealing with an issue.

Enter the fitness perspective. Way to bring it back Britt! We exercise and beat ourselves into submission with a HIIT workout or for five miles on a treadmill or stair-stepper. But are we doing that because we want to increase our strength and lose weight? Or are we shaming ourselves for MAYBE eating two full maple bars at work today?! Or we dislike our bodies so much that we lose ourselves in a single exercise session and wonder why we don’t feel better afterwards.

Louden makes a great point “It’s not what you do; it’s why you do it that makes the difference.” So why are we working out, are we shaming ourselves because we think we need to be thinner, stronger, sexier, leaner?! Or are we more focused on our hearts, the function of our bodies, and trying to prevent ourselves from illness.

Take some time this week and ask yourself why you are doing certain things. This isn’t a blame game here, more about mindfulness. Mindfulness when you eat, when you spend time with a loved one, when you choose what to eat, and how you exercise. Be mindful and forgiving because you are your worst critic!

I could write a novel but I really encourage those of you who are struggling with this exact thing to talk to family, friends and professionals. Life isn’t about shaming yourself into submission. It’s about living the best way you know how, staying present and mindful of every decision you are making.

Since that was an emotional journey, here is a funny kitten video to bring you back to happy!

Much love and extra sparkles,
Britt

Enjoy the ride – and find out how horses do push-ups!

By know you have all been on a journey. A ride through life, career moves, relationships, personal goals – and we sit here today knowing we’ve accomplished a lot in our years on this earth. But when we look back, are we happy or even content with how we got here?

I’m super guilty of this, I know I want to achieve a certain goal, so I go balls-to-the-wall and push myself until I get there! I plow over friends who want to help because they aren’t moving fast enough or maybe I just want to do it my own way DAMMIT! We do this with exercise sometimes.

“I want to lose that last 10-15lbs, so I’m going to do the most intense work outs and run five miles a day until I get there!” So how long does that last eh? You start Monday with a 20-minute routine of burpees, pull ups, jump lunges and sprints. Probably not very long before you injure yourself or get exhausted because you are falling under the caloric intake you need to be doing super intense activities.

Take a breath (yes, I breath a lot in blogs)

You are not alone, many of us have a drive to hurry up and get to the end result. When we do that, we gloss over the learning opportunities, the points where we are vulnerable and could really use an extra minute to examine that. So when you exercise for the first time in a while and your legs just won’t move and your push-ups look more like a baby horse trying to stand for the first time, you feel poopy -Or maybe you realized Nickelback isn’t the best choice for music motivation (watch the video link and that will make sense) –  

You say to yourself “why can’t I do this?! I used to be able to do 20 push-ups or I used to be able to run a mile and not stop”

Step 1: Stop the negative self-talk. Just because you are at a different place in your fitness goals does NOT make you a bad person. But we go there right? Some people actually think they are horrible at life sometimes because we can’t do what we label as simple. So the next time you are comparing yourself to your old self or even someone else, do me a favor, and lift your head up. Seriously, take a break from reading this amazing tale and lift your chin up and roll your shoulders down and back. Hard to say hurtful or bad phrases to yourself when you stand like you do when you have confidence in yourself. –

Step 2: Enjoy your journey. So what if you can’t do a single push-up?! Start one step back. Maybe you do push-ups on your knees or elevated on a chair or wall? Ace 10-15 of those and then move through the next options. When you see yourself progress over the weeks, you will only fill that flask of confidence (yes, you need a flask for your confidence).

Step 3: Learn to appreciate your journey. Instead of judging yourself for where you fall on the fitness spectrum, celebrate when you advance through an exercise with small modifications or increasing the number of repetitions or amount of time you do a certain exercise. Celebrate that you are feeling better about yourself when you take time for YOU. And share your story with your friends and loved ones so you have accountability partners to support you on your journey.

*Special note! Free workout videos coming in December!*

Love and baby colts,

Britt

www.britt.fitness

britt.fitnessmail@gmail.com

And we’re back! Back to the basics

Hello lovelies! We are all moved in to our new home, well, all of the boxes are here 😉 Dogs don’t know what to do with three times the size of a back yard and I’m getting used to not hearing my neighbors conversations from my living room! WEEEEE!

Thank you for your patience, I know you’ve been itching for the latest installment of awesome so here we go. Let’s get back to the basics.

I’ve been reading, you know, in all that spare time I have, about the fundamentals of exercise and why basic body weight exercise is SO incredibly important.

Say you want to start an exercise program and get stronger, leaner, or build muscle. All of these you need to be able to move your body correctly before you EVER add a weight. Too often we head to the gym and see someone squatting with 25lbs on each side of the bar and we judge our ability to do the same based on the size, age, and build of the person we are watching. That’s a no no friends.

Even the most advanced weight lifters start with practice rounds before they add weight. You should too! Want to learn to squat like that? Start sitting. No wait I’m being serious! The best way to learn to squat is to slowly sit down in your chair with no hands but before you hit the seat, squeeze that tush like you’re holding in a toot and stand back up! TADAH, the proper squat. Knees should never go in front of your shoelaces and always start with the booty back, then bend at the knee. You will set yourself up for more success if you get the basic move down first, then progress.

Speaking of progress, that doesn’t always mean adding weight. You can progress from the squat to a single-leg squat, commonly called the pistol squat. Yea, its intense, but it is a true show of strength if you can pull off a one-legged squat! Check out one of my favorite groups, the Buff Dudes explain the pistol squat!

Curious about this stuff? Email me and check back in January for our foundation videos that will show you the basics of exercises.

Love and sparkles,

Britt

Vacation workouts, oxymoron?!

So we’ve had some wonderful news, we bought a house and the loan is approved! – No Nebraska friends, we aren’t moving back to the Good Life- So that means chaos and craziness for the next few weeks, because we’re throwing in a pre-planned vacation too 😮

That means no weekly fun stories for about two weeks #sadface. 

But let’s have a good thought today. So what happens to you when life happens and you need to take a vacation or time off? Does your body completely crumble if you take a break from working out? Studies show that going from being active to total couch potato can effect your metabolism in as little as five to seven days, and some say you can completely de-condition from any training in only two weeks.  PANIC!!

Sometimes you need to breathe! Its alright to take a day or a few days off of intense workouts, lifting or running. But no matter where you go on vacation or staycation, try to stay active. That means go find new places by taking a short walk. Maybe they have a trampoline house for adults in town, go check it out! Enjoy shopping? Take a few laps around the mall to check out all the stores before going into one. Or just go to the Buckle, you’ll burn calories trying on the 1,000 outfits the clerks bring you!

Best idea – Google my mentor Adriene Mishler and her FREE Yoga with Adriene videos. These are free videos of short and awesome yoga poses that keep your body energized and strong. 

So take a break! Relax! Worse than skipping a workout is spending the rest of the day or week beating yourself up about it. So take your arms, give yourself a hug, now look in the mirror at how silly you look! Or better yet, snap a selfie and send it to me! britt.fitnessmail@gmail.com (You may need someone to take the photo of you I guess, hard to selfie when hugging)

Love and EXTRA sparkles, 

Britt

The tortoise and the hare…

So I was working out with some folks this week and life had gotten to them, they were tired and stressed from the day. Sound familiar?! So we started an exercise and they were really picking up the speed. “That way we get done faster right, like those 10 minute workouts!” – not exactly

Want a good quick workout? Then think slow and steady! Hang tight, this will make sense soon. 

Often we find ourselves using momentum when doing exercises like bicep curls, leg extensions, squats, you name it. But that momentum is just using a couple muscle groups and the other helper muscles are kicking back and reading a nice book. To wake them up and get a more effective work out, slow your movements down. 

Think of three counts up, pause, and three counts to return to the starting position. 

“But that’s harder Britt!” Well, yes. It can be more difficult at first because you are recruiting those book worm muscles that often relax because of their overcompensating big muscle partners. Lets get these guys to be friends and work together. By slowing down, you not only do the exercise in better form, but you are being more effective with that move. Fewer moves done correctly is better than 20 repetitions done by swinging your limbs!

Wanna procrastinate whatever it is you are supposed to be doing? Check out this great article about myths of short workouts. Remember, if you don’t do ANY activity, 10 minutes of movement will benefit you greatly. But if you are looking to really get into good cardiovascular shape, 10 minutes a day may hurt more than help. 

So take a breath, shoulders down away from your ears, and slow down. You’ll get done in about the same amount of time and have a WAY better result from your exercises. 

Love and sparkles, 

 

Britt

Do high intensity workouts really work?

We all look for that quick answer to fitness and fat loss. That promise came with these amazing high intensity interval training or high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. 

From what I’ve read, a Japanese scientists Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo are credited with discovering this program. The design is simple, do 20 second intervals of an exercise at your near-maximal effort with a 10 second rest period in between. Do this for 16-20 minutes with various exercises. 

Dr. Tabata and the researchers did some sciencing and found that the group that did the high-intensity workout during their testing period. The group that trained using the tabata method showed greater improvements in both aerobic and anaerobic systems. In other words, that sh*t worked. 

So enter time crunched and stressed out Americans! We can work out 20 minutes a day for 2 or 3 days and be in shape?! SWEET! 

The big BUT in this theory is having the conditioning to enter this very high-intensity workout in order to not only gain benefits, but avoid overtraining and injury. Other sciencing people found that this repetitive workouts can predispose people to overtraining, especially working out at levels of maximimum effort. 

Britt, get to the point, do I do HIIT or what?! Yes and no! 🙂  So here’s the deal.

1) FORM Take some time to evaluate your form. Lots of folks to squats, lunges, burpees, etc, but doing them incorrectly, especially in a high intensity capacity, will most often lead to injury. So -shameless plug- make sure to check out my foundation videos coming this fall. 

2) CONDITIONING My personal recommendation is that you don’t go from couch – or office chair- to tabata training directly. Give yourself a couple weeks to get active and moving again. Work out 4-5 times for 30-60 minutes getting to a point where your body anticipates the movement instead of going “what the hell are you doing to me!” Then start to incorporate low impact moves in a tabata style. 

3) WARM UP COOL DOWN – just don’t, don’t skip this! I used to skip the cool down and then always wondered why my muscles were mad at me. It’s not about just avoiding in jury, its about stretching your muscles so they are connecting to the brain parts you got so they are working more efficiently! You want to feel like a muscle car but run like a Prius …er..something. 

To be clear, I am not knocking tabata or HIIT training, I love it! Just want you all to be careful and realize it is not a secret way to only work out 20 minutes and then go back to your desk or couch 🙂 

With love and sparkles

Britt

A beer, a blog, and respect

So I had this idea to start a fitness website where people could come and find out how they can be fit and exercise in the comforts of their own homes. Ten FAST months later, here we are! And I tell ya, going from sitting at a desk all day to working out with amazing people like you is exactly where I want to be! Ok ok, wearing yoga pants all day ALSO has its advantages. #winning

This is just a short opener to what will become weekly posts on topics that interest you the most. Do high intensity work outs really work? Will weight training make my booty look big? Can I really exercise with my kids and that counts as a workout?! 

If you’ve browsed the website already you’ve noticed that I have a sense of humor – a gift bestowed upon me when I was young (right mom?) – and I use that humor to break the stress that we often place on ourselves to be better, stronger, thinner, and instead, suggest visiting exercise from a place of love. 

CHEESY ALERT! Yea but its true. So many programs out there really get you to push HARD and that being sore for three days is a good thing. That may work for some, but here I focus on treating our bodies with respect. If you respect yourself, you make better decisions for yourself. 

I know, you just paused to look at the title of the blog again and are like, “Hey LADY, you said beer!”  So I sat down with a delightful IPA to write this, my first blog post! 

This isn’t about how to work out and still be able to drink beer and eat double bacon cheeseburgers. If that’s what you want to do, I’m here to help you find what a real fitness plan looks like for you. Do you really want a six-pack abs? Then those cheeseburgers will have to have make fewer appearances in your weekly schedule. And so will that IPA. This isn’t about restricting, just adjusting to what your real fitness plan looks like. I know I love beer – LOVE beer- so I found what works for me and that’s meals that balance protein, carbs and healthy fats. I won’t be washing any close on my abs anytime soon, but that is the balance I choose for the life I want to live. 

So respect your bod everyone. Love it, cherish it, it gets you up in the morning, it takes you to your favorite spots in town, it listens to your favorite song or holds your favorite person. Be kind to yourself. 

With love and sparkles, 

Britt