Winter Warm Up Circuit

Hello all my fit peeps!

It is COLD today…..so where I live that is considered anything under 50 degrees :) It’s actually in the 30′s here and plans to stay that way ALL DAY, which is insane.

Today, I have a quick circuit for you to do in the warmth of your own home (unless you want to show off your new workout clothes at the gym) that will ignite your major muscles, heat up your core, burn body fat and have you feeling FABULOUS in this cold weather.

What you will need:

  1. Dumbbells are something of the heavy variety (large canned goods, water jugs, pets, children, etc.). Make sure that the weight challenges you.
  2. Something to step UP on to. You can use that fancy step you bought in the 80′s OR you can use stairs, a coffee table, or even your couch (no shoes for that one).
  3. A stopwatch or Tabata Timer. I use the Tabata APP

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This circuit consists of 8 exercises total and you will repeat the circuit 3-4 times (4 for more advanced).

Set your timer (or check your stopwatch) for 40 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

Take 5 full minutes to WARM UP. Jog, jump rope, do some arm swings, warm up your hips and shoulders….never work out cold, even short workouts.

The Workout:

  1. Stiff Legged Dumbbell Dead Lift
  2. Wide Legged Dead Lift with Bicep Curl at the top
  3. Alternating step up (more advanced, use dumbbells)
  4. High Knee Jog
  5. Walk Out Pushup
  6. Chest Press with Bridge Hip Lift
  7. Plank with opposite arm/leg extension
  8. Squat with a Shoulder Press

Work as hard as you can (with good form) through each exercise. Your 10 seconds of “rest” will allow time to get ready for the next. Allow yourself 30-60 seconds to recover (drink water, BCAA’s) in between circuits.

By the time you’re done, you’ll be nice and toasty PLUS you will have burned through breakfast :)

Enjoy and let me know how you do in the comments below!

Michelle

After2

P.S. Would you like to see real-time workouts like the one listed above on video? Tell me in the comments and we’ll see about making that happen. Real Time workouts you can follow along with to reach your goals!

 

My Fivesse Bag Review

Ladies! I have a treat for you!

As many of you know, I attended the first annual Blogfest this August. Well, being one of the lightning round speaker, the sweet girls at Fit Approach hooked us up with some goodies. One of my favorite goodies was a beyond fabulous gym bag from Fivesse.

You may not have heard of Fivesse, so let me get you in the loop :) You’ll thank me.

Fivesse is a female owned biz (I’m not against the men, but HOORAY!) and caters to women with gym bags that are fashionable and functional for all that extra stuff we all carry. Let me introduce you to the masterminds behind this wonderful brand (and stay tuned to the bottom for some exciting news!).

Susan & Nancy are sisters who have a passion for pretty things, gorgeous fabrics, and fine

handbags. They love to workout and show their style in everything they do. They believe that

life is better when you feel organized, and also that you should always surround yourself

with things that make you smile.

Both working moms and avid exercisers, they found there was a need for a fitness bag that

not only shows a sense of style, but that also has a sense of organization and functionality.

Their idea was to create the “anti-tote” gym bag. First, they wanted a bag that did not look

like a typical gym bag, but more like a designer handbag with a beautiful shape, in cheery

patterns and colors. Second, they wanted a bag that was more organized and personalized

in size and shape to an individual’s fitness routine.

So came the idea for Fivesse. Organized and smart on the inside, good looking on the outside.

They truly hope that their custom patterns and on-trend colors will make you smile,

while their bags’ organization and ergonomics will help you feel organized and confident.

Shine on, ladies!

You’re ready to see it now right?

fivesse_NYjan'14

Fivesse offers a variety of bags to meet any need you fit ladies may have:

Introducing Fivesse gym bags, a revolutionary fitness accessory made by women for women. Nancy Apatov and Susan Johnson believe life runs better when you feel organized and smart on the inside and good looking on the outside. They saw a need in the marketplace when they couldn’t find a bag that could keep their items organized throughout the day, and had a look that projects their personal style.

The first collection of bags consists of the Home-Gym-Work bag, which is available in four patterns, an attachable garment bag, and the Home-Gym-Home bag, also available in four patterns. All bags feature individually labeled pockets to keep each item in its place, an ear bud wrap to keep cords tangle-free, a hidden valuables pocket to keep items safe, and a separate laundry bag for sweaty clothes post workout.

The larger of the two bags, The Home-Gym-Work bag, is perfect for the career woman on the go as it will hold all the essentials needed for a busy day ahead. This bag retails for $124. The garment bag attaches to the back of the Home-Gym-Work bag and retails for $64.

The Home-Gym-Home bag is a smaller version featuring back straps to easily attach a yoga mat, and it retails for $99.

The name, Fivesse, is inspired by the Japanese philosophy “5S” – when everything is organized and in its proper place, life just runs better.

Sort, Store, Systemize, Sustain, so you can Shine.

For more information on Fivesse bags, including retail information, please visit www.fivesse.com.

I actually got a gym membership just so I could tote mine around…true story. And I’m loving it! It’s easy to store things (even though my contents aren’t all that girly) and it keeps shoes, soggy sweat towels, water bottles and car keys separate. It’s a no-brainer organizational tool for the girl on the go…who also wants a six-pack and a nice butt. I found that the straps are just the right length to carry comfortably, as opposed to regular long gym bag straps that cause your bag to hit you on the backside every other step and make you limp like Forrest Gump after getting shot in the buttocks….who wants all that awkwardness?

I promised awesome news, so read on:

Breast Cancer Awareness Blog Posts – Pink bags giving back 5% of October sales to Breast Cancer Research

Fivesse, the fitness bag concept that combines functionality and fashion for the woman on the go will be donating 5% of sales during the month of October to breast cancer research. The fun and feminine bags were developed based on the Japanese philosophy of operations and organization…providing women with a stylish bag they can be proud to carry while also keeping each element of their day organized which in turn leads to a happier day.

  1. Anything that you may want in a fitness bag has its specific place and holder, including a secret pocket for valuables and a place for dirty clothes.
  2. The Fivesse garment bag is available to attach to the back of the Home Gym Work bag to avoid wrinkling your work clothes.
  3. For the yogi out there, the Home Gym Home bag contains straps on the bag for all yoga mats.
  4. Each pocket and area of the bag is labeled so nothing gets misplaced.
  5. The bags are designed with a feminine touch to combine fashion with fitness and with function.

That totally qualifies as shopping for a cause! So get to clicking, browse through and purchase a Christmas present that will spur healthy new habits AND maybe just save a life.

To your health,

Michelle

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#IdeaWorld #Blogfest here I come…yikes

Hey ya’ll!

I am writing from my office upstairs while my self-tanner tries to feel a bit less tacky…:) Hey, it makes me feel better.

The past few days have been filled with hustle while we get ready for the next week. What’s happening? Thank you for asking! A few months ago I was chosen as one of the featured bloggers for the very FIRST annual #blogfest at the Idea World Fitness Convention in Anaheim, California. I have put together my presentation and will eventually practice…those who really know me totally know I’ll fly by the seat of my pants. During this time my family will spread out among the states and I will be forced to do something that strikes fear to the very center of my little heart: SOCIALIZE!!!!!!!

introvert Audrey

I always loved Audrey. She was an introvert and lived to be a ripe old age! Coincidence? I think not, just saying….

OK, so I am an introvert. Wait, huh? Yes, I know. I give speeches and talk in front of large crowds without too much trouble. As a matter of fact, the presentation itself has hardly crowded my thought process at all. It’s the fact that during this convention there are actual gatherings of people. This drains me of all energy and I’m pretty sure I’ll be laid up in bed for several days upon my return home.

So, what’s the problem?

My introversion has caused me to miss many an opportunity and many a party. People who don’t really understand the whole introvert thing (I like the people in books far better than those in real life at times, lol…but really) tend to think this is something one can just “turn off”. Not the case for such an odd issue. In reality, the age of technology seems to have made it easier to be an introvert. That is, until one actually has to go out and do something.

How deep does this really go?

introvert

Well, let’s just say I tend to schedule ALL of my errands at once just so I can limit those pesky social encounters. Oh, and apps like BUFFER have made me SO happy! I don’t even have to be social on social networks anymore! Have I told ya’ll I have issues?

Yeah, so I did decide that THIS YEAR I would do more things that frighten me….socializing has won out. I now get out of my hobbit hole a few times a week and purposefully engage with others while out and about. I also signed up for this big ole convention AND I am participating in a scavenger hunt where people I don’t know have to find me! This is craziness at it’s very core people.

Large runs and fitness events don’t scare me. I’ve spoken and taught to large groups of people. NO WORRIES! It’s the more intimate places where people actually want to “get to know you”. Perhaps I feel enough people know me. Maybe my friends list is full. I’ve tried for years to figure this out. I mean, I’m far from boring. I’ve traveled the world, I fight and teach boxing, I’m involved in anti-trafficking movements, and I am a deeply passionate person when I get all kinds of riled up about something…..I just don’t give myself enough opportunity for others to see it.

So, I ask for your thoughts and prayers as a head forth into the social arena. If you’re there, say hi. If you’re an introvert like me, wave from the corner! I understand that!!!!!!

The challenge I have for you is twofold: understand who you are first, then understand that YOU can change the things that place limits on you. One little lunge at a time….stepping is so boring:)

Train hard ya’ll! I’ll see you when I get back.

Michelle

#blogfest2014

 

Product Review: Marika Magic Slimming Capri

Happy Monday Lovelies!

I have another product review for you, and this one is for the ladies :)

Marika, that FABULOUS yoga pants company (OK, they make MORE than yoga pants, but their yoga pants rock) has asked me to review their Magic Capris. UM, yeah! I love pants :)

marika capris

PSSSST!!!! Love these pants? Get them for 30% off with this code! MM30

So, let’s first get the dirty deets on this Magic Slimming pant:

These capri’s will keep you looking slim; features inner power mesh lining along the thigh area and contour seaming for a slender look. Coordinate with your favorite top or one of our tummy control tops for added support.

19″ Inseam
Fitted
4″ Flat waistband
Power mesh lining on thighs
Contour seaming for a slenderized look
Coolmax gusset
Body: 89% Cotton, 11% Spandex
Power Mesh: 86% Nylon, 14% Spandex
Gusset Lining: 47% Coolmax Polyester, 47% Polyester, 6% Spandex
Now that we have established the pant itself, how about a little opinion?
I have to be honest, when I first slid them on I was a bit concerned with the higher waist. Please note, I dig like sweat pant waists OK. It’s not that the waist is extremely high, it’s just my own personal issues.
After looking in the mirror, I forgave said higher waist though! Now, many who truly know me can attest to the fact that I probably don’t need a ton of slimming in my hips (don’t roll your eyes at me!) and that I have hardly any butt to speak of…so here’s what was so great: I had a butt! Glorious day, they are MAGIC pants! So, aside from a butt, what else?
These pants have panels to help create a streamlined effect to the hips/thighs/booty. Are you buying them yet? Cause you should just for that reason.
The fabric is cool (literally, it helps to keep you cool) and nice enough to wear in public. Meaning…you can’t see through it like some other pants (just make sure you get the right size people! Spandex can only stretch so far…). So, you can throw on a cute little top and take to the grocery store without looking like you didn’t even try to look nice. You look stylishly athletic….even if you don’t workout.
To top it all off, performance is great. I wore them for yoga, weight training and just walking about and they DID NOT MOVE. If you’re an avid “pants adjuster” you totally get why this is so important. No picking or adjusting needed, just straight up performance pants.
Marika has a WIDE variety of pants and other stylish goodies available HERE, so go check it out ;)
Happy Shopping!
Michelle
Don’t forget to take advantage of your 30% off code! MM30 Good through August 31,2014

FREE Workout Wednesday! Total Body in 10

1 move (ok, 3 but who’s counting?!?!) to get your whole body. Planks rock! Keep telling yourself that ;)

Whoo, it’s also a throw back. I was softer around the middle…and blonde. See what happens with consistency?

 

FREE Workout Wednesday!

BOOM! A freebie exercise ball workout for you today :)

Grab a ball (steal only if necessary) and get busy!

The Week in Review: #sharesomethinginspiring Challenge

Hello lovelies!

My friends over at Fit Approach asked all of the #sweatpink ambassadors to partake in a special Twitter challenge for 3 weeks: we are to share something inspiring each and every day. These can range from things that inspire us, people that inspire us and even friends who may need a little extra inspiration. In a day and age where hope and inspiration can sometimes seem far away, this challenge has created a unique opportunity for us all….

Since May 22nd, I’ve been sharing inspiration through Twitter and Instagram (hey, I’m a picture gal!) and here is what inspired me this week:

 

May 22nd:
It all began with this post here, http://michellecfitness.com/2014/05/22/things-are-changing-dont-fight-it/
It’s my way of becoming better at what I actually do AND letting go of the stress of trying to be EVERYBODY’S trainer (you know who you are people…)

May 23rd:
This was dedicated to my best friends, who help keep me real because they are not fitness world junkies :-)

embrace your body

May24th:

A post dedicated to all my girls (those I know and those I don’t) to remind us of how worry can hurt, not help.

worry

May 25th:

I shared what makes me smile…family. I have extended family that doesn’t even share my DNA, but they bring me great joy and I fight daily for them.

family smile

So, how would like to get in on this challenge?

Well, first, if you want to be inspired by me make sure you check out the weekly recap on the blog AND follow me on Twitter!

Next, share your own inspiration with the hashtag #sharesomethinginspiring and feel free to tag me in it.

Third, check out my friends at the Fit Approach for more news on real health and fitness, no fads allowed :)

Share something with me!

Michelle

Things are changing :) Don’t fight it…

Hey fit peeps!

Spring and Summer give new flight to dreams and change is an inevitable and unavoidable exchange during this season. Contrary to popular opinion, change can be a very good thing if welcomed with an open mind.

change

 

We can find ourselves reluctant, but let’s remember a few things about change and your overall health:

  1. A change in diet (the daily foods you consume) can boost metabolism and result in greater fat loss, hence the weekly “cheat” meals so many competitors swear by (I live each day like a cheat meal, but info on that will come later).
  2. Changing your workout routine is imperative to keep the body from adapting and hitting the dreaded plateau.

So, you see? Two examples of how change can be crucial to reaching our goals.

In honor of an open mind to change, I have some HUGE news that is worth sharing with those that frequent this blog:

I am a blogger.

Um, well, duh…

I know it seems stupid to point out, but let me explain.

I have been in the fitness industry for over 10 years now. I have led boot camps, done countless personal training sessions, taught yoga in class and private forms, taught any and all group exercise formats, led nutrition education series and experimented in the kitchen for that long as well. I found something odd happening a couple of months ago: I became exhausted and less than thrilled with my profession. Blogs became a burden and sharing any information seemed completely and totally for nothing. I was inundated with emails daily that contained questions which had been addressed in years past on this very blog. I came to the realization that I am only 1 person (seriously, no team here) and I can only do so much.

Between training appointments, dealing with other people’s emotions and drama, seeking to lead a change in several cultures at once, and worrying about my own physique and what I had to prove….well, I lost myself. The best part of losing yourself is that it grants you a unique opportunity to not only find yourself, but discover the YOU  that you actually want to be. Over the past few months I would not have wanted to hang out with me.

So, I’ve been working on an exercise that has helped me re-discover what I am here for and how to turn that into what I do on a daily basis…without wanting to kill people :)

I began keeping lists (OH! I love lists!) related to what I love about what I do now, what I could possibly delegate, and what I need to send packing. The interesting thing I found was in the LOVE catagory:

  • Blogging: sharing my story and expertise with others in the hopes that they will find the inspiration to be the very best version of themselves. It is through this that I hope to empower others to share their uniqueness so that change in the way we think about ourselves and react to others becomes more organic and natural. Plus, I like words and trying to sound super smart :)
  • Workouts: let me make it clear though…I like workouts of ALL kinds and I tend to mix it up frequently. I want to share workouts with others to inspire them to move their bodies and discover the fun in fitness. I do NOT, however, enjoy workouts that require me to constantly obsess about my anatomy and how it looks. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s only my hubby and myself that see this in all its glory…who cares what everybody else thinks?
  • FOOD! Oh, I love the kitchen cooking and totally pretending that I am from Italy (I’m actually Irish/German, but whatever). I like to experiment with food, maybe make it a little healthier, and cook for the love of those who put up with me. THEN, I like to share what I have learned.

Now, my family is far above these 2, but I don’t keep a blog on them (my son would kill me). What I found MOST interesting is that the things I LOVE the MOST were not really getting done. Why? Because my vision was clouded.

So, I am making some changes to this blog AND to my life that will help to streamline everything into a more blissful experience.

Need help getting your nutrition together? Thanks to my INCREDIBLY patient business partner, Fitness Haus will be launching this Summer and will offer you a brand new take on food. It will allow me to play more in the kitchen and share my experiences with you. You’ll get weekly meal plans (don’t worry! It’s not deprivation based. I want you to learn to love food again), recipes, grocery lists, fit tips and nutrition tips.

Want workouts that won’t break the bank OR your back? I have a dozen workout journal filled with workouts. I like what I do and have the opportunity to film short workouts for you so that you can begin to build your database of go-to exercises for any goal you set. ALL right here on this blog…and of course, the YouTube channel with the most informed and most patient subscribers. I’ll be keeping it real with real-time workouts, sweat and ZERO makeup…cause that’s how I roll.

I’ll be blogging here about new products and supplements, fun workouts that I’ll be trying out, news in health and fitness, and all the happenings in the #sweatpink community.

What about live classes and trainings?

I am keeping those to a minimum and beginning to shave some off of my bursting schedule. Bottom line: I’m no good to anybody if I’m trying to save everybody :)

From me to you, I appreciate that you have hung out with me and I promise the very best is yet to come….so stick around, you’ll be glad you did.

MichelleC

Seeing health and fitness in a whole new light

#fuelyourbetter A Look at Vega Sport Performance Protein

Today is the day (well, one of the days) that I review a product I have been testing.

VEGA SPORT PERFORMANCE PROTEIN

Yeah, did you get that? Cause you should…

Let’s get through the science first…I love science!

What’s the big deal about this protein when there are like a BAJILLION other proteins on the market? Check it out:

  • Vega Sport is a PERFORMANCE protein, not just a meal replacement or tasty protein.
  • Vega Sport is designed to help YOU recover quicker so you can get back out and do what you love sooner.
  • Vega Sport is a CLEAN, plant-based fuel source so it doesn’t upset the digestive system like some protein powders.

What are the claims of Vega Sport?

  1. It’s the very FIRST completely all-natural, plant-based performance recovery drink.
  2. It is dairy, gluten and soy free (the BIG players in food allergies and intolerances).
  3. It burns 100% clean, leaving no extra work for your liver.
  4. It contains NO artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

Cool right? Trust me, it is.

So, what does it DO?

  1. Complete, synergistic, alkaline-forming protein blend helps to #fuelyourbetter without creating a stressful environment in the gut as most proteins do. Who needs more stress in their gut?
  2. It contains 5,000 mg of BCAA’s which are basically little magic things that bond and repair to muscle tissue. What does this mean? More recovery + less soreness = a more fun YOU.
  3. Improves strength and exercise performance.
  4. Repairs and builds lean muscle mass, creating a more functional physique.
  5. Reduces recovery time between training.

OK, I was totally sold on that last one there :) I love to train and I would live in my gym if my family didn’t think that was totally weird. All of my training created a whole new world of problems to deal with when it came to recovery. If you know my story, then you know I have to be careful with the food/supplements because my body is a walking, ticking time bomb of inflammation…..and I’m over here just trying to make it da’bomb.

Another nerdy but cool fact about this protein is that it is tested for banned substances. Since the FDA doesn’t control or regulate supplements, we all just trust the packaging until somebody drops dead. Even then, we blame the person and not the company. Well, a few companies (very few) decided to pay the piper and stand out from the crowd with testing from informedchoice.org (that’s a listing for tested products, check it out). This small fact really makes me more apt to reach for this protein as opposed to what passes for protein on the grocery store shelves nowadays.

How about the taste? I mean, we won’t ingest it if it doesn’t taste good right? Unless you’re me… If you’re me then you will chug anything they ask you to test :) but at least I’m honest about it!

I tested the Vanilla flavor. I’ll be honest, of all the flavors of protein, vanilla is my LEAST favorite. Why? No clue. Even when I was younger I felt vanilla was boring, but could be greatly improved by copious amounts of chocolate (as can ANYTHING)….but I digress. Taste: it was actually quite decent on its own, even for vanilla. Let’s take a look at the good points first:

  • It wasn’t gritty! Oh my gosh, plant-based protein scares me due to the fact that it can often times be super gritty….like trying to swallow watered down grits, blech! This was smooth as can be just mixed with water.
  • The vanilla wasn’t overwhelming. I hate when companies pack too much in to the product and you leave your smoothie smelling like a Starbuck’s barista just gave you a sponge bath in vanilla….
  • Absolutely ZERO yucky aftertaste. You know what I’m talking about. You have a protein shake post workout and can still taste it on your tongue 3 days later. Grossness…. The reason for most aftertaste is the crap they put in as fillers.

Anything bad? Not really as far as protein shakes go. The taste was good, but not overwhelming. If you are a protein shake junky (we have a support group that meets every Monday at the smoothie bar…counterproductive), then you’ll notice a HUGE lack of sweetness. Take a deep breath, this is actually a good thing.

What’s a review without a couple of pictures documenting how I’ve been #fuelingmybetter right? PLUS, recipes at the bottom! Don’t scroll down! Cheater…

vega yoga

Me, channeling my best dancer after a killer workout…fueled by Vega Sport, duh

vega sport

So, what is the sport I fuel? It’s called life people! I hate running, so much so that I bought a tank top for $20 just to shout it to the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love runners, just not a fan of me running. So, my sports revolve around yoga, MMA, weights and the exhausting task of kicking butt fabulously every single day….

vega mission

I happen to do a little humanitarian work and spent 2 weeks in Chisinau, Moldova (go look it up and come back) with people you would be blessed to know

vega recipe

I promised some recipes right?

Check it out. This made a HUGE blender full….and I drank the whole thing :) Don’t judge me! I’m fabulous, not flawless

INGREDIENTS:

Vitamix (shout out!)

8 oz unsweetened almond milk

1/2 mango

1/2 banana

like 3 handfuls of spinach…just fill the whole blender up

1/2 cucumber

1/2 avocado (no judgement if you eat the other half while the blender is running)

3 celery stalks

Vega Sport Vanilla Protein

Ice if you like it chilly

AND…BLEND.

Second, slightly sweeter, recipe

I had this yesterday after a killer body-weight-based leg day (I never knew my body weighed so much!)

8 oz unsweetened almond milk

1 cup frozen cantaloupe melon cubes

1/2 frozen banana

Vega Sport Vanilla Protein

It blends into ice cream and is light and fluffy and full of deliciousness!!!! Enjoy :)

What to do now? Click on the link and check it out for yourself. I got to try it for free, but have decided it’s so good I think I’ll pay for the stuff :) #fuelyourbetter

That’s high praise right there..

Until next time, stay happy and healthy y’all!

Michelle

 

Vega Sport is HERE: Fuel Your Better

Something pretty cool happened to me just before I left for Moldova last month…I was chosen as one of the awesome bloggers to check out Vega Sport lineup of superior nutritional products.

I was able to choose the recovery line of products and have had a blast in the kitchen and the gym. NOW, it’s your turn to check out what I’ve been able to see.

Start HERE: http://vegasport.com/

This is Vega Sport official website and the information on it is truly priceless. Start by checking out the social buttons they have on display under the #fuelyourbetter hashtags. You can find out what could be holding you back from your sport, your best health and even your best life. Vega Sport covers everything from body composition to recovery and overtraining. The best part is that the folks at Vega Sport are extremely knowledgeable on nutrition science and fact. In other words, it’s the real deal and not just popular opinion.

If you find out what makes you happy in life and work to fuel that, then the healthy and lean body you think you want will come more naturally.

I’ll be posting my own experience and usage with Vega Sport this week so you can check out recipes and the how-to’s of recovery from my point of view. Until then, check out their blog here and share how YOU #fuelyourbetter

Here’s to GREAT health,

Michelle

By the way, Vega is fast taking over Shakeology for taste and nutritional profile at a fraction of the cost :)

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