Saying Goodbye To Limits

Those were the first words I saw when I opened up my email from my favorite fitness boss babe Jamie of Sweat Pink. I barely read any of the details but I knew after seeing those three words that this was a campaign I wanted to be included in.

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For so long now, I can admit that I allowed my expectations for my life and how things “should be” to limit me from achieving my personal best and truly living in my purpose. But no more. It isn't about a new day on the calendar creating the opportunity for you to adjust your sails and create improvements in you world, it is about YOU. YOU have to remove those limits. YOU have to say goodbye to doubt. YOU have to say goodbye to excuses. YOU have to come up with a tangible plan to break through boundaries and find your awesome. So this month I challenge you to share your testimony, be transparent and tell me and my SWEAT PINK family why you are limitless haring the hashtag #IAMLIMITLESS on your post! Share people that inspire you, share your battle plan to conquering the new year because I want to know what’s motivating you!

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If your goals are fitness related I want to help with that too. I have a free meal plan template you can download to get organized. I am also accepting 3 new clients this quarter for my meal planning services and no matter what your situation you can utilize the GIXO workout app that gives you a variety of live guided fitness classes every 30 minutes! So, you are pretty much set up to Live YOUR Fit no matter what!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag all month and make sure you are following  FitApproach on Instagram and myself as we will be sharing discount codes for the GIXO app as well as stories and posts from you guys as you share what makes you limitless. 2017 we are READY!

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The Secret to a Guilt-Free Holiday

Photo by Brigitte Tohm 

Photo by Brigitte Tohm 

Huddle up close, because I’m about to tell you the secret to enjoying the holidays without guilt. I’ll tell you right up front, there’s no denial here. I’m not proposing a “just say no” diet. No strategies for navigating the holiday buffet or ways to lighten up the shortcake cookies. My approach to a guilt-free holiday is actually based on (gasp) pleasure. 

You see, we humans were actually designed for cycles of moderation and indulgence. Over the course of millennia, whether in the Middle East or Scandinavia or anywhere in between, you’ll find simple meals--made from freshly harvested vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and some sort of protein--most of the time. Then a few times a year where the whole community comes together to feast and celebrate. 

There are two distinct roles at play, and we’re nourished by each in different ways.
 

Photo by Brooke Lark

Photo by Brooke Lark

When we’re letting ourselves enjoy simple meals prepared from real foods our bodies hum with nourishment and comfort, like cozying up beside a warm fire. That steady, warm glow sustains us from day to day and keeps us connected to that deeper place within ourselves, to one another, and to where our food comes from.

I think of the holidays more like fireworks. They’re the time to gather with loved ones and delight in the over-the-top. This is the time for butter and sugar and cream and cheese and chocolate. This is when it feels good to spend the whole day in the kitchen with a slew of helpers, warmed by the laughter and scents coming from the stove. 

To recognize a celebration as something lovely and fleeting is to give ourselves permission to enjoy the pleasure of it unabashedly.

I first learned this when I lived for a time in Greece. It was the height of the low-fat era and I was terrified of the olive oil that was poured with abandon on all the vegetables day after day. And at the village feast, I shied away from the indulgent foods.

Looking back, though, I realize that there were two types of meals going on, and both served their distinct purpose well. Most of our everyday meals were simple affairs with steamed greens or grilled vegetables doused with olive oil along with a little bit of grilled meat or fish (super healthy for our bodies, and utterly delicious to boot). 

But during a celebration -- a wedding or a saint day -- there would be whole lambs roasting on spits in the square, and all the villagers would cook up a storm, bringing dips and potatoes and wine and dessert. Everyone feasted with abandon--serving that part of us that needs to twirl and spin and sing out loud every once in a while--because it was a given that when the feast was over, everyone would return to the simple joys of the everyday. 

I finally learned that when I try to live by a common denominator between every day and celebration, I end up robbing myself of the pleasure of both. But when I allow each to serve its own purpose, I’m wholly nourished in a deep, sustaining way.
 

Photo by Alex Munsell 

Photo by Alex Munsell 

So this December, I’m enjoying simple meals -- things like braised cabbage with avgolemno sauce and rice (a nod to my days in Greece); roasted carrots and sweet potatoes with a bit of roast chicken; and garlicky sauteed greens with lentils and chickpeas -- on the days leading up to the holidays. And I’m heartily looking forward to the beef tenderloin, potato gratin (which is in my book Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith and Enduring Love - with Recipes) and chocolate bread pudding we’ll be enjoying Christmas Eve.

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The Unexpected Benefit of Family Exercise: How to Get Your Family Active Today

Image London Scout

Image London Scout

All families are busy. That’s a fact. As a mother of 4 active children, I know that during the Fall and Winter months it seems like you have even less time. The days become shorter. You spend time rushing around to finish homework, to get to soccer practice, get to theater rehearsal. Do you have your instrument? Your home-work? Don’t forget your lunch!

It becomes an ongoing struggle to make sure that everything is in place and as it should be, and our down time is spent reminiscing about the lazy summer days that now seem so far away. With the chaos that ensues this time of year, it’s no wonder that fitness seems to get placed on the back burner.

But the benefits to family exercise are tremendous.

Image Brandon Morgan

Image Brandon Morgan

Working out together not only benefits physical health but can also improve relationships and relieve stress in a fun and healthy way. Studies show family fitness plays a major role in a child's education. According to Medical Daily, physically active children had bigger hippocampi as compared to their less active peers and did better in memory tests. Researchers also determined the different effects that cardiorespiratory capacity, muscular strength, and motor ability have on the brain and how they influence academic performance. (Source)

Unfortunately, many parents live a sedentary lifestyle which prevents kids from fine-tuning their motor skills and strengthening their heart, lungs, and muscles. My husband and I are both fitness coaches and even WE have difficulty incorporating physical activity into our family routine. This is a problem that all families struggle with. How do we find time to stay active?

Here are some tips that I have found work best for me and my family:


Stick to a Routine

Photo by Rodolfo Mari 

Photo by Rodolfo Mari 

Keeping a schedule is easier during the fall and winter months. There are specific times when everything must get done and this tends to stay generally consistent from one week to the next. It’s by knowing my family’s schedule that I can figure out the best times that everyone is free. I consider which activities are the best fit for that time of day and how long we have during that time to all do something together.

Take in the Fresh Air

Photo by London Scout

Photo by London Scout

Yes the weather may be chillier this time of year but I don’t let this stop me from encouraging the whole family to get outside and take walks together. Stepping outside and getting fresh air can be a great way to embrace family bonding as well as implement exercise in your children’s lives.  

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

Photo by Adam Sherez 

Photo by Adam Sherez 

I have found this to be a critical component of successfully carrying out family activities. Tell the kids that you’re putting this time aside for family fun time. This will help prevent conflicts from interfering with what little sacred free time the whole family shares. If you make a commitment to exercise with your kids, you’re more likely going to stick to it.

 

These tips allow for everyone to get involved in family activities. Following these simple steps will not only get your family to be more active and energized, but will also bring you closer to the ones you love the most.  

ABOUT DANNY AND DENISE LOCSIN:


Husband and wife team Danny and Denise Locsin are fitness experts that specialize in relationship and family exercise. They are the creators of the Yokebar, which has been described as the ultimate family exercise program. As a busy mother of four, Denise wanted something that was high intensity, but also safe and easy to set up. Finding a system that could adapt to a variety of fitness needs and ability levels was challenging. The requirements became even broader when Danny injured himself and was forced to give up his usual exercise routine.
After much scientific research and testing, Yokebar was born. Today, Danny and Denise train people in the Yoke Training System and also are the founders of Hi5 Produce, a leading corporate produce delivery service located in the Silicon Valley.

 For More Information Visit: http://yokebar.com

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Why Am I So Hungry: Ways To Stay Fuller Longer

Image Brooke Lark

Image Brooke Lark

I recently had a conversation with one of my clients about different breakfast options to include in her custom meal plans. You see, we haven’t gotten to the point yet where she grasps the concept that food should be used to fuel your body more than it should be used to fuel your tastebuds. I know what you are thinking: no one wants to eat anything that doesn’t taste good. Duh! That wasn’t the problem, though. The issue was that she refuses to eat any eggs or any oatmeal related products. That is the bulk of what I eat in the morning. I mean, I can give you some overnight oats recipes that taste like peach cobbler that can aid in shrinking belly fat, a veggie quiche that can be done in 30 minutes or less and taste like it’s made with crust that your grandmother made but actually have no crust at all. When it comes to this meal prepping game, I was built for it. Then when I suggested smoothies, she insisted that it would not be enough to make her full. Think again.

When designed properly, smoothies can literally be one of the most convenient, filling, and best breakfast options out there. With the right smoothie you have the opportunity to pack a huge punch of nutrients into your first meal of the day! Check out some of our favorite smoothie options below:

So when you are trying to formulate your meals for the day or week and are worried that something “won’t be enough” use these three rules of thumb:

Reduce the Amount Of Refined Sugars

Image Leon Ephraim

Image Leon Ephraim

Not only does consuming refined sugar impact your mood, decision-making, and memory but, it is also a waste in any meal and doesn’t include any properties that can enhance any part of your nutritional plan.

Pack In All Of The Healthy Fats

Image Brooke Lark

Image Brooke Lark

Add a combination of these healthy fats and your body will definitely thank you.

  • Avocados. One medium avocado has approximately 23 grams of fat, but it is primarily monounsaturated fat.
  • Walnuts
  • Other nuts, like almonds and pistachios
  • Nut and seed butters
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Salmon

Drink More Water

Image Toa Heftiba

Image Toa Heftiba

Do you know how many times that we confuse hunger with thirst? More often than we know. Consuming water or even a nice herbal tea can oftentimes be just what you need until your next scheduled meal or snack.

This is just a short list of ways to stay fuller longer. If you have any tricks up your sleeve share them with us in the comments below.

Which of these tips can you commit to incorporating in your daily life? 

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Myths About Weight Loss

Photo by Dominik Martin 

Photo by Dominik Martin 

There is such an overwhelming amount of information being exchanged in terms of weight loss and ways to be “healthy.” It is always important to remember that we are all designed differently and everyone’s body responds differently to different things - hence, our Live YOUR Fit mantra.

So why not tackle some of the myths that we have encountered when it comes to adjusting our lifestyles in an effort to become more healthy? If we are being honest, we’ve even fallen victim to one or two of them ourselves.

A Good Workout = A Cheat Meal

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez 

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez 

The treadmill told you that you burned off 1500 calories, but those estimated machine readouts are not always accurate. It’s near impossible to out-exercise a bad diet unless you plan to spend half your day in the gym. You must workout and eat smart to see results.


Organic Food is Healthier than the Alternative

Photo by William Felker 

Photo by William Felker 

The word organic is great, but it’s also misleading. Organic means a food is grown without pesticides or other chemicals and is not genetically modified. But has nothing to do with the nutrient value of the food itself, or whether it’s a good dietary choice. It can still have large amounts of fat, sugar, or starch. Organic sugar is still sugar. Organic white flour is still white flour. Organic butter is still butter. It is important to understand that the removal of pesticides does not equal a healthier option as it relates to weight lost. It does however equate to a healthier item in direct correlation to the amound of toxins you are allowing into your temple.

 

Cleanses and detoxes are a good way to aide in weight loss.

Photo by Toa Heftiba 

Photo by Toa Heftiba 

Nobody needs to detox.

Unless you've been poisoned, you have a built-in, super-efficient system for filtering out most of the harmful substances you eat. It's made up of two toxin-bashing organs: the liver and the kidneys. Our kidneys filter our blood and remove any waste from our diet, and our livers process medications and detoxify any chemicals we ingest. Paired together, these organs make our bodies natural cleansing powerhouses. So if you just feel like eliminating certain foods from your diet for a short period of time because it makes your body feel better, or maybe it is a mind thing..then by all means go ahead BUT if the main reasoning behind the short-term shift is weight loss then you are wasting your time.

You can’t eat after 7pm

Photo by Andre Benz 

Photo by Andre Benz 

It doesn't matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat. If you want a snack before bedtime, think first about how much and what exactly you've eaten that day. If you have been consuming whole foods, primarily fruits and vegetables then you are in a different scenario than those of us who have may have been devouring processed foods for the majority of the day. Those are the factors that need to be taken into consideration.


Wait Until You're Hungry to Eat.

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By waiting to eat until you're hungry, your hunger simply builds and builds until it's at its peak causing your appetite to spiral out of control. In fact, new research reveals that by skipping breakfast, you'll end up eating more calories in total and making less healthy food choices throughout the day than you would have otherwise. Research also shows that missing the first meal of the day (breakfast) activates your body's insulin response, triggering fat storage and weight gain.

Which of these myths have you fallen victim to?

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4 Easy Ways to Connect to Your Authentic Self

Photo by Kim Carpenter

Photo by Kim Carpenter

Several years ago, I hit rock bottom. Since then, I’ve made tremendous strides to reach happiness – leaving my corporate job after burnout, overcoming depression, and ditching troubling addictions. Through my experiences, I’ve come to realize that being and staying happy is no small feat. Happiness is something we all want, but with life’s pressure and the demands of being an adult, it can be overwhelming at times. That’s why I created the “play with the world” mentality. Play With the World is more than a website—it is a mindset and a refreshing approach to life intended to help each of us stay grounded and focused on living life fully and connected to our best self. In my pursuit of happiness, I found myself even more unhappy and dissatisfied with life. A few years ago I created my own self-love experiment, which was a challenge I gave myself to stop trying to be happy and instead choose love and joy. The pursuit of happy is actually what keeps us from reaching our goals. Instead of trying to be happy, focus on being true to yourself. When you are true to yourself your will naturally becomes more joyful and happy.

If you want to feel more positive in your own life, move past fear with these easy steps:

Clear Out Clutter

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor 

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor 

Stuff can pile up and add unnecessary stress to your life. Physical stuff, emotional stuff, and even mental clutter can prevent you from moving forward. In my own self-love experiment, the first thing I did was clear out clutter. I went to my closet and removed clothes that no longer fit or I had outgrown. When you clear out clutter it sends an energetic message to the universe that you only want wanted things in your life. Remember, one small change, one step at a time can make a profound difference for you, so as Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests, ask yourself if your stuff brings you joy. If you don’t feel happy, it’s time to chuck it. This includes people, jobs, habits, and objects.

Compliment Yourself

Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash

Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash

Most of us don’t give ourselves any credit for doing good deeds. We need to remember that little victories are important. On our journey to self-love and inner peace, it is essential to wrap ourselves up with love. Do this by complimenting yourself for a job well done. Try looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you; you are beautiful.” The more compassionate you can be to yourself, the happier your heart will be.

See the Journey as the Reward

Photo by Matt McK 

Photo by Matt McK 

Whatever your goal is—to lose weight, to travel more, to increase the romance in your life, or even to find your purpose and passion—getting there can only happen when you accept where you are. Enjoying the journey is the sweet stuff of living a real, rich life. Yes, we all have goals and dreams, but the journey to manifesting them is just as rich and juicy as the end result. Enjoy the process and have fun. Life is a dance, so shake your groove thing.

Visit Your Future Self

Photo by Allef Vinicius 

Photo by Allef Vinicius 

Visualizing yourself happy and healthy is a key component to manifesting. When I first left my corporate job, I would fall asleep picturing myself as a published author and a travel writer working and writing from all over the world. Today this is my reality. You have to picture it and believe it is possible in your mind before you can achieve it.

#SWOLEMATE: Why it Pays to Sweat with your Sweetheart

Photo by Curtis MacNewton 

Photo by Curtis MacNewton 

Perhaps we have been focusing on the wrong thing when it comes to exercise. Sure, we all want to lose weight, get healthy, and tone a fit body...but according to research, these kinds of physical results are not the driving force that push you to run that extra mile or lift those extra weights.

What IS the driving force?

It is the same force that pushes us to do anything (Go to work, clean our homes, prepare meals, accomplish goals, etc.)

...It’s relationship!

Photo by Jakob Owens 

Photo by Jakob Owens 

Humans are social creatures. We thrive in healthy environments through shared experiences. Exercising with a partner is the ultimate healthy social experience so what better way to promote well-being than to work out with your sweetheart? When you and your honey become swolemates (exercise buddies) you enjoy a deeper emotional and physical connection. We live busy lives and coordinating time with a partner can be difficult, but it is well worth it.

We have all heard that exercise releases a flood of feel-good hormones, but did you know that your brain forms a pathway that connects those feel-good hormones with the environment or people that your are with? If you were grumpy with each other earlier in the day, doing something physical together can erase the memory of that offense. In addition, the feel-good hormones stay in the bloodstream for hours after the workout to lower your stress threshold so you can stay calm in future situations.

Exercising with your honey will automatically increase your effort and ability to do the activity thus helping you get a more productive workout. This phenomenon is because we are electrical beings and our frequency, heartbeat and energy subconsciously move to match your partners- you become isync with each other. It’s like your bodies are tuning into the same radio channel.

By working out together once or twice a week or taking a daily walk you create an emotional and physical bond that goes well beyond how you look or feel on the outside. For many, being your honey’s swolemate just may be the glue that grows into a long-lasting, healthy relationship.

ABOUT DANNY & DENISE LOCSIN:

 

Husband and wife team Danny and Denise Locsin are fitness experts that specialize in relationship and family exercise. They are the creators of the Yokebar, which has been described as the ultimate family exercise program. As a busy mother of four, Denise wanted something that was high intensity, but also safe and easy to set up. Finding a system that could adapt to a variety of fitness needs and ability levels was challenging. The requirements became even broader when Danny injured himself and was forced to give up his usual exercise routine.

 

After much scientific research and testing, Yokebar was born. Today, Danny and Denise train people in the Yoke Training System and also are the founders of Hi5 Produce, a leading corporate produce delivery service located in the Silicon Valley.

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The Prep Doesn’t Stop on Race Day

Photo by Austris Augusts 

Photo by Austris Augusts 

Race day has finally arrived and chances are you’ve already perfected your training mojo, but the prep work isn’t done just yet. You’ve been preparing for this day for months, maybe more, so don’t let race day distract you from the fact that you still have a little more to do. Here are a few things to do before you get positioned at the starting line.

Fuel Your Body

Photo by Aidan Meyer 

Photo by Aidan Meyer 

Whether this is your first race or your 10th, don’t let race day jitters keep you from fueling your body with the proper nutrition. The biggest piece of advice is to never try anything new on race day. While you may be tempted by a new product that a friend recommended to you, you can’t be sure how your body will react to it. Save the experimentation for training to determine the type, quantity, and timing of the nutrition you eat. Keep in mind that everyone is different. Some runners require three hours or more to digest food before a race while others can eat as close as an hour before and be just fine. Find the pre-race meal that works for you and stick to it, but try to limit it to simple carbs and protein such as oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, or eggs. If you’ve found that your body can’t handle solid food before a race, opt for fuel in smoothie form.

Don’t forget about hydration. While races have drink stations, you should be drinking water before the race too but in small increments. Aim for room temperature water consumed at a steady, even pace. A good goal is two to three cups before the race, two during, and at least one after.

Dress Appropriately

Photo by Hunter Johnson 

Photo by Hunter Johnson 

The same rule for nutrition applies to your running gear as well: don’t try anything new. If all your training has left your shoes worn down, try to purchase a new pair at least three weeks before the race so you can break them in. As you are getting dressed for race day, avoid the temptation to overdress. Most races start in the morning when it’s cool but once you get going, you’ll quickly feel at least 10 degrees warmer. Wearing too much clothing means you are carrying unnecessary weight, increasing your body temp and risk of dehydration.

The best clothing will allow for a little bit of heat loss, but not to the point that you become uncomfortably cold. Look for clothing that has moisture-wicking technology and zero raised seams that could cause chafing. Even if your race day attire has never caused chafing before, err on the side of caution and apply Vaseline in areas that are prone to rubbing, such as inner thighs and armpits.

Protect Yourself

Photo by Quino Al 

Photo by Quino Al 

When you are running in the cool of morning or in a colder climate, it’s easy to forget that you are still in the sun long enough to get sunburned. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., so it is imperative that you practice sun safety on your runs. Wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or higher and reapply more often than you would on a day by the pool since you will be perspiring. You can still get UV exposure on a cloudy day, so apply sunscreen in areas that aren’t covered by your clothing. If possible, wear a hat to protect your scalp and sunglasses for extra facial protection as well as to prevent squinting.

Sometimes keeping yourself safe is as simple as not overdoing it. During training you found the pace that worked for you, but during a race, seeing people passing you and knowing there are other runners right behind you could kick you into overdrive. While you can’t necessarily do a trial run of the entire race experience, you can prepare ahead of time. Set time goals based on your performance during training. If possible, walk through or at least study the course map. Pacing can become difficult if you encounter terrain that requires higher energy expenditure such as hills. Becoming familiar with the course will enable you to factor terrain changes into your pacing strategy.

It’s an exciting moment when race day finally arrives, but don’t forget the extra prep work to ensure you are able to safely complete the race. Fuel and prepare your body so you can enjoy the thrill of crossing the finish line. If you still need to do some more training, find an area that will help you maximize your efforts. This post has some great suggestions. If you’re all set, have a great race!

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Mindful Running Guide

Photo by Bruno Nascimento 

Photo by Bruno Nascimento 

I have recently discovered a desire to run. I have NEVER been a runner, mostly because my knees are bad and asthma is something that I have been dealing with from a very young age. But, when life gives you lemons sometimes you roll with it and find ways to focus that energy that may have been designed to hurt you to work out for your good. Why I had this epiphany in the dead of summer, I will never know insert eye roll but once a week I have been taking my talents to Prayer Mountain to get in a run, followed by some meditation and prayer.

Now, because this is a hiking trail in the midst of nature I find myself a bit nervous about injuring myself and no one being able to hear me or being attacked by an animal or something! Mindful Brittany says “just focus on the good in the moment and do not think about “what could” happen” but, teacher and mommy Brittany take over sometimes and say, “be prepared and aware!”

Important Safety Tips For Runners:

Make Sure You Can Hear Everything Around You: As much as we enjoy a good tune while working out, when you are running it is essential to still be able to hear everything that is going on around you. In large part because our brain naturally triggers to sound faster than the things that we see.

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: Working out is oftentimes used as a method to “zone out” but when you are running, specifically alone, it is important to make sure that you are paying attention to everything that is going on around you to make sure that you remain safe.

Use Familiar Routes: When you are used to running in a certain area you are more likely to notice if there are any changes that should cue you to adjust your pace or train elsewhere. Because most people run alone, being proactive when it comes to safety is really important to avoid injury.

Invest In Safety Gear: Wearing reflective clothing, carrying mase, a walking stick, or even a whistle is a good rule of thumb in case you find yourself in a situation where you need assistance and maybe your cellular device is not working.

The key is safety and being able to get the best out of your run. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium is a necessity because of the design of these headphones. They allow you to listen to your favorite jams while still being present by not covering your entire ear area. They are lightweight, convenient and durable! I have two pair and have yet to have any problems.

My Fit Approach family is making sure that one of my readers has a chance to win a pair of their own! So make sure that you enter the giveaway and invest in a pair for yourself!

What are some hints you have for this newbie runner?

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Please Note: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sponsored. All comments about these product are my own and I have and will always remain transparent about my opinions. I will not endorse any products that I would not and do not use in my own fitness journey.

Give Your Joints A Break, Work Out In The Water

Photo by Todd Quackenbush 

Photo by Todd Quackenbush 

I was introduced to interval training in the water when I was a not-so-skilled track and cross country runner in college. Those days, my coach had me deal with my sprained ankle by water running. With my track clothes on, I would jump into the deep end of a pool and run - with absolutely no idea that there were things to consider such as form and intensity.

I know my coaches knew something back then that I didn’t: water training works. Now, water training isn’t new; it has been around centuries. Sadly though, if you ask anyone what they know about water training, they usually only think of rehabilitation and for medicinal purposes. Because of this stigma, the average athlete or fitness enthusiast might doubt a water workout as a viable way to train. Yet countless Olympic athletes use the method year after year with podium results.

Thus, we have an amazing fitness method which just hasn’t hit mainstream.

For me, I came a long way from those early years of practically drowning. I had the opportunity to be trained by some major players (Shirley Archer and Sharon Svensson) and then I honed those concepts and integrated more variety and intensity drills for training and my clients and classes. I also used water to train for ultra running and ironman events, and eventually, to rehabilitate after some major bicycle accidents.

Water training is truly a platform in which you can work at any level. For example, after my knee surgery, I couldn’t walk on land without crutches, but I could walk in the water due to the effects of buoyancy and minimized gravity. Once I was given the green light to get back to harder workouts, I slowly increased the intensity and the variation of exercises until I could run on land again (something my doctor told me would be unlikely). Since the surgery, thanks to water training, I have participated in other ironman and ultra running events.

Photo by chrissie kremer

You may be thinking, “Why should I use the water?” Maybe you are new to fitness or are not dealing with any injuries so you just don’t see the reason to include it. Well, all I can say is that with a society bent on increasing fitness at all costs, I keep thinking about joint health.

More and more people are getting involved with land-based fitness classes, marathon & triathlon training programs, high-intensity Cross-Fit or Spartan events, and there isn’t much thought to the pounding the body is taking, specifically the joints. Joint health today could be analogous to our past obsession with sunbathing. All of us children of the 60s and 70s paid no mind to sun damage as we rubbed oil on our bodies for a deeper tan. Well, this caught up to us, didn’t it? Joint health may have the same future.

Research has shown that a 150-pound runner could actually experience 600-900 pounds of impact force with each stride, and we’re looking at 2,000 strides per mile! Now, I’ve run some LONG events, so training in a non-impact generating environment has been a game-changer for me.

Consider changing your workout a day or two a week and hit the pool (or ocean) for a deep water focused workout. Your joints will thank you in another 5-30 years!

Here is a Total Body Workout for you to try: This workout is approximately 50 minutes in length. To start, perform a water-based warm-up of approximately 5-7 minutes of all the intended main set exercises. The workout can be performed in a HIIT or MISS type training (High intensity interval or medium intensity steady state); all depends on your needs for the day. To increase intensity, use gloves or resistance bells (just watch over gripping; first timers may experience major forearm fatigue). Recovery between each section as suggested or as needed!

Photo by Mike Wilson 

Photo by Mike Wilson 

  • Pyramid: perform the following (1,2,3,4,3,2,1) [approx. 10:30+ sec.]
  • Water Run: 4x’s 15 sec. on/ 10 sec. recovery jog
  • High Knees: 3x’s 15 sec. on/10 sec. rec. jog
  • Karate Kick: 2x’s 20 sec. on/ 15 sec rec. jog
  • Cross Country Uppercut: 1 min. on/30 sec. rec. jog
  • Repeater: Perform series 4 times through. 20 sec. on/15 sec. rec. with a 1 min. jog between series [approx. 10:00 min.] UpperCut Punch, Straight Shot Punch, & Hook Punch.
  • Eddies: [approx. 4+ min.] Perform 1 rep. each:
  • 1 min. Water Run Eddy at 85%+ effort, rec. 45 sec.
  • 45 sec. Water Run Eddy at 85% effort, rec. 40 sec.
  • 30 sec. Water Run Eddy at 85 % effort, rec. 30 sec.
  • Repeater: Perform series 3 times through. 30 sec. on/15 sec. rec. with a 1 min. jog between series [approx. 4+ min.]
  • Cross Country
  • Water Run
  • Backward Cross Country (legs only): 3x’s 20-30 sec. on/ 15 sec. rec. jog
  • BreastStroke
  • Cross Country Pop-Up
  • Run

Cool Down & Stretch

When you do a water workout, it will be hard work. Oddly enough though, it is also refreshing. So much so that right when you are done - you feel great. It almost will feel like you didn’t worked out. But, don’t be fooled; if you work as hard as I do, you shouldn’t be surprised if you feel a wee-bit tired a few hours later!

Workout adapted from Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Author, Melis Edwards has over 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, having participated in Ironman distance triathlons, and the Western States 100 mile endurance run. Ms. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for more info. Water Run: Fairly intuitive, but remember to use opposite arm and leg movements and keep your body vertical with a slight lean forward. Use a nice long stride since there’s nothing holding you back.

High Knees: Like playing hacky sack under water. Try keeping your arms above your head for an extra challenge.

Karate Kick: Unleash your inner action movie star and strike two foes at once! Keep your legs bent while they pass under you, but strike out front and back at the same time. Try adding opposing punches to level up this move.

Cross Country Uppercut: Move your legs like a cross country skier (long strides like running, but keep your legs straight without locking your knees), while using your opposite arm to deliver an uppercut punch a la Rosie the Riveter. The twist is especially good for your obliques. (For regular Cross Country, use opposing limbs for similarly long strokes.)

Eddies: This is an intense drill which is all about working against the water. Run forward for five seconds, then turn 180 degrees (a u-turn) into wall of swirling water created behind your body (i.e., the eddy) and continue with the Run. The key to making this drill extremely challenging is timing; turning just before the water starts to give way as to not lose the intended effect of trying to “run up stream”. Breaststroke: Use your legs to do a water run while mimicking a traditional breastroke with your arms. Start with your arms in front of you and push the water to either side in a sweeping motion. Cross Country Pop Up: Think about inverting the original cross country stroke. Rather than the active portion being your legs moving away from the body, think of spreading them to power your torso straight up out of the water like an octopus uses its limbs to propel itself forward. This one is fun once you get the hang of it, and it’s a serious workout for your core!

Workout adapted from Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Author,  Melis Edwards has over 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, having participated in Ironman distance triathlons, and the Western States 100 mile endurance run. Ms. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for more info.

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