Full Body HIIT Workout

Today I'm sharing a full body HIIT workout that you can do at home or the gym. 

First off, I wanted to say thank you for all the kind words about yesterday's post in the comments and on social media. I'm really excited to start yoga teacher training in September.

Today's workout is a full boy HIIT one that will work all the major body parts. You'll work at a 7 or 8 on a scale of 10 for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Once you've done all the exercises once, rest as much as you need, and then start over again from the beginning. You'll want to do the circuit 3 to 4 times through for a complete workout. I've listed descriptions of all the exercises under the graphic if you're unfamiliar with any of them.

The only equipment you'll need for this workout is a yoga mat for the floor work to add a bit of cushion and keep you from sliding around and dumbbells. I like this Manduka yoga mat (affiliate link) and these dumbbells (affiliate link). If you're looking for more workouts, you can find all of mine on my workouts page.

Full Body HIIT Workout

Pushups

Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the forward leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs for the entire 30 seconds.

Side plank

To perform a side plank, lay on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder and your forearm on the ground. With your top foot stacked on top of your bottom foot, lift your hips off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line. Hold and then repeat on the other side.

Overhead press

Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.

Dumbbell deadlifts

With a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly bend forward at the hips, letting your arms hang down and keeping your back straight. Using your glutes, lift your torso back up to the starting standing position.

Bicep curls

Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.

Fire hydrants

On your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips, move your knee away from the floor and your body so that your thigh is close to parallel to the floor and at a 90 degree angle to your torso. Lower your knee back down to the ground in the starting position. Repeat.

Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feel flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure your neck stays in a neutral position. The upper back should be moving, not the neck. Slowly lay back down on the floor.

What's your favorite kind of workout? Cardio? Strength? Circuit? 

Always talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you. 

I’m Doing Yoga Teacher Training

Today I'n sharing some fun news on a decision that I made.

I'm Doing Yoga Teacher Training

As you can probably tell from the title of this post and the graphic, I've decided that I'm doing yoga teacher training! I'm so excited that I've made this decision and I'm really looking forward to diving into everything that I'm going to learn about all things yoga.

Before I go more into the training, I thought that I'd share a bit about my yoga journey.

I had a co-worker (now friend) that had recently completed her own yoga teacher training (I actually went to one of her final “practice” classes before she finished) and started teaching at a studio not far from me. She knew I was going through a tough time with some sick family member and a recent breakup, and suggested I try the karma classes on Saturday afternoons. They were budget friendly and since a different teacher teaches each week, I got to “try out” quite a few of the teachers from the studio.

I was so grateful to have an hour each week to get on my mat and not think about anything else that was going on. I was pretty stressed out and it felt so good to have an hour where I didn't think about hospitals or test results or being newly single. When I was in class the only thing I thought about was the pose and my breath.

That was back in 2012, and soon after I started going more often. 2013 to 2015 I was going to class 2 times per week and then practicing on my own at home a few times per week as well. I found that my favorite kinds of yoga were ashtanga and restorative.

Ashtanga is a set series of poses that you do in the same order every single time you practice. I remember one of the teachers I really liked talk about how it was a moving meditation. I didn't understand what she meant by that at all in the beginning. Then I slowly started to get it. Because you're doing the same poses in the same order each time, you start to remember which pose comes next and it just starts to flow. You learn to focus on your breath instead of the people on either side of you.

Restorative yoga is a much slower paced class. You only do 8 or 10 poses during the whole class, and you're in them for five or ten minutes at a time. When I first heard what restorative classes were, I couldn't understand why anyone would want to go to one – it seemed so boring to me. Then my co-worker/friend talked me into trying one of her restorative classes, so I decided to go. It was anything but boring, and in fact the class was over before I knew it. I left feeling really relaxed and so much better than when I had walked into class. I wasn't annoyed that I was “stuck” in a pose for so long before having to move onto the next one. Restorative yoga quickly became a favorite of mine after trying my first class.

When I started school full time in 2015 I only went to classes sporadically because of time and budget constraints. I would have loved to go more often, but it just wasn't feasible. As a result I've shifted to more of a home practice. There have definitely been times that I've done less yoga, but in the end it's one of those things that I kept coming back to. Even after a few months of not practicing I would crave the feeling of being in the moment and focusing on my breath.

Ashtanga Yoga

For the last year or two the thought of doing a yoga teacher training was in the back of my mind. Last summer I considered an intensive training (4 weeks of yoga 5 days per week), but decided in the end that it wasn't quite the right time. Looking back now I'm so glad that I didn't do it then because I once again had a sick family member, and there's no way that I could have committed that kind of time to yoga teacher training then.

A few weeks ago yoga teacher training again popped into my head, and I started considering it seriously. I knew that I wanted to do one that was spread out over a long period of time, so that ruled out any of the intensive trainings that were going to happen over the summer, so I looked forward to ones that started in the fall. I kept coming back to the same one at Passage Studios. I had talked to someone who had done her training there and she said she had a great experience. One of my favorite restorative yoga teachers did his training there. It was all starting to come together, so I decided to fill out the application and see what happened.

I got a phone call from one of the instructors a day or two later, and he filled me in on the details of the training. The more I heard the more it felt like the right thing for me. Over the weekend I finally made the decision the do the yoga teacher training and paid my deposit. I'm really excited that yoga teacher training is finally going to happen. It takes place September to March basically every other weekend, Friday night, and all day Saturday and Sunday. It's going to be a very busy time, but I know that I'm going to learn a lot – both about myself and yoga.

Have you done yoga teacher training? Have any advice for me?

Weekend in Review July 30 2018

Once again, it feels like this weekend flew by. How is it already Monday morning? It was a jam packed weekend for me, which is a bit different than most weekends. I try to have less going on so that I can have a bit of a break. Even though I was on the go it was a fun weekend.

Saturday Breakfast

Saturday

I started off my Saturday morning with my go to hot breakfast – two poached eggs with pepper and a couple of slices of toast with peanut butter. During the week I typically don't cook my breakfast, so it's kind of nice to to take the extra time to make something different.

Heather Selfie

I bought this denim jacket (affiliate link) from The Gap a week or two when they were having their big sale, which I wore on Saturday morning to get groceries. I got it for $35 off, so it was a great deal. I also ended up getting a pair of jeans (affiliate link), a couple t-shirts (affiliate link), and a bag (affiliate link).

Groceries

I ended up getting a few more groceries than I usually do, though I'm expecting them to last for a week and a half, so I think it'll even out in the end. I'm planning on making honey mustard pork chops, sloppy joes, pasta and meat sauce, and barbecued hamburgers.

Saturday Lunch

Lunch on Saturday was leftover beef stroganoff and an apple. My favorite apples are Granny Smith, but I decided to go with something different at the grocery store and bought a few Ambrosia ones instead. They tasted so good – better than I'd remembered. I might have to get Ambrosia apples more often now.

Passion Tea Lemonade Starbucks

Once I was done with lunch I headed back out to do some errands. I ended up meeting up with my dad to get a Starbucks. I went with a passion tea lemonade (it's my favorite hot weather drink) and he got an iced coffee. It was nice to sit for a bit and talk.

Founders Brewing Raspberry Beer

Saturday night was date night. My boyfriend and I have been watching season 2 of Westworld and we finally finished the last two episodes. I'm kind of amazed that I managed to avoid any spoilers about how it ended, so I won't spoil anything for anyone who may be reading and hasn't finished watching it yet. I will say though that the last two episodes were action packed and were so good! I'm really hoping that they make a third season.

Jaws Photo Booth

Sunday

I was up bright and early to work for a friend at a booth she had at the Magic and Fantasy Fair. It's been put on the last few years by a neighborhood in Calgary – they close down a couple streets to traffic, and all the stores and restaurants participate too. The weather was hot and sunny, so that meant there were a ton of people out. There were a bunch of great costumes including an incredible Hagrid. Isn't this Jaws photo booth great?

Harry Potter Platform 9 34 Kensington As I was walking back to the train station to make my way home after I was done working I came across this Platform 9 3/4. One of these day's I'm going to see the “real” one at King's Cross. The Magic and Fantasy Fair is always so much fun. The neighborhood and business owners really embrace it and there's so much creativity that goes into the costumes and decorations.

By the time I got home I was exhausted. Between the heat and being on my feet all day I was just done, so it wasn't long after making myself dinner that I was in bed.

What was the highlight of your weekend? 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

Friday Favorites July 27 2018

The end of the week is already here – how did that happen? It flew by for me. I'm looking forward to having some down time tomorrow because Sunday will be a very busy day for me. I'm helping a friend out at her booth at Kensington's Fantasy Faire. She filled me in on her booth this week and it sounds like it's going to be awesome. This will be the second one I've done with her – the first was last October in a small town south of Calgary. Harry Potter fans literally took over main street. There were a ton of amazing costumes, so I'm hoping to see some more on Sunday. Previous years the event in Kensington has been exclusively Harry Potter, but they're opening it up to all things magical on Sunday, so nothing is off limits.

In usual Friday fashion, I'm going to share a few of my favorite things from the past week.

Secret City

I'm pretty sure I've shared it on a previous Friday Favorites post but I hadn't finished the season yet. I wanted to mention Secret City again because I just finished watching the first season this week and it's so good! If you like political thrillers and cover ups this is definitely a show that you should check out. The writing is superb, and the actors are perfectly cast. There's only one season on Netflix, and it's only six episodes long, so it's not a huge investment of time. At the same time I wish that there were more! If you've watched it, let me know what you think about it in the comments.

Oprah's Master Class Podcast 

I listened to the episode with Dwayne Johnson and really liked it. Maybe because I never watching her Master Class show, but I thought this poscast was going to be Oprah interviewing Dwayne Johnson. It was essentially just him talking about this life, the lessons he's learned, and how he's achieved success in his life.

I honestly didn't know much about him other than he used to play football and be a wrestler, so it was cool to learn more about The Rock as a person and his life growing up. He overcame some pretty tough circumstances and it was interesting to hear about a conversation he had with his daughter about their relationship. If you're looking for a new podcast to listen to, I would definitely recommend this one. I have the Jay-Z episode on my iPod to listen to on Monday at work, so I'm hoping it's just as good as the Dwayne Johnson episode.

No wrist yoga practice

I have bad wrists, and as a result I have to be careful during workouts and yoga how much weight I put on them when they're bent. If I overdo it, my wrists will be sore for a week or two, and the littlest things will make them hurt – everything from pushing open a door or rolling over in bed. It's can get pretty miserable, so I'm very careful to try to keep things to a minimum that will aggravate my wrists.

No Wrist Yoga Class

If you follow me on Instagram (find me here), you'll have seen this story that I shared earlier in the week about a yoga practice on YouTube that specifically avoids bending the wrists and putting weight on them. If you're someone else who also struggles with bad wrists, be sure to give it a try here. My favorite form of yoga, ashtanga includes a lot of downward dogs, which means a lot of modifications to dolphin if my wrists are bothering me. It works most of the time and I don't mind it, but some days I wish I would just do it without having the do all of the modifications. I have a feeling that this yoga video will be the one that I come to on days like that. I was able to do the whole thing with absolutely no changes.

She has another video for tight hips that I have a feeling I'll be doing today or tomorrow. My left hip and lower back on that side has been stiff for the last few days. I'm thinking I slept weird on it. I'm hoping some yoga focused on my hip will help to stretch it out a bit though.

I hope you all have a great weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend? Let me know about it in the comments below.

How I Use my Fitbit to get in 10,000 Steps

I hope Tuesday is treating you well! Today I'm going to be sharing how I use my Fitbit to get in 10,000 steps most days. It's been really helpful at keeping me more active than I would be otherwise. It was such a great investment in my physical activity.

How I Use my Fitbit to Get in 10,000 Steps

If you're thinking of getting a Fitbit, you can check out my reviews of the Zip and Charge 2. After having used both of them, I would recommend the Charge 2 (affiliate link) if you workout regularly. If you just want to track steps, go with the Zip (affiliate link).

Hourly notification to walk at least 250 steps

This is something that you can enable in the settings. You can set it to remind you for between 5 and 14 consecutive hours. I currently have mine set for 12 – 8 am to 8 pm. If you haven't gotten in at least 250 steps by 50 minutes past the hour, the Fitbit will vibrate and tell you how many more steps you need to get in to reach 250.

I have this feature with my Charge 2 (affiliate link), but I didn't with my FitBit Zip (affiliate link). If you're thinking about getting a Fitbit and this is a feature that interests you, be sure to check that the model you want to get has it.

It keeps me accountable

Like I mentioned in the introduction of this post, my Fitbit keeps me accountable. It's easy to assume that I'm more active than I actually am. If I don't leave the house on a weekend, I'll typically only get in 4  or 5 thousand steps, which really isn't all that much. My Fitbit gives me a number that I can use to quantify how active I was throughout the day. It's much more accurate than me just thinking back through my day to see how active I thought I was.

It's similar to when I estimate servings of food versus actually measuring them out. For the most part I'll underestimate serving sizes. Measuring out my food keeps me accountable just like my Fitbit does.

Fitbit Charge 2 App

It connects me with my friends

You can add friends to the Fitbit app. While I have both people that I know in real life and just online, I find that I'm more competitive with my friends from real life, which works in my favor when it comes to getting in steps. Challenges can vary from a single day to a work week, and can have as many as 10 people in them.

The heart rate tracking is valuable for my workouts

For some workouts I'll use my heart rate to determine which zone I'm in and if I'm working hard enough. While your ideal heart rate zone will depend on your age, gender, fitness level, any medication/health conditions you may have and a host of other things, it can be really helpful in making sure you're working at a challenging level.

If you haven't worked with heart rate training before, or aren't sure what zone you should be in, I would suggest working with your doctor or a personal trainer to get personalized advice.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it.

Do you have a Fitbit? How do you use it to stay active?