Dilemma: Family vs. Fitness

Today I'm getting on an airplane to Orlando for my cousin's wedding. I'm really excited to be going home for the weekend and to spend time with my entire family, many of whom I've not seen in a few years. On top of that, Rich is coming with me - it's the first time he'll meet my extended family beyond my parents, brothers and sisters. And on Saturday we're going to spend the afternoon with my sister, nephews and brand new niece. That should be exhausting and fun at the same time. Little kids are not usually my thing, but I'm their aunt and I really want them to know and like me. So here's my dilemma - do I take time out to myself Saturday and/or Sunday morning to get in a workout or a run?

The little angel on my right shoulder is telling me to take a break for the weekend and enjoy the time with my family. On the flip side, the neurotic little training obsessed devil on my left shoulder is telling me I've got to get in a workout and burn some calories - especially since I'll probably have some cake at the wedding. Not to mention, I've been doing so well with consistency and I've lost about 6 lbs in 6 weeks. It's no wonder I'm secretly worried one weekend off of my healthy eating and workout routine will ruin my progress and put me back a few steps.

Common sense, and science tells you that our bodies need a break from exercise every few days for optimal repair and recovery. Everyone knows this. I know this. But the more is better mentality always seems to take over. Even my dentist told me I was brushing my teeth too hard. Too hard? I didn't know there was a too hard for brushing your teeth. You'd think that brushing harder would remove more plaque and debris. Apparently you can brush away your gums if you brush too hard. And those you can't grow back, unfortunately.

The same can be said for training too much or too often. Over-training and Overreaching are real. So why is it that I can't seem to take a break, even for a little extra time with my family? Deep down I know my body needs the break and my mind needs the time with my family. So what do I do?

Right now I can't really answer that because I've not made a clear decision. My plan was to play it by ear. Bring along 1 or 2 sets of workout clothes and a pair of running shoes. If I find time for a run or to visit a local CrossFit gym for a drop-in WOD then cool, but if not, there's no loss - my body will respond that much better when I do get back to my training on Monday. And any weight I may put on will most likely be water weight and will come right off once I get back to my routine. The world won't end if I miss a workout - so we'll see what happens and I'll keep you posted.

Do you ever find yourself putting fitness before your friends and family? How do you find balance?

3 Fat-Burning Cardio Workouts to Throw in to Your Routine

Plain old cardio can become monotonous and boring. Running on the treadmill or climbing the Gauntlet (step mill) to nowhere is not my idea of fun.  Burning calories is important so skipping cardio is not an option. And whether you prefer getting in your cardio sesh before the sun has a chance to rise, or you fit it in after your evening workout, switching it up often is the secret to breaking cardio boredom.

The best thing about cardio is that you can find ways to get it in without equipment or a gym, so there's no excuse. Here are 3 high intensity cardio workouts for you to try. Challenge yourself, you may be surprised at what you can achieve.

1.  Tabatas.  Tabatas are a Japanese form of high intensity interval training (or HIIT). Your basic interval is a period of all out effort, followed by a short rest. For instance, a simple interval would be 1 minute of running followed by 30 seconds of walking at a quick pace. Intervals are great for fat loss because they burn more calories in a shorter period of time, which means more time for you to spend at home relaxing. The freedom in Tabatas is that you can choose whatever exercises you'd like and the amount of exercises you perform. The interval timing of Tabatas is 20 seconds of all out effort (as many reps as possible) followed by 10 seconds of rest. You'll repeat each interval for a total of 8 rounds (4 minutes). Once you've reached the last round, you'll then move on to the next exercise, and so on and so forth until you've completed the workout. If you choose 4 exercises, you've got a 16 minute workout of nothing but high intensity intervals. Give it a try, it will be over before you know it!

Basic Tabata (or CrossFit's "Tabata This")

8 rounds each of the following - 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest: - Pushups - Pullups - Situps - Squats

2. Rowing Intervals.  Ok I lied, you'll need equipment for this one, particularly a rower. This machine is often overlooked at the gym and left to collect dust. Dust that thing off and give it some use! There's not much explanation involved here, hop on and start rowing. One thing you will notice is that watching the meters you've rowed go up is like watching water boil - it seems to take forever to reach your desired distance. Rowing is a calorie blasting cardio workout and a great stray from the norm. Here's a simple interval workout to try. Aim for 6-8 intervals to start. Try to increase the amount of intervals you do every session.

Rowing Intervals - set the rower lever to level 5 - press the menu button - select "custom workout" - choose "30/30 intervals" - perform 6-12 intervals, rowing for 30 seconds at all out effort and resting for 30 seconds

3. Running Intervals. As I mentioned before, intervals work wonders on fat loss. Incorporate them in to your workouts wherever you can, including running. Here's a challenging interval workout you can do outdoors or on the treadmill:

Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushups Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushups Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushusp Run for 5 minutes 10 Burpees 10 Squats 10 Pushups Run for 5 minutes

What's your favorite cardio workout?  Do you prefer outdoors or in?

3 Reasons to Do Morning Cardio


Getting up in the morning is rough, especially when you know you have a long day of work ahead of you.  Who in their right mind would want to get up earlier than necessary to get ready for work?  I’ve always said, if you want something bad enough, you’ll do what you need to do to get there.  And if that means waking up 45 minutes to an hour early every day for a morning cardio sesh then that’s what you’re going to do.  For those of you that love the snooze button, this article is for you.  Here are 5 reasons to get up before the birds for morning cardio: 1.    Feel the Energy Buzz:

Getting up early and starting with a 30 minute run awakens the senses.  Accomplishing more before 7:30 am than most is something you should feel good about, and the high you get from your run will boost your energy for the start of your day.

2.    Boost Your Metabolism:

Whether you get up and go or have a bite to eat beforehand, any form of cardio will boost your metabolism.  Aerobic exercise in general will keep your body burning calories for hours after you’ve finished your session.  Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, cardio is a great way to build your fitness and stay healthy.

3.    More Time for Yourself:

People often complain there’s not enough hours after work to get a cardio workout in.  Waking up early to get it done gives you the rest of the day to do what you wish without having to worry about when you’re going to hit the gym or the trails.  You’ll have more time in the evenings to lift weights, make dinner, prep for the next day, enjoy some ‘me’ time and see your family.

One way or the other, cardio is a good thing in your life.  If you’re not a morning person, become one – you’ll reap the benefits of a speedier metabolism, more energy for the day, and more time for yourself!

Are you a morning person?  When's your best time to get a cardio workout in?