Archive | January, 2014

Top Bodyweight Exercises

31 Jan

It’s finally Friday! Although, I’ve been sick with a cold for the past 2 days and today is definitely the worst day so far…but hopefully I will be feeling better before Superbowl Sunday.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about bodyweight exercises-specifically, my favorite ones.

top bodyweight exercises

Many may think that since you’re only using your body weight that you can’t get stronger. Actually, bodyweight exercises can help you get stronger in your lifts. Some of these don’t require equipment, and some you probably will have to do in a gym.

Here are a few of my favorites:


There is so much you can do with a bodyweight squat. You can do straight sets of just squats, or you can add in cardio by incorporating squat jumps. They get your heart pumping because you’re using major muscle groups. Just remember to engage your core as well!


Whenever people hear bodyweight exercises, they probably think of squats and push-ups. Increasing the number of push-ups you can do can help your strength in lifts like bench press or shoulder press. Here are my tips on how to get stronger at push-ups.

Inverted Rows

You can do this at the gym using a railing, or using the smith machine (or squat rack). You can really do it anywhere. It’s a great back exercises and really tough. Do it with palms facing forward to target more of your back, or with palms facing in to use more biceps. If you have a TRX Suspension Trainer, then you can do all sorts of inverted rows!

Negative Pull-Ups

I credit negative pull-ups to helping me be able to do unassisted pull-ups. They are really tough but so worth it. I like doing these better than doing pull-ups on an assisted machine. Start at the top, and slowly lower yourself down. Start with it taking you 3 seconds to lower, and work your way up to 10 seconds on the way down.


The great think about the plank is that you can make it as challenging as you. You can start with basic plank and work your way up to holding it for a minute, and then you can do all sorts of things. You can do a plank with 1 leg in the air, or opposite arm and leg in the arm, or superman plank where you extend your elbows further out in front of your head to make it extra hard.

Walking Lunge

Another great lower body exercise. This hits your quads and glutes, and you’ll definitely feel the burn even without using weights. Recently I’ve been doing walking lunges as a finisher on my leg days. Talk about jelly legs…

Just make sure to keep your core tight throughout the whole movement, and go slow.

If you have access to a gym, then you can certainly add weights to a few of these to make it more challenging. If you want to get stronger and pull-ups, I highly recommend trying negative pull-ups and inverted rows.

Which of these is your favorite?

Can you do unassisted pull-ups?

*Disclaimer: I’m part of the Amazon Affiliate program, so the TRX link is an affiliate link. If you decide to buy it, it just sends a few cents my way to help support my blog 🙂


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T.J. Maxx Activewear

30 Jan

We all want cute workout clothes right? Good quality…but also makes you feel and look good while exercising. Well, T.J. Maxx has a huge variety of activewear; and the prices make it even better!

I outlined a few places you can buy gym clothes without breaking the bank, but T.J. Maxx has a great selection in and of itself. Plus, you can order right online if there isn’t one near you.

I went on their website to do some online shopping for you all, and found a lot of great items. I’m not familiar with all of the brands they carry, so I’m only listing the ones I have tried and love: MPG, 90 Degree and RBX. They really are great quality, and as I mentioned in this video the materials used are pretty close to brands like lululemon.

If you don’t feel like splurging on workout clothes, check out these items on the T.J. Maxx website!


New Balance Boylston Mini Shorts – $14.99

I didn’t mention these above, but we know New Balance is a good brand, and I love anything in coral!

90 Degree Ruched Side Stretch Shorts – $12.99

I have similar shorts from 90 Degree and they really are pretty comparable to the lululemon spandex shorts.

MPG Electrolyte Compression Shorts – $16.99


RBX Stretch Yoga Capri Pants – $14.99

90 Degree Athletic Capri Pants – $14.99

No really, I love coral-I need these!


90 Degree Ruched Sleeves Zip Yoga Jacket – $24.99

Love the thumbholes-looks perfect for spring running. I actually got a similar jacket from Old Navy too!

RBX Heather Long Sleeve Top – $12.99

I have this top as well, and let me tell you, it is so soft! You can wear it to the gym or for running, but you can also wear it as an everyday casual top.

90 Degree Ruched Racerback Tank – $9.99 (!)

MPG Adora Bra Tank Top – $16.99

I really like the back of this top as well.

So there you have it folks. A bunch of great and cute stuff at T.J. Maxx. I also find these brands at Marshall’s, which is similar (and I believed owned by the same people) as T.J. Maxx. You can find a lot of things that look like higher-end stuff, and I’m all about that!

Do you shop at T.J. Maxx?

What are your favorite places to get workout clothes?


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Pita Pizza Recipe

30 Jan

Last week, my mom and I wanted to make homemade pizza. We had pita bread left over from making falafel (recipe coming soon), so we decided to try to make pizza using pitas as the crust.

pita pizza recipe

I looked up a recipe to base mine off of, and found this one by Martha Stewart.

Here’s how we made ours:


  • Pita bread (Probably about 2 per person)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza sauce or make your own
  • Vegetables for toppings (We used red peppers and onions).


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut up all of your veggies. Spread sauce on the pitas, then add cheese and veggies.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes (or until cheese has melted and vegetables have wilted a bit).

Seriously so easy! You can add a lot more vegetables than we did too, those are just what we had on hand. This is a great meatless dish, and filling. Next time, I do want to find a low-carb pita, but so far we’ve made this twice and it’s delicious and filling.

Do you have a favorite home made pizza recipe? What’s your favorite topping?

Share a meatless recipe with me in the comments!


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Making Friends At The Gym

29 Jan

Do you go to the gym and see the same people day in and day out?

My gym time is usually around the 4-6 pm range, and I always see the same people.

Recently, I was reading Women’s Health Magazine, and one of their tips was to “chat up the girl you always run next to on the treadmill” in order to make a new friend.

I always see this girl working out, and we both run regularly and lift. I saw her yesterday and thought of this piece of advice from Women’s Health. I wanted to tell her I really liked her hot pink sneakers, but I’m just not someone who talks to random people. I always feel awkward and like they will think I’m creepy!


make friends at the gym

I’d love to meet someone with the same passions for health and fitness. I’m sure my boyfriend is sick of hearing how much I benched today, or how far I ran yesterday 😉

Well, I did a google search for “making friends at the gym” and found this great post by Healthy Tipping Point! Here are some of her tips for meeting new people without seeming creepy:

  • Listen to earbud cues:  Don’t stroll around the gym blasting music.  It makes you seem unapproachable.   Similarly, if a potential friend has her earbuds in, don’t interrupt her – she doesn’t want to chat.  Some people use the gym to socialize, and others use earbuds as a “No talking” sign.  Be aware of your signals and others, too.
  • Take classes (and show up a little early):  Find a class you enjoy and attend it regularly.  You’ll become a familiar face and other regulars will notice.  Say hello to people when you walk in and ask them how their weekend went – be engaging!  By arriving earlier, you’ll have more time to talk.
  • The best opener:  I always open conversations with a stranger with a genuine compliment.  “I have those sneakers, too.  I love Brooks – aren’t they great?” or “I love your ring – when are you getting married?”  It’s hard to turn down a compliment.  :)
  • Take it outside the gym:  Once you establish a connection with a gym buddy, try to move the friendship outside the gym after a few weeks.  This will probably happen naturally, but if it doesn’t, jokily saying something like, “We should probably hang out outside of these crappy fluorescent lights and yoga pants one day.”  Go for a post-workout smoothie or coffee.  Or suggest trying out a yoga studio or going for an outdoor run.
  • Read her full post here.

Going along with this topic, does anyone feel like making new friends when you’re out of college is a lot harder? In college you had automatic friends from your dorm, you made new friends going to parties, and perhaps in small classes. In the “real world,” I feel like it’s harder. People already have their group of friends, and meeting people randomly (like in a dorm situation) just doesn’t happen anymore.

While I think I would feel kind of creepy talking to someone at the gym, as I read through the comments of the above mentioned post, a lot of people are saying they wish they could make a friend at the gym! People want a workout buddy, and someone who is like-minded in terms of healthy living. So perhaps I’ll work up the courage to one day talk to someone at the gym 😉

Have you made a gym friend?

Do you think it’d be weird if someone randomly talked to you at the gym?

Do you make new friends easily? Share some tips!


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Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

29 Jan

Does anyone feel like this week is just dragging? Yesterday I felt like it was Wednesday, and today it feels like a Thursday. And I think I’m getting sick, so I’d just like it to be the weekend. Well, at least we are halfway through the week!

Here are your health links for today:

  • 5 Flexibility Standards (Mark’s Daily Apple) – Which one of these are you able to do? If you can’t do some, work on those trouble spots.
  • 15 Minute Barbell Workout (Grit By Brit) – I just found Brit’s blog and already know it will have some great content. This is a total body workout and all you need is a barbell!
  • Avocado Chickpea Salad (Naturally Ella) – This looks so good. If you want to try some meatless meals, this site has great recipe ideas, and I can’t wait to go through them. I’ll be making this for lunch in the next week or two for sure!
  • 10 Healthy Plant-Based Snacks For Road Trips (Running On Real Food) – Great snack ideas, whether you’re on a road trip or just need some healthy snacks in your life.

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Please share!


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Fun Treadmill Workout

28 Jan

It’s cold outside. I’m starting to run again this week, but I would like to stay inside. I’ve ran in the cold before but recently I am just not feeling it. It’s just been too cold and I’m afraid of slipping on ice/snow.

So I came up with something to keep from getting bored on the treadmill. You know how in spin classes you usually increase resistance or speed when the music tempo picks up? Well, that’s what you’ll do in this workout!


Start by warming up for 5-10 minutes, then jog at whatever your easy pace is. Turn your music on & up.

With each song that passes, every time the chorus comes up (which is usually the most upbeat portion of the song), either increase your incline, or increase your speed.

For example, if you’re running at 5.5, when the chorus comes on, increase to 5.8-6.0 until the chorus is over. Once it’s over, decrease back to an easy jog. Switch it up by increasing your incline on one song, and increasing speed on another song. Repeat for however long you want your run to be!

Let me know if you try it out! Do you have a treadmill boredom buster workout? Please share in the comments 🙂


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NJ Devils vs. NY Rangers Stadium Series Recap

28 Jan

This weekend, my boyfriend and I went to the Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium. It’s part of the NHL, and a couple hockey teams throughout the US have been playing outdoors as part of this series.

Isn’t it crazy that the L.A. Kings played outside in 60-ish degree weather? Pretty cool that they could keep the ice frozen.

Anyways, Dan really wanted to go because the Devils were playing their big rival, the Rangers. His parents got him tickets for his birthday and he asked me to go. Initially, I was like ehhhhhhh…it’s going to be REALLY cold! It was about 20 degrees.

We got on the PATH train around 9 am and headed into the city. It was pretty easy getting there, and we got to the Bronx around 10:30. We thought we’d meet up with a few people at one of the bars outside of the stadium, but none of them were serving alcohol! Apparently, they can’t serve alcohol before noon on Sundays.

But the weird thing is, this one bar, Stan’s was serving. We tried to get in but it was waayyyy too packed. We couldn’t even move, and getting a drink probably would have taken 30 minutes (or more).

Anyone out there know why one bar is allowed to serve but others aren’t?

So we ended up just getting food then going into the stadium. When we got in, there were about 30 minutes left until game time, but then the game got delayed because of sun glare on the ice. My thoughts were, “Cool, more waiting in the freezing cold!” Stadiums should have like little coffee shops where you can go and have a hot beverage while waiting 😉

As luck would have it, we were surrounded by Rangers fans, so that wasn’t fun. Especially since the Devils lost 7-3. But we had pretty good seats and could see all of the action.

I wasn’t TOO cold throughout, but towards the end I started getting colder, and it started snowing. I went to the bathroom to warm up my feet and this very nice woman gave me hand warmers to put in my shoes. That was definitely a lifesaver! My toes felt frozen.

Overall, it was a really cool experience. I mean, how often do you get to watch an outdoor hockey game. I just made sure to bundle up: running tights, fleece pants, 3 layers on top, jacket, gloves, 2 socks.

I’m glad we got to go, and hopefully they continue the Stadium Series next year!

Are you a hockey fan? Who’s your team?

Have you been to an outdoor hockey game?


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DIY Workout Tank Top

27 Jan

Do you have a lot of random t-shirts that you don’t know what to do about? Well, now you can make a gym shirt out of them!

Today’s video shows you how to make a tank top with a criss-cross back, and it will only take you about 10 minutes.

diy workout tank top

I got the idea by perusing Pinterest (who else is addicted??). I combined a few ideas together to make this, and added the bow in the back as a cute little detail 🙂

Here’s the video:

Have you made anything out of t-shirts? Let me know if you make this/send me a pic!


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Motivational Monday!

27 Jan

Can you believe it’s already the last week of January? I’m okay with that-because I would really like it to be spring already!

So I started listening to this song over the summer, and I loved the lyrics. It’s called Wings by Little Mix. Recently, I’ve been listening to it a lot again. Do you ever go through a phase where you listen to a song, get sick of it, then months later are playing it on repeat again?

Anyway, I love the lyrics and thought it would be great for today!



Sometimes it’s easy to get down on yourself if someone says something negative to you or doesn’t understand something you’re doing (working out, starting a business, leaving a career, etc). I listen to this song when I’m feeling that way and am immediate like, “Yeah, I can do this! Screw the haters!” 🙂 It’s also just a really upbeat song that will definitely have you dancing around in your car.

Have you ever felt like that before? Do you have a song you listen to as a pick me up? Let me know so I can download it!


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I Can’t Stay Away From Running

24 Jan

I’ve talked about how I’ve been on a running break since the New York City Marathon, and how I’ve been focusing on lifting more. I’ve really enjoyed not having a running training plan and scheduled runs.

Then the running bug hit me yet again.

I suddenly wanted to start training for a half marathon again so I could chase a PR. Or maybe a 5K PR. Or both! I made a list of possible races, as well as the NYRR 9+1 races I may want to run (you have to run 9 and volunteer once to qualify for the following year’s NYC Marathon).

I have a secret half-marathon goal, but I’m still working on it, and will share once I think it’s possible 😉

Anyway, I’ve got the urge to get back to training. But there are two things holding me back:

  • Shin issues that I had before the NYC Marathon
  • Gaining weight

So, before the marathon, I took 3 weeks off from running completely due to posterior tendonitis. I had these weird bumps that I could feel when I massaged the side of my shin where the muscle is too. Turns out they’re muscle adhesions. And after 11 weeks of no running, I still have them. It makes me nervous to try running because I do not want to have that issue again. My plan of action is to take this week easy and start cross-training by doing cycling. I’ve mainly been lifting so I want to add in some cardio again.

The weight thing is tricky. Anytime I train for a half or full marathon I gain weight. I’ve read various articles about how this is due to eating more, and eating more unhealthy things because you feel like you deserve it but I really don’t think that’s the case. I was eating pretty healthy during marathon training. I think it has to do with cortisol. From Competitor:

Because some of the highest cortisol surges occur during and after exercise, endurance athletes are exposed to more cortisol than even many of the most stressed-out non-athletes. But do these repeated short bursts of cortisol release really add up to long-term high cortisol exposure in runners and other endurance athletes? A 2011 study says yes.

As a personal trainer, I know that people can hold onto fat due to different hormones. If you have that stubborn back fat around your bra area, it could be due to too much estrogen. If you have too much belly fat, like I do, it could be cortisol.

So it’s a catch-22 for me: Do I train and not care about gaining weight, or keep focusing on lifting weights until I get to the weight and leanness that I want?

I think I’m going to try both. When I have been long distance training, weight training has fallen to the wayside due to time. But I want to try to do both and see how that works for me. It may mean a day less of running, but I’m okay with that if I can maintain muscle.

Not sure what my training plan will be, but I’ll keep you posted! I’m looking at the Asbury Park Half on April 26.

Any other fellow NJ runners planning on running it?

Have you gained weight due to endurance running?

Do you have a training plan where you lift AND run? Please share how you do it because it’s always so hard for me to combine both!


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