Fitness Isn’t A Linear Progression

I was at the gym last week and after my run, I decided to see how my chin-ups felt. I don’t work on these nearly enough- it’s more of a “let me see what I can do today” type of thing. I think the reason WHY I don’t practice them or other exercises to assist in building up the necessary strength required to execute them in multiples is because I generally have very little time to workout. It’s usually a quickie 30-35 minutes including warm up & cool down, which, don’t get me wrong, is plenty of time for a good workout, but if I want to spend time working on various skills, it’s definitely not enough time. And right now, I care more about getting in quickie workouts than I do about working strictly on pull-ups/chin-ups, so it’s just the way it is!

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to continue to do them when I can! In fact, we just bought a pull-up bar because I want it to be easier to practice the craft.

Last week’s chin-up experience got me thinking about fitness progressions & growth. I put this on Instagram and it got some good traction so I thought it was worthy of sharing with you guys:

Two days ago, I struggled through a #fitin15 (@the_fueled_physique) upper body workout and I had no idea why. I wasn't using heavier weights, I wasn't Doing anything new and I wasn't tired or sore. . . Yesterday, I did a quick 1.5 mile run on the treadmill (felt easy!) and then busted out 5 chin-ups with relative ease. I haven't done these in months, yet they didn't pose nearly as big of a challenge for me as the previous day's workout. And, yes, chin-ups are a hard exercise, certainly not downplaying that! . . But it was a good reminder: fitness is not a linear progression. We don't just keep moving up and forward Day after day. Just because we can do chin-ups on day with ease doesn't mean they'll be easy the next time we try them. Just because we run 5 miles one day with ease doesn't mean the next run will be equally as good or easy. . . . With that said, I encourage you to focus on where you are TODAY. not yesterday, not where you'll be tomorrow. Focus on the now and appreciate what you can do. Be kind to yourself and know that if you keep working hard, you'll get to your goal. #realtalk #fitness #progression #progressionisntlinear #keepworking #appreciatethenow #embraceitall #acceptance #reminder #focusontoday

A post shared by Monique Gagnon- Magno (@burpeestobubbly) on

 

My experience with chin-ups just yesterday couldn’t have come at a better time because it backed up what I shared above.

Last week, chin-ups were, dare I say it, EASY. Yesterday? So far the opposite from easy. Every bit of it was a struggle, as clearly shown in the video above. For good measure, I tried some this morning (dress & heels and all!) and they were definitely much easier than they were yesterday.

All this means is that we should focus on where we are TODAY. Not yesterday, and not where we are tomorrow. Fitness isn’t a linear progression. Just because we could do something so well yesterday or last week, doesn’t mean that we will pick up right where we left off when we try it next. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that because there are so many factors that go into our physical strengths on any particular day: how much sleep we got, how rested we feel, whether we are stressed, what time of the  month it is, what we are focused on, etc. All of these things play a role in how we are able to move on any particular day.

So, next time you’re feeling down because you weren’t able to run as far, run as fast, swim as long, lift as heavy, knock out as many pull-ups, just remember that it doesn’t mean you’ve lost strength or that you’re weak or that you need to work harder, longer, etc. at getting better. Sure, practice does always help, but all the practice in the world does not mean that your fitness experience and growth will be a linear progression. Instead of getting beat down because today you can’t do what you did last week, focus on where you are today, appreciate that and keep working on the skill. Maybe take a second to think about what outside factors are going on that could contribute to less energy or strength in your workout, because that could bring some clarity to it.

I’d love to hear what you have to say about fitness progressions- do you find yourself being able to do something one week and the next week find it much harder? How do you handle these situations? Do you get upset or take it for what it is and just keep going/practicing/etc.? What’s something that is always a struggle for you in the gym? How do you work at it?

 

 

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Wednesday Workout: Vegas Workout #2

If you’ve been following B2B for a while, you know that I love working out on vacation. I don’t workout because I feel like I have to, but more because it’s something I enjoy and it’s something that makes me feel good. Plus, it gives me energy for the day, especially if we may have had one too many cocktails the night before 😉 Going on vacation generally means you’re out of your routine a bit, whether that’s because of the food you’re eating, how you’re sleeping, what you have planned, etc., so for me, I like keeping a bit of consistency by trying to workout when I can since that’s something that’s so ingrained in my daily life when I’m not traveling.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- just because I workout on vacation doesn’t mean the intensity or duration is anything like it is when I’m back home, because vacation is a time to relax and get off schedule a bit. What it means is that I try to move how I can, when I can. It may mean a quickie 10 minute burst of something in the hotel room (if I don’t bring sneakers), it may mean a 2-3 mile jog, it may mean going to the hotel gym if it’s nice. In the case of the Wynn, the gym was SO nice that both RM and I went. But, we went under one condition: the workout couldn’t be more than 25 minutes. DONE! No problem there!

Since we had already walked over 10K steps by the time we made it to the gym, I decided that was enough steady-state cardio for me and therefore opted for a quickie 20 minute HIIT workout. I generally try and keep it to 5 or 6 exercises so I can really focus on power, speed & form (and “feel the burn”), which is not really as attainable when you include any more exercises than that in a short 20 minute timeframe (in my opinion). That said, I figured out what I wanted to do, got the necessary equipment and got to work. The gym was crowded so I found a small spot and made due with that!

 

And before I knew it, we were changed, sitting poolside, sipping the most delicious (albeit highly expensive) margaritas & soaking up the sun. Getting in movement doesn’t have to be hard. The act of working out doesn’t have to be hard (the workouts can be, though!!). Making the decision to do something good for yourself doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. Could we have gone on vacation, not worked out or walked a lot, not chosen some healthier, veggie-filled meals & lighter drinks and gorged ourselves on all the indulgences that Vegas has to offer? Sure. But at the end of the day, living like that doesn’t make me feel good so I don’t see the point in doing it.

In case you missed the first workout in Vegas, you can find that here.

Question for you: What are your “go to” exercises when you’re short on time? 

 

SoulFu3l {aka- a way to help you eat well without requiring hours in the kitchen!}

I joke (being half serious, though), to RM all the time that I wish I could pay someone to come over and do meal prep & cleanup for us. It’s not that I don’t like to meal prep, but more that sometimes I wish I could have those hours from my weekend or week to do something else. I don’t mind food shopping, but sometimes I really dread the process of washing, cutting, seasoning, cooking, watching, organizing & washing the dishes when everything is done cooking.

Can anyone relate to this?!

(I really hope I’m not the only one….)

Enter: SoulFu3l. They are a local (Boston) company who prepares healthy foods FOR YOU! While they may not actually go to your house and prepare the food in your kitchen, they still make your life a lot easier, especially if meal prepping is just not your thing.

They gave a discount to EBF trainers a few weeks ago and after seeing other trainers rave about their SoulFu3l for so long, I decided to jump on it. They have various meal plan options to choose from (just snacks, breakfast, lunch & dinner, just breakfast & dinner, etc.), but I opted for the “Sample Pack” as it included a good array of things to try:

  • 2 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 2 dinners
  • a surprise treat, which for us was their infamous Paleo Banana Cacao Chip Muffins

As an FYI, normally a meal plan similar to the above mentioned one would cost either $97 or $112 depending on the sizing option you get (4oz or 6oz, respectively). While I realize this may seem a little pricey, I will say that the options come with A LOT of food- and when you figure what you might spend on Whole Foods hot bar, ordering out or going out to eat, it really isn’t much more than that. Plus, you have the option of picking one off’s if a meal plan/meal pack isn’t what you want. Oh yeah, and if you do meal kit delivery options from other companies, 3 meals will cost you about the same, whereas this comes with essentially 6 meals.

The way this whole thing works is you go to their menu page to see what’s on the menu for the next week. Once you decide, you go to their order page, pick what you want (you can do a sample pack and then order additional items like cookies or muffins), figure out if you want delivery (on Sundays to Boston Proper & Southie, $10 charge) or if you want to pick it up for free at Crossfit Southie on Sunday or Monday.

There are a lot of things I love about this company: they are local, it’s two women who both share a passion for health and wellness and believe in feeding our bodies through nourishing foods. The foods they make are paleo, gluten free & dairy free- and yes, they still taste amazing. My favorites from our package were the “peaches & cream” overnight oats and the paleo banana cacao chip muffins. If only I could figure out how to make one or both of these- they were seriously amazing! The other dishes were egg cups (wrapped in turkey with spices), a chicken, sweet potato & Brussels sprouts and then the last meal was a Aztec Turkey Bowl. It was so nice to have everything together to easily reheat!

At the end of the day, though, as much as we enjoyed trying something new and seeing how easy it can be to have nourishing, good fueling foods at your fingertips without having to do anything besides place an order, both of us like cooking for ourselves and spending time making various dishes so I don’t think we will use this service on a weekly basis. But, for those crazy busy weeks where I would like to spend my meal prepping time doing other things, I think ordering a SoulFu3l order will be especially helpful. It’s also pricier for us than it is to buy veggies & meats and do meal prep on our own, but some weeks I will pay a lot extra for the convenience factor!

However, if you are one who does not enjoy meal prepping and find yourself constantly getting Whole Foods hot bar or ordering take-out, this is a company I think you’d really benefit from checking out. They make eating good, nourishing, delicious food SO easy.

To make it even better, SoulFu3l has offered to give Burpees to Bubbly readers 10% off your first order. All you have to do is head over to their page, place your order and use the code NOURISH at checkout. If you’ve been waiting to try a meal service like this (or this one in particular!), this is your time to do it. I promise, you won’t regret it! Just as an FYI, if you want an order for next week, you need to place your order by THURSDAY! (also, they will keep the code open for the next few weeks since next week is a holiday and many of you may be going away)

SoulFu3l ladies- you’ve got something pretty amazing going on and I can only hope you’ll continue to work to provide this wholesome, nourishing food for years to come!

(Also, I apologize for less than stellar photos- when I originally took them I wasn’t thinking of a blog post, but I realized this stuff is too good not to share, bad photos and all 🙂 )

Workouts I’m Loving {and all less than 45 minutes!}

Happy Monday! Did you guys have a good weekend? RM and I did- we had a datenight, did lots of biking and ended Sunday night with some meal prep & relaxing- can’t go wrong with any of that!

Today, I wanted to share a little glimpse into the workouts I’ve been doing lately. I, like most (I assume), tend to go through phases with my workouts; sometimes I’m all about running, sometimes I’m all about lifting heavy, sometimes I just want to do a quickie workout, etc. While I like to keep some sort of consistency when it comes to my workouts (it helps me track progress and see fitness gains), I try to listen to my body and do the types of workouts that I’m craving as I crave them. Otherwise, I will end up dreading and not enjoying my workout which is a recipe for disaster!

That said, here’s what I’ve been finding myself doing lately:

  • Boxing- As an EBF instructor, I try to get to at least one boxing class a week. Partly to learn from other instructors in terms of combinations, format, music, etc. (I think it’s so important for instructors to go to other people’s classes to help them grow & learn more), but partly because it’s a great – and fun- workout! It also helps me get to know the members and other instructors better, which is especially important at a place like EBF since it’s hugely community oriented.

  • Spinning- Lately, running has been bothering my hip 😦 so I’ve been doing more spinning. Without fail, even a quickie spin sesh will get me sweating and feeling pumped up. It’s especially more fun with my new TIEM Athletic shoes!

  • Biking– Spinning is fun, but riding a real bike outside is more fun! I’ve been enjoying the nicer weather as it’s allowed me to ride my bike to the gym to teach (gets me there faster than driving!). RM and I have also been doing a lot of biking which is a great way to spend time with each other and be outside!

  • Quickie HIIT workouts- Unless I’m teaching an hour long class (which I rarely do these days), I don’t want to be a the gym for a long time which means I fully embrace quickie 20-30 minute workouts. Some are more intense than others, but none last longer than 30 minutes. I’ve been going to the gym at lunch as much as possible which is another reason why I can’t spend a long time working out. The best part? My body has been responding so much better to these shorter workouts! I feel quick & strong and I’m looking more buff!

  • Upper body workouts- I want big, beautifully strong shoulders so I’ve been putting more focus on upper body/shoulder focused workouts. Only a few weeks/month into this slight shift and I feel like I’m already seeing changes, which just goes to show that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym a day in order to see or feel changes. You just have to make sure what you’re doing is the best use of your time and going to effectively challenge you.

(also- loved Lauren’s Fit in 15 mini workout series- so great to get quickie, but effective, workouts in!)

  • Outdoor workouts- With the warmer weather *mostly* here, it makes me want to get outside as much as possible. Last week, I brought a resistance band and jump rope to work and went outside during my lunch to get a quickie workout in.

There you have it! Per usual, I try to keep a good balance of cardio, strength, HIIT, etc. in my workout schedule so that I’m not overworking any one thing. I’d like to add more yoga into my schedule, but I’ve been teaching so much lately that I haven’t wanted to take an hour-hour and a half to get to a class when I’m not teaching. In the next few weeks, my schedule should lighten up a bit so I will absolutely get to yoga!

I’d love to hear from you- what workouts are you loving right now? Have you been working out outside? Do you find yourself more or less motivated to workout when the weather gets nice?

How I Try and Find A Work/Life/Play Balance

I’m sure you all are aware that blogging & teaching fitness are not my only “jobs” (a girl can dream!), but today I thought it would be interesting to talk about how I balance it all: “real” work, teaching at multiple gyms, hosting my own events, blogging, cooking, being a good wife/friend/family member/cat mom… oh yeah- and trying to relax a bit, too.

(Positano during our honeymoon- most amazing trip & hotel- couldn’t have been more relaxed!)

I’ll be honest with you- it ain’t always easy! And there have certainly been times where I’ve felt completely overwhelmed because of how much I have going on. However, these days, even though this still does happen occasionally, overall I feel like I have figured out a pretty good balance with everything. Want to know why?

I’ve learned how to say no and I’ve learned how to figure out my priorities when it comes to how I want to spend my time.

At the end of the day, we all have only 24 hours in the day, so for me, it’s all about prioritizing my events/work/sleep/rest/etc. You’ll rarely hear me say “I don’t have time for that”, but rather, I may say that I’m choosing to spend my time elsewhere or that because of X, Y, & Z, I have less time than usual and had to push something aside. I used to try and do it all, all the time, but I found myself getting really burned out and generally unhappy. I didn’t really know who I was because I was always saying “yes” (even if I had no interest in what I was saying yes to) and always packing my schedule with as many things as possible.

Luckily, with the help of RM (my amazing husband), I’ve figured out a pretty good balance. Some weeks it’s better than others, but those weeks where I over-pack my schedule are a good reminder that that lifestyle is just not for me anymore. Here are a few ways I balance things out to keep me sane & happy:

  • Prioritize eating well – this may mean food shopping or meal prepping when I don’t want to, but ultimately the time I spend doing that (I’ve also learned how to shorten this A LOT!) will help me throughout the week. Plus, eating the good foods that we cook/prepare makes me feel better!
  • Prioritize sleep– I like to be in bed for 8 hours. End of story. I can work off of less sleep, but I know I can’t sustain that because I’ll feel worn out and likely get sick.
  • Plan my workouts & figure out my teaching schedule- This is especially critical if I have a lot of classes on the schedule because it means I need to find time for my own workouts (I don’t really “do” the workouts with my classes- just leading & demo’ing & jumping around) and figure out what days would be best to rest. I also have to take into account what after-work non-teaching plans I have and if my day allows for me to go to the gym during lunch or if I should do it before work.
  • Realistically think about how much blogging I can do- I used to stress if I didn’t have 3-5 blog posts published each week, but have realized that no one is holding me accountable for that besides me. And, since it’s not a real job (doesn’t pay me money), it makes the most sense to push it to the back burner on busy weeks. I’d rather spend the extra time hanging out with RM while we have dinner and watch TV.
  • Figure out when to say no. It can be hard to see friends getting together or other bloggers/fitness instructors going to classes or events together (hello, FOMO!), but I’m getting better at focusing on ME and what I’M doing and enjoying that rather than over-committing just to avoid FOMO. Wednesdays are my only “free” night without teaching so as tempting as it is to commit to things on that day, what I really want/need most of the time is to have a free night to do whatever the heck I feel like doing. Shopping after work, going to a class after work that I really want to go to, going home after work and blogging, going home after work and doing nothing, meeting up for drinks… having a night where I can do what I want is so good for me mentally!
  • And lastly, giving myself a freaking break and realizing I don’t have to do it all. For a recovering perfectionist, this is hard! But I’m getting better at it every day.

Each week requires something different out of me and being able to go with the flow by embracing the slower weeks and breathing through the busier weeks is really key for me to have balance and not feel stressed or overwhelmed all the time.

I’d love to hear from you guys- do you find you’re able to balance work/life/play or do you find yourself in situations where you’re continuously overwhelmed by how much you’ve said “yes” to? Do you have a hard time saying “no”, or are you able to easily pick and choose what you want to do? I’m always looking for more insight on this so I’d love to hear your thoughts!