5 Tips To Work Towards Achieving Your Goals

Good morning and happy Monday, friends! For all of the Patriot’s fans out there- what a game, right?! Boston is a great city to live in during times like these… I think it even helped soften the blow of this storm today 😉


January is generally a month of setting goals for the upcoming year. It’s a time a reflect on the previous year and to think about what you want to achieve in the upcoming year. While I tend to stay away from setting specific “I’m going to do X, Y, and Z in 2015”, in favor of just being mindful about things I want to continually improve (loosening up, stressing less, relaxing more, etc.), I did have a few fitness-related goals this year:

  • Improve my push-ups: Rather than wide arm, drop down a few inches push-ups, I want to do them with my elbows tight to my body and with dropping my chest all the way to tap the ground and come back up. The strength required to do this is much more than I thought it would be, so my goal this year is to do LESS crap push-ups and MORE real push-ups.
  • Do 10 unassisted Pull- Ups & Chin-Ups: Again, this is a move that seems so easy, but is really very challenging since it requires so much strength. It’s such an incredible exercise to incorporate into your workout routine because it utilizes so many muscles and is a great functional exercise.

Over the past month, I’ve been working towards improvement in both of these areas and I wanted to share some tips that have helped me. You may not have fitness-related goals for 2015, but I think these tips can be applied to a whole range of goals- fitness-related or not.

1. Make a plan. Simple enough, right? But for me, I find that if I write something down and detail out exactly what I want to accomplish, it’s much easier to figure out how to chip away and work towards achieving that goal.

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Currently I’m Crushing On… {pt.2}

I have been meaning to write a second “Currently I’m Crushing On…” post for a while now, but for one reason or another, I never got around to it. I’m hoping to make this a more regular reoccurring post series, so here we go!

Chapstick Hydration Lock

I probably have some of the most chapped lips you’ll ever see. It doesn’t seem to matter how much chapstick I put on, my lips never get soft. RM jokes and calls me “chappy” and says I have this problem because I have big lips and therefore a bigger surface area to cover. I think he’s just full of it, but still. I have been trying to be better about keeping my list moisturized and this Chapstick has helped! I put the “night” side on before bed and when I get up and put the other end on throughout the day. While I still have chapped lips, they feel better when I put this on.


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This Week: Workouts, Loving Challenge Workouts & Things I’m Looking Forward To

Good morning! This week is a little weird as I have to be at a client site all week, which sucks because I have really grown to LOVE my Monday work from home days. I’m also not looking forward to driving to Canton every day- yuck! But, at least it’s just a week! I’m hoping to get most of my workouts done in the morning so that I can have the evenings to finish decorating my apartment and stuff.

Luckily, this week has a few challenges that are workout based so that will make it easier to decide what to do! And, speaking of my challenge- I’m having SO MUCH FUN participating and seeing so many of you participating! I’ve definitely been pushed out of my comfort zone a few times, but it’s been great. Don’t forget to let me know somehow that you’re participating- I’ve got some great prizes lined up 🙂

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I went for a gorgeous 4 mile run during my lunch break. The weather was perfect and it felt so good to be running outside! I also did 3 pull-ups (!!!) and 1 minute of push-ups.


  • Tuesday- I went to the Wellington BSC for a bootcamp class. It was heavy arm-focused and I loved it!
  • Wednesday- I did my 20 minute AMRAP workout as part of my #happyhealthyfit challenge before teaching UXF Burn. One of my members was at the gym early for class and he joined me- it was fun and it was a tough workout!


  • Thursday- I went to the gym during lunch and ran 2 miles before doing some kettlebell tabata rounds.


  • Friday- Rest day, although I did get up early for some stretching, as part of Athena’s Holiday Hustle. It was a really nice way to start the day, especially since I don’t ever take time to specifically just stretch.IMG_9541
  • Saturday- Roberto and I were at a hotel in NH, so I hit the gym when I got up for a quick total body workout as part of my challenge. I ran 10 minutes on the treadmill, walked 10 minutes then did a bunch of different exercises. The gym was the size of a closet, but it got the job done.


  • Sunday- Rest day

This Week’s Workouts

I have no idea what my workouts will look like this week, but I do know that I’m teaching UXF Burn on Wednesday and cardio kickboxing on Saturday 🙂 I’ll also be doing all of the fitness challenges in Week 2 of the #happyhealthyfit challenge.

Things I’m Looking Forward To

Although I’m really NOT looking forward to being in Canton all week, there are lots of other things I’m looking forward to, including decorating my tree and apartment, book club on Tuesday, massages on Friday and a quiet weekend. After last week, I need a quiet weekend!

Questions for you: What was the best workout you had last week? Are you participating in the challenge? What was your favorite challenge last week? What are you looking forward to this week?

This Week: Workouts, Things I’m Looking Forward To & January Challenge Check-In

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope you were able to get out of the house and do something fun!

Last week, I started to come down with a  cold. It started with an itchy/scratchy throat and then moved to sinus pressure/congestion, etc. I’ve been loading up on Emergen-C, Mucinex and Sudafed and while they are working, it’s getting old taking so many meds! I blame the wacky weather for my cold. I tried to take it easy with my workouts once I started feeling sick, but I’ll be honest, unless I’m SUPER sick and physically cannot move, it’s really hard for me to tone it down. Which, is ultimately why I get super sick- I don’t rest when I should and end up getting more worn out and sick. You’d think since I understand this I’d be better at doing the right thing (resting) to make sure I don’t get full blown sick, but, I’m not. Oh well. With a that said, let’s look at my workouts last week!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I was really in the mood to get to a spin class and was stressed when I called the gym and they said you can’t pre-register. There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym for a class and then not getting to take it because it’s full, right? Luckily, I got the golden ticket and was able to take the class! I’m still not crazy about the instructor, but at this point, it’s just good for me to keep getting more experience.


  • Tuesday- I had dinner/drink plans after work so I got up in the morning and did the strength part of a workout I taught in SHRED a few weeks ago. It was based off of a workout in Men’s Health and it was great!
  • Wednesday- I started to feel sick on Tuesday so Wednesday it was my goal to take it easy at the gym. Instead of running, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical and then taught my first UXF Burn class of the year. There were some new faces in the class which is always fun. I did about 75% of the workout (I just can’t not do any of the workout when I teach- I love it too much!).
  • Thursday- I still wasn’t feeling great, but I was able to get through my SHRED and Kickboxing classes. The numbers are up, but they aren’t up so much that it makes being in class miserable. It’s a good balance! I taught a new format in SHRED and since everyone seemed to like it, I’ll post it for you on Wednesday 🙂
  • Friday- Rest!
  • Saturday- I did my January Burpee & Push-Up Challenge before going to a class at Pure Barre with my sister.

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  • Sunday- I woke up pretty darn sore from the Pure Barre class on Saturday, so I took my time in the morning around my apartment before deciding what I wanted to do for a workout. Since it was nice out, I decided to go for a run to loosen up my tight legs. Little did I know I’d be running into an incredibly strong head wind the entire first half of my run. Woof. I stopped at the “gym” in the park to do some ab work before heading back. Solid workout!

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This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I’ll head to a spin class at the East Boston YMCA again.
  • Tuesday- I’m getting together with some other tenants in my building for some wine after work, so I’ll get up and do my usual Tuesday morning strength session (which I’ve been loving lately!).
  • Wednesday- Cardio and then teaching UXF Burn
  • Thursday- SHRED and then Kickboxing
  • Friday- Probably a rest day. I’d like to maybe do 30 minutes of at-home yoga since I haven’t done as much of that in 2014 as I’ve wanted to, but we will see.
  • Saturday- It’s my turn to teach kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA- yay! Hope to see all my favorite familiar faces in the crowd!
  • Sunday- Not sure. I might try to get some strength training in (maybe BodyPump?), maybe something else, maybe a real yoga class? I’ll see how I feel!

Things I’m Looking Forward To

Well, I’m looking forward to feeling better. Even though I never got really sick, it’s not fun feeling off and “kinda” sick. It’s actually just annoying. Other than that, I’m looking forward to having wine with some of the other girls in my building and hopefully getting together with some of my college girlfriends this weekend.

January Burpee & Push-Up Challenge Check-In

Alright, it’s time to check-in with my challenge! Who’s participating? I’ve seen a few tweets and Facebook status’ saying you’re participating, so I want to know what you thought of the first week of the challenge! What was harder than you thought it would be? What was easier? How did you break up the 100 reps of each exercise? What was your time? Before tackling the challenge, I had no idea what to even have as a goal for the completion time. 5 minutes? 10 minutes? More/less? I ended up completing it in 6 minutes and 21 seconds (took a few seconds to hit the stop button) and I still have no idea where that stands in comparison to some of your times! I feel like I can definitely do it a little faster next week, but my ultimate goal by the end of the challenge is to do it in under 6 minutes, which I think is doable. Few things to note about how I completed it (how you complete it will influence how long it will take you to complete it, so remember that!):

  • 4 sets of 25: I did 25 burpees then 25 push-ups, times 4 rounds
  • I didn’t do CrossFit burees- I just jumped back into a high plank, back in and hopped at the top
  • I did my push-ups on my knees. Over 20 reps of push-ups on my feet leads to bad form for me, so to make sure I was keeping good form throughout, I dropped to my knees.

Things I was thinking during the challenge:

  • “Ok, that first set of 25 burpees wasn’t bad. Here come the push-ups.”
  • “Breathe, Monique… the push-ups are when you get your breathing back!”
  • “Gosh, these burpees aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be.”
  • “I hate push-ups. I need a break. No, keep going.”
  • “Almost done the burpees! Just keep thinking about the Spartan race when you had to do 30 at a time!”
  • “Ok, you can have a 2 second break this push-up round. Make it count.”

As you can see, the burpees weren’t bad for me, but the push-ups sucked! I wish I had more upper body strength, and you’d think that with the amount of push-ups I do (pretty much every workout), I’d get better at them, but I’m not! All in all, though, I was happy with my first attempt. It was fun to give it my all and get me a starting point for the challenge so I can try and improve next time!

Questions for you: How were your workouts last week? Did you try anything new? What are you looking forward to this week? How about the challenge? Did you rock it? What was hardest/easiest? Please share!

Wednesday Workout: January Burpee & Push-Up Challenge!

Hi there! I am SO excited to be hosting my first “challenge” this month. My friend Athena has hosted a number of awesome challenges, and while I am not ready to put together anything as detailed, planned out and organized as well as she has, I thought this would be fun little challenge to add to your current workout.

It’s no surprise that I LOVE burpees, right? Remember this burpee post I wrote over the summer? So fun. I also love (more so, love to hate) push-ups. No matter how many I do, they are always challenging for me. But I think that’s part of the reason why I like them. That, and because they are such a good exercise for almost your entire body: chest, triceps, lats, core, quads, etc. On top of that, there are SO MANY variations and they can be modified to any fitness level (against a wall, table top position, hands and knees, hands and feet, hands and feet but with one foot lifted, etc.).

So, with that said, I have picked these two exercises for my challenge since I think they give you the most bang for your buck.January Burpee & Push-Up Challenge

Say, what?! 100 burpees AND 100 push-ups?! Yes, you read that correctly 🙂 Don’t get overwhelmed, though, there are a few things to note that will help show you it’s totally doable:

1. Even though this is a “for time” workout, meaning your goal is to complete the exercises as quickly as possible and to beat your time from one week to the next, I want you to make sure you’re keeping good form because doing exercises super fast, but sacrificing form isn’t safe or effective.

2. Feel free to complete the 100 reps of each exercise however you’d like: all at once, breaking it down to reps of 10, 20, 25, 50, etc., finish the burpees first in smaller sets then do the push-ups or vice versa, etc. There are so many ways to break it up!

3. Choose different burpees! You don’t have to do strict CrossFit burpees if you don’t want to. My burpee post has a number of different variations to choose from! Choose different push-up variations: clock push-ups, on your knees, 1 leg lifted, tricep push-ups, diamond push-ups, staggered hands push-ups, etc. Your choice 🙂

4. You can do these on any day of the week you’d like- If you want to get them over with on Monday’s, go for it! If you’d rather wait until mid-way through the week, that’s fine, too. This is your challenge.

5. Any fitness level can participate! Just make sure you warm up with some dynamic stretching beforehand!

6. I’ll check in with you guys on Mondays, but don’t wait until then to tell me how you did! Please share your thoughts/pictures/time with me via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I want to see who’s joining me in this challenge!

So, what do you think?! Is this something you’re interested in doing with me this month? If you are, leave me a comment saying that so we all know who’s participating. I’ll check in with you on Monday to see how you did, but feel free to comment on any post with your time!