Superset Pyramid Time Challenge Workout (#1)

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a fun NYE. I drank wine on my couch with my boyfriend and went to bed at 12:05AM. #TURNT

January Time Challenge Series

For the month of January, in addition to a different formatted workout posted most Wednesdays, I’m going to put up a time challenge workout on Mondays. (I know today is Tuesday but yesterday was technically a holiday.) These time challenges can be fit into your weekly workout routine in lots of different ways. You could use them as a finisher to a long run or longer gym session. You could use them alone on a busy day when you’re short on time for workouts. You could also time yourself and then repeat the workout next week to try to improve upon your first numbers.

The workouts all have the same structure I used in this Supersets Pyramid Workout. You’ll have two exercises. Do 10 reps of each, then 9 reps of each, then 8 … down to 1 rep of each. The goal is to complete that pyramid of reps as quickly as you can *without sacrificing proper form*. It’s always better to slow it down and do the moves correctly as needed.

Superset Pyramid Time Challenge: Week 1

I shot this workout yesterday and my obliques are FEELING it today. The rolling full-body crunches were so tough!

Equipment I Used:

  • 10-lb dumbbell (you can use a medicine ball or just bodyweight if you don’t have equipment handy)
  • Exercise mat

If you follow along with the video, don’t worry about staying at the same pace as me. Slower, faster–doesn’t matter. You’re only competing with yourself!

Squat Jacks with Obliques Scoop | For the low body, think jumping jacks in a squat position. For the upper body, think paddling a canoe. This one can be like rubbing your stomach while patting your head, so don’t be frustrated if it feels uncoordinated at first—you can always eliminate the upper body movement and just hold the weight at your chest as you jump your feet in and out.

Start in a low squat position with feet wide, weight in your heels, low abs engaged, hips back and a dumbbell held at your chest with both hands. Staying low in a squat, jump your feet in close together as you scoop the dumbbell down and around to the left of your left leg. As the weight comes up and back to center, jump your feet out wide again to the starting position. Repeat, this time scooping the dumbbell down and around to the right side of your legs as you jump them close together. The goal is to stay low in a squat as you jack your feet in and out, fluidly scooping the dumbbell side to side like a figure eight or canoe oar.

Right, center, left, center = 1 rep

Rolling Full-Body Crunches | For these, you just alternate between a side v-up crunch on your right side, then roll onto your back for a regular full-body crunch, then roll onto your left side for another side v-up, back to center, and so on. Start laying on your right side with right arm stretched outwards on the ground for support. Do a side crunch, lifting your legs up and crunching the knees in to meet your left elbow and raised torso. Lower down and roll onto your back with arms overhead and legs straight out, hovering a couple inches off the floor (to make these challenging, try your best to never let your feet rest on the floor, even while rolling from side to side). From this position, bend your knees into your chest at the same time as you crunch your torso off the floor. Slowly release back down onto your back and roll over to your left side for your next side v crunch.

Right, center, left, center = 1 rep

WEARING | Power leggings c/o Sweaty Betty (old but you can shop their current selection) // Kindness tank c/o Aurum // Nike TR Flex Supreme sneakers

If you choose to time yourself, feel free to leave it in the comments for a little friendly competition. Granted, I was pausing to give modifications and a few form explanations, but it took me 16:39 while filming the video.

10-Minute Gentle Workout for Holiday Travel + Other Tips for Staying (Mostly) Healthy

Sorry for the silence around here this week! I got hit with a nasty stomach bug and have spent the last couple days in the fetal position on my bathroom floor. Feeling much better today, but still don’t have much of an appetite and will probably need a nap soon. There’s a video to go along with this workout, but it’s taking forever to upload to YouTube so I’ll just add it in later. Subscribe to my channel to be notified when it’s live.

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The holiday season can cause a bit of a disruption to your normal fitness routine, so it’s always nice to have quick, at-home workouts on hand that you can do if you’re unable to make it to your gym or go-to studio. Today I’m sharing a 10-minute workout that’s perfect if:

  • You need to be quiet. Sleeping relatives? Downstairs neighbors? There’s no loud thudding and jumping around with this one.
  • You need to go easy on your joints. No jumping! This workout is low-impact.
  • You’re short on space and/or time. Trying to squeeze in a workout in your grandparents’ spare bedroom on Christmas Eve? I gotchu.
  • You’re a beginner. As the title implies, If you’re looking for a heart-pumping, ass-kicking workout, this one might not be for you. Compared to the majority of workouts I post, this one is on the gentler side and definitely beginner-friendly.

10-Minute Gentle Workout (Beginner-Friendly!)


You’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds, performing them back-to-back without resting in between exercises. That’ll make for 3 minutes of continuous work. Once you’ve completed all six exercises, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit a total of three times (or more if you want a longer workout).

Air Squat with Pulse | Feet about hips-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Keep your chest open, shoulders back—it’s natural to lean forward slightly as you lower down, but we don’t want to hunch forward. Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down to your lowest point, bodyweight staying in your heels. Hold at the bottom and do one pulse (up an inch and down an inch). From there, powerfully stand back up, straightening your legs and thrusting your hips forward (squeeze your bum at the top!) and driving your arms behind you. 

Single-Arm Plank to Lunge (RIGHT) | Start in a lunge position with your right foot forward. Place your right hand behind your back. Your left arm should reach up overhead. This is your starting position. From here, dive your torso forward in a bowing motion and plant the left hand on the ground next to your right foot. Keeping your other hand behind your back, step the right foot back into a single-arm plank. Reverse the movement by stepping your right foot forward back into a deep lunge and then sweeping your left arm and torso upright (stay low in the lunge).

Inchworm Push Ups | Start in a plank position. Do a push up. Next, walk your hands back towards your feet so that you’re in a forward-fold position. Walk the hands right back out to a plank and do your next push up.

Single-Arm Plank to Lunge (LEFT)

Stationary Side Lunge Slides | Start standing with feet wide apart, toes pointing forward. Your feet will stay where they are the whole time. From here, bend into your right knee, sliding your hips back and sinking low into a side lunge (left leg stays straight). Holding low, you’re going to slide across over to your left side, gradually straightening the right knee as you bend into the left. now you’re in a low left side lunge. Straighten the left knee to rise up to your starting position. Repeat, in the opposite direction (lunge to the left, slide to the right, stand up).

Bicycle Crunch Sit Ups | Start laying on your back with your hands lightly behind your head, elbows bent out to the sides and chest open. Engage your abs, pulling your bellybutton down to the floor as you lift your legs off the ground about six inches to a hover. This is your starting position. From here, bend your right knee in towards your chest as you crunch your left elbow across to meet it, lifting your shoulders off the floor like a twisting sit-up. Your left leg should remain outstretched in a hover as you do this. Slowly return back to the starting position and repeat to the opposite side. The goal is to keep the legs off the ground the whole time, but if you need to modify, your heel can quickly rest on the floor in between reps.

Gentle 10-Minute Bodyweight Workout (Beginner-Friendly)

WEARING | Pugs N’ Roses tank c/o Puppies Make Me Happy // Lululemon leggings (old – you can shop Lulu’s current selection of leggings or check out these ONZIE capris with a similar mesh cut-out look or these mesh stirrup leggings from alo yoga) // Free to Be Bra c/o Lululemon // grippy barre socks

If you want more of an advanced workout to take with you during holiday travel, I have a massive collection of bodyweight workouts in the archives. Browse them all HERE.

Tips for Staying (Mostly) Healthy during the Holidays

Treat Yourself the Same Way You’d Treat Your Loved Ones

This might sound corny, but any time I catch myself spiraling down with the negative self-talk, I just picture saying all those things to someone I love. That usually stops me dead in my tracks.

Why did I eat that second piece of pie?! I’m disgusting. Ugh I’m so fat. I look terrible in this dress now. I shouldn’t have eaten so much at that holiday party. I didn’t workout today so I don’t deserve to eat a Christmas cookie.

Replace the “I” with “you” and just imagine saying that to your best friend, your daughter, your nephew, your mother or anyone else you love. It’s sickening, isn’t it?! My eyes literally well with tears when I think of my little niece hearing those words from anyone. Never never NEVER.

Go easy on yourself during the holiday season. A few massive meals, a few too many cocktails, a few less workouts–IT’S OK. Yes, like a muscle, will power can be strengthened; but, also like a muscle, it becomes fatigued under constant, unrelenting stress. You’re not weak if you give in to the cookie tray at your fourth holiday office party of the week–you’re human. And you’re allowed to enjoy some damn cookies!

It may seem counterintuitive but I know for me personally, the less pressure I put on myself to maintain some perfect health and fitness routine, the easier it is for me to do just that. If I allow for the missteps, they become nothing more than a detour. If I stress about them and beat myself up, those missteps snowball into a complete derailing that has me stuck in my tracks or even moving backwards.

Ditch the All-or-Nothing Mentality

Throughout my college years, I struggled with moderation–everything was an extreme. If one little thing didn’t go as planned in my mission to eat rigidly “clean” and workout, I’d just completely throw in the towel on doing anything remotely healthy that day. It was perfection or complete gluttony and lethargy–there was no in between. Sometimes the holidays can bring out this mentality. I have my family’s holiday dinner tonight so today’s a wash. It’s absolutely fine to have days like that. ABSOLUTELY. But not so much if that’s your mentality for the entire month of December.

Instead of deeming each day an “all” or a “nothing,” I like to maintain some normalcy. Even if I know I’m going to drink several glasses of wine and help myself to seconds of dessert at a holiday party that night, I still treat the rest of the day like any other. I eat my typical breakfast, I go for a workout, I eat lunch as I normally would.

Supplement Your Holiday Diet to Fill in the Gaps

Going hand-in-hand with maintaining some normalcy in your daily schedule is maintaining some normalcy in your daily nutrition intake. Yes, I fill my holiday plate with roasted veggies and healthy side dishes, but let’s be real. I’m going HAM in the dairy, carbs and sugar departments as well. Larger-than-normal portion sizes, different foods than I normally eat, travel–it all can throw off my body a bit (bloating, irregularity and other such sexiness).

I take the following MegaFood supplements regularly, and find them especially important during the holidays.

  • Multi-Vitamin | MegaFood’s Multi for Women is my personal go-to, but they have a wide selection of formulations to choose from in the multi category (based on gender, age, preference for taking one or two tablets, etc.). Both MegaFood and I share the philosophy that food should always come first as your nutrient source. A multi-vitamin is there to the do the important job of then filling in the gaps. During the holidays, that gap might be a little larger than normal (Christmas salad? Never heard of it). 😉
  • Probiotics | I did a whole post on the benefits of probiotics but can summarize it with: gut health. In a normal week, I take MegaFlora two or three times, maybe every other day at most. However, during periods of abnormal eating (Thanksgiving feasts, back-to-back holiday parties, your grandma’s famous Christmas cookies as breakfast, etc.), I find that taking one daily helps ease any digestion issues and keeps me regular.* MegaFlora contains 20 billion active bacteria and has strains naturally found in the digestive system. I love it! If you’re traveling for the holidays, keep in mind that it needs to be refrigerated.
  • Turmeric Strength for Whole Body | I highlighted the Daily Turmeric Nutrient Booster Powder in a blog post this summer–it’s perfect for adding to smoothies or other beverages. During holiday travel though, I’m not likely to make myself a smoothie for breakfast and it’s much more convenient to pack my daily dose of turmeric in tablet form. Hello, Turmeric Strength for Whole Body! This tablet features a blend of FoodState (=made with whole foods) Kauai Organic Turmeric Root with a pure Turmeric Extract to deliver a full spectrum of curcuminoids, which support healthy inflammation regulation in the body.* It also includes berries and cherries to deliver antioxidants that support healthy aging.*

How do you stay healthy (ish) during the holidays? Any tips to add?

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* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by MegaFood. While I am a paid ambassador, all opinions–as always!–are my own. I truly believe in this company and stand behind their products 100%. I know you all will love them as much as I do!

Some links to outfit details are affiliate.

Shoulder Workout: Endurance Burnout + Strength Exercises

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuitsToday’s workout is a follow-up to the biceps and triceps one I posted a few weeks ago. Same structure, different focus. Shoulders are the target, but in a few of the moves, you’ll feel your chest and biceps getting a lil’ love as well.

Endurance + Strength Shoulder Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Light hand weights (2-5lbs) — I’m using 2 lbs which was PLENTY high for the first endurance round. I probably could have done 3-4 lbs for the second round.
  • Medium-heavy dumbbells (8-20lbs) — I’m using a pair of 10-lb dumbbells.

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuits

ENDURANCE

LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

  • Reach and Pull | Arms start extended out to your sides, palms facing up, soft bend to the elbows (arms make a “W” shape). From here, you’re going to pull the elbows behind your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together and then extend them back out to the starting position.
  • Flip the Cup | Same starting position as the first move. From here, keeping a soft bend to the elbows, flip your hands so that the palms face down and then up again. You’re tracing a “C” shape with your hands.
  • Lateral Pulses | Arms straight out by your sides at shoulder height, palms face down. Pulse the arms up and down.

STRENGTH

HEAVIER WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

NOTE ON WEIGHT: If you’re using the same weights for all your heavy exercises, you may find these first two moves to be too much. In general, we can go heavier with arm exercises in which we keep our arms close to our center of gravity; and need to go a smidge lighter when we extend out away from our core, such as with standing lateral and front raises. You can either grab a slightly lighter set of weights or, if you only have one pair of dumbbells, just alternate arms in the lateral and front raises like I do in the video. Makes a world of difference!

  • Lateral Raise (option to alternate) | Before you do anything, roll your shoulder cage up, back and down, opening up your chest. Then engage your abs, pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine. Maintain this upright, tall, open posture throughout the exercise: don’t let your shoulders shrug up or roll forward, and don’t let your low back arch excessively. From this starting position, lift your right arm up to shoulder height, palm down, at a wide angle out to your side. With control, lower it down to your side and repeat with the left arm. If you’re choosing the more difficult option, you’d do both arms at the same time.
  • Front Raise (option to alternate) | Same idea as the lateral raise, but you’ll lift the weight up in front of your body instead of out to the side.
  • Bent Raise to Rotation | Start with your arms down by your sides, elbows bent at 90 degrees (as if you were starting to do a hammer curl). Maintaining that arm shape, lift your elbows up and out to the sides. At the top of this raise, your hands and elbows should be at armpit/shoulder height. From here, rotate your arms open and up until they reach goal post position. Reverse the movement back to start. So throughout this entire movement, your arm is in the same L shape. You’re just lifting and then rotating from the shoulders.

ENDURANCE

LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

  • Bent Pulse | Elbows bent at 90 degrees, palms facing in, forearms parallel in front of your face. Pulse them up and down keeping the elbows in line with your shoulders.
  • Elbow Tap | From the first move, push the weights together (you can interlace your fingers if that helps) and while actively pushing, tap your elbows together.
  • Front Press | Trying to keep the weights together (or close to it) and elbows squeezing in together (narrower than your shoulders if possible) reach the arms up and down in front of your face.

STRENGTH

HEAVIER WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

  • Shoulder Press | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, press your hands up overhead, bringing weights together above your head. Lower back down, but only so far as brings your elbows back to shoulder height. Don’t let them dip down lower than that. As you do these, be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Arnold Press | This is a shoulder press where you fluidly circle your head with your forearms at the bottom. It’s easiest to start in the middle of the movement: elbows bent to 90 degrees out to your sides in goal post position. Shoulders should be down and back, not shrugged up towards your ears. From here, press the weights overhead and together. Lower them back down to 90-degree bends and as you do, close your forearms in front of your face, rotating the palms to face you. When weights tap together in front of your face and your forearms form the number 11, reverse the movement, opening up your arms to goal post as you rotate your palm outward and press the arms straight overhead.
  • Shoulder Shaper | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, maintaining those 90-degree bends, bring your forearms together in front of your face. Return back out to goal post position. Elbows should stay at shoulder height the entire time.

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuits

WEARING | Athleta leggings (these gray leggings from Beyond Yoga are cute, too) // Athleta tank (old but they’ve got a lot of similar high-neck tanks and alo yoga has a high nick tank as well–love it, have it in green!)

Enjoy this workout! It’s great to pair with a run or other cardio. If you’re a beginner, you might want to break it up. Do the first set of endurance and strength exercises and then save the second set for another day. Make sure to warm up the upper body before jumping into it and take some time to stretch afterwards. Let me know if you have any questions about it in the comments!

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Three Holiday Gift Ideas: Gift Card Edition

  • Fashion-lover or the guy/chick who needs some serious wardrobe help | Stitch Fix gift cards, baby! By now you guys know I love Stitch Fix! Get another fan of the service a gift card. It’s a great option if you know they love clothes but aren’t confident you’d be able to pick them out something specific–let the SF stylists take care of that. Also great idea for a guy in your life if you’re like me and find men impossible to shop for!
  • Blogger or work-from-home professional | I’ve talked about Breather room rentals on the blog before–I use them for shooting pictures and videos for Pumps. They’re also great if you need a spot for an off-site meeting, conference call, event. The service isn’t in every city, but they’re offering gift cards for the holiday season and the blogger or work-from-home professional would love some free time! Tip: If you use the code PUMPIRON you can get $45 in credit so to maximize your free rental time, first use that code and then cash in on your gift card.
  • Fitness lover | A gift card to your loved one’s favorite fitness studio is a guaranteed home run of a present (I know I’m always giddy to receive them!). Studio classes get pricey and even just a couple freebies is uh-mazing. Most Boston studios offer gift cards or some way to purchase credit for your friends and family so just visit their website or email the studio. For yoga lovers, CorePower is currently doing a promotion where you can buy $100 gift cards for only $80.

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Outfit links and first gift link are affiliate.