A Snowy Workout and Shoveling Safety Tips

Greetings from the blizzard of 2015!

Blizzard of 2015: Juno

Blizzard of 2015: Juno

Juno hit us Bostonians last night, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Normally I’m not one to get psyched for snow, but we haven’t really had a significant amount yet this winter, and this week’s timing isn’t terrible. I’m just excited to be hunkered down for at least a day. Tim and I definitely have enough wine and snacks essentials to make it through a few days, so I’m not going to lie, I kind of hope this blizzard lasts that long. There’s just something about being forced to stay home, slow down, and stay put for a bit, no?

Blizzard of 2015

^^ Rockin a theme outfit, obv.

Anyways, if you are also in the middle of a blizzard today, let’s take a second to talk about shoveling because inevitably there will be a point where we have to get ourselves outside to clear our driveways and cars. Just like I a get a little nervous seeing people with incorrect form at the gym, I always get a little nervous thinking about the amount of shoveling related injuries that are likely to happen when it snows. Shoveling might not be the most traditional form of exercise, but it’s a no joke workout, and there are some things you should keep in mind before picking up that shovel:

  • Even though it might be cold out, don’t go into it cold. Do a light warmup and some dynamic stretching first to avoid muscle strain.
  • Make sure to hydrate and drink a lot of water first as well. Again, even though it’s cold outside, you will break a sweat once you start moving out there.
  • Pace yourself. Don’t rush, and take breaks as necessary. There’s no need to overdo it all at once just for the sake of getting the job done. Listen to your body if you feel tired.
  • Don’t lift too much snow at once. Only fill up half your shovel, push the snow when you can, and try not to just huck the snow over your shoulder.
  • And my personal favorite, lift with your legs, not with your back. This is functional fitness at its best, people! And why I love deadlifts so much. They teach you how to properly lift things up and put them back down. While shoveling, make sure you hinge at the hips and keep a neutral spine instead of rounding your back. If you find that your back consistently rounds as you shovel, this is a sign of a weak core, and you might want to start doing some core focused exercises that stabilize your spine throughout the week.

Blizzard Nemo - Me Shoveling

For those of you who already have a bad back, a history of heart disease, or simply don’t want to risk it, this might be a time to splurge on just paying that neighborhood kid to shovel for you.

For those of you who are able-bodied, take a second to think about who on your street might need some extra help. A nice gesture can go a long way!

And for those of you who are next level and looking for a workout to do beyond the manual labor of shoveling today, I came up with this total body beauty to try. You do it as you shovel. Please note that the only exercises that your shovel should have snow in it as you lift the shovel are the underhand rows, and that’s just optional.

snow shoveling workout

Let me know if you try it! I want to see your shoveling and/or #sweatysnowday pics on social media, mmkay? Tag me @fitnessandfeta to make sure I can see and leave you a comment!

Readers, let’s chat! Are you getting a lot of snow where you live today? Shoveling – love it or hate it? What’s your go to workout for snow days?

For those of you looking for something sweaty to do INDOORS, here are some of my favorite at home workouts:

Not seeing one you like? Browse my Fitness tab for more fitspiration. Have fun, friends! Be safe!

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How I Maintained Fitness Through the Holidays

Hello! Today I want to talk workouts, specifically what my weekly workouts looked like through this year’s holiday season. I kept my fitness goals throughout the holidays simple:

  1. To maintain my activity levels as much as possible.
  2. To be realistic and not add on additional workouts, new regimens, or too many fitness commitments to an already busy month.
  3. To show myself some kindness and not stress about skipped workouts or weeks with less workouts because of other commitments.

Keeping my goals relaxed and not adding anything too new to my routine definitely helped me stay active throughout December. Actually, the only really different thing that I added was not even at the gym! Ever since getting my Fitbit, I’ve cultivated a new morning routine at work. I now take six flights of stairs twice every morning before starting my day. I really enjoy starting my work days like this because even if I don’t get to take a walk break during the rest of the day, at the very least, I’ve done those killer six flights two times!

Six Flights

At the gym, I’ve stuck to mainly spin classes and metabolic workouts for cardio. For strength, I mixed things up between the Modern Women’s Guide to Strength Training, Neghar Fonooni’s Lean and Lovely workouts, and the chinning workouts at the end of this post from Bret Contreras.

Here’s what my weeks looked like throughout the holidays. Feel free to use these plans as weekly workout inspiration for yourself! I know today tends to be a big day for people to start on their new fitness goals, so maybe this will help you. ❤

Workouts: Sunday 11/23 – Saturday 11/29

Weekly Workouts

  • Sunday: Strength + spin bike cardio finisher
  • Monday: 1 mile treadmill warmup + decreasing row and medicine ball circuit + windmills
  • Tuesday: Taught my overhead burn workout for a partner class, then stayed to lift on my own
  • Wednesday: Emily’s cycle and core class
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving! Tim and I did a metabolic resistance circuit together in the morning
  • Friday: Two A Day was back for one day! Liz taught Kickboxing at 8:30 and I taught Interval Training at 9:30
  • Saturday: Rest

Workouts: Sunday 11/30 – Saturday 12/7

Weekly Workouts

  • Sunday: Attempted an outdoor run, but I only made it 2 miles before my knee started acting up, so I ended up walking the last mile home
  • Monday: Morning total body strength workout
  • Tuesday: Taught/did a gliding disc workout in class
  • Wednesday: Emily’s cycle and core class in the morning + a Studio Empower class at night with gym friends
  • Thursday: Taught/did an upper body pulsing reps workout in class + 30 minute power walk on the treadmill
  • Friday: 15 minutes of yoga, stretching, and breath work after work
  • Saturday: 15 minutes on the spin bike + metabolic resistance circuit + medicine ball slam finisher

Workouts: Sunday 12/7 – Saturday 12/13

Weekly Workouts

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Eccentric/isometric upper body strength work + 12 minutes on the spin bike + 1 minute bosu burpee finisher
  • Tuesday: Taught/did a lower body pulsing reps workout in class
  • Wednesday: Emily’s cycle and core class
  • Thursday: Taught and did a workout that revolved around the moves sit, sit up, stand, crawl, and jump. So fun.
  • Friday: Strength workout + 20 minutes of treadmill walking
  • Saturday: Rest

Workouts: Sunday 12/14 – Saturday 12/20

Core Strength Weekly Workouts

  • Sunday: Metabolic resistance circuit with Tim
  • Monday: Upper body strength
  • Tuesday: Taught and did a variation of this warm right up winter workout
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Taught and did my infamous run, run, reindeer workout in class
  • Friday: Subbed Heidi’s cycle and core class
  • Saturday: Late afternoon lift for lower body strength

Workouts: Sunday 12/21 – Saturday 12/27

Weekly Workouts

  • Sunday: Took Emily’s 20/20/20 class
  • Monday: Morning strength workout that consisted of deadlifts, a chinning circuit, and an oblique superset
  • Tuesday: Taught and did my down the chimney up the chimney workout in my morning class, then took Liz’s kickboxing class (her last one! sad!) at night
  • Wednesday: Christmas Eve – rest day
  • Thursday: Christmas – rest day
  • Friday: 30 minutes of cardio on the spin bike + chinning circuit
  • Saturday: Lower body strength

Workouts: Sunday 12/28 – Saturday 1/3

Weekly Workouts

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Upper body strength workout
  • Tuesday: Taught and did my last morning class of 2014 with a legs and shoulder strength focus
  • Wednesday: Emily’s 6am cycle and core class
  • Thursday: New Year’s Day – did a 25 minute kettlebell workout at home
  • Friday: 15 minute bodyweight workout while away
  • Saturday: Winter hike with friends
  • Sunday: Rest

Readers, let’s chat! Did you stay active through the holiday season this year? If so, how were you able to do it? If not, how are you showing yourself kindness and accepting that things simply did not go as planned? What fitness goals will you be tackling this month?

I bit the bullet and joined Neghar’s Lean and Lovely community over the weekend, so I see a lot of those workouts in my future!

Fitness Lately: October & November

Oh hey. I missed you guys last week! I took a little blog hiatus because I had a really busy week at work with our third and final health fair on Thursday. I also had a few blog projects due at the beginning of the week, so any free time I had was spent writing those. You can keep your eyes out for those posts next week!

Today I want to check in with a fitness update since it’s been awhile since my last one! As far as strength training goes, I’ve progressed to the 4th level of the Modern Woman’s Guide to Strength Training program that I’ve done for the better part of this year. I’m also mixing in some more metabolic resistance workouts from Neghar Fonooni’s Fall Freedom Challenge, and through those I have discovered a new love for kettlebells. They’ve helped me switch up my workouts to add more variety. I really want to get a heavy one for at home strength workouts this winter since the heaviest dumbbells I own are only 15 pounds, and those are feeling light these days!

Kettlebells

That’s about all that’s new to report on the fitness front except for that I tweaked my knee slightly last week. I think it happened on the last rep of the last set of dumbbell front squats I was doing on Monday afternoon. I’ve had some slight pain in my left knee when going down stairs, and it hurt at first to extend/bend my knee.  I took Wednesday through Saturday completely off from the gym, and I’ve been diligent about Alieve, elevation, and ice, and it already feels better. I went back to the gym yesterday and this morning, but I’m still being careful and airing on the side of caution when it comes to squats and lunges. I do not want to make a minor tweak any worse – it’s just not worth it to have a longer term injury! Other than this little setback, things are pretty status quo.

Here’s the rundown for those of you who like to look at what my weekly workout plans look like:

Workouts: Sunday 10/5 – Saturday 10/11

Run and Teach

  • Sunday: Strength workout
  • Monday: 3 mile run
  • Tuesday: Taught a partner themed class, then stayed to lift on my own
  • Wednesday: Emily’s spin class
  • Thursday: Taught and did a class with body bars, gliding discs, and light weights
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Off

Workouts: Sunday 10/12 – Saturday 10/18

Harvard Stadium

  • Sunday: Harvard stadium run
  • Monday: Upper body strength workout
  • Tuesday: Taught and did lower body strength in my 6am class
  • Wednesday: 3 mile run
  • Thursday: Taught and did two “up the ladder/down the ladder” pyramid sets in my 6am class.
  • Friday: 3 mile run
  • Saturday: Off

Workouts: Sunday 10/19 – Saturday 10/25

Workouts

  • Sunday: Oak Square 5k
  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: Taught my class, then stayed for a strength workout afterward
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Taught and did this Lift Weights Faster circuit from Jen Sinkler in class, then finished with my favorite stability ball core circuit (3 rounds of ball passes, lunge and twists, roll outs, pikes, standing side crunches, stir the pot elbow planks – 10 reps each).
  • Friday: 3 mile run
  • Saturday: Strength workout

Workouts: Sunday 10/26 – Saturday 11/1

Kettlebells

Glo Cycle at The Handle Bar

  • Sunday: Emily’s 20/20/20 class
  • Monday: Fall Freedom Challenge workout: 15 minutes of alternating between 5 deadlifts and 5 overhead presses, followed by a 5 minute kettlebell quickie. Try doing 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off of a kettlebell clean, squat, and swing for 5 minutes total. Love!
  • Tuesday: Taught and did a strength workout at 6am. Since I only taught the cardio finisher part of class, I stayed to do this treadmill interval workout on my own
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Taught this Halloween themed class at 6am, then went to a Glo-Cycle class at The Handle Bar in Fenway. Slesh joined for the fun! Class was glow in the dark themed, we got to write on each other with glow in the dark crayons, and there was mingling afterward.
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Strength workout

Workouts: Sunday 11/2 – Saturday 11/8

MN Week WorkoutsTim and Me on a Fall Hike

  • Sunday: Emily’s 20/20/20 class
  • Monday: A 30 minute hotel workout. This is a new favorite for when I’m pressed on time: 5 reps each of alternating overhead dumbbell presses, dumbbell goblet squats, and alternating single arm dumbbell rows – as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. Then end with this unilateral cardio finisher: skater jumps each leg + dumbbell windmills each side. 15 seconds on, 5 seconds off for each move, 3x through.
  • Tuesday: This treadmill interval workout in the hotel
  • Wednesday: Evening yoga/stretch in my hotel room
  • Thursday: 5k run at the Minnesota health fair
  • Friday: Off (traveling home from Minnesota)
  • Saturday: 3 mile walk around the Charles with Tim

Workouts: Sunday 11/9 – Saturday 11/15

Metabolic

  • Sunday: Strength workout
  • Monday: 1 mile treadmill run + my decreasing row and medicine ball core workout
  • Tuesday: Taught my on fire workout in class, then stayed to do a metabolic resistance circuit on my own. This one is another recent go to: 10 reps each of kettlebell goblet squats, kettlebell suitcase deadlifts, barbell step ups, barbell push presses, and bodyweight jump squats – as many rounds as possible in 25 minutes.
  • Wednesday: Emily’s cycle and core class
  • Thursday: Taught and did an upper body Tabata class
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Total body strength + kettlebell cardio finisher

Workouts: Sunday 11/16 – Saturday 11/22

Gym Friends Hike

  • Sunday: Off
  • Monday: Total body strength workout + kettlebell swing Tabata finisher
  • Tuesday: Taught and did a lower body Tabata class
  • Wednesday: Off (resting tweaked knee)
  • Thursday: Off (resting tweaked knee). Even though I didn’t workout, I was on my feet all day for the health fair. What a difference that makes!
  • Friday: Off (resting tweaked knee)
  • Saturday: Hike up Prospect Hill with gym friends, plus a couple of upper body Tabata sets at the top!

–Let’s chat–
What’s new on the fitness front for you guys lately? What goals are you working on? Would love to hear!

I am working on putting together a little holiday challenge for the blog to help you guys stay active and moving during the upcoming holiday hustle. Details will be announced this week. Stay tuned!