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!


My End of January Advice for January Joiners

This post was sponsored by Target® through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.

Did anyone else see all the Facebook statuses and posts floating around last week about how historically the third week of January is when the highest percentage of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions commitments? What about comments from year round gym goers that things should be “back to normal” next week once all the January Joiners* give up?

*Urban dictionary definition of a January Joiner: “Someone who joins the gym in January as part of a New Year’s resolution but by February is back to being a couch potato.”

That’s not very encouraging, now is it?

My definition of January Joiner is a little different. To me, January Joiners are people who join the gym in January as part of a New Year’s goal to get healthier, with the potential to truly commit, stick around, become regulars, and change their lives.


Target® C9 outfit

Of course I’ve had moments this year when I’ve felt irritated with things like long class waiting lists and having to wait longer than usual to use the squat machine, but a friendly atmosphere goes a long way.

That said, I’ve observed a few things over the past couple of weeks that got me thinking about the reasons so many people lose motivation around this time of year, and I want to share some tips with the January Joiners today. My hope is that if you are someone who feels discouraged because your resolve has started to waver, because you haven’t lost that ten pounds yet, or because you feel bored, that some of these tips will dissuade you from giving up on your New Year’s goals.

Stop doing too much too soon.
I think one of the biggest reasons people start to waver around the third week of January is because too often people go balls to the wall on their first day back at the gym, or even worse, their first day at gym ever. Trying to start a consistent running routine but finding yourself on the couch more often than running that 5k? Stop aiming for the full 5k out of the gate. Instead, start with some short walk/run intervals. Trying to add some strength training into your life? If you haven’t picked up a weight in over a year, don’t bust out high intensity circuits in your first month. Instead, choose some bodyweight exercises like incline pushups, squats, lunges, or planks to ease into it. Gradually add weight instead of going too heavy too soon. If you start small with something you know that you absolutely are able to do, you’ll have a higher chance of following through and not burning out.

Target® C9 outfit

Start asking for help
I have noticed a lot of scary stuff in the gym this month (bad form, puzzled faces, lack of general fitness knowledge), and I never know whether to offer my help or just stay to myself. If you aren’t sure about how to properly execute an exercise, how to work a certain machine, or something just doesn’t feel right, please find a trainer and ask for their help. That’s what they are there for! I promise you that someone else has asked a weirder question than you. Remember that everyone starts somewhere, and asking for help is a better option than either 1) getting hurt and unable to stick with your goals because of an injury, or 2) just giving up because you feel self-conscious about what to do.

Stop standing in the back of class.
Was your New Year’s goal to try Zumba or spin? To find a group exercise class that you can start taking regularly? Aside from recommending that you introduce yourself to the instructor if you haven’t already, try switching up your spot in class. You definitely don’t have to be in the front row (I know, I know, all the scary regulars are standing in their spots there), but it’s important that you can see yourself in the mirror to check your form. It’s also important for not only the instructor to be able to see you, but for you to be able to see them so you can follow along without getting lost! If you tried a class and couldn’t keep up, try going back and standing somewhere else instead. Trust me as an instructor on this one! Side note: my friend Monique wrote a whole post recently sharing her tips for group ex newbies. This tip is one of them, along with a lot more!

Target® C9 outfit + Spin Class

Brush up on your gym’s rules, guidelines, and policies.
If you’ve felt uncomfortable or unsure of yourself while working out this month, try paying more attention to what some of your gym’s guidelines are. For example, one of my goals this year is to be more consistent with my morning workout times (so far, so good!). One of the classes that keeps me on track is my friend Emily’s Wednesday morning spin class, but the waiting list has been INSANE. It’s a serious battle for the saddle. For the past three weeks, people have either flat-out refused to admit they were on the wait list or they just don’t understand the sign up process. My friend at work also recently told me about someone at her gym who keeps using the Planet Fitness circuit machines for individual exercises when the instructions to use them for circuit purposes only are pretty much right in front of him. Just being more aware of things like wait list policies or machine rules can go a long way and help you feel more confident among the regulars.

Change something.
If you’ve done all the above and still something isn’t clicking for you, take some time to reflect on what it is you can change. Not everything will happen overnight, and any healthy living journey or goal that’s worth reaching will need several tweaks before you get it right. Think about whether what you are doing makes sense for you. Not getting to the gym because you’re trying to go after work? Maybe it’s not working because you always have to work late. Could you try to go just one morning instead and see what happens? Maybe you just need some extra motivation, like a buddy to keep you on track or a new playlist to pump you up. Heck, maybe you just need to go buy yourself an awesome outfit that you feel badass in to give you a reason to wear it! Target® has a ton of cute, colorful, and affordable workout clothes in their C9 by Champion collection to help you with this. That magenta tech fleece pullover definitely helps keep me warm on the cold mornings I’m waking up to this month! You get the idea.

Target® C9 outfit

I know a lot of you January Joiners feel like you’re being judged at the gym at this time of year. I get it. It’s hard. But I want you to ask yourselves something.

Are you giving up or are you just warming up?

Don’t call it quits. It takes about 66 days to form a habit. And if you stick with it, you won’t have to be a January Joiner ever again. ❤

Readers, let’s chat! Do you feel like your motivation is waning now that we’re nearing the end of January? Do you think there are any tweaks you could make to help get you back on track? What do you think of my picks from the Target® C9 collection?

To be fully transparent with you guys, along with being compensated to write this post, I also received $50 to shop the Target® C9 collection with. I picked out the women’s premium capri leggings in stately blue (they are SO flattering!) and the women’s performance tee in green berry to go with the fleece I’m sporting in the pictures throughout this post. I’m psyched to add dark blue workout pants to my collection, and the wicking material of the tee is perfect to hide how sweaty I can get.

Oh yeah, and here’s a blog shoutout to my gym friends Jen, Mary, and Jess for snapping these photos at 6am last week! They’re the best.

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!