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!

Total Body Kettlebell Circuit Workout

Look at what Santa brought me.


This kettlebell is quickly becoming one of my new favorite fitness toys. It’s perfect for strength or metabolic resistance workouts at home when I don’t have time to get to the gym. Lately my at home strength workouts have been mostly bodyweight workouts with some work on my pull-up bar thrown in. I like using my Dynamax ball and gliding disks too, but sometimes I’m just craving a heavier strength workout, you know? And now that I’m lifting heavier, my home dumbbell sets are too light! I have a set of eights, tens, and fifteens, so my new 25 pound kettlebell is a welcomed addition to my home equipment collection. It’s also just a great way to switch things up since I haven’t always done a lot of kettlebell work in the past. It really is one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment out there, and it lets you do strength and cardio at the same time. Score.

On New Year’s Day, since the gym wasn’t opening until noon (what!?), I opted to give my new bell a go at home. I created this circuit and busted it out in our dining room. Words to the wise: this is probably not the best routine to do on your hardwood floors. Whoops.

total body kettlebell circuit

This workout is designed to be done circuit style where you move from one move to the next with little to no rest in between each exercise. Do 10 reps of each move, and rest when you get to the end of the circuit. Repeat for a total of 3-4 rounds through. Of course, always listen to your body and take breaks as needed.

When I did this three times through, it took me about 25 minutes to complete, not including the warmup. If your kettlebell is on the lighter side, it would probably take you shorter. My 25 pound bell was too heavy for those situps to single arm presses, so I dropped down to my 15 pound dumbbell for those instead — just to help you guys gauge weight! Now of course I want to go buy more kettlebells in multiple sizes, but I’ll try to contain myself (gotta save for the wedding!).

Readers, let’s chat! Do you work out with kettlebells? What’s your favorite kettlebell exercise? What is your favorite fitness toy?

Hopefully there will be a lot more F&F kettlebell style workouts to come! If you give this one a whirl, post your sweaty kettlebell selfies to social media and tag me @fitnessandfeta. I want to see you rock it!

Fitbit Charge Review: Every Step Counts

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

FitbitLogo_400pxI recently received a Fitbit Charge to review on F&F, and I’m excited to share my experience with this nifty little tracker with you guys today.

Fitbit Charge Review

I have to be completely honest and admit upfront that I wasn’t sure how I’d like using an activity tracker, mainly because I am not technologically inclined at ALL. I’ve tried tracking various things in the past such as my meals on LoseIt or my steps through the American Heart Association’s get walking now website. Most recently, I’ve tried tracking my progress with heavy lifting at the gym, and even though this was resorting back to the old-school way of pen and paper, I still couldn’t do it. Each and every time I’ve started to track something, I’ve inevitably stopped. So when I received the Fitbit Charge, I was skeptical, but I forced Tim to set it all up for me (because no way would I try to set up something myself) before I began using it.

Fitbit Charge Review

Here are some of the Charge’s main features:

  • All-day activity: The Charge tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, and active minutes.
  • Watch and display: The wristband displays time, daily stats, and exercise mode.
  • Caller ID: If your phone is nearby, the watch will display incoming call notifications.
  • Long battery life: The battery life of this tracker is 7-10 days, which is longer than a lot of other competing trackers out there. I feel like I never have to charge the Charge!
  • Auto sleep and alarms: The Charge will automatically monitor your sleep and allow you to set silent alarms.
  • Wireless syncing: This product will wirelessly and instantaneously link your stats to most smart phones and computers.

One of the things I found most eye-opening after using my Fitbit was how LITTLE I actually move throughout the day! As a full-time wellness coordinator, I’ll admit I was a bit embarrassed to discover that I came nowhere near the magical 10,000 steps a day number  that’s prescribed like medicine to maintain good health. Sure, I work HARD in the gym, but that’s just for about an hour a day, five or six days a week. The rest of my 23 hours? Despite trying to take the stairs or use my standing desk as much as possible, I’m pretty sedentary. Don’t tell anyone at work. Seriously though, it’s pretty scary. Check out this article that explains why you can’t out-exercise the harmful effects of sitting.

Standing Desk

Here are some of the biggest benefits/takeaways I got from my first month of using the Fitbit:

  • The sleep tracker! Holy moly, has this been helpful. If I had to pinpoint one of my unhealthiest areas, it would be the amount of sleep I get. I know it’s not good for me, but I tend to neglect sleep to get more things done or spend more time with Tim. The Fitbit’s sleep component will not only show you how many minutes you spend asleep, but how many minutes you were restless throughout the night. Knowing that I’ll see a number lower than 7 hours in the morning has helped me prioritize sleep a little better. I’m still not totally there, but it’s definitely an area I’ve improved on. Another interesting thing I’ve observed relating to the sleep tracker is that on nights I don’t do so great with getting enough sleep, I’m noticeably HUNGRIER the next day…and therefore more likely to grab something not so great for me…and therefore less likely to have a good workout. I always knew sleep and nutrition and workouts were closely related, but it’s been interesting to come to these conclusions on my own.
  • The Fitbit Charge has helped me simply become more aware of my daily movement patterns. I know that on days I teach in the morning, my step counts are higher just by nature of walking around the group exercise studio. I know that on days I work from home, my step counts are the lowest, as it doesn’t take much to walk from my office to my bathroom to my kitchen and back. Plus, I don’t even get to take the stairs as much when I work from home anymore either, because our stupid landlord STILL hasn’t fixed our washer and dryer in the basement! Rage.

Fitbit Charge Review

  • Because the number of steps I’m taking are now displaying on my wrist and automatically syncing to both my phone and computer, I don’t have to take any extra time to track anything myself unless I want to enter in more information via the app and/or dashboard about my activity details or food intake.
  • I’ve become more deliberate in my movement breaks throughout the day. I work on the 6th floor in my building, and I now walk the full flight of stairs up at least three times a day. I’m using the silent alarm feature to remind myself to get up and move, but I haven’t yet tried setting this to wake me up in the morning. I think it’s because I’m still traumatized from the time I overslept for my 6am class a few years ago (aka I still set three alarms in the morning now). When I started tracking my steps, I would barely hit 5,000 a day. Now I’m much closer to reaching the 10,000 on a daily basis!

Fitbit Charge Review

  • A couple of other features worth mentioning are that the wristband is comfortable and not too clunky. It feels like I’m wearing a watch, and I’m completely used to it now. Also, the Fitbit has a big community component so if you are someone who likes competition and is motivated by what others are doing, this would be perfect for you. I haven’t had a chance to play with the community part of the dashboard too much yet, but if you are using it, friend me!

If I had to pick one area where I think the Fitbit Charge falls short, it would be that not all types of workouts “count” toward daily activity steps. The Fitbit calculates walking, running, and hiking into your stats, but it doesn’t really pick up on other types of workouts  such as weight lifting, yoga, rowing, etc. I found it frustrating to slug weights around the weight room for an hour or leave the spin studio drenched in sweat, only to find my tracker up a few steps (or miles or calories!) from when I last checked it. I think you can log this stuff manually, but like I said, having to do that is usually what makes me fall off the bandwagon.

Fitbit Charge Review

So I guess the million-dollar question is whether I would recommend the Fitbit Charge, and my honest answer is that it depends! If you are looking for a wearable that is going to tell you more detailed information about all types of workouts, I would recommend opting for one that has heart rate monitoring capabilities or equates the calories and steps automatically. However, if you are just looking for a tool to give you that extra motivation to get up and move more throughout the day, then yes, I would definitely recommend getting a Fitbit because it truly is eye-opening and can help you learn a lot about your current activity levels and sleep patterns.

–Let’s chat–
Do you own a Fitbit or any kind of wearable fitness tracker? What is your experience with them? Does anyone work for a company that distributes any kind of wearables to their employees? How do you make sure that every step counts?

If you have a tracker, I’d love to see pictures on social media of you in action! Feel free to link up on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram tagging me @fitnessandfeta and using #findyourfit along with #ffholidayhustle.