There are just too many choices when it comes to workout shoes! You're not going to climb a 14er in flip-flops; nor are you going to run a marathon in weight lifting shoes. How do you find the right shoe for the exercise you're doing? Does it matter? Absolutely YES. As IF we needed an excuse to go buy a new pair of shoes, here's some justification and recommendations for you.
WEIGHT TRAINING/BOOT CAMP:
This shoe needs to feature flexibility and stability. It should disperse pressure evenly. It needs to meet the demands of your rigorous workout by flexing and contracting with your foot during every squat and sprint. For these functions, I choose NIKE FREES. When you work out, especially during leg exercises, you have to be driving through the heels. It's really hard to drive force through the heel in running shoes with lots of cushion. The Nike innovators behind this particular shoe spent 8 (!) years studying the biomechanics of feet in motion. The culmination of their research yielded a profound understanding of the foot's natural landing angle. Plus, they look awesome and come in all sorts of stylish colors and patterns!
A trusted pair of shoes are a runner's best friend. Proper footwear works wonders for casual walkers and ultra-marathoners alike. In fact, it's critical to your physical heath. Every time you put your foot down while you're running, imagine that weight times three. That's the amount of force you're generating when you're running, no matter how fast or slow. There are countless factors to consider when choosing a running shoe: gait, susceptibility to injury, experience/current fitness level. I love my ADIDAS PURE BOOST X running shoes. These running shoes feature a sock-like fit that offers all-around support. A full "boost" midsole keeps every stride charged with light, fast energy. And guess what, ladies? These babies are designed for the contours of a woman's foot!
Our workouts should be diverse. Cross training helps us blast out of the same-old, same-old. It calls upon muscle groups that aren't always called upon. Plus, it keeps things interesting! I love my REEBOK NANOS
for surface area contact, improved traction and durability. These shoes are sturdy enough to keep up with my intense workouts but light enough to not weigh me down. Badass and durable. My kinda shoe.
Alright, so I'm not ALWAYS working out; sometimes I'm just hanging out. But even then, I want something I feel (and look!) good in. My NIKE AIR FORCE SUEDES do not disappoint if you're going for a sporty, casual, yet fashionable look. This iconic shoe has been transcending foot coverage since 1982. Seriously though, how cool are these shoes?! I have gotten stopped multiple times by men and women alike complimenting me on these whenever I wear them! Also, let's not overlook the classic Converse - both low top and high top - as a fantastic, casual choice.
There is no getting around the fact that we are busy. If there's ONE thing that will sabotage our healthy eating it's our busy-ness. After a long day at work, rush-hour traffic, the gym or one of our kids' 17 after-school activities we're racing to, we might be tempted to join the masses and grab a Happy Meal, eat a bowl of cereal for dinner or skip dinner all together. Which, by the way, who are you people who don't eat dinner?! I can't wait to EAT! Then again, this is coming from me: First name Always. Last name Hungry. ;)
It's all about being prepared. You don't need to channel your inner 50s housewife to be able to put a tasty, satisfying meal on the table. And you certainly don't need to slave away in the kitchen all day. (Who's got time for that?) You just need to gather a few fresh ingredients and fire up the grill or turn on your oven. Oftentimes, 20 minute mid-week meals are made possible by spending a little time in the kitchen over the weekend meal prepping. It's a GREAT habit to get into that will serve your body, busy schedule and life very well. It not only helps with planning out your meals for the upcoming week, but also with the below:
YOU, my FIT FRIENDS, know that dinners comprised of lean protein, healthy fats and gobs of vegetables are where it's at! But sometimes a leafy green salad topped with a grilled chicken breast is flat-out BO-RING. So let's change it up. Same healthy standards, different presentation with these Garlic Rosemary Chicken Kabobs. Imagine how happy you and your family will be when you're all scarfing down your veggies fresh off the skewers and popping them into your mouths like candy (ok, that's a bit of a stretch, but this marinade is SO GOOD!) And, what a perfect opportunity this summer to use the harvest from your garden or pop over to the Saturday morning Farmer's Market!
GARLIC, ROSEMARY LEMON CHICKEN KABOBS
*1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
*3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (I buy the jars of minced garlic for convenience)
*1 T finely minced fresh rosemary
*finely grated lemon zest from 1 medium lemon
*freshly ground black pepper
*2 lbs organic boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 3/4" pieces
*veggies of your choice, cut into 1" pieces! (I used red onion, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes and orange bell pepper)
*freshly ground black pepper
*olive oil for basting (2-3 T)
This is one of those "I don't really need a recipe" recipes. Feel free to improvise and make it your own!
1. Combine marinade ingredients and pour into a zippered bag.
2. Add cubed chicken and "massage" the chicken through the bag to make sure the marinade is evenly dispersed. Refrigerate for one hour if time permits. If not, even 10 minutes will do.
3. Remove chicken from the marinade and thread onto wooden or metal skewers along with your veggies.
4. Preheat grill to 350 degrees or set burners to medium-high heat if using a stovetop grill pan. Be sure to oil the grill grates well.
5. Grill kabobs for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Rotate skewers halfway through cooking. If the chicken seems to be sticking to the grill grates, it means it is not ready to be turned, yet. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 160 degrees.
7. Garnish with more minced rosemary and/or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
We've all heard some woman say it, "I don't want to lift weights because I'm afraid I'll get bulky." I'm here to tell you, YOU WON'T! Women simply do not possess the hormonal profile needed to mass up like guys do when they lift heavy weights. Women don’t possess enough testosterone. If you're looking for a healthier, stronger and LEANER body (aka muscles), get off the treadmill and pick up dem weights. As with all exercises, lifting requires good form, so hire a personal trainer, have a friend who knows their stuff help you or go online and read and watch instructional videos. Once you can perform the exercise with perfect form, add the appropriate weight. The last 2-3 reps of every set should be difficult.
Here are some awesome reasons to weight train!
Need some inspiration?! Here's a quick upper body workout!
4 rounds giant superset
10 Arnold press
10 Front raises (palms facing each other)
10 Bent arm side raises
4 rounds giant superset
10 Single arm tricep extensions
10 Plank rows
10 Narrow push-ups
4 rounds giant superset
20 Med ball slams
20 Plank walk-ups
20 Bicep curl shoulder press
Looking for a custom workout plan? I'd love to help you!
Check out my website for more details: http://www.amymarolffitness.com/fitness-plans.html
You can either hate Mondays because you don't want the weekend to end and you're dreading that pile of work on your desk, or you can love them because they signify a NEW week and a FRESH START. Whichever way you look at it, Monday is the best day to hit the gym! I know how easy it is to hit that snooze button, but trust me, that 10 minutes of sleepy bliss is nothing compared to how you will feel after you crush it at the gym.
Here are the Top 5 reasons to workout every Monday!
So let's do this! Scheduling your Monday workout is a great habit to get into and one of the best decisions you can make for your body and mind. And if you start your week with one good decision, chances are it will lead to many more. Win-win!
And always remember the goal: STRONG not SKINNY!
Yes, you read that right. Carbs are AWESOME, oh so tasty and I love them! With the rise of diets like Paleo, the misunderstood carbohydrate has become a dirty word in our society. There is a silly widespread view that carbs will make you fat. But what exactly is a carbohydrate? Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. They are a macronutrient, which means they provide ENERGY for the body. Carbs are the macro that we need in the largest amounts as they are the body's main source of FUEL.
If you maintain a low carb diet for an overly extended period of time, the body will eventually start to target muscle protein to burn which leads to a breakdown of lean muscle tissue. We definitely don't want THAT. It doesn't make sense to train hard if you're just going to lose your gains through an insufficient diet that you don't even enjoy! If you experience fatigue after training, suffer from low motivation or have an energy crash in the afternoon, it's time to add some carbs to your diet especially post-workout. Now, before you run to order an extra thick crust pizza with a side of bread sticks and chocolate cake with sprinkles for dessert, you must know that all carbs are not created equal. It's time to redefine the carb so you can add awesome carbs back in and not feel guilty about it.
Let’s break this macronutrient group into two sub-groups: produce and starches. Think of produce as non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Starches are a little larger group and contain both healthy and unhealthy options by definition. Healthy options include: brown rice, white rice (post-workout), whole grain breads, quinoa and sweet potatoes. Unhealthy options include: refined grains, sugar and just about
all processed foods.
So what carbs should you be eating? Here are some great options:
If you're training hard and also running on a low carb diet, add some of these foods and see if you experience a spike in intensity, energy and lean muscle. Moderate-to-high carbohydrate diets provide better energy levels, support muscle growth, prevent muscle break down, and promote faster recovery after training.
Here's an easy and yummy recipe to get you started!
Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Kale and Feta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Brush the insides of the squash with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay the squash face down. Roast 30 - 45 minutes or until the bottom is caramelized around the edges, and you can easily poke a fork or knife all the way through the flesh.
While squash is roasting, cook 1 cup quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Once cooked, fluff with a fork, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the thick stems from the kale and thinly chop the greens. You can either sauté the kale in a pan with olive oil or coconut oil or just toss into the hot quinoa to wilt. Spoon the quinoa and kale mixture into the squash halves and top with crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts and fresh herbs.
This is a great side paired with grilled chicken or baked fish as your lean protein source!
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has become all the rage in the fitness industry over the last few years. HIIT describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. There are many reasons for its popularity.
HIIT does have a lot of benefits, but is it right for YOU?
The first thing to understand is that HIIT intervals are performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate which means giving it your all! You have to WORK and WORK HARD. If you're new to HIIT, take it slow. The second thing to consider is your diet plan. If you cringe at the idea of eating carbs, this type of exercise is not for you. You simply cannot workout at the intensity required by HIIT without glucose in your system and if you don't have carbohydrates in the diet to any extent you will not have the resources to complete the session. You have to FUEL your body! Finally, what are your fitness goals? If you're hitting the weights hard looking to put on muscle mass and doing multiple HIIT sessions in the week, you may be at risk of overtraining. Listen to your body. If you're strength is lagging, REST. If your goals are to boost your anaerobic capacity, improve your speed and sports performance, and get in the best shape of your life, then YES, HIIT is for you! Remember, as with any workout, make sure to keep proper form to avoid injury.
Try this workout and find out just what you're made of!
HIIT WORKOUT (click the blue links to watch videos on how to do each exercise)
>Jump Lunge to Feet Jack
Repeat rounds 3 times with 1 minute of work and 30 seconds rest between each exercise.
Spring is almost here! Which means SUMMER is just around the corner. For some, summer means the chance to finally show off all their hard training by rocking a bikini at the pool. For others, the mere mention of "bikini" can spark cardiac arrest. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, this is a great workout to strengthen your core which underpins almost everything you do at the gym AND in everyday life.
Sit-ups are commonly associated with building strong abs, however, sit-ups only target the front abdominal muscles. They also place undue stress on the back. This strain can eventually lead to bulging or herniated discs, compressed vertebrae and nerve damage.
Plank and rotational exercises are much more efficient for tightening the entire core. Compared to roughly seven muscles used during a crunch, the plank engages a whopping 20 muscles! This core workout, which can be completed in LESS THAN 20 MINUTES, will help strengthen not only the front abdominals, but your obliques and deep abdominals leaving your whole body feeling and looking stronger and LEANER.
Keep in mind, however, that all the core exercises in the world are not going to give you those six-pack abs if you're not eating right! Combine this workout with my meal plans and you'll be strutting your stuff in no time!
If this is your first workout of the day, make sure to do a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up. High knees, butt kicks, jump rope and squats are great exercises to get that blood flowing!
CORE WORKOUT (click the blue links to watch videos on how to do each exercise)
> Spider Crawl - 12 reps
> Side Plank Hip Raise - 12 reps each side
> Scissor Kick - 30 reps
> Bicycle Crunch - 12 reps, slow and steady
> V- Sit Crunches - 12 reps
Repeat circuit for 5 rounds. Rest 60 seconds in between rounds.
This is a much debated topic as it should be! I'm #sorrynotsorry, but no pill is going to cure a disease, burn all of your excess body fat in 7 days, make you never want a piece of chocolate again or magically give you a smokin' body like Jessica Biel or my personal favorite fitness gal: Vanessa Tib pictured here. I wish!! But it's not that easy, folks. It takes work, effort, self-love, being clear and confident with your priorities and being consistent over time with your eating and training in order to be well, healthy (inside and outside) and fit!
Food and exercise first. Then vitamins and supplements.
So here's the skinny and my take on vitamins and supplements...
According to WebMD, vitamins and supplements primary function is to fill in small nutrient gaps. They are "supplements" intended to add to your diet and not replace a healthy meal or regular exercise. Even though eating REAL FOOD is still, and always will be, the best source of nutrients, no one's diet is perfect and none of us are getting any younger. Some common health issues that can be helped with vitamins and supplements are:
So which vitamins and supplements do I take for the above issues?
(click on the blue links below to learn more about each product and to order)
It's a turbo-charged multi-vitamin with extra antioxidants made with aloe that aids with absorption into your body and contains extra Vit D and B12! Vit D supports extra calcium absorption for our bones and improves muscle function. B12 boosts energy!! It also helps regulate your central nervous system (i.e. STRESS), aids in cell reproduction and renewal of skin (hello, anti-aging) and protects against heart disease and high blood pressure. Take 2 every day.
It’s a probiotic which will balance the good and bad bacteria in your intestinal and digestive tract. If you’ve ever taken an antibiotic, you need to take a probiotic. Most illnesses, diseases and health issues stem from your gut. A probiotic will encourage your internal systems to work efficiently and harmoniously. Probiotics help eliminate gas, bloating and will also HELP SEE YOUR ABS!!!
Take 2 every day.
3. MegaX It’s plant-based omegas! No more fishy aftertaste from fish and krill oil. Omegas help burn fat and build muscle, decrease inflammation, lowers risk of heart disease, promote joint and muscle health and feed your brain. Take 2 every day.
These products are all-natural and non-GMO. There are also supplements you can take for weight loss like Plexus Slim. Click here to learn more and to order any of these vitamins and supplements.
Last thing to remember: Taking vitamins and supplements is not an excuse to slack off. Make eating well and training hard and smart your LIFESTYLE! You won't regret it!
Happy Fri-YAY, Fit Friends!
A way to a man's (and woman's) heart is through their stomach! YAY FOOD! I mean, I've never met a person who doesn't love and appreciate a home-cooked meal. And if you don't, you're weird! It makes you feel special, cared for and spoiled because it takes a lot of time, planning, shopping, prepping, chopping and slaving away. Waaaaaaay better than a crappy box of chocolates...unless those chocolates happen to be Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramels. O. M. G. In that case, I'll take those AND a healthy, homemade dinner and will be the happiest girl on the planet!
So this Valentine's Day, don't waste a ton of money on something you can buy at a store. Instead, say "I love you" by preparing a healthy, romantic meal at home. Put on a sexy outfit, light a million candles, turn on some John Legend to set the mood, and lets get cooking!
And don't worry, I've done ALL the planning for you with this fabulous whiskey-inspired menu.
VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER MENU
COCKTAILS: A Classic Manhattan
To start the evening in style, serve a Classic Manhattan made with my favorite bourbon whiskey. https://www.thecocktailproject.com/drink-recipes/basil-haydens-classic-manhattan
APPETIZER: Warm Beet & Walnut Salad
Next, serve this scrumptious beet and walnut salad while sipping on your stiff drinks.
ENTREE: Surf and Turf
Pour yourself and your love another cocktail and savor this incredible steak and shrimp dish.
DESSERT: Apple Crisp with Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream
End dinner with a fun nightcap of, you guessed it, more bourbon and something sweet.
Who has only 20 minutes to workout some days?
Who travels for their job but still wants to train hard?
Who's a busy mommy or daddy who still wants to look and feel 29 when you're really over-the-hill?!
Who wants an intense, effective workout in less time?
Who's sick of your regular 'ole workout routine? (Variety IS the spice of life after all.)
If you answered YES to any of these questions, then this 20 minute workout is for YOU! You can do it anywhere, anytime using only your body weight.
No equipment required.
No gym membership required.
Here's the 20 minute workout that is a fast-paced, body-weight circuit that will fit into your hectic schedule and will help you build muscle and burn off that vanilla latte! Watch the video for a quick lesson on how to perform each of the 5 exercises.
And remember: You get out of it what you put into it, so WORK HARD and HUSTLE!
20 MINUTE WORKOUT
> Squat into Reverse Lunge (switch legs with each lunge) - 10 reps per leg
> Close-Grip Push-Ups - 10 reps
> Curtsy Lunges - 10 reps per leg
> Burpees - 10 reps
> Cross Crunches - 20 reps
Complete circuit for 5 rounds. Take 60 seconds rest in between rounds.
Like what you see? I also design custom workout plans based on your fitness goals, schedule and lifestyle!
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