Tag Archives: at home workout

It’s Saratoga Season! + Training For A Race On Vacation

Since my husband was a child, he has anticipated the summer horse racing circuit at Saratoga Race Track.  He grew up approximately a half hour away from the track.  Some things never change.  His parents still reside in the house that he grew up in.  He still acts like a kid the night before Christmas as we board the airplane to make the trek.  I started going to the track with him in 2010.  Five years later, our days at the track have changed.  Our definition of fun has changed.  While our priorities may have shifted some, the base foundation that brought us together has not – we still appreciate quality time with family, good food and exercise to balance it all out.  Time away is good (for everyone).

IMG_6429Our trip this year was yet again different than any other.  One, we add another member to our growing family (little Morgan Riley); two, we were training for a race less than two weeks out from our return date; and three, we made plans for only our second over night stay away from the girls (since our second daughter was born).  Go figure, the four of us boarded the plane and found ourselves sitting in the back row – yep, beside the bathroom.  Suffice it to say, they made the most out of the airport and the airplane.  They actually behaved better than we could have planned.

FullSizeRender-41IMG_6436American Airlines (former US Airways) family travelers, I have a big tip for you.  Get the airline credit card.  Hide it if you have to, but understand a few things.  It is worth looking into.  For a $99 annual fee, you get two $99 companion passes, one free checked bag (for each person traveling with you as well) and Zone 2 boarding.  Not good at math?  Let me explain.

Cost of Flight With Credit Card

  • Annual fee of Credit Card                                                 $99
  • Cost of One Round Trip Ticket (hypothetically)           $500
  • Cost of One Companion Round Trip Ticket                   $99
  • Cost of One Companion Round Trip Ticket                   $99

Total Cost With Credit Card (excluding taxes)             $797

Cost of Flight Without Credit Card

  • Cost of 3 Checked Bags ($25/person for 1st Bag)        $75
  • Cost of One Round Trip Ticket (hypothetically)          $500
  • Cost of One Round Trip Ticket (hypothetically)          $500
  • Cost of One Round Trip Ticket (hypothetically)          $500

Total Cost Without Credit Card (excluding taxes)     $1,575

Even if you don’t use the credit card the rest of the year, in just one trip, we managed to save almost $800.  If you can control your spending, it seems like an easy decision to me.  Also, don’t forget to sign your children up for a frequent flyer card.  It is never too early to start earning miles.  You can transfer your child’s miles to yourself.

IMG_6438Blah, blah, blah, enough about the little details.  More about the trip!  I’m not going to lie, I was a little concerned about staying in the shape that I am in while being gone for almost ten days.   There is no Flywheel.  We don’t go to a gym.  There is a lot of good Italian food, drinks and (gasp) hard ice cream – homemade.  Every night.  It is easy to lose control.

IMG_6476photo 1-108photo 4-72photo 2-109IMG_6450To keep up with all of the food that we would be eating, we definitely had to keep up with the exercise.  In any form or fashion.  The pavement and a heavy set of dumbbells easily became my best friend.

photo 5-34My husband and I took turns some days.  Other days, we were able to push each other through some tough cardio strength workouts.  If it weren’t for each other, we would have had a hard time getting motivated.  How exactly did we manage?  We squeezed in a workout (even if it was short) at any point that we could get away.  IMG_6462I managed to put together a quick driveway circuit using my handy dumbbells the first full day that we were there.  Afraid you won’t be organized enough to get it done?  Write it down before you start.  See my scrap paper below.


The run was down the street to the stop sign and back.  Approximately a quarter mile.  The workout took just over forty five minutes.  Repeat four times.

IMG_6460Nothing beats the weather in New York in August.  I have been struggling to push through workouts in North Carolina where the high is close to 100 and humidity levels are soaring.  We were waking up some mornings with temperatures in the 50’s.  No humidity.  I’ll take it.  It actually kind of felt like fall!

IMG_6442Aside from this driveway workout, I was able to squeeze in three solid five mile runs.  One in Connecticut while visiting my sister in law.  Wow, was I in over my head.  There are no “flats” in western Connecticut.  It’s either straight up or down.  Needless to say, I went out to hard.  I felt this run.  Thank goodness she followed along beside me on her new road bike.  Not only did she prevent me from getting lost, but she encouraged me to keep going!

IMG_6530Self admittedly, I had to walk a few hundred feet at the end.  I just couldn’t get my legs to move up the final (never ending) hill.  That said, I was impressed that my pace still averaged out to be around 8:45 (even with my walk).  IMG_6529One driveway workout and three nice steady runs were topped off with one solid cardio bootcamp at a local park.  My husband and I were able to complete the bootcamp together by putting together an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) circuit.  The gist – grab a pair of heavy dumbbells (I used the 20’s pictured above) and do as many rounds of the rotation as possible until you hit sixty minutes.  Finish the round that you started when you hit sixty minutes.

  • Steps Ups (on picnic table bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand) x 20 total (10 each leg)
  • Dips (off picnic table bench) x 20
  • Push Ups (any variation) x 20
  • Pull Ups (on playground monkey bars) x 10
  • Weighted Squats x 20
  • Bicep Curls x 20 total (10 each side)
  • Shoulder Press x 20
  • 400m Farmer Carry
  • 800m Hill Run Interval

IMG_6536I had started my fifth round when I hit sixty minutes.  As such, I completed the entire circuit through the fifth round in an hour and seven minutes.  3.4 miles.  Legit.  Those pull ups?  Hard.  Good thing I packed my band to help.  Y’all these are cheap, easy to travel with and light weight.

IMG_6539 IMG_6540When I needed help, it was there.  If you can’t quite do them on your own, these work so well.  Trust me.  After my second daughter was born, I could only do one pull up.  Grunting the entire way.  I can now do ten.  In a row.  You just have to build a foundation.

IMG_6506We were there a total of eight full days.  Five of those days, I got in a solid workout.  What about the other days?  I took one entire day off.  The other two days were easy thirty minute light runs and body weight workouts.  Like I said above, it is important to take some time off.

IMG_6465Only a small part of our day was about working out, the rest of the time was all about family and horses.  My sister in law that lives in Miami planned her trip around our visit.  I love seeing her almost as much as the girls do.  Her vibe is always so positive.  Plus, she makes my picture taking seem amateur.  I always know she will get the best shot!

FullSizeRender-44The entire family headed to the track for a morning of activities.  Races don’t go off until 1PM.  If you get to the track early enough (before 10 AM), you can watch the horses warm up while enjoying breakfast and sitting in some of the boxes that line the finish line.  These boxes are virtually impossible to get a spot in if you aren’t willing to pay a hefty price.

FullSizeRender-43IMG_6482IMG_6504They close the track around 10 AM before reopening the gates prior to the first race starting.  During the gap, we headed to downtown Saratoga to take the girls on the infamous carousel.

IMG_6507IMG_6516IMG_6515IMG_6514Last year was a complete disaster for my oldest.  This year was entirely different story.  She could not stop smiling (and neither could I).  Our youngest even got on the ride as well.  It truly was so much fun watching the two of them together.  One ride was enough for me.  I am the only one that gets dizzy going around so many times?

IMG_6517We walked back to the track to try to let the girls watch one race before we headed home.  They both fell asleep on the walk over.  They must have been exhausted from all of the hoopla after our oldest got her leg stuck in a chair at a local sandwich shop.  Kids do the most ridiculous things.  Somehow she managed to get her knee wedged in between the notches in the chair back.  The entire restaurant was offering suggestions on how to get it out as she screamed loudly.  It is the most scared that I have been for her in her life.  My adrenaline surged.  No wonder they were so tired, right?

IMG_6523Our youngest did happen to wake up for about ten minutes.  Just enough time to catch the race.  She checked that off her “to do” list for the week. My oldest just continued to sleep.  The entire way home.

IMG_6468This trip was so much fun.  So much better than last year.  In fact, so much better that my husband and I actually drove to the track one day and spent a night in downtown Saratoga.  You would never believe how hard it is to get reservations in this town during track season.  Lucky for me, we found a quaint bed and breakfast within walking distance to downtown and the track.  No need to drink and drive.

IMG_6558 IMG_6556I had never stayed in a bed and breakfast.  I also hadn’t ever been to Saratoga to stay for the night.  I was looking forward to a little one on one time with my husband.  The B&B was titled, “Circular Manor”.  The crowd was older, but we didn’t mind.  We checked in early on Thursday morning, before heading to the track.  Free parking and even better we could get into our room that early.

IMG_6543My first time to the track not pregnant in over two years was incredible.  We were losers.  We didn’t win much money, but we did have a good time.  The last race went off at 6 PM.  We strategically planned our walk to dinner such that we would hit all of the post race hot spots for a drink.

IMG_6544 IMG_6545

We needed this night.  We relived the glory days and reminded each other of how silly we can be (especially when we have a few too many drinks).  Luckily, we got a spot at the bar at 15 Church for one of the best meals that I have had in a LONG time.

IMG_6546Call ahead.  This place is small. It’s hard to get a table.  It’s new.  It’s SO good.  Cocktails are creative and the food is incredible.  I opted for the tuna.  Perfect for a hot day at the track.


We will definitely be back (if we can get in).  We also plan to stay at the bed and breakfast again. The service was incredible.  The owners actually live in the house.  They go out of their way to make sure that their guests are happy.  They even set up a breakfast table on the porch, so we could enjoy the beautiful morning.

IMG_6551 IMG_6555 IMG_6553It was like staying in someone else’s house.  No TV.  A friendly dog resting on the porch.  Cute furniture and accessories.  There is typically a three night minimum during track season.  They made an exception for us due to someone else wanting to do the same thing.  They will do their best to accommodate if you ask.

FullSizeRender-42I have to say, for a nine day trip, the time went by fast.  It seems like the days went by so quick.  Maybe it’s because we have kids now?  Or maybe it is because the kids are becoming so independent that we can get away some now.  Either way, we can’t wait to go back.  We are looking forward to building this family tradition every year.  We proved this year that with a little motivation, we can keep up with our workouts, have fun and eat well (without being on our usual routine).




Summer Kickoff + Spartan Training

While summer has not officially started, it is already starting to feel like it is here.  My daughter’s last day of half day preschool was last week.  To prepare for surviving the long days that face us, I opted to buy a blow up pool for our backyard – well patio.  For $29.99, I managed to find the one thing that can keep my daughter’s attention for hours on end.  The first thing that she wants to do in the morning is get in the pool.  The last thing that she wants to do before bed is get in the pool.  I should probably go ahead and get recurring swim diapers shipped to the house.  If I take my eyes off her for one second, she will step right into that pool (even with her shoes on).  Bless her heart.  Our sweet infant observes her play for now, but I have a feeling that  we will get our money’s worth with this pool for years to come.

IMG_5420On top of setting up this warm weather find, our neighborhood held a block party over the weekend.  These block parties really are a great time for all of the kids to get together while the parents catch up.  I typically spend more time chasing my daughter around than talking, but I enjoy seeing all of the kids ride their bikes, scooters and tricycles up and down the street.  It is one of the big reasons why we were excited to find a house at the location that we did.  This party happened to be my infant’s first block party.  All of the activity must have worn her out.  She fell asleep very quickly after the party started.  We were able to lay down the seats in our Radio Flyer wagon and make a bed for her to sleep in while we rolled her up and down the street. Priceless.

IMG_5441While my oldest daughter spent a large part of the party running around, she did take a few breaks to sit down in her own tailgate chair.

IMG_5443She is loving this warm weather.  Not only are we spending time in the faux pool, but we are getting a lot of bike rides in around the block.  Helmets on.  I love to sing her songs and talk to her while we cruise.  If I happen to slow down too much, she lovingly will give me a push on the back to go faster.  Always eager for more.

IMG_5437The more that I can wear her out during the day the better.  I have learned that if I want to get a workout in on the days that we do not have a sitter, I need to get up early and hit our home gym.  I have officially signed up for the Super Spartan Race in Asheville, NC in August.  I have mentioned before that this is an eight mile trail race, with obstacles.  My husband convinced me that we should sign up for the “elite” heat.  The “elite” heat starts first thing in the morning and should have less bottlenecks on obstacles.  That said, I have stepped up my training for the event.

IMG_5430Since the race involves a lot of running in between strength exercises, I put together a run/strength circuit Saturday morning to mimic the transition.   Learning to recover quickly after an obstacle is key.  There is nothing better than running someone down in a race.  My workout was approximately 52 minutes.  Depending on how fast you run, your time will vary.  See workout detail below:

  • Run 800 meters – the distance around our block.
  • Complete the following circuit sequentially –
    • 20 Single Leg Burpees with TRX (10 each leg) – see picture below.
    • FullSizeRender-1415 Kettlebell Swings
    • 10 Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift (10 each side)
    • 5 Pull Ups – Do as many as you can by yourself before using assistance.
    • 20 Kettlebell Plank Rows (10 each side)
    • 15 Squat Thrusters
    • 10 Step Back Lunges (Each Leg)
    • 5 Kettlebell Side Bends
  • Repeat Run and Circuit 4 times total.

This workout will come back to haunt you.  I started the runs full throttle.  By the last round, I was starting to feel fatigued.  Pace for each run was 8:00/mile over rolling hills.   I have to admit my pull ups have gotten significantly better over the past several weeks.  At this point, I can consistently do 2-3 on my own before using assistance.  I started at zero.  It is amazing what you can do when you commit.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 2.12.44 PMWhile I ran through this workout, I rocked out to my Sunday 7:30 AM Flywheel playlist.  See above.  I am so excited to be back on the bike.  I am loving my 6:30/7:30 AM double on Sunday mornings.  I realize how hard it is to get up in the morning, and I love that people are willing to start their day with me at the studio.  A few riders even do the double.  Amazing.  If you are thinking about doing it, go for it!  Two different playlists and two different profiles.

IMG_5422My friends and family know how much I love teaching.  That’s probably why they choose to buy trendy bike gear for my kids.  My sister recently bought my infant the shirt above while on a trip to Tulsa.  Perfect.  Ride on.  Rock on.  Happy Sunday!


Mother’s Day Catch Up + Weekly Workouts

The past week has been jam packed.  I taught my first class back at Flywheel Sunday, May 10th.  That’s right, I spent my second Mother’s Day at the studio doing what I love.  When my husband asked me how I wanted to spend my day, I told him I wanted to work out.  I wanted to work out without worrying about pushing a baby in a jogging stroller or watching a baby monitor in hopes that no one started crying half way through my plan.

IMG_5221When I got home from teaching, my children surprised me with cards and a few Mother’s Day gifts.  My oldest daughter presented me with a pink helmet for herself.  My husband proceeded to tell me that the helmet would be worn by her when she rides in her new bike seat that was being installed on my bike.

IMG_5237I couldn’t contain my excitement.  I have been asking for a bike seat for my daughter for months.  With the weather getting warmer, I know this gift will get a lot of use.  Not only did it fit like a glove when my daughter sat in it, but she absolutely adores it.  What a great way for us to get around without jumping in the car.  This opens up a whole new world of errands that we can run over a further distance.

IMG_5238On top of Mother’s Day, my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary this week.  May 12, 2012, we celebrated our love on what would become the best night of my life.  Don’t get me wrong, the day that I birthed my daughters was wonderful, but it wasn’t necessarily fun.  I truly look back on this day and wouldn’t have changed a thing.  In three years, we have had two beautiful daughters, settled into the home we hope to be in while they grow up and we both changed jobs.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life.

IMG_5246I married my husband because of his strong willed personality, structure and deep heart (even if he might not show it to those he interacts with).  He grew up with three sisters.  As much as he may not want to admit it, he has a sensitive side.  Maybe that is why we keep having girls?  He is a great dad.  That said, one of his sisters actually had a work trip scheduled in Charlotte this week.  She spent some time at the house Tuesday afternoon.  Believe it or not, this was the first time that she had met both girls.  You wouldn’t have known.  My oldest daughter loved her.  She even took a nap on her.

IMG_5243With everything going on, my husband and I have had to learn to truly compromise when it comes to working out.  I know that so many of you can relate.  At this age, we cannot leave our girls alone at the house.  Only one of us can go work out at a time (unless we have a sitter).  We have had to become creative with the ways in which we still incorporate exercise into our every day life.  For example, on the days that my daughter goes to preschool in the morning, my husband goes to the gym first thing in the morning.  I make this day a cardio day for myself.  I run with my infant in the jogger.  Surprisingly, in just a few weeks, I have gotten my pace with the jogger below 9:00/mile.

IMG_5251I am also getting back into the swing of doing workouts at home in the morning (before the girls get up).  Let’s face it, it is impossible to work out while the kids are awake and what is the likelihood that they will sleep at the same time?  I am a very self motivated person with exercise at home (because I have to be).  My at home strength workout this week was approximately 45 minutes.

IMG_5270I pretty much “winged” it.  I had to immediately jot the workout down, so I wouldn’t forget it.  See above.  Let me give you a recap (in case you can’t read my chicken scratch).

  • 10 Bosu burpees immediately followed by 10 mountain climbers (each leg)
  • Repeat the above exercise 2 more times.  That is three sets of Bosu burpees/mountain climbers before moving to the next exercise.
  • 10 Squat to Side Kick to Squat jump (each leg) – hold dumbbell, medicine ball, or kettlebell in both hands.
  • 10 Knee Ups hanging from pull up bar – no swinging here.
  • Farmer Carry to the the front yard – walk about 25 yards with HEAVY weight.
  • Using one of the dumbbells or kettle bells from Farmer’s Carry above, complete 5 steps up with each leg.  I did this on to our front porch.
  • Drop the weight and do 10 step ups with each leg (bodyweight).
  • Farmer Carry back to the garage – walk about 25 yards with that HEAVY weight.
  • With right foot on rounded side of Bosu, complete 10 squat jumps.  Repeat exercise on the left leg.
  • 5 Pull ups – I used a band to give me the support to complete these.
  • 10 Medicine Ball Chop and Lift each side.

Repeat the circuit above 2 more times as described above (3 rounds total).  The reps stay the same.  You will get fatigued.  Keep going.  Let it burn.  I finished with some abs, which got me close to 45 minutes.  This workout left me feeling sore.  However, I actually know that I am getting stronger.  In fact, stronger than I was before I was pregnant (which is incredible just 8 weeks after having my daughter).

IMG_5263Speaking of my daughter being eight weeks.  Look at how big she is!  She will be two months old on the 18th, which is incredibly hard to believe.  She is sleeping longer at night and eating more at each feeding.  That light at the end of the tunnel that I talked about when she was first born is starting to get brighter.  Sleep is getting better.  I literally can’t wait to see what the summer holds for these sweet girls.

IMG_5262My oldest daughter adores my youngest and my youngest just continues to keep pace with our busy body lifestyle.  There is not doubt that she fits in with our wild, sometimes weird family.  She has been given the nickname “Morgy D.”  I now carry her close to my heart (literally).  If you haven’t noticed the necklace that I wear every day, see below.  The first circle (J & J) represents my marriage – 5/12/12.  The second circle (Madison) represents our first daughter – 10/17/13.  The third circle (Morgan) represents our newest addition – 3/18/15.



Back at FiA + Garage “DUFifty” Workout

The weather in Charlotte right now is unbeatable – low humidity, great early morning temperatures and highs in the afternoon hovering right around eighty.  It won’t stay this way long.  I know the dreaded high humidity and even higher temperature days are looming.  I am still working on losing baby weight.  I am also still operating on a less than ideal sleep schedule, while trying to keep my active toddler busy during the day.  In order for me to get my workouts in, I am using every ounce of energy that I have to stay motivated.

IMG_5196These days, my workout isn’t always an instance where I am breathless or sweating profusely.  I have started to take my daughters on a morning walk and/or an afternoon walk to the park (see picture above).  In an effort to track the distance that I was trekking on these walks, I actually wore my Garmin watch yesterday.  During our walk to the park, play time and the walk back, I logged almost two miles.  For those of you keeping track of steps – that is a lot.  Not only did I wear my daughter out, but I wore myself out.

IMG_5200Earlier that morning, I had woken up to complete a strength bootcamp in the garage. Both girls slept well and both were actually still sleeping when I woke up feeling energized to exercise.  My workout took exactly 35 minutes.  You will need a kettlebell and a set of dumbbells and/or a medicine ball.

photo 3-128

I have coined the term “DUFifty” as a Fly.Jen.Duf original workout in which you perform 50 repetitions of each exercise over the duration of your workout.  I haven’t done a “DUFifty” workout in months.  It was tough.  See below.

Round 1 – Complete 20 repetitions of the following exercises sequentially.

  • Burpees
  • Thrusters (holding medicine ball or dumbells at chest level, lower into a squat, as you are coming back to standing, press weight above your head)
  • Push press with kettlebell – do prescribed number of reps each arm.
  • Stepback lunge (holding kettlebell in one hand – do prescribed number of reps on each leg)
  • Russian Twists – do prescribed number of reps each side.
  • Pushups
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Sumo Squat with Upright Row
  • Side Bends (holding kettlebell – do prescribed number of reps each side).
  • One Legged Deadlifts (with kettlebell on the ground in front of you, lower down to pick it up, move back to start position with weight, lower weight to ground and come back to start with out weight.  That is one rep.  Do prescribed number of reps each side.

Round 2 – Complete Round 1 again.  20 repetitions each exercise, sequentially.

Round 3 – Complete Round 1 again, this time performing 10 repetitions of each exercise, sequentially.

Hold plank until you get to 35 minutes to finish.  

My legs were sore by the time I started my walk that afternoon to the park.  The first part of the workout will get your heart rate up, while burning out your shoulders.  The second part of the workout will really burn your legs out.

IMG_5204At home workouts and walks with my kids are great, but working out with people my own age is even better.  Whenever I work out at home while the girls are asleep I am constantly paranoid that someone will wake up just as I am finishing my first set of exercises.  It is a struggle to focus on the importance of what I am doing.  That said, my husband pushed me out the door Thursday morning to do whatever I wanted to do.  I contemplated running on my own, maybe riding at Flywheel or just going to our local Y.  I ended up deciding to go to the track FiA workout.  Great turnout (and decision) – see picture above.

IMG_5205I have posted about Females in Action (FiA) several times, but let me just take the time to point out one more time the great things about this workout group:

IMG_5202I chose to do the track workout Thursday morning.  The “preblast” indicated that we would be doing 400 meter repeats.  Perfect.  I need speed.  The best way to find that is to train with people that are better than you.  By reading the comments on the “preblast”, I knew the training group would be intense.  I was in.  Between warm up, intervals and a short cool down, we ran almost two miles.   Goal was consistent splits.  Goal accomplished.

  • 1st 400m – 1:34
  • 2nd 400m – 1:32
  • 3rd 400m – 1:28
  • 4th 400m – 1:27

Thank you ladies for a great workout and some most importantly amazing fellowship.  Loved the post workout selfie!