Tag Archives: core training

My First Year As A Blogger…

It’s official – I have been blogging for almost one year!  Based on conversations that I have had with many other successful bloggers, in order for me to give my blog a fair assessment, I needed to continuously post for 6-12 months (maybe even longer).  Lucky for me, there is technology out there that makes it easy for me to figure out the statistics for my first year – along with the most popular things that people are reading about.   Any guesses?  Here are a few of my highlights:

  • Page views (how many times in total a page was clicked on my blog) – 35,085 (approximately 100 views/day)
  • Specific unique viewers – 17,527
  • Number of unique countries with views – 87
  • Countries with highest number of views – United States, Brazil, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom

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There are two big things that stand out to me from the data above:

  • Most people only visit my blog to view one page.  I need to find a way to get people to click on multiple pages when they decide to visit.
  • I am reaching a worldwide audience.  It is incredible to me that readers from 87 countries have clicked on my blog.  The highest number of views are from larger countries (as noted above), however, I have also had views in countries as interesting as – Serbia, Bermuda, Nicaragua, and Vietnam.

The second set of data analyzed what pages were most popular and how people are being directed to my blog (both through referrals on social media and popular search engines).  The five most popular posts during my first year are listed below.

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How did most people find my blog?  Besides just typing in my web address, in this order – Facebook, search engines, Twitter, Pinterest and other websites. It’s not exactly the popularity of what people are searching on social media to find my blog, but the interesting topics:

  • Pregnant bachelorette trip
  • Firehouse subs pull up bar
  • Can you do Flybarre while pregnant?
  • hokie fans enter sandman
  • pregnant and flywheel
  • and many more

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After analyzing my most popular posts against the most popular search terms, it appears that core functional training and pregnancy are some of my most popular topics.  I feel that I can learn a lot from this as I begin to develop a plan for my future business endeavors in personal training.  There is an interest out there for information on topics outside of the usual “gym” workouts.

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After careful analysis, that leaves me with what’s next.  Should I keep going?  I like to think that I have had a pretty successful first year.  Through my blog, I have been introduced to so many interesting people.  The relationships that I have built with my readers have ultimately given me the confidence to change my career and become a better mom. I am held accountable for keeping up with a weekly fit routine (in order to be able to post about it).  I have been introduced to the Fitfluential, Girls Gone Sporty and Sweat Pink Ambassador programs, as well as, several product reviews, two of which are national – Manitoba Hemp Hearts and Luna Bars.

photo-23There are a lot of things in the works right now for future work – including a campaign with a baby product distributor in anticipation of my upcoming arrival.  I think I have to give it another year.  I love feedback.  I don’t get enough of it.  If you are interested in hearing about something or having me post a workout, please let me know!  The connections are out there.  I love exploring new opportunities as much you do.

The Impact of Core/Strength Training on Running Speed

After two days of some tough core/strength training circuits, I decided to do a treadmill workout this morning. My gym limits me to thirty minutes on a machine, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to post a hard treadmill work out that burns some serious calories in a short amount of time. This workout will also help you work on speed and turnover for when you hit the pavement outdoors.

Let me openly say that the last time that I did a treadmill workout was when I was traveling in public accounting. After almost five years of doing workouts on dingy treadmills in a cramped hotel room, when I left public accounting, I vowed not to spend as much time on this machine. However, the treadmill can definitely come in handy when you are limited in resources (we have even contemplated buying one for our house so we can work out when the baby is asleep). My biggest problem with the treadmill is that I often find myself setting the speed at a comfortable pace, rather than pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

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Here is the workout – I started the run with an 800m or ½ mile warm up. I initially started with my speed at 7.0 (which would have been a tough pace for me the last time I ran on the treadmill). To my surprise, I found this to be WAY easy. I decided to increase the speed to 7.5 (which I found to be a pace that I could somewhat talk through, but it would be difficult to carry on an extensive conversation). After the warm up, I repeated the following interval five times:

  • 800 meter or ½ mile interval (speed 8.5 or a speed that you cannot hold a conversation)
  • 400 meter or ¼ mile recovery (speed 7.5 or back to where you warmed up)

Note: On the fifth 800, you will almost be out of time or you may already be out of time. Wherever you are, make sure you push as hard as your can through the thirty minute mark.

By the time that I was done, I had hit right at 4 miles for 30 minutes (7:30 min/mile pace). Seriously? I just had a baby seven months ago, and this is the fastest that I have openly run 4 miles continuously EVER. So, what is the difference? After I had a baby, I completely revamped the type of workouts that I do. Instead of spending hours upon hours doing cardio (i.e. long runs with little to no strength/core training), I have started to sub out long cardio days with quick, powerful strength training days and substituted Flywheel into some of my running days.

Thank god I utilized MapMyRun during the time that I just did cardio a majority of the time, because I can show you how much my pace has significantly changed.

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On a run on June 4, 2012 (note, just a month after I had completed a PR half marathon) I ran 4.01 miles in 32:38 minutes (8:08 min/mile pace).

photo 2-8On a run on July 19, 2011, I ran 4.92 miles in 41:16 minutes (8:23 min/mile pace).

I hate that it took me having a baby and losing valuable time to realize that in a shorter amount of time, I can get more of my work out if I plan correctly. Nothing feels better than seeing results. Well, except my husband complimenting my dedication.

My Front Porch Workout + Our Second Anniversary

Everyone likes variety, including me.  Sunday evening we watched the sunset on the front porch.  As I was looking around at how green everything is right now, I realized that I could do a pretty good workout in my driveway and on my front porch (and still be within range of the baby monitor).  If you have followed my prior workouts, a lot of times I do circuits in the house.  Having the ability to do something outside is a game changer!

photo 4-19I grabbed a pair of dumbbells before heading outside. It is so much easier to do a warm up with some space!  Total workout time came in a little over thirty minutes.  However, you could most definitely do this in less. The first round through I was spending extra time working out some kinks of transition.

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Warm Up I start my watch when I start my warm up.  Today, I used the driveway to do some dynamic stretches.  I also did a serious of plyometic drills, starting on one end of the flat part of the driveway to the other end (about 20 yards one way, 20 yards back).  Think high knees, butt kicks, karaoke runs.

Workout I followed the order of the exercises below sequentially and completed the entire set 3 times.

  • Dumbbell swing – Exactly like a kettlebell swing, but use a dumbbell.  Do 15.
  • Burpees – Do 15.
  • Kettlebell push press (only with a dumbbell) – Do 15 each arm.  Notice the trend of 15?
  • Walking lunges – over the same distance that I did my plyometric drills, I held a dumbbell in each hand and walked down and back.  Weights by your side.
  • Side shuffle – body weight, over the same distance as the lunges, go down and back. When you come back continue facing the same side.
  • High knees – just like the side shuffle, down and back (your heart rate should get up).
  • Backwards squat walk – holding a squat, walk backwards down and back. Think low.
  • Bicep curls – isolate one arm.  Do 15 each arm.
  • Dips – Off the side of my porch.  Really focus on pushing through your hands when you come back up.  Do 15.
  • Single leg butt lift – Off the bottom step of my porch.  Yes, you have to lie on the ground.  Do 15 each leg.

By the time I was done I could seriously feel the burn.  Hopefully my neighbors don’t think i’m too crazy!

photo 1-41I want to take a second to pick up where I ended in my last post. Since the weather was finally nice on Sunday, we were able to take a long walk (which included a stop at a local grocery store and lunch). If you haven’t been to Reid’s, located right on Selwyn in Myers Park, you need to stop by. This small grocery store used to be located uptown, but relocated a little over a year ago. Talk about convenient. On our walk, we got freshly made sandwiches and salads to eat on their outdoor patio, before buying steaks and vegetables for dinner. Check out my salad above.

photo 2-41 Good thing we walked, because for my Mother’s Day/Anniversary eve dinner, my husband did all of the cooking. Strip Steaks on the grill, baked potatoes and fresh cut green beans.

1204_JenJeffEng_143I must say, I didn’t intentionally plan to get married two years ago on Mother’s Day weekend. However, it is pretty special to be able to celebrate being a mom and wife in the same week. We are a pretty low key couple, and I know my husband would hate for me to say too much about him on social media, so let me keep this short. I’m not going to pretend like we had a fairy tale romance from the start, but over time I realized that the reason things weren’t perfect was because the best things never are. Prior to meeting my husband, I’m not really sure what I envisioned the person I would marry being like, but I’m pretty sure that all of the events leading up to me moving to Charlotte happened so that we could fall in love. It’s hard to believe two years is in the books.   I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us!

Wednesday “Lunch” Workout

Well, the Childress Klein Y continues to impress me with the introduction of new equipment. In a prior post about my lunch time workout, I told you they were in the process of piecing together a core/strength training room. In just a few days, they have totally transformed the space that I worked out in the last time that I blogged about the facility.

photo 4-16Warm up – Since I completed this workout during the middle of my work day, I wanted to make sure I was properly warmed up and loose. I started my stopwatch when I started my warm up. My warm up was simply a moderate one mile run around the track. I didn’t start out too fast, but I gradually built up into a steady pace.

photoWorkout – I did not venture out of the space with all of the new equipment. I actually had to adjust the workout that I had originally planned because of how much more stuff was there this time that I did not anticipate. I completed the following exercises sequentially in a “circuit” 3 times through. Everything from warm up to finish was a tick under 30 minutes.

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1 – Kettle bell Push Press – This gym has a wide variety of weight ranges to use for kettle bells, so there is no reason why you need a dumbbell (unless you are doing this at a location that doesn’t have kettle bells). Start holding Kettle bell in your left hand at shoulder height so that your elbow is close to your body and the weight is hanging such that it touches the top of your hand (not your palm). Feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent. As you straighten your legs, flex your core, and press the weight overhead until your arm is straight. Do 10. Repeat on right side.

2 – Box Step Up with Bicep Curl – Before starting this exercise make sure that you have a box to step up on that is high or low enough that when you step one foot up on the box, your knee is bent at a 90 degree angle. Begin with the box in front of you, feet together, weight in both hands by your side. Step your right foot onto the box. As you straighten you right leg, bring your left leg up on to the box and complete your bicep curl. Step down back to starting. Do 10 each leg.

Modification – To make this harder, instead of just bringing my left leg up to standing on the box, I would bring my left leg through center by driving my knee up (while completing my bicep curl). This will really work the core.

3- Kettle bell Push up Row – Start in a push up position with your left hand grasping the kettle bell’s handle. Row kettle bell to the side of your chest while rotating into a side plank. Reverse to return to start. That is 1. Do 10 each side.

Modification – I needed to make this harder. Instead of doing 10 each side, I did 5 on one side, then 5 more with a pushup added in each time I returned to start on the same side. Repeat on the other side.

4- Box Jumps – For my box jumps, I used a higher box than the one that I used for step ups. To maximize the effects of this exercise, you want to try to set the height such that it requires you to explode off the ground. Using not only your legs, but your abs and your arms. This is a simple exercise. Standing in front of the box, use both legs to explode up and land softly in the middle of the box. Do 15.

5 – Dips/Tricep Kickback – I am not going lie, after a few sets of box jumps, I had to take a breather before dips. I didn’t anticipate having a dip bar prior to planning my workout, so to my surprise, I added the dips in. You can use assistance here, but instead, I did 5 unassisted dips then 10 tricep kickbacks.

6 – TRX Plank Position Abs – Yes, I am so happy that I can utilize this type of equipment at the Y! I took several pictures of modifications for this exercise. Start in a pushup position, feet suspended in foot cradles. Drive knees into chest. Do 10.

photo 2-37After doing 10 knee drives, do 10 pike ups from the same starting position. Feel the burn!

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This workout kicked my butt and revved my metabolism.  How did I fuel?  Check out the blog this weekend to see my baked chicken recipe that takes less than 20 minutes to prep and cook.

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