Sunday, October 27, 2013

Exercise of the Day: Dynamic Warm-ups and Fartleks

Hello hello!

This past Saturday, my Running Clinic crew went to the track and learned how to go through a proper dynamic warm-up and then practiced fartlek running. They were AMAZING!!! The weather lucked out, they had great positive energy, and there have been leaps and bounds of improvement in everyone.

Below I have copied the email that I have sent them as their follow-up, as I think anyone, regardless of wanting to run a race or simply improve their cardio conditioning, will benefit from this type of workout. Included is information on breathing properly when running, something that is especially important as the air gets colder and thinner and our lungs are more challenged.


You all did AMAZING on Saturday! It's always hard to get out and run for the first time, especially with a group, but I'm so impressed with what I saw from everyone and I can already see a lot of improvement from the first time I saw you all run the first Saturday. 

All of the warm-up drills you did are going to help you nail that perfect running form, with the running pose being the foundation of it. Again, all of the drills are easy to do somewhere in your house, or at least in your yard or driveway and are really important to get your body totally ready to run and avoid feeling hurt or still later. Best thing I heard was that the running part wasn't so bad because the warm-up helped!

Here's what you guys did:

1. Jog (anywhere between 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile, you guys did 1/2, or two laps around the track)

2. Butt Kicks-2x20 per leg. Make sure your foot is flexed and your knee is staying underneath you and not coming forward.

3. Knee Hug Walks: 2x15 per leg. Grab under the knee (not directly on it) to help bring the knee to your chest.

4. Inch Worm: 2x10. Really emphasize the bending over to touch your toes. This will help warm-up and improve the flexibility in your hamstrings.

5. Walking Lunges: 20/leg. Stretch those legs out and use the heel of your front leg to power through and stand back up.

6. A-Skips: 2x20 per leg. Remember to bring that knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the ground.

7. Tuck Jumps or Squats: 2x10. If you do the jumps, bring those thighs up as high as you can and be sure to bend your knees when you land to protect them. If you do the squats, keep your weight in your heels to remove the pressure from your knees.

Fartlek running:
You all did really well with this part! Based on your ability, just pick a distance to do a fast burst (stop sign to stop sign, sprint to a treee, sprint the straight-aways) and then run/walk at a relaxed pace until your next sprint. It doesn't need to be timed or a consistent distance!!

Remember you only want to do a workout like this about once a week, and never more than 60 minutes. Start at 30 or 35 minutes if you'd like. It's all about speed play and helping build your cardio endurance and stamina in your lungs and legs.
Make it work for you and your ability!

When the weather gets cool, the air gets thinner and it gets harder to control our breath and our lungs get extra challenged. A lot of people ask how to better breathe when running, as this helps preserve energy and keep you calm. I always tell people, including myself, to breathe in deeply for a count of 3, then breathe out for a count of 3. Here's a link to a great article which explains the art of breathing while running:

One more thing, I believe that everyone benefits, especially runners, by improving and maintaining flexibility and suppleness in their muscles. A great resource we have at Rhino for this are the Yoga and Pilates classes. I highly suggest that everyone tries one. 

If evening classes are your thing, Robyn teaches class at 7PM on Mondays and Wednesdays. If mornings are better, try the Thursday at 9:30AM or Friday at 10:30AM. Robyn's classes have helped me recover and they are also great settings to learn stretches and moves to do on your own.

Healthy Snack of the Day: Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Last night was awesome! Did you watch Game 3 of the World Series??!?!?! Have you ever seen a game end with an obstruction call!?!?!??! Go Cards!!!

The game lasted til about midnight and it was a nail-biter, never knowing who was going to win. I needed some food to keep energized, but late-night snacking can be difficult, and after a long day (well, long week in general) I wanted a treat. I couldn't leave the house to run to store, and with the grocery trip put off til Monday, I had to make do with what was in the house. It had to be simple.

Luckily I had three sweet potatoes that needed to be used.....Sweet Potato Fries!! Now how to make them special.....Well this Spanish girl loves some flavor, so I decided to make some spicy sweet potato fries to snack on while I watched the game, and I had seen a recipe in SELF magazine which I follow almost exactly, except I had no jalepeno salt (see original recipe here:

All the ingredients used are staples in my house, so it was simple and fast, and they turned out AMAZING!!!

3 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon of corn starch
ancho chile powder (to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)
olive oil (I used avocado infused olive oil from Di Olivas on Main Street St. Charles
1 sliced jalepeno pepper

1. Cut three sweet potatoes into 1/4 in fries.
2. Combine in bowl the cornstarch, ancho chile powder, and garlic powder.
3. Toss the fries in the powder mix and place on a baking sheet lined with foil and coated with olive oil.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes.
5. Flip the fries, then splash on some more olive oil and sprinkle the jalepeno pepper over the fries.
6. Bake for an additional 8 minutes, or until the fries are at a consistency that you like.



Friday, October 4, 2013

Rhino Fitness Running Clinic, October 5th, 2013

Happy Friday!!

Just a reminder that tomorrow, Saturday, at 10AM the first day of the Running Clinic starts! 

This first day is the assessment day, involving a running analysis by Keelin and a functional analysis by Dr. Scott Grogan from The Back Pain Center. Again, just coming to this first day alone is beneficial for not just your running performance but for your overall health, so feel free to drop-in!

The entire 10 week clinic is $75 and drop-ins are $10. Non-members are welcome, and people of ALL abilities can participate!
Tomorrow is also a good time to come in and ask any questions you have about the clinic.

The first five Saturdays are focused around injury prevention and proper form, and the last five Saturdays will be running workouts designed to better YOU as a runner. Every Monday, the theme of the week's clinic will be posted to keep you in the loop, which will be great for you all who want to drop-in!

See you tomorrow! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Workout of the Day: CrossFit inspired circuit, the "Cindy" and kettlebell swings

Hello everybody!

Today, instead of just one exercise, I'm giving you an entire circuit workout. It's CrossFit inspired, but you can do this workout at about any gym, or at home if you have the equipment (pull-up bar and kettlebells). Be extra cautious that you have good form. Engage your core, protect your lower back, and bend at your knees. Just because it says "As many rounds as possible" doesn't mean you have to compromise your form to get more reps done.

Remember: Quality over Quantity.....ALWAYS!

Exercise 1: Do as many rounds of the following as possible in 20 minutes: 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 body weight squats. AKA as many rounds of the "Cindy."

Exercise 2: 40 kettlebell swings. Go heavy, at least 35 lbs. No baby swings here!!

Do 3 rounds of Exercises 1 and 2!!!

How are you feeling after this workout?!?!?!



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inspiration of the Day: IronMan client Angel!

I want to take a moment to shed the spotlight on my client, Angel. 

I've been training Angel for awhile now and have watched her transform from a casual runner, to a marathoner, a triathlete, and now she is going to be competing in her first full IronMan (yup, the full IronMan!) in a month. 

She is the perfect example of work ethic and a positive attitude and is an inspiration to me. She's managed to balance being a wonderful mom, friend, worker, and client, and encourages us all to achieve our goals, no matter what they are. I'm so honored to be part of her journey!

Check out her warming up her core as we prep her for her sprint triathlon she's competing in this weekend!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Exercise of the Day: Butt-Ups

My clients make me laugh. Really laugh. And I appreciate when they say exactly what they're thinking (and what everyone else is too shy to say out loud). This is why one of my favorite moments of the day was when I asked one of my clients to do sets of Butt-Ups. During her rest, she turned to me and, with a very serious face and tone, said "If I ever sex again before I die, this exercise is going to come in handy." YES!

In all seriousness, Butt-Ups are very effective in strengthening and toning your abs. One of the best parts is all you need is your body, no equipment required. Additionally, you receive the benefit of strengthening your upper body and stretching the back of your legs.

1-Begin in the forearm/elbow plank position. Make sure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders and you are reaching through your heels in order to create length in your spine. Engage your abs and your glutes, imagining that you are bringing your belly button to your spine. This will minimize the arch in your back.

2. Begin raising your glutes to the ceiling, further engaging your abs in order to minimize the distance between your ribs and your hips. Continue to maintain length in your spine and activation in the back of your legs.

3. Now, slowly and with complete activation of your abs, bring your glutes back down to the beginning elbow plank position described in Step 1. This is 1 repetition.

4. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.



Friday, September 20, 2013

Inspiration of the Day: The Morning Crew at Rhino

It's so easy to let the good things in a day slip by when we start the day getting out of bed, already with a massive list of tasks to accomplish. The early drive to work is clouded by scheduling out the day: When will I be able to work on my dissertation? How much time can I allow for this? Where can I fit in this meeting? Do I have enough time to prepare? Why did I set my alarm to go off at 4?? Where am I going to find the motivation to get through all of this??????

That's when I pull into the parking lot at Rhino Fitness. Slammed parking lot and a gym full of determined people who are working their hardest to better their health, their selves, and all the while are encouraging the people around them. Whether it's the 5AM Boot Camp crew, the 4:30 AM spinners, my clients, or all of the others pushing themselves through  their workouts before they head to work and tackle their own tasks of the all inspire me. I see you all and I instantly want to make this day the best day possible and I can't help but smile and love my job.

Now, everything I have to accomplish today I will accomplish with a smile and a sense of motivation inspired by you.

See you tomorrow at 5. Here's a little Allyson Felix for some inspiration:


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Healthy Drink of the Day: Kale and Chia Seed Juice

What a gorgeous Sunday morning here in St. Louis!! Today is definitely a good day.....the weather is perfect, there's a great vibe at Rhino Fitness this morning, Iowa beat Iowa State (in Ames, too) yesterday, and there is NFL to be watched!

An energizing, yet healthy, drink to help keep us all on track on such a great day makes it even better.

This juice drink is in part a solution to my mother's impeccable kale garden (she seriously had some major success with it) which she has no idea what to do with, and also a way to sneak in some chia seeds.

Why chia? Here are seven reasons:
1-Chia seeds help reduce food cravings because it blocks food from being absorbed as quickly.
2-Along the same lines as above, chia seeds help you feel fuller faster.

These first two are caused by the gel affect created when chia seeds absorb water. They absorb about 10 times their weight in water and expand as a gel like substance.

3-The chia gel is hydrates the body. Everyone needs to be hydrated. No brainer.
4-Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3, which fights inflammation and heart disease. There is more Omega-3 in chia than there is in salmon.
5-Chia seeds slow down the rate that our body converts carbohydrates into simple sugars, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
6-Chia seeds are easier to digest than flax seeds and don't need to be ground up. Low maintenance food!
7-Some reports believe that chia seeds help lower blood pressure.

Okay, enough of that, now for the simple juice drink which solves the problem of what to do with kale (besides make chips) and how to include chia seeds into your diet:

Combine a handful of kale, 2 to 3 stalks of celery, a pear, and the juice of a lemon into a blender or juicer. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. Blend until liquid in form. Drink. Enjoy!

Super simple, right?

Have a great Sunday!!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Inspiration of the Day: The Strength of a Determined Woman

Tell me what inspires you to be a force of nature!

Challenge Yourself

Fall Running Clinic at Rhino Fitness, Wentzville, MO

Hey everybody! Training for a race this fall or for the spring or just wanting to improve your general running performance? Come join the Rhino Fitness Running Clinic every Saturday at 10 AM for 10 weeks, starting October 5th through December 7th.

We'll be focusing on improving your form and strength, injury prevention, and speed work throughout the clinic. It's a great way to meet others interested in running and leads right up to the Saturday before the North Pole Dash in St. Charles on December 14th!

See you there!!

Let me know if you have any questions!!!!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Inspiration of the Day: Nancy's First 5K!

I'd like to send a special congratulations out to my client, Nancy, who completed her first 5K on Sunday, with her dog Darcy, at the Trails for Tails charity run in Frontier Park, St. Charles! Nancy and her team pushed through the bad weather Sunday morning and had a blast doing it!

The 5K race and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk benefited Five Acres Animal Shelter, a shelter near and dear to Nancy's heart, and I could not be more proud of her for combining her love of dogs and her passion for fitness.

Do you have a charity that means a lot to you that sponsors races? Many do, and it's a great way to get a workout in by knowing it's for a good cause!

Exercise of the Day: Hindu Pushup

Good morning!! Today's exercise of the day works not just your chest and shoulders, but your back, abs, legs, stamina, and flexibility.......what a great way to start your day! It's called the Hindu push-up, and I'll throw in another version of it at the end.

Image from

1- First, you want to get into the standard push-up, or plank, position, except have your feet wider than your shoulders. Keep your elbows and wrists in line with your shoulders.

2. Push your torso back, so your butt is going up in the air, as if you are going into the Downward Dog position in yoga. You may go up on your toes a little bit, which is fine, but be sure to keep your hands in the same position.

3. Now, using a deep exhalation and A LOT of control, swoop your torso down, leading with your chest, towards the floor. Keep your chin up. Your elbows may bend slightly, but try to keep them close to your torso....triceps working overtime! A friend of mine calls this the "going under the fence" movement.

4. When your chest reaches its lowest point, continue the swoop upwards by pressing into your hands and extending your arms straight upwards.

5. On your next exhalation with your abs engaged, and keeping your arms straight, move your butt back into the elevated position as described in Step 2. That's 1 repetition.

Do as many reps as possible.

Not hard enough for you? Try to do the Hindu Pushup with your feet on the wall. Scroll to about minute 3 of this video:



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Workout of the Day: Rainy Day Workout

It's finally raining here! Too bad the thunder and lightning also mean that I have to put off my run. HOWEVER.....................

If you ever get stuck in the house because of a rainy day and don't have access to a gym, it does NOT mean you have to put off a workout! Here's a combination of cardio movements and leg exercises that you can do at home to still get your sweat on, no matter what the weather is outside! This is based on a ladder workout that I had read elsewhere a while ago (can't remember!!!), which I tweaked to make a little more challenging, but still simple enough to concentrate on at home.

1. Start with your cardio circuit warmup:
20 High Knees
40 Butt kicks
80 Jumping Jacks
40 Butt Kicks
20 High knees

2. Now do the following ladder:
30 seconds of tuck jump burpees x 10 tricep pushups
30 seconds of tuck jump burpees x 9 tricep pushups
30 seconds of tuck jump burpees x 8 tricep pushups

keep following this trend until you finish with 1 tricep pushup

3. Finish with a leg circuit
20 squats
30 lunges
40 toe touches (abs)
50 second wall sit
100 jumping jacks
50 second wall sit
40 toe touches (abs)
30 lunges
20 squats


Friday, September 6, 2013

Exercise of the Day: Side Plank with Low-Cable Row

Hello hello! It's #fitnessfriday and in case you are wanting to add a new core move to your fitness regime to start off your weekend, why not try the side plank with a low-cable row?

This exercise is an upgrade to a standard side plank, adding more coordination, movement, and weights to challenge your core balance.

Image from:

1. Attach a handle to a low pulley on your cable machine. Pick a medium-light weight for your strength level.

2. Lay on your left side, facing the cable machine. Be sure that your right arm can be fully extended when reaching for the handle for the appropriate distance from the machine.

3. Grab the handle with your right hand and engage your core to lift your body into the side plank position, with your left forearm on the ground and your left elbow directly below your left shoulder. You want your ankles, hips and head to be in perfect alignment, and, again, your right arm fully extended in front of you towards to machine. Perfect alignment is KEY in this exercise!

4. With a full exhalation and complete engagement of your abs, pull the handle with your right arm so that handle comes even to your right rib cage. Pause for 1 to 2 seconds.

5.Slowly and with control, extend your right arm back forward to the starting position. This is equal to one repetition.

6. Do 15 repetitions with your right arm, then switch to laying on your right side and do 15 pulls with your left arm.

7. Try to do 3 sets of 15 pulls on each side.

I know your core is going to love the burn you get from this exercise, so give it a try and let me know what YOU are going to do on this #fitnessfriday!



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Health Tip of the Day: Drinking Coffee without all the Calories

It's official! Starbucks has brought the Pumpkin Spice Latte back into our lives and that yearning for fall weather is upon us. Having your coffee fix in the morning is a must for most of us, even if it's just to get that extra jolt from caffeine to force you out the door to your 5AM workout.....But how do you get your caffeine fix without taking in all the extra calories we sometimes forget about when we cruise through our favorite coffee shop's drive-thru?

Here's a short clip from Runner's World which talks about such issue:

Hopefully next time your early morning coffee run will make you feel less guilty about your nutrition!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Exercise of the Day: Lizard Pose.....Relief for Runners

I have been training like crazy lately. Between running, lifting, and going to my boxing classes, my body has taken a toll and over the past two weeks I paid the price. Though I have been foam rolling, I made the mistake of not being diligent with my stretching and became so tight in the hips and hamstrings that running was too painful and now I have to take some time off. frustrating, but no one to blame but myself!

This week I have been rehabbing by doing a lot of yoga, something I used to do almost daily and have let go to the wayside. Man, do I miss it. The stretch that my poor burnt out runner's legs felt the most benefit from?
Lizard Pose, or Utthan Pristhasana. Glorious. Lizard Pose provides relief to your hips, thighs, and waist, as well as provides a release of tension from your back and neck. 

Here is a way to get into the pose:

1. Start in Downward Dog pose.

2. Lift your left heel into the air as high as you can and then sweep it forward to low lunge position.

3. Position your torso to the right of your forward left thigh and begin to lower your torso towards the floor.
Be sure to keep your right leg lifted and pressing back through the heel and keep your left leg active and pressing into your side.

4. Begin to lower your forearms to the floor to the right of your left heel. If your hips and hamstrings are tight, this may be impossible and you will have to stop and hold the position at your lowest point. Don't force anything, let your body do what it can!

5. At your lowest point, extend your spine, reaching forward through the top of your head, relieving tension in your lower back.

6. Stay in this position for about 5 to 8 breaths. Return to downward dog and then perform the pose on the opposite side.

Already feel better, don't you?


Resurrecting the Blog By Popular Demand!

It's been a loooooooong time since I have posted, as I took time off to focus on school. I have received so many emails telling me how much people like my blog and want me to continue to post. I had no idea that so many of you read my blog and I am very flattered by the positive feedback!

I'll be trying to post more regularly now, and trying to incorporate more useful information, trying to evolve my blog as I go to make it a more enjoyable read for you all!

Thank you so much again!


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