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April Favorites: Workout Gear

After sharing my favorite healthy(ish) junk food last month – Today I’m going to focus on some of my favorite workout gear brands and products lately.

I like to mix up my workouts and in March and April I made some switches. I tried out the new-t0-me barre studio Avant-Barre, starting swimming, and signed up for the San Francisco Half Marathon this is Summer.

April Favorites Workout Gear Activewear Gym FitLife San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style Lululemon Adidas Victoria's Secret Sport

{Lululemon’s Tight Stuff, Adidas Neo & Victoria’s Secret Sports Caged Racerback Sports Bra}

Favorite Running Tights: I require two primary things from a pair of running tights – Pockets and a really fitted feel. Since discovering that my life is significantly better {shut up!} with side pockets on my running pants, I’ve tried a few brands. The best, by far, are Lululemon’s Tight Stuff. They’re so good that I have two pairs of the exact same tights.

Favorite Running Tank: I like longer, almost tunic length tank tops for running. They cover my long torso as well as my spandex-covered booty – So they’re a win-win. I adore Lucy’s Revolution Run Racerback Tank. Great quality and super comfortable.

Favorite Running Shoes: I switched over from Brooks to Saucony last year and I’m addicted. I love my Saucony Guide 9’s – They have a good amount of support and work well for street running.

Favorite Pants for Classes: Victoria’s Secret Sport has had a few recent home runs in the workout gear arena. And their Anytime High Rise Leggings is one of those wins. Thick, flattering, and comfortable. What more could a girl want?

Favorite Sports Bra for Classes: Another winner from VS Sport is their Caged Racerback Sports Bra. It’s seriously cute and the perfect low-intensity sports bra for a class with little to no bouncing. I love this style for barre classes!

Favorite Walking Shoes: I switch between my Adidas Neo’s in black and white and my Nike Flyknits for walking to and from work each day. I don’t wear either of these pairs to workout in though, they don’t offer my sad little feet enough cushioning.

What’s YOUR favorite activewear brand? Have a new favorite piece you can’t stop wearing?

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#BeFreeToMove | Lululemon Enlite Sports Bra Launch

I’ve brought up the important of sports bras in the past – Let’s Talk About Sports Bras – And I’m back today to talk about Lululemon’s new Enlite Sports Bra.

I’m a huge fan of Lululemon and of Barry’s Bootcamp, and was thrilled to hear that they were teaming up in the Marina for a little get together to launch the newest brainchild of Lulu – Their years-in-the-making Enlite Sporta Bra.

And what’s the best way to try out a new sports bra? By getting your booty kicked! Enter Barry’s Bootcamp badass Erica who led us all in an intense, sweaty warrior women workout at their Marina location.

Be Free To Move Lululemon Enlite Sports Bra San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Workout Gear Gym Barry's Bootcamp Warrior Women

Be Free To Move Lululemon Enlite Sports Bra San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Workout Gear Gym Barry's Bootcamp Warrior Women

Be Free To Move Lululemon Enlite Sports Bra San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Workout Gear Gym Barry's Bootcamp Warrior Women

{Yes – I’m vein-y. No – I don’t know why I’m smiling while getting my booty kicked!}

Enlight Sports Bra c/o Lululemon

Fast & Free 7/8 Tights c/o Lululemon

Swiftly Tech Racerback Tank Top c/o Lululemon

Wave Inspire 11 Tennis Shoes – Mizuno

I look for different things in different types of sports bras. For running – I want everything strapped down and basically immobile. It’s rarely pretty, but it gets the job done.

For classes and circuit training workouts, my needs are a little different. Comfort is important, and I’ll never turn away something flattering.

Let’s be honest – A little confidence boosting is hardly ever unwanted in the gym!

So this is where we turn to the Lululemon Enlite Sports Bra. It fits like a bra with a flattering silhouette and eye-catching cross-over straps in the back, but it supports like a medium-to-high impact sports bra.

It’s the best of both worlds!

What’s YOUR favorite brand of sports bra? What makes it the best in your mind?

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Tips to Stay Motivated at the Gym

Staying motivated at the gym isn’t easy. I love working out, but there are still plenty of days where the couch sounds waaay more appealing than sweaty sports bras, guys with no boundaries, and expending energy I don’t have.

But even when it sounds hard or I’m sore or tired or hungry, I can often times motivate myself to get to the gym. Here are my tips that you can try next time you’re not the mood.

Change Your Mentality:

Stop thinking of your workout as auxiliary and thinking of it like you do work – It’s non-negotiable. If you’re hoping to change your life for the better and start living a healthier life, then your workouts and your healthy food aren’t short-term or fad, they’re an important part of your daily life.

And that means you need to change how you think of them. Your workouts are like going to work – Unless you’re sick, you should go. BUT if you’re sore or recovering from an injury, you should definitely listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Killed it the day before on leg day and aren’t up for a Pilates class? Just walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Can’t make it to a class across town because you got stuck at the office? Do a little bodyweight workout at home!

Workout Motivation Inspiration Fitspo FitLife San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Hold Yourself Accountable:

Find an accountability partner! If you do well with a community, join an online challenge like the ones hosted by Tone It Up or other online trainers.

What I’ve found works well for me is doing weekly, and sometimes daily, check-ins with my best friend. We text pictures, inspiration, and recipes to each other, motivating from a distance. Between social media and one-on-one check-ins there are lots of options to keep yourself inspired, so you can find which way works best for you.

Set Goals:

I’m definitely a Type A personality and I love me some goals. I like lists in general, and nothing thrills me quite like checking something off. Hi – I’m a nerd!

Need some other tips to get you started? Check out these posts on goals and rewarding yourself so you can find a way to make this work for you!

Find Your Inspiration:

I’m an extremely visual person so when I’m feeling tired or unmotivated – I head straight to Pinterest, Instagram, or Snapchat.

I create motivational boards on Pinterest that keep me inspired and remind me what I’m working for each day. Workout Motivation is my favorite!

And I follow some seriously kick ass ladies on Snap and Instagram – A few minutes of looking at killer photos or watching their stories is just the kick in the booty I need to get myself to the gym.

What’s YOUR tried and true way to stay motivated at the gym?

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Race Training for the Injured

As a long-time athlete, I’ve learned a lot about my body. For the most part, I can tell when I should sit something out, and when I can push myself. I’ve trained and competed while injured many times of the years. Broken collarbones {gymnastics}, dislocated shoulders {volleyball}, and spinal injuries {diving} haven’t done much to slow me down over the years. But what they have done is taught me how to listen to my body and how to train smarter instead of longer/harder.

Race Training Running Runner FitLife San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

Leggings & Tank – Fabletics

Active Colorblock Windbreaker – Forever 21

Sneakers – Saucony

Here are a few things that I’ve learned to apply to my programming over the years:

  1. Rest when needed – No matter how careful you are with training, you will hit a wall at some point. You need to learn to listen to your body and realize when fatigue can’t be pushed through.
  2. Recovery is vital – Giving your body time to recover is important, but you also need to think about the foods that you put in your body which also impact your recovery.
  3. Fuel is everything – How you fuel your body before, during, and after training is imperative for keeping your body in top condition. All of your hard work will be wasted if you try to keep yourself going on Hot Pockets and Coke.
  4. Invest in your equipment – Whether that means a bike or running shoes, you want to research what will work best for your needs. Quality equipment can stave off injury as well as help you heal.

Race Training Running Runner FitLife San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

So how have I applied these to my own training? With back and feet injuries, I realized that following a traditional half marathon training schedule wasn’t feasible. Attempting 2-3 runs a week left me in so much pain that I couldn’t get through all the runs and my cross-training.

What works for me is, like I spoke about in my Workout Schedule: Weight Training & Race Prep post, is one run a week. I do either a longer, somewhat slower run, or a shorter, faster run. From a cardiovascular standpoint I’m capable of running 13 miles if I manage my pace, so training is much more about preparing my body to take the intense physical beating. 3-7 miles once a week does just that – My joints and muscles stay in top shape, without being overworked to the point of increasing my pain levels.

Race Training Running Runner FitLife San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

{Photography by Brad Wittke of Pacifica Gallery}

I’m sure by now some of you are thinking – Why do you keep running?

Because I love it!

I started running in my 20’s to get outside when I became utterly sick of the gym, and I quickly became addicted. And I just LOVE racing. I may not be fast, but the excitement and fun and rush of race day is a total blast.

I’d love to try a half triathlon in the future, but for now I’m stick to a few foot races a year. In the past year I ran five – The Guardsmen Presidio 10 Mile Race, the San Francisco Half Marathon, the Women’s Health 10k to benefit the Feed Project, the Golden Gate Half Marathon, and the Kaiser Half Marathon.

Have YOU ever trained for a race or competition while injured? Any tips?

Reminder: I’m not a doctor and I don’t have background on your specific injury/injuries. Please do not take this post as a personal recommendation to you for race training – Please speak to your doctor about what would work best for you.

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2017 Fitness Adventures: Avant Barre | Discount Code

I’m always glad to have a healthy start to the year and I’ve really been enjoying trying out some new studios and workouts recently. After a relaxing and rejuvenating visit to the Love Story Yoga studio in the Mission at the beginning of the year, today I’m here to share my experience at Avant Barre here in the SOMA district of San Francisco.

Fitness Adventures Avant Barre Pilates San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

The Low Down:

If you’ve never taken a barre class, the premise is that you use a ballet “barre” for an isometric strength training session. Which means that you focus on moving one muscle group at a time – Core, booty, arms, calves – Primarily focusing on bodyweight movements. Though some classes combine those movements with weights or balls.

Avant-Barre combines the traditional underlying barre techniques with fun music and beautiful dance-like moves for a full-body workout that really evokes a dance class.

No rhythm needed!

Thoughts:

I took the 45 minute Sculpt class and it was a great workout. You felt every muscle group being worked and were begging for mercy by the end of each set.

Especially the booty.

And the core.

The space is light and airy, right off of third street at Brannan in SOMA. They had a fully stocked changing room and plenty of lockers for storing your bag(s) during class. And the barre studio itself is bright with mirrors and windows – You feel like you’re in a ballet studio!

I really like mirrors during these types of workout since it offers you the ability to self-correct on form and notice when you start lagging towards the end of a set.

Recommendations:

If you love a super, super sweaty, gasping for air workout – Like Barry’s Bootcamp – Then you may not be drawn to this type of class. However, if you want a full body toning workout that allows you to safely push your boundaries, this is a great choice.

Bonus – It’s quite easy to customize if you have an injury or are new to the fitness game.

And I have to say that the low impact aspect also really appeals to me. With running, biking, and lifting as major parts of my weekly workout routine, I really need to add in a lower impact workout like this to help keep my joints healthy and happy.

Fitness Adventures Avant Barre Pilates San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

And I’m thrilled to say that my lovely readers will be getting a discount code to try Avant Barre. Use “mclv2017” for $10 off a single class! If you try it out – Let me know what you think.

Are YOU a fan of barre classes?

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