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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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Brittany Dawn Fitness: 60 Day Fall Challenge

After doing a personalized macro plan and 30 days of training with Brittany Dawn Fitness at the end of the Summer, I decided to join the 60 Day Fall Challenge.

So what did the challenge entail? Similar to the 30 Day Brittany Dawn Fitness program, the main components were:

  • Weekly check-ins and macro adjustments with Miss Brittany Dawn herself
  • 60 days of programming for the gym or a modified schedule for home workouts

There were also some additional bonuses – Lists of stretches, food recommendations, challenge rules, FAQs etc – That were aimed at participants new to the fitness or healthy eating party.

Read on to see, and read, what I thought of the program!

Macros:

One of my favorite fitness quotes is “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” It’s so true. And I’ve always had a healthy – Pun intended – Appreciation of the importance of nutrition when it comes to meeting fitness goals. That being said, even though I’ve never been an avid calorie counter, I did spend years keeping calories in mind. They weren’t the most important thing to me, but I was aware of them.

The number one take away that I have from starting macro counting this Fall, is that you need to feed your muscles to see growth. Since my back injury I’ve been more interested in being strong and healthy than slim, but I still never quite got comfortable with a higher calorie diet. But I’ve seen more progress in my body and a more dramatic increase in strength since September than I have in all the years I’ve been focused on health and fitness.

While I’m not going to share my macros, as they were customized to meet my individual needs, I will say that I’m eating WAY more than I did six months ago. And way more calories. It’s not about how many calories, it’s about what kind of calories.

Brittany Dawn Fitness 60 Day Challenge Workouts Counting Macros San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Before an After

Workouts:

I love, love, LOVED the programming for this challenge. While a 60 day challenge during the end of the year has some inherent hurdles – Holidays, travel, social obligations, cocktail parties – I felt like I did a really good job of staying on top of the programming because I was so excited and looking forward to each workout.

My arms and abs got a lot more defined during the program, but more importantly, I gained a lot of strength.

I worked especially hard on the moves that I either dislike or that are more challenging for me due to my back injury, like deadlifts, and really saw progress throughout the 60 days.

Check-Ins:

Just like the 30 day Brittany Dawn Fitness program that I purchased, this was my favorite part of the challenge.

Each Monday I sent progress pictures, my measurements, weight, and a note about how I was feeling. It was really fun to look back and see how far I’d come. Such a motivating tool!

I’ve never shared selfies on this website and I’ve also never shared before-and-after type of photos before. But I really want to inspire my wonderful readers to try something new and challenge themselves in 2017, so I’m sharing my personal progress pictures here. I’m not claiming to have it all figured out or to be perfect, but I’m trying and I’m thrilled with my progress.

I think that if I can motivate just one person to take their health more seriously this year – I’ve succeeded!

What is YOUR fitness goal for 2017? What would you like to accomplish this year?

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Brittany Dawn Fitness: Training & Macro Review

I recently completed 30 days of training and macro counting with Brittany Dawn Fitness and I thought it would be a fun to start doing reviews of the programs that I try out.

I’m an avid follower of trainers and personal wellness gurus on social media so I’m going to start offering up my thoughts on the programs that I tackle in my personal life.

When I decided that I wanted to give macro counting a try to tighten things up in preparation for my birthday, I knew I wanted to reach out to Brittany of Brittany Dawn Fitness. I’ve always found her posts inspirational and wait excitedly for new YouTube videos.

As I said in my macro-related post {Macro Counting}, it comes down to keep track of and trying to hit goals for your daily intake of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. All the while, staying under set limits of sugar and sodium.

Brittany Dawn Fitness Weightlifting Training Program Counting Macros Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Recipes

With the Brittany Dawn Fitness program I received three main things:

  1. Personalized Macro Breakdown
  2. 30 Days of Workouts
  3. Coaching

Curious how it went? Here’s a review as well as some of my personal experience with these aspects of the 30 day program.

Macros:

I didn’t know where to start on this so it was great to talk to someone experienced, get a program tailored to my needs, and have the ability to have follow-up conversations and tweak the plan. We aren’t talking about a restrictive diet, this was a ton of food. I won’t share the specific macros, but here a sample of a date of eating:

Brittany Dawn Fitness Weightlifting Training Program Counting Macros Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Recipes

  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Protein oats
  • Smoothie
  • Salad + veggie burger
  • Nuts + dried fruit
  • Banana softserve

Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling hungry. And some days, I actually had trouble finishing all of the food. I set aside a few minutes each morning to play with my menu for the day in My Fitness Pal and then adjusted it throughout the day as needed.

Training:

I love weight training and usually make it to the gym at least 5 times a week. Sometimes more. Needless to say, it’s easy to get bored or plateau when you work out as often as I do. That means that I was especially looking forward to see the workouts that get Miss Brittany looking so fabulous.

What I really liked was how her workouts pushed me outside of my comfort zone. While I normally might skip a workout with moves I’ve never done or that I think are too challenging – This program pushed me to get creative and try new things. I don’t think I’ve done bench press since high school!

The only downside was that the workouts are fairly long – Sometimes I didn’t have enough time to finish all the moves or sets during my lunch break workouts.

Brittany Dawn Fitness Weightlifting Training Program Counting Macros Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Recipes

Coaching:

This was, without a doubt, my favorite part about the 30 day program. Once a week I sent Brittany an email with my progress – From my measurements and weight to pictures and a breakdown of how I’m feeling. I loved not only being held accountable, but also getting to chat with someone knowledgeable and interested in helping me meet my goals.

I don’t know about you, but when I get excited about a new program or finish setting some exciting new goals, I want to talk to someone about it! So, having an online trainer buddy that I can chat with takes the pressure of le boyfriend to listen to me ramble about my workouts and diet. 🙂

Who are YOUR go-to trainers? Do you have any super inspirational online fitness or healthy living gurus I need to follow?

After taking a few weeks off after my program I’ve just started a 60 Day Fall Challenge with BDawnFit so stay tuned to hear how it goes!

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Anywhere Bodyweight Basics

One of the things that I adore about bodyweight workouts? The fact that you can do them virtually ANYWHERE.

On a yoga mat next to your TV. On the carpet of your hotel room. You can even do them by the pool while you’re away enjoying yourself on a fabulous vacation…

They’re versatile, require no equipment, and are a great way to blast some calories and tighten up your core & booty when you only have a few minutes to spare.

You know what that really means? No excuses!

So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite anywhere bodyweight moves that all fitness lovers should master:

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Low Planks:

  • Benefits – Engages core & glutes
  • Good For – These forearm planks are a life saver if you have wrist issues and can’t quite make high plank work for you
  • Variations – Try low side planks, tapping your toes, or body sawing forwards and backwards a few inches

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Lunges:

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Modified Push-Ups:

  • Benefits – Arm, shoulder & core will all be engaged
  • Good For – Lean, defined arms
  • Variations – This is the modified version of a standard push-up. Your form should be your number one concern, so focus on keeping your core engaged and maintaining a plank-like form while pushing up and down.

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High Plank:

  • Benefits – Strength and balance
  • Good For – Overall conditioning
  • Variations – Try slowly raising each hand and leg while maintaining your balance (called an around-the-world), add in some side planks on each side, or even give yourself a burst of cardio with plank jacks.

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Squats:

  • Benefits – Working your lower body, particularly your quads, hamstrings, and calves
  • Good For – Everything! Squats are one of the best moves you can do – They work your legs, but they also engage your shoulders, back, and abs.
  • Variations – Narrow, plie, sumo, add a kick… They are tons of variations, but be sure to keep your knees from extending in front of your toes when you squat down

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Push-Ups:

  • Benefits – Working your arms and abs
  • Good For – Giving yourself a burst of explosive movement and engaging a number of muscle groups simultaneously
  • Variations – There’s a narrow stance, with your arms kept by your sides {called a yoga push-up), or wide arms with elbows pointed out. Want some cardio? 10 push-ups, 50 mountain climbers – Repeat that sequence as many times as you can without losing your great form!

Do YOU have a favorite core move?

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Home Workout Essentials

I do NOT have a home gym. I live in San Francisco which means that I barely have a closet let alone separate space for a gym.

What I do have though is a corner of a hall closet dedicated to my home workout pieces. You can do virtually any basic home workout with just a few pieces of equipment.

Home Workout Gym Pieces FitLife Essentials San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

So what are my home workout suggestions? Here are the essential pieces of equipment that I’d recommend:

  • Yoga Mat: You can use this for yoga or Pilates, but also for core work and stretching. It’s a simple piece that’s very versatile so it tops my list.
  • Foam Roller: This is a must for me, I roll out almost daily. And the great thing is that you can pick whatever style suits your needs – Super soft (beginners), textured (good for tight muscles), or mini (perfect for throwing in your gym bag!)
  • Resistance Bands: These easy-to-store pieces are lifesavers, they take up no space and can be used instead of weights. Perfect for home, and perfect for traveling.
  • Stability Ball: You can do core work, legs and glutes, or even arms using a stability ball, so its super versatile.
  • Kettlebell(s): If I were going to invest in one weight, it would be a kettlebell rather than a set of dumbbells.

Home Workout Gym Pieces FitLife Essentials San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

{Images from Pinterest}

With just these pieces at home, I can tackle everything from yoga to a bodyweight session to a Tone It Up workout with no problem.

Tell me – What are YOUR home workout essentials? Am I missing your favorite piece of equipment?

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