Archives for December 2014

My favourite posts of 2014

This year, I’m doing something I don’t normally do over the Christmas holidays.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 2.47.53 PM

No, not Christmas baking. That’s definitely a NORMAL Christmas-time activity at my house!

I’m taking a two-week hiatus from training clients, teaching classes, designing programs and creating new blog content. Two-weeks to recharge and relax and recover from a super busy and fulfilling fall.

I want to take a moment and thank you for visiting and commenting and sharing my content. It may sound cliche, but it really does make me happy when you tell me I’ve written something that inspires and motivates and educates you.

Screen-Shot-2014-04-25-at-7.55.42-AM

My SUPER HAPPY face!

Since they’ll be no new blog posts until January the 6th, I leave you with my favourite posts of 2014. Regardless of whether you’re a new reader or a long-time supporter of this site, you’re sure to find something worth reading (or re-reading) below.

Something in the list tickle your fancy? Use the ‘sharing’ buttons at the bottom of the post to email, Tweet or share on social media with your own friends and followers.

Because I’m incapable of completely unplugging ;-), we can still stay in touch over the holidays via Facebook and Instagram. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a joy-filled New Year!

Fitknitchick’s favourite posts of 2014

  1. Tips for getting through the January gym rush (arm yourself with coping strategies now)
  2. Four benefits of Turkish Getups (I’m still working on these; tough little buggers that they are)
  3. Tips for preventing workout-related injuries (2014 has been an injury-free year for me, in part, because I’ve started taking my own advice…)
  4. Easy ways to add balance training to your workouts (as we get older, balance training becomes even more important)
  5. Five steps to a successful ‘pantry’ raid (perfect for helping you clean out the fridge and re-stock after the holidays)
  6. Tips for breaking through strength training plateaus (even though you’re probably not plateauing at anything right now, other than Christmas baking, Pin this one for future reference; it’s a great post)
  7. Make your own meal plan: benefits of a boring diet (I crave boredom in my diet by the end of holidays and vacations…)
  8. Kettlebell training for beginners (did you get a kettlebell for Christmas? There are lots of tips to using them correctly in this post)
  9. Three all-or-nothing healthy mindsets debunked (treating fitness and food in a black and white manner is many of our downfalls…)
  10. Five reasons quick fixes don’t work (they really don’t and you KNOW this already)

BlogXmasCard

Is your favourite 2014 fitknitchick.com post on the above list?

If not, leave me a comment below telling me which of the 75+ posts I wrote this year resonated most with you (and why)!

Fitness clothes that inspire and motivate | EleVenbyVenus

If you’re a regular to this site, you’ll know that I don’t partner with brands very often.

In addition to not wanting to dilute your reading pleasure with too many ads and sponsored posts ( 😉 ), I just haven’t found very many brands whose mission statements resonate with my own (and that I love enough to happily spend my money on…)

A brand who celebrates women, in all their various sizes, shapes and colours, regardless of whether they’re an athlete, weekend warrior or yogi.

A brand who encourages and empowers us to push past doubts and limitations, not just in sport, but in all aspects of our lives.

A brand whose ambassadors are energetic, compassionate, up-lifting and joy-filled women, many of whom I’m happy to call friends.

A brand who creates refreshingly unique workout clothing that not only functions well during exercise, but makes you feel strong and feminine to boot.

Can you guess which brand I’m talking about? (Hint, I’ve been contributing essays to her blog for about six months now…).

That’s right. I’m now an Ambassador for EleVenbyVenus!

In the words of Venus Williams herself…

EleVenManifesto

 

In addition to working with a fantastic team of fellow Ambassadors (go #teamEleVenByVenus) and having the opportunity to provide feedback on the clothing line, I also get to share something with you.

A discount code.

So you can sample the outfits I’ve been sharing on Instagram for yourself!

Below are four of my current faves; all from her newest collection. Don’t you just love the lavender? And the ruching on the tank tops? So pretty!

Save 10% by adding my special discount code Team11TamaraG  in the coupon code box during checkout. (This discount applies to all new, full-price items; but there are lots of great pieces on sale too, with free shipping on orders over $50).

 

PicMonkey Collage

I’d love to know which pieces excite you! (Note the plural here; so much to love)

And take a moment to share why YOU’RE an ‘EleVen’ too.

 

Disclosure: As part of my Ambassadorship, I also receive a small commission on all purchases made via my site. I consider this a win-win situation; you get great clothes at a discounted price and I get thanked for referring you.

What’s the best workout when I’m short on time? | Ask a personal trainer

I get asked a lot of questions about exercise and nutrition.

Questions from my clients, group fitness participants, blog readers and social media followers. Sometimes these questions are of a personal nature and I reply privately. Other times, they’re queries that many of you may also be interested in hearing the answers to.

AskATrainer

Introducing a new, occasional feature on the blog: “Ask a Personal Trainer”.

(** And note, that names have been changed to protect those who don’t want to be ‘outed’ publicly 😉 )

What’s the best workout when I’m short on time? Ask a Personal Trainer
Dear Fitknitchick,
Let me start by saying that I love the free workouts you share on Facebook, YouTube and your blog. I think I’ve tried most of them by now and appreciate the work you’ve done in making them challenging, interesting and not too complicated (I’m not very coordinated…). My absolute favourite is your Whole Body Bosu Circuit Workout. Thanks!

However, sometimes I don’t have time to do the entire workout. My life is super hectic right now with a husband who travels for work, a part-time job of my own, a sick mother who needs my attention and two school age children whose activities take up much of our weekday evenings.

My question to you: if I only have time to do part of a workout, should I cut back on sets and repetitions or only do half of the exercises? Which one is better for my goal of reducing body fat and getting toned muscles? I should add that I can find fifteen minutes of time for exercise almost every day, but realistically can only fit a one hour workout in on Saturday (when my girls are at dance for the entire morning).

Thanks for taking the time to respond (and please keep those workouts coming!),

Anna**

****************************************

Dear Anna**,

And thank you for taking the time to ask a fantastic question! You’re certainly not alone in having limited time to exercise. Major kudos for being consistent with your ‘daily 15’; it’s precisely that consistency that will help you reach your fat loss-muscle building goals!

The most important thing you can do when your workout time is limited is prioritize your exercises. Ensure that the exercises you’re doing are the ones most likely to help you reach your goals.

In your case, I’d suggest choosing compound movements over single joint isolation exercises. That is, make sure you’re getting your squats, dead lifts, pushups and rows done before you consider adding a bicep curl or tricep extension to your workout. Not only will the big movements work more muscle groups, they’ll also burn more calories than the isolation exercises will. Plus, biceps and triceps will get a workout anyways; they help with rows and pushups, respectively!

Since you work out almost every day, I’d consider splitting your workouts up by body part. Concentrate on chest and back on day one (think pushups, chin ups, pull ups and rows), legs and glutes on day two (squat, lunge, dead lift and hip thrust) and arms and core on the third day of your workout week (shoulder press, planks and core rotation).

Then repeat the three workout days so that you’re getting two workouts per body part split each week. You should see good growth with this type of training program, particularly if you’re lifting to near fatigue and progressing your workouts from week to week by increasing the difficulty of the exercise or upping the load you’re lifting.

If you find you’re super pressed for time, choose two or three exercises per workout and aim to perform 2 to 3 sets of 8-10 good form reps of each. Super- or tri-setting them (performing one set of each exercise, back to back, before repeating the mini circuit) will save you the traditional minute between sets, getting you through your workout even faster.

And don’t forget to save a few minutes for stretching at the end. Often, when we’re short of exercise time, stretching is the first thing we drop from our routine. Even 3-4 minutes of post-working stretching is enough to help flush out lactic acid and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.

Let me know if this helps!

Tamara

Have a fitness or nutrition question that needs answering?

Chances are if something’s puzzling you, it’s also puzzling somebody else. Drop me a note in the box below and you may just be featured on the next edition of ‘ Ask a Personal Trainer’.

 

Contact Form

Prepare to succeed | Tips for overcoming your inner saboteur

When it comes to starting and sticking with a new exercise program, nobody undermines our efforts better than we, ourselves, do.

The most common stumbling block to developing new fitness habits isn’t time or money or access to a gym or clean workout clothes (don’t laugh, I’ve heard this one more than a few times).

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-dirty-clothes-picture-image43589489

It’s that little voice in our head that tells us “it’s okay to miss a workout” because we’re “tired” or “don’t have time to fuel properly” or “already exercised enough this week” or “can’t find any other time to have coffee with Sally”.

No matter how excited you are to get started with a new program, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually tire of it and start to look for excuses not to exercise. It’s human nature. We love things when they’re shiny and novel. Not so much once the bloom is off the rose.

The difference between people who successfully push through the excuses and under-mining self-talk and those who don’t?

They expect the excuses to happen and plan for how they’ll deal with it when their inner saboteur inevitably shows up.

Tips for overcoming your inner saboteur:
  • bullet-proof your excuses. Know yourself well enough to draw up a list of the excuses you’ll be most likely to use. Draft a response for each excuse. Remind yourself of your ‘why’; the reason you started down this path in the first place. (Not sure what your ‘why’ is? Scroll down to the bottom of this post and grab a copy of my free e-book “5 Steps to Exercise Happiness”. The first step is finding your ‘why’.)
  • adopt a ‘just 10-minutes’ attitude. Tell yourself that when it comes to exercise, something is always better than nothing. Commit to 10 minutes. If, at the end of that time, you really are too tired to continue (or Sally texts you wondering why you’re late for coffee…), finish up and commend yourself for what you did, rather than berating yourself for what you didn’t. Oh, and if that 10 minutes was exactly what you needed to get  jazzed about working out, continue on. Sometimes all you need is a little movement to overcome that activation threshold.
  • create rules around exercise. Decide what your ‘bare minimum’ exercise week looks like. Create rules to maintain this routine. My two exercise rules? “Always work out on Monday” (for me, missing a Monday paves the way for a less-than-stellar workout week) and “Never take more than 2 days in a row off” (I find it incredibly difficult to come back to the gym after 3 days off).
  • enlist an accountability partner. Have a friend or family member who’d be happy to give you a swift kick in the pants from time to time? I know I do ;-). Enlist their help by giving them your workout schedule for the week and asking them to send you a quick text or email when you’re supposed to be heading out the door. Even better? Get them to commit to exercising with you. Promise to support and encourage each other to follow through with the plan, even on days when one of you isn’t feeling it.
  • hire a personal trainer. In addition to teaching you proper exercise form, creating a program that’s individualized for you and progressing that program at appropriate intervals, your trainer won’t allow you to succumb to your inner saboteur. Just knowing that she’s waiting for you at the gym is often enough to overcome the excuses in your head. (And if they’re still hanging around when you arrive for your workout, she’ll be happy to assign a few burpees to help banish them…)

tips to overcome your Inner Saboteur

What excuses does your inner saboteur tempt you with?

Tell me your favourite way to give that negative voice ‘what for’!