My Biggest Takeaways of the 2016 Rio Olympics

Seeing the perseverance, passion and sportsmanship that the Olympic Games bring out truly move me and inspire to keep doing all I do. Not just at the gym but in life too.

The event itself is so exciting, to see athletes from many different countries come together to show us their greatest gifts and strengths. There was even a refugee team of 10 people. There were so many memorable moments, but to me, it wasn’t just about the winners of medals. There were many lessons to be learned from some of the Olympians. Here are some of my favorites:

Sure, it’s amazing that Michael Phelps has 28 gold medals. But did you know that he won 0 at the 2000 Summer Olympics? What if he had given up?

Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino helping each other finish the women’s 5000 Meters after tripping over each other. What if they had just ignored each other? They wouldn’t have created a new bond and friendship.

What about when British sprinter, Derek Redmond’s hamstring snapped on him. He waved away the stretcher, and continued limping towards the finish. His father then ran onto the track, past security, and took his son’s arms to help him finish. Sometimes we have one goal and then something devastating happens so we readjust our goals. Giving up isn’t an option. Those who love will be there to help you through.

Allyson Felix was expected to win the 400 Meters. Instead she had to settle for silver, as Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas literally dove for gold. In this case, Miller showed she wanted so badly to achieve this goal and went above and beyond to reach it.

Sarah Robles won the US’s first weightlifting medal since 2000. She’s happy to shed more light on the sport especially to inspire other women of size. She’s also Mexican-American and looking to inspire other Latinos. 

I love the Final Five, especially Simone Biles. That girl is tiny but fierce! But what about the older gymnasts, like 41-year-old Oksana Chusovitina? She could’ve retired. Instead she chose to stand alongside gymnasts half her age. “I’m alive. I’m well. Then it means everything is ok,” she said.

What were some of your favorite, inspiring  moments? 

Frankie’s First Beach Trip

Yesterday we got back from a 4-day trip to Cape May down at Exit 0 of the New Jersey Turnkpike. It was Frankie’s first road trip and his first time at the beach. Although it took him a couple of days to really “get it,”by the last day, he was bouncing and splashing in the water with his Dad holding him up. 

First toe dips in the ocean.


Unfortunately he had a terrible diaper rash and tummy issues so I was a nervous wreck the whole time.  The first night was the worst- he was up way past his bedtime which led him to being cranky and overtired and waking up multiple times that night. Being out of his element and his routine was rough on all of us but overall we still a very nice time. Frank’s family was also spending time down there so we were able to sketch in some fun memories with Frankie for all.

We stayed at this lovely B&B that I found on Airbnb. Coopers Guest House was a very charming white colonial with teal trim. Located just a block and a half from the beach and a few blocks from downtown, its location was excellent. We were also only about 1 mile away from my sister in law’s house so meeting up with them didn’t take a long time.

Cooper’s Guest House.
Cute Colonials across the street.
Some more Colonial charm.

Friday night, Frank and I put Frankie to bed and snuck off to have a dinner date night at our favorite restaurant, 410 Bank Street. Their cuisine has a French-New Orleans medley with Caribbean flair. We both had our favorite dish there, the voodoo shrimp. I swear, this stuff must really do voodoo because it’s soo delicious you’ll take your bread and soak up the scrumptious sauce until your plate is practically clean and not even care.


At night, Frank and I would make a drink and bring Frankie’s monitor down to the front porch with us. One of my recent best ideas 👌🏻

Frankie loved the seagulls and all the small airplanes flying around. He was also fascinated by all the bicycles everywhere! It was a nice trip and even though I could’ve done without the diapey issues, our boy was a champ. We shared good laughs and Frankie got to spend some time with his Hickman family. 

Hickman cousins.

What road trips or beach trips have you taken this summer? 
Catch you later!

Xoxo

Staying Fit On The Go

Being away from the gym is no excuse to slack on your exercise routine. There are plenty of movements you can do while you’re traveling this summer to keep up with your goals. If you’re staying in a hotel it will most likely have a gym so you’ll have more options. If not, bring a jump rope and/or exercise band so you can workout in your room or outside.

I love body weight exercises because you can really strengthen your whole body  and work on cardio at the same time. We recently did a tabata at the gym and it got me thinking- this is something that can be modified to be done on the road. Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tanata and his team. It consists of 4 minutes of high intensity. You workout hard for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You repeat this 8 times. 

So take 4 or 5 body weight movements (say, double unders, air squats, sit ups, mountain climbers and push-ups) and do 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off, 8 times. You’ll get yourself a heart-pounding workout in about 16-20 minutes.


You can also do circuit training. Take 5 or 6 movements and do each one for 45 seconds before moving to the next one. Complete 4-5 rounds. If you search this blog, you’ll see that I tend to do a lot of these so feel free to find more inspiration here.

It might be difficult to work on your deadlifts, but don’t despair. Remember that any physical activity is better than nothing! Try to focus on heavier lifting right before you go away and get right back to the gym once your trip is over.

Keep it simple and fun. So if you’re at the beach, go for a jog, play volleyball, do planks and burpees (on a beach towel), walk to the furthest restaurant, or ride a bike.

My advice is to try to get your workout done in the morning. Even if it’s just a quick 10 minute workout in your room; you’ll feel so much better afterwards and you won’t feel as guilty for the multiple margaritas you might indulge in later 😁

So enjoy your vacation but do what you can to stay active while having fun!

Anniversary Weekend & Snatch Workout

I can’t believe it’s already mid-July! Why does Summer always go by so quickly?! It has been awesome so far, spending my days with Frankie though. I really wanted to get him started with swimming but unfortunately none of the local places have daytime schedules right now 😕 It would’ve been a great activity to do with him but I guess it’ll just have to wait. 

His schedule seems to change on a daily basis. When I get used to something he changes it up on me! Haha So I have to keep in mind that when he falls asleep I can’t waste much time- I gotta do whatever it is that’s on my to do list because he could either take a 20 minute nap or a 2 hour nap. 

Besides working out, I also “work” my Rodan+Fields business when he’s napping. This might involve listening to a training call, replying to people’s messages or texts about the products, placing an order for a client or finding my next before & after to post. It’s been a fun few months and I’m just so happy that my customers are loving their products. I wish I lived closer to my teammates because they’re a fun, smart bunch!

Today I skipped running and focused on Olympic lifting and core. I did 6 rounds of:

5 snatches (45#)

20 Russian twists (15#)

20 side plank reach-thrus (left & right)

20 sumo squats w/15# plate

I definitely could’ve gone heavier on the weights but the point was to focus on  form with the snatches and to really engage my abs. 

I feel like I keep wearing this same outfit over and over again! Ahem, Athleta, maybe you can send me some stuff??
Frank and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary with a night out in NYC. We stayed at the W in Midtown and did fancy French dinner at Le Cirque. Although it was a great experience and the food was delish, I couldn’t wait to get a late night pizza from Room Service 🤗


The hubby and I have a 5K on Thursday night. This one is known for its rolling hills so I’m not expecting any PRs or awards but I’m just happy to get out pound some pavement and hopefully see some running friends. 

What’s in your to do list this week?

One Year Blog Anniversary 

It’s been a year since I started this blog, mainly to keep myself motivated and accountable for staying active during my pregnancy. I don’t get a chance to post as often as I wish to but I really enjoy having this space to share with you about my life and workouts. 


This past weekend I ran my first post-pregnancy 5K. And boy did I surpass my expectations. I didn’t give myself a goal although I was secretly hoping to do it under 24 minutes…and I didn’t even wear my watch…I ended up running my second fastest 5K to date! According to my phone it was 23:15 but Strava said 22:45.

If you’ve been reading my posts you know I don’t get to run often- usually 2 mile runs on the treadmill or with Frankie in the stroller. I also have been coaching more CrossFit so I don’t get yo work out as often. I guess my takeaway is that LESS is more!

Another fun thing about the 5K is that I got to meet a new group of runners- the Asuncion Runners NJ. It’s a satellite branch of the Asuncion, Paraguay group that we’re a part of. We actually all walked away with awards! I got my first trophy ever 🙂


It might be too hot today to run with Frankie but I’m hoping to do my usual 2 miles on the treadmill while he naps and then a circuit workout once he’s awake.

Here’s an easy and simple equipment-free WOD:

15 AMRAP

10 burpees 

20 lunges

30 push-ups 

40 sit-ups 

50 mountain climbers

60 jumping jacks

Today also happens to be Frankie’s Half Birthday 🙂 And tomorrow is my birthday! Hop over to Instagram to see how we celebrate!


Cheers, 

Julia

Rainy Day Home WOD

It’s a chilly, rainy day here in NJ and I was finding it hard to find some motivation to not only workout but also to write a new post. But…since I already had a rest day on Monday and I haven’t posted in a few weeks, I found just enough energy to get them done. 


Frankie has been a little bit sick with a cough and stuffy nose so comforting him has been my main priority. Good thing this WOD was nice and quick!

Do 3 rounds of 1 minute of each:

Burpees

Dips (on a chair, couch, etc)

Slow Mt Climbers

Flutter Kicks

Push Slide (start in plank, press back bending knees then press forward again into plank) 

Standing Side Bends (8# DBs)

This is great for days you can’t make it to the gym or even when you’re traveling as you really don’t need any equipment (just skip the DBs in the side bends).

I had hoped to take Frankie out for a longer run in our jogging stroller but I think we’ll just cuddle indoors until it’s time for me to go coach at the gym 🙂

Frankie’s first run in the BOB on Global Running Day last week.

Happy Wednesday! 

Xoxo

First Post-Baby Race

On Sunday, I did a half marathon relay with Frank right here in our town. I’ve been doing the full, half marathon for a few years now but this year I wasn’t ready for the 13.1 yet. 

Our friend here has run 70 marathons! Including one in every state 😱

It was a bit cool in the morning, but the sun was out- thank God, because later in the day it got cloudy and very windy!

I ran the shorter distance of roughly 5.4 and Frank did the remaining 7.7 miles. There were lots of rolling hills in the portion that I ran and man, I was feeling them! My average pace was 8:15 and I was ok with that. It’s what I’ve been doing 3 miles in lately. As you can see in the image below, we placed 14th out of 108 and were in the top 87% overall! It gave me just the motivation I needed to keep going, keep running. Even if the treadmill gets boriiing.


I’m feeling stronger and slowly getting closer to old Olympic lifting maxes again. It’s funny how things are- I really thought I’d be in running shape faster than CrossFit shape…but I did stop running lonnnng before I stopped WODing ☺️

To all busy ladies (and gents too), keep doing what you’re doing. Stay safe but stay active! 
Xoxo 

A Rodan+Fields Gift Guide for Mom

About 10 days ago, I decided to become an independent consultant for Rodan+Fields skincare. Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields are the two dermatologists behind the acne treatment line ProActiv, and are now focused on their anti-aging products among other amazing skincare essentials. I’m very excited about this small business of mine and hope you’ll think about buying from my online site when you’re in need of new skin goodies that actually work! Rodan+Fields is currently the number 1 fastest growing premium skincare company…and they are only being sold in the US and Canada right now. I’m just imagining the possibilities!
Previously sold in Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, Rodan+Fields was then taken out of retail and sold as a social commerce brand after market research showed that their customers were buying the products after hearing about it from their friends. I mean, seriously, that’s how I do a lot of my shopping, through family or friend recommendations. They have 0 advertising budget, yet they are mentioned in tons of beauty and other respectable magazines. Forbes recently said, “Rodan+Fields is increasingly rising to become one of the most well-respected skincare companies in the world.” Ahhmazing!

I took “before” pictures and look forward to sharing the “after” after a few months 🙂

To launch my new little side biz on the blog and since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I thought I’d do a post on some R+F beauty loot perfect for Mom. Because we’re hard working, beautiful, intelligent women and we need to take care of our skin! Just like we take care of our bodies and our health. Have fun shopping!

1) Give Mom the gift of beautiful eyes with the REDEFINE Eye Cloths & Multi-function Eye Cream. Everything she needs to combat some of those signs of aging- crow’s feet, undereye circles, yuck!

$30 & $60

2) Pamper her with youthful-looking lips with the REDEFINE Lip Serum and ESSENTIALS Lip Shield.

$54
$16

3) Give her radiant, glowing skin with the ENHANCEMENTS Microdermabrasion Paste and the ESSENTIALS Foaming Sunless Tanner. Because we should not be doing real tans!

$78
$24

4) Treat Mom’s hard working hands to a deluxe makeover with the REDEFINE Hand Treatment Regimen and Age Shield Hand Balm. Bye, bye brown spots!

$67
$43

I highly suggest you order as a Preferred Customer when checking out to save 10% and get free shipping. You can always delay your orders if you’re not ready for the next shipment. Feel free to message me with any questions or if you’re not sure what you should be using.

Now, for a little fitness, here’s the WOD I did on Saturday after coaching:

Run 3 miles, then 3 rounds of:

1 Power Clean

10 Front Squats (75#)

20 Slow Mt Climbers

20 Slow Side Mt Climbers

My legs were on fire the next day!

Have a great Monday!

xoxo

Friday Fitness

Happy Friday everyone! I’m in definite need of some extra caffeine this morning as a little someone decided to wake up FOUR times last night! He’s never done that before and I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out why. He didn’t even break out of his swaddle as he’s been doing lately. I’ll take any mommy advise I can get in this issue! #desperate

  
As a busy mom, it’s becoming so hard to post a blog even once a week like I’ve been trying to do but you may see more frequent posts on my Instagram. 

Today, I’ll be doing a 2 mile treadmill run (during Frankie’s nap) followed by a Posterior Chain Workout by Betty Rocker (once he’s up). The workout entails doing 3 rounds of 45 seconds of each exercise- thigh jacks, elevated bridge lifts, triceps dips, swimmers, single leg tabletops and 3-way calf raises. Lower body/booty burner! 

  
It’s supposed to be 81 degrees later here in NJ so some outdoor play time with Frankie will be a must 🙂 He loves music so we sometimes have dance parties on our deck 😉

 Hopefully the hubby and I will be able to get a longish run in on Sunday like we did last weekend. We went running on this trail by our house which went through a few local farms. We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful area close to a great downtown as well as nature. 

  
Have a great Friday and weekend! Planning on running this weekend? Are there trails by you that you love? 

~Julia 

6 tips to help you enjoy running

I’ve been a runner for a long time though I only started calling myself one about 5 years ago when I started training for my first half marathon. I thought if I didn’t run several times a week, year-around, and wasn’t doing high mileage, I wasn’t a “real” runner. I was mistaken.

Running the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge last year when I was about 9 weeks pregnant.

Whether you run a little or run a lot, you’re a runner…or you can become one.

 I remember training for my first half marathon and feeling so daunted by the training plan I followed. But it got easier. What was the secret? I just stuck with it. There were days when I was too tired or too sore or something came up and I missed my run– but that was ok. I allowed myself breaks here and there. I just knew I had to “bring it” next time.

Last summer I held a 4-week running clinic with some of my CrossFitters and other non-members to coach them into finishing a 5K- the first 5K for several of them. I hope to be able to carve some time out to do another clinic this Spring or Summer. 

In the meantime, I’m sharing my tips on making running feel a little easier- maybe even a little more enjoyable…so that you get out there and stick with it 🙂

  
1) Stay positive: 

If you tell yourself you hate running, running might hate you back. Just kidding. But seriously. If you can run 400 meters, you can run a mile. If you can run a mile, you can run a 5K, etc. 

Believe it and you will do it. 

2) It’s OK to walk!:

This is important because I know some people feel like if you are not running the whole time, then it doesn’t count. Wrong. There is no such rule. And actually walking is great because it allows you to use different muscles and give a break to the muscles you use when you’re running. When you walk you may feel it more in your glutes, whereas when you’re running, you may feel it more in your quads and hamstrings. 

I had my runners last year do run/walk combos to get them ready for the 5K. All of them beat their goals of finishing under a specific time. For example, I had them walk 5 minutes, then run 10 minutes, and so on until they were walking for a shorter amount of time or distance and running for a longer amount of time or distance. Start slow and build up your endurance.

In the first marathon I ran, I incorporated walk breaks and ended up finishing in 4:02, feeling like I could’ve kept going!

3) Breathe:

Many of my CrossFit trainees ask me about this and it’s actually what inspired me to write this post. How you breathe makes a huge difference in how you feel about not only running but any type of exercise that brings your heart rate up. 

The first thing is to make sure you’re taking big yoga-type breaths through your mouth, breathing from your diaphragm or belly rather than just your chest. You need as much oxygen as possible so make sure you take BIG breaths.

You may want to try following a 2:2 pattern where you inhale for 2 steps, exhale for 2 steps. The ratio can vary from person to person depending on speed (in fact, I’ve read about a 3:2 ratio in a running magazine) but it can give you something to pay attention to as you run to make sure you’re breathing correctly. You can find more info on these ratios on http://www.competitor.com and http://www.active.com. 

Just remember to relax and your body will know what to do. 

4) Practice Good Form:

As with any exercise, like CrossFit for example, the better your form, the more you will get out of it and the more you will prevent injuring yourself. When running, stay light on your feet, land toe to mid foot (not your heels!), and keep your chest up.  Keep your shoulders down and pull your navel towards your spine just like you would in CrossFit.

5) Wear the Right Shoes:

Don’t run in 5 year old sneakers! Go to a running store and have one of their trained staff help you find the right shoes for you. Once you find ones that work, stick with them. 

6) Listen to Music:

Play tunes that inspire you and get you revved up. You may find yourself running faster without even realizing it 🙂

One last secret I want to share is that I don’t always love running. My husband says the same thing. We love the feeling we get after a run. That sense of accomplishment. But sometimes the run itself sucks! Haha

I hope this post was helpful in getting you started with running 🙂 I could probably go into more detail on some of these topics so let me know if you have any questions in the comments. Or if anyone has any additional tips they’d like to share, please do so! 

Thank you for reading,

~Julia