Category Archives: Workouts

How to Become a Morning Workout Person

How to become a morning workout person. happyfitmama.com

I get asked a lot how do I wake up so early to workout.

I’m always been one of those super annoying people that can jump out of bed and be ready to workout to matter how early it is and what season. My body is just naturally set to be a morning person. I think it’s in my genetic make up. Growing up, my dad would say the day was half over if you slept past 7 a.m. And no, I did not grow up on a farm.

When I went to college, I always chose the early morning classes. That was great for me but not so great for my roommate who thought an 11 a.m. class was early. Looking back, I think it was living with her that made me loathe the snooze alarm so much. I’ve never once touched the snooze button and never will. She would always vow that she was going to wake up early to workout, study or some other go-getter morning activity but then would proceed to hit the snooze alarm over and over and over and over again.

I had visions of throwing the alarm clock out the window of our 4th story dorm room.

But I understand that not everyone is like me. I mean if you asked me to workout at 6 p.m. or to go running at 10 p.m., I’d think you were nuts. My pajamas are most likely on at 6 p.m., especially during the winter. So the odds of a workout happening in the evening for me? Slim to none.

If you are a night owl, making the switch to early morning runs is going to be rough. I’m not going to lie – you’ll probably hate it. BUT if you make a gradual switch, you may find it you will actually enjoy it.

morning workout | happyfitmama.com

Plan, plan and plan some more. Set out your clothes the night before. Plan what you are doing for your workout. If you are strength training, know what exercises you will be doing. If you are running, know the distance, pace and route of which you’ll run. No matter if I do a basement workout or a road run, I always plan what I’m doing the night before. Or at least have a general idea of what I want to accomplish.

To take it a step further, I’ve even slept in my workout clothes. It saves time when you can roll out of bed fully dressed and ready to work it.

Go to bed early. Make sure you are in bed by 10 p.m. at the latest. Don’t get sucked into electronics. Leave your phone across the room (or don’t even bring it in your room), don’t turn on the TV. For me, those will keep me up later than I should be.

Do NOT hit snooze. That button should have never been invented in my opinion. Besides being the most annoying sound ever, laying in bed an extra 5 or 10 minutes won’t do anything for you. Seriously. Get rid of the snooze alarm now. It’s just an enabler!

Set your alarm for 20-30 minutes earlier than you normally wake up. Continue setting your alarm 10-20 minutes earlier every day until you reach the  wake up time you want. Baby steps are best if you don’t want to be the grouchiest person ever.
morning workout | happyfitmama.cm

Get dressed in the bathroom. Or at least away from sleeping family members so you don’t have any grumpy spouses or early bird kiddos who will throw a wrench in your plans. Although I think my kids have super hero hearing some days no matter how quiet I am.

Find a fellow crazy awesome morning workout person. If you know you are meeting someone, you are less likely to bail on the workout or run. If you think there’s no way anyone would want to meet to workout at zero dark thirty, think again. I’m part of an early morning Facebook running group that has people meeting up at the gym super early to run on treadmills together. Now that’s accountability!

Remember How You Feel Afterwards. I kind of get a kick of knowing that I started my day doing more than most people do their whole day. Yeah, I ran 10 miles before 6:30 a.m., what did you do?!?! Missing a workout or run in the morning makes me feel so blah the rest of the day. Getting a sweat session in first thing, sets the tone for the day. I’m more relaxed yet energized. And I don’t have to stress about how I’m going to squeeze in a workout in between meetings, appointments and family obligations later in the day.

moring workout | happyfitmama.com

Be persistent. On average it takes 21 days to form a new habit. If you don’t fully commit to making this new habit, it won’t stick. The good news is that if you stick with it, you’ll see that it will get easier and easier.

And soon you’ll be another annoying morning workout person.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coaches’ Corner.

When is your perfect workout/run time?  In a perfect world, 7 or 8 a.m. would be just right.

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Home Fitness on a Budget

Find your home fitness equipment at Kohl's. | happyfitmama.com

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included fitness equipment as compensation.

Over 6 years ago, I ditched my gym membership.

Initially, it was because I was put on modified bed rest while pregnant with my kids. I thought I’d start my membership up again once they were born and I was given the ok to workout from my doctor.

But I never did and I don’t really miss it.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a pretty nice home gym set up in my basement. There’s nothing fancy about my gym. My basement is unfinished with some really horrible wood paneling that needs to be ripped out one of these days. It’s bare bones fitness. I like to think of myself as Rocky. Remember when he went back to the basics when he fought Ivan Drago in Rocky IV? That’s totally me in my gym.

At least in my mind.

My basement gym has what I need to run, cross train and strength train. What more could you ask for?

When weighing the benefits of working out at home versus a gym membership, to me three things stand out.

It’s convenient. You guys know that I like to workout in the early morning. Most gyms near me open up too late to fit with my family’s schedule. Or having to wake up extra, extra early to hop in the car to drive to the gym turns me off too. With my gym right in my basement I can get my sweat on no matter what time it is. And I don’t have to worry about the weather closing the gym or making it treacherous to drive there.

You can wear, do and listen/watch whatever you want. It’s your gym – there’s no need to wear matching clothes or worry about the stares you get as you rock out to T-Swift. Your gym is truly, the no judgement zone.

It’s cheap. Some gyms are quite pricey. Setting up your own home gym doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg (a very toned and muscular arm and leg at that). There are lots of great home fitness equipment options on the market at very affordable prices.

Did you know Kohl’s carries fitness equipment? Yeah, me neither! I was recently sent four pieces of fitness equipment from Kohl’s that are going to help me crush my fitness goals in 2017.

ProForm Easy Strider Elliptical – I love the Elliptical for cross training. It’s a great exercise that mimics running without any impact. Perfect for days when I want to give my bones and joints a break from pounding the pavement. Even if you don’t, the Elliptical is a great piece of equipment for almost anyone to use. Priced at under $450, this model of elliptical has features of brands that are $799 or more, you can’t beat that for an at home piece of fitness equipment.

ProForm Easy Strider Elliptical from Kohl's | happyfitmama.com

ProForm Desk X-Bike Exercise Bike – Can you guess what I’m using right now as I type this? Yup, it’s this bike! Cycling is another great form of cross training for runners if you keep the cadence up. I love the back support of a recumbent bike and the bonus of adding the desk is perfect for keeping an active while I “sit” at the computer to write. The whole bike even folds up and is on wheels for space saving purposes. Perfect for tucking away in an office.

ProForm Desk X-Bike from Kohl's | happyfitmama.com

Stamina Magnetic Rowing Machine – To be completely honest, rowing machines aren’t my thing. I know they are a killer workout but I tend to get sea sick on it. I’ve been trying to incorporate more rowing into my workouts as a way to, hopefully, rid myself the sea sickness and because I know it’s a great exercise for your total body. The Stamina is a great, affordable, space saving option. It folds up and can easily be stored in a closet or behind another piece of equipment to clear some space.

Stamina Magnetic Rowing Machine from Kohl's |happyfitmama.com

BackTrac Back Massager – The BackTrac looks intimidating but actually feels quite amazing. It’s like the knobby ball that I use to roll out my feet daily but for my whole back. It’s intense but it helps to relax muscle tension, improve spinal joint mobility, relieve tender trigger points and gently stretch your spine.

BackTrac Back Massager available at Kohl's | happyfitmama.com

If you are looking to build up your home fitness gym, take a look at Kohl’s. There’s every piece of cardio equipment you could want at a variety of price points. There’s also weights, yoga mats, stretching/recovery tools for your hard worked muscles and so much more. And of course, there’s workout clothes!

I would love to be a 6 days a week runner but my body just can’t handle it. Instead, 4-5 days of running with 2 days of cross training seems to work best. The addition of three new pieces of cardio equipment to my home gym gives me no excuse for slacking on cross training from running. And my new BackTrac Back Massager will help with my spinal mobility so I don’t end up in the chiropractor every week like I did in early 2016.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coaches’ Corner.

Do you workout out at home?

What are your home gym essentials?

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

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Last Week’s Workouts

First off, thank you so much to everyone who has already filled out my reader survey. If you haven’t, you can find it HERE. I’d love to get as much feedback as I can!

One thing that I learned so far from your responses is that you want to know more about my weekly training. I can do that!

Last week’s workouts were marvelous. After taking a whole week off from any type of workout because of the stomach flu, I was ready to jump back into things.

Monday

30 minutes on the recumbent bike at a moderate pace. Strength training 20 minutes. This workout wasn’t as fluid as I wanted it to be. Everyone was home because of the holiday and I slept in till 8 a.m. I can’t remember the last time I did that! Ron went to the gym as I headed to the basement for a workout. I think it was the kid’s mission to see how many interruptions they could do in 50 minutes.

I was all over the place with my strength workout – chest press on stability ball, skull crush on stability ball, thrusters, single leg deadlift, single leg squat, Kettlebell swings, planks (1 minute x 2 front, 1 minute each side)

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Tuesday

Two reasons why I chose the treadmill this morning – short on time and I didn’t have any one to meet up with. (FYI – here’s 6 treadmill workouts for you to try!) I actually really enjoyed this workout. It’s been forever since I’ve done any formal speed work so I opted for Fartlek’s. Since it’s been almost 3 years since I raced a 5k, I had no idea what my pace should be. I took the first 5 rounds conservatively at 7:08 and then progressively sped it up for the last 5, ending at 6:44. Looking back, I should have started at a faster pace because it felt too comfortable.

2 mile warm up, 10 x 5k pace, 2 min easy pace between each rep, 1 mile cool down.

Morning Flow yoga at Bending Bodhi. I love my Tuesday’s and Thursday’s because it’s my day off from going into the hospital. I have work to do but I can make my own hours. That means I can get a run in and a yoga class. It’s heavenly/agony for my legs depending on how hard the workout was on the run!

Core work in the evening watching TV.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Wednesday

Run and strength intervals in the basement.

1 mile run. 10 reps each: Single leg deadlifts, fire hydrant, bridge lifts, clam shells, donkey kicks, monster walks, V-up, superwoman, plank (front, each side for 1 min). 1 mile run. Repeat strength.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Thursday

I opted to sleep in (6 a.m.!) and reversed my usual workout routine. After dropping the kids off at school, I went to yoga where we lengthened our sides to breathe better into the new year and worked on forearm handstand to teach us to take risks in 2017. Loved it!

I planned a special outing with Cooper on the trails for midday. He’s been feeling pretty sick lately (he recently had a flare up of his Megaesophogus, a UTI and has a low thyroid) so I wanted to do something that he loves. He acts like a young pup on the trails and in the snow. I strapped on my microspikes and did a leisurely 3 miles. FYI – microspikes are freakin’ awesome for icy or snow covered trails. After we got home, I did another 3.28 on the roads for a total of 6.28 for the day.

Core work in the evening.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Friday

Total rest day!

Saturday

I met my friend Lori for a pre-dawn long run. It was 10 degrees at the start of our run. I wore my new Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta (more to come about that!) and had a bottle filled with Tailwind. Apparently I have forgotten what it’s like to train in the winter because the bottle froze after only taking 2 sips. Whomp, whomp, whomp. It was also my first time trying Tailwind based on the recommendation of a sports nutritionist that I have been working with. I can’t wait to try it again.

We originally had thought maybe we’d run for 2 hours but changed our plan to 12 miles instead. That was fine by me since I haven’t run 12 miles in quite some time. Our run took us on roads and a section of a snowmobile trail. That part was slow going. I felt comfortable and the pace was easy for the run except that last mile was painful. I was low on energy and so, so cold. I just wanted to be d.o.n.e.  1:46, 8:52 average pace

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Sunday

It started to snow Saturday afternoon so my thoughts turned to snowshoeing. I got a pair of running snowshoes for Christmas that I’ve been itching to try out. I’m hoping to actually race in them sometime this season. That is, if the conditions agree. Lori and I met up again for some easy (hahahahahaha) pace pre-dawn miles. This was my first time really running in snowshoes for any length of time. To me, snowshoeing is easy. You just walk. But running is way different. Even if you have running specific snowshoes. Our average pace was 12:44 for 4.75 miles. Talk about humbling. That shit is hard! There was nothing “easy” about it. The temperature was 6 degrees with a real feel of -4 but I was sweating within the first 5 minutes. We made our own tracks but underneath the fresh snow it was full of ruts from other people. I’m sure running on a groomed trail would feel like a walk in the park. Freaking hard work but so much fun. I can’t wait to do it again!

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

So glad I wore a running skirt over my tights – kept my buns toasty!

The family spent the rest of the day at Gunstock Mountain skiing and snowboarding. That’s where you’ll find us for the next 5 weeks. Snowboarding is a good recovery, right?

What was your favorite workout of the week?

What was the coldest temperature you ran in this week? 

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