No Equipment Workout


As someone who used to be a “cardio queen” I have realized over the years just how important strength training is for my health and well-being. While I am not in weight-loss mode, I am trying to ensure that I make a safe return to fitness post-baby and one of the keys that many people have recommended is to take things slow and prioritize strength training.

While we were in Vermont I turned to body-weight workouts since I did not have any weights and the gorgeous weather made me want to spend all my time outside, not in a gym. The below workout allowed me to accomplish two things at one time: strength and jogging. I am slowly beginning to build my jogging base following pregnancy and per the recommendation of many, am taking an interval approach. This week I am only jogging 60-90 seconds at a time and therefore thought that would make a perfect cardio portion for this quick, do-anywhere workout.

Depending on your fitness level, you make this workout easier or more challenging by adjusting the jog to a walk, power walk or sprint. The strength portions of the circuit can also be modified easily, depending on your ability. I did this 27-minute circuit three times while we were in Vermont and really enjoyed it. The focus on time versus reps allowed me to push myself a bit more than I would have otherwise and also allowed me to see improvements each time I did the workout. This workout is perfect for people of all abilities since it’s based on time and bodyweight, not number of repetitions or a certain pound weight. Quality over quantity, like many things in life, is most important for this workout.

No Equipment Workout

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Getting Back into Body Pump

Happy Thursday! After seven days down in Savannah, our Christmas vacation has come to a close. Cold, dreary rain kept us inside today and provided us with the perfect opportunity to unpack our suitcases and put away the Christmas decorations. Even though it’s only 2pm, I am ready for a break after working non-stop on cleaning and putting away the Christmas decorations all morning.  Is it just me or does it seem like it takes 2x as long to take the decorations down and wrap them with care as it does to decorate.

Now that our Christmas vacation in Savannah has come to a close, I will be blogging daily. I have a lot of content lined up for the next few days including two workout reviews, first trimester reflections and suggestions, as well as thoughts on 2016. Today’s post is the first of two workout reviews coming over the next week.

If you’re a new reader, you may not recall that I’ve been a BodyPump fan for years. When I lived in Wayne, Pennsylvania the neighborhood gym featured BodyPump on the workout schedule three mornings per week. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday you could find me in the group fitness studio lifting and laughing with the same group of women each morning from 6:30-7:30. I remember the first time I walked in the studio, unsure what to expect. But an hour later I walked out energized and exhilarated by the very balanced workout. Unfortunately, after two years of BodyPump classes, I had to say goodbye to my favorite workout when I moved to New York City other than a few opportunities to enjoy Les Mills classes like Body Attack when we lived in Switzerland.

Until last month, when we joined the Brooklyn Dodge YMCA, it was virtually impossible to include BodyPump in my workout routine. In New York City there are very few gyms that have BodyPump or the other Les Mills workouts. Luckily, once again, I have access to this workout since the YMCA offers it seven times each week.  Since some of you may not know what this workout is, even though you’ve probably heard friends talk about it or even seen it on your gym’s schedule, let me give you some background.


BodyPump is a weight-training group fitness class which was created by Les Mills International, a New Zealand based company whose popular group fitness classes are taught at gyms around the world.  A typical class is 55 minutes long and features 10 different songs. During each song, the workout focuses on a different part of the body.


As you can see, you are able to push yourself during each track since you are done with that body part after that song is over. The music ranges depending on which release or version your teacher uses that day.  On January 14th, 2017 gyms around the world will celebrate the release of Body Pump 100, the latest release.


During each class, students use a step, risers, mat and a Les Mills branded barbell and plates. Students are able to add weight, as desired, using weight plates which range from 1 pound to 20 pounds.  If you’re a beginner, it is advised to experiment with the weights during your first few classes, starting light and adding on as needed in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Another aspect that I like about the class format is that the moves are simple enough for a beginner or pregnant woman to master without injury. In so many of the high intensity interval classes I’ve taken in NYC, the compound moves often result in me falling a step or two behind and sometimes not being able to keep up. Since BodyPump includes moves such as squats, chest presses, dead rows, and lunges it is easier to ensure I use the correct form. In addition, since I am able to personalize my weights and the moves include a reduced range of motion compared to many other types of resistance workouts, it is a great way for me to increase muscle tone and strength throughout my pregnancy.  Both the instructors who teach at the YMCA are very familiar with prenatal adjustments and suggest that once it is no longer comfortable to lie on my back, they will help me turn the bench into an incline as well as provide alternative ab exercises during that track. My goal is to include at least one, if not two, BodyPump classes in my prenatal workout routine during the next six months. I know that once Baby Girl Diamond arrives I’ll need lots of strength to lift, feed and keep up with her!

Your turn: Have you tried BodyPump before? What’s your favorite track? 

The above is a sponsored post in partnership with Les Mills but, as always, all opinions are my own.

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30 Minute Treadmill Workout & Cincinnati Eats

Hi guys! As promised, I wanted to share a sneak into the rest of my trip in Cincinnati.

green smoothie

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I ensured that I had a healthy breakfast and lunch as well as limited snacking so that I could enjoy dinner or happy hours with my colleagues. Tuesday morning I was delighted to see that Ingredients, the restaurant in the Westin Cincinnati, had a green smoothie on their menu. I ordered it to go, sipping it while I walked to the office. The thick, cool smoothie included almond Milk, Kale, Spinach, Banana and protein powder. Our catered lunch included sandwiches and chips so I did my best to choose a healthy option that would also not leave me starving – half a turkey sandwich, a handful of plain chips, celery and carrot sticks and a dollop of hummus. Since we had to be in meetings first thing Wednesday morning, I wanted something I could eat while walking to the office. Our group met at Starbucks to grab coffee and while there I picked up my old favorite – Starbucks Egg White Feta Wrap, banana and skim cappuccino.  Instead of waiting in the long buffet lunch line on Wednesday a few of us dashed down the block to The ‘Wich, a delicious, downtown sandwich and salad shop. Each time I go here for lunch I’m amazed by the flavors and price as their 11 huge salads are less than $8.99 and include one of the side items. If you like Greek salads their dressing is delicious!

The Wich Cincinnati

Tuesday night our team dinner was at Nada, a popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Cincinnati that has been open for eight years. While many other downtown have changed over the years, this fun and funky Mexican restaurant seems to still be going strong. Even though the menu changes more frequently than the seasons, the guacamole and margaritas are always delicious. After a long day of meetings and lots to celebrate with the team, I toasted with one of their house margaritas before enjoying the chips, guacamole and the El Jefe salad. This entree salad includes mixed greens, grilled chicken, shredded queso Fresco, avocado, pico and creamy like dressing – yum!

Nada El Jefe SaladThe highlight of the meal were their thick, perfectly salted chips. It’s a good thing they don’t sell these by the bag!  Any time I fly out of the Cincinnati airport I often stop at Chick-Fil-A as it is such a rare treat. I wasn’t in the mood for another salad so I ordered their Grilled Chicken Sandwich and shared a small order of waffle fries with my colleague.

Workout wise, I almost skipped Wednesday’s workout in favor of more sleep, but I knew that a quick run would give me a lot more energy than 30-minutes of sleep especially since I would be sitting for 11 hours during our conference. I find that treadmills are far less boring if I have an interval workout that keeps things changing the entire run.

30 minute treadmill workout

This 30 minute run was inspired by Mile High Run Club as it combined hills and speed. Since it was 3.1 mile it also served as the perfect opportunity to do my first Rock’N’Roll Virtual Run 5k – Making A Band.

Making A Band 5k Run

Thumbs up for a healthier than normal business trip to Cincinnati! Moderation is truly the name of the game for me, as I do not want to sacrifice toasting the group with a margarita nor find myself snacking aimlessly.

Your turn – Team Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken or fried chicken? I’m grilled all the way! 

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