You’re Invited!

I was invited to participate in what’s called a blog tour by author and blogger Sheryl Dluginski. (Check out her website here!)

The plan is to answer four questions about my writing process, then introduce three new bloggers who will do the same next week as the tour continues on. You’re invited to jump in on the tour now!

1. What am I working on?
I am always juggling a number of projects professionally. My most pressing project is compiling all — yes, all! — of the best tips for a better night’s sleep. Coming up will be a piece on spring allergies (yay, spring!), and on the back burner are some fitness-heavy ideas, like all the things you’re doing wrong when you squat and a whole bunch of fun plank variations.

Personally, I journal regularly, often in the form of poetry. Most of these scribblings are not at all intended for public consumption, but every once in a while I let one slip.

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Destination Certification: On the Path to Becoming a Personal Trainer

About a year ago, one of my roommates was questioning passions. She’s a deep thinker, this roommate. She asks perceptive questions while others make small talk, and she’s more often than not ruminating on something. She asked me if I knew what my passion was, thereby immediately directing my attention, as she is so often able to do with just one question, to my own internal goings-on I hadn’t been so attuned to.

I’ve forgotten my answer by now, because her response meant so much more: She told me she always thought my passion was fitness, and not just in my work in health journalism, but in the way I live my life, in the way I care about others.

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Sweat Into Summer!

I have this thing about triceps. I want them. Like, really want them. Maybe not quite Madonna triceps, but definitely Michelle Obama triceps, and maybe even Jessica Biel triceps. I know I need to move them more, but I have found plenty of excuses not to. I’m joining the 30-Day Summer Shape Up Challenge with the intention of strutting into the office on June 20, guns blazin’. I’ve decided, for me, that means 20 pushups — and not those lazy ones, either, these ones here with perfect form — every day.

Will you join me? Fore more details, read the rest on The Huffington Post.

I’ll Try Anything Once: Aerial Fabric Dance

When it comes to fitness, I’ll pretty much try anything once.

First it was Cirque du Soleil, then it was Pink at the 2010 Grammy’s. Most recently, it was this killer performance at the 2012 Oscars.

These stunning aerial displays have always caught my eye, not just for the sheer theatrics of it all, but, seriously, have you seen those performers’ bodies?

While no one is going to run off to the circus for killer triceps, a recent outcropping of studios offering aerial classes at least lets you try it — for an hour or so.

Read the rest on The Huffington Post.

Fix Your Form

There could never be anything as explicit as a sign saying “No Girls Allowed” — but there might as well be. At my gym, I have not once seen a woman in the section where people (i. e. men) actually lift weights.

There are plenty of women on the stair climbers. There are plenty of women stretching and crunching on the floor mats. There are too many women crammed into what just may be the hottest Spinning studio on earth. And there are even plenty of women using strength-training machines that take some of the guess-work out of lifting, if you don’t know your way around a weight room.

That back-room boys club always irks me. I know there’s no reason I shouldn’t lift there, and yet the feeling of not belonging is too strong to push aside.

While my sample size is small, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. The women I’ve talked to about their workouts and the women I’ve worked out with have expressed feeling varying degrees of this air of exclusivity, as well as feeling varying degrees of comfort with and confidence in their own strength-training skills. It’s something by now we know we need to do, but many of us have never been instructed in how to do it.

Your first strength-training session is not like your first time on a treadmill; a good workout isn’t as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. So it’s understandable that no matter how strong of a Spinner or runner or swimmer or feminist a woman is, she may feel a little out of place in the weight room.

Partially to help ease my own discomfort and partially in hopes of easing yours, this week on HuffPost Healthy Living, we launched a new series (starring yours truly — one step closer to that dream of becoming a model!) called Fix Your Form.

I had the pleasure of working with trainer John Romaniello, who guided me through some of the most common mistakes women (and men!) make at the gym, and offered simple, straightforward tips on how to correct them.

In the weeks to come, we’ll cover squats, lunges, triceps presses, ab exercises and more, but we kicked things off with the pushup. Read John’s tips and see before and after photos here. I hope you find the series as helpful as I do!

I’ll Try Anything Once: Barry’s Bootcamp

When it comes to fitness, I’ll pretty much try anything once.

I wasn’t always this way. My parents love to repeat the story of how I refused to do anything but kick when presented with a ball as a child, something they had to frequently remind me of when I complained about having to resort to indoor track for a winter sport in high school. Continue reading

Mind Over Matter

I went for a long run with C this week. (When I say long, I mean seven miles. Long for me, but for C., now training for her third–or is it fourth?–marathon, I’m sure it felt like a quick jog.)

Since my first “long” runs with my high school track team, I’ve never quite decided if I think we get personal on long runs because the sheer physical endeavor requires instant and profound bonding with the people around us, or because we’re simply bored and in need of some serious distractions.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading

I Was (Almost) A Spin Class Drop Out

My relationship with exercise has always been fueled by ulterior motives.

A competitive soccer player at heart, I started running to get in shape for what I thought would be the hardest team tryout in the history of soccer—my high school’s freshman girls’ team.

While it turned out I wasn’t required to run a sub-21-minute 3-miler, that became my goal the summer before high school, and somehow, even as soccer seasons came and went, running stuck. Continue reading

Sportsmanship vs. Competition

Now I can’t even remember how I stumbled across it, but this article has really stayed with me.

“Sportsmanship at its best: Rustay helps Shine finish” is an account of a high school girls’ cross country race. There’s little about it that’s monumental, other than the fact that one runner helped another after the latter had fallen near the finish line.

The comments,  tweets, and news coverage itself is a glowing love-fest for the sportsmanship of the girl who stopped running to help her competitor. Continue reading