Archive for the ‘Exercise Tips’ Category

The Smart Athlete

Posted: November 30, 2011 in Exercise Tips

Anyone who is doing work outs that I post on this blog, is an athlete!  Athletes don’t just work out every day without feeling a little ache, pain, strain, etc from time to time.  It’s part of life, even people who don’t work out have aches and pains!

Here is a simple guide to help you figure out how to maintain and prevent…and when to see a Dr.

Things to do Daily/Weekly:

  1. Stay hydrated (I am talking….when you go to the restroom it’s almost clear-sorry- you need to know this!)
  2. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet that includes a whole food supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps (visit my NEW BLOG, for recipes and food tips!)
  3. Stretch at least 10 min a day
  4. Stretch 30 min-1 hour once a week

Things to do monthly/quarterly:

  1. Make an appointment with your chiropractor get adjusted! The simplest explanation is this: if your joints are out of line, and muscle forms around them…it cannot be comfortable!
  2. Make an appointment with a massage therapist- it’s not just to relax!  Many folks don’t take advantage of the knowledge massage therapists have to give.  The cost is well worth the maintenance of your body.

(Live in the Charlotte area? Call Adri Warrick for the best massage around.  You can get in touch with her through her blog,, which you should be following any ways for yummy recipes!)

(Live in the Northern Virginia area?  Call Allison Shorb at Hideaway Massage in downtown Leesburg.  Visit to book an appointment!)


It’s Too Late…I am in PAIN!

There are several things you can try on your own to deal with random aches and pains.  If you try these things for 2 or so weeks with no forward progress, its time to see a specialist.

  1. Again, HYDRATE!
  2. Again, Stretch, daily on both sides (not just where it hurts) 20 min
  3. Ice daily, 20 min
  4. Bio Freeze or Tiger Balm before bed
  5. Epsom salts post activity

If any combo of the above does not work in 2 or so weeks, see a doctor so you don’t become further injured!

Your body is a machine, it needs to be maintained.  Prevent injury by being smart!  Even the smartest of smart athletes get hurt sometimes.  Listen to your body, it will always tell you what to do.  Most of the time, injury happens when we stop listening.

Let me know if you have questions!


Be Smart!

Posted: November 14, 2011 in Exercise Tips

Make sure you are not ONLY strengthening your muscles, you are stretching them!  Each time you exercise, you shorten the muscle fibers and contract the muscle.  Stretching will help the muscles recover, build stronger, give you more range of motion within strength movements (i.e. if your hips are not tight, you can get lower into a squat, meaning more strength in the long run!)

Many avid exercisers feel it is a waste of time to stretch.  Take a few minutes each day…and avoid being out for weeks at a time with an injury!

Here are some things I recommend doing weekly:

  • 2x per week or more:  Foam Roll.  Forward and back on a muscle 20x each.  Quads, Hamstrings, IT band, Glute, Each side of low back, Upper back, Side Body, Etc!
  • You can pick up a foam roller at target or wal mart in the exercise section.


  • 7x per week: Stretch for 10 min or more.  Sit in front of the TV after a shower, do it after your work out, etc.  Make sure you are warm!  Take 5 stretches that you know, and do each of them for 1 min each on each side.  I.e. Quad, Crossed foot hamstring, Shoulder, Hip and Hip Flexor
  • Quad:  Standing, grab the foot with the hand and hold
  • Crossed foot Hamstring: Standing, cross one foot over the other and reach for your toes
  • Shoulder: Cross one arm over your body and hold with opposite hand
  • Hip: Start on all fours, put one foot in front with knee 90 degrees, lean in to front foot
  • Hip Flexor: in same position above, lean lower body forward but push shoulders back


PS- Don’t forget to sign up for the Iron Mamas sister site,

Sleep Tight!

Posted: September 19, 2011 in Exercise Tips

Fall weather is perfect for getting a good night sleep, cooler temps equal snuggle in bed! But, make sure you are getting a good 7-9 hours each night of the best sleep you can. Get yourself organized during the day, while cooking dinner, etc. Make sure anything on your mind for the next day is written down so your mind can let it go.

New research says, missing just ONE night of sleep can slow your metabolism 20% or more the next day. Running your body all night wears it out, so it’s less efficient at burning calories. SO, sleep tight tonight!

Work out time :)

First round, all reps, second round, half

Warm up 5-10 min jog or walk

100 knees up (50 ea side)
90 Russian twist with weight (1=1)
80 walking lunges
70 bicep curls w band or weights
60 tricep dips
.50 sprint
40 side squat w squat thrust (squat to side, do burpee without push up and repeat. Band around ankles optional, 20 one direction 20 the other)
30 wood chop (15 ea side)
20 full burpees
10 pull ups

Repeat with half reps!

If you have not started adding Yoga to your weekly routine…its time to get on board.  The benefits of becoming more comfortable in your own skin, performing better when you ask your body to do so, and remaining injury free are worth it!

It will take time to really understand all of the benefits of adding Yoga to your routine.  I recommend at least 3 months of 1x per week or more to gain this understanding.

Common questions I get about Yoga:

  1. Is yoga a work out? YES.  If you take a Power Yoga class or a “Flow” class, you will get a great upper/lower/core strength session along with lengthening muscles and stretching.
  2. Will I burn enough calories? Depends.  If you choose to do Yoga and ONLY Yoga, probably not.  But if you are working out 4-6 times per week, replacing one day with Yoga will only help you on the other work out days.
  3. What do I wear? Tight fitting clothing is best- pants, tank top/long sleeve shirt that hugs the body so you aren’t pulling at your clothing the entire class.
  4. What’s with all the breathing?! Yoga is all about the “breath”.  Make that an eventual goal, to link your breath with movement.  It doesn’t have to be perfect to become a lifelong injury preventing habit!
  5. Should I workout after Yoga? If you want to do something before, that is the best. I recommend no more than 40 minutes of cardio so you do not enter the class already depleted.  Treat Yoga like you would a massage, take 24 hours before you work out again so your body can really soak in the benefits!

5 Yoga Poses You Can’t Live Without

if you don’t buy into weekly classes….at least add these to your daily stretching!)  Hold each for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-4x!

Bow Pose:

Goals? Open the front of the body, strengthen the Erector spinae and spine.

Counterbalance this post with child’s pose, rounding out the back, and repeat!

Hare Pose (Sometimes called Rabbit):

Goals? Stretch the upper back and spine, bring fresh supply of blood to the upper body and brain.

Counterbalance this pose with child’s pose as well, walking the hands away from the body once your glute is touching your heels.

Downward Facing Dog Pose:

Goals? align the spine, release tension in the shoulders, stretch through the back of the leg– most importantly the hamstrings, Achilles and calf. (More advanced? start from plank.  That way you guarantee correct distance from hands to feet during the pose!)

Counterbalance this pose with upward facing dog, if you don’t know this post, go back to child’s pose!

Modified Crescent Lunge:

Goals? Begin to open the hips, hip flexors, relieve low back pain (modified because the back knee is dropped. If you chose to keep the knee up, both toes face forward and drop down low)

Counterbalance this pose by sitting back and stretching the hamstring

**notice the knee over ankle positioning in this pose. as you shift your weight forward to stretch, make sure knee stays over ankle!


Reverse Pigeon: (half pigeon can be done lying on floor with knee under body)

Goals? open hips and lubricate hip joints

Counterbalance by bringing both knees in to chest, or sit up and stretch hamstrings

ENJOY!  Tell me about your YOGA experiences as you have them :)

Sorry Iron Men….a “weights only” work out is coming your way soon, this one is for the ladies! (Here is why.  Men, yes, you have different body types, but unlike women….if you do the correct balance of cardio, weight training, and cross training, you will fall into your perfect shape.  Our bodies are a bit more complex!)

Iron Mamas, are you working out for your body type?

Most women fall into one of these categories:

  • Apple – top-heavy; 14% of women; bust three or more inches bigger than hips, also can carry weight in mid section- but mostly from the hips up
  • Straight- 46% of women; high waist is about the same as hips and waist, shaped like a cylinder (this is also the person who “gains weight all over”)
  • Pear – bottom-heavy; 20% of women; hips significantly larger than bust
  • Hourglass – 8% of women; equal hip and bust measurements with a narrow waist

Unfortunately- not all workouts are created equal.  You can easily figure out where you fall by classifying yourself in one of these categories.  ALL shapes are beautiful in their own ways and we can emphasize their beauty by focusing on certain parts of our workout!

Before I go further: here is what most major fitness organizations recommend for how a workout “week” should look.

  • 3-5x per week of 30-60 minutes cardiovascular
  • 1-3x per week of strength training involving all major muscle groups
  • 1-3x flexibility training (including yoga)

How your week will look depends on your priorities, your body type, your fitness/weight goals, etc.  Many people choose to do things they “enjoy” over occasionally doing what needs to be done– in my opinion if you feel good about yourself…I am happy you are exercising!

Here are some general guidelines and focus points for each body type, although this could go into much greater detail!

  • Apple: goals? develop a strong core, and build muscle in the lower body to create balance throughout.  Lighter weights/higher repetitions for upper body, and heavy weight/low repetitions for lower body.  Doing these exercises in an interval/cross training format where you alternate cardio and strength is also ideal!
  • Straight: goals? add shape and curves by building muscle and strength.  Use heavier weights and lower repetitions to build muscle.  These people can do less cardio- more strength training, but be sure to take off at least a day between working the same muscle group!
  • Pear: goals? balance your lower half by building a strong upper body.  Heavier weights/lower repetitions for upper body, lighter weights or body weight/high reps for lower body.  This body type will also benefit from doing exercises in an interval/cross training format where cardio and strength is alternated.  Running and swimming are great toners for these body types since they use the large muscle groups of the legs while performing exercise with no weight.
  • Hourglass: goals? well, we hate you because you are only 8% of the population and we ALL WANT your body.  So there.  Kidding, kind of, but seriously, these people are the lucky sons of guns who were born with a great figure.  Best workout for this body type is interval/cross training where strength and cardio are combined.  Too much cardio alone could take away those beautiful curves, so although its important to keep up cardio help…training for a marathon may rid you of them.

**Some of you may not be able to easily identify yourselves in one of these 4 categories.  If there is a place you “gain weight first” think about that and it may help you narrow it down.  Many of you also may have a combination of more than one body type.  Good thing you belong to this blog….the workouts posted here are generally great for all types because I have this in mind!

Questions on working out for your body type? Email me at!


Just Weights

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Exercise Tips, Weights

All you need is a set of weights!  Grab a challenging set- if you normally grab 10’s, get 12’s and try to stick with it throughout!

Warm up: 2 mile jog outdoors (or equivalent on indoor machine)


  • 15 weighted squats (weights on shoulders- get to 90 degrees or below!)
  • 45 seconds jumping jacks
  • 15 perfect push ups (take your time and drop down to the ground! knees WHEN needed)
  • 45 seconds high knee run
  • 15/15 weighted lunges (weights on shoulders, ea side)
  • 45 seconds jump rope
  • 15 side bicep curls (palms face sides)
  • 45 seconds mountain climbers

Warm down: 3x, 15 russian twists, 15 full sit ups (both with weight), 15 hip dips each side SLOW!

**New research is showing that squats below 90 degrees have no significant influence on knee damage/injury IF DONE PROPERLY.  Actually, squatting low can do quite the opposite.  It increases strength in the hamstrings, glutes, inner thighs, stabilizer muscles surrounding larger lower body muscles, lower back and abs.

Watch yourself in the mirror.  Are you bending more with your legs or your back? (Legs is correct!)  Does your chest stay up, or curve forward? (Chest should stay up!)  Can you see yourself throughout the entire motion? (You should be able to!)  Good luck!


Posted: February 9, 2011 in Exercise Tips, Treadmill/Running

If you are a runner, you know hills are the WORST part of any race.  How to make them better? Practice!  If you practice on hills- flat and smaller inclines seem easy as pie.  Hills should be a part of any runners workout at least 1x per week!

Preferably outdoors- find a hill, jog to it, do 10-15 repeats with 20-30 seconds rest between.

If you must go on a treadmill, do tabata, 20 sec on, 10 sec off at an incline of 8– 4 min then jog between, 4 sets.

**If you are running on a treadmill to avoid cold weather, you should be set at a 1% incline after you warm up, or higher.  This will  be a more accurate simulation of outdoor running!


For a track or treadmill!

  • 1 mile easy jog
  • 2×800’s/.50 mile @ 1/2 marathon pace (65-70% of your max HR)- jog 1 min between each 800
  • 4×400’s/.25 mile @ 10K pace (75-85% max)- jog 1 min between each 400
  • 6×200’s/.125 mile @ 5K pace (95% max)- jog 1 min between
  • 1 mile easy jog