Fitness Friday 10/30: A Re-Introduction + A "Spooky" Workday Workout

Warning: LONG post ahead!  Happy Friday to you all!  Before I get to the usual Fitness Friday series posts here, I want to take a minute to welcome all new readers!  This week and next I'm participating in a health & fitness blog hop hosted by Kristy over at Runaway Bridal Planner.  What's a blog hop?  In short, it's a great way to network and get to know other bloggers in your niche.  I've been connecting with so many inspiring people this week and can't wait to continue making friends next week too. 

So, to start things off, I'd like to (re)introduce myself to you, give you a few fun facts about me and let you know what you can expect on the blog here.  To make it easier to read, here's a bulleted list of some facts about me and some links to other things on the blog.

About Me:

  • My name is Ellyn, I'm a group fitness instructor and health educator living in upstate New York.
  • I grew up in south-eastern Connecticut, lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan for 2 years during college, and moved to Rhode Island for 6 years back in 2009.  I just recently made the move to Albany, NY back in September of 2015 to live with my boyfriend.  
  • I regularly teach group exercise classes at Vent Fitness and the YMCA in Guilderland.  In addition, I teach small-group strength training classes at Free Style Fitness & Yoga Center in Albany. I also occasionally teach local in-store classes at places like Athleta. 
  • A few professional goals of mine include getting certified in personal training and fitness nutrition in the very near future.  I would love to start teaching small group training sessions and work with clients one on one.  I am also currently looking for Wellness Coordinator/Director positions in the NY capital region.  My goal there is to help develop client-based fitness and wellness programs for corporations around the state.
  • If you'd like to know more, here are some Fun Facts about me.  I also wrote a post a while back on why I love being a group fitness instructor.  Check it out to learn a bit more about why I'm so passionate about this field. :)

About the Blog:

  • I started this blog back in October of 2014 as an outlet for me to share my journey into the fitness industry and also to share the things I am learning through continuing education and professional advancement in the field.  I also share the workouts I teach during my classes as well as at home workouts and healthy tips to help maintain a healthy lifestyle when life gets a little busy.  We all need help with that from time to time!
  • The name of the blog just came to me one day after thinking long and hard about starting a fitness blog in the first place.  I probably had gone to more than enough weddings at that time and kept hearing the marriage vow "... in sickness and in health...".  After that, the name came to me and it's stuck ever since.
  • A few goals for the blog in its second year are to host fitness challenges for subscribers, start a few new workout series (e.g. Beginner Strength Training Guide, At-Home Workout Series, etc.) and to Link Up with fellow fitness bloggers!  (If you're here from the hop, or are a fellow blogger yourself, and have a few good health & fitness Link Ups to recommend, please let me know in the comments!  I'd love to get involved!)

Okay, whew.  That was a long introduction!  If you made it this far, let's move on to the fitness for today.  For those of you who are new to the blog, every Friday I post a Fitness Friday mini workout.  I originally started this series as a reminder to get up and move your body during your work day, especially for those of us who work desk jobs.  The workouts usually consist of 3 different bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere (like your office or cubicle).  They're designed not so much to make you sweat, but more to get your blood circulating and get you up out of that desk chair.  Ready for the fun today?  Keep reading for the details of the exercises, and here's a reminder that all the workout images are pinnable, so save them to your workout Pinterest board to access them wherever you find yourself! :)

Fitness Friday 10/30: Spooky Edition

Fitness Friday 10/30: Spooky Edition

3 x 3 - 3 times through for the full workout, then repeat 3 times throughout your day today.

Spider Planks - start in a regular plank position on your hands (or on your forearms if your wrists give you trouble).  Maintaining a neutral spine (i.e. no bend or arch in the back, and butt down), bend one knee and bring it out to the side toward your shoulder.  Place it back down and do the same on the other side.  Keep alternating "spider crawls" for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: if you'd like, you can also do these from your knees.  Just remember to keep your butt down and spine straight from neck to tailbone.

Zombie Marches - start standing and reach your hands straight out in front of you.  Keep your arms there, and one at a time, lift your legs up straight, trying to reach your toes to your hands.  Keep marching in place moving as quickly as you can for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: think about keeping your chest up and spine straight here, head up and gaze forward.  Bring your feet to your hands - try not to bend over to bring your hands down to meet your toes.

Scaredy Cat Push Ups - I call these 'scaredy cat' because at the top of the push up you'll round your back slightly, just like a scared cat does (except not that extreme!).  So, start in a push up position either on your feet or your knees (remember spinal alignment!), do 1 push up, and at the top as you come up, round out your shoulders, hollowing your chest, and engaging your abdominals to help you hunch.  Do that at the top of every one, and continue for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: go at your own pace here.  These don't have to be a fast, do-as-many-as-you-can challenge (although if that's your M.O. then go for it - with good form!).  I'd rather you focus on form and do a few than rush through a lot with improper technique.

There you have it!  Remember to get through those exercises 2 more times right now for the full workout, and try to get the workout in 2 more times throughout your day.  Enjoy!

Readers: chat with me!  If you're here from the hop, welcome!  How'd you like the mini workout?  Do you think that's something you'd be able to do in your office or at home?  Feedback about this post or anything else about the blog?  I'd love to hear it!  How is everyone celebrating Halloween tomorrow?  Do you get a lot of trick or treaters?

6 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

I originally published this post last year around this time.  I thought I'd give it a little refresh this year and repost it since Halloween 2015 is right around the corner.  Hope you enjoy it!

Oh, Halloween.  The night where it seems like an endless supply of candy exists in the world, and it's all dumped out on your living room floor from your kids' epic adventures that evening (at least that's how it was when I was a kid).  You sit there watching them plow through their sacred stash digging for gold, wondering how many pieces you should let them have, where you will store the excess (inevitably, the cupboard), and how on EARTH you are going to resist the temptation of the good stuff when it's just within arm's reach.  Now, I don't have kids (yet), but I can take a wild guess and say that most, if not all parents have thought any or all of the above at some point during their kids' trick-or-treating years.  And I'm also sure parents, teachers, and coaches (not to mention, dentists) alike have all seen the effects that the sugar-crazed holiday has on kids' attention, attitudes and moods in the days/weeks following, not to mention your own!

6 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

That may sound all doom and gloom, but fear not!  As spooky as Halloween is in other respects, it doesn't have to be a scary, sugar-laden calorie-bomb that lingers for weeks.  Read on for my tips on how to trick AND treat yourself to make sure you and your family maintain that healthful lifestyle - even WITH candy in the house.

1 | Buy candy late and not much of it  

The stores tempt us with bags upon bags of Halloween candy long before the month of October is even here, and a lot of people can't resist the temptation.  Obviously the longer candy is in your house, the more likely you'll be to snack on it before it's needed.  That can add hundreds of extra calories throughout your day, and imagine how much that can add up to in one week!  To reduce the chance of reaching into the treat bag early, buy your candy only a few days before you'll need it.  Hide it away far back in the cupboard so it's out of sight until the night of.  Out of sight, out of mind!

2 | Or hand out no candy at all

Say what?  No candy?  Yes, that's right - no candy.  Think about little trinkets or toys that you could give the neighborhood kids.  Pencils, cool erasers, small figurines - think party-favor-type things.  You could also think about getting small baggies of trail mix, more wholesome snacks, or hand out granola bars instead of candy bars (good for snacks in school lunches).  If you know the neighborhood kids and parents well enough, you could even think about making little treats yourself, too.

3 | Eat before you go

Nourishing yourself and your kids before you head out to collect pillowcases full of sugar is a smart thing to do.  If trick-or-treating is starting earlier than dinner time, think about having a quick, but filling snack.  If you can fit in dinner beforehand, even better.  Filling up will reduce the chance of eating all the goods before you get back home. 

4 | Stay active  

So you now have all this candy in your house.  What do you do to combat the extra calories?  Stay active!  Increase your daily activity as a family.  Take a walk before or after dinner.  Or better yet, a bike ride.  Go on a trail walk or a hike on the weekends.  Get outside and play some games - disc golf, soccer, basketball, frisbee, the list goes on.  Make sure you and your kids get moving.  Who knows, the activity might even become a habit that you can stick with long after the candy is gone!

5 | Go to the dentist  

No, I don't mean for a check up.  Have you ever heard of candy buy back programs?  Dentists participate in them all throughout the country.  Not only does it get the candy out of your house and some money into your or your kids' pockets, but it benefits our troops.  For more information on the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program, click here.

6 | Enjoy - in moderation 

Yes, you can have the candy.  No, you shouldn't have it all.  I believe in "everything in moderation."  Speaking from experience, when you're eating healthy and you get one of those cravings for fried food or chocolate, you know what?  Sometimes you have to give in.  That's not a green light to go all out, though!  Enjoy a few pieces of candy to satisfy that craving, then put the stash away.

I hope these tips help you and your family have a healthier Halloween this year!  Be safe out there, and most importantly - have fun!  

Readers: chat with me!  Do you have any more healthy Halloween tips?  Will you be going trick or treating?  If so, what are your costumes this year?  What's your favorite treat (or trick)?