Why I'm Taking My Workouts to The Barre This Month w/ Barre & Soul

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Do you guys ever feel a call to switch things up while working out? You've stopped pushing yourself to hit the gym, you dread putting on your gym clothes and you're most definitely not enjoying or feeling the stress relief/ Endorphin high working out should give us. WELL THAT WAS ME. Even with a gym in my home 2 steps away I began to feel  a bit bored of my usual strength training routines. Luckily my amazing friends at Barre & Soul Portsmouth contacted me and wanted to extend a month long collaboration.

Could that timing be any more perfect?!

 

BL Barre and Soul

I have only done barre 2 or 3 times previously, and honestly didn't love it. My strength training mind races a mile a minute making me feel like I need more high intensity or heavy weight to get the job done. Even though I hadn't had fantastic experiences previously I knew I needed to take a little leap and try something new.

I went to my first class last week and was immediately converted to a Barre babe! Barre & Soul exudes this energy that makes you want to be better. The cult like energy that gyms like Crossfit or Kettlebell create but in a down to earth "babes supporting babes" sort of way.

BL barre and soul

Gyms that exclusively promote, market and have women as clients usually leave new comers feeling left out, not good enough or an outsider but you guys I WAS BLOWN AWAY. Barre and Soul attracts the best of the best, from instructors to clients. I walked in for my first class feeling a little out of sorts as Barre wasn't really my thing but that feeling was completely taken away by the generosity of others. I was shown around their cute little space, told how the class would run and then was helped  by a complete stranger to get all the props I needed. {I fricken love nice people}

My most favorite part about the way Barre & Soul teaches is there emphasis on yoga. Each class that I have been to they begin just like a yoga class. Sitting in a comfortable position, taking a few deep breaths and setting an intention for your practice. They even take a few times during the workout to lead you back to this starting place, stretching out and making sure your intentions are clear.

{Which helps because right after thigh work I'm glaring at the instructor to give us a break 😉}

Barre BL

Barre is a workout unlike anything i've ever completed...actually it kind of reminds me of long distance running. You start out feeling great, like a total badass for lacing up those sneaks and hitting the pavement & then about half way through you begin to have an internal struggle with yourself constantly reminding yourself  "I CAN DO THIS" maybe even getting to a point of "OH SHIT I CAN'T DO THIS". BUT the ending is my most favorite part, you have ward off those negative thoughts only to again feel like an absolute badass saying outlaid "OMG THAT WAS AMAZING".

Barre BL

As I myself was going through one of those internal struggles of "OH SHIT I CAN"T DO THIS", my mind went to a place of inquiry and I realized that time under tension is the thing that Barre & Soul thrives off of. That shaking, trembling feeling your muscles hate and your minds dreads, it takes you to a place of second guessing but in a weird way makes you long and obsess for more.

The feeling of being on your tip toes in a squat position holding a ball between your thighs & counting down with the instructor "3,2,1" only for her to say "HERE WE GO AGAIN JUST 8 MORE". Is the epitome of time under tension. How long can they work your same specific muscle groups in order to strengthen! It's an interesting process that makes you hate it and love it all at the same time! <3

Blissfully Lively Barre

I left the class in awe of what a kick ass workout it is! I would consider myself pretty strong for my size, definitely advanced in the gym and barre is something completely different. Trembling legs and shaky arms I laughed out loud at myself walking back to my car. Barre is something so out of my wheelhouse that is totally making me "check myself" just when I was getting comfortable in my strength workouts.

I can't wait to continue taking classes this month and update you all on my progress. Follow along for weekly updates on Instagram & check back here at the end of the month for a little recap of my time!

Question:

Have you guys tried barre, and what are your thoughts? I would love some of your feedback on class too! <3

Peace out, time to head to the barre!

xo,

Lauren

BL HIIT Workout

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Hi ladies! First off, Happy International Women's Day! You all are so kick ass, beautiful {inside & out}, motivating, and inspiring. Thank you for being uniquely you and putting out such greatness into this world. Don't ever let anyones words or actions make you forget that...now on to this HIIT workout so you can crush it today and feel even more badass than you already do. I put together a quick little high intensity circuit because you ladies loved the HIIT circuit last week so much. This time I   only have 1 circuit that you can complete 4-5 times instead of 2 circuits. I know you guys like the workouts short and sweet so this one is just that.

BL HIIT Workout

It can be completed in your home {if you have dumbbells}, or my fav. at the gym. Always remember to warm up for 5-10 minutes of jump rope of something to get your heart rate up, and a bit of movement or light stretching before hand. Finish it all off with some foam rolling & stretching as well!

*Chris makes a guest appearance in this video, we have been working out together recently so you will be seeing his handsome face in videos more often!

BL HIIT Workout

Circuit 1 x4 or x5

  • 10 box jumps
  • 10 over head presses {20 lbs}
  • 8-10 single leg deadlifts {20 lbs}
  • 10 ring fall outs {hold in plank position slowly lowering yourself out tightening your core, doesn't need to be a large movement, also do not bow your back, keep in tight plank position the whole time}
  • 30 sec. jump rope, 10 sec off Repeat 3x

https://youtu.be/9c02oXxQEa8

xo,

Lauren

Why I am Focusing on Stretching This Month w/ Bending Bodhi

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Hey Hi Hello! It's Friday!

I am so excited to write this post I'm partially jumping out of my seat. But really you guys know my love for yoga and constant talk about my need to stretch on Instagram so I finally decided to take matters into my own hands.

BL Bending Bodhi Yoga

It's about time right?

I have decided to collaborate with Bending Bodhi, a fantastic yoga studio in Dover, NH to hold myself accountable for the month of March to make stretching a priority! I have committed to going 2 days per week and document my feelings throughout the whole experience for you all.

I will be checking in on Instagram every week with little updates to how i'm feeling, mind and body. As we all know yoga is more than just stretching so i'm hoping to gain some mind stillness techniques as well!

Bending Bodhi Yoga BL

I have always loved taking yoga and the feeling after a good stretch, but never make it a priority. It's something that I think fell down the list honestly when we put together our home gym. Because of it's close proximity to the house I tend to workout then hop over to the kitchen, make some lunch, shower up and then back to work, all the while forgetting to do any stretching or rehabbing of my muscles.

I'm sure you ladies can relate when you're running late but still want to fit in a workout so you skip the warm up or cool down and get straight to it...YIKES we've got to stop this neglecting of our muscles!

BL Bending Bodhi Stretching and Yoga

I'm hoping that this month at Bending Bodhi will hold me accountable to making a little more time for myself and buying in to the yoga practice every time. Allowing the stressors to fall away and the stretching and de-stressing to really set in!

Bending Bodhi is such a beautiful studio, and I am so lucky to be working with them. If you live locally in the Dover NH area you have to check them out! It's such a stress free calming studio {If you can tell in the pictures above it feels so homey}, inclusive and accommodating to your personal needs from their schedule to their instructors.

This afternoon will be my first class, I can't wait to get to stretching, Oming & Sighing my way to a healthier March!

Bending Bodhi March Yoga and Stretching

xo,

Lauren

High Intensity Sweat Sesh Full Body Workout

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I hopped off the high intensity workout train when I started strength training regularly because truthfully I felt strength training was more bang for my buck and more my speed {I personally dislike the gasping for breath feeling, but some live for it}.

I realized that even though the high intensity sweat sesh isn't my favorite some people adore their efficiency and over all intensity, so every once in a while a shorter high intensity workout will be coming to the blog!

BL Sweat Sesh Workout

I put this workout together with busy people in mind. Exercises to get your heart rate up and work the whole body in less than 30 minutes. This was was a hard one with lots of high intensity so please feel free to rest at any point, but never quit, YOU'VE GOT THIS!

As you can see in the video I use dumbbells for the step ups, please pick a weight that you can tolerate and keep proper form to complete 20 reps 3 times! Don't forget if you pick up a weight and it seems to heavy you can always stop, and choose a different weight, don't get discouraged, it's all trial and error.

 

High Intensity Sweat Sesh Full Body Workout

https://youtu.be/lfzTFWq7D2M

Circuit 1 x3

  • Step up's w/ knee drive x10 each side
  • Med ball Slams x 10
  • lateral crawls x8 each side

Circuit 2 x3

  • Squat to kneel x10
  • Mountain climbers x 20
  • Inch worm to push up x10 {or how ever many you can do without sacrificing form}

Core/ Stretching x3

  • Ball Leg Lifts x 10
  • Stretching

xo,

Lauren

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Not into the High Intensity sweat sesh? Check out the full body workout from last week to get that summer bod ready!

Summer Bods Are Made In The Winter Full Body Workout

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 If there's one thing we know it's...

Summer bods are made in the winter months!

So i'm hitting you with the perfect summer bod full body workout that will get you fit and ready to bare it all this summer {blah blah blah} you know the rest...AKA it will be the perfect 30 minute workout to where you feel like you've worked it all but also saved on time!

Efficiency when working out is my thing. Why not do exercises that recruit the whole body rather than singular muscle groups because it takes less time and target more, more bang for your buck!

BL summer bods full body workout

So grab your jump rope & complete this workout at home, if you have dumbbells or screenshot and take with you to the gym. If you're home and want to follow along to the video below that's also a perfect option! NOW get after it!

Summer Bods Are Made In The Winter Full Body Workout

 

Circuit 1 x3

  • 8 Overhead Press
  • 10 Weighted Jump Squats
  • 10 Pike to superman holds {10 seconds each}

Circuit 2 x3

  • 10 Weighted Hip Thrusters {I only used the 45lb bar for this but feel free to add weight}
  • 10 Push Up w/ Row {I used 15 lbs}
  • 10 Weighted Lunges {each leg} {I used 20 lbs}

Stretching/Core

  • BL Stretching Sequence
  • Static muscle stretching
  • 10 Weighted Toe Touches x3 {15 lbs}

https://youtu.be/KhQOBooHcmY

xo,

Lauren

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Looking for more workout inspo? Check out the No BS Full Body Workout!

The No BS Full Body Workout & Video

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I'm just gunna lay it all out on the line... This full body workout is no bullshit! No weightless squats or flutter kicks here.

Just a few solid moves that will get you moving and that heart rate up incorporating dumbbells and of course your own body weight!

BL Full Body Workout

As I told you guys in last weeks Wellness Spotlight post I'm going to be incorporating more workouts and videos into the blog which will always consist of full body workouts. I personally don't love when people pick a body part say "booty" and do isolated movements to try and improve the "booty". I want to help you ladies become strong, fit women and truthfully I think that's more than a "tight booty" or "slim thighs" 😒! I believe it all starts with the core. If your core isn't stable how do you expect to brace yourself and complete any exercise properly, am I right?

So now how do we develop a strong core?  A FULL BODY WORKOUT! That's how 😊

Blissfully Lively No BS Full Body Workout

https://youtu.be/C-C26FPJ7o4

Circuit 1 x3

  • 10 Push Ups {or as many as you can do, If you need to modify try on a bench or wall}
  • 6 Single Leg Squats {each leg} {If you need to modify try slowly lowering into seated position with a chair behind you, loading your planted leg}
  • 10 Box Jumps

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Circuit 2 x3

  • 10 Ring Rows or Dumbbell Rows {Pick a weight that feels right for you, not too heavy to sacrifice form}
  • 30 second Plank Rocks { Remember to keep butt DOWN and brace your core}
  • 1 min Dumbbell Walks {I used 20 lbs} {keep your chest up & shoulders back, try not to arch the back}

Stretch

 

I hope this workout kicked your ass & I will see you back here next Wednesday for another BL Workout!

Any workouts you guys want to see? At Home, 30 minutes or less, etc. Leave your requests below.

xo,

Lauren

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Can't wait until next wednesday? Check out the BL Kettlebell Workout

 

The Stretching Sequence That Gets Me Through the Day

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I don't think there's a question I get more often then "What do you do for stretching?". Stretching has interestingly enough been on lots of peoples minds lately, not sure whether it was with the new year or that foam rolling/ stretching sequences have been big in social media lately but I thought why not give you guys my stretching goods! I like to stretch twice a day, once before my workout and then once through out the day to loosen up from sitting at my desk all day long. Looking down at our phones and hunching over at our desks I feel is perpetuating a chronic neck problem in our society and i'm a bit scared to see what the younger generations posture is going to look like if we don't take steps to actively reverse this!

This little stretching flow below is just something to get you moving mid work day or pre workout. This can be run through as many times as you like {I like to go through it 3-5 times depending on time} stopping in between each for a few deep breaths.

High Reach {stretches out the chest, abs, shoulders}

BL stretching sequence

Forward Fold {stretches out the hamstrings, calves}

BL stretching Plank

Step back into plank

BL stretching chaturanga

Chaturanga {warms up the shoulders/spine}

Bl up dog stretching

Updog {stretches out the core, hip flexors & quads}

BL dog dog stretch

Downdog {stretches out the shoulders, hamstrings, calves & lats}

bl hip flexor stretching

Low lunge {stretches out the hip flexor, quads & calves}

blissfully lively twist stretching

Twisting Lunge {spine, mid back & chest}

BL hip flexor stretching

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch { stretching hip flexor & quads}

BL hamstring stretch

Hamstring Stretch {stretching hamstrings, calves & glutes}

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Hip Circles

BL Arm Circles Stretch

Arm Circles

xo,

Lauren

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Looking for more ways to stay active? Check out the The Six Basic Movement Patterns!

BL Workout Outline & How to Structure Your Workout

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The day has finally come where BL adds some fitness specific content. I feel like this post has been a long time coming, and I am so excited to finally start creating more fitness content for you guys. I have put fitness specific posts towards the back burner for the past few months because I wanted to lay a solid foundation before I started throwing workout posts up and all of you were like "who's this girl?". BL Workout outline

I wanted you all to know what I stand for, what workouts I personally do, my background & what I think will be the most effective given your goals. Which is why before I treaded too deep into any fitness content I released all 3 of the BL Wellness philosophies, Fitness, Nutrition, & Mindfulness. The wellness philosophy gives you an overview of what the pieces I think are to create a happy & healthy life {fitness, nutrition & mindfulness} then each one is broken down into their own post explaining why each of these if added into your daily routine will make you the happiest & healthiest version of yourself. So give those a quick read if you're new to the blog.

Anyway.

 I have been asked so many times "when are you going to post fitness content, you're so inspiring", "how do you do that move" or my favorite straight and to the point "post more workouts". So I'm sorry that I have been holding out, and hoarding the goods from you all but trust me it's worth the wait.  While away from posting workouts I have been planning how to release this to you guys and now It's more of a concise thought out format that will be easier for you guys to utilize.

One of my biggest problems with workout programs these days is that they give you the workouts preprogrammed but don't explain proper form, or show you how to structure your own workout incase you didn't like {can't do, don't feel comfortable completing} any of the moves they gave you. I want to change the thought process of purchasing a workout dvd, booklet, etc. from "the experts" and start giving you the tools and motivation to program your own with what works best for you, because honestly YOU are the expert of your body!

Workout Outline

So starting today I am going to break down my workouts for you all in laymen's terms, giving you the basic movement patterns all workouts should be structured around and your workout outline. This post is going to go a bit in-depth but I will always summarize so you aren't feeling like what in the hell is this chick talking about.

I understand how it feels to be frustrated and not understand the scientific body movements some crazy trainer is telling you to do so here I will definitely break it down for you ...stick with me!

Lets get right to it...

Your workouts should always be structured around full body multi-joint exercises because they force you to use more muscles to not only complete the exercise but to also stabilize your body. Some multi-joint movements are push ups, squats, and deadlifts. A pushup is a multi-joint movement because it works your chest & shoulders as well as your lats & upper back muscles not to mention you are stabilizing your body in a plank position to complete the move which engages your core.

BL Push Up

The opposite of this would be a single-joint exercise such as a tricep extension which also works the lats just like a push-up but engages only the lats and doesn't use any other muscles to complete this exercise. Basically a push up {multi-joint exercise} is more bang for your buck than a {single-joint exercise} tricep extension. This being said a tricep extension isn't a bad exercise it just isn't as beneficial.

So now you're wondering why are multi-joint exercises important? Because when programming your workout you want to include multi-joint exercises in the 6 basic movement patterns. These basic movement patterns are

  1. Squat
  2. Hinge
  3. Pull
  4. Push
  5. Carry/ Lunge
  6. Core

Side note: I know this can seem overwhelming but I wanted to give you all the info before just handing you the workout plan. Stick with me and I will explain the 6 basic movement patterns in the next post.

Creating Your Workout Plan

There are many ways to program a workout given your goals but this is what I have found is most simple and effective.

  1. Find 3 nonconsecutive days per week allowing yourself rest days in between such as {Monday, Wednesday, Friday} or {Wednesday, Friday, Sunday} etc. that work best for you and most important be consistent with it!
  2. Make sure you always complete a warm up prior to working out this allows your muscles and joints to loosen and become ready for the stress you are going to put them under.
  3. Group exercises in 2 clumps of 3 {which I will show you below} perform exercises A, B, C rest and repeat 3 times. Rest. THEN complete exercises D, E, F rest and repeat 3 times.
  4. Finally finish with a "conditioning finisher" such as sprints burpees, jump rope, anything that gets your heart rate up.
  5. Foam roll/ stretch after your workout.

You can use this workout outline/ format to put together a workout that works best for you. I have added in the structure that I think is the most effective and you can change out the exercises to meet your needs. Next week I will go more in depth into examples of the 6 basic movement patterns {Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, Lunge, Core and Carry} so you can begin to see which moves you like and how you want to lay them out in your plan. I will also be adding an exercise library to the blog where you can search all Hinge moves or all Push moves and it will bring up a list with photos and proper form associated!

*** NOTE: This Workout Plan is meant to be brought with you to a gym and completed using free weights, barbells, and other gym equipment.

 You can download the outline Here

I hope you all learned one tidbit from the outline about creating a workout that works best for you and will come back to the blog next Wednesday to learn more about the 6 basic movement patterns and exercise examples to input into the workout outline!

xo,

Lauren

 

Blissfully Lively Thanksgiving Bootcamp Workout

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you all have a fabulous day surrounded by ones that you love eating all the turkey, cranberry sauce & vanilla chai cheesecake your heart desires!

I wanted to take a quick second to thank you guys that read this blog! I am so grateful that I get to play a little part in helping you become the healthiest and best versions of yourself one workout, recipe & blog post at a time. It is seriously the most rewarding and fun job I could ever ask for. So thanks for being awesome, keep doin' you!

Ok time to get to the bootcamp workout... Side note a down dog sequence consists of {inhale circle arms up, exhale forward fold over, hang there, inch hands out into plank position, Chaturanga, Updog, down dog, peddle feet, inch hands back towards feet and stand up}

Blissfully-Lively-Thanksgiving-Bootcamp-Workout

Thanksgiving Bootcamp Workout

Warm up

3 Down dog sequence

3 {20 sec.} plank holds

5 neck rolls each side

Circuit 1 x3

10 Dumbbell Dead Lift

8 Overhead Press

10 Weighted Jump Squats

Circuit 2 x3

8 Dumbbell Plank Rows each side

15 Skaters

10 Burpees

Circuit 3 x3

5-10 Deadbugs

8 Dumbell Lunges each side

10 Pushups

Cooldown

Foam Roll, Stretch, Hydrate

Xo,

Lauren

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Looking for a last minute Thanksgiving recipe? Whip up my Cranberry Butternut Squash Salad recipe!

Women & Strength Training...Summing Up My Instastory Rant

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If you guys didn't see, I posted a bit of a rant on my Instagram story last week. I was more than upset about an experience I had with a friend at her local gym. Recently I was asked by said friend to set her up with some workouts because she just didn't feel like what she was doing was working for her. Obviously I accepted because I love helping people reach their health/ fitness goals and felt super excited that she wanted my input. Blissfully Lively lifting weights

But let me just tell you this women's only gym pissed me off. I was quite upset by one specific characteristic. They only offered up to 35lb dumbbells. Nothing heavier.

This upset me for 1 of 2 reasons. For one the idea that women don't need more than 35 lb. dumbbells and two that there wasn't even the option to try a heavier weight even if you wanted to...stifling.

blissfully lively womens strength training

Trap bar Deadlift

Side note: don't get me wrong I understand the want for a women's only gym, and truthfully I have nothing against this. I understand that working out among men can feel intimidating, and working out around your peers can be a bit easier and even motivating... but here we are again. MOTIVATING, if women feel more comfortable around other women in a gym type environment don't you think they will be a bit more likely to pick up a little heavier weight to test it out?

I want to put this into a little perspective for people reading.

I would consider myself pretty strong for my frame, but no where near what I am capable of and where I want to be. So lets see what I use for weights

35lbs is the weight that I use when I do dumbbell rows, sets of 8.

150 lbs is the weight that I use to deadlift.

70lbs is the weight that I use to rear-foot elevated split squat.

Blissfully Lively Women & strength training

BL Strong

I don't throw these numbers up to boast about myself or how fit I am, how much I can lift etc. That is 100% not my point. My point is to empower you! To tell women everywhere that:

YOU ARE CAPABLE.

BL Pull Up

I am a 5 foot tall fit person who has been working out consistently for 2 years. At the beginning of my fitness journey my dumbbell rows were only at 20 lbs. and that's ok but here I am 2 years later using 35 lbs because that's what's called progress. Everyone progresses if they stick with it, and I know the women that attend this gym can too.

It just makes me upset for these women because I feel like they're shoved into this little square that another person decided was their potential.

Bl Ab roll outs

At least give them the choice of how/ what they want to achieve. Basically those 35 lb weights said you're only capable of lifting 35 lbs so that's what we will give you and nothing more.

Like what? stop and think about that. What happens when 35lbs becomes too light? What happens when 70lbs becomes to light? Because trust me it will if you're working out consistently to lose weight, get back in shape, become your best self! whatever reason, you can and will be able to lift more weight than that at some point in your fitness journey.

BL L Sit

BL strength Training

The bottom line in writing this post is to let women everywhere know that they are capable of more than what female fitness stereotypes perceive us to be. We can lift more than 35 lbs. and do the same workout as the fit man beside us. I want women to feel inspired and educated, to stand up for being a woman and being damn strong...I mean we do carry and push out babies so if that's not saying something I DONT KNOW WHAT IS!

xo,

Lauren

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Feelin' motivated to get your ass to the gym? Check out my 4 tips to getting yourself there!

5 Ways To Break A Sweat On Your Off Day

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Off days can mean 1 of 2 things for me. For 1 it can be a serious chill sess. catching up on shows, and lounging the day away, or 2 it can mean participating in a few of my favorite ways to break a sweat but not necessarily in the gym. I try to workout 5 days a week 3 of those days I do strength training workouts and the other 2 I like to mix in some cardio/ stretching such as cycling, jump roping, trx, yoga, foam rolling, etc, anything really to break a sweat.

blissfully lively w/ smoothie wearing Lucy Activewear

Blissfully lively stretching in Lucy Activewear top

My "off days" usually consist of 2 days & fall during the weekend which makes it much easier to participate in some fun off day activities that still get me up and moving.

Reminder:  it's healthy for everyone to have at least one day to chill on the couch, clean the house, regroup etc. So yes I love to stay active every day of the week, but I do have my total rest day as well (normally Sunday).

Here are a few ways to stay active during those off days.

  1. Biking/ Cycling
  2. Hiking (a must if you live in New England in the fall, I mean look at the below picture the changing leaves are 👌)
  3. Yoga/ Group Exercise Classes
  4. Skiing/ Snowboarding/ Any hobby/ sport you love
  5. Walk/ jog w/ Friends (add a smoothie in there and I'm set)

Blissfully lively on a bike wearing lucy activewear

It also doesn't hurt to look as cute as possible while participating in all your favorite ways to get up & moving. Thank you Lucy Activewear for sponsoring this post and sending me a few activewear options to try out! Their High Impact Workout Bra is so comfortable, stylish and pairs perfectly with any activity i'm up for from a walk with friends to a sweaty cycling class!

Final note breaking a sweat doesn't have to be terrible, find what works for you and stick with it! oh & no matter what make sure you're having fun!

Blissfully Lively Off Day Workouts Wearing Lucy Activewear

Blissfully Lively off day ways to break a sweat

xo,

Lauren

Feelin' hungry? Check out my Pumpkin Protein bars to chow on after that off day sweat sess.

 

Why Foam Rolling Should Be Added Into Your Routine

Foam rolling has become my go to before and after a workout. I don't think there's one thing in my life that I do more consistently now (other than drink water, & that's iffy). Let me begin by saying I was the biggest skeptic. I would make fun of Chris for bringing his foam roller with him on vacation, weekends away, having one in his office, etc. I was a serious downer on foam rolling until I realized all of its insane benefits and how amazing it made me feel.

I have hopped on the foam rolling bandwagon & i'm never looking back.

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I have always had tight hamstrings like chronically tight. I injured my hamstring in high school playing sports and it flairs up when I workout and don't stretch enough.

Chris would constantly tell me that I needed to begin adding stretching and foam rolling into my daily routine and that I would see some serious improvements if I did. & what did I do...tell him he's being ridiculous and I'm completely fine and I don't need to be rolling around on some foam cylinder, and he's just insane 🙈.

Well let me just tell you I ate my own words.

So I began foam rolling before and after each workout and I'm way less sore, can make it through a whole workout without complaining about my legs & can actually bend over and rest my hands on the floor without having to bend my right knee.

I would call that a victory!

So now you're wondering what in the hell is foam rolling and how does it help, right?

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release or self massage that breaks up adhesions between your muscles and fascia (or spider web of tissue that wraps around your muscles). These adhesions are microtears that you get from working the muscle.

When you roll the muscles out it increases blood flow to the area. Which increases mobility and range of motion, speeds up recovery and improves the muscles ability to contract. All of these benefits lead to increasing performance.

Foam rolling tutorial

So basically, bottom line it's a little piece of magic.

I like to roll my muscles before a workout gently to warm up the muscles and after a workout to release the muscles. Before I workout I foam roll gently just loosening my body up so my muscles are activated and after I roll more intensely holding or pushing in to any spots that feel that they need it.

When I roll I normally target my middle and upper back, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calfs.

If i'm rolling my back I stick to my upper and mid back section and focus on relaxing my back muscles and sinking farther into the roller with every breath. Slow and controlled breaths are key as well while I roll over the area for about 20 seconds. If there's a spot that feels a bit more tender I will very slowly inch over that one spot and give it its own 10 seconds, again making sure I am slowly breathing through each pass. It is ok to feel discomfort but you do NOT want to feel pain. If it hurts take some weight off the roller by readjusting and try again.

Foam Rolling Tips

The foam rolling technique really is different for everyone. The way that I roll my back and target certain muscles might not be exactly the same as you do because everyone feels things in their own way. I personally need to target my hamstrings more because they're super tight and some might need to spend more time rolling their quads because those are super tight for them.

It takes time to figure out which areas need the most attention and how to roll specific areas. It really is all trial and error. Trust me it can be frustrating but like anything else if you stick with it the benefits are amazing.

Here are also a few tips on what NOT to do when foam rolling:

  • Roll fast
  • Roll for more than 1 min. per area
  • Roll close to joint, especially the knee joint
  • Fight through pain (remember if you feel pain stop & readjust)
  • Roll the lower back
  • Roll your neck

BL Foam Rolling Tips

I know it can seem overwhelming, and I want everyone to reap the benefits of it because it has helped me so much. If you guys want me to create a foam rolling tutorial to show you how I roll and when/ where let me know in the comments section or over on Insta! Also I have linked a few foam rollers below for you to take a look!

xo,

Lauren

 

 

 

4 Tips To Get Your Butt In The Gym

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Gym tipsWe all know making it to the gym, or to workout for that matter can be quite a task sometimes. I adore working out, the feeling of getting a good sweat in and de-stressing is seriously my me time, but it quickly can slip off the priorities list if no plan is in place. I have had so many people recently ask me, how do you do so much and still have time to work out. Personally this question seems a bit silly because I don't have the time, I make the time. Blissfully lively doing push upThere are many days that I don't want to work out, or feel too tired, or just want to curl up on the couch and read my favorite blogs and binge on Netflix, but... in the end I get my ass to the gym because it is a priority for me to feel and look good.

I know that it can feel overwhelming if you can't figure out how to make that time to hit the gym with everything else that's going on because I was that person.

Blissfully Lively Gym workout tips

I would pick a time in between running from class to waitressing or full time job to home and always without fail skip my workout. Why? because I didn't have enough time or was too tired. Yes both of those things were probably true but the real truth was that I didn't make it a priority on my list of to do's.

I'm here to give you guys a little advice on the ways I stuck to working out while having a full time job, while I was in school and working part time jobs with weird hours (nannying and waitressing), and now while I work from home. All three very different areas of life, but I still use the same tactics.

Blissfully Lively Gym pull up

{So much fun scaling a storage unit to get this photo with @Rayaonassignment}

Let me preface with saying I'm not perfect I sometimes fall off a schedule too {even now when I can make my own schedule} & that these ways may not work for you. I was and never will be a super early morning workout person and that's ok if you aren't either, but finding the way that does work for you (& is something you will stick with) is so important.

My Four Tips To Getting Your Butt In The Gym

1: Do it early- I am the queen of wanting to sleep in! If there was one excuse I would ever use to get out of working out it was "Im too tired", or "I can't wake up this early". My number one trick for this set 3 alarms. One 30 minutes before the time you need to wake up one fifteen minutes before and one at the time you want to wake up. Yes that sounds aggressive but you will train yourself to want to wake up even before the first alarm goes off. Also have you clothes already laid out and ready to go the night before, and a quick pre workout snack and you're ready to go.

2: Put it in the calendar as a meeting- Make a meeting with yourself. Schedule this time into your day make it a part of your morning routine, like brushing your teeth. If it's in your calendar, or on your to do list it is an appointment with yourself you can't miss. I know it might sound crazy but what you see is what you do. if you write it down somewhere that you see often you will remember to complete this task!

3: Fill your phone with inspiration to motivate you- This is one that some could find intimidating or upsetting but I use it as motivation. As I scroll through Instagram every once in a while I will take a screenshot of another fitness gal that I love her workout, or a positive quote she has, or even just the way that she looks to motivate myself to achieve that and push myself to be my best. Here are a few ladies I follow if you're in need of a little more inspiration.

Gofitjo: I also did a blog post on her here which was so damn inspiring!

rrayyme

Healthylivingdreams

4: Have a workout partner- Having someone to hold you accountable is always key even if it's just you partner or friend checking in on you to make sure you're getting in the gym. Working out with a partner is even more fun and motivating if you can sync up schedules with a friend or spouse. I love working out with Chris because we push each other to do 1 more set and even just motivate each other to get to the gym.

Blissfully Lively Gym Workout

Falling off track.

Everyone falls off track and if you do that's ok, but don't allow that 1 day, or even 1 week to turn into more days and weeks. Everyone has times where they can't make it to the gym we're all human and it's bound to happen because the way I look at fitness is it's a marathon not a sprint. Take it one day at a time and treat it as a lifestyle. If it is looked at as a fad or a "quick fix" sort of thing you will never start.

It isn't easy, it's simple.

Simple movements, simple dates with yourself, & simple motivation to get you to where you want to be. It's back to basics thinking and hard work that will get you to achieve any goals you set out to. I hope these few steps that I take to get myself to make working out a priority will help you!

Follow along on Instagram for snippets of my daily workouts or check back here for full length videos. I hope to be a source of inspiration & motivation that makes people want to check into the gym and kill it each and every time.

Blissfully Lively Doing a Handstand

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren

 

The whole body workout you need to add into your routine

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trx whole body workout It's no surprise I love TRX!

I mean I teach it, add it into my own workouts at home & boast about it on the regular to so many people. I talk about it a lot on Instagram even sharing some at home workouts using the straps so I thought I would break down why I love this whole body workout so much.

  1. It works the whole entire body
  2. You can modify every move to meet your skill level
  3. A lot of the exercises are back to basics moves but heightened

TRX whole body mountain climbers

TRX is a strength workout that manipulates your own bodyweight leveraged by straps to create moves that are right for you. Because you are suspended in mid air and a bit less stable then say all fours on the ground in a push up position a lot of these moves require balancing and stabilizing yourself (which means you're working your whole body (tightening to stay stable) without even really knowing)

TRX whole body burpee

{Please ignore my painful face, these are seriously HARD}

Take a TRX burpee for example you start out with one foot in one strap facing away from the anchor (wall). Now you're balancing on one foot with the other in the strap. You now bring your hands down to the floor on either side of your leg  in push up position take that balanced leg bring it out straight into a plank, and stand right back on up (include a one legged jump for difficulty). Woah doesn't seem too hard but when you think about it you're balancing on one leg the whole entire time putting all your bodyweight on that leg and tightening all your muscles to keep everything stable so you don't fall over.

If you compare this to a regular burpee yes those are hard but you have two legs to stabilize yourself! & this is why I love the workout, adding a little extra difficulty to simple moves.

whole body bicep curl

I also love how you can manipulate any move in the straps to be at your level. Say you are doing a TRX Bicep Curl facing towards the anchor (the piece that the straps are connected to in the wall). Your arms are fully extended and you're curling them up to your ears and slowly lowering back down. Now the trick to make it just right for you is feet position.

If you move your feet towards the anchor (wall) you're putting more of your weight into the straps making it harder, and if you move your feet away from the anchor (taking a small step back) you're putting less of your weight into the straps making it easier. Little movements are always key.

TRX whole body straps workout

I sometimes have clients that come to my class and think the straps look intimidating but once they understand they can manipulate their feet to create whatever difficulty they would like it makes a world of difference.

The back to basics simple strength moves that become more intense is where it's at! Don't even get me started on all the amazing TRX Ab Moves, We'll save that one for next Wednesday!

I hope this helped explain a bit, and if you're really intrigued I would love to see you in my class Monday nights 5:30pm Mission Portsmouth.

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren

--

Looking to be challenged a bit? Check out my at-home workout!

The One Ab Move That Works It All

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ab roller workout When I say works it all... I MEAN ALL! This one move will leave you absolutely shaking, and that's why I love it. The Ab roller used to be something I would always over look turning to sit ups or toe touches to work my core but recently i've been all about it.

I love it because you're stabilizing yourself and using every single muscle instead of just targeting your core by doing a sit up. The ab roller reminds me of why I love TRX so much because it isn't a targeted workout. It won't just work one area of the body, it works the whole body, and we all know I love full body workouts.

More bang for your buck if I do say so myself!

I have started adding 3 sets of 10 into the end of my workouts and they totally leave me feeling accomplished. Give them a try but remember keep you body in plank position, no sagging hips or arched back. Keep it all tight, and if you can't roll all the way out on your first try and keep good form only go as far as you can. Form is most important, practice that first and more reps will come!

https://youtu.be/YcPWQiYA5Cw

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren

Looking for a healthy post workout snack? Check out my Mixed Berry Green Smoothie recipe to fuel you.

The Truth About Workout Quick Fixes

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strength training workout Let's chat about workout quick fixes. You know them, the 30 minute workout, the incredible shake, the contraption that can do it all and "make you lose 15 pounds in one month" sort of thing. I wanted to chat about this on the blog because the last few months I have been seeing them (not going to name any company names but they're a big one and they're taking over the fitness game) pop up more than ever, and I just can't hold in how I feel any longer.

I'm super lucky that I have this space to be able to make a change (at least I hope) and I wanted to broach this topic because honestly I think it's unfair to the women of the world that really do want to make a positive fitness/ health change in their life, but might not have the background knowledge to know what will actually work.

All too often I am scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and come across these people selling fitness workouts, or fitness drinks showing a photo of themselves looking (in shape, ripped, whatever you want to call it) making the consumer believe that they will look like this if they do this workout, or drink this drink and let me just tell you that's false.

These people forget to give you a little background information which goes a little something like this. They use this drink/ workout to supplement something they are already doing and that something is definitely lifting heavy ass weight and working pretty damn hard for it. This can be in the form of anything from strength training, weight lifting, Cross fit, etc. But they sure as hell aren't doing 10 sets of flutter kicks in their living room to get a rock hard stellar bod.

Ugh sigh! I totally wish that was the case but it isn't and if you want that killer bod you need to put in the TIME.

This being said I want my blog, Instagram, etc. to be a space of motivation and positivity for people. I want people to come to my page because they know that what they see is what they get...what i'm promoting or talking about is real and will only lead you to hopefully becoming the best version of yourself.

so...

I am on a mission to post my real unfiltered workouts, the things I do daily (or weekly) to keep myself healthy and in the shape that makes me feel the best. In doing this I hope that it will motivate others to drop the random contraptions, short workouts, and shakes and pick up some weight and get after it!

Follow along over on Instagram and Snapchat (username: lbartlett12) for daily updates.

Here is my first unfiltered Blissfully Lively Daily Workout. Let me know what you think!

https://youtu.be/Yxf0VDlwrYE

  • 10 med ball slams
  • 30 second L-Sit holds
  • 5 trap bar dead lifts (this changes each week, weight and sets)
  • sprints
  • pull ups (as many as I can do)
  • Repeat 3x

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren

 

In need of some more motivation and good vibes? Check out my Interview with Holistic Health & Wellness Coach Holly of Conscious Dining & Conscious Wellness.

At-Home Rings Ab Workout

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At-Home Abs Workout With Rings Can we all just agree on how annoying it is to make the drive to the gym!? Even if you live 5 minutes from it (like me) it still creates an excuse as to why you can't/ don't want to work out.

I felt this ALL THE TIME!

Especially when I started my full time job. I didn't want to wake up extra early and drive to the gym to workout only to just drive home to shower and get ready, or have worked all day and then have to make a pitstop at the gym on my way home when it's crowded with everyone else!

Solution: We created a home gym.

Since creating our home gym I began thinking about adding a few at home workouts to the blog. I thought I would start off with 2 workouts a month and add more if people were enjoying them. These workouts will be created with little use of weights but still be very effective. I will also include some TRX moves for anyone with gymnastics rings/ TRX straps because they work the whole body and are my absolutely favorite moves (hello I teach it so i'm a bit biased but hey). I would suggest these rings, for $44 but if you're ok with splurging a bit I would suggest the TRX straps. Also there are a few TRX knock offs that do the trick Here & Here. Some of the TRX moves done on rings just don't work because they don't hold your feet in placement well enough, but they get the job done!

Anyway now on to the killer but quick rings Ab workout you can incorporate into any exercise plan!

At-Home Rings Ab Workout

https://youtu.be/hIFt99eqHQs

  1. 10 L-Sits with hip thrust X3
  2. 10 Weighted Sit ups with twist (or punch) X3
  3. 10 Plank tuck & frogs X3

Live Blissfully!

xo,

Lauren