5 Tips to Keep Your Workout Challenging

June 14, 2013

How many times have you headed to the gym to do weights with really no goal in mind? You just hop from machine to machine, and leave feeling like you just had a so-so workout. This has definitely happened to me in the past, so I am going to share a few tips on how to keep your gym workouts interesting!

Come in with a plan

Ok, so this is kind of obvious, but so many of us walk into the gym blind. No plan, no time commitment – aka, not the best idea. Do some research before you go and write down what you want to do before you get there. You will find that you are able to complete a lot more exercises in a shorter amount of time since there isn’t much thought needed once you are actually working out. For a few idea, check out here, here, here, and here.

Workout Collage

Throw in some variation

I love completing a superset, and then hopping on a cardio machine for about 3 minutes of high intensity exercise. It helps to spike your heart rate and really makes a difference in the effort you put towards the workout. Think about it – if you have an hour to workout, add 3 minutes of cardio at the end of a couple of exercises – you end up having about 25 minutes of total cardio during your strength workout. That is a solid calorie blast right there!

Recruit some help

Personal trainers are at the gym for a reason. If you are unsure of how to use the machines or even how you should really strength train, hire a trainer for a few sessions to help you. Our jobs are to show you how to work out effectively, which includes varied routines and injury free sessions. It is a great investment if you really don’t know where to start, or if you are just looking to change it up a bit.

Change the plane

Exercising on a different plane than you are used to can really change the exercise you are doing. Going from a more stable plane (the floor), to a less stable plane (a foam pad, bosu ball, etc.), can really make you engage your muscles in a different, more effective way. I tend to do most of my exercise on a bosu ball to keep my core engaged the whole time. This makes my mid section much stronger, reduces low back injuries, and cuts down on the ab-isolating exercises I do in a workout session. Seems like a win-win to me!

Stability and Medicine Balls

Exercise with a friend

Have a friend that loves hitting the gym? Tag along with them next time. Just seeing how someone else travels through a workout can give you some more ideas of different and challenging exercises to do. Oh, and it is a lot of fun to chat through sets with someone – it makes the time fly!


What are some ways you vary up your workout routine?

Running with Jeff Galloway

June 12, 2013

As runnerds runners, there are certain names that we all know and love – Shalane Flanagan, Bart Yasso, Kara Goucher, and of course, Jeff Galloway. I had the chance to meet the legend on Monday night! FITniche hosted a run for Tampa residents to gather and learn more about Jeff’s Run-Walk-Run approach, go for a run with the Olympian, and just have a great time!

I got there a little bit before the start, and I had to chuckle as I saw many groups of runners, all heading towards the store. Everyone looked like they were on a mission!

Jeff Galloway FITniche 6

We all gathered as Jeff was introduced, and he was given quite the recognition as he began to speak. I found out through this event that there is a large Galloway group up in Carrollwood, about 25 minutes north of Tampa. It seemed as if they all came out to meet the man behind their training plans!

Jeff Galloway FITniche 2

Around 80 people showed up in total – it was a great showing! It was great to see so many people of so many different running abilities loving the sport. For the group run, most of the participants went ahead and completed the 3 miles with 30 seconds of running followed by 30 seconds of walking – aka, the Galloway method.

Jeff Galloway FITniche 3

It was a hot and humid night for a 5k, but it was great to be out with such an excited group of runners. The clouds were definitely building as we ran, and when I turned around and saw less than ideal dark clouds, I made sure to pick up the pace a bit and head back to the store.

Jeff Galloway FITniche 4

I opted to just run the entire 5k, rather than using the Galloway method. I see that it works for a whole lot of people, but it just isn’t for me. I would much rather run the whole way then break it up by walking. Here is the explanation behind the Galloway method, directly from the site:

“By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not.

Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.

Jeff Galloway FITniche 5 Once I got back to the store, I stayed to chat for a few minutes with some other runners, but had to head out before Jeff gave his presentation and answered more questions. I heard it was an amazing hour of interaction and all things Jeff Galloway! Thanks for taking the time to come to Tampa, Jeff! I know everyone really enjoyed spending time with you!

Jeff Galloway FITniche 1


Since I am on the topic of amazing running opportunities, how many of you saw this all over Twitter yesterday?



The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series and WESTIN hotels have teamed up to make the coolest job ever – the RunWESTIN concierge. The person chosen for the job will travel to 10 different races in the next 6 months, and be the liaison between the runners, the race, and the hotel. You only travel Thursday-Sunday, so it can easily be fit in to my schedule. So yes, of course I applied! It would be such a fun opportunity and I would be beyond excited to even be contacted for an interview. It is quite the rigorous interview process, which makes the position stand out even more.

RunWestin 2


Good luck to everyone else applying too! It is very exciting to see companies creating jobs to support this amazing sport. If someone would have said 5 years ago that this job would be out there today, I never would have believed them!

Do you use the Galloway Method, or do any sort of run-walk-run when you complete your miles? Have you ever seen a job like the RunWESTIN concierge?

Good Form Running Clinic

June 10, 2013

With my new business endeavor, I am working on growing my running coaching and personal training as much as possible. Included in growing my business is increasing my knowledge  as well. To do this, I decided to get a part-time job over at my local running store, FitNiche!

FitNiche is a specialty running store that gives knowledge as a gift to everyone who walks through the door. I think it is going to be the perfect fit for me, and I can not wait to learn anything and everything running shoes and gear! One of my new roles at FitNiche will be leading a running form workshop each month. I went ahead and attended one last week so I could see the way FitNiche teaches running form, so I can be consistent as possible.

Lee, the store manager, started off the class by showing a short video on good form, and walked us through it, step my step. He spoke about ankle position, mid foot strike, the placement of arms, and cadence – all which are essential to work together for good form.

FitNicheAfter he finished the video, all of the participants went outside to go ahead and run a few steps, so that Lee could critique their form, and see where they excel and where they need improvement.

FitNicheThe great thing about the running clinic, is the participants can also do a gait analysis right after the clinic if they think they are in the wrong shoe, or running incorrectly in the current shoe they are in. One of the participants took advantage of this perk, and hopped on the treadmill for her analysis.


She ended up getting a lot of the workshop and the gait analysis, as she walked away with a new pair of running shoes, perfect for her stride and the way her feet hit the ground pretty heavy.


If you are looking to critique your running form, there is a clinic at the Hyde Park store on the first Wednesday of every month from 6-7pm. I am going to be leading these soon, and can’t wait to put my own spin on the workshop, including different running drills to help your form.

Have you ever been to a running form workshop? What kind of shoe do you run in – neutral, light stability, stability?

Buffalo Pickle Chicken

June 7, 2013

Yesterday on Instagram, I posted this…

Crockpot pickle chicken

I went out on a limb to try something new, and luckily, it worked! A friend mentioned to me that soaking chicken in pickle juice makes it taste like Chick-Fil-A’s sandwiches, so that is where I found my inspiration. I’ve had shredded chicken mixed with buffalo sauce quite a few times, but I really wanted to stay away from what I always do. This recipe is super simple, and really only calls for a few ingredients:

Buffalo Pickled Chicken

Put everything in a crockpot, from the first ingredient to the last. Make sure the chicken is about halfway covered. If yours isn’t, just had a bit more buffalo sauce. Cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until the chicken pulls apart with a single fork.

Crockpot Chicken

I topped mine with a few more pickles at the end for good measure. If you are not a pickle fan, well, this is probably not the recipe for you. It doesn’t taste like straight pickles, but it definitely has the flavor.

Crockpot Pickle Chicken

I paired it with some sweet potatoes and a side of zucchini. I think when I make it for leftovers, I’ll probably make a sandwich out of it. Leftovers are always the best!

Crockpot Chicken Pickle

Hope you enjoy the recipe! It couldn’t be much more simple!

National Running Day: Top 5 Running Blogs

June 5, 2013

Happy National Running Day!  To celebrate, I thought I would share my favorite running blogs! These are much more running than healthy living, so keep that in mind. I’ll have to do another post on those 😉

See Mom Run Far

Erin is a  mom of 12, chasing her dream to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

See Mom Run Far

Shut Up and Run

Beth is a 46 years old mom, Boston finisher, and overall badass. Something she lives by – “I believe in holding nothing back. I believe in telling the truth. I believe in being real. I’m sure it offends some, but I’m also sure it resonates with more.”

Shut Up and Run

Running Toward the Prize

Megan started running two years again, and has since ran many 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, and most recently, her very first marathon. She is the co-author of a book all about RunDisney – Magic Miles – The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World. She also posts about her gluten-free journey after fighting many digestive issues.

Running Toward the Prize

Ali on the Run 

Ali started running in 2008 when she moved to NYC. She has lives with Crohn’s disease since she was 7 years old, but that doesn’t stop her. She has completed countless races, including a marathon back in 2011.

Ali on the Run

Fit Chick in the City

Jess is also a New Yorker, with over 14 years experience in the running industry. She has a M.S. in Exercise Science and Health Promotion and is incredibly knowledgable about all things active! Follow her for some amazing advice!

Fit Chick in teh City

What is the top running blog you like to read?

As for the Spartan Race Giveaway Winner, congrats to Seth! I’ll be emailing you with the discount code for the race!

Spartan Giveaway Winner


Spartan Winner