April Update

Spring 2022 is off to an excellent start. I really feel as if I am coming out of hibernation in a lot of ways; the most significant way is that this past year I was able to truly be more authentic that I have been in decades — maybe ever. I’ve been standing in my truth, speaking what I believe, and showing my real self even to people in my community. I feel very free.

This spring is meaningful. Firstly, we used some our refund to continue working on our garage-gym space. Finally! We began the project last summer but only got as far as cleaning it out before we ran out of funds. Currently, I am in the process of sealing and painting the space. I purchased some equipment and also some inspirational decor. Also, an air purifier and dehumidifier. We got materials to build a wall and door, and to finish the ceiling. That may be the extent of our funds for this season, but working on the space is exciting!

Phase 2 is coming along

We have been meeting our goal of going to the gym at least twice a week while we work on our home gym. I have been reaching or exceeding my 5-day-a-week workout goals every week. Posing on social media has helped to keep me motivated (FOLLOW ME @moonbodiesjournal and on Facebook).

FEATURED WORKOUT

Back Lunge and Step with single hammer curl

Compound exercises are a great way to elevate the heartrate and recruit several muscles simulaneously. This back lunge/single hammer curl combo is sure to ignite your quadriceps, biceps, and glutes — and don’t forget the core, which you need to stabilize.

Major Muscles Include

Quadriceps

Biceps

Glutes

Equipment needed

Dumbell

Follow my YouTube Channel here!

Fitness Journal | Back & Biceps

The last Fitness Journal that I posted back in December was also a back and biceps split, so I guess I am picking up where I left off, right?

I stopped recording my workouts for a time but I really do enjoy documenting them; it inspires me and requires me to take time to pay closer attention to my wellness in the process.

Watching the video back, I can see that using my phone will not cut it. I need to go back to using the GoPro camera that I used in previous content; also, I need to turn up my video lights. Oh well. Getting back to the grind is not always intuitive.

Workout of the Day | Legs and Shoulders Split

One of my favorite exercises this week came with my legs and shoulders split on Sunday. I finished my workout with some kneeling squats and internally-rotated bent front shoulder raises. This brought a fantastic burn. The rest of the split was also very good, with some curtsy squats, overhead press (not shown), goblet squats (not shown), clamshells, glute extensions, upright rows, and a tri-series of shoulder raises.

The workout lasted about 45 minutes.

Posting my workouts again feels good; it keeps me motivated and inspired. Enjoy!

Workout of the Week | Alternating DB Chest Press

Adding this alternating dynamic into a classic dumbbell chest press kicked up this exercise quite a bit. You have to do more stabilizing in the core. You will also feel the flexion in each arm a bit more because you have to deal with balancing the motion.

Tips

  • Check your elbows and do not dip them below your shoulder height or the top of the bench (if you’re using a bench)
  • You can do this exercise lying on the floor — that assures that your elbows do not dip down too low!
  • Go heavy! Make sure that your weight amount is appropriate for your actual strength. After a set, you should feel the burn

Free Class @Meta: Brainiac Step | Monday September 13 | 5pm EST

At Meta I offer one free fitness or yoga class per month, available streaming live. Free access to fitness and wellness classes encourages stronger community and also helps members of that community to feel braver in their bodies. That’s what Meta/Physical Studio is all about!

Join me on September 13, 2021 for 45 minutes of Brainiac Step: a high-energy choreographed aerobics class with inspiring music and memorable moves. The class is beginner-friendly — so feel free to come as you are! — and also good for experienced steppers.

What can I expect in the class?

Step aerobics is a group exercise class that utilizes an elevated platorm (a “step”). The movements mimic walking up and down stairs but with a dance-inspired twist for a high-intensity cardio workout. In Brainiac Step I build choreography with “blocking” so that each class has usually 4 blocks. I teach each block slowly and with clear instruction. The “grand finale” of class is putting the blocks together as a routine.

What do I need to take the class?

A step is recommended, although you can do the class without a step. Some participants use a yoga mat to indicate the area to “step” on and others just use the floor. All movements can be done on the floor. Also, feel free to use one or two risers under your step if you want an extra challenge.

You will also need:

  • a device to access the class (a PC, Mac, phone, tablet, etc.)
  • access to Zoom (it’s free)
  • a webcam so I can see you!
  • speakers that pair with the device you’ll use to take class
  • access to Moxie so you can sign up (it’s easy! just click on the class you want)

What does the choreography look like?

This particular session will be choreography for “Ground Control,” a Level 1 routine. Here is the “grand finale.”

But don’t get overwhelmed! You CAN learn step! Here is a break-down of the some of the moves that make up the blocks:

Three-Knee Repeater
Turn Step

Looking forward to seeing you on Zoom LIVE for this fun class!

Workout of the Day | Incline Push Ups with Side Plank

I love doing push ups on the incline, like using a step. I feel like I can go deeper into the chest and also sustain my movements more slowly. The incline makes the exercise a little bit more accessible for those who often go onto their knees for a push up. It also targets the chest differently, slightly. Adding the side plank at the top of the movement allowed for deeper engagement of the core.

Tips

  • Keep the elbows pointed towards the back/side of the room at about a 45 degree angle rather than straight out at the shoulder. This protects the elbow and shoulder and also targets the chest better.
  • Leverage your upper body weight toward the front of the motion rather than the back so that your weight is distributed over the work of the exercise.
  • Knit the shoulder blades together.
  • Keep a straight line from the crown of the head to the ankles.
  • Don’t overextend on the plank when you open your arm to the ceiling (like I did in the first execution).

Workout of the Day | Back Lunge Sequence

Lunges are wonderful when they’re done with good form! Anyone who has done a lunge with poor form knows the pain that can burst through the knee joint.

Today’s WOD is a lunge sequence using only body weight. It’s great to balancing and so the core is engaged, as well. The exercise targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute muscles, of course.

Move with grace

Step back into a lunge. Be sure that your front knee aligns with your front toes and does not reach beyond your toes. Aim to keep your knee back, tracking with your ankle.

Propel forward toward Warrior III posture, maintaining balance.

Drive your back knee up and forward.

Step back and gently place the leg into position for a back lunge.

Workout of the Day | Goddess Squat with DB Goalpost Side Bends

This morning’s Core Commitment class went well! It was my first virtual fitness class since I was sick yesterday for the grand opening — I know, right?!

There were a few tech problems during the class, which were frustrating. But after that was fixed, the class was smooth. I can still feel the burn in my abs and thighs and glutes as I type this post!

Standing Focus on the core

Today’s WOD is a Goddess Squat with DB Goalpost Side Bends. This standing core exercise primarily targets the transverse abdominus and the internal and external obliques. You need to engage your pelvic floor as well. The quadriceps and glutes and shoulders get a little pick-me-up with this exercise as they stabilize your body in the correct position.

Do the Exercise
  • Get deep into a wide-legged goddess squat. Be sure that your knees and toes face the same direction. Hold this posture throughout the exercise!
  • Lift arms into a “goalpost” position with elbows bent and palms facing forward. Try to keep elbows raised to shoulder height!
  • Keeping your hips still, bend to one side aiming one bent elbow toward the hip bone. Use the core muscles to stabilize the upper body.
  • For added intensity, reach the top arm overhead as you bend.

Enjoy the burn, my friends!

Workout of the Day | Core with Weighted Medicine Ball

My 12lb medicine ball has been one of my favorite purhchases for the home gym. It is so versatile! Today I used it for a thorough core workout that also targeted glutes, quadiceps, and triceps. Here are four exercises from the session.

Triceps push-up on medicine ball

Be sure to squeeze your elbows in toward your ribcage to full flexion and also back up to extension. Balancing on the ball made this super sweet!

Kneeling Lean-Back with twist

Adding the twist and the weight made this simple move fiery! Keep the chin slightly tucked and engage those abs!

Plank Roll Out

The dynamic movement of this exercise targets the entire abdominal region. Pull slowly all the way to back to kneeling and then roll out again.

Mountain climbers on medicine ball

Drive the knees forward (and also, perhaps, laterally toward the elbow) and keep a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Don’t let your butt creep up.

Which exercise did you like best?

Workout of the Day | Step Aerobics

Today I did a high-energy cardio workout! Step aerobics is light and fun, and I did my own routine to some excellent music. It lifted my spirits and got me primed for a great day.

I used sections of my routine to make quick how-to videos for my Step 101 YouTube Series, which I created today, I’m excited to say!

Today I did my routine “Ground Control,” which was a lot of fun. Here are some of the additions to my series:

It’s a lot, right!? The workout was stellar and the videos came out OK, too!

Workout of the Day | Biceps & Triceps

In this sweltering heat, I had to get in some movement early in the day. Rolling out of bed, I grabbed some equipment and hit my fitness space as soon as I could once my mom duties were in place and my child was into a morning project.

Biceps and triceps today! Here are just a couple of the exercises that I did:

Single-arm biceps curl with resistance band attached to kettlebell

2 sets of 20 on each side

I wrapped a resistance band around a 15lb kettelbell and did some traditional biceps curls, just doing one side at a time.

overhead Kettlebell Triceps extension

3 sets of 15

Using said kettlebell, I sat down for some overhead triceps extensions. Remember to keep your elbows in!

Concentration curl

2 sets of 20 on each side

This variation on the preacher curl was convenient! Sitting, legs wide, I took my elbow to the inside knee and used that as leverage.

Prone Triceps press and extension

3 sets of 15

I took my extension in a straight-arm variation here, and I took it sloooow!

Hammer Curl with side Variation

Here is your usual hammer-style biceps curl but I added in little joint rotation with a side curl variation.

Workout of the Day | Core on the Floor

I hit the floor today for some core exercises and while not all of my work is featured here, it was a luscious 30-minute burn!

Glute Kick-backs with resistance band

I kept my spine neutral as I performed some bent-leg glute kickbacks, engaging my core and flexing my feet.

Straight-Leg Glute lift and fire hydrant raise with resistance band

Using the resistance band on the fire hydrant raise was exceptionally wonderful, targetting my oblique muscles. Moving slowly through the motion brought some extra burn!

Cross-Body bar lift sit-up

The 20lb bodybar added a challenging dynamic as I sat all the way up and pushed the bar across my body.

Bridge with pilates ring thigh squeeze

My entire carriage was electric as I pressed up into bridge and squeezed the pilates ring.

Double Leg drop with reach-through

Squeezing the pilates ring while doing the double leg drop for the lower abdominals was a fantastic sensation, but the reach through the ring was what really drove this exercise home!

Side-lying double leg lift with knees to chest

I used the pilates ring for extra resistance as I squeezed it while lifting my legs in a side lying position and then driving my knees toward my chest.

Double leg drop with pilates ring squeeze

Adding those squeezes in the extended position of the leg drop was dynamic and tough!

Workout of the Day | Chest & Back

Chest and back workout in the books today as I continue my fitness journey from #mombody to #fitmom! I love lifting weights, and these sessions are so pleasurable for me. Take a peek at my routine today (some pics are missing, such as chest press with barbell and a few others).

Kettlebell romanian deadlift with single-side row

3 sets of 15

I did some asymmetrical strength work today, starting with this one. Rather than doing a single leg, which I did later, I just concentrated on the one-sided upper body workout. The row was not wide or narrow, but somewhere in between, targetting the lats and upper and middle back. Got some hamstrings, too, with the deadlift.

Single-Side Kettlebell Chest Press with Single knee lift

2 sets of 15 on each side

Keeping with the asymmetrical work I took the 15 lb kettlebell in one hand and did my chest press with a crunch from the lower abdominals. This compound exercise was dramatic. I loved it!

starbird with single-side kettlebell row

2 sets of 15 on each side

Speaking of compound movements, I followed up with a single-side row with the kettlebell tight to my ribcage while I lifted the opposite leg in a leg lift: good for glutes and lats!

Weigted Ball toss

3 sets of 50

I did not know that this exercise was going to be the toughest — that may be because I did 3 sets of 50!!!!! I know, right?! My chest was on fire…and my shoulders, too. It was a total win.

upright weighted bicycle with ball

3 sets of 20 between lifting sets

So, I snuck in a couple abdominal workouts while I gave my chest and back a rest. Here is an upright bicycle exercise I did with the weighted ball.

Pilates ring chest press and twist

2 sets of 10

I did these really slow and I wasn’t able to do a third set because the time under pressure in my chest was just absurd. Squeezing that ring while extending my arms turned out to be very challenging! It was fantastic.

3 Direction bent over raises

I loved the burn that this exercise brought! I moved very slowly as I lifted a 5lb dumbbell parallel with my head meridian, brought it back to center, lifted out in a traditional bent over raise, and then brought it back, and then extended toward the back of the room. My back was burning up.

standing starbird single-side row and lift

To round out my back work and improve my balance I finished with this move that really made me use a firm drishti. Success!

Summer Energetic Cleanse, Part I

I’ve done cleanses throughout my life for various reasons. This cleanse, coming in at the end of summer, is to clean up my energy by cleaning up my diet and allowing my energetic and physical bodies to process all the doubt I’ve been feeling.

Doubt!? What Doubt?


Embarking on a new project is daunting sometimes. As I settle into the idea of starting my own business, doubt creeps in occasionally. Doubts like:

Am I fit enough to start a fitness business?

Do I have the prowess to guide others?

Can I manage everything on my plate?

Will I be a positive role model?

On some days, the list could go on, my friends.

When I feel that doubt creep up, I try to look it in the eyes. Some of this doubt is warranted. For example, I will open my business in sync with the beginning of a new journey toward wellness. That means that I showcase myself in less-than-perfect form. I show my body at the start of a process. It looks like mom bod. Some people will expect me to look like a model.

For a recovering perfectionist, that’s a big deal!

But I take my time with myself.

Taking Time with Yourself

Ok, that isn’t always easy. For a type-A personality, taking time with anything — especially the self — can be a hurdle. It has been for me.

The truth is that when you show compassion for your process — the process that you really NEED — then getting the results that you want can take time. True, sometimes change is instant. I love THAT kind!

Oftentimes the kind of change that we can wear only comes after a long engagement to ourselves.

Today, in day three of my cleanse, some ugly feelings came up. Let me tell you about it.

Today’s Ugliness

Revealing my ugliness to others has taken me some practice but I think that sharing these glimpses of imperfection have helped me to grow in the way I desire. So, I share this.

This morning I did my daily workout. I loved it. I focused on shoulders and I thoroughly enjoyed my workout. I recorded myself doing the exercises with the intention of posting the videos on Instagram. I really LOVE this because I feel like I am reaching out for community and also offering inspiration. It fills me.

I weighed myself when I was done.

As someone with a history of disordered eating and body image who has (successfully!) battled various disorders, the scale is a mixed experience for me.

Usually I will do some affirmations or a chant I created to invoke a feeling of balance within before I step on the scale. But since I was doing the cleanse for two days already, I figured that I would like what I saw.

I didn’t like it.

The scale had climbed up on me.

It affected me hard because I had been focused on clean consumption and, even though I know better, I expected change immediately.

Self-digust and self-hate crept in. Now, this is a bugger that I know well and through the years I have developed tools to deal with her.

But I started hating on myself: squeezing my belly fat, puncing myself in the stomach, speaking mean words to myself, and having hateful thoughts toward my body, including harmful acts. I haven’t had such intense negative feelings about myself in years.

I let myself feel my feelings for a short time because in my experience, that is a necessary action so that I don’t “numb out.” Then, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that I have some tools at hand and that I can choose to use them if I wish.

Well, I did NOT wish.

So, I continued in a hateful spirit, knowing that I was making a conscious choice to do so.

After a few minutes, I reached a place at which I could use my tools. I put on more comfortable clothing first, because the clothing I was wearing made me feel fat. Rather than sit in it and feel bad for myself, I changed.

Then I looked myself in the eyes in the mirror and I repeated, “I want to take care of myself. Change takes time. I want to change.”

That brought on some tears because I knew that it was true. Very true. I also knew that it was hard sometimes. Very hard. So I felt that. Slowly, a space of compassion opened up.

My husband wanted me to talk about my feelings with him but I wasn’t ready. He sat with me in silence, just holding space for me. After a time, I was ready to talk about how I had felt.

There was a memory I had and I was surprised that it came to the surface. I was in 8th grade and my mom was taking pictures of me and my sophomore boyfriend before going to a semiformal. She said to me something like “suck in your gut, it makes you look fat.”

Huh? I was like, 115 lbs wet.

Wake up moment: I realized that this was the moment that I developed an disordred relationship with my body. My mom, who was obese at the time, body shamed me in front of my older, handsome boyfriend. I thought to myself at the time, “omg, if my mom, who is overweight, is calling me out like this, what do I really look like? What am I not seeing?”

And so.

No one, not my mom or anyone else, is responsible for how I feel about my body. I take complete responsibility — radical responsibility — for how I treat myself, how I feel about myself, what I do, etc.

BUT. For the first time in my long struggle, I think I pin-pointed the start of this problem in my life. It was not my mother’s comment, really, but more my willingness to open to the reality of that comment and accept it as my own.

THAT was a moment that I gave away my power.

It felt good to reveal this openly, just like it feels good to write about it now.

Our paths toward wellness may have a lot of speedbumps. But at the end of the day, I KNOW without a doubt that I make progress every single day. Sometimes that looks really ugly. I might feel like I am failing or flailing…but this is all part of that process. I am not going to postpone my dreams or my joy because I have ugliness.

I am going to reach a place at which even my ugly is beauty.

I am in transit.

Day 3 of a cleanse, apparently, is a time to clean house.