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Valentine’s Day Fitness Challenge!

Posted in Get Fit
on January 19, 2017

Well, everyone… we’ve taken down our Christmas trees (unfortunately), so you know what that means — time to kick it in gear for our 2017 fitness goals! The holiday fun isn’t totally over yet, though. As we’re approaching one of my favorite holidays, Valentine’s Day, I want to share a challenge that will help us get back into shape by getting rid of some of those extra Christmas pounds. (Or was that just me?)

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be tackling some different exercises to target specific areas, all while building upon what we learn each week. We want to invite you to take these weekly challenges alongside a loved one (husband, friend, mom, etc.) so you can not only keep each other accountable, but grow stronger together. I’ve also included some of my favorite verses for you to dwell on during your workouts to encourage you along the way. You can print this out and cut each individual challenge out to focus on one week at a time. Hopefully by the end, you’ll feel stronger both physically and spiritually.

Let’s get goin’!

P.S. If you’re joining us in this challenge, let us know by documenting your efforts with a selfie (or is it an “us-ie?”) using the hashtag #TFPVDayChallenge!
Week 1: Planking

A strong core is important no matter what your fitness goals are. One of the best exercises to target your core is by planking. Also strengthening the shoulder, quads and glutes, it really is an exercise that gives you more bang for your buck!  
There are endless variations of a plank. (A quick Pinterest search will give you lots of ideas!) For the purpose of our challenge, we will be sticking to the elbow plank, keeping your shoulders in line with your elbows and neck in line with your spine. To begin, time yourself, and see how long you can hold your positioning. Now here comes the challenge: do it three (3) more times for the same length of time.

Build up your stamina by repeating this workout three (3) more days this week, and see if you can increase your time by the end of the challenge.
Focus verses:

Day 1:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. | 1 Corinthians 10:31

Day 2:
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. | 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Day 3:
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. | Philippians 4:13

Day 4:
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God. | 1 Corinthians 6:19
Week 2: Walking

Our cardiovascular health is another vital component of any fitness routine.  Getting your heart rate up, even just a little bit, on a regular basis, creates so many benefits for your body such as increasing both energy and metabolism (your fat burner) and making your body stronger to more easily heal itself. Walking is not only one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to add cardiovascular exercise to your schedule, but it’s also the perfect activity for relationship building. This week, challenge yourself and a loved one to complete three (3) walks of at least 30 minutes. Carving out time to make this happen is half the battle, but you’ll be glad you did it. And don’t forget to snap a pic with your #TFPVDayChallenge workout partner, and tag us on Instagram!
Focus verses:

Day 1:
So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. | 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Day 2:
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. | Isaiah 40:31

Day 3:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees. | Hebrews 12:11-12
Week 3: Cross-Training

It’s important to mix up our fitness routine to prevent injury and avoid boredom. (Boredom leads to lack of motivation, and well… nothing good comes from lack of motivation.) This week, we’re exploring cross-training which is simply another term for “shaking up your workout.” For example, runners often use other types of exercise to further strengthen different parts of their bodies besides their legs. The challenge for this week is to stick with what you did in Weeks 1 and 2 while adding the circuit workout below… You got this!
After your walks, try three (3) rounds of the following:

15 bodyweight squats
10 walking lunges
10 burpees
8 pushups
20 Russian twists
Focus verse:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. | Psalm 139:14
Week 4: Try something new!

This year, in order to avoid abandoning our fitness goals, let’s not get bored with our workout routine. In this final week of our #TFPVDayChallenge, we’re all about trying something new. The challenge here is simply to try a new class or form of exercise that you’ve never attempted before. Typically, gyms and boutique studios (with classes for barre, spin, dance, yoga, etc.) will let you try a class for free to see what you think. Search around and find something FUN that you’ve never done, grab your workout buddy, and give it a go!
You can catch a glimpse of some of these workout options by taking a look through our Tour de Fitness series from last year.
Focus verse:

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. | Proverbs 31:25

I always want you to be encouraged in your fitness journey by letting you know that I’m cheering you on! By taking these challenges, you’re choosing to care for your body well, a body that was given specifically to you by our God to take care of and use to serve Him well. So keep pushing through and keep working hard for His glory! (And so you can indulge in some of that Valentine’s Day candy guilt-free!)

Are you joining in on the Valentine’s Day Fitness Challenge? Leave a comment and let us know below! 

She is Strong: Better Together

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca
on September 27, 2016

We’re better together.

We hear it in songs, we see it in ads and campaigns and read about it in inspirational social media posts. Scripture specifically speaks to it as well in many passages throughout God’s Word (Proverbs 27:17, Hebrews 10:24-25, Romans 1:11-12) — there really is something to this resounding concept of good ‘ole community.

With this month being The Front Porch’s first birthday, I want to reinforce how healthy it is to have a “partner in crime” when it comes to our fitness goals. Community is so critical, and sometimes even I forget that one of the best places we can find it is in a workout partner!

Over the years, I’ve compiled quite a long list of workout ventures. I’ve run, spin (Or would it be span? Good grief, grammar!), and even yoga-ed. I’ve worked out alone, and I’ve taken (and taught) group exercise classes. In everything I’ve done, I can truthfully say that, without a doubt, I feel best and most consistent in my workout routine when I have someone meeting me at 6 AM to run or calling me up and asking, “Hey we’re taking yoga tomorrow, right?”

There’s an encouraging reason why that works for me. Community makes a difference and that accountability pushes me further because I know someone who cares is doing it alongside me, fighting the same struggles and striving for the same prize. It keeps me going.

  Two are better than one,

    because they have a good return for their labor:

   If either of them falls down,

    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV)
What a powerful Scripture that can carry over into so many areas of our lives. Here are a few things I have learned about community and accountability specifically in my fitness journey:
  1. I don’t always want it. Sometimes it’s hard to get up at 5 AM or finish a run when you feel like you’re dragging. But what I know about myself (and hopefully you can relate) is I’m 100X more likely (those are pretty good odds) to finish that workout if someone is running alongside me.
  2. But I always need it. Some of the best moments of encouragement I’ve received is during a workout with a friend. Find someone that you can set realistic goals with and begin encouraging one another during your workouts so you can achieve those goals together. 
  3. It’s a lot harder to give up without it. If left to run before the crack of dawn on my own, that snooze button will almost always get the better of me. However, if I know someone is counting on me to workout with them,  I might be five minutes late in the mornings (Sorry, running buddies… you know it’s true), but ultimately, I will be there. I won’t “stand up” a workout partner. Having a buddy automatically creates a space for accountability that wasn’t there before. It’s a new layer to a friendship and often a lifelong “common ground” you get to share with someone.

As we celebrate TFP’s birthday, I would encourage you to find a buddy and go do something active. Take pictures of your run, walk or workout class, and tag us on social media using #TFP or #TFPSheIsStrong!

She is Hydrated

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca
on August 29, 2016
We all know the importance of water. We need it to drink and for cleansing, we need rain to replenish our land, and we need the ocean for free therapy because life can be just flat out tough.
Water cut the Grand Canyon, water can power electricity, and water can make everything grow. In fact, there is no living being on earth that does not need water. If you are alive, water is imperative for you to survive.
With that in mind, let’s dive into a topic we’ve brushed the surface of in the last couple posts – hydration! I would argue that hydration, especially in the warmer months (May through October-ish) is one of the most important components of your nutritional journey.
When we are dehydrated, several things happen to our bodies — we lose energy, can get nauseous very easily, our workouts are not productive, and our skin gets dry. Hopefully, one of these side effects is a good motivator for you to grab that bottle of water before leaving the house in the morning!
Here’s a few tips to manage your hydration level throughout the day:
  • Throw in some flavor! If you’re like me, sometimes I have to shake up what I drink and water doesn’t always cut it. There are so many options to infuse our water that we could never possibly get bored! Try adding your favorite fruit, citrus or herb!
  • Try electrolyte tablets. Want a little extra “something something” in your water for your tough workout but Gatorade isn’t your thing? Try Nuun tablets! These are electrolyte tablets that dissolve straight into your water, replenishing those electrolytes you lose during exercise. (Some even contain caffeine to keep your energy up!) They come in several yummy flavors, and I often use them during long runs on the weekends. Give ’em a try!
  • Ice, ice baby! So you push through the summer heat for a run, take a shower and still CANNOT cool down. Why is that? When we expose ourselves to extreme heat, it can take a long time for our bodies to cool down and our metabolisms to chill out. When that happens, try drinking a glass of ice water — it will help you re-hydrate and regulate your core temperature.
  • Always have that H2O with you! Choosing to keep a water bottle with me as much as possible makes such a difference in my hydration level. Days that I drink only during meals, I feel very sluggish and dehydrated. However, when I’m consistently carrying a refillable glass bottle with me throughout the day, I’m almost subconsciously reminding myself to keep hydrated. It’s such a simple and helpful trick!
As we keep pushing forward with our end-of-summer workouts, let hydration be the secret weapon for our energy during the day and in the gym!
And as we go about the rest of our days, let’s remember that there is only one true Living Water that can satisfy. It is only through Christ that our souls’ deepest thirsts can truly be quenched. In John 4:14 (MSG) Jesus says, “Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst — not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
Drink that in for just a minute. Artesian spring… gushing fountains of endless life… What could be better?
Soak up that Living Water our Lord and Savior so freely pours out. Only He can truly sustain.


Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot! – Staying Cool in Your Summertime Workout

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca
on August 10, 2016
So last time we talked about the challenges of getting in a good morning workout, but what do you do when these sizzling summer temps kill your motivation to exercise? You keep going, of course, and I’m here to bring you some ways to beat the heat while staying in shape.
  • Find a pool! – If you love to swim, find a pool and tread some water! On average, a person burns about 350 calories after 30 minutes of treading water in the deep end. (Awesome, right?!) It will keep you cool and is a cardiovascular workout that will engage your entire body (especially your core).
  • Hydrate! – DO NOT wait until you feel thirsty to drink fluids. By that point, you are likely already entering into dehydration mode. Our bodies require a daily intake of 64 ounces (minimum) of water, and even more in the summertime months, so always carry a water bottle with you wherever you go this season. This will remind you to stay hydrated, and you will feel the difference in your workouts. I like to use a larger bottle (usually 1.5 liter Evian bottle) so I don’t have to refill it several times throughout the day. You can even set goals for yourself –take that 1.5 liter bottle, and try to drink two in one day (and if you’re not sure how much water is best for you to drink, consult your doctor or nutritionist for more info)!
  • Space out your meals appropriately. – There are few things worse than going outside in the scorching heat for a workout right after you eat and feeling the effects of whatever you had for dinner. (Fierce temperatures + full stomach = a fitness fiasco… Yikes.) So make sure to give yourself enough time before and after exercising for proper digestion. If you have to squeeze in a workout after dinner, give yourself a couple hours to digest your food, eat a smaller portion and eat a high protein snack after your workout!
  • Freeze a towel. – Prepare some washcloths or hand towels for a quick cool down by soaking them with cool water. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil (if you want), put them in a Ziploc bag and pop them in the freezer. After your workout, grab one and place it on your forehead or the back of your neck. It will feel AMAZING and will cool you down quickly!
  • Ice bathing. – Ouch…this is probably one of my least favorite tips because, honestly, I don’t enjoy ice baths! However, if you are a runner or enjoy cardio heavy activities, it is a great way to help repair small muscle tears that occur during long periods of activity and flush away toxins, all while cooling you off. A couple important things to know about ice baths:
    • > Everyone has their own “cold threshold” you will have to “test the waters” (pun absolutely intended) to find yours. Don’t go to the gas station and buy two 15-pound bags of ice and use it all on the first try. Try half of a large bag the first time, and feel free to add a little warm water if needed.
    • > Your toes are the worst part. Our toes are super sensitive so don’t be surprised if that’s the most difficult part of the whole process.
    • > Throw on a sweatshirt…and drink some hot tea.  An ice bath should feel more tolerable if you are holding something warm and have a thick layer on top.
    • > Don’t stay in there too long! There’s no reason to exceed 10 minutes in an ice bath. Set a timer on your phone and start with 5 minutes. Slowly work your way up to staying in the bath longer each time you complete a workout.
Hopefully these tips will help you stay safe, well hydrated and injury free this summer! So in the spirit of the 2016 Olympics, crank up those tunes, grab a water bottle, put your #PhelpsFace on, and get to work!

Hey neighbor! What are your favorite summer cool-down tips? Comment below and let us know! 

How to Love Your Morning Workout

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca
on June 17, 2016

We all know the benefits of exercise; jump starting your metabolism for the day, gaining extra energy, a stronger body, weight loss, a healthy heart, the list goes on and on. But you may not know the added benefits of morning workouts. From jump starting your metabolism for the day (that means burning extra calories all day long), to having extra energy all day and being able to enjoy evenings free to spend time with family and friends, working out first thing in the AM adds even more effectiveness to your regular exercise routine.

Now, all this “morning workout” stuff sounds great…at night. If you’re like me, when morning actually comes and it’s time to get up for my workout, it is extremely easy to press the snooze button. However, over the years I have learned some tried and true tips that will help us get that workout in long before the work day begins.

If you begin to implement these steps, after a few weeks you will find yourself more energized throughout the day and you will see your body growing stronger…and I even dare to say that you will begin to love those morning workouts.

So let’s hop right in!

Remember the buddy system. I know, I know – you probably expected me to say this one but, stay with me for a sec. We are all a little less likely to sleep in if we have a buddy we are meeting for a run or leg day at the gym. So find someone who has similar goals to you and will motivate you to get up and at it. Then, set up a schedule together ahead of time. This will help your mindset when you know a workout is already on your calendar. Plus, it has been proven that working out with a buddy highly increases your chances of sticking with your exercise goals and commitments. Accountability is key!

Set multiple alarms. This one might be silly but it helps me. I set multiple alarms one minute apart so if I hit snooze, I am reminded again in 60 seconds that it is time to get up! Choose a fun song to wake up to or add a motivational quote into your alarm so you remember why you’re making the extra effort, even when you don’t feel like it.

Pack your gym bag the night before. Try packing and laying out everything you will need the next morning: clothes, work bag, lunchbox, shower essentials, headphones, and even the snack you’re going to eat before your workout. That way, if you’re like me in the morning and are in zombie-mode after first waking, you can grab everything and be out the door to your workout without even thinking.

Snack prep tip: I meal prep the night (or even a few days) before. My favorite is to make sweet potatoes by baking and peeling them and then cutting them in half. It gives me a quick snack before I head to the gym and helps boost my energy in my workout. A banana or boiled eggs on toast are also great options as well.

Get those zzz’s. This one is short and simple – if you don’t get enough sleep it will be extremely difficult to get up in the morning and get to the gym! A good workout starts the night before with adequate sleep. So go to bed with enough time to get good rest, you know you’ll thank yourself in the morning!

Consistency is Key. As we all know, it takes a while to form a habit. Try getting up to work out at the same time each day for a month. It might seem like a lot to commit to, but it will help you get in bed earlier each night and your body will get used to waking up at the same time. Before you know it, it will be a part of your routine and you’ll begin to enjoy it. Challenge yourself and follow through, you can do it!

That’s it! Easy enough right? Don’t be discouraged if it is really hard to get in a routine. Habits and lifestyle changes take time! However, when the going gets tough, remind yourself of the benefits you will be reaping and keep your goals in front of you. Remember, each day you hop up with that alarm is another day you are becoming more disciplined and stronger.  It is SO worth it the yawns when you first get up! Trust me! 

“for God bought you with a price. So you much honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

Do you want to love your morning workouts? Comment below and let us know which tip you’re most excited to try out!

The Marathon

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca
on May 13, 2016
There were 4.5 months of training that led to that big, pink “START” sign hanging above my head as my whole body shivered in the t-shirt I had designed for one of the most meaningful days of my life. It was a little overwhelming to think about all the time, energy, money – and quite literally – blood, sweat and tears, that went into that moment.
So as I stood there with adrenaline pumping through my veins, me and Jesus had a lot to celebrate. I had committed this race to Him long before I started training and we had come pretty far together over those 4.5 months. (562 miles to be exact – from October 1st to February 14th.) I had a lump in my throat as the National Anthem was sung, and when the gun went off and pink confetti flew in the air, the feeling as I started my fitness tracker and took my first step was almost surreal.

The race started and, to be honest, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary about the first 10 miles, other than trying to calm my nerves down so that I wouldn’t start out too fast. There was a ton of support along the streets, and by around mile 4 I was running along the beach looking up at the most beautiful day.

Somewhere between mile 10 and 11, I saw my first familiar face screaming my name as I passed by, extra blue Gatorade in hand ready to refill my water belt and cheer me on for about half a mile. A close friend came with me to Jacksonville and rode a shuttle along the way to see me at this stop. I greeted her with a smile and was able to talk a little bit before she turned around to head back to the bus and go to the next stop.

At mile 18, it was a different story. My quads were starting to get tired and I was starting to feel the effects of going about 15-20 seconds per mile faster than my coach told me to (sorry, Robin!). I saw my friend again and she cheered for me and gave me a high five. She asked how I was doing. “Tired,” I said, “just talk to me. I can’t say much.”

Between mile 24 and 25, my friend sent me a photo message of the finish line. Almost instantaneously, I could also see the finish line in the distance. I continued climbing up the bridge, and since I was running in a race against breast cancer in honor of my Mom, I got way more emotional than I had anticipated (let me tell you – running, drinking water and crying is NOT a good combination).  On the bridge they had inspirational signs posted. Amongst these were other posters of women who had beaten breast cancer. And, as soon as I pulled myself together from seeing a sign I had written on the day prior at the expo, a survivor passed me wearing a t-shirt that had the day she “finished” breast cancer on the back. So.many.emotions. I was a wreck.

I realized I had saved one of my favorite worship songs for this point in my race. I saved it because I wanted to listen to it while I was gazing out over the most beautiful view of Jacksonville. I turned it on as I ran down the other side of the bridge and I got overwhelmed as the song reached its bridge… “He who was and is to come is the One who lives in us. The Great I Am, Yaweh.”

The Lord used those timely words to carry me to the 26-mile marker and eventually to the finish line. God quickly reminded me exactly who it was giving me the strength and grit to persevere and finish in the first place. I saw mile 26 and looked up and saw the finish time clock. I gunned it and was able to finish with a good stride and a smile on my face. As soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch, it was all worth it. 4 hours, 24 minutes and 37 seconds. The Lord had given me the opportunity to do something I didn’t know if I would ever quite have the guts to do. And as the woman put the medal around my neck, I don’t think she had any idea the significance of that moment.

I will never cross the finish line of my first marathon ever again. It was simply me and Jesus in that race. And it is a memory I will never forget. 

My encouragement to you is this: stop staring at your bucket list and check something off this year. 

Is there a goal, dream or desire that the Lord has placed on your heart? Is there a comfort zone He is wanting to take You out of? Is there a hobby or activity you want to begin so You can share Jesus with a whole new group of people? Ask Him to give you the courage to begin something You know he has asked you to do. Then commit Your ways to Him, soak it in and go there with Jesus, then make memories with Him that will last a lifetime. 

What is a bucket list item or dream you want to start working on? Comment below and let us know! 
To read Rebecca’s full marathon post and the story that lead up to her race, click here!

The 26.2 Life

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca
on January 15, 2016
Hello again! I hope your holidays were filled with loads of yummy food, precious family and friends, and time to reflect on the true Reason why we celebrate. Now that the tree is put up and the mantle is cleaned off in anticipation for spring, it’s time to evaluate our fitness goals for 2016, and I’d like to spend today talking about one of mine.
I’m penning this post with a cup of hot tea in my hand after taking a hot bath in Epsom salt. Why Epsom salt, you ask? Well, I’m sore. Seems to be a trend these days. See, I’m training to run a marathon, and I had my second 18-mile run yesterday. My shins, quads, and even the muscles I forgot I had are feeling this one. It’s become a love-hate relationship, me and my long runs. Today is one of those days when… I’m kind of over it.
Yes, I realize that’s not exactly the positive, inspirational attitude booster you would expect as we discuss goals, but I just want to be real here. And if you’ll allow me to do that, I want to share a few things I’ve learned on my quest to the big “26.2” that I hope will encourage you as you pursue your goals this year.
You’re not always going to want to.
There’s a reason it’s called “reaching your goals.” They don’t come to you, and they don’t come easy. I wish I could say I wake up each morning full of energy, singing Eye of the Tiger (clearly my choice of jam, always) while I dance through the kitchen on my way to running practice. But the opposite is usually true, more often than not. Sticking to a goal is tough. Achieving that goal can require even more hard work and perseverance than you initially expect, especially if it’s something brand new to you.
You’ll never regret it if you do it. You’ll always regret it if you don’t.
When I don’t get up before work and get my workout out of the way, or when I decide that indulging in a Sonic milkshake would feel better than training… I ALWAYS regret it. Not one time in all my years of running have I finished a workout and thought, “Man…I really wish I would’ve skipped that!” In fact, I walk away feeling accomplished, motivated and ready to conquer the rest of my day. I find encouragement knowing the benefits outweigh the burdens.
It WILL be worth it at the finish line.
Since I began training for the 26.2 with Donna last October, I have seen a lot of miles, done a lot of stretching and foam rolling, cross-trained, and eaten lots of protein for recovery. There have been days where I laid in bed and asked the Lord why He put it on my heart to set such a tough goal for myself, and, without fail, He reminds me what it will feel like to cross the finish line of my first marathon. (Plus, I can finally get one of those fancy 26.2 bumper stickers!)
Race training really has been a up-and-down process — there’s days I feel like it and days I don’t. And that’s okay. The important thing is that I just keep going. So whatever aspiration the Lord lays on your heart, pursue it diligently, faithfully and hopefully. You won’t regret it!


25 for 25

Posted in Christmas, Get Fit, rebecca
on November 27, 2015
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Wasn’t Thanksgiving wonderful? I am stuffed to the gills with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and pecan pie. Yum! Now, there is nothing wrong with indulging every now and then, but we can’t live that way every day. We need to get back on track today!
So, I have a challenge for you – #TFPs25for25!
There are 29 days until Christmas (!!!) so I challenge you to do a 25 minute workout for at least 25 of those days leading up to Christmas. That gives plenty of days to get a good workout in and still have a few rest days.
The point is for you to simply get your heart pumping for 25 minutes each day, so the workout options are endless. You could run, bike, walk, hike, go ballroom dancing, do aerobics, or play tennis. Just do something to get active!
Time is the biggest excuse we use for not being able to get active and keep our bodies healthy. So I did a little math. We each have 1,440 minutes in each day. Twenty-five of those 1,440 minutes equates to 1.7% of your day. That 1.7% of our day, however, will reap benefits that will transcend far beyond 2% of our day, it’s worth it. We can do this!
Still, If your life is a little too crazy right now, we would still love for you to join in on #TFPs25for25. Just try to add anything into your routine – whether that be a few jumping jacks, a quick one-mile walk/jog, or a 7 minute hiit workout. Something is better than nothing!
Grab a journal or download the MyFitnessPal app and log your workouts (and even your calorie intake, too, if you would like). I keep a journal of my workouts so I can see how many miles I run each year and it is very encouraging to see how far I have come! Once you start doing the same, you will be encouraged, too, and it will help you keep going.
Lastly, we would love to hear if you are going to join our challenge and how you are going to stay active this holiday season! Keep us updated by shooting us an email or hashtagging a photo or tweet on social media using #TFPs25for25.

Good luck and keep sweating!

Let’s Dance!

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca, tour de fitness
on November 20, 2015

Today Tour de Fitness is headed to swing dancing class! There is a Swing Dance Association (funnest association ever) in my town, and I bet there is a group of some sort in your city as well. Although my class is located on a university campus, everyone is welcome. On Wednesday nights students and adults alike lace up their dancing shoes to either take beginner, intermediate or progressive level classes. It feels like stepping straight into a movie scene from the 20’s and it’s so much fun.

My two left feet and I started out in the beginner level, then after 3 or 4 classes, I felt comfortable enough to move up to the intermediate level. A few more intermediate classes and I danced myself right into the progressive lessons!

Here’s what to expect in your first beginner class: learning simple movement patterns that make up the foundation of swing dancing. The main basic we learned was how to be “light on our feet,” which essentially means moving from foot to foot, shifting weight, and letting our bodies move our feet with ease. We also learned fun movements like triple steps and rock steps.

Typically, the lessons last 30-45 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to get the new steps and movements down pat. Then the fun starts! All 3 classes come together on the dance floor and anyone can ask anyone to dance and practice their new moves!

Dancing with everyone after the lesson is my favorite part because you get to put everything you just learned to practice while learning from others that you are dancing with. Plus, you get to watch some pretty incredible dancers who have been “swinging” for years!

My favorite thing about swing dancing, though, is getting to meet new people. By being open to dancing with anyone, you can make new friends in a fun and unique environment. Beyond that, as followers of Christ, we are called to be prepared to share Jesus with anyone, anywhere so, who knows, you may have the privilege to share your faith or encourage someone in Christ who may never have been to church.

My class is only $2 for beginners and intermediates, and $5 for progressive classes – which is a steal for the instruction that you get! Don’t be afraid to try something new, although I felt I had a rough start to swing dancing, I stuck with it and caught on after a few weeks.

If you’re interested in swing dancing but not sure where to start, just Google a class in your area, grab a few friends and try it out! It’s a great workout, you can burn up to 400 calories in an hour! The great thing is, though, you’ll be having so much fun that you will actually enjoy the cardio burn (take that boring ol’ elliptical)!

Exercise has numerous benefits, and our body is the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), so it is important to make the discipline of exercise a priority! Most people take a break from being health-conscious during the holiday season, but I challenge you to make sure you stay active. Your workout doesn’t have to be boring, you can find something active that you love. Who knows, that might just be swing dancing!

All About Barre

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca, tour de fitness
on November 13, 2015

It was a rainy Saturday morning as I pulled into the parking lot of the cutest, most hipster barre studio in Knoxville. Have you ever taken a barre class?

Barre is a popular fitness craze that has popped up all over in the form of studios over the recent years. It is a combination of ballet, yoga and pilates with part of the workout being on a mat and part standing at a ballet barre.

As I walked inside of my local studio, Neighborhood Barre, I instantly noticed the light and airy white tapestries hanging from the ceiling and gold chandeliers scattered throughout the studio. The wooden floors creaked as I walked barefoot (no tennies needed here!) to the equipment room to grab a mat, tubing (resistance bands) and hand weights. 

The music was fun and upbeat, adding to the already delightful atmosphere.  While the decor and atmosphere are great, the quality of the training and instructing is what stands out to me. The instructor at Neighborhood Barre (and other barre classes I’ve taken) walked around during the entire class to correct and tweak mistakes in form, insuring that you are doing each movement correctly. This is so valuable, especially if you are a beginner. It is important to make sure your hips are in alignment as well as ensuring that you get the most out of each movement while avoiding unnecessary injury. Starting something new can be daunting so an attentive instructor can help make all the difference, especially in regards to form.

The instructor walked us through each move which covered dance conditioning, weight training, and pilates. The poses and movements require control, strength, and balance, making the exercise hard but still a fun challenge. My class was around 50 minutes and ended with a nice cool down and stretch.

If you are looking for a low impact workout that is still very effective, I would highly recommend trying barre. Most of the movements are very small but deliberate and get your muscles burning fast. It is known for helping create lean and toned muscles while burning fat, so you can’t go wrong there! Barre also improves your balance, posture and flexibility. Although it is not a high intensity workout, you will still get great results if you stick to it.

Look around for a studio in your area and go try it out! Most, if not all, studios allow for a free first class so what do you have to lose?

If you don’t have a studio near you, or if you just want to try this out at first alone in your living room, check out Barre3’s 40 minute workout! This video will help you get started and also give you a good idea of what to expect in a standard barre studio.

Thanks for joining me in my most recent stop on my Tour de Fitness as I investigate all kinds of different workouts! To read about my experience at spin class, and also to learn about running and marathon training, check out my previous posts below! There are so many fun ways to get moving and active — let me know your favorite workouts or what you think of barre below!

Next up is swing dancing. See you then!