Arm Fitness Series.

I’m in full Cabo prep mode which means I’m working my arm muscles multiple days a week to get them tone. I’ve been requested numerous times to share my fitness & yoga sequences so you all can do them in the comfort of your own home or on the road in a hotel room. I’m sharing an arm focused series today that can be paired with a cardio session or lower body series as well. I typically use 3-5 lb weights for the whole series but you can easily do all of these moves with a resistance band or no weights at all. Put on some tunes and knock out this set 3-5x depending on how you’re feeling!

Wearing:

  • Headband: Hello Headband
  • Sweater: Target
  • Pants: Fabletics
  • Socks: Cuddl duds (softest socks ever and lol at the different height in these photos – opps

Biceps

15 Reps of each:

  • Bicep full range curls [palms facing up]
  • Hammer full range curls [palms facing in]
  • W pulses [hands out to the sides and pulse out 1 inch]

Shoulders

15 Reps of each:

  • Goal post pulses [90 degree arms // elbows straight out to the side from shoulders // pulse up 1 inch]
  • Box pulses [elbows straight out from shoulders in front // pulse up 1 inch]
  • Straight arm pulses [wrist straight out front from shoulders // pulse up 1 inch]
    • Then Pulse in 1 inch

Back & Triceps

15 Reps of each:

  • Reverse flys full range [hinge from the hips with a flat back // arms straight out to a T and then release down in front of the shoulders]
    • Then Pulse 1 inch at the top [hands straight out from the shoulders]
  • Triceps pulses [Arms straight back behind you with weights higher than glutes // pulse up 1 inch]
    • Then pulse in 1 inch

After wrapping up however many sets you completed, finish off your arm workout with some deep stretching. I’m a huge fan of utilizing a yoga strap or resistance band to stretch out my muscles after this arm sequence.

I hope you all enjoy, have sore arms after, & have a fabulous day ahead of you!

I Didn’t Want to be a Teacher.

I’ve been teaching fitness and yoga for about 5 years now but I didn’t always have a desire to teach. Even after going through my first training, I still didn’t think it was for me. And to be honest on certain days I let Imposter Syndrome take over.

Well, that is a surprise isn’t it, since I absolutely love teaching fitness & yoga. But hear me out, I’m going to fill you in on my thoughts because maybe you feel the same way – and those feelings are totally normal and valid!

The Day to Day

As a current teacher, there are many days where I do not want to teach. And I hear the same from my other teaching friends! Showing up to a class as a student is a totally different energetic experience than teaching a class. Instructing a class is asking you to mentally, physically, and energetically be in a place that some days you’re just not! But that doesn’t mean you hate teaching or that you should stop.

Just this Monday I had a massive stress migraine from a weekend of unexpected stressful situations (aka almost losing my wallet and a broken phone) but had an obligation to teach my Monday night yoga class. I could’ve potentially requested a sub but felt I could still teach if my migraine didn’t get worse. I showed up and was fully transparent with my students that the class would be led a bit slower pace and we’d be diving into a long, juicy savasana at the end.

The students LOVED it. From the combination of my transparency and matching my energy with the style of class I would lead created the correct environment for a great class. Then I went home and went to bed before 8PM.

But this doesn’t always happen – there are many classes where I’m totally off. Where I am just not mentally and energetically ready to teach that day. This is going to happen but most days I still need to show up for my students so I’ve learned a few of my own tricks over the years:

  • Take a moment to step away from everything. Maybe that is in the bathroom, your car, or on your couch but you take a few minutes to yourself and focus just on your breathing.
  • I then choose a mantra like “I love teaching”, “I want to show up for my students”, “I want to lead an awesome class”. It can be as simple as that and then I begin to repeat that to myself as I’m driving to the class.
  • I normally have a coffee or pre-workout with me that I drink during my drive and I’ll choose an upbeat playlist for fitness or a yoga flow soundtrack if heading to yoga so that I begin to get in the right mindset.
  • I always aim to get to the studio with plenty of time to set up my space so I am fully ready for my students. If there is enough time, I’ll run through my class sequence to make sure the moves and cues are really top of mind before we begin class.

The Beginning

I shared a bit about my journey into teaching with my last post on the Benefits of Barre but before that I didn’t think too much about becoming an instructor. I was inspired by community classes and the teachers but thought that could never be me.

I’m enneagram 7 and really just took a leap into the Barre training years ago without actually considering it too much & the same happened a few years later when I was living out in San Francisco and signed up for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. But even as I was going through the trainings, I was overwhelmed by thought of actually leading my own classes. It’s super intimidating starting out because you’re being trained by instructors that have years of experience and you think to yourself “I want to be just like them!” But you’re simply not because you’re just starting out. You don’t have the years yet. Here is the secret though, you’re in the fun part!

I’m a hardcore perfectionist and I wanted to start out as the perfect teacher as well. I always want to impress people with whatever I do and I would like to believe that is most of us. Who wants to fail and have people see our mistakes? But when you’re starting out as a teacher, you’re going to make A TON of mistakes! And you’re going to continue to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, not give the best adjustment, or verbal cue, or even the right peak pose for every single student in your classes. What I decided to do a long time ago was to embrace it. Embrace all the awkwardness, all the goofiness, and all the funk because these experiences is what will lead you to your true teaching personality.

Maybe you’re the super soulful, insightful teacher or fun, goofy teacher or challenging teacher. And you’ll find your style with each class you teach. You just have to start.

The Now

I might not have wanted to always be a teacher but I can say I’ve always had a passion for fitness and connecting with others. For now, my barre and yoga gigs fill this cup for me. It might not be every day, week, or month that I feel inspired as a teacher but I always feel so grateful to be a part of each students health journey and that is truly what keeps me showing up.

If you’re going through a time in your teaching, maybe you’re a few years in or just starting out, and are feeling overwhelmed or uninspired, I’m always here to chat. And remember that with anything in life there are always ups & downs!

September Running Goal.

josh-gordon-fzHmP6z8OQ4-unsplash

How in the world is it already September? I’m honestly not upset about it though since I’m so ready for scarves, warm coffees, crockpot meals, and all the baking. And with a new month comes new goals!

In August I was able to hit my 100 km (62 miles) running goal and had a moment where I considered bumping September’s goal up to 200 km. After some serious thought, I think that would be too large of an increase for me so we’ll just aim to go over the 100 km mark this month.

I’ve mapped out my daily distances again if any of you would love to run along with me! I’m also tracking a lot of my daily progress on my new Twitter account for the blog @ashraeyoga – come join the party there for random Ashley thoughts and sweaty photos. It’s going to be a good month!

Sept Running

August Running Goal.

josh-gordon-fzHmP6z8OQ4-unsplash

I’ve been pretty quiet around here for the last couple weeks since Summer tends to get crazy busy every year and the time just slips right away from me. I’ve been more focused on getting outside while I can and taking full advantage of my free time since I have been teaching multiple yoga classes a week, Barre Teacher Training, and working full time. Fortunately and intentionally my schedule is clearing up finally! My Enneagram type 7 personality is a bit worried to have a more open schedule so of course, I’m already starting to fill it with goals I want to tackle in the upcoming weeks (like organizing my closet and improve my hair care routine).

Which brings me to my post today and my goal for August. I’ve recently dove headfirst back into my passion for running and decided its overdue for me to train for another half marathon so this month’s focus will be about increasing my distance and ultimately covering 100 km (~62 miles). I’m including my rough schedule if anyone else would like to join in!

For the forecast, I’m mapping out a lot more than 100 km to give myself flexibility in case the days I schedule my longer runs I’m just not feeling it. As always, I’m open to any tips and tricks to help complete this monthly goal. Let’s go!

August Run Plan

Home Work-Out Equipment.

Taking your home workout to the next level can be as simple as investing in some new workout equipment. I know this probably isn’t the best time to share this list since every store is sold out of workout gadgets but I also think it’s a great time to inspire others to pull out the set of weights or the band we have hidden in the closet. (Seriously, when we were in Walmart last weekend the weight section was completely cleaned out!)

My collection has been added to over the years for different items so my home workout routine doesn’t get stale and I can honestly say I use all of these items at least each week. Sometimes I find a really good deal at TJ Maxx or the local sporting store that I just can’t skip out on 😉 but for this list today, I’ve added all reasonably priced items from Amazon that all look to be in stock [when this post was created]. 

  • Yoga Blocks
    • I’ve found both of my at TJ Maxx. They do not match but I’m okay with that. One is heavier than the other so I will eventually invest in a matching pair but for the last couple years they have done the trick. Mine are foam but investigate the style of blocks you prefer. 
  • Roller
    • Another TJ Maxx find. I enjoy using my roller after a long run or an intense strenght training session for the upper body. 
  • Gliders
    • These Brooke Burke gliders came in one of my mom’s Fab Fit Fun boxes and I definitely had to snag them for myself. Here is a good set from Amazon. I prefer to use these for lunches or under hands during plank for an added core challenge. 
  • 5 lb & 3 lb Weights
    • A variety set of weights is the best way to make sure you have options to go heavier or lighter when needed. This set on Amazon is an amazing option. 
  • Bands
    • Great item to have for traveling! A light option you can throw into your suitcase or bag that still pack a punch for a good workout. Just like weights, I like to have a variety of strengths to have options during a workout. Another set from Amazon. 
  • Yoga Strap
    • This is my favorite tool to stretch out my hamstrings! Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other uses for a yoga strap but I have notoriously tight hamstrings and I try to work with the strap at least 2-3 times a week. I found on Amazon (are you noticing a theme) and this one has plenty of color options to choose from. 
  • Barre Ball 
    • If you are a barre fanatic like myself, than you know exactly what this piece of equipment is used for. It’s a love/hate relationship but definitely a workout necessity. Amazon find. 
  • Small Roller Ball
    • Another great restorative tool for rolling out tight areas in the shoulders, gluteus, throughout the legs, and bottom of the feet. Amazon find.  

I do have my eye on kettle bells and ankle weights but this list is more than enough to get your at-home workout off to a great start! Another great tip for fitness at home is to check out the endless resources available on Youtube. I have a strong theory that if you have a desire to get in-shape, you don’t need to shell out tons of $$. Here are a few videos I have tried out in the past that incorporate my equipment I recommended above. 

I hope you enjoy these suggestions & I would love to hear what equipment you have at home that you can’t live without! 

 

At-Home Favorite Workouts.

While everyone is staying home during this time, I have received requests to share recorded material of my yoga and barre sequences. I’ve dabbled with the idea because I do truly miss teaching and connecting with my students.

But deep down in my gut, I know there are so many incredible teachers out there sharing their skills virtually at the moment (seriously, we are being spoiled right now). I selfishly have been taking this downtime to be a student again and I also want to allow these other teachers to truly shine. I can’t believe I am able to take class again with some of my favorites from San Francisco as well as finally indulge in some long-obsessed-over other teachers!

So I thought instead of sharing my own material, I would provide a list of resources I’ve been taking advantage of to support (& you should too 🙂)

  • Barre Forte: If you’ve been around here a bit, you know I have a deep love for Barre workouts. I’ve been going through my local studios to stream online classes and they. do. not. disappoint. They are offering a great discounted offer for new students!
  • Mary Beth LaRue: A fellow yogi that I have stumbled across on Instagram (@marybethlarue) during my student retreat (what I’ve begun to call it). I believe I actually learned of her streaming offers through Sol Rising’s stories since he’ll live DJ some of her classes (yes, it’s pretty yummy). Her classes have truly been a treat for me!
  • Touchstone Live Fitness: They have been sharing a TON of great variety of options (not just yoga) on their Facebook page and I’ve been enjoying taking Samantha Feinerman’s yoga classes. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while now (@sunandmoon_asana) so it has been so lovely so experience her teachings.
  • Arielle: Another fellow yogi and Coloradan, who I’ve also been following on Instagram for some time (@arielleshipe). She has shared a few different free options and live yoga flows on her platforms or else she has previous recordings of sequences as well.

These have been my quarantine favorites lately but there are definitely a ton more amazing resources out there! I’d love to hear what you’re doing at home to stay sane, fit, & healthy. Share with me in the comments section 🙂

How to Prepare for a Morning Work Out Class.

I’m not going to lie, I am one of the worst about getting up in the morning for working out. I claim to be a morning person but when it comes to working out in the morning, I am not that type of person!

Low and behold, I am trying to turn over a new leaf. So whether you are trying to hop over to your gym, tie on your sneakers for a sunrise jog, or getting into an early workout class then we’re in this together.

With anything, a morning work out can be made easier with some helpful tips and tricks. I’ve compiled a few different things that normally help me roll out of bed a little easier before the sun has started to shine.

  • Set out your work out clothes. If you already have them laid out, it is much easier to slip into them instead of spending time picking out what you’re going to wear.
  • Even better, wear your work out clothes to bed. I do this all the time and I am not ashamed one bit.
  • Recruit a buddy early on. This is probably one of the best tricks because you don’t want to let the other person down and now you have a reliablity partner to make sure you show up.
  • Set up a routine that is easy to stick to and not intimidating. If you’re signing up for 5AM CrossFit but you’ve never hit up a CrossFit workout before or you’re aiming to run 6 miles and you’re not in shape to run 1, then you’ll more than likely talk yourself out of a work out that doesn’t sound enjoyable. Find fitness routines that spark interest and a little be of excitement maybe; Hot Yoga, Zumba, Sunrise Hikes. Start simple and then expand the horizon.
  • The night before, prepare a quick healthy snack before you leave the house. A workout on an empty stomach is no bueno, so prepare a protein bar or piece of fruit you can munch on your way.
  • Prepare your breakfast in advance as well. You’ll probably be in an early if you’re coming home between your work out and work so have a healthy meal ready so you’re not scrambling.
  • Set an alarm with a tune that will pump you up to get out of bed. The normal alarm sound is lame and super unmotivating. Set up an alarm that will blast some Sia or Beyonce. A tune that will get you jazzed to start your day off on the right foot.
  • And most important enjoy your workout once you’re there!

Namaste.