Category Archives: Equipment/Apparrel

My Favorite Things, Part II – TRX

One of my favorite new toys (as I like to call it, torture devices said by my clients) is my TRX . If you have never seen one or seen one and wondered how it could possibly help your workout, well let me tell you – IT IS AMAZING. I must admit that I was a skeptic for a long time. I would see other trainers using them and think, how in the world can you get a workout from that. Then, in March I went to IHRSA where I was able to sample. It took me less than two minutes to know that this was something that I needed to use and my clients would hate and love at the same time.

The TRX is suspension training. What is that? Well, in my words, it is a workout that uses your own body weight, suspended by straps to do a variety of exercises. It focuses on core strength with each and every move as the position of your posture can help to challenge you. There are modifications for each exercise that are controlled by the person doing the exercise.

The following are a few extra perks:

  1. Great workout for the whole body in 30 minutes – I love the fact that I can challenge my entire body in 30 minutes. I have several clients who come in for 30 minute sessions only of TRX workouts and leave feeling completely satisfied.
  2. You can take it anywhere – I have taken my TRX to the park, basketball hoop in my driveway, high school track, a tree, inside with the door attachment, pretty much anywhere!
  3. You are only limited by your imagination – while there are videos you can buy, hundreds of youtube videos to view, ideas from, I am constantly making up my own “cool-combos”, 40/40 or 20/20 challenges, adding the Bosu ball (see next week for more info on that), etc to challenge myself and my clients.

Here is a video  link of how I use it with my daughter for some swimming exercises:

I got the best email from a client today regarding her TRX workout from yesterday:

Chest = Sore ALL OVER


Core = It hurts to laugh!

Getting a killer workout with Heather = PRICELESS!!

That, thanks to my favorite thing, part II, the TRX!

My Favorite Things, Part I – Octane Elliptical Trainer

I have spent many hours in gyms throughout my years. For the last 3.5 years, they have been in my own studio. During that time I have found some equipment that I really like and some that I don’t so much. I am going to talk about one of my favorite pieces today and do my next few posts on some  of my other favorite (I can’t live without) pieces.

Today’s favorite is my Octane Elliptical. The following are a few reasons why:

  1. Converging handle bars – the natural range of motion for the arms this provides is priceless. I don’t feel as if my arms are way outside my body and I can put my hands in several places to get different parts of my upper body a good workout.
  2. Rear entry – If you don’t know what I am talking about, think about all the ellipticals as the gym. Think of the ones you have to step into, or trip over trying to get where you want to go. With the Octane you don’t have to step over anything like that. I find that it is easier for my older clients as well.
  3. Angle of the foot pedals – this is a big one for me. I always had the problem of my feet falling asleep. The angle of the foot pedals decreases this problem. If my clients do start to feel the tingling, I have them move their feet toward the back of the pedal and this helps.
  4. The programs! – Anyone can jump on an elliptical and hit quick start, but the Octane provides many different programs. A few of my favorite are the 10k and the 30/30. The 10k counts down from the 6.2 miles changing levels every 10th of a mile. The 30/30 can be an intense interval workout that I will use either for a killer warm up or interval during mid workout.
  5. Xmode and Glute Kicker– If you want some variety and to challenge the lower body, these modes put you in different positions (squatting, backwards, slow, etc) to give your body a new challenge, not to mention an excellent calorie burn
  6. Arm Blaster – The elliptical does not just have to be about your legs and cardio. The Octane provides some great upper body strength training when in this mode. It will up the tension and has you do 10 rotations with the upper body to get the strength up top and also revs the heart rate.

I also use my Octane in my training sessions as part of a cardio interval. With this, I will have my clients start in the upward position and then every 15 seconds I will have them squat and then return to standing after 15 seconds. I up the intensity to get the calorie burn up and we do this for 1-2 minutes. TRY IT! You might just be surprised how hard it is and how good of a workout you can get. We know the importance of cardio and I like to try to get the most out of my time. Adding resistance will do just that.

Bottom line – I love my Octane!

TRX Suspension Trainer

So I am always looking for what I call cool new exercise toys (my clients beg to differ). I purchased one last week while at IHRSA. I am kind of a try before you buy girl, so while at the show, I tried my new toy the TRX Suspension trainer. The TRX booth offered workouts throughout the day and also for the early morning workouts. Well, after I did a workout during the day, I was interviewed, and guess what – I found myself on youtube yesterday. Just thought I would share. I do love this product and as my clients already know, it can produce great results!


Brrr – Running in the winter

We all learn something everyday. What I learned yesterday is that even people who do an activity for a long period of time can keep learning. I am talking about cold weather running. Running in the winter in Iowa can be very tricky.

The following are a few of my tips that I have learned, sometimes the hard way!

  1. The Weather Channel is your friend – go to – on there you will find what the temperature is, the windchill, the wind gusts, etc. I usually try to plan my run and the direction I am going after looking at this. There is also an hour by hour button that is my favorite when I am planning a long run.
  2. Layer! My staple is if the temp is under 45 I am in pants. If the temp is under 30, I am in tights. If it is under 20, I am in tights with pants on top of them. For the upper body, if under 45, long sleeve dryfit shirt. If temp under 30, long sleeve mock turtleneck dryfit with vest, if under 20 (with wind) 2 top layers and the always handy fleece vest.
  3. Gloves – this has been my biggest problem over the years is how to keep my hands warm. If the temp is over 30, I am usually good with my sweat wicking gloves. If under 30, I have found if I buy a cheap pair of cotton finger gloves to wear under the sweat wicking gloves, my hands stay warm. Hand warmers in the gloves come in handy also.
  4. Hat/Headband – If it is under 30, I am in a sweat wicking stocking cap as it keeps my head warmer than an earband alone.
  5. Chapstick –  The cold weather can chap those lips, so always carry some. It can also come in handy to prevent nose chapping/chafing when running when you smooth some underneath your nose.
  6. Telephone– if you are running distance or in the cold, it is always good to have a phone with you. As some of my friends found out last weekend, the phone can get you a ride home or get more clothes brought to you!

Good luck to you winter weather warriors!