workout

Ball So Hard Medicine Ball Workout || Cotton On Body

Summer is just about to end and it’s a common theme for us to get settled into the hibernation mode and settle back into fall days all warm and cozy. This was such a normal mindset for me in the past, but now that I'm so hooked on how exercise makes me feel, I'm determined to keep my body moving through the colder months.

With fall just around the corner, it also means that the holidays, dinner parties, and celebrations are coming too. Which means that most of our energy and money will be focused on family and friends rather than ourselves. Before you get too caught up in buying for everyone else, take a minute to treat yourself! My new go-to is Cotton On! They make extremely cute activewear (Cotton On BODY) that’s super comfy and affordable as well, which is perfect for my mama budget. Some personal Cotton On BODY favorites include the monochrome pieces, race fever tanks, and super soft tights! Check out more of Cotton On’s Activewear selection here.

If you’re a huge fan of plyometric workouts and athletic training over distance running or machine based cardio workouts, like I am. Then you’ll enjoy this “Ball So Hard” full body workout that’ll get your body fired up and ready to go! All you’ll need is any weighted medicine ball.

Ball So Hard Medicine Ball Workout 

Start with a 3-5 minute warm up. I like to warm up my body by doing interval training with a jump rope or jumping jacks by going for one minute and then resting for 30 seconds. This will get your heart rate going and both are great exercises to warm up the entire body.

Wall Ball Toss || 4 sets of 20 reps

Wall Ball toss is perfect for engaging your entire body. As you drop into the squat and explode up you’ll be firing off the lower half of your body, while the toss turns on your lats, shoulders, and your entire upper body. Catching the ball on the way down requires for your to activate all the stability muscles and core to come down in one swift move.

Drop low into that squat

Drop low into that squat

Power through the legs and toss the ball engaging the  lats  as you toss.

Power through the legs and toss the ball engaging the lats as you toss.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, facing a wall and holding the medicine ball at your chest. Pull your shoulders back and keep your chest up high. Drop into a full squat, going as low as possible while keeping the medicine ball at your chest.
  2. Immediately upon reaching your full squat, drive through the heels and stand up explosively. As you do so, throw the ball up into the wall. It should hit the wall at a height of about 10 feet. Catch the ball on the rebound, squat again, and repeat.

Wall Squat with a Twist || 4 sets of 20 each side

  1. Hold the medicine ball in front of you arms fully extended, but without locking out the elbows. You want to make sure you have slight bend in the your elbows to prevent any injuries
  2. Plant your feet 2 feet in front of your body and drop down into a squat position. Keeping your back in contact with the wall, lower your body until your upper thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Lift your arms straight out in front of your chest.
  3. Twist to the right and go back to the center and twist to the left.

What I love about wall squats is that it’s a humbling exercise. You want to make sure that you’re engaging your glutes, which is one of the larger muscles on the body, in order to stay in this position. TIP: Lift up your toes and drive your heels to the ground. This will activate your glutes and keep the burn away from your quads.

 

Alternating Push Ups on Medicine Ball || 4 sets of 12 reps

Alternating Push ups on medicine ball

Alternating Push ups on medicine ball

  1. Start in standard pushup position with one hand on the floor and the other hand on top of the medicine ball. Your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  2. Slowly lower your torso towards the floor. Pause and press back up to the starting position. Roll the medicine ball beneath the other hand before repeating the movement.

Alternating Front Lunges with Medicine Ball 4 sets of 20 reps

  1. Start in a standing position then step forward in a lunge position.
  2. Make sure that your knees don’t go past your front toes and drop your back knee to the ground.
  3. Make sure to keep your core engaged as you alternate your legs.

Mountain Climbers 4 sets 20 reps each leg

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers

  1. Start in a press up position so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder width apart with straight arms on top of the medicine ball. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles
  2. Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can.
  3. Return to the starting position and alternate with your other leg.

Toe Touches with Medicine Ball 4 sets of 20 reps

Toe Touches

Toe Touches

  1. Lay flat on your back pressed to the ground or a mat. Tuck your pelvis in to make sure that your abs are engaged.
  2. Hold the medicine ball above your chest. Raise your shoulders off the ground, crunch, and touch your toes with the medicine ball.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds and lower down to starting position. Repeat
capris:  Miss Mesh Capri   shoes:  Nike Free Connect  
tank:  R  un Fever Tank   sports bra:  Fly Girl Crop

tank: Run Fever Tank 
sports bra: Fly Girl Crop

Thank you Cotton On for sending me this awesome monochrome gear to work out in. 

Tank: Race Fever Tank // other option

Capri: Miss Mesh Capri // other option

Sports bra: Fly Girl Crop // other option

Shoes: Nike Free Connect // other option

Photography by my incredible husband: Encarnacion Photography

DO // Leg Day

Like most women I have a love and hate for leg days in the gym. A major LOVE because leg day helps us defy gravity and raise our bums off the ground and hate because it leaves us tired for the rest of day and walking out of the gym like a baby gazelle.

Training legs for women is the equivalent to training upper body for men. For most women our body strength is more prominent in our lower body, but we don't the glutes as much as we should. Did you know that the glute is one of the largest muscles on our body and one that doesn't get trained often enough? My coach, Michelle Mein, has me training glutes 3 times a week and I've seen such an incredible improvement on my backside. (who says asian girls can't have a butt)

It's important that when training your booty that you activate your glute muscles. If you haven't checked out my blog post on traveling fit, do it! There are some floor work exercises that can be done prior to training legs that will help fire up those glute muscles to activate them prior to starting any type of lifting. 

Here are some things to keep in mind while trying to build some muscle on that butt!

1. Do NOT fear weights! Strength training with weights has been one of the biggest factors in building the curves I've always wanted. You need to build lean muscle mass onto your body in order to trim to fat and build the tone. Cardio will help you burn fat, but you have to increase muscle mass on your body in order to keep fat off.

2. Do NOT fear the carbs or protein! The right nutrition and macronutrients from the right type of carbs will help fuel your body through your workouts and fuel your muscles. 

3. Train all angles of your glutes. Most women will focus on squats alone. While squats can definitely help build the curves, you can't forget about creating roundness on the sides. Side lunges, curtseys, and sumo squats will help. 

4. Stretch and rest!! Recovery is an integral part of muscle building. This is a part of my fitness journey I'm learning the importance of. Having a tight butt is nice, but in order to help that grow, you gotta stretch, foam roll, and do all the essential things the body needs to continue moving. 

Sorry guys I never have time to record myself working out so I've linked up some of my favorite examples of them to each exercise. 

Start off by doing 3 sets of 15-20 of each exercise. Here's a list of some of my favorite glute exercises:

Add Massy Arias' Plyo Smith Machine Challenge for additional sweat and have fun! 

 

DO // Traveling Fit

I have wanderlust. We all love to travel. Everybody travels whether its for business, pleasure, vacation, or soul searching. Breaking out of our environment is one way to refresh the mind and soul, find creativity and a sense of rest. 

One of the biggest challenges with traveling is getting thrown on our normal routine. If you’re like me, a gym rat, all of a sudden you’re not around your favorite equipment or machines. If you run around your neighborhood, you have to find a new path to follow. Or if you meal prep like I do, then you’re out of a kitchen, all your favorite spices, and even a fridge. The worst thing about traveling is catching a good night’s sleep in a bed that’s not your own.

No matter how much we love spontaneity and change, we are all creatures of habit and nothing is worse than feeling derailed in a routine you’re comfortable with. In the course of my lifestyle change I’ve managed to pick up little tips and tricks that work well for me and I hope that this helps too.

1. Do your research. If you’re someone who has control of booking your travel and like certain amenities like a gym or fitness studio like yoga or cycling spend some time searching the area you’re traveling in. Book a hotel or AirBnB property that is located close enough to a facility in your gym network or a fitness studio you’re willing to try out. Most studios in major cities will have a first time visit free so that helps to save you some extra spending cash for shopping! If you’re lucky enough to find a hotel with a gym, take a look at the pictures online and see what equipment they have that’s close to some of the things you’re used to. 

2. Prepare your meals. Whether you’re jumping on a plane or road tripping, make some meals that are easy for you to take with you. Pack a small cooler or large cooler if you’re road tripping and fill it up with fresh fruit, vegetables, greek yogurt, or your meal prepped meals. When traveling local I like to prepare all my meals that I’ll need for the days I’m out of town and leave myself one or two cheat meals depending on whether or not I’m prepping for a competition. When I’m traveling for a long trip such as our family vacation to Hawaii in 4 weeks, I’ll be packing my food scale and measuring cups (in case the vacation rental we booked doesn’t have these), and one and a half days worth of meals prepped for my travel day. I like to head over to my favorite nutrition supplement store, Active Nutrition, to pick up samples of protein powder that I can bring with me on my trip. If they are out of my favorite I pack several scoops in a ziplock bag to keep the packing containers to a minimum. 

3. Make smarter choices while dining out. I know its easy to get excited when checking out new restaurants, I’m a big time foodie myself and love going on food adventures! But if you know you’ll be indulging on your trip and needing to eat out more often than you’d ideally like, take a look at the menu, and make some alternative choices and swaps. When eating I like to eat local, organic, and seasonal if possible. These choices give me piece of mind when trying to nourish myself with the most nutrient dense foods. When reviewing a menu of a restaurant that is new to me, I first look at all the grilled, baked, or pan seared options. Stick to fish, chicken breast, and lean steak if possible. Stay away from fried menu items, skip the appetizers, and heavily sauced or high carb pasta dishes. Make sure your meals are balanced and if the carb options aren’t the best, ask to see if you can swap it out for grilled veggies, baked carbs, or any other healthier alternatives they may have. Most restaurants place a butter finish on top of their proteins for flavor and yummy goodness, but dairy can also cause bloating and overconsumption will begin to affect weight gain, ask if you can have your meal dairy free.

4. Pack some workout clothes, shoes, and any equipment you can use without the gym! My BootyBands, jumprope, and  blue tooth headphones are a part of my suitcase essentials. These are items I can’t live without especially when I know I can get a workout in no matter where I’m at. My iPhone is a great tool for me when it come it comes to working out. The two apps that are helpful for me while traveling fit are: Interval Timer and Yoga Studio, my new found love.

 

  • Interval Timer allows me to set up specific HIIT training and customize sessions based on what I like. I have three different ones current for my needs: 30 min HIIT which includes 1 minute high and 30 seconds on low, a 5 minute plank HIIT with 1 minute high and 15 seconds low, and a 10 set of 1 minute high and 30 seconds low. You can create as many as you likebased on your own training needs.
  • Yoga Studio has become an app that I’ve recently favored. My chiropractor has been telling me for the past 2 months that tI really need to spend more time stretching and give my body enough rest for recovery. Yoga has been a new found love for me and really helps me to center my mind. I’m hoping that I can stay consistent with it and I’m finding that this app has really helped me with that. 
  • The X Bands Booty Bands are perfect for adding some resistance to your workouts, each band is specifically designed with enough resistance. The entire set comes with 5 bands and my favorite are red, orange, purple, and I’m slowly working up to the blue ones. I love that they don’t take up much room in a suitcase or gym bag and that they bring on the sweat to any plyometrics workout. 

5. Get creative! Just because you don’t have a gym or your normal running path doesn’t mean you can’t take in the sights of the area you are in and make due.

Here’s one of my go-to travel workouts that I love.

HIIT Cardio Session

warm up with 5 sets of 1 minute jump rope

4 sets of 25 each

Burpees

Ice Skaters

Air Squats w/bands

Frog Hops

Box Jumps (find a park bench or tree trunks) or do tuck jumps instead

Lateral Lunges

Regular Back lunges

Fire Hydrants (25 on each leg)

Resitance Kick backs (25 each)

Isolated leg raises (25 each leg)

Hope you guys enjoy! Namaste Fit!

Ice Skaters   // Start on one side and jump laterally to the side while keeping your back foot elevated above the ground as controlled as possible. Repeat 25 times each leg.

Ice Skaters // Start on one side and jump laterally to the side while keeping your back foot elevated above the ground as controlled as possible. Repeat 25 times each leg.

Air Squats w/ Booty Bands

Air Squats w/ Booty Bands

Frog Leaps w/ Booty Bands //   Start in a low squat position and explode up into a hop like a frog, land softly and explode into your starting position.

Frog Leaps w/ Booty Bands // Start in a low squat position and explode up into a hop like a frog, land softly and explode into your starting position.

Lateral Side Lunge and Regular Lunge w/ the Booty Bands

Lateral Side Lunge and Regular Lunge w/ the Booty Bands

Resistance Bands Kickbacks (25 each leg) //   Start on the floor place bands comfortable above the knee on one leg and around the ankle on the stationary leg. Point your toes up on your first leg and kick back to the sky. 

Resistance Bands Kickbacks (25 each leg) // Start on the floor place bands comfortable above the knee on one leg and around the ankle on the stationary leg. Point your toes up on your first leg and kick back to the sky. 

Isolated Leg Raises (25 each leg) //    Start with knees on the floor, bend one knee at a 90 degree angle and place bands around the ankles, extend your first leg and lift up isolating your glute muscles and working on stabilization. 

Isolated Leg Raises (25 each leg) //  Start with knees on the floor, bend one knee at a 90 degree angle and place bands around the ankles, extend your first leg and lift up isolating your glute muscles and working on stabilization. 

Fire Hydrants (25 each leg) //   Get on the floor in table top position, place the bands around the knees and lift one leg laterally to your side, raise parallel to the ground and slowly release down.

Fire Hydrants (25 each leg) // Get on the floor in table top position, place the bands around the knees and lift one leg laterally to your side, raise parallel to the ground and slowly release down.

I finished up my workout this past Sunday's with some stretching using the Beginner Stretches Collection in the Yoga Studio App, a perfect 10 minute stretch I'll be incorporating after all my workouts. 

Yoga Studio App

Yoga Studio App

STYLE // WOMAN UP

Earlier this year I was graced with the exciting opportunity to contribute to the Lucy Activewear's blog Lucy Let's Go. It's been such an incredible opportunity not to mention the monthly additions to my workout wardrobe. 

Under the new direction of Keryn Francisco, Creative Director Lucy Activewear starts to unveil a whole new direction with their wardrobe where form meets function with a punch of style! One of the things I love about my growing Lucy collection is how breathable the garments are. As a woman constantly on the go, I look for clothing that has wicking capabilities that can take me from the gym to the grocery store all in the same morning without having to worry about my workout clothes sticking to my body from my sweaty workouts. And if you know me well enough you'll know I love my monochromatic wardrobe palette and the folks at Lucy Activewear get it! 

Photography by my awesome husband, Encarnacion Photography

Sports Bra, Best Friend Racerback in Smoke

Workout Tee, Woman Up

Cropped Leggings, Powerfully Poised in Smoke 

LIFE // Changing your mindset

Some of the most frequently asked questions I get is: "How did this journey start? How did you shift your thinking and change your mindset?"

My answer: The switch definitely didn’t happen overnight. I was diagnosed with depression at 15 and have had some really rough memories and experiences with trying to find my self worth and create self love for myself. There were definitely happy moments in my life as an adult and moments of low and in some ways because of my career forward lifestyle I was too busy to entertain some of these “low moments”. I became a mother almost 11 years ago and when that happened even more physical changes happened with my body that added to some of the “mental darkness”. I gained stretch marks, my body composition changed even more so, and at that time my mindset was “great I’m a 21 year old with stretch marks, loose skin and loose midsection, and a busy career with no time for my health.” Growing up my family was never healthy eating focused (I’m Filipino) or active lifestyle focused. So working out, eating healthy was never a priority for me. As my life got busier I became more and more unfit and more overwhelmed with life. I don’t think it was until my second daughter was born where it all hit me even more. I buried a lot of the feelings with life an didn’t realize what was the root cause of the unhappiness until a moment and experience I had with my daughter

Finding what made me happy took some trial and error and just working through the emotions. I’m currently married to an amazing man, have a wonderful career, and a thriving business with my husband, but was struggling internally and mentally. When I stopped to reflect what it was that was making me unhappy I realized it was my self image. I hated what I saw in the mirror and that self hate seeped into all areas of confidence in my life. My perspective on work, my marriage, hanging around certain friends, and even being around my kids was so skewed because of how I felt about myself. Lacking the confidence in my own skin really affected my mindset. It was so toxic. 

I think it takes searching high and low in all the wrong places to find what the answer is. And sometimes we run from it because its almost unbelievable or even sounds seems so superficial to say “I’m unhappy with how I look and feel.” I think its because we have so many people in the world who love us despite our own flaws, but because we can’t find the same reasons why people are so attracted to our hearts, the cause of unhappiness is hard to admit.

In some ways I did wake up one day and say I’m fucken over it. I need to change and jumped head first. I hired a fitness/health coach who helped me focus on that area of my life. The moment I started to work on that particular part, all other areas fell into place. It was incredible to see the changes. I focused on tackling an area of my life where I felt I was failing miserable with and slowly over time that began the chain reaction that set the course of my lifestyle changes. There are still moments of self doubt that I have to fight and moments where I’m not as mentally strong, but learning to make the conscious decision to do your best to make the strides forward has helped the daily battles. 

One of the things I tell people is:  stop searching for all the reasons to start, the answer is in the mirror right in front of you. It's important to love yourself enough to care about your health. Do something daily that is active and practice building a strong body, physically and mentally. 

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