Fitness Partners Improve Workouts

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

fitness partnersWhen Dave and I moved to Utah, the one thing we decided to get rid of that was a big sacrifice was the treadmill. It wasn’t a big sacrifice for me, because I never used the thing, but Dave used it religiously. Every. Single. Day. We knew it wouldn’t fit in our home here (or one like it, since that one was held together with duct tape), but I knew that if there was no way Dave could exercise without me that I would feel obligated to exercise with him. And that’s the promise I made: get rid of the treadmill and I will walk with you every day.

I have often found it difficult to make the time to prioritize fitness. Between kids, work, and other demands, little time or energy is ever left over for fitness and exercise. But I have had a lot more success prioritizing my fitness since moving to Utah. Getting rid of the treadmill was the best solution, because for Dave to get his walk, I had to find a way to make time to go with him. And I do, every day.

As fitness partners, we help to keep each other motivated. We typically walk early in the morning after the kids leave for school, knowing that when the end of the day comes all we want to do is collapse. Having Dave as my exercise partner has provided motivation and has improved my likelihood of success.

Why You Need a Fitness Partner

A fitness partner can increase your commitment to exercise because whenever you feel like not working out, you will have to tell your fitness partner no. Not only will she have the opportunity to help cheer you on and keep you going, but the thought of having to disappoint your partner will make it more difficult to give up in the first place. By having someone encourage you to keep going when your motivation is lacking, you will be more likely to stick to your fitness plan and achieve your goals.

Choosing a fitness partner should be done carefully. You should choose someone who has similar goals and is at a similar fitness level as you. (Someone who jogs three miles a day when you have not walked around the block in six months may not be a compatible fitness partner, which is why I don’t exercise with my sister!).

Communication is important between training partners. Knowing your partner’s weaknesses can help you both. If your fitness partner is not an early riser, perhaps an after-dinner walk, run, or trip to the gym is more appropriate. If either of the partners are easily bored with the same exercise routines, change things up as much as possible. One day go for a walk through the park in your neighborhood; the next day, lift weights at the gym. When the weather gets colder, try walking in the mall before it opens or hit the local fitness center together.

If you are having trouble staying motivated, a fitness partner can help keep you on track. Talk to your husband or partner about your desire to get fit; maybe he or she can pull extra kitchen duty so that you can have a little more time to exercise.

A fitness partner knows how important exercise is to you. They can help you meet your goals, make exercise more fun, and keep you going when all you want to do is stop at the store and grab a bag of cookies.

Image source: Morguefile

2014 and the Commitment to Mii

View from the Dragonfly’s Back

MomsGetReal Soul Feeder Chris Wilcox

Here’s the scene: It’s December 28th.  I’m at my parents’ house in Idaho Falls. My cousin, Valarie, is driving from Minnesota to her parents’ house in Iowa.
Somehow we get on the subject of weight loss.

Now, I have to disclose that my beautiful cousin has ALWAYS been a standard for tall girl beautiful to me.  She’s always looked fit and drop dead gorgeous whenever I’ve seen her. She’s been an athlete and a runner for as long as I can remember, and I always just thought that the flat-where-it-should-be, curvy-sexy-beautiful thing she’s had going on for the whole of my existence was something she just did, so I was kind of shocked to be having this conversation with her.

To balance this out with my reality, I feel like I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 5, but in all reality, it’s probably only been about 20 years. (YAY! 1993 or 1994 – I’m going to blame my first ex-husband) 😉  Honestly, I would stand in my front yard naked in subzero temps during Christmas-Lights-drive-around season for an hour to get everything that jiggles to fall off my body spontaneously.  However, I’ve come to learn that the only thing that’s gonna get it to fall off and die is the whole simple hard work thing. Should be easy, right? I’m great at hard work! Now all I have to do is start the project!

Back to the conversation, Valarie and I decide on a goal – just 1/2 lb. a week. At this rate (in my head) Valarie will be at her target weight by January 8th. I, however, will be there sometime before I retire in 2046.

Of course, as any good hard worker knows, one must prepare for work, so on January 1, I THOUGHT REALLY HARD about what my preparations should be.  I’ve got to set up the space, right?  And I’m still at my parents’ house for a few more days, so let’s burn off a few calories shopping for the new TV that needs to go into said space before I can even think about exercising in it (never mind that there’s $3,000 worth of exercise equipment already in said-space, gathering dust; the right TV – oh and blu-ray player, don’t forget that – will make the space the “right space”).

The TV was hanging by January 8th, if I remember correctly.  The Wii Fit program was running the following night. I turned it on, and lo and behold, there was my chubby little Mii, waiting in the Plaza and waving.  When I clicked on it, the Wii reported it had been 1,692 days since my last check in – that’s 4.5 years for anyone who can’t do the math in their head.

Obviously, the Wii has been drinking a lot in her off time and can’t do math.

Then, I waited for the moment at which Wii said “Step on.” For those of you who have experienced the disappointed “Oh…” that the Wii produces when you step on the balance board, you may understand why my commitment to using it spiraled downward. I heard it again, and the 4.5 years of time that had elapsed since the last time I’d heard it didn’t dull the pain of it this year.


Over the last 10 days, Wii and Mii have continued our love-hate relationship. The good part about being Tall Girl is I have a lot of space over which to distribute all those cheese and bacon omelets I consumed when I was home over Christmas. The bad part is, my relationship to gravity produces numbers I don’t want to see anymore. Ever.  Good part – I’m conscious (entirely due to the bigger TV, I’m sure) of making better choices now, so maybe between my cousin and the disappointed Wii “Oh….” I can see my way to use the space and have everything that’s currently jiggling fall off and die. Another good part – it’s after mid-January, and I’m still working on it.


3 Easy Exercises To Lose Weight From Home

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Losing weight quickly isn’t exactly easy, most of all if everything is up to you alone. However, there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t put much effort into doing the 3 easy exercises to lose weight from home listed in this article. Not only will these easy exercises help you lose your fat stores faster than your current diet and supplements, but they will also help make you feel much better about yourself in the long run.

1. Aerobics

BH_F8_Treadmill__63342.1351160663.400.400Aerobics happens to be a great exercise to do at home since you can find more inspiration from television workout shows and DVDs. The best part is that you can do hours of aerobics from the comforts of your bedroom or living room as you see fit.

Yoga is one of the best aerobic sports out there to date because it is great at strengthening the joints and increasing flexibility, yet works wonders for weight loss, as well. Naturally, you shouldn’t forget to stick to a healthy diet plan, either, especially if you want to reap the rewards in the long run.

Now, if you suddenly start noticing a decline in your weight loss after doing aerobics for a while, don’t worry. This merely means that your body is starting to tone and develop into a firmer version of itself. This, in turn, means that you will have a much harder time putting on weight from now on.

Home Gym Equipment can also provide a great workout in the comfort of your own home. There are many folding treadmills available that can easily be stored away when not in use. Similarly, If you do not have much space, an exercise bike may be a good solution as they too can easily be stored away and will take up little floor space.

2. Dancing

Dancing alone or with a partner is easy if you follow dance routines on television or on DVDs. You can either work on choreographed moves or just figure things out on your own. The choice is yours.

Generally speaking, it might be best to learn choreographed dances at a proper school, but there isn’t any reason why you can’t practice from home, as well. Whether you choose to do ballet, jazz or hip hop; an hour of dancing can help you lose at least 300 calories while tightening up all of the major muscle groups in your body, and toning your abdominal muscles without having to work out hard at a gym.

Conversely, you can try and come up with your own moves. A lot of people who go to dance classes eventually find that they can develop their own personal style afterwards. Either way, feel free to do what you want when it comes down to it. Jump, twist, turn and roll your way through your favorite songs and get your heart pumping, so that you end up losing more calories in the process.

3. Walking

While walking may not sound particularly strenuous as a form of exercise, you shouldn’t underestimate how walking and a balanced diet can work wonders in burning off excess fat.

Ideally, you should find time to walk every morning and every evening for a total of two hours of exercise every day. Lastly, make sure that you weigh yourself before you start any kind of exercise or diet program since watching your weight go down will help boost your confidence and motivation.

What do you do for exercise?

3 Benefits To Drinking Iced Green Tea During Workouts

Sip it and cut down!  It is definitely the right way to drink green tea. To obtain the precise natural essence in green tea, you could beat the heat with just a little tweak. Iced green tea does not lessen its beneficial nutrients, and has the same incredible advantages as hot green tea. Iced green tea is a perfect substitute for sports drinks that one may want to avoid because of calories.

Body Temperature and Hydration

iced green teaThe consumption of iced green tea during outdoor workouts gives the athlete much needed energy and hydration. On a hot summer day, iced green tea is an invigorating drink after any aerobic exercise. People who run in hot weather may need iced green tea to regulate body temperature. Dehydration is one of the primary issues during workout sessions. Excessive exertion may drain all the water from the body, which can be severely detrimental to health. A bottle of iced green tea while you work out serves not only as a tasty alternative to water, but also helps you regain hydration, while consuming minerals and vitamins necessary for the body.

Weight Loss

One of the many benefits of green tea iced is that it helps in the creation of enzymes that fight various kinds of bacteria in the human body. Drinking iced green tea also helps with mental alertness and cognitive skills because of its caffeine content. It is important to know that the ice content in the iced green tea may dilute the original essence of the hot green tea but the extra citrus in the tea compensates for that. Another one of the benefits of green tea iced is weight loss. If you combine exercise with a bottle of iced green tea, it helps increase the body’s ability to burn calories, enhancing the effectiveness of your workout. The catchin content in green tea increases the rate of metabolism, which in turn reduces fat in the body.

Immunity and Freshness

Exercise is very important to stay fit, however with a bottle of iced tea during your workout, you can make the day more energetic. The first and immediate benefit of drinking iced green tea during a workout is the sudden boost of freshness. This immediate feeling of freshness may be that extra motivation you need to go out there and work on your body. Another one of the benefits of green tea iced intake during workout is that it calms the body internally.

The sense of purification that the tired body feels is rejuvenating. Additionally, iced green tea contains plenty of vitamin C, since it is made from green tea leaves and has lemon. Vitamin C helps increase immunity. A heavy work out could sometimes reduce the body’s defense against pathogens, leading to a high probability of catching a cold if the weather is too cold. The intake of iced green tea would help avoid this by increasing immunity levels. Also, the caffeine content present in green tea helps stabilize the body’s blood pressure, while the caffeine energizes and provides speed and endurance required for exercise.

American Tea Room is a leading online retailer of premium green teas. Their vast selection of green teas include: matcha green tea powder, organic green tea, loose green tea, and green tea bags. Their green tea blends are from China and Japan.

Aerobic Exercise: Good for Mind, Brain, Body

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Aerobic exercise is important, especially as you age. It increases your metabolism (something that slows with each year) and improves your heart health. But aerobic exercise has other positive impacts, too. According to a number of studies, aerobic exercise can improve your mental cognition and protect you from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. While you should always consult with a doctor before beginning any exercise program, aerobic exercise is a critical component to good health. It has been proven to play a role in preventing many different kinds of cancer, including colon cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, as well as playing a role in preventing osteoporosis and diabetes. It can even lessen the likelihood of depression.

health clubAs a teen of the 80s, I spent many mornings doing traditional “aerobics” in PE. But aerobic exercise can take many forms – cycling, swimming, walking, running, or kickboxing and other martial arts.

The key is to choose an activity you will enjoy doing, and then do it to music to make it more fun.

Tips to Make Aerobic Exercise Safer and Healthier

  • Be sure to hydrate before and after exercising
  • Choose shoes that support your feet
  • Try a variety of different exercises to stay interested
  • Try to sustain your target heart rate (220 – your age is considered your maximum) for 30 minutes for the best results
  • Always check with a doctor before beginning a new exercise program


Exercise Series: Three Abdominal Exercise Routines

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Every woman dreams of having a perfectly flat belly. Kids, stress, poor diets, lack of exercise…all of these contribute to a less-than-six-pack tight belly. I’m not sure six-pack abs need to be the goal of any woman, especially one that has had a baby, but if you want to improve your physique, focusing on the abs can help improve every aspect of your health and figure. A strong core improves your posture, helps to prevent back injuries, and ensures your organs are carefully protected.

Abdominal Exercise Routine One: Jackie Warner’s Crunch-Free A Exercises

The crunch is still an effective way to improve your core strength, but there are potentially more effective ways to get the job done, like this crunch free exercise plan from Jackie Warner as featured on

Abdominal Exercise Routine Two: Six Weeks to Six Packs?

absWomen’s Health Mag offers  a plan to get those elusive six packs in six weeks. Whether you actually achieve the goal or not, the exercises included in the plan provide a pretty comprehensive list of movements to help tighten your tummy.

Abdominal Exercise Routine Three: Get in Shape has slide share  their favorite ab workouts that offer some additional belly bulge beaters.

No matter what exercises you choose, the most important step you can take to being the healthiest version yourself is to start doing something every single day focused on YOU, whether you meditate, make better choices with food, or exercise more.

If you have a tried and true favorite, let us know!