Barre Update

Happy Monday everyone! I am especially excited this Monday morning as I am off for a week after working all weekend. I am off to visit Amanda and Kevin in Arizona on Thursday for a long weekend, I can’t wait!

I wanted to share a barre update with you guys as it has been a while since I posted about it. I am still doing barre and LOVE it! I actually switched studios recently as I used to go to Pure Barre and now go to The Barre Code. I made the switch mostly due to location and price along with recommendations from friends, but I am very happy with my new studio. 

The Barre Code offers a large variety of classes including a standard barre class, cardio-based classes, and even stretching classes. My current favorite is called brawl which is kickboxing. I always work up a sweat during this class and love the energy behind it. I normally take a kickboxing or another cardio-based class as well as a couple barre classes each week. I am excited to try Burn which is barre in a heated room… it sounds intense! The Barre Code uses a variety of equipment each class including weights, resistance bands, kettlebells, and balls. 

I have been going with my friend from work which is so fun! Having a workout buddy and a monthly membership motivates me to sign up for classes each week. I definitely enjoy the variety of the classes The Barre Code offers and the times of the classes are easy to fit into my schedule. 

I hope everyone has a motivating Monday! 

– M –

Holiday Workouts

Happy holidays! It is Christmas week and I could not be more excited to go to Michigan this weekend to see family and friends! As some of you know, I got my NASM personal training certification this year and am passionate about fitness and teaching others how to work out in order to achieve results. I wanted to share some of my favorite upper and lower body moves along with two core blasts that can be mixed into a longer workout or done separately if you don’t have much time. Make sure to keep prioritizing your health and fitness during the holidays with these quick and easy moves!

Upper body: 10-12 reps, 4 sets

  1. Overhead press: hold a barbell at chest level while standing and push it straight up overhead before returning it down to you chest. Try not to arch your back or lean forward as you extend the barbell.
  2. One-arm row on bench: using a kettlebell start in a split stance with one arm on a bench and your other arm holding a kettlebell. Extend the leg on the side you are holding the kettlebell back behind you. Keep your back flat and pull the kettlebell up towards your body and lower it back down while keeping your shoulder blades low and contracted.
  3. Core 1 (see below)
  4. Push-ups: start in a standard push up position with your back flat and your head in line. Lower down towards the ground until you are just slightly above the ground and drive  back up with a big exhale. Try a couple in a full push-up before dropping onto your knees or putting your arms onto a bench.

Lower body: 10-12 reps, 4 sets

  1. Deadlifts with kettlebell: place a kettlebell on the ground, lowering down to grab it while hinging at the hips and keeping your back straight. Power through your legs to stand up straight with the kettlebell hanging towards the ground. Repeat the motion, slowly lowering down and powering up.
  2. Single leg lunges with barbell: hold a barbell across the top of your shoulders. Lower down into a lunge and come back up with your feet together before stepping forward into a lunge on the other side.
  3. Core 2 (see below)
  4. Mountain climbers: start in a plan position with your back straight and body in line. Draw your leg in towards your chest. As you push it back into the starting position, bring in your other leg. Alternative legs increasing the speed if you are able to.

Core 1:

  1. Forearm plank hold: hold a plank position on your forearms for one minute, keeping your whole body in line. If one minute is too much, hold for 20 seconds and take a 10 second break and repeat three times.
  2. 30 second side plank hold: hold a side plank position on your forearm for 30 seconds, making sure to keep your body in line and not letting your lower body drop down.

Core 2:

  1. Walking plank: start in a push up position with your back straight in a plank. Lower down onto one forearm and then the other. Push up off the first forearm that was lowered back into a fully extended push up position, raising the other arm. Repeat for 30 seconds alternating arms (down, down, up, up pattern).
  2. Russian twist: sit on the ground holding a medicine ball in the middle of your body. Lift your legs slightly off of the ground and begin twisting side to side, ensuring you are fully rotating your body and keeping your core braced inward.

– A – 

Favorite Health & Fitness Apps

Happy Monday friends!

Today we wanted to share our favorite healthy living apps that we use on our phone to keep us on track and motivate us. We love to use different apps to help inspire our workouts as well as our recipes. We hope you can use these apps as well!

Meg’s Top Picks

  • Pinterest

I am 100% obsessed with Pinterest, but I especially love using it to find inspiration for workouts and healthy recipes. When I go into the gym without a plan and need some quick inspiration to round out my workout I refer to my workout board where I have pinned many focused workouts such as abs, arms and leg workouts. I also have a couple treadmill workouts pinned that I often refer to. It makes my workout more exciting and different each time! I also love using recipes from Pinterest and most recently am loving any zoodle recipes (refer to last week’s post). Pinterest has never-ending healthy, easy recipes that are great to pin and look back on when you need some fresh meal ideas.

  • Nike Training Club

I have had the Nike Training Club app for a while now and recently have been using it more often when I am looking for a  strengthening workout to follow an outdoor run (thank goodness for warm weather!). The app is free and easy to use as it groups workouts by type (strength, cardio, lean, focused workouts) and also by intensity (beginner, intermediate, advanced). The workouts are between 15-45 minutes long and include video demonstration of each move which is helpful. There are so many workouts to choose from and the ones I have completed thus far are definitely challenging!

Amanda’s Top Picks

  • Personal Trainers on Instagram

There’s not a better place to get fitness motivation than Instagram. Instagram has so many inspiring fitness and health related posts, and most personal trainers post great videos showcasing their workouts. My favorite trainer to follow is @mytrainercarmen. She’s an ACE trainer who posts awesome videos that are easy to follow in the gym when I’m wanting to mix it up in the gym. I also use Instagram to find healthy and beautiful looking recipes. I recently made a recipe from @cremedelacrumb1 that was delicious!


Anyone who knows me knows how much I love trying a variety of group exercise classes to challenge different muscle groups. Most group exercise studios use the MINDBODY software for their client’s to schedule classes. It’s a great app to have on hand when you’re looking to try a new studio, and want to read reviews and schedule your class all in one app. Most studios offer a free first class making it a no-brainer to get out there and try a new class!

What healthy living apps do you use for inspiration? We’d love to hear from you!

– A & M –

Pump Up Your Workout

Happy Monday friends! We hope you enjoyed the weekend (and wonderful weather)! We thought we would start the week off with some workout motivation. Finding inspiration for a workout can be a challenge so we thought we  would share some ab exercises to get you started. We hope you can put these to good use, now get sweating!

1.  Tick Tock Plank (with bosu ball)togetheratheart_abworkout

Start in a plank position with forearms on the middle of the bosu ball. Bring right leg to the side tapping your toes and return to midline. Repeat on the left. That is one rep, complete 15. This exercise can also be done without a bosu ball by placing forearms on the ground.

2. Walk Upstogetheratheart_abworkout

Start lying down with either leg straight up towards the ceiling. Use your hands to walk up your leg crunching your abs and lower back down so hands are at the bottom of the leg. Complete 10 reps with one leg up and 10 with the opposite leg up.

3. Weighted Sit Upstogetheratheart_abworkout

Using a dumbbell weight (I use 10 pounds), start lying on your back with your knees bent, holding the weight with both hands. Assume a sit up position keep weight in front of your chest. Return to lying position. Complete 20 reps.

4. Boat pose crunches togetheratheart_abworkout
This one is for my fellow yogis! After holding the boat pose in yoga last week (killer!) I was inspired to turn the pose into a dynamic exercise. Begin in boat pose (pictured above). Extend your legs keeping your arms out to the sides and allowing your back to drop slightly toward the ground (without touching). Return to boat pose. Complete 15 reps.

5. Plank and twist togetheratheart_abworkout

Start in a plank position with your body in a straight line (make sure your butt is not sticking up or sagging). Bring your leg in towards your head and cross it over slightly to the opposite arm. Do one on each side for one rep. Do 10 reps at a decent pace to increase your heart rate.

6. Bicycles togetheratheart_abworkout

Sit with your weight back so you feel a catch in your abs and lift your feet. Your arms can extend above your head or rest on the ground next to your body for more support. Make big circles with your legs for 25 seconds. Take a few second break and switch the direction of your legs for another 25 seconds.

7. Oblique crunchestogetheratheart_abworkout

Lay on your side with your bottom arm on the ground slightly in front of you and your top arm with your elbow out and hand on your head. Pull your self upward using your oblique so that your legs and elbow come close and then lower back down. Complete 25 reps and switch sides.

8. Pulse ups

Lay on your back with your feet in the air and your legs as straight as possible. Pulse upward lifting your butt in the air, keeping your legs straight without swinging them. I like to pretend there is a wall right behind my legs that I can’t touch to avoid swinging. Do 25 reps.

As always, be sure to listen to your own body and modify as needed. What are some of your favorite go-to moves? We would love to hear from you! Have a great week, talk to you soon!

– A & M –



5 Ways To Stay Healthy

Happy Monday! I want to share five easy ways I stay healthy on a daily basis. I truly believe in doing everything in moderation. Yes, I spurge once in a while (I can’t say no to a good ice cream cone), and some weeks I don’t get to the gym as much as I would like. But I try to do these these five things every week to stay as healthy and in shape as possible.

1. Hit the gym at least four times a week: I usually do Pure Barre 1-2 times a week and I mix in cardio and weight lifting on the other days. Kevin’s been leading me in weight lifting exercises on the weekends. Although I don’t lift much weight I’ve been able to already see the results by mixing more weight lifting into my workout routine.

2. Get Outside: In Chicago we used to go for walks that took a couple of hours when we could enjoy the weather. Now in Arizona we’ve been hiking every weekend. I love getting outside and taking advantage of the scenery while getting in a good workout.

3. Eat breakfast every day: I always eat breakfast as soon as I wake up to get my metabolism started. My go-to’s are oatmeal or eggs over easy, but I’ve also been enjoying protein shakes after workouts.


4. Drink lots of water: I drink water only, meaning no sugary juices or soda. I carry a water bottle around with me at all times (especially in the desert heat) and I drink at least 40 oz of water a day.

5. Do everything in moderation: My dad always said to enjoy everything in life in moderation, and I try to live by this. My mom is an excellent baker, and I remember times when I was growing up when our house was stocked with all of the best sweets. I would always try to limit myself to only having one of the cookies she made, which was so hard to do! Now I use a similar strategy, allowing myself to enjoy one desert a week and limiting greasy foods like pizza to a once in a while treat.

How do you stay healthy? I would love to hear from you!