One of the Best Ways to Workout at Home

One of the Best Ways to Workout at Home


Great Ways to Workout at Home

The humble resistance tube: it’s one of the best ways to workout at home.

When you combine the resistance tube with simple exercises performed in a circuit, you create an effective, efficient workout.  Today I have FIVE upper body exercises to challenge you.

Perform each of the five exercises for one minute each.  Complete TWO circuits.

If you have more time, take a one minute break at the each circuit, and complete THREE circuits.  All of this good, hard work takes less than 20 minutes!

Here we go:

Bicep curls

Triceps press (one minute RIGHT then one minute LEFT)

Front raises

Lateral raises

Bent row

Remember that when you work with a resistance tube, you are in charge of how easy or hard it is.  Adjust as necessary!  Adjustments can be made most easily in this workout by where your foot is placed on the tube and how much slack is held in the band.  Also remember that it really is nothing more than a giant rubber band, and beware of the potential to snap yourself.  You will do this only once!  Ouch!

Need a resistance tube?  This is the one I recommend and use with my Balance Personal Fitness Training clients. (Disclosure: The Amazon link is an affiliate link.)  I find the red (medium resistance) and green (light resistance) to be the most universally useful.

As always, do not perform this or any other workout without prior clearance from your physician.  The videos describe modifications, but if you have injuries or other health conditions that make these exercises inappropriate for you, please listen to your body and your physician!

Looking for other ways to workout at home?  There are two other posts in our Exercise Ideas for the Super Busy series.

Part I: Bodyweight Circuit

Part II: Cardio Circuit

And I’ll be back on Thursday with the final installment, Part IV: Lower Body.  Keep your resistance tube handy for that one!

Good health and great happiness to you!



Best at home upper body workout!
No Time To Workout? No Problem

No Time To Workout? No Problem



FIVE Cardio Exercises For People With No Time to Workout

This workout utilizes the circuit style I promote here at Running On Balance and with my Balance Personal Fitness Training clients.  Why do I like circuits?  I like simplicity!  These exercises are easy to learn and require minimal equipment.  Also, the physiological demands of circuit or interval style workouts revs the metabolism and delivers health benefits in a short amount of time.  If you are short on time to workout, a circuit like this is your new best friend.

Here are the FIVE exercises you’ll perform for one minute each. Complete TWO circuits.

If you have more time, take a one minute break at the end of each circuit, but perform THREE or FOUR complete circuits.

Ready to go?

Half Jacks

Boxer Shuffle

Speed Skaters

Mountain Climbers



Each of these exercises has a low or no impact option.  Watch the videos and listen to the descriptions for modification options.  Remember that the more muscles you are moving and the wider range of motion you move them through and the speed at which you move them ALL determine how easy or challenging an exercise is.  Your effort level is up to you!

Did you see the bodyweight circuit on Tuesday?  If not, go back and try that one, too.  These are great workouts to mix-and-match or stack together.  When you are short on time to workout, choose one and go for it.  Both of these circuits:

  • require no equipment,
  • can be done in a small space,
  • take only 10-20 minutes,
  • deliver results!

As always, make sure you have a physician’s clearance before attempting this or any other workout.

More circuits coming next week.  Stay tuned!

Good health and great happiness to you.

Great ideas for at home cardio workouts.
Exercise Ideas for the Super Busy

Exercise Ideas for the Super Busy


No time to work out?  Here are five exercise ideas that even the busiest person can do.  You need only 10 minutes.  And ZERO equipment.  This is a full-body workout that gets you huffing and puffing in no time.

How does it work?

Perform each of the five exercises for one minute.  Complete two circuits. (That means do each of the five exercises, then immediately do each of the five exercises again.)

If you have a little more time, take a rest minute between each circuit, then perform THREE complete circuits. You can finish a quality workout in less than 20 minutes.

Not sure you’re ready for a workout like this?  Watch the videos and listen for modifications offered.  Even the most beginner exerciser can use these exercise ideas to put together a workout.


Exercise Ideas for the Super Busy





Push Up





Note that this circuit should be done by those healthy enough to undertake bodyweight exercise.  Is it right for you? Consult your physician before trying the workout.  If you’re clear for exercise but unsure of how to perform the moves, a session or two with a personal trainer can build your confidence.  Everyone was a beginner at some point.  Don’t be shy about asking for help!

Like this type of workout?  I’ll be back again on Thursday– and Monday and Thursday of next week, too– with more exercise ideas for super busy people.  Finding balance in your life happens when you figure out how to keep the body, mind, and spirit all happy…all at the same time your busy keeping everyone else in your life happy, too.

Good health and great happiness to you!

Fast at home workout for busy women.
Can Marathoning Really Fit Your Schedule?

Can Marathoning Really Fit Your Schedule?

can marathoning really fit your schedule

A job, a husband, three kids, countless after school activities, and a plan to run a marathon in February 2017.  Is it even possible to make all of these priorities fit your schedule?

Can Marathoning Fit Your Schedule?


But hoooooooow?


I have my marathon training plan guides all around me (more on that coming up Thursday!), a paper monthly calendar October 2016-February 2017, and my trusty pencil. I’m ready to start mapping out how I’m going to achieve my goal: to run the 2017 Austin Marathon in under 4 hours.

Let’s be honest: My real goal is to run under 4 hours so that I have “D” Batch seeding at 2017 Comrades Marathon, where I’d like to run from Durban-Pietermaritzburg in pursuit of a second Comrades finish and the coveted back-to-back medal.  But family emotional and financial priorities have that goal on the back burner for right now, so my focus is on running a quality marathon.

But between now and February, I have a few benchmark runs.  As part of the Austin Runner’s Club Distance Challenge, I am going to run four races leading up to the Austin Marathon.  The first race, Back to the 80s 8K is in two weeks.  I am not even close to ready!  Summer in Austin is still in full force (temps in the high 90s), which means running has been slow and hot.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to lacing up my racing shoes again.  And then the day after the first race is Day One of my official marathon training. (Really…I promise….More on that coming on Thursday!)

In November, there’s the Race for the Water 10 Miler.  The third race is December’s Decker Challenge 13.1, a race so hilly I haven’t run it since it pummeled me in 1997 when I was training for my first marathon.  The fourth tune-up race is the 3M Half Marathon at the end of January.  It is the fastest and most raceable course, and I’d like to turn in a strong run there.

The final race in the Distance Challenge is the Austin Marathon itself.  The last time I ran the Austin Marathon, I set my marathon PR.  Woo hoo!  But that was in 2000, and the course was a delightful downhill dash to downtown. I know there’s no way I can run 3:26 anymore, and the current hilly course will be a good challenge for breaking 4:00.

Now that I have those five dates on my calendar, I can clearly identify potential pinch-points in my training. In any training cycle there are times where I’m travelling for a work conference or completely booked with kidstuff all weekend, or we have a house full of guests who don’t understand weekend long runs.  By seeing these dates in advance, I can better prepare for when my training should ebb and flow.

There you have it.  With some forethought and careful planning, running a marathon really can fit your schedule.

Good health and great happiness to you!

Comrades Update: Post-race Redux

Comrades Update: Post-race Redux

Here for my 2016 Comrades story?  Make sure you first read the Getting to the Starting Line and Race Report posts!

Crossing the finish line of Comrades, I was elated and exhausted.

comrades 2016

I spied my husband, and I leaned in for a super sweaty hug.  He gamely complied, and I thanked him for the pep talk he gave me 15 hours earlier.  I told him that, given the way I felt overnight and for the first 40% of the race, I couldn’t believe that I finished.  He was nice enough not to make any comments about my stubbornness.

We walked over to the International Tent.  I was greeted by Pat Kongsilp, the Comrades USA Ambassador.  He had all of my splits pulled up on his phone, and he congratulated me on a good run and strong finish.  He was nice enough not to tell me that he finished three hours before me and notched a personal best.

I across the crowd and saw my dad, sitting in a chair in street clothes.  He’d missed the cut-off at 31K to go.  He gave me a big hug and told me how proud he was that I powered through the demons from the morning and made it to the finish.  He was disappointed not to finish, but he chose to relish the time we got to spend together in the last year training, on the road on race day, and in helping each other process the highs and lows of Comrades.  The whole Comrades experience was a powerful and poignant lesson: chasing a dream is always worthwhile.

My expression here is the gratitude I have for my dad pushing me to try something so far out of my comfort zone and something I never would have done without him.

comrades finish

I hung out in the International Tent, cheering for the runners still making their way around Kingsmeade.  I ate a few rolls, supped a bit of butternut squash soup, and happily downed a Sprite.  It was a sensational feeling, being finished with the race and being able to support other runners in their homestretch.  The roar of the crowd peaked for the 12-hour bus, which finished with six minutes to spare.

And then it was time for the final countdown.  As with many Comrades traditions, counting down to the 12-hour mark is practically reverential.   The final gun is fired.  This year, the first runner to not cross the finish line was a runner going for his green number (10th finish).  Heartbreaking.

(It is worthwhile to note my accumulated non-running time over the course of the race.  I was 5:30 to the start line, 3:30 at the first bag drop, approx. 1:30 at each of the next two bag drops, and approx. 1:00 at a side-of-the-highway-behind-a-small-tree pee break.  That’s a total of 13 minutes in my finish time that I wasn’t moving toward the finish line.)

The stadium atmosphere was still rocking.  I took some time to remove my shoes and inspect my feet.  There was a gnarly blister on my left inner heel, right where I felt it at about 16K to go.  Otherwise, I felt good to go.


About 45 minutes after I finished, I was ready to make my way back to the hotel.  I tried to stand and leave and found that my legs were now stiff and buckling.  We started walking toward the exit but got caught in a mass of people.  I had to sit and take a breather, as my blood sugar was low.  I got up and started moving again.  Then, the final challenge of Comrades: scaling the stadium stairs and scaffold to exit the infield and leave the stadium.  Slowly, slowly I made my way up, over, and down.

Back at the hotel, I ran a bath.  Miraculously, I had zero chafing.  (Maybe because of the lack of humidity?  I don’t really know, but I was so happy!)  The bath was a long, glorious, hot soak, and it was the perfect precursor to a nap.  I slept 30 minutes or so, then awoke and went down to dinner.  I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I managed to eat a salmon fillet and mashed potatoes.  Yes, the potatoes were still appealing.

I was so, so tired.  After dinner I fell into bed and slept nine straight hours.  Bliss!

In the morning, I awoke to tired, sore legs.  To be honest, though, they weren’t nearly as gimpy as I was expecting.  My husband and I made our way to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, where we met up with my parents.  As we were eating, I looked up and saw Bruce Fordyce chatting with Digger Hargreaves.  I took my chance to go Fangirl all over them and ask for a photo.


They congratulated me on my run, and Bruce asked, “Coming for your back-to-back next year?”  When I didn’t immediately respond, Digger said, “Sounds like a ‘yes’ to me!”

We’ll see…..

My dad and I did plenty debriefing of our experiences.  While there were certainly major issues we wish we could have simply eliminated from the day—namely my nausea and his hamstring pull—it wasn’t challenging to count all the positive interactions and experiences from Comrades.

Top of the list for me was that my situation improved as the race went on.  Because I ran so conservatively and with plenty of walk breaks, I never got to a point where I was breathing hard.  I ran well within myself the whole way.

Very likely, the slow and sickly start was a blessing.  By being forced by my bad stomach to go out super easy, I had plenty of energy once my nausea subsided.  No doubt my greeting to Arthur at halfway helped, too.

Running negative splits meant I passed tons of people in the second half, and that was like being on a steady IV drip of confidence.  My dad even ran the numbers:

By starting under control, you were able to pass 5505 runners in the final 55.58 k…passing an average of 99 each k.  For miles orientation, that’s 159 runners for each of 34.5 miles, or approximately 40 people each 1/4 mile.  Essentially you were passing another runner every 11 seconds for the final 35.5 miles.

Not bad!

Was I expecting to run faster?  Yes.  But on that day and under the particular conditions I experienced, I did what I could.  In the end, I was able to heed the South African wisdom and enjoy the journey.



Yoga & Wellness for Domer Dames

Yoga & Wellness for Domer Dames

IMG_4970 (1)

I’m fortunate to have had a wide variety of experiences in my life that have affected me profoundly.  Some of these experiences were just an hour or a day, and some of them were confined to a particular time period, yet some are still very much a part of my life.

My college experience is one of those things that, while I graduated (GULP) 20 years ago (OHMYGOSH) has affected almost every day since then.  I was fortunate enough to attend the University of Notre Dame, and my experience as an alumna has been as rich and varied as my time as an undergraduate.  The strong alumni network of Notre Dame is legendary, and I am here to tell you that everything you’ve ever heard about the fanatical loyalty of ND grads is completely and totally real.

As such, I was thrilled when an alumnae from the Austin chapter of ND Women Connect asked me if I’d be interested in leading a health and fitness workshop for the January meeting.  I immediately agreed, as sharing a morning of yoga and wellness with other motivated, thoughtful women is always a thrill.

We had an assortment of attendees, including graduates from classes ranging 1986 – 2013, a mom of a current student, and the wife of an alumnus.  One of the things I love the most about any ND alumni event is that age and stage of life rarely matter– it’s all about finding commonalities of experiences.  And one commonality I can always count on in this group is an openness to learn new things.

Our morning started with a yoga class in my family room.  I wasn’t sure whether the attendees would have any yoga experience or not, and as it turned out, it was a mixed crowd.  As with any yoga class I teach, I emphasized the importance of connecting the breath to movement.   After all, without the breath, it isn’t yoga.  We moved through a series of asana intended to wake up the spine and open up the flow of prana in the body.

After we were all zenned out from our deep breathing and supple stretching, I led a short discussion of tips and tricks to fit in fitness.  It’s one of my favorite topics to share with a group, as I love to help people realize that small changes can make a really big difference in their health and happiness.


We shared ideas for quick-fix healthy meals as well, at the request of one of the women who works full time and has a one year old.  It was so exciting to hear the group so eager to support this new mom, validating her desires to be a good role model for her young family.  Finding people to walk with you on your wellness journey is a critical component of continued success.

In the end, it was a wonderful morning of movement and breathing in a comforting community.  Who do you have who can help support you as you work to more integrated wellness in your life?  Don’t hesitate to contact me if I can come lead a private class and talk for your group.

Good health and great happiness to you!