ViPR Tubes

Have you guys ever heard of ViPR tubes?

ViPR tubes

I hadn’t until a couple of weeks ago. App’s recreation department got a set of these a couple weeks ago. Since I’m a group fitness instructor, I had the opportunity to attend a demo on these guys. The verdict? They’re pretty awesome and a great way to spice up a workout.

ViPR tubes (which stands for Vitality , Performance and Reconditioning), are hollow, weighted, rubber tubes. They have 3 handles, two vertical handles on one side, and a single horizontal handle on the opposite side.

So what can you do with it? Well anything.

These tubes are great for both strength training and cardio. They can add weight to squats and lunges, either by holding the tubes like this:

Or standing it up on one end and tipping the tube in either direction:

The vertical handles can be used to do exercises like shoulder presses, chest presses, lat raises and bicep curls.

ViPRs can also amp up your push ups and planks by placing the tube on its side and placing your hands on the cylinder, this creates some instability and gives your core one serious workout. We did push ups on the tube and they were killer!

ViPR tubes can also be incorporated into cardio circuits. They add some major resistance to speed skaters and heismans:

They can also be add some extra resistance to BURPEES! Because burpees need to be more difficult. Add in a chest press at the top of the burpee (instead of a jump) to add in some fun. Or pain.

One of my personal favorite exercises we did was army crawls while pushing the tubes across ground. Killer. Then instead of turning around and pushing it back, we army crawled backwards while pulling the tube back with us. Hurts so good.

Incorporating ViPR tubes into your strength training or a cardio circuit could be a great way to change things up next time your at the gym. They’re super versatile and work almost every muscle in your body, pretty awesome if you ask me.

Interested? You can find more information and exercises here:

Have you tried ViPR tubes before?

How do you change up your workout routine?

I’m in no way affiliated with ViPR, I’m pretty sure they don’t even know I exist, I just thought they were an awesome new fitness tool!


You’re Stronger Than You Think

You should know I’m listening to the Disney station on Pandora while I write this. I love it. Favorite new Pandora station? I think so.

Now I just want to watch the Lion King. Anyway…

My eats have been pretty uninspired lately. I’ve been working later at my internship because they’ve needed some extra help. I’ve been prepping my lunches at night so I can just grab it on the way out the door in the morning. Genius culinary invention doesn’t typically happen 30 minutes before bed time around here (or um, ever).

Tempeh, frozen veggie mix and edamame with some teriyaki sauce and sriracha. There has been a distinct lack of fresh veggies in my life the past couple of days. I need a grocery trip asap. I also had a farmer’s market peach (the last one, very sad) on the side. Peaches from the farmer’s market are a million times better than peaches from the grocery store, those aren’t even worth buying. I’ll be sad when peach season is over!

I had a snack of sweet potato and peanut butter at my desk while working on some projects:

Such a good combo. I don’t know what it is about sweet potatoes and peanut butter, but I’m convinced they were absolutely made for each other.

Dinner was a smoothie:

Soy milk, vanilla whey protein powder, peanut butter and cinnamon. Not the most nutritious but it’s what I was craving, and I’m all out of spinach and wasn’t going down the kale route again. I ate half of a cantaloupe with it (no joke) so that makes up for any missing nutrients right? Let’s hope.

I had a really fantastic workout after dinner:

You know it’s a good workout when even your knee caps get sweaty. Sweating dirty for sure.

I took a 30 minute cardio class followed by a 30 minute strength training class (taught by my favorite instructor!). In hind sight you should know that half of a cantaloupe and a smoothie combined with a plyometrics based cardio class is the best mix. My bladder got a good workout during that one.

I really pushed myself during this class. I’ve noticed that I tend to wimp out when a workout starts to get intense. I start to pull back as soon as I start feeling the burn, or a little tired. Well that’s just lame. I mean obviously if something is hurting I should stop, but a little burn never hurt anyone. In fact, a little burn usually makes good things happen. As the instructor reminded the class “you’re stronger than you think”. (She is one gem of a fitness instructor, two blog posts in one week? Impressive)

I really focused on pushing myself past the point where things start to get hard. That’s where changes are made right? Coasting through a workout (or life in general) is not going result in much progress and it’s not going to make you stronger. So dig deep and do it! Physically I’m strong enough to keep going, it’s just not giving into that lazy little voice in the back of my head that wants me to give up. No sir, I’m in beast mode now.

What do you do to push yourself through a tough workout? I try to dig deep and start counting down. You can always do 5 more reps.

What’s your favorite Disney movie? I love them all, but I think the Lion King is my absolute favorite.

Lessons Learned Halfway Through LiveFit

I can’t believe I’m halfway done!

I’ve been really enjoying this program (and my new muscles) and it’s been a whole new exercise challenge. Since I’m halfway through, I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned in the past 6 weeks.

  1. Use a spotter. Seriously, just do it. I was doing bench presses and got stuck with an embarrassingly little amount of weight on the bar. After an “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit” moment I managed to sit up fine, and someone came to help me (after I had gotten unstuck, my luck) but it was an awkward experience. So yeah, spotters are important. Or at least use the Smith Machine. Don’t be the little girl stuck under the Olympic bar.


  2. The crazy machines aren’t as intimidating as they look. Just suck it up and tackle them. The burn is lovely.
  3. The constipation face helps you lift heavier. Making an unattractive faces makes a difference in the last couple of reps, or at least that’s how I justify it. Jury’s still out on the grunting though.

  4. Lifting heavy makes me feel like a bad ass. I love it. I’ll definitely be incorporating more heavy lifting into my workouts when the program is over.
  5. Even elbow creases sweat. A little TMI, but when you are doing a 90 minute workout in a crowded on a 100+ degree day, you will sweat in places you didn’t know existed.
  6. Lunges are the devil. I hate them, but they are so good for me, and in every leg workout, so I suck it up.

    I. Hate. You.

  7. Progress is incredibly motivating. Well duh. But repeating each round of workouts twice helps me see an improvement from week to week and motivates to keep working at it, even if I’m tired.
  8. Strength Training = Visible Muscles. You have to build muscle to see muscle, who would have thought. After seeing some results from the program, I realized that consistent strength training is the piece of the puzzle that was missing from my workout routine.

I’m excited to keep up the program. It’s getting tough, 90 minute workouts 6 days a week are no joke, but I feel so accomplished every time I finish a workout and I’m seeing some serious progress. I also learn something new with every new workout, and I love that.

Unrelated to LiveFit, but awkward gym moment  of the day: I had on the exact same shirt as another guy at the gym. I mean it was a race, that 20,000 people ran in, but it was still weird.

Have you had any awkward gym moments? IThey happen to me daily, share yours so I’ll feel a little better about it.

LiveFit Week 5

Whew, Phase 2 is no joke.

This week’s workouts were longer. And added in cardio. Holy cow.

I think I’ve woken up with DOMS everyday this week. I love the challenge but I definitely leave the gym everyday exhausted.

Things I’m loving:

There are still new exercises introduced every week which I love. I get more and more comfortable with the weight room every week and I feel that all these new exercises are giving my body a great new challenge and breaking me out of an exercising rut.

Cardio! I missed cardio, I like that it’s back in my life. I’ve even started easing back into running, and my foot doesn’t seem to be protesting too much. The time off from cardio was nice too though, it made me appreciate getting back into it.

But I didn’t miss you Mr. Treadmill

The supersets are also another great new challenge. I’m feeling the burn on those!

Things that aren’t my favorite:

Phase 2 workouts are lonnnngggg. They take me about 90 minutes on average, and the frequency has been bumped up to 6 days a week. Luckily, I’m not in school right now and I have a three hour work day so I have plenty of time for a long workout, but it would be tough to do while I’m in school. Also 90 minute workouts 3 days a week are a lot. There were a couple of days where I did NOT want to workout, I felt better after getting to the gym, but the thought of a 90 minute can feel so daunting, especially if I’m already tired. Also days like wednesday I completed the leg workout and a yoga class, I was at the gym for 2 hours and 15 minutes and so ready to go home.

I feel like such a gym rat.

The supersets, I know I said I like them, and I do, but it’s really hard to do a superset on two different pieces of equipment in a busy gym without being a total equipment hog. I try to do what I can, and complete another exercise until the equipment is free again, but I’m sure it’s not as effective.

Indoor cardio machines. Not something I hate about the program, but indoor cardio machines are the best way to do the 30 minutes of cardio when it’s 34529874592847 degrees outside. The elliptical is a little mind-numbing. But Paula’s Best Dishes kept me company on the elliptical today, so I can’t complain too much.

Longer workouts means I can eat a butter cake right? Right.

I love Paula Deen, I don’t care what people say about her. And she looks damn good post-weight loss. I secretly want her to be my adopted southern grandma.

So overall this was a tough week. But I plan to keep the program up and enjoy the challenge. Hello new muscles.

LiveFit Trainer Week 4 Recap

I can’t believe I’m already done with phase 1!  I’m really excited to start phase 2, cardio, oh how I’ve missed you!

Week 4 is basically a repeat of week 3. It was nice to get a chance to work on my form and try to increase my weight slightly, but I did get a little bored. I do have a serious case of exercise ADD and I’m enjoying learning new exercises so much that I just get antsy.

My thoughts this week:

  • Tricep exercises are INTENSE. I could barely lift my arms after tricep/chest day, wimpy.
  • It feels really good to see improvements from week to week, it keeps me motivated to keep trucking along
  • My face does weird things when I do Bent Over Barbell Rows



Pros and Cons of Phase 1

  • Pros: the program did a great job of easing me into strength training and it didn’t let the weight room get overwhelming, watching my progress is incredibly motivating and I have gained the confidence to hold my own in the weight room with the grunting men
  • Cons: it was nice to get a break from cardio but I still miss it, and lunges are the devil.

Pure Evil.

I completed the first workout of Phase 2 today and whew, Phase 2 will be intense, but I’m excited still about it! I’m going to be so sore tomorrow.

Now, I’m going to go watch the Olympic Trials. I’m beyond excited for the Olympics this year. Only 32 more days!

Any good workouts this week? Share! I love hearing about other’s workouts!

Live Fit Week 3 Recap.

This week was awesome! It’s been my favorite so far, I seem to be saying this every week but just go with it.

The workouts got 2983427x harder this week. It killed me a little, but I loved it anyway.

Week 3 workouts were increased from 4 days a week to 5 days, with a few more exercises thrown into each workout. The week also focused  on lifting heavier, reps for each exercise were lowered from 12 to 10, while the weight increased from 60% of max effort to 80%.

Workouts this week were no joke. I know the workouts will only get more challenging from here on out (and I’m excited for it!), but I definitely felt sufficiently challenged this week. The past two weeks were focused more on proper form and getting your body acclimated to a consistent lifting routine, which makes sense, but there were days I left the gym wishing my workout felt a little more intense, I definitely didn’t have that complaint this week.

My legs were sore for 3 days after Monday’s leg workout. Seriously. But I already mentioned those awesome single leg deadlifts.  My legs were on fiyah. Along with the killer new deadlift exercise, the program continued to introduce a lot of great new exercises this week. The upper body workouts even got me on the incline and decline benches in the manly section of the weight room. It might sound lame, but I was proud of myself for that, I didn’t modify the exercises because I was intimidated by that section of the gym, I sucked it up and did it, and it was a gratifying experience. Grunting muscles heads can’t keep me out of the weight room.

The I was most excited about this week was seeing results. They weren’t anything huge, but I’m beginning to feel more tone and see some noticeable differences (if I didn’t ruin it with the poor eating I did this weekend – oops). This is a big deal for me, I’ve been working hard to gain some visible muscle tone, have failed pretty miserably at it and I’ve been very discouraged by it. I eat clean, I workout, why am I not seeing results? A lack of weight training apparently. You have to build muscle to see muscle, duh Lea.

Welcome to the Gun Show. Or maybe not. (source)

Being able to see some progress has been so motivating, and I can’t wait to start this week’s workout!

Thursday Thoughts

  • Walking through the grocery store in sweaty biker shorts post-gym sesh is awkward. People stare. Especially when you’re lugging around a gallon of soy milk. Don’t care.
  • I got a comforter for my apartment next year for $9. Thank you Target, I love you.
  • Cats are cute:

    But they sure do poop a lot. I spent Wednesday morning volunteering at my local SPCA. The cats were adorable, and friendly, but I cleaned 20 litter boxes by myself. I then considered bathing in a pool of hand sanitizer. But it was for a good cause, so I won’t complain too much, they’re cute little faces make it worth it!
  • I need these in my life:

    Wine bottle bow ties. Genius. Who thought wine drinking could get any classier?
  • I hate Jamie Eason, but I really love her. This week’s LiveFit workouts have been killing me in the best way possible.

    Single leg deadlifts kill me every time. Julie mentioned them last week. It makes muscles burn that I didn’t even know I had. But they are secretly my favorite exercise of the day, apparently I’m some sort of masochist. I did them on Monday and my legs are STILL sore today. They are no joke.

  • Today marks a month at my internship! I’m still learning lots! I don’t talk about what I do there too often because I had to sign confidentiality agreements and what not, but I’ve gotten to work on a huge variety of projects. When I got the internship I was a little wary, because the business is fairly small, but that turned out to be great because they treat me like a real employee. I’m really enjoying the experience!
  • Speaking of design, I’ve been hard core nerding out on some graphic design podcasts lately. I could listen to people talk about logos, Adobe and business cards for hours. Nerd alert.

     The Deeply Graphic Designcast is my current favorite. The cover a huge variety of design topics and they give a lot of great tips and resources for designers. If you’re looking for some design inspiration/resources/tips or if you just need to relish in your inner design nerd, check them out.

  • I’m leaving for Spartanburg, South Carolina for the weekend tomorrow to visit my grandfather. I’m excited to see my grandfather, but there’s no internet there. Help.
  • I’m officially re-addicted to yoga, I can’t get enough. More on that tomorrow.

Well I’m off to bed, have a good night!

Listen to any good podcasts lately?
I’m on a serious podcast kick at the moment, and I’m open to suggestions if anyone has one they love! Any and all topics are welcome.

LiveFit Trainer Week 2

I just finished up week 2 of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer and I have to say I am still loving it.

The second week is basically just a repeat of the first, so this week I tried to really focus on my form. I’m enjoying taking a step back from lifting as heavy as possible to learn proper alignment, the nerdy dancer in me finds stuff like that fun. Weird, I know. Two weeks is a short time, but I feel like I’ve made some definite improvements in my form.

Some exercises that were really fun:

The Leg Press:

Pretty basic, but this machine has always scared me some. It’s in the depths of the weight room amidst all the grunting boys, oh and it can crush you if you let the foot plate fall. Comforting.

Now that I’m less terrified of being crushed by a weight machine, I do really enjoy this exercise. Maybe it’s just because I feel bad ass loading 90+ lbs on it. It’s the little things.

Underhand Cable Pull Down:

I don’t really know why I like this one, I just do. Maybe because I pretend I’m doing real pull ups while I do one? Sure.

And my least favorite exercise:

Standing Dumbbell Straight-Arm Front Delt Raise to a ‘T’:

That was a mouth full.

Truth be told I don’t really hate this exercise, I just hate how difficult it is for me! My shoulders are super wimpy and even with 5 lb dumbbells they are burning. I’ll have to work on these!

I like that the program has kept me strength training consistently. I like lifting weights, but I’m bad about going only doing it once and week and the forgetting about it again until the next week, so I’m really liking that I’m forced to be consistent.

I’ve been really missing the cardio lately though, I’ve been throwing my own in because I just can’t stay away from it. Though it feels weird to leave the gym not completely soaked in sweat, it’s nice not to have to shower right when I get home, but I also really enjoy being sweaty. That sounded weird, I mean that I enjoy an intense workout that leaves me super sweaty.

This week starts 5 day workouts and heavier weights with fewer reps, I’m excited for it!

LiveFit Week One.

Yep, I jumped on the LiveFit bandwagon. I’ve read so many positive reviews about it on different blogs that I couldn’t help myself. I just finished up the first week of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Program and so far I’m really loving the program. I’m going to try to recap my experience at the end of every week as I continue with the program. I’m not really tracking my results (because I’m lazy) so I mostly focusing how much fun (or possibly not unfun) the workouts are.

I’ve struggled with keeping a consistent strength training routine and this program so far seems to be really helping me with that. Usually, I just wander into the weight room, pick a section of the body I want to work on and just do which ever exercises happen to pop into my brain. Um, not so effective. This program breaks down each body part by day and lays out a specific workout for you to do, which is really helpful if you’re anything like me.

The exercises in the first week are much different that what I’m used to in terms of strength training. What I’ve always heard to do, and have always done, is to pick a somewhat heavy weight, do reps until your muscles fatigue, take a break and do it all again. The first week of the LiveFit program doesn’t do that. It starts with a weight that is a little over half of your max (I might have gotten a little ambitious and lifted too heavy somedays, sorry I’m stubborn), and complete 3 sets of 12 reps. The point is to work on your form and get your body used to the movements before moving onto heavier weights so you don’t get hurt. This is super beneficial, I try to keep good form, but honestly when the weight starts getting heavy I let my form slip a little. No bueno. Taking time to work on my form is going to make things so much better in the long run.

The program has also introduced me to many new exercises in the first week alone, and so far it feels much more effective than my usual weight room improv routine. It even helped me get up the nerve to tackle the cable machine, even with all the macho guys grunting away on it. It’s also been really humbling. I had to pick up 5lb-ers for some of the shoulder exercises. That was a bit of a blow to my ego, but it shows that I have some weaker areas that I really need to work on. And from 5lbs you can really only improve exponentially (or that’s what I keep telling myself).

Gym equipment of medieval torture device?

Overall I’m really liking the program I’m planning on sticking with it. Plus if it makes me look even a fraction like Jamie Eason I won’t complain.

Those. Abs. Are. Ridiculous.


Have you done the LiveFit Program? What did you think about it? 

Things I’m Loving

Life’s kinda boring right now, so here’s somethings I’ve been really into lately:

  1. E’s ClosetBoutique

    How cute is that dress? I just found  this site a couple of days ago, I haven’t actually ordered anything from them, but their clothes are soooo cute. And everything’s $50 or less. Except that dress was $90, thanks Murphy.
  2. Jamie Eason’s LiveFit 12-Week Trainer
    Yes I’m jumping on the LiveFit bandwagon. It seems that everyone and their mother is doing this program, but I’ve been looking to tone up and I still find myself a little overwhelmed by the weight room, so I thought this program would be helpful. I’ve done two workouts so far and I’m loving them. The exercises use a lot of gym equipment that I usually steer clear from (the crazy cable machines!) and my muscles are always pleasantly sore (yes I’m a freak) the next day. I don’t know if I’ll do the entire 12-weeks and I’m definitely not doing the meal plan, I refuse to eat that many egg whites, but I’m going to see where it goes!
  3. Dance Moms
    Excuse me while I hang my head in shame. I’m officially addicted to Dance Moms. It’s overly dramatic and completely unrealistic but I. Can’t. Stop. Watching. It’s like a trainwreck.
    In my defense I did dance competitions for 8 years when I was younger and I miss doing them so much, so I’m reliving those experiences through this show. And those kids are AMAZING, seriously after 17 years of dance I don’t even dance that well. And for the the record, dance studio’s are almost nothing like what you see on that show.

  4. The Civil Wars
    If you’ve never heard of them they’ve got a folksy/alternative sound. I’ve had their stuff on repeat for the past couple months and I’m still not sick of them. I’ve actually been really into more folksy sounding music lately, I guess living in Boone is starting to rub off on my music tastes.
  5. The Farmer’s Market
    Well this one is a given, and nothing new, but I’m addicted to farm fresh produce. I’m also so lucky that I live near a farmer’s market that is open 7 days a week all year long. I’m spoiled. I finished off a two pound bag of kale that I bought on Saturday (fiber much?) and I’m highly upset that I don’t have anymore. Luckily I’ll be back at the farmer’s market on Saturday. You can’t keep me away
  6. I’m starting to feel better!
    I’m still not 100% and I’m still a swollen but I’m starting to feel more normal. I’ve been trying to cool it on the intense cardio until I feel back to normal and I miss it terribly. I’ve been doing yoga, pilates and LiveFit in the mean time but I’m craving a good kickboxing/spin/step class.

What are you loving lately?