Seconds Strength Full Body Workout

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I hope your week has slowed down in terms of business, but has sped up so the weekend arrives quicker. I’m spending the day doing curriculum design, whomp whomp. Truthfully, lesson planning is one of my favorite parts of teaching, but with four classes, I feel like I don’t have time to create the best lessons I can. Hopefully I can do some brainstorming with my colleagues today.

The best part about curriculum day, is not having to go in until 8am. Rob and I got a cool, early morning run in today.

Sunrise Wednesday Morning Run

Since it’s a Wednesday, I want to share this Seconds Strength full body workout from the Spring Burn, which is on sale – workouts only – for $9.99. You’re getting a sneak peek as to what you’re in for if you need a structured workout plan that’s easy to follow, has progressions and regressions of moves, and can be accomplished in just 4 weeks.

Spring Burn

At the bottom of the workout, I am listing out the beginner and advancements for each move. Let me know if this something you like seeing!

Seconds Strength Workout

Seconds Strength – Complete each move for 30 seconds. Rest 10-15 seconds between each move. Complete 4-5 rounds total.

Arnolds – Beginner: Seated, back straight  / Advanced: Stand on one leg

Squat Hold with Back Tap – Beginner: Rest hand on wall, stand as needed / Advanced: Hold a weight in both hands

Single Leg Dead Lift with Row – Beginner: Rest back toe on ground / Advanced: Row with one arm at a time

Oblique Star Crunch – Beginner: No weight, lower height of foot / Advanced: Take support arm off ground

RQ: Are progressions and regressions (beginner and advances) of the moves something you like to see? Should I continue to add them to workout posts?

Tall Tales Tuesday: Our 14 Favorite Places in Ho Chi Minh City

During our year in Vietnam, we definitely had a few spots that we frequented often. Places we felt safe, welcome, and knew the food was good and the drinks cheap. Granted, most of the places we loved were in the “Korean district” of Phu My Hung in District 7, but this is where we felt the least amount of stress and the most at home.

Brooke & Rob Being Silly

If Rob and I didn’t want to go to one of these places, but still wanted to get out of the apartment, we would just go for a stroll along Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao, the tourist streets of Saigon. There was no end of entertainment there (think drunk tourists being silly).

1. Chi’s Cafe. Since we rented our motorbike from Chi’s, we were there at least once a month, and most often once a week. The staff was friendly, the food delicious, and the building cool (temperature wise).

Chi's Cafe

2. Annam Gourmet Market. A short drive from our apartment in Phu My Hung (or District 7), Annam made delicious sandwiches with fresh meats, cheeses, and breads. Towards the end of our year, when food anxieties were severe for me (fear of food poisoning), Rob indulged me by going here for lunch or dinner a couple times a week.

3. WineMart. Another tasty sandwich shop that specialized in wine, WineMart was a 3 minute walk from our school. It became a frequent lunch spot for us, especially when we needed a break from students.

4. The park by in Phu My Hung, District 7. Green, generally free of litter, and peaceful, this area saw us often for post-dinner and weekend walks.

5. Happy Life. Known for their cocktail “buckets”, Rob and I probably spent more time at Happy Life than we care to admit. The chairs on the sidewalk, with prime street-viewing seating, became both our pre-game and post-game spot when we were out for the night on Bui Ven. Many of our expat teacher friends could also be found there – usually unplanned as we rarely used our cell phones.

Happy Life Cocktails

6. Red Chair Bars. These are not “official” bars, but rather just plastic, red kid chairs that are put in rows on the sidewalk and spill into the street. Space is tight, expats and tourists abound, and they get rolling around 10-11pm. You can order beers for 50 cents, buy food from the roaming street vendors, make new friends, and just watch the debauchery happen in front of you.

7. Scott and Binh’s restaurant. This restaurant opened about mid-way through our year. Their speciality was brunch with some delicious stuffed French toast. Sadly, they have closed, otherwise I would tell you to get the cream cheese and banana stuffed toast.

8. The river walk by our apartment. Right across the street from our apartment was a river with some strategically straight-line planted trees and peace from the busy road just a few blocks over. If we wanted to avoid the streets, we would walk along the river all the way to our school. It was the most nature we could get on most days.

River walk trees

9. The cafe across the street from our apartment. I never learned the name of it, but when our cleaning lady would come by (twice a month), we would clear out for a few hours to the cafe directly across the street. Delicious spring rolls, free wifi, and an open-air view of the busy street life passing before us helped pass the hours.

10. Our Apartment. Our safety zone, our space, our first place together, our apartment was truly our haven. Granted, we had no rugs on the tiled floor, an ant infestation, a broken couch, and only two dishes, it was our home. (This picture is from when we first moved in…hence the mess.)

Our Apartment - Day 1

11. Fit24. We decided early on in our year that we wanted a gym membership. Somewhere else to go and a way to keep us in shape. Our gym was exactly like an American one with rows of cardio machines, a weights section, and a few group fitness classes.

Fit 24

12. Crescent Mall. On the bottom floor of the mall was our grocery store while the top floor held a movie theater and lots of shops in between. Apart from our twice weekly grocery haul (we couldn’t carry a week’s worth on the back of the motorbike), we would just walk around and enjoy the air conditioning (and not buy a thing).

Crescent Mall

13. Monopoly Bar. This bar, also in Phu My Hung, had a big patio and lots of board games. It was a great spot to pass a mellow night. Unfortunately, it is out of business.

14. Yes, not an actual location, but a “place” we spent a lot of time regardless. Any restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City that would deliver. We used this service so often that we knew exactly what we would order from our favorite places.

RQ: Which one of these places sounds the best (and worst) to you?

9 Ways To Stay Healthy When You Have No Time To Workout

The past few weeks have been busy. Things like teaching four separate classes, grading, coaching cross country, helping put in the new kitchen, and camping, this is the first weekend I haven’t had a full agenda. And it has been glorious.

Kitchen & Floor

The downside to all that go go go, is there has been very limited time to workout. Even a short workout has barely happened due to being over scheduled. I am super impressed by all you moms who manage careers and families and still find time to get a sweat session in!

For those of you who are also in a busy season of life where working out is just not happening, there are a few things you can do to ensure you don’t lose all your fitness. Note, these tips are for those who keep a normal workout routine during the week when other things are not taking over, this is not for those who don’t keep a regular routine.

9 ways to stay healthy when you have no time to workout

Wear a pedometer. You might already do this, but for me, I don’t wear mine if I know I have a workout scheduled later that day. When I can’t fit gym time in, I’ll wear my pedometer to ensure I get in my 10,000 steps. Here are some ideas on how to use your pedometer without being stuck to your phone.

Fitbit Zip Love

Stand more. Sure you had a busy day, but you probably were sitting for a good chunk of it. At least that’s what happened to me when I have after school meetings. Try doing a bit more standing throughout the day. It’s good for your leg strength, core support, and burns a teeny bit more than sitting. A few ways to make this work – Stand

  • during commercials
  • while checking social media
  • while catching up with your spouse, kids, SO at the end of your day
  • in the back of a work training
  • pumping gas (don’t get back into your car to sit down)
  • while on the phone

Lighten up your food. I don’t mean you need to cut calories, but you do need to adjust your intake to account for the additional calories you are not burning at the gym during your busy season. What this looks like for me is that I cut out one snack during the day. My typical food schedule looks like (note, my times are based around my class schedules):

  • 6:30-7ish Breakfast
  • 10:30 Snack
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 3:30 Snack
  • 7-8ish Dinner

Smoothie at my desk

When I’m not working out, I cut out the 10:30 snack. Sure it’s only a 150-300 calories gone, but it’s enough to cover what is not getting done in the gym.

Skip the drinks. Or, sip smarter. Instead of reaching for the heavy beers and sugary cocktails, skip alcohol all-together, or choose low-calorie beverages. Wine spritzers, tonic water as a mixer, ultra light beers, and smaller pours can all help you keep your waistline in check.

Get enough sleep. Yes, this seems counterintuitive that if you’re super busy, you’re not going to get enough sleep because you’re busy. While that may be true, you need to prioritize it. Lack of sleep can lead to poor decision making around food, not having a clear head to make all decisions, and mood swings.

Hydrate the same. If you’re already drinking your needed ounces (body weight in half in ounces), then keep it up. That’s a habit you already have in place that your body has adapted to. Changing it when you’re busy will make it harder to get back into when you get some time back.

Wrecking Routine water bottle

Reflect and create a new plan (if needed). Determine what about your previous fitness / nutrition plan was working well and what needed to be adjusted. Consider if you were being too tough on yourself and prepare to go into your new found workout time with that new plan in place. If you need help reflecting on your previous plans, your goals, and the best routine for you, leave a comment or email me at to schedule a free consultation.

Fit Planner Example 2

This weekly Fit Planner is available for free here!

Don’t compare yourself to others. Even though you don’t currently have the time to hit the gym, that doesn’t mean everyone is in the same boat. You will still see those super-fit women on social media, at work, and out in the world. Don’t compare yourself to them. Know that you are doing the best you can with the time with you have and you will get back to it as soon as you can.

Give yourself a break. Along with “don’t compare yourself to others”, giving your body, mentality, and emotions a little break (however forced by your schedule) can be the difference between feeling completely overwhelmed and accepting of your body and life right now, as is.

Hopefully when your busy season ends and you have time to get back to working out, you’ll still feel strong, healthy, and ready to tackle your goals.

RQ: What are your “tricks” for not losing all your fitness when you’re busy?