Viewing entries in
The Know it All

The Perfect Lunge

Lunges ROCK! You can do them anywhere and the benefits can be seen in no time - shapely, toned legs and booty. And I’m not just saying this because warmer weather is approaching; I believe we should work out bods all year long! Skinny jeans, leggings, bathing suits fall in the same level of importance in my book, (wink wink!). There are so many lunge variations which makes it nearly impossible to get bored with them, but for now let’s focus on the stationary front lunge. Basic (in the best way), the lunge is used as a warm-up to runners, as a working exercise in our Toning/Blended classes, helps with various injuries since they balance the glutes and hamstrings and quads properly, improves lower limb functions and strengthens most of your lower body including your core!

It’s important to perform lunges properly to avoid unwanted strain on your joints, specifically your knees. Below I show a correct and incorrect lunge and explain, step by step how to perform the correct stationary front lunge.

  1. Start with your feet hip width distance apart, spine long and straight, and core engaged to help keep you balanced.

  2. Step forward with one leg into a wide stance (approximately one leg’s distance between feet) while maintaining spine alignment. Make sure you lead with your heel so your glute, hamstring and quad activate avoiding pressure on the front knee.

  3. Keep your knees, hips and shoulders all facing in same direction - forward.

  4. Lower your hips until both knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees. Front leg should have weight in heel and back leg should have weight in toe/ball of foot.

  5. Your front knee should not extend over your ankle and your back knee should hover above the ground. Think about how you are distributing your body weight. Don’t force your weight into your kneecaps but rather use them as a hinge.

  6. Keeping your weight in your front heel, push back to starting position.

  7. Repeat on both sides.

Injury Prevention: IF you feel any knee pain while you perform a lunge, try taking a smaller step or performing a reverse lunge. Same rules apply, you just take step behind you and weight is distributed the same as a front lunge (front leg: keep weight in your heel - back leg: keep weight in your toe/ball of foot).

Now that you have the basics down, you can modify your lunge workouts in many different ways to work different muscles. Our instructors often combine movements in our Toning and Blended classes where you see a bicep curl, shoulder press, tricep extension or a core twist with a lunge series.

The beauty of this exercise is that you only need your body to perform a simple lunge movement! You can lunge down your building or house hallway, and even lunge in place. Do them daily in our classes and properly with the help of our instructors, and you will feel benefits in no time! The lunge, when performed perfectly, could be considered the bread and butter of a fitness routine! Now go ahead and practice your lunges today!

Leave questions/comments below.

xx, Heather Little Miss KIA

The Perfect Push-Up

Oh, the popular exercise that we see often - the push-up! We know all about them, but do they always look pretty? The push-up is a super effective movement - it is a total-body functional move that’s great for increasing strength throughout your chest, arms and back with the added benefits of core work and lower body (thank you, gravity!). Another beautiful thing about the push-ups is that it can be done just about anywhere! (haha, no excuses not to fit them in!). To make sure you are performing your push-ups properly, I show you a correct and incorrect push-up here, and explain step-by-step how to perform the correct one.

  1. Get into a high plank position with hands planted directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width apart). Engage abs and back so body is neutral, and ground your toes into the floor to stabilize your bottom half.

  2. Begin to lower the body, inhaling on the way down until the chest nearly touches the floor, keeping back flat, eyes focused about three feet in front of you to keep a neutral spine. Draw your shoulder blades back and down while you keep your elbows tucked close to the body, approximately a 45-degree angle at the bottom.

  3. Keep core engaged, to protect lower back, and exhale as you push back to the start position. That’s ONE! Repeat for 10 - 20 reps or as many that can be performed with good form.

With every exercise there are always modifications. With push-ups in particular, (and their challenging nature), the endurance in the muscles used may feel more difficult than other movements and we want to keep the integrity of the exercise so…We can perform an “Assisted / Bent Knee Push-Up.” These push-ups are performed on your knees, same rules apply as the regular push-up. This modification is great for beginners to nail down the form, with knees helping to stabilize the body rather than the feet. Also, the assisted push-up can be performed if you are trying to build your reps or if you are in a class and start to feel fatigued. It’s always more important to perform an exercise perfectly rather than pushing through with incorrect form.

Keep in mind, if you have been performing push-ups but not quite the correct way, the correct way may feel a tad more challenging...Don’t you worry - performing five PERFECT push-ups is way more important and beneficial than performing 20 incorrect ones!

Leave questions / comments below!

XX, Heather Little Miss KIA

A Private Pre-Natal Experience

If you love working out, don't fear! You can still keep your passion going throughout your pregnancy! When I first stepped into the fitness industry, I became very interested in training women, specifically pregnant women. I love being able to keep expecting Mommys in motion with appropriate modifications.

Last Summer, a client of ours Sarah Ward found herself wanting some specialized training with a couple months left in her pregnancy. Little did Sarah know, our team had a special Pre-Natal program already developed called Bun In The Oven! It's a NEW 12-week class series just started in the New Year - Every Tuesday at 1015am - WiO River with Sherri or myself!

“Continuing to train at the end of pregnancy kept my endurance up, I always felt better after the workout than before, and it felt SO good to sweat. Heather’s workouts were challenging, but in a good way,” says Sarah. Sarah has worked out most of her life that included our Go Mommys, and various Blendedclasses.

We encourage our expecting mommies to perform their same pre-pregnancy exercise regimen as long as they feel comfortable. Here are a few tips during pregnancy to keep you and your little one on the way safe and healthy!

  • Maintain a happy belly environment!

    • Make sure you don’t overwork or elevate heart rate too high because there should always be plenty of blood and oxygen going to the uterus

    • Perform the talk test during workouts

    • Base efforts and intensities on how the exercise and activity feels at that moment

    • Don’t forget to eat!

      • Pay attention to blood sugar levels

      • Make sure to eat before, after and even mid-workout if necessary

      • And don’t forget to drink! (we mean water, silly!)

        • Consume adequate water intake during workouts and throughout the day

If you are currently pregnant, feel free to ask me following questions and I will guide you in the right direction!

  • What fitness level am I at now?

  • What does my Dr. say regarding this particular exercise/activity?

  • Have I done this exercise or activity regularly lately?

  • How do I feel when I perform the exercise today?

The Perfect Plank!

What’s that one exercise that is considered of the best core exercises? Well, in my opinion, it’s the plank! While it’s both simple and effective when done correctly, it’s a challenging core exercise that is taught in many of our classes (Sweata Weatha, Candybarre, Next Stop; Skinny, and various Blended Rides), but also is a movement that can be performed just about anywhere! Isn’t it amazing how not moving while supported by your forearms and toes requires so much muscle coordination? Well, since it does, below I show a correct and incorrect plank and explain, step by step how to perform the correct one.

  1. Start on your hands and knees and place your forearms on the ground/mat with elbows aligned below the shoulders and arms parallel to the body, approximately shoulder-width apart

  2. Tuck one toe at a time behind you, lengthening your body - trying not to shift your upper body, all while imagining you are pushing the floor away from you with your elbows.

  3. Ground your toes and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. Keep in mind, your legs should be working in this move too; but careful not to hyperextend your knees.

  4. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking just about a foot beyond your hands.

  5. Brace your entire abdominal wall as you hold this position, protecting your lower back by tucking your pelvic floor under and squeezing those glutes.

  6. Avoid shallow-chest breathing, as it creates tension in your neck; Instead, maintain a slow, controlled breath.

If you are new to the plank, try holding for :20 seconds with a :10 second break and repeat two to three times. If you are a seasoned plank’er, try lifting one leg off the floor a few inches to a balance, then alternate 10-20 times while keeping proper form. Make sure you never feel pain in your lower back.

Remember, a perfect plank is all about alignment! That is, your entire body should be in a perfectly straight line, starting with your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and all the way down to your ankles. Practice, practice, practice makes for the perfect plank!

Leave questions / comments below.

xx, Heather Little Miss KiA

The Perfect Squat!

The booty is something that (I personally!) like to work all year long, (hello Tight End!). The squat, sometimes referred to as the king of all exercises since they are a full-body staple that works the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings -- and it sneaks in core strengthening too! Wowy, amazing how a simple move can have so many benefits, here’s more...Squats not only are a great toning exercise, but also improve balance, coordination and bone density. Now the major key to receiving all the benefits from this amazing exercise move is to ensure you are performing your squat properly, so let’s break this movement down.

Below, I show a correct and incorrect squat and I will explain, step by step how to perform the correct one.

  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.

  2. Roll shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Maintaining a neutral spine and strong core will alleviate any unnecessary stress on your lower back.

  3. Start the movement by inhaling and unlocking your hips, slightly bringing them back -- and now keep sending your hips back as your knees begin to bend.

  4. Make sure your chest and shoulders stay somewhat upright, and back stays straight as you start to lower.

  5. Brace your core, with your weight in your heels, explode back up to standing, driving through your heels and imagine your feet spreading the floor as you rise, making sure your knees stay wide and don’t cave in to get the most activation from your glutes!

The best squats are the deepest ones that your mobility allows while maintaining proper form...just review and practice those steps above! It’s time to perfect those squats pronto!

Along with the helping you “Never Forget Your Bike Settings Again!”and this post teaching you how to perform the perfect squat...keep your eyes peeled for more tips!

Leave questions / comments below.

xx, Heather Little Miss KiA

Hello Fall | Hello Routine | Hello Work it Out!

We are with you every season, but somehow there’s something about Fall that has us craving our routine again! To help measure success and commitment this season (and always!), I want to share a few hot talking points that will help with your workout regimen and hopefully give that little extra boost of motivation as you get back into the swing of things, (that’s if you took a little time off this Summer!)#1: VARIETY Let’s start off with our signature classes, at Willow: Dance / Core Fusion, Ride and Toning, along with our entire Blended schedule at River gives you nothing BUT variety! Your body should never be allowed to accommodate to an exercise. Muscle confusion works best for breaking through plateaus.

Secondly, let’s take a peek at our schedule. Whether you are an early riser, one of our Go Mommys, or prefer the midday or late night classes, we have it covered. We offer so many class time varieties to fit into your busy schedules all week long! And with TWO locations, you should have no problem securing a spot in class.

Integrating variety also improves motivation, keeps one mentally fresh and allows muscles to continually adapt -- you WILL see and feel results in your mind and body!

I encourage you to try a new class and switch it up. What classes do you take weekly? How do you take advantage of all the different classes we offer?

#2: CONSISTENCY You made it down the Shore every single weekend this Summer, right? Well that’s consistency! So now, let’s talk about how we find consistency with our workout routines. Some enjoy the three times a week convention, but I’d actually say four to even six days a week wins! If you workout three times a week, the four days off win. The more you make your workouts a habit, the more you will crave the good feelings, the more you will stick to your routine. Just like if you wanted to learn a new language, you can’t study once every two weeks...you have to study a few days, take one off maybe, then back at it for a few days!

#3: INTENSITY This is an interesting one - intensity is measured by YOU. You have to push yourself that little extra inch every class! No, you don’t have to push to the point of making yourself sick, but you have to be open to pushing yourself slightly outside your comfort zone. If something feels easy, you have to pay attention on how you can make it harder - whether it’s squat jumps in Next Stop; Skinny or a hill climb in Ride, you want to strive to work at your 100% effort. Keep in mind, exercise stresses the systems of the body, which then requires recovery time to heal and become stronger than when you started. If you are performing 2-a-days then perhaps your first workout sesh is a Ride class and the other is a Dance, Candybarre or Toning class. Doubling up on your workouts with a morning and afternoon session can take results to the next level - if you use the right approach. Changing intensities is just as important as the actual intensity during your workout. Make sense?

To add an additional layer to these hot talking points, WiO supports VARIETY, CONSISTENCY and INTENSITY offering many different styled classes, our ability to be with you every step of your health and fitness journey daily, and our motivating instructors always asking you to give 110% each class.

And, it’s not hard to see how these three keys to success will serve you after class -- being honest about what your “best” really is and pushing a tad further each time will serve your emotional well-being, relationships and career. Feeling your best will help you put your best YOU out to the universe.

Get to it, sign up for your classes today!

Leave comments / questions below.

xx, Heather Little Miss KiA

Never Forget Your Bike Settings Again, Promise!

Taking a brand new class is a little nerve-wracking (let’s be honest!) AND then to need help setting up your bike, learning the positions, all while keeping proper form the entire class...it seems like so much work before the class even started! Well don’t you fret - I've put everything together for you so that you can remember!

  1. Seat Height - Measure the seat to the same height as your hip bone. You can bring your leg up into up to a 90 degree angle and make sure seat is the same height as your leg.

  2. Seat Distance - Take your forearm and place it between the seat and your handlebars, there’s your measurement.

  3. Handlebar Height - Make your seat the same height as your handlebars or a tad higher depending on preference.

  4. Handlebar Distance - Determine this setting once you are on the bike. If your body is set up correctly, and your arms still feel a little close just adjust your handlebars accordingly.

Now that your bike is set up, we have to make sure proper form is being maintained during class. Take a look at the photos below and body position cues that I’m positive will help make your ride more comfortable and let’s not forget, stronger!

POSITION #1

- secure hips in your saddle - relax shoulders, open chest - hold elbows in - engage core - keep neck neutral and relaxed

POSITION #2

- keep hands light on - handlebars, hold elbows in - keep slight bend in knee as you pedal down - engage core - keep body upright

POSITION #3

- keep hands light on handlebars - push hips back over the - saddle, chest parallel to floor - keep slight bend in knee as you pedal down - engage core - relax shoulders and hold elbows in

Whether it’s your first or 100th Ride or Blended class, you now have the tools and information to never forget your bike settings and to understand what you should look and feel like when you are jumping, climbing, and sprinting around all three positions!  I've also posted a "How To" video on our Youtube ChannelInstagram in case you need a little more clarification. Sign up for your next class here.

Leave comments or questions below!

xx, Heather Little Miss KiA

Sculpt Your Perfect Tank Top Arms

 Perhaps one of the most frequent requests I hear is, “I want to tone my arms!” The truth is, you don’t need fancy equipment for toned, sculpted, strong arms - you need the correct weights and killer moves found in all of our classes!

There’s no arguing that arms are the ultimate barometer to buffness! Unlike your abs and thighs, which make peekaboo appearances only in hot weather, your arms have to be ready for their close-up pretty much year-round. The upper arms and the shoulders have no fewer than nine primary muscles that require some serious firming if you want to make the sort of sleeveless impact you see on the red carpet (wink wink!). Plus we have a ton of cute tanks to showoff your arms now too!

The tricky part is that there’s no consensus on what level of perfect we should be reaching for. According to the data from a national survey, the average woman over 18 years of age has an upper-arm circumference (typically measured around the biggest part of the biceps) of just less of 12 ¼ inches. The truth is, this measurement doesn’t account firmness. Studies of upper-body strength showed that women tend to neglect toning that would add muscle to that mix. Of course, diet and cardio play large factors into your total body composition, but strength training is extremely important to sculpt and shape your body to your desire.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

Renegade Row

  • Works: core, shoulders, upper back, biceps, and triceps

  • How To: Grab dumbbells and get into the top of a push-up position with your hands on the dumbbells and your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bend your right arm and raise the weight to chest level, pressing the left dumbbell into the floor for balance. Lower the weight to the floor and alternate and repeat.

Overhead Press

  • Works: shoulders, upper back, and biceps

  • How To: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the dumbbells just above your shoulders, palms facing each other. Press the weights up until your arms are straight overhead. Hold for 1 second, then take 3 seconds to lower the weights back to start. Repeat.

Standing V-Raise

  • Works: shoulders

  • How To: Grab dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides. With arms straight but not locked, raise the weights in a V shape until your arms are parallel to the floor. Hold for 1 second, then return to start.

Tip: If you arch your back or swing the dumbbells for momentum in any of these exercises, use less weight.

To prevent plateaus and see continuous results, alternate between light-weight, moderate intensity workouts found in our Candybarre or Hottie Pilates classes and heavy-weight, high intensity workouts found in WiO’s own, Sweata Weatha or Next Stop; Skinny! Incorporating weights in your workouts will also give you a more youthful, slim and shapely appearance - you know, keeping it ‘au natural!’

Sign up for a Toning class and Blended Upper Class ASAP so our team can help you achieve your perfect tank top arms!

What are your favorite upper body moves that have you feeling and looking your best? Tell us and even share your perfect tank top arms with us @WiOwithus #WiOtanktoparms.

xx, Heather Little Miss KiA

The Secret Is In The Blend

The secret is in the blend.. No, no, no. I’m not talking about my favorite smoothie - but better! I'm talking about our newest workout trend here at the studio. There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings around cardio vs strength training. Usually, people who want to slim down think to practice ONLY cardio, and then people who want to gain muscle choose to ONLY strength train. Well, both scenarios are actually FALSE! In fact, a healthy combination of strength and cardio training will allow your body to perform at its best, letting the two systems, cardio & strength, complement each other rather than compete - as found in our Blended classes!

I firmly believe in our Blended classes because it allows for an efficient and productive workout. And, by efficient, I really mean demanding, quality workouts that will give your fitness levels a push. And, if you can kill two birds with one stone, by all means do it!

Secret Is In The Blend photo
Secret Is In The Blend photo

No matter where you are in your fitness journey or what your schedule allows, you can take advantage of any of our classes:

  • Early riser? Well so are we! There are lots of options both studios! At River, you can Blend with your ‘Tight End’ one day, your ‘Upper Body’ the next, and then hit up Willow with a Toning or Ride class all in the same week.

  • Busy Go Mommy looking for some YOU time? Good news! Our childcare team will take care of your little ones while you Blend at River, Ride at Willow or hop into one of our Outdoor Mommy Mixers offered at both studios. (Go Mommy classes are offered in the 9a & 10a hours.) P.S. You don’t have to be a Mom or bring a child to attend these classes!

  • Free for Lunch? Escape for an hour and join our 45-minute express classes that will help break up your day and give you the energy your afternoon coffee can’t compete with!

As is the case with many aspects of fitness, balance is the key to mixing both cardio and strength training into your routine. Here at WiO, two modes are perfectly “blended” so you can get the most out of every class!

Feel free to share comments or questions. Tell us how WiO has helped you reach your fitness goals!

xx Heather, Little Miss KiA

Little Miss Know it All

Hi WiO Women, Heather here! This summer will mark my two year anniversary with Work it Out and I have been able to fall more in love with what I do for the company and all of you. Leading a balanced lifestyle that includes healthy eating and fitness is a major part of who I am and I believe that having structure, good habits, and a specific focuses brings out your very best!

While many of you have probably seen me in the studio teaching and chatting about your upcoming life events, the progress you have made in classes, or even what new lulu purchase you’ve recently made, that’s not all that I do! I’ve been busy on something else!

As I became more involved at the company, I've started to work closely with our WiO ‘behind the scenes’ team to create more unity for staff, elevate classes, and more. My role has evolved and now I have another role here besides teaching, yes it's true - welcome to a new blog series, "Heather - The Know it All!

This blog series was created based on the fact that I love the fitness industry and learning, and I am never shy at explaining form, theories or my own personal thoughts. Most of you who take classes of mine know this about me, no detail is too small. You’ll hear that same voice as I share with you how to get the most of WiO, our classes and your workouts.

Look forward to seeing my upcoming posts. A few sample topics will include, “Benefits of Class Variety,” “Instructor Points of View,” “FORM DO's & DONT'S,” “Blended Tips,” and much much more!

I encourage you to leave comments, ask questions - I would love to hear from you!

xx Heather, Little Miss KiA