Category Archives: Workouts

The Cycling + Strength Circuit Workout of Threes

What kind of workouts have you been getting into lately?

I’ve noticed that when I get crazy busy, I tend to stop getting as creative with my workouts. And since April was a hectic month for me, my workouts were not all that exciting. I had been going to some fun classes that were challenging me, but the first thing that goes when my schedule is packed is fitness studio visits. After all, not having to drive to studios saves time in my day! I was also traveling for half of the month, during which I snuck in quick morning workouts before full days. Oh, but I did go on an awesome hike during my quickie getaway to Idyllwild!

Wheel posing on the top of Idyllwild’s Suicide Rock

No matter how busy I am, I make it a priority to workout. I tell myself, no excuses! Truth be told, I have exercise ADHD, so my “boring” workout stretch is probably still more exciting than most. I have about a dozen workout DVDs I like, I use YouTube to find new workouts (Speaking of which, check out my post on 3 at-home kickboxing workouts to try!), take my dog for long walks around our neighborhood, favorite parks, and by the beach, and use my at-home workout equipment. I have a variety of dumbbells, resistance bands, recovery tools, and my favorite thing of all, my indoor bike trainer.

Continue reading

3 At-Home Kickboxing Workouts to Try

Out of all of the workouts that I enjoy doing, boxing is high up on my list of favorites. I just love the intensity and how fast-paced it is. I’ve gone to a few boxing classes at a Title Boxing Club near me recently, and boy are they tough. After the last one I went to, my abs, glutes, and shoulders were sore for a good three days. Every time I laughed or sneezed my mid section would be hurting!

San Diego area readers, I’ve been booking my classes through the Lymber Fitness app – which lets you book classes for a variety of workouts at studios in the area without memberships. It’s great for exercisers like me that like to switch it up a lot! If you’re interested in trying the app out, you can use the code NICOLELYMB-1-21 to get $5 off your first class.

While I love the intensity and hardcore calories burned that a sweat session of hitting the heavy bag brings, I also like doing boxing workouts at home sometimes – especially when I’m crunched for time and am squeezing in a workout in between meetings. Walking into my workout room to sweat it out beats sitting in rush hour traffic to get to a class some days!

That’s why today I wanted to share 3 of my favorite at-home kickboxing workouts. These are workouts that I do all the time in my house, or during weeks like this one where I’m traveling. I’m staying at my parents’ house on the east coast this week, so instead I’m kickboxing in their living room with an audience of family Pit bulls and cats, who like to sit 2.5 inches from where I’m kicking, and also sometimes my nephews, who join in by jumping around and busting out moves of their own. ūüėČ

1.) 30-Minute Cardio Kickboxing Workout with Natalie Yco. This half-hour workout is a great calorie burner and I’ve done it many, many times. Any Jillian Michaels’ DVD fanatics may recognize Natalie as one of the fitness models from a few of her workouts. The workout is done with a jump rope, but I usually just do my own cardio moves instead – such as jumping jacks, lateral hops, squats, etc.

Continue reading

My Workouts Lately [Nov & Dec ’16]

Hi friends!

Is it just me, or is January flying by?!

Today I want to rewind a bit and look back at my workouts of November and December ’16. I capped off my year with¬†many¬†awesome sweat sessions!

Harley photobombing my headstand, as per usual!

I kept up with doing an at-home yoga practice most mornings, though I feel like I stuck more to the basics and didn’t challenge myself with new/deepening asanas all that much.

Well okay, this pose is a pretty tough one! 

Class-wise, November was fun because I got to experience spin classes at a new studio in downtown San Diego called Pure Indoor Cycling.

The folks at the studio kindly gave me a complimentary membership to try out their classes, and you guys, I had so much fun taking spin classes there! Pure offers the club-esque type of cycling classes that are becoming so popular in many cities — complete with loud, energizing music and lighting effects.

I love breaking up the day with a lunchtime ride, and I burned mega calories at Pure classes. I have my bike trainer at home that I use all the time, but I definitely pushed myself more in the classes. I left every Pure class feeling awesome, with lots of endorphins flowing!

One thing that I dig about Pure Studio? The classes are a bit more reasonably priced than you’d find at comparable cycling studios. And¬†San Diego locals, the first class at Pure is free! I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

The only bummer for me? I wish I lived closed to the Pure studio!

Next up with my¬†studio class workouts throughout November & December was going to more yoga sculpt classes at Fortis & YOGALUX¬†in Carlsbad.¬†I’ve become such a fan of yoga sculpt classes!

Continue reading

Three Workouts to Try This Holiday Season

Between holiday shopping, parties, travel, and family traditions¬†on top of the usual busyness, most of us are pressed for time at the end of the year. But don’t let that stop you from fitting in exercise!¬†Today I’m sharing 3 workout ideas to try over your holiday season.

The first¬†routine is a 30-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout¬†that consists of 5 circuits, with 3 exercises in each circuit: a cardio move, a bodyweight strength move, and an abdominal exercise. For each exercise, it’s 30 seconds on / 10 seconds off, and once you complete the three exercises, you repeat it for 3 rounds, then move onto the next circuit. This one can be done anywhere, and chances are I’ll be doing this one when I’m staying at my parents’ house over Christmas!


Tip: I use a free app called Interval Timer for HIIT workouts. I set up my desired intervals (in this case, 45 intervals with 30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest), and then once I push start, I can just listen to the alarm interval noises to switch exercises while I’m watching TV or listening to music.

The second¬†workout is a treadmill + bodyweight circuit workout that’ll take around 40 minutes to complete.¬†My father-in-law has a treadmill in his basement, so when I’m staying at his house I usually fit in a workout incorporating incline walking intervals. This workout begins with building treadmill inclines, then switches over to 5 bodyweight exercises for a total body workout. Do 4 rounds for about a 40 minute workout. Only have 20 minutes to spare? Complete 2 rounds for a quickie workout!

Continue reading

My Workouts Lately // Sept & Oct

Happy Halloween!

If you trick-or-treat at my house tonight, you’ll be greeted by a barking Batpuppy:


I celebrated Halloween yesterday by carving pumpkins and watching scary movies with my hubby, and making jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers for dinner.

Are you celebrating the holiday with some treats? If you’re looking for a way to offset those extra candy calories today, try this at-home Halloween workout: at-home-halloween-workout

And speaking of workouts, today I’m sharing what I’ve been up to lately on the fitness front!

I had a bit of an injury scare about a week and a half ago, when I spent a few days thinking that I might have broken my middle toe after tripping at my door when walking inside from my backyard. Total klutz move! I was totally sober, but I was going to open wine, so I may have been a teeny bit excited and gotten ahead of myself. Oops. At first it was really painful but luckily, after a couple of days the throbbing subsided, and I think it was just a bad bone bruise.


Because of my poor little toe, I took it pretty easy last week with my exercise routine. It was painful putting on sneakers for a bunch of days, so I mostly did easy walks with my pup in sandals and did some upper body strength training and limited yoga. Luckily I’m almost good as new now and back to regular workouts!


My beach walk spot: Carlsbad Cliffs

Backing it up to last month’s workouts, I had some fitness studio fun in September – especially when a heatwave hit and I wanted to get out of my warm house for my sweat sessions as much as possible. Having no A/C is no joke when it hits 100 degrees outside!

One studio that I took classes at was Fortis & YOGALUX in Carlsbad. What I love about this gym is that they offer a nice variety of classes, from yoga and barre to boxing and TRX. It’s also close to my house, which makes it nice and convenient to take classes at any time that I can fit a workout in – regardless of rush hour traffic.

Triple digits is pretty unheard of here in SoCal!

Triple digits is pretty unheard of here in San Diego

Two classes that I took there in September were Agility Barre and LUX HIIT. Created by one of the Fortis instructors, Lauren, Agility Barre reminded me a lot of Xtend Barre in that it’s more cardio-focused than other barre styles. You use a weighted bar for some of the moves, and it incorporates some yoga elements. I liked the fast pace of the class, and as usual with barre, it incorporated a lot of great toning exercises.

The LUX HIIT class marked my return to a HIIT class after a 6 months hiatus. HIIT is one of my favorite kind of workouts, but I took a break from it after my foot injury earlier this year. I’ve still been limiting plyometric training and really high-impact workouts because I find that they make my foot and calf injuries flair up, but I was curious as to what LUX HIIT was all about….


My calorie burn from LUX HIIT

…and it was such a great workout! It was a tough cardiovascular class, and holy calves! They were so sore for days after since they aren’t used to me jumping up and down on them too much nowadays. Leaving this class super sweaty high on exercise endorphins, I was reminded why I love HIIT so much.

Continue reading

IDEA World Convention 2016: Working Out with Jillian Michaels & Trying POP Pilates

If you’re an exercise enthusiast,¬†the IDEA World Convention is a wonderful¬†event¬†to attend. Not only does it attract lots of personal trainers, but it also brings bloggers and health coaches like myself together, along with fitness lovers¬†who don’t work in the industry and come solely to participate in the workouts and get inspired by motivational speakers in the fitness world.

IDEA World Convention

Last weekend I got the chance to attend this year’s IDEA World Convention. A few years ago I was able to go to Fit Approach’s Blogfest within IDEA World (recaps here, here and here), but unfortunately this year I could only make it up to Los Angeles for a day. There were some seminars that looked interesting, but I decided to keep it simple and instead participate in a few workouts, then explore the expo floor.

On Friday afternoon, I drove (more like crawled in my car – oh SoCal traffic!) up to Long Beach to spend the night with my cousin. I timed it up so that I could spend time with my cousin, then have a shorter drive in the morning to the Los Angeles Convention Center. We went out for drinks and to an event that the Long Beach Museum of Art was having.

LB Art Museum showcase

An art showcase at the museum

The museum is right along the water, and it was nice to enjoy a glass of wine outside while listening to the live music they had and checking out the art. Afterwards, we went to another bar for awhile.

LB Art Museum-cranes

A display of cranes in the museum

The night¬†was a lot of fun, and while I woke up early Saturday morning feeling like I could have used another hour or two of sleep (and maybe one less glass of wine the night before!), I also woke up excited because…. I had the chance to workout with Jillian Michaels that morning!

IDEA World Jillian-3

If I had to name one person that I geek out about seeing¬†in the fitness world, it would have to be Jillian. I love how she’s a down-to-earth chick who has worked really hard to become the celebrity trainer that she is. I’ve been doing her workouts for years, and got to see her speak at IDEA in 2014. After so many DVD sessions with Jillian on my TV screen, I was psyched to get to workout with her in front of me in real life.

IDEA World Jillian-5

As I walked into the ballroom for her BODYSHRED class, the energy was awesome. Everyone just seemed excited to get sweaty with Jillian Michaels!

That’s one thing that’s awesome about IDEA World in general: There are so many go-getters there that are high energy, dedicated to helping make America healthier and passionate about healthy living. It’s a great vibe to be around!

Continue reading

Hiking Cuyamaca Peak

Happy Friday guys!

I’m sure you all are looking forward to the weekend! And speaking of days off, whenever I have a long weekend, I like to do spend part of it doing something fun and new. For 4th of July weekend, this was no exception.

4th of July pancakes

My festive pancakes over the holiday weekend

We had a party at our friends’ on the agenda, which I made my very first red, white & blue cake {angel food cake with cream cheese frosting & a fruit flag} + caprese pasta salad for. We also had some house stuff to do (homeowners, do you also feel like the work is never-ending?!), but that was pretty much it… so, we had some time to go on adventure!

4th of July cake

I decided that a new area hiking spot was to be explored, and the weather was perfect for doing so. A lot of hiking trails in San Diego County are inland, and inland areas can get HOT in the summer, but last weekend, temperatures in the 80s meant decent summertime hiking. After doing some research – when I realized that I’ve done the vast majority of hikes within a 2-hour radius! – I found one called Cuyamaca Peak.

Cuyamaca Peak-12b

What intrigued me about this hike is that it’s the 2nd highest point in San Diego County. The summit sits at¬†6,512′ and the hike comes in at a little under 6 miles with a 1,700’+ elevation gain. ¬†The trail is located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park – which I didn’t realize that we’d been to¬†until after doing the hike, coming home and checking my blog post about our camping trip there years ago because I thought the park sounded familiar¬†(Got to love that, right fellow bloggers?).¬†

Cuyamaca Peak-1

From what I’ve read, dogs are allowed on this trail (and I believe it’s the only trail in the park that allows pups), but we decided to leave Harley home. Between the decently long drive and the summertime¬†weather, we figured it’d be easier to leave her napping cozy in her bed under a ceiling fan.

Cuyamaca Peak-5

To get to the trail, we parked in the Paso Pichacho campground area, and walked through the campsites to get to the trailhead in the back.

Cuyamaca Peak-2

Another thing that¬†seemed interesting about this trail is that it’s home to sugar pine trees – something you don’t see too often in Southern Cali. I was also curious about the destruction that could still be seen from the massive fire that I had heard about, which in 2003, incinerated the areas and its beautiful forests.

Cuyamaca Peak-4

Right away, you can tell that there was an enormous fire in the park. While lots of beautiful green can still be seen on the trail, much of the area is a reminder of that fire 13 years ago that swept through 240,000+ acres. Trees caught in the fire still stand high Рbut leaf-less, blackened and burnt.

Cuyamaca Peak-10

Continue reading

The All About the Hamstrings Workout

When I cut out cardio for a couple of months because of my foot injury, I started doing a lot more isolated strength training than usual. I typically incorporate strength moves into HIIT and cardio workouts, but I started relying more on strength training as my main exercise burn.

While I love so many types of workouts, I wouldn’t say that lifting is high on my list of favorite types of exercise. At first I was whining to myself (and probably a few others) saying, “How many damn bicep curls can I do?” but then I started getting more creative. I used to do a lot more¬†workouts that were more strength-based when I regularly went to a normal gym, so I started getting back to those roots and having more fun with it.

Hamstring WOD Collage-2

One thing I started paying more attention to was working on my hamstrings. I definitely have stronger quads than hamstrings. After all, I use my quads for some of my favorite exercises as well as functional movements throughout my day, but my hamstrings? They don’t get worked quite as much.

It’s common to have stronger quads than hamstrings, but in an effort to keep things balanced and reduce chances of further injury aggravation, lately¬†I’ve been more diligently doing hamstring exercises. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite moves to work the hammies, so let’s get to it! Here are the moves:

#1 РOne-legged bridge lift. This move is great for getting a glute + hamstring burn! I do this exercise using either a chair as pictured below, or by using my couch as a prop.

Bridge Lift

#2 – One-legged deadlift. This is one of my favorite exercises to work the hammies. You can also add some extra upper body work in there by doing bicep curls or tricep pull-ups when flowing¬†back to standing. I typically use 10-lb dumbbells for this move and most of the other exercises, but bump it up to my 25-lb weights if I’m feeling strong!

One Legged Deadlift

#3 – Alternating reverse lunges. An oldie but a goodie, this move gets your heart rate pumping!

Reverse Lunge

Continue reading

My Workouts Lately + Foot Injury Update

Hi there!

It’s been 6 weeks since I shared with you guys about my¬†foot injury, so today seemed like a good time for an update post + to chat about my workouts lately!¬†I’ve been kicking my exercise routine¬†up a bit in the last few weeks since taking it easier for a solid two months after¬†getting my foot injury diagnosis. Some recent workout highlights lately include:

Calavera Lake

My first (baby) hike in months! When my cousin was in town last week, we went to my favorite nearby park for an hour-long walk. I’ve been taking my pup there and just doing the trail around the lake and skipping the little mountainous climb, but this time we went for it. Even though it was just an itty bitty hike, it felt great! I miss hiking so much and it just makes my soul happy.

Mountain Biking-May 16

Getting back on the bike.¬†Not only did my hubby and I go for my (only) second mountain biking excursion of the year a few weekends ago (and I had no weird foot/calf pain afterwards!), this week I hooked up my bike to my indoor trainer to test out short cycling workouts again. I had given pretty much all cardio a rest while trying to heal my broken foot bones, and now I’m trying out¬†20-30 minute rides to see how they feel. We shall see how it goes!

tennis session-May 16

Tennis.¬†Since I’m¬†testing out bringing¬†back some cardio, I’ve played tennis twice in the last couple of weeks. It’s more casual tennis in that I don’t full-blown run since¬†I’m still trying to minimize jumping around, but it’s been fun! Just a few nights ago, my hubby and I had an impromptu short tennis session before it got dark out. I learned that casually volleying back and forth is a good stress reliever and positive way to end the day!

Dog Beach May 16-Wheel Pose

Ommmmm.¬†I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately – mostly on my own for fast-paced at-home sessions. It’s such a nice way to start my mornings and focus my energy.

Continue reading

When You Shouldn’t Give It Your All {Weekend Recap}

Hello friends!

I don’t know about you guys, but a low-key weekend was much needed for me after my week last week. A couple of things with work and otherwise kind of bogged me down, and I totally needed a few days to mentally decompress a bit.

Carlsbad sunset-cloudy day April 16

Luckily, my hubby and I had only one thing on the agenda for the weekend: getting our carpets cleaned, because every time I did a pushup in recent months, I’d get a whiff of a certain someone who loves to snooze on my living room floor…

Dog beach May 16-1

While we waited for our carpets to dry, we killed time at the Del Mar dog beach. It was a beautiful day for a long walk there!¬†There are certainly worse places to waste time. ūüôā

Dog beach May 16-2

My weekend also included an at-home movie night, a long family walk along the coast Sunday morning, heading back to the beach that afternoon to relax and read for a few hours, and my first mountain biking session since my foot injury diagnosis.

Carlsbad beach-May 16

I’ve only been doing strength training, yoga, walking my pup, and non-plymetric movement since I’m trying to heal my tiny broken foot bones, and I’ve been really craving a sweaty cardio session. What can I say, I’m a sweat junkie and I love how it feels to have my endorphins pumping after some great cardio! Strength training just doesn’t give me quite the same strong mood-boosting effect.

Mountain Biking-May 16

It felt wonderful to get my heart rate up pushing myself up the hilly terrain, but since¬†I’m trying to be really conscious of how my injury and body in general feels, we only went riding for just about 45 minutes. I was reminded of a conversation that my mom and I recently had about both of us being tough in a way that can actually be detrimental.

Continue reading