5 core strengthening exercises with mrs. k-fit

I’m SO excited to be collaborating today with my friend Angela Ribeiro of mrskfit.com. Angela is a certified personal trainer, and she and her husband Kendrick own a fitness studio in California. She also happens to be a new mom to super cute baby Gio!

Angela and I went to the same high school in Pennsylvania, but because of a huge student body (there were 700+ kids in our graduating class), we never got a chance to get to know each other. We’ve fixed that over the last few years via social media and have realized that we actually have A LOT in common. I only wish we’d known that back in PA  : )

As you may have picked up on, fitness and health are super important to me, but since I’m no expert, I haven’t shared too much here on the blog about my personal routine. Instead, I reached out to Angela (who is a pro!) and asked if she would be willing to make an appearance on Finding Plan A. I was so happy when she agreed to share some of her wisdom with us in a series of  guests posts!

Keep reading for Angela’s tips on strengthening your core, and follow her blog and Instagram for more great tips (and baby pics!). You may even see a familiar face over on her site today! 

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Hi everyone!

I am so honored to be collaborating with Alli to bring you a series of full-body workouts that you can do at-home. Alli and I met in high school and re-connected on social media after college. I wish I would have had the chance to get to know her more while we were still living on the same coast! I recently gave birth to my son in December, and thought that my first post would be one that focused on the core — an area most of us aim to improve, including me!

My husband and I are the owners of Studio K-Fit in Redwood City, California and we believe being fit is more than just having that “beach body” (let it be known that I strongly dislike this phrase!).

A fit lifestyle starts with the proper mindset. There are too many fitness models out there who misrepresent what it takes to reach your fitness goals. They claim, “If you do this workout…you will get flat abs!” I’m sure we’ve all heard or read some variation of that phrase.

Unfortunately, fitness doesn’t work like that. Simply doing an ab workout is not enough to achieve that dream six-pack.

However, I’ll let you in on a little secret… there are three things I tell my clients they can do if they want to maximize any core routine:

  1. Improve your nutrition. Fitness doesn’t stop when you leave the gym — in fact, 70% of the struggle to lose weight or get more fit happens at home, with what we feed our body. Often times, we view nutrition as the “bad guy,” out to destroy all the delicious things we like to eat. Instead of telling clients to maintain a healthy diet ALL the time (this is just impossible, even for me) I tell them about the 80/20 rule. I encourage them to eat healthy 80% of the time. This adds up to roughly 6 days per month where they can enjoy their favorite treats (20%). I’ve found that when you start eating healthier, your body naturally craves better food, which decreases your cravings for unhealthy junk food.
  2. Add more cardio. The reality is we just don’t move enough. By not moving enough, our body is constantly storing fat (often in places we don’t want, such as the midsection). In order to shed through that fat layer, it’s important to have an effective cardio routine in place. I recommend between 2-3 hours per week for my clients. This could be walking, running, biking, rowing, skiing, etc. It’s also important to assess your lifestyle- are you a nurse and working on your feet? Or do you sit at a desk and work from a computer? Those working at a desk may need to be more intentional with how many steps/cardio they are getting per day. Invite a friend to go hiking, or join your co-workers for a walk at lunch; this will help keep you accountable!
  3. Strength train. Cardio will burn more calories during a workout, but the magic happens when you add strength training to your regimen. Strength training can help change your body composition. Why is this important? One pound of muscle burns five times more calories than one pound of fat…and this is simply at rest! Another perk is that one pound of muscle is much leaner than one pound of fat, helping you get that lean, toned look. Think of it as “more muscle= faster metabolism/less muscle = slower metabolism.” For those women worried about getting bulky, don’t sweat it! Testosterone is one of the primary hormones responsible for adding bulk to muscles, and most women simply don’t have enough testosterone. There is also a very specific type of training for those people looking to get bulky and it usually requires low reps and very heavy weights…all of which we will not be doing.

Ready to get started??

Core Workout:

Perform 3 rounds of the following exercises at 12, 10, and 8 reps each.

1 Butt Lift

2 Reach and Tuck

3 Oblique Dips*

4 Crossover Reach*

5 Sliders 

*make sure to do both sides for each round!*

You can find more workouts and fitness tips over at mrskfit.com and on Instagram.

Thanks for reading (and watching)!  

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half marathon training.

When registration opens for the Brooklyn Half Marathon each January, I hold my breath for a few minutes as I rush to buy my spot in the race before it fills up. Something stressful always happens — last year, the site timed out as I was logging in, and this year, I (of course) forgot the password for my New York Road Runners account. Thankfully, I managed to get everything reset again, and I’m all set to run my favorite race for the *fourth* time this May. WOO! (P.S. did anyone else notice that the registration fee went up this year? Ugh.)

I’ve gotten a few comments from readers asking me to share a bit more about how I train for half marathons, and today seems like the perfect day to do it! I’m in no way an expert, and there are lots of different ways to get ready for this kind of race, but this is what has worked for me.

I ran my first half marathon in 2014, mostly because I wanted to prove that I could. I’d never been involved in team sports in school — honestly, I was the totally un-athletic kid in class who huffed and puffed her way through every timed mile fitness test. When I got my driver’s license, I joined a gym and started to learn more about working out, and since then, exercise has been an increasingly important and regular part of my life. Still, I had a mental block with running. A few years ago, when my roommate told me about her great experience running her first half marathon in Brooklyn, I decided to see if I could do it, too — it was one of my resolutions for 2014.

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Getting ready to start my first half in 2014!

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At the finish line in 2014 with my roommate and running inspiration!

When I tell people they can build up to a half marathon even if they don’t run at all, I know from experience that it’s possible. I basically started from zero. I’m a big believer in following a clear training program, especially if you’re a new runner. To train for my first half marathon, I used this plan. In 2015 and 2016, I tried different training plans (there are tons to choose from online if you want to find one that works for you and your body!), but I’m actually going back to the original one this year, because I think it was the best. It’s a 16-week plan, so it really allows you to get into great running shape over an extended period of time, and if you have a few months to devote, I would definitely recommend it.

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In 2015, I also ran a half in my hometown. It was so fun to have my parents there to cheer me on!

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Back at it in Brooklyn in 2015!

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People have different opinions on this, but I do almost all of my training for half marathons on the treadmill. This is partially out of necessity, since I do a big chunk of my running during the winter months, but it’s actually turned out to be beneficial in other ways. Running still does not come totally naturally to me, so training on a treadmill helps me learn how to pace myself. Most importantly, since running up to eleven miles in a gym can be really boring, I find that there are so many interesting things to look at on race day that time seems to fly. It’s been really helpful for me mentally in every half marathon I’ve run.

Nutrition is a whole different story, and something I continue to figure out each year. While I’m in training, I try to cut back on some treats and snacks (we all know about my sweet tooth), and I keep my drinking to a minimum, especially on nights before a long run. At the same time, I tend to have a much bigger appetite than usual while I’m training, so I’m constantly trying to adjust my meals to make sure that I’m getting enough calories and protein.

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Matt ran his first half with me last year in Brooklyn, just a few weeks before our wedding! I was so proud of him, but I think I’ll be back on my own this year : ) 

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I start my “official” training plan for this year next week, and I’m so excited! Getting in top running form is tough, but it gets me in the best shape, and I always feel really great about myself throughout the process.

Would you like me to share more about my training or to offer more tips? Feel free to let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

***Don’t forget to enter the January giveaway so you can win this bracelet from The Shine Project!  All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post here. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on Monday! ***

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