Volleyball Strength and Conditioning Full Body HIIT Workouts

Out of all the sports I’ve played in my life, volleyball is by far my favorite! I’m not only passionate about playing the game, but I’m also a fanatic when it comes to volleyball strength and conditioning. In my opinion, everyone who plays volleyball should be! Who doesn’t love having a phenomenal vertical leap, insane speed, a terrifyingly powerful spike, increased mobility, and a significantly decreased chance of pain and injury? Bonus: Get a hot bod in the process 😉

That’s why I put together these two workouts. They combine some of my favorite moves to prep for a safe and satisfying volleyball season. 

Cardio & Core HIIT Workout

Benefits: Increased speed, agility, and cardiovascular endurance.

Full Body HIIT Strength Training

Benefits: Increased power and stability.

 Note: These workouts are fairly challenging, so I only recommend the if your fitness level is intermediate or advanced. If you’re a beginner, click here for a simpler workout that will help you get started on your fitness journey. Once you are comfortable with those moves, come back and try these workouts!

Happy training 😉



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Make Friends at the Gym

Do you crave friends that are as dedicated and excited about their health and fitness as you are about your own? Try making friends at the gym. It will make you feel happier and increase your chances of reaching your fitness goals.

Why You Should Make Friends at the Gym

There are some people who like to do their own thing at the gym. They complete their cardio and strength workouts like clockwork, have a consistent routine, and are content to get in, get out, and get back to life outside. But are equally as many of us who crave some sort of connection. It feels good to work out and when something makes us feel good, we naturally want to share it with others. That’s why it can be frustrating when our closest friends have little to no interest health and fitness.

In that case, your best option is to straight to the source. Make friends at the gym. To name just a few benefits, having friends at the gym:

  • Increases your accountability. It’s nice to know that you have a friendly face to look forward to when you’re completing a strenuous workout. This is especially important on those days when you’re feeling tired and unmotivated.
  • Gives you a much needed “happy boost.” Spending time with friends increases your oxytocin levels, the feel good chemicals that make you feel more positive, energized, and light.
  • Makes you work harder. Whether you consider the people around you to be friendly competition or individuals whose fitness levels you strive to attain, working out in a group has an infectious affect. It makes you push yourself a little more than you normally would.

How To Make Friends at the Gym

Here is a quick and simple process for making friends at the gym.

1. Attend class at the same time each day.

Gym-goers are creatures of habit. Many attend the same formats at the same time every day. This makes it easy to recognize those you’ve come across in the past. They will also recognize you as part of their “6:30am” crew or a fellow weekend warrior. 

2. Keep an Eye Out for Unique Individuals

I say unique, because there are a variety of people who may stand out to you at your fitness studio. They likely fall into one of two categories:

  • Those who are making visible progress toward their goals. They are getting fitter. On the one hand, there are those whom you can see have lost weight and/or body fat. They look slimmer and more muscular. On the other hand, there are those that are getting stronger. They can last longer during intervals or push heavier weights.
  • Those who are outside the “norm.” This is the woman who has overcome her body stigmas to show up every day or the 70+ man who completes burpees faster and with better form than the 20 year old next to him.

3. Reach Out

As with dating, you need to put yourself out there in order to play the game. Start by giving a compliment or asking about something obvious. For example, if you see a man walk into the studio wearing a bike helmet, ask if he participates in races. If you see a woman dominate an entire interval of atomic pushups, comment on how strong she is and (if you feel inclined) share your admiration of her skills. Ask questions to keep the conversation going. At the very least, you’ll have  learned something new about someone you work out beside every single day!

Tip: Don’t rule out instructors! They are often the easiest to talk to and the most excited about health and fitness. 

4. Find Common Ground

Talk about yourself, your life, and what you’re into fitness-wise. You may find that you both enjoy running races or that your kids are in the same soccer league. If you find a few points of similarity, you’ve got yourself a gym-buddy!

5. Exchange Contact Information

This is your opportunity to take the relationship outside of the gym. Swap numbers and/or emails. If that feels uncomfortable, ask if you can friend one another on Facebook. Send a message as soon as you can to let her know that you appreciate her story and her friendship and suggest you find a time to meet for coffee, yoga, or a play date.

Start Making Friends at the Gym Today

What are you waiting for? You’ve already committed your time and energy to becoming a healthy and fit individual. Don’t let lack of like-minded friends slow your progress toward health and happiness. You’ve likely already taken the first step or two, so be bold and take a chance. You may be closer than you think to making lasting friendships at the gym.

Love & Light <3


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What is a Yoga Sun Salutation?

A yoga sun salutation is, simply put, a salute to the sun or a prayer to the divine. The most familiar sun salutations in the west include a series of 12 postures, meant to express gratitude and deference to all the gifts we have been given in this life. These postures are often used as a warm up during vinyasa classes.

What many do not know is that sun salutations vary depending on the tradition of yoga and the practical constraint of time. Check out the video below for 3 simple variations. They build upon one another, so whether you’re a beginner or a advanced, there’s a version for you.

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Backyard Bikini Slimdown Series: Ab Workout

Looking for a simple workout to tighten abs? Follow along with the workout below! It’s less than 20 minutes long and will have your belly burning in no time!

Complete this workout 2 times a weak and your abs will be strong in no time!
Happy Crunching! 😉


Exercises to Sculpt the Arms

Want your arms to look toned and sexy? Then, you need to work your biceps (the inside of your arm), your triceps (the back of your arm), and your delts (the top of your arm/shoulder). Try adding these 3 moves to your routine to sculpt the arms of your dreams:

Full Body Bodyweight Workout (No Equipment Needed!)

 Looking for a workout that will work your entire body, no equipment necessary? Check out my latest full body workout. The resistance is your body weight and you won’t even have to leave your mat! Follow along with the video below for a simple, yet effective way to work your muscles.

Workout Level: Beginner

Workout time: 12 minutes

Happy strength training 😉


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Beginner Leg Exercises Infographic

Looking for a simple, yet exercises to add to your leg workout? Check out my latest info-graphic, where I share 5 floor exercises to work the legs. 

Complete this workout in 2 ways:

  1. Complete 10-20 repetitions of each exercise 3x through.
  2. Set a timer at 45:15. Complete 3-4 rounds of each exercise.
Have fun!
Did you like this graphic? Share it with your friends! Comment below with your favorite exercise!

Stop Working Out for Weight Loss

Working out has helped countless individuals lose weight and gain control of their health. What most people don’t realize is that exercise is not the best way to achieve their weight loss goals in the long run. 

Why You Shouldn’t Work Out for Weight Loss

For many reasons (which I’ll outline later on this blog), exercise is an integral part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. It can certainly help you lose weight, but there are a few realities that many fail to consider.

Your Workout Routine Is Not Sustainable

Let’s say that you’ve created a plan designed to flawlessly help you achieve your goal within the next 3-6 months. Just like in dating, there are a few red flags that will signal that your plan is too good to be true:

  1. You don’t currently have a consistent workout routine, but you’ve resolved to hit the gym 5-6 days a week. How’s that going for you? Most people burn out after about 3-6 weeks of all out effort, after which they decide that working out is too hard. Sure, the 1,000 calorie a day burn will make the fat melt off much faster, but will you be able to withstand the soreness, the fatigue, and the extra commitment on your schedule? For most, the answer is no. [PS – If you’ve already run too fast out of the gate with your 2018 resolutions, check out this blog on How to Dominate Your Fitness Goals, even if you’re losing steam].
  2. You have a solid workout routine, but you’re exhausted all the time, and you still haven’t reached your goal. Adrenal fatigue is real. Your body is attempting to catch up with the demands you have placed on it, but you are not giving it ample time to recover. This is usually due to a combination of factors, including but not limited to, stress levels, lack of sleep, a poor diet, and/or physical exhaustion. The problem for many is tha, maxed out at 7 days a week, they can’t possibly work out MORE to lose the weight they want. And they shouldn’t try to, because our bodies don’t work that way. Sobering fact: if you want to keep the weight you’ve already lost off, you’ll have to keep working out at the same rate…forever. That, in and of itself, is crazy making.
  3. You don’t even like working out. Did that 6:00am bootcamp have you weezing until you felt like throwing up? Or perhaps you felt dizzy after the first few minutes of yoga, thinking “Geez, I’m not even in the last pose before they move onto the next” or “you expect me to put WHAT WHERE!?” Unfortunately, there are too many people who hate working out, but do it because they think it will help them lose weight. I’m not encouraging you to ditch exercise entirely, but if you don’t have any good feelings toward the workouts that you’re doing, perhaps they aren’t for you. 

Weight Loss is 80% What You Eat

I’m sure you’ve heard this before and I’m about to lay it down again. The saying that “abs are made in the kitchen” is spot on. Proper nutrition is the key to losing weight. No, you don’t have to starve yourself. But you do have to LEARN the proper way choose your food so that you are adding healthy options AND eating things you like.

The other thing that most people don’t realize is that you need to eat MORE when you exercise. The rate at which your body burns calories increases when you work out. You need nutrient dense food in order to recover and tone/build muscle. Those who have the hardest time with this are people who do a lot of cardio. If you’re exercising frequently, you might feel like you’re always hungry. This can be hugely frustrating for those seeking weight loss. It’s a vicious cycle. If this is you, it’s time to break the habit.

Why You Should Exercise

The above notwithstanding, there are many reasons to add or keep exercise as a major part of your lifestyle.

Because it Sculpts Your Body

As shallow as this may sound to some, the reality is that many people who start exercising do so to create a body that looks toned and strong. It’s a nice benefit of strength training. In combination with a healthy diet, which can help you lose weight, strength workouts will build and define your muscles. 

A word of caution for anyone who exercises to sculpt: Even if you achieve your “ideal” body or come close to it, do not expect it to last forever. It takes a great deal of effort to maintain tone year-round. Understand that everyone has their off season, even athletes and sports models. So, enjoy it when you have it, but don’t be disappointed if you slide a bit and the abs fade or if work gets busy and you lose some muscle.

Because it Feels Good

Okay. If you don’t like working out, this might be a hard pill to swallow. But if you re-frame what a workout is, you might find that you like exercise after all. A few of my favorite non-formal types of workouts include:

  • Taking a stroll on the beach. 
  • Going swimming. 
  • Playing fetch with the dog. 
  • Stretching. 

You probably do some of these things already. If  not, perhaps there is something you enjoy that you can add. Once you’ve developed a habit, consider adding a strength session with a personal trainer or a simple, 20 minute home workout routine 1-2x a week. The benefits include:

  • A rush of endorphins that can boost your mood for about 12 hours following exercise.
  • Reduction in stress due to increased oxygen intake and lowered blood pressure.
  • Increased flexibility, which reduce and/or alleviate pain you may feel in muscles and joints.
  • Improved balance.
  • Improved memory.
  • More self-confidence
  • A boost in your immune system.
  • Increased bone density, which reduces your chances of injury due to an accident or fall.

Plus, with your trainer or in a group class, you’ve got automatic friends you can turn to for help and advice regarding fitness and life. You might actually find that everything associated with working out is completely worth the effort.

Of course, my favorite benefit of working out is inspiring others. We lead by example. Your commitment to staying strong and healthy affects the people around you. The energy you gain from exercising is infectious, which will only motivate others to better themselves too! 

If you’re truly interested in weight loss, stop struggling through workouts to achieve that goal. Educate yourself on proper nutrition and healthy habits to reduce stress and increase energy and focus on all the good that working out can give you. 




Simple Tips for Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a great tool for changing your eating habits. It can shift the way you think about and experience food on a daily basis. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or gain control of your mindbody health, these helpful tips will guide you in getting started with mindful eating.

Eat Sitting Down

So many of us stand while eating because we tend to “sneak” our meals in between meetings, phone calls, chores, and other obligations. In these situations, our bodies are tense and ready to move onto the next thing, which is not the ideal environment for digestion. Sitting while eating can actually slow the rate of digestion. That means you are fuller longer and your body has more time to absorb the nutrients in the food that you eat.  

So, even if you only have a few minutes, make it a point to take a seat. Your body will instantly soften, creating a better environment for nutrient absorption. Plus, your mind will slow down enough for your to appreciate the moment. You deserve a little bit of peace in your day.

Eat Distraction free

Our daily lives are ruled by stimulation. There is rarely a waking moment when we are not confronted with the option of paying attention to social noise. We have televisions, phones, radios, laptops, and other devices to keep us occupied in every single moment. When we use these distractions during meals, we develop a habit of mindlessly putting food into our mouths without awareness of:

  • Whether or not the food is satisfying.
  • If it tastes good or not.
  • The moment we start to feel full.
  • Any negative reactions (i.e. a sensitivity, digestive discomfort, or mild allergic reaction)

If you want to change your relationship food, put down your phone and even your book. Pay attention to what you are eating. You may find that it’s not as good as you thought it was or that you noticed the moment you felt satisfied.

Choose food you like

How often have you gone on a diet in which you had to eliminate all of the “good food” in exchange for the “rabbit food” you thought would help you drop 20 pounds in 21 days? Or decided that you would force yourself to eat something because your doctor told you it was healthy? To that I say two things:

  1. There are so many food options out there, many of which are good for your AND taste good!
  2. There’s a way to make room for your favorite treats that keeps you healthy and fit.

My suggestions: 

  • Make room for dishes you love. I LOVE my breakfasts. Most days, I eat sausage and eggs, either with toast or corn tortillas. Later in the day I make sure I get in veggies at least once and some sort of fruit for a snack. Every day I am satisfied because I get to eat what I love! And I’m in the best shape of my life!
  • If you have a health issue or are on a nutrition plan, find healthy alternatives of the meals you like. It may take some time to find a recipe or brand that matches up to your expectations. But, trust me, it is worth the effort and the satisfaction.

Slow Down and Chew Your Food

If you’re the type that inhales your food (like most of us do), then you probably know that you need to slow it down a bit. No need to follow any time rule or chew 50 times before you swallow. Simply aim to chew your food to the point where it is as crushed or as mushy as possible. 

Fun fact: Your saliva contains enzymes that help break down the food and prepare them for digestion. The smaller the particles of food, the easier it is for your body to absorb the nutrients and eventually digest! So, chewing more can actually contribute to a healthier gut! Think of it as a simple part of your healthy eating routine. It will only add a few extra minutes to your meal and leave you feeling more satisfied at the end of it. 

Good luck!



Nadia 🙂