Fun Workouts to do at Home, Playground, Anywhere

When you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, are bored with your squat, press, deadlift routine, or your kettlebell swings, you want to be outside, or you just want a workout to suit your mood–try one of these fun workouts to do at home or the playground.

Fun Workouts to do at Home

The Playground Workout:

This one is fun and you can make use of whatever playground equipment you have near you.

Set your timer for 5-10 minutes and don’t stop moving. Do something on every piece of equipment available Ideas:

  • climb the play escape
  • cross the monkey bars the traditional way or crawl across the top if you’re really brave!monkeybarscrawl
  • pull ups
  • balance on beams or unstable surfaces
  • use picnic tables or park benches for box jumps and step ups
  • do fallouts or pushups using one or two swings like a TRX.

Challenge: Try going from one end of the play escape to the other using only your hands or both hands and only one foot

The Dance Party Workout:

Dancing works for any mood you’re in–happy, angry, melancholy, all you gotta do is find the right music.  Best form of therapy ever!


  • Learn a new dance form–belly dance, hooping, pole dancing
  • My favorite, simply turn on your favorite music and shake your booty. Don’t stop moving until you’ve danced 3 songs minimum!

The Mommy Time Workout:

Admittedly, not my favorite, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! MANY of my workouts in the last 5 years have been Mommy workouts.

Ideas (all of which I’ve done!):

  • Put small babies in a carrier strapped on your body (Moby, Ergo, whatever works well for you) and do squats, lunges, and step ups.
  • Crawl Racing–race your kids from one side of the yard to the other. Do regular baby crawls, bear crawls, leopard crawls, crab crawls whatever you can come up with. Try it backwards too!
  • If you have access to a sled you can tie around your waist you can pull your kids behind you.
  • Simply walk or hike with them on your back
  • Hill climbs/sprints with child on your back
  • Get your kids involved. Littles don’t need to lift heavy or do structured exercise, but they do love to imitate. Get kid size kettlebells (5 or 10lbs) that they can lift and do kettlebells like mommy does.
  • Floor and overhead press your baby

Challenge: Turkish Get Up using the child as your weight. Only do this if you’re really confident in your turkish get up. I dropped my Bub doing this one once (mommy fail!)

The Angry Workout:

Try this one when your life is going to shit and/or someone’s really hurt you

  • tire flipping
  • punching bag
  • sledge hammering tires
  • Slamming a medicine ball at the floor or wall

Optional: Shouting well chosen expletives

For more simple and fun workouts to do at home, take a look at this bodyweight workout and 25 sneaky ways to boost your physical activity.

For a super simple way to get yourself moving every day try this joint mobility routine–a little belly dance, a little yoga, a little fun.

Remember, to do what you can with what you have, be creative, and have fun!

Body Image Issues After Weight Loss

Did I have body image issues before weight loss? Yes.youngjoyhiking

Do I have body image issues after weight loss? Yes.body image issues after weight loss

Shocker! I know! Yes, there are still things about my body and myself that I do not like. Things that are not flaws, but are unique to who I am. I’m working on it…

(See the first post on  struggling with body image.)

Will you have body image issues after weight loss? Probably. You will not ever fit the “perfect” standard, Barbie ideal as put forth in our culture. You will not ever meet your own ideal.

If you’ve come to this page in the middle stages of your weight loss journey, or even after you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, and you are still unhappy with how you look, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Body image issues after weight loss is not a topic that the fitness and weight loss industry wants to talk about. The marketing hype tells you that if you just lose the weight, if you “tone” your muscles, have a curvier bootie, follow these 5 quick and easy steps, then you will look how all the air brushed fitness models look, you will be sexy, you will get the guy, and you will be finally be happy.

The fitness industry doesn’t talk about it, but I am talking about it, because of my experience and the experience of women I know. I know curvy, overweight women, (who in my opinion have a beautiful shape), who feel self-loathing. I know very small, thin women (who also have beautiful shape) who feel self-loathing.

The dark secret of the fitness industry is that on the other side of “fixing” your body, you still will not be happy. Tweet This!

And guess what? Other people may still find fault with how you look and who you are.

If you do get close to the fitness model ideal, you will be working your ass off, have time for little else in your life, be starving yourself, have low energy, and likely less strength. Are you willing to pay that price???

Where is the line between being healthy and feeling good in your body, and an having it be an obsession? Every woman has to answer that question for herself.

Where is the line for you?

Much of how you feel about yourself is not because you are somehow intrinsically ugly, or because there is something wrong with you. It is because there is something wrong with our society.

You are not intrinsically ugly and there is nothing “wrong” with you! Tweet This!

Be the most awesome version of you!

Dealing with body image issues after weight loss–Questions to Ask Yourself:

Are you at a healthy body fat for you, right now?  (roughly between 18-24% body fat)

(keep in mind this may be different at different times of your life–pregnant, not pregnant, training for a figure competition vs, training for a powerlifting event etc.) If you are not at a healthy bodyfat, you can take steps to change that, but know that there are things about your body that you may like less after weight loss.

If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you may end up with a lot of extra skin. The same thing often happens after pregnancy and breastfeeding. When your breasts and belly are stretched to that extent, there will likely be some tissue damage, and it’s not all going to pop right back to being smooth and tight.

This is not at all meant to discourage you from starting on your fitness journey, becoming healthier, and losing weight. I just want you to know that self acceptance is a combination of work that you do on the outside and work that you do on the inside. Tweet This!

I can help you with a simple no frills plan for getting stronger, burning fat, and tools for changing your mindset–but only YOU can do the hard and sometimes painstaking work inside and outside.

Can you make peace with where you are at right now?

You can celebrate how far you’ve come physically, while still working towards your goals.

Are you a little bit stronger than you need to be?

Can you do what you want to do in life and not be limited? Hike, swim, ski, climb, play with your kids, dig in your garden, get up and down off the floor–goals are different for every woman.

Do you eat a nutritious diet 80-90% of the time?

If you are consistent in your diet and training 80-90% of the time, you will make progress. Striving for perfection is a never ending losing battle, and your energies are best spent elsewhere. Preaching to myself as well.

Are you moving toward your dreams? Are you making the world a better place?

Then regardless of what you think, My Dear, YOU ARE A BADASS!


Struggling with Body Image and Moving Toward Self Acceptance

You look in the mirror and all you see are your perceived flaws, you feel disgusted with how you look, you cringe at the thought of getting dressed. You are majorly struggling with body image.

You Badass

This is me telling you that you are strong, beautiful, flawed and fabulous. Celebrate the unique beauty of you! And go kick some ass!

Go to the Beautiful Strength facebook page and tell your story about struggling with body image. If you feel up for it, post your pictures of being strong, beautiful, flawed and fabulous.

I am addressing the struggle with body image, because it is all pervasive in our culture. I can pretty much guarantee that if you are a woman living in the Western world, you are struggling with body image issues on some level.

Maybe I’m not supposed to talk about this because my business is all about helping women be strong, healthy, and confident in their bodies. I make my living on helping women change their bodies.

But here is the truth: I want to help you feel strong, healthy, and confident in your body no matter what your shape or size. If you are strong, at a healthy body fat (for YOU), and are not limited in your physicality–then I don’t give a fuck what you look like as long as you are happy with you.

Trouble is, most of us, even with obsessing, and dieting, and workout out, and elaborate  beauty rituals, STILL are not happy with how we look. We are still struggling with body image.

I say “we” because, yes, I include myself in that statement. Not as often as I used to, but still, at times, I am unhappy with how I look.

I compare myself to others–wishing that I had what she has.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt

There are days when I can look at other women (and men too cuz you know it’s fun to check out men every once in awhile 😉 and celebrate what they have that I don’t. Then, I celebrate what I have that they don’t. We all have beauty. There is no corner on the beauty market like the media would have us believe.

Here are some things I’ve found that help combat the negative messages we’re getting from the media everyday.

What helps when struggling with body image

  • For Goddess’ sake stop looking at magazines! Stay away from photoshopped airbrushed images as much as possible. Not easy to do because they are everywhere! EVERYWHERE!


  • Seek out images of actual real, live bodies–un re- touched. Find photos of women who look like you–curvy, athletic, thin, with extra fat, big boobs, little boobs, short, tall etc. Women come in all shapes and sizes. Look for the beautiful variety. One size, one shape, one un-reachable standard of beauty is boring.  Beauty is not in perfection and flawlessness. True beauty is found in the flaws, the differences in what makes you unique from every other woman out there. Your curvy hips, your muscular legs, your stretch marks from carrying babies in your belly, your breasts, your scars, your crooked nose.


  • Do things that make your body feel good. Yes, this means allowing yourself to feel pleasure in your body. Massages, coconut oil, a full body, deep, intimate hug from a friend. Ecstatic sex because you love your body, and want to experience and share pleasure with another. It also means doing things that are loving for yourself even if they are uncomfortable. Things like moving your body, when you’d rather sit on the couch. Uncomfortable things like lifting weights and eating nutritious food when you would rather have another cookie. (I can help you with a step-by-step plan and motivation for doing the uncomfortable self-love :) )


  • Know that it is ok to struggle with body image issues. It is unavoidable in our culture.


  • If you don’t like the way you look, by all means take steps to change it. But at a certain point (which is different for every woman), continuing to focus on your external appearance to the neglect of the other aspects of you, can become a huge time and energy suck. That time and energy could be better used…mmmm I dunno, having awesome sex? Building relationships? Planting a garden? Helping others? Advancing your life’s work?


  • Know that you will never be satisfied. There will always be something else you will want to change.

Burning fat, gaining muscle and strength can help you be happier and love yourself more, but remember that is just one piece of the whole picture. Trust me don’t expect weight loss to automatically make you a happier person.

You can keep moving toward your goals and desires for your body and your life, while at the same time accepting where you are at right now, and celebrating how far you’ve come.

Along with weight loss and physique change, your inner idea of who you are has to change as well. And you are a Beautiful Badass Babe!

Next post, I’m going to share with you my own struggle with body image. To kick this off, I will start by posting a less than perfect picture on my facebook page.


I invite you to go to the Beautiful Strength facebook page and tell your story about struggling with body image. Post your pictures of being strong, beautiful, real, raw, and imperfect. See you there!


Transitioning to Barefoot Shoes 5 Steps and Best Exercises for Happy Feet

transitioning to barefoot shoesSo you’re convinced that going barefoot and transitioning to barefoot shoes is what you need to do for the health of your feet. But if you’ve been wearing heels, or even really cushy athletic shoes, you may find that immediately ditching your shoes, and going barefoot everywhere makes your feet sore and achy.

Go here to see what to look for when buying barefoot shoes.

So here are some simple steps to gradually ease your transition into barefoot shoes and walking completely barefoot.

1) Lower the heel. If you are wearing high heels, start wearing shoes with a lower heel. And if you love, love, love sexy high heels like I do, then see why high heels are bad for you, and why I wear them anyway.

2) Go no heel or zero drop. If you are already wearing what you think are “flats” (athletic shoes, flip-flops,  or low heels), transition to a true zero drop shoe. Zero drop means the back of the shoe is no higher (not even a little bit) than the front. See this video for an example.

3) Make sure you’re wearing the right size and width.  Are your shoes too small or too narrow? Don’t be vain–you likely need to get a bigger or wider size. Your toes should have room to wiggle and spread out. They shouldn’t be smashing up against the front of your shoe.

4) Get a super flex-y thin sole. If you’ve got the first 3 points down, the next step is to go to a super thin flex-y sole. You should be able to feel the ground under your feet and feel when you are stepping on a pebble or other debris. This may seem uncomfortable at first, but it will improve the connection between your brain and your feet.

You will begin getting the message that : “This surface is unstable”, or “This surface is rocky”.  Your body will be able to react in accordance with the terrain around you. This will translate into less accidents such as twisted ankles, and falls. Your reaction time will become faster.

I have almost smooshed worms with my barefeet, and avoided it because I was able to feel it under my feet before putting my full weight down (because you really wanted to know).

This is also how you avoid coming down hard on sharp objects. I have only gotten one cut, and a couple stubbed toes in my 4 years of barefooting.

I DID step in dog poop a few weeks ago–somehow wasn’t able to avoid THAT one!

5) Go barefoot. Going barefoot may be even better than wearing a minimal shoe. Stop wearing shoes in your house. Then, stop wearing them on the grass in your yard. Try a short walk around the block, then a longer walk. When you’re ready for more advanced barefooting, try purposely walking over rough and uneven surfaces–pebbles, rocks, wood chips.

Work slowly into this! If you’ve (like most of us) been wearing heeled, rigid, and too small shoes for most of your life, please take it slowly. Go step by step. And for Goddess sake, please don’t go out right away and run a mile barefoot! You will be in pain!

Find barefoot friendly places in your community. Pretty much anywhere outside–local parks and outdoor farmer’s markets will work. Yes, you may get a few nasty looks–it’s okay it builds character! It is not illegal to go barefoot in public places. Of course if you are in a private establishment, they can tell you to wear shoes–which is a good reason to take your minimal barefoot shoes with you ready to slip on.

Exercises to prepare your feet and body for going barefoot

For more exercises to prepare your feet for going barefoot (and for damage control after wearing heels) go here. 

(Also getting your ass out of your chair will help too!)

Happy Barefooting!


What to Look for in Barefoot Shoes (and a tour of my shoe closet)

barefoot shoes and high heels

I know, these are (mostly) not barefoot shoes–wear heels at your own risk!

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about barefoot shoes and the barefoot movement. Maybe you even have a pair of barefoot shoes, and you’ve certainly seen those funny five finger Vibrams walking around.

Foot health is about more than simply not wearing high heels and getting a pedicure! (You can see my solutions for high heel lovers in why wearing high heels are bad for you, and why I do it anyway.)

And there are a lot more barefoot shoes out there now than those ugly Vibrams. Yeah, I said it. Vibrams are ugly, and let’s face it, a lot of the early barefoot shoes were ugly. Now, there are so many more options out there. You don’t have to settle for ugly.

Soft Star has some cute sandals, mary janes, moccasins, and the Runamoc (nicer versions than I show you in the video–mine are several years old). Xero shoes would be a great sandal/flip-flop replacement. I haven’t tried them yet, so can’t vouch for them, but they look great! Even a simple pair of ballet flats (with absolutely no heel) would work just fine. And as I show in the video, Chuck Taylor’s will also fit the bill. So, know that you don’t have to go expensive.

For more in depth on benefits of going barefoot see the benefits of wearing barefoot shoes and going barefoot.

For those of you seeking out some good barefoot options here are 4 things to look for:

No heel. REALLY no heel. If you think your athletic shoes or “flats” are truly flat–think again. Technically, what you are looking for is a zero drop shoe. There should be no difference between the front and back of the shoe when you look at it from the side. If there is even a little bit of difference–say quarter inch it will alter your alignment and your gait.

Wide toe box. This means no pointy toes, but also not wearing shoes that are too narrow overall. Your toes should be able to wiggle and spread out.

Firmly attached to your foot.  This means no flip flops, clogs, mules etc. Any shoe that is not firmly attached, you will grip with your toes to keep on. This constant gripping action causes your toes to curl, and can lead to hammertoes if you wear flip-flops a lot.

Flexible The sole of the shoe needs to be flexible . You should be able to fold it in half or close to it. The less rigid the better.

Your first step is to get out of any positive heeled shoes. Then, gradually replace your current shoes with more foot friendly options. The more of these four elements you have in your shoes, the healthier your feet (and your whole body) will be.