How Rebecca Ferguson Got Fit For Mission Impossible

I finally made it to the movies to see Mission Impossible Rogue Nation this past weekend and loved it! Tom Cruise definitely still has it and his stunt-work was very impressive. But, I feel like Rebecca Ferguson (the female lead) was the one that really stole the show! She kicks some serious ass and looks amazing in every scene. I did a little research on how she got so fit for the role and how she learned to do all those cool moves – especially her killer thigh move!

Rebecca says that the very first thing she did after she got the role was head to the gym. Most people go to an office for work and the gym was her “office” for about a month and a half. Before she got the role her fitness consisted mainly of walking, biking and chasing after her young son. Once she got the part, she said she did a mix of vigorous training that included pilates, strength training, sprinting and martial arts/stunts. If you’ve seen the movie – you know she has a move dubbed the “killer thigh takedown”. She didn’t give details on her thigh workouts, but as a trainer…I’m guessing she mixed in quad and inner thigh workouts daily. She said she also did a lot of sprinting and had to try to keep up with Tom Cruise – who apparently is really fast! Since she also did most of her own stunts, she wanted her sprinting to be real. Not only did she workout 6 hours a day for 6 days a week, she also had a strict diet and help from a nutritionist.

Sprinting

If you want to be a faster runner, you have to run faster when you train! What I mean by this is that you have to push yourself to go a little faster each time you run (or at least once a week or so). If you run at the same pace all the time your body will never learn how to go faster. Sprinting is a great way to burn fat and strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles. Here is a sample sprinting workout that you can do outside or on the treadmill.

Thigh Workout

The best exercises to tone your thighs are squats, lunges, running and some isometrics. I would recommend mixing in a variety of exercises like these at least 3-4 days a week. Some days you can do heavier weights (or hit the leg press and smith machines at the gym) and then on other days I would do light weights or just use body weight with high reps. For a sample workout – try my Inner Thigh Workout here.

Diet

Rebecca said that she cut out sugar the entire time she was training. She said she ate a lot of lean protein, greens and sweet potatoes for carbs and most of her diet was organic. She said she also ate a lot of coconut – flakes, oil, etc. which is a great healthy fat. Her nutritionist adjusted her food intake daily depending on what her training was like. She said she couldn’t just starve herself because she wouldn’t be able to do the stunts – so she had to have enough calories and the proper nutrition in order to fuel her body. This is so important and a good rule to live by – even if you aren’t an action hero. Think about what you do on a daily basis. If you sit around a lot (which is a whole other problem) you need to consume less calories. I don’t mean empty calories though – just less “good” calories (from fruits, veggies, protein and natural sources). But, if you are planning to kick some ass at bootcamp tomorrow – make sure you fuel your body the day before and leading up to class with enough calories and healthy fats to give your body energy.

Agility Ladder Workout

Last night at my bootcamp we did an agility ladder workout. I didn’t have my agility ladder with me – so I just drew one with chalk on the sidewalk. If you don’t have chalk you can also use string or tape. I made mine about 15-20 feet long and divided it up into about 15-20 squares or ladder rungs. You can make yours longer or shorter if you want. This workout should take about 45 minutes. If you have more/less time just adjust the number of sets or laps.

Warmup first

*Do each exercise down the ladder then run/walk back to the start = 1 lap

Set #1

  • High knees placing both feet in each square x 3 laps
  • 20 overhead shoulder presses
  • x3

Set #2

  • Traveling squat jumps in/out ladder x 3 laps
  • 20 bent over rows
  • x 3 sets

Set #3

  • Single leg bunny hops – 2 laps on right and 2 on left
  • 20 bicep curls
  • x 3 sets

Set #4

  • Single leg plyo lunges (see video) – 2 laps right leg and 2 laps left leg
  • 20 weighted squats
  • x 3sets

Set #5

  • Traveling pushups – 1 lap
  • 20 reverse lunges
  • x 3 sets

Set #6

  • Quick feet running side to side (feet in the square/rung then both feet outside) – 3 laps
  • tricep kickbacks
  • x 3 sets

Finish with some core work and stretches.

Refreshing Kale Smoothie

If you haven’t gotten on the kale bandwagon yet – you may want to give this kale smoothie a try. Adding kale to your smoothies, juices and shakes is a great way to get all the benefits of eating kale without the bitter taste and rough texture. I use my NutriBullet blender – but you can use just about any blender. I call this a smoothie – but sometimes I make it less thick and more like a green juice. If you prefer your drinks thicker – you can add more ice or even a half of banana. I love adding ginger to this because it gives it a little kick. Ginger also has many health benefits and it settles your stomach.

Ingredients (estimated):

  • 1.5 cups kale
  • 1/2 large apple or 1 small apple (any kind)
  • 1 small carrot or a handful of baby carrots
  • 3/4 cup cup orange juice
  • small peeled piece of ginger (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1/2 cup ice (add more if you want your drink colder and thicker)
  • *optional honey or agave if you want it sweeter
  • *optional 1/2 to 1 banana if you want more of a “smoothie” texture

Blend well until all of the ice is gone and the kale is very fine. 

(serves 1-2)

Sample Calisthenics Workout

I’ve always been a big fan of calisthenics workouts and many of my sample workouts here on my blog include them. What are calisthenics? Well – think of “old school” PE exercises like chin-ups, pushups and situps. Why are these moves so good? Well, for one they usually require little or no equipment. Want to learn more? Check out this article with my tips featured on Daily Burn.

How to Workout With Your Dog

Keeping your dog fit and healthy will not only extend his life – but also make him so much happier, will reduce stress (including separation anxiety, etc) and help him sleep better. The same is true for us humans! I have a basset hound named Smudge and he loves to workout with me (well, watch me workout!). Bassets aren’t known for their athletic ability – but surprisingly Smudge can really get those short legs going fast (see his video here)! Here are a few ideas on how you can get in a workout with your dog:

  • Go for a walk or run. This is by far the easiest and probably the one your dog will like the most. Just watch out for traffic and see my tips below. Start with a warmup first and make sure to cooldown.
  • Do a combo run and strength training workout. Start with a 5-10min walk or run to warmup. Then, while your dog continues to walk (or sniff like Smudge) you can get in some walking lunges. Then, stop on a nearby sidewalk or safe place away from the street and do 20 pushups. Repeat this process – so: 5min run, 20 walking lunges, 20 pushups x 3 sets. Then, finish with some core at home.
  • Park Workout. Walk or jog to a nearby park (or off-leash dog park!) and then you mix in strength training while your dog plays or lays around. Pack your water and a resistance band to use and once you get to the park you can secure your dog to a tree (never leave him unattended). Then, here is a sample workout: 20 overhead shoulder presses, 20 squats with the band (under your feet, hold handles at shoulder level), 20 bicep curls, 20 reverse flyes (anchor band to pole), 20 alternating step-ups on a bench, 20 tricep dips. Repeat 2-3 times and in between make sure to play with your dog!
  • Workout WITH your dog. Head to a safe park or big yard and bring along a ball, frisbee or your dogs favorite toy. Smudge won’t really do this workout with me unless I pack lots of treats! Practice playing fetch with your dog and every time you throw the ball – do 10 burpees! Next time, do 10 pushups and then later mix in squats or jump lunges.

Doggy Workout Tips:

  1. Choose a good leash. I’m not a huge fan of the retractable leash unless I’m at a park or somewhere where Smudge won’t tangled or try to run into a street. I prefer just a regular leash, but you can get a longer one if you need to anchor your dog to a tree or post while you do some squats or core work.
  2. Stay hydrated and avoid the heat of the day! Staying hydrated is important even during the cooler months. I try to pack a portable doggie water bowl if I’m running with my stroller or doing my workout at the park. If I’m going for a run – I try to go to places that have doggie water fountains, but sometimes that’s not possible. In a pinch – I’ve taken a small ziploc baggie with me and then have poured my water (or gotten water from a fountain) and made a makeshift doggie bowl that worked ok. Also, be sure to avoid the heat of the day. If it’s hot for you…it’s twice as hot for your dog! Imagine working out in a fur coat…that’s how they feel! Also, if it’s hot outside – put your hand on the pavement. If it’s too hot to touch – it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Instead, stick to grass or lighter colored sidewalks.Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 7.47.24 AM
  3. Keep your dog’s breed and body type in mind. I have a Basset Hound and they are not known for their running skills! So, the longest I’ve ever run with Smudge is about 2-3 miles and I usually had to mix in A LOT of walking during that time. So, if your breed is not very athletic- choose one of the workouts above where he/she can take lots of breaks. On the other hand, if you have a dog that loves to run or is very high – energy…they probably don’t want to lounge around at the park while you do pushups…so make sure to incorporate them and get them moving!
  4. Listen to your body AND your dog’s! Your dog might be having an off day or could be feeling sick. If you see him acting tired or wanting to lye down a lot – it’s time to go home. Don’t push him too hard or he’s never going to want to workout with you again! One time I made the mistake of taking Smudge a little too far and then the next few times I tried to take him for a walk he tried to avoid that street!
  5. Dress the part. If it’s cold outside – I layer up. You may want to do the same for your dog in the winter if it’s really cold. Unfortunately they don’t make dri-fit or lululemon for dogs – so in the summer they’ll just have to go in the buff. But, you could put one of those self-cooling bandanas on your dog to keep him cooler. If you are going on a trail run – you may want to get some doggie shoes to protect their feet (see above about pavement).

Be sure to check out Smudge’s popular workout video:

Fat Blasting Treadmill Circuit Featured In Muscle & Fitness Hers

I’m excited to be featured in the May/June 2015 issue of Muscle and Fitness Hers magazine! They asked me to design a workout that would get their readers summer ready! So, I came up with a plan that incorporates a 50/50 split of cardio and strength exercises that are done back to back so that the workout is efficient and is over before you know it! Don’t have a treadmill? No worries! I actually did this workout last week at my bootcamp and did other cardio in place of the treadmill intervals. For instance, when it says sprint for 1 minute at 15% incline…that is going to be hard (like a 9 out of 10 RPE scale)….so I had them do fast burpees or high knees. For other intervals that are medium pace – I had them do things like jumping jacks or mountain climbers.

For the workout, you will perform a strength exercise then the cardio (treadmill) portion back to back. Then, you will do the “active recovery” move before you move onto the next set. Here is the workout (click on the images to enlarge):

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Cari’s Fitness Favorites – May ’15

Here are some of the latest products that I wanted to share with you guys! Some of them were sent for me to try, while others I discovered on my own. Most of these are health and fitness related, except for the baby gear – so just skip over that section if it doesn’t apply to you.

Workout Clothes & Gear

Gaiam has a new line of workout gear that is really cute and functional! I have the “curve” pants and love them! I’ve also been wearing Victoria’s Secret “knockout” crop pants because they fit really well and they always have really cool colors and prints!

I love the pretty print on this Sakroots Yoga Bag! Sakroots is part of the brand “The Sak” and all of their purses and bags are made really well. Sakroots features some very cool original artwork and the brand also gives back to local artists and charities.

Tinke – I got a chance to try this new fitness monitor and I’ve been really impressed. It works differently than most because you plug it into your phone (vs wear it) and it’s more about calculating your pulse and respiratory rate (better indications of your fitness vs. steps taken or calories burned). It’s the only tracker that measures your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation and heart rate variability to determine your fitness and stress levels. I also like that it’s very small and easy to take with you.

FXP Hula Hoop – The hula hoop is making a comeback! I was a little skeptical to try this workout, but once I did I really liked it! It actually gets your heart rate up pretty fast and burns a lot of calories. Surprisingly you don’t have to be super coordinated to use it either! The best part is that it’s just fun and having fun is a must if you are going to stick with a workout!

Books

If you are looking to conquer pull-ups once and for all, check out this book: Doorframe Pull-Up Bar Workouts. It has great tips and advice on how to do your first pull-up. I also really love this Yoga Sequencing Deck – which is great for when you travel (or at home) and aren’t sure how to put together a good yoga sequence.

Baby Gear (for 18-24 mos)

I’ve been using this bib by “Make My Day” since my baby started solids and it’s still my favorite. It’s not as hard and bulky as other silicon bibs and having a pouch that catches food is a must! It also folds up easily for travel. We really like these cute “touch and fee” flashcards. They have all kinds of sets ranging from animals, machines and foods.

Dog!

I almost didn’t include this – but if you have a dog…their fitness should be priority too! I absolutely love Barkbox! My dog Smudge has had a subscription for over a year and he loves it! They not only include treats (almost all are organic and healthy!) but toys to keep him active too – like this awesome doggy kettlebell:

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Red, White & Blue Workout!

This is a fun patriotic-themed workout that you can do with friends and family for Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July or other holiday weekend!

This is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout that mixes intervals of hard, easy and then medium. The RED circuit will be the hardest, followed by WHITE which will be easy and then BLUE which will be medium. So…hard/easy/medium. Since we are starting with some hard stuff – it’s important to do a good warmup first so that your body is ready! If you have time – repeat the whole thing 2-3 times!

What you need: 1 set of medium weights, water and a mat. Limit rest for maximum results. 

Red

  • 20 180-Degree Jump Squats (alternate turning right and left mid-air as you land in a squat position) each jump squat=1
  • 20 Decline Pushups (feet on a bench or step)
  • 20 Burpees
  • 45 Seconds of High Knees

White

  • 20 Squats (without weight)
  • 20 Bicep Curls
  • 30 Calf Raises (hold weights)
  • 15 Overhead Tricep Extensions

Blue

  • 1 Minute Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Shoulder Presses
  • 30 Seconds High Knees
  • 20 V-Ups + Superman (perform 1 v-up then flip over onto your stomach and do 1 superman – repeat 20 times)

*Repeat all three of these 2-3 times!

No-Equipment Stair Workout

Stair workouts are one of my favorites to do outside (or inside) or even on vacation (pictured) because I can get in a great workout with no equipment! It seems like stairs would only work your lower body – but you can actually get in a great lower body too! TIP: If you want to make some of these exercises harder -increase the reps listed below or increase the cardio intervals (they are in italics). To make it easier – just add more rest periods and decrease reps. Be sure to stay hydrated – especially if you are outside!

Stair Workout

*Stairs should be approximately 30-40 steps to the top. If you have a shorter set of stairs – just repeat some of these exercises twice. Warmup first by walking/jogging stairs for 5 minutes.

______
Set 1:

  • 15 Incline Pushups (hands on step)
  • *Run stairs at medium pace for 2 minutes. 
  • 15 Decline Pushups (feet on step)
  • Stair Lunges: Alternate lunging up the stairs with the right foot and then left. Keep the back leg bent 90 degrees – just like you were doing walking lunges on the ground. If you are taller – skip 2 steps.
  • *Run stairs at medium pace for 2 minutes. 

Set 2:

  • Bunny Hops: Hop up each step quickly keeping knees pretty straight and core engaged.
  • 20 Seated Tricep Dips: Have a seat on one of the bottom steps and perform tricep dips by bending elbows 90 degrees and keeping hips close to stairs.
  • 20 Elevated Lunges: place back foot behind you on a step and keep 80% of the weight in front foot. Repeat on both left and right.
  • *Do high knees up the stairs (both feet touch every step) for 1 minute)

Set 3:

  • Plyo Squat Hops up the stairs: Start in squat position and hop up each step landing in a squat with knees bent.
  • Tricep Pushup Hop up stairs: Start in an incline pushup position with wrists under shoulders (for tricep pushup). Perform 2 tricep pushups then hop your feet up 2 steps towards your hands. Then, move your hands back out to pushup position and repeat until you reach the top
  • Side Lunge up stairs: Stay facing left with toes and knees pointing straight ahead (not up the stairs). Jog back down and repeat on the right side.
  • 30 Alternating Plank Tucks: Hold a plank (or incline pushup position) with feet on the ground and hands on the steps. Alternate twisting your right knee towards your right elbow and then left towards left. To make this harder – do it in decline position. Rest and repeat.

New Mom Workout With Jamie Eason, Kelsey Byers & Hilary Hall

From left: Hilary Hall, Cari Shoemate, Jamie Eason and Kelsey Byers

I recently interviewed my friends and fellow Houstonians Hilary Hall, Jamie Middleton (Eason) and Kelsey Byers to find out how they got back in shape so quickly after they had their babies (they look AMAZING in person btw!) They shared with me some great tips for new moms (really for anyone who wants to get fit) as well as their favorite moves that helped them bounce back after pregnancy. Below is a sample workout I put together that includes their top exercises they recommend for new moms.

Bounce Back After Baby – 20 Minute New Mom Workout

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Exclusive Interview with Jamie Eason, Kelsey Byers and Hilary Hall

From left: Hilary Hall, Kelsey Byers, Cari Shoemate and Jamie Eason

I recently sat down with Three of Houston’s Fittest Moms to find out how they got back in shape post-baby and how they juggle family life and fitness. Below they share a little bit about who they are, their fitness journey and their top tips not just for moms – but for anyone looking to make fitness and a healthy lifestyle a priority.

Hilary Hagner Hall, Kelsey Byers and Jamie Middleton (Eason) all live here in Houston and are good friends! I’ve been friends with Hilary for years and she introduced me to Jamie and Kelsey. I’ve been following them both for a long time and have always been inspired by their workouts and healthy lifestyle. So, when I found out Jamie and Kelsey were pregnant at the same time as me – I was super excited to follow their journey!

If you haven’t heard of these 3 ladies – you must be living under a rock ; ) Hilary is super popular here in Houston and has been on local and national tv shows demonstrating her popular workouts and she runs popular Shed ‘N Shred. Jamie is a huge fitness star and has been in hundreds of magazines and on dozens of covers and can be seen each week on Lifetime’s Mission Makeover. Kelsey is an up and coming fitness star who has also been a cover girl and has competed in NPC competitions. She is the author of Eat Clean and Follow Your Dreams and she has a very inspiring 50lb weight-loss success story!

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Step-by-Step: How to Chaturanga

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The Chaturanga Dandasana or “yoga pushup” is one of the most challenging poses in a vinyasa yoga class. Most people think they are doing it correctly (because they can’t see what they are doing) but usually they are way off! Here is a step-by-step guide and my tips so that you look good chaturangaing (not really a word) in your next yoga class : )

Steps to perform a correct chaturanga:

  1. Start in a high plank position (or “top of the pushup”) with your hands directly under your shoulders (vs. wider for a “regular” or chest pushup).
  2. Engage your core and while keeping a flat back, slowly shift your weight forward just slightly where you come more on the tips of your toes (vs. the balls of your feet).
  3. As you exhale, slowly bend your elbows and lower your torso towards the ground. This is where it gets tricky. Keep your elbows glued to your sides/rib cage and try to keep your back flat. If you feel your elbows wanting to bend out to the sides, drop to your knees and do a modified version (see tips below).
  4. You should keep your gaze about 6 inches in front of your mat so you don’t strain your neck.
  5. Pause at the bottom of the position or when your elbows are at the same height as your shoulders (arms at 90 degrees). Then, as you inhale move to upward dog or press back up to plank.

My top tips:

  • This pose is hard and it takes practice! It’s basically a tricep pushup! If you aren’t strong enough to do it correctly, it’s perfectly fine to do it on your knees! Just drop to your knees and perform the same movement as if you were doing a modified or “girl” pushup on your knees.
  • If you don’t want to do this on your knees – you can do a mini chaturanga and just drop your body about halfway down but still keep those elbows glued to your sides! Focus more on your core here and get those triceps stronger (see below) so each time you can lower farther down.
  • Be careful that you don’t lower too far down to the ground or where your elbows are higher than your shoulders. This is a good way to tear your rotator cuff (not good!). It’s all about the 90 degree angle.
  • In yoga we breathe in and out through our noses and for the chaturanga, the proper breathing is to exhale as we lower down and inhale on the way up. But, as a trainer – I’m used to telling people the opposite during pushups: inhale down and exhale up because it helps your muscles perform better. So, if you are struggling with this pose – it’s fine to flip flop the breathing and exhale on the way up…it will actually help give your muscles a little extra push.
  • Check out your form in a mirror!
  • To get stronger triceps so that this pose is easier – try incorporating some tricep kickbacks, seated tricep dips and overhead triceps extensions into your workout routine 2-3x per week.

 

 

“How I Train” – Q&A with Coach.me

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**Thanks Coach.me for featuring me! 

“Cari Shoemate is a personal trainer, fitness expert, and media consultant; her workouts, advice, articles, and videos have been featured on CBS, Fox, NBC, E!, Dr. Phil and TMZ among others. She contributes writing and videos for several brands and magazines and her own blog, Cari-Fit.com.

Currently a brand ambassador for Oakley, Shoemate also runs Houston’s popular Bombshell Bootcamp and trains both NBA and NFL cheerleaders.

How do you start your own day? Do you have any daily rituals or routines?
I start my day with my favorite alarm clock: my 1 year old son. We usually have a light breakfast of cereal or fruit and then I do my workout. I almost always do my workouts in the morning because I just don’t have time to fit it in the rest of the day and I also have a lot less energy as the day progresses! I usually go for a run with my baby in his jogging stroller or I do a HIIT weight training and jumprope circuit in my home gym. I do try to get to the gym a few times a week to take advantage of the weight machines that I don’t have at home (leg press, smith machine, lat pull-down, etc.).

What are your eating habits like? Do you follow any specific program of eating?

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5 Trainer Tips For Achieving Your Fitness Goals in 2015

IMG_7949 Don’t wait until Jan 1st to get started on your health and fitness goals for the new year! Start now! Not sure where to start? I always like to get a new pair of training shoes to get me motivated. My latest favorite is the Asics Gel-Fit Sana (pictured). These shoes are so cool and are super lightweight and fit like a glove! These are my new favorite to workout in at the gym and they are also great for jumping rope because they are so lightweight (hello double-unders!).

Try some new shoes, new workout gear and a simple (and fun!) plan to get you going. Here are my other top tips to help you reach your fitness goals this year:

  1. Set realistic goals: It’s ok to be excited and motivated – but don’t set yourself up for failure. Try simple goals at first like working out at least 3 times a week for the month of January.
  2. Try something new: If running didn’t work for you last year, try spinning! Not a fan of indoor classes – then try an outdoor bootcamp! If you’ve always enjoyed dance – try a hip-hop class or a new barre workout.1471795_513722232056847_1665670971_n (1)
  3. Look the part: Get the proper gear for the activity you want to do. Get running shoes for running, cross training shoes (like the Asics Gel-Fit Sana) for weight training or group classes and wear yoga pants or capris paired with a stay-put top (I like ones with drawstrings so they don’t ride up in downward dog!) for yoga. asics gel-fitsana
  4. Focus on both diet and exercise: If you really want to make changes you have to focus on your diet and workouts. I have worked with many clients that worked out with me really hard at the gym, but then they would go home and eat junk and they wondered why their body didn’t change. Exercise is great and a little is better than nothing. But, if you want to make big changes to your body – you need to look at your plate too. plate
  5. Put it on your calendar and make an appointment for yourself: Athletes, fitness models and fit people make their workouts priority. They don’t let work, vacations, happy hours or errands get in the way of their workouts. They schedule those things around their workouts. If you want to run faster and get a medal in your next race – you have to be consistent with your workouts and put that first. It’s all about priorities and the top performers put their workouts and diet at the top.IMG_7956

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of ASICS.

Squat ‘Till You Drop Workout

Squats are not only great because they sculpt the lower body and keep your glutes looking tight and lifted…but also they are great because they burn a ton of calories and rev up our metabolism. Some of our largest muscles are located in our lower body (glutes, quads, hamstrings), so by working those large muscles…you burn more calories than if you were just going to target small muscle groups or just one muscle by itself. Try my workout below to boost your metabolism, burn fat and give your backside a lift!

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Squat ‘Till You Drop HIIT Workout

Do 1 minute of the squat variations below. Then, mix in 1 minute of medium/high intensity cardio (run stairs, run around the block, jumprope, high knees, etc). Do 2 sets of each type of squat like this: (Squat 1min +cardio 1min) x 2 and you can rest 60 seconds in between sets if you need to. To make this harder, hold a set of dumbbells, a sandbag or other weight. Workout time = approx. 30 minutes.

1. Squat With Leg Abduction:
Perform a squat and as you stand up, kick your right leg out to the side (flex your foot). Repeat on the left and alternate sides.

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2. In and Out Squat Jumps:
Hold a low squat with feet wider than hips. Jump your feet in together and then back out again to squat position. Stay low the whole time and repeat in and out.

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3. Plie’ Squats:
Start standing with toes pointing slightly out (you can add an optional weight as pictured). Lower your body down in a straight line keeping your hips tucked under (not sticking out) and your knees on top of ankles. Press your heels into the ground and return to standing. Repeat.

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4. Squats With Kickbacks:
Perform a regular squat and when you stand up, kick your right leg back behind you. Lead with your heel and be sure not to arch your back (don’t kick your leg up too high). Return to squat position and then next time kick left leg back. Repeat and keep alternating legs.

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5. Low Squat Pulses Left and Right: 
Start in a narrow squat with feet right under hips. Step your right leg out to the side and come to a regular squat (feet wider than hips), then step your right foot back in and return to a narrow squat. Alternate stepping out with the right then left. Stay low the whole time (don’t stand up) and you can use an optional band (pictured) to make it more challenging.

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6. Squat With Front Kick:
Start in regular squat position. When you stand up to the top, release your right leg and kick out to the front keeping your abs engaged. Only kick your leg out to about hip height so that you don’t lose your balance or lean back. Return to the squat and next time stand up and kick with the left. Repeat and alternate kicks.

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Houston Tough

I was featured in the Houston Chronicle this week on the front page of the Health section! Thanks to Joy Sewing who wrote this nice article about my project with Ford!

10620407_10152846629207398_8352199554638022200_ovia Houston Chronicle:

It seems obvious why people drive a Ford F-Series truck. It’s big and can haul a lot of stuff.

But fitness expert and trainer Cari Shoemate, co-founder of the Bombshell Bootcamp, hopes working out will be added to the truck’s list of uses. She has created the Ford F-Series Workout that turns the nation’s best-selling vehicle into a mobile gym.

Say your chest muscles are soft. Drop down in the truck’s bed for push-ups.

Need to build your lower legs? Try calf raises on the running boards.

Shoemate recently demonstrated the Ford F-Series exercises at the Tommie Vaughn dealership on North Shepherd. She says it’s a full-body workout, complete with chest presses, squats, plank twists and more, all done in or on the truck.

“I can turn anything into workout equipment,” said the certified fitness trainer. “I wanted it to be something anyone can do whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s showing how people can use something in their every day life as an exercise equipment.”

According to Kelley Blue Book, Ford F-Series truck is the best-selling vehicle in the country for 2014, a spot it has dominated for 32 years. It’s also the top seller throughout Texas, which is the world’s biggest truck market.

For that reason, the workout is a good fit for the Lone Star State, said Nik Ciccone, Ford Motor Co. communications representative for Houston.

He was searching for new ways to exercise outdoors when he thought of the idea of a truck-based routine. “It’s definitely an usual idea. I’d rather workout outside instead of going to the gym,” he said. “So I wanted to do something that’s different but gives you a good workout.”

Ciccone contacted several area trainers and settled on Shoemate because of her extensive fitness career and her enthusiasm for the project.

Shoemate, a native of Brenham, graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in economics and worked for four years in commercial real estate. She started teaching fitness classes at FIT health club on West Gray and began running marathons. She’s completed six marathons and one ultra marathon of 38 miles. In 2010, she created the video, “Long Lean Legs with Cari Shoemate,” with ExerciseTV, the same company that worked with former “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels.

Her Bombshell Bootcamp, operated with partner Carrie Barnhart, is a six-week intense cardio- and strength-training class held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings along Buffalo Bayou. She also trains NBA and NFL cheerleaders.

Shoemate demonstrates her two Ford F-Series circuit workouts on her YouTube Channel with videos: “Built Ford Tough Total Body Workout” and “Truckin It Cardio.” She recommends repeating the workout two to three times, totalling 30 minutes, for maximum results.

“The only equipment is the truck. So I had to create a workout that is simple and anyone can do when they are at their ranch or out camping or hunting,” she said.

Ciccone hopes to spread the word of the Ford F-Series workout through social media and other efforts.

“I think it’s a good challenge. It’s a way to mix things up,” he said.

Joy Sewing

Joy Sewing

Fashion & Beauty Editor, Houston Chronicle

 

Cari’s Fitness Favorites

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done a favorites post – so I have a lot of new products that I wanted to share with you guys! Most of these are health and fitness related, except for the baby gear – so just skip over that section if it doesn’t apply to you.

Workout Clothes & Gear

I really like lucy’s capris that have pockets so I can stash my key or energy gel when I run. My 2 favorites with pockets are the “endurance run” capris and the “pocket capris”. I’m also a huge fan of Lorna Jane and love their bright colors and sporty style. I recently shot workout for Lorna Jane in my favorite green tank. Of course, Oakley is still my favorite for active glasses and lately I’ve been switching back and forth between my go-to Daisy Chains and the Urgency for running. I also found some great tanks and capris by Under Armour and I got them at Six:02 – which is one of my favorite stores because they not only have clothes but all the best brands in shoes (Nike, Asics, etc).

I live in Houston, so that means I have the pleasure of working out with mosquitoes year-round. Now that I have a baby – I really don’t want to spray myself down with chemicals and insect repellents every time I head outside to run or go teach bootcamp. So, I’ve been experimenting with citronella products – including these Mosquitno bands. They seem to work good and they are a good alternative to sprays.

For gym workouts I usually take my water bottle AND my blender bottle for my post-workout whey… until now! Blender Bottle recently released a new bottle called a Pro Stack that has a built-in section for your powders so you can keep it separate! So, now I can use my Blender Bottle as a water bottle during my workout and then turn it into a post-workout shake after! Great idea!

Food

I don’t do a ton of baking – but this time of year I occasionally make a batch of (healthy-ish) cookies or other holiday treat. Instead of using traditional sugar – I’ve been using Zulka which is minimally processed cane sugar that comes from family farms. If I want to make something low-cal I use these new Truvia Blends which are a mixture of Truvia and sugar. They also have a brown sugar option! When the weather is cooler, I tend to eat oatmeal more and my current favorite is Modern Oats! They come in convenient single serve containers that are super portable and all you have to do is add hot water. For hydration – I still love coconut water and lately have been hooked on Amy and Brian’s Coconut Juice! It comes in these cool cans that make the water extra chilled and I love the lime flavor (would also be good for cocktails!). I also tried Watah Maple water to see what the craze is all about and the stuff is actually pretty good! Maple is another natural electrolyte and contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Give it a try if you are looking for a new way to hydrate!  My favorite snack right now is called Halfpops (if you are in Houston you can get at Costco). The company sent me some to try and also some to give out to my bootcamp, but they were so good I didn’t want to share! The snack is “half” popped popcorn – just like the little pieces left at the bottom of the popcorn bag that are crunchy (my favorite!).  The snack is very simple – just corn, butter and salt (no artificial ingredients) and the singe serve bags are only 100 calories with 2g of fiber (8% RDA) and 2g protein.

Baby Gear (for 12-18 mos)

My baby absolutely loves this Activity Table and it keeps him busy every day! I also still use a foam playmat for indoors but now that the weather is cooler – I sometimes use a few squares out on our patio so he can crawl/walk around and have some cushion. When we traveled to Cabo a couple of months ago (will try to do a post on that!) we purchased a small umbrella stroller made by Uppababy (G-Luxe model). I thought I’d only use it for travel, but I’ve ended up keeping it in my car to use for daily errands because it’s so easy to use and it has all the features of our bigger one. I’m still trying to transition my baby from bottles to sippy cups – which he doesn’t seem to be a big fan of. But, for the last few months he’s been drinking water from his Zoli Bot cups and loves them! These cups are genius – they have a retractable lid you can close when you travel, easy to grab handles, a weighted straw (so even the water at the bottom comes out) and easy to clean parts. I also really love his Boon Flair highchair that we’ve had ever since he was about 8 months old. It’s super easy to clean and I love the modern style. I really don’t see how people use highchairs that have any fabric!

Let me know what you guys think and also what your current favorite fitness or health food products are!

Fat Blasting Workouts Featured in Muscle & Fitness Hers

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I’m excited to be featured in the November/December issue of Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine! Four of my favorite workouts are included on pages 87-89 alongside workouts from other top trainers and IFBB Pros! All of the workouts are quick and efficient and most can be done in 10-15minutes! The issue is out on newsstands now, so be sure to pick up a copy!

Here is one of my favorites from the piece:

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Mix + Match Workout With Lorna Jane

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I’m thrilled to be working with the brand Lorna Jane! Have you guys heard of them? They are huge in Australia and are expanding in the US (they are in Dallas now!). They have super cute workout clothes, food journals and other fitness accessories. Their founder Lorna Jane is amazing and is always sharing healthy lifestyle tips and recipes! Definitely check them out!

They just featured my “Mix and Match” Workout on their blog: MoveNourishBelieve.com! I filmed the workouts while I was on vacation in Cabo, which was fun but super hot! In the pics, I’m wearing their green Velocity Excel Tank and black Feline 3/4 Tight.

Visit their site to check out the full workout, which includes some of my favorites like this jump squat!

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