Tag Archives: fitness

10-Day Reboot: Karen’s Day 5

iGnite 10 Day Body Reboot

by Karen Elliott

by Karen Elliott

This is my first iGnite Reboot experience and after 5 days, I LOVE the small changes in my habits and food choices. I have a busy household, so keeping up with my family while taking care of myself is a challenge. I love to cook, so my family doesn’t go out to eat often. I subscribe to a CSA –Community Supported Agriculture — program, so this Reboot has “encouraged” me to experiment with new spices and use up all of the fresh, organic vegetables! What I have easily adapted to and have enjoyed over the past 5 days is planning. Planning for meals, planning for a soak in the tub, making time to sit out in the sun or float in the pool after an afternoon workout. Half-way through this Reboot, I am looking more closely at food ingredients when making purchases. Even if I am buying something I will not eat, I am looking for better ingredients for my family.

When Molly started talking about the Reboot Program, I was very excited to learn more about it. The summer had left me fatigued from the lack of meal planning and letting everyone’s schedule pull me in different directions. The Reboot presentation and guidebook are well-laid out and easy to follow. When I first perused the guidebook, I was excited for the recipes. I was really excited that my pantry and refrigerator were already stocked with many of the recipe ingredients. I have challenged myself adding curry, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and balsamic vinegars to my vegetable dishes.

IMG_0005Mornings have been the easiest for me. It is usually very hectic getting my children awake, feeding them breakfast, and getting them out the door. I am not a coffee-aholic, I just drink it when I am out with friends. I don’t even have a coffee maker. If I want a cup of coffee at home, I use a French Press. The new routine of having a cup of hot lemon water calms me as I look over my emails, cook breakfast, and pack lunches. I am a breakfast person, so I make eggs with left-over veggies from the previous night or an egg with tomatoes and avocado. After a morning walk, I have brushed and sat in the tub. The house is empty and I can truly focus on myself and my well-being.

Snacks have been a little harder. I’m used to grabbing a Kind bar to have between meetings or in the car. So planning to have fruit plus a protein when I’m on-the-go has been challenging. One day, I skipped my morning snack and ate a little more during lunch because I was hungry. My stomach felt nauseously-full, and I felt sluggish for most of the afternoon.

My snack of rice crackers and hummus

My snack of rice crackers and hummus

Today, I tried some coconut yogurt with sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of chia seeds. I’m not sure what the chia seeds add nutritionally, but it added some texture. In the afternoon, I had rice crackers with hummus — what a filling combination. I also carry serving-size bags of almonds and dried cherries in my purse for when I am out of the house.

For lunch, I dined with some friends at Galaxy Cafe. I knew I could always order a salad if I couldn’t find something that was dairy, soy, or gluten-free. What I ordered was absolutely delicious — I think I’ll even try to replicate it at home. I had the Galaxy Buddha Bowl: steamed kale, homemade lentils, brown rice, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and all-natural free-range grilled chicken. It came with a side of chile peanut vinaigrette, which I didn’t need. Very tasty.

Buddha bowl from Galaxy Cafe

Buddha bowl from Galaxy Cafe

I have been really surprised by how easy cooking dinners has been. I do add a carb with gluten for my children, but I make extra veggies for my husband and myself. Tonight I made ground turkey pasta sauce, served over roasted spaghetti squash, zucchini sautéed in olive oil and garlic, and a green salad with lemon balsamic. So filling, and all of the vegetables came from my CSA box!


Dinner: ground turkey pasta sauce served over roasted spaghetti squash and zucchini sautéed in olive oil and garlic

Five days left, and bedtime is an area in which I still struggle. That being said, the downstairs air-conditioner has been out for a couple of weeks, so I have been sleeping in the guest room upstairs. An unfamiliar bed and a disruption in routine makes it hard for me to sleep, plus I usually read from my Kindle before I go to bed. My energy level has remained the same, but my skin feels better and I no longer have that “bloated” feeling. I miss CHEESE! — it is probably the one food item I crave and miss. I am surprised that I do not have a craving for sweets or bread. I make sandwiches for my children and pack them a “dessert” everyday — so far so good. I missed Facebook and Instagram the first day, but my curiosity has waned.

Dinner side salad: green salad with lemon balsamic dressing

Dinner side salad: green salad with lemon balsamic dressing

After a fast-paced summer and eating whatever I desired, this detox has been good for my body and the Reboot was something I needed for my mind. Thank you iGnite for taking a “wholistic” approach to the detox/cleanse/Reboot!

10-Day Reboot: Molly’s Day 2


by Molly Daniels

by Molly Daniels

With this being the fourth time I’ve Re-booted with iGnite, I knew what to expect, and I knew what would be easy for me and what I would crave more than ever throughout the 10 days: my Mexican food with black beans, rice, avocado, corn tortillas and chips! I know I can have everything I listed excluding the tortillas and chips, and I told myself Sunday night that I was going to be okay without going to Trudy’s (my favorite) for 10 days — this would be good for my system! I think I actually want it more now than I ever have because I know I can’t have it (it = chips). I haven’t caved…so far, so good! 😉

Snack time around 10am while working: almonds, rice crackers and hummus 😋

Snack time around 10am while working: almonds, rice crackers and hummus 😋

Day 2 was great for me.  I found that I had slightly less energy than I did on day 1 and struggled to make it through the 2pm slump. I took at quick 30-minute power nap before teaching my afternoon class and felt much better. SLEEP cures all!  On another hand, I already feel ‘clean’ from two days of focus — my organs, my stomach, my mind…everything feels great!


Enjoying my book before bed

I am really enjoying and appreciating the quiet time I’m having. Usually, when I’m finished with work and sit on the couch to relax before we get dinner started, I can spend several minutes mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Words with Friends, and Snapchat and not even realize how much time has passed and been wasted. I note that I could have spent that quality time with my husband!! Because he is away for work this week, I am taking the time to read a new book my sister gave me two weeks ago. I love to read, but shamefully admit that I spend more time on social media. My sister asked me, “Will you be finished with the book by the time I come to Austin?“, and I can now say with certainty that I will be able to give the book back to her this weekend! My mind feels more at ease, and my eyes and brain thank me for not stimulating it with bright lights right before bed.


Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with salsa and avocado and my apple cider vinegar

One aspect I am really trying to work on is getting more protein in my diet. I am a vegetarian (but I do eat fish and all seafood), and I do not enjoy cooking. My goal for myself for these 10 days and beyond is to spend time looking through recipes to find more creative ways to incorporate protein into my meals. It’s hard for me to do, but I will make it work! I did start the day off with two scrambled eggs, which satisfied my hunger when I woke up. I’ve learned I need to carve out more time for myself in the mornings in order to fit in my protein-packed breakfast rather than grabbing a bar and running!


Our Cardio Circuit workout


We’re AWESOME! Feeling good and happy after iGnite Cardio Circuit class at Rollingwood Park

Last week I didn’t get to fit much exercise in my schedule and noticed I was grumpy because of it. Being active is (obviously) a huge part of my life and not being able to spend time with the iGnite community in classes last week (outside of my own that I teach) made me sad! Knowing we are encouraged to exercise 4 days per week and spend time outside (and with friends!), I enjoyed a challenging and FUN class with Kathleen yesterday morning and 18 of my friends! It started my day on the right foot, I felt strong and proud and left with a smile on my face.

Day 3, here we come! We’ve got this!

Finding Mindfulness…on the Mat

Finding Mindfulness…on the Mat

iGnite leader Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

In the day and age of quick fixes, constant fads and “7 minute workouts,” it can be hard to slow down and ask ourselves, Is this really what’s best for my body?   In our American culture, there seems to be an ongoing obsession with ‘new forms’ of exercise; for example, the latest, greatest form of functional fitness, performed in an efficient, short period of time, giving you the most “bang for your buck,” and relying on external sources to guide and motivate you.

While these forms of exercise are effective and do lead to a fit, strong body, they are only part of the picture if we are truly seeking a healthy lifestyle.  By relying solely on these forms of fitness, we risk creating a vicious cycle of continually striving to be faster, stronger, look younger, be more ripped, track more daily steps…etc.  We never actually “arrive”, because there’s always that next level to strive for.  And that can get exhausting!

iGnite Yogalates on Lady Bird Lake

Yogalates on Lady Bird Lake

It’s important to balance these forms of exercise with what I like to call “mindfulness on the mat” so that we can continue to enjoy a variety of activities and pursuits, and most importantly, so we can prevent injuries and be more mindful of our existing ones.  When we step onto our yoga or Pilates mat, our first priority is tuning into our body and tuning out our goals, expectations, what we did yesterday, and what we need to do tomorrow.  If we pay attention, our body will tell us what it needs.  The ego is not invited onto our mat.  With time, practice, and patience we begin to notice imbalances and places we hold tension and resistance.  We learn to practice compassionate observation and tolerance for ourself so we are in a better place to extend it to others once off the mat.

Yoga and Pilates are two wonderful practices that teach mindfulness on the mat so that we can be more self-aware in our over-stimulated, consumer-driven world.  Yoga is over 5000 years old.  Pilates is nearly 100 years old.  These time-honored practices have much to teach us!

Pilates is a form of strength training with little to no impact.  It emphasizes alignment, core strength, muscular rebalancing and joint strength.  It is a very safe way to stay fit, prevent injury, and rehabilitate from injury, while increasing balance, body awareness, confidence and better posture.  While we use props during class to keep it interesting and fun, the classical Mat Pilates series is a total body workout using your own body as your guide.

Yoga has become so westernized that it’s hard to define what yoga is today.  In its truest form, yoga teaches us about ourselves and our relationship to the world.  It ignites awareness about how we respond to difficulty and ease, to consistency and change, to the way we face our universal human struggles of avoiding difficult situations (hard yoga postures, tough life issues), or the way we cling to the familiar and comfortable (postures that we can do, habits we grow accustomed to).

iGnite Power Pilates at Rollingwood Park

Power Pilates

Besides reducing stress, yoga also teaches us balance between sthira (effort) and sukha (ease) both in our yoga practice and in life.  It teaches us to balance stability with mobility, and strength with flexibility, so that we can balance setting boundaries in our relationships with creating the space we need.  Yoga teaches us to feel the poses rather than force them.  The postures are questions, not answers.  We ask ourselves, “How can I create more ease in this pose?”  which then translates off the mat to “How can I create more ease in my life?”  Yoga is not about doing the poses; it’s about undoing what gets in the way of the poses.

In a Vinyasa Yoga class, we become aware of our breath, the life force that pulsates through our body.  From there we let the breath guide us and connect us with movement.  While we get stronger and more flexible practicing weight-bearing and balancing exercises, twists, backbends, forward folds and inversions, we also become stronger and more flexible in our mind.  We tune into the subtle energy body and discover what we have always heard to be true: that the body and mind cannot act separately from one another.  Yoga is a practice because, rather that striving to accomplish something, we continually return to the bottomless well of wisdom and guidance from within.  As Judith Lasater, veteran yogi, says: “Slowing down is the same thing as waking up.”

So, as you plan your fitness program, be sure and schedule time to consistently practice “mindfulness on the mat”  through Pilates and yoga.  With regular practice, you will not only become more mindful and body-aware, you will find more ease and inner strength in your body and in your life.  Best of all, you will bring your newfound insights into everything you do, which will add to your enjoyment and keep you safe and injury-free!

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iGnite Simple 7 Park Workout

“Simple 7” Total Body, Body Weight Circuit in the Park

Even though school has started, having a quick and simple total body, body weight workout that can be done at the park while the kiddos are playing is always handy to have in your back pocket. Having recently moved to San Diego, iGnite Founder Neissa Springmann, shows us just how simple that circuit can be in beautiful Mission Bay Park.   All you need is a bench and some playground bars…and a bay breeze doesn’t hurt either!

Following a 3-5 minute warm-up (brisk power walk or jogging,  jumping jacks, jump rope — anything to get your heart rate up and body warm), perform a set of 10-20 reps per exercise and repeat the circuit 2-3 times.

1) Squats / Squat Jumps

Squats: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10- 20 reps

Benefits: Strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.  When adding a jump, the core and calves are strengthened.


  1. Either place your hands behind your head with your arms at a 90 degree angle by your waist, or with gently place your hands on the back of a chair
  2. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart (6-12 inches)
  3. Squat, while keeping weight in the heels, eyes forward and chest open. Lift your toes while squatting to keep your weight in your heels. I like to have a bench under me, as I try to tap my glutes on it.  This way I know I’m not cheating my glutes and hamstrings!
  4. Stand and firm your glutes.
  5. * Bonus Upgrade* iGnite Your Exercise: Add a jump at the top of your squat for a squat jump to add more of a cardiovascular and explosive component.
  • Important note on form:  To protect your knees, keep your weight in your heels. While squatting, avoid allowing your knees to come together and keep them at a hip-width distance apart.

2) Push Ups

Push Ups: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10 – 20 reps

Benefits: Strengthens chest, arms and core


  1. Position arms wide at a 90 degree angle
  2. With control, lower your chest between your ams, tightening your core and firming your glutes to protect your lower back, and look 6 inches in front of you to keep the neck in neutral alignment (do not allow your head to droop).
  3. To decrease difficulty, drop to knees.

3) Split Squats

Split Squats: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10 – 20 reps per leg

Benefits: Improves core strength and balance, as well as agility because it isolating legs; strengthens the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings; Reduces risk of injury by minimizing strength and muscular differences between your left and right side


  1. Elevate one foot on a step or bench behind you.
  2. As you lunge and bend your front leg to a 90 degree angle, focus on moving your torso up and down, not pushing it forward. Keep your weight balanced evenly through your front foot and press into the floor with your front heel to come back up to the start position, which works and tones more lower-body muscle
  3. Do not lean forward or let your front knee extend past your front toe.

4).  Assisted Pull-Ups

Assisted Pull Ups: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10-20 reps

Benefits:  Strengthens all of the back:  latisimus dorsi, rhomboids;  Strengthens all upper body and core:  chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders


  1. Find a low bar and walk your body carefully underneath it.
  2. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your core tight and your body straight (no sagging).
  3. Draw your shoulders away from your ears, engage your glutes and core, and slowly pull your chest up to the bar, engaging your back muscles.
  4. Slow and with control, lower down.  Going slow is more difficult, but it’s more effective and safe!

5). Step Ups

Step Ups: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10-20 reps per leg

Benefits:  Strengthens glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and core


  1. Place one foot entirely on a bench (letting your heel hang off de-emphasizes the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings and can cause injury to your knee!)
  2. With athletic arms, a tall and upright posture, abs engaged and eyes forward, press through the whole foot of the standing leg.  With power, lift the opposite leg to a 90 degree angle.
  3. With steady ease and control, lower the lifted leg to softly touch the ground.
  • Important note:  If you have weak quads, hamstrings, glutes or knees, find a shorter bench. Your leg length will determine how tall the bench should be.  Ideally, you want the leg that is on the bench to be at or below a 90 degree angle.   An angle more than 90 degrees can lead to knee injury and does not benefit the hamstrings, glutes or quads.

6) Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10- 20 reps

Benefit:  Strengthens triceps


  1. Place your palms, fingers facing forward, on the edge of a bench or chair
  2. Sit up tall with straight arms, eyes forward, shoulders down and back, chest out, elbows squeezed in tightly and glutes off of the chair (glutes ≤3 inches from the edge at all times)
  3. Slowly bend your arms (no more than 90 degrees)
  4. Slowly press up to straight arm position and repeat
  5. *Bonus Upgrade*  For a more advanced dip, position your legs straight or keep one leg lifted and straight while the other leg remains bent.

Important notes:

  • Avoid tricep dips if you have a shoulder injury
  • Never dip beyond a 90 degree angle. This places negative strain on the shoulder, increasing risk of injury.
  • Be cautious if dipping on rolling or swivel chairs. An ideal dip setting is on a secure and non-mobile bench or chair. If dipping on a rolling chair, place the chair on carpet and in a secure location, preventing chair movement while dipping.

7). Superman Low Back Extensions

Superman Low Back Extensions: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10-20 reps

Benefits: Primarily strengthens the lower back,  increases back flexility and stretches the hip flexors.  Indirectly strengthens the glutes.


  1. Lying on your stomach, bring your arms to a 90 degree angle
  2. Draw shoulders down the back, firm glutes and lengthen legs
  3. With your gaze at the ground and never up, slowly lift and lower the upper body and lower body
  • Important note:  Avoid a jerking or balistic movement as this is counterproductive and can cause injury to your lower back and neck.
iGnite San Diego Coming Soon

Be on the lookout for iGnite San Diego to be starting soon!

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How Alli is In the Game

Battling Feelings of Inadequacy
Continued from Are You in the Game or On the Sidelines?

iGnite - Courage

Point to Ponder:
Do you find yourself comparing yourself with others?

by Alli Phillips

by Alli Phillips

To compliment my teaching classes at iGnite, I have accepted a new position at Mecca Gym & Spa, where in addition to iGnite and Backyard fitness, I have worked off and on as a fitness class instructor and personal trainer for many years, hired initially when I was pregnant with my oldest child, Laney, who is now 15. I am very excited (actually “excited” doesn’t even begin to describe it!) about this opportunity, the new direction my career in health and fitness is taking, and about going “back to work”. But I have also felt incredibly, even debilitatingly, nervous approaching the official start date. My new title is…. drumroll…. “Marketing and Communications Director.” (So important sounding right?!) And over the last few weeks of negotiations, which included writing my own job description!, while pinching myself to make sure that this “dream job” isn’t just a dream, I have come to realize that my nervousness has been due to, in large part, comparison, specifically comparison of myself to a co-worker and friend who is leaving Mecca and from whom I will be assuming many responsibilities.

One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy,” by Theodore Roosevelt, and I have been living this truth for about two weeks now as I have been learning the details of my new responsibilities and transitioning with my co-worker/friend. I have felt joy and confidence, which at times was “sucked out” of me when I have allowed thoughts to enter my head like, “She’s so creative and smart, I’ll never be able to fill her shoes.” But, in the last few days, by sharing with others my feelings of inadequacy, and more specifically admitting my feelings to the friend with whom I have been comparing myself, I have recognized my “faulty thinking” and been able to start re-channelling my nervous energy positively.

Through conversations, emails, and text exchanges, with her as well as with other friends and family, I have been reminded that not only am I qualified for this position, but I am highly and uniquely qualified; and more important, I have passion for this job! I have spent more than half my life leading fitness classes and educating others about lifestyle exercise, so it’s not just what I do, it’s who I am, and this job will be a new platform to continue teaching and sharing my passion with others.

So now, although I still feel a little queasy when I think about this new chapter in my career and in my life, my feelings of inadequacy have been replaced with eager determination to be the best “Marketing and Communications Director” I can be. And although I still feel nervous about my new job and my big fancy-pants title, it is a “good nervous” energy fueled with joy.

Action Item:
Remind yourself that comparison is the thief of joy, and ask your loved ones to remind you of your unique qualities and skills instead of comparing yours with someone else’s.

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Member Spotlight: Leslie Yzaguirre

ILeslie Y grew up in Houston and after going away to the University of Virginia, I returned to Houston, met my husband and we started our family there. However, while our kids were young, we also lived in McAllen, Texas and Monterrey, Mexico before we finally settled in Austin in 2001.

Family Life:
I’ve been married for 25 years to Max Yzaguirre, a fun-loving Valley boy from Brownsville, Texas, and we have two boys, Max, 22, and Will, 20. Max just graduated from the University of Montana and will spend his third summer in Montana as a fly-fishing guide. Will graduated from St. Stephen’s last May and spent the past year on a gap year traveling all over – he’ll start at Tulane this August. We love that our kids have located in such fabulous spots for us to come visit!

Work life:
It’s hard for me to remember being anything but “Mom”, but in my former life, I was an oil and gas attorney. Max and I decided that I’d do the stay-at-home mom thing after our first son was born and I’ve never regretted that decision, although I do remember being totally overwhelmed as a first time mom and thinking it sure would have been nice if my baby had come with a secretary and paralegal!!

Biggest lesson learned through my iGnite experience:
Hands down, without question, the best lesson I’ve learned from iGnite is that I can do it – no matter what the “it” is!  I only recently became an iGniter and very naively signed up for Kathleen’s Power Up class as my intro to iGnite — hilarious!! The first class totally kicked my rear, but I looked around at all of the high energy women in the class who were my age and going for it, and I knew that I wanted to go for it, too!

Best advice I’ve received:
Over the years, many people have given me truly impactful advice. But, as I’ve meandered through my 53 years, I realize that a little adage of my mom’s has probably been the most influential to me in terms of my everyday life: “When you smile, the whole world smiles with you, and when you cry, you cry alone.” Not that I don’t have my fair share of good cries and haven’t relied on friends’ shoulders to cry on all too often, but I try to start each day with a positive outlook and hope that I can be a positive influence in the lives of my family, friends and community. I strongly believe that positive energy is always the best way to cope with life’s challenges!

People may not know that…
I absolutely love fly-fishing! Our entire family enjoys the sport, and we’ve had the good fortune to go to some of the most beautiful places in the world to fish. My perfect day would be spent waist-deep in a gorgeous river, casting to exquisite fish, with my husband and two boys right there with me – and, of course, I’d catch the biggest fish of the day!

My favorite color is:
RED! It actually becomes an issue because I have to consciously stop myself from buying yet another pair of red shoes and I’m sure every decorator who walks into my house wonders what’s up with all the red – furniture, rugs, rooms – it’s just my color. I love the warmth and energy red exudes, and it seems to always set the tone for fun – something that I’m committed to trying to make happen.

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Neissa’s Simple Summer Arugula Salad with Maple Lemon Dressing


by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

One of the things I love the most about this salad is that it requires such minimal chopping — and who doesn’t love that?! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Neissa’s Simple Summer Arugula Salad with Maple Lemon Dressing

Makes 1 serving (1 large main salad), or 3-4 small side salads


  • 1 heaping handful of organic, undressed cole slaw mix (I find mine for ~$3 at Whole Foods)
  • 1 heaping handful of arugula
  • 1/4 c whole or halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 T pepitas
  • 1 T dried currants
  • 1 T slivered or whole almonds
  • 1 serving size of your protein of choice (I prefer salmon, grilled chicken or even a turkey burger)
  • To taste: I also love crumbling up a piece of veggie-fed, antibiotic-free bacon for a little extra crunch & flavor 🙂


  • 1 T organic maple syrup
  • Fresh juice from half of a lemon


  1. Place all ingredients (minus your protein of choice) in a large tupperware container and shake
  2. Empty salad contents onto a serving dish, top with your protein of choice and enjoy!

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4 Moves to Release Tension in the Neck & Shoulders Using a Tennis Ball

If we feel tight or tense anywhere, it’s often in our neck, shoulders and upper back. Yoga leaders Amy Younkman and Cary Fyfe share 4 fantastic and easy ways you can use simple tennis balls to release that tension from the comfort of your own home or even while traveling.


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Staying Fit in the Summer Heat: Training Tips & Building Your Heat Tolerance

Tips for Staying Fit in the Summer Heat

by Alli Phillips

by Alli Phillips

With the hot summer months quickly approaching, let’s talk about how we can best beat the heat and continue to enjoy outdoor exercise during those sometimes brutal summer months with a smile on our faces!

Your body acclimates to heat in a number of ways, and by cautiously training in the heat to improve the efficiency of your body’s “cooling system,” you will not only be able to better tolerate high temps and humidity (like we have here in Austin), but you’ll also be able to continue to participate in and enjoy your favorite outdoor activities and exercise classes — and may even be motivated to try some new ones!

Here are some important facts about training in the heat and a few tips for building heat tolerance:

Acclimating to Heat

  • The Body Mechanics: The body acclimates to heat with changes in circulation, increased blood flow to the skin for cooling, increased sweat production, and decreased sweat electrolyte concentration.  As you adapt and acclimate to heat, the body begins sweating earlier in exercise, produces a greater volume of sweat, and produces more dilute sweat (losing fewer electrolytes).
  • How to Safely Acclimate: Gradually increasing the duration of exercise in hot conditions allows the body to safely acclimate. With repeated, but cautious and gradual increases in daily exposure, acclimation occurs within 10-14 days, depending on your initial level of heat tolerance.

Tips for Better Cooling Your Body

  • It is the evaporation of sweat (not sweating itself) that cools the body, so wear wicking fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate and light colors that reflect the sun (dark colors absorb sunlight, and thus, heat).
  • Avoid exercising in the direct sun, but rather seek out green shadey spots and trails (versus heat-absorbing pavement), preferably near water where air movement and breezes aid in the evaporative cooling of sweat.

Hydration 101

Because as you adapt and acclimate to heat the body begins sweating earlier in exercise, produces a greater volume of sweat, and produces more dilute sweat (losing fewer electrolytes), PRE-hydration, hydration DURING, and RE-hydration are crucial!

Therefore, increase your overall water/fluid intake during the 24 hours prior to a bout of exercise in the heat. More specifically:

  • 1-2 hours beforehand, drink 15-20 oz of water
  • 15 minutes beforehand, drink another 8-10 oz
  • During, drink 6-8 oz every 15 minutes
  • Afterward, continue to rehydrate, drinking 15-20 oz within an hour or two

Keep In Mind!

Be aware that although your body can and will acclimate to hot temps, you will not be able to exercise at the same intensity as you do in a “thermo-neutral” environment.

  • With the changes in circulation to aid in cooling, more blood is sent to the skin for evaporation, less blood is available to the working muscles, and therefore the intensity of exercise must be reduced.
  • When you’re running or cycling in the heat, use a “rating of perceived effort” or “feel” to gauge the intensity of exercise, instead of your watch, as your pace/speed will be slower than at the same effort level in moderate/mild conditions. (Runners and cyclists should let go of any pace/time-based goals for the summer months.)

Even after acclimating, exercise in extreme temps always requires extreme caution. The following are symptoms of heat related illness and heat stroke. If you experience any of these, take immediate steps to cool down and seek medical attention.
Symptoms of Heat Stress/Illness:

  • Headache
  • Cold, moist skin
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Fast shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • High body temp (103+)

Adjust Your Route

Finally, when running and/or cycling this summer, plan new routes that start, finish, and/or include stops at pools, splash pads, and natural “watering holes,” to cool off, rehydrate, refuel, and ENJOY AUSTIN!

Here, I’ve put together a few cool spots to cool off here in central Austin:

  • Barton Springs Pool/Spillway
  • Deep Eddy Pool
  • West Enfield Pool
  • Big Stacy Pool
  • Ramsey Pool
  • NorthWest Park Pool
  • Clarksville West Austin Wading Pool
  • Little Stacy Wading Pool
  • Butler Park Splash Pad
  • Pease Park Splash Pad
  • Bailey Park Splash Pad
  • Clarksville Splash Pad

Visit austintexas.gov/pools for pool/splash-pad locations, hours, and more info.

Last, but not Least…

One more suggestion for staying cool this summer while enjoying fitness and fun…don’t just exercise near water — take the plunge and try these activities IN the water:

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Stay Cool in the Pool: Swim Workout to Build Endurance


Sha Klatt

Sha Klatt

We are in the glorious days of SPRING SWIMMING!  With the temperatures starting to rise, It is a wonderful time of year to be in the water.

“Swimming is amazing therapy, peace, tranquility and exhilaration…not to mention low-impact on joints as well as a great full body, head to toe workout,” says swimming leader Sha Klatt.  While we all know It’s important to cross train in our workouts, we might not always think of swimming as the perfect way to give joints and bones a break while creating long lean muscles from head to toe and incredible lung power. Well, it is!  Not to mention, you get to stay cool on those too-hot-for-a-jog days.

Not a regular swimmer? No problem. Sha has put together a fun summer swim workout that will keep your core temp down while you get toned from head to toe.

So, give your bones and joints a break, jump in and use this outline for your next workout!

“Stay Cool in the Pool”
Endurance-Building Swim Workout

As you get started with swimming, pace yourself: cut this workout in half and build up your endurance until you can complete the entire workout.

Become “one” with the water and let the water work it’s magic.  You’ll feel amazing when you’re finished!

Warm-up: 200m  Swim (8 lengths of a 25m pool)
Start with a body stretching warm-up in the water.  Swim your choice of strokes, but swim very slowly, reaching your arms out as far as they can go while you glide through the water. This helps lengthen your muscles and gives a good stretch.

500m Freestyle Pyramid:

  • 2 x 25m (2 lengths of the pool): Rest 20 secs after each 25m.  On the 2nd 25 swim a little faster (that’s how you “build”)
  • 2 x 50m (4 lengths):  Rest 30 secs after each 50m.  Increase your speed with each segment.
  • 2 x 100m (8 lengths of the pool): Rest 30 secs after each 100m.  A little bit faster now, and sprint the 2nd 100!
  • 2 x 50m (4 lengths):  Now you can start to pull back on your speed, rest 30 sec.
  • 2 x 25m (2 lengths):  This time slow it down and feel the power in each stroke, long glide.

400m Kick (lower body only):

  • With fins on and holding  kick board out in front of you, kick for 100m (4 lengths) of each kickdolphin kick (butterfly) for 25m, backstroke kick (flip over on your back) for 25m, freestyle kick for 25m, then remove fins for breaststroke kick for the last 25m.

300m Pull (upper body only):

  • Place a pull buoy between your legs and squeeze your them together tight.  Using your arms only, “pull” each stroke for 100m of backstroke, 100m of breaststroke and 100m of freestyle

200m Sprints:

  • Swim 4 X 50m of freestyle all out!  Rest 30 seconds after each 50m

200m Warm-Down:

  • 50m Ab kick: with fins on, turn around so your back is facing the direction you want to swim and pull your knees up into your chest like you are sitting in a chair with your head above water, calves along the top of the water. Using your abs to hold your torso up as you kick, lean slightly backwards at about a 45 degree angle while you kick backwards with your fins, completing 2 lengths of the pool
  • 50m Swim slow, your choice of stroke: stretch out
  • 100m Relaxing side kick with fins and kick board

 – – –

Need a little more inspiration to get you on board with swimming? Check out this great article Why I Swim by Lynn Sherr.

Each week at Swim Fit we go over techniques and tips that help participants enjoy the water and improve swimming skills. No matter what level swimmer you are, Sha can help you improve and reach your health goals. We always end the workout with a mini “spa session” in the hot tub or steam room — you leave feeling amazing and carried through the day!

If you have any questions about the iGnite swimming program, email Sha at sha@igniteyourlifenow.com.

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