Tag Archives: outdoor fitness

Member Spotlight: Carol Reifsnyder

IMG_0160Roots:
I am originally from Lubbock, Texas. I attended the University of Texas where I met my husband, Andy. We moved back to Austin in 1992, a time when Mopac had no cars and the hills had no houses.

Family Life:
My husband is a radiologist and has been the Chief at Breckenridge Medical Center for a long while. We have two children, my daughter, Erin, who works at a hotel in Brooklyn, and my son, Emery, who recently graduated from Tufts and now works in technological mapping in San Francisco.

Work Life:
I am just finishing a long (4 year) capital campaign to restore and renovate a National Historic Landmark sorority house near campus. I have some ideas about where I would like to go next, but I plan to take a break for a while and get back in shape.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Women derive strength from being and working together. I feel like I work harder when working out with iGnite ladies. I’ve got to work to keep up!

The best advice I’ve been given…
The best advice I have been given is from my Brazilian scuba instructor way back in college. I still use his instructions today when dealing with a crisis. Per my instructor, the two most important rules of scuba are:
Always stay with your buddy. I use this symbolically at work as in “always have the back of/always support your co-workers and employees”. For my family, I use it to stay present and attentive to their needs and issues. And for my ailing mother, I use it to diligently advocate for her at times when she is vulnerable.
Stay calm. Don’t panic. I learned the hard way that if anything can go wrong, it will! I am a planner by nature so I constantly try to consider all the possible scenarios before I act. Now, if things do go astray, I don’t sweat it much anymore. I just stay calm, refocus, reconsider and get to it.

What I’m looking forward to right now…
Getting comfortable with and enjoying this “kids out of college and employed stage”. I have always been so excited for what lay ahead for my kids that I rarely
felt too sad moving on down the path beyond key milestones. Now, I feel like it is time to discover and create some milestones for myself. My work raising them is actually over. Don’t get me wrong; it often makes me sad to think back on those years that went by so quickly and in such a blur. The good news now is I get to be the “friend” or “advisor” or “supporter” instead of the strict “rule following” parent.

If I were a pair of shoes…
I would love to be a pair of bike cleats. Riding a bike brings back that pure sense of “joy” not felt much in life as an adult. In fact, research confirms quite simply that cycling makes people happier. In my opinion, the bicycle is one of the world’s greatest inventions – simple in it’s design, easily mastered and inexpensive – a means of play, exercise and transportation. In the 1900’s the bike gave women unprecedented mobility; women essentially rode the bicycle to freedom. Susan B. Anthony once said, “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” The bike allowed women to venture about without chaperons, liberated them from corsets and cumbersome skirts, provided them a healthier, more vigorous existence, and expanded their marriage pool (no more having to marry your cousin down the street). Today, strolling through street and parkways on a bike is one of the best ways to tour/see an area. Walking doesn’t cover enough territory and cars move too quickly and provide too big of a barrier from the environment. Even cycling excursions around Austin often stun me with the beauty of our Texas Hill Country. As a pair of cleats, my life would be outdoors, healthy, happy, adventurous, fun and even spiritual. So, make me a pair of old beat-up bike cleats any day. See you on the road!

Our 5 Favorite Fitness Apps

mind

Our iGnite leaders are sharing their favorite fitness apps to help you with strength training, run training, HIIT workouts, yoga, stretching and more! Since we always have our phone with us, a customized workout can be just a few clicks away.  These apps are great to use when you are traveling or when you may only have 10-15 minutes to squeeze in a quick workout. Here are our Top 5 Favorites:

 

sworkit

Sworkit  – Your own personal trainer! Sworkit provides you with personalized video workouts by real trainers. Videos of each move and audio coaching lead you through each session. You can work out to pre-made routines or design your own.

The app includes choices from strength, cardio, yoga or stretching with a duration anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes.  No equipment required.

 

timer-app

Interval Timer – This app helps you keep track of your work and rest periods during workouts. We use it in iGnite classes to keep track of tabatas (ex: 40 seconds of squats/15 seconds of rest) or any other type of HIIT workout.

Interval timer can be customized to any length and has different beeping noises for work and rest.  It is the perfect workout companion.

 

runningRunning for Weight Loss – This app has unique interval plans of running, walking and sprint intervals for maximum calorie burning. You can choose from different training programs with levels of difficulty from beginner to advanced.

You can also use the app to train for a 5K, 10K or whatever your goal may be. It tells you detailed statistics such as distance, pace and calories burned throughout and at the end of the workout.

nikeNike+ Training Club – Get expert guidance from Nike master trainers.  Choose the amount of visual guidance you get in every workout, and use the audio cues to take your eyes off the screen. This app has over 100 strength, endurance or mobility-focused workouts designed by Nike athletes and trainers. You can enter and record other activities you do, like running, tennis, etc. and keep track of your fitness life.

 

yoga

Daily Yoga – This app has more than 500 yoga poses with instructions and over 50 complete yoga sessions. The yoga sessions include soothing background music. There are three different intensity levels and several duration choices to choose from. You can find the routine that’s right for you.

 


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From Small Beginnings Come Great Things

Aug28_2016

Point to Ponder:
As a result of your time in iGnite, what metamorphosis have you experienced?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

One of my favorite pastimes is looking through photo albums. I can easily spend a nostalgic hour placing myself in each picture and sweet memory. This is often what happens when I look at the picture shown above, as it sits in my office where I can see it everyday.

The picture was taken ten years ago, at iGnite’s first location. While it was nothing more than a concrete slab that once served as a bridge that crossed over Lady Bird Lake (a.k.a. Town Lake), it was ideal because it was overlooking the lake, semi-secluded with a giant oak tree and a perfect size parking lot on 1st street. Back then before boot camps were popular and Austin was not inundated with studios and gyms, our members brought a physioball (a.k.a. udderballs because they had little legs that looked like udders), a set of blue, red and yellow resistance bands and a jump rope. The only class offered was a basic fitness class that I led on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:00 a.m and 8:00 a.m. We had no indoor location so we didn’t retreat inside when it was cold. Instead, we bundled up and never stopped moving. I vividly remember several 6:00 a.m. mornings when the temperature did not rise above freezing, but we were all committed to one another and excited to be outside on the lake, together. It was then that we realized that Austin really did have a winter season. It just happened between 12:00 a.m and 7:00 a.m.

Often times during the 6:00 a.m class it was very dark and runners and/or walkers couldn’t see us coming toward them with our giant udderballs, until they were within a few feet. However during the 8:00 a.m. class, we were unavoidable. We’d skip down the trail laughing with our udderballs lifted high above our heads (don’t knock it til you try it–it’s hard!), and as much as the passers-by would try not to make eye contact, it was impossible. You can imagine the looks we got….but more importantly, there were thousands of smiles exchanged along with “Good Morning!” from our members.

Making eye-contact and saying “Good Morning” to everyone on the trail was actually one of our spiritual and mental exercises. Why? Because while walking and running most people are looking down and it’s uncomfortable to say “good morning” and make eye contact with strangers. However, it was an opportunity for us to stretch beyond our comfort zones and grow. And, in order to be bright lights, it’s important to acknowledge people with eye contact and a friendly “Hello.”

I could go on and on with stories, and maybe at our 10th birthday party on the evening of September 15th (save the date!!), we’ll share our favorite iGnite memories, with one of my personal favorites being with the former First Lady of Texas, Anita Perry, and her secret service detail. Until then, when I look at the picture I think about the Proverb quoted, “From small beginnings come great things”.

My original goal for iGnite was to get as many women as possible to exercise outdoors together and experience the changing seasons and the physical, mental and spiritual healing powers of nature. And, just as our mascot and logo is the Monarch butterfly, the purpose was for everyone to grow and experience a literal transformation, or metamorphosis. The reason why I choose the Monarch butterfly is besides being graceful, gorgeous and free, like I believe all women are and should feel, the life of both a butterfly and a woman is difficult and ever changing. Her metamorphosis from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly is hard and looks painful, but in order for her to become a beautiful butterfly, the process is essential. This is a woman’s life, and in order for us to continue to grow into everything we are designed for, to experience our vast capacity of greatness and contribute to the world, a continual metamorphosis must occur. This transformation is filled with hard work, struggle, challenge, and even heartache, but the gifts along the way as well as who we become are all worthwhile!

It was less than one year from the start of iGnite that a true metamorphosis began to occur in our members. They grew from caterpillars into full-grown Monarchs! They were ready for more challenge, which birthed the start of holding more classes and different locations around central Austin (again–before traffic was a real issue). It seems simple, but changing locations created a greater metamorphosis because along with the new location came an unfamiliar phyisical and mental experience. Change equals challenge and challenge equals growth.

Metamorphosis was occurring rapidly and despite varying our locations, it became obvious that our members needed more beyond just a basic fitness class that I could provide, so I welcomed gifted and passionate teammates, a variety of diverse classes and multiple locations. While iGnite’s beginnings were simple, small and very special, out of them have morphed innumerable wonderful things: lifelong friendships, community, restored health, confidence and purpose. You are doing things you never thought you could or would do, you have made yourself a priority, you are supporting and lifting women up and you are flying!

Regardless of our size or whether or not you’ve been a Monarch for one day, or ten years, our purpose for you remains the same, which is for iGnite to be your metamorphosis springboard so that you can fly into everything that God has created you for, which is undoubtedly for you to do something great and be somebody amazing!

Just as our vintage iGnite video that lives on our website’s About page and was created almost six years ago shows, iGnite is a celebration of life’s blessings–the unknown and the immeasurable beauty that each day brings. iGnite is the power of believing, the power of taking care of yourself so that you can be your very best! iGnite is a way of life. iGnite is every woman. Today is your day! Now is your time to iGnite Your Life!


Action Item:
Within iGnite, what can you do to experience a greater metamorphosis?


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The Proven Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Inspiration from the iGnite Blog Article Archives

Aug14_2016

Point to Ponder:
Are you spending enough time exercising outdoors?

Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Yes…it is HOT outside, at least before this amazing cool and wet front blew in! WHEW! Despite the actual temperature, it is always a great idea to exercise outdoors. I don’t only think this because I prefer outdoor exercise and it is iGnite’s philosophy, but if you happen to be a someone who needs actual evidence, I have listed below the proven benefits of exercising in nature, which are all undeniably awesome!

  1. It’s More Challenging and More Effective – Studies found that outdoor running/walking is more strenuous than the indoor treadmill/eliptical. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle. The machines are obviously doing some of the work for you. When you run outside, YOU provide the movement. Running outside increases your work load from 2% to 10%!!!! The same dynamics apply to cycling: Where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands than going the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should head outside instead of the gym!
  2. It Improves Your Mood – In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside on a treadmill and one outdoors. In all of the studies, the volunteers reported more enjoyment outdoors, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside! And of course exposure to direct sunlight greatly affects your mood.
  3. You’ll Do it More Often, for Longer and Be More Active – In another study, those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors, and were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors!
  4. Stress Reduction – Studies have found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared to inside! And, green space raises serotonin levels.

What I am definitely not recommending is exercising outdoors in the heat of the day. We should all consider the intense heat and it’s dangerous effects. However, rising early to beat the heat while also focusing on proper hydration makes for the absolute best opportunity to enjoy the amazing benefits of exercise under the blue sky and amongst the trees and birds. There’s nothing better for your body, mind and spirit!


Action Item:
Rise early to beat the heat, and stay proper hydrated so you can experience the amazing benefits of exercise in nature.


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Member Spotlight: Kathy Caskey

FullSizeRender-197Roots:
I was born in Fort Worth, Texas and moved to Austin in 1971 to attend UT. I never left!!

Family Life:
I am married to Steve Caskey who is an Austin native. We have one son, Adams (31), who married on February 1, 2014.

Work Life:
I have my Real Estate license and work part time at Feather Your Nest, a lovely bath and linen shop in west Austin.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Be willing to try anything and everything!! It might just enrich your life, if not physically, then mentally!!

What inspires me most is…
Nature and God’s hand in our great, wonderful world! I think that is why I love the iGnite experience so much – we are outdoors most of the time!

In my free time…
I am outdoors, walking on the trails with my dogs or working in the yard!

My guilty pleasure is…
To estate/garage sale. I love giving a new home an old treasure!


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Member Spotlight: Jana Harker

FullSizeRender-183Roots:
I’m originally from Houston (Sharpstown HS), went to school at UT, moved back to Houston, married and raised three kids in Bellaire and then moved back to Austin last Spring.

Family Life:
I’ve been married to Doug for almost 32 years! We met on my first day of work at at my first job as a banker in downtown Houston. He’s from Berkeley, CA, and hadn’t planned on staying long but then he met me. 😊 Our daughter, Courtney (29), got married last May and works at a nonprofit that assists victims of human trafficking in San Diego. Our son, Travis (27), is a chef in Houston and runs the kitchen at Battleground Golf Club. Our youngest son, Sam (22), is graduating from UT this month and will start an internship in operations with the PGA Tour in Atlanta.

Work Life: 
My first career in banking was quite brief. After meeting and marrying my husband, we started having kids pretty soon, and I “retired” to stay home full time. When our youngest was in grade school, I decided to get my Masters in education which led to my second career as a high school teacher. I taught Health and Media Literacy at a small public high school in Houston for eight years. Since moving to Austin, I have been working on a volunteer basis for several local youth serving nonprofits in health education.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
I’ve learned that there is nothing better than the feeling you have after a good workout especially if it is outside on a gorgeous day! Also, the iGniters with their friendly faces and welcome smiles have given me a sense of community I truly appreciate being new to Austin. ☺

The best advice I’ve been given…
I’m paraphrasing but it’s “think about what you want to leave behind when you leave this world. What will you regret not doing?” This was my inspiration for returning to school. I don’t remember where I heard this, but it was in the late nineties, so probably Oprah.

Something people may not know about me…
I went to UH grad school when I was in my forties!

Three words that describe me…
Playful, curious and thoughtful

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Member Spotlight: Melinda Twomey


Roots:

I was born in New York City and raised mostly just outside New York in Englewood, New Jersey. We have lived in Austin for 16 years.

Basic Family Stats:IMG_1621-1
I have been married to Barry Twomey for 26 blissful years, and we are blessed to have four wonderful children: Paul (sophomore at Beloit College in Wisconsin), Margot (sophomore at University of Texas in Austin), Laura (freshman at Trinity University in San Antonio) and Mark (high school senior at AESA Prep Ac
ademy).

Current/Previous Occupation:
After attending Smith College and Columbia School of International Affairs, I worked in New York at several investment banks until retiring to be a full time mom. I currently serve on the boards of Fountain Valley School of Colorado and Tomorrow’s Children Foundation.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
The biggest lesson I have learned through iGnite is to try new things! iGnite had literally been on my mind to try for years, but I was just too stuck to my routine. I finally made the leap in April, and the rest is history – thank goodness!

Who inspires you the most and why?
My girlfriends inspire me the most. They are smart, informed, readers of great books, travelers of the world, givers to those in need, sensitive, funny, interesting, fun, loving and humble. How lucky am I?!

In my free time…
I like to travel, hike, ski, read, do jigsaw puzzles, watch Homeland, Downton Abbey and House of Cards, work on my photography skills, spend time with family and friends, and most of all, I love to iGnite!

What is your guilty pleasure?
I only have two guilty pleasures: Chardonnay and Kone coffee (which we actually order from Hawaii).

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Dear Me, Thank you!

Fall Folaige pic 2

Point to Ponder:
How often do you acknowledge and give thanks for all that you do and all that you are?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springman

Throughout the month of November we have focused on expressing gratitude in various ways. We encouraged making gratitude jars and everyday writing what we are grateful for and then placing it in the jar to then look at at a later date. Then, we took the time to physically write gratitude notes to the people we are grateful for, we continue to post what we are grateful for in our social media #ignitegratefulgram challenge, and we are wearing our gratitude, as ‘grateful’ is printed across the chest of all of our new fall apparel.

We believe that gratitude changes everything and of course our efforts were put in place to inspire attitudes of gratitude, but we were also hopeful that it would ignite attitudes of abundance, blessings and fun! Also, our big picture mission is that our gratitude campaign has made a positive impact on you and in your life, starting with your family and then being contagiously caught by thousands of other people.

Finally, there’s just one more gratitude request and call to action, and that’s to thank yourself by filling out our “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet. You may think this is totally narcissistic and weird, but stick with me. Typically, when we express gratitude it’s towards the people we love, our health, time with family and friends, things, our work, food, clothing, etc. All of these are wonderful, however what you must not neglect and absolutely must acknowledge and celebrate is everything you do and all that you are, which includes: your commitment to countless people and relationships; how incredibly hard you work on so many things; the impact you make in the lives of others; your dedication to your health and wellness, family and relationships; your beautiful and unique God-given talents and features which allows you to be you and do what you do, and so much more!

I realize this may seem like just another task during a busy holiday week, however I encourage you to take ten minutes to celebrate yourself, because ultimately when you acknowledge and express gratitude for all that you are and for all that you do, it’s simply saying “thank you” for what you’ve been given, which opens your spirit to receiving more, giving more and becoming more. And, becoming all that we were created to be is one of our greatest callings and life’s missions, and in doing so, our impact is extraordinary.

Action Item:
Print the “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet, gratefully fill it out and place in an area where you can frequently see it and give thanks.

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Family Fitness FUNdamentals

iGnite Exercise Playdate

by Alli Phillips M.Ed.

A child’s first and most important teachers are her/his parents, and just as daily reading to our children helps develop literacy, daily exercise teaches our children healthy living practices.  Furthermore, exercising on our own, with a group, with neighbors and friends, and especially with our children and families, demonstrates that we value our health, as well as theirs.  Weaving exercise into daily routines teaches kids that fitness is a way of life, how we live, and how we live well.

The Cross-Training Playdate class I teach for iGnite is offered for women with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and provides moms the opportunity to get out, exercise, and “play” with other moms, while their children enjoy a built-in playdate of their own.  And, women who attend this class, while enjoying an exercise fix and some “mommy-time,” are also modeling healthy habits for their children and creating for them a “fitness-lifestyle” framework.

DEVELOPING A FITNESS LIFESTYLE
Suggestions for Mommies of Young Children (and Daddies too!)

MAKE A PLAN
Based on your current level of fitness, your goals, your work schedule, and your family’s routine, devise a daily exercise plan by which you achieve the weekly totals below:

  1. 100+ minutes of aerobic conditioning 
  2. 30+ minutes of muscular endurance and strength training
  3. 30+ minutes of flexibility and balance work
  • Write your plan in your calendar. 
  • Expect the unexpected…. Having kids means “stuff” will come up and there will be days, weeks, even months when you are not able to exercise as much as you’ve planned….
  • Keep an attitude of gratitude for your current level of health and fitness and your families’, and enjoy any amount of time you have for exercise.
  • Be kind, patient, and gentle with yourself when/if you do not or cannot stick to “the plan.”   It takes time to develop a fitness-lifestyle, and even after exercise routines are established, they are ever-changing and evolving. So, plan to….
  • Make changes to your routine periodically, mindful of what from your original plan is working and what is not, and what activities and exercise modalities “enhance and improve your quality of life.”

 

BREAK IT UP. SQUEEZE IT IN.
If you do not have a ½ hour or hour block of time in your day for a large “workout meal”, try to “break it up” and “squeeze it in” with shorter bouts of exercise, “exercise snacking,” throughout the day. Actually, the fitness benefits of “exercise snacking” are equal to or greater than those of longer-duration exercise if the intensity is higher. So… no time for your regular workout class? Run the stairs in your house between sets of push-ups and squats during your baby’s morning nap; after a picnic lunch with your toddler at the park, play chase between sets of lunges and dips; and/or after dinner take a family-walk in the neighborhood followed by a game of “Yoga-Simon-Says.” What a great day of exercise!… Make that a great day, period.

playdate3 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

  • Aerobic conditioning can be as simple as a walk or bike ride with your children, to/from school, the neighborhood library, or the grocery store. Or for moms of babies, “cardio stepping” on your front porch during your infant’s morning nap is a great way to get a quick aerobic-fix.
  • Muscular endurance and strength work need be nothing more than squats and push-ups thrown into your day whenever you have the opportunity.
  • And a few simple yoga poses like down-dog, warrior I, II, III, and plank, mixed into your daily routine will improve your balance and flexibility, not to mention calm your mind and open your heart.

MAKE IT FUN
As I mentioned, parents are role models and we teach our children by example, but our children teach us too! My children have taught (and continue to teach) me how to make exercise play, and vice-versa, how to make play exercise. With older kids the opportunities for “play-based fitness” are endless; sports are an obvious way to enjoy exercise with our children; but equally fun are good-old-fashioned playground games like tag, duck-duck-goose, hop-scotch, jump-rope, and relays. Also, neighborhood-public tennis and basketball courts and tracks may be available for trike-bike-and-scooter-riding; so while the kids run, ride, and/or scoot around, mommy can do the same. Finally, for moms with babies and very young kids, squats beside a baby’s crib or a child’s bed can turn into a game of peek-a-boo, push-ups with a 2-year-old on your back can become a game of “bucking-bronco,” and yoga poses can be integrated into “tummy-time” for infants or a game of “Yoga Simon Says” for toddlers.

abs

THE FUNdamental EXERCISES
These simple exercises are ALL you need for a well-rounded fitness program.  They can be integrated easily into the daily routines of women at various stages of mommy-hood, adjusted for all levels of fitness, and tailored to personal goals. And with a little imagination, creativity, and inspiration from your children, they can also be incorporated into “play.”

Lower Body 

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Step-Ups

Upper Body

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Rows or Pull-ups

Core

  • Plank
  • Ab Crunches
  • Back Extensions

Flexibility & Balance

  • Yoga
  • Down Dog
  • Warrior I, II, III
  • Plank/Side-Plank
  • Twists

Cardio 

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Aerobic Stepping – on stairs, a curb, or low ledge
  • Jump Rope
  • Track, Tennis Court, or BBall Court Drills
  • Playground Circuits

plank

downward dog

…Now go play! 

alli teaching

Alli Phillips has years of experience teaching child-friendly exercise classes for moms in the Austin, Texas area, and she teaches iGnite’s Cross Training Playdate class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:45am in central Austin.

During this class, moms enjoy a cross-training opportunity while their babies, toddlers and pre-school age children enjoy the outdoors and playtime in the park. Lifting primarily body weight, this mom-specific class emphasizes functional fitness, fundamental strength training, cardiovascular conditioning and yoga-based flow. Not only does this class leave moms feeling rejuvenated and strong, but it’s a perfect time to model healthy habits and actions to our children.   All fitness levels are welcome.  View the class schedule here.

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