Hey Fat Girl, I got something to say to you…

I had to re-post this.  This is the time of year when I like to remind you fellow fitness fanatics that while the New Year’s resolution gym crowd can be frustrating,  those very people need  encouragement and support- not your attitude of superiority.  When you encounter newbies out there in the coming days at the gym or the pool or wherever… Be patient with them and the people who are clueless in your workout classes. Each of these individuals are starting a new scary journey and have their own challenges to overcome. Show them how to use the treadmill. Tell them what equipment they need for class if the instructor is busy. Smile at them.  Make them feel welcome in your gym so that they want to return the next day.  Become inspired by them!

Hey Fat Girl, Image

Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe. 

You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you. 

You are awesome. 

If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others. 

You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.

You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.

You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.

I bow to you.

See original post on Flintland…



Winter Workout Tips


The Northern Grrrls may be used to frigid Wisconsin winter temps, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to force ourselves out the door into temperatures in the teens to get that workout in! We have started our Runners World #RWRunStreak challenge and it is truly helping push us all to get outside or on the treadmill for that extra workout! See the blog from greatestwealthishealth below for more tips on how to break those winter blues!

Winter Workout Tips.

via Winter Workout Tips.

Double the Fun! A Great Paired /Team Boot Camp Workout!

I typically try to alternate between individual and group games each boot camp session.  I have found that the group games foster a positive and encouraging environment for new boot campers, while the individual challenges allow each participant to focus on tackling individual challenges on their own.  The women empower each other and support each other making this a great pair game!

My favorite (and the group’s favorite) partner activity is our Double the Fun activity.  This game is the most fun in the Spring and Summer months when we are able to be outside and run the “stairs”.  The Double the Fun workout is as follows”

Equipment:  Dumbbells (various weights or bands will work, have students bring their yoga mats)

Ask boot campers to partner up! One member of each pair will run the stairs

The dreaded STAIRS!

while the other does the exercise and then they will switch.  When we run the stairs – up and down counts for 1x- as my participants’ fitness ability increased – we went from 1x on the stairs to 2x.

*note that the exercises listed below are just examples.  I switch out different exercises all the time!

Round ONE:

Sumo Squats ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
V-Sits ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Bicep Curl ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Speed Ladder ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner

Round TWO:

Russian Twist ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Plank Ups ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Tricep Dips ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Globe Jumps ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner

Round THREE:

Right Leg Lunge ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Left Leg Lunges ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Bicycles ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Burpees ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner

By the time this workout is completed, each participant will have run the stairs 24 times.  A feat that amazes the ladies every time we do it!  The most rewarding aspect of this activity is how excited and proud each grrrl is when they realize how much they accomplished and how great they feel!

Inner Monologue Of A Spin Class Student

Reblogged from: Inner Monologue Of A Spin Class Student | Thought Catalog.

Inner Monologue Of A Spin Class Student

Oh man, why is it so early? Better not look in the mirror. Yep that’s definitely a bad idea. It’s WAY too soon for that. Wait, what is that smell? (*looks down*) Wow, is that coming from my spin shoes? Must address this after class. (*creates new iPhone “note”*). Why is the woman next to me shouting at her friend? It’s 7 a.m. Why is she even making noise? Isn’t the first rule of spin class NO talking? Let’s kick her out. I guess class hasn’t officially begun. Damnit. Can we get this show on the road? Oh crap, there’s a sub today?! Alright, I’m leaving. No, NO. You’re already here. Stay put. This is only an hour of your life. Stop whining. (*takes a sip of black coffee*). Alright, which bike am I? Number 13? Shit I totally forget. Why is this old man looking at me funny? Nothing to see here mister. Except for the red lycra-blend pants I’m wearing. I know they’re not very flattering, but at least they’re clean! Okay, he’s still staring. Avert your eyes buddy. Oh, is this your bike? My mistake. I’m leaving, I’m sorry! Don’t make that face. It’s just a spin bike. Not your actual bike, gosh! I guess this means I’m bike 31? Oh no, is bike 31 under the speakers? Perfect. Jesus, this teacher looks like a giant douche bag. I can see his nipples through his frat boy cut off tee. That doesn’t even look comfortable. But maybe he’ll play some Rihanna? That’d be sweet. Why won’t my red knobby thingy loosen up? Class starts in like 60 seconds and I reeeeeeeeally don’t want to ask this teacher to help me adjust my bike. But really though, whhhhhy won’t this knob buuuuuuudge. Oh wait, there it goes. Thank GOD. Okay first song is… an Akon remix? Strike one, my douchey friend, strike ONE. But there’s still time to redeem yourself. What was that? I’m sorry, I could have sworn you just said, “Crank your resistance up THREE whole turns to the right.” I’m sorry but I am not doing that. I physically CANNOT. We’re not even warmed up yet. This is absurd. I’m just going to carrrrrrefully fake these numerous cranks you’re demanding. One, one and two thirds…“three.” There ya go. Happy now? No one saw me fake that right? Maybe old man on bike 13 with the staring problem did. Whatevs. I’m really glad that Akon song is over. Is this Destiny’s Child?! SAY MY NAME. Throwbaaaaaack. I approve. Are we climbing a hill now? Bring it on. Let’s climb five hills in a row. I don’t even care. This song is everything. Hold on, why are you yelling at us? Intervals? And tap backs? You know what? I’m not coordinated enough for this. I’m going to politely opt out of whatever it is this instructor is currently doing with his arms. Baby push-ups on the bike handles? This feels very silly. And now he’s asking us to rotate our inner thighs toward the floor while we tuck our cores and release our shoulders from our ears? You want me to do WHAT with my pelvic floor muscles? No thanks! I’ve stopped listening. I can’t hear anything over the bass pounding above my head. Alright, I’m already soaking with sweat. Are we there yet? Three more songs?! This guy has lost his mind. Clearly. If he starts playing a One Republic song while shouting new agey BS over the mic, I’m definitely calling it a day. He better not… omg RIHANNA! This. Song. This. Song. How did I ever question this man? I LOVE YOU AND YOUR MUSICAL TASTE. Shine bright like a diamond, shine bright like a diamond. Endorphins. So. Many. Endorphins. Icouldspinforever. Should I quit my job? Spin full time? This feels right. All of this just feels… wait, is the song over? Shit. Wait, CLASS is over?! NOOOOO. I don’t want to go! We’re cooling down? I’m not leaving this bike. I refuse to leave! I love bikes and music and exercise and life! Am I safe to drive? I feel a little bit high right now. Deep breaths. Take some deep breaths. Oh thank God, we’re cooling down… to a Bonnie Raitt cover? Is this Adele? This song makes me feel emotionally unstable. Am I already sore? Wait, am I crying? I need to exit the building. I feel, I feel very vulnerable. Is the instructor leaving already?! Bye dude. I underestimated you. Wait, I wonder if he’ll burn me a copy of his playlist?! Oh look, there goes my pride! And that is my CUE. TC Mark

Read more at http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/inner-monologue-of-a-spin-class-student/#tOq4bCSZFo2z36JF.99

Never Too Old

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”

― Zig Ziglar

I recently spent some time with my mother in Cabo San Lucas on a seven day vacation.  Also along for the ride were my aunt and sister – both age 50+.

I endured constant good natured ribbing from these ladies beginning at 2:30am in the car enroute to the airport (laughing at my choice to drink coconut water to  stay hydrated) and throughout the trip as I made sure to rise before the sun to get in a 5 mile run and trip to the gym.  However by vacation day #4 the ladies were beginning to mention joining me at the gym…

So there I found myself s on vacation day #5… in the gym with my mother and

Momma never missed a morning of water aerobics…

aunt showing them some simple arm exercises that they could do at home to eliminate their “chicken wings”.  Now to be fair my aunt walks 3 miles each day and my mother is a water aerobic devotee, but neither of them are into weight training.  As they watched me rip out 40 push-ups they both stated “I could NEVER do that!” and my response was “That’s what the boot camp girls say all the time and then before you know it- they are moving on from their girl push ups and onto regular push-ups.”  It was at this point that both these ladies attempted a push-up and for their sake i’ll not remark on the outcome. .. but they both promised to keep working on their weight training and workouts.

My point is this… you are never ever too old to start!  There is absolutely no reason to not begin to add strength training and other workouts into your daily routine.  In the case of my mother- she is retired and could easily do some arm workouts while watching the Today Show every morning!  Just start integrating in small changes each day to improve your overall fitness level!

Can’t Make it to Boot Camp? Take these workouts with you!

When you travel as much as I do, you need some go to exercises that can be done in hotel gyms or even in the hotel room itself. Many Northern Grrrls ask for workouts that can done while visiting in-laws or when they cannot make it to Boot Camp! Below are two workouts that can be done just about anywhere and will still provide you with a good burn!

On the Road Workout #1

Here is an example boot camp you can do just by bringing one set of dumbells or using the ones at hotel (if they have a fitness room). If you do not have dumbells, use water bottles or whatever you can find! Run thru the circuit 3 times. If you are doing it alone you won’t have anyone to “bump” you to next station so you could just do 20 reps of each!

#1: Mountain Climbers (this will be 20 reps and they control the timing)
#2: Bicep curls – use 10 lb dumbells
#3: Push up jacks or reg push ups
#4: Bicycles
#5: Tricep kick backs (use one 8 lb dumbell)
#6: Squats
#7: Crunches
#8: Burpees
#9: Jumping Jacks
#10: Tuck Jumps

On the Road Workout #2

you can do this 3 times and do at least 20-30 of each

Circuit One:

Wide Grip Push Ups: (or up/down planks since I know that you LOVE THEM!) This is a classic push up that is harder than the standard push up because you have less leverage to push yourself up, but it’s a darn good variation. Try starting out with the wide grip push up, then bringing your hands closer in as
you go along. In addition, be sure to keep your hands below the plane of your shoulders, and make sure your elbows to not flare out too much. This will help keep the stimulation on your chest, shoulders, and triceps, as opposed to mostly your shoulders.

180 Squats: (or regular squats will work!!) Each full rotation equals one. So each time you land looking back where you started that is ONE

Tuck Jumps!

Circuit Two:

Shoulder Press

Mountain Climbers * reminder not to hang head… It should stay in line with spine
Side plank raises

Circuit Three:

Tricep Dips
Push up jacks (or reg push ups) *everyone needs to start working on regular push ups vs. girl push ups

Northern Grrrls are Whistlestop Rockstars

Whistestop ROCKSTARS!

  • Months of Training
  • Missed Sunday night Packer games
  • Rainy, Hot, Cold, Late, Dark Runs
  • Sore Muscles
  • Endless GU packets


The Northern Grrrl Half Marathon Training Team

Seven Northern Grrls crossed the finish line at the Whistlestop Half-Marathon this past Saturday.  Some had crossed the finish line in previous years and some experienced the exhilaration and thrill of completing a half marathon for the first time.  Every grrrl who crossed the finish line did so within her goal time.  One of our grrrls even shaved 13 minutes from her previous race time.  I could not have been prouder of each of them and their accomplishment.  It was a cold and rainy day and the race route was soft and sandy, but the friendships and memories forged during months of training and supporting each other were enough to warm hearts and minds and create a race day memory unlike any other!

Huge smiles for the Northern Grrrls who completed their first half-marathon!

Boot Camp: Ball Sprint!

I have found that adding games and group activities into Boot Camp makes it a more enjoyable workout! The latest game is adapted from a number of examples I came across on the web. All I needed was a cheap bag of balls and some imagination.

The game goes like this…First take the balls you have and divide them by color. Then randomly mark the ball of each color with one, two, or three dots and an X. You should then have a bunch of balls with various numbers of dots within each color group.

For this game you are going to want a green space about the size of a basketball court. Divide the group into two or four teams depending on how many participants are there that day. If you are using two teams place each team in opposite corners (marked with cones). If you have four teams place each team in a corner. Place about 40 balls (two teams) or 80 balls (fours teams) in the center of the “court” equidistant from each team. Be sure to make certain that corners are equidistant from center where balls are!

Each team lines up in a line behind a corner. One player at time sprints to the center to get a ball, returns to their corner, tags the next teammate and that player runs to retrieve another ball. Play continues until all balls are gone. The more balls you have to pick up, the more they run! Team with most wins.

And the game isn’t over YET! Each color ball has an exercise associated with it. (ie. red = burpees, orange = squat 180 jumps, yellow = pushups). The number of dots on the bottom of the ball will indicate how many reps they must do of each (1 dot =8, 2 dots= 10, 3 dots= 12). As a team, they line up all the balls and must complete the exercises together. (My groups usually choose to start with burpees to get them out of the way 🙂 ). Depending on how much time you have you can have the teams put the balls back into the center and start it all over again with new exercises.


(credit to Jess Griffin)

  • Make sure you don’t show exercise list before they get balls or nobody will pick the burpee ball.
  • If you repeat this game change the color exercises so they cannot cherry pick their favorites or avoid their least favorite.

Variation: Instead of sprinting to get balls you can make them shuffle, backwards jog, walking lunge, bear crawl, high knees, etc. I call out various moves as the game is going on and they have to switch instantly. So they might be lunging to center and then have to flip over and crabwalk for the rest of the way. How do they crabwalk and hold the ball? They manage! (and makes it more fun)! If its a rainy day it’s possible to make this work inside! Just shorten the relay and have the grab more balls!



Are you looking to have more energy?

Do you want to increase your fitness level?

Need to jump start your exercise habit?

Want to meet new fabulous other grrrls?
Then you have found the right spot! Northern Grrrls is dedicated to helping women in the Chequamegon Bay look and feel great through fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Women of all ages, shapes, and sizes are invited to be the best they can be. We promote an atmosphere of support, encouragement, and community that allows grrrls to reach and surpass their goals while having fun!

• We believe fitness brings much more than a smaller waist line and skinny jeans. It improves and changes lives through increased energy, higher self esteem, elevated mood, better sleep and overall wellness.
• We believe grrrls that take care of their bodies and minds through exercise not only improve their personal selves but also become better mothers, partners and friends.
• Fitness empowers!

• Boot Camp
• Iron Girl Duathlon Training
• Half-Marathon Training
• Small Group Runs & Cycling