Shake Up Your Cardio Workout

Happy Monday! Not sure about you, but Cooper and I had a tough time getting out of bed this morning.

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He wasn’t very happy when I started to stir. Those eyes were begging for 10 more minutes of sleep!

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I would have loved to stay in bed this morning and cuddle with the covers for 10 more minutes, but I had a busy day of work ahead of me so I needed to get up. Since I was struggling to get going today, I decided to treat myself to one of my favorite breakfasts, an acai bowl and ice coffee from Brick & Bell.

Brick & Bell has the best acai bowl and it is my favorite place to get one in San Diego. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

9.29.14 breakfast

I won’t be working out today because Ray and I have a special date night planned to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary!

However, I did the below cardio workout from Tone It Up last Monday and loved it. The workout was fun, challenging, and went by really fast. My legs felt like jello by the end of it.

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I still can’t believe that Ray and I have been married for 2 years.

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It felt like just yesterday that we were exchanging vows in front of our families and friends.

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As a wedding gift, Ray gave me a framed photograph that shows the view from the beach where he proposed. I love the photo and every time I walk by it I can’t help but smile.

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Since the traditional first anniversary gift is paper, Ray and I bought some of our favorite photos from our wedding and had them framed last year.

It is a good thing that the traditional second anniversary gift is cotton because from the looks of things Ray is in need of some new socks.

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Cooper strikes again!


Girls Weekend in Phoenix

This past weekend I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for a girls weekend with my college friends. Amanda, Carlie, Meredith and I met at the University of Arizona during our freshman year and we became fast friends. The four of us had a ton of fun together and I am lucky that even though we all don’t live in the same area we are all still friends. Meredith and Carlie live in the Phoenix area and Amanda lives in Huntington Beach.

Last November Meredith had a baby, Caroline, and neither Amanda or I have had the chance to meet her, which gave us the perfect excuse for a girls weekend.

Amanda and I arrived in Phoenix last Friday and right after we checked into our hotel room we headed over to Meredith’s house to finally meet Caroline and enjoy some appetizers and drinks. She is the sweetest baby and has the biggest smile.

Amanda and I with sweet Caroline!

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Last Saturday morning the four of us headed to Camelback Inn Resort & Spa for massages and some pool time. My legs were sore from running earlier in the week and my shoulders had a few knots in them from traveling, so my massage felt extra good. I haven’t had a massage in a long time and I forgot how amazing they feel. I think I might have to book one for the day after I run the La Jolla Half Marathon!

The spa facilities at Camelback Inn are top-notch, but the best part is that if you have a spa treatment you can hang out by the pool (which is for spa guests only) for the day.  After our massages, the four of us snagged some lounge chairs and a few umbrellas and spent the rest of the morning talking and soaking up the sun. It was such a relaxing day.

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On Saturday evening, Carlie had everyone over at her house for a BBQ. Berkeley, Carlie’s daughter, is so funny and I loved hanging out with her. We took photos everyone at the BBQ with my iPhone, played in her sandbox, and pretended we were characters from the movie Frozen.  The last time I saw Berkeley she was a newborn and I couldn’t get over how big she had gotten and talkative she was. Carlie is pregnant with her second child and is having a baby boy in June. I can’t wait to meet him!

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A fun picture of all the ladies!

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I had so much fun in Phoenix and loved being able to spend some quality time with my college friends. It is always sad to say goodbye, but I am looking forward to our next girls weekend.

My schedule lately has been packed full of travel, which can make it more challenging to squeeze in some exercise.  Below are my three go-to workouts when I am traveling because they don’t require a ton of time, but still give you a great full body workout.

10 Minute HIIT Workout from Carrots ‘N’ Cake

10 exercises in 10 minutes that you can do anywhere. I love this workout because it is short but brutal.  Sometimes I switch out some of the exercises and choose different ones depending on my mood. I always keep the timing format the same (perform each exercise for 45 seconds with a 15 second break in between).

Hill Run on the Treadmill

Every quarter-mile you run or walk increase the incline on the treadmill until you have completed 2.5 miles. I usually run the first quarter-mile with no incline so I can warm up and work up to my pace.  This workout is great if you are traveling and have access to a treadmill because it allows you to work up a great sweat while giving your cardiovascular and legs an awesome workout.

On the Go Workout

Set 1 (perform set 3 times)

Push ups – 16 reps

Plank Jumping Jacks – 20 reps

Tricep Dips  – 16 reps

Cardio Set (perform once)

Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds

Set 2 (perform set 3 times)

Lunges – 10 reps on each leg

Superman – 16 reps

Punches  (without dumbbells) – 30 seconds

Cardio Set (perform once)

Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds

Set 3 (perform once)

Wall Squat – 45 seconds

Squats – 20 reps

Squat Jumps – 30 seconds

I provided links below of some of the exercises that are less commonly known for your reference.

Plank Jumping Jacks/ / To modify the exercise, instead of jumping just step one foot out to the side at a time.

Tricep Dips/ To make this exercise more challenging try performing it with one leg straight up in the air (perform 8 with right leg up and then 8 with left leg up). You can also perform this move using a bench.

Mountain Climbers/ /

Superman/ /

Punches/ Link shows exercise with weights, but you can perform it without them if you don’t have access to dumbbells. Make sure your hands don’t go above shoulder level.

Wall Squat/ The lower you sit the harder it is!

Squat Jumps/


Only Have 30 Minutes Full Body Workout

Last Thursday I got held up at work and wasn’t able to leave in time to make the strength training class, Pure Muscle, I usually take on Thursdays at my gym, La Jolla Sports Club.  Ray and I needed to run to the grocery store, cook dinner, take Cooper for a walk, and plan out some upcoming trips, which didn’t leave me much time for a workout.

I find the key to working out when you don’t have a lot of time is to perform moves that use multiple muscle groups and that you can do on both sides at the same time. I also do my best to keep moving during the whole workout and limit the amount of breaks I take, which helps keep my heart rate up.

Only Have 30 mins Full Body Workout (Length apx 30 minutes / Equipment: dumbbells, mat, & bosu ball)

3 Minute Cardio Warm up: ride the bike, walk or jog on the treadmill, or do the elliptical machine

Set 1 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Plank Dumbbell Row with Push up – 16 reps (perform row on right arm, perform push up, and then perform row on left arm)
  • Sit Squat- 20 reps
  • Shoulder Front & Lateral Raise – 16 reps

Cardio (complete 1 round)

  • Squat Jumps – 30 seconds
  • Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds

Set 2 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Bicep Curl – 16 reps
  • Walking Lunge with Arms Overhead – 10 lunges on each  leg
  • Tricep Dips – 16 reps

Cardio (complete 1 round)

  • Jumping Lunge -30 seconds
  • Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds


I used 10 pound dumbbells for the plank dumbbell row, 5 pound dumbbells for the shoulder front and lateral raise, and 8 pound dumbbells for the other exercises.

Provided below are links that illustrate how to perform each move as well as tips and modifications for your reference.  A few easy ways to modify any workout to fit your fitness level are to decrease the number of reps you perform (or for how long you perform the exercise) or by using lighter weights or body weight only.

Plank Dumbbell Row with Push up/ To modify this exercise, do not perform the push up in between each row.

Sit Squat / I performed this move using a bosu ball, but you can also use a bench or step bench.  When performing this move make sure that your chest is up and that your knees do not go past your toes.

Shoulder Front & Lateral Raise/ / Make sure that your hands do not go past your shoulder level.

Squat Jumps/

Mountain Climbers /

Bicep Curl / / To make this exercise more challenging, perform this exercise while standing on the blue side of the bosu ball.

Walking Lunge with Arms Overhead /

Tricep Dips/ To make this exercise more challenging try performing it with one leg straight up in the air (perform 8 with right leg up and then 8 with left leg up). You can also perform this move using a bench.

Jumping Lunges/ /

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Squat Till You Drop

Last week I decided to run to the gym after work before Ray got home. While I was getting ready for the gym, Cooper curled up on the bed and went to sleep. He looked so peaceful and happy that I didn’t have the heart to move him to the hallway/kitchen area, which is where Ray and I usually put him at night while we are gone. I was only going to be gone for an hour and I figured he would just sleep on the bed while I was gone. Oh boy was I wrong!

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In an hour, Cooper managed to shred my pillow and put a huge hole in our duvet cover. Cooper doesn’t like eating any of the stuff he destroys he just loves to shred things into tiny pieces. You would think I would have learned by now that he can’t be trusted!  On Saturday, I ventured to IKEA to check out their duvet covers and pillows to see about replacing the ones that Cooper destroyed. I love IKEA and I hate IKEA.

IKEA has so many great pieces and their prices are reasonable, but the store is always super crowded and I feel like I am going through a maze being shuffled from one section to the next. Luckily, I found a duvet cover and a pillow that I liked right away. I think that might have been the first time I ever went to IKEA and bought exactly what I was looking for and nothing else. Hopefully, Cooper doesn’t put a hole in our new duvet cover!

cooper new bed duvet

After IKEA, I ran to the gym to get a strength training workout in. One of my favorite exercises to do are squats. Squats are an easy move with lots of variations. Plus I am always a fan of simple exercises that don’t make me look like an uncoordinated fool at the gym.

Squat Till You Drop Workout (Length apx 55 minutes / Equipment: dumbbells, mat, & bosu ball)

3 Minute Cardio Warm up: ride the bike, walk or jog on the treadmill, or do the elliptical machine

Set 1 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Wall Squat – 45 seconds
  • Bosu Burpee with Shoulder Press – 15 reps
  • Bosu Push up – 20 reps (10 reps on toes and 10 reps on knees)

Set 2 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Squat Jumps – 12 reps
  • Russian Twist with dumbbell – 30 seconds

Set 3 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Skull Crushers with dumbbells – 15 reps
  • Bosu Lunge and Side Squat – 10 reps of each exercise on each leg
  • Bent Over Back Row- 15 reps

Set 4 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Upright Row with Bicep Curl – 15 reps of each exercise
  • Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds


I used a 10 pound dumbbell for the Russian Twist, 12 pound dumbbells for the Bent Over Back Row, and 8 pound dumbbells for the other arm exercises.

Provided below are links that illustrate how to perform each move as well as tips and modifications for your reference.  A few easy ways to modify any workout to fit your fitness level are to decrease the number of reps you perform (or for how long you perform the exercise) or by using lighter weights or body weight only.

Wall Squat/ The lower you sit the harder it is!

Bosu Burpee with Shoulder Press/ / To modify this exercise, step your feet in and back instead of jumping. For further modification don’t perform the shoulder press portion of the move or perform the move without using the bosu.

Bosu Push up/ / I performed this moved with the blue side of the bosu ball down. To modify this exercise, do all the reps on your knees instead of your toes or perform it on a mat or the floor.

Squat Jumps/

Russian Twist/

Skull Crusher/

Bosu Lunge / with Side Squat/ / I performed this move by starting in the center of the bosu (blue side up) and stepping one leg back to perform the lunge. After I completed the lunge, I brought the back leg to the center of the bosu and then stepped to the side of the bosu and performed the side squat.  Make sure the leg that steps to the side of the bosu is the same leg you stepped back with to perform the lunge.  I did all 10 reps on one side and then the other instead of alternating between sides.

Bent Over Back Row/ To make this exercise more challenging try performing it while standing on to top of the bosu (blue side up).

Standing Upright Row/ with Bicep Curl/   I performed the move by performing the standing upright row first and then the bicep curl right after.  To make this exercise more challenging try performing it while standing on top of the bosu (blue side up).

Mountain Climbers/

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday! The weekend is almost here!

Start the Week off Right

I can’t believe January is almost over. It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the start of a new year. Time really does go by quick.

This past weekend my Dad came into town for a visit. The weather was awesome on Saturday and we were able to sneak in some beach time. Ray, my Dad, and I ventured to Blacks Beach with some of our friends. Blacks is famous for two main reasons –  its surf break and it is a nude beach. Not that I have anything against nudity, but I am happy to report that the other beachgoers on Saturday were not taking advantage of being able to be in the nude. It was a bit of a trek down to the beach, but the hassle of getting there was totally worth it. I can’t believe Ray and I have been living in San Diego for 3 years and last weekend was the first time we went to Blacks.

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It was cool to see the blimp that was covering the golf tournament at Torrey Pines circling above us.

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We spent a few hours hanging out on the beach watching the big waves and the surfers. There was also a game of horseshoes played, but I didn’t partake because I was busy taking a nap 🙂

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On Sunday, we all thought it would be a good idea to move around a little bit so we went for a short hike/walk in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

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After our hike, we decided to try a new place for lunch and ventured to Bull Tacos in Cardiff before taking my Dad to the airport. The food was good and very tasty, but the view was awesome. I think I could have easily stayed out there all afternoon enjoying the view and snacking on chips and guacamole.

cardiff bull tacos view

Since my weekend was full of lots of indulgences, I made an extra effort on Monday to get my week off to a good start. For me eating a nutritious breakfast on Monday morning is a great way to help me get back into my normal eating habits. I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping over the weekend so I ran to Green Acres, a cafe by my work, to pick something up.  Even though I was eating out I made sure to pick something that was on the healthier side and decided to get an acai bowl.  The fruit, acai, greek yogurt and granola were very tasty and totally hit the spot. It felt good to eat something fresh and light.

breakfast bowl

My workouts lately have not included much cardio so I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate some into my workouts this week.  On Sunday night, I spent some time looking for cardio based workouts and stumbled upon a few treadmill routines from WedMD and Self.

Check them out:

All of the workouts look awesome and seem like great ways to beat treadmill boredom while burning some serious calories.

For my workout on Monday I used the Gauntlet Workout from Self  as my inspiration.

Self Gauntlet-Treadmill-Workout

I made some modifications to the workout because I am not a fan of kettlebell swings and I wanted to perform more of a variety of strength training moves. Here is what I came up with:

Warm up run at a comfortable pace for 6 minutes 

Complete 3 rounds of Set 1 and then complete 3 rounds of Set 2.

Set 1

Set 2

Cool down – run at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes.

I made a cheat sheet for myself so I would remember what I was supposed to be doing and for how long since there are so many different parts to the workout.  I also setup a mat and dumbbells as close to my treadmill as I could in order to make running back and forth between the two easier.

cardio blast routine

I worked up quite a sweat. My arms felt like jello from performing the arm exercises, which made them feel extra heavy while I was running. A workout routine like this one would be hard to do in a crowded gym or if the treadmills are not located close to an area you could do the strength training moves. It was also a little annoying have to restart the treadmill so many times. Next time I would increase the interval time on the treadmill and limit the number of times I performed strength training moves.

Overall, I enjoyed the workout and I am glad I tried it. The workout was challenging and kept me from getting bored. Plus it felt extra good to sweat and workout after a weekend filled with lots of eating out and rich food.

What are some of your favorite ways to start the week off right after a weekend filled with indulgences?

You Can Do Anything For 30 Seconds- Full Body Workout

My weekly fitness routine includes two workouts a week, usually an hour each, that are dedicated to strength training. Normally, I complete one strength training workout on Tuesdays and one on Thursdays. Strength training was instrumental in helping me lose weight and I believe has been the key to maintaining my weight and keeping those unwanted pounds off.  Last week I didn’t make it the gym on Thursday because a work meeting ran late so I decided to pop into the gym over the weekend to get some strength training in.

When I was creating my workout over the weekend my favorite fitness mantra popped into my head and served as the inspiration for my workout.  When I am struggling to complete an exercise I find that if I repeat the following mantra in my head, “you can do anything for 30 seconds,” it motivates me to push through the pain, fight the desire to stop, and finish the exercise.

You Can Do Anything For 30 Seconds Workout (Length apx 45 mins / Equipment: dumbbells, mat, & bench)

3 Minute Cardio Warm up: ride the bike, walk or jog on the treadmill, or do the elliptical machine

Set 1 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Steps Ups with dumbbells – 15 reps on each leg
  • Chest Press – 15 reps
  • Plank Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

Set 2 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Squat with dumbbells – 15 reps
  • Bent Over Back Row – 12 reps
  • Punches with dumbbells – 30 seconds

Set 3 (complete 3 rounds)

  • Tricep Dips – 12 reps
  • Squat Jumps – 30 seconds
  • Bicep Curls – 15 reps

Set 4 (complete 1 round)

  • Crunches – 30 seconds
  • Side Plank – 30 seconds
  • Crunches – 30 seconds
  • Side Plank (perform on opposite side) – 30 seconds
  • Crunches – 30 seconds
  • Plank – 30 seconds


I used 12 pound dumbbells for the leg and chest exercises, 10 pound dumbbells for the back and bicep exercises, and 3 pound dumbbells for the punches.

Provided below are links that illustrate how to perform each move as well as tips and modifications for your reference. I hope you enjoy the workout as much as I did. I definitely had to repeat my mantra a few times and I was exhausted by the end of it!

Step Ups with dumbbells/ To modify the exercise, perform it without weights or just tap your foot on the bench instead of bringing your leg to a 90 degree angle.

Chest Press

Plank Jumping Jacks/ / To modify the exercise, instead of jumping just step one foot out to the side at a time.

Squat with dumbbells/

Bent Over Back Row/

Punches with dumbbells/ To modify this exercise, perform it without weights. Make sure your hands don’t go above shoulder level.

Tricep Dips/ To modify this exercise, bend your knees and bring your legs closer to the bench. Make sure your back slides against the bench.

Squat Jumps/

Bicep Curls/


Side Plank/ / To modify this exercise, keep one leg on the mat and bend your knee.

Plank/ To modify this exercise, keep your knees on the mat.

A Run on the Treadmill and Date Night

I have been slacking on my running lately for the Pile on the Miles Challenge. This past week my goal was to run 8 miles and before Saturday I hadn’t been running once. Now that it is getting darker earlier by the time I leave work it is pitch dark outside, which caused me to lose all motivation to go to the gym and run last week.

On Saturday, I had some errands to do which were right by my gym so I decided to pop in and get a 30 minute run in. The last few times I went running outside my knees bothered me a little during the run and were pretty sore afterwards. I thought it might be good idea to run on the treadmill and give my knees a little break.

For my warm up, I walked on the treadmill for about 5 minutes at a leisurely pace and then stretched my legs and hips since my body was still feeling a little stiff. I started my run at a nice and easy pace and as my body continued to warm and loosen up I increased my pace. I ended up having a great run and my knees didn’t bother me at all.  I ran 3.2 miles in 28 minutes and 36 seconds.

After my run, I was a hot sweaty mess and my cheeks were pretty pink…they were almost  the same color as my shirt!post run

Historically, my cheeks always get really red/pink when I am running and stay that way for a long after my run is finished.  Usually, I  get pretty bored on the treadmill and a 30 minute run feels like it takes forever, but on Saturday the time flew by. I downloaded some new music before I went to the gym on Saturday, which must have helped keep me going. I rocked out to Burn by Ellie Goulding and a bunch of Lana Del Rey’s songs that were remixed.

If you are new to running or get bored easily on the treadmill like I do you should try varying your pace throughout your run so you are running and walking/jogging for timed intervals. For instance run at quick pace for 4 minutes and then jog or walk at a slower pace for 2 minutes.  When I started getting into running this workout helped me build my stamina and now that I am a more experienced runner it has helped me run faster.  I also find when I do a 30 minute run on the treadmill if I break up the run into timed intervals and mix up the paces it helps the time fly by because I focus on how much time is left in the interval rather than the total time left in my workout.

After my workout, I headed home to clean the house and get ready for my date night with Ray. However, the weather was too nice to spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house so I decided to grab Cooper and take him for a walk.  Walking with Cooper was a great way to cool down after my run and Cooper had a good time watching the people at the beach and looking for squirrels. Windansea 11.9

Cooper Walk  It was pretty warm outside and on the way home Cooper got hot and decided to plop down on someone’s lawn. It took me forever to get him to start walking again. Cooper Walk 2

After our walk, Cooper took a nap and I managed to quickly clean the house before I jumped in the shower and got ready for date night. My mom sent Ray and I a gift card to George’s Ocean Terrace for our 1 year wedding anniversary. Ray took me George’s Ocean Terrace for dinner after he proposed to celebrate.  The drinks are great, the food is tasty, and the view is amazing.  The terrace overlooks La Jolla Cove and gives you a great view of the coastline.  Check out the view…it really is a cool place to have lunch or dinner. Cove viewWhenever we go to George’s Ocean Terrace I always have a lemondrop martini (okay maybe two) and Ray and I always get the mussels for our appetizer and the sticky toffee pudding cake for dessert.Dinner Out

As usual the food and the drinks were awesome last night and we had a great time at dinner. We haven’t been on a date night in a while so it was fun to dress up and have a long, leisurely dinner.