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Fitness and the Future: Looking Forward to 2017


Fitness and the FutureWith the end of 2016 fast approaching I’ve been thinking a lot about my fitness and the future.  This year has been a busy one for me and in the midst of all the “stuff” my fitness took a total nose-dive.  With lots of recovery time needed from two surgeries I don’t feel bad about giving myself a break though.  The real challenge is deciding what to do and where to go from this place.


I sort of hate new year’s resolutions.  I used to think of them as empowering or a great way to get back on track, but I just don’t feel that way anymore.  Most resolutions are overly grand, overly hopeful and not based in the reality of what is actually possible.  That’s not to say that goals in general are like this, it just seems like new year-related resolutions are often overly grandiose.  I’m not making any resolutions, but I am making some changes.

So what will 2017 have in store?   January 1 will be the start of my 7th Whole30.  I am repeating round 7 because I bailed on my previous attempt in November (the holidays proved a huge challenge to completing the round).  Whole30 is my favorite way to stop eating so much junk and get back to eating what makes me feel best.  It’s overly rigid and the rules can be pretty annoying, but you know what?  It works for me and that’s what’s important.

I’ve set another goal in RunKeeper for 500 walking miles.  I didn’t make it in 2016, but that’s okay, shit happens.  I hope to make it in 2017 and chances are much better this time with no surgery forecasted.

I’m going to expand my gardening even more to help me and my hubby eat better and get outside more.  I love how rewarding manual labor in the garden can be and the prize is tasty, healthy food – total win!

The most major thing I have learned and come to accept about diet and fitness is that there is no one right way.  If you thrive doing Whole30 good for you.  If you think Whole30 is stupid good for you too.  If you think new year’s resolutions are awesome I hope you make them and they help you reach your goals.  If you are like me and don’t find them useful that’s okay too.  What worked last time or last year or whenever may not work this time either.  I truly believe the only way someone will have long-term success with diet and fitness is to find their own groove.

You absolutely cannot put people in boxes or use a template-type approach and expect everyone will succeed.  This can be a hard pill to swallow as a fitness professional.  Your training basically teaches you if you do X, Y, and Z with your clients then everyone should have good results.  If they eat less, work more, do progressive exercises, etc., etc. everything should move in the right direction.  This isn’t always the case and it’s something you learn as you go.  This lesson has been something I’ve applied to myself too.  What works for me may not work for someone else and vice versa.  I think the key is to keep trying and when something doesn’t work you change your approach and keep going.

In 2017 I hope to continue learning and sharing what I’ve learned, sharing my own diet and fitness journey and inspiring other’s to find their own groove.  Here’s to fitness and the future! 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

The 12 Days of Fitness


12 days of fitness
The holidays are here again and it’s time for another 12 Days of Fitness workout routine.


This routine is the perfect quick and easy exercise plan to help you include a little activity each day, even if you’re pressed for time. This workout gradually increases in activity and reps each day, but even day 12 can be completed in less than 15 minutes.

On each day you’ll do a corresponding number of the given activity along with all of the days that came before it.  For example: on day 3 you’ll do 3 burpees, 2 push ups and 1 mountain climber.  On day 8 you’ll do 8 floor cobras, 7 lunges, 6 wall angels, 5 jumping jacks, 4 donkey kicks, 3 burpees, 2 push up and 1 mountain climber and so on.

12 Days of Fitness Workout

12 days of fitness

This 12 Days of Fitness workout can be adapted to fit many skill levels. Exercises can be substituted, progressed or regressed as needed. Rest periods can be added as needed too. Make this workout work for you.

And remember, you should check with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise program to ensure you are safely able to participate.  This routine may not be suitable for everyone and you assume any an all risk if you choose to participate.

If you want to participate in more fun holiday workouts give these a try:
12 Days of Fitness Exercise Routine 2015
12 Days of Fitness Exercise Routine 2014
12 Days of Fitness Exercise Routine 2013


About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Fitness Gifts for Christmas


The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them.  Thank you for your support.


fitness gifts for christmas

Are you looking for fitness gifts for Christmas?  Whether it’s a gift for that special someone or a little something for yourself you’re sure to find a gift or two here that will be a great addition to someone’s fitness gear.   Fitness gifts are great because they can fit into many budgets.  Small items like towels and jump ropes are great for stocking stuffers and the bigger items are perfect under the tree.  I

Fitness Gifts for Christmas Under $50

This stylish Natural Fitness Yoga Hand Towel made of micro fiber is perfect for taking to yoga or carrying with you in the gym.
This C9 Champion Adjustable Speed Jump Rope is great for cardio whether your at home or on the road. Jumping rope is good exercise for a variety of ability levels so this jump rope makes a versatile gift.
You can use this Gaiam Classic Blue Backless Balance Ball Chair at home or at the office for sitting.  Dismount the ball and you’ve also got a fully functional stability/balance ball to use during a workout.
You can use the Stamina AeroPilates Magic Circle with Workout DVD for improving muscle strength throughout the body, especially in problem areas like the inner and outer thighs, upper arms and chest.  The padded grips help with better control and grip while exercising.
The GoFit Pro Gym-in-a-Bag is perfect for doing strength building exercises without the nuisance of dealing with bulky weights.  With three levels of resistance bands, handles, ankle straps, a door anchor, instructional DVD and carrying bag you’ll be ready to workout anywhere.
This Everlast Wireless Fitness Tracker Watch is a great way to keep track of your heart rate throughout the day and during exercise.
The GoFit Power Loops Set provides three levels of tension in a portable and easy to use format.  Great for leg and arm workouts, this set also includes handy fitness cards with usage suggestions.
Marcy High Impact Mats are a great option for creating a home gym space. They can be use under equipment or used to create cushioned floor space for your workouts.
Whether you’re actively into fitness or not this GoFit Foot & Hand Massage Roller would be a welcome gift for anyone who could use a little foot and hand TLC.
Rejuvenation Hand Invigoration Putty is a great tool for at home or on the go.  Target your hand muscles to help improve strength and dexterity while squishing away your stress.
Use  the GoFit 9′ Stretch Rope to help improve your flexibility.  An included manual will guide you through exercises to improve your range of motion.
The Gaiam Yoga for Beginners Kit includes a mat, foam block, strap and instructional DVD, perfect for anyone looking to start practicing yoga.
This Gaiam Restore Deep Tissue Roller can be used to soothe sore muscles after working out or a hard day of work.
This Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit is a great way to start incorporating a balance ball in your workouts.  The instructional DVD features Tanja Djelevic.

Fitness Gifts for Christmas Under $100

This Ignite by Spri Fitness Bench is a versatile piece of gym equipment that will provide a solid surface for sitting and reclining activities in your home gym.
The Misfit Shine 2 Activity + Sleep Tracker is a great little tool for tracking your steps, calories, sleep and more.  It even includes a gentle vibrating reminder to get moving.
With gloves, an inflatable punching bag and a 20 minute DVD workout included in this Everlast Everflex Cardio Strike Bag Kit you’ll be ready to start boxing your way to fitness.
The Sunny Health and Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper with Bands is the perfect little fitness tool for adding extra activity to your day.  It’s small footprint allows you to move it around and store it easily.
The Body Solid Tools Package includes a stability ball and three sets of hand weights.  The varying weights will allow you to do different exercises and make strength gains without having to rush out and buy new equipment.
This Body Solid Tools Core Essentials Package contains almost anything you would want to start a small home gym for doing body weight type workouts.  With a mat, bands, weights, parallettes and more all included in this kit you’ll have all the basics covered.

When searching for fitness gifts for Christmas make sure you take the recipient’s ability level and needs into consideration.  You may also want to ensure the recipient actually wants a fitness-related gift.  Despite your best intentions fitness gifts to those that aren’t expecting them can sometimes be met with a lack of enthusiasm or even with hostility.  It’s best to save this type of personal gift for someone you are certain would enjoy it.

Please note: The items listed are sold by a third party retailer and I have no control over the item, price, quality, third party item description, item changes, updates or incorrect information provided by the retailer.  Please contact retailer should you have any issues or questions regarding the items shown in this post.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post contains affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Build a Great Home Gym Without Breaking the Bank


Today’s article on how to build a home gym was written by guest author Harry Wilson. If you’d like to get in touch with Harry please check out his contact info at the end of the article.

home gym

Everyone leads such busy lives in today’s wired world.

Just grabbing the time to travel to and from the gym is often excuse enough to postpone the session. That’s before you’ve even thought about working out!

More and more people want to build a home gym on a budget.

We’ll give you some handy hints on creating a suitable exercise environment at home without the need for fancy equipment like inversion tables or recumbent bikes.

First Thing’s First

Before heading off to buy anything at all, there are 5 simple pointers to think about.

  • Motivation: Home gyms are not for everyone. Some people need the discipline of an organized schedule or they lose interest and momentum. If you embrace a healthy, active lifestyle and have plenty of motivation, a home gym is cost-effective and saves you time. Be honest with yourself. Is this you?
  • It’s Not A Race: Assembling a worthwhile home gym can take years. Start methodically with the essentials. Build as you progress.
  • Reasons For Training: Analyze why you are working out. Is it for general cardio, weight loss or strength training? Perhaps it’s a combination or maybe some resistance training? Be clear about what you want.
  • Space: You’ll ideally find a dedicated space or room in your house. As long as you have space for your equipment and a full-length mirror, you’re good to go.
  • Budget: Work out how much you can afford to spend initially and stick to your budget. You can buy more equipment over time.


1) Weight Bench, Olympic Barbell, Weight Plates

The trusty bench and barbell should be the staple of any home gym if you want to lift weights.

This is heavy and bulky so buying this equipment online is a wise idea.

When using a barbell alone always be extremely careful not to overdo it. It’s always best to have someone close by to spot you.

2) Dumbbells

If you want to use free weights, a good set of dumbbells is a sound investment.

Dumbbells are incredibly versatile. You can use them with or without the bench. For superb strength training, use these weights either individually or paired up.

You can choose from hundreds of exercises and target all muscles.

Boredom is the enemy of progress when you’re working out so mix it up with a good pair of dumbbells. Keep your muscles guessing and growing.

3) Kettlebell

A third option for weights is a kettlebell.

Made from cast metal, this resembles a cannonball with a handle grip.

The traditional Russian version weighs 16kg. If you are ready to lift some serious weights, kettlebells are fantastic for squats, swings and other ballistic movements.

4) Rack

With all these weights, you’ll need a solid rack if you work out hard.

Seek out a rack which takes attachments so you can add on a pull-up bar and get more bang for your buck while saving space too.

5) Punch Bag

In addition to promoting high-intensity workouts, punch bags are a wonderful way to vent the stresses of modern life.

Put your body through its paces while also clearing your mind.

6) Rowing Machine

If you want a great cardio session that will benefit your arms, legs and torso, a rowing machine is a smart choice.

As well as the health benefits, rowing machines are generally lightweight and easy to fold up so they make a great addition to any home gym.

7) Elliptical Machine

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a mansion, space will invariably be an issue in most home gyms.

Rather than opting for a straight exercise bike, why not choose an elliptical machine instead?

Whether you want to tone up or lose weight, ellipticals offer a full-body workout and a fantastic burst of cardio.

8) Stability Ball

A stability ball, often known as a Swiss ball, looks like an oversized, reinforced beach ball.

These are great for really testing your abs, improving balance and stability.

An added bonus is that stability balls help with rehabilitation of hip, back or knee injuries.

9) Ab Wheel

These inexpensive and ingenious devices merit a place in any home gym.

An ab wheel is great for fully body tension exercises alongside its intended purpose of honing your six-pack.

This really will be ten dollars very well spent.

10) Mirror

Last but by no means least is that full-length mirror.

This is not a question of vanity. Form is everything when you are training.

Pick yourself up a mirror and make sure that, rather than rushing through your reps, you watch yourself closely. Perform each move slowly, deliberately and to the best of your ability rather than obsessing about numbers.


OK, you now have the makings of a highly respectable home gym.

Remember, don’t think you need to accumulate all of the above equipment at once…

Go slowly, focus on what you need most and enjoy!

Harry WilsonAuthor Bio

My name is Harry Wilson. I’m the author of www.goodhealthplanning.com. Whether it’s workout routines, diet ideas or a guide to the equipment you need, we’ll help you get in the best shape possible. Follow my twitter: @ghealthplanning

Running in the Morning – Tips to get Out the Door


Today’s article on running in the morning was written by guest author Dan Chabert. If you’d like to get in touch with Dan please check out his contact info at the end of the article.

running in the morning

Many people – myself included – often have the best of intentions to start their day with a workout. The day soon gets away from them, so they think that they’ll work-out after work.  When that doesn’t happen they say they’ll work-out after dinner.  When that doesn’t happen they say they’ll just do something short and sweet before bed, at home.  And when that doesn’t happen they relegate themselves to the couch, binging on Netflix and ice cream, and feeling bad about themselves. Sound familiar?

Without a doubt, we’re all busy people. I don’t know a single person who has so much free time on his or her hands that he or she complains about regularly being bored. With work, parenting, family obligations, school, and whatever other life commitment that pops up, many of us may feel like we don’t have the time or the opportunity to properly take care of ourselves.  Whether it’s eating right and exercising regularly  it’s not so much a matter of willpower as it is a matter of time management. If only I had a 25th hour, we say…

I’ve read studies that suggest that people’s willpower is at its highest levels in the morning, which means for many people that the likelihood of them making positive, healthy decisions – such as exercising – is more apt to happen earlier, rather than later, in the day. I’m one of those people. Experience has taught me again and again that if I don’t figure out a way to get my run in in the a.m. hours, it’s safe to assume that it’s not going to happen at all.

I’m guest posting on Former Fitness Flunky today because I want to share with you some of my best practices for developing a morning fitness routine. I’ll couch my suggestions specific to running, but the same principles hold true for any fitness routine you can complete. Running in the morning is completely doable, but it takes not only the ambition and drive to stick with it day after day but also a hefty amount of deliberate planning. Before you quickly dismiss me and claim that you’re not a morning exerciser and will never be one, I implore you: try it! You may find that exercising most mornings becomes the difference between you entering into a regular fitness routine and you continuing to falter and planning to start “next Monday.” Hear me out, and give running in the morning a chance.

Before You Go to Sleep at Night

Set multiple (and I mean multiple!) alarms.

My experiences have taught me the value in setting many alarms to ensure that I wake-up to run in the early morning hours, and this was especially true for me when I was in the process of developing my habit for the first time. If you’re going to be waking-up much earlier than you usually do, setting more than one alarm – at least initially – will be wise. It goes without saying, but unless you’re working third shift, set your alarms for the A.M. hours, not P.M. (You’d think that’d be obvious, but alas…).

Prepare all your gear.

It can be a nuisance to take the time before you go to bed to lay-out all your workout attire (such as your shoes, watch, clothes, and the like), but before you start to complain about this tedious extra step, think of it in different terms.  If spending 10 minutes at night putting out your clothes ensures that you can sleep for at least 20 extra minutes in the morning – and save you extra time fumbling around your house looking for an errant sock – is it worth it? (Unequivocally, yes!).

You could even literally sleep in your workout attire if you wanted. Even consider setting timers on your coffeemaker, so it goes off when you’ll be getting up in the morning (or shortly beforehand), and prepare your pre- and post-workout food so when you get up and get going, you’ll be ready to get moving straightaway. You’ll find that you’ll be able to streamline your morning process, thanks to lots of trial and error, the more you do it. Don’t get discouraged if you miss something the first time around.

Just go to bed.

Social media is great for a lot of things, but it’s definitely not great for helping us fall asleep at night. If I’m not careful – and maybe this is the same for you – “just checking” my social media channels before bed usually sucks a good 45+ minutes of sleep away from me because I get lured into watching videos that I don’t need to watch or taking silly quizzes that I don’t need to take. When you’re going to be waking-up early in the morning to run, you need to do everything in your power to ensure that you’re getting adequate amounts of sleep each night, and perusing social media does not help.

You might even want to consider setting hard-and-fast boundaries for yourself for technology usage in bed, such as limiting yourself to a set amount of time or cutting yourself off from it entirely. After a while, once you get used to waking up early to run/exercise, you’ll likely find that when you get into bed each night, you actually want to go to sleep, anyway. Plus, when you’re first getting started, consider getting into bed a little earlier than normal each night, even if it’s only a 20- or 30-minute difference. Sleep is critical for all of us, but it’s especially important for early risers. Don’t shortchange yourself!

The Morning Of

Initially, it will probably stink. Expect it.

Unless you are a naturally early riser, those first few early wake-up calls will probably be rough, and you’ll probably question your motivation, if not also your sanity, for waking up early to run. My experiences have taught me that it’s easier to just accept and acknowledge that those first few times will probably be mildly horrible; once you accept it and even anticipate it, it’s really not so bad. This adjustment period takes time to get accustomed to, but once you are, you’ll probably find that getting up early just becomes part of your routine, something that you do without question.

Anytime we do something different from how we usually do things, there’s typically a learning curve involved, and once we figure things out, it’s not so bad after all. Give yourself a chance here, and I implore you: don’t be so quick to write off early morning workouts based on your first few experiences (especially if it means the difference between you working out and not working out at all). When your alarms start to buzz, cue your inner Bob Marley and get up and stand up;it’s that easy. Exercising in the morning is a tremendous way to wake-up, and you’ll probably find that it puts you in a great mood for the rest of the day, too.

Research the weather, if necessary, but nothing else.

Like I mentioned before, social media is a killer time-suck, and if you “just check” your social media channels in the morning, before you exercise, you may lose your opportunity to run altogether. If anything, if applicable, check the weather so you ensure that you’re dressed appropriately for the elements outside, but that’s it. Don’t let the internet sabotage your workout opportunity; unfortunately, I’m speaking from experience on this one. Your email, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, blog – whatever – can all wait until you return.

Make it a group effort for (more) fun and safety.

When you’re an early morning runner, you might find that you feel more motivated to get up and get out there when your friend is doing the same – and is waiting on you to show up. Plus, you may also find that you feel safer if you’re hitting the roads with someone else, whether it’s your best friend or your furry, four-legged friend. If you go out with someone else, you’ll probably find that the time flies by, and it’ll help you get your day off to a great start.

Be as safe as possible.

Last but certainly not least, when you are exercising in the pre-dawn hours outside, it is critical that you ensure your own personal safety because your life could be on the line, as over-dramatic as that may sound. Invest in some safety accouterments to help make yourself be visible to others when it’s dark outside – such as apparel with reflective elements, a reflective vest, a headlamp, knuckle lights, and some sort of personal identification (like a RoadID) – so that other pedestrians and motorists can see you from afar.

Running with a buddy (person or canine) can help with safety, as well, but be sure to also use common sense. Don’t run somewhere in the dark that you haven’t run in the daytime before, and trust your instincts. Consider, also, running with your phone and without listening to music. Lastly, while black is incredibly slimming, don’t wear all black on your morning runs because you’ll be hard to see.

Before you write yourself off as not being a “morning runner” or exerciser, give running in the morning a try for a while. You can literally help yourself plan for success by doing a fair bit of planning in order to make morning exercise a habit. The longer you keep at it and give it a try, the more opportunities you’ll find that you can streamline, distractions that you can eliminate, and processes that you can strengthen. In time, I bet you’ll even come to enjoy your early-morning workouts/runs and look forward to them … and wonder what took you so long to try it in the first place.

See you out there, fellow sunrise chaser.

Dan ChabertAuthor Bio

Writing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Dan is an entrepreneur, husband and ultramarathon distance runner. He spends most of his time on runnerclick.com and gearweare.com and he has been featured on runner blogs all over the world.