Category Archives: Tone It Up

Fit for TBA: My Favorite Workouts

Today I am introducing a new series on The Balance Artist: the Fit for TBA Awards! For each installment, I will discuss my favorite fitness and healthy-living-related things. Although I am not a certified instructor or personal trainer yet, I enjoy sharing my favorite things with fellow fitness and healthy-living enthusiasts!

First up: My Favorite Workouts! (Part I)
Fit for TBA Awards: My Favorite Workouts

BodyCombat is by far my favorite group workout. It is a perfect combo of boxing, tai chi, taekwondo, karate, and muay thai, and beats plain old steady cardio any day in my book! Lots of jabs, crosses, knees, uppercuts (my favorite), roundhouses and side kicks (my other favorite). The hour flies by and you are drenched in sweat by the end, and you feel super powerful! It is amazing what your body can do. And there’s always so much energy in the room! Since I have been taking Combat regularly for the last year, my core, legs, and arms are noticeably stronger, and my endurance is way up. SUCH a fun class!

Runner-Up: Zumba. Since I was a dancer for 13 years, I can be very picky about dance-inspired classes, but if you find a great instructor, this can be one of the most fun classes!

These DVDs are by far one of the toughest workouts around! Shaun T means business, and this 90 day challenge does NOT get easier as it goes on. In fact, the stronger you get, the harder you are able to push yourself, and these are some serious workouts! I started doing Insanity when I moved back home from college and wanted to change some things about my life. One thing I was able to control was my fitness and dedication to a healthy lifestyle, and I was so ready to finally do something for myself! And….let’s just say Shaun T whipped me into shape, and FAST. You begin to crave these sweaty workouts. Don’t be too intimidated, you get out of it what you put in, but you will build up so much strength if you stick with it (and you use ALL body weight! No free weights, pull-up bars, or any other fitness equipment needed. So at-home friendly.) and you will no doubt get some new definition in your muscles.

Runner-Up: Beach Babe by Tone It Up. It’s no secret I love the Tone It Up girls, Karena and Katrina. Their nutrition plan is top notch, but you don’t have to be a TIU member to take advantage of their workouts. They post workouts every Tuesday on their blog, and also partner up with Livestrong to deliver great videos. This DVD is great and their HIIT the Beach workout (1 of 7 included in this DVD) is perfect when you are short on time but want a good, sweaty HIIT workout.

Not many better things in the world than being about to get a good workout in while exploring the beauty this world has to offer. Two of my favorite places to hike?

New Hampshire

and Tucson, Arizona.

I miss the Sonoran desert so much! Always had the best hikes there.

Runners-up: Walking/Running with the Pup and Kayaking. On my fitness bucket list: try stand up paddleboarding! And SUP yoga sounds super awesome, too!

These are hands-down the best sculptor for your obliques. They are tough, but I am obsessed with them! The conditioning tracks at the end of BodyCombat and BodyPump often incorporate these, and since I have been doing variations of planks throughout the last year a few times a week, my core is stronger and more defined than ever. These things TRUMP sit ups, anyday!

(You don’t need to have your top leg up…just the regular version of a side plank is killer!)

Runner-Up: Regular plank, with alternating shoulder taps, or alternating knees + pushups.

Gina is not only a Tucson-native, with an adorable husband and baby, but she is also an awesome instructor of all-things-fitness. When I get back out to Arizona, I am for sure going to make it out to one (or more!) of her classes! Her Tabata Thursdays are great, as are all the posts in her Focus On: series.


Be on the lookout for future Fit for TBA series posts including: favorite workout clothes/accessories, and my favorite health and nutrition finds. What are some of your favorite workouts?

Off to do some last-minute prep for a best friend’s bachelorette party tomorrow! Early morning Dirty Double (Combat/Pump), pretzel tray pickup (DROOL Philly Pretzel Factory!!!), and then AC, here I come, baby! Mary, I hope you are ready for a wild night at Revel! πŸ˜‰ Have a great weekend everyone!

(Green) Pina Colada for Breakfast!

Hello, hello, from the first post on my new domain name! Hope you like…it is a work in progress, but lots of great things are comin’ at ya. Stick with me through my construction dust, will you? πŸ˜‰

Had to drop by to post an awesome smoothie I made this week for breakfast. My Tone It Up girls will love it…all of the pineapple recipes must have inspired me! It isn’t the prettiest, but is delicious and PACKED with fruit, nutrients and filling protein.

Green Pina Colada


1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (regular skim milk can work, too)

1/3 cup almond + coconut milk blend (I use Almond Breeze brand)

1 TB 100% pineapple juice

1 TB chia seeds

1 cup pineapple chunks

1 frozen banana

3 strawberries

Small handful blackberries

Splash of vanilla extract

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use SunWarrior)

2 handfuls spinach (can’t taste it….promise!!!)

Shredded coconut to garnish

Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. The color isn’t pretty (thanks to the berries and spinach, but your body will thank you for the added superfoods’ fruitiness and antioxidants), but it is delicious! Add water as needed to make things move a little easier…this is a seriously packed smoothie. Pour into a glass and garnish with some shredded coconut! Close your eyes and pretend you are amongst palm trees…sigh. Miss those.

Pin It!

I LOVED this smoothie, and it kept me full until lunch. Let me know if you try it! You can obviously omit the spinach if you’re not big on green smoothies.

Do you like green smoothies? I love them! My Vitamix makes it super easy to throw in a bunch of greens for added veggie servings…and you don’t even taste it!


My Otter Half

Want to spread some love on Valentine’s Day? Here’s a few fun-lovin’ things for V-Day 2012!

Here is a sketch I planned on coloring before today, but life has been pretty crazy lately! For those of you who don’t know, my dad went in for surgery last week for prostate cancer and is home recovering…so far, so good! The Bocks really enjoy kicking cancer in the tuchus.

Happy V-Day to all my loves…

Also, try this workout today if you want to feel the burn on this Valentine’s Day! It is harder than it looks…and the girls are super-cute!

Another way to share the love today? Email Love Grown Foods today with your address ( with ‘VDAY LOVE’ as the subject), and they will send you (and your Valentine!) a free bag of their granola. Yesssssss.

Doing anything fun for V-Day? I am celebrating by eating chocolate and doing a Barre class and some yoga. πŸ˜‰


And congrats to all my Tone It Uppers who finished their 7 Day Slim Down today. You girls rock!

As for the Slim Down, today is technically my last day….but I have not been following the plan as closely as intended. Which is okay! I ate cleaner and more raw, but still had some diversions in the form of chocolate, Greek yogurt, wine, quinoa, peanut butter…and even with that, I still have a tighter belly and lost some bloat. The effects of this plan are amazing, and I can’t even imagine what they are like if you actually stick to it for the week. After the first four days, I felt great and was ready to incorporate my carb-loves back into my life…plus, my workout routine is too intense not to. I will definitely do the Slim Down before my vacation in March, but for now, this mini-SD was exactly what I needed. <3

Super Bowl, Slim Down, and a Fashion Question

Super Bowl

So my Super Bowl menu was pretty great…even if the Pats didn’t win.

Luckily, Coop didn’t jump off a ledge…although I was nervous there for a second.

Gronk (my fellow Arizona alum) fans!

The day started off with a veggie-filled omelette, one of Coop’s specialties. I sauteed, he chopped the onion….my most-hated kitchen job!!!….and then I left the rest up to him.

Um, how do boys make such perfect omelettes? Mine NEVER stay together this beautifully. I will keep him.

Much wine and beer was consumed alongside all of this:

Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls! 
Pepper Jack Tostitos, Homemade Pita Chips,
and a healthified Spinach, Artichoke, and Feta Dip

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie….dough. YUM.

Layered Taco Dip, Eggrolls, and a Creeper

Let me know if you want any of the recipes!

Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down

Thanks to all of the amazing indulgences via my past weekend, today is my first day of the Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down. Not trying to lose any weight, but I am going to follow the plan as best as possible in order to prime myself to eat more Lean, Green, and Clean. It’ll help get rid of that bloated feeling and  will help make healthy, clean eating even more of a habit. This is a bit of a test run, as I plan on doing the Slim Down again before my Vegas vacation (flights booked! Woop woop!) to detox and tighten up a bit before a glorious week of bikinis, drinks, and little dresses. Oh, and I plan on indulging hardcore at my favorite chef’s restaurant. Mesa Grill!

Somehow I have never been here despite my insane love for Las Vegas, Bobby Flay and southwestern food.

Tonight I plan on taking an idea from Bess (she is on day two of her second 7DSD…her posts about it are great!) and making enough protein pancakes for the week and freezing them so that I can just microwave them in the morning. Easy peasy. 

I only wish mine could look as pretty as hers.


Any Tone It Up girls out there, let me know if you are doing the Slim Down this week! I know a lot of people are doing it to finish off strong in the Toned In ’12 Challenge (and just in time for Valentine’s Day).

Fashion Question

Quick question to my fashionista readers who are much more savvy than me when it comes to this stuff:

I have a $100 J.Crew gift card. I collect lots of bracelets (big layering fiend) and I have loved this since I saw it on {av}’s blog

I think it may be pretty to layer with this Marc By Marc Jacobs one that I have. Or it may be overkill?

BUT! I have also been wanting a new “statement” necklace, and I kinda like this one.

What do you think? I am envisioning my vacation and which I would want to wear more.

Have a fabulous day!!! xoxo

Of Possible Interest: (Artsy ones!)

More About Tone It Up and HAPPY FRIDAY!

Verdict so far on Tone It Up?

Besides making me want to buy everything Oakley,


these uber-fit girls also make a mean Nutrition Plan and serve as amazing role models and inspiration.

Okay, so I don’t follow the plan perfectly by any means…I pretty much already eat the way their “maintenance” nutrition plan is most of the time, and as I am pretty active and also am not looking to lose any weight, I don’t follow some of the stricter guidelines as perfectly.

Case in point? Along with my kale/onion/tomato/quinoa/mushroom/bean/balsamic/EVOO salad today,

I am also having a Caprese Burger (mozz! tomato! basil! pesto! yum!) and some sweet potato fries.

I also have dinner chillin’ in the CrockPot at home, a black bean, ground turkey, and sweet potato chili inspired by Gina’s.

If I was following the TIU plan, they do not promote certain types of foods after the afternoon hours hit. However, I know my body, and the types of foods that I need, and why I crave certain ones. “Diet” in the sense of restricting certain foods completely and calorie-counting will never be in my vernacular or lifestyle. Like I said, since I am very active fitness-wise 5-6 days out of the week, I need a decent caloric intake due to the intense cardio and lifting in order to keep my energy up, blood sugars up, and metabolism hummin’. I know what works for me…but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn how to eat smarter!

What I do love about the plan is that Karena and Katrina have really built a super healthy and yet totally doable platform of eating. They teach you how to combine foods to get the right proteins and vitamins absorbed into your body, and encourage a 5-meal-a-day plan…so you still get to eat…a lot! They basically teach you to eat like an athlete. I love the fact that they are all about health, and not “skinny.” Fit is beautiful! I also am loving the recipes they have, and lots of other tips and tricks. Their Meta-D drink is a metabolism boosting concoction that I just tried for the first time today and I love it…definitely felt more alert afterwards. They also encourage what they call a morning “Booty Call,” which is essentially just getting your butt out of bed a little earlier and getting moving, somehow, someway, whether it is a doggy walk or a workout, in order to get your metabolism goin’. I already feel more energized since I decided to join the team and have been trying some new things I have learned via Tone It Up. I also plan on doing their 7 Day Slimdown, exclusive to the Nutrition Plan, before my Vegas vaycay at the end of March. Just a little extra tightening up before a week of afternoon sun sessions (just bought my new bikini for it!) and itty-bitty Vegas dresses. Oh, Vegas, how I have missed you.

What it also has done for me so far is motivate me to be more aware of my eating, how often I eat, and what types of foods I eat and when. I am not going to become a food-Nazi at any point, but it has been interesting to notice that I eat very carb-heavy. I was also surprised at how many veggies I actually eat throughout the day, and I have upped that even more the past week. K & K urge you to eat “Lean, Clean & Green” as much as possible, and remind you that if you take off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from exercise and healthy eats, that is half of the month! Overall, TIU will positively impact my lifestyle eating and help me to make smarter (and still tasty!) choices.

Of course, if you know me, you know I love my beer, wine, pizza, chocolate, and of course, ice cream. And while I limit myself with those (I don’t eat them everyday), they are not going anywhere…don’t you worry.

Work hard, play hard. I work hard to keep my body healthy and fuel it with the foods it needs and deserves…aaaand because of that discipline, I never feel guilty about indulging. If you restrict yourself from certain things, you just may go balls to the wall and eat your body weight in it when you get a chance. So…when I want a cookie, or three, I go for it. All about BALANCE, mes amis!

Overall, I really think it is a wonderful program, and I look forward to seeing and feeling the positive changes in my body and well-being. If you have any questions about Tone It Up, feel free to email me!

Sorry for the word-heavy post! Hope you all have a wonderful Friday…another yoga sesh tonight (tried hot yoga last night for the first time…LOVE), and it benefits the Humane Society. ‘Cuz our furry friends need some lovin’ too!

(I may or may not be creating a yoga animal series veryyyy soon…keep your eyes peeled! πŸ™‚ )

xoxoxo, Happy Weekend!!!

And don’t forget…free shipping in my Society6 shop through Sunday! You know you want a duck hoodie.