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One day an instructor didn’t show up and I called the manager and she said ‘You take class like a hundred times a week, get in there and teach it.’

I literally leaped over the high front desk counter and ran in there! That class became mine.

 
— Barry Jay, Founder of Barry’s Bootcamp
 WELCOME
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a bootcamp that works up a sweat, HIIT workouts to build strength, and a walk in the woods for mental calm. Read on...

In 1998, LA-based celebrity trainer Barry Jay had the idea for a workout that would marry HIIT with resistance training in an immersive atmosphere. With some partners, he opened a West Hollywood studio with a nightclub-style sound system and red lighting that became iconic as the “red room” of Barry’s Bootcamp.

It was the birth of boutique fitness, a trend that transformed the industry. Two decades later, over 140,000 people take Barry’s classes every week, including celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Victoria Beckham. Health-nut venture capitalist Keith Rabois loves it so much, he’s taught classes.

And it really is a bootcamp—Jay was well known to be ultra-tough on participants, and that same ethos persists today. As Jay told Well+Good in an interview: “I wanted to create a new format where being on time was imperative, that every minute of the work-out matters—where we were reminded self‐discipline is self‐love.”

Wishing you both self-discipline and self-love all week long, Katherine & Linda
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 WORKOUT OF THE WEEK
Penny Barnshaw, Garage Fitness Girl
After working as a full-time personal trainer for almost 20 years, Penny Barnshaw moved her business online—switching from gym sessions to workouts in her “teeny tiny garage” with a few sets of dumbbells and a kettlebell. Barnshaw started posting her workouts on YouTube, and now uploads new HIIT workouts on her channel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Aimed at the intermediate to advanced exerciser, Barnshaw’s sessions merge solid exercise physiology with exhausting sequences of moves.

Want to meet a fitness goal in 2021? On her blog, Barnshaw recommends making physical activity part of your daily routine: “Consistency matters. When it comes to your workouts, schedule them as you would any other important activity. If you’re not at a fitness level where you can workout 5 days a week, that’s OK. Start with 2 or 3 with a view to increasing that as soon as you can.”

Try this: We loved this 60-minute Full Body Strength Circuit, which repeats three separate movement sequences twice each, to keep you mentally engaged..

Barnshaw’s #1 tip for losing belly fat? “Don’t skip the cardio.” This 30-minute no-equipment Tabata Shred HIIT provides an amped-up cardio workout.
Have two sets of light-to-medium dumbbells ready, so you can challenge yourself with more weight or step down as necessary. 
FITNESS
Explainer: How to Strengthen Your Core and Flatten Your Stomach
Personal trainers and YouTube fitness gurus alike love to repeat the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen!” That’s because so-called spot reducing is impossible: doing exercises on a specific body part does not and cannot reduce fat specifically on that body part. Cardio and clean eating are key.

That said, you can use targeted calisthenics to build muscles of the core. This 37-minute Fitness Blender Cardio and Abs Workout targets the upper and lower abs with bicycle crunches, planks, and scissor kicks.

Is it possible for women to get a “six pack”? Depends on your build, explains gym founder and coach Shea Sanderson in this interview with Aaptiv: “Sure, you need to do functional core exercises, but the focus should be on your diet if you want [your abs] to really pop.” Butler advises flexing the abdominal muscles during any strength workout—this engages the core and provides stability for movements.

Want to build that six-pack? We loved this no-equipment 15-minute Mat Pilates Abs Workout by Bailey Brown, which works the upper and lower abdominal muscles, plus those all-important obliques via transverse (i.e. torso-twisting) exercises.
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 WELLNESS
Can a walk in the woods soothe mental distress?
Have you ever felt stressed and  frustrated at your desk, then ventured out for a walk and felt your mood lift? It’s no illusion: research has shown that changes in your brain from a walk in the forest can reduce depression. 

Environmental psychologists at the University of Michigan studying stress fatigue have theorized that we may be better able to maintain focused attention after spending time in the natural environment. “Nature experience” reduces rumination—repeatedly turning your distress over in your mind—and may help mood disorders. 

The practice of Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” was originally promoted by the Japanese Forestry Agency, to promote the mental benefits of spending time mindfully in nature—not doing strenuous exercise, just enjoying the surroundings. 

So if you’re experiencing irritation or mental strain, consider stepping out for a walk, ideally in a local park or hiking trail. OK, “forest bathing” may be tough in an urban environment—but sunshine, green space, and birdsong may be just as healing for a grumpy mood.
  WHAT WE'RE READING
 
 Bro science check: Is “muscle confusion” a real thing? Should you lift to failure? The latest in evidence-based strength training research (Outside)

 Strong starts in the mind: active imagery and visualizations can help you become a better lifter. Stronger by Science explains why and how you can use your brain to boost your performance. (Stronger by Science)

 Want to make your grocery haul more healthy? This video by vlogger Bobby Parish walks you through the aisles at Trader Joe’s and recommends options—heart of palm pasta, anyone? (FlavCity with Bobby Parish)

 What bodyweight exercises build lean muscle mass that boosts metabolism 24/7? (ISSA Online)

 Try a low-carb version of a taste from childhood with this Keto Big Mac Salad (Low Carb with Jennifer)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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