Welcome to Pumps & Iron by Nicole, a group fitness instructor, healthy lifestyle blogger and Certified Personal Trainer living in Boston, MA. This is a healthy lifestyle blog sharing workouts, nutritious recipes, fashion ideas and everything in between.
Thanks for all the feedback following last week’s gym workout! I’m glad to hear these posts are still helpful without the full-length video and I’ll keep ’em coming (in addition to the YouTube workouts). This upper body and core bench workout is quick (just under 20 minutes) but challenging. If you’re looking for a full body workout, try pairing it with the lower body step bench workout I posted last Thursday.
This workout is broken up into two circuits. You do each exercise for 30 seconds, back to back, rest 30 seconds and then repeat a total of three times before moving onto the second circuit. The breakdown of each circuit looks like this:
Exercise 1 on the right
Exercise 2 on the right
Exercise 1 on the left
Exercise 2 on the left
See the above video to see these exercises in action.
Bench Rows (right) – Use the heavy weight.
Bench Hop (to the right)
Row to Fly Combo – Use the medium set of dumbbells for these. If the fly gets to be too heavy, just do the row.
Bench Rows (left)
Bench Hop (to the left)
Uneven Push Up to Kick-through (right)
Russian Twist to Overhead Press (to the right) – Try to use the heavy weight; drop down to the medium if needed.
Twisting Sit Ups– put the heavy weight on the floor between your feet to lock yourself into place.
Another month, another edition of workout outfits. If you missed April’s, you can check it out here. These posts are, yes, an excuse to share the activewear I’m currently wearing and loving, but they also give you an idea of what I do in a week as far as my workout routine. It’s always changing and no two weeks are the same, but you can see the general balance of things. This was what last week looked like for me:
The weather was mild and perfect for running so I went on a 3-mile run outside and ended it at the gym where I did a 20-minute lower body workout using a step bench. I shared it on the blog last week so if you’re interested you can see the full blog post or check out the video here:
Every Tuesday morning I take the Ropes & Rowers class at Equinox—I LOVE it. Honestly when I first joined Equinox I was having major buyer’s regret and was contemplating going immediately back to ClassPass. Group fitness classes are my jam because it can be hard to motivate myself through a solo workout after teaching all week. Finding Ropes & Rowers made me feel soooo much better about my decision to join Equinox. It’s of the same caliber as a Barry’s Bootcamp class I’d say. I always leave totally spent and I love the Tuesday morning instructor, Chad.
My outfit is nothing to write home about, but I do love the green & black jacket I wore to and from the gym. Also the Nike MetCon sneakers I’m wearing are perfect for the Ropes & Rowers class because they have a super grippy sole. In the class during the ropes section, you’re doing sled pulls and pushes and if you wear Nike Frees you literally slide backwards trying to push the damn thing (made that mistake my first class lol).
Wednesdays are my long teaching days and after my 5th class of the day, I stay and take the next class on the schedule to get my own workout in. I *never* want to stay the extra 45 minutes after all that teaching but I’m always glad I did. Especially this week—my butt was so satisfyingly sore the next day!
This set from Outdoor Voices was gifted to all the Back Bay instructors and I love the shade of blue and fit of the leggings. They are really tight (I would almost suggest sizing up?) but I like the compression feel of my normal size. I would never teach in just a sports bra (personal preference—not throwing shade at instructors who do!), but sometimes you just gotta take your shirt off to show your cute new matching workout clothes for the ‘gram, ya feel me?! This was a small portion of the class I taught that I shared on Insta:
On Thursdays, I teach two classes first thing in the morning. Like I already mentioned, there’s a 0% chance of me motivating myself through a solo workout after teaching so I took class at Barry’s (Abs day). I actually changed into other leggings for Barry’s because I haven’t done the sweat test on the BBBs I taught in (I had to go grocery shopping after my workout and didn’t want to risk a massive sweaty butt mark haha). That being said, I really love these leggings. I have several pairs of BBBs and the Croco Skin is definitely my favorite. It’s opaque and thicker than the original material but still so flattering and I just love the texture. Most definitely will be getting them in other colors!
Fabletics leggings (old)
Fabletics tank (old)
The outfit I’m wearing is from Fabletics but a couple years old. I stopped my Fabletics membership a while ago just to cut down on all the recurring monthly charges I was getting from various subscription services but I’m seriously thinking about rejoining. I still get their emails and the last couple months, their stuff has looked SO CUTE. If you’re new to Fabletics, the links here will get you two pairs of leggings for $24.
For my workout, I did an upper body/core bench workout at Equinox which I’ll share here on the blog Friday. I did an easy mile run to warm up beforehand and another mile afterwards at a push pace to finish.
OUTFIT DETAILS: DYI leggings
Reebok tank (that I did a terrible job cropping) Oofos slides (ok maybe not the most stylish sandals but seriously the most comfortable shoes ever, I wear them all the time when it’s warm out!)
Joe and I were in New Jersey to spend time with his mom for Mother’s Day so I took a class at my Btone-away-from-home, Coastal Core in Belmar. This is the one workout method where I’m like a million times better than Joe so I really relish in the 45 minutes of watching him struggle.
Rest. I wish I’d done some yoga in the morning though—traffic was so bad driving back to Boston, it took us almost EIGHT hours. Woof.
This post is sponsored by Hyatt Place. All opinions—as always—are my own.
Today I’m sharing another workout from my Workout Wednesday series with Hyatt Place Hotels. Like the other nine workouts I created, these are perfect to do while traveling. They don’t require much space (although Hyatt Place rooms are actually very spacious!) nor do they require much if any equipment.
This bodyweight pyramid workout is truly no-excuses, as it can be done in just 5 minutes. That being said, if you have more time to workout, rest 30-60 seconds after you complete the pyramid and then repeat it 2-4 times.
5-Minute Bodyweight Pyramid Workout
5-Minute Bodyweight Pyramid Workout - YouTube
There are five exercises in this workout. You’ll do each for 40 seconds then each for 20 seconds. The goal is to not rest during the 5 minutes.
As with all workouts, make sure you’re properly warmed up beforehand and always listen to your body, modifying or stopping as needed.
Bear Plank Jacks – Starting in a high plank position, hop your feet out wide and back to center. Then jump your feet forward, landing in a hovering tabletop position with knees stacked under hips. Hop back out to plank and repeat.
Side Lunge Hops (right) – Step to the right, sliding hips back as you bend into a side lunge on that right leg. Push off the right foot to come back up to center, bringing the right knee into your chest as you hop up off the left foot. Land and step wide back into your lunge.
Side Lunge Hops (left)
Bird Dog – Start in a tabletop position on the balls of your feet with knees under hips, hovering a couple inches off the floor (to modify, keep knees on floor). From here, extend right arm and left leg out straight. Bring back to center and repeat on other side.
Squat Jump to Jack – Staying low in a squat, hop your feet in narrow and then out wide. Do a squat jump, landing back low.
I’ll share one more of these workouts on my blog and YouTube channel, but to get all 10 workouts, check out Hyatt Place on Facebook and Instagram.
If you’re an OG blog reader, you might remember I went through a phase where I posted a new hummus recipe to the blog like every other week. I mean hummus is great and all, but it was literally all I ate for a while there. After a long hiatus of such recipes, I’m back with this delicious roasted carrot hummus. It’s perfect as a dip or spread!
I saw this cartoon the other day (source is @maritsapatrinos) and it cracked me up because it’s soooo true about food blogs (I’m 100% guilty of it myself). To avoid this very scenario, we’re going to get RIGHT into the recipe.
1 tbsp lemon juice (=juice from half a large lemon)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the ingredients. Peel the carrots and chop them into roughly 1/2" rounds. Peel the garlic (if you have a good food processor, no need to mince). Rinse and pat dry the chickpeas.
Spread the carrots on a pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
Add all ingredients to the food processor and begin to combine. Start with an initial 2 tbsp of olive oil and slowly add more as needed to get the desired texture. I usually end up with a total of 3 tbsp in there.
*You can use cannellini beans instead if you don't like chickpeas. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse and dry them so you don't have an overwhelming bean taste.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator. When chilled for extended periods of time, the roasted carrot hummus will harden a bit, and it can make it a little difficult to use as a dip this way. When you’re ready to serve, you can either leave it on the counter for a bit beforehand or just mix in a little additional olive oil to get the softer consistency back.
Also, for a slight variation of this recipe, I’ll make it with a za’atar spice blend sometimes instead of the cumin and paprika listed in the recipe. Equally as delicious with a slightly different kick to it. Try it out and get creative on your own as well!
More Hummus Recipes to Try
These are three of my favorite hummus recipes from the Pumps archives.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! Especially mine. I admire and love my mom so much and wholeheartedly take back every snotty thing I said to her during my teen years.
Now that I’m a gym member for the first time in almost a decade, I’m excited to share workouts with you guys that use a more varied array of equipment. I don’t know how best to do this though seeing as I can’t exactly film a full-length YouTube workout in the gym. It wouldn’t be fair to the other Equinox patrons to have a camera set up in the room—as prestigious as Pumps & Iron is, I’m sure no one wants to be an unwitting extra in my videos (lolll). It’s actually probably not even allowed.
If, however, I go at off-peak times, the group fitness room is typically empty for long enough that I can film a quick preview of each exercise in the workout on my phone. So I’m thinking I’ll share these quick video workout previews on Facebook and embed them on the blog along with a pictorial. Is that helpful and something you all would use? Or is it full-length video or bust?
My plan is to post one of these gym workouts each week in addition to the typical workouts you can do at home with minimal equipment and a full-length YouTube video to which you can follow along. Any feedback on this plan is welcome in the comments section or hit me up on social media.
Now that we’ve got that housekeeping out of the way, let’s get to this lower body step bench workout! It’ll take you 20 minutes to complete. I personally paired it with a 3-mile steady run because it was gorgeous outside.
In this workout, you’ll alternate between tabata supersets and a weighted circuit. Here’s the structure:
Tabata Superset 1
Weighted Circuit (3 exercises on right, then repeat on left)
Tabata Superset 2
Repeat the same weighted circuit
For the tabata supersets, you use an interval structure of 20 sec work / 10 seconds rest and complete 8 rounds, alternating between two exercises. For the weighted circuit, each exercise is done for 60 seconds back to back with no rest. You do the three exercises on the right then repeat on the left.
As with all workouts, make sure you’re properly warmed up beforehand and always listen to your body, modifying or stopping as needed.
Watch the above video to see all the exercises in action!
Tabata Superset 1
Uneven 180 Squat Jumps
Burpee to Bench Jump
Squat to Step Up – lead with the target leg each time when you do the step up
Low Back Lunge to Curtsy Lunge – you can drop down to one weight for this one; stay low on the front target leg as you step your back foot from a back lunge to curtsy lunge position
Repeat the three exercises on the other leg
Tabata Superset 2
Elevated Squat Jacks
Knee Drivers – alternate the stationary leg each interval
Big shoutout to the camera on the iPhone X for making this post possible. It continually blows me away! The video quality is so good for such a small device. I feel like a couple years from now, I wont even need my DSLR camera.
Hope you all had a fun weekend! Joe was out of town for a bachelor party and I absolutely relishedin having the apartment to myself for a few days (lol). No Joe = clean apartment and the ability to watch all the trashy reality tv shows my little heart desires without judgement. Southern Charm came highly recommended by the Friday afternoon class I taught in Southie so I binged the first two seasons this weekend and honestly I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without having Patricia in my life. Whitney’s mom is EVERYTHING!! Also I could write a 50-page dissertation analyzing Kathryn and I know I haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg (I’ve only seen the first two seasons so don’t spoil anything for me!!). Big shoutout for the recommendation—officially my new guilty please!
Anyway. Now that I’ve admitted to watching two entire seasons of reality tv over the weekend …
Burpee Challenge Workout
Burpee Challenge Workout - YouTube
For this workout, you’ll build a burpee variation over the course of two minutes. Every 30 seconds, you add on a movement. After the two minute push, rest 30 seconds before moving onto the next burpee variation. Repeat the circuit of three burpees twice. No equipment needed!
As with all workouts, make sure you’re properly warmed up beforehand and always listen to your body, stopping or modifying as needed.
Go to 1:39 in the above video to see a preview of each exercise in action.
1. Plank Jack Burpees
———Plank Jump Jacks
————Plank Jack Burpees
2. Squat Jack Burpees
———Squat Jump Jacks
————Squat Jack Burpees
3. Superman Burpees
——Superman Push Ups
———Superman Get Ups
I know any workout with the word “burpee” in it sounds like torture but I think you’ll be surprised how quickly this one goes! No equipment needed so it’s a great option if you’re traveling or short on space.
Time for another roundup of favorites! Let’s jump right in…
I love these sunglasses I was gifted by MVMT and the pool reflection isn’t really doing them justice. They come in a bunch of different colors (I have the silver) and I’m seriously thinking about getting them in pink, too. The style I’m wearing is The Icon but you can get $15 off any style (or their watches) with the code nicoleperr15.
White Cross-Back Bodysuit from Lulus
Don’t mind my awkward tan lines. I get nervous ordering bodysuits/rompers/jumpsuits online because they rarely fit my long torso (‘sup, Atomic Wedgie!). This one from Lulus fits great and is only $38. Definitely buying it in black as well. The material is insanely soft.
Last month I included MeUndies in my roundup of favorites and I just wanted to say that since then I also got a pair of their no-show thongs and am equally as obsessed. Great for working out and any time you’re wearing yoga pants (which for me is basically 24/7). Links to MeUndies in this post will get you 20% off your first order.
My 5-Minute Workout Series with Hyatt Place
I know I’ve already mentioned this several times, but every Wednesday for ten weeks, Hyatt Place will be sharing a workout led by me on their Facebook page. I’ll do a blog post about three of them, but the rest will live over on FB. In case you missed the ones that have been posted so far, here are direct links:
All are just 5 minutes long, but if you want a longer workout, just repeat them 2-3 times.
The Class by Taryn Toomey
When I was in New York, I took The Class by Taryn Toomey with a couple of my college girlfriends after hearing rave reviews about it. It was great! It’s bodyweight exercises to the beat of the music and you stay on the same exercise for an entire song (we’re talking like 4 straight minutes of burpees eeek). It was hard! There are also elements of yoga in it and you’re encouraged to yell and release which was super awkward at first as an uptight, closed-off New Englander (;)) but by the end I was into it. It’s kinda like Soul Cycle where some people in the class are just there to work out and others are there to attend church—like literally having religious experiences on the mat (which I fully support). Would 100% go back! It’s $35 for a class (no special pricing for new clients—but they do offer you your second class for free after you take the first).
Sharing Gym Workouts
I’m still feeling out my new Equinox membership but will do a blog post as soon as I have a fully formed opinion on whether this was the best decision ever or if I’ll probably go back to using ClassPass. One thing I for sure like is having access to lots of equipment for making up my own workouts. I shared a soft med ball workout on Facebook that I did the other week and will continue to share more!
Maybe once I’ve been a member for a while, I’ll ask if I can reserve a group room to film a real-time workout for YouTube with my good camera, but for now it’ll probably just be iPhone clips like above which I’ll post to Facebook/Instagram. My shame level is pretty low at this point, but I still think I’d die if someone walked in on me with a DSLR camera set up on a tripod at Equinox (lol).
Visiting My Grandparents in Florida
My mom and I took a long weekend trip to Naples to visit my grandparents for my Papa’s 85th birthday. It’s always so wonderful getting to spend time with them, and escaping the Boston “spring” weather was glorious.
NYC Work Trip with Hyatt Place & Hyatt House
In mid April, I attended a media event held by Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hosted by Bill Rancic (Giuliana was there, too—fan girl alert!). The workout videos I shot with Hyatt were playing at one stations and I was there to demo some moves and talk about working out while on the road. I was also surprised with the opportunity to film a quick segment for New York 1 with Bill (just a little nervous … he’s very handsome and has perfect teeth haha). Even bigger surprise was …
My 15-Minutes (Half a Second) of Fame on E! News
Guys I was on E! News!! It was literally for half a second, but I think that was more than enough time to catch the attention of Kris Jenner and Ryan Seacrest. Be expecting my reality tv show to air some time in 2019. Jkjk Thank you to everyone who messaged me saying they saw me on TV because I would have had no idea this happened otherwise.
I’ve wanted to attend the WELL Summit for a couple years now and finally got the chance this month. It’s a day of speakers, panels, yoga, meditation, learning about healthy products and networking. Highlights for me:
Sound bowl meditation with Sara Auster– I admittedly don’t meditate regularly but when I do, I find I’m most successful when there are noises around me (whether that’s music or I’m listening to the sound of the ocean/birds chirping or just the ambient noise of being in a city). In dead silence, my mind wanders like crazy. In addition to the sound bowl, there was group humming involved and I just loved it!
The key note speaker, Agapi Stassinopoulos – I think the entire room wanted Agapi to adopt them after her talk. Funny, endearing, and a mighty force of charisma.
Panels on social media – There were panels on the importance of shutting off from social media when you’re always “on” and on monetizing social media. It’s not that I necessarily learned anything new from them, but I just really enjoyed listening to a conversation that I so closely relate to. The whole time I was just silently saying, “Yup. Spot on. Mmmhmm that’s me. Same girl!”
Wedding Weekend in NYC
We just got back from a fun weekend in New York for our friends’ wedding. I’d share a pic from the actual wedding but I didn’t take many—my dress had a broken zipper and was being held together by safety pins so I was just trying to get through the evening without flashing anyone on the dance floor (success, thankfully haha). Here’s Joe and I at a great spot friends of ours opened in the West Village, Due West. Check it out, New Yorkers!
That’s a wrap on April! It was a busy, fun month for me and I’m looking forward to May bringing more of the same. I have weekend trips throughout most the month, but this weekend and staying in town to chill and pick up some shifts at Btone. If any Bostonians are up for a workout, I’m teaching a bunch this week:
My monthly favorites posts are never sponsored, however they typically contain a few affiliate links. I get sent a lot of free products, and the first section of this post might highlight a couple of my favorites. I’m never required to or being paid to feature these freebies and only share the ones I truly love and think my readers will enjoy as well.
This post was sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE. All opinions—as always!—are my own.
Today I have a workout that mixes running with bodyweight tabatas and weighted exercises. It’s a great one if you’re looking to target lower body. For the running intervals, you can use a treadmill or take it outside since it’s (FINALLY) feeling like Spring—hallelujah!!
For this workout, I’m wearing the Cavu from HOKA ONE ONE’s Fly Collection. It was made with versatility in mind, and the three styles in the collection are cushioned enough for long runs while remaining sleek for every day wear. I went with the Cavu because it’s a little lower and lighter than the Mach and Elevon. I also love its simple look—when it comes to sneakers that I’ll wear every day, I’m all about a sleek black shoe.
These sneakers are super comfortable. There’s significant padding (they’ll add an inch to your height!) and their PROFLY responsive cushioning is softer in the heel for shock absorption and firmer in the forefoot for propulsion. So for running, I find them really comfy and love that they’re lightweight even with the thicker sole.
I don’t necessarily identify myself as “a runner”. It’s been a long time since I’ve run long distances, and I typically incorporate short(er) runs in with other strength exercises. That’s why the Fly Collection was a good fit for me. Yes, they’re running sneakers, but I can wear them in other types of workouts as well and definitely while teaching!
I put them through today’s lower body workout that mixes mile-long runs with bodyweight tabatas and weighted exercises. You can learn more about the Cavu and other styles in the Fly Collection over at the HOKA site.
Running + Strength Training Lower Body Workout
Legs Workout: Tabata and Weighted Exercises - YouTube
Here’s the breakdown of this workout:
Run 1 mile – steady, easy run
Complete the 10-minute strength sequence: tabata + weighted exercises
Run 1 mile – intervals: do 30 seconds of a push pace (a hard run, just shy of a sprint) and 30 seconds of jogging
Complete the 10-minute strength sequence: tabata + weighted exercises
Run 1 mile – steady run, try to beat your time from the first mile
For the tabata, you’ll alternate between two bodyweight exercises. The interval structure is 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For the weight work, do each exercise for 30 seconds, moving one to the next and repeating the circuit twice.
You’ll just need a set of dumbbells (and a treadmill if doing it inside). Go with a medium-heavy set of weights.
Exercises in This Workout
Go to 1:58 in the workout video to see a preview of each exercise and how to modify them.
Hop Lunge Hop
Back Lunge to Deadlift (right)
Curtsy Lunge with Pulse (right)
Low Squat Steps
Back Lunge to Deadlift (left)
Curtsy Lunge with Pulse (left)
Low Squat Steps
Do you like mixing running with other exercises? Give this workout a try and let me know what you think!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of HOKA ONE ONE . The opinions and text are all mine.
Before we get to this med ball HIIT workout, an embarrassing story …
For the last five years of posting workouts to this blog, I’ve used this “6-pound” medicine ball and always wondered why it was so challenging when I typically use 10 or 12-lb medicine balls when taking classes at studios. The other day I made Joe hold it and he was immediately like, “This is definitely more than 6 pounds. It’s probably 6 kilograms.”
Took me FIVE years to figure that out. I haven’t felt this dumb since the time someone asked me what the name of my nail polish was and I turned over the bottle to read the label and replied, “Peel Here.” (It was one of those labels you peel open to continue reading.)
Speaking of workout equipment, I recently joined a gym (for the first time in eight years!) and now have access to all sorts of fun stuff. It’d be weird to shoot a mic’d-up full workout video there, but I’m going to post clips to my Facebook page frequently for additional workout ideas. You won’t be able to follow along with me, but you’ll see a demonstration of each exercise and get the breakdown of the workout structure. Here’s one I posted Monday using a soft medicine ball. Be sure to like the P&I page so you don’t miss out!