Five Locations For a Great Workout Outdoors – Bay Area

There are days when I will walk in the gym with no motivation at all to stare at myself bouncing up and down on the treadmill for 30 minutes, stretching in front of lurky-looking sweaty men, and feeling cramped when I’m trying to get my “zumba” on.  There are also days when I would like to get some fresh air, in a short amount of time, with little-to-no gym distractions, so I turn to the great outdoors of the Bay Area. Whether you have a gym membership or not, check out these five locations with beautiful scenery and exceptional performance, that will for sure amp up your workouts:

1. Alameda Beach

Image

This is fun after work favorite, especially with the benefits of daylight savings time. I love to come to Alameda Beach to get my power walk on. Located along Shoreline Dr., the parking is very easy with access to shopping and restaurants. You have an option to go as far as you want and you can either run/walk on the sidewalk or to burn more calories on the sand.  Dog and kid friendly, as well as babe watching friendly too 🙂

2. Lake Chabot Regional Park

Image

photo courtesy of livinglandscape.net

Hills, Nature, and and the reservoir! Especially if you’re short on time, this hiking trail is probably the most convenient option to get a workout in.  There is a paid parking lot, but plenty of street parking. What I enjoy most about this park on the San Leandro/Castro Valley side is you can go fishing and to paddle boats.

3. Lake Merritt and the Cleveland Cascade Stairs

ImageI always come to Lake Merritt for the social scene and people watching. It’s about 3 miles to get around and mostly flat so if you’re looking to burn off more calories I’d add in the Cleveland Cascade stairs which after a few rounds will have your booty and thighs burning! They’ve remodeled this year, so if you haven’t been in awhile I’d check out the amphitheater and tidal marsh – great for a sunny afternoon!

4. San Leandro Marina

Image

Right on the water! Noticing a trend here? lol I started biking the San Leandro Marina with my dad not too long ago because it definitely tests your endurance with the marine winds whipping full force. The trail are very big so you don’t feel like you’re dodging bikers and scary looking dogs – My only suggestion is to go in the morning or at dusk. Thank me later.  Oh, I have a cool Instagram video if you’re still not convinced. Check it out here.

5.  Joaquin Miller Park Stairs

You can go on one of the trails at Joaquin Miller Park if you want to but just these stairs are enough to give you a workout in less than 30 minutes. I’m a sucker for stairs, so if you’re in Oakland I’d definitely recommend going to the hills and conquering these once, twice, or three times if you’re adventurous!

A cool way to track your walk or run is to use the MapMyWalk app on your phone. It calculates distance, calories burned, and more. You can even changes the setting to cater to what type of exercise. So, what are your favorite outdoor spots where you love to get a workout in?

Advertisements

Black Girls Do Hike: Muir Woods

Muir5

I can’t believe I waited until the end of summer 2013 to hike Muir Woods.  Even as a Bay Area native, I have  heard about this national monument, seen it on TV, but have never made the drive to visit. People come from all over the world to see the beautiful redwood trees and so I’m glad I had a chance to experience it right in my own backyard.

Muir Woods is located on the Pacific coast about 12 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County.  I went with a friend and we drove from the east bay for about an hour to get to the park. Parking was kind of bad and there were a lot of tourist buses and hella people from all walks of life. We decided to bypass the tourist stroll and do the Dipsea trail which is about a 7 mile loop around the park, moderate to strenuous uphill, and took  us about two hours. I won’t babble on about my experience because my pictures can explain it all, however just know that this was definitely one of my best hiking experiences in the bay!

Muir-Woods-Trail-Map-2.mediumthumb

 

Muir

Muir3

Muir4

Muir7

Muir8

Muir9

Hairless 4 Her Awareness, Inc. “Save The Women Not The Boobies” 2013 Campaign

image-3

Check out the new look and new models for the 2013 Hairless 4 Awareness Inc. “Save The Women Not The Boobies” campaign. Diversity and Beauty all in one creative ad campaign?! Gotta love it!

Hairless 4 Her Awareness is a non-profit organization established after founder Turquoise Johnson decided to part ways with her hair to honor a former teacher and close friend after she lost her battle to breast cancer.  The organization celebrates the lives of the women affected by the disease and provides a support system all women.

With the same familiar brand this year’s campaign features actress/model Shillae Anderson, BET’s 106 & Park producer Stasia Tomlinson and NuVoTV’s “Curvy Girl” Lornalitz. Founder and Creative Director, Turquoise Johnson managed to combine her original vision with new surprises. These lovely models are strapped up with Everlast and included their pink Pro Style Training Gloves symbolizing the beauty, strength, and confidence to combating breast cancer.

image-4

image

image-1

For more information please visit  www.Hairless4HerAwarenessinc.org

Serena Speaks Out on Tennis Star Taylor Townsend

With all the positive news revolving around Serena Williams winning the U.S.Open women’s singles last week, there has also been negative feedback for the number one ranked junior girl’s tennis player Taylor Townsend. According to Essence and the Wall Street Journal, the United States Tennis Association feels she’s overweight. Her coaches refused to travel entry to the U.S. Open because she needs to work on her “health”.  Although the USTA’s player development program made a statement denying these allegations, it still makes me go hmmm…

You would think that this whole weight/body image issue would not be a problem, because Serena Williams (amongst other athletes) have proved grand slam after grand slam that a like donkey in the back will not deter success.  Serena responded (more professional than me) to the media by saying, ” If that happened, that’s obviously a tragedy, because everyone deserves to play,” said Williams. “She’s so sweet and she works so hard. For a female, particularly, in the United States, in particular, and African-American, to have to deal with that is unnecessary. Women athletes come in all different sizes and shapes and colors and everything. I think you can see that more than anywhere on this tennis tour.” ( via ESPN)

The issue with body image and health will forever haunt women in the media and I feel that although we should be focusing on our health and making sure we are fit, we should NEVER be shameful of what God has given us.  I have broad shoulders, and I used to get mad about them but now I’m working to tone my arms and I will be flaunting my new muscles next summer.

 So my question for you all, Do you feel that in order to play a sport you have to be the stereotype of physically fit? Or is the USTA just haters? (based on the allegations)

Black Girls Do Hike – Redwood Regional Park

I hit the trails this past weekend for some much needed fresh air at Redwood Regional Park; which is located in the Oakland Hills. I invited my co-worker along for the hike and we found ourselves lost between the Redwoods (figuratively).  First of all, I am new to the hiking thing so as I was driving up Redwood road I stopped at nearly every staging area where I saw other cars just to see if the trail was okay for us.  Little did I know that all the “safe” hikes were inside the regional park grounds.  We past stables, horses, and even homes deep in the woods to get to our destination.

We paid $5 for parking and decided to do the “Stream Trail” which seemed to be easier since small children and elder people were walking it.  Of course since I had a first-timmer with me who was scaring me to death talking about the “Blair Witch Project” and how she had no signal and how we should leave a paper trail.  It was funny at first but then I got scared cause we were the only black girls out there that day. We soon got over it when we took a detour up the “Prince Trail” which was an uphill slope about half a mile.  It really kicked my butt and reminded me that I was there to work out.

We hiked a total of 4.66 miles on the stream and prince trail.  It’s a very scenic route where dogs and horses were allowed.  I would rate it an easy/moderate hike, its great for beginners. I really enjoyed the redwood trees and the stream that we walked a long.  My goal is to one day walk to the end …one day. Baby Steps.

Hiking has become my new found hobby that will help me to lose 20 more lbs by fall.  Hiking is great exercise and bonding time that is right in our very on Bay Area Backyard. Check back for more hiking adventures next week!

http://www.ebparks.org

Buns, Thighs, and Abs oh My! – Fitness App Must Haves

Whether you are looking for something new to add to your workout or just need a little push without the cost of a trainer, check out my top 3 apps that I frequently use to spice up my own workouts! (Did I mention they’re FREE?!)

Update, two new apps just popped into my life – check it out below!

Nike Training Club #NTC

Hands down, the best exercise iPhone app! Equipped with timed workout that sync to your music playlist.  If you are looking to target a certain area, this would be the best app to tone and build your endurance.  You will need certain equipment like a medicine ball, weights, or jump rope so using the amenities at the gym would be best.  Although it’s by Nike Women the fellas shouldn’t be discouraged because it won’t discriminate on kicking your butt each time.

My 24 – 24 Hour Fitness App

If you are a member of 24 hour fitness this will become very helpful.  I don’t have time to log onto my computer just to check the class schedule so having it synced to my phone and calendar is the BEST! I haven’t played around too much on the other features but this app works best for the on-the-go gym rat.

Ab Workout FREE

This app is beyond corny! I almost didn’t download it until I realized that the only way I am going to get a flatter stomach is through persistence. It has video and she talks to you.  You can do your daily ab workout right after your check your Facebook each morning, simple.

MapMyWalk

unnamed

 

If you walk or run a lot and want to improve your goals or keep track of your workout, this app would be for you. It records your workout, times your walk or run, and provides personal statistics on calories burned, pace, and more. I especially like it for when I hike or ride my back because after your done you get to see a cool map of how far you’ve gone.

MyFitnessPal

myfitnesspal1

 

One thing I regretted about weight watchers was the mobile app where you can keep a food diary, track your weight, and exercise all in one. But that sadness was short lived when I found out that this app does it all for FREE. What’s most important for me is counting calories so this was an easy tool that I could whip out anywhere and calculate just like I would when I was on weight watchers. Highly recommended if you are focusing on nutrition. 

Do you guys have any Fitness Apps that you can’t live without? I’d like to hear from you, sharing is caring =)

Black Girls Do Hike

A couple of weeks ago my hiking buddy Ashley and I got this bright idea to trying different hiking trails in the bay area.  After much contemplation and seeing photos from my Facebook friends we decided that we try to hike Mission Peak in Fremont, Ca.

Mission Peak is a 1500 ft climb up a STEEP dirt trail that is categorized for moderate to easy hikers. The view is so breath-taking that you can’t resist taking multiple breaks to catch your breath overlooking the south bay.   Hiking is a great exercise alternative to the regular gym routine and it works EVERY muscle in your body.  That day I saw different kinds of people; from kids, babies in strollers, big and small, all with one goal to make it to the peak.

If you are local and plan to do this hike I recommend you bring two bottles of water, something to snack on mid-way there, and of course your camera to take pictures of your victory.  Wait, did I mention it was HOT?! So start the early to avoid heat exhaustion. I plan to do this hike next month and actually take a picture at the peak pole. I’m hoping to bring a long other black girls (and guys) so we can add a bit more color to the trails and show the world that not only do we workout, but black girls HIKE!

Serena Williams Nike Collection Celebrates Black History

Since I pretty much live in athletic wear now, I’m always looking for the cutest outfits to wear to the gym or some fly sneakers I can show off in during classes.  Check out the Serena Williams 2012 Nike collection that celebrates Black History month this year.  Nike designers used their signature apparel and added patterns and vibrant colors that reflect the culture.  I thought it was pretty hot seeing Serena debut her collection in Australia a few days ago!

Getty Images

The collection consists of the Nike Sportswear Destroyer Jacket, Seasonal Knit jacket, the Nike C72 Bag, and the Nike Air Max Mirabella 3.