How to Workout With Asthma

Asthma: nature’s cruel joke. Trying to workout with asthma? Nature’s even crueler joke! Am I right? (We both know I am.) Trust me, asthma is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I’ve been where you are, I AM where you are, I will be where you are tomorrow, next month, and five years from now.

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How to Workout When You Have Asthma

I have had asthma for as long as I can remember. I brought my inhaler and spacer to kindergarten with me where it lived on my teacher’s desk until after recess or PE when I would most surely need a puff. However, I’ve also been active for most of my life. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and made mud pies and rode horses with my brother, played youth league sports as a youngster, and was a cheerleader and basketball player in junior high and high school. Track and cross country running is where I drew the line because my asthma was always a limitation. To me, this is funny because I’ve ran more miles, done more sprinting, and jumped higher/broader than I ever did as a teenager. In 2014 I successfully trained for and completed a half marathon — something even my most athletic peers from high school have yet to attempt.

How to Workout with Asthma

So what changed? How did I discover how to workout with asthma, and generally just enjoy life more? I did not “grow out” of my asthma, as many people tend to do. As I see it, two major things shifted in my adult life. I began to “know my body”, which definitely includes my chest and lungs, and I learned to work with my asthma, rather than against it.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. What follows are simply strategies that have worked for me throughout the last 28 years.


This makes all the difference. Modern medicine is a great thing and has made great strides. I have a group of daily prescribed medications I take, as well as some OTC meds to supplement my routine. A lot of my asthma is allergy related (yay, Texas!), so I take a daily Zyrtec to help control my year-round allergies, as well as maintain my asthma. I take these medications regardless of whether it’s a workout day or a rest day, so this routine not only helps me workout with asthma, but make it through life with less attacks.


As with any routine, it may not be smart go all-in right away. I used to feel so much shame for taking walk breaks during running, or extending my rest time between sets. This issue was as much mental for me as it was physical. Once I stopped shaming myself for taking the breaks my body needed, I was able to build up the endurance necessary to complete the activities I set out to tackle. When I started running, I used the Couch-to-5K program and I think the built in walk breaks provided not only helped me build up my running endurance, but helped me build up my asthmatic endurance. Remember, there is no shame in giving your body the rest it needs.

How to Workout with Asthma


This doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot. If you start to struggle shortly after beginning your activity, try taking a puff of your emergency inhaler before starting your workout. This can sometimes help to head off symptoms before they start.


I mentioned that a lot of my asthma symptoms are allergy related. This can mean that I struggle more at different parts of the year than others, especially depending on where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing! If my allergies are exceptionally irritated, or if I’ve been suffering from a cold, it might mean taking an extra rest day. That’s something I still struggle with, but I know it’s better to take the time my body needs to heal than to stop every five minutes to catch my breath or use my inhaler.


Whether you play pick-up basketball (like my brother, who is also asthmatic!), run miles upon miles, or gargle your heart in crossfit, finding a workout you enjoy is important. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll be more likely to seek out ways to overcome your obstacles. My turning point was finding group fitness! I loved the classes I was attending and I never wanted to stop participating!

Do you have asthma? Do you have other health issues making fitness difficult? How do you overcome those obstacles?


I’m linking this post up for Wild Workout Wednesday with Fitful Focus and Fit Foodie Mama! (I can’t get the link-up button to show up, so links will have to do. Wah wah!)

Best Workout DVDs When You’re Pressed for Time

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A few years ago, I was an avid, five-days-a-week, gym goer. These days, I work out exclusively at home. Because of that, I’ve curated the basic essentials of a home gym, which includes an arsenal of DVDs and digital downloads. I’ve tried a lot over the years. Sometimes I workout for an hour, but sometimes I have 30 minutes or less. (#LIFE) Lately, that seems to be the case more often than not. These are the best workout DVDs when I’m short on time, but still want to get a great sweat in!

The Best Workout DVDs When You're Pressed for Time

When time is not my friend, I find that it’s best to focus on a full body workout so I can maximize my time and get my heart pumping. For me, this usually means a combination of strength and cardio intervals. Sometimes body weight workouts are the way to go, and other times I throw some dumbbells into the mix. These are some of my favorites (in no particular order) and can all be found on Amazon!

1 // Jillian Michaels Kickbox FastFix

If you’re a cardio kickboxing fan (like me!), give this one a shot. This DVD features three workouts, all around 20 minutes each. The workouts are broken down into upper body, lower body, and core, but each one has a total body element. I often tack this on to the end of a full workout for a cardio element. I own many, many Jillian Michaels DVDs and this one is at the top of my list!


2 // HIIT the Beach (from the original Beach Babe DVD)

By now, you probably recognize my obsession with Tone It Up. 🙂 This HIIT workout is only 18 minutes, but hits every part of your body and gets your blood pumping. Karena and Katrina have added three more additions to their Beach Babe collection since releasing this, all with some kind of HIIT workout. They’re all great options, but I like this one best!


3 // PiYo Strength Intervals (from the PiYo program)

A few things… I LOVE Chalene Johnson and her programs! Truly, if it had not been her Turbo Kick live program I wouldn’t have the love of fitness that I do today. For years, I attended group fitness classes and both Turbo Kick and PiYo were regularly on my docket. When I discovered Chalene and Beachbody created a home version of PiYo, I knew I had to order it. PiYo is Chalene’s pilates and yoga combination strength program. I love it! Many of the workouts also have a cardio element and the 25 min. Strength Intervals is always great. It uses body weight strength with cardio intervals to get a full body workout in under 30 minutes. I regularly do this workout when I travel because the lack of required equipment is perfect in a guest room or hotel!

4 // Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

Obviously, you can see I think Jillian is the queen of creating the best workout DVDs! But, that said, I think 30 Day Shred probably holds a valuable place in most people’s home gyms. It’s been around for many years and Jillian’s 3-2-1 method works! The three workouts feature three different levels that advance in difficulty as you master each one. This can be used as its own program, or as a supplemental workout to an established program.


5 // Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED

I mentioned that 30 Day Shred could stand alone as its own program. Well, the BODYSHRED program is the advanced, master level 30 Day Shred. I know I said these workout DVDs were listed in no particular order, but I think I saved the best for last! After recently completing this program, I can’t sing its praises enough! I didn’t get bored, I didn’t get burnt out, and I was kind of sad to see myself finish it! Every single workout is 30 minutes long and features Jillian’s 3-2-1 method, which is effective and fun. I definitely see myself completing this again in the future.

Honorable mentions: 10 Minute Slim & Sculpt Pilates, Ultimate Bootycall from Beach Babe DVD #3, and Body Revolution (as recommended by my mom!).

If you want to see how I implement these and other workouts into my schedule, follow me on Instagram!


What are the best workout DVDs in your collection?



I’m linking this post up for Wild Workout Wednesday with Fitful Focus!

#LookForLove Challenge | Weeks 1 & 2

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I’m going to chronicle my journey through the six-week #LookForLove Tone It Up Challenge! I’ve been on the #TIUTeam for almost three years now. I have done a number of different programs in the last three years — many of which I loved — but I always find myself turning back to Karena and Katrina for their positivity and confidence. And I also feel like we would be BFF if we knew each other in real life.

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Tone It Up Challenge

I have really enjoyed the first couple weeks of this challenge! As long as I’ve been following Tone It Up, I’ve never really followed the weekly schedule they write. I would use their workouts, but pick based on whatever I felt like I might want to do that week. So far, I’m enjoying the way they’re making the schedules. Every since they added the Daily Moves feature, the workouts are much more prescriptive.

Tone It Up Challenge

Follow my #LookForLove Challenge journey on Instagram!

The first couple of weeks have been so much fun! I’m loving all the new workouts and collaboration with Jillian Michaels fulfills so many of my fangirl dreams! Right before starting this challenge, I finished Jillian’s BodyShred program and a lot of the TIUxJM workouts are very similar to it. I love them!

Tone It Up Challenge

My nutrition the first week was completely lackluster. My Christmas vacation didn’t end until last Monday, and I took full advantage of vacation mode! I didn’t meal prep anything and I snacked a lot. Honestly, I kind of enjoyed it, but I’m paying for it now. This past week was much better on the clean eating track, though I did have a few slip ups. I need a chocolate detox, haha.

I can feel the changes and the effects of the workouts on my body, but I’m not seeing a lot of measurable changes yet. In fact, I’m actually up a couple of pounds since starting the challenge. That’s probably due to my wild Christmas vacation. 🙂 But I’m not going to stress over two or three pounds because those pounds represent fun, rest, and loving my body enough to loosen the reigns for a short time. I’m looking forward to getting back into my #mealprepsunday habits and staying on track for the remainder of the challenge. Four weeks to go!

Anyway… I’m off to get my hair cut and enjoy this last day of my three-day weekend! If you have the day off, what are you up to today? Are you participating in any January fitness challenges?

How To Wake Up Early to Work Out

Maybe you made a New Year’s Resolution to workout. Maybe you made a New Year’s Resolution to work out in the mornings. Sometimes, that’s certainly easier said than done, but dragging yourself out of the bed is half the battle. Here are a few of my tips for how to wake up early to workout!

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how to wake up early to work out

I have been working out around 5 a.m. for about five years now. I have always been a morning person for the most part, but I wasn’t always a 5 o’clock in the morning person. 🙂 I’ll never say that it’s easy, but 99 percent of the time, it’s worth it — for me!

ONE // Find an accountability group

This tip was the game changer for me. In the beginning of my health journey, I joined a morning boot camp. There were two time slots offered — 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. I would have never made it to work on time if I joined the 6 a.m. group, so 5 a.m. it was! Knowing that each morning, 30 other women were counting on me to wake up early and meet them was incredibly motivating. I knew if I didn’t come, I could expect a “Where were you??” Facebook post a few hours later.

TWO // Lay out your workout clothes the night before

This one may seem insignificant, but it makes a huge difference. When you’re trying to fit in a workout before starting your day, every minute counts. It saves me so much time knowing my clothes are ready to throw on as soon as I roll out of bed. My husband also appreciates that I’m not rifling through the drawers and making a lot of noise that early. 😉

THREE // Go to bed earlier

One key to waking up earlier is going to bed earlier! If waking up early begins to be a habit for you, then going to bed at an earlier time will likely become a natural consequence. I’m usually asleep by 9:30 at the latest. Gotta get those Zzz!

FOUR // Pre-Prep Your Pre-Workout

What is your pre-workout of choice? A lot of people stick to plain old coffee, but I usually drink Spark. I save my coffee for after my workout because I simply don’t have time to wait for it to brew. I can mix my Spark the night before and stick it in the fridge. After I’m dressed and meander my way into the kitchen, it’s just a few minutes before I’m ready to get to work!

FIVE // Stop Hitting Snooze — JUST DO IT

I could tell you to put your alarm on the other side of the room, but if we’re being realistic, you probably use your phone as your alarm. Your phone is probably plugged in next to you all night long! I know mine is. What finally got me out of my snooze habit was getting married. My husband is NOT snoozer and he would be so annoyed if my alarm kept going off every nine minutes. 😀 If I was going to wake up early, I finally just had to get over my excuses and do it.

What time do you choose to workout? Do you have trouble waking up early?

If you enjoyed this post, check out 5 Advantages of Morning Workouts!

Chocolate Almond Post Workout Smoothie

Hey, friends! Any of my teacher friends heading back to school today?! I started back last Friday, but my kiddos come back today. So on this first day back to school, here’s a post workout smoothie recipe you can make as you’re running out the door. This post workout smoothie is easy, fast, and tastes great!

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post workout smoothie

For most of us, mornings are crazy busy. When I’m trying to head out the door and get to school, a smoothie is sometimes the easiest thing to grab. Over Christmas break, I threw this together quickly after a workout and I know I’ll be going back to it again and again. Post workout or snack time smoothies are a great way to get in your macronutrients with some micronutrients thrown in too. 🙂

8 oz. unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp. almond butter
Small handful of sliced almonds
~1/2 c. spinach
1/2 c. ice

Simply blend ingredients together until smooth and you’re ready to go!

For this PWO smoothie, I used our Nutri Ninja Auto-IQ. We received it as a wedding gift and I love it! It’s been one of our most used items.

Do you have some favorite go-to recipes after a workout?