Nov 20

Allie’s Arms – The Trifecta

I want to start by saying that I’m completely flattered to have so many requests to do an “arm” workout post.    I eat up every single compliment I get on my arms and when I had my feature day on Another Mother Runner I think I got more “How can I get your arms?” then “How can I run like you?”  I’m not sure how to feel about that but hey, I take all compliments freely and try not to read too much into anything.

Before I squash all of your thoughts on getting arms of steel I want to set you up to fail set your expectations.  The good thing about having sculpted arms is that no one hardly notices all the hair I have on them.  Yeah, it’s pretty disgusting but I’m Cuban and Italian.  The only thing I have more of then hair is temper.  At least I can invest in a good bottle of Nair for the arm hair.

Stop trying to look at my arm hair!  Amazingly you can't see it in this photo.

Stop trying to look at my arm hair! Amazingly you can’t see it in this photo.

Now, where was I?  Ah yes, the trifecta of getting great arms:

1.  Have good genes.  Yes, I work my ass off to achieve a certain level of fitness and, therefore, defined muscles but I also build muscle easily.  Most people think I lift a lot of weights but the truth is I only do a strength workout once a week by teaching a Power Sculpt class.  I don’t lift heavy weights either.

2.  Eat right.  This is probably the single most important thing.  I don’t eat crap.  Ever.  I drink wine, and occasionally beer, and here and there I eat french fries or a decadent dessert but I never eat junk.  How do I define junk?  Processed food of any kind.  Fast food.  Soda.  Soda is the mother of all crap.  You’re probably better off smoking then drinking soda.  I firmly believe in everything in moderation and I would never suggest to make any food off limits but these are my limits.  Having a “clean” diet gives you a lean, mean, definition machine for a body.  If there’s any “secret,” that’s it.

3.  Work out like an animal.  I already said I don’t really lift weights but when I do, I go hard.  I also do a lot of body weight exercises like mountain climbers, planks, push-ups and side planks.  Obviously I also run a lot.  Think about what you’re doing with your arms when you’re running.  They’re lifted in a “L” position and pumping back and forth for literally hours at a time.  That’s work.  I also recently started biking a lot more and I teach two cycle classes a week which is more upper body work.  If you have a strong upper body it can carry you through the last horrid mile(s) of a run or race – or enable you to carry a child and a bag of groceries at the same time.  Your legs will always follow your arms and, if they’re strong, you’ll finish strong.

Now that you know the trifecta of Allie arms – let’s get to work!  You may notice I have some assistance on this one in the form of a healthy Miles.  Wonder twin powers – activate!




In case you want the written version:

Set your timer or GymBoss for 3 rounds of 30 second intervals


“Pick up the baby” or plank/lunge/bicep curl, alternating legs – 30 seconds

Plank and row, alternating arms – 30 seconds

Push-up with “T” lift, alternating sides – 30 seconds

Repeat the above for 3 round with no rest in between exercises or rounds.  Once you have completed three rounds, take a short break for 1 minute or less and on to round two!


Seated bicep curls with legs lifted – 30 seconds

Backward step-down to knees, step back up with arms overhead, alternating sides – 30 seconds

Tricep extensions with bent knees or standing on one leg – 30 seconds

Repeat the above for 3 round with no rest in between exercises or rounds.  Once you have completed three rounds, you can be done or you can start from the top! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of sweat with me!  You can find this video under VITA SWEATS as well as on my YouTube channel.  As always, let me know what you want to see next.  I’m thinking cardio kickboxing…


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  1. thedoseofreality

    I have to say that I really appreciate the honesty of this post…I love that you say, flat out, that you do not eat crap. And also you are so right about all the exercises you do that benefit your arms without actually being arm exercise specific! Plus, you are the cutest ever…and I loved the quick cameo by Miles! :)-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…Would You Rather: Gorge Yourself Or Pass The Plate?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Ashley. You know I give it to you straight here!!

  2. Alison

    Eating crap got me to where I landed uncomfortably and unhappily. Clean eating now for 10 days and I feel so good! I have a way to go yet, but I’m already making conscious decisions on what not to put in my body. And I have fallen in love with salads. I practically salivate at fresh greens.

    Yoga did wonders for my arms, back when I practiced a lot. I’m hoping they get back to where they were, now that I’m back yoga-ing. And I’m gonna try your moves at the gym!
    Alison recently posted…Existential BummerMy Profile

    1. vita88

      YES! I’ve been following your journey and I love it. It proves that your body will crave whatever you give it – if it’s healthy, you will crave healthy. Simple but not easy.
      I also had a love affair with yoga once…before kids. It does wonders for the arms too.

  3. Beth

    I admit I started following you after your AMR feature because of your picture! I want your arms! I showed my husband, pointing out that you are the same age as me. Gave me hope that it’s doable. Thank you for being completely honest about your genes, clean eating, and hard work. I’ve been running for two years and clean eating for over six months. Amazed how the fat just melts off, and now I’m working on toning. Trying out all of your workouts this week. Thank you for posting!

    1. vita88

      I will take it!! Thank you so much. You are absolutely on the right track!! It is totally doable at 38 and beyond. Congrats on changing your lifestyle – it’s not easy but so, so worth it.

  4. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    Thanks for all of your “secrets”. People want quick fixes and you hit the nail on the head. It takes work and a lot of it. You are a great role model for the success one can achieve by putting in the work.

    1. vita88

      Thanks Kris! I’ve trained enough clients to know that a lot of people are chasing “magic” when the magic is within themselves. The rub is that it’s not “magic” at all but a hell of a lot of hard work and sacrifice. I know I’m preaching to the choir talking to you:-)

      1. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

        I appreciate the complement but I am still a work in progress. I’m still trying find out what works for changing physical needs.
        Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Stretching The LimitsMy Profile

        1. vita88

          We’re all “works in progress.” At least you’re out there trying to make good, healthy decisions. Onward!

  5. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    I can’t believe you only strength train once a week! That’s crazy. You look so good! I love how this video uses compound movements. As you said, you really do go hard and you are getting a great workout in more than just your arms! And Miles is adorable! How is he feeling?
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…The Wackiest Workouts I’ve Ever TriedMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Britt! Miles is doing great. He went back to pre-school today and was literally bouncing into the room. Thanks for asking.

  6. misszippy

    I’m loving this video series you are doing! Quick and effective is so key to me with strength work. And I’ve heard it said many a time that six packs are made in the kitchen–I agree that this is true!
    misszippy recently posted…Observations from my sick bedMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I LOVE that! Yes, six packs (and lots of other muscle definition) are made in the kitchen. You nailed it!

  7. Fydo

    Great video – I will give it a try…. with less weight, 10 is pushing it for me. Thanks Allie.

    1. vita88

      Absolutely. Start with 5’s or 8’s and work your way up. It will only help when you’re pushing up those hills in February at the half!

  8. Ashley @ Power, Love, and Self-Discipline

    Love this workout!!! Awesome combination moves! Can’t wait to try it out
    Ashley @ Power, Love, and Self-Discipline recently posted…Kicked Up Kale ChipsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m so glad! Let me know what you think after you give it a try.

  9. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    Love this, Allie! I especially love that you point out that genes have a lot to do with our body and muscle types. I will never have a six-pack or ripped muscles. It’s just not the way my body works. I also agree that nutrition is probably the most overlooked aspect of achieving definition. Of course, I don’t think I can ever give up my beloved fountain Coke, but I agree that fresh, non-processed is best for the majority of what we eat. Dessert or wine or an indulgence every now and then is fine. Every day, not so much!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…2013 Richmond Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I totally forgot about your fountain coke thing! We’ll have to chat about that someday. I completely agree that once in a while is KEY and, if you truly love something, eat it and drink it in moderation. You so get it:-) Hope you’re recovering nicely from you marathon PR!

  10. Tamara

    I love, love, love this post (and Miles in the video) because or your honesty and helpfulness! It’s really awesome. I don’t have amazing arms but it does remind me of how often people say, “Your camera takes great photos!” (thanks, I taught it everything it knows) As well as, “If I get your camera, will I take photos like you?”

    And. Well. No. Some of it is my genes. Some of it is the..I don’t know…10-15 years of training! And there’s a lot more to that. But still. Yes. Go out and spend $2,000 on camera equipment anyway.

    Wow I sound bitter! I’m more amused. And not as awesome as you are to be more helpful on my blog.
    Tamara recently posted…I Wish I Were Big.My Profile

    1. vita88

      Oh you have me laughing!! I never thought about someone might do that to a photographer!? You don’t sound bitter (well, maybe a tad) but totally understandable and relatable. That camera of yours really does take great pictures. Maybe I can borrow it? HA HA!! Thanks Tamara!!

  11. Kim

    LOVE this video!!! Miles is such a cutie – glad he is feeling good!!!
    And – I can’t wait to try a couple of those moves – I love the circuits but plan to also make a couple of those into my daily moves.
    I sometimes feel bad about some of the crap I eat but for the most part I’m OK with it – I know that if I eliminated a couple of things I might see a few changes but I like Cheetos!!!
    Kim recently posted…Is it a Compliment when you add a Qualifier?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Kim! You bring up an excellent point. A lot of my clients would complain about losing a tiny amount of belly fat or wanting “six pack” abs and I would ask them how much they want it. A lot of things are attainable but are you willing to make the sacrifices to attain them? No? Then who cares and stop worrying about a six pack of abs and just enjoy your fitness level AND your Cheetos. It’s a game of give and take and, at the end of the day, how much you really want it.

  12. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    I’m part of the I want ‘Allie’s arms club! 🙂 Love it. And I’m excited to work out with you soon. 🙂
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…3 Ingredient Chocolate MousseMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha! Thanks Laura! I want to be able to cook like you and make all those amazing dishes that are so healthy AND tasty. How do you do it? I wish we could eat together soon:-)

  13. Brittnei

    This is ironic. I was thinking how amazing your arms looked when I saw you on the Running blog. Great advice! We definitely try to adhere to this for sure in my house.
    Brittnei recently posted…When You’re Discouraged About Your Health..My Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha! Thank you. It’s definitely harder with my kids to get them eat healthy and I’m not always successful. I’ve just started to teach them how to read labels. I’ve gotten some strange looks in the grocery store but hey, you need to start ’em young!

  14. Hope

    I love your candor and your “non sugar coated-ness” 🙂 . I think eating clean is tantamount. I definitely have room for improvement.
    Hope recently posted…The best sleep position.My Profile

    1. vita88

      We all do but if you’re eating well *most* of the time, it goes a long way. Thanks Hope!

  15. Dana

    Thanks for this Allie – I love arm workouts! I just watched your video and wrote down the workout on an index card to bring to the gym with me. Yay! And I know I have to eat cleaner – I know. That’s the hardest part of the equation for me. But I am swearing off diet soda right now – that’s progress, right?
    Dana recently posted…I’m a Literary JunkieMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That’s HUGE progress. I promise you will feel and look better without soda! I’m so excited that you’re bringing the workout to the gym! Let me know how it goes:-)

  16. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    Thank you for sharing Allie’s awesome rules of hotness. I admit I ate a lot of crap before–but now that I know better I am doing better. I don’t drink soda, it has never appealed to me really. Juice on the other hand…ugh.

    I never thought about runners arms moving and pumping! makes totally sense that they are working hard too!! I love your video–you should create some workouts for pinterest–I bet they would take off!!

    you are so inspiring ms. Allie you are my fitness SHERO for sure.

    Also my hubbys side is super hairy–its has to be the latin!!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Planks With Leg LiftsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I love that! SHEHO is all kinds of awesome. Thank you so much Nellie. I know you’re working hard toward your fitness goals and you’re making huge progress.
      I’m so happy you mentioned Pinterest. I’m not on it (GASP!) and was thinking of writing a blog asking you all to give me some good reasons to BE there. I think I just found the one reason I need!!

  17. Karen

    Thank you for posting this! Your workouts are great. .
    After having four children in relatively quick succession (they are now ages 7, 5, 3 and 1) , I decided was time to do something for me and started running. It has been life changing. I’m 30 pounds lighter and have logged 900 miles this year! I feel liberated. .
    With your workouts and inspiration from other Mother Runners like you, I have my eyes on a full marathon.
    Thank you for your candidness, your motivation and your inspiration.
    You are amazing.

    1. vita88

      Thank YOU! Wow 900 miles this year? With 4 kids? That’s nothing short of miraculous. How do you do it? You, my friend are amazing! Keep it up. I’m certain you will attain all of your goals! 26.2 baby. You can do it!

  18. Sara @ Fit.Fun.Femme

    This was my FAVORITE video yet. Miles is a hoot and so, so adorable. I love how you’re always working more than one muscle group at a time. I really need to do that more because I want to punch myself in the face if I’m lifting weights for more than 30 minutes. ADD for sure.

    Please keep posting these! And I’d love to hear about how you eat clean while traveling. Much love!

    1. vita88

      I’m right there with you and the weight lifting ADD! That’s probably the reason I only lift weights when I teach. It’s so boring to me! I know people think long distance running is boring but, it’s an action thriller movie compared to lifting weights for me!! Thanks Sara:-)

  19. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    YOU + ME = SAME MIND SET and I love it! Eating clean is KEYYYYY!!! And working out like a BEASTTTTTLY ANIMAL, YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! 😀 I wish we could eat and work out together – It would be like TWO BEARS ATTACKING SALMON !
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…We’re Getting Chili!My Profile

    1. vita88

      If we could capture that on video, we’d be rich GiGi!!!

  20. Crystal@TheFastFitRunner

    You do have killer arms!!! This was a great post because of how true it is! So much of muscle definition is diet. I have a friend who just lost 22 pounds (even though she was by no means overweight) by cleaning it up. She eats about 500 calories more per day and can even have some candy/sweets (her weakness) because her normal diet is so clean and healthy that neither the small treats nor the extra calories affect her!

    And I can’t even tell you how much I preach about soda to anyone who will listen. I have told my husband 190903 times that while I don’t want to make many things off limits to our child as he gets older, soda will be a “no”, plain and simple!

    1. vita88

      So true! You can actually eat more if it’s healthy *and* you get a little sweet or salty in too. It’s a win/win.
      I’m the same with my kids and soda. They have yet to drink it…we’ll see how long it lasts!

  21. Melissa @ Home on Deranged

    Okay, that video has to go in the hall of fame for fitness videos somewhere. Makes working out seem kind of like fun. And thanks as always for your brutal honesty. Sometimes hard to hear, but always worth it!
    Melissa @ Home on Deranged recently posted…5 ways to tell if you are the favorite parent in your houseMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Hall of fame? I love you so much for saying that!! I actually *do* have fun when I workout so glad that’s coming through!! Thanks so much Melissa!

  22. Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady

    Your arms are fierce. I get the same thing all the time and for a lot of it is genes as well. Lots of Combat and 2x/wk Pump for maintaining. I would love for your next sweat to be cardio kickboxing…YEAH!!! Your videos are impressive. Would you still love me if you knew I had a thang going on with Dr Pepper 🙂
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted…“Deer in Headlights” – NST Recap from A #ViExpertMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You know a thing or two about amazing arms!! Yes indeed.
      I know – you and Nicole with her fountain soda and you with the Dr. Pepper!? I cannot figure that out but hey – I said no deprivation and it doesn’t seem to be hurting either of you.
      Of course I still love you xoxo

  23. Kate

    Oh my goodness- I don’t have one, two or three!
    Kate recently posted…Hop aboard the reading train…My Profile

    1. vita88

      Don’t despair Kate! If you have the will, then there’s a way. Like I tell my clients – take it one day at a time just like an alcoholic.

  24. Holly

    YES I’m one of those who envied your arms too! Arms are tuff like really hard to sculpt so hard that when I do an arm workout I can’t shampoo my hair the next day. Because of the hurt…I skip on them and do pushups or planks and say YAY I did “arms” haha. I like your workout and its very well laid out so I’m going to give it a try and let you know how it goes!
    Holly recently posted…The Pig, 14th Street Bars, and DJ SkrillexMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Holly! I can so relate to the shampoo thing – ouch!!
      Definitely let me know how it goes. 🙂

  25. Kimberly H. Smith

    This is totally doable for me, Allie. I am pinning this. Thanks for the education on it not being all about the weights to get arms like yours.
    Kimberly H. Smith recently posted…Mastering My Master Bedroom Closet (Part 1 of 2)My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much. I have to speak the truth!

  26. Leah

    Love your videos! Love the honesty of this post. As much as I want to be healthy all the time and look great – there are some foods that I don’t want to give up (some sweets, certain restaurants – not fast food – but just some of our local faves) and so I know that it’s a trade off. I know I will never be as “sculpted” as I probably could be – but only because I’m not willing to make the sacrifices – but I’m good with that!! But I still need to improve – so appreciate all the tips you give here!
    Leah recently posted…Quote of the WeekMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You SO “get it” Leah. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a trade off. You want to be healthy but you also want to live your life and have fun. That’s why models and body builders lives revolve around food (or lack of it) and fitness so they can look a certain way in competition or on camera. Don’t give up those fav restaurants girl – that’s the good stuff!!

  27. Beth Teliho

    Oh, gurl, I need you as my personal trainer! Great video. True tips (that I’m currently not following, except for the sodas one, don’t drink ’em) I’ve been off the wagon for a few months, but this does inspire me to get back on it. My arms are my best (possibly only) feature, so I love when they’re in shape and lookin’ good! I need to eat cleaner and exercise again. Got discouraged and quit everything. I have some issues. Blah blah blah. Boring story, but I do want/need to get back in the swing-o-things, not only to feel better but for my health, too.
    Beth Teliho recently posted…That’s What She Said Last NightMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Sounds like you’re on the right track. At least you know what you need to do and what it takes to get there. I’m sure you will reach your goals!! Thanks so much for watching, reading and commenting. I definitely appreciate it.

  28. Michelle

    Ok I will admit to eating a little crap. I do like soda. I try to stay away from it and I can go without it, but I enjoy it. I need to do more with my arms. But I did get out for a run this morning in this freezing cold…I am very happy to be in by the fire though now!
    Michelle recently posted…Hey Coach: Give the Kid a Chance! {Guest Post from Eli at Coach Daddy}My Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG I know! I was wearing my TrailHeads neck warmer and gloves but I was absolutely frozen. I didn’t realize how windy it was. I needed my running jacket for sure. There’s definitely a fire in my near future.

  29. Emma @ a mom runs this town

    This is great. Can’t wait to try! Thanks for sharing and keep them coming!
    Emma @ a mom runs this town recently posted…Workout of the Week 1 and A WINNERMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Emma! Love the link-up 🙂

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