Archive of ‘Fitness’ category

Be A Badass Bride: Get Fit for “I do” and Beyond

I don’t think of myself as your typical bride-to-be. We’ve been engaged for two weeks and endless amounts of people have been asking me where the wedding will be, what theme I’m going with, what color the bridesmaids dresses will be? UM..I have no idea. 

But I could tell you exactly what type of hardwood floor and kitchen countertop I’d like in my future home, how I’m going to decorate my office and that there will be a kick-ass gym in the garage. 

So the other day I was looking at a bridal checklist organized by months up until the wedding (that we still don’t have a confirmed date for) and one caught my eye:

“Find the perfect dress.”

Oh hell. Can’t I just wear some Converse and Lululemon leggings? I kid, of course. I’m sure dress shopping will be fun, it’s just not something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl. Then this thought popped into my head:

“I have to get into shape before I start trying on dresses.”

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WHAT? Did I really just think that? First of all, what does “getting into shape” even mean? If I really had to define goals for myself at the very moment, it’d probably be putting on some muscle; I’ve had low energy since my celiac diagnosis and my workouts have been lacking.

So basically I need to start lifting some heavy shit. But for a dress fitting….NO. To me, this frame of mind is just not ok. Perhaps the thought popped into my head because it’s so common to hear women say they need to lose weight, get toned or whatever it may be for their wedding day.

First off, how about we love ourselves as we currently are and if we do want to make a change, we do so for ourselves. So that beyond the hectic wedding planning days and the short five hours of the reception, we continue to go to the gym and eat well.

Living a continuous healthy lifestyle vs. getting fit for a special event.

It’s drilled into our heads. We set goals so that we look a certain way for something, rather than for ourselves. I know so many brides who come back from their honeymoon feeling like crap and having gained a minimum of a few pounds. Why?  Because we practically starve ourselves during the months leading up to the wedding and once that last photo is taken we’re eating and drinking everything in sight so we no longer feel deprived.

So how can we overcome this frame of mind?

1. Know that you are good enough, right now. Your fiancé did get down on one knee and ask you to spend the rest of your life him, and I doubt he said “Will you marry me, once you’re in better shape.” You are enough, just the way you are.

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2. If you want to change your body, do it for you. Not for the dress, photos or because you want to look better than your fiancé’s ex who is also getting married soon. Do this for you and let the new healthy habits become a part of who you are so they stick around long after your wedding day.

3. Put down the Skinny Latte and magazine, get off the elliptical and lift some heavy shit. Not sure where to begin when it comes to an exercise program? Start with these five workouts in my free workout booklet

4. Please, please don’t starve yourself. Instead of removing foods from your diet, add healthy ones in. Have two servings of veggies with lunch and dinner and make sure each meal has a protein in it. This way you can still eat some of the delicious foods you love while adding in extra nutrients, all without feeling deprived.

We all want to look good as we’re up at the altar saying our vows, I get it.  But the idea of getting in shape just for the “I do” doesn’t sit well with me. Yes, doing intense workouts and staying on top of my nutrition is something I’ve been thinking about a bit more than usual since I said yes, and that isn’t a bad thing. But forget doing it for the big day. 

I lift heavy and eat well because I want to be a bit more badass. There, doesn’t that sound better?

3 Workouts You Can Do in 20 Minutes

Blog-20 min workout

I get it. You’re busy, we all are. Getting to the gym for an hour can seem next to impossible at times so we skip it…. again and again.

But who says workouts have to be an hour long? If you have 20 minutes to spare (yes, you do) then you have plenty of time to get in an effective workout. Short workouts are my favorite because I work extra hard, knowing it’ll be over soon.

Rules for 20 minute workouts:

1. Use exercises that’ll get you the biggest bang for your buck. This means multi-joint movements that utilize lots of muscles at once (think squats, lunges, push-ups). Big movements get our heart rate up and increase the metabolic demand on our bodies.

2. Challenge yourself. This could mean using loads that are heavier than you’d normally choose, moving faster through the sets, resting less etc. You want the intensity to be high so you burn calories long after the workout is over, this is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

3. Don’t rest longer than you need to. This should go without saying since the workout is only 20 minutes long you don’t want to be resting for the majority of it.

4. Use proper form and technique. Always always always. Just because this is short and intense doesn’t mean the movements can look like crap. Choose quality over quantity.

Now let’s check out a few sample 20 minute workouts. Feel free to use these or make some of your own up using the rules above.

*Note: No matter the duration of a workout, please warm-up first. Even if you’ve just got 20 minutes, spend the first 5 doing something simple. This could be going through the exercises in your circuit with bodyweight only for a round or two, or you can try this:

-Foam roll, bridges, plank, downward dog, bodyweight squats (1-2 rounds 10-15 reps)

For each of the workouts below you can:

Perform these exercises one after the other and repeat as many rounds as possible within the amount of time you have. Take note of how many rounds you do so you can see your improvement each time you perform this workout.

OR

Set a timer and do each movement for 30 seconds-1 minute before moving onto the next, resting minimally between sets.

Sample Workout 1:

1a. Goblet squat x 10 reps
1b. Inverted row x 10 reps
1c. Push–ups x 10 reps

Sample Workout 2:

1a. Walking lunges x 8-10 reps each leg
1b. Bilateral bent-over row (both arms each time) x 8-10 reps
1c. Push press (dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell) x 8-10 reps

Sample Workout 3:

1a. Romanian deadlift or single leg RDL x 10 reps
1b. Chin-ups (or assisted chin-ups) x 10 reps
1c. Dumbbell bench press, alternating arms x 10 reps 

There may only be 3 exercises in each circuit but don’t let this fool you. Work hard and you’ll find out just how effective you can be in a short amount of time. The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing quick workouts like this, bodyweight or with an added load. Don’t let lack of time keep you from moving. Make the most of what you’ve got and get on with your day.

Want more quick workouts? Download my “5 fast, fat burning workouts” booklet here!

This Is How You Get Results

One of the most popular questions I’m asked is “What is the number one way to get results?”

My answer: be consistent.

Consistency is the path that will lead to long term, sustainable success. Yet often times it’s ignored.

Consistency

It is CRAZY how many people get so excited for a fourteen day cleanse, exercising each day and eating clean as can be, only to gain everything back come day seventeen. Why does this happen? Because a temporary cleanse isn’t consistent once it’s over. It’s just over. And you go back to your prior behaviors consisting of eating poorly and skipping out on the gym.

And you know what, it’s not your fault.

We are living in a world of detoxes, one month challenges and quick fixes. So it’s only natural for you to think that you just have to be on point for a short time period and you will see results. Most of the time with these “short cuts” we do see positive changes, but they don’t stick with us because we’re no longer taking action, the cleanse is over so we are finished.

Now I’m just using a cleanse as an example, and let’s keep going with it. Let’s find a positive in these types of challenges.

People are usually pretty compliant and consistent during the allotted time period. Why? Most likely because you are being held accountable (maybe you are doing it with a group of friends or have a challenge going on at work), and because there’s a specific timeline. It’s fairly easy to be on your best behavior when you know you only have to be good for fourteen days or whatever length of time the cleanse is running for. You can see the finish line and probably have a date to the nearest Shake Shack planned the second it’s over, so you’re able to stay consistent for a few weeks.

Well, I have news for you. Cleansing is unrealistic. We can’t be on a constant detox in the real world. So we’ve got to find a way to get on that road to consistency that is sustainable.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Find something you enjoy doing that will help toward your wellness related goal. You have to want to do this activity, it can’t be something you dread doing.
  1. Create a schedule to do this action. It has to be specific and repeatable. Write it down. Hint: If you don’t have a planner or calendar (a real live paper one, not on a laptop or phone) click here to print one of these out and keep it where you’ll see it every day.
  1. Do it. For how long? Well since we are creating sustainable healthy habits there shouldn’t be a time frame. What I mean is that if your action is to eat a vegetable with breakfast each morning, I don’t want you to only do this for the remainder of May and be done with it. Eating veggies have a long list of benefits so why would we only do this consistently for a few weeks? You can, however, change the action up a bit as time goes on. The goal here is to become so consistent with this action that it becomes a habit and a part of your day to day so you no longer have to think about it. Sort of like brushing your teeth in the morning.

I’m going to give you a few examples of actions and how to plan them out, but first you need to know this: Start SMALL. You are choosing one single action to incorporate into your day. This is where we all set ourselves up for failure. We think we have to do everything all at once: eat zero carbs, have ten servings of veggies each day, exercise for an hour six days a week, get eight hours of sleep, meditate for twenty minutes each afternoon, attend one yoga class per week—sheesh, that’s exhausting. No wonder we can’t stay consistent. So choose one action you’d like to do on a regular basis, one that you can make time for in your schedule and that you’re happy to do.

Examples:

Goal: Fat loss

Action: 30 minutes of strength training every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before work (Do you see what I did here? We are getting SPECIFIC. The action isn’t just to exercise three days a week).

Calendar: Write down what time you’re going to workout in the mornings, so a simple “7am- workout” listed on each M W F for the month of May will do just fine. When June comes around re-evaluate. If you’re doing well and enjoying the workouts then keep it up. If you feel you can add an extra day in then go ahead. If you feel you can continue to do three days each week and want to add in another action like have protein with each meal, then write that down as well. But don’t overwhelm yourself. Keep it simple and realistic.

 

Goal: Have more energy during the day

Action: Be in bed reading by 9pm each evening, lights out at 9:30pm

Calendar: 9pm- read / 9:30pm- sleep (each evening)

 

Goal: Increase veggie intake

Action: Have a green smoothie for breakfast every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Calendar: Breakfast- Green smoothie (Tues, Thurs & Sat) IMG_3265

You see, your actions don’t have to be grand enough to save the world, they just have to work for you Now before you start planning on what you’re going to be consistent with, one more thing: You are not perfect. 

I’m sorry if this is the first time you’re hearing this, but it’s true. None of us are. So it is ok if you miss a workout Monday morning because you overslept, or whatever your action may be. Stress, shame and guilt will not get that workout back. Allow yourself to be human and move on.

 

The Workouts You Should Be Doing

If there’s one thing this world is not lacking, it is workouts. They come in all shapes and sizes, with endless possibilities. Don’t belong to a gym? Pregnant? Have back pain? Want to lose fat? Need to put on muscle? Jeans not fitting like they used to? Could you use more energy? Think you want to run a marathon? No worries, you can go online and find a workout for anything and everything. 

But which is the best choice for you? What type of workout should you be doing?

The kind you enjoy.

Oh yes, it’s that simple. Here’s the thing- if you like your workout routine, you’re going to do it. If you don’t, you won’t. Isn’t it best to do something we enjoy, so we stick to it? This way we set ourselves up for success rather than failure.

Let’s say you want to lose a few pounds of fat before the summer begins, but the only exercise you can get in right now is going to a yoga class two times a week. Do it. Will you see massive amounts of fat loss doing this? No. But there are a few other outcomes here: yoga may be a stress reliever for you which will lower your cortisol levels, decrease inflammation and make it easier for your body to let go of fat. And now that you have signed up for this class, you become inspired by the instructor or those around you, making you want to implement healthy habits outside of the yoga room as well. So you start to eat a little bit better and notice that your body begins to change even though you aren’t burning a ton of calories during your new routine.

Now it’s a few weeks in and you’re fitting into those cute workout outfits better and getting the hang of this downward dog thing. You want to be able to hold the pose longer but your arms get tired, so you decide you need to increase strength a bit. Ah- why not try some simple weight lifting exercises, this way you can impress not only yourself but that cute person who keeps setting up their mat next to you in class.

So you join a gym or purchase some weights for your home. You begin with the basics. Squats, push-ups, bent-over rows, planks, chest press, lunges, pull-downs. You get pretty good at these and feel stronger in the gym and in the yoga studio. Your confidence is at a high and you’re getting closer to that fat loss goal without giving all of your attention to it. You incorporate 2 days of weight lifting into your routine, only 30 minutes at a time because you’re pretty busy, but it’s working. And more importantly, you enjoy it.

This can be said for all sorts of exercise. What tends to happen is that once we find a routine we enjoy we make it a part of who we are. It becomes a staple in our week and gives us confidence. Now we take little bits of ourselves and devote more attention, like choosing a healthier breakfast option that gives us more energy for the afternoon workout. Once we feel ourselves becoming better, we strive for more and implement small changes to increase our results.

The thought of going to a killer kickboxing class that bothers your back, “but that’s ok because it’s burning lots of calories and now I can go home and eat that pizza and then feel totally guilty, sleep, repeat the next day” – is a thing of the past.

Find an activity you enjoy doing. Something that makes you happy, that drives you to get better. If it isn’t totally in line with your goals that’s ok. Because moving and doing something is better than doing nothing, or doing something you happiness firstdislike and will only last for a few weeks. It’s often thought that if we are successful we will then become happy.

I believe happiness should come first, which will then yield success.

Let this be your mantra and the world will offer you a whole new realm of possibility.

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