Health, Work It Out

Leg Day

It’s a busy day over here, but just wanted to share this little bit of fitness humor with you. Everytime I do leg day, and I go home and climb my stairs to get ready for work, I can’t help but think of the high school film Can’t Hardly Wait. Remember that one?? We watched it over and over and over…

Anyway, this is how I feel today, and every leg day. Holla if you can relate. Happy Monday everyone!

leg day

Health, Work It Out

Body Talk

I work part-time at Banana Republic for a little extra spending money, and I’ve noticed a common trend among our customers, particularly of the female variety:

It doesn’t matter what age, size, or color a woman is, she inevitably stands in front of the dressing room mirror and me, her friendly stranger sales associate, and openly bashes her body.

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Now, here’s the thing. I think most people, including myself, know that any sales associate in a store like banana is a) legitimately there to help you find cute clothes, b) has some sense of fashion and how the clothes should fit, and c) will definitely make you feel better about yourself. But why is part c true? Because we all do a pretty darn good job of making ourselves feel TERRIBLE about ourselves. Pretty much anything anyone else says is guaranteed to be better than the mean stuff you tell yourself.

And I mean it. I stand there and look at these women and think, “I would love to look like that at her age!” and “I wish I had a tan like that right now!” and a plethora of other thoughts. Yet they stand there scruitinizing every inch, when in fact I sincerely think she looks great. And I realize, of course, I do the exact same thing to myself. We ALL do it, and WHY?

Are you familiar with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty? It’s been going on for a while now, so I’m sure you know of it. This is just my friendly reminder to you that we all need to find ways to love ourselves, including our bodies, right where we are at. Yes, we should try to be healthy and do good things for our bodies, but it’s most important to love them. Cheesy as it sounds, we are all beautiful, because God made us and He doesn’t mess things up!

Be strong today. Be nice to yourself. Take care of yourself.

Happy Wednesday!

Health, Mmm...Food..., Work It Out

Motivation Station

They say it takes a village…and I think that applies to pretty much everything in life. When it comes to our health, there are so many steps along the way that add up to a “healthy lifestyle.” And discovering what said “healthy lifestyle” means to you is a series of trial and error. Success and failure. It’s an ongoing journey. And on this journey so far, I have tested many waters to figure out what makes me tick. I need constant motivation, which comes in many forms. I thought I’d share with you today some of my favorite technological motivation tools I use on a regular basis! I say all this with a cupcake pictured at the top of my blog, but hey, it’s about finding a balance, right?

My fitness tools…

Bodybuilding.com / Bodyspace App – I really love lifting weights, way more than cardio. But I never plan to be like, a pro or anything, of course. Remember ladies, lifting weights won’t make you big!! It will make you strong. If you’re just getting started, I recommend reading up on Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer Program. I’ve followed the plan before, and I’m following it now. I enjoy having a clear plan to follow! You’re more likely to succeed when you aren’t just winging it at the gym. So explore a little and find what type of program works for you. Along the same lines, the app for bodybuidling.com is called BodySpace and it is THE best thing EVER for tracking your workouts. You click on the calendar, it shows you your workout, and you can go through each exercise and log your weight and reps. You can even see what you did last time, add in additional workouts to your daily template, create your own in advance, etc.

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Spotify – This is my preferred method of music. Easy to make playlists, shuffle them, etc. And there a few playlists already made for you that you can just follow! Some of my favorites include: Spotify Ultimate Workout Playlist, PopSugar Cardio Playlist, PopSugar Rocking Relaxation, and of course my own massive WORKOUT Playlist that I constantly update. Obviously, it includes Britney.

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My Fitness Pal – I would like to live my life without counting calories, but sometimes, you just need to get back on track. If you have a lot of weight to lose, or have very specific fitness goals, My Fitness Pal is my favorite app / website. I like that it breaks down the nutrition for you. For example, I put in that my daily calorie goal is 1600 calories, and that I want 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. It does the math for me and sets my goals. I really haven’t used this consistently in a while, since lately I’ve just been trying to be more focused on eating clean (on ongoing journey, of course), but like I said, if you need to count for a while to get on track, this is the way to do it.

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Map My Run – Another app I don’t use too often, but for the occasional (attempt) at a run, it’s helpful. Plus, I get friendly little notifications whenever Katy runs like, a million miles at 5 a.m., and that’s motivating too.

Instagram – Yes, it CAN be used as fitness inspiration. I’ve started following people who eat paleo, who lift weights, who eat clean, and just seeing the photos of regular people who have accomplished what you are trying to accomplish is SO helpful. I especially like to browse photos when I’m finding myself tempted by silly foods at work or other gatherings. I would say this is where I feel the most community – people commenting on and liking your photos, encouraging each other, etc. Some people I follow that particularly inspire me are runningpaleomomma, planksloveandguacamole, honeywerehome, and corinanielsen. Most of them have blogs too!

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Diet Bet – I’ve only done it once, but hey, money is ALWAYS motivating, yes? Visit www.dietbetter.com, and join a game. Or better yet, start one with your friends! It’s usually a $25 or $30 buy in, and you have to lose 4% of your body weight in a month, OR 10% in six months. I was able to do 4% during my Whole30 month, but honestly, I’m not looking to lose that much weight right now. At the end of your bet, you weigh in and if you’ve lost the weight, you split the pot with all the other winners.

So that’s it! That’s part of my fitspiration. What are some tools you use? And seriously, what did we do before smartphones??

Health, Work It Out

Checking In: Intra-Holiday Challenge

Hey everyone! We are just about half way through the 21-Day Intra-Holiday Challenge. How are you doing with it? I admit to you, my invisible friends, I have definitely strayed. I will spare you the details, mostly because I’m a little ashamed of it!

But hey, things happen, and every day – nay, every moment – is a chance for a fresh start. Did you utterly fall off the wagon? Don’t through away all of your GOOD work! Just jump back on. Do your best.

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{Photo from Lauren Conrad}

If you need a little encouragement, check out this great article from Lauren Conrad: Survival Guide: 6 Tips for Staying Slim During the Holidays. She makes some great points, the best of which is that you can still be merry – just try to find a balance that works for you.

The biggest thing: forgive yourself, and get back on track! And have a very, MERRY Christmas!

Health, Work It Out

21-Day Intra-Holiday Challenge

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is within view. What a fun and crazy time of year! There are holiday parties, concerts, travels, family, baking…all the things I love wrapped up into a condensed little package. 

I’ve been working hard this fall to have a healthier lifestyle – far from perfect, but better. And of course, I spent my long weekend like everyone else, eating when I felt like it and not working out a bit. And I realized that these first three weeks of December are full of fun activities, and I want to feel good by the time we get to Christmas!

So I’m creating a 21-day challenge for myself. The Intra-Holiday Challenge to get us from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Consider today Day 1. I know that three weeks isn’t enough time to actually make a noticeable change in your body, but it is enough to help you feel good and not gross by the time Santa eats your cookies. It IS possible to be healthy and still enjoy the holidays.

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Want to join me? Here are the rules.

1. Workout 4+ times per week. You know what a challenging workout is for you. Get a jump-start on your resolutions – start NOW, not in a month. If you start NOW, you will be one month closer to your goal by the time the new year rolls around! Not sure where to start? Check out Share It Fitness (my favorite online source for workouts) or Jamie Eason Live Fit if you want a lifting plan. Or do something radical, like join your local CrossFit affiliate. I joined in September and I’m telling you, it will kick your butt.

2. No dessert. Seriously. I know it’s the holidays but come on, it’s only 21 days. Cut the desserts out so that you can actually enjoy a little on Christmas Day. This is a challenge for me, for sure.

3. Limited alcohol. Let’s be honest: I’m the kind of girl who would rather have a glass of wine than a dessert anyway, so I can’t say I’m going to cut out all alcohol during this prime social season. But I am limiting to four drinks per week. I like this rule because it’s flexible. It’s more about “how much” than “what.” Choose your beverages and your timing carefully.

4. Eat NORMAL. I know you’re like, “duh,” but honestly it is just so easy to eat like a crazy person this month. Make a conscious effort to stick to your routine.2329blk-w484h484z1-33990-i-just-like-to-lift-lifting-is-my-favorite

Not too tough, right? Do it with me for 21 days, and we will both be ready to face the most joyful season of the year feeling fresh and good about ourselves. Check out my Fit and Fab board on Pinterest for some workouts and inspirations! And please, don’t quit after 21 days! Just use it as a launching pad to your next goal!!

Happy December, folks!

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{via Tumblr}

Life As I Know It, Work It Out

The Great Jump Rope Comeback {workout}

It probably all began when I did Jump Rope for Heart back in elementary school. I was NOT an athletic kid, but I really enjoyed learning all the different ways to jump. So about two months ago, I bought this handy dandy little jump rope off of amazon for a measly $7:

I really, seriously love this thing. After doing the half marathon last year, I still hated to run, and I knew I needed to find ways to switch up my routine. Over the last few months, I’ve incorporated a lot more variety into my workouts – weights, classes, rowing, cycling, and yes, still a little running (well…run/walking). And lately, I’ve added in the jump rope. And I LOVE IT.

Probably one of the most effective ways to use the jump rope is to do intervals (HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training). If you’re just starting out with it, try this:

HIIT Jump Rope Workout I
Jump rope for 30 seconds
Rest for 45 seconds
Repeat for 20 minutes

You WILL be sweating. As you do it more, decrease your rest time to 30 seconds, and increase your total time to 30 minutes.

I’ve also found that pairing this with other cardio make everything more bearable. I start to get antsy if I do anything for more than 20-30 min. So if you want a longer workout, try doing some HIIT cycling for 20 minutes (20 seconds of 100% cycling effort, then 1 min of about 60% effort) and then follow it up with a 20 minute HIIT rope workout.

A quick google search will give you many other jump rope workouts as well. Real Simple has this one out there for a little added variety:

Real Simple’s 15 Minute Jump Rope Workout

1 min: basic jump
1 min: rest
1 min: alternating feet jump
1 min: rest
1 min: 8 basic jumps, 8 alternating jumps, repeat
1 min: rest
1 min: 8 basic jumps, 8 alternating jumps, repeat
1 min: rest
1 min: alternating high knee jumps
1 min: rest
5 min: endurance. Try to do basic or alternating jump rope for 5 minutes. If you can’t quite do that (I’m not there yet either) try to jump 1 minute, rest 1 minute for five sets. You should aim to complete 600 jumps here (good luck not losing count).

I struggle the most when it comes to jumping for several minutes. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off? No problem. Three minutes straight? I have a problem with that. I’m the type of person who gives up early, which is probably why I’ve struggled with distance running, and also why I really LOVE HIIT workouts. However, it’s important to get some endurance going too. If this is you, try this:

Endurance Roping

Jump for 3 minutes
Rest for 1 minute
Repeat 6 times

Working jump roping into your workout routine will really give you some variety in your cardio, but you’ll also feel it in your legs, core, and even arms! Nothing beats a total body workout, after all.

GO WORK IT OUT!