A Fitness Pinterest Challenge

Raise your hand if you regularly post things on pinterest, but never (or rarely) visit your boards to find that recipe, workout, or craft. (If you aren’t raising your hand, you are a liar and we can’t be friends.) I realized the other day that my pinterest boards are blackholes of projects that I’ve never revisited. So I’ve decided to do a little challenge…

One of my biggest boards is called “Fit and Fab.” It’s mostly filled with workouts, spattered with a few cute workout clothing items I’d love to buy someday. So for the next several weeks, I’m going to start at the top and try each workout I’ve pinned. I’ll probably use these 2-3 times per week, scattered in with my other workouts, and report back.

Do you have a pinterest board that you nevvvvver really visit? Do your own challenge with me and let me know how it goes!

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Making the Time

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Making the time for fitness is SO HARD sometimes, am I right? I’m generally an early gym-bird, but lately I’ve just not been able to pull myself out of bed in the morning, so I’ve been squeezing in lunch and after-work sessions. I always regret not getting it done in the morning. Life has just been crazy though and I’ve been craving sleep. It shows too – I’m averaging 8 hours these days which is crazy to me.

But honestly though, once I’m there, I really like working out. I’ve been sticking to my push-pull routine, and even though I’m not 100% consistent on days of the week, I’m making it happen and I’m starting to feel stronger in my arms after about four weeks. Here is my fitbit’s account of my workouts over the last four weeks – averaging 4-6 times a week, which I’m happy with! Apparently I hate to workout on Fridays.

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I’m posting today just to encourage you to make it happen, whatever “it” is for you. What do you care about accomplishing even though it may not be the most APPEALING thing right now? Just commit to something, and start chipping away one day at a time.

Plus I mean, wouldn’t you agree that nutrition is about 1 million times harder to stick with? It is for me anyway — probably because there are thousands of workout options out there, but only like, three ways to cook chicken and vegetables.

And remember…

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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??

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!

Dresses & Workout Gear {MM Likes}

It’s been a while since I shared with you some of the things I’m absolutely loving right now. And I can pretty much sum it up into two categories: Dresses and Workout Gear.

With summer practically upon us, I’m realizing I need a few more fun a casual dresses to wear around. And maybe some nice ones too. I also realized that my favorite pair of running shorts can not handle the brunt of my workouts all by themselves. So I bring you the looks that make me happy today.

First, dresses. I have yet to watch Mad Men, but I love Banana’s Mad Men collection, especially this pretty little number:

However, I am also on a budget these days. So on the cheaper side of things, Old Navy has a pretty nice looking collection of summer dresses to choose from at much more reasonable prices.

There are some great Maxi dresses, and seeing that I don’t own a single Maxi dress, this could be a good place to start:

Or how about this fun little thing?

I will happily take any or all of those. I also really need a few new pieces of workout gear – after all, aren’t you more motivated when you like what you’re putting on? I’ve been in love with this tank from Lululemon for like, a year now?

And I really love these shorts and tanks from underarmour. I know they are basic…but anything to help me run is a good thing!

That’s about it for now! Sorry it’s not as frilly as some of my other “mm likes” posts, but these are just the things I’m digging for summer! What about you? Any good finds lately?

HAPPY FRIDAY!

 

#64: Run a 5K without walking

I have crossed off #64: Run a 5K without walking. Sure, it took several weeks of 6 am runs (which I intend to continue) but it was totally worth it. Last weekend Boyfriend, Roomate K, and I ran at Ellie’s Run for Africa. If you’ve never heard of Ellie’s Run, definitely check it out. It is such an awesome fund raiser for schools and children in Africa, and it was inspired by an 11-year-old girl five years ago (Ellie, now 16). And yes, we ran the whole entire thing no walking! And sure, we may have paced around an eleven-minute mile, but you have to start somewhere.  Check out some pictures from race day (Thanks K!):

Pre-race roomies in pinks:

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And pre-race relationship-ies:

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GO TEAM!!!! POST RACE:

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How to get your boot-ay off the couch (right now!)

Sometimes, I feel like it is more my nature to settle into the couch than into a workout routine. But I never regret it when I get myself moving. Lately, I’ve been gearing up for a 5k, and I feel so much better about myself. For those of you like me who have a hard time getting started, you absolutely need to check out this post: Nine Tips to Keep Yourself Exercising over on The Happiness Project. It’s from a while back, but I use it for encouragement all the time and thought you might enjoy it too!

My favorite two tips:

Always exercise on a Monday: This will always get you in a good habit to start the week. If you don’t go on Monday, your chances of going later in the week are much lower. Plus, we all need a morning boost to get us through our M-days.

Never skip exercising three days in a row: I know that if I skip Wednesday, and I skip Thursday, I CANNOT skip Friday. And if I do, I can consider myself officially out of a routine. The more days I skip, the less likely I get back into my routine.

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So go get ’em! Do something good for your body and your mind!! Happy Summer!

Photo courtesy of iStock