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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Push/Pull Workouts

We all need variety in our lives, whether it’s our food, friends, activities, clothes, or workouts. I mean, we live in a culture where it is NOT OKAY TO BE BORED. I fill my “boredom” with Netflix, crafting projects, baking etc… The idea of doing nothing is literally terrifying.

But I digress. Today I want to talk about variety in our workouts. If you’ve been around my blog a while, you’ve seen me share a variety of workouts – because I LOVE a variety of workouts! Seriously, I enjoyed my stint with crossfit. I like to jump rope. I like to row. I like to lift. I like to yoga. I like to follow a plan. I’ve even run even though I don’t really like that much at all.

Some of my favorite 12-week stints have been Jamie Eason’s Live Fit trainer, which was awesome. I’ve also done your traditional back/bi, chest/tri, legs, sholders/abs routine…with Live Fit and with this, I would feel SO GUILTY for missing a day because it was like, a WHOLE GROUP OF MUSCLES I was totally skipping. OH THE PRESSURE. And then, for the last month or so, I’ve mostly been doing sporadic home workouts with my Nike Training Club app, and it was just what I needed. I was burnt out on the gym, and my schedule with rehearsals got a little crazy (I’m getting too old to handle late nights). But now, I’m ready to get back into a solid routine.

And as I’ve mentioned before, the BodySpace app is MY FAVORITE when it comes to planning and tracking workouts.

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To lift the pressure of the traditional weight lifting routine, I’m now shifting into a Push/Pull split. Basically, you have two kinds of weight workouts – one where you pull, and one where you push. Literally. By doing this, you are working your whole body each time, but different parts of each muscle, giving the other parts plenty of time to rest. Here is a good image I found:

So a “Push Workout” may include things like:

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Full Squat
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Standing Military Press
  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Skullcrushers
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Side Lateral Raise

And then a “Pull Workout” may include things like:

  • Bent Over Barbell Row
  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Shrug
  • One-Arm Row
  • Barbell Curl
  • Face Pull
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
  • Seated Cable Rows

I’m aiming to do weights three times a week (so one week would be push/pull/push and the next pull/push/pull), HIIT cardio two times a week, and then a bonus day of either extra cardio or a yoga class. A lot of people also add a leg day in here, but I’m okay having squats in my regular workouts, and then also doing leg-intensive HIIT workouts. I’m not training for a body building competition, here. I also think it’s important to switch it up, sometimes doing more reps with less weight, and other times doing less reps with more weight. This is the balance I want for myself, but I know it’s different for everyone. I started back into this routine this week and let me tell you – I am SORE and I am SLEEPING LIKE A BABY. Both of which are good signs in my opinion 🙂

Rowing HIIT Workout

It should be news to no one that running is NOT my favorite form of workout. I like exercise, and I don’t even hate cardio…I just have to find ways to keep it more interesting. Tell me I’m not alone in this.

So this weekend, I made up this little workout, and it definitely kicked my booty a bit. I highly recommend it for a little cardio variety, with the added bonus of some shoulder and leg work. Let me know how you like it!

Row Workout

April Ab Challenge

Oh gosh you guys! I wrote this yesterday and never hit publish…woops! Well here is a one-day-late April challenge for you…

I keep a “workouts” folder in my Dropbox where, over the years, I’ve thrown random workout plans, challenges, and PDFs. Occasionally, I look through it. And the other day I rediscovered this little 30-day challenge, and I was all like, hey April is 30 days! And THEN I was all like, hey maybe my blog readers want to do this with me?

So here we are. I’m not promising I will actually accomplish all these but hey, I’m gonna try! I’m also trying to guilt my hubby into doing it with me by taping it to the wall. I plan to put an “M” next to each one I do so he can see my awesomeness and want to be like me. Right, honey? 😉

Anyway, here you go! Do this with me in April, and I’ll give you a big high five in 30 days!

30 Days of Abs

Flip Belt Review

If you workout like, at all, you need to get a flip belt. For real. Not kidding.

I randomly discovered it online a month or two ago, and send the website along to my husband as a “hint hint wink wink.” Then last week, when I was having a bad week, one suddenly appeared in the mail! BEST HUBBY EVER!!

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How it works: Insert your goodies (phone, keys, money, what have you), flip it around, and go about your workout.

So obviously, I’ve been testing it out. And I LOVE it. Here’s why.

1. Looks like your waistband. Just pop this sucker on with any pants or shorts, and it blends right in. I’m usually in long tshirts anyway so you can’t see it, but still, it’s fashionable-ish.

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Yep, that’s my crotch shot. Sorry.

2. No bounce. The first thing I was wondering is, what about when I run? If I have my phone and stuff in there, will it bounce? NO people, it does NOT bounce. It is MAGIC. Basically, anything you put in it is flat to your body, avoiding what I would like to call “fanny pack syndrome.”

3. Security. If I’m just meandering around the gym, I generally just have my phone shoved in here since everything else is in a locker. And since I actually use my phone to track my workout reps, weights, etc, I need easy access. Therefore, during these types of workouts, I don’t even flip it, and my phone stays in there just fine and I’m still able to access it easily. However, for running, I just turn on my music, stick my phone, key, and whatever else I may need in there, and flip that sucker around. Literally. Nothing. Moves. It’s awesome.

4. True to size. I ordered a small (my waist measurement is 27″) and it’s a perfect fit. And, even better, it doesn’t give me any extra muffin top like you may think it would. Trust the size chart. It is truth.

Here’s a much hotter model for you from the website:

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All this to say, if you find yourself not knowing what to do with your stuff, or you’re sick of that stupid arm band for your phone that is so ridiculously uncomfortable, this little gadget is well worth the price. Happy exercising!

Disclaimer: I didn’t get anything free for writing this. Oh, if only I was popular enough for people to send me free stuff to review. Le sigh.

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

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??