Disclaimer: this is just an overview of the type of workout I do. Because I am not certified to give workout advice, please do not take this as such. Thank you!
I always work out in the morning. I find that I am much more energized to do it then and I don’t have to worry about fitting it in somewhere else in my day. During the school year, I typically get up at 5am to get my work out in; now over the summer, I get up closer to 6am.
My workouts have significantly changed in the past year and I can tell how much it has changed my body. I am much stronger all over and I can see more definition in my muscles. I focus a lot more on weight training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT- see a sample workout below) instead of steady-state cardio like running. Don’t get me wrong, I love to run! I’ve completed a half marathon (with the biggest, steepest hill known to man!!) and a 10K, and I plan to do more races in the future. However, I have found greater benefits from the HIIT than just using running as my cardio.
I haven’t always LOVED working out. I cheered all throughout high school, and swam in the summers, so I never had to work out to stay in shape. That changed when I got to college and started eating the cafeteria foods. My roommate and I would go to the gym, but to say we knew what we were doing would be a lie! After awhile, I figured some stuff out and was mildly successful at the gym. Looking back on it though, I see now that it wouldn’t matter how much work I was putting in at the gym since my diet was so bad. The scale wouldn’t budge, but exercise is better than no exercise, right?
When I got to grad school, I didn’t know anyone, so I stayed in my apartment and ate A LOT until my work and classes started. I packed on a few pounds in a few weeks and felt gross. I finally found a local park where I could run and my passion for running began. The park had mile markers on the trail, so I would run one mile and take a stretch break, then run the second mile and stretch again. I slowly worked my way up to the four mile loop and continued to run more and more while I was in school. I also started going to the gym on campus with my honey. I learned a lot from him and we had a ton of fun together. I started changing my diet much more as well and I started to see a difference on the scale. I became more and more motivated with each pound I lost. Once I got my big girl job and moved, I found a group of women to run with and signed up for a half-marathon. I would run at least 5 days a week (yes, I know, I totally overtrained!) and didn’t do much else besides stretching and some ab work. I realize now what a huge mistake it was to not do more strength training during that time. For my next big race, I will definitely be changing things up!
Last May, I happened to pick up a copy of an Abs Special Edition of Oxygen Magazine, which they publish each year, and I have been hooked ever since! The magazine really focuses on eating clean, not just eating healthy. I’ve learned so much about clean eating from the magazine and it was definitely a huge part in shaping how I eat today. Also, the workouts in the magazine are phenomenal! They aren’t the sissy workouts I’d been seeing in other women’s fitness and health magazines I was reading. I really credit this magazine with the shape I am in today! I get giddy every time my new issue arrives in the mail 🙂 They have also revamped their website and it is full of awesome workouts and really delicious meals. Check it out: www.oxygenmag.com
I really try to break up my workouts and focus on only a few body parts in each session. A typical breakdown for a week looks like this:
Monday- biceps and triceps
Tuesday- calves, quads, hamstrings
Wednesday- glutes and abs
Thursday- shoulders, chest and back
(I promise I take rest days! This is just an example of how you can break it down)
I love doing Tabata! I found out about it through Oxygen Magazine. You work as hard as you can for 20 sec and then rest for 10 sec. You repeat this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. This sounds super easy, but it was really tough at first! The best type of exercises to do with this are total body moves that tire you easily, such as burpees, jumping jacks, jumping rope, speed skaters, jump squats, etc. Once you feel you’re ready to, you can increase your time. I typically do 45 sec of work and 15 sec of rest for about 8 or 10 minutes.
I have taken quite a bit of time off from working out lately. My ankle was bothering me and I just sort of lost my motivation for it. I’ve been running more, but doing everything else less. This morning though, I was determined to get back into it. Since I’ve taken off so much time, I went the shorter route today. Six different moves performed for 30 sec with 10 sec rest for a total of 4 minutes and 10 sec.
Two legged mountain climber– Start in down dog and spread your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping legs apart, jump both feet towards your hand while keeping your head down. Then immediately jump back.
Side lunge touchdowns– Jump into a side lunge and reach your opposite arm towards the floor. Immediately repeat on the other side.
Kettlebell swings– Step your feet wider than should-width apart and lower into a squat. Hold a kettlebell by the handle and swing it between your legs. Swing up until your arms are parallel to the ground and repeat.
Jump rope– self-explanatory (I hope!)
Lateral Jumps- basically you hop from one foot to the other, brining your knee up towards your chest while you bring your opposite elbow to the knee that is up in the air.
Jumping Jacks- again, self-explanatory
What’s your favorite type of workout? Leave a comment and let me know! It might inspire me to try something else 🙂