Tag: workout (Page 1 of 2)

5 strength training exercises that you can master! All five of these moves work a different muscle group and while basic, will allow you to start feeling comfortable with this workout style. Click through or save this pin for later!

5 strength training exercises for beginners

We’re so excited to continue our strength training series which is focused on all of the tools, tricks and tips you need to take on strength training like a pro!

Earlier this week we gave you an introduction to the strength training, which hopefully answered any questions you had before getting started.

Today, we want to give you 5 strength training exercises that you can master! All five of these moves work a different muscle group and while basic, will allow you to start feeling comfortable with this workout style.

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An introduction to strength training

 

Maybe you’ve heard of the phrase work smarter, not harder. It’s an important mantra for taming a hectic lifestyle because it pushes you to focus on the things that will show the greatest results with the smallest amount of work. Well, strength training is the ‘work smarter, not harder’ of workout styles.

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6 common workout beginner mistakes

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Getting started is almost always daunting. If you’re a workout beginner, you’re probably focused on reaching your goals as quickly as possible.

With thousands of blogs, articles and videos giving you advice, it’s difficult to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Sometimes it’s best to dive right in. But, before you get too far into your plan, review these 6 workout beginner mistakes and do your best to avoid them while you kick butt at the gym.

6 common workout beginner mistakes to avoid

1. Doing too much too soon:

A go-get-em attitude is probably what got you off the couch in the first place. That’s why this workout beginner mistake tends to be common. Even though you might be experiencing a sort of high from all of the extra endorphins from your workout, it’s important to take the time to allow your body to recover. Stick to three tough workouts a week as you start out. If you feel like you want to do more on a recovery day, take a long walk. In addition, be sure to get enough sleep each night and add protein to your diet, which will help your muscles recover faster.

2. Only doing cardio:

According to the CDC, only 50% of adults ages 18 and over are getting the recommended amount of aerobic exercise. What’s worse? Only 20% are getting the recommended amount of muscle strengthening exercise. It’s a common misconception that the best way to burn calories is to focus solely on cardio. The truth is, a balanced plan that mixes both cardio and strength training will help you attain your goals and make you your healthiest self.

Only 20% of adults are getting the recommended amount of muscle strengthening exercise

3. Believing every workout should be long and exhausting:

Not only is this false, but it’s recipe for disaster. Hitting the gym hard every time you workout will likely burn you out and take you right back to where you started. While long endurance days aren’t all wrong, your workout will be more effective and more efficient if you incorporate intervals to your routine. Mixing high intensity intervals with rest periods, called high intensity interval training (HIIT), will allow you to burn calories during your workout and then continue to burn them throughout the day. Here are a few of our favorite HIIT workouts:

http://www.pancakewarriors.com/hiit-for-beginners/

http://thebluedressgirl.com/monday-workout-hiit/

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/10-Minute-HIIT-Workout-32491435

4. Ignoring the details:

Skipping warm-ups and cool-downs are a good way to injure yourself right from the get-go. Just 5 minutes of brisk walking or jogging will prepare your body for a difficult workout and lower your risk of injury.

Speaking of injury… more risky workout behavior is ignoring proper form during each exercise. Heavier, faster and harder are only better if you’re focusing on the basics of each exercise and ensuring proper technique as you build up your strength and endurance.

5. Not setting specific goals:

Saying ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to build strength’ are great starting points, but they’re hardly goals. Workout beginner goals should be both specific and attainable to ensure that you stick to them for the long haul.

Beginner workout goals should be both specific and attainable.

6. Switching the plan too often:

Workout beginners, especially, should try to avoid changing directions too early. It’s tempting to kick a new workout to the curb after a couple of weeks if you’re not seeing results yet. But in order to allow your body to truly gain the benefits of a workout plan, stick to it for at least 4 weeks. If it still isn’t working, then switch to the next thing.

No matter what your new routine looks like, if you’re a workout beginner, you’re probably not even thinking about some of these common mistakes. Avoid this list of workout mistakes that beginners make and approach every new workout like a pro, whether it’s your first or 100th.

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7 day summer prep challenge

summer prep challenge

Here’s the thing… We all have the best intentions on January 1st. You know, back when it was really easy to hide under a big sweater and start a gym membership. The reality is, it’s more than common to fall a little short of our goals by the time summer rolls around.

The good news? You’re probably being too hard on yourself. Even if you’re not feeling pumped to squeeze into your swimsuit in a week, there’s a good chance that a week of prepping will change your outlook on Memorial Day weekend and all your pool days ahead.

If you’re not feeling your best about the start of summer, join us for the 7 day summer prep challenge! Just 7 days of following 5 rules will get you feeling your very best for summer.

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If you're just starting your fitness journey, protein supplements are something worth looking into. This post covers everything you need to know about protein supplements. When to take them, how often and much more! Click through or save this pin for later!

Protein supplements: The beginner’s guide

This post was inspired by my former fear of protein supplements. I specifically remember asking Aaron one day if I had to start drinking one of those ‘gross drinks’ he was always toting around. However, once I got my first tub of FitMiss Delight in Vanilla Chai, I was pretty much hooked. It turned into a sweet post-workout reward that I actually found myself looking forward to.

The questions below are very similar to the ones I asked Aaron when I started quizzing him about protein supplements, and I hope they help you too!

Most people feel that protein supplements are only for guys.This is terribly false. Women should also take protein supplements regularly.

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Your meals can make or break your workout. Follow these guidelines when deciding what to eat before your workout. Click this pin or save it for later!

What to eat before your workout

I often get questions regarding what to eat before your workout. Because food and energy needs vary from person to person, from workout to workout and by time of day, I typically recommend keeping a food journal. However, there are a few guidelines that you can start out with. Pay attention to how your workout feels after eating different types of foods. Also, pay attention to how you feel for the rest of the week. Your best food journal will not only include what you eat, but also what your workouts look like and how you feel both during and after your fitness routine.

Yogurt is healthy, can I eat that before my workout?

My first recommendation is avoid dairy within 60 minutes before your workout. I can’t be all sciencey about this or give you big names to explain why it’s a bad idea, but I can say from personal and client experience it is a bad idea. I have eaten things such as yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, and some even regular cheese. Most times if these are eaten within the 60 minutes it causes intestinal distress or gas. Just don’t do it!

My protein shake is made from dairy, what about that?

I have been asked about protein shakes before workouts. Yes, whey and casein proteins are both derivatives of dairy products, but I do think these are ok depending on the type of workout you are about to do and how you feel after drinking these regularly. If you need something light before a morning working, a protein shake could be the way to go.

I never know what to eat before a morning workout.

I consider early morning anything before breakfast. Now this is a tricky one and it will take some experimenting, but here are a couple ideas that might work depending on what kind of workout you are doing. If you’re doing cardio, avoid liquids (so a shake may not be the best idea for this one). Eat something like fruit. The quick digesting sugars and quick digesting carbs are perfect for energy early in the morning and they won’t make your stomach upset. Another option is to grab a handful of almonds or a small granola bar pre-workout.

I like to work out on my lunch break. What and when should I eat?

At this time of day you will have already had something to eat and your blood will already be flowing from being up and moving. (Make sure you eat your breakfast!) A snack or late breakfast should be enough to get you through. You can have some sort of snack up to 30 minutes before your workout. Almonds, fruit, an amino acid drink or even coffee would be perfect for this.

What about after my workout?

Within 30 minutes of ending your workout, whether it’s cardio or weightlifting, you need to eat some protein. This is prime absorption time for your muscles and it will help you recover and build quality muscle after you are done. I recommend drinking a protein shake afterwards, but if you don’t like to drink those, then something as simple as an apple and some almonds is perfect. After that in another 30 to 60 min you will want to have a big meal whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Do you have a fitness or health related question? Let us know in the comments below!

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Mini habits will help you start working out

My workout schedule was formed by one accidental habit.

I don’t know one person who hasn’t struggled with a workout plan that feels like a seesaw. Up and down, with its peaks in January and April; and lows from November to December. Even those who have been able to overcome the seesaw likely remember a time when they too had to navigate that playground of distraction.

A couple of years ago I was on the seesaw. Really, I’d been on the seesaw since I’d been old enough to understand that eating too much and exercising too little was supposedly recipe for disaster. Now looking back on photos from ages 14-22 makes me want to go back in time to tell my younger self to eat those carbs, yes, all of them… Enjoy them while you can… with a milkshake!” Now, at age 26 it really WAS time to cut back on life’s edible gifts. Unfortunately I was also going through a breakup and there was a lot of alcohol to be consumed and fried foods to be had.

I’d been on the seesaw since I’d been old enough to understand that eating too much and exercising too little was recipe for disaster.

I had just started working out with a personal trainer who I had an embarrassingly obvious crush on. Because my new single status also meant I didn’t really have much of a life in the evenings, I found myself… I wouldn’t say stalking…. I would refer to it as innocently visiting the gym on a more regular basis to do really easy workouts. Sometimes I would start my workout, realize he wasn’t there and then force myself to finish because certainly everyone would know I was there to see him if I didn’t.

After awhile I found myself trying a little harder every time I went to the gym. I’d already done the hard part. I was inside the gym, I might as well get in a good workout. I also found myself visiting the gym even when I knew cute trainer boy wouldn’t be there. I didn’t realize it at the time, but finally, all of the inputs I needed to form a habit were present.

After awhile I found myself trying a little harder every time I went to the gym.

While I can’t give all of you a hot personal trainer to encourage you to form a healthy gym habit, I can help you re-create this scenario in your own way.

I’ve been reading a lot about how to start habits lately. One of my favorite takeaways is from BJ Fogg who actually put together an equation for creating habits which is this:

B=mat

B= behavior

M=motivation

A=ability

T=trigger

Motivation, ability and a trigger are all needed to create a new behavior. In my case, my behavior was changed because I was motivated by the cute trainer, I always had the ability to workout on a regular basis (and so do you!), and the trigger was his work schedule (he worked A LOT, so I was all set).

The last important piece of creating goals is the reward. My reward at the beginning was seeing the cute boy… and toward the end it was the feeling of accomplishment and endorphin rush I got after a good workout

As I mentioned above, I can’t recreate this, but I find that whenever I want to start a new healthy habit, motivation is what I can’t keep around on a consistent basis. So, my new process for habit creation is all about the mini habit. I learned about this after reading Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. Also, BJ Fogg has a great Ted Talk about his Tiny Habits. The gist is this: Commit yourself to a habit that is too easy to fail. Here are some examples:

  • Do one pushup a day
  • Drink one glass of water a day
  • Walk around the block once a day
  • Meditate for 5 minutes

By creating a mini habit you have both the ability and the motivation to move toward your larger goals. Soon, you’ll find yourself adding on to your mini goals and creating new ones. So far I’ve added 2 new mini habits to my daily routine. At 2pm every day I add $5 to my savings account and right before bed I stretch. These habits are so simple… but that’s the idea! Now I have no excuses to skip them.

Checkout BJ Fogg’s Ted Talk or read Mini Habits and let us know which habits you’ve started!

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It’s so easy to ignore healthy habits while your brain is saying ‘mmm, piña colada!’ We think it’s actually MORE important to stay active and healthy during vacation so that you don’t spend the week feeling off balance. These 5 tips will help you enjoy vacay even more. Read now or save this for later!

5 ways to stay healthy on vacation

Vacation is hard work.

We know we deserve it and we know it’s necessary to take a break, relax and indulge a little (or a lot). Unfortunately, the easiest way to put a damper on a beach vacay is the sluggishness that hits you at 2pm. That’s when you realized you’re hot, sweaty and 3 margaritas in and all you want to do is take a siesta–air conditioning on full-blast.

It’s so easy to forget that while your brain is saying ‘mmm, piña colada!’ today, usually at this time you’re about to hop on a treadmill. We think it’s actually MORE important to stay active and healthy during vacation so that you don’t spend the week feeling off balance or worse… just asleep. Think about it, exercise gives you energy and endorphins. Take those away and add some drinks, a little dehydration and the hot sun and you’re definitely not set up for a superb holiday.

Aaron and I took a quick trip to Cancun last week. We booked it 2 weeks in advance and found an awesome deal. Apparently, so did about 2,000 college spring breakers. Let me be honest. We saw a lot of boobs. Luckily, we’re both only slightly out of our college years and not yet NOT down with the times, I guess. We were able to park ourselves on a sun bed by the beach were the college kids were prohibited and enjoyed observing the chaos.

My favorite time of day was waking up long before the hungover college partiers for a quick workout and a walk on the beach. It was gorgeous. The early wake-up call (we’re talking 8am, nothing crazy) set us up for an awesome vacation day. While there’s no way I’m going to lie to you and say we didn’t eat like a million calories and forget to count our margaritas, we were able to make the most of our 5 days with a few tricks. By the end of this post you’ll be ready for your own holiday in the sun.

Use the beach (or the trails, cliffs or parks)

Double up and forget you’re exercising by exploring your surroundings. Even just walking on a sandy beach not only works your leg muscles harder than you would on a flat surface, but you also use your core to stabilize yourself. You worked your abs pre-vacay, don’t stop now!

Photo Mar 01, 6 37 47 PM

Don’t underestimate the hotel gym

At first glance, our hotel gym was terrible. It was tiny and about 20 degrees hotter than it was outside (sweat more, burn more calories!). Luckily though, we went early. Tiny gyms are great for quick circuits that get you in and out quickly. There were a couple of stationary bikes so we did this circuit: 1 minute bike, 10 squats, 10 jump lunges for 15 minutes. We followed that with 10 shoulder presses followed by 10 crunches for an additional 10 minutes.

Related: Our three best 30 minute workouts!

Join in

Vacation is the best time to dip your toes into things like Water Aerobics and Zumba. Why? Because if you look like a fool no one knows you and everyone’s drunk anyway. Check with the front desk or the concierge to ask if there’s a class schedule. Some hotels also have partnerships with gyms in the area to provide discounts to guests

Photo Mar 02, 10 26 14 AM

Jump (and walk) the Waves

Don’t knock it until you know how many calories you’ll burn. Water walking burns 563 calories per hour. Add some wave jumping to that and you’re doing even better. Yes. You’ll look silly. Yes. People will laugh at you. Just hang on to your shorts.

Go for a Swim

There aren’t many exercises that work almost all of the muscles in your body at the same time. I’ve always been a fan of swimming (I’m an Aquarius). Get up before there are children in the pool and get your workout in.

Add just one or two of these tricks to your vacation routine. We promise we won’t ask you to do anything else during your time off! And leave a comment with your own tips for the best vacation day ever!

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This off-day recovery workout will help keep you active on your rest days. Use this workout to work up a little bit of a sweat, but don't push yourself too hard. Save this pin for your next rest day and click through for a FREE workout planner.

Off day recovery workout

Hello again. As I sit here today with all of my muscles sore and achy, I also have this drive and excitement of starting a new fitness routine that I have never done before. It has given me a challenge and that is something I have not had since college when I was in competitive athletics.

I want to go back into the gym but there is no way another workout of that intensity would be anything except detrimental to my body. So now what to do? I have two options one: do something in my living room or two: stop by the clubhouse of my apartment complex and do something low impact that still gives me a challenge.

Because I live on the second floor I think I will respect the neighbors and get on an elliptical. Here is a workout for an off day or an active rest day. This is also great if you’re looking for a low-impact cardio workout. Best of all you can watch your favorite 30 minute show and have it finished by the end.

Make sure speed is moderate for you. Shouldn’t be killer but should work up a little sweat.

– Aaron

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Health hack: Get smarter while you workout

Sometimes getting through a workout calls for a health hack. Read on for my top three health tips and tricks for ignoring the fact that you’re exercising.

Sometimes getting through a workout calls for a health hack. Read on for three health tips and tricks for ignoring the fact that you're exercising. Or, save this pin for later!

Can we talk about my inability to properly use a playlist? Even after I finally subscribed to Spotify Premium (how did I ever live pre-Spotify?) and was able to curate the most thoughtful and organized playlists, I still found myself butchering my own hard work.

skip, skip, skip…. oh I like this song….ok, now I’m bored with this song…. skip…

I have a hard time driving passengers in my car. First, because no one is nearly as excited as I expect them to be about my new favorite song.

Second, because they always want to talk during my new favorite song. And third, because they don’t appreciate that I’m clearly looking out for them by switching to a new tune once all the good parts are over.

I will admit that while I’m working out and simultaneously trying to forget that I’m working out, my habitual song flipping gets in the way. I finally realized that there are some situations when the music is just not making things better.

Related: Mini habits will help you start working out

While I try to keep my workouts exciting, there are some times when I just need to distract myself. That’s why I decided to multi-task by nerding out during my time at the gym.

Health Hack #1: Podcasts

These are a current necessity during my workouts. There are so many I want to listen to and there just aren’t enough workout hours in they day. Podcasts are so great because you can find the ones that interest you the most.

Unlike a radio show, you can find podcasts that meet very specific interests. And best of all, they’re usually not much longer than an hour, so you won’t have to remember where you left off! I just started listening to The Bold Life Movement with Kimberly Rich and I’m a longtime fan of Nerdette Podcast and Reply All.

Health Hack #2: Listen to a book

I try my best to make reading  a priority, whether it’s fiction for fun or non-fiction for personal growth. I downloaded Audible and can get through 5 hours of a book in some weeks just from my workouts.

Most of the books I read range between 12 and 18 hours so I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. My recent favorite book (and one I pretty much recommend to strangers I meet on the street) is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. You will not regret listening to this one.

Health Hack #3: Catch up on the news

If you’re like me and no longer own a radio outside of your car, you’re in luck because you don’t need one. If podcasts and books aren’t your thing and the idea of actually keeping up with the news is something you’ve been struggling with, you can download Tune In Radio or a similar radio app on your smartphone.

Looking for more healthy hacks? We have a whole category for ’em!

Note: If you click through one of my links and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Yay! Please note that this commission does not affect your purchase price. Also note that I think you’re really cool for clicking on my links.

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