OPPORTUNITY LOOKS A LOT LIKE HARD WORK

I didn’t coin this saying. And even though Ashton “Chris” Kutcher moved millions, including myself with these words, it was actually Thomas Edison. One of my favorite things about exercise is the way it tests you. How badass are you? Can you overcome obstacles? When things get hard, do you take of the resistance, do you wuss out or do you add more?

There is always a point in an intense workout where you feel like you’re completely gassed. And you think to yourself, there is no freaking way I can keep going. You see your mind quits on you before your body does. Your mind puts limits on what you can accomplish and it’s in these moments were you find out how badass you really are. Exercise pulls greatness out of you if you let it and so opportunity looks a lot like work.

I’m an endorphin junkie and one of my favorite ways to get my fix is spinning. I started cycling this past May at Shift and I was instantly hooked. I love spinning because it makes me feel badass, but more importantly because it helps overcome obstacles outside of the studio. Every single day you show up and climb into the saddle, challenges you, inspires you and pushes you to be MORE. Challenges are opportunities to grow. If you don’t test your limits, nothing changes. 

And so when I feel like I’ve reached a hill I can’t climb, I remind myself of all the hills behind me and I make that hill, for lack of better words, my b*tch. And so opportunity looks a lot like hard work.

   

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BODY TRANSFORMATION WITH JUST FOUR MODIFICATIONS

  1. Stagnate workout durations to prevent overtraining and shock your body: Monday-90 minutes, Tuesday-45 minutes, Wednesday-60 minutes, Thursday-30, Friday-90 minutes, Saturday-45 minutes, Sunday-Recovery
  2. Switch up exercises– I never am doing the same exercise, be it cardio, lifting, toning, squatting, for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. I move from one exercise to the next so that my body is constantly adjusting to keep up with me!! The more often it has to adjust, the harder it has to work.
  3. Let your muscles recover. Target one to two muscle groups per workout session and allow several days of recovery inbetween. I workout my biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, and back 1 day/week, my abs 3-4 days/week, and my lower body 2 days/week. Whatever your goals are-to tone, build muscle, loss weight, get it better shape, etc.- your muscles need rest in order to change!
  4. Let your body recover!!! One thing that most health/fitness fanatics struggle with is taking days off. However, taking a day off to let your body rest is crucial to muscle development and strength, preventing over training and injury, and burning out.

TOO SORE, TOO TIRED, AND TOO DRAINED?

I’m not going to lie, I am one of the rare breed of people who hears their alarm and jumps out of bed. However, I do have those days when faced with another hour of sleep or the treadmill, all I want to do is roll back over. Considering I prefer am workouts, there are some mornings every muscle on my body aches and I ask myself how do you know when you’re too sore, tired, and drained to workout? And when do you know to be suck it up, lace up, and go? So I did some research.

Unless your muscles are throbbing or you completed a long, strenuous physical activity in day before, man up. Being sore is part of exercising and is a sign that the body is adapting and changing, which for many of us is the motivating factor behind the hours we slave in the gym. Studies indicate that moderate exercise actually aids in recovery by increasing blood flow, releasing endorphins which eases pain, and keeps us on track!!

I have always advocated rest days to friends and now clients. However, I find myself struggling to take them myself. I think this is partly due to the fact that exercise is my anti-anxiety drug and therapy session. To put it bluntly, it keeps me sane. I am always doing ten things at once and on days that I don’t exercise, I find myself anxious and overwhelmed. HOWEVER, it is important to know your body and to be able to determine when enough is enough. Self-discipline and self-will won’t help you when overtraining leads to injury. On rest days, take a walk or bike ride. Get those muscles warm and keep moving!!!

Happy Monday!! Have a happy, healthy week!!

EXERCISING AFTER AN OVERNIGHT FAST

As an aspiring professional in the health and fitness world, I am constantly critiquing, questioning, and experimenting with nutritional and exercise advice given to the general public. For years, health and fitness professionals have discouraged us from exercising on an empty stomach. However, after years of varying the times of day I choose to workout, I find that I am generally at my peak performance first thing in the morning, after an overnight fast. I sweat for an hour to ninety minutes every single morning after consuming only 8 ounces of coffee. I don’t feel as though my blood sugar levels compromise my performance in any way or experience excess hunger throughout the day, which many health and fitness advocates claim. In fact, over the years, I have seen the most improvement in my body composition when I am following an early morning workout routine. I advocate exercising first thing in the morning because I think it not only sets the mood for your day, but it also sets a precedent for how you choose to treat to your body-one healthy choice, leads to another. After my morning workouts, I look forward to my post workout meal, where I get to replenish depleted energy stores and begin repairing my muscles.

I was thrilled to see that the British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study indicating that exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach did not cause participants to consume excess calories or experience increased hunger later in the day. I read that they also discovered that individuals who workout after an overnight fast, burn 20% more fat than those who consume a preworkout meal (The Nutrition Society), which made sense based on my own body composition findings. In this field, it’s important to never just take things at face value. No study or doctor can prescribe nutritional and/or exercise guidelines that are going to work for everyone. As you strive to live a healthier lifestyle, learn to be a more critical enthusiast. Look at the research and studies that prove something before you adapt your diet or workout plan. If you are convinced, try it out, but always remember how our individual bodies react varies. It’s a constant trial and error to find what works best for you.

HIIT TREADMILL WORKOUT

This week I decided to switch up my cardio and add some High Intensity Interval Training (HITT). So glad I did because I feel amazing and can feel my lower body changing (beyond sore), even if I don’t see it yet!!

Here’s an example of one of my HIIT workouts:
•warm up: incline 3, speed 4.7-4.8 (3-5 mins)
•jog: incline 2, speed 5.5-6.0 (1 min)
•run: incline 1.5, speed 6.5-7.0 (1 min)
•sprint: incline .5, speed 7.5-8.0 (30 sec)
•sprint(max effort): incline 0, speed 8.5-9.0 (30 sec)
Repeat jog-sprint(max effort) total of 30 minutes.
•cool down: incline 3, speed 4.7-4.8 (3-5mins)
Total 35-40 minutes

HIIT allows you to improve performance in a short period of time and burn more calories than simply running alone. By constantly switching speed and incline, your body never adapts and thus, has to work harder to allow you to perform. Studies also indicate an elevated metabolic rate several hours following exercise. If you are sick of doing the same run, elliptical, or bike workout, try switching things up by adding just a few HIIT workouts a week. You will notice enhanced performance as your recovery time shortens, which for me has occurred within a week. I’m absolutely loving it!

LOWER BODY CIRCUIT

Want lean muscle on your lower body? Try this amazing lower body/ab workout!! Pick three weights for leg machines-go up a weight each set you do, follow 12-10-8 rep sequence (example 50lbs x 12 reps, 62lbs x 10 reps, 70lbs x8 reps).

  1. hold plank for one minute
  2. Inner thigh machine
  3. 50 crunches on a medicine ball
  4. Outer thigh machine
  5. side plank: 30 seconds each side
  6. Leg press
  7. Glute machine
  8. 25 bicycle crunches with legs straight (elbow to knee)
  9. Calve raises with 10-12lb pound weights
  10. 25 leg lifts
  11. 10 squat jumps (each leg=1 jump)
  12. 25 reverse crunches

repeat 3 times