First of all, so sorry for the lack of posting last week!! Life is crazy sometimes! I promise I'm still alive, just trying to deal with all things life right now :) ANYWAYS.... I promise to be more consistent!
I know that cardio is most people's least favorite thing about their workouts... but I am here to tell you that you need to do it! There are soooooooo many benefits to it. And fortunately, there's a lot of different ways to get your cardio in, you just have to find that one that you enjoy the most!
For your heart & lungs
Regular moderate cardiovascular activity can actually strengthen and build your heart muscle (you know its a muscle, right?) Just like any other muscle it can strength or weaken over time. It never stays stagnant! When your heart is stronger, it is able to pump blood more efficiently to the lungs (to be oxygenated) and to the rest of the body. More oxygen is then available to all muscle groups in your body- this is a great thing! Oxygen helps remove waste products (like lactic acid)... so yes. Sign me up!
For Beta Oxidation
Not to get all science-y on you, but you want some beta oxidation in your life. Beta oxidation is when your body is using its fatty acid molecules (aka burning fat). This is the 'slow' burn you've always heard about. Your body is in a beta oxidation state when you are in low-intensity cardiovascular (aerobic) activity. This doesn't burn as many calories as quickly as anaerobic (like HIIT) workouts, but there needs to be both in your weekly routine. I don't know about you, but I like it when I know my body is using it's fatty acid (aka 'fat storage') immediately, even if its a longer workout. If you want to really get into the nitty gritty, try to find the happy medium for you that's using both your aerobic system and your anaerobic system. That way you get the best burn of both worlds!
For your brain
Cardiovascular exercise has lots of benefits on your brain (including increased blood flow, which increases your ability to process information) but one of my favorite benefits is the release of hormones including serotonin (the mood booster!). So while you may not be super happy about adding cardio into your workout, in the long term it will have positive effects on your mood :)
For your muscles
Say hellooooo to lean and defined muscles. Yes, lifting weights is how you get 'tone' to your muscles... but who is going to see all that tone if there is a layer of fat over it? Yeah, not even you. If you want to really see a difference in the look and shape of your body, you must add in cardio. It is crucial for success!
For your sanity
There's not really much science behind this one, but I love the peace of mind that I get when I add regular cardio to my routine. Personally, I love to dance. Its fun & keeps my mind totally occupied and focused on my body.
When I need some time to think, I also love going out for runs. Unplug sometimes and really focus on you - what are you thinking about? How do you feel? Its prime time to address concerns and issues you are having in your head. What better time to do that than outside in the fresh air?
The same type of cardio may not work for everyone, but I want to challenge you to find what you actually enjoy doing. Maybe you love tennis or swimming? Why not create your own cardio workouts with those sports? You'll be surprised at how much easier it is to stay consistent!
Have you picked up a jump rope lately? By lately, I don't mean back in the 6th grade :)
Jumping rope is an AWESOME and totally underrated way of working out.
For reals. Ever tried doing 30 minutes of continuous jump rope? It's a serious feat.
Back around Thanksgiving I did a 1,000 Challenge (you can find the post HERE).
I figured it was about time to bring this bad boy back to the blog! I'm a big fan of adding jump ropes to the end of most of my workouts (usually I will just jump rope for a song on my phone and then be done). It's a burst of high energy that burns a few extra calories.
And also... this is like the cheapest exercise equipment that you'll ever find. I think I got mine at Walmart for less than $5.
I found the workout inspo from pinterest (holla!) And I am really happy that I did.
It's super simple and easy to follow. What more could you ask for?
You could make this workout as long or as short as you want. Do as many sets as you feel comfortable with!
I am always surprised at how difficult jumping rope is when I pick it up after a while. I love the two minute rest time between each set!
Don't be afraid to make this workout your own... want to add in a unique jump that you love? Do it. Love the high jumps? Add in 20 instead of just 10. If you can only do have of the jumps, that is just fine. Its OK to work your way up. Sometimes when I see things on pinterest or on a blog, I don't even bother trying because it looks too hard... or too easy. I'm trying to learn to step outside my comfort zone and just try it out. What can it hurt? If you hate it, then maybe you lost 10 minutes and no harm done. Do me a favor and try something new today!
Do you sometimes get overwhelmed when you start a workout program? Like it has to be (excuse my expression) but balls to the walls in order to see results?
I know for me that if I start with too much intensity, I lose my consistency. Consistency is the key to losing weight and making a lifestyle change! One of the best places to start on a weight loss/health journey is walking.
To me, the best thing about walking is that almost everyone can do it! If you have two legs that work properly, then you are so blessed! Use those legs :)
Going for a walk doesn't take a lot of planning or preparation. It doesn't require fancy equipment or a gym membership (unless you LOVE the dreadmill... ) and you can go anytime, anywhere.
On vacation? Take some time to go for a walk.
Visiting a friend? Grab them and go out together.
Pregnant? Guess what, its GOOD for you and your baby to be active during your pregnancy. Walking counts!
Literally, walking can be anywhere.
You've probably noticed that we filmed and photographed at a cemetery. A little creepy but not really! Walking can be the perfect time to explore your area & get to know the place you live a little better.
Plus, this place had some serious hills & I love adding a little intensity to my workouts.
I actually love using the natural terrain as a challenge during my walks. Hills, sprints and jogs intermittently throughout the walk can make it a little more exciting!
If you learn to enjoy your walks- they will become a part of your daily life. I promise that you will see health benefits from consistently adding physical activity to your day. Restrictive dieting and crazy workout plans might work for a little bit, but usually they don't help you long term (you can even gain more weight after these things than when you even started) but small and consistent things will change your life! You probably won't only walk for the rest of your life, but it is a great foundation for physical activity & its just good to get outside, breathe the fresh air and get your blood pumping.
To be totally honest, walking and low stress physical activity help with my anxiety big time. You will really be surprised at the benefits of just getting moving!
The last quick thing I wanted to talk about was shoessss. If you are going to be walking for more than a few minutes, its important to grab some shoes with support in them. The last thing you want is to start exercising and then your feet crap out on you! Nikes are my personal favorites but there are a ton of other great brands out there- its all about what works best for your feet.
If you are stumped for how to find good shoes, head into a running store. Most of them do gait analysis these days and they will point you in the right direction.
The most important thing is to get out there and get moving my friends! I hope you have a fabulous Tuesday :)
I know that pretty much everyone is interested in measuring their progress.
Whether that progress is measured by pounds, inches or fitness level- everyone wants to see how far they've come! In order to SEE the progress, you have to test (or measure!) yourself before you begin.
I don't know about you, but I totally get frustrated when I'm working out a lot, eating right and I don't see the changes in the mirror. What I always forget to do is to take pictures before and then take pictures periodically throughout my program to see the physical progress in my photos. As a society, we are always second guessing ourselves and it is difficult to see the small changes over time.
If you are starting a workout program or are interested in seeing the progress of your workouts on your fitness abilities, then you need to take this test! I would suggest retesting every few months (after steady, consistent workouts). It's crazy easy & will take you less than 10 minutes.
Essentially, you are testing your heart rate each time you do this test. The more in shape/fit you are, the lower your heart rate will stay during your normal workouts. This means that your body has gotten used to and adapted to your workouts- it is STRONGER. Your heart and body can adapt as quickly after just a few workouts. I would suggest upping your intensity every 10 days or so. When you come back to this test every month, 2 months or 3 months to see your progress.
Write down exactly what your heart rate is at after the first segment, then when you retest, compare and see if your heart rate is going down. If it is, you're on the right track & should give yourself a big high five. If your heart rate hasn't gone down, then you need to adjust your workouts and push yourself a little harder. Remember that challenging your body is what is going to give you the best benefits! This same principle goes for the number of push ups and sit ups you get. Challenge yourself to get a few more in every time.
1. The Step Test
For 3 minutes, you will simply step on the step. Really. That's it. It is important to keep a rhythm- think, "Up, up, down down." This is your cardio-ish segment and is a great way to start out your test. Go as quickly as you can. Really push yourself!
*If you don't have a stepper and don't have access to one at a gym you can use just a regular stair! I would skip a step so that the height is similar to a step but it will give you about the same results.
Don't forget to test your heart rate immediately following your 3 minutes. There are a couple of different ways you can do this:
1. Look at your watch for 60 seconds and count all of the pulses
2. Look at your watch for 10 seconds, count the pulses and then multiply by 6
3. If you have a heart rate monitor (like on a Fitbit HR), just look at that. I usually check three times within one minute and then average the numbers
*Remember to never test your heart rate with your thumb- there is a radial artery in your thumb that will disrupt your counting!
2. The Push Up Test
Super simple again- do as many push ups as you can in 1 minute. This one is really tough for me- I don't do push ups a whole lot. This is definitely an area I need to work on.
I like to keep the number of push ups I do in my head during the test and then record them afterwards. You can even say them outloud so you don't forget your number haha.
If you need to and aren't used to doing regular push ups, you can modify by putting your knees on the ground.
3. The Sit Up Test
Last but not least, the dreaded sit up.
Just kidding. I actually really like sit ups!
Remember to do actual sit ups and not just crunches. Keep your feet on the floor the whole time if you can. Bring your elbows up to your knees with every up movement. Do as many as you can, as quickly as you can.
Don't forget to record the number of sit ups that you did. See if you can beat yourself on the next test!
Form is really important during sit ups! Keep your back straight, core tight & belly button in are all crucial in a proper sit up. It protects your spine (which is the most important thing) and is more challenging (a good thing as it actually helps to strengthen your core).
Your feet also need to remain planted on the ground as much as possible. If you need to, you can have a partner hold your feet down or you can anchor them under something.
Yay! You've finished your test. Now what? Find your age & numbers below to see what group you're in. There's no judgments- as long as you are working to hit the next step up, you're doing great! You can only start progression from where you are right now.
Use these numbers as a guide to push yourself to get to the next category! Knowledge creates an accountability within yourself... its so important to know where you are, to push yourself to a specific goal & then to congratulate yourself when you do hit that goal. Acknowledge your successes and the areas that you need to progress in. Its healthy!
If you have ever used the excuse that you can't go to the gym because you have errands to run, raise your hand!
Yep. Mine is 100% raised right now. If I have crap to do (especially on Saturdays) sometimes it is hard to get my butt to my workout. Its just human nature to find excuses for hard things.
Buy a hat.
And definitely, definitely bring deo with you.
Black everything is the key here. It hides sweat like a boss (at least in my opinion) and you just feel a little bit more sleek. Ya know? Look for fun and different 'prints' if you will and it can spice up your normal black leggings.
I've recently started adding hats (thanks to my U-Jam addiction) to my workout attire and they are a life saver! It can take your post gym outfit from frumpy to errand ready. No one wants to see your sweaty, matted down hair. No one sister. Check out Ross and Tj Maxx for some good options! I snagged this Bohme boutique on clearance!
I threw on a regular black Roxy jacket since it was a little chilly outside but this outfit works well both ways.
Hat: Sold in stores at Bohme, similar HERE and HERE
Glasses: Urban Outfitters, found HERE
Jacket: Roxy (sold out), similar HERE
Top: Nordstrom Rack (sold out), similar HERE
Pants: Saks Off Fifth, found HERE
Are you following me on instagram? If so, you've probably already seen this super fun giveaway!
This is the week of giveaways... (the Target giftcard giveaway ends tomorrow) but more the merrier right?!
Anyways... be sure to enter to win this darling Instamax camera. I have mega heart eyes over it and definitely want this fun toy for myself!
Check out @eatglitterallday for more deets!
I'm a college-grad, certified group fitness instructor and certified personal trainer looking to get my healthy to the next level. I hope you can find a little something here that will help you on your journey too.