Category Archives: Fitness Fridays
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has become a routine part of my daily workouts. It’s the most effective way to burn fat in a short period of time. This means spending less time working out and achieving results faster. Who doesn’t want that?
I saw this infographic floating around Pinterest and really felt the need to post it for one of my Fitness Fridays posts, so here it is. The best fact on this sheet? Studies show that 27 minutes of HIIT 3 times a week produces the same anaerobic and aerobic improvement as 60 minutes of cardio 5 times a week. It’s a win-win, people.
And while you’re at it, grab an HRM (heart rate monitor). I already have one, but I’ve had my eye on this pink Garmin Forerunner 110 Women’s GPS Sports Watch for quite some time. I feel a new purchase coming on soon! Check out the Heart Rate Monitors USA website for more options. Happy HIIT!
One thing I’ve noticed as the years go by (besides my metabolism slowing down) is how quickly my ab muscles seem to fade. I can work out extremely hard for one week, but if I take even a day or two off, it seems as though they’ve disappeared altogether. Normal crunches and sit-ups used to be my go-to, but I’m realizing that I need to switch up my workout more often if I want to see better results.
I found this 10 minute ab workout by POP Pilates and I must say, it’s keeping me on my toes. I live by this workout and perform it religiously. What’s great is that you don’t need a gym to do it. Just pick a spot in your living room and go for it. Fair warning: it’s really intense. Totally worth it though.
As stated in earlier posts tagged under Fitness Fridays, I’ve been working my buns off (literally) for the past two months. I set a goal to change my lifestyle which encompassed clean eating and a routine fitness regimen. I would say that I’ve met my goal, but then I’d be lying. This goal isn’t one I can ever fully achieve; it’s one that I will actively be working towards for the rest of my life.
Unlike most fitness goals, I didn’t set a goal to “lose 10 or 15 pounds”. My goal wasn’t to lose weight- it was to get fit & healthy. It only makes sense that when you commit to living a healthier lifestyle, you end up losing weight, gaining muscle, and toning up all around. And that’s exactly what happened. Let go of the notion that you need to lose x amount of weight. Commit to a healthier lifestyle and the rest will follow. I promise.
With that being said, I know that holiday traveling can put a damper on our fitness regimens. We end up feeling tired from airplane and car rides, lethargic from carb-loaded meals & treats, and lazy from alcoholic beverages. But if you can knock out your workout in the morning before any of these activities begin, it will make for a more energetic and all-around positive vacation. Don’t have access to a gym? Ground filled with snow with temperatures below zero? Not a problem. I leave you with The Do-Anywhere CrossFit Workout adapted from Women’s Health Magazine.
*Using the six CrossFit exercises (below), mix and match the four workouts below. Do three or four sessions a week. It doesn’t matter which workouts you pick; just keep the pace fast and the effort hard.
Do 10 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without resting. Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.
EXERCISE ORDER: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Complete 60 reps of the first move, 50 of the second, 40 of the third, and so on, until you’ve worked down to 10 reps of the last exercise.
EXERCISE ORDER: 2, 1, 6, 5, 4, 3
Do 12 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without rest. Complete five rounds and note how long it takes you to finish. Aim to do the workout faster next time.
EXERCISE ORDER: 3, 4, 5, 2, 6, 1
Complete as many reps as you can of each move in one minute each, moving from one exercise to the next without stopping. Rest one minute, then repeat the entire sequence two more times. Keep track of your total rep count (e.g., if you finish 20 lunge hops, start counting pushups at 21). Try to beat your grand total next time.
EXERCISE ORDER: 5, 6, 2, 3, 1, 4
Due to the horrific, devastating tragedy that took place this morning, I will not be posting a Fitness Fridays article today. Focusing on anything else is entirely disrespectful.
Please keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers.
To learn more, click here.
Fitness Fridays. This segment is quickly becoming my favorite to write about. I look forward to it every week. As mentioned in my previous posts (here and here), I’ve quickly turned into quite the fitness fanatic. What’s wonderful is that in the beginning it was all about losing a couple of pounds and toning up. I thought I could easily spare 5lbs, so I did. What I didn’t realize is how quickly this decision would turn into a dedicated, long-term commitment. It wasn’t something I expected, but I now fully understand the difference between a diet and a true lifestyle change.
A diet is a short-term fix; people go on diets to lose a little weight for special occasions or just because, with the hope that they’ll keep the weight off. The problem is that once they lose the weight, they fall right back into their old habits which causes them to gain it all back. The diet starts up again and the pattern ensues. It’s a vicious circle. A true lifestyle change, however, differs entirely. When you consciously make the decision to eat better and exercise more, there’s no need to be so stuck on “I need to lose 10lbs” or “I need to flatten my stomach” because you’ve simply made the decision to live better. When you exercise and eat right, the weight will fall off and your muscles will tone up, but you won’t necessarily be focused on these specific things. You’ll be focused on the fact that you’re living better - eating better, feeling better, and doing better not only where your health is concerned, but in all aspects of life. It’s a beautiful thing and I encourage you to put your body to the test. Your body is capable of so many amazing things and the realization of your own strength, determination, and endurance is an indescribable feeling.
After the BodyRock post came out a couple of days ago, my email and facebook inbox have been flooded with questions, so I thought I’d compile an advisory column answering those that are frequently asked. The two questions I’ve been asked most are, “How do you stay motivated and what drives you to continue working out?” and “How do you fight cravings and continue a healthy meal regimen?” I hope this helps:
Fitness Advice From Me, Kristen Leigh
1. Start slow. Work out 3 to 4 times a week for 30-60 minutes. Once those endorphins start flowing, you’ll feel great and will want to keep feeling that way. About 3-4 weeks in, you’ll feel a need or a desire to work out often. And when you skip a day or two, you’ll start to feel the negative side effects. That right there should be enough to get you back into your fitness regimen. At least, that’s what does it for me.
2. Resist urges by packing healthy snacks in your purse/bag/car at all times. Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods. If you don’t have “bad” food in your house, then you won’t eat “bad” food. Cut out soda, coffee, and anything sugary. Drink more than 8 glasses of water a day and stick to natural drinks like green tea (Arizona Brand Diet Green Tea is my favorite!) Eat lean protein (chicken and fish), salads, and lots of veggies. Invest the time to find and try out new, healthy recipes.
3. If urges tend to hit while you’re driving around and see a fast food restaurant, try to avoid streets where there are multiple restaurants. I actually changed my route to and from work so that I wouldn’t pass any fast food restaurants. Out of sight, out of mind.
4. Make fitness a priority, just like work, laundry, or cleaning. Find time to fit it into your daily schedule and realize that the more you work out, the more energy you’ll have, which makes all of your other priorities easier to complete. More energy = not tired = easier to get other things done.
5. Find a fitness buddy. I don’t have one, but my mom and sister downloaded the LoseIt! App which is what I currently use to track calories and exercise. We added each other on the app so we’ll comment on each others’ workouts and updates. It’s easy to stay motivated when you know someone’s watching you.
6. Make a Pinterest “Fit-spiration” board. Pin photos or quotes that inspire or motivate you to get fit and stay healthy. Download the app on your phone and whenever you don’t feel like working out, browse the pictures on your board. Works like a charm!
7. If you dread running on the treadmill or being on the elliptical, try other forms of exercise such as biking, yoga, Wii Fit, Just Dance, Zumba, BodyRock, or other fitness-related Youtube videos. These are all ways to burn a lot of calories and they’re fun too! And ladies, don’t be afraid to lift weights- heavy ones at that! You won’t become big and bulky, just toned, muscular, and lean. I promise.
8. Most importantly, realize that your decision to be fit and healthy is not a diet or a short-term plan. It’s a lifestyle change. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while, but staying healthy is all about moderation. Too much of one thing usually isn’t good. Find a balance that works for you and stick to it.
What’s currently working for me: Think of exactly why you’ve decided to get fit and stay healthy. Write your reason with an erasable marker in the corner of your bathroom mirror. This motivates me every morning, and also every evening. Mine is, “Yesterday you said tomorrow.” Constant reminders of why you started will help to keep you going. If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up
And by all means, if you have questions, want to try out some new recipes, need some new workout routines, or simply need a boost, don’t hesitate to contact me. Email me, send a DM via Twitter, or send a Facebook message. I’m always happy to lend a helping hand because I love seeing people make the choice to live better.
After all, the first step to living a wonderful life is making the decision to start.
I woke up this morning to an email in my inbox from Frederick with BodyRock. He told me to check out their Facebook page and what do you know? They chose to post my fitness story! To say I was shocked, stunned, and over the moon are severe understatements.
It’s been about 2 1/2 months since I began my fitness journey and over that time, I’m down 10lbs. As I’ve stated before, it’s not the number on the scale, but how I felt every day. I was bogged down with no energy; I felt low and heavy. Now I feel full of energy, happy, and motivated. As you start to make working out part of your daily routine, it won’t feel like a chore anymore. It’ll become a habit, and a good one at that
I plan to continue sharing my journey through my Fitness Fridays posts. My only hope is that I am able to motivate and inspire other people as much as BodyRock has inspired me!
They have amazing workouts, food & diet advice, fitness tips, as well as a large, supportive community. They helped me get to where I am today, and I know they can help you too!
After eating tremendous amounts of food and indulging in some adult beverages over Thanksgiving weekend, it’s safe to say that I gained a little weight. I lost about 6lbs before the holidays and surprisingly only gained 2 back. The great news is that after a week of being back at the gym (and overcoming a small flu bug), I’ve managed to lose those 2lbs. It feels great to be back on track before Christmas arrives.
I was flipping through December’s issue of Cosmopolitan (the one with T-Swift on the cover) and came across the sweetest little treat: klutchbox. This is very similar to birchbox where you pay a small fee every month to have beauty samples delivered to your door, except klutchbox is for fitness lovers. I figure trying out new fitness goodies is the perfect way to keep myself motivated every month. Who knows? I may find something I absolutely love that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
What’s also great is that they have a klutchbox for women and for men. Double whammy right there. Check it out here.
Today concludes fifteen consecutive days of healthy eating and working out at least once (but mostly twice) a day. I’m not looking to be rail-thin, model-esque, or Olympian-strong. I’m looking to be fit. Plain and simple.
I thought I’d post a “day in the life” of… well, me. I work 8+ hours every weekday and sometimes take work home on the weekends, but I’ve still managed to prioritize my time so that my health and fitness come first. When you’re healthy, it’s a lot easier to be happy and I’ve noticed how much better I’m performing at work, within my social life, and my mood overall. Within this 2 weeks, I’m 5.6lbs down. To me though, it’s not the number that matters. It’s how I feel when I put on my clothes and realize that they’re no longer snug. It’s how I feel when my muscles are sore each and every day and the realization that they’re growing, only to improve my strength in the long run. It’s how I feel when I shed my clothes before a nice, long shower – that girl in the mirror is fit and toned. It’s who I’ve always wanted to be.
Now that I have it, I won’t let it go. That I can promise you.
A Day in the Life of Kristen Leigh
20 minutes on the elliptical
20 minutes of weights (3 reps of 15 on each machine in the photo below)
1-2 minutes plank
45-60 minutes on the elliptical
30 minutes weights (3 reps of 15 on each machine in the photo below)
1-2 minutes plank
3 sets of 15 lunges with 5lb weight in each hand
It’s important to alternate between legs and arms each day in order to allow your muscles to rest and grow, but cardio should be done everyday! If the weights feel too light, boost ‘em and lift heavier amounts. Give yourself at least one day off each week, but don’t slack off by eating a bunch of fried junk food. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely treat yourself. But I’ve come to learn it’s all about moderation. I’ve been able to tone up and lose those pounds the past two weeks while treating myself to a cupcake, a cheeseburger and fries, and a big bowl of popcorn. The key is to have just enough and not too much. Again, moderation. The sooner you learn that, the easier this will be.
Prepackaged Jamba Smoothie and a sliced apple
OR Silk’s Fruit Protein drink (8oz) and a sliced apple
(I’m not a big breakfast person)
I normally eat a grilled chicken salad, either house or Greek. I avoid croutons and fatty dressings. I try to stick to balsamic vinaigrette or low fat organic Italian.
OR I’ll have a grilled chicken breast that I cooked the night before with sautéed onions, red peppers, and other veggies.
I will either grill a chicken breast, shrimp or fish. I love broccoli so I steam a large bowl of that as well as asparagus, onions, and red peppers. I’ll also have a cup of brown rice with low sodium soy sauce drizzled on top.
Throughout the day, I’ll have about 3-5 snacks. I always have an apple and a banana, as well as flavored Greek yogurt. Sometimes I’ll bring carrot slices with nonfat ranch, almonds, and sliced celery with nonfat peanut butter.
I’m always looking for new healthy recipes because a meal plan like this can be a little bland from time to time. My recipe book has grown over the past two weeks and I must say, it’s nice craving fruits & veggies instead of sweets and treats. To keep track of everything, I use the Lose It! App. You can track your daily food intake, as well as your workouts. If your goal is to lose weight, you can set up a caloric limit and work towards that goal through diet and exercise.
The hardest part is starting. Really, it is.
The first 3-4 days will be tough. Super tough. But in a week in a half, you’ll start to notice those tiny changes that will begin to make all the difference, like your clothes hanging looser or the feeling of having more energy. Those tiny changes start to turn into noticeably larger ones, and that, my friends, is what will keep you going. At least that’s what does it… for me.
Good luck! Get fit!