Workout Wednesday

It’s been a while since I closed down my i-Heart Fitness blog and said I would just share my health and fitness thoughts here every now and then, as well as on Skinny Mom, but I really don’t think I’ve done too much of that here! So, for lack of a better style post, I’m going to do a little fitness update.
On my Thirty Before 30 list update yesterday, one of the items mentioned was my goal to drop 15 lbs, 10 of which I’ve successfully shed since first making the list. I wanted to share with you what my workout weeks have been looking like as of late…and how it’s been helping me achieve my goals.
Ever since starting my job working at my gym three days a week as the opener {4:30am – 8am}, I’ve been even better than ever before about getting my gym workouts in. After all, it’s getting to the gym that is half the battle. Since I have to be there, I make sure to make use of it.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, there are barre classes when I get off, so I always make sure to take those. And let me tell you – they are killer. Even my husband has mentioned noticing a tighter tush and thighs on me. If you’ve never taken a barre class, I suggest you try one. I started taking them at Barre Evolution last summer with a Groupon and I fell in love with it. I think it feeds the dancer in me in a way. I also love that the ladies in the class are practically the same each time…we’re a bunch of barre-flies, and I’ve started making friendships with some…it’s great to find others with the same hobbies as you.

On Fridays when my gym shift ends, I take the morning Spin class. I have found this to be great in combination with the barre classes.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, since I’m not working at the gym, I am in charge of taking the boys to daycare and school. Lucky for me, my gym is right across the street from Tanner’s school, so as long as I’m disciplined enough to put on my workout wear before I leave the house, I head to the gym at about 7:45am those days after drop-off and do some strength-training. One day is spent on lower body, the other on upper and I usually do the elliptical or treadmill both days for my cardio.

Saturdays are usually reserved for a good long run if I can manage to have Jake available to watch the boys. If not, I hit the gym in the morning for some strength training {lower body} or barre class. {This Saturday, I have the Cooper River Bridge 10K!}

So yes, I realize that is 6 days of working out per week, but I have a true love for fitness and I always aim for 5-6 workout days per week.. I love this new schedule because I’m really mixing things up and seeing results little by little. The 2-3 barre classes per week are making a huge difference. {I tell you, TRY IT!}

So today is Wednesday and I am at the gym right now {working} and I’ve got my barre class coming up in a couple of hours. It feels like severe punishment for my glutes, but always so worth it when it’s over. Can’t wait! Hoping I’ll be looking like this soon {haha}:

What about you? Is fitness important for you? What are your go-to workout routines?

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Why You Should Use Weight Gloves

Hey y’all – I’m here to tell you about an important item I carry every time I hit the gym — weight gloves.

Here are my reasons why you should have a pair in your gym bag too:

1. Prevent Callouses

Strength training is an important part of anyone’s fitness routine. But that metal or plastic-y exterior of the weights can wreak havoc on your hands.


Wearing weight gloves can prevent this painful and not-so-good-looking problem.

2. Better Grip

Many glove options provide a better grip for you – making it less likely to slip on the bar or drop a dumbbell. Many are moisture-wicking to keep hand sweat at bay.


And here are some that I recommend, if you’re looking for your own pair:

{GoFit Elite Weight Lifting Gloves}
Harbinger Women's Pro Wash and Dry Weight Lifting Gloves - Click to enlarge
{Harbinger Women’s Pro Wash & Dry Gloves}

The Anatomy of a Solid Resolution

Year after year, so many people kick off the New Year with great goals and great intentions. They write them down and call them their New Year’s resolutions.


But often is the case, those resolutions are thrown to the wayside by usually no later than the end of February.

Why is this? We hit the ground running, full steam ahead…and then old habits start to creep in and get the best of us. Old habits do die hard, you know. How can you stop this from happening to you? Well, there’s really no wrong or right answer to that one because in the end, that all depends on you. But here are some tips I have for making resolutions that you can see through…

1. Know WHY. – Don’t just make a vague resolution, i.e. “lose weight”, “stop eating fast food”, etc. Your why should be important to you. It should even draw out an emotion – guilt, sadness, even anger. Here are some examples:

  • I want to lose weight so I can look better in my clothes
  • I want to get in shape to be a good example for my kids.
  • I want to lose weight to regain my self-confidence.

2. Be SPECIFIC. – If you are making a goal, you need to know what the goal actually is. How much weight do you want to lose – 5, 10, 15? Do you want to get down to a certain dress size? Do you want to run your first 5K or 10K – do you have a specific race in mind? Also put deadlines on these specific goals. But the key is to be realistic, i.e. it’s best only to expect to lose 1-2 lbs per week. Anything more than that is not maintainable, nor is it healthy for the body.

3. Create a PLAN. – Find a specific workout program {if you are working out at home}. Jot down a workout routine for the gym each week {usually switching between main muscle groups each day}/ Will you sign up for classes? Will you run outdoors? Also find out your optimal time to workout and stick to it…write it in the planner and make it as important as any other date you would have. Also plan out your meals…before you grocery shop.

4. Track your PROGRESS. – I am a big journal junkie. I think it’s because I love to write things out so I can see them before me…but I do think it helps to have a frame of reference when you are analyzing your goals and how far you’ve come…or whether you’re doing enough to stay on track with that goal. A fitness journal keeps you accountable for your exercise each day and a food journal is a great tool to use to go back to if you didn’t lose the weight you wanted…it’s easy to see where small changes can be made.

5. WRITE down your goals. – And keep them where you can see them. A bathroom or dresser mirror is a perfect location.

6. SHARE your goals with family and friends. – Ask for their support on your journey. Maybe someone will want to buddy up with you. Nonetheless, letting people know your plans is a great way to be held accountable. Even if they weren’t holding me accountable, I’d certainly mentally believe they were and that would be enough to keep me on track. We as humans tend not to like to fail publicly, much less at all.

OK, now get to writing those resolutions. I will be back here with my list {just the fitness-oriented ones} tomorrow.

Back on Track

I have spent the last three days getting myself back on the fitness track. My mom was in town for Christmas from the 22nd to the 26th, but after I bid goodbye to her at the airport at 5am on Thursday, I knew that it was time to finally be done with the holidays and done with my little workout hiatus.
I’m finally feeling a little better and back to normal after the surgery I had on Dec. 17th. I hate that it took me out of training for my half marathon. After much thought, I’ve decided that I’m going to forgo the half marathon in Charleston on January 19th. It pains me to do so because I wanted this so badly, but I am just not ready. Before my hiatus, I was at eight straight miles…which is a great personal accomplishment for me. However, it’s not near where I need to be to take on 13.1. And now that I’ve been out for a couple of weeks, as well as it’s pretty darn chilly outside {I know I’m a wuss when it comes to that}, I just decided it best to find a different half marathon that would allow for more time. I am now going to participate in the Columbia Half Marathon on March 9th. I will have to travel an hour and a half, but my family and I are going to make a weekend of it…they will cheer me on and then we will celebrate with a trip to the Riverbanks Zoo. The weather should be much more tolerable for running – especially that distance.
So anyway…as far as being back on track…I have been hitting the gym hard the last three days. Thursday was legs, glutes, abs and the elliptical; Friday was chest, triceps, abs and the elliptical and today I hit the legs and glutes again. I strongly encourage lifting weights when you are looking to tone up – don’t just hit the cardio. I am pretty sore right now, but it’s a good soreness…the kind that leaves me feeling accomplished and encouraged to go back for more. This past year has been a pretty challenging one for me in terms of fitness…work was crazy and I was putting in a lot of hours – even on weekends and my motivation for fitness was a bit lacking in comparison to my normal level. I almost feel as though this last three days I’ve just flipped the switch back on and it makes me wonder how I ever got lost in the first place. I turn the big 3-0 this April…so it is becoming even more important to me that I accomplish my fitness goals as well as keep challenging myself. Fitness is a part of who I am…and I don’t want to let anything get in the way of that again. No excuses.
If you are looking to get back into fitness…I encourage you to start today…don’t wait until January 1.
Oh, and be on the lookout for me to post my 2013 starting stats sometime next week…I’m a little nervous due to the above-mentioned hiatus I’ve been in, but I’ve got to do it…seeing those numbers will only fire me up to get them lower. I encourage you to take measurements any time you want to track your progress…photos are a great way to do that too.
Enjoy the rest of 2012. xoxo.
Side note: Do you like the new blog design? Not sure if it’s forever, I’ll probably keep revamping… but what do you think?

My Gym Routine: Back

Welcome back to my little mini-series, My Gym Routine!
Today, I am letting you in on my favorite back exercises.
Here is the schedule of posts for your reference:
Mon 11.26.12 – Back
Mon 12.3.12 – Chest
Mon 12.10.12 – Triceps
Mon 12.17.12 – Abs
I find the back is often neglected in many people’s exercise routines. It is a very important area because your back controls your ability to do most anything. Think about someone who breaks their back – they’re not going to be walking, are they? Your back is also closely related to your core, the main muscles that keep your body in balance. A weak back can lead to some very unfortunate injuries. Keep yours strong by focusing on it a few times a week, with moves such as these:
Back Extensions
Back extensions are great for the lower back as well as your abs! Build a strong lower back and you will notice a flatter tummy. I typically grab a weight plate anywhere up to 20 lbs and hold it with my arms crossed across my chest, but if you’re a beginner to working your back, simply putting your hands behind your head {shown} will keep you from doing too much too soon. For this exercise, I ai to do 3 sets of 15 reps.
Bent-Over Row
Grab a barbell {I use about 30 lbs}, hold with your palms facing outward and pull to your chest, then slowly release back down to starting position. Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.
Lat Pulldown
Using a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, grab a pulldown bar. Keep your back straight and sit up tall. Exhale as you pull the bar down to the top of your chest. Slowly rise back to starting position. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps with a weight that has you to failure by the 15th rep of each set.

My Gym Routine: Legs

Welcome back to my little mini-series, My Gym Routine!

Today, I am letting you in on my favorite leg exercises.

Here is the schedule of posts for your reference:
Mon 11.5.12 – Glutes
Mon 11.12.12 – Legs {Thighs, Hamstrings, Calves}
Mon 11.19.12 – Shoulders
Mon 11.26.12 – Back
Mon 12.3.12 – Chest
Mon 12.10.12 – Triceps
Mon 12.17.12 – Abs

For me personally, legs {and glutes} are the areas of my body that I feel need the most consistent effort as it seems that’s where the “junk” likes to strike first. I actually do my glute and leg exercises at least twice a week {with at least 48 hrs between to allow sufficient recovery}. The other body groups get one day each…and abs are done every day.

Here are some of my favorite leg exercises that I find the most effective:

Step Ups

For this exercise, I typically use a step and risers. I’m fairly tall at 5’8″, so I like to use 5-6 risers on each side. I recommend a height that puts your thigh parallel to the floor when you set your foot on the bench, but some prefer a little lower, and that’s OK too. To perform this exercise, step your foot onto the bench and slowly, using your thigh muscles, lift yourself up. Go back down and right back up again, concentrating on using the thigh, and not your momentum, to lift yourself. Do 12-15 times and then switch legs. Do 3 sets on each leg.

Plyometrics – Platform Hops

Find bench with a height you are comfortable with for jumping onto. To prep for the jump, squat a little, and using your leg power, jump onto the box in one swift motion. Step back down slowly and do it again. Complete 10-15 jumps, rest, and then do another set. I recommend 3 sets.

Calf Raises

Don’t neglect those calves! Start in a standing position and simply lift up to your tip toes. You can also do this while standing on a bench with your heels hanging over to get a longer range of motion. I like to use a staircase or step bench. Do 20-25 reps, rest and repeat for 3 sets. You can also try single leg calf raises. Optional: Hold dumbbells at your sides.

Hip Abductor/Hip Adductor

These are great machines for your inner and outer thighs. I usually do 3 sets of 20-25 reps each. I also like to switch between machines during sets, i.e. one set of adductor, straight to one set of abductor, without rest in between to save time. It’s otherwise known as a super-set.

Lying Leg Curls

There are a few different machines for leg curls, but I prefer the lying leg curl machine. I feel like I get more work done with those. For these, I complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps, making sure my last rep of each set is to failure {meaning, I can’t possibly do one more – it may take a few times until you figure out what amount of weight that is for you}.

Do you have any great leg exercises to share? What are your favorites?