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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Even When You Don’t Want To…

You just should. Workout, I mean.
I tell you, I have so many days where I am just not mentally into getting my workout done. I feel like that’s the hardest fight for me; not the physical battle. If I am not mentally in the kick-my-own-ass mode, it is a struggle to get my workout on.
I had a mental battle like this just yesterday afternoon. I was due to run 5-6 miles per my half marathon training schedule. I was all gung-ho in the morning…I got my workout wear, running shoes, etc. in a bag and stuck it in my car for a quick change after work so I could run on Daniel Island, an island near my home. {It is just such a better scenic run than my neighborhood.} But all day at work I was fighting allergies, a crampy tummy and just an overall feeling of crappiness. But deep down, I knew I had to make myself do this run.
So I got ready for my workout, parked my car on a random street and started running the route I had planned out on MapMyRun. Immediately my insides clenched with crampiness and I thought, “There’s no way I’m going to be able to finish this run.” I also was angry with my body for performing so poorly. I found it harder to breathe than normal…I felt less energized than normal. I won’t lie, I even walked some of it.
I think I like running in this particular place because I know that if I park my car and start heading off far to the other side of the island, it’s inevitable that I will have to make my way back, which means I have no choice but to do the miles. So in the end, here is what my RunKeeper app on my iPhone recorded:
So it wasn’t my best time per mile {12:15} obviously since I walked a little bit, but I think I averaged about the same time per mile as when I did my first 10K in April…so I don’t feel I was too shabby considering the distance for me was a good bit further than normal.
Overall, I’m just proud that I won my mental battle with myself. I know that I need to fight the urge to quit…that urge might always sneak up on me…but I know that I can shut that voice up.
How do you break through your mental battles with working out?

Taking It Up A Notch

For some reason, I am unlike the norm and actually like to work my ass off throughout the fall and winter season. Don’t get me wrong, I of course like to keep in shape for bikini season, but I feel like workout-wise, I am much better about it during the colder months. Must be due to the fact we don’t actually do a lot during this time of year in terms of traveling and social things so I don’t have a lot standing in my way? We have holiday parties and such, but really nothing too hectic.

I am training for my half marathon coming up in January, so that is definitely one way I’m kicking my own ass this winter. But I’ve decided I also want to take on Insanity again.

There are a few reasons why.

1. The obvious – to have a hot body. Yeah.

2. Anytime I’ve been doing Insanity, my running has benefited. I can run further, faster…it definitely increases my endurance.

3. Completing a 60-day round of it is on my Thirty Before 30 bucket list and as of today, I’ve got 5 months to go. Subtract 60 days from that and I really have to start within the next 3 months. I figure now is as good a time as any. {You will also see I then have completing a round of Insanity: The Asylum on that bucket list, which is a 30-day program, so really I have within the next 2 months to get going…so again, starting sooner than later is best!}

Have you ever taken on the Insanity challenge? You can purchase it here if you are interested in trying it. If you already have the workout, I encourage you to do it with me! I am starting today.

Here is the schedule if you need it:

And for the sake of it…here’s what I’ll call my “before” pictures {ever-wonderful and overexposing they are – but it’s necessary for motivation and progress tracking}:

Forgive my hair, I had just run. And here are my stats for right now – will take measurements later this week:

Height: 5’8″
Weight: 135 lbs

Wish me luck!

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?

Train Like An Angel

The Victoria Secret Fashion Show is fast-approaching, so you bet those little Angels are working their hardest to be in top model condition.

I got an email from Victoria’s Secret highlighting their VSX Collection. This collection is full of great workout wear that is cute, flattering and sure to make you want to get up and workout. I have a few VSX items from past collections and they are definitely quality.

Here are a few of my faves from the current collection that have made their way to my online shopping cart:

via

I have a larger bust-size, so maximum support during workouts is a must. This bra has all kinds of support, plus moisture-wicking fabric.

via

I’m lovin’ a crop workout pant lately…and these look to be a very flattering fit.

Check out the rest of the VSX Collection online at Victoria’s Secret!

Also, in spirit of getting runway-ready – VSX is offering workouts via their Facebook page. You should check it out and take on the daily workout challenge.

My Gym Routine: Glutes

I thought I’d start a short and sweet series called My Gym Routine to give y’all a little insight into my gym workouts. I’ll be dividing it up by body area. My hope is that you might find some inspiration and effective moves for your own gym routine.

Note: Many of these exercises can also be done at home with little to no equipment and a little improvisation. 

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

First body area I am going to start with is the one I like to work the most: my glutes. When I’m working my glutes at the gym, that also means it’s leg day because I always work those together.

Bridges

Start lying on the floor with your knees bent with your heels no more than a few inches from your bottom. Slowly lift your hips, concentrating on contracting your glute muscles to do so. Give it a tight squeeze at the top, hold a few seconds and slowly bring back down. That’s one rep. I aim to do 25 reps per set, and 3 sets total. For an added challenge, grab a bar weight and hold it on your lower abdomen while performing this exercise.

Dumbbell Squats

Grab a set of medium weights and hold them at your sides. Slowly sit back as if there is a chair behind you, keeping back straight and knees behind the toes. Lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, hold for a few seconds and slowly rise to starting position. That is one rep. I will aim to do 12-15 reps per set, and 3 sets total.

Dumbbell Plie Squats

Grab a medium dumbbell and stand with your back straight and feet just a bit further than shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell at your center by just one end of it. Slowly lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor, making sure your knees do not protrude past your toes. Hold a few seconds and while contracting your glutes, rise back to starting position. Same as the dumbbell squats, perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Lunges

Lunges are by far one of the most effective exercises for your lower body. I actually prefer walking lunges, but at the gym, I tend to just do the stationary ones. Start in standing position and lunge one leg forward so your back knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and shin is parallel to the floor. Leading leg should be bent 90 degrees as well with thigh parallel to the floor. As you lift yourself back to starting position, be sure you are using the glutes to do so and not pushing off your leg. Repeat on opposite side. That is one rep. I do 3 sets of 12-15 reps. Dumbbells optional.

Many of these exercises are effective for your legs too, which is why I work legs and glutes on the same day.

Tell me about your routine for glutes – any super-fab effective exercises to share? I’d love to hear what is working for you! xoxo