Thursday, April 30, 2015

Motivation [Or the How-To's]

While talking to a friend about fitness, she asked me how I stay motivated. That's not an easy question to give a straight answer to, so instead of saying anything, I just sent her a link to my blog. As I have said before, I find it extremely important to find people who support you. My sister forms my rock when it comes to fitness to everything; she listens to my doubts, my complaints, my deepest insecurities and always rebuts my claims of inadequacy. This blog acts as another source of motivation; I push myself harder in the hopes that I can inspire others to adopt a better healthier lifestyle. But if you're looking for a source of motivation, look no further than yourself. Take pictures of yourself (selfie it up--no shame) every day, every week, or once a month-- however often you feel comfortable or remember to do it. By having these visual "aids," you motivate yourself with the desire to reach the results you want to see in yourself. I'll take a moment to caution against using Pinterest as a mode of "motivation" as while there are plentiful "fitspo" pins (refer back to my post about the feminine fitness image), spending hours scrolling through these pictures pale in comparison to the progress you could have made using that time on your own body. Even so, spending a few minutes looking at these pins to motivate you isn't a completely terrible practice; just don't spend hours doing it. Sending my love and appreciation to you for stopping by! Please take a second to leave a comment on your thoughts about motivation... It would be much appreciated!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Let's Be Reasonable....

I have decided to start a series of reasons to work out. All the pictures will be of me personally (please don't think I'm vain) but hopefully will also help everyone see the results you can start seeing with consistent exercise. Sending much love to you all!

Friday: Back, Arms, and Inner Thighs

Intensity: 4 out of 5

Back: same
Arms: same
Inner thighs: same

So with this post, I'm almost caught up (thank goodness). While I was doing my arm exercises last night, I noticed that I was curving my wrists as I was doing my rows. I couldn't figure out why I was doing that at first, but I decided to try heavier weights, and that fixed my technique error. If you ever feel like an arm exercise is either too easy or not right somehow, I recommend trying a slightly heavier weight. Sometimes that's all it takes! As always, have a great weekend!

Thursday: Abs, Butt, and Yoga

Intensity: 3 out of 5

Abs: same as before
Butt: same as before
Yoga: same as before

You may have noticed that I didn't schedule a rest day for this week. With the workouts I have been doing, I didn't want to take a break. However, rest days are important, especially after rigorous exercises. Even if you plan on working out everyday, you can always assess how you're feeling and decide to take that day as a rest day. Just get back to it the next day!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Back, Arms, and HIIT

Intensity: 4 out of 5

Back: Same as Monday's

Arms: Same as Monday's

Elbow plank

  • 10 seconds hold, 20 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 20 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds hold, 30 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds hold, 60 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 30 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 20 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, 10 seconds rest
  • 10 seconds hold, DONE
An important note: you're probably aware of this already, but be really cognizant of your breathing throughout your workout. As I learned the hard way, improper breathing can make a workout not only uncomfortable but also bring it to a dead halt, if not an unsatisfying end. I should probably also remind you to not overdo it; if you ever feel like a particular exercise is too strenuous or hurts, stop. The best thing to do (in my opinion) is to learn your limitations and build your exercise routine around them. You may find that in time what once was a limitation is no longer an issue. But no matter what, please be smart about your fitness. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Abs, Legs, and Inner Thighs

Intensity: 3 out of 5

Abs: same as on Sunday

40 reps (each leg)

  • Forward leg lift
  • Reverse leg lift (arabesque)
  • Plie (first position)
  • Plie (second position)
  • Hamstring press (attitude position)
  • Runner's lunge (as a good stretch at the end)
Inner Thighs:
2 sets of 15 reps
  • Deep squat
  • Slide side lunge
  • Wide stance squat
  • Scissor raises
  • Lying leg lift
  • Thrust and squeeze

I'm really sorry that I've managed to get behind on my days! I'll try to post twice so that I can catch up in the next day or two... The leg exercises are difficult and will make you feel a little like a ballerina (or a wannabe ballerina if you're not very good at ballet, like me), but they really work and you'll feel them. The inner thighs are probably to most difficult to target in my opinion... Anyway, I'll get off of here and do my workout for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back, Arms, and Yoga

This was yesterday's workout... I'm sorry that I didn't post it then.

Intensity: 3 out of 5

2 sets of 15 reps

  • Mountain climbers
  • Straight triceps kickback
  • Jump rope (45 secs)
  • Bent-over fly
  • Compass jumping jacks (45 secs)
  • Modified pull down
2 sets of 15 reps
  • Bent-over dumbbell rows
  • Chest-fly hand-off
  • Shoulder cycles
  • Overhead tricep extensions
  • Half-kneeling bicep curls
30 secs/pose
  • Child's pose
  • Downward facing dog
  • Warrior II
  • Plank pose
  • Fierce pose
  • Tree pose
  • Garland pose
  • Boat pose
  • Bridge pose
  • Half-lord of the fishes

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Abs, Butt, and HIIT-- Oh My!

Intensity of the entire workout: 4 out of 5 (5 being pretty intense).

For abs:
3 sets of 15 reps

  • Squat and Reach
  • Push-up Rotation
  • V-Sits
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Reverse Crunch
For butt:
3 sets of 15 reps
  • Roundhouse
  • Tree Arabesque
  • Slide Sculptor
  • Demi Plie
  • Deep squat
5 rounds
  • 20 seconds of high knees
  • 20 seconds of squats
  • 20 seconds of basic burpees

When I have more time, I'll describe how to do some of these exercises, maybe with some photo references. Until then.... Have a fantastic week!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Little Personal Insight

Up to this point, I've been basically just musing about the mechanics of a healthy lifestyle. For this week, I'm going to change it up a little. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to (try my best to) post every day as to my personal workout routine. I'll go ahead and just give a brief schedule of what I'm doing this week.

Sunday- Abs, butt, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Monday- Back, arms, and yoga
Tuesday- Abs, legs, and inner thighs
Wednesday- Back, arms, and HIIT
Thursday- Abs, butt, and yoga
Friday- Back, arms, and inner thighs
Saturday- Abs, legs, and HIIT

I just made this schedule, and it's definitely subject to change. There may be some running thrown in, but since it is supposed to rain, I'm leaving it off for now. Thank you all for visiting my page, and I hope your weekend is great! I'm excited to get started tomorrow!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Gym

This will probably just be me babbling, so you've been warned. I've been thinking a lot about the gym lately. The gym (I'm not entirely sure why) always sends a feeling of unease down my spine. I suppose the thought of other people seeing me working out makes me uncomfortable. Besides, I always imagine gyms to be full of men. What I have failed to see in these silly thoughts, however, is that if you're at a gym, you probably don't have much time to look around and watch other people working out. Also, if you're at the gym, it's because you also want to improve your body, which is why I'm there anyway. So, what's the big deal? If I look ridiculous or wear out more quickly than I'd like, the chance of someone saying anything or even noticing is minuscule. However, I like working out in my home because I find it more convenient, despite only living two minutes from a gym (oops). What are your thoughts on the gym? Do you prefer working out at home or in a gym?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dear Fitness Journal....

Here's an idea (although not altogether completely original): keep a fitness journal. I'm not talking about counting calories or forming nutrition guides or anything like that in it, though. Instead, buy a cheap (or fancy, up to you) journal, notebook, or whatever you feel like spending the money on, and use it as your fitness buddy. Write down how you're feeling, whether you're having doubts, inspirational quotes or thoughts that motivate you. Jot down healthy recipes that you want to try and leave room to make comments or adjustments whenever you do try it. Play with exercise plans and routines, sketch out a rough weekly schedule and just have fun with it. I'm constantly trying new things, such as new yoga poses or new exercises to target more specific areas of my body, and with a fitness journal, keeping up with these things would be one hundred times easier. It would also make a great reference for use later; you can flip back and see what you've tried, what's worked, and what hasn't, and perfect a workout plan that works best for you. Fitness isn't something that has to be set in stone; you shouldn't be constricted to a workout video or the same exercises at the gym. If that's what works for you, then that's great. Still, it's nice to be creative with your fitness routine. Try it and please let me know how it goes for you!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Beautiful Mind

I've talked a lot about keeping the body healthy. However, keeping your mind healthy is just as important, if not more important. Because, while you only get one body, you also will only ever be you (unless you've got a multi-personality disorder or something). I digress. So, how do you keep your mind healthy? I am someone who has to feel sharp-- it's just who I am. When I'm sluggish or feeling "off," it really bothers me. The number one thing that I rely heavily on (besides for coffee) is sleep. If I get less than six hours of sleep, I'm an absolute mess. And, as I'm sure I've said before, sleep sometimes isn't a priority with college. Regardless, I have no energy without much sleep, my brain feels like it's in shock, and I typically feel down. If you're someone who doesn't get much sleep and spend a lot of time feeling the way I just described, you may want to look into something to help. I'm not a doctor (obviously), but from personal experience, my personality actually changed with more sleep. I have found yoga to be an excellent way of clearing my mind before bed and a cleanser for any bad energy I may be feeling. Another thing that (I think) is conducive to a healthy mind is eating healthy. As I'm not an over-eater by any stretch of the imagination, I can only talk from the perspective of an under-eater. I don't talk a lot about some of my past bad habits, but I will always speak out against any form of an eating disorder. So anyway, if I didn't eat much food, I would get these awful migraines. I felt tired and "off" a lot of the time, and I always had trouble with awful moods creeping up on me. Since I've started eating properly and focusing on a fit and healthy lifestyle, I rarely get headaches, my thoughts are quicker and more "sharp," and I sleep better. In all honesty, I feel like a different person. Still, like I've also said before, I still have days where I struggle, but I have come a long way from the person I used to be. However, the focus of this post and this blog is not to chart my recovery (I really don't like that term) from my past bad habits but to focus on the present and future, and hopefully help you in some way, too. If you have a few minutes, please leave a comment on how you keep your mind healthy. I absolutely love hearing about other people's thoughts and opinions! I hope you all have a very beautiful Saturday and enjoy the weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Feminine "Fitness" Image

The feminine "fitness" image-- you know the one I'm talking about: washboard abs, moderately muscular legs with a considerable "thigh gap," large breasts, long hair.... The fitness side of Pinterest is rife with these women. Underneath (I'm guilty of it too) is typically some comment about it being "fitness goals!" or "the perfect body!" Which is nice and all, but honestly, unrealistic (for the most part). Of course, if you're one of those people who epitomize the feminine fitness image, I'm jealous. Because even though I'm tall and relatively thin, I couldn't be all of those things. Even if I got the washboard abs, muscular legs, and long hair, I won't have the large breasts, unless by a miracle or a few thousand dollars. My point here is that it's okay if you don't look like those woman. You are your own brand of beautiful. You have your own line of fitness. You only have one body, and it's the one you're in right now, and fantasizing about looking like or being someone else will honestly not help. Instead, focus on how you want your own body to look. Be comfortable in your own skin, and if you aren't, then instead of feeling down or discouraged, use that as your motivation. Your body truly is a temple!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Progress? Let's Hope!

So here's the deal... I have noodle arms. However, I'm hoping with time that that will change. I'm already starting to see a difference (maybe I'm delusional or overly optimistic) and I believe that by eating right, exercising consistently and lifting weights (I'm a beginner, so I'm using 8 lb weights— you're welcome to tease), I'll get there. I hope everyone is having a fantastic Wednesday! I'll be back on here a little later, but I was just wanting to share while I was thinking about it!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Strive for Better—I Beg You

So if you're reading this, I'll warn you now that I'm about to rant. I was on Instagram (add me if you feel like it, I'm ashleighanndye) and perusing various fitness users. I came across the hashtag 'anorexic' in one of the comments and I opened it. I think all the blood drained out of my face. Are there really that many hurting people? I try not to pass judgment on anyone, but I couldn't keep the tears out of my eyes. I don't look at these people with disgust. I just feel sad. I wish they could understand that living a healthy lifestyle, working out, getting involved with other people looking to do the same would make all the difference in the world. Believe me, I've had my issues with weight and still struggle with it to this day, but since I've come to the realization I just stated, I have become so much happier and healthier. So I'm begging anyone who will listen, if you know someone, or are yourself, struggling with anorexia, bulimia, etc., get help. Reach out to people who can help. 

A Speedy Breakfast Idea... Omelette in under Five Minutes!

I don't know about you, but I really don't have time to have breakfast every morning. Sometimes I wolf down a quick breakfast bar or Pop-Tart, but I don't know if that really constitutes as a healthy meal to start the day. However, I have recently discovered the power of the microwave and a few simple ingredients in a mug. So which sounds better to you: a Pop-Tart or an omelette?

Here's what you need:

Olive oil or cooking spray
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand)
1 Tbsp. salsa
1 Tbsp. meat (ham, turkey.. whatever you want or none if you're feeling vegetarian)
Pinch of salt (and pepper if you're into that)

Here's what you do:

  1. Coat a mug with either olive oil or cooking spray
  2. Add the two eggs to the mug, breaking the yolks and mixing to a constant consistency with a fork
  3. Add the salsa, shredded cheese, and salt
  4. Cube the meat and add it as well
  5. Mix well with the fork and cook in the microwave on high for one minute
  6. Remove the mug (careful, it may be really hot), take your fork and break apart the egg that's formed on top and mix well with the remaining egg mixture in the bottom of the mug
  7. Put the mug back into the microwave and give it another minute.
And there you go! An omelette (of sorts) in under five minutes! I found the basis for this idea on Pinterest (of course...) and tweaked it a little. I hope this is helpful!

Have other ideas for a speedy breakfast? Leave them in a comment below!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Antagonist of Your Fitness Routine

How easy it is to feel discouraged. In my opinion, that is one of the main reasons people don't stick with a fitness lifestyle; you work hard to look and feel better and sometimes you don't see results as quickly as you would like. The thing is, if you give up, metaphorically (or literally, I don't judge you) throw your hands up in defeat, you'll never see results. You are better off today, tomorrow, and many years down the road if you work through those weeks, months, or even years it may take you to start seeing results. You can do this, even if you look in the mirror and feel your body looks no different despite your efforts. You can do this, even if your brain is telling you it's pointless. You can do this because no matter if everyone thinks you can't, if you tell yourself that you can, you can do it. And you know, one day in the not so distant future, you're going to look in the mirror and notice how your body's changed, and you will feel proud of what you have accomplished and so happy that you didn't give up. Work hard and bask in knowing every day you are getting closer to the body you want. I hope you all are having a great April Fool's Day! Always feel free to leave any comments you may have or take a few minutes to talk about your own fitness journey!