We Completed Whole30! Our Thoughts, Results and Plan for What’s Next

Whole30 Results

Good Morning!

Well, we did it! In the past 30 days we’ve had some amazing results, learned a lot and overall have been inspired to make some major changes to our lifestyle. I’m excited to share our Whole30 results and our thoughts with you today. [Read more…]

Five Things That Helped Me (Finally) Make Working Out A Lifestyle

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Good Morning!

Looking back on 2016, one of things I’m most proud of is the fact that I have made working out a lifestyle. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who did not have to think twice about fitness and made it simply a part of your day. I’m happy to say I’m at that point and I thought today I would share some of the things I’ve realized help me get there.

1. I found my why– I would say that the biggest change when it comes to my approach to fitness this year has been my rationale. Instead of trying to lose weight and setting unrealistic goals for myself my goals have shifted to simply be staying healthy. I want to live a long life and be there as Buel gets older. I also know that working out drastically reduces my stress which makes me happier overall. Lastly, my time at the gym is my time to myself and my reward is getting ready in peace and getting to work with my “me time” already under my belt. It really has become my favorite way to start my day.

2. I stopped beating myself up over setbacks- In the past when I fell “off the wagon” I would typically snowball out of control. This would lead to drastic swings and lost momentum which made it extremely hard to get back to the gym. Instead, I’ve come to realize that life happens and the things that set me back such as travel or busy weeks are just something that will pass and then I return to my normal routine when I can without issue.

3. I stayed consistent until it no longer felt like effort- After I lost my Dad I made the decision to get consistent with my workouts. I booked sessions with a trainer and stuck with working out with her twice per week. From there I stepped it up when our remodel started because our construction crew would arrive before 7:00 every day. It gave me extra motivation to get up and out and eventually it became a habit. Now I’ve been consistently fitting in exercise 4-6 times per week and it truly feels like a lifestyle.

4. We made it a family lifestyle- Rich started going to Crossfit in the Spring and we sat down and mapped out how we would make it work for both of us to get to our respective gyms. We’ve stuck to that schedule and the extra accountability of needing Rich to watch Buel gets me to the gym because otherwise it’s a struggle to make it work. Plus, it’s nice to both be working towards the same goals and have the same mentality when it comes to leading an active life.

5. I set realistic expectations- Last but not least I had to reset my expectations when it comes to my routine. I used to make excuses when it came to working out because I felt that I did not have times so the workout wouldn’t be long enough and wouldn’t “count.” These days it’s all about momentum. Most of my workouts are 30 minutes long and sometimes I’ll add in a 45-60 minute class when I can. Sometimes I’ll even only do a 10 minute stair climber session and that’s totally fine with me!

What improvements have you made to your lifestyle in 2016? Is there anything you plan on focusing on in 2017?

My Thoughts on Fitness After Baby & Expecting More: Fourth Trimester Workout

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There’s no doubt that I love being a Mom. Even on the most challenging days the love I feel for Buel trumps any frustrations. Even those I have with my post-baby body. [Read more…]

Back to the Basics

Good Morning!

I hope you had a great weekend! Ours was low key and somewhat productive. Yesterday afternoon, Rich wanted to spend time with Buel so I could have some “me time” and I happily accepted.

I used my time to restock our diaper supply, grocery shop and overhaul my closet before settling down to watch the Golden Globes. Not the most exciting afternoon, but it left me feeling refreshed, organized and motivated.

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How Pregnancy Has Changed Me: Fitness

I’m currently sitting on my couch after finishing my favorite pregnancy strength workouts and I’m glad I did. Last week was a bit of a struggle with working out, but as always now that I fit a workout in I’m motivated and feel so much better than before I started.

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve noticed a lot of positive changes in my approach to health and fitness. So far, it has been a perspective changing, calming experience that I needed for a healthy lifestyle to solidify itself.

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My Pregnancy Workout Plan

Now that I’m over the first trimester hump, I’m back to the gym and feeling so much better! My workouts are giving me much needed energy and keeping me stress free. I thought I would take a moment to share my plan today to hold me accountable.

My Pregnancy Workout Plan

Walking!
I’ve come to love walking the past year since we adopted Penny and it’s become one of my favorite parts of my day. I plan on walking every day leading up to having my baby. I also plan on continuing to walk as much as possible after baby until it gets too cold!

Strength Workouts
For whatever reason these days I prefer to do my strength workouts at home. I’ve been combining this total body, this arm and this leg video to make a great 30 minute workout. These videos aren’t super challenging, but I like that I get a good full body workout. My goal of my pregnancy is to stay fit, not make any changes so these fit the bill.

Fitness Classes
To mix it up I like to do a few fitness classes a month. I tried a new Barre class over the weekend and like to go to spin classes at my work gym once a week. I think I’ll be able to keep spinning for a few more months, but we shall see!

Yoga
I love yoga and have been practicing consistently at least once a week for the past three years. Staying flexible will be important for me in labor and working my core is important as well. Plus, the mental calm yoga gives me is important as we have a lot to do to prep for baby! For now I’m doing regular classes, but I will probably start taking prenatal classes in my third trimester.

Of course, I’m not a doctor so I do not recommend that this plan is perfect for every pregnant woman. My doctor currently advices that I keep doing what I’m doing, so that’s what my plan is. I want to stay fit throughout my pregnancy to feel my best, have a healthy delivery and make recovery as easy as possible. So those are my goals the next six months!

What’s your current workout plan? Do you follow a set schedule or do you prefer to mix things up?

The Awesomeness of Accountability Partners

Good Morning!

I haven’t mentioned it on here yet, but I’m participating in a group fitness challenge at work with a small team of four coworkers. We get to do one workout with a personal trainer and have to complete a weekly workout challenge. This week’s challenge is to complete as many sit-ups as we can in one minute. I’m doing it at lunch with my team, so wish me luck!

This challenge has given me an extra boost to continue my weight loss journey in the new year. Plus, it’s gotten me to leave my desk a few times a week to go to the gym, which is something I really struggle with. Lunch workouts not only give me a break from work, but give me more time in the evenings which is great thing!

I was thinking last night about how motivated I feel and I proud that I have hit my stride when it comes to my workout routine. I can attribute this to one main thing- being held accountable!

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[Read more…]

Four Ways to Keep Your Routine from Ruining Your Workout

Good Morning!

Today, fellow Chicago blogger Jeana Anderson, the founder of aSweatLife.com is taking over my blog. I’m taking over hers as well, so make sure to head on over and check on my post. Take it away, Jeana!

Four Ways to Keep Your Routine from Ruining Your Workout

Ever had that moment when you’re getting ready to go to the gym and you stop dead in your tracks on your way out the door? It might be because you’re in an all-too-steady relationship with your neighborhood gym’s elliptical machine. Think about it: if you’re distracting yourself from your workout with the E! network, your workout might not be that interesting in the first place.

According to Tracie Rogers, PhD, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, as quoted by Weight Watchers, “If you’re able to comfortably read while exercising, you’re probably not exercising at the intensity you need to reap the full physical health benefits … Not only are you cheating yourself out of incinerating as many calories as possible, you’re neglecting key workout components such as breathing, alignment, heart rate, or stress reduction.”

When your workout routine starts to get a little too routine sometimes your brain tunes it out, but the more engaged and active you are in your own workout, the more benefits you’ll see.

Breaking free of routine and trying new experiences is tied to greater happiness as well. According to a study by Psychologist Rich Walker of Winston-Salem State University, “people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize negative ones than people who have fewer experiences.”

Challenge your body by challenging your mind to stay in-the-game during your workout. Here’s how:

Change something small

There are so many variables in any give day that can go off track, sometimes it’s nice to have something predictable about your day. If you’re in the middle of marathon training and you can’t fathom doing a hip-hop dance class instead on a Tuesday night, change something small. Run your route backwards. Run during lunch. Listen to a friend’s playlist on Spotify instead of your own. Whatever you do, don’t zone out and work to stay present. You’re welcome to use any of my playlists, like the one that got me through last week:

Changing up your perspective or your view will work wonders.

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Increase intensity

Try adding speed intervals to your machine or running workout. Some treadmills and elliptical machines will do the work of designing the speed program for you, like those by Life Fitness. If you’re running outside, use your playlist to motivate you. Run at a higher intensity for one song, just above where it’s comfortable to run and talk and back down your speed on the next song.

Try a new class

In Chicago, we’re lucky to have an insane variety of fitness options surrounding us. Making group fitness a part of your routine helps to add variety and challenge – fitness instructors’ entire job is to motivate you to push past your own personal limits in a safe and effective way. Instructors also love the challenge of keeping class interesting by adding in new exercises and intervals. You can find a class close to home or work using some of the resources like the Studio Map and this list of free fitness classes that we’ve compiled over at asweatlife.com.

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Grab a friend

Not only does working out with a friend help to keep your workout interesting, it also helps you get there in the first place. Accountability is a key part of adhering to any fitness program and if you have a buddy waiting for you at the gym for that 6:30 am spin class, you’re more likely to get out of bed with your 5:30 am alarm clock. Have a buddy, but don’t know what to try? Try out one of aSweatLife.com’s monthly #Sweatworking events. The next one is at ENRGi Fitness. Sign up here.

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Challenge yourself next week to up the challenge by kicking routine to the curb.

Five Fitness Epiphanies

Good Morning!

Today I wanted to share with you a few epiphanies I’ve had lately in regards to fitness, but first let’s back up a bit…

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When I graduated college and transitioned into working full time, getting to the gym was a huge struggle. I was so used to having my team to yell at me hold me accountable that motivating myself was next to impossible. I made every excuse in the book and had such a negative attitude when it came to working out that I rarely even wanted to.

1. If you’re lacking motivation, set a goal.

Then, I started running. After one failed Turkey Trot attempt (I did not train, then DNS due to going to the bar the night before), I decided to go big or go home and signed up for my first 5k, 10k and Half Marathon all in one summer. This motivated me to get back out there and I fell in love with running. I completed four more Half Marathons and one Full Marathon. And then I got injured and my motivation was at all time low.

2. Even if you’re having a bad day, if you got in a workout at least you did one positive thing that day.

Following my surgery, I was determined to get back in shape. Then I got laid off and I had extra motivation to workout. In the beginning I decided that I was going to work out every day no matter what and I stuck with it. No matter what, if I worked out at least I had got something accomplished that day. This pushed me through that phase of my life and kept me positive. [Read more…]