Health

*Fitness 101*

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you can put that “beach body” mentality on the shelf. Fitness doesn’t mean skinny or “hott” or sexy. It means being healthy and keeping your body in the best shape you can. I am going to share with you some of my tips and tricks on how to keep that “beach body” all year round!

Before I get into the actual workouts, I want to mention how important it is to warm up beforehand. That means about 5 minutes of stretching and getting your muscles warmed up. This is going to increase muscle tone and make you workout much more successful.

Tone:

For most of you, this is your goal. You may not want to lose weight or bulk up, but you want to tone what you have, which is what I do. The key to staying toned is REPS!!! This means less focus on the weight you are lifting and more focus on the number of repetitions you do. Start out with a higher weight meaning a weight that is very difficult. but not impossible. Do 10 of whatever at that weight i.e bench presses, bicep curls, lats, etc. After you have completed the first 10, break for 30 seconds and begin again. The second time, take 5 pounds off and add ten reps. That means if you started with 20 pounds, decrease that to 15 pounds, but do 15 reps. Again, wait 30 seconds afterwards and then decrease weight by 5 pounds and add 5 more reps. Repeat this pattern for every gym machine or muscle you work out.

Shed pounds:

For some, this may be your goal. If losing weight is your ultimate goal, then your best friend is going to be CARDIO! I would recommend running, cycling, etc. Your main goal is to get your heart rate control. You are going to want to get your heart rate up, stabilize, come back down, and then repeat. For example, if you spin (cycle), get your heart rate up to a max (around 160-175) then come back down to a stable rate (around 100) and repeat several times.

I would do cardio every day and inbetween, you can mix in weights and abs as you see fit, depending on your specific goal :)

Bulk up:

For some, you might actually want to build upon your muscle mass. This is more common for men, but there is nothing wrong with having a rock solid body. In order to build muscle, WEIGHT is the key. Contrary to what I said before about toning, you are going to want to do less reps and more weight. For example, start out with a lighter weight (weight that is comfortable, but not too comfortable) and work up from there. Do about 15-20 reps the first couple of times and add weight as you progress. By the last rep, you should be at your max lifting weight and it should be extremely difficult. You should keep the number of reps the same every time; however, you may need to decrease a little by the last rep at your max weight.

I am not a health expert, nor am I a personal trainer, but these are the tips I use and my husband has taught me.

It doesn’t come easy. Nothing good ever does.

Here is my workout routine so you can get a better idea of what a typical workout looks like:

  1. Stretch: All parts of your body from your legs to your arms to your back and even your stomach. You don’t want to pull anything and you also want to maximize your workout while minimizing harm to your body.
  2. Cardio: Run 1-1.5 miles on the treadmill or around a track (depending on your gym)
  3. Abs:3 sets of abs, each time focusing on a different part.
    • Upper abs: 2 sets of 20 crunches
    • Lower abs: 2 sets of bicycles
  4. Shoulders: Bar bell lifts, hands over bar, pulling upwards from stomach to chest. I do 3 sets of 30 pounds starting at 20 reps the first time and decrease by 5 each time. (weight stays the same)
  5. Triceps: Skull crushers: using the same bar bell, hold it above your head, hands under bar, and lift upwards so your elbows act like a hinge and should remain at a 90 degree angle. I do 3 sets of 25 pounds starting at 20 reps the first time and decrease by 5 each time. (weight stays the same)
  6. Back: Lay on a weight bench, stomach up. I take dumb bells at 15 pounds each and press them up and back down. I do 3 sets at 20 reps the first time and decrease by 5 each time. (weight stays the same)
  7. Lats: This is the “love handle”/side of stomach section of your body. The machine I use for this has a wide bar above my head and I pull the bar down towards my chest. I start with 30-40 pounds and I do 10 reps the first time. For the next 2 sets, I decrease the weight by 5 each time and add 5 reps each time.

I do this workout 3 times a week, with more cardio inbetween those days (I run my dog). This is my workout routine and in no way am I telling you what to do or how to do it. Like I said before, I am not a fitness expert and I would always speak with your doctor or personal trainer first before doing any of these exercizes. Everyone is different and it’s all about doing what is best for you and your body.

*Diet: Just a quick note, if your goal is to lose weight, diet is key. I look at it as your workout is about 30% of the work you put in and what you eat is the other 70%. Diet doesn’t mean pills or liquids or vegetarian or vegan. This means maintaining a healthy, well-rounded diet that is best for your body. For me, I eat really well during the week with lots of vegetables and meat (chicken, red meat) and every once in a while, I like to have ice cream. There is nothing wrong with that. Depending on your goals, you should decide what is best for you and always consult someone who is an expert so you aren’t wasting your time and you are actually working towards your goal.

I hope this was helpful and let me know if you have any fitness suggestions :)

XO Alexa

*Fitness Fashion 101*

Just because you are going to the gym and working up a sweat doesn’t mean you can’t look good while doing so. This doesn’t mean putting on makeup or perfume, but feeling confident in what you are wearing so your workout is much more productive. There is nothing worse than feeling like poo (excuse my childish term) when you are at the gym trying to look and do your best.

I am going to share with you some of my tips on how I like to dress when I am going to the gym and what makes me feel the most confident!

I am a Navy wife so when I go to the gym on base, it is macho military mania! Even though I know I am in shape, I feel so pathetic next to these guys who are benching twice their body weight, including Chris, and I am standing there pressing 20 pound dumbbells trying to look all tough, but deep down I am in writhing pain because it’s so heavy.

Well, I have found that it is all about ATTITUDE and CONFIDENCE. If I am going to stand there and lift my dumbbells, I am going to do it in style and look the best I can doing it.

This is why what I wear and what I bring to the gym is important to me. I find that what you wear and how you feel in your clothes only make your workout that much more successful and make you push yourself harder. When I look in the mirror-covered wall surrounding the weight area, I want to look at myself and say, “Dang girl! You look awesome. Keep going!”

So here are my tips:

1. Wear comfy, but wear strong

Wearing a strong, fierce outfit to the gym makes me stand taller, take more chances, and workout longer. Half the fun of going to the gym is deciding what you are going to wear and being confident in it. Yes, baggy t-shirts and sweat pants are comfortable and easy and you don’t have to think about what you are wearing, but going to the gym is all about YOU! It’s about your health, fitness, goals, psyche, feelings, emotions, and everything else in between. This is the time where you get to take a break from your day and focus on YOU. That is why it is important to look and feel your best. Trade in those old jazzercise shirts for a form fitting tank that is going to show off your physique and make you feel proud of your progress. Instead of a baggy pair of pants, go for yoga pants or some fitted capris. These are going to accentuate your best assets ;)  and have you turning heads.

This is what I like to wear to the gym: loud, bright, bold colors that make me feel good and happy (yellow is proven to heighten your mood). Here I have on a neon yellow sports bra from Target, a plain tan tank from Target, and grey and neon yellow capris from the Gap (yes, the Gap has awesome workout clothes). I love these capris because they have a vertical line going down the side, which makes me look taller (I’m only 5’2″).

Bright colors lift up my mood and spirits and add that little bounce to my step :)  I love mixing and matching neon tanks, pants, and even sports bras. I think having that little extra peek-a-boo of color is so much fun.

These are my favorite shoes I have ever had and they are the Nike Free Run’s. They are great for running because they are super lightweight and have holes throughout so my feet can breathe more easily.

Headbands are also a great way to show some flare as well as soak up the sweat on your head so it doesn’t fall in your eyes. I love wearing big and bright (sometimes sparkly) headbands that add a little something without being too overbearing.

2. Challenge yourself and look tough

These are my weighted gloves that I wear for kickboxing or running or lifting weights. They add an extra few pounds if I want to challenge myself and they also look tough. ;)

Even if you don’t do kickboxing, I would get a pair of these to make your run or walk or jog or anything a little more difficult. You are definitely going to feel those extra few pounds and walking around the gym with these bad boys definitely shows you know how to step up to the challenge.

3. Bag it

I bring all of my gym stuff (extra clothes, gloves, water, flip flops, lotion, etc.) in a gym bag and there is nothing wrong with having a cool gym bag. It’s both practical as well as stylish and you can use any bag as a gym bag. If you have a big hobo bag or a duffel or tote that has some cool colors or designs on it, use it! No one ever said you had to have a specific gym bag. Bring something you enjoy and will feel good with carrying around.

4. Post-workout: leaving in style

After my workout, I always have a change of clothes so I can sit in the steam room and take a shower. I usually just bring a pair of shorts and a tank top because I’m hot and tired afterwards and I don’t want to constrict my muscles to tight clothing. I also love to have fun with my after-workout clothes because not only do I want to come to the gym in style, I want to leave the gym looking pretty darn good too. I got these neon shorts from Old Navy. They are super lightweight and they came in a bunch of different colors.(I also have them in grey and hot pink)

I also bring an extra change of sandals so I don’t have to go barefoot in the showers :(  and I don’t have to put my sweaty tennis shoes back on. These are from Nike and I got them super cheap at Ross.

I think the most important part about your workout attire is feeling good on the inside and out. Just like any other situation, you aren’t going to put forth your best effort if you don’t feel good in what you are wearing. I am not saying you have to go get name-brand clothing and wear all of the latest trends in fitness attire. I am saying that making your workout attire part of your workout routine is going to make the gym a more positive and uplifting experience. I look forward to going to the gym not only because I have goals that I want to meet physically, but also because I want to be more confident in myself and what I put on before I hit the weights is a part of that.

I hope this was helpful and inspires you to add some style to your workout! It’s not about being pretty or “attractive” while at the gym. It’s about walking in there knowing you look good and feeling good and taking that confidence and putting it into your workout.

XO Alexa

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