Workout Wednesday: Bi’s & Tri’s Partner Workout

~Happy Workout Wednesday~*~

Yayy for working out with a friend! I find it fun to work out with someone else because you can switch up your routine & have some fun with your workout. Workouts should be fun even when you’re alone, but sometimes ya just need that extra spice.  That extra spice (in this case) is a workout partner.

The reason I decided to try out an arm-focused partner lift: my younger sister has been coming to the gym with me & actually lifting 😀 Sooooo I have to find ways to keep her interested & occupied at all times…or else she’ll be lost to the world of distraction.

On this particular day, it was time to train arms. Here’s what I came up with*:

Barbell Curl & Pass: Stand across from your partner. DO 1 rep of a barbell curl, pass the bar to them. Wait for them to curl 1 rep and do 2 reps when you get the bar back. Work your way up to 10 reps. If you’re feeling extra strong & ~vascular~, work your way back down to 1 rep!

Tricep Dips: 4×8    +    Jumping Jacks: until partner is ready to switch

I threw in some cardio because you should keep your heart muscles working too..So you can strengthen your friendship while you strengthen your arms!! HAHA

Skullcrushers: 4×12    +    Switch Lunges (switch leg after each rep): until partner is ready to switch

Tricep Rope Push-down: 4×12    +    Hammer Curls: 4×10

Finish with whatever cardio you like- keep the partner pattern going & have fun! Add some more lifts if you so desire. Adjust the rep/set ratio if needed.

Drink lots of water, friends! Feed your body the fuel it needs. Enjoy!

 

*You can most definitely do this workout solo!!! Just modify the switching activities to a certain amount of time in between your own set! 🙂

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Start Your New Year’s Resolution NOW

The new year is a crazy time. The world of fitness & health gets more frustrating than usual- filled with people jumping into new fitness routines, people who vowed to make this year their year

We’re all guilty of this ‘new year, new me’ mindset. We start making promises to ourselves to change all of the things we didn’t like about the previous year. We tell ourselves this year will be different- we’ll get in shape, we’ll run that marathon, we’ll finally try those healthy recipes that have been bookmarked for months..

Why do we need the number at the end of today’s date to change to allow ourselves to be better? What is the purpose of waiting? Maybe it helps us put off our own health without feeling guilty, because ‘once January comes around things will be different’…’the new year is when I’ll get serious about working out’. 

Here’s my advice to you (& myself): START NOW!!!

Start researching. There’s a wealth of information for anyone new to the world of fitness & health & wellness. Here are some of my favorite user-friendly places to search:

  • BodyBuilding.com Sooooo many free workout plans, informative articles, exercise how-tos, & even supplements! This is literally how I built my lifting knowledge-base. 
  • Fitness Blender I just discovered these guys. Their YouTube channel has a plethora of at-home workouts that range from interval cardio to weight training.
  • Bad Yogi Official Erin Motz is a seasoned yogi who totally gets that most people who do yoga are not experts… She has lots of free classes that make you feel good about your imperfect practice 🙂

It’s going to take some time before you find a fitness regime you really enjoy. It’s going to take even more time before your hard work is gratified with visible results.

Experiment with different types of exercise. Figure out the different things you’d like to try now.

Make small changes each day so you don’t shock your system & give up when it gets too difficult too fast. 

Get a jump start on your 2016 goals!! Have fun, try new things, & never give up on yourself! 

I hope you all have a wonderfully funky final week of 2015. 

~peace & all good~

Tips for the Perfect Gym Outfit 

Gym attire is a very loaded topic. But don’t worry, I wrote this blog post to answer all of your fit fashion questions 🙂

What should one wear when doing cardio? Should you wear sweats or leggings to lift? 

How color-coordinated is too color-coordinated?

Are your top & bottom flattering?? Will people see that you aren’t the perfect image of fitness? Is it obvious you’re actually wearing underwear??? *gasp* 

Yoga….can a single post even cover the wardrobe woes of a new yogi?

S I G H

Here is a simple answer to the question of ‘what to wear to the gym/while working out’: whatever you feel comfortable in. If you enjoy the skin (& clothes) you’re in, your confidence will complete any outfit!!

It really doesn’t matter what clothes you put on for your sweat session. If you feel great in a Lulu Lemon outfit (& can afford a LuLu Lemon outfit)- good! If you feel great in a baggy t-shirt- even better! Less money spent on gym clothes means more money for food 🙂 ….or, you know, student loans and rent… 

I usually browse Instagram/the Internet in general with fitness or food in mind… This causes me a lot of frustration for multiple reasons.. 

  1. I do not have excess money floating around me waiting for me to spend it. Okay, am I just broke, or are gym clothes expensive af?! Like why in the world would I spend $50 on a shirt I’m going to wear with the intentions of getting sweaty & smelly? I don’t even spend that much on shirts I wear to work… I’m a bargain shopper. Marshalls/TJ Maxx, Target, Fabletics (when there are sales), or the clearance rack is where you’ll find me looking for clothes I can actually afford.
  2. *not related to clothes but…* Eating nutritionally perfect meals every 2 hours does not fit my life. As much as I would love to be able to eat the best food possible at all hours of the day, there comes a time when it’s just not realistic. I would go crazy if I deprived myself of the food I want to eat just because it doesn’t fit my precisely planned nutrition goals. Can I live?!???
  3. I don’t work out in shorts and a sports bra. More power to ya if you feel comfortable in minimal gym clothes….& your gym allows you to workout in minimal gym clothes. I don’t. I would rather be in leggings and a sweatshirt, but that’s not what’s depicted by any mainstream fitness superstars. No one is ever wearing a shirt. Ever. 
  4. When I work out I do not look my best. My hair is generally just doing whatever TF it wants to do. I sweat a lot. I don’t hide it if I’m exhausted. Sometimes I smell… It’s not a picturesque scene when I exercise.. Which makes it hard to relate to the images of ‘fitness’ plastered all over the Internet & advertisements. 

   #gainsandtoast lolz
Sorry fitness media, but unlike the people you promote, I’m a normal person trying to be healthy.. To my own dismay, I’m not sponsored by an athletic clothing company or supplement brand. So I have to pay for the products I use :/ 

I know it’s awesome to step into the gym with a brand new outfit that you love. You feel good when you like the clothes you’re in- even at the gym! The new-ness of your threads gives you extra motivation.. Trust me, I know those feels. But that doesn’t mean you need to take out a loan to buy yourself some gym clothes.. It also doesn’t mean you have to wear something that makes you uncomfortable.

Time that you spend working out is your time. Make it what you want it to be, not what you think other people would want it to be. Take control of your workout. Wear & do things you enjoy. 

You’re all fabulous, no matter what the mainstream fitness bullshit says. 

The End. xo

~peace & all good~

Power Circuit

You don’t have much time. 

Your motivation to workout isn’t exactly where you hoped it’d be. 

Your period cramps are starting to kick in. 

You have things to do, people to see- the gym isn’t your only obligation.

Whatever the reason is, you need a quick & effective workout. You came to the right place!

I needed a lift that wasn’t too labor-intensive…but I wanted to sweat & feel the burn in all of my muscles. I made up a circuit workout that let me take care of those needs, but still get of the gym to do the things I had planned for the day.

All you need for this workout is a barbell & some plates (or various dumbbells) & about 20 minutes. In just 3 moves you’ll use almost every muscle in your  body, build muscle strength, & get your sweat on 🙂

*I did about 15 mins on the treadmill (walking) to warm myself up before lifting. For a video of this workout, check out my Insta: @leedle_g*

Hang Clean ~ Hang cleans are sort of a deadlift variation… Accessory work HANN. 

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance & your hands shoulder-distance on the bar. 
  • Bend at the waist with the bar just below your knees. Keep your back straight, stick your butt out, keep your knees loosey-goosey. 
  • Spin around 3 times. [HA! Don’t spin around, just making sure you’re paying attention.] 
  • Now, pull the bar up along your legs into a forearm curl. Move the bar back down in a controlled way.

You just worked your whole front & back body. Yay muscles!!

Bent-Over Row ~ Bent-over rows use your upper back to pull the weight ~against gravity~

  • Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-distance. Bend at the waist with your knees loosey-goosey again. 
  • Keep your chest loud & proud! 
  • Pull the bar up by bending your elbows & squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the bar back to start.

Military Press ~ Military press primarily works your shoulders & back. Everyone loves to work on their shoulder aesthetic. Back aesthetics are pretty lit too. Not to mention-you get stronger, you can hold weight over your head…it’s a terrific accessory lift.

  • Start with the bar parallel to your shoulders, either in front or in back of your head. 
  • Put your hands shoulder-distance or wider on the bar. 
  • Push the bar up using the power of your legs. Trust yourself! You got this, you can hold yourself & the weight of that bar. 
  • Slowly bring the bar back down to your shoulders. 

You’re using your shoulders, chest, upper back, & even your legs to successfully move weight through this lift!!

~ Repeat each lift 8-12 times (heavier weight, lower reps..lighter weight, higher reps) & complete the circuit for 4-6 rounds. Circuit workouts like this are great for strong, fat-burning, time restricted gym sessions. Your muscles get confused, they work during each lift, & your ticker (heart) gets a run for its money. This particular circuit also involves 3 compound moves; this means you’re utilizing multiple muscles to perform each lift. Efficiency at its best!

I went with a barbell circuit for this workout for multiple reasons. I’ve been working on my deadlifts…which means I’ve been working on my entire body’s strength & endurance. I’ve adopted some CrossFit-esque lifts (as you can see from this workout) in my efforts to add plates to my deadlift. That means more barbell-based lifts. More hang cleans, more overhead presses, more compound lifts. More sweat, more gains, more pain, more food, more sleep… Yeaaa…

Give this workout a try! You’ll feel strong, productive, & all-in-all like a badass.

Happy lifting, my friends!

Black Friday Exercise to Free You from Your Guilt

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving.. 

Recovering from lots of food, lots of family time, & possibly lots of adult beverages. Maybe you’re still with your family & friends. Maybe you’ve already been up for hours because you enjoy battling for deals that you can also get from the comfort of your bed… Online shopping is the way to go yall. 

I woke up feeling great this morning- my body is praising the lord for all of the food I gave it. However, my legs aren’t very happy since I made them finish a dreaded 5k yesterday morning. I know 3.2 miles isn’t very much for most people, but ya girl usually runs a single (1) mile if any at all.. So I’m pretty proud of myself for my under 30 min finishing time! rofl

  

It was actually a lot of fun (can’t believe I just said that). Turns out running outside with the fam isn’t as torturous as running on a treadmill..

Since most of us stuffed our faces all day yesterday, I came up with a quick & easy workout to get back on track. Anyone can do this fun little routine!! 

Exercise 1: Sit & Reach

Start on the couch. While holding in your abdomen, sit up and reach for the remote. Repeat as many times as necessary. Try changing the channel & volume in intervals to get more work in!

Exercise 2: Leftover Dash

Start on the couch again. Now you’ll get up & walk to the kitchen. Fix yourself a plate of leftovers. Put the food in the oven/microwave. Walk back to the couch..& then back to the kitchen when your food is ready. Remember to take breaks!! This one can be tough.

Exercise 3: Glass Curl

This one requires a glass of water, tea, coffee, wine, whatever you prefer. Same starting position- on the couch.. Grip your glass & lift the glass to drink from it. Squeeze your bicep muscles while lifting & lowering the glass. Chiseled tank top arms here we come 😉

Stay persistent, & always practice safe sets!! 

Enjoy this time of indulgence, your body deserves it. Too much deprivation never did anyone any good anyways! Besides, most of the food we’ve all eaten for Thanksgiving is relatively unprocessed & full of much-needed refueling nutrients. Guilt-free holidays 4 lyfe!

~peace & all good~

Morning Workout: Torture or Terrific?

6 AM.

My alarm is doing its usual annoying job- waking me up out of a sound sleep. I really need to change my alarm sound because I hate waking up to the one I currently have… Although, chances are, I’d grow to hate any sound that wakes me up day after day…

This morning my alarm is waking me up because I’m attempting to get myself into the habit of working out before work. I have been trying to commit to this change for about 2 weeks. Usually it goes like this: my alarm goes off; I look at it; then I turn it off & set another alarm for about 1.5 hours later…& skip the morning workout because whatever, I’m tired. 

Today I decided to actually get up.

It was still dark… But I’ve taken a few days off from intense exercise so I was feeling ~rested~

I drank some water, got myself dressed, & out the door I went! *yay* I wasn’t really sure what my plan for my workout was, but I was going to get my ass to the gym either way! 

While doing my warmup cardio, I looked through my collection of workouts. I decided to go back to the lift that got me hooked when I first decided to try weight lifting. Mainly because it’s quick & effective- both for time & muscle use. 

I left the gym before it was even 8 AM. & honestly that’s when I remembered why I love working out before work so much. I feel so energized. My mood is positive. I feel alert. I’m relieved that I don’t have to go to the gym after work, @ the time when its a struggle to find a single free dumbbell.. 

It’s a great feeling to start your day by taking care of yourself 🙂 

Whether you’re an avid yogi, weight lifter, runner, whatever- I highly recommend giving a morning workout a try!! Who knows? You might actually enjoy it & make it a regular occurrence.

~peace & all good~

#YogisWhoLift

So it’s Monday night, 

I’m in bed because work in less than 8 hours,

& I’m deciding getting this post out of my brain & into the screen of my iPod is v important. 

#priorities (or bad decision-making, perspective is everything I guess)

This post is really important to me because it’s the result of what life’s been throwing at me recently. A while back I started practicing yoga via YouTube; admittedly, half the things I thought were yoga I have come to learn actually aren’t… So I was loosely practicing yoga. I started because I was going through things that made me question who I am. I mean really question who I am. I was losing faith in my core values that I had worked so hard to discover. I didn’t know how to disconnect from my anxiety. I was losing a battle to negativity, & I was losing pretty fast. I needed to do something. 

That something was yoga. 

Backpedal a few years & you’ve got the time when I started lifting weights. It was a similar situation, but my anxiety this time was coming from body image issuezzz. I was trying to learn how to be healthy & fit.. I decided to try a 4 week weight training program. I loved it, saw results, & have grown into my own style of lifting since then.. 

  
Yoga has literally changed every aspect of my life…I know it sounds cliche but it’s true. What I’m realising now is how much it’s impacted my lifting. There’s a lot to gain from a body-mind-soul approach to fitness.

Mental Strength: In my experience, exercise of any kind is more of a mental battle than a physical one. My body can ingest some food or caffeine & be easily tricked into feeling ready for my workout. My mind, however, takes more effort. Practicing yoga has srsly transformed the way my brain thinks about me. I don’t have as hard of a time getting through self-doubt, or convincing myself that I am worth that hour and a half in the weight room, or that it’s okay if I’m not lifting as much weight as other people. I’m totally cool with feeling awkward at the gym, & that feels like a really big accomplishment.

Knowing My Limits: No ego lifting! I am able to recognise when I’ve done enough. I can feel in my body & mind when I shouldn’t go further. Being in touch with my body has allowed me to get to this point. Yea I’ll try something & fail with flying colors, but I’m not trying something I know I cannot do with the fullest effort. If I’m not there, I’m not there- simple as that.

  
Form: Along with being connected to my body, yoga has helped me stay in touch with what feels right & what doesn’t. This has helped immensely with form! I don’t overthink my body positioning because I know I’ll feel it if I’m doing something wrong. Increased flexibility from practicing yoga has also improved my range of motion…aka more effective lifting & less chance of injury 🙂

Breathing: Breath is 100% connected to form. Yoga has taught me how to control my breath. Knowing how to control my breath helps me bring more oxygen to my muscles. More oxygen means more endurance…..& more blood flow for a sweet pump. ~swole~

Appreciation: I would vote that this as the most powerful benefit I’ve experienced from my yoga practice. I don’t measure progress by how I look anymore… If I can do a single extra rep I feel accomplished. If I work through my own self doubt, I feel accomplished. If I try to lift a new weight but fail, I know there was a time when I couldn’t even do the basic lift itself. I enjoy the smaller steps in my journey. I’m way less critical of myself. I don’t obsess over skipping a day at the gym, because I recognise the importance of taking care of my body.  I’m thankful for myself & all that I’ve been through.

So there ya have it- my personal experience as what appears to be two conflicting identities. Before my own journey I never really pictured lifting weights to have any connection to yoga. Zen meatheads? Um…..???? But as it turns out, the health of your body & mind are extremely connected. The love my yoga practice has shown to my physical exercise is the most clear example of this connection. 

I hope yall enjoyed this little exploration of my journey to mind-body-soul health!!

~peace & all good~