Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keeping up with your workout're working out, and you realize, "when was I here last?"

It's a common problem. Time slips away from us all, and you have no idea when you were last breaking a sweat. You wrack your brain for answers, but you can't come up with a valid date.

You need to track your workouts more often! I'm not talking about calories burned or minutes spent at working out...but I am talking about knowing when you were last at the gym!

What Works for Me

I find that I am most motivated by having a calendar on my bedroom door. I check off each day I workout with a red crayon. I can then see, at the end of the week or month, the last time I worked out. 

This calendar method works best for me, but I also use Dailymile is a website where you can track your workouts. You can track everything from you running route, to gym routine, to calories burned. You can even log past workouts--so it's great if you go on vacation. You can still easily log your miles and workouts. 

For some reason, I stay more motivated when I discuss and post about working out. I think that's the main reason I love this blog as well as working out in general. I feel like I have to "practice what I preach" and that motivates me. 

What might work for you

  • Making calendar appointments in your planner, phone or computer. The reminder can help motivate you and keep you going!
  • Talk it up! The more you talk about being fit, healthy and living a healthy lifestyle, the more you will want to do it.
I hope that these ideas work well for you and your lifestyle. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them! Everyone has different methods. Let me know what works for you and how you track your workouts. 

Happy tracking,


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Motivation Station: Workout with a Buddy


Have trouble getting to the gym? Have you thought about finding a friend, co-worker, or someone from an exercise class to workout with? Working out with another person may seem burdensome, but if you can find someone who motivates you and has a similar schedule as you, it's a win-win situation.

Qualities in a compatible workout partner:

  1. Find someone with similar goals. Do you know someone who has similar goals to you? Do you both want to run a 10k? Do they have a similar workout time in mind? If so, you might want to get together and hit the gym, pavement or track together! 
  2. Make a no-excuses policy. Don't allow yourself to cancel for silly things like rainy days and sleepy mornings. Make your routine and stick to it. Knowing there is someone else there waiting on you should give you a decent dose of motivation. And don't let your workout buddy's cancellation keep you from working out!
  3. Find someone who supports you. You can't make progress if your workout partner is sabotaging you. Make sure you have someone who helps you stick to your goals and supports you.
  4. Don't have someone "out of your league." You don't want to be chasing after someone who pushes an 7 minute mile when you're at a 10 minute mile! At the same time, you don't want to be the ring leader, either. If you do get along great with your workout partner and you are different fitness levels, try sticking to the gym instead of going on outdoor runs where you may become separated.
  5. Find someone you want to spend time with! If you don't value this person, you won't want to work out with them. You want a workout buddy who you enjoy. Also, hanging out with your buddy outside the fitness realm is always healthy!
As long as you keep these simple qualifications in mind and your eye on the fitness prize, you should have no trouble working out with a partner! Some people may not need to workout with a buddy, but if you need that extra push, meeting a friend might be the push you need. 

Your fit friend, 

Heart Rate Helper

When I first started working out, I tried the heart rate monitor on the cardio machines, but I had no idea what the numbers meant! I knew I was starting to sweat, but I never knew when I was at the right heart rate. Sure, there were charts in the gym, but my age group was not listed.


Decoding the Chart

I try to keep my heart rate at 150BPM which is smack dab in the middle of the target heart rate zone! I try not to push myself too hard during workouts because it's dangerous. I'd say aim towards 140-160 BPM as long as you don't have any pre-existing heart conditions. 

How I manage my heart rate

I normally take my heart rate using the cardio machines that have the heart rate monitor option. I'll take it from time-to-time during my workout because the heart rate conductors are normally in terrible spots (like on the non-moving arms of the elliptical). I'd much rather not hinder my workout by worrying about my heart rate the entire time. 

As for taking my heart rate when I'm out on runs, I have begun to gauge myself on how I feel during the run and my breathing. If I'm panting and can't catch my breath-- I'm clearly going too hard. On the other hand, if I'm feeling good and I don't feel that I'm working hard enough, I will certainly push myself harder!

One day, I would love give myself a heart rate monitor! I feel like it would be extremely beneficial to have one for outdoor runs and even on the treadmill--because it's not safe to check your heart rate while running on a treadmill!

Good luck monitoring those heart rates!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Challenge Yourself!

Are your workouts getting easier? Are you not as exhausted after a workout? If you are trying to lose weight and hit a plateau, you might want to consider upping the ante on your workouts! Here are some great ways to take your workouts to the next level.

How to challenge yourself!

Extend your cardio time or push yourself harder during your cardio workout.

Easier said than done, but trust me, adding more time/effort to your cardio routine might be just what you need. Do you normally keep the elliptical at a lower resistance? Up it by five points or more, or stay on the machine for an extra 10 minutes. You could even do both!

Add weights or intensify your weight routine.

Do you weight train? If not, it might be time to start. 

According to an article in Women's Health Magazine, women who lifted heavier weights for a shorter amount of reps burned more calories. Plus, more muscle = more fat-burning power throughout the day. It keeps your metabolism revved and ready to go!

Mix it up!

Try a new group exercise class, try the elliptical instead of the bike, try the rowing machine, try a new running route, bike instead of walk! There are so many different fitness options out there, and there are so many ways to amp up your routine and get yourself feeling challenged again. 

I try to incorporate all different things into my workout. I try not to run too much because it's bad for my hips and I try to mix up my weight lifting routine. I try to take different classes and my yoga class focuses on different muscle groups each class. 

Remember variety keeps your muscles and metabolism in shape!

Sweat it up!


Monday, December 17, 2012

It's all in the bag!

It may not seem like much, but this bag is my buddy. I use it for so much, but it's currently rocking my world as my gym bag. It has holes, rips and seams coming apart, but I think it just shows my dedication!

What's inside...


These old, ratty sweatpants are perfect for going home on cold nights, post-workout!
I throw them on and I'm good to go. I get the post-sweat chills a lot and 
I end up FREEZING after winter workouts.


ASICS, baby! I love my sneakers. I always keep them in there and I'll occasionally
put some baby powder in them to keep them smelling fresh.


These shorts are perfect (and they have POCKETS). I can never workout in 
long pants, so these are my go-tos!


Gotta stay fresh! These tiny travel sizes are perfect for my bag. 

Hand Sanitizer

Yes, the gym is good for your health but germs and harmful bacteria run wild. Although you're supposed to wipe your machines down, I see way too many people skimp on their cleaning duties!

Hair Ties and Clips

For the days that I don't have a hair tie on my wrist. If my hair is still down, 
I'm not working hard enough!


For the occasional muscle aches and tenderness pre or post workout!

Workout Top

I always keep a backup workout top or t-shirt in my bag!


For tuning the world out during my workout.

I practically live out of my gym bag. I just throw it in my car and I'm all set! Some days, I don't get to the gym and it just sits in my car. However, in case that moment of workout inspiration strikes, I'm ready!

What's in your gym bag? Did I give you any ideas? Do you have any suggestions for my gym bag?

Also, always keep your bag packed, that way, you are ready to sweat!

Stay fit,


Sunday, December 16, 2012

When You REALLY have no time

Finals week, projects at work, family challenges, vacations, holidays, birthdays...these are all time-consuming events and usually leave little to no time for a workout. There are some things you can do to manage your time, stay productive and  multitask your way

Use Time Wisely

Using your time wisely is something that all individuals have difficulty with, especially if you're a beginner when it comes to exercising.

I try to make some time in between school, work and going home to hit the gym, but there are many days where it is just not meant to be. It helps to have a gym that is convenient for you. It's even a larger plus if your gym/fitness center is on your way to work or school.

I try my best to bring shower supplies/change of clothes with me. I usually keep at least a pair of sneakers and a change of workout clothes in my car-- just in case workout inspiration strikes! If you have somewhere to go right after, maximize your workout time by showering at your fitness facility instead of running home and grabbing a shower.

Productive Procrastination

Do you have cleaning to do around your home? How about school work or a work project, do you not want to do that? Don't want to go home and cook dinner? Then, try to workout.

This is a great mental strategy to adopt and it truly helps me. I give myself the option of working out or doing schoolwork almost all the time. Yes, I know, I avoid schoolwork -- bad-- but I make sure to do something productive like workout. I often find my mind cleared from the stress and I am more focused when I reapproach my assignments and studying.


Sometimes, getting a workout in is just NOT POSSIBLE. It's an unfortunate issue, I know.

How I solve this:

  • Calf raises in the shower / while brushing my teeth.
  • Park far away and walk!
  • Take the stairs instead of elevator and RUN up them.
  • Stand instead of sit.
So, you don't need to workout to be healthier! All you need is a few ideas on how to change up your routine and you'll see a change. Of course, getting active and making time for a workout is extremely important, but some days it doesn't happen!

Stay in motion,