My fitness journey started when I was young, and before you roll your eyes, hear me out. I grew up in a gym- my mom was a workout instructor and personal trainer at this amazing gym called Club Sport, and I spent my after school time and weekends hanging out in the kids area. I was fed brownies made out of egg whites and apple sauce (you gag–I thought they were delicious), and I always had to finish my veggies at dinner, or else I didn’t get dessert! I have constantly been active from the time I could stand up on my own two legs, choosing not to walk, but run across the room; I played sports in my adolescent years starting with basketball and gaining interest in volleyball, softball and swimming, excelling at every activity I endeavored. I was an athlete, born and bred. I am an athlete, born and bred.
In high-school I would choose to go to the gym after school or take my evening run after I finished studying for geometry to clear my head, and if I missed a workout, I would get my teenage butt out of bed at 4:00am to get my run before school. During college I opted for studying while on the treadmill and pumping iron to feel strong and workout some stress caused by those college classes (or maybe I was trying to work off a hangover? Whatever it was, I was in the gym).
Like I said, my fitness journey started before I even knew it was a journey. I have always had an interest in health and fitness; training and sculpting my body, while taking care of my insides through good nutrition has always been a priority. Maybe it’s the “high” I get after doing 100 burpees, or the exhaustion that comes after accomplishing my sand sprints, whatever it is, it keeps me motivated and feeling/looking good.
I get a lot of questions about what I do in the gym, why it takes me so long and how the heck I manage to eat so healthy the majority of my time. It’s all in your brain people.
So, what do I do in the gym?
I use to be an avid runner, I’m talking 12 miles no problem. Now, I hate running. I walk into the gym and stair at the treadmill, trying to make amends with it, however it is just so boring, I can’t stand it. Running outside, with my view of the beach and pounding the sand, that’s a different story.
To keep myself interested and not loathing that running machine, I need to constantly switch it up. Not like, walk one day, run another, I’m’ talking interval training and constant playing with the incline and speed buttons. I write my treadmill interval workouts down so I am not left guessing or talking myself out of doing it and play between 3% incline and 15% incline with speeds ranging from 4mph to 10 mph (hoping to get up to 12 mph soon). My treadmill workouts usually range from 25-45 minutes (depending on my morning mood, or how much coffee I have had), then I move on to the fun stuff.
Two years ago I found out about this little thing called H.I.I.T. and Plyometrics. This is basically what my workouts consist of. I jump rope, do burpees, mountain climbers of all kinds of varitions, star jumps, lateral bounding, box jumps (when I’m feeling real crazy, burpee-box-jumps), jump squats, plyo lunges, plié squat jumps, and pretty much anything that gets me literally jumping.
When I began doing explosive movements, my body changed; my core developed, my leg muscles were more defined, my arms were even more toned, I slimmed down—they are on to something, not to mention it really makes you feel like a badass when you are doing a burpee-box-jump and the guy next to you is doing his gym face while flexing his overly ‘roided bicep muscle and drinking water.
Sick workout bro.
No, I didn’t forget about weight lifting, how could I?! It is so important!
For us women, we lose muscle as we age; although I am still in my 20s, I am definitely one for preventative measures. I love splitting my days up between lower body and upper body, sometimes doing a full body workout with my plyos when both my upper and lower body has recovered. I believe in lifting heavy weight, not so you strain or injure yourself, but so you can challenge your body. My belief is if you want to see and feel results, you have to go one step further than you did prior; that could mean adding an extra pound, an extra rep or extra step. My happy place is between 10 and 15 reps, sometimes pushing 20 and doing either 3 or 4 sets; unless I’m doing strictly plyos then I do 4-5 sets, pending how my body is feeling that day.
Yes, I’m THAT cliché hippy, I listen to my body, and you should too, it will tell you how it is feeling and what it is capable of.
On that note, you are capable of so much, and sometimes I don’t think we give ourselves, our bodies, enough credit.
When I am not in the gym, I am usually on the beach, doing a workout that involves soft sand, push-ups, squats, stairs, sprints, and lots of sweat. Sometimes driving to the gym sounds horrible, and being in a large warehouse like building surrounded by people, well sometimes that sounds horrible too. I try to get 5 good days of workouts in; I’m not perfect, sometimes it is only three because life takes over, but when I do get those three days in, I make sure to make them worth it.
Why do my workouts take so long?
I understand why I am asked this question. While, yes I am going H.A.M. in the gym, I am not going crazy for 2 hours. You need to stretch your muscles and foam roll them out. I love warming my muscles up with the foam roller to get the blood moving and muscles loose. When you roll your whole body out, (shins, calves, quads, hams, glutes, lower back, upper back, inner thigh, outer thighs, arms, etc.) your body feels freaking GREAT. That is why I do it and that is why it takes me so long, not to mention the perks of avoiding injury by properly warming up and cooling down. In a perfect world, with my day being 33 hours, I would include a yoga session directly after my workout to manage my flexibility and muscle stretching.
So, how the heck do I manage to eat healthy the majority of the time?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I love wine and chocolate. Do I eat or drink them everyday? No. Do I consume them a minimum of once a week? Yes. True story.
My “diet” …I hate using that word because it has the word DIE in it.
My LIFESTYLE consists of words like “organic” “free range” “cage free” “grass fed” and foods like healthy fats, healthy animal protein, and complex carbohydrates (like veggies). My diet does not consist of gluten, soy or dairy (other than grass-fed butter).
“HOW DO YOU DO THAT??” Simple: I just do.
Even on my “cheat days” I still follow a gluten-free diet.
Let me tell you a little story of why I don’t eat gluten:
I have been gluten free for quite a few years now, which began when I first started the Paleo Diet. After going hard at it, I took a break and had a bite of something that had gluten in it, aaaaaaand I broke out in rashes. End of gluten.
Sticking to the Whole30 plan has helped me with planning my meals and for inspiration when my brain doesn’t want to work. I stay away from refined sugar and processed foods, which always help your body, feel and look great, not to mention how much your skin loves it.
Superfoods I can’t live without?
Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds
Irish Gold grass-fed butter
Maca, Cocoa, Hemp, Ginger
Just to name a few…..
Helpful tip: I don’t go through the middle isles at the grocery store I stay on the outskirts.
That’s the title of a book you should read by the way.
I aim to drink three liters of water per day. I guzzle it down in the morning before I have coffee, and usually have a torpedo of a water bottle with me at all times.
Where’s all the fun in life, you ask?
It’s in feeling good, all the time. Oh, and it’s also in chocolate, wine and gluten-free pasta on my relaxation days.