Happy First Friday Fitness! Wow, I haven’t done one of these posts in way too long.
As of today, I have been working out consistently for 20 weeks straight. I have to admit to you all, I’m pretty sure this is the longest consistent streak I have had since 2018. I am really proud of myself for this! For the first time in years I have actual muscle definition. Not just the definition, but the strength to go with it! It’s not all superficial!
The other night I was putting on a cardigan after doing the dishes and Hubby goes, “Whoa, are you getting buff?” I was so confused. I have been working on my arm strength, but had not really seen any significant difference. I’m thankful someone else has! Yesterday Hubby installed a new dishwasher and I was able to help him carry the old one out with relative ease, something that would not have been possible even at the end of last year.
I am not too proud to admit that I didn’t do it on my own. A few weeks into my own workout journey, Hubby decided to begin his own. He joined a gym with a few of his friends and works out 5-6 days a week. His consistency has helped my consistency. I have also been using the FitOn App.
When I began using the FitOn App I would do workouts that were often around 20-30 minutes long for one target area. After awhile I found that single workouts for that long of a time were ineffectual. At least they were for me. I would wakeup sore, which I love, but that often stinted my workout for that day or even that week. On top of that, such long workouts meant my allotted time was almost completely taken up with one workout.
I also had my workout intensity set at Medium. I thought for sure that was the level I should be working out at because of my years of dance. What this led to was me often not fully being able to complete the workout. I would tell myself I could do it, but then would slowly (or quickly) lose the will to even try.
When I picked it back up in January, I decided to shorten the length of each workout. Luckily for me, there is a section on the FitOn App where you can choose how long of a workout you want to do. I decided to go with the 5-10 minute range and I lowered the workout intensity.
I think that moment was a bit humbling for me. I had to admit to myself what I already knew but had yet to really acknowledge. I don’t have the endurance that I had a few years ago. Yes, I had admitted that my muscle tone was gone and that I had become weaker, but I hadn’t really thought about my endurance capabilities. Like so much, I wanted to simply pick up where I had left off and I couldn’t. I was well and truly starting over. It was like 11 year old me had come calling.
The shorter workouts have been great for me. I am obviously able to do more within the same time and I find myself enjoying my workouts more. As everyone knows, enjoyment certainly helps with consistency. Due to my consistency, I’ve been able to return to a medium workout intensity and I have extended my workout time from thirty minutes to around an hour.
My New Routine
I try to workout 3-4 times a week. Some weeks I get in more and there are some weeks I’m only able to get 1 or 2 workouts in. I’m pretty routine in how I workout, but there may be days when I go harder on some areas or skip an area.
Most areas still take 5-10 minutes. Sometimes I’ll spend extra time on areas like arms, abs, and glutes. Cardio is definitely where I spend the least time, probably because I place it at the end of my workout. I only spend about 3-5 minutes on cardio, about a song length. Hey, I’m slowly building up to longer times but we all have to start somewhere and I’m satisfied with what I’m doing.
Warm-Up and Abs
I begin with a plié routine at my ballet barre. You can take the girl out of the ballet studio but you can’t take the ballet out of the girl. After a nice barre warmup, I pull up the app on my phone and do an ab workout, usually one of Breann Mitchell’s.
The one thing I don’t use the FitOn App for is my arm workout. I tried to and just wound up being too sore. Instead, I scoured Pinterest and built my own arm routine. I search for new ideas to keep things fresh and to make sure I’m targeting all areas of my arm instead of just one or two all the time. I begin with push-ups before moving on to working with dumbbells.
Pushups are something I have always struggled with. Which is why I was so excited to stumble upon a nice little trick. Take a loop resistance band (aka a booty band) and loop it around your arms so that it lies across the chest. The point is that the band will help support your chest as you execute the pushup. The band also helps keep your arms in correct position. I can tell you that it works.
Booty and Legs
You know how they say you don’t know you’ve got a good thing until it’s gone? Well I didn’t know how great a butt I had until it was gone. So now I am working really hard to build that booty back up. Which is why I bought a trio of booty bands in the first place. FitOn App has some great booty workouts, my go-to is the Lower Body Fix with Caroline Pearce.
Since I classify my glute workouts under the Barre workout on my watch, I also include relevés at the barre. Relevé, or heel raises in workout terms, is great for working the calf muscles. Let me tell you, two sets of 50 relevés (20 single, 30 double) will have your calves on fire. Make sure you stretch them out after each set, it helps.
Like a crazy person, I save my cardio for last. Well, next-to-last. The key is to let yourself be distracted by the music and to not stop for as long as possible. I suggest something like Destiny Child’s ‘Lose My Breath’, Beyoncé’s ‘Run the World’, or JT’s ‘TKO’. Whatever you choose, make sure it is upbeat and fun. I choose one of those songs because it has a good beat for doing jumping jacks.
On days that I don’t quite have the oomph for jumping, I do low impact cardio. I make sure to get my heart rate up and am really working my body to make it worth it. Like they say, a little is better than none at all.
Stretching and Cool Down
Does anything feel better than stretching after a good workout? Okay…maybe a soaking bath afterwards, but we’re not talking about that right now.
Stretching is so important. First of all, it allows you to be more active. Second, it helps your muscles recover from a workout. Stretching helps release the lactic build up, which is what causes sore muscles.
In truth, I may have a slight love/hate relationship with stretching. Or maybe it’s just seated forward bend stretches that I love/hate. Even on my best day in dance we never got along. I am determined to conquer it one day.
No matter what stretch I’m doing, I hold it for a full minute while breathing deeply. Since this usually helps slow down my heart rate as well, I often consider stretching my cool down. Other days, I’ll stretch and then do a short meditation, something that can also be found on the FitOn App.
Okay, I realize the majority of this post may sound like an ad for FitOn. I promise you it’s not. I’m not getting paid to promote it or use it. It’s simply one of the methods I use to workout. Some people use DVDs or Pelaton. I use FitOn and my iTunes library.
Something else that I have started doing is drinking protein shakes. You may laugh at me for this, but protein has been proven to help muscles repair and rebuild. For awhile I was drinking Tone It Up’s ready made vanilla protein shake, but it hasn’t been in-stock for over a month now. Luckily, my hubby had some protein powder on hand that is actually really good. We mix it with milk and voila. I was seriously thinking I’d have to whip up these complicated shakes and that did not really appeal to me, so the simplicity of pouring and shaking together to mix is perfect.
And no, they don’t make me fat. They do taste good (have I mentioned that they taste good?) and sometimes the regular 6-8 ounces doesn’t seem like enough. Somehow I manage to hold myself back from drinking it in excess. Hubby and I also bought these cute Ravenclaw shake bottles off of Amazon. Don’t worry, if HP isn’t your thing, there are a ton of cute shake bottles out there. I almost couldn’t choose! (FYI, if I buy another one, it’s definitely going to be an Ariel one.)
Curious About What Products I use?
Before I share what I use please note that as of right now, these are not affiliate links. If this ever changes, I promise to update and make you all aware. For now, these are just the products I love and you may click on them to see without any benefit to myself, except for the hope that you are just as happy with them as I am.
Sports Bra: I love this Adjustable Front Sports Bra by All in Motion
I needed a new one recently, decided to take a chance on it (mostly because of the color) and have loved it. Seriously, I’m keeping my eye out for an All in Motion sale just so I can get more.
Dumbbells: I believe these CAP Barbell Neoprene Dipped Dumbbell are the dumbbells Hubby bought me. They can be found at Walmart.
Yoga Mat: Hubby and I each bought one of these Gaiam Yoga Mats on Amazon.
They are soft and come with a strap so that you can easily store it and carry it with you. We’ve had these mats since 2019 and they are still holding up strong.
Booty Bands: These Allvodes Booty Bands are exactly what I needed for my workouts and they’re cheap!
Blender Bottle: The Ravenclaw Shaker Bottles by BlenderBottle allow for easy and effectual Protein Shake Blending.
All of these bottles are beautifully designed. If you’re not feeling the HP collection then there are hundreds more beautifully designed bottles to choose from by BlenderBottle.
Protein Powder: Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Protein Powder tastes like dessert.
No I am not joking. It is easy to blend and doesn’t taste chalky (obviously). At least the Vanilla Ice Cream and the Strawberries & Cream ones are not chalky. I can’t comment for the others, but you can trust me on these two!
Before and Now
The one thing I don’t have are Before and Now pictures. I think I tried taking pictures for “Before” but I deleted in them because I felt stupid. In truth, I think I hated my body so much then that I didn’t want to be on camera like that. I have serious respect for people who put themselves out there like that. I know it’s not easy, even if it’s for your own personal viewing or tracking.
Also I’m not really in the habit of taking pictures of myself. Probably why my selfie game needs work.
So now I have to ask:
Do you think taking progress pictures is important? Why or Why not?
How has your workout game changed over time?
Leave me your answers in the comments! I’d love to read them.
Happy First Friday!