I was never one where going to the gym was a part of my daily routine. In high school I got my cardio in from musical theatre but when college came around, I think I used the gym about 10 times in the four years I attended DePaul.
I don’t know what hit me but I decided to make a lifestyle change and that was to workout and get in shape. Looking back, I never thought I would be a runner.. but in the summer I live for running along the lakefront, blasting my favorite tunes, and getting a solid 4 mile run in.
Now I go to the gym 4-5 times a week, but it took me awhile to get to this point and I wanted to start off my first fitness post by giving some tips if you are looking to make exercise a daily part of your routine too.
- You CAN do it. If you want to get fit, you can do it and please don’t be nervous. Start out slow on the treadmill by walking around a 3.5 mph pace for a minute and a half, bump it up to 5mph and lightly jog for 30 seconds to a minute, and then back to 3.5mph (try this for around ten minutes). Do what is comfortable to start, and every day increase your speed just a little bit! Cardio is a great way to get into exercising.
- You can work out at home. If you aren’t one for a gym, I recommend purchasing a yoga mat and 2 three pound weights from the ‘zon and start with some floor exercises. Try for a 1 minute plank, 30 Russian twists, 30 crunches, 30 mountain climbers, 30 bicycle sit ups , 30 arm presses with weights standing up X repeat this 3 times!
- Be patient. I worked out for almost a year and I was disappointed I didn’t see much of a difference in the way my body looked…or at least I thought I didn’t see change. I have a medium frame so to loose 5-10 pounds is hard! I try and eat healthy when possible and make healthy swaps when possible but my diet hasn’t changed too drastically. A few tips: try and stay away from carbs- if you can’t live without it, try sprouted or multi-grain bread, have fruits as your source of sugar, and don’t eat too late! More recently I have noticed a lot more muscle and a more toned appearance. I am happy to see changes in my body and it pushes me to keep going!
- Stretch every single day. Before a work out, after a workout, on days you are taking it easy, please do your body a favor and stretch. I have tried to get away with not stretching and I always regret it the next day. Touch your toes, lay flat on your back and keep one leg on the floor and lift your other leg (keeping it straight) and see how high it can go, do the pigeon pose on both sides… your body will thank you for anything you do! Also, roll out after a workout. Foam rollers are great but can sometimes hurt so I recommend to start with a soft one and roll out the knots behind your legs, by your booty, and all over- front and back. You can roll out before or after a workout (I prefer afterwards) and it really helps speed up the recovery process after you workout.
- Sign up for group fitness classes. There is bound to be a class you love and still pushes you to give 100%! From Soul Cycle to barre, Pilates (a reformer Pilates class is a must), cardio kickboxing, and more! Try something you normally would’t do and switch it up once in awhile! Your muscles will thank you. I have noticed my body takes well to intense cardio classes, and lucky for me my gyms always have a variety of classes to choose from!
If you are new to exercising and rather have structure, I would definitely recommend the Sweat with Kayla app (triedit and I loved it!) or the SworkIt app. Both have great visuals to show you how to do different workouts and they focus on cardio, strength, stretching, and more.
A few of my favorite workouts:
- Bicycles (30)
- Mountain Climbers (30)
- Russian Twists (60)
- Jump Squats (20)
- Side Plank, dip and lift (one minute each side)
A few of my favorite stretches:
- Runners Lung (each side)
- Seated back twist
You know what they say? When the going gets tough, the TOUGH get going. I strongly believe everyone should take care of their body- your body deserves it! If you have any questions, please ask away. I love talking about fitness!