Tag Archives | motivation

Fitness Friday: Beginners Fitness

Welcome to the third post in the Fitness Friday series, you can read the first two here – Fitness Friday: Inspiration & Fitness Friday: Stretching & Rolling.

A productive and effective fitness routine has a strong foundation in basic movements. Body weight exercises and moves that emphasize your core give your body overall strength and develop the building blocks that it needs to easily pick up new moves.

Another bonus of these types of movements is that they can be done anywhere – At home, on vacation, in a hotel during a business trip. Doing a few sets of some, or all, of these exercises is a great way to prevent injuries, keep your core engaged, and build overall strength.

I incorporate all of these movements into my gym routine each week. Some of them I’ve picked up from blogs or magazines over the years, while others were introduced to me by doctors, trainers, or physical therapists while I was injured.


{Capri pants, tank top & sports bra courtesy of Lorna Jane // Shoes from Brooks}


A traditional plank is great for engaging your core. Begin on your forearms, toes under, body tight & straight – Try holding this position for 15 seconds. After you can do 2-3 sets of 15 seconds, increase the duration to 30 seconds, then 45, then 60. After you’ve mastered the forearm plank you can move up to your hands and begin the progression listed above again.

I do planks & side planks 2-3 times a week (3×60) and add in toe-tapping and plank jacks once or twice a week depending on my programming & goals.

Exercises to try: {In order of difficulty}



Not only are lunges are one of the best moves that you can do to build lower body strength, but they can be done anywhere and upgraded with simple changes & the addition of weight.

Bored in a hotel room? Do a few laps of walking lunges. Want to increase leg power? Add 3 sets of 15 lunges (each leg) to your workouts three times a week.

Important Tip: Make sure that your knee does not cross in front of your toes when you’re in the lunge position. Use a mirror at the gym if needed, but save your knees and make sure your front foot is placed far enough forward.

Lunges To Try:



One of the first exercises that my trainer in college taught me and the first move that my physical therapist added to my routine when I reinjured my back is the quadruped. This exercise is extremely effective for building up strength in your core and does a great job of engaging the smaller muscles when you stabilize yourself to hold the position.

Start by lifting your right arm and left leg, keep your abdomen tight, do not arch your back, hold for a moment, and release. Repeat ten times on each side for three rounds. Then fifteen, then twenty.

Want to make up the level of difficulty even more? Try adding ankle weights!

Related Reading: Beginners Fitness: Medicine Balls & Beginners Fitness: Kettlebells

What’s YOUR go-to exercise at the gym?

{Disclaimer: Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet you should consult a physician}

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Fitness Friday: Inspiration

Welcome to the new three-part Fitness Friday series – Today I’d like to talk about inspiration and motivation. Whether you’re starting a new fitness regime or setting different goals to push yourself, or just trying to keep up your momentum, getting inspired and staying motivated are vital to achieving success.

Raise your hand if you’ve gotten excited about a new fitness routine, gone all out for a few days or even weeks, and then completely lost interest? We all have! But the key to being your healthiest self is sustaining an active lifestyle.

Life can definitely get in the way of trips to the gym – From getting sick to last-minute meetings – You can’t always control your schedule, especially this time of the year. But you do have to make yourself, and your health, a priority.

Below are some of my tried & true tips for keeping myself motivated and on-track.


{Pants, top & vest courtesy of Lorna Jane // Shoes from Brooks}

Know What You Want:

If you don’t have a goal in mind, how do you know when you’ve reached it?

Setting concrete goals not only gives you something to aim for, it also allows you to set smaller goals to reach on the path to success. Want to lose weight? Want a lower body fat percentage? Pick a number! Want to run a race or enter a competition? Sign up! Just want to get healthier? Set a goal like running a mile or doing 3 strict pull-ups or doing 10 consecutive push-ups.

Whatever you’d like to achieve, there’s a tangible way to mark that achievement.


Set A Benchmark:

Pick a mid-point in the journey towards your ultimate goal – Something that you can accomplish that will get you closer to achieving your goal. If your goal is to run a half marathon then you could pick a 6 mile run as your benchmark. If you’re looking at losing weight or decreasing bodyweight then pick a number between your current number and the number you’re trying to reach.

Why does this help?

When there’s a few months between you and your goal you can lose momentum, you can get distracted, you can forget why you set the goal at all. When you reach that benchmark you get amped up and re-inspired to keep going.


Reward Yourself:

So what do you get for reaching your benchmark? A reward!  Something good. Something that will motivate you and make you want to meet that next goal.

What not to do? Undo all of your hard work. If you’re trying to reach a health or fitness goal then eating a large pizza by yourself isn’t a good reward. Think of something that will inspire you to keep going rather than set you back – A massage, new gym gear, a weekend trip, dinner at a nice restaurant…


{Photos by Jennymay Villarete of J. Villarete Photography}

One of my favorite ways to reward myself for reaching a goal is a little shopping trip. And since I love hiking, walking, and working out, activewear is one of my go-to purchases. Zella from Nordstrom and Lorna Jane are my current favorites and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

When Lorna Jane reached out & asked if I’d be interested in trying some of their pieces I was thrilled. Not only are their styles fun and versatile – Tons of colors, lengths & versions to try on – They’re also reasonably priced and available online with free shipping! I follow Lorna Jane on Instagram and checking the fun, inspirational pictures each day is a highlight – I’m always motivated to live a healthier, happier life. Which makes sense since their company motto is: “Our mission is to inspire women to live their best life through Active Living.”

Related Reading: Motivation, Fitness Motivation, and Model & Blogger Fitness

What’s YOUR top way to stay inspired to live a healthy life?

{Disclaimer: Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet you should consult a physician}

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Feel Good Friday

After a long couple of weeks and nothing but work, work, work on the brain, I have come to an important realization. In order to live a happy, healthy, productive life, from time to time I need to get back to basics and spend a little quality time with myself celebrating life.


What does that mean exactly? That means relaxing. That means slowing down. That means self-indulgence. That means instituting Feel Good Friday! 🙂

My goal for today is to convince all my lovely readers out there that you too could use some “me time.” If we’re not loving every minute of our lives, what’s the point?


So with all of this in mind I’m hoping that my weekend will include – In addition to some work, bien sûr – Some much-needed girl time, a lovely pedicure, a relaxing massage, and a bit of time spent writing just for myself.

Writing is my catharsis. It has been since I was a child and first started writing stories. Whether it’s journaling or writing another chapter for one of my books I’ve been writing for years. It clears my mind, gets all of my pent-up emotions out, and most importantly, it reignites my passion for life.


{Images from my Inspiration board}

So I am officially declaring today Feel Good Friday! So tell me…  What can YOU do this weekend that’ll make you feel good and remind you why you love life?

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An important factor when it comes to maintaining a healthy living regime is keeping yourself motivated – Whether that means eating well or getting regular exercise. With an endless number of reasons to skip the gym on any given day, sometimes actually getting to the gym is more work than working out.

Here are some tricks & suggestions to help you stay motivated!


Set Goals:

I’m a goal oriented person so whether it’s training for a race, getting toned for a beach vacation or keeping pace with a friend, having those milestones in mind keeps me on track. My challenge for you is to sit down once a month and set out a list of goals for yourself – They can be as simple as “make it to the gym three times a week” or as specific as “get through a Tone It Up! workout.”

Just think about what you want to accomplish and start taking the necessary steps to achieving that goal. Whether your personal goal is to lose weight or just to get yourself into better, healthier shape, you’ll be a step closer each time to meet one of your goals.

And – Bonus – That wonderful feeling of triumph that you get when you reach one goal will help spur you on to meet the next one!



Getting a workout buddy, joining a fitness community, or attending classes are great ways to keep yourself on track. Everyone is different so do a little reconnaissance and find out what works for you – Does running next to someone push you to go further and longer? Is a one-on-one session with a trainer the best way to get you to the gym and hold you accountable? Is meeting a friend for a class the perfect motivation after a long day since you won’t want to flake on them?

Try some different tactics and you’ll discover the best way to keep yourself engaged & inspired – Try making a workout date, signing up for a competition or race, or joining a healthy club.

You’ll be amazed just how far you can get with supportive people behind you!


{Images from Inspiration Pinterest Board}


I don’t know about you, but I respond quite well to bribery. When I’m having trouble staying focused on my goals or find myself losing interest in my workout regime I change my tactics in order to get different results. Dying to get into bikini shape but just can’t stop indulging? Make plans with friends for a weekend at the beach – Knowing you’ll be sipping an umbrella drink in a lounge chair in a month will help keep you on track.

Getting a reward for all your hard work is a great way to keep yourself motivated and you’ll be looking forward to hitting your next goal so you can earn another trip to the spa, or salon, or shops. What are some of my favorite motivation-related rewards? Massages, new workout gear, weekend getaways, facials, shopping trips, and pedicures.

A little quality “me time” is a great way to indulge & celebrate meeting a goal while keeping myself on track!

Related Reading: Gym Style and Workout Gear vs Streetwear.

What’s your number one way to keep yourself motivated when you’re trying to achieve a health or fitness goal?

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Summary Saturday

For this Summary Saturday I want to share some of the fun things I’ve been doing lately on Instagram – Pictures of the fun ringspiration challenge that I did last week, some photographs of the crazy love of my life Bones, and some other highlights from the last few week.

{JewelMint, JewelMint & BCBG}

{Rachel Roy, Vintage & ASOS}

{The king of my little kingdom}

{Closet organizing & cleaning up my jewelry collection – Stay tuned for a post, black & white stripes w/ red cropped red pants on the blog,  this is a sneak peek of my collaboration with Sasha Maks Vintage – Stay tuned for some killer shots of killer jewelry, and Nina Garcia’s Little Black Book of Style from Thursday’s What I’m Loving Right Now}

  • Instagram – You can follow me on Instagram @moicontrelavie
  • Twitter You can follow me on Twitter @moicontrelavie
  • Pinterest – You can follow my Pinterest boards here
  • FacebookYou can LIKE my Facebook page here
  • LookbookYou can see my Lookbook looks here, you can FAN me to get an email update when I post a new look, or you can HYPE my looks if you like them!

Have a great weekend!

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