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Health & Fitness:

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Packing lunch during the week is a great option to save money and make sure that you’re getting a healthy, nutritious meal mid-day to keep you going. I like to do some work in the kitchen during the weekends to prepare for the week {Sunday Prep}, you can also get some killer tips from Choosing Raw – Monday’s Lunchbox.

Thinking about jumping on the treadmill or elliptical for some cardio and neglecting the machines and weight racks are you gym? Think again! I’m a huge advocate of not only changing up your gym routine on a regular basis but of foregoing machine cardio for walking and weight training. If you don’t believe m just read this piece from Natalie Jill Fitness: Only WEIGHT and INTENSITY Will Change Your Body – You HAVE to lift HEAVY if You Want to Lean Out and Change Your Body!

Fitting in a workout is a MUST during the hectic holiday season – It reduces stress, gives you some much-needed alone time, produces endorphins, and keeps you healthy & fit so you can enjoy the holiday festivities with your friends and family. Regardless of whether you have an hour or 15 minutes available, or if you even have time to make it to the gym – Make time!

Fashion:

I love the old Hollywood, film noir feel of killer black & white photographs. The subjects somehow always manage to appear chic and timeless, regardless of the year, the pose, the style of their clothes… I just can’t get enough and neither can A Fashion Friend – It’s Better In Black & White.

Have you ever been tempted to run off to Paris so that you can live a fashionable, glamorous life? If the answer is yes, you probably shouldn’t click on these links because you will most likely run off to Paris to live a fashionable, glamorous life.

As you may know – I adore stripes – Whether they’re the traditional nautical variety for Spring or demure pinstripes for the office. So why not take this fabulous print into the Fall season as well? Harper’s Bazaar definitely agrees – Shop the Street Style Look: Summer’s Stripes for Fall.

Are you a jeans girl? There are so many varieties this day in age there are almost endless choices when you head into a store and start to peruse their denim department. 70’s flare, wide-leg, cropped, skinny, cut-off, distressed, boyfriend, boot cut… Check out Love Me Jeans for some serious denim inspiration and worship – What’s your favorite pair?

We’ve all had the rule “No White After Labor Day” repeated ad nauseam over the years, but is this a rule for our grandmothers and not for our generation? Well The Man Repeller is making quite the argument against this rule with her fabulous photographs from Nolita – Accent In White.

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Gym Goddess – Part IV

Welcome to the next installment of the How to Become a Gym Goddess series (if you’d like to catch up, here are Week 1, Week 2 & Week 3).

Week IV ended up being particularly busy so it was the perfect example of how to squeeze workouts in whenever and wherever you can. Whether you’re trying to get in shape, working on changes in your life to make yourself healthier or trying to maintain your existing fitness regime, you need to make a committment to your health. You need to prioritize yourself – your body, your health, your sanity – over other things in your life. I’m not saying that you should miss deadlines to log a little gym time, but you need to make an effort to put yourself first. There will always be something that comes up, a work assignment, a dentist appointment, an illness in the family… But you’re better equipped to handle what life throws at you if you’re healthy & well nourished.

Note: Check with a doctor before you begin a new fitness routine.

 

Day 1:

10 minute cardio warm up – moderate speed on stationary

3 Rounds

  • Plank arm raises – lift each arm 10 times
  • Bench step ups – 10 each leg, knee up
  • Back lunge w/ medicine ball twist – step back into a lunge & twist holding a weighted medicine ball out w/ straight arms, twist to each side 10 times

15 minute cardio warm down

Stretching

Day 2: Medicine ball workout! Grab a 4, 6 or 8 pound ball and let’s go! This is inspired by the workouts featured in the November Women’s Health – Body By Anna (in the magazine only) & Get Fit in Only 15 Minutes. And if you’d like a little more motivation check out model Julie Henderson w/ fitness guru David Kirsch using medicine balls over at Modelinia. Even models aren’t perfect!

10 minute cardio warm up

3 Rounds:

  • 20 Wall sits w/ rotation
  • 20 High-Low chop
  • 20 squats w/ overhead ball raise
  • 20 Russian twists
  • 20 bicycles

10 minute cardio warm down

Day 3: A quickie inspired by The Fitnessista. Even if your schedule is as crazy as Liz’s has been there’s no excuse for slacking off, in the long run you’ll be glad you took a few minutes for yourself.

  • 5 minutes cardio of choice
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds of high knees
  • 30 seconds of plie squats (plie low, jump & bring legs together and arms straight up)
  • 30 seconds mountain climbers
  • 30 seconds push ups
  • 30 seconds burpees

Day 4: HIIT

5 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)

Results: This fourth week was really a testament to Liz’s dedication, with work and family issues popping up all almost daily she put forth a lot of effort to make sure that her workouts came together. Once you get into a routine and start to reap the benefits of regular exercise, it’s a great motivator to keep things going. So don’t let yourself get led off course by your busy life – if you make the time, you’ll see the results.

Joining a fitness program or hiring a trainer can be a great way to go if you’re interested in changing your fitness regime and aren’t quite sure where to start. Finding the right program or trainer is important though, not all gyms and trainers are created equal. Check out these suggestions from some of the experts for how to find the perfect fit: PrecisionNutrition, FitSugar, The Fitnessista and The Huffington Post. Also, when to break up with your personal trainer, something else you should definitely keep in mind if you decide to go for one-on-one sessions.

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Gym Goddess – Part III

Welcome to week III of the How to Become a Gym Goddess series (if you need to catch up, here are Week 1 and Week 2).

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Note: Check with a doctor before beginning a few fitness routine to avoid injuries.

 

Day 1:

15 minutes of intervals on the elliptical (30 seconds as fast as you can, 1 minute 30 seconds at a fast but manageable pace, repeat for 15 minutes)

100 walking lunges (each knee touching the ground is 1 – try to keep moving for the whole 100 even if you do have to slow down)

20 burpees as quickly as possible (How To – Do level II or III if possible, there are also other variations on burpees that we’ll try later one)

3 x 20 mountain climbers

Stretching

Day 2: CORE!!!

1o minutes of cardio, any machine, moderate pace

5 rounds of:

  • 1 minute plank
  • 30 frog crunchies
  • 30 squat jumps (bend knees, touch ground, jump up, clap at top, repeat)
  • 30 leg lifts
  • Row 100 meters as fast as possible

* Rest for under 1 minute between each round

10 minutes of cardio – Warm down

Stretching

Day 3: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – Pick a machine and go-go-go

5 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

Switch machines and repeat for an additional 15 minutes

5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)

(Same) Weekend Mini Workout:

To be completed at any point Saturday or Sunday (***Bonus points if you get a workout buddy to join you and race!)

Sprint the length of the street, walk back to your starting point, 5 burpees (how to) – Repeat 10x

Starting w/ your feet together, jump as far as you can & repeat for the length of the street. To the end of the street and back to your starting point = 1, complete 5x

Results: This week wasn’t about change, it was about creating a consistent fitness routine and really trying to make time a couple of days a week to go to the gym even when you’re tired and/or busy. Squeezing in just a small workout can improve your mood and productivity, which is especially important as the holiday season is starting to gear up and your schedule will get more and more hectic.

How do you stay motivated for your workouts? Any tips that always work for you? I like to workout first thing in the morning because in addition to giving my metabolism a little burst, it sets a healthy tone for the day and encourages me to stay on track. I also have to have a great playlist to keep my workouts upbeat. My brother got me the Nano for Christmas last year which is great because it has a clip and it holds such a small number of songs that I update it at least once a week. As for long-term goals, I’ve found that it’s all about giving myself something to look forward to. Like, say, a weekend trip to the Lululemon on Union Square.  (Rachel agrees, clearly) Not only do the promise of Lulu’s keep me going, once I have them I’m doubly motivated to hit the gym because I can’t wait to show them off!

As your workouts are progressing and you’re beginning to feel (and see!) results, you should start thinking about your recovery time. We’ve talked about stretching and rest days to help you stay loose and prepare for your next workout, but your choice of foods immediately before and after a workout can also affect your performance (as, obviously, your food throughout the day can affect your fitness goals in general). Shape shares their tips here, Women’s Health shares their top fitness food picks here and fitness guru to the stars David Kirsch shares his post-workout recovery smoothie here. And if this topic interests you and you’re heading to a book store, definitely pick up any of Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books which discuss this in-depth.

Stay tuned for Week IV!

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Gym Goddess – Part II

Welcome to Week II of How to Become a Gym Goddess (you can check out Week 1 here). To recap, this is the journey of an individual who has taken some time off from the gym, is in the process of making some big changes to her diet and would like to start getting back into shape.

Week I was primarily about measuring her abilities and testing her boundaries in a safe, controlled manner. In week two we increased the amount of cardio and worked on her core so that she has a good base to start doing weight in another few weeks.

 Source

*Note: Please talk to your physician prior to attempting a new fitness routine.

 

Day 1:

10 minute cardio warm up – moderate intensity

5 rounds – As quickly as possible w/out sacrificing form

  • 15 box jumps
  • 10 push-ups (on knees if necessary)
  • 20 sit-ups (chin up to the ceiling) 
  • 20 squats

10 minute cardio warm down

Day 2: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – Pick a machine and go-go-go

5 minute warm up – moderate intensity, you want to get your heart rate up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

5 minute cool down

Stretching

Day 3: Stability ball play time! (See The Fitnessista’s Focus On Medicine Balls for inspiration & safety tips)

10 minute cardio warm up – moderate intensity

Using a medicine/bosu ball, complete the following as quickly as possible:

  • 30 push ups  w/ feet on ball
  • 30 crunchies (chin to the ceiling)
  • 30 hamstring curls (laying on back)
  • 30 seconds plank w/ feet on the ball

10 minute cardio warm down

Stretching

Weekend Mini Workout: To be completed at any point Saturday or Sunday (***Bonus points if you get a workout buddy to join you and race!)

Sprint the length of the street, walk back to your starting point, 5 burpees (how to) – Repeat 10x

Starting w/ your feet together, jump as far as you can & repeat for the length of the street. To the end of the street and back to your starting point = 1, complete 5x

Results: After finishing her second week of regular workouts Liz was even more motivated and enthusiastic than before. The number one thing that she noticed? Even if she was dreading a workout and was exhausted by the time the last rep finished, she ended every workout more excited to start the next. Endorphins at their best!

* Trick To Try: Set an alarm on your cell or an Outlook calendar reminder for multiple times a day and spend a few minutes thinking about your core and your posture – especially important if you’re sitting in front of a computer or in class room for hours a day. Flex your stomach muscles and concentrate on your abdominal wall for 30 seconds, take a few deep breaths and repeat a handful of times, until you begin to feel fatigued. By staying in touch with your body over the course of the day you’ll be less likely to hunch or maintain harmful posture for extended period of time.

 

And in a fortuitous turn of events, The Fitnessista also recently did a post on getting back into shape, if you want to check out her expert advice here it is!

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