Tag Archives | Stretching

Fitness Goals: Splits

Welcome back to my 2016 Fitness Goals series! This is a 4-part series where I’ll be sharing four long-term fitness goals that I’ll be tackling over the course of the year.

In the first installment I talked about my number one goal for the year – Working on my booty. Squats, lunges, and bridges – Oh My!

Next I talked about the LONG TERM goal of staying on top of my personal health by moving every day. Yes – Every single day.

So what’s my third goal to focus on this year? Regaining my left and right splits!

I was a gymnast growing up and have retained a great deal of my flexibility. Toe touches? No problems! Basic yoga moves? Easy peasy Japanesey! But my love affaire with yoga in 2015 reinforced that I had lost some of my flexibility – Namely my forward splits.

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Something like this is NOT a quick & easy goal. It’s not something you can just force. It’s a long-term, work-on-it-every-day kinda thing.

So for this goal, in combination with my previous booty goal, I’ll be adding more stretching & yoga to my routine each week. You can also check out more on my yoga goals in my 30 Day Challenge for August!

Some ways I’ll get there? These great stretches!

Do YOU have a fitness goal for 2016? Tell me what you’re working on!

 

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Fitness Friday: Stretching & Rolling

Welcome to the second post in the Fitness Friday series, you can read the first one here – Fitness Friday: Inspiration.

When it comes to establishing a new fitness routine sometimes people get amped up and jump head-first into achieving their new goals. And while pushing yourself and enthusiasm are incredibly helpful, you also have to take into account your body’s learning curve. Especially if you’re adding in new movements or exercises. If you’ve never done a spin class before or lifted weights – Ease into them rather than signing up for a 7 day a week bootcamp program.

Too much too soon can not only lead to burn out, but also to injuries. And believe me when I say that nothing will put a damper in your healthy living plan quite like a debilitating injury. Ouch and groan!

A great way to help your body adapt to changes in your fitness levels in through stretching & rolling. Read on for more information on including these great activities in your daily routine.

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{Pants & jacket courtesy of Lorna Jane // Shoes from Brooks}

Stretching:

I know people who like to get into the gym, get their workout done, and get out. They swear they don’t need, or have time, to stretch.

I disagree.

Regardless of what workout you’re doing – Running, spin, yoga, power lifting – You will benefit from a few minutes of stretching before and after your workout. I personally stretch each morning before work, before and after my daily gym session, and again before bed. Make it a habit and you’ll appreciate the results.

Note: For those of you who are naturally flexible or have been involved in gymnastics, acrobatics, dance, diving, cheerleading, or other sports & activities where flexibility is emphasized – A word of caution. Being overly flexible can be dangerous as well, and you may be more prone to injuries so please be careful. As a former gymnast and a diver I’ve seen & experienced this first hand – One easy solution is to stretch and do workouts in front of a mirror to ensure you’re not hyperextending or locking out your joints.

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Related Reading:

Rolling:

When you’re consistently working out your muscles get tight and the stress of that pressure causes knots to form. Using a PVC or foam roller after a workout or even the day after a hard gym session can break-up your muscles and reduce overall tightness. I schedule rolling sessions for myself three times a week but I also have a roller at home and supplement a rough week of training with additional muscle-crunching sessions in the comfort of my living room.

Easing into this practice can be painful, especially if you have really tight muscles. So start out using a lighter foam roller once or twice a week and slowly add more pressure and consistency as you get used to the feeling .

Here are some basic moves to try:

Lorna-Jane-Beginners-Fitness-Stretching-Rolling-Side

{Photos by Jennymay Villarete of J. Villarete Photography}

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

I have to admit that of all the pieces I tried on at Lorna Jane these full length running tights were my favorite. They fit perfectly, never ride up when I’m working out, and I’ve gotten tons of compliments. Obviously I need them in every color now.

Also, I’d like to give a big shout out to the amazing ladies of the Union Street store who played dress-up with me for nearly an hour to help pick out my amazing Lorna Jane pieces. They were fun, friendly, and had great knowledge about the store & the products.

Do YOU stretch & roll out on a regular basis? How do YOU keep your body healthy?

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

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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).

Source

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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