BUILD YOUR ROUTINE FOR LEAN
Each season carries its own motivations. In the summer I like to be outdoors, feeling healthy, confident, and energized. To wake up in the morning excited to start my day and craving a good sweat session! When I can live with a clear mind, joyful heart and strong, lean, and healthy body, I'm at my best! My summer workout routine is rooted in all of these things. I don't have a scale, I'm not counting calories, and I'm not comparing my body to anyone else's. Our bodies and brains respond and process in very unique ways, so there's no one-fit workout routine. Healthy living should look a little different for each and every one of us. My hope for this post is to inspire you to find joy in your workout routine, give you a few tips that work for me and encourage you to create a routine just for you!
STEP ONE: WORK OUT YOUR MOTIVATIONS
Sweet summertime...surrounding me in guilty pleasures, a packed calendar, and little swimsuits. Time is tight, the pressure is high and the struggle for healthy living is real. At least it was for me; a busybody, with a big appetite and high body image expectations. Not a great mindset for joyful living. It replaced summer fun with anxiety and rooted healthy living in a toxic and unfulfilling motivator.
So the first thing I did, drop the expectations and replace "how I look" with "how I feel!"
So much easier said than done, but so freakin' freeing. I encourage you to build you're routine around what makes you feel fabulous. With activities you'll even enjoy doing. Enjoy might seem like a strong word to some of you, understandably. I by no means enjoyed running when I first started but here I am craving a long run and the deep breaths of satisfaction that follow! While cycling, on the other hand...I simply can't stand. I gave it a go, multiple times and can't help but count down the songs until I can get off that darn bike. Basically, find your thing and do you, for you!
STEP TWO: KICK IT OFF WITH CARDIO
I've got to get my heart pumping! Cardio makes me feel THE BEST. After a good run I breath deeper, think clearer and sleep better. I feel it in my legs, lungs, and abs. So, if I only have 20 minutes, I'm grabbing my sneakers and hitting the pavement! In the summer I like to run outside, my usual is a 2 mile run through the park with Leroy but I love to get on the Lake Shore Drive trail when I can!
Just about all my workouts start with cardio. I run 2 - 4.5 miles three to five times a week.
I try to mix up my intensity levels to work my body in different ways and challenge myself. Low-intensity endurance runs— 3 miles or more— these are my feel good, thought-provoking runs. Moderate intensity— a 2-mile challenging run— my norm, usually with the pup. High Intensity- 1 mile warm up with 1-2 miles of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)—basically, mixing in sprints.
I think it's important to challenge yourself. As you're routine gets easier, go longer, faster or harder. As you're body changes you're routine should too! What I choose to do pretty much depends on how I feel that day and how much time I have. Every week looks a little different.
STEP THREE: TONE IT UP
Time to give those abs, arms, legs and back a run for their money! I majored in Exercise Science and worked in a physical therapy office and if anything, I learned how neglecting to strengthen muscle groups can cause all kinds of damage. So I'm keeping mine nice and strong! I'll start with my favorite :)
This summer, I created an 8 min ab sequence that I mix up to give a good burn each time. I do it 2-4 times a week, usually after my run. I choose 15 ab exercises to go through for 8 min straight, changing every 30 seconds and always hold a 1 minute plank around 4 minutes in.
LEGS & BUTT
I give my legs and butt a full focused toning session about 2 times a week. Usually a mixture of squats, jumps and resistance exercises. Each time is different depending on how much and if I ran that day. I like to mix it up but here is one of my favorite sequences for a nice lingering burn!
ARMS & BACK
These two get a good amount of accessory muscle work so I only dedicate a few minutes to them once a week or so. I have some 10 lbs weights I use for curls, shoulder presses, and straight leg deadlifts. Or dive into some supermans and push-ups! Keep it pretty simple here.
STEP FOUR: STRECH IT OUT
I've never considered myself a liber lady. My muscles have always been pretty tight, especially my hips and IT bands. Which can be pretty painful. My good friend Jules, of Om and the City, got me interested in yoga. After a few workout shoots with her, I realized how freakin' stiff I was. Painfully stiff, y'all. I took notes from some of her flows and used my free week at CorePower yoga to learn how to stretch my muscles mindfully and eventually just fell in love with it.
Once I felt the flexibility of well-stretched muscles, I never stopped. My 10-second stretches are a thing of the past and sinking into intentional stretches and yoga flows are my new refreshing reality. Some mornings when I know I won't have time to run or hit the gym, I walk into my living room and go through a simple stretching flow. My body stays limber, my muscles are activated and I feel so much better starting my day!
A little thing I personally love to end my workouts with are inversions. I'm no expert but find headstands to be challenging and refreshing. Ending my sweat sesh with focus, balance, and fun before resuming my day.
WHAT HELPS ME STAY CONSISTENT
Make time. I might not have an hour for the gym, but I can almost always make Leroy's 10 min walk a 20 min run. Or start my day with 8 min abs and stretching. There is always time for something.
Remembering my motivators. I want to be joyful, excited, and energized. I know if I'm not active I'll slowly rob myself of the mindset that makes me happy.
Eating habits...a big one for me! I'd consider myself a foodie and literally love eating. So, I save my indulgences for things that deserve it—the treats and outings I'm dying to dive into— and keep the food in our house pretty clean. Sugars and processed grains make me feel sluggish and push me more toward the couch instead of a workout. So, I try to avoid them when I can but I don't diet or make any unrealistic rules for myself.
Mixing in a workout class! Sometimes I get so stuck in a routine and need something new. I love tossing in a Flywheel, Pure Barre, Pilates, Orange Theory, or yoga class here and there. They always kick my butt and point out a few new muscles I need to focus on.
I hope this post helps you work out a routine you come to actually enjoy. One that clears your mind and lifts your spirits. Thanks for reading everyone!
ACTIVE WEAR I LOVE
This outfit is part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!
Pictures by the lovely Ali Stone