Sweating It Out With Barre3 Kansas City

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I typically do my own workouts. I work out at a gym with free weights, squat racks, weight machines, and cardio equipment. The typical gym scene. As much as I love my new gym and everything it offers, it is SO good to get out of my normal routine. Trying something new and switching things up can do wonders for your mind, body, and motivation level.

I was invited to a Barre3 workout class in Brookside this weekend, and I cannot say enough about how much I loved it. I don’t usually love classes, but not having to come up with my own workout, but rather someone else telling me exactly what to do, was so nice!

I went with a friend of mine, Alexa, who is my workout class sidekick. We started going to workout classes together in college and I still to this day love going to classes with her whenever we can! I will say that for me, it is always easier and more fun to do classes when she’s with me. It can be intimidating to walk into a new class by yourself, so if this something that holds you back from a new gym, a new class, a new studio, etc., bring a friend! It makes things so much more comfortable when you have someone with you experiencing the class for their first time as well.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Barre3, here is a quick outline per their websiste:

Barre3 delivers a full body workout using only low-impact movements. With our team of experts—doctors, physical therapists, and anatomy specialists—we developed our signature 3-step sequence to produce a strong and balanced body.”

  • STEP 1 | HOLD Align the body, build mind-body connection, and engage your muscles.
  • STEP 2 | MOVE SMALL Work deep in the muscle without compromising your form to push through plateaus, and build strength.

  • STEP 3 | MOVE BIG Build functional strength for everyday activities, tone your muscles, and energize your entire body.

Our instructor at Barre3 was Caroline and she made us both feel so welcomed. She knew that we were both there for the very first time so she made sure to help us out from the moment we walked in.

The class was an hour long and my heart rate was up from the minute the class started. I turned on my Apple watch and glanced at it every ten minutes or so, and my heart rate was above 150 bpm the entire time. It was the perfect mix of strength, core, stretching, and cardio. It was definitely intense and I was sweating (& shaking for that matter) like crazy. For this class we used the barre ball, and 1lb or 2lb weights. Never underestimate the power of 1lb and 2lb weights! My muscles were BURNING the entire class.

The class was incredibly upbeat, the music was great, and I was never bored. The hour flew by before I knew it! Even for someone who works out every day, this class was incredibly challenging for me. It’s completely different that my every day workout at my gym and it pushed me in ways I don’t usually push myself. The holds and squeezes killed me, and this is something I plan on incorporating into my own workouts at the gym. I was definitely outside of my fitness comfort zone and that’s what made it so much fun!

I loved this class and I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. This style of workout is doable for all fitness levels and that’s part of the reason I loved it so much. Our instructor Caroline was extremely helpful and offered assistance when needed, as well as provided modifications for every single movement we did.

Click here to find a Barre3 in your area! And thank you again to Caroline for having us this weekend. I can’t wait to come back soon! If you’re in the KC area – go check out Barre3 Kansas City, you will not be disappointed!

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Weekly Workout Roundup

It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged a weekly workout roundup for you guys, and I’ll be completely honest – it’s because my workouts this summer have been far from perfect. Being that part of my platform with KaleKouture is fitness, it can be hard to motivate and encourage others when you’re not on top of the workout game yourself. It’s kind of like encouraging someone to be on a diet while you’re eating Cheesecake Factory in front of them!

Even though part of my job as a fitness blogger is to tell you about my workouts and how I’m staying active, and how you can do those things too, I am not afraid to admit that just like anyone else, “life” has taken precedence over a lot of my workouts this summer. This summer has been full of weekend lake trips, going on vacation, moving, looking for/buying a new house, working two summer jobs, getting everything ready to go back to school, and in the midst of all of that, trying to seamlessly transition into running this blog on my own. I started the summer with every intent of working out six days a week, trying new classes, tracking macros perfectly, etc. I mean teachers don’t “work” in the summer right, I should have all the time in the world! I’m here to tell you that’s not true, and that has not happened. But that’s okay!

While summer is obviously not the most ideal time for workouts to be lagging, truthfully I have not stressed or lost any sleep over it like I might have in years past. I know that summer is temporary, and the life events, vacation, and time with friends that have prevented me from working out like I normally do, are far more important than a few missed workouts. Memories with people you love are worth more than one missed hour- long-500-calorie-burn, I promise.

This summer has been one of the best summers I’ve ever had, and I can tell you without a doubt that my body looks no different today than it would had I not missed those workouts. Fitness is a lifestyle. So cliché, I know, but it’s true. It’s not a certain number of workouts, it’s not a certain number of days hitting your macros – it’s about the big picture. Did I miss some workouts? Yeah, more than I probably anticipated. Was I active this summer and did I try to workout as often as I could? Yes I did. That’s what it’s all about.

All that to say, I’m back and I’m running full steam ahead starting this week! And if you’re in the same boat and your workouts have been lacking this summer, know that I’m right there with you! Don’t worry about the workouts that didn’t happen, be encouraged and give your all to the workouts that you’re going to make happen this week! Screen shot the workouts below, and commit to working out with me this week!

I wrote up a weekly workout roundup below, not only for you guys to follow along with, but to motivate myself as well! It’s a proven fact that if I write out my workouts, and schedule them in my planner like any other commitment or appointment I have, I’m 100 times more likely to make it happen. Let me know if you have any questions!

bench push up

step up

‘Keep It Cool’ Crop Leggings | ‘Ebb To Street Tank’ | Nike Free RN Flyknit 

Weekly Workout Roundup 

  • Sunday: Cardio + Legs
    • 15 minute stairmaster warm up
      • smith machine squats (3 sets of 12)
      • bench step ups w/dumbbells (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • walking lunges w/barbell (3 sets of 24)
      • plie pulse squats w/dumbbell (3 sets of 24)
      • leg extension, single leg (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • hamstring extension, single leg (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • jump squats (3 sets of 12)
  • Monday: Cardio + Triceps
    • 15 minute stairmaster warm up
      • tricep pushdowns w/rope attachment (3 sets of 12)
      • overhead tricep extension w/plate (3 sets of 12)
      • single arm pushdown w/cable – overhand (12 each am, 3 sets)
      • single arm pushdown w/cable – underhand (12 each arm, 3 sets)
      • overhead tricep extension w/cable (3 sets of 12)
      • tricep exentsion machine (3 sets of 12)
      • single arm kickback with dumbell (12 each arm, 3 sets)
  • Tuesday: Cardio + Biceps/Back
    • 20 minute incline walk on treadmill (incline: 12, speed: 3.5)
      • bicep curl w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
      • seated cable row (3 sets of 12)
      • hammer curls w/ dumbbells  (12 each arm, sets of 3)
      • lat pulldown (3 sets of 12)
      • bicep curl w/rope attachment (12 each arm, 3 sets)
      • single arm bicep curl w/cables (12 each arm, 3 sets)
      • bicep curl w/ 25lb plate (until failure – this is a burnout, go as long as you can!)
  • Wednesday: Cardio + Legs
    • 15 minute elliptical warm up (incline: 20, resistance: 30)
      • smith machine split squats (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • glute kickback machine (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • curtsy lunge w/barbell (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • smith machine squats (3 sets of 12)
      • reverse lunge with barbell (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • straight leg deadlifts w/barbell (3 sets of 12)
      • body weight lunges until failure
  • Thursday: Cardio + Shoulders
    • 15 minute stairmaster warm up
      • front raise with barbell (3 sets of 12)
      • upright row w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
      • lateral raise w/ dumbbells (3 sets of 12)
      • shoulder press w/ dumbells (3 sets of 12)
      • upright row w/ rope attachment (3 sets of 12)
      • shoulder press machine (3 sets of 12)
      • plank shoulder taps until failure
  • Friday: Corepower Yoga
  • Saturday: Cardio + Abs
    • 3 mile run
      • 24 leg lifts
      • 24 bicycle crunches
      • 40 russian twists
      • 30 second plank
        • Repeat 4 times!

24 Things …

Since the blog has changed a little bit over the past couple of weeks, I wanted to do a fun blog post to share a little bit about me for those of you who are new around here! And even if you’re not new, these are probably still things you don’t know. Here goes nothing … 24 random things about me!

me

  1. I went to the University of Arkansas for my undergrad. I’m a Kansas girl at heart, but Arkansas is my home away from home. I loved every minute of it and would give anything to go back! Go Hogs!
  2. I can’t stand steak or seafood, at all. I’m a cheap date!
  3. I drink coffee in some form, every single day without fail. I like it hot, cold, made at home, from Starbucks, with cream, without cream, pretty much anything! I love it.
  4. I’ve lived in Kansas almost my whole life. Kansas gets a bad rap but I wouldn’t trade living here for the world!
  5. I have three pets that I love so so much. I have Butter and Jelli, who are both cats, and Peaches who is our lab/pointer mix who you’ve probably seen make an appearance on the @KaleKouture Instagram story a time or two!
  6. If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be Greece. Santorini and Mykonos have been on my bucket list forever.
  7. I have eczema pretty badly. I started having flare ups fairly regularly starting my freshman year of college and have had them ever since. It’s on my face and arms which can be embarrassing and kind of disheartening to deal with because I have little control over it. It’s usually due to my efforts in trying to find different products to keep it under control.
  8. I worked as a lifeguard for five summers while I was in high school and college.
  9. Running a half marathon is on my bucket list. I trained up to 9 miles my junior year of college and had to quit because of pretty severe shin splints.
  10. I was never big into sports which some people think is weird considering my love of being active. I threw javelin in high school but that was the extent of my sports days. My brother plays college baseball so it’s pretty safe to say he got the athletic gene.
  11. I’m a Kindergarten teacher. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I love every second of it! My dream is to be a teacher in a hospital for children in need of long term care.
  12. The lake is by far my most favorite place to be – any time of year. If I could spend every single weekend there, I would.
  13. I have the biggest fear of public speaking. I sweat, turn red, the whole nine yards. I’m not a shy person whatsoever but speaking in front of people is my worst fear.
  14. I have a huge passion for travel – I’ve traveled more in the two years I’ve been out of college than I have my whole life and it has been the most rewarding experience.
  15. I am not exaggerating when I say I could not live without Chick-Fil-A. It has been and always will be my all time favorite. My favorite things on the menu are: diet lemonade, nuggets with Chick-Fil-A sauce, and the cookies & cream milkshake with extra Oreos.
  16. I do not like water, at all. I don’t crave the taste of plain water, and I will be the first to admit that I am the worst when it comes to drinking water. If there’s Mio mixed in it, I can guzzle it, but without, it’s just not happening.
  17. South Carolina is my favorite place I’ve been, within the U.S. If you haven’t been, it’s a must. Charleston especially. It’s serene, the living is so laid back, and it’s so charming! I can’t see myself moving from Kansas anytime soon but if I could pick anywhere that would be number one on my list!
  18. Becoming a NASM CPT is a long term goal for me. Fitness is a huge passion of mine so I would love to be able to work closely with clients and do it as a part time job one day. I have a lot on my plate right now so hopefully within the next couple of years!
  19. I met my boyfriend Taylor my sophomore year of high school and we’ve been dating for close to 9 years now. I never really talk about him on the blog, but he’s my best friend and has been a huge supporter in this whole blogging process.
  20. Having my nails done is a guilty pleasure of mine and is the one thing I  will spend money on regularly. I’ve been doing the dipping powder for the last 6 months and I will never go back to shellac or anything else. I would definitely recommend it if you’ve never tried it.
  21. I have a serious addiction to activewear and tennis shoes. I’m sure you’ve noticed. But would spend money on workout clothes and tennis shoes over regular clothes any day of the week.
  22. If I weren’t a teacher I would want to be a labor and delivery nurse. I am obsessed with babies and am fascinated with the thought of being a part of the process of bringing them into the world every day!
  23. I cannot leave my house without making my bed. No matter how late I’m running, I take 20 seconds to make my bed. I feel like my room is 20x messier if the bed isn’t made!
  24. I’m fulfilling a fitness bucket list item this fall, as I’m planning to participate in a Tough Mudder in October! It’s extremely outside my “fitness comfort zone” and unlike anything I’ve ever done before, but I am excited to be working towards a new goal.

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UPDATED Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Activewear Picks!

I posted this earlier last week at the beginning of the presale, but now that the sale is open to non cardholders, and now that many things have sold out, I’ve updated my post with some new items in place of the old! Many of these items were also just shipped to me a few days ago so I didn’t want to add them until I had tried them on and decided to keep them!

I will wholeheartedly admit I am 100% not the queen of fashion, and that is the whole reason that up to this point, I didn’t do the fashion side of this account. I spend 90% of my time in workout clothes and if you know me, you know that is not one bit exaggerated. So much so that my mom says she wouldn’t recognize me in anything else. The other 10% of the time, I’m in “teacher wear”, and it’s kind of hard to be super trendy when I spend half my day on the floor with 5 year olds. However, I refuse to be left out of all this Nordstrom madness, and while most of you are probably shopping for your new fall wardrobe, I am shopping for both that and my new fall workout wardrobe! I decided to dedicate a post to everything I just got from the presale so that you’d have an easier time sifting through the hundreds of amazing items on sale right now!

For those of you who don’t know, Nordstrom does an anniversary sale each year in July. Most stores do their sales at the end of the season, however Nordstrom actually does their major sale on fall and winter clothes at the end of summer! Meaning you can save tons of money on fall and winter clothes by shopping early.

Side note – many people talk about how quickly these items sell out during the sale, and while many do, they’re ALWAYS restocking. So don’t worry if something sells out – just keep checking back!

As you may or may not know, our posts are now shopable through the “LikeToKnowIt” app, which you can download from the app store. This app allows you to screenshot or “like” our Instagram posts, and have the direct links sent to you email inbox, making shopping so much more convenient and quick! So be sure to download it if you haven’t already, that way you can shop straight from our Instagram, eliminating the extra step of having to come to the blog!

However, because you’re reading this, you’re obviously already on the blog, meaning all you have to do is click each linked title to shop the item! Many of these items will sell out quickly, so if you see something you like, definitely go ahead and get it! Nordstrom always does free shipping and free returns, so err on the side of caution, and grab it before it’s sold out, then return it later if you need to! I’ve included pictures of all the items I picked up and tried on in store, the rest of my order is being shipped to my house as we speak, so I’ll update with pictures as I get them!

Bottoms

 

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

These are the perfect leggings for fall/winter. I don’t typically wear full length leggings in the summer, but when it gets chillier, these will for sure be my go-to’s! I love the high waist, they’re SO soft, and they’re tight enough to keep everything in place without suffocating you. I already own a pair of these, but they’re close to half of what I originally paid! These are $35 – they’re a little long, but they run true to size!

Zella ‘Hatha’ High Waist Crop Leggings

Again, LOVE the high waist on these crops, and I die for the mesh detailing on the back! I own far too much black, so I’m excited to add a little bit of grey to my workout uniform (they only had black in store – but I ordered the grey)! Trying to refrain from ordering the blush color too … For only $33, this is a total steal! They also come in black if that’s more your style. These run true to size!

 

Zella ‘Keep it Cool’ Crop Leggings

These are a staple in my closet. I wear these both in and out of the gym because they’re SO comfy. They’re soft, stretchy, and so breathable. These are the ones I linked on Instagram last week in the teal color! This is the perfect non-high waisted crop, and who doesn’t need a perfect pair of plain black crops?! These are $31 and come in both red and blue in addition to the black! These run true to size!

 

crops 6

Zella Live In Slim Fit Leggings

For those of you who don’t love the high waist trend, these are perfect for fall/winter and they’re the exact same price as the crops, $33! They’re a slim fit though, so if you’re in between sizes, or you don’t like things super tight, I would size up!

crops 7

Zella Knock Out High Waist Leggings

These are perfect for the gym, but the mesh detailing gives them more of an athleisure look, meaning I can wear them everywhere and people aren’t judging me for wearing workout clothes … right? These also come in the cutest pink color! Definitely a steal for $42 and they run true to size. These are only left in a large – HURRY!

midi

Zella Moonlight High Waist Midi Leggings

What I love about these leggings is that they’re a “midi” style, which means they should hit you mid calf instead of closer to the knee like a crop, or closer to your ankle like a full length legging. I am a huge fan of the longer fit because it helps give the allusion that my legs aren’t two feet long like my long long long torso sometimes makes them feel! Another steal at $38! These crops run true to size.

Tanks

top 6

Zella Pace Tank

This top is one of those go-with-anything workout tanks. It’s simple, basic, and it comes in 4 colors, so you’re sure to find something to match any pair of crops, shorts, leggings, you name it. I love a more relaxed and flowy fit in the summer when it’s so hot, which makes this the perfect top for only $24! This tank runs true to size.

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Adidas Originals Trefoil Logo Relaxed Fit Tank

I love this tank with all my heart! It’s the perfect workout tank, but it also double as the perfect athleisure staple! It’s so soft, it’s black (my favorite), and can be worn as shown, or knotted in the front/back if you size up! And, its only $21 – doesn’t get much better than that!

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Climawear Perf Perfection Singlet

I have not seen this on one other roundup of sale items, and I am so surprised! I loved this top from the moment I tried it on. It’s so stretchy, it’s breathable, and it feels like you’re wearing your softest jammie shirt to the gym. It’s only $24 and I would compare the quality of the fabric to some of my Lulu tanks. This is a steal! Runs true to size.

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Nike Breath Training TankNike Breath Training Tank

I am SO shocked this is not sold out yet. This tank is one of my absolute favorites. For those of you who tend to be like me when it comes to tank tops, and love a loose and breathable fit, this is the tank for you! The material is extremely thin which is perfect for the summer and warmer fall days and I love the burnout detail. Definitely worth every penny for only $33!

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Nike Pro Cooling Sports Bra

Okay – here’s the deal with the sports bra. I was totally hoping to find a sports bra I loved this year, and while I found this one and loved it, there’s a caveat. My only issue with this sports bra is that I would not recommend it for anyone bigger than a C cup. I am a D, and the large was suffocating me, so I would definitely say to size up regardless of your cup size. While it didn’t fit me right, I highly recommend it and have seen it recommended by many other smaller chested bloggers. The material is great, the quality is obviously great because it’s Nike, and the thin straps make it perfect for any workout top! It’s a steal for $33!

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Zella Constellation Crop

These crops are extremely similar to the ‘Hatha’ high waist crop leggings I posted above. They’re the same fit and the same style, so if you love those, you’ll love these! I love the high waist, as well as the mesh in the back, but above all else … this pattern! I love any pop of color or pattern a crop adds to an otherwise boring athleisure look.

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Zella Autumn High Waist Moto Ankle Leggings

I think these leggings are the cutest leggings ever. I love the fact that they can be worn with anything gym wise, but even more so that they can transition into a casual/athleisure look with a quick top change! I love the olive green color, but these come in black as well. These fit true to size!

Zella Mesh Inset Training Tee

Maybe I’m weird, but I am always on the hunt for a good workout tee. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a tight fitting tank! I honestly did not expect to love the fit of this top as much as I did! It has such a feminine and flattering fit, and the mesh makes it so airy and breathable. Only $31 and it comes in two other colors! This ran a little small for me so I sized up!

 

Zella Power Racerback Tank

Again, I told y’all I am not usually one for super tight fitting tanks. They’re not always the most comfortable, and for nights when I’m running outside or just doing light cardio at the gym, this kind of tank is perfection because of how lightweight it is. And for only $24, I may or may not have gotten it in two colors. This tank runs true to size.

Sweatshirts/Jackets

sweatshirt

Zella Outta Town Hoodie

Truthfully, I’ve been looking for a sweatshirt to be able to throw on over a tank or a tee when I go to the gym in the chillier months, for YEARS now. I always just a jacket or something light, but I’ve never had a cute and comfy hoodie that could go over anything. This will without a doubt be my go-to if this Kansas heat ever goes away! It’s one of the more expensive items in this post, but for something you can wear all the time, I definitely think it’s worth $49! This runs true to size.

Free Focus Flyknit 2 Training Shoe

I need not one more pair of tennis shoes, and my mom is going to kill me when she reads this, but I couldn’t say no to this color combo. I am a sucker for aqua and grey. Grey goes with everything and aqua is the perfect pop of color to add to any workout look! They come in black too! Aside form the color, I’ve also tried these on and they feel like you’re walking on clouds. I can’t think of a workout they wouldn’t be great for! Get them quick, they’re only $89 and they’ve already been sold out and restocked once! These ran a little big for me so I ordered a half size down.

 

Nike Juvenate SE Sneaker

You guys are probably sick of seeing these shoes by now, seeing as though I wear them in 75% of my Insta stories and pictures! But they go with EVERYTHING and they were worth every penny I spent on them (which was a lot more than $70!). I have had mine since Christmas and for as much as I’ve worn them, they still look brand new. Wish they came in more colors because they’re one of my favorites! These run true to size.

That wraps it up for all of my favorite active wear items this year! I’m working on a post with all of the non-active wear items I picked up in case any of you are actually interested in what I wear when I’m not at the gym! Check back early this week for the post! Happy shopping girls! Please message me or leave comments if you have questions on sizing or anything regarding the sale!

XO, A

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Activewear Picks!

I will wholeheartedly admit I am 100% not the queen of fashion, and that is the whole reason that up to this point, I didn’t do the fashion side of this account. I spend 90% of my time in workout clothes and if you know me, you know that is not one bit exaggerated. So much so that my mom says she wouldn’t recognize me in anything else. The other 10% of the time, I’m in “teacher wear”, and it’s kind of hard to be super trendy when I spend half my day on the floor with 5 year olds. However, I refuse to be left out of all this Nordstrom madness, and while most of you are probably shopping for your new fall wardrobe, I am shopping for both that and my new fall workout wardrobe! I decided to dedicate a post to everything I just got from the presale so that you’d have an easier time sifting through the hundreds of amazing items on sale right now!

For those of you who don’t know, Nordstrom does an anniversary sale each year in July. Most stores do their sales at the end of the season, however Nordstrom actually does their major sale on fall and winter clothes at the end of summer! Meaning you can save tons of money on fall and winter clothes by shopping early. 

*Sidenote – many people talk about how quickly these items sell out during the presale, and while many do, they’re ALWAYS restocking. So don’t worry if something sells out – just keep checking back!

As you may or may not know, our posts are now shopable through the “LikeToKnowIt” app, which you can download from the app store. This app allows you to screenshot or “like” our Instagram posts, and have the direct links sent to you email inbox, making shopping so much more convenient and quick! So be sure to download it if you haven’t already, that way you can shop straight from our Instagram, eliminating the extra step of having to come to the blog!

However, because you’re reading this, you’re obviously already on the blog, meaning all you have to do is click each linked title to shop the item! Many of these items will sell out quickly, so if you see something you like, definitely go ahead and get it! Nordstrom always does free shipping and free returns, so err on the side of caution, and grab it before it’s sold out, then return it later if you need to! I’ve included pictures of all the items I picked up and tried on in store, the rest of my order is being shipped to my house as we speak, so I’ll update with pictures as I get them!

Bottoms

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

These are the perfect leggings for fall/winter. I don’t typically wear full length leggings in the summer, but when it gets chillier, these will for sure be my go-to’s! I love the high waist, they’re SO soft, and they’re tight enough to keep everything in place without suffocating you. I already own a pair of these, but they’re close to half of what I originally paid! These are $35 – they’re a little long, but they run true to size!

Zella ‘Hatha’ High Waist Crop Leggings

Again, LOVE the high waist on these crops, and I die for the mesh detailing on the back! I own far too much black, so I’m excited to add a little bit of grey to my workout uniform (they only had black in store – but I ordered the grey)! Trying to refrain from ordering the blush color too … For only $33, this is a total steal! They also come in black if that’s more your style. These run true to size!

Zella ‘Keep it Cool’ Crop Leggings

These are a staple in my closet. I wear these both in and out of the gym because they’re SO comfy. They’re soft, stretchy, and so breathable. These are the ones I linked on Instagram last week in the teal color! This is the perfect non-high waisted crop, and who doesn’t need a perfect pair of plain black crops?! These are $31 and come in both red and blue in addition to the black! These run true to size!

Zella Turning Point High Waist Crop Leggings

This is without a doubt my favorite item I got from this sale! I love any kind of color blocked legging but these are the cutest! Annnnd again with the high waist … anyone noticing a trend?! These are $42 and worth every single penny. I ordered my regular size in these!

crops 8

Zella Turning Point High Waist Crop Leggings

These are the exact same as the color blocked pair above them, but they’re black, AND they’re cheaper, so … I needed them! In all reality, I will probably make myself choose between the two, but I had to get both for right now because they’re so cheap! These are only $35 and run true to size!

crops 6

Zella Live In Slim Fit Leggings

For those of you who don’t love the high waist trend, these are perfect for fall/winter and they’re the exact same price as the crops, $33! They’re a slim fit though, so if you’re in between sizes, or you don’t like things super tight, I would size up!

crops 7

Zella Knock Out High Waist Leggings

These are perfect for the gym, but the mesh detailing gives them more of an athleisure look, meaning I can wear them everywhere and people aren’t judging me for wearing workout clothes … right? These also come in the cutest pink color! Definitely a steal for $42 and they run true to size.

midi

Zella Moonlight High Waist Midi Leggings

What I love about these leggings is that they’re a “midi” style, which means they should hit you mid calf instead of closer to the knee like a crop, or closer to your ankle like a full length legging. I am a huge fan of the longer fit because it helps give the allusion that my legs aren’t two feet long like my long long long torso sometimes makes them feel! Another steal at $38! These crops run true to size.

Tanks

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Zella Pace Tank

This top is one of those go-with-anything workout tanks. It’s simple, basic, and it comes in 4 colors, so you’re sure to find something to match any pair of crops, shorts, leggings, you name it. I love a more relaxed and flowy fit in the summer when it’s so hot, which makes this the perfect top for only $24! This tank runs true to size.

Zella Mesh Inset Training Tee

Maybe I’m weird, but I am always on the hunt for a good workout tee. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a tight fitting tank! I honestly did not expect to love the fit of this top as much as I did! It has such a feminine and flattering fit, and the mesh makes it so airy and breathable. Only $31 and it comes in two other colors! This ran a little small for me so I sized up!

Zella Power Racerback Tank

Again, I told y’all I am not usually one for super tight fitting tanks. They’re not always the most comfortable, and for nights when I’m running outside or just doing light cardio at the gym, this kind of tank is perfection because of how lightweight it is. And for only $24, I may or may not have gotten it in two colors. This tank runs true to size.

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Zella Cut Both Ways Performance Tank

I love love LOVE the more feminine cut and fit of this tank. It’s a great mix of relaxed yet fitted, and the cutout in the back is to die for. It also comes in a burgundy color that’s perfect for fall! Only $29 and runs true to size.

Sweatshirts/Jackets

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Zella Outta Town Hoodie

Truthfully, I’ve been looking for a sweatshirt to be able to throw on over a tank or a tee when I go to the gym in the chillier months, for YEARS now. I always just a jacket or something light, but I’ve never had a cute and comfy hoodie that could go over anything. This will without a doubt be my go-to if this Kansas heat ever goes away! It’s one of the more expensive items in this post, but for something you can wear all the time, I definitely think it’s worth $49! This runs true to size.

Zella Don’t Sweat It Sweater

This is another item I kind of bought on a whim, and I didn’t expect to love it so much! It’s so soft and comfy and it’s super flattering for a variety of body types. To me this is probably not something I would wear to the gym, but rather something I might throw on over a tank if I’m going somewhere after the gym when it gets a little cooler. I love the thumb holes and I’m a sucker for anything that can double as “real” clothes, and workout wear! This top is $38 and I sized up for a looser fit!

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Adidas Original Trefoil Crewneck Sweatshirt

I can already tell you I will live in this this fall/winter. I have tried this on before and it is the softest sweatshirt of all time. Definitely something you could throw on before the gym, but also be comfy casual with jeans! Love love love it, and only $40! I sized up on this for a slouchier fit.

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Free Focus Flyknit 2 Training Shoe

I need not one more pair of tennis shoes, and my mom is going to kill me when she reads this, but I couldn’t say no to this color combo. I am a sucker for aqua and grey. Grey goes with everything and aqua is the perfect pop of color to add to any workout look! They come in black too! Aside form the color, I’ve also tried these on and they feel like you’re walking on clouds. I can’t think of a workout they wouldn’t be great for! Get them quick, they’re only $89 and they’ve already been sold out and restocked once! These ran a little big for me so I ordered a half size down.

Nike Juvenate SE Sneaker

You guys are probably sick of seeing these shoes by now, seeing as though I wear them in 75% of my Insta stories and pictures! But they go with EVERYTHING and they were worth every penny I spent on them (which was a lot more than $70!). I have had mine since Christmas and for as much as I’ve worn them, they still look brand new. Wish they came in more colors because they’re one of my favorites! These run true to size.

That wraps it up for all of my favorite active wear items this year! I’m working on a post with all of the non-active wear items I picked up in case any of you are actually interested in what I wear when I’m not at the gym! Check back early this week for the post! Happy shopping girls! Please message me or leave comments if you have questions on sizing or anything regarding the sale!

XO, A

 

Hitting The “Reset” Button

After a week on vacation, an extended weekend trip, a holiday, or just a weekend “off track”, it can be so hard to get back to a normal diet. Learning how to jump back on the wagon after falling off for a few days, a week, or even a month, is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long term.

I have many, many, many Mondays where I have to hit the “reset” button and get back to the world of fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. Not to mention finding my way back to the gym. We all do, but learning how to say it’s a new week, and a new opportunity for me to give it 100%, instead of, I’ve lost all progress, I’m back at square one, I might as well forget it and give up, is the most important advice I could give anyone. Mindset is everything when it comes to making a change, and if you practice the above phrase enough times, I promise you’ll get there. 

Today I’m sharing my tips and tricks that help me get back on track after a period of “falling off” for a little bit. It’s hard for me to even call it “falling off” , because I feel like that carries such a negative connotation. To me, they’re better named “grace periods”. Periods of time when you eat and drink things you normally wouldn’t, and you’re not as active as you should be or usually are – those are also called times of balance and flexibility. Or even better known as, life! Your body needs a couple of days here and there to reset; these periods of time are also crucial for your mental sanity!

If you think you’re going to be able to go through life without having periods of time when you can eat whatever the heck you want and not set foot in a gym, you will not be successful for very long, and here’s a secret – those are the people who are unsuccessful the quickest. Always having to say no to things you enjoy is not a lifestyle, it’s a death sentence when it comes to learning how to change your eating habits. Am I saying you should have a week long grace period every single month? No, I wish it were that simple. But a weekend here and there, that’s health – mental and physical.

On to the good stuff, my tips on how to “reset” and start your week on a good note.

  • Do. Not. Be. Hard. On. Yourself.
    • If you’re going to throw in the towel after one weekend, vacation, holiday, whatever it is, DON’T. If I did that, I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog, and I surely would’ve been done with this lifestyle one thousand times over again. No one is perfect, so don’t waste energy on beating yourself up, use that energy to get back to on track.
  • Short term goals are key
    • If you hit the reset button on Monday and tell yourself you’re going to be perfect with your diet and exercise for the rest of the month, year, your life, whatever crazy long term promise you’re making to yourself, stop right there. Short term goals are key to success. Instead of telling yourself you’re going to be perfect for the rest of the month, tell yourself you’re going to give it all you have for today. Sounds crazy right, just today? Yes, one day at a time.
  • It should be automatic, like clockwork.
    • When  you wake up on Monday morning, there are no lingering ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s a new week and you’re starting over. You’re going back to eating how you should, and you’re getting back to your normal workout routine. Monday isn’t a transition-from-the-weekend day, it’s the first day back on track.
  • Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
    • If you’ve just had a “grace period”, I’m going to assume you weren’t on your hydration game. You may have been drinking, but I doubt it was water and I doubt it was enough! When you hit the reset button, that means committing to 64 oz of water, at least. Make it your goal for the week to drink at least 64 oz of water or more per day. Water is vital in flushing out excess toxins and salt, and it also helps with fatigue, digestion, etc. I could go on and on about the benefits of water. You’ll look and feel so much better if you’re drinking tons of water, so go for 64 oz or more!
  • Eat your veggies!
    • During a grace period, veggies fall to the very bottom of my list of things I’m making sure to get enough of. I’m allllllll about the carbs. That means, when Monday rolls around, I make it a priority to eat my 5 daily servings of veggies -one at every meal, and two for snacks. They’re full of fiber so you’re going to be full, and they’re going to help you get rid of all the not-so-great stuff you ate, if you know what I mean.
  • Grocery Shop + Meal Prep
    • Sunday evening, or the night before your “reset”, grocery shop. Fill your fridge and your pantry with healthy options so that you can wake up on Monday and be encouraged by what you see, not weighed down by looking at an empty fridge, or one full of things you shouldn’t have. Buy the things you need to meal prep, and do it! Spend two hours prepping your entire week’s worth of food so you don’t have to put one ounce of thought into what you’re going to be eating for all your meals.
  • Plan your workouts for the week
    • I don’t just mean tell yourself what days you’re going to go, I mean write them down. I use a daily planner and I schedule my workouts in my planner just like anything else I schedule during my day. I write down the time, and exactly what I’m doing. That way, I can schedule other things around it and I know without a doubt I’m going to have time for it. Writing down what exactly I’m going to do also helps with the excuse I can’t think of anything to do today, I’m not going to go. Here’s what my planner might look like:
      • Monday @ 5:00am – Cardio + Back/Biceps
      • Tuesday @ 6:30pm – Cardio + Shoulders
      • Wednesday @ 6:00pm – Cardio + Legs
      • Thursday @ 6:30pm – Cardio + Triceps
      • Friday @ 5:00 am – Cardio + Shoulders/Chest
      • Saturday @ 10:00am – Cardio + Legs
      • Sunday: Rest day!
  • Make sure you get your protein in
    • During my grace periods, I focus on eating the good stuff, and the good stuff tends to have a lot of carbs, a lot of fat, and very little protein. When I’m hitting the reset button, I’m committing myself to being back on my protein game for the day. Your body needs protein for so many reasons, but besides everything it does for you, most importantly it keeps you full and your cravings in check! Make sure you’re getting protein in some way, with all of your meals.

As always, thank you for reading! If you’re someone that’s hitting the reset button today, know that I’m right there with you! I had a week of vacation last week, and a weekend full of a whole lotta celebratin’ this past weekend – which included a lot of dips, alcohol, cheese, dessert, you name it! Remember, don’t think of it as “falling off the wagon” – you let yourself live a little bit, and now it’s time to refuel your tank with the good stuff! Have a great rest of your week!

XO, A

Healthy Habits on Vacation

I can hardly fathom the fact that July is already here. Holy cow. I feel like this year is flying! I swear it will be Christmas before we know it. Now that summer is well under way, many of us have vacations planned and maybe even a fun holiday weekend trip coming up. I’ve also just returned from my week in paradise so I figured this would be the perfect time to share my tips and tricks on enjoying your time on vacation, while maintaining just a few healthy habits!

As most of you probably noticed from my Instagram story spamming, I spent last week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! Full disclosure, I spent the entire week doing a whole lot of nothing but eating and drinking. Yep, me, the health and fitness blogger, eating and drinking almost anything and everything I wanted for a whole seven days. And guess what? It was the best week ever.

Isn’t every vacation the best week ever? For me, yes and no. In all honesty this was probably the very first vacation I’ve been on in the past 6 or 7 years that I wholeheartedly let myself enjoy my vacation, in every sense of the word. I didn’t track a single calorie in MFP, I didn’t freak out if I didn’t make it to the gym for the day or do a normal workout, and I didn’t pass things up left and right because I was concerned about the macros. While some of you might be thinking, I never worry about those things on vacation, it’s vacation! I did, for a long time. Needless to say, I’m thankful to have finally made it to a place in my journey where I can be flexible and enjoy every moment of weeks like these. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, #memoriesovermacros!

I feel like many people are often times one of two ways on vacation. Either you feel like you have to stay on track, be healthy, track your foods, hit your macros, pass up all the good stuff in fear of losing all your “progress” etc., OR you take a “three sheets to the wind” kind of approach and have no regard for anything but the good stuff. I’m not saying either way is wrong, vacation is vacation, however you want to define it! However, for me, it was important to learn to find a balance so that I could learn to enjoy vacation in a healthy way and not have anxiety over what I was eating. It might sound silly, but I know I am not the only one who struggles with that.

While I enjoyed every moment of this vacation, in true Aubrey form, I did try to keep myself somewhat in check while I was gone. Not because I felt like I had to, but because health and fitness is a lifestyle for me. Some of the habits I’ve formed along this journey are things I will carry with me forever, regardless of being on vacation or not. Today I’m sharing with you a couple of tips to help you keep yourself just a tiny bit on track, while enjoying your vacation at the same time, so that you too can learn to have a healthy vacation balance!

  • Pick a few days and spend 20 minutes being active – full on workouts are not necessary!
    • I truly did not spend one day on vacation doing a full on gym workout like I normally would at home. After doing about half a normal workout in the resort gym, I realized how silly that was when the beach was just steps away. I spent almost every morning either walking on the beach, and a few mornings doing a quick 15 minute circuit workout with what I had around me (ie: stairs, resistance bands, patio furniture, etc.). Just being active for a few minutes each day will leave you feeling refreshed and energized!

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  • Walk when you can!
    • I stayed at a resort that provided golf carts to get from place to place on the resort property, but after realizing how long it took for golf carts to get to our room, we decided to take that as a sign that we should enjoy the beautiful scenery and weather, and walk wherever we could. I wore my Apple watch most  days, and I was so amazed that I surpassed 10k steps almost every single day! This is especially easy to do when you’re staying somewhere warm and with beautiful scenery, take advantage of it!
  • Take advantage of what’s fresh and in season where you are
    • This doesn’t always apply to every vacation you might be taking, but if it’s possible try to eat what’s in season and fresh in your area! If you’re going somewhere tropical, try all of the local fruits, vegetables, the fish, whatever you can find! I ate more fruit in 7 days than I probably have in all of 2017. The fresher you can find, the healthier it is!

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  • Eat as much protein as you can – especially early in the day!
    • Although I spent the week eating so many “fun” foods, I still tried to eat a lot of protein. This is one of those habits I was referring to. I’m used to eating a lot of protein, so much so that even when I’m not eating at home or eating my normal foods, I know my body is going to function better if it has some protein fueling it. Protein keeps you full, so it’s important to include a little protein at every meal if you can. In my case, I ate a ton of protein at breakfast so that if I wanted pasta at night, or something not so protein heavy, I didn’t feel bad about not choosing something with a lot of protein.

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  • Go for the buffets
    • This probably sounds kind of funny, but something I found so helpful on vacation. We opted for the breakfast buffet almost every single morning because it allowed us to get as much or as little of all the different things we wanted. We weren’t confined to what was on a menu, and we got to control exactly what went on our plates. Eating at a buffet also allowed me to eat a lot of protein, more so than I probably could have by eating off of a restaurant menu. It also allowed us to try every baked good that was served, which was a huge plus. By morning #3, we had down to a science which donuts were made with sugar, and which weren’t … if you’ve been to Mexico, you know what I’m talking about.

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  • When drinking alcohol, stick to the clear stuff!
    • I did my fair share of drinking last week, but I did my best to stick to my rule of thumb I shared in a previous post, which is to stick to clear liquors – not all the sugary stuff. While I did enjoy a few lime daquiris and a couple frozen margaritas (it’s Mexico, I had to) for the most part I tried to stick to vodka sodas and vodka Sprite Zeroes. For me personally, the frozen cocktails are too sweet and they really upsets my stomach, so it wasn’t hard to say no for the most part. But for those of you who love them, stick to a couple and balance it out with a couple clear drinks in between!

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  • Stay hydrated!
    • Staying hydrated is important regardless of whether you’re on vacation or not. However, on vacation it’s even more critical. Your body needs a ton of water, especially when you’re drinking more alcohol than usual, eating more sugar and salt than you normally would, etc. For a lot of us, vacation also means spending excessive time in the sun, which causes us to sweat, which causes our bodies to need even more water than normal. A good rule of thumb for me is to always bring my own water bottle when I’m traveling. That way it’s always with me; on the plane, in my hotel room, at the beach, at the pool, etc. That also means there’s never an excuse for me to not be drinking water!

Whether you’re going to be traveling this summer, or any time of year, I hope some of these tips are helpful to you! As always, thanks for reading! Check back this weekend for a quick and easy healthy side dish perfect for a Fourth of July cookout!

XO, A

Weekly Workout Roundup

I haven’t posted a weekly workout roundup in awhile, so I figured now that summer is here, it would be a good time to write them out for you guys again!

Now that summer has started for me (I have the summer off – teacher perk!), I feel like I’m actually really enjoying being in the gym again. Like I’ve said before, I definitely go through periods of time where getting a workout in can be a struggle. During the school year, my workouts are either before work at 4am, or after a long day of school and tutoring at 6pm – neither are ideal times, which is definitely part of the struggle for me, but those are usually the only two times I can squeeze them in! However, now that it’s summer, I can work out whenever I want, which is the absolute greatest. I also have more flexibility in what I do for my workouts now that I’m not under the time constraints of having to schedule them around work. That being said, I’ve tried to change things up a little bit with some outdoor HIIT workouts, new workout classes, etc.

This past week my best friend convinced me to do a 6am Core Power Yoga class with her. Now, I am not a yoga person whatsoever, in fact I am probably the least flexible person I know, I’m working on it! Needless to say, I was a little hesitant, but I have heard so many great things about Core Power so I knew I should step out of my workout comfort zone just to try it once. <— Something I so encourage you all to do too!

When it was all said and done, I LOVED it. It was the perfect combination of yoga, cardio, strength training, and core. The room was set at 90 degrees for the entire workout and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have never sweat so much in my life. I’m talking toweling-down-my-mat-every-5-minutes-sweaty! It was a tough workout, but a great one, and I can’t wait to go back for another class! I highly recommend it, even if you’re not someone who loves yoga! If you’re in the KC area, Core Power Yoga on the Plaza offers free classes all day long on the first Friday every month!

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The rest of my workouts for the week are posted below! I took two rest days this week because I spent the weekend at the lake, but I’m planning on 6 workouts this week – I leave for Mexico in two weeks, so it’s crunch time – literally!

  • Sunday: Cardio + Legs
    • 15 minute stairmaster warm up
      • barbell squats (3 sets of 12)
      • step ups w/dumbbells (12 on each leg, 3 sets)
      • barbell lunges (12 each leg, 3 sets)
      • plie squats w/dumbbell (3 sets of 12)
      • adductor machine (3 sets of 12)
      • jump squats (3 sets of 12)
  • Monday: Cardio + Triceps
    • 15 minute stairmaster warm up
      • tricep pushdowns w/ rope attachment (3 sets of 12)
      • overhead tricep extension w/ rope attachment (3 sets of 12)
      • single arm pushdown w/cable – overhand (3 sets of 12)
      • single arm pushdown w/cable – underhand (3 sets of 12)
      • overhead tricep extension w/dumbbell (3 sets of 12)
      • tricep exentsion machine (3 sets of 12)
  • Tuesday: Cardio + Biceps/Back
    • 15 minute bike warmup
      • bicep curl w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
      • seated cable row (3 sets of 12)
      • hammer curls w/ dumbbells  (12 each arm, sets of 3)
      • lat pulldown (3 sets of 12)
      • preacher curl (12 each arm, 3 sets)
      • bent over row with barbell (3 sets of 12)
  • Wednesday: Cardio + Legs
    • 1 mile walk outside
      • smith machine split squats
      • quad extension machine (3 sets of 12)
      • hamstring extension machine (3 sets of 12)
      • smith machine squats (3 sets of 12)
      • reverse lunge with barbell
      • body weight lunges until failure
  • Thursday: Cardio + Shoulders
    • 15 minute stairmaster warm up
      • front raise with barbell (3 sets of 12)
      • upright row w/ barbell (3 sets of 12)
      • lateral raise w/ dumbbells (3 sets of 12)
      • shoulder press w/ dumbells (3 sets of 12)
      • upright row w/ rope attachment (3 sets of 12)
      • shoulder press machine (3 sets of 12)
      • plank shoulder taps until failure
  • Friday: Core Power Yoga
  • Saturday: Rest Day
  • Sunday: Rest Day

As always, if there’s anything you’re unsure of how to do, google is your best friend! Copy and paste any of the terms above and you will find an excessive amount of pictures and videos to help guide you in effectively performing the exercise. Form is key when it comes to strength training so make sure you do a little research if you’re trying something you’ve never done before. Let me know if you guys would find it helpful for me to start videoing my workouts and posting them on the blog – it’s something I’ve thought about but wasn’t sure how many people would find it helpful, so if you would be interested, please comment below and let me know! Have a great rest of your week!

XO, A

Staying Motivated 101

Staying motivated when it comes to going to the gym and making it a part of your daily routine can be challenging for everyone. Until it truly becomes habit, it can be easy to find reasons to skip your workout for the day. Life is busy, and going to the gym to work out takes extra time and effort, plain and simple. So today I’m sharing ten ways to help stay motivated when you feel like doing absolutely anything else but hitting the gym!

1. Write down/screen shot your workout before you get there.

This is key for me when it comes to staying motivated before I get to the gym, and even while I’m at the gym. The task of working out is daunting enough when you’re tired and unmotivated, but not knowing exactly what you’re going to do when you get there makes it even worse. Having something in front of me telling me exactly what to do, how many reps to do, and where to go next, makes my time in the gym so much more focused and quick, as opposed to me wandering around the gym, randomly throwing together a workout as I go. Take a screen shot of the workout you’re doing or have it written down and ready to go, so that you can be quick and effective once you get there!

2. Set reasonable goals

I can’t stress this enough. If you’re someone who is just starting out, telling yourself you’re going to go to the gym for an hour, six days of the week next week is probably not the most realistic goal. It’s important to set goals that are specific and attainable, making your success more achievable! Instead of saying you’ll go to the gym six days a week for an hour, try something more specific such as, “next week I’m doing to do 20 minutes of cardio for 3 days, and 20 minutes of strength training for 2 days”, or “this week, I’m going to complete 4 strength training workouts”. Set yourself up for success, not failure – success is motivating, am I right?!

3. Do something you love

I’m not by any means saying you should love every minute of every workout you ever do, however you should enjoy your workouts most of the time. If you dread your workouts, you need to try something different! If you hate the gym, try barre, spin, TRX, Orange Theory, etc. If you hate cardio, try strength training. If you hate doing weights, try some bodyweight HIIT workouts. Even if you love what you’re doing, it’s always fun to try something new! There is something out there for everyone, you just have to find your niche and what it is you love doing! Staying motivated is so much easier when you can look forward to your workouts.

4. Take time to lay your gym clothes out

Whether you work out in the morning, or in the afternoon, lay your gym clothes out/pack your gym bag before you go. When I work out in the morning, half the battle is finding something to wear when I’m delirious at 4am. Having everything laid out and ready for me to put on when I wake up makes it 10x easier to get out the door in the mornings. The same goes for the afternoon. When I get home from school, the last thing I want to do is go digging through my drawers for a matching outfit. If my gym bag is packed and ready to go, or my outfit is laid out for me on my bed, I have no choice but to change and go!

5. Reward yourself

It’s not realistic to think you should reward yourself every single time you work out, but every once in a while, it’s definitely a good source of motivation! Working out on the weekends is always a battle for me, so I usually reward myself with T.Loft or Starbucks so that I’m just a little more excited to get through my workout and on with my weekend. Something else you could try, is to set a bigger goal so that you can reward yourself in a more substantial way. For example, “if I can workout 4x a week for this month, I’ll buy myself a new Lulu top”. Remember, goals are meant to be achievable, don’t set yourself up to fail.

6. Getting there is the hardest part

Sometimes I have such a mental battle with getting to the gym regardless of if it’s before or after work. Early mornings are hard, but afternoons after work are just as hard for me sometimes. Every time I feel like I don’t want to go, I remind myself of how easy it is to get going once I walk through the gym doors. Once I’m in the gym, there’s no turning back, I just start doing what I need to do. The weights are there, the machines are there, and it would be harder for me to turn around and walk out than it would be to just get the workout done. It’s having to convince myself to get dressed, and to get in my car to drive to the gym that’s hard for me. That being said, when you’re feeling like you just don’t want to do it, just tell yourself all you have to do is get there!

7. Find a good playlist

I don’t know about you guys, but music is extremely motivating to me when I’m working out. The stairmaster is sometimes my least favorite thing to do, but if I have a great playlist to listen to, the time flies and I actually enjoy it! When I have days that I don’t feel like going to the gym, I search Spotify for a new playlist to try and that always helps motivate me to get to the gym, even if it’s just to listen to some new music! You’d be amazed how many workout specific playlists there are out there, all you have to do is search!

8. Anything is better than nothing

I won’t lie, whether it’s because I’ve had a crazy busy week or I’m just not feeling 100%, there are definitely some days that I get to the gym and realize I just can’t put in the effort it takes to crank out one of my normal workouts. However, I always tell myself that anything is better than nothing. I live in an area where there are some amazing walking trails, so if I’m not feeling up to a normal workout, I might take 20 minutes to walk outside to get my heart rate up for just a little bit. If I still want to stay at the gym, I may go ride the bike for 20 minutes. Just because you can’t fit in a normal workout, or just because you’re not feeling up to it, do a little bit of something! I promise, you’ll thank yourself when you’re done!

9. Take some time off

I know, this sounds weird, right? I’m supposed to be telling you how to stay motivated and here I am telling you to take time off. But this is extremely important. If you’ve been working out for 5-6 days a week for months on end, feeling unmotivated is natural after awhile. If your body is telling you it’s had enough, respect it. Last winter I got in a rut and felt like I literally did not like working out any more. I got kind of nervous because this wasn’t normal for me. I realized how long I’d been working out without more than a day off, and I decided it was time for a break. After the week off, I felt refreshed and ready to start working out again. My mind and body both needed the break and I could truly tell I was functioning better after the week was over. You are not effective if you’re overly tired and run down, if this is the case for you, here’s my push for you to listen to your body and take some time off!

10. Remember why you started

If you only take one piece of advice away from this post, please take this. No one is motivated 100% of the time. It just doesn’t happen. Everyone has off days, but it’s so important to keep in mind your why. Why did you decide to start working out in the first place? Everyone has their own reason as to why they start their fitness journey, and your reason is just as important as the next person’s. Whatever your reason is, remember that, and remind yourself of that the next time you’re feeling unmotivated. Write it down if you need to so that you can go back to it when you’re losing sight of your end goal.

Thank you guys for reading! I hope you took something away from this post, and can remember something you’ve read for the next time you’re not feeling so hot about your workout for the day! As always, feel free to ask questions or leave comments if you have any!

What I’m wearing –

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XOXO, A

 

 

 

If I Knew Then, What I Know Now …

Today I’m sharing some of the things I wish I’d have known when I started my health and fitness journey. It’s also kind of an open letter to myself. As I look back on my journey, there are so many things I wish I could’ve realized and told myself – things that probably would have helped me cultivate a healthier relationship with food, fitness, and my body, a lot earlier on. My hope is that for any of you out there reading this, this will inspire you to maybe look at yourself and your journey from a different perspective, and realize it’s not all about being perfect.

Instagram is not real life

Over the years, I’ve followed hundreds of people in the fitness industry. Whether they’re athletes, fitness competitors, fitness models, brand ambassadors, bloggers, you name it, I followed them. In the beginning, I started following these people for inspiration and for informational purposes. Seeing their pictures seemed to “motivate” in the beginning, and I was looking for any and every tidbit of information I could find. Yet over the years, I realized they started to become just the opposite of motivation for me. They started to give me such a negative picture of what health and fitness should be about and they made me feel like I wasn’t making any progress, just because I didn’t look like them.

For many of these people, fitness is their full time job. They are paid to workout, to eat a certain way, to post about their every meal/training session. They’re also paid to look the way they do. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is wrong for the every day person to assume they’re going to be able to achieve a body composition even remotely similar to these people. I used to spend hours and hours scrolling through Instagram wondering why, after months of tracking macros, and daily strength training, I still didn’t look anything like them. That is because it’s completely unrealistic to think that with my diet and my workouts, I would be able to look that way, and that is okay. I have a full time job, a life outside of working out, cheat days, etc. Having realistic expectations of what your body is capable of is so important. Do not compare yourself to someone you see on Instagram, no matter who they are. Your journey is your journey, and your journey only.

The scale is not an accurate measure of progress

This is something that after 8 years of being on this journey, I have finally convinced myself of. For years, all I cared about was the number on the scale. In the past, I could feel horrible about myself, like I hadn’t made any progress at all, but if I stepped on the scale and it was a number I liked, I was thrilled. And by the same token, I could feel amazing, like I was definitely making progress, the whole macro thing was working, my hours in the gym were paying off, etc. Yet if I stepped on the scale and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see, I would sink into a never ending hole of I need to do more cardio, I need to lower my macros, I need to start doing two a day workouts, etc. It was such an unhealthy way of measuring progress. After years of preaching to myself that the number on the scale didn’t matter, I’ve realized it truly doesn’t. I have not stepped on the scale since last July, and that is a huge victory for me.

Don’t get me wrong, Bianca keeps one in our bathroom and there are times when I am so tempted to step on it just to see what it says, but it’s not worth it. Measuring progress should not be based on a number. I use progress pictures, how I’m feeling during my workouts, tracking how much my strength has improved in the gym, etc. as ways to track progress. That number on the scale means nothing.

It’s okay to be imperfect

This too is something I didn’t grasp until very recently, but it has changed the way I view my own journey. For the longest time, I was hung up on being perfect. Guilt would take over all of my thoughts for the craziest reasons. If I didn’t make it to the gym 6 days a week, I felt guilty. If I didn’t hit my macros perfectly for the day, I felt guilty. If I wasn’t seeing the progress I wanted to see after making small changes to my diet/workouts, I felt guilty. If I decided to eat something that wouldn’t fit my macros, I felt guilty. I wasted so much of my time feeling that because I wasn’t doing things perfectly, I wasn’t healthy, and was the reason I wasn’t looking exactly how I wanted to.

Years have gone by, and I now realize how unhealthy that mindset was. That kind of thinking can lead to disordered eating, over exercising, bad body image, etc. Hear me out – yes, it is great to be motivated and to want to go to the gym 6 days a week and to want to hit your macros every day. But this is not going to happen every single week/day, and you have to realize that’s okay.

I am on this journey to better myself, from the inside out, and being perfect isn’t the key to getting there. It’s okay to have one too many glasses of wine with your girlfriends on a girls night out. It okay to eat a piece of cake at the grad party you’re going to. It’s okay to get fries instead of a side salad every once in awhile. All of these things are okay. It’s okay to skip the gym when you’re sick. It’s okay to take the week off when you’re on vacation. It’s okay to leave the gym in the middle of the workout when you’re not feeling your best, and pick up the next day. All of these things are okay. Part of being healthy is knowing that it’s okay to be imperfect.

The fact that I can go get Dairy Queen with my family and not feel guilty? That is health to me. The fact that I can skip counting macros/four days of working out to celebrate my birthday on vacation with my friends and not feel anxious? That is health to me. Those are things I could not have done a few years ago, and that mental progress and acceptance of imperfection, means a lot more to me than a number on a scale ever will.

Celebrate progress big or small, small victories lead to big victories

For so long, I got hung up on the fact that I wasn’t seeing “big” changes in my body. After a year of strength training and counting macros, surely I was supposed to be in tip top shape right? Wrong. Changes take time, a lot of time. The truth of the matter is, here I am, 8 years after beginning this journey, and I’m still not exactly where I want to be. Some weeks I love the way I look, other weeks, I get down on myself. That’s because I’m human. That’s why celebrating the small victories,  is so important.

It’s the celebrating that keeps me motivated. Maybe you only ate out once this week, celebrate that. You did the hardest spin class you’ve ever done this week, celebrate that. You made it to two morning workouts this week, celebrate that. You made time for a Saturday workout, celebrate that. You ran for the first time in months this week, celebrate that. You made a new healthy recipe you absolutely love, celebrate that.

Even my closest friends probably don’t know this, but each week I write down one thing, either fitness or health related that I am proud of. I have been doing it for a year now and it is so amazing to look back on. Not only does it make me proud to see all of my weekly “proud moments”, but it has also made a difference in my relationship with my body. As I look back on it, I realize all the positive changes and celebrations that make me proud of this body and all it’s accomplished. It’s not about what I didn’t do each week, but what I did do, and that has helped me tremendously. Celebrate the small things, because in the end, they’re going to add up to big things!

And with that, I’m off my soapbox! This is a more personal post that I’ve been wanting to share for awhile now, so I hope you all found something that resonated with you! Have a happy Monday and a wonderful week!

XO, A