Posts Tagged ‘workout

My head is pounding right now and honestly the last thing I want to do is get off of this couch, let alone teach two fitness classes in a row.

Are you still with me after that less than enthusiastic prelude? If so, I have an explanation for my crankiness. It is called the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Exam. This morning after teaching a 5:30am class, doing my own Insanity workout, and cramming last-minute I drove an hour to Southwestern Michigan College to take the computer based exam that would “make or break” my credibility as an instructor (at least in my mind, it would). And what do you know? HALLELUJAH I PASSED! Apparently locking myself in my room for extended periods of time three days straight with nothing but my two ACE textbooks and a notebook was an affective enough study method. How I passed while running on three consecutive near sleepless nights (due to my self-diagnosed test anxiety; I had nightmares during finals week in May and what do you know, they returned this week), I’ll never know.

Fast forward two hours after the test, I ate a nice bowl of brown rice pesto pasta and some berries then allowed myself to recoup; time to put my happy, energetic-pants back on. I open up day 13 of PUSH: Fitness program design. Come on Chalene, your fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle tips haven’t failed me yet but this just was NOT the motivational topic I was hoping to ponder today. I spent two hours this morning (not to mention the days preparing) staring at a computer screen flashing question after question about fitness program design! Oh well, 10 more minutes wont kill me.

Chalene and I share the same views on individual program design; that is, that your fitness routine should be a balance of cardio, strength, and flexibility and should be a part of your everyday life, as routine as brushing your teeth. While instructing at Purdue, I really appreciate the value placed on participant education. Each month we were given factual information about a topic in health and fitness to share with our class(es). Maybe it’s because I’ve had interesting fit facts branded into my brain by my ACE fitness manuals, but I felt the need to start sharing some of what I learn with my awesome participants. The point of my little digression here, is that this morning I shared the general time guidelines for healthy adults in regards to exercise with my Cardio Fusion class, and said guidelines should be the framework for your fitness routine, especially if you are just starting out. 150 minutes weekly. Those two and half hours dispersed among 7 days should be the minimum. No more “There’s no time in my day” excuses or whining “I am too out of shape.” There are 168 hours in the week (thanks to my sisters bf, Korey for whipping out that killer equation of 7×24 in his head, no scratch paper needed) and “exercise” means setting aside structured time to elevate your heart rate, tone your muscles, or improve your flexibility. Rig up a sweet tv set up next to that cobwebb-y treadmill, buy a pair of resistance bands and a yoga mat and you have all the tools you need meet the minimum 150 all while enjoying Tosh.O’s weekly web redemption or Ellen’s latest dance moves. Just about anybody can make a workout work, don’t delay sweat today!

Shopping is my middle name. I can hardly walk into Target without finding something great that wasn’t on my list. So, I love today’s task. “Successorize!” Chalene lists her top tools for weight loss success. I actually have most of these things like fitness DVD’s and a calorie counting app. Since I am a bit of a gadget gal and a shopoholic, I will use this opportunity to list my top 5 favorite fit “successories.”

1. High-intensity workout DVD program (Insanity, TurboFire, P90x, etc.) Programs like these often include a workout schedule, nutrition guide, and motivational tools so the guess work is finished and all you have to do is sweat! Check them out here.

2. Nogii bars and Shakeology are my favorite “emergency foods.” I can pack them for a trip and they taste like dessert!

3. Spotify. Seriously subscribe; you have access to a seemingly endless amount of songs that you can take anywhere via a smartphone. Create running playlists, biking playlists, playlists to motivate you, or playlists to calm you down after an ultra-energizing workout!

4. Myfitnesspal is a fitness tracking website/app with the simplest interface and most broad food/exercise database I’ve seen. Search the site on my blog search to hear more about it.

5. Nike running shoes and cross trainers! Adversity can hide around every corner when you work out at a decent intensity 5+ days a week : schedule conflicts, boredom, injury. While new shoes won’t free up your schedule; and unless they are a combination of ridiculously amazing colors, they probably won’t keep you from getting bored with the same 30 minute elliptical routine everyday, but they can protect your whole lower body from injury. Feeling great while working out starts with your feet; some of my personal favorites are Nike, choose your brand but make sure that you use running shoes for running and cross trainers for workouts with lateral (side to side) movement.

For those of you who know me, you know I can typically be found sporting Nike or Lululemon gear and smelling less than freshly showered due to my passion and hobby of fitness. I love just about anything that makes me sweat; it invigorates me. Seven years ago when I began regularly exercising, I started with short bike rides and quickly progressed to Turbo Jam DVDs. Currently I regularly run, bike, swim, practice yoga, do Insanity DVDs, teach my self-developed Cardio Fusion (strength/cardio classes), teach PiYo, and teach Turbo Kick. It is summer, so I have a ridiculous amount of time to devote to my hobby; during the school year, I definitely scale back a bit. People often ask, “Do you work out so much because you feel like you have to/think you’re fat/etc.?” My answer to that is this: Some people scrapbook, some fish, some cook, some garden–I exercise. I read about it; I write about it; I do it.

My arm would have to be seriously twisted (or a monetary reward would have to be involved) to get me to go fishing or read a book entitled The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible; so I get it, my hobby of exercising is not nearly enjoyable and even perhaps, unenjoyable for some people. That said, if you are looking to improve your fitness level, quality of life, and/or body image, look no further than PUSH. Today, I’ll walk through the questions in the book that help PUSHers to determine their “soulmate workout.”  Who knows? Maybe I will discover the type(s) of activity or activities that are most enjoyable and result producing for me!

1. Indoor or Outdoor? I prefer a different enviroment for different formats, but primarily outdoor.

2. Group or Solo? Again, sometimes I just want to work it out in my basement alone, in a cut off tee, all smiley and pretending I am filming a hot new workout DVD; but other times I want to giggle with friends or set competition goals as I struggle through push-ups and lunges. I really can’t pick on this one.

3. Team or individual? Definitely individual. I would annoy the you-know-what out of any team comprised mainly of people with even one competitive bone in their body, as I am lacking all competitive drive.

4. Dance or Athletic? Geez, enough with the tough questions, Chalene. I danced for 15 years in a studio setting, so shaking it is a part of who I am, but I rarely find myself dripping after a solely dance-based workout. That being said, a fusion of dance and athletic movement is ideal (i.e. Turbo!).

5. Competitive or noncompetitive? If my reasoning on #3 didn’t explain it clearly, maybe the fact that I picked dandelions on the soccer field at 5-years-old and was elated with 8th, yes 8th out of 12, place in the 500yd freestyle at the high school sectional swim meet when I was 16 will more accurately paint the picture. As long as I gave my personal 110%, I won. Noncompetitive.

6. Slow and steady or fast and furious? I know that and preach finding a smooth balance of the two in your regular routine is best for optimal fitness (running/yoga, Turbo/PiYo, etc./etc.). But if I must pick, I’ll embrace my “bull in a china shop” nature and pick fast and furious. Bring on the 160 bpm music and quick intervals!

7. High-impact, low-impact, or nonimpact? The sound of my knees tell me to choose otherwise, but I’ve gotta go with high-impact. A good swim or bike ride is a great way to break from my high-impact routine, though.

8. Music or silence? Crank the tunes, yo. I don’t know that I have worked out more than maybe 2hrs total in my entire life sans music.

9. Very coordinated, somewhat coordinated, or two left feet? Just don’t throw me a ball, and we’ll call it at very coordinated.

10. The sport you enjoy the most is: an endurance sport. Swimming, biking or running. Participating in a triathlon was the most I’ve had in a competitive event.

11. What were you doing the last time you felt young and alive while exercising? I’m only 19 and hoping creaks, cracks, and decreased range of motion are a long way off but I tend to feel extra energized after a 5-8 mile run, power yoga class, or high-intensity choreographed cardio workout (i.e. Turbo, I think I am seeing a trend, here).

12. What types of exercise do you find mundane or torturous? To be honest, I am not a big fan of mat Pilates. I tend to get lost in my head to the point where I am no longer thinking about the workout or engaging key muscles. You also won’t find me willingly participating in a pick up game of almost anything (baseball, basketball, football, etc.) anytime soon.

13. What kind of music inspires you? Fast-paced indie rock, remixed top-40s, mashups.

14. In what kind of enviroment do you find you work the hardest? When I teach. There is no doubt I burn WAAAY more calories when teaching, as I put on my professional pants and try to display perfect form at an energetic intensity for the duration of class. Sometimes, when I am taking a class or doing a new DVD and am unaware of how much longer or how many reps of a certain move that I have left, I start “slacking.”

15. What types of activities or sports did you most enjoy in your youth? Oh you mean yesterday, Chalene? When I was “little,” I loved dancing; in my elderly state, today, pushing 20, I enjoy endurance sports, upbeat group classes or DVDs and yoga. I suppose I could look back at my 14-year-old self and recall the pride I took in completing a Turbo Jam DVD, sweating buckets without hating every second of it.

16. Do you work out harder or with greater intensity in the presence of others? When teaching a class, yes. Otherwise, not really.

17. Do you need an opportunity to clear your mind and be alone? On occasion, but not typically. I don’t have kids, yet.

18. Do you meditate? No, but would love to become more educated/experienced in the concept.

19. If you could go back and have really mastered a sport or activity, what would that be? Dance or running.

20. What sport or activity do you enjoy watching on TV? Do the routines on Dance Moms count?

Simply, answering a few of these questions could help you to decide the core of your fitness routine according to your preferences. I obviously enjoy a good Turbo workout (Turbo Jam, Kick, or Fire) more often than I enjoy some other forms of fitness. Adhering to a workout schedule is sometimes as simple as discovering what you like in other facets of life and applying that to getting a good sweat.

One week ago I posted my first set of 10 goals for this year, a set that I am supposed to update on a weekly basis without looking back at the previous week. This is to ensure all thoughts are raw, unrefined, and in the moment.

1. Weigh in the 130 lb range

2. Have 500 subscribers to my blog

3. Have $3000 dollars in savings and $3000 in checking

4. Establish personal relationship with 5 successful professional contacts

5. Put in 2 hrs a week with a nonprofit

6. Hold leadership role in my sorority

7. Have 50+ in one of my fitness classes

8. Go on social spring break

9. Get something published

10. Have a 3.5 cum GPA


In addition to my updated list, I would like to provide you all with a hassle-free way to subscribe to my blog. Look at the right hand corner at the top of the page and pretty please click subscribe. Should you choose to follow my instructions (do it, do it, do it) you will begin receiving emails whenever I post, awesome right?


So here I am, nine days deep into PUSH and more motivated than EVER. So far I have lost 3 pounds from sticking to a few of my nutritional and fitness components attached to my priority statement. I have completely eliminated gluten for over a week (although I have a slight breakout from the first time in about 10 days; it could be from some sesame rice crackers I ate the other night without reading the ingredients–note to both myself and you: label read!); I have only had miniscule “servings of dairy” a few times a week (for example, 1 tbsp of parmesan at an italian restaurant last night); I’ve only eaten closer than 3 hrs to bedtime twice in the past 9 days (one of which was two nights ago when I completely planned on it and was on a boat all day where “AnnMarie-friendly snacks weren’t readily available, and my snack was an uberhealthy homemade salsa that I ate with a few of those apparently not so “AnnMarie-friendly crackers). How about that PUSH goal you ask? I made it to the library and checked out 3 books on the topic of blogging, committed to spell-checking my blog, read two acclaimed fitness blogs and several articles on meaningful writing. Today I will crack open the first blog book and get educated. Even while vacationing at a friend’s house in Ohio for the past two days, I remained motivated, true to my priorities, and allotted myself some (I believe) deserved relaxation time.

If you are at all confused about the contents of this post I encourage you to backtrack in my post archive to nine days ago when I began my PUSH journey; trust me, it is worth it. This is on my sixth or seventh time making it to day 9– I am not proud to say that I have never fully made it through the 30 days. However, I am extremely proud to say that the knowledge, skills and self-awareness I gain each time I crack open PUSH by my mentor, my hero, Chalene Johnson lead me to this point of 100% confidence that I WILL, reach day 30, and accomplish great things from doing so.

Today is all about the to-do list, its craft, its components, its creation. Since I am a veteran of day 9, I have been keeping a to-do list for quite some time. I find that the iPhone app “Awesomenote” is the best for keeping the guidelines for my day. Chalene instructs 5 steps that govern over to-do list making: 1. Make it at the same time (I make mine for the next day right before bed) 2. Keep it in the same place (I keep mine on my phone, on Awesomenote) 3. Keep your list with you at all times (I am a 19-year-old and my list is on my phone, enough said) 4. Complete three tasks today that relate to your goals (today I will calculate my BMR, note my weight and measurements in my PUSH notebook, get a morning workout in, read 30 pages of a blog book, look up goals for bloggers, and add to my PUSH goal tasks according to my research) 5. Revisit and review several times per day (a step I didn’t adhere to during my previous dabbling in PUSH, in an attempt to “push” through this time around, I will set an alarm on my phone several times a day as a reminder). Is that a run on sentence?

I also add daily to-do’s like “clean car” or  “finish study-guide for chapter 5.” It keeps my day moving along, and the jaws of my friends dropping at the sight of me busily typing, reading, and phone-calling as they decide whether to watch another episode of “Pretty Little Liars”or try to beat their high score on “Temple Run.” I totally thrive on being so productive that my friends make fun of me. It is part of my identity.

If you take anything away anything from my 30-days in PUSH land, take away the to-do list. It is perfect for college kids who can’t decide what to study, moms who forget which kid is headed where, and working people who want to amp up the amount they accomplish in a day. So stop wondering and start to-doing.

Yesterday, I was Miss Productivity! I ran (quickly, for once), did Insanity, stopped eating before 8, limited snacking, and researched my PUSH goal! I love those days when you feel like you really accomplished something. As far as progress on my PUSH goal, I will be checking off one of my mini tasks today as I head to the church-quiet Dunlap library to check out some blogging books. That is, if their seemingly ancient shelves have anything beyond “Gameboy Color for Dummies.”

So today, I did further reverse engineering…on my H&F goal.

Here is my list:

  • calculate BMR (already kind of did this, more tomorrow or later today)
  • pinpoint necessary calorie count for 1000 cal deficit per day
  • make list of go-to foods
  • make list of go-to distractions (for times of craving)
  • set 4 days per week for morning workouts
  • begin weight/measurement log
  • start “healthy tip” book
  • schedule weekly workouts
  • track food in My Fitness Pal
  • stop eating 3 hours before bed
  • completely eliminate gluten (I’m intolerant)
  • 0-1 servings of dairy daily (on a mission to completely eliminate for ethical/health reasons)
  • Read Wheat Belly
  • Read Skinny Bitch
  • Read Veganism
  • Read Vegan for Dummies
  • Read Nutrition for Dummies

Anyone have any other suggestions??

I believe I have posted about this book before, and because it is so life-changeingly amazing, I am going to post about it for 30 DAYS!

The book of wonders, the wellness guru’s bible, the 30-day challenger is PUSH by Chalene Johnson. I have been a fan of everything “Chalene” since I was 14 years old and purchased my first of what seems like hundreds of workout DVD’s: Turbo Jam, the DVD format of  her group exercise class, Turbo Kick (I teach this format and live to twist, hook, and pump it!). Recently, friends have been asking what the deal is with the book I always have on hand and because I simply cannot release MY copy from my grip long enough for my friends to complete the 30 days, I thought I would take you all through my 30-day experience, day by day, so that you can decide if it is worth purchasing for your own benefit.

Obviously I won’t share every detail of the book, as I am a huge supporter of Chalene and the principles for which she stands and therefore cannot cheat her out of a book sale (or several…everyone buy it and join me on this journey:)). However, I will share my responses to the challenges she presents each day and a few details about the contents in the book. So without further adieu–day 1:

I decided last night that I really needed to commit to something to PUSH me in the direction of my occasionally overwhelming, yet attainable goals for myself; I turned back to day 1, pg.3, and defined my life priorities. Chalene instructs readers to do this right out of the gates, before any goal setting commences, so that when the time comes to map out goals one can be sure that they are properly aligned with their life priorities. She also advises leaving off of the list any priority that is so deeply rooted in who you are that it needs no though. One of my rooting priorities? Family. I don’t have to think twice about respecting my parents, enjoying and loving the two of them and my sisters. I am in college so my time with them is for the most part dictated by breaks and I am not the type to jump at every opportunity to avoid family time; I embrace it.

My first step that I wrote in my notebook was my priority brainstorm list:

  • health & fitness (there are aspects of this priority that have become for me, a part of who I am, but there are parts that could definitely use work and committment, and for this reason I left it on the list)
  • emotionally valuable relationships (boyfriend, friends, peers)
  • professionally valuable relationships (employers, coworkers, mentors, fellow students, professors, “connections”)
  • college (in general: academics, social, extracurriculars)
  • helping others communicate with themselves (self-understanding)
  • helping others communicate with the world around them
  • drive

Can you tell I thrive on communication? Hence my blog; hence the journalism major; hence my weekly coffee dates with anyone willing to chat over lattes for a solid two hours.

Now for my top 3:

  1. Health and Fitness
  2. Relationships (combined 2nd and 3rd point from above)
  3. College

The reason I placed health and fitness at the top despite my already neurotic obsession with almost anything that gets a good sweat going and pantry filled with larabars, brown rice, and Shakeology is because I feel there are still things I can change within myself to honor this priority to look and feel my best, to consequentially excel in other area of my life such as my relationships, my academics, and my work/hobby as a fitness instructor.

Chalene calls for identification of habits and actions that are in and out of line with my top priority.

I will honor my top priority by:

  • getting 1 hr of morning exercise 4x per week and 1hr of daily exercise (this means anything from a run, to Insanity, to the classes I teach, to gentile yoga) 7x per week.
  • getting to bed before 11pm before “early” mornings
  • keeping track of food intake and weight
  • listening to my body (while eating/working out/living)
  • not eating after 8pm (this is just a habit that I know sets me up for a really bad time with a bag of trail mix and bowl(s) of ice cream

The following actions would be inconstant with my top priority:

  • skipping workouts
  • getting less than 7 hours of sleep consistently
  • eating unhealthy foods often
  • mindless snacking
  • eating gluten (I am intolerant, so it leaves me feeling less than my best)
  • eating more than one serving of dairy a day (also mildly intolerant to milk products)
  • skipping meals

To honor my number one priority, I will limit:

  • late nights
  • skipping workouts
  • dairy
  • gluten products
  • snacking
  • low-nutrient food

To honor my number one priority, I will make the following changes:

  • stop eating after 8pm
  • plan for indulgences
  • weigh myself often
  • hit the hay earlier
  • track calories daily
  • add 2 weekly morning workouts
  • keep motivation up on weekends

Finally, my priority statement:

My number one priority is to improve and honor my health and fitness by listening to my body and remaining mindful while eating, working out, and moving through daily life so as to demonstrate for others through structured fitness, healthy eating, and respectable habits that when you value your own well-being, you are able to place that same value on the health and well-being of others.

This will undoubtedly be the longest post of the 30-days, so continue reading, hold me accountable, and please, please join me!




Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers