6 Mistakes You’re Probably Making in Your Fitness Program

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a commission if you purchase an item through one of my links. This does not increase the price of the item for you. Read more about this on my site’s Policy and Disclosure page.

As a health coach and personal trainer, I think few things are as confusing for people trying to implement a healthy lifestyle as how to include exercise in order to see results.

Hint – there’s no right way to be active. As long as you are moving your body every day, you’re headed in the right direction. If your goal is to exercise to lose weight, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but working out has very little impact on short term weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight, for whatever reason, what you eat, why you eat, and where you eat are considerations you’ll want to pay close attention to.

But when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, an exercise habit is a critical factor.

Related: My easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorial on creating a well rounded fitness program

Let’s talk about what you might be doing to negatively impact those long-term results:

  1. You’re doing too much – These are the people who love working out so much that they just can’t skip a day. Yes, you should have some form of activity on most days but tune in to when your body needs a break. Yes, endorphins make you feel great and that runner’s high IS addictive, but when your excessive exercise starts to cause you pain, wear you down, or stress you out, it’s time to scale back and take it easy.

    Overtraining can lead to inflammation, elevated cortisol levels, and lowered immunity.

    Tip: Swap out one of your spin classes for yoga once a week, schedule in some active rest, and give your muscles a chance to recuperate.

  2. Not doing enough – Maybe you’re not at the point yet where you love exercise so much that you need to hit the gym every morning before work. Maybe that won’t EVER be you, and that’s ok. You don’t have to love exercising but you do need to find ways to incorporate some activity into your daily routine.

    Tip: Have a living room dance party every day when you get home from work, walk your dog after dinner, or get a standup desk that makes it easy to move around more during the day.

  3. Thinking it has to be all or nothing – Don’t have time for a full workout so you just decide to skip altogether? The effects of exercise are cumulative so every little bit adds up!

    Tip: 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 minutes of walking after lunch, and a super-fast, do-in-your-pajamas 10 minute full body resistance workout before bed.
    BOOM! You met the daily requirement and it didn’t mess with your schedule!

  4. Not lifting weights – Maybe you’re the lady who hits the gym daily but beelines straight for the cardio machines, not giving the weight rack a second glance. Because if it isn’t cardio, it doesn’t count. Yes, cardio burns more calories DURING the workout, but weight training burns calories for up to 48 hours AFTER the workout! Thanks to EPOC (or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, the amount of fat and calories burned AFTER a workout).

    If you aren’t familiar with the EPOC effect, let me explain it briefly: anaerobic exercise (or the exercises that are done in short, powerful bursts) creates an oxygen deficit in your muscles during the workout. Once the workout ends, your body has to work to correct this oxygen deficit and this process of replacing the oxygen burns calories long after you finish the workout.

    The greater the deficit created, the harder your body works to correct it, thus more calories burned after your workout ends. Lifting weights is so important, especially for women to promote bone density and avoid osteoporosis, so it’s important to incorporate some weight training a few times a week.

 

Pro tip: Don’t want to invest in a home weight set? Grab this heavy-duty, super portable, and very affordable resistance band set from Amazon!)

5. Not lifting heavy enough weights – Maybe you read that last bullet and thought “Not me, I lift weights!” Ok, but are they the pink ones? Are they the ‘lady’ weights at the gym that aren’t that challenging to lift?

The reason that weight training is important is that it stimulates new muscle growth, and it won’t do that if you’re lifting super light weights. If you can do more that 15 reps with that weight, it’s too light. Increase your weight gradually until you’re no longer able to do more than 12-15 reps per set.

Worried you’re going to bulk up and look too muscular? Don’t worry, women’s bodies are not designed to bulk up and the only way you’re going to start looking like a bodybuilder is if you start lifting extremely heavy weights all the time, and even then, it takes a lot to achieve that look. So if this is your concern, rest assured – it’s not going to happen!

Tip: Make sure to increase weights safely and gradually. If you can’t use proper form while lifting the weight, drop back down to the next highest weight

6. Not stretching or doing flexibility work – Maybe you’ve read this and you’re the one that’s doing regular cardio AND lifting weights a few times a week, but are you working on building your flexibility and mobility?

These are extremely important as we age for retaining your joints’ range of motion and avoiding injury. Add a yoga class to your weekly fitness routine and a stretch sesh after each workout! With building flexibility, consistency is key!

 

Pro tip: Leave a workout mat next to your bed and do a quick stretch each night before bed! This one from Amazon rolls up and out of sight when you’re not using it!

Pssst… Want more workout ideas?

They’re all yours! Get them here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

How to Get Started in Fitness When You’re Clueless

 

 Photo credit:  Ashley Marks Photography

Photo credit: Ashley Marks Photography

 

So many fitness newbs join a gym and then go straight to the cardio machines, steering clear of the weight room or yoga classes.

Big Mistake.

Huge.

A well rounded fitness program should consist of cardiovascular training, resistance training, and flexibility work. These types of exercise all complement each other and are necessary for different reasons. Cardiovascular training boosts your endurance and heart and lung health. Strength training builds muscle, boosts your metabolism, fires up your workout calorie burn, improves posture, keeps you functional, and builds bone density – helping you fight off osteoporosis.

Strength training is SO important for women! Flexibility training is key to avoid injury and build your mind-body connection.

Strength Training

In general, I recommend that women strength train two to four days per week and supplement their strength training with one to two high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions and one to two moderate-intensity training (MIC) sessions each week. Flexibility work can be done daily for about 10-15 minutes per session at the end of your cardio or strength workout.

Strength training workouts can last 30-50 minutes per session and should be done 2-4 times per week. Fewer if you’re just starting out, more if you’ve been working out for a while. Each workout should include a dynamic warm-up and a resistance workout that works either upper body, lower body, fully body, or a specific body part if you are more advanced. You should separate strength training workouts for the same body part by at least 48 hours, meaning if you work arms on Monday, don’t do them again until Wednesday.

Don’t Skip Cardio

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are an effective way to get a good workout in within a shorter amount of time. HIIT involves periods of intense work followed by periods of rest or very light activity, performed for multiple sets or rounds. 

Most people run for HIIT workouts but please know that you can cycle, walk, use the elliptical, the stair stepper, or swim for your HIIT workout! HIIT workouts can be anywhere- in the gym or outside!

A HIIT workout should last 5-20 minutes per session and I recommend doing them 1-2 times per week.

For your other cardio workouts, I recommend doing a few sessions of moderate intensity. which is cardiovascular exercise during which your heart rate stays between 120 and 140 beats per minute. Cardio performed in this range helps you develop a solid aerobic foundation, which allows you to recover more quickly between workouts so that you can stay fresh and strong. MIC has also been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce overall stress levels.

Medium intensity cardio session should last between 20-40 minutes per session and be performed 1-2 times per week.

Stay Flexible

Flexibility work involves any kind of stretching, foam rolling, yoga, or Pilates. This helps you increase and maintain your range of motion and avoid injury. You can do

Don’t forget to rest!

On your rest days, the days in between your workouts where you allow your muscles to rest, you may engage in active recovery activities. Restorative work or active recovery can be anything that you do with your body that is relaxing and keeps your heart rate under 120 beats per minute. This can be a light walk, foam rolling, meditating, deep breathing, restorative yoga, tai chi, swimming, light cycling, etc.

Scheduling Your Resistance Training Workouts

If you want to do your resistance training twice per week, that means you would perform full body workouts each time, allowing 48 hours between each workout. 

If you’d like to strength train 3 times per week: Alternate full body resistance workouts each time you work out, leaving at least 48 hours between each workout.

Sample Workout Schedule:

Week 1:  Monday –  Full Body Workout A   Wednesday – Full Body Workout B       Friday – Full Body Workout A

Week 2: Monday –  Full Body Workout B Wednesday – Full Body Workout A      Friday –  Full Body Workout B

Alternate these two weekly patterns so that you’re never doing the same workouts back to back. Rotate in new workouts every 6-8 weeks to prevent boredom and adaptation.

If you are more advanced and would like to strength train 4 times per week, you can perform two lower body and two upper body workouts, alternating between the two. You may do the same upper and lower body workouts, or alternate the upper body workouts and the lower body workouts.

CLICK HERE to get access to my fitness library – new workouts added every month!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

 

 

How to create backup plan for your workout

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a commission if you purchase an item through one of my links. This does not increase the price of the item for you. Read more about this on my site’s Policy and Disclosure page.

Workout Obstacle #1: You’re a Morning Exerciser But You Overslept

You normally do your workout in the morning but you overslept? 

Divide your workout into 2 15-minute or 3 10-minute segments to fit it into the rest of your day. The good news is that the effects of exercise are cumulative so even if you can’t squeeze it all in at once you’ll still get all of the benefits if you spread it out throughout the day.

Workout Obstacle #2: You Can’t Make it to the Gym

Your car died/babysitter canceled/it’s a snow day and you can’t get to that place where they keep all the fitness equipment. 

This is when it comes in handy to have a home gym. This doesn’t need to be an entire room with a treadmill, a cross-trainer, a spin bike, or a fully-stocked weight rack! It can be a corner of the living room or a guest room where you can unroll an exercise mat, maybe pull up a chair (if you don’t have a bench), and some hand weights or resistance bands.

Related… Need ideas on to how to set up your home workout space?

If you don’t have equipment then you can still get a workout using your bodyweight. A circuit of squats, pushups,  lunges, planks, crunches, and dips is a do-anywhere workout that requires no equipment and is still challenging!

Workout Obstacle #3: You literally have NO TIME to workout

If you normally work out in the evening and you’re running so behind that you literally can not take any time to exercise then swap today with your regularly scheduled rest day or double up on your workout tomorrow. 

Add a mini-cardio session after your weights or sneak in a yoga class before your group run. In the grand scheme of life, I guarantee missing one workout every so often is not going to affect your long term results.

Want my 10-minute, do-anywhere, no-equipment required workout? Click here!

Workout Obstacle #4: You’re Sick

If you can’t work out due to illness and/or injury, I urge you simply to take this time to rest and recover.  If you ever needed a valid reason for skipping a workout, this is it! Working out when you’re sick may only exacerbate your condition. Just rest. 

Expending energy that your body needs for recovering may only prolong your illness. Sit tight, take care of yourself, and focus on giving your body the nutrients it needs to get back to being healthy will have you back to your regularly scheduled workouts much faster.

No matter if it’s a head cold or a stomach bug, please focus your energy on getting better, not sweating away toxins (which, btw, is not actually a thing.)

TL;DR – Sometimes ish happens and plans need to change. Be ready to adjust your fitness program or your own expectations in the rare (or not-so-rare!) case that life gets in the way of your 5am spin class! Having a plan is great. Having a backup plan is even better!

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

My ’10-Minute, Do-Anywhere, No Equipment Needed’ Workout

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a commission if you purchase an item through one of my links. This does not increase the price of the item for you. Read more about this on my site’s Policy and Disclosure page.

Hey there, I see you.

You’re the busy mom that doesn’t have time for the gym because you have a wonky schedule and can’t make it happen between car line, the gym’s child care hours, work time, nap time, lunch time, and GSD time! You haven’t really prioritized your fitness because it seems a little bit selfish. If that’s the case, we need to have a chat about the importance of self care…

You’ve got a million excuses…err… “reasons” why you aren’t moving your booty and they all seem pretty valid to you.

Maybe you want to get a good workout at home but not really sure where to start? The choices are endless – YouTube videos, workout apps, magazines, Pinterest… Workout options are literally a dime a dozen. There’s NO shortage of options, but maybe that’s the problem? You’re overwhelmed with which one to pick? So you do nothing. It’s mentally exhausting trying to figure out which workout is best for your fitness level AND your goals… so you put it off… and put it off… and yeah. You never do it.

Want ideas on creating your own home gym space and making it work? Click here.

Maybe you’ve got that ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude when it comes to fitness but the truth is, every little bit counts! Even if all you have is 10 minutes a day to do some kind of activity – that helps! The benefits of exercise are cumulative so even if all you have is the time between brushing your teeth and your head hitting the pillow, you can squeeze in some fitness!

Here’s my favorite workout to give my I HAVE NO TIME clients.
It’s quick, it’s portable, and it requires zero equipment. You can do it straight out of bed in the morning or right before bed at night. Congratulations, you now have ZERO excuses for not exercising.

You’re welcome.

My ‘10-Minute, Do-Anywhere, No Equipment Needed’ Workout

Move through each exercise in sequence. Don’t rest between exercises. At the end of the circuit, rest 1-2 minutes. Repeat the circuit 2-4 times depending on how much time you have available.

  • 30 seconds of bear crawl

  • 5 reverse lunges (per leg)

  • 5 push-ups (do modified push-ups or wall push-ups to suit your fitness level)

  • 5 squats

  • 5 bench dips (use a chair or a bench)

  • 5 glute bridges

  • 30-second elbow plank

If you DO have equipment at home, feel free to use dumbbells (like these) for the reverse lunges and squats.

Pssst… Want my printable home workout program?

It’s all yours!

You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here:

 

  

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

13 Ways to Make Working Out at Home More Effective

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a commission if you purchase an item through one of my links. This does not increase the price of the item for you. Read more about this on my site’s Policy and Disclosure page.

Want to watch the video instead? Click HERE.

If you’ve recently decided you want to get into better shape and improve your health, you may have thought about joining a gym. For many people, gyms are a great option because they provide all the things you need for getting in shape – the weights, the cardio equipment, the music, and the personal trainers.

But you know what can be not-so-great about gyms? They aren’t always open when you want to work out. Or they are but the time you want to work out happens to be when everyone else wants to work out, too so you end up waiting for equipment, or slap-fighting another mom for the last spin bike. Maybe the gym you belong to is far enough away from your house that you have to muster quite a bit of motivation to get there on a regular basis.

If you find yourself in one of these scenarios, you might want to think about creating your own home gym space. Working out at home has a lot of advantages compared to going to a gym: no driving, no packing a bag, no worrying about how you look. Just slap on whatever you’re comfortable in and get to it!

This is great for people who work weird hours, parents who fit workouts in around nap time (oh hey – been there!), or just don’t want to deal with driving all the way to a gym for the same results they can get at home.

Maybe you really don’t like working out in front of other people? If you’re new to working out or you’re self-conscious about doing exercises with an audience, a home gym can be the perfect solution. If you’re weirded out by the idea of people watching you work out, then do it at home where you can grunt and groan and curse your heart out as you push out that last rep!

Aside from upgrading equipment as you get stronger, or adding items to vary your workouts, you can create a home gym on a pretty slim budget and save yourself those monthly gym fees!

Maybe the only thing that would make staying home even more rewarding would be making your exercise sessions extra effective. 

Try these suggestions for creating and using a home gym that will help you to boost your fitness in less time!

Design an Effective Home Gym Area

1.   Designate a workout space – Being able to set aside an entire room would be nice, but you can make any small area work. If you’re short on space, arrange a workout spot in one corner of your basement or a bedroom. You can put your equipment out of sight when you’re done. You’ll want to have enough room to move around without kicking over a lamp or punching furniture. You’ll want it to be out of the way of normal household traffic. A spare bedroom or basement is a good place because you won’t be tripping over your equipment or have to worry that the kids will get into it.

2.   Clear away distractions – Make it easier to concentrate by storing work materials and toys elsewhere. Turn your phone off if you’re tempted to text.

3.   Stock up on quality equipment – There’s plenty of gear that you can pick up even on a tight budget. Maybe you want a cheap treadmill or just some resistance bands and a yoga mat. I understand wanting to cheap out on equipment if your thought right now is “What if I set it up and don’t use it?”

I get it, you don’t want to spend a ton and then find it collecting dust in a couple of months because you just don’t get around to using it like you thought you would. But then you also don’t want to cheap out and have things break on you within your first few workouts.

I recommend going with mid-priced equipment. Start with mid-priced options and then upgrade in a few months if you find you’re getting a lot of use out of this space.

Basic items you’ll need to set up your home gym:

  • A Supportive Floor Mat

    A good home workout is probably going to involve a lot of bodyweight exercises that will require you to get on the floor. A good mat protects your joints when you’re doing floor work. They’re not too cushiony – you don’t want to sink in when you’re doing push ups but you want there to be something soft between you and the floor.

    Suggestion: (Amazon) Yogu Interlocking Puzzle Exercise Floor Mat, (Black – 6 Tiles)

  • A Set of Adjustable Dumbbells

    Before you run out to buy a set of pink dumbbells, read this carefully – to build strength and drop fat, you need to be lifting weights. You need real resistance. If you want to do a fast, effective workout, you need to be lifting a weight that fatigues the muscle in 8 reps or less. So unless you are brand spanking new to lifting, you’re going to need a weight set that will challenge you AND grow with you. Before you run out and buy a set of individual weights, consider a set of adjustable weights. These are great because they save space AND money!

    Suggestion: (Amazon) AmazonBasics 38-Pound Adjustable Weight Set with Case

  • Resistance Bands

    While weights are great, I realize these aren’t the best option for everyone. Resistance bands can also be very effective in building muscle AND they’re great for travel! So if you’re on the road a lot and you find yourself somewhere without a gym – your hotel, the airport, wherever….you can toss a set of bands in your suitcase and still be able to stick to your workout program.

    Suggestion: (Amazon) Utopia Fitness Resistance Band 5 Set Home, Gym Outdoor Workouts Door Anchor, Ankle Strap & Mesh Carrier – Athletic Handy

  • A Bosu or balance ball

    As your fitness improves, you’ll need to progress your workouts. A balance or a Bosu ball is a great way to increase the difficulty of so many exercises without having to add more weight or increase the risk of injury. Working to maintain your balance during an exercise engages all those little stabilizer muscles and takes your workout up a notch! They’re also great for core workouts!

    Suggestion: (Amazon) BOSU Balance and Stability Ball

Make the Workouts More Effective:

4.   Focus on whole body movements – Compared to exercises that target single muscles, compound movements are more efficient. Spend more time doing push ups and squats instead of bicep curls.

5.   Make your workout program comprehensiveMake sure to incorporate training that builds strength, endurance, and flexibility. Vary your workouts instead of sticking to just the exercises that you like.

6.   Add interval training – Studies show that interval training increases your endurance faster, burns more calories in less time, and targets belly fat! To get started, alternate between short periods of high-intensity activities and longer intervals of less demanding movements for recovery.

Gradually make your workouts more challenging by increasing the intensity, pace, or resistance.

7.   Find a buddy – When you workout with a friend, you can share feedback, encouragement, and laughs. Invite a neighbor or your spouse to join you. 

8.   Set goals – It’s common to reach a plateau after you’ve been working out for a while. If you want to stay motivated or get stronger, give yourself targets to strive for. You might decide to work out for at least 15 minutes every day or push yourself by adding a killer core workout to the schedule twice a week.

9.   Track your progress – Once you establish goals, be sure to measure them. Keep a journal about your workouts and performance. Reward yourself when you reach a milestone.

10.   Have fun – Remember to have a good time. If you love training with kettlebells or watching Netflix while you’re running on the treadmill, you’ll be more likely to stick to your workout program.

11.  Use proper form. **Protect yourself from injuries by doing exercises properly**Working out with improper form wastes your time and WORSE – sets you up for injury! If you’re a beginner, you may want to take a class or work with a trainer to receive the instructions you need.

12.  Rest up – Giving your body adequate time to recover will also help you to stay safe and strong. If you have no signs of overtraining like fatigue or persistent muscle soreness, you may prefer an active rest session like going for a gentle walk on your off days.

13. Keep it Fresh – Nothing sucks the effectiveness out of workouts faster doing the same thing over and over again. Muscles adapt, exercises become less effective, and you’ll get bored. Want a new fitness program delivered to you every month with the structure and guidance of working with a trainer minus the price tag? Check out my Monthly Fitness Membership program!

***Talk with your doctor – Discuss any individual concerns with your physician. That’s especially important if you’re new to exercise or you’re trying to manage a chronic condition.

TL;DR – Enjoy the comforts of home while you maximize your workouts. A well-planned space and a balanced exercise program will help you to boost your fitness faster! Invest in some good quality equipment and find a quiet spot in your home where you can set up a mat and your laptop and you’re good to go! Oh and don’t forget to sign up for the Monthly Fitness Membership program to get a new, fat-burning workout program sent to you every month!

Pssst… Want my printable home workout program?

It’s all yours!

You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.