Which workout is best for you?

With all the workout options out there, it’s hard to decide which is best for you; especially since they all claim to be “the best.”

Yoga, Pilates, Crossfit, Zumba, mixed martial arts, running, swimming, body building, body pump, etc…. there is someone out there who swears by all of them, so what’s the answer?

There are two answers:

  1. All of them, but mixed up.
  2. Whichever one gets you moving.

Think of workout options like you think of eating. For all the healthy foods options, there isn’t one that you should eat exclusively. Ideally, you get a variety of foods AND workout styles. In my opinion, that’s the way to your best body.

Your body will thrive off the intensity, weights and plyometrics in Crossfit, the great sweat you get from dancing or running, the stretching, toning and meditation from yoga and Pilates, etc.

Some people release stress by hitting a bag or pounding the pavement, while others feel relief after gliding through the water during a swim.

Just as there are fad diets, there are fad workouts. There’s nothing wrong with trying them all, just be consistently active and kind to your body.

Answer #1 is my true number one pick for all bodies because it recognizes that, although you will see an initial change in your body by doing any of these full-on for the initial few weeks, keeping the pounds off is easiest when you crosstrain. Also, crosstraining guarantees you are ticking all the boxes to enhance your strength, cardio, flexibility, and, therefore, your overall physique.

Answer #2 is there to let you know that doing something is the most important thing. If you skip every body pump class because you hate weights, but will dance your butt off in Zumba 100% of the time, go to Zumba. Does your body need weights, absolutely, but, at the end of the day, the best workout for you is the one you’ll actually do.

 

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My Current Workout Playlist

Nothing makes a workout go by faster or makes me push myself harder than a great playlist.

Below is some of what I’m listening to right now. Not all of it is current, and you might make fun of me for some of it, but it will get you moving whether you’ll admit to it or not. The last few are a little slower because I phase into cool down mode and like to end chill and happy.

I’d also love to know what your favorites are so I can check them out.

Kings & Queens – 30 Seconds to Mars

Higher – Taio Cruz & Travie McCoy

Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars

Raise Your Glass – P!nk

Grenade – Bruno Mars

Bring It On – Brokedown Cadillac

Faded – Soul Decision

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

Ballroom Blitz – Brokedown Cadillac

Hold It Against Me – Britney Spears

Break the Ice – Britney Spears

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Let It Rock – Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne

Carry Out – Timbaland and J.T.

King of Anything – Sara Bareilles

Rhythm of Love – Plain White T’s

Rolling in the Deep – Adele

 


Which comes first: weights or cardio?

You use to always hear that you should perform your cardio first to warm up before you hit the weights. Then, a few years back, the order got flipped. So, which is it? What order should you do your weights and cardio in to achieve the best results?

The shortest answer is that you should do weights first, but if you don’t understand why, then you aren’t setting yourself up for the highest level of success.

Why weights first?

In order to perform short bursts of energy in weight training, your body uses glycogen (carbs), so the idea is to burn off the glycogen so that you can move straight to burning more fat when you switch over to cardio.

Another reason to do weights first is to prevent injury. The thought behind that is, if you are tired from cardio, you won’t be as agile and conscientious during your weight training, which could be dangerous.

What to be aware of when performing weights before cardio

Even though I suggest starting with weights, that does mean you should skip your warm up. You should never walk right into the gym and lift your max. Obviously, if part of the reason to start with weights is to help prevent a weight training injury, there is more to it than simply swapping the order.

Warm up with light weights, perform some kettlebell swings, do jumping jacks or something else along those lines for 5-10 minutes so that you can safely perform a light stretch and prepare your body for the workout.

In the end, it’s all about your body.

If you are exclusively using light weights or performing a circuit training routine that mixes weights and cardio, you don’t need to worry about the order. You aren’t as likely to hurt yourself using light weights, and circuit training is a combination weight-cardio workout rather than a split order.

Above all else, as long as you’re working out, you’re doing great. If you’re covering both weights and cardio, and your method is working for you, then stick with it. If you’re not currently on an exercise plan, I hope this information fuels you to get off your rear and take that first step towards becoming a stronger, hotter version of yourself.


Why weight? How to really speed up your metabolism and burn off fat

Two exercise misconceptions are, 1) all you need to do to burn fat and lose weight is cardio, and 2) if you use weights you’re going to get bulky. I refer to these as misconceptions instead of as myths because they aren’t completely true or false.

Yes, you need to do cardio in order to help burn up fat; however, if all you’re doing is cardio, you’re not working out efficiently, and neither the mirror or the scale is going to show you what you hope to see.

Yes, if you do the same movement all the time, specific areas can grow bulkier than others; but, you would have to do A LOT of the same thing – which I don’t suggest anyway, and you would need to possess a lot of testosterone. So, ladies, you can stop worrying about becoming manly, because you’re missing the necessary hormone balance.

Your body needs iron, and I’m not talking about taking a supplement.

A few quick facts to get you pumped for pumping iron:

  • The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn while doing absolutely nothing. Muscle and metabolism go hand in hand.
  • Muscle is denser and takes up less room than fat. So, the scale might not change, but you’ll need smaller sizes in your clothes.
  • Skin lies much more nicely over muscle than over fat.
  • Your body remains a furnace for up to 72 hours after a good strength training session.
  • Your skeletal system responds to resistance training by building itself up to be stronger. (Final score: Body:1, Osteoporosis: 0)

Even though you can burn more calories during the period you are actually doing cardio, the continued afterburn from a weighted workout more than makes up for the initial difference.

So, why not make every workout a weighted one? Your muscles need time to recover. You can break your body into sections if you want to use weights more than every other day (i.e. Monday-legs, Tuesday-arms, Wednesday-core…), but cardio IS important too, so my recommendation is to mix it up with some of both by alternating days.

How much weight should I use if I just want to tone up? My advice is to use what you can, and change it up frequently. Do some sets of 12-15 reps with lighter weight; some where you can only manage 4-8 reps with heavier weight; and other exercises with only your own body as resistance.

Trust me, I spent many years sweating all over cardio equipment for hours at a time in fear of getting bulky. In all honesty, the only time I’ve ever been bulky was when I rowed, and that was because I did the same movement over and over, which caused my body to shift fat to the areas of muscle it thought needed a fast fuel source the most. (This was compounded by the fact that my meal plan at the time included a buffet with an endless supply of ice cream, not to mention late night pizzas and keg parties.)

Now, after lessons learned through experience and education, I can tell you that the best way to get the body you want is to get over the fear of getting bulky, and go try to show up some of the guys in the weight room at the gym. When you notice them looking at you, don’t get self-conscious. They’re checking you out because a girl in the weight room is hot, and you probably look like a bad ass. They’re much more likely to make fun of the prima donna on the elliptical trying desperately not to break a sweat or mess up her makeup.


If you can find 30 minutes, you can get a better body

Time is the most frequent excuse I hear for why people don’t exercise. It’s also the most annoying excuse because it assumes that I (and everyone else at the gym or running outside) have all the time in the world to workout.

The reality is that everyone is busy, and yet we all find time for things we choose to prioritize.

The minimum suggested time you should spend exercising each week is 150 minutes; 225 if you want to see significant change. If you can find 30 minutes a day, five days a week, you’re doing better than most.

Where can you find this “extra” time?

-You could use half of your hour-long lunch break on weekdays – a great habit that’s been shown to reduce stress and boost performance. After all, it doesn’t take an hour to eat.

-You could use three, 10-minute mini-breaks at work to go up and down the stairs or walk briskly around the office perimeter.

-Most of us spend at least 30 minutes playing on the computer each day. I’m sure Facebook will wait for you to get your workout in and you won’t miss too much.

-Download a podcast or an episode of your favorite show onto your MP3 player so you can do cardio instead of sitting on your bum while you indulge in some of your nightly TV time.

What can you do in 3o minutes? In two words… A LOT!

When you’re short on time, you should always up your intensity. It’s about efficiency.

Try out this workout:

Start with 20 Push Jacks. What are Push Jacks? They’re a heart rate boosting combo of two great exercises. Perform a jumping jack, then jump right down into push up position. After you push up, jump back up and go right into the next jumping jack.

Next, do 10 Lunge Circles. What are Lunge Circles? Star with your right leg and lunge forward. Return to start, then lunge out to your right side into a side lunge. Return to start, then do a reverse lunge so your right leg lunges behind you. Return to start, do a reverse lunge with the left leg. Return to start, left side lunge. Return to start, left front lunge. And you’re back to the start again. Make sure to really sit into your lunges to get the most out of them, but never let your knee extend out over your toe when you bend.

One you finish the Lunge Circles, do 20 minutes of cardio, and really give it your all.

After cardio, do a quick core blitz: 30 crunches, 30 seconds holding a V-pike position, and a 1-minute plank.

As always, stretch out, drink plenty of water, and make healthy food choices to thank your body for working hard for you.

Please understand that I’m not saying 30 minutes is all the time I’d like to see you invest in your body; but, in a time crunch, it’s important to know that this small chunk of time can make a significant difference. When it comes to exercise, some is always better than none.

Now, go move your booty! It’s not gonna get any smaller while you’re sitting here.


Total Body Workout (Intermediate Level)

Repeat the following sequence 4x through, then do a fast mile on the treadmill and finish with 2 min walk and stretching.

All told, should take you about 45 mins.

A 20 lb kettlebell is ideal, as are 8lb weights.

You may not feel this much the day you’re doing it b/c it’s designed so you switch muscle groups enough to keep your energy level steady, but I can vouch for how my body felt the day after 😉

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 Lunge w/medicine ball twist

20 Hamstring-bicep double curl

8 Weighted Squat Jump

10 Squat with shoulder raise

15 (each side) Tricep kickback with leg kickback

15 (each side) Single arm double-weighted rows

8 Reverse crunch on bench

15 (each side) Side-leg lifts

12 Leg Cross Crunch

15 Glute bridge with one leg extended (alternate legs each round)

1 minute plank


Put on your bikini today

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You know that “not so hot” feeling you get at the start of each summer when you get ready to put on your swimsuit for the first time of the year? You think, “Man, I should’ve been working out more and eating cleaner.”

As much as you’d like to postpone that feeling, it might just be the motivation you need to get in better shape, make a change now, and be ready for the big reveal in plenty of time.

Rather than waiting until the last minute, try on your bikini today and see how you feel.

Like what you see? Way to go, and keep up the good work!

Don’t like what you see? It’s only February, so you’ve got plenty of time to adjust your diet and workout so you can feel great come summertime. If you haven’t reached your goals or stuck to your guns on your current plan, we can chat about improving it and hitting the mark.

Need a quick fix to make you feel better? Get a spray tan for instant bronzing and slimming effects. No sun or SPF required!