Hi friends! It’s been such a wholesome last couple of days – it’s amazing how good your weekend can be when you know you don’t have to go to work on Monday. The pressure to have everything figured out by Sunday is gone and all is right in the world.
As I said earlier on my Instagram post, I wanted to spend this weekend doing absolutely nothing. It can be so beneficial for your mental and physical health to take a break and wind down for a couple days. This goes for working out, too — I used to feel so odd whenever I took rest days because I had conditioned myself into thinking that I needed to be working out every single day. When I told people I was working out 6 days a week, they looked at me like I was crazy. Then, my body started feeling the repercussions of this insane physical toll that I was taking on, and I was forced to rest.
Lately, self-care has become a joke on social media, which is unfortunate because it is SO necessary. Self-care can mean anything from staying home because you fulfilled your social quota for the week, or going to the grocery store and picking up a pint of gelato because it’s good for the soul. In the past couple months, I’ve learned that self-care also means listening to your body when it’s tired, or else it’ll affect your day-to-day functioning. Self-care means feeding your body when it needs certain types of foods (yes, I’m talking about carbs).
There was a point in time where I completely cut out carbs and I was weight lifting every single day. I bought into the idea of the low-carb diet and I was never feeling good. My energy was always low, I was always hungry, and I didn’t even see the results I wanted. Then, I saw a trainer, who told me I needed to be eating at least 1400 calories a day – I was eating way less than that. After that, I finally started incorporating carbs into my diet. I can say with 100% confidence that I actually feel leaner and healthier now than when I was doing the low-carb lifestyle. Listen to your body.
For me personally, I never focus on the number on the scale. I usually focus on body fat percentage, and that’s more important to me because I want to build muscle (and muscle burns fat). Having more muscle helps to tone the body and of course, make you STRONGER. There was a time when I only did cardio because I was too intimidated to go into the weight lifting section of the gym, but I am SO glad I finally got over my fear. If you’re intimidated by the big machines and the throngs of people who look like they’re experts, talk to a trainer! I had a trainer help me get acclimated with the different machines and show me how to have proper form for each exercise, so I stopped worrying about how it would look in front of a crowded gym. Strength training at least 3-4 times a week is so important to help make you stronger, have better muscle definition, and lose body fat. Doing only cardio will get you results, but they won’t be as drastic.
My current workout routine focuses on isolating different parts of the body on different days, and also doing cardio 3x a week. For example, I usually do shoulders one day, legs one day, back/biceps one day, and chest/triceps another day. Full body workouts are great and I still do them, but I make sure to fatigue specific parts of the body that I want to work on. As for cardio, it helps my body balance out the weight lifting and focus more on the toning. Cardio does help hasten fat loss, so I do 40 mins of HIIT cardio 3 days a week. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which is a well-known method of burning high calories in a short amount of time. Check out this article from Self.com for more information on how to become an expert at HIIT! I usually do my HIIT workouts on the treadmill, bicycle, or crossramp at the gym.
If I was running on the treadmill, this is what I would do for my HIIT workout:
Warm up walk for 5 minutes on 3mph
Run on 6mph for 1 min 30 seconds
Walk on 3.5 mph for 1 min 30 seconds
Run on 6 mph for 2 min
Walk on 3.5 mph for 2 min
Run on 6mph for 2 min 30 seconds
Walk on 3.5 mph for 2 min 30 seconds
Run on 6mph for 3 min
Walk on 3.5mph for 3 min
After this, go back down in time until you hit the 1:30 interval and then cool down!
The best part about HIIT workouts is that you will continue to burn calories throughout the day because it increases your heart rate – just make sure to do it safely!
Tying into the whole concept of self-care, I also started doing hot yoga classes once a week about 5 weeks ago. This honestly has changed my life. Hot yoga is so beneficial because it sends more oxygen to the muscles that you’ve been working out like crazy throughout the week, and it solidifies your results. I usually go to CorePower yoga, and it’s one of the best workout studios I have ever been to. Their hot yoga classes are hot but not too hot, and the instructors always so energetic and passionate about what they teach. Hot yoga is NOT an easy workout — you’re constantly sweating for 60-70 minutes, and going through cardio/weight lifting sequences while doing complex yoga poses. This is something I look forward to every week, because it really helps bring me that feeling of ~zen~ that I need at the end of the week.
If you haven’t already incorporated yoga into your workout routine, I HIGHLY recommend it! If you want to shop around different workout studios in your area, make sure to check out Classpass. It’s a great app that works off a credit system, and you can book classes at all the best studios without actually buying a membership at those studios. This is amazing because I’m always into trying out new workouts, and I don’t want to be tied down to a membership.
I hope your Labor Day weekend has been phenomenal and you’ve gotten time to get some retail therapy in! My to-do list for today? Find all of the best sales, grab some coffee, and get to work.