Welcome to the first installment of Fitness Friday! I realized that I’ve gotten away from spreading my love of fitness on the blog and decided to change that! So, here we are, the first Fitness Friday!
Each week, the content of Fitness Friday will vary, but I would like to keep somewhat consistency in the general formatting. I’ll share what I’ve been doing for workouts during the week, along with a workout for you to try for yourself! In addition, I’ll also share any new fitness articles, equipment, or anything else that’s new, exciting and interesting over in the fitness world. Excited? Me too. Let’s get started!
For starters, what have I been up to fitness-wise this week? Besides lifting all of the things, I’m trying to incorporate more active rest days. This is not easy for me, since I love love love exercise! However, I realize that some days, my body just needs rest. On those days, I’ve been taking a break from strength training and doing something different. So far, I’ve tried a yoga class (that was an adventure…) and a walk. P.S. I liked the walk soooo much better! If I want, I’ll walk on the indoor track at either rec center or, if I’m feeling like I want a bit more, I’ll walk slowly on a high incline on a treadmill. The time passes slowly, but it helps me feel like I’m doing something and not just sitting around.
This week, I didn’t get the opportunity to teach my two classes on Tuesday (stupid snow!), so my schedule was a bit different. Instead, on Tuesday, I walked over to the gym at my apartment complex. It’s small, but has weights and mirrors and some space, which is all I need.
Wednesday was an active rest day. For my active rest, I decided to take a 25 minute leisurely walk around the indoor track and also took a Barre class. If you haven't ever taken a Barre class, you should consider trying one! It is a fun strength challenge that involves lots of little pulsing movements to really "burn out" your muscles. My glutes and triceps were on fire! (in a good way, of course!)
Thursday was my favorite day: leg day! I hit all the fun lifts: squats, deadlifts, hip thrusters, lunges. Basically all of the fun stuff!
And today? Today is another lifting day dedicated to biceps and shoulders. I love doing shoulder work - they always burn! Lastly, tomorrow, we (the group fitness staff) have TRX training, which I am so excited about. I’ve never used a TRX, but have read all about it (see the picture below). That should be a killer workout and tons of fun!
Workout of the Week
Okay, enough about my workouts; it’s time for me to give you yours for the week! I did this short little workout on Tuesday morning, followed by some other lifting. I did it twice, once at the start of my workout and once at the end. I was hoping to get further the second time through, and I did – by one rep!
Alright, here’s the deal: set a timer for 5 minutes and start performing the two exercises in an ascending format. So, do 1 rep of each, then 2 reps, then 3, etc, until the 5 minutes are up!
Here’s the details on the two exercises:
Thrusters: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, weights in your hands up by your shoulders. Squat down and stand up, pressing your arms above your head. Basically, it’s the combination of a squat and shoulder press. Make sure to get deep in those squats and keep that core strong as you push those weights up!
Burpees: Squat down, place your hands on the ground in front of you, and hop your feet back so you are in plank position. Hop your feet back, and jump up.
Fun right? It starts off easy, but obviously gets more intense as the reps continue to increase. I reached my 9th round, completing 4 of 9 thrusters the first time and 5 of 9 thrusters the second time using 12 lb weights. Maybe I’ll do it again in a few weeks to track my progress!
P.S. This workout could also be completed with any two movements of your choice. You could do squats and pushups, or jumping jacks and lunges...The possiblities are endless for whatever level you are at!
My Final Thoughts
Last but not least, I wanted to share five tidbits of advice for those of you who are just getting started with exercise. I know that it can be overwhelming when you are new to fitness and may not know where to start. Hopefully these guidelines will help point you in the right direction!
Cardio is fine, but it isn’t everything – Whatever you do, don’t be a cardio queen! You must incorporate strength training into your routine, even if it is just once a week. And you don’t need weights either! Start with walking lunges, pushups, and bodyweight squats and you’ll be just fine!
Schedule your workout into your day – If you make your workout a part of your schedule, you are more likely to stick with it. It becomes a commitment. Alongside of this is laying out or packing your exercise clothes the night before. If you set out your clothes or pack them, it makes it so much easier to just grab them in the morning and go!
Start small and work your way up – Don’t feel like you need to exercise for an hour every single day. Instead, start small. Take 10 minutes each day to do something active to get your heartrate up. Then, after a few weeks, add another 10 minutes. If you have more time on weekends, bump it up to 30 minutes. Whatever time you have, just use it effectively: get in, work hard, and get out.
Find what works for you – It is so important to find what workouts you actually enjoy. Do you like working out in a group or come from a competitive team environment? Try group fitness classes. Like to feel strong and powerful? Start strength training. Like to be outside? Take your workout outdoors by going for a walk or run, and supplementing your walks or runs with bodyweight strength training. Whatever works for you, just do it!
Lastly, you must, must, must nourish your body properly after your workouts so that you can thrive! If you are a seasoned exerciser and workout at a high level consistently, refueling your body with real food sources of protein and carbohydrates is essential after exercise (think chicken, fish, sweet potatoes, bananas, etc). On the other hand, if you are new to exercise and aren’t working as intensely, refueling your body is still important, but you may not need as much. A small snack containing protein and carbs after your workout should be enough to replenish your depleted muscles! One last quick note – why don’t I recommend healthy fat after exercise? Simply put, fat slows down digestion, which is awesome, but just not ideal after exercise. After exercise, which is a stressor on the body (a positive stressor though!), we need to get fuel to our muscles quickly, which is where carbs and protein come in. Don’t worry, I have a detailed post about pre and post-workout nutrition coming soon!
There you have it, the first installment of Fitness Friday. What would you like to see featured next Friday? Any questions or comments or ideas? Please let me know!