Tag Archives: tone it up

Guest Post: Ariana’s Healthy Lifestyle Makeover #TransformationTuesday

Happy Tuesday friends! Today I’m sharing a story from my new Dallas “fit friend,” Ariana!   We met this Summer when she attended my PiYo classes at the W Dallas Hotel. We instantly hit it off given our love for hardcore workouts and bright workout clothes (see pic of us in PiYo class on Instagram). I was inspired by Ariana’s dedication coming to class every Saturday and the fact that she always rallied a group of girls to come along with her – talk about accountability! As we got to know each other better, Ariana shared her healthy lifestyle journey with me. I was instantly energized by her story, so I asked her to share on my blog today!  I hope her story encourages you as much as it encouraged me…

Ariana’s Healthy Journey: Connecting with a Positive Community

Ariana's Before & After Photos

Ariana’s Before & After Photos

My name is Ariana Michelle and my life has always been very adventurous. I love traveling and a good challenge. I’m a packaging engineer in the cosmetic industry and just moved from New Jersey to Dallas to be closer to my fiance! We met 2 years ago in Turks and Caicos!

My before picture was taken in March right after I moved to Dallas. I’ve always struggled with food. My family knew me as the garbage disposal…I was such an athlete that I thought I could burn it all off. After college, that wasn’t the case anymore, and real athletes don’t treat their bodies with diets full of ice cream and bagels! It’s taken a really long time to listen to all the advice I’ve been reading about for years. I have lost 20 lbs since then and countless inches. I was a size SAD, now I’m a size SASSY! Never give up, your journey will take time! I wish I had listened back then and stopped eating all the foods that made me sick. Without the right foods I wouldn’t be such a ray of sunshine!

My biggest motivation was striking out on my own. The move to Texas was really hard! I didn’t know anyone. My fiance still lives 6 hours away, and so I had to learn to cook for myself! I needed a community, a place to call home, and friends who enjoyed the same things I did. I was tired of having acne, not fitting into my clothes, and I knew if I was going to make new friends I first needed to feel confident in my own skin. So, I decided my health would be the #1 priority in my life. I found community in all different fitness groups!

Ariana & the Tone it Up Babes!  Being a part of a healthy community increases accountability!

Ariana & the Tone it Up Babes! Being a part of a healthy community increases accountability!

I set out to make some goals for myself! The Tone It Up (TIU) BIKINI SERIES was extremely helpful to set goals. I challenged myself with different cardio workouts like Turbo Fire, and T25, and TIU running routines. Each week, you have to keep yourself accountable, and remember that every small change yields large results! An easy goal to start with, I added something green to each meal. The following week I added more cardio. It’s so important to go slow and have a vision for your journey or you will be overwhelmed and give up. It’s the sum of your choices that makes a radiant person. Goals are the key to loving life!

Did I have set-backs? Yes! It has been a two-year journey to get where I am now. Between a devastating breakup, the loss of a dozen friends who were once my support system, and family struggles, there were times that I wanted to focus on other things, and help everyone else. But the biggest thing you can do for your family is to be a constant example of positivity. It took a long time for me to find a job in Texas, and then I was finally able to get connected to a great group of girls! I dove right in, making sure that I had a new support system if I was feeling helpless or tired. My journey would not have been possible without my #tiusisters and #teamuproar

I’m going to continue to follow the Tone it Up Plan and my new lifestyle for life~ eating the right things at the right times is going to help me keep up with my kids (someday ;)! I always tell my friends that each day adds up, so even if you only have 20 minutes to be active, that makes 140 minutes per week. I take it day by day, and set goals each morning. I never feel guilty for indulging once in a while because what I do 85% of the time keeps me right on track.

Sunset in Cali

Ariana now feeling good, looking great and still staying connected to her fitness community

You can keep in touch with Ariana on Instagram @Fitgirlmechanic or email at arianamichellefitness@gmail.com

Drop it like a Squat – 1,000 Squats Challenge

Good luck on the 1,000 Squats Challenge - you got this!

Good luck on the 1,000 Squats Challenge – you got this!

In my PiYo class every Saturday, we always have a lower body section of the class where we bust out about 60-70 squats.  This is one of the most challenging parts of the class because the continuous squating motion causes serious muscle fatigue.  When I look out at my class I see everyone’s face cringing (they are clearly feeling the burn) and then I give myself a little pat on the back – hehe.  Ultimately, squats are the best leg exercise because they engage every leg muscle when done properly.  You effectively activate your glutes, hamstrings and quads when performing a squat – talk about an efficient exercise.

That said, I wanted to spread some squat love by creating a 1,000 squat challenge.  Each day, you can expect to burn 100 – 150 calories by the doing the reps listed in the Squat Challenge.  Let’s take the challenge head on and see our legs become stronger, firmer and sexier.  For more intensity, feel free to complete the challenge holding dumbbells in each hand.  Share your progress in the comments section below – good luck!  xoxo, Brit

1000 squats challenge

Living Room Workout: Brit’s Head 2 Toe Tone Up!

Spring 2014 GRIT by Brit Pics 014

Hey Gang!  Here’s your workout for the week.  I made up this routine while chillin’ at my parents’ house.  Lately I’ve been all about multitasking.  So while we were watching the Winter Olympics I simultaneously cranked out these 5 super effective, body sculpting moves.  This is a great workout if you’re short on time, have no equipment and want to focus on strength and toning.

Like most of my workouts, this routine is “circuit style” which means you need to move through each set of exercises fairly quickly with minimal rest.  Doing so helps elevate your heart rate and ensure you burn max calories while building muscle strength.  These exercises work all of our “problem zones” (i.e. thighs, abs and arm flab).  For best results, do my Head 2 Toe Tone Up 2-3 times per week for 4 weeks along with your cardio workouts.  Enjoy and let me know how it goes!  Lots of luv, Brit

Head 2 Toe Tone Up

Instructional Images

Spring 2014 GRIT by Brit Pics 013

Single Leg Lunges

Spring 2014 GRIT by Brit Pics 011

Plank Knee Pulls

Spring 2014 GRIT by Brit Pics 015

Decline Push Ups

Spring 2014 GRIT by Brit Pics 010

Tricep Dips

Spring 2014 GRIT by Brit Pics 017

Slow, assisted calf raises

Bye Bye Jiggly Thighs!

Let me get something straight, BIG thighs do NOT = FAT thighs.  You CAN have very sexy BIG thighs as long as they are firm and toned. I hate hearing girls complain to me about their big thighs, which I think look great!  Our thigh muscles give us strength, power, explosive movement and stability so let’s appreciate them and treat them well.  I challenge you to be happy with what you’ve got and do my Extreme Thigh Burn workout (below)  to make your thighs the strongest, firmest and sexiest they can be!

Showin’ off my big, toned, thighs on a night out 🙂

  • Workout: Extreme Thigh Burn
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Calories Burned: ~300
  • Focus: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes, Abductors, Adductors, Overall endurance
  • Instructions: For best results, do this workout at least 2x per week for 4 weeks.  Make sure to do each exercise continuously without rest.  Challenge yourself to get the full workout done in 30 minutes or less! (click on the workout image below to maximize or print and save)

4-week Challenge Euro Style: Jenny’s Week 1 Update

If you missed last week’s 4-week challenge kick off, make sure you check it out to see the full plan. Below is Jenny’s week 1 progress report. She’s doing a great job – KEEP IT UP JENNY!

Jenny on her way to the Pilates – already feeling more trim after only 1 week!

“Week One: DONE! It’s been great! I did all the workouts this week + added a few Pilates classes #motivationbaby! I have been pretty intense about my workouts, so I really needed my off day. My pants are definitely looser on me. I never usually weigh myself (I think inches are a better indication, rather than kilos), I did this week. According to my scale, I’m down 1.2 kilos (American translation: 2.6 pounds), which is pretty good! SO, I will try to really focus on the diet this week. I have been good about not eating after 9pm, but since I’m going to bed around 10/10:30pm every night (gotta get up early for those workouts!), I think I should try to not eat anything after 7:30/8pm. Brittani has also recommended that I trade my breakfasts of fruit to one of protein, and I have a feeling this will be my ‘game changer’ this week. Let’s see! I have 10 more days until I’m in sunny Malaga, Spain – so I’ve gotta really focus!”

– Jenny

Jenny during Pilates class

Jenny feeling good post-workout

EXTREME Bikini Body Workout

Rockin’ my bikini body at Monte Carlo Beach Club  (June 2012)

  • Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Calories Burned: 700 – 1,000
  • Focus: Maximum calorie burn, rectus abdominis (abs), quads and hamstrings (thighs)
  • Facts: Circuit training is the most effective way to get both cardiovascular and strength conditioning in your workouts.  The cardio segments blast calories while the resistance segments keep your body burning calories long after you finish working out.
  • Brit’s Commentary: Let’s face it, no matter your size or body composition, took look good in a bikini you need 3 things: 1) Flat tummy 2) Toned thighs and 3) most importantly SELF-CONFIDENCE.  I created this workout to give you just that.  It focuses on the abs, thighs and overall calorie burn to make you look lean from head to toe.  Since this workout is a DOOZY, simply getting through it will surely boost your self-confidence.  Try throwing this workout into your regimen once a week for that extra PUSH towards your ultimate beach body.  Enjoy 🙂

NEW 4-week tone up challenge: Euro Style with Jenny!

Meet my friend Jenny.  Like Jan from my previous challenge, Jenny is one of my best friends from college.  Unlike Jan, Jenny and I bonded while working as TA’s for a brutal Labor Law professor, not over our love for football players.  We would drag our butts to the gym after long study sessions and keep each other accountable for going hard!

Jenny now lives in Denmark working hectic hours in the Banking sector.  However, the Danes focus much more on work-life balance so she DOES have adequate time to workout 🙂 Over the years, she has become very interested in nutrition and has tried almost every diet in the book (sometimes for a reason, sometimes out of curiosity, but usually because she likes the challenge – we clearly have the same neurotic tendencies). Still, she has had a very ad-hoc workout and diet schedule this past year and would like to re-focus.

Already having several fitness certifications and a long history of sports involvement, Jenny is looking to me for an effective push!  Unfortunately, she’s also suffered from over training, which I had to keep in mind when making her plan.  Her gluten allergy and lactose intolerance also had to be considered.  In her own words, her goals are to:

  1. “Get into those damn jeans – bought them last year when I was about 7 kilos lighter – they are too cute to just sit in my closet! Yes, “kilos” this is the EURO 4-week challenge”
  2. “I have a long-weekend in Malaga with a friend coming up at the end of July – so I’d like to feel super sexy in my bikini!”

Below is her plan and of picture of her today on DAY 1 – we will get an update from her next week!

Wish her luck – GO JENNY!

Me and Jenny in 2006 – getting ready to graduate from college!

Workouts by Brit referenced in this plan: