Hopefully you’ve found a workout that you absolutely LOVE , which is GREAT! I’m a firm believer that you’ll never consistently exercise until you find a workout that you TRULY enjoy and that makes you FEEL GOOD about your body! However, it’s critical that we constantly change up our workout routines. This doesn’t mean we have to give up the exercises we love, but we DO have to SPICE things up. So you are probably wondering…
WHY SHOULD I VARY MY WORKOUTS?
Avoid the plateau – Our bodies are super efficient – WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE THINK WE ARE! Once our bodies get use to a certain workout, they don’t require the same amount of energy (calories or strength) to get it done.
Prevent injury – If we do the same workouts all of the time, we run a significantly greater risk of chronic injuries (shin splints, etc.) Changing it up makes us work a variety of muscles and develop balanced strength and endurance.
Stay interested – New workouts keep us engaged in exercise. High mental and emotional engagement makes us more energized meaning we work harder and reach greater fitness levels.
BRIT’S 5 TIPS TO SPICE UP YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE
Do 3 DIFFERENT types of cardio exercises every week – At a minimum, its most important to ensure that you get 3-30 minute cardio workouts in each week. However, you can maximize results by doing a variety of cardio workouts. For example: Monday – Treadmill, Wednesday – Elliptical, Friday – Boxing class.
Add Intervals – Intervals in terms of speed and incline/resistance are a great way to keep your body in the “cardio zone” and make sure you don’t get complacent. For example: when on the elliptical, ride at level 5 resistance for 3 min then level 10 resistance for 1 min, continue alternating for 30 min to 1 hr.
Power walk instead of running/jogging – Power walking is not as natural of a movement as jogging/running which means you have to engage more muscles. This is a great way to shock your body and even burn more calories – add light hand weights for an extra burn!
Switch up your resistance regimen – Instead of your usual back/biceps and chest/triceps workouts that you have been doing for years, change it up! Try the new TRX suspension training or an endurance body weight routine (like several posted on this site). Remember, if you do what you always done, you’ll get what you always got!
Get moving with a group – Working out with a group makes you push harder and leverage the energy of those around you. I encourage you to try some of my favorite group exercise classes: Title Boxing Club, Boot Camps (any one), Bar Method, Cycle classes and TurboKick.
So, you guys remember my friend Jan from our 4-week Tone Up Challenge – well she has officially completed her 1st week and is kicking butt and taking names. Here is an update on her “toning up” progress.
JAN’S WEEK #1 PROGRESS REPORT:
“So good 1st week! I changed up the days a little bit because I was sick, so did your #1 and #2 workouts and will do #3 on Tuesday, so I’m a little off. Felt really good doing a 5 day workout this week, but knees are swollen. So, I took Sunday off but went to Spin class this morning and feel really good about it. The #1 workout was good, did the AB portion twice (the 2nd 1/2). The standing up stuff didn’t work me out as much as I liked. The workout #2 was good, a little tough on my knees with the 1st 1/2 squatting etc, but still good to tone up my legs. I already am feeling good results, bc my body changes pretty quickly so LOVING IT!”
– Jan 🙂
BRIT’S WEEK #2 ADVICE FOR JAN:
Don’t get complacent. Jan did a great job on getting in 5 workouts in 1 week. Often when have a successful exercise week, we get complacent and think we deserve a “break.” This is also the case we we lose the 1st 5 pounds…we get excited and gain ’em back the next week. While you should feel good about yourself and proud of your accomplishment, make sure to keep up the hard work. This week, I’m continuing to push Jan to get her 5 workouts in!
Jan’s doing a good job of listening to her body to prevent over training; however, she is still pushing herself and ensuring that she gets ALL of her workouts in. It can be hard to balance the two, but she’s doing a great job!
Don’t forget your diet. This week, I challenged Jan to focus more on her 3 diet change ups: 1) protein at breakfast 2) healthy afternoon snack 3) and no eating after 9pm. She did pretty well the first week but there is ALWAYS room for improvement.
Stay tuned for Jan’s Week 2 update next Monday, WISH HER LUCK – Go Jan!
Last weekend I missed my 2 Hour Saturday Detox because of a very fun brunch event. In reality it wasn’t that big of a deal, but all week I found myself trying to make up for that 1 workout (don’t judge, I already told you guys about my neurotic tendencies) . In all seriousness, I felt really out of shape and had this weird need work out really hard for the next few days to make up for it. Fortunately, my friend/work out buddy provided a rescuing voice of reason after our Turbo Kick class on Wednesday. She just sent me an email that said “You aren’t out of shape, you are over training.” And that’s when it hit me, I needed to CHILL OUT. I was seriously showing signs of an “Over Trainer” …
As you guys know by now, I’m strong advocate of pushing your body and mind to get the fitness and health results you desire. However, there IS such thing as “over training” and I know this because I struggle with it. Like all things in life, too much of any thing ultimately becomes a bad thing. If your body doesn’t get adequate recovery time, your workouts could do your body more harm than good and put you at serious risk for injury – keeping you from working out altogether! Mental and psychological risks of too much exercise also exist. For instance, feeling depressed, fat or out of shape without long, intense regular workouts and sacrificing your personal commitments and relationships to hit the gym are just a couple.
I’m all about getting your sweat on, but if you think you are over training, def chill out for a bit and talk to your doctor about it!
Here is a workout I put together to zap our problem areas – yes, the tummy, thighs and booty! Reality is, these areas are the hardest to transform because it takes a lot of GRIT. The workout is hard but you CAN do it! Dig deep and don’t give up. Enjoy 🙂
Workout: TTBOM by Brit
Duration: 45 minutes
Calories burned: 400-600
Instructions: Do the following circuit 4X. In between each round, jump rope or run in place with high knees for 2 minutes WITHOUT stopping. Burn it out and get it RIGHT!
So, I’ve received several requests for my thoughts on qualities you should seek in a personal trainer. Let’s face it, PT is NOT cheap so we gotta make sure you get your money’s worth – AMEN? I had a personal trainer for 1 year and he really helped me get back into shape after b-school. BUT, before I found my trainer I ran into a few duds. Here are the top 5 qualities my PT had that helped me reach my goals – hopefully these come in handy when selecting your own – enjoy 🙂
Hey guys – meet one of my DEAREST college friends, Jan. Many people think that Jan and I became friends because we were both varsity athletes, but I know that we TRULY bonded over our love for football players 😉
Jan now lives in Chicago, works in the fashion industry and is constantly on the go. She likes to workout but is looking for a plan to get her out of her usual routine and beach body ready for our summer vacay!
However, keep in mind that Jan only has time to workout for 1 hour each day and no more than 5 days per week. Also, she a has a history of knee and ankle injuries so high-impact workouts are a “no go.”
That said, I put this 4-week plan together which incorporates several of the workouts and nutrition tips previously posted on GRITbyBrit. Every week, Jan will provide you guys with an update on her progress and a picture of her body getting hotter by the day! WISH HER LUCK – go Jan!
Focus: Total body toning, core strength, calorie burn
Commentary: Using medicine balls are a FUN and EFFECTIVE way to change-up your home workout routines. I like them because I can always find a new way to workout with them. I highly suggest getting one of your own – you can buy them for pretty cheap ($10-40) depending on the weight.
INSTRUCTIONS: Do 4 rounds of the following circuit. Between each round, do a 1 min cardio interval (i.e. jumping jacks, squat jumps, high knees, ski jump side to side, etc.) You can do this workout at home or at the gym after or before your cardio training – ENJOY 🙂
Push ups (15 reps), with one hand on the medicine ball – 2 rounds w/ right hand, 2 round w/ left hand
Bicep curls (20 reps), holding the medicine ball with both hands
Triceps overhead extensions (20 reps), holding the medicine ball with both hands
Loop through lunges (20 reps), 10 on right leg and 10 on left leg; step one leg forward into a lunge position, pass the medicine ball under your front leg from one hand to the other, bring the ball back up over you head and pass to the other hand, repeat (see example at the bottom)
Wall sits (45 seconds), with lateral shoulder isolation, hold the medicine ball straight out in front of you with both handswhile holding a wall sit
Berry pickers (20R, 20L), holding themedicine ball with both hands – lie on your back, bend your knees, rise to a crunch position and twist left and right so that the ball touches the floor on each side
Plank on medicine ball(45 seconds) – 15 sec w/ ball under right hand, 15 sec with ball under left hand, 15 sec with ball under both hands
Superman extensions (20 reps), lie face down on your stomach, holding the medicine with both hands out in front of your forehead, raise the ball up about 4 in. from the floor, squeeze your back muscles, repeat.
Last weekend I went to a fitness instructor workshop and one part of the training was on the “Iceberg” model of health. As you can see Spirituality/Meaning are at the base of the iceberg. This helped me understand that the lasting way to maintain good health is to have a strong spiritual foundation and life meaning/purpose. It goes a little something like this: Knowing our life’s purpose drives our motivations > our motivations drive our lifestyle/behaviors > our lifestyle determines our state of health. You’re probably thinking, “WHOA, Brit just got real deep on us!” Well no worries, I’m not trying to be your guru – I just don’t want all of my leg and ab workouts going to waste if you haven’t first laid the foundation 🙂
I’ve held tight to some valuable advice from my parents and mentors which can guide us as we evaluate the “base of our health icebergs.” Hopefully this advice helps you as much as it’s helped me – enjoy!
Brit’s 5 Step Guide for a Strong Spiritual Foundation:
Believe in God and that He put you here for a reason. YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE – your life has meaning and a specific purpose. Life is about understanding our individual and collective human purposes and striving each day to live those out. If you choose not to believe in God or a higher power, it’s virtually impossible to have HOPE for a greater good, divine order or individual life purpose. And if your life is hopeless, why even live?
Understand your strengths and where you put your effort. By knowing what you’re good at and when you’re most willing to work hard, you can gain a good sense of your natural gifts and ultimately your purpose in life.
Understand and/or define your values. What do you stand for? Think about it and write it down. Also, choose friends that understand your values, support them and keep you accountable for living by them – yes, tough love! After all, “if you don’t stand for anything you’ll fall for everything.” – Peter Marshall, 1947
Surround yourself with positive people. Positive people are the ultimate sources of optimism and energy, find ‘em and keep ‘em. On the other hand, negative people are like viruses, they will literally suck the life out of you – GET AWAY FROM THEM ASAP. This doesn’t make you heartless or a bad friend. Instead, it makes YOUR OWN well-being your first priority. The fact of the matter is that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we are incapable of adequately loving and supporting others.
Pray Regularly. Now, I have a hard time with this one because I find it very challenging to quiet my mind and really acknowledge my deepest fears, issues, questions, etc. However, a daily devotion to prayer and/or meditation gives us an opportunity to express gratitude, explore our deepest spiritual questions, relax and continue progressing on our spiritual journeys.
Let’s be honest, some days you just AREN’T feeling it. And when that happens, you have to be your own cheerleader and pump yourself up out of that funk. Look, life will always throw you curve balls, your mood will swing up and down and people will wear you out. BUT ONLY YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING. When I’m having “one of those days” I find that one of these positive affirmations usually get me back on the up and up. Sometimes you just gotta fake it until you make it. See if any of these statements work for you!
There will be a day when my body is no longer able to exercise, but today IS NOT that day – let’s go!
I’m stronger than I think I am
Don’t be afraid of the way you feel
If I quit now, I’ll feel even worse
I REFUSE to let this chick “out work” me
I’m grateful for 2 good arms, 2 good legs, a heart and lungs that work
God didn’t give me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of POWER and SELF-DISCIPLINE (2 Tim 1:7)
Quit TALKIN’ about the dream, just LIVE it
There are ONLY winners and losers – I CHOOSE to win
I Am Superwoman! (this one never fails, hehe)
NOW go hit the gym hard, get that promotion, achieve that goal and CRUSH this day!
Focus: Strengthen and toning of quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus
Brit’s Commentary: Alright, you guys asked for it, so here it is – the complete AT HOME leg sculpting workout. GOOD NEWS – the quadriceps are large powerful muscles, so you’ll also get a good calorie burn while doing this lower body shape up. For best results, do the workout at least 2 times per week for 4 consecutive weeks. Enjoy your tight, sexy thighs and keep the workout requests coming – you guys are the best! (P.S. click on the workout/picture below so it’s bigger – you can also print it off)