How to stay motivated during sweater weather

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Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

It’s officially October which means I get to unpack all of my favorite sweaters. Ah, I love this change in weather!! Okay, just kidding; I actually hate the cold. My body is not a fan of anything below 70 degrees, but what I do enjoy is pulling out my fall wardrobe. I mean who doesn’t like a good cable knit sweater, some high-waisted jeans, and a pair of tall boots.

But in all honesty, my daily wardrobe in the fall can be more accurately categorized as a college bum. Once the weather starts turning chilly, my laziness hits an all-time high, and it is not good. Not only do my academic and personal responsibilities slip but any hope of staying active goes down the drain.

Losing motivation in the cold months may be common for most college students, especially since midterm season is approaching rapidly. But cold weather does not have to mean you stay inside being a couch potato until March.

It’s all about embracing the brisk temperatures and finding your fitness purpose. Seems like a simple idea, but this didn’t click with me until I read, “I Train So I Can…” by Kasey Brown, a youth and women fitness coach/ trainer. Her message is all about finding the why behind your fitness journey, and using that as your core motivation.

Maybe you train because you’re an endorphin junkie or maybe you train to be healthier, stronger, and happier. Whatever the reason is, find that and use it to your advantage. It’s all about why you do it. This journey is yours and no one else’s. You’re not doing it for anyone else but yourself, which is why you need to come up with your motivation.

I originally started my fitness journey because I was training for a half marathon, that my friend begged me to run with her. I happened to get out of it (I was very happy about this), but this didn’t stop me from continuing to stay active as much as I can. It can be very hard but there are ways to keep your motivation up as the temperatures go down.

How to stay motivated:

Find your fitness journey why. Repeat it. Believe it.

It’s very easy to come up with why you want to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle but identifying it is not enough. You really have to believe it. On those days where you’re stuck in fuzzy socks and a fleece onesie, repeating your fitness purpose will help you to get up and get active. Need an extra push? Get some friends involved and motivate each other to ditch the fuzzy socks for a few hours and get sweaty.

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Don’t let your favorite show stop you.

I’m awful at this. I find my new favorite show and basically live and breathe it until I’ve finished every season. Leaving a butt print on your couch should not be the only thing you accomplish during the cold months. Go for a run, go to the gym, or do a fitness class, and once you’re done I promise slouching on that couch at the end of the day will feel even more satisfying. Don’t feel like leaving your house? Clear some space and exercise in your living while you watch your show. Anyway to get active is a good way, so do what works for you.

Don’t do it alone.

You’re independent and a powerhouse but every warrior needs support. Get your friends involved in your fitness journey and make it a group effort. It is easy to fail as one person because keeping yourself accountable is hard. Your friends are there for you, just like you’re there for them, so do it together!

Don’t let the start of sweater weather keep you bundled up, get out there and live your active life.    

 

 

 

Relieve stress with a girl’s night in

Ever feel overwhelmed? Is the stress getting to you? Well, I’m right there with you. I feel stressed very often and sometimes its hard to get out of the funk. It’s getting a little old having very little free time for myself. I’m sure you can relate.

It’s important to make time to wind down and relax. One of my favorite ways to wind down usually involves some wine and a favorite show. Relaxing seems very simple but I’m finding it harder and harder to squeeze it into my tight schedule.

I’ve also noticed lately, not only am I not making time for myself, I’m not making time for my friends. I started looking into it and found Fun And Healthy Ways To Spend A Girls’ Night, written by Kayla Itsines. It makes so much sense and the idea of making time to relax with friends is so simple, but can be hard to juggle with everything else. I think we all just get so caught up in what we’re doing, and we seem to forget how important friendships are. I tend to think when I’m feeling overwhelmed or upset that it’s just me dealing with it, but it’s not.

You’re probably wondering how this pertains to fitness or exercise or anything I’ve ever talked about before, so here it goes: you can’t be healthy and happy until you take care of not only yourself but the relationships in your life.

Next time when you’re filling in your planner, try making more time for the friendships in your life. And I don’t just mean a night out at the bar. Sure, I like a couple (maybe 6) vodka cranberries at the bar but sometimes it’s nicer to avoid the obnoxious crowds and just have a night in.

Ideas for girl’s night in:

Wine & Dye

Who doesn’t like a nice glass of wine to end a busy day. Sure, you could drink wine and watch TV but where’s the fun in that. Change the usual up a bit and add a little hair dye into the mix. If you’re like me and on a budget, boxed hair dye is the way to go, but it can be hard to do it by yourself. And very boring might I add. Grab your friends and have fun with it. It’s super easy so don’t worry. Make it even better by add your favorite snack.

food

Yoga

Going to the gym or to a fitness class is great to do with a group of friends, but what if you don’t have time or don’t feel like dealing with that many people. No worries! You can exercise at home with your friends using workout videos. My favorite are yoga videos because they help you to tone your body and relieve stress.

Face masks & Abs

If I’m being honest, buying face masks are one of my guilty pleasures. I have a ton of them but continue to buy more. Most face masks stay on for about 10-15 minutes and in that time, I’m usually scrolling through social media (as if I haven’t done that earlier). Anyways, the time to let face masks work, is a great amount of time to get your abs burning. Friends and face masks, make abs not as awful, so try it next time you’re cleaning your pores.

 

 

 

Music is a motivator: How to create the best music playlist for your workout

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Courtesy of flickr creative commons

Motivation is hard to come by. It seems we are always finding excuses to not exercise. Sure, a day stuck on the couch, cuddled up in a blanket is not a bad idea, but breaking a sweat isn’t so bad either. Finding the motivation to exercise can be very difficult, especially if you’re new to fitness.

Luckily, there are tons of fitness tips out there, to keep you motivated throughout the fitness journey.  I recently read, 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Reaching Your Fitness Goals by Alison Heilig, and I related to so much, especially the part about not getting enough sleep (I’m the worst with that). One thing that was missing and that people seem to forget is that creating the best workout playlist is very important.

A workout playlist can make or break a workout, because music is a great motivator. The right song can completely change a workout. Don’t let a bad playlist ruin your workout. It’s time to think about creating a new playlist; I’m sure your year-old playlist won’t mind.

Here are some helpful questions to ask when creating a work out playlist:

What type of workout?

Running/ High cardio: For a running or high intense cardio work out, you want to pick songs that match your running tempo or your cardio beat. A great running song can help you keep pace and stay energized throughout the workout (because you know your gonna need it!). There are many song options for running/ cardio but they are all so different, so explore what’s out there and find what energizes you!

My picks:

Home by Yellow Claw

Solo Dance by Martin Jensen ∼ Be Somebody by Steve Aoki + Romero (feat.)

Strength training: Need a boost during that last squat? Songs that have rhythm are great for repetitions but you can’t just pick any one. Pick a song that gets your mind of those burning muscles (you’re gonna need it).

My pick:  Rewind by Wingtip

 

Does this song motivate you?

A great workout song will meet your workout needs and motivate you to push further. Of course, you want to find a song you like, but it’s important it motivates you throughout the workout. Basically, it has to be a song you really like, because you’re probably gonna be hearing a lot of it.

My Picks:

bodyache by Purity Ring

Idwgaf by Borgeous ∼ Bloodstain (Galantis Remix) by Wrabel

What is the theme for the workout?

Workout playlists also need variety. Try incorporating a theme for the music playlist to keep your workouts interesting each time. There’s enough repetition in workouts to begin with; don’t make your playlist a bore, vary it up!

Throwback playlists are one of my favorites to create. Everyone loves a good throwback tune, because they’re super fun and just puts you in a great mood.

My picks:

Mr. Brightside by the Killer

Shake it by Metro Station ∼ Paper Planes by Kala

Songs for the cool down:

It is very important to always stretch before and after a workout. Wind down and enjoy the endorphin high with some great favorites.

Afterlife by XYLO

Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac ∼ Split Stones by Maggie Rogers

Staying active, while living a busy life is hard but it doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Create a new playlist, for your next workout and have fun with it! Feel free to share your favorite playlists in the comments below.

 

 

Life’s a balancing act

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courtesy of flickr creative commons

After taking about a two-month hiatus from the gym, I finally dragged my tired self to the gym, this week. Okay, more like my roommate completely ignored my strong unwillingness to go and dragged me there, but either way I went.

I was not looking forward to it at all because I knew the workout would be crap, especially since I had just downed McDonald’s before going. But once I was standing on the treadmill staring at all the TVs in front of me, I decided I might as well make the best of it. Turned out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I don’t know about you, but this is a reoccurring cycle for me. I’ll have a ton of motivation; go to the gym, make it to work on time, finish assignments early, and be an overall productive person, but before you know it my motivation just disappears.

I really didn’t understand my bodies’ constant flip flop, which was very discouraging to me. Maybe deep down I’m just a lazy bum.

But then after finding How to Stay ‘Balanced’ at 28, written by blogger SENIINTHEBOX, today I realized there are other people dealing with the same frustration. I was shocked at all the similar experiences and thoughts we shared.

It dawned on me that my problem isn’t that I’m a lazy bum (okay, maybe it is a little). My problem is finding the right balance for MY life. Finding the right balance for your life is all about finding moderation in all that you do. We’ve all probably heard this before. I mean I can still vividly hear my dad saying, ‘everything in moderation’ when I was a kid, as he watched me eat 5 scoops of ice cream.

Okay, so logically that makes sense but what about those nights where you eat an entire pack of Oreo’s because it’s just one of those days. What about when you’ve spent more than half of the day stuck in your pj’s, ignoring responsibilities. Well is that okay? Some would very strongly say no but let me tell you it’s normal and it’s human.

Being a hardcore perfectionist makes living in moderation a hard concept for me to grasp, but I realized to succeed you need to be forgiving towards yourself. Don’t throw in the towel just because you ate the entire bag of chips instead of the 5 you promised you’d eat. Or because you ate an entire box of Fractured Prune donuts like I did at the beach this past summer (I later regretted this decision).

donuts1

Don’t let it stop you. Life is all one big balancing act so don’t panic if you slip up a little bit. Being able to find YOUR own flexibility is what it’s all about.

Sticking to a strict diet or exercise regime might work for others but for me it usually ends in failure. I know once I start being more forgiving towards myself in all aspects of my life and find the right balance, that I’ll be able succeed MY way.

Find what works for you. If you have any ideas for how to stay motivated or how you’ve succeeded in living a balanced life, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to share them in the comments below.

 

balance. flexibility. moderation.

 

 

Confessions of a fitness wannabe

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Confession #1: I have spent hours scrolling through Instagram fitness pages. And when I say hours…I mean hours.

My original interest in following fitness accounts was to one day reach that same pinnacle of fitness. I would say to myself maybe one day I’ll have 6 pack abs, be able to squat 250 lbs., or be able bench press my own body weight.

Scrolling through fitness accounts was my way of gaining motivation to go to the gym, and it worked…at first. There’s always this notion that with the right amount of sweat and tears the seemingly impossible goal, is possible, but only if you really want it. I was jealous of these gorgeous people and their impeccable bodies, but I was never going to go to the full extreme that these pages were promoting.

And I’m okay with that.


Confession #2: I have purchased whey protein, detox tea, green tea pills, and many other weight loss or exercise supplements.

All of which have rotted away in my cabinet. I’m pretty sure there is still a tub of chocolate whey protein in the very back of my parents’ pantry, collecting dust (oops).


Confession #3: I went on multiple tinder dates with this guy last year, to get the fitness inside scoop.

Okay I lied, in all honesty I swiped right because of his sculpted thighs and irresistible man bun, but I mean who wouldn’t. Am I, right?

The guy was a professional weightlifter and it showed in every way possible; the pictures didn’t lie. It was all fun and games until he brought out the scale. Before eating any food, this man weighed everything he was going to consume, and recorded it into his fitness app. Accounting for each item of food, weighing the contents, calculating calories burned throughout the day, and limiting yourself to very few food options, doesn’t sound fun to me.

Is that really a healthy way of living? Weighing food is for grocery stores and restaurant kitchens. Weighing food for a dietary plan, well that’s just not something I can get on board with.


Confession #4: I have tried pre-workout and I am not a fan.

Pre-workout may be great for others; that is if you like to experience what can only be described as tiny heart attacks. Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad. In fact, I really didn’t notice much of a change in my energy levels at all. In a 2017 International Journal of Exercise Science study, it found that pre-workout only increases energy and strength levels by 4-8 percent.

Really makes you wonder what all the hype is about and what exactly is in those supplements.


 

Whatever happened to simple health and fitness. My life is complicated enough; I don’t have time to get in a two-hour gym session every day, count my daily macros, or obsess about my caloric intake. If that’s for you, great, but it’s not for me.

I now believe simple is better. Be creative with exercise. You don’t have to just be a gym rat to be fit. Have fun with it. You won’t stick to it if you hate it or die of boredom each time you drag yourself to the gym.

creative. simple. exercise.