Let's talk about fitness, shall we? One day I received a question on Instagram, and I got really weird and did the thing you're not ever supposed to do as a blogger: I didn't respond.
(I'm sorry, friend). I didn't mean to, I just didn't know how to answer without sounding like a douche.
The question was, "What are your top 5 tips for staying slim and fit?"
The problem with answering was 1) I'm just as self-conscious about my bod as every other girl in the universe, 2) I don't consider myself "super fit" and 3) a bunch of my IRL friends follow me on Instagram, and while maybe they'd appreciate fitness tips too, I just assume they'll think I'm a narcissistic asshat if I start doling out advice.
But I'm over it. I've gotten a couple other requests about my fitness routine, and as I start to feel new muscles pop up and clothes fitting differently, I've decided it's time to answer the question. I'm passionate about fitness and I always have been. Lately, however, I've really felt in control of my routine. I'm loving it and I've stuck with it long enough that now I'm confident in letting you guys in on my secrets, which aren't actually secrets at all. They're habits you trick yourself into adopting.
Are you ready?
Here are my top 5 fitness tips:
1. Don't do it alone. I'm not kidding. I know it's not a luxury everyone has, but do everything in your power to find friends/family members/partners or even your dog to hold you accountable. When I was new to this area and could count the number of friends I had on one hand, I felt like this wasn't an option so I made a pact with my sausage dog (and occasionally long distance BFFs). Ziggy was lonely too, and if she was going to be disappointed with me for not taking her on a run, I was going to be disappointed too. Nowadays I'm less into running (we'll get into that shortly) and while Ziggy disapproves, I now have a group of ladies who push me every weekday to show up, do work and stick with it. If I miss a class, I'll get a text inquiring about my whereabouts. And if I don't make it, FOMO sets in anyway. Peer pressure in the best way, y'all.
2. Work harder, not longer. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is your best friend. It's short spurts of rigorous, heart pumping activity in between lifting heavy things/building muscle with little rest/active recovery in between sets. An example would be 40 seconds of jumping rope followed by a 40-second plank and so on. I used to be skeptical. For real. I would run for hours each day and while I was thin, I never saw muscle definition until I started doing HIIT workouts (online, for free). I was intimidated by Crossfit culture (WHAT'S A WOD? WHY ALL THE HANDSTANDS?), but mostly I was too broke for the heartache that would come if I fell in love with it. I started with Blogilates and Tone it Up videos (all free) and these days I'm all about the HIIT bootcamps that I do all over Oakland with my ClassPass membership (not free). Each class is generally 50 to 60 minutes long and they all vary from class to class.
3. Get it done in the morning. I never thought this was possible. I refused to wake up a second before I had to. And I'm not going to lie, it's still ridiculously hard sometimes, but it's 100% worth it. The findings on the benefits of AM workouts may be questionable, but regardless what science says, I find it beneficial because it's SO easy to find excuses (ahem, here are some) for not getting your workout in after work. I used to workout at lunch on days I worked from home, but that's no longer an option, so spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in an office makes the few hours of freedom in the evenings precious me-time (or blog-time, if you feel me). Eating delicious dinner > sweating my face off at night, so if you get it done first thing, you don't have to worry about it the rest of the day.
TIP: Lay out your clothes the night before. For the workout, I mean. I can't be bothered with picking out a work outfit the night before, but when it comes to fumbling around in the dark before 6am, I need my workout clothes in a neat pile ready to go. I often still forget my water bottle, but if I can get dressed in 5min, then I can wake up 10 minutes before I have to leave. And I often do.
4. Switch it up. Some people thrive on routine, and if that's you, great, but I get bored easily. I can't do the same exact workout every day--I'll get burned out after 2 weeks and then it's back to sleeping in. Make sure you have diversity in whatever workout you decide is for you. This is built into the ClassPass model (I swear they don't pay me, I wish they did!) since you can only visit the same gym three times per pay period, so my workouts range from spin class to three different bootcamps to barre or yoga. Muscle confusion, guys. It's real. Your muscles get fatigued (and plateau) from doing the same workout each day, so mix it up.
5. Start slowly, be kind. When I first started these bootcamps, my mind immediately flashed back to my knee injury and how awful it was feeling like I couldn't work out when I wanted to. Injury prevention was my number 1 concern. I didn't ever do rigorous classes back-to-back, I stretched thoroughly before and after each workout, and if I was super sore the next day, I did a pilates or low-impact yoga or barre class instead of another HIIT. When starting something new, it's easy to get caught up and want to go-go-go as fast and hard as possible, but trust me when I say injuries are the WORST. So be kind, start slow, work your way up, build trust within your body and don't take on too much too quickly.
How do you stay fit?