Body, Boys

Let’s Get Naked!

When I was little my mom would take me with her when she went shopping. Clothing stores were the my favorite because back in the early 1990s all of the clothes were hung on circular racks…and I used to sneak off and hide inside them. Of course. While I may have gotten lost once or twice (sorry mom!), most of the time it wasn’t hard for my mom to find me… she just had to find the rack that looked like a clothing volcano. See, once I was inside the racks, I’d take off all my clothes and throw them out the top of the rack. Sometimes I’d try on the new clothes. Then I’d throw those out the top too. The rack that was spewing clothes was the one I was in. I’m sure the associated loved me.

But most of the time (I’m told) I just wanted to be naked.

When we’re young we’re not ashamed of our bodies. It is simply the skin-covered thing that we live inside. Our bodies let us run and jump and do cool things like climb trees and swing on the monkey bars. I remember one summer I learned to do them. I was so happy! And then something changed. At some point I lost that sense of fearlessness and adventure and began restricting what my body could do. Suddenly my body became something negative that I was trapped inside of. The lack of positivity continued and, like most girls, I became more concerned with what my body looked like and less with what it could do.

As part of my weight loss journey I decided to see what my body could do again. Running, yoga, swimming, hiking, etc. But I realized that getting past the fear of what my body could do was just one part of the issue. The other was getting past the fear of how my body looked. As I’ve said, it’s not just about the weight, but after years of being told to change, to cover up, to hide your curves, to drop a few pounds, the layers build up and it’s hard to get back to being comfortable with not just how your body looks, but actually looking at your body.

Before two years ago, I could not have told you a time when I had looked at myself in the mirror. Really looked. Once I started losing weight, I’d catch my reflection in a store window and think “is that really me?” I was actually surprised at my own reflection! Strangely, it was my face more than anything. Once I thought about this, I realized that before two years ago, I’d never even really looked at myself naked. Ever. I mean, how dare I look at my own naked body?! Put some clothes on, Jenn! Don’t be vain! But despite what we’re told (and despite female nipples not being allowed on social media), our bodies are not something to be ashamed of. Especially naked.

So I started to do it. Looking at myself in the mirror. Naked. To learn what I actually looked like. Of course I noticed changes… 40 lbs is a lot, but I noticed even at 20 lbs. I was proud of what I’d accomplished, but it wasn’t just that. I noticed freckles and beauty marks I’d unknowingly had for over 20 years (and secretly hoped no one would ever need to use them to identify my body in a serial killer situation). I noticed scars I’d forgotten about from when I had the chicken pox or when I fell on the playground. And of course, I noticed rolls and wrinkles and dimples and stretch marks that I’d had for as long as I could remember. But somehow now, I was not ashamed of them.

I started liking what I saw in the mirror.

Now, I’m not an advocate for seeking external approval, especially when it comes to your body… but I will admit that it didn’t hurt that I was getting into the dating scene and felt more attractive than I ever had before. Once I realized that the guy I was seeing at the time (French Toast) was all about my rolls and dimples, I knew that the body negativity was crazy and something I had to get away from. We care so much about how we look, but most of the time our appearance isn’t even for us.

Before French Toast and I slept together the first time, I shaved, exfoliated, moisturized, put make up on, etc. I even matched my bra and my underwear (I meant business). I wanted to look good. I wanted to be attractive. Afterwards, he put his clothes back on and I remember thinking that I should put my clothes back on too. And then I thought to myself, “Why? He literally just had sex with me. I was naked. If he’s cool with my body, why aren’t I?” I did not put my clothes back on. And now I rarely do.

I’ve talked a lot with my friends about this need to be clothed. Especially after sex. And while I understand that it’s something most people do, I’d like to point out that it’s just another sign that we’re taught to hide and be ashamed of our bodies. Friendly reminder that the person you slept with just slept with you. And unless there’s a sex position that I’ve never heard of that allows for your partner to see you at the exact same angle as the perfect selfie you posted to your Snapchat story… they know what you look like. Good, bad, and ugly.

So let’s get naked! I’d like to challenge you to do two things:

  1. Check yourself out in the mirror. Naked. What’s the worst that could happen? (No your mirror will not crack). #WhosTheFairestofThemAll #YouAre
  2. Don’t get dressed after sex. Stay naked. If you’re cold, blankets exist on a bed for a reason. If you’re not in a bed… cool, but beds are super comfortable so find a bed. You’ll thank me after the nap.

See how you feel. See what happens. I’d like to bet that after the first few times that will definitely be slightly awkward, you’ll enjoy it and you’ll appreciate the skin-covered thing you live in a little more. Maybe you’ll realize that being naked is freeing and there’s a reason we’re all born without clothes on. How weird would that be if we weren’t?!

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Body

When Happiness Can be a Choice…

This week was tough for me. I accepted a new job last week (yay!) and gave my two weeks notice. Which means I’m very excited but also very stressed because I feel like I have so much to do. I worked late and worked through lunch nearly day. I was exhausted.

I felt like I didn’t have time to do anything else, especially go to the gym. But worse than the negative impact on my physical fitness, was just how mentally and emotional drained I was feeling. I’m not quite sure it was even a conscience thing, but the anxiety dreams sure didn’t make things better.

I knew that actually going to the gym, or taking some time to myself, unwinding, and trying to relax, would help me but the priority was getting things done! On Thursday my sister insisted that we go to yoga.

I hadn’t been in two weeks and my left ankle wasn’t about the poses. But I was able to focus on my breathing and even had a few seamless transitions into downward dog with an extended leg (big deal for me because I’m not a very coordinated or smooth person). By the middle of the class I felt great, and I was having fun. I laughed at myself for almost falling twice and really got into the rhythm of the flow.

Just before we got to the part of the class where we just lay down and sleep, the instructor said something that really hit me. She said:

Happiness can be a choice.

Of course there are many people in the world who cannot choose to be happy every day because of depression or anxiety or other circumstances. But I can choose to be happy. And I wasn’t.

I had let the stress get the best of be and began to feed on it, becoming more stressed and tired and moody. I was choosing to focus on the negative and not even take time or put in the effort to help myself by taking a break at lunch, going to the gym, and going home with a clear head. I was choosing to not be happy. And it was negatively impacting my body.

I got home after yoga and despite the fact that I totally reeked, I felt great. And I slept wonderfully. And Friday morning when I woke up, I decided to start the day in a positive way by looking at pictures of dogs on the Internet for twenty minutes before getting out of bed (My favorite is below).

So when happiness can be a choice:

  • Remind yourself that things will get better.
  • Try to put things into perspective. Where will being stressed/angry/etc. get you? Is it worth it? What’s the worst that could happen if xyz doesn’t happen? What’s the worst that could happen if xyz does? I guarantee you the world won’t explode.
  • Do something to break out of your gloom. Yoga? Workout? Go out to eat and eat all the amazing pasta and creme brûlée like I did on Tuesday night? Do it! You have the time.
  • Start the day on a positive note. Eat a bomb breakfast. Meet someone out for breakfast! Sit and enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee on your comfortable couch (I have a futon so it’s not that comfy). Or if you can, don’t set an alarm and let yourself sleep in.
  • Treat yourself! To something that you enjoy. Sushi lunch? Yes! Manicure? Why not?!!
  • Get off your phone for a second and enjoy the little things. Step out into the sun and bask in it for a bit. It’s winter so it’s rare. Notice the birds singing or the shape of the clouds in the sky. The world is kind of amazing when we take the time to notice it.
  • Bonus: Look at pictures of cute dogs or animals. Or if you’re lucky and have a cute dog or animal (my cat won’t cuddle), get them to help cheer you up. Did you know that dogs learned how to smile from us?! Like through evolution?! Like they smile because we smile!! They love us that much. I could cry. (Fun fact from my coworker/friend who has the cutest old man dog named Marshall).

Again, I understand for some people it’s not a choice, but for many of us it can be. And making that choice when we’re getting sucked into our own black hole of stress and frustration and exhaustion, is a really important thing to do. For us.

(The other dog pictures I love)

look at his little tongue!

look at his ears!

look at his little paws!!

look at his smile! He’s so happy!!!

Body

Too Much of Something is Bad Enough…

Wise words from Ginger, Posh, Baby, Scary, and Sporty… Spice, that is. And it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about when it comes to all things booze and boys. And when I really think about it, body too.

At the beginning of last week I was feeling good, feeling inspired, and like my next health/weight/fitness goal was within reach. That hasn’t quite changed, but I’ve been faced with something I constantly struggle with when it comes to what I put in my body – or specifically how much I put in my body – when trying to lose weight.

The Spice Girls had another point. One that I think we sometimes forget about: Too much of nothing is just as tough.

And it’s just that. I haven’t been eating enough and it makes things tough. We’re constantly told that eating less is best when trying to lose weight. And it is obviously important, but within reason. Portion control is a must, but calorie restriction isn’t always sustainable. For me, it’s not. Especially not the typical 1,200 calorie diet. I don’t think crash diets work for anyone… at least not long term. And definitely not when exercise is involved.

Looking back at my food log for the past week, I was consuming around 1,300-1,400 calories per day. And I trying to exercise. Thanks to a close call in yoga on Tuesday where I felt like I was going to pass out and then spent the rest of the class in child’s pose, I realized 1,300-1,400 was too few for me. Even though I wasn’t hungry.

I’ve read in the past that when you change your diet drastically or start a new diet, you shouldn’t exercise for the first week to give your body one to adjust a bit. So for the rest of the week I put exercise on hold. Something I wasn’t thrilled about. But with the additional stress I’ve been feeling at work, I knew something had to give.

This coming week I assume my body will have adjusted a little to having salads for lunch and lower carb dinners and I’ll be more comfortable exercising. That said, I still need to get a handle on how many calories I need with no additional activity and how many calories I need when I exercise. Obviously the latter is more but I always have a hard time finding the sweet spot.

If you’re struggling with this too:

Keep a healthy snack or two or three around for when you’re feeling like you haven’t eaten enough. Even if you’re not technically hungry. I think a big part of weight loss is psychological so we tell ourselves that in order to lose weight we should feel hungry. Not the case.

Figure out how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis based on your age, weight, and activity level. I’m not a doctor or a scientist so I can only suggest that you spend some time Googling this and or making an appointment with a nutritionist.

Look into protein shakes. Some people hate them. Personally I don’t want water and powder that tastes like cookies n cream. But I might have to get back into protein shakes (coffee flavored obviously). They were my saving grace in the first few months of my weight loss journey back in 2016 and helped me drop the first 20lbs.

And remember that too much of nothing is just as tough – if not tougher! Listen to your body! When we trigger starvation mode by eating too little, our bodies are going to fight back. And while you may lose some weight, it’s not sustainable in the long term. And bottom line is, it’s not healthy.

Body

Tipping the Scale

I must be doing something right! This morning I got on the scale and it was great! After fluctuating up and down since basically August, I finally broke the 40 lb mark! Only by 1.6 lbs, but still!

Over the last two weeks, I have been back at the gym, done the videos for arms and abs, and gone to yoga. I’ve also been more conscious of what I’m eating and started logging my food on MyFitnessPal again. I even didn’t give in to drunk food or hangover food this weekend. I mean, I definitely drank a lot, but whatever, I can’t win at everything!

Before today I hadn’t set another goal past my 228. And despite knowing I still have a bit to go before my ultimate goal weight, I hadn’t thought much about my next step. But now, I’m inspired to keep going, to look forward to the next milestone.

I’d like to see 215… it’s crazy because it has seemed so far away and unobtainable for so long. And 215 feels so much closer to 200, and then under 200! I don’t even know how I’ll feel then but I know it’ll be worth celebrating. A big celebration!!

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not just about the weight. I feel good and I can feel the changes and see the changes. In the way my body looks and feels, and what it can do. But no matter how good I feel, I will admit that small victories like one I experienced this morning make a difference in a journey that sometimes feels like it’s going to last forever.

Body

Off to the Races!

As I’ve mentioned before, I hadn’t really been running much… so I figured the best way to get back into it was to have a goal. And although I didn’t technically make a new year’s resolution, in December I told myself I would run five 5k races in 2018… and hike more, but it’s too cold for that right now.

Sooooo, a friend and I signed up for a 5k in March! And I’m very excited for it and though I haven’t run that far in a while, I figure I can do it no problem. By no problem, I mean… with some more frequent running sessions and the help of an app and a good playlist.

Today I re-downloaded the C25K app and headed to the gym after work. Since I don’t actually have a full 8 weeks to train and I’ve already done the program, I skipped week 1 and went straight to week 2 – 5 minute warm up and cool down with 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for a total of 31 minutes.

I will say that I had forgotten just how challenging it is to do intervals, and running for such a short time made it hard to really find my stride. However, I enjoyed it and plan on doing it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day!

My goals for the training are to:

  • Increase my speed. I run pretty comfortably at 5.5 mph, but would like to find my way to 6 mph. I may also throw in some elevation changes when I’m on the treadmill mostly to give my butt some love.
  • Run more outside. I’m not a fan of global warming, but I won’t complain about a 55 degree day in January. Even if it’s kind of rainy like today. I’m going to try to take advantage of those days and run outside. This will be a challenge if there are a) snowbanks, b) dogs, and c) things to look at #Igetdistractedeasily #Ialsogetlosteasily

In my running adventures, I’ve found that having a program to follow helps. Especially when trying to get into a routine. I know it’s basically the end of January, but I feel like I’m just finding my way back. I know this 5k will help me get there. I’ve paid for it, so I’m doing it!! The only downside to a Sunday morning race is that I can’t go out the night before… maybe I can convince my friend to do a post-race brunch with lots of mimosas as a reward.

Will provide any updates on this. And, of course, a race photo!

Body

It’s Not Just About the Weight.

Somehow despite the fact that I’ve not been totally on top of my healthy food and exercise game, I’ve been feeling pretty good about my body (yes, even after all the chocolate covered pretzels). And that’s something that’s kind of new. I’m aware more than ever that it’s not just about the weight.

As I mentioned in my post about my first mile of 2018, I wasn’t a fit kid. I literally can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a belly and bingo wings. I’m 5’10” (and have been this height since about the age of 13) and was always told I was big-boned (which I am), so for a lot of my life it didn’t really occur to me that I wasn’t healthy. I just thought, “well my height makes up for it”. But I hated going to the doctor and getting weighed, and I knew was bigger than my friends. Somehow, neither of those things made me want to make a change.

Until senior year of high school. I weighed 274 lbs at the time. My all time high. It was much too close to 300 for my liking so my mom and I joined Weight Watchers and I started going to the gym. Motivated by prom, I lost 30 lbs. I went from a size 22 jeans to a size 18.

Throughout college, I continued going to the gym… but only just enough to balance out the junk food and sugary alcohol drinks (sophomore year my go to was Hawaiian Punch and Malibu rum… #why). By graduation, I was back up to 252. I moved home and started to focus on being active and making better food decisions. It was a slow process,and I hit a few bumps along the way, but within six months I saw 238. It was the lowest number I’d seen in my adult life at the time and I was inspired to keep moving forward.

I started my first real job out of college and moved in with roommates in Boston. Somehow in the first four months, I avoided buying jars of Nutella and eating them with a spoon (even though it was a common thing in the house) and since I didn’t have many friends in the city, I spent most of my free time at the gym. I also may have been slightly motivated by the possibility of sex. I mean… who doesn’t want to look good naked? One day in April 2014 I stepped on the scale and said 229. Another all time low!

The sex didn’t happen (thank God) but after a while, the good habits I had formed fell away and I gave into eating jars of Nutella with a spoon and began skipping the gym.

A little less than 18 months later I had unknowingly gained almost 40 lbs.

After my cousin’s wedding in late August 2015 I had been tagged in a bunch of Facebook photos. When I saw them, I was mortified. The dress I wore was not flattering. And I’d worn it many times… why hadn’t anyone told me I was huge!? (That’s harsh, but it’s how I felt looking at the photos.)

I untagged myself and told myself I would make a change.

Fast forward just about two and a half years later, I’m back down to about 229.

IMG_3978

But I feel completely different than I did in 2014 – and it’s not just that the size 16 jeans that were tight then are almost loose now. Obviously losing weight has played a factor in how I feel, but I don’t think it can take all the credit.

IMG_3979

It’s not just about the weight.

Many people think losing weight is the solution to their problems, and it’s not. The “when I lose X lbs, I’ll be _______” attitude isn’t realistic and I think is actually really harmful. The truth is: Losing weight isn’t going to make you happy. It’s not going to make guys like you. It’s not going to get you that promotion at work.

I know people that have lost a ton of weight and don’t see themselves any differently. They still look in the mirror and see themselves at the “fat” girl. The girl that needs to wear baggy clothes to cover her body. The girl that isn’t good enough. But we can’t focus on the flaws.

Instead, focus on the positive.

I think that’s been the biggest difference for me. While I wanted to lose weight, I framed it as wanting to be more active and be healthy. And while there are days, weeks even, when I might not feel great or I know I didn’t make the best decisions that I could have, I remind myself what I’ve accomplished. A year ago, I would’ve been ecstatic to see the number that I now see as negative when I step on the scale. Why should it be negative now?

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The number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. I don’t think I’ve lost weight in almost 3 months. I’ve been fluctuating between 228 and 235 for what feels like forever. And looking at the picture from April 2016 to today, the changes don’t seem drastic. Nowhere near the difference of the first few months, and yet it’s a difference of (almost) 20 lbs.

But when I look at myself in the mirror, I can see slight changes in the shape of my belly and the curves of my hips. And when I look in the mirror, instead of being critical about that shape or that curve, I’ve become more accepting of what I see. That shape is constantly changing and that curve brings all the boys to the yard. Why not be thrilled?

So forget the number on the scale! I recommend taking lots of full body mirror selfies. It’s amazing what we don’t see from one day to the next. And as my mom always tells me, take your measurements! Appreciate the small changes in not just how your body looks, but how it feels and what it can do. It’s a tough journey and many people will never find their way to positivity and acceptance, but the fact it: it’s a journey. And one that is worth the weight.

(That was cheesy, I know. It’s late and I should be sleeping).

Body

Reversing the Weekend Rewind

I woke up this morning unable to remember the last time I had eaten a vegetable. I knew it was probably Thursday, but I had no idea what I ate or at which meal. And it made me realize how much I wanted an extra large kale salad or green juice. Just to get back to eating healthy foods.

Now that I’m seriously thinking about it, I had a few bites of butter-soaked green beans at brunch on Sunday, and some heavily-dressed Caesar salad at dinner on Saturday. I was away for part of the weekend and it’s very possible that the gin and tonics (mvp drink btw) made me forget any good decision I made. I mostly remember drunkenly eating chocolate covered pretzels at 3:30 am and then again at the airport where they did not taste as good.

Anyways, my point is that while I felt great last week as a result of the healthy eating and multiple yoga classes, that feeling no longer exists.

Weekends can really screw up your eating habits and make Mondays harder than they need to be. It’s something I know I need to work on because starting every week like it’s the first is not productive. While I don’t regret the choices I made this weekend (what’s the point), I’m going to do a few easy things this week to help me get back into the groove.

  1. Drink lots of water. While gin and tonics may look like water, they are not… unfortunately. So on top of all the salty and sugary foods I ate this weekend, I also drank very little water. Gatorade can only do so much… especially when paired with sour cream and onion potato chips.
  2. Pack lunches and snacks. In addition to saving me money, packing my lunches and snacks for work means I know exactly what I’ll be eating and can plan ahead, avoiding the cravings I might have for mediocre chocolate covered pretzels.
  3. Focus on eating fresh food. If I must buy lunch or dinner out, choosing the freshest option is the best. Fruits and vegetables don’t typically come in prepackaged containers that have a ton of sodium and sugar.
  4. Eat only when hungry. This is so hard because I still need to eat… but I don’t think I’ve been hungry since Friday. Much of the weekend I spent eating in social situations or eating while being entertained. Getting back to normal consumption is necessary in order for me to eat well.
  5. Get back to the gym. I actually went at lunch. Even though I didn’t want to. Because I’m full of chocolate covered pretzels. Sticking to the routine is important, and I’ve realized it’s not just a workout routine, but a routine around eating, sleeping, etc.
Body

Developing My Superpower

Last Saturday my sister asked me if I wanted to go to a hip-hop yoga class with her the next day. Drunk on new year motivation I said yes.

I am not a yoga person. I did a semester of it in college because a) it was for credit and b) who doesn’t want to take a class that ends with a 10 minute nap? Five years later, I’m flexible enough but there is no way my body is going to pretzel itself into some crazy pose with my foot behind my head and my arms twisted around each other.

Anyways, I said I would go, so the next morning, I was ready. (My sister, having been drunk on more than motivation the night before, was not.)

The yoga studio was intimidating and very crunchy. But most of all it was hot. I was skeptical (see before picture below).B8773546-3B40-434C-B4A5-762472D541EE

I was literally dripping sweat the entire time and it wasn’t until an hour into the 90 minute class that I realized that I had placed my mat just below a space heater. Once I accepted that the heater was not going to be turned off, I focused on trying to breathe with the movements. It’s hard as fuck and I was constantly inhaling when I was supposed to be exhaling. Also, why does every transition include a high plank!? Needless to say, the class was difficult. By the end I was exhausted.

My exhaustion was not just physical. It was emotional too. This is going to sound super lame, but I cried. Not like sobbing… but there was a moment toward the end of class when I wasn’t doing much when I felt a few tears run down my face. I’m not sure what I was crying about, but it was the new year, I was relaxed and reflecting, and an acoustic version of Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls was playing (not a hip-hop song, but whatever).

Apparently this can happen though. She explained that it’s a pretty natural reaction during a moment of calm in the practice when you’ve found your center. She said, “Finding your center is like a superpower”.

When I left the class, I felt great (see sweaty after picture below) and I decided that’s what I would do this year. No, not cry in yoga… find my center. The class helped me recognize the importance of self reflection and taking the time to be with myself for myself.IMG_3909

I’ve been back to the studio three times this week (they offer a free week for new people) and have never been so sweaty and sore. But I’ve also never been so calm and in touch with my mind and body.

Body

My First Mile of 2018

I hadn’t been feeling like running since probably October, so I didn’t. I’d get on the treadmill and just decide I didn’t want to. I’ve found that once I tell myself I don’t want to do something, that’s it and I will not be doing it. Those who know me know just how true this is. You might think that means I’m stubborn. My Mother says I’m strong-willed.

Add out of shape to strong-willed, and you’ve got me as a child.

I hated having to run the mile in gym class. We had to do it every year. One mile may not seem like a lot, and for many people it’s not. But, for many people, it is. I remember one year (I think I was in fourth or fifth grade) my Mom came to school to run with me. She is not a runner. Somehow it turned into her leading a group of misfits around the track, running and walking just fast enough so we could pass gym. We needed to finish in under 12 minutes and 30 seconds. We finished with two seconds to spare.

Running is hard.

I am not a runner. Before last year, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. Anytime I had to run – for the bus, or because I was late, or whatever – I’d get out of breath almost immediately and walk. Once I started losing weight I thought that running would be a good thing to do and help me reach my goals. I’d heard about Couch to 5K in the summer of 2015. I downloaded the C25K app by Zen Labs Fitness and I gave it a try.

I couldn’t run for 60 seconds when I started. It sucked. And then it didn’t. 90 seconds was hell. And then it wasn’t. Running for 3 minutes was the worst. And then it was okay. It took me 2 years and 4 attempts, but eventually I was able to run not just one mile, but three miles without stopping (I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to run). I haven’t run three miles since I finished the program last year.

But on Monday, I ran a mile.

I wanted to stop half way through. I was sweaty and slightly uncomfortable. I had a hard time finding my stride and my breathing didn’t feel quite right. My pants were falling down a little and the songs on my playlist were too slow. I could have used any of those things as an excuse to stop, but I didn’t. I told myself that I was halfway there. I’d just done half a mile. I could do it again.

I even considered stopping at .75 miles. Why not? I’d run more than I’d expected to already. But then I realized how close I was. Why stop?! Honestly, I think I could have kept running. Once I hit a mile, why not go for two? But I had to be realistic. I also had to shower and get back to work.

When I finished running, I was proud of myself for not giving up. I was proud of the fact that I could run a mile. I was proud of the work that I’d put in to get to this point. And I felt motivated to keep working, to set a new goal, to reach a new milestone (pun intended). On my walk back to work, I realized that that mile was only the beginning.

Ps. I hope y’all enjoy this awkward post-run, cross-eyed mirror selfie.

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Body

YouTube Workouts for When I “Don’t Have Time” for the Gym

By “don’t have time” I obviously mean “don’t want to, but still feel like I should go”.

YouTube is the perfect solution and I don’t have to leave my apartment! There are so many different workout videos online and of course if you really don’t have time, do a 10 or 15 minute video. I usually have the time, but not the attention span. They pack a lot into a short workout and you’ll be surprised at how much you sweat (my sister actually told me to put on my go-to for kettle bell any time she complains about being cold).

My go-to videos:

Kettlebell & Abs

I’ve always had a hard time finding instructors that I like, so when I discovered Amy from BodyFit by Amy, I was thrilled. She does a ton of different types of exercises so there are lots of options. Plus her voice isn’t annoying. I’ve been doing her 10 minute kettlebell video off and on for over a year and recently bought a new 10 lb kettlebell since the 5 lb one was feeling a bit too easy.

Amy is probably one of the only reasons I do abs. While I don’t mind crunches and lower ab leg moves, I hate planks. Standing abs is the perfect ab routine for when I’m feeling lazy but still want an ab work out.

Arms

I actually found out about Rebecca Louise from a pin I saved to my Fit-spiration Pinterest board for this video. She’s cute and quirky, but also not annoying (it really is a deal breaker for me). I started doing this workout with 5 lb hand weights and thought my arms were going to fall off so I went out and bought myself 3 lb weights. I’ve worked my way up to the 5 lb weights now, and while I still have “bingo wings”, I can definitely see results.