Ready To Lift x BBG

How do (did) I mix weightlifting (Ready To Lift) and the BBG (bikini body training guide)?

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Straight Leg Deadlifts from RTL

{UPDATE/Recap (March 2017): I followed this routine on and off for about 9 weeks this past summer, then switched back to just RTL and creating more of my own workouts. Currently doing a lot of rehabilitation/mobility/stability work for some weak spots and lighter weighted workouts before getting back to heavier lifting.}

This is a question I’ve gotten quite a bit in that last few weeks since I decided to restart the BBG along with a new movement of motivated and inspired women on Instagram using the tag #bbgcrushmode started by kickass Jera of @workoutbean.

Over the past year my style has changed and I shifted to a primarily weights training focus, which has been amazing and I’ve seen and felt some great results. But there also comes a time when one gets too comfortable in the routine and craves just a tiny bit of change and new found purpose to kick ass. This push of women restarting came at a great time.

I currently follow a mixture of Weightlifting workouts (lower body ones coming from our Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide) and BBG workouts. Here’s how I make it work for ME.

As of the past couple weeks I’ve been doing:

  • 2-3 lifting sessions a week in addition to BBG. 1 full lower body Leg and Booty session from Ready To Lift, 1 upper body session (that I create from scratch or find from another trainer online), and then a potential 3rd lifting sesh if I feel like a certain body area needs to be worked a bit more.
  • I’ve been adding a few additional exercises after some of my BBG resistance workouts. For example on Arms & Abs days, I’ve added in some weighted exercises for upper body (shoulders, biceps and triceps). And on a Leg and Cardio day, added in weighted exercises with an emphasis on Glutes and Hamstrings. I will adjust this all as the weeks pass, workouts change and I can see and feel what I want to focus on more as well.
  • I do no additional recommended Cardio, as one of my jobs involves biking a fair amount 4-5 days a week and for now this is enough.
  • A typical week may look like like: Monday: BBG Legs & Cardio, with added Hamstring & Glute exercises such as Romanian Deadlifts, Single Leg Deadlifts, Single Leg Sit Squats and Goblet Squats. Tuesday:¬†No gym, but biking for Cardio at work. Wednesday: BBG Arms & Abs, plus a few additional weighted exercises such as: Tricep Cable Pulldowns and Shoulder Press. Thursday: Leg & Booty workout from Ready To Lift. Friday: Upper body workout (self written). Saturday or Sunday: BBG Full Body & extra weighted exercises, other day is REST DAY!

I love that more of my cardiovascular strength is coming back thanks to biking and the BBG, but I also know that my body responds well to weights. As I’ve been at this a while and am now a Certified Personal Trainer I’ve really learned what my body is capable of but also when I need to push it and myself mentally out of my comfort zone. That is why I choose to restart and add the BBG back into my routine for the time being. My body and mind were ready for a challenge and as I had done it in the past I knew how to add it in and mix it with my weight lifting schedule.

I’m sharing this because I want people to know it’s okay to mix and match different style of workouts and/or workout program. This is what’s been working for me the past few weeks, but I will change and adjust my workout plan as I need and want to. There’s no rule that says you have to follow 1 style or plan! Find a plan, a type of workout, a personal trainer (like Myself -queue shameless plug ūüėČ ) or create your own workouts. Do what works for YOU.

What is your current training schedule like?? If you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

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Ready To Lift Leg & Booty Guide

Becoming a Personal Trainer, New Routine, New Life.

I’m back!image

¬† ¬†I have been on the move, Literally. Temporarily moving back to the U.S. from Germany for a few months, then back to Germany once again. Needless to say, it has been a busy and transitional period in my life. I’ve had many amazing experiences in the past few months and learned a lot about myself as an ever evolving person. It has been full of many ups and downs, times of both uncertainty and the sureness of my path.¬†But I’ve kept going, kept pushing and believing in myself enough to accomplish some amazing goals and dreams of mine.

image   While in the USA I finished up my ACE Personal Trainer course, and am proud to say I am now a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise. Over the past 2.5 years I have learned so much through my own personal experiences, extensive research and Personal Trainer Studies. Fitness and Nutrition has become a huge passion of mine, and a major aspect of my life. I absolutely LOVE helping others, through sharing my story and experiences, and offering support and advice whenever I can.  I want to help people realize their true potential to make a change in their own lives for the better, that it is possible.

¬† ¬†While in the U.S. I was also working on a Fitness project, a Women’s Lifting Guide “Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide“, ¬†which launched successfully¬†early April 2016. Timagehis was truly a passion project, as both Brittany and I¬†want to help encourage women to get into the weight room and pick up those weights. We have both had a very positive experience in our transition to more weightlifting (which I will share more about in another post). ¬†We want to help women find confidence in the gym, in their lives and in themselves. ¬†The making of this Guide involved extensive research, testing of the program and flying across the USA to meet my dear friend and business partner in crime, Brittany. I am very blessed to have connected with her through Instagram and our passion of fitness and health living. We had a nearly a week together, filming and shooting photos for our guide, editing, eating and having great conversations.

image¬† ¬†I am still in a bit of a transitional period while I continue to get everything organized over here in Germany, but thanks to our Ready To Lift Guide and the amazing community that is growing behind it, I have been keeping up with a fairly normal routine. I think it’s so important to keep pushing yourself in new ways, be it with new exercises, heavier weights, adding int a new challenge, it all leads to growth. I am currently mixing up my routine with the Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide as my base (3 lower body sessions), and adding in roughly 2 Upper body workouts and a small HIIT that include a mixture of body weight exercises, many more Weights -both free weights and some machines. I am loving the challenge of scheduling and creating my own personalized workouts, and I plan to soon have Personalized Training Programs available. I will share more on that topic soon as well.

   I want this space to be one that is helpful, inspiring and educational. So, from this point on, I plan to consistently share a variety of helpful Information, new Recipes, Fitness Challenges, and Fitness and Nutritional tips to help you on your own healthy journey. My domain name may have changed Рso that it reflects who I actually am Рbut it is still dedicated to sharing my Healthy Living Dreams. Excited to be back, and moving forward with you all.

  Much love, Alena Elizabeth

 

One year of BBG ~ Review of Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

My Year with the Bikini Body Guides

I’ve been trying to find the words to write about my experience over the past year, but when I think back on it there is so much that happened, and so many ways in which I grew, and it has been hard to put it all into words. So this might come across as a ramble, but I want to share my history and experience with the guides.

I first discovered Australian personal trainer, Kayla Itsines’s Instagram account last year, around February/March of 2014, about 6 months after I made my big lifestyle change. I loved what she was promoting, that women should love and take care of their bodies through proper nutrition and fitness. She had recently began featuring her clients transformations and I was so inspired by all these women who had changed their lives around and become stronger healthier versions of themselves. This is one of the reasons I decided to start my own Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instagram account (@healthylivingdreams) Summer of 2014, to also share my journey to a healthier life. I began incorporating many of her workout tips, trying Pylometric (jump) training for the first time, and loved her style of training. Her workout videos inspired me to try new exercises and push myself out of my comfort zone. Over the next few months I continued to follow her tips, while also doing my own research and trying different training styles, but I never followed a plan of any kind.

End of August 2014, nearly 6 months after discovering her account, I decided I was finally ready to try out her training program, I was ready to follow a real guide and have more structure to my workouts. So I decided to purchase her guide. But the week I made the final decision, she came out with her 2.0 version, and from what I saw it featured more weights, which I had come to love and so purchased this guide instead. What I didn’t realize at the time, was the 2nd guide really was a continuation of the 1st guide, and was meant to be done after completing the 1st. The first few weeks were great, but towards the end of 2.0 I realized I had not properly built up my strength for some of the exercise combos (especially the arm exercises), and it was a serious challenge to finish the 2.0 guide. But I pushed through and I did my best, and finished end of December 2014. I also repeated a few weeks, as during this period I had a huge life change and had moved to Germany. You can read more about my journey with 2.0 here. ~Note: I Strongly recommend starting with the Bikini Body Guide 1.0, unless you have a very strong strength and endurance Fitness background.~

On January 5th, 2015, I decided to start the BBG 1.0 alongside Thousands of women from around the world, in a joint movement called #thekaylamovement. Literally thousands of women from all around the world came together to start fresh and start strong and work towards healthier versions of themselves. I felt Inspired and so Motivated knowing I was part of such a determined and supportive group of women. We were working towards our own individual goals but also working as a TEAM.

Those next 12 weeks were truly an unforgettable experience. Not just because it was my first time completing the BBG1.0, but also because I connected with some of the most amazing women who were on their own journey towards becoming a healthier version of themselves, and strengthened friendships with others I had known from the beginning of my Instagram journey. During those 12 weeks I pushed myself to new limits, and discovered a physical and mental strength I never knew I possessed. And even though I had to take a week off towards the end due to terrible case of food poisoning (or the flu) I still finished strong and saw and felt amazing results both mentally and physically.

Then began #thek2movement, with a new start date for any women (or man) in the world who wanted to start together, or continue on to the BBG2.0. I continued on, starting my 2nd round of this guide, but much better prepared physically. Overall, I started this with enthusiasm and determination to keep seeing and feeling progress. But as many people experience, I went through some down phases both in my personal and fitness life, and started to become very frustrated with my progress and lost some of my motivation. I stopped doing the extra challenges found in the 2.0 guide and barely finished those last few weeks. I felt unmotivated, frustrated and in a way stuck. I write this with honesty because I want you all to know that it hasn’t always been all uphill, I haven’t always had full on motivation or even loved the guides at all times and there was a point where I considered giving them up all together.

I was so thankful that I had planned a vacation right around the time I would finish up with BBG2.0 for the 2nd time. My body and my mind needed a break from the routine, and those 10 days were an extremely important time of rest and reflection of my journey up to that point. While I was traveling internationally in Spain and then England, the 3rd round of #thekaylamovement began, and I was still unsure of what to do next. But during my time in the U.K. I was so fortunate to attend a BBG Meet-Up in London, a workout session which I lead. Being around these other ladies, in person, pushing ourselves and each other during the workouts reignited my passion and love for these guides. One 35 minute sweat session and an hour or two chatting with other like-minded women was all it took to inspire me to keep going with my BBG journey.

So I came back to Germany and recommitted to giving it another go. Continuing on, jumping into Week 2 to be along side the group, and this time adding in the Nutrition guide for the 1st time, known as the H.E.L.P guide (Healthy Eating Lifestyle Plan). A nutrition and meal plan guide that does not revolve around counting calories, but teaches about minimal intake of each of the Macro and Micro nutrient food groups (grains, dairy, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, liquids, vitamins, etc.). Although I had been eating fairly well and healthy, I hadn’t realized how low my vegetable, protein and calcium intake had been. I followed the servings sizes fairly strictly for the first 7-8 weeks or so (with the occasional treat meal and extra servings on the weekends). It worked well for a time, and taught me a lot, but as I’ve been on my fitness journey for about 1.5 years, my body was craving and needed more food. So, I recently have increased my servings from most of the food groups. I still aim to get in the Minimal servings as suggested in the H.E.L.P guide, but I eat more now. As our metabolisms get better, and our endurance grows, our bodies require more food to function properly and to fuel us in our daily activities.

As of August 25th, I have hit the ONE YEAR mark of my journey with the Bikini Body Guides (48 weeks of actual workouts, as I missed  a few here and there due to moving or being sick). When I started these guides I had no idea how long I would stick to it, or where my journey would lead me. I only knew I was ready to see and feel a change and work towards a Healthier and Stronger version of myself.  And Now One Year later, I am So proud of myself to sticking with it and for developing healthier habits and new found appreciation of my body. It was a completely new experience for me and I learned and grew in so many ways. Not only physically but mentally as well. Sticking to something and truly committing, picking yourself up and continuing to move forward even you feel unmotivated and that progress is slow is a huge mental accomplishment as well.  And knowing I was able to do this, gives me Strength and Confidence as I continue on my journey.

Edit* In just 1 week I will finish my 4th round of doing the guides! Over the past few weeks I have begun to incorporate extra weights, in place of one of the BBG resistance sessions and have been loving it. As I am studying to become a Personal Trainer myself, I have been enjoying coming up with my own weight routines and so will be focusing on developing these during the next part of my journey. The BBG will always hold a special place in my journey,¬† and perhaps I will continue to use it in some ways, as my HIIT workouts, or mix and match with my own. But just as I did prior to starting these guides, I will use my own knowledge to and research to create something that works for me and my individual needs and preferences. I’m ready to set some new goals and challenge myself in new ways, and very excited to see where this next part of my journey takes me.

If you are on the fence about starting the Bikini Body Guides, or your Fitness/Healthy journey in general, please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions you might have ‚̧¬† healthylivingdreams25@gmail.com

¬†¬†¬†¬† Thank you to all who have been apart of my Journey this past year. You have all truly had such a positive impact on my life and my progress and I am forever grateful. ‚̧ Alena

Glamour Health Challenge with Kayla Itsines

Glamour Health Challenge in Amsterdam with Kayla Itsines

Wow, what an AMAZING Weekend!

This past weekend I traveled from Oldenburg, Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands to attend the 1st stop in Kayla Itsines’s Boot camp World Tour! After discovering her Instagram account more than a year ago, it was truly an honor to meet the women who Inspired me to step outside of the box and push myself with my workouts, the woman who helped me realize there are so many other forms of progress and goals to work towards besides those numbers we see on a scale. Healthy, Fit & Strong. This is what she embodies and promotes, and I will be forever grateful for all her advice, encouragement and for the bonds I established with women from around the world thanks to her Bikini Body Guides. I only wish we could have One Massive Boot camp! Maybe someday ūüėČ

I’ll admit I had my doubts about traveling to Amsterdam and attending the event alone, in a country where I do not speak the language, but I had promised myself if I ever had a chance to meet Kayla and attend one of her boot camps I would. So, Friday AM I finished packing my bag and jumped on the bus to head to Amsterdam. Thanks to Kayla’s BBG I have connected with some amazing women around the world, including my Dutch friend & BBG sister Oksanna, who was kind enough to host me this past weekend. She unfortunately could not attend the event, but Saturday morning, with her help we figured out the route I would need to get to the Boot camp, I off I went. 1 Bus Ride, and 2 Trains later I arrived! While riding the train and standing in line waiting I met some other BBG girls who had also traveled alone, and just like that we joined forces for the day. It’s amazing having a love of fitness and these guides in common, it creates an immediate connection/bond.

We lined up outside the gates, and waited for the gates to open, excited and eager to enter the event, as more and more girls and women continued to show up and get in line. Once the gates opened, in poured upwards of 2,000 women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Teenagers, women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, mother and daughter duos and groups of fitgirls. All these women coming together to celebrate Health and Fitness and experience this unique experience together. It was truly an amazing sight to see and experience to have.

The event was hosted by Glamour Magazine Netherlands, who planned a whole day of Health & Fitness. The day kicked off at 11:30 with a Yoga Wear Fashion Show, followed by a 45 minute Yoga class taught by Wilma Werkheim. The yoga class was all in Dutch, but thanks to my German knowledge I was able to understand quite a bit and keep up without too many difficulties. The yoga class was followed by another Fashion show showcasing Running wear. Then came an hour break in which everyone could explore the Fitness wear stands, and grab something to eat or drink at one the many Healthy Food and Drink stands where you could eat almost anything your heart desires! There was such a large variety of healthy and nutritious options including, Bliss Balls, Fresh Smoothies, Breads with Avocado & Fresh Green Apple, humus & roasted Eggplant, Banana Pancakes, Tabloué Salads, Banana Bread, Vegan/Soy, Gluten & Sugar free Vegetal Ice Cream made from Fruits and Spices. Guilt free snacks and beverages designed to fuel your body!

After the break, everyone made their way back to the main field to get ready for the Boot camp. It was kicked off by a final Fashion show of Fitness Wear by some gorgeous Dutch women, including fitness bloggers, and members and founder of the Dutch companies Fitgirlcode and Jogha. Kayla’s Boot camp started straight after!

30 minutes of almost non stop training. She kicked it off with a very sincere Thank You to everyone, and then jumped right into the warm-up! 3 rounds of 30 second of each: Jumping Jacks, Squats and Jump Squats, Mountain Climbers, High Knees, and Push Ups. She then went into rounds focusing on two different exercises, one Jump/Fast exercise followed by an AB/Core exercise. 3 rounds alternating between the 2 exercises for a total of about 3:30 minutes. 1st combo was everyone’s favorite exercise Burpees, followed by a Plank. Then came Jump Squats and Ab Bikes, followed by Split Jumps and Bent Legged Jack Knives. Then came the TEAM Workout, with the walk way used a divider, we were split into two groups and told to face each other. Kayla gave us two exercises, starting with X Jumps and Ab Bikes to be done alternating every 30 seconds for 2 minutes. 2 more rounds of this for a total of 6 minutes facing our Team. The final big Combo of the Boot camp was 5 straight minutes of 10 different exercises, 30 seconds each; Push-Ups, Jumping Jacks, In and Out Jumps, Ab Bikes, Plank, Commandos, Jump Lunges, Lay-Down Push Ups, Mountain Climbers and Burpees! 5 Minutes of Pushing Ourselves to the Limit and it felt Amazing!!! We cooled down, stretched and then took some massive group photos!

FULL Boot camp Workout Video is up on Glamour NL’s website! Photo Gallery is up on the Glamour NL Facebook page.

Directly after the Boot camp, Kayla had a Meet & Greet, and hundreds of women lined up and waited patiently for their chance to meet, talk with, hug and have a photo taken with Kayla. So many smiles, happy laughs and even some tears of gratefulness. She has changed so many lives with her Guides, and the community that formed because of them, including mine, and it was an amazing, beautiful and overwhelming experience to meet and chat with her in person.

After 6 hours in the Sun, full of fun times, good food, new friends, and a Killer Workout, it was time to leave. But the feeling from this Day, the Energy and Excitement, the Team bond, the Motivation to personally Do my Best in All that I do, has stayed with me. It was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go.

My Tips for those attending a Bootcamp: Remember to pack a large Water Bottle, a Yoga Mat (large towel will also work), a fully charged Phone or Camera, get there early to secure a good spot and don’t forget to wear Sunscreen!!! (I was/am so Sunburnt!)

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Thank you Glamour NL for hosting such an Amazing Event and Thank you Kayla for creating your Amazing Bikini Body Guides and for bringing such a beautiful community together and your Bootcamps Worldwide! ‚̧ Alena

Did YOU attend the Event in Amsterdam? Or are you planning on attending another one of Kayla’s upcoming events? I would love to know!

To join the Worldwide BBG Community, check out Kayla Itsines’s Bikini Body Guides. Or sign up via Email to receive a Free week of BBG Workouts from the Bikini Body Guide. NOTE: I will only ever promote and endorse something that I truly believe in, have personally tried myself and find to be of good quality. Kayla’s Guides fall into this category! ‚̧

Healthy Living: Let Today be the Start of Something New.

imageNew Day, New Month, New Goals. Each day truly is an Opportunity to Change your Life for the Better. So, Let Today be the Start of Something New. 

Each day we have a choice to start something new. You can Start small and decide that Today is the day you will start walking or biking to work instead of taking the car, or the day you start using the stairs instead of the elevator. Today is the day you start adding one spoonful of sugar instead of two, or switching it out all together for a more natural sweetener such as Stevia or Honey. Today is the day you start trading your candy bar for a piece of fruit, your soda or beer for a tea or fruit infused water. Today is the day you will stop skipping breakfast, and start your day right with a fueling and filling meal, firing up your Metabolism. Today is the day you start better organizing your schedule to make sure you have time for your workouts, meal planning/prepping and downtime. Today is the day you Drink More WATER, the Liquid of Life. Today is the day you spend Less time on your cellphone and More time with Loved ones! Check out my Blog Post “Finding a Balance” for more tips on making small changes towards a Healthier Life.

Each day is an Opportunity to Push ourselves and keep working towards our goals. Try a Join a new Fitness class you’ve been thinking about and workout alongside all those other people working towards similar goals, support and push each other. Do some research about healthy meals, and try cooking a new one for yourself, or get more serious about meal planning and prepping (personal goal). Start adding in more Yoga to your normal routine (another personal goal). Venture into the “Guy area” of your Gym and hit the Squat rack! And don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice! Never forget that everyone starts somewhere. Or start the training program you’ve been debating doing! My personal recommendation is Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, which I have been following for the past 8 months and love, as it has truly pushed me to new Limits and helped me grow and improve in so many ways! (if you are interested in trying the Guide click here for a Free week of Workouts and Here for the Full Guides).

Sometimes it can seem intimidating and overwhelming to make a Change, but that is why you can start small and gradually add in more and more. It is the little things we do that truly add up to Big, Staggering results! So don’t be afraid to start, to change, to try something new. Because today is another day to start/keep working towards your goals, and a healthier and happier version of yourself.

Today is the day to Find, Try and Do something that your Future Self will Thank You for!

If you are feeling lost or unsure of where to start or simply looking for some extra support and guidance on your healthy journey check out my Mentoring/Support Page and send me an email at healthylivingdreams25@gmail.com

‚̧ Much Love, Alena

Mentoring/Support

Starting May 1st, I will be offering Mentoring/Support packages.

Fitness and Nutrition has become a huge passion of mine, and over the past 1.5 years I have learned so much through my own personal experiences and extensive research. I absolutely LOVE helping others, through sharing my story and experiences, and offering support and advice whenever I can.  I want to help people realize their true potential to make a change in their own lives, that it is possible.

My mentoring packages will include:

  • Online support through emails
  • Goal setting and planning
  • Text message/WhatsApp check-ins to make sure you are on the right track
  • (Optional) One on one Skype sessions

If you are interested please send me an Email at healthylivingdreams25@gmail.com

More details coming soon!

Much Love, Alena ‚̧

The Importance of Stretching

imageFlexibility. Stretching. Movement. Balance.

Stretching is such a vital part of fitness and is not only important and beneficial for the body, but also for the mind.

People often only focus on the strength training and cardiovascular workouts and overlook the importance of stretching. But just as we need to train our bodies to become stronger, we need to stretch our muscles to keep them healthy. Muscles, like other tissues in the body, need good circulation to be healthy, and this means movement.

Here are some of the main benefits of stretching:

  • Stretching has the ability to reduce stress,
  • Helps increase overall flexibility and lengthen muscles,
  • Increases circulation, which not only helps muscles but can help with mood,
  • Increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, which can help in reducing muscle soreness,
  • Can lead to better posture,
  • Helps to ease lower back pain,
  • Increase range of motion in joints, therefor improving balance.

Stretching can also be a great form of mental therapy, and I believe to be truly healthy requires a balance between mental and physical well being. Stretching and yoga requires a few minutes of calm movements and slower breathing, and even a short amount of time (10-15) minutes can help to calm the mind and give yourself a mental break. A Yoga or Pilates class can also be a great way to unwind both physically and mentally. Stretching can also be a great time for self-reflection or to reflect on your day or the workout you’ve just finished.

I have always loved stretching and working on flexibility, but have only recently begun practicing yoga and am slowly teaching myself. I find it to be calming and a form of therapy for my body and mental well-being, and a challenge as well. My personal recommendation is to make basic stretching or yoga a regular part of your exercise routine, but of course each person is so different so it’s important to learn what your body needs. My current routine: Try to do some light stretching after each workout, focusing on the area of the body which I worked the most during my workout, and dedicate at least one extra full session to stretching/foam rolling.

imageThere is a constant debate as to whether stretching can actually help to prevent injuries, and the opinion will vary from one trainer or doctor to the next. But in my personal experience, I have found that when I do properly warm-up/light stretch before and then properly stretch after a workout it really helps my body and I have not experienced any injuries in the past few months. I also suffered from chronic lower back pain after injuring my lower back in two separate Snowboarding accidents in the past 10 years and stretching has helped strengthen my lower back muscles which has greatly helped to reduce and relieve a lot of this pain.

Remember our bodies are all so different and will require different amounts of rest and different recovery methods. So, I encourage you to find out what works best for you and what your body needs.

‚̧ Much love, Alena

 

Healthy Living: Tips for getting Back on Track.

 Getting Back to the Routine after a Breakimage

¬†¬†¬† We all have our struggles and strengths when it comes to motivation and determination. When certain aspects of our life force us to take a break from our normal routine, it can be very hard for some and much easier for others to jump back in to the routine. We take vacations, celebrate birthdays, holidays, etc. and sometimes these events can make us stray from our normal routine, be that eating certain foods and cooking for yourself, going to the gym, working, taking a special daily walk, having time for yourself at home, etc. Maybe it’s only for a few days, maybe it’s a few weeks. But whatever the time frame is, I believe it’s important to truly enjoy yourself in that moment and just know that sooner than you realize, you will be back home and one way or another, you will be getting back to your usual routine. Sometimes jumping back into your normal routine can be easy, you know what it feels like and you’re motivated to get back to it. But sometimes it’s not always so easy, as there could be so many different factors as to why you took a break from your routine in the first place.

I understand that it can be difficult to get back to the normal routine, you feel heavier, lazier, have less motivation and energy than normal and keep telling yourself that you’ll get back to it tomorrow. I have experienced this all at different times in my life, but I can honestly say that in the past year and especially the past few months I have learned to deal with these feelings differently, and find the motivation to get back to my routine.¬†Is it always easy for me? Absolutely not. I still have times when I struggle with this. But I have learned so much from trial and error and now have a “routine/list of tips” that I use for planning ahead and getting back on track after a break, holiday or a couple of indulgence days.

     These are little things I have learned to do for myself that help me get back into my routine after a holiday or vacation or when I am lacking motivation. These things may not work for everyone, but this is what works for me, and I truly hope these can help you in some way if you are struggling.image

My Tips for getting back on Track

  • PLAN AHEAD: Have a start/end date for how long you will be away or be unable to stick to your normal routine. Try to make it clear to yourself that this is not to become a long term break from your normal routine, only a vacation or quick pause.
  • Pick a RESTART DATE:¬†Set a day for restarting your routine, be that cooking your usual healthy food or heading to the gym for a scheduled workout routine. Make sure it is a day you know you would realistically be able to jump back in to your routine. (This step actually is best to do BEFORE you go on Holiday/Vacation/Take a break from your normal routine, but if need be pick a start date anytime.)
  • STICK TO IT! : Stick to your restart date! One of the things I have learned is that it is so important to plan ahead and then keep promises to yourself! It might be hard when that day comes, your energy level might be low and going to the gym sounds terrible, and ordering take out sounds easier than cooking, but once you get past those feelings and actually do it! Workout, Cook, etc. You will feel proud of yourself for overcoming this feeling and you will realize How Strong You Truly Are!¬†And each time will get easier, because you know you have done it before and how great it feels!
  • LOVE What You Do: Try and view the things you are going back to as something you love, because that’s what they should be. Living a Living a Healthy Lifestyle should be something you enjoy because it makes you feel good on the Inside and the Outside.¬†¬†Eating Healthy Food and Working Out is all very good, but if it feels like a chore to you, something you Have to do, it will be Much more difficult to go back to.
  • Focus on WHY You Love Your Routine: Focus on what you truly Love about your routine and your lifestyle and how it has made you feel both mentally and physically. Focus on the Energy you get after a good workout. And the satisfaction and pride of cooking a healthy meal. ¬†Focus on these things that have made you Love what you do and it will help you get back to your routine.
  • Remember and Appreciate How Much You Have ALREADY CHANGED: Remind yourself of how far you have already come, by making the decision to live a healthier lifestyle and find a balanced routine for yourself, whether it was a few weeks, months or years ago. And When your morale/motivation is extra low and you are feeling stuck and unable to get back to your healthy routine, look at old pictures, read old journal entries or scroll through your posts on Instagram and Facebook. Remind yourself of all the little things that have changed both mentally and physically.¬†Are you Stronger than you were before? Leaner? Do you have more Energy? Do you have a more Positive outlook on Life?¬†

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    Connect with like-minded people.

  • CONNECT with Like-Minded People:¬†Reach out to people who are in similar situations, working towards becoming better and healthier versions of themselves and make connections. Check-in and stay accountable to them and they to you. Motivate each other to get back on track, inspire each other to keep going and support each other along the way.
  • Believe in YOUrself: Remind Yourself that you are capable of great things. You have goals and dreams and so much more to accomplish. You are strong and determined and you can do this.

I wish each and every one of you all the best!  Love, Alena 

Focus on Progress, not Perfection.

¬†¬†image¬†¬† Let’s focus on Progress, not Perfection. Our Strengths, and not our Weaknesses.¬†
I’ve seen and heard so many people on Instagram and outside life putting themselves down or comparing their progress (in regards to both physical appearance and/or strength) to that of someone else. I’ve done the same, but am learning and trying my best not to compare! To focus on my own progress and strengths and be proud. Because We are ALL so different! Our bodies, our experiences, our genetic make-up, our past and present habits. Some people may be able to loose weight quickly, and get defined abs within weeks while some people may change their habits and find that it takes much longer. Some people may gain strength very quickly, while others may take months to build up the same. There are so many different factors as to why each of our results are so different from one another’s, but that doesn’t make our own results any less amazing! Be proud of what YOU have achieved, keep moving forward and give it Everything you’ve got!

¬† I made a huge lifestyle change Fall 2013, something completely different than I had every done before. I made a choice to cut out the bad things in my life and start working towards finding My healthy balance in life. I lost a lot of weight very quickly, mostly from just eating right and not drinking, and doing some cardio, then the progress became slower, but it was still progress! In the past 4-5 months, my body has significantly changed in the way it looks, but my weight has only changed by about 6lbs or so and lately it hasn’t changed at all. Most days that doesn’t bother me, because I know I am getting stronger and leaner and I know I am healthy, but there is still that voice in my head sometimes, wondering why the scale isn’t changing anymore. Lately I have been avoiding using the scale all together, as I truly believe that Not ALL Progress depends on the scale! We Are NOT Defined by a Number! We are MORE than a Number!

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October 2013~March 2014~March 2015

¬†¬† This is a reason I believe it is Soo Important to take Progress Pictures. It’s a great way to track progress and help yourself stay motivated. The scale may not change by much, but side by side pictures can show you even little differences you have accomplished. These are pictures you can keep private or choose to share with the world. But it’s you versus you, when you put a new picture up next to an old. You should Only be comparing Your Progress to Your Own. Whenever I am feeling down about my Short Term Progress, I go look at pictures from last year, from 6 months ago, from 3 months ago and remind myself of how much I have already changed. I remind myself that changes take time, progress will and is happening but I must be patient for more results to happen, while also being proud of what I have already accomplished.¬†I still have goals I am working hard to achieve, and I have dreams about how I hope my body will look one day. But I also know that it will probably never look like any other woman’s body, because it is Mine. It Is Unique. It has Experienced My mixture of Battles and Triumphs. And I can’t and shouldn’t compare it to anyone elses’.

¬†¬† So instead of Focusing on what Hasn’t changed, why not Focus on what Has!? Physical appearance is one thing, but what about Strength!? Are you Stronger than you were Before? What about Confidence!? Are you more Confident when you go out, go to work, school shopping? What about Health!? Are you eating better and taking care of you Body? There are so many things to be proud of, positive changes that can’t be measured by a scale!

¬†image Let’s Love our Bodies for what they are and give them the proper appreciation they deserve for all that they do for us. You can still work hard towards your goals, but why not applaud Yourself along the way. You can want to change but still be proud of what you have Already accomplished. I still have goals I am working towards, but¬†I am proud of what I have achieved so far and so excited to see what the future holds!

  Remember that we are all so different! And we will all SEE and FEEL a different kind of progress. It may happen quickly, it may take much longer than most. But as long as you are doing what is right for You and Your Body, and Finding Your own Healthy Balance, Your Choices are the most Important. Do your best on your own journey, take pride in your accomplishments and let others live their own.

Let’s lift up those around us, while not forgetting to lift up ourselves as well! Be Kind to Others and Be Kind to Yourself! ‚̧ Alena

HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training.

~Please keep in mind this article was written based on my personal experience, and my own research and findings. I hope this article will shed some light on what HIIT is and why it is beneficial. NOTE: Before beginning any type of intense training, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor or physician to get cleared for this type of exercise. If you have any questions, please comment ‚̧ Alena~

For all the women following Kayla Itsines BBG, you will see that HIIT sessions are incorporated from weeks 9 onwards. This means that at least one time a week you should be doing a HIIT workout lasting from 10-15 minutes. But that does NOT mean you should stop doing your LISS session, i.e. Low Intensity Steady State cardio, as there are Still benefits to doing this kind of cardio training. I will do another post about the benefits of LISS cardio training soon.
Cardio, Cardio, Cardio…

Most of us have experienced the Cardio obsession at one point in our lives. I.e. Spending hours on the treadmill or elliptical everyday, hoping to loose weight and see the results we’ve always dreamed of. The truth is steady state cardio alone will only do so much for most people, but to truly see a change in your body, and develop some lean muscle mass, you must incorporate a wider variety of training styles, pylometrics, weight training, and HIIT cardio to name a few. And DIET plays a huge part of course! Not restriction, but eating Wholesome, Healthy and Nourishing foods (but that’s a discussion for a different time..).

In the beginning of my Fitness journey, I was the girl who spent all my time at the gym doing cardio and I rarely ventured away from the Treadmill and Elliptical trainers. But after discovering Aussie Trainer Kayla Itsines’s Instagram account Spring of 2014, I began to realize that there were so many other forms of exercise to incorporate and try, including HIIT. I began incorporating High Intensity Interval Training into my routine around Summer 2014, and I have loved it ever since!

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HIIT aka High Intensity Interval Training is now one of my Favorite forms of exercise. But what Is HIIT?

HIIT is an enhanced form of interval training and form of cardiovascular exercise. It is an exercise strategy with alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise (strength or resistance training) and less-intense recovery periods, usually 30 seconds “on/active” time and 30 seconds “off/rest”, lasting between 10-15 minutes. HIIT not only burns more calories during the workout, but also continues after you’ve finished your workout. Because the workout is more strenuous, your body needs more energy to repair and recover, so you actually continue to burn more Fat and Calories in the 24 hours following your HIIT session. Meaning it’s an intense and effective workout done in a very short amount of time!

HIIT is known for improving health, boosting weight and fat loss, promoting HGH (human growth hormone) production, and improving strength and stamina, among other benefits. It can be done in a variety of form of workouts, so long as it alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of low-moderate activity or even complete rest. From my personal experience, I saw a greater fat loss when I started incorporating HIIT style training into my routine in addition to a few low intensity cardio sessions. HIIT is a great way to get in a solid cardiovascular workout in a short amount of time.

There are many different forms of HIIT exercises and different on/off ratios and they¬†all have so many benefits! Sprinting, biking, using a variety of resistance training exercises at a fast pace. My personal favorite form of HIIT is Sprinting on the Treadmill, using the 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off method. Sprinting on the treadmill allows me to see how fast I’m going, see the time in front of me and I can easily hope on and hop off to the side during my rest period. I typically do 15 minutes of 30/30 sprints with a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down period as well, for a total of 25 minutes. After warming up with 5 minutes of fast paced walking or a very light jogging pace, I increase the speed to a moderately high speed, but not my maximum. I do 2-3 rounds of sprints at this speed, then for the remainder I up the speed to 90-100 of my capacity, usually ranging from 16.3-17.0 kpm/.

This is what works best for Me and what I like the most. However, I do occasionally switch up my HIIT routine and do a session of a variety of high intensity exercises in a similar format. By combining a variety of body weight and weighted exercises, you can create your own High Intensity Interval Training routine. The key is to complete them in short 30 second bursts, giving your best effort, then have a short rest period. I encourage you ALL to do some research and find out what works best for you. If you are a newbie to HIIT training, I recommend starting out with 8-10 minutes of HIIT and gradually working your way up to 15 minutes total.

imageNeed IDEAS for HIIT? Check out my friend Mandy & Candy’s awesome Youtube channel for 2 different HIIT videos! A Jump Rope HIIT Video and a complete 15 minute HIIT routine, which incorporates 15 different exercises and a timer, meaning your whole Workout is planned out for you! Awesome right? Here it is:

Need More Ideas? Check out these articles: 7 Minute HIIT sesh, 5 ideas for HIIT, Treadmill training

Now get out there and HIIT It!!! ‚̧ Alena