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

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

Food is fuel; eat right, not less.

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Bowl full of Nature’s Candy.

First of all, I absolutely Love Food!¬† I love to try new things and experiment in the kitchen, and when I find something I really enjoy, I can eat it for days in a row or even weeks! Over the past few months I have really been getting more serious about fueling my body with the proper nutrients it needs. I have changed my focus from weight loss to fat loss and gaining more lean muscle mass, and have changed my eating habits accordingly. For the majority of my fitness journey, I have eaten intuitively and for the most part this worked out very well for me and my goals. But sometimes our bodies need a change in order to see and feel new progress, and so, as of this month I have been following Kayla Itsines’s H.E.L.P Nutrition Guide. It has already taught me so much more about proper portions and the importance of eating a balanced mixture of all the major Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), as well as the less talked about, but equally as important Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) that are essential for our health.

While there is a minimum amount of food we should be eating, e.g. enough food to keep our metabolism functioning properly and to keep us alive, it’s important to remember that each of us requires a different amount of food to keep our bodies healthy, strong and give us enough energy to get through our respective schedule and day. If you are doing a large amount of strenuous exercise and work, you will need to eat more food than others to keep your body properly energized and functioning, and as your strength and endurance grow, your metabolism will also speed up, meaning you WILL Need More food. As I said, everybody and their lifestyles are different, and ultimately, how much you should eat depends on your body type and your way of living. But whether your goal is to loose or gain weight, tone up or put on muscle, something that is so important to keep in mind is that Food is Fuel and eating less is Not the answer. It’s important to learn to Eat Right for you and your goals, Not less.

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Sandwich of Carbs, Protein & Healthy Fats.

Everyone has different goals and a different way of living. My goals and my daily routine require something different than the next person. I have tried a variety of different eating styles, Vegan, Paleo, No Carbs, etc. but I have found that what works best for me and my body, is a balanced diet of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, including dairy and some meat. I do not cut out a certain type of food, I only am aware of my daily servings from each group. I have some pretty unfortunate food allergies and so have to be very careful to read the ingredients of products before purchasing them, and in restaurants I am the annoying guest that has to ask if the food has ‘this or that’ in it and having the waiters ask the kitchen staff. It makes it challenging to eat out, but it also forces me to cook more at home, which I have really been loving lately! I have found so many amazing recipes through Instagram and different blogs (and my mama I might add!) and have been experimenting a lot in the kitchen. (Recipe posts coming soon!)

I fuel my body with what it needs, what I need, to get me through the day, my workouts and keep me feeling balanced. Overall I have a very good relationship with food and eating, I put good, nutritious things into my body and my body responds well, giving me good energy, helping with my mood and sleeping patterns. But it hasn’t always been this way. It has taken me a long time to find a balance with food, many months of trial and error, ups and downs, but over the past 6 months or so, I have been very happy with my eating habits. I do still struggle from time to time with guilty thoughts after eating something less than healthy, but it is no where near compared to how I was even just two years ago. I am sharing this with honesty, to help others realize that while we can appear to be very strong on the outside, we are all fighting our own battles and should do our best to be supportive of each other.

Keeping it Real with a Treat Meal.

Keeping it Real with a Treat Meal.

During those moments when I do have guilty thoughts after eating something a little unhealthy, I take a mental note of how I feel in that moment, and remind myself of how I felt the next time I’m about to eat something unhealthy. And each time gets easier. Thankfully,¬†I no longer have these thoughts very often, because I eat a balanced diet that makes me feel good. And if I do eat a treat, I try to view it as just that, a special treat, and I do my best to fully enjoy it in that moment and then move on. However, if I do have these guilty thoughts, I get past it, and do not revert to my old ED habits that brought me down physically and mentally for years. I am thankful to say, I have grown up and away from those bad habits, after having done a lot of research of the consequences and will NEVER put my body though that again!¬†I remind myself everyday that overall I eat very healthy, nourishing foods and that I workout regularly, so the occasional less than healthy meal here or there is not going to kill me or hurt my progress. I remind myself that Food is Fuel, and as with so many things in life, it’s about finding a healthy balance that works for you and your body.

Much Love, Alena

Getting back to it: A personal post.

Hello Everyone!

¬†¬†¬†¬† This will be a more personal post, as I want to share a bit about my recent experiences and getting back to a good and healthy place. For those that are struggling to get back on track and find motivation, whether you are post vacation or have taken a break from the routine for another reason, check out my post about “Tips for getting back on track” they are my personal tips I use myself and I truly hope they can help you.

¬†¬†¬†¬† I know I haven’t posted much in the last month or so. I’ve been going through some ups and downs in my life, with both energy and motivation levels. Some days I’ve felt awesome and on top of the world, and others I’ve felt tired, unmotivated and uninspired. I think both my mind and body were burnt out on so many things. Although I do find some joy from my job, it is ultimately not something I am passionate about and that has been taking a toll on me mentally. I was also getting to place where I was starting to put too much pressure on myself both mentally and physically, and getting frustrated with my progress.

¬†¬†¬†¬† I am sharing this to let you know, we are all human and life is not always a straight and steady road. Life is filled with ups and downs, good and bad days, weeks or months. But learning to get past that – whether it’s from switching up your routine, taking a needed break, or letting go of something that was bringing you down –¬† it is important. I was extremely lucky to receive a birthday trip from my grandparents, to meet up in Spain and travel with them to England (I am currently living in Germany). Those almost 2 weeks away were much needed and helped me clear my head and reevaluate so much. Since arriving home last week, I have set new goals, and have a new sense of determination and motivation. I have stopped putting so much pressure on myself, with my work, my workouts and social media and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I am eating better, sleeping better, have more energy both mentally and physically and am so excited about all my new projects coming up.

¬†¬†¬†¬† As of this week I will start regularly blogging again about a variety of healthy living topics, including fitness, nutrition, workout tips, mental balance, motivation and my experience following Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides. My hope is that by continuing to share my personal journey and everything that I have learned and will continue to learn along the way, I can help others on their own healthy journey. If you ever have a specific topic you would like me to write about, don’t hesitate to email me or leave the topic in the comments. I want this to also be a place where I can interact with my subscribers and other bloggers. I will also be starting an online Personal Trainer course in the very near future and am so excited to take this next step in my fitness journey and start training and helping others to become stronger, healthier versions of themselves. I have set up a GoFundMe page if you care to check it out and read more.

     I thank you all for being a part of my journey in any and every way. Blogging and writing about these topics and experiences has been so meaningful to me, and I look forward to doing it much more regularly.

Much Love, 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! ‚̧

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

ACTIVE LIVING: MY FITNESS HISTORY

This Blog post is about the importance of¬†Physical activity¬†as well as a bit about¬†my¬†personal experience¬†with different types of exercise, including cardio, lifting weights, plyometrics and part of my experience with the ‘Bikini Body Guide’ by Kayla Itsines.¬†

imageThere are so many different forms of exercise¬†and so many people with an opinion about what is best for you. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming. But I find that it is important to¬†remember that¬†We are Unique Individuals! We are people who have different Goals, different Body Types and different Genetics. There is one thing we can’t argue with though, that Regular Exercise or Physical Activity of some kind is Absolutely necessary for our well being. Luckily for us there are so many different ways to stay active! We must each find out what works best for us as individuals and works for our goals. Whether you want to lose weight, get toned, get stronger, be able to run a marathon, get bendy with yoga, etc. there are so many options! Just to name a few, there’s swimming, walking, running, cycling, gymnastics, surfing, crossfit, lifting weights, yoga, resistance training, hiit, etc. We each have the choice to decide for ourselves, learn what we like best and learn what works well for our own body. It may take time to discover what we like best, but the journey can be rewarding and such a great learning experience.

Over the years, I have tried a variety of different types of exercise. However, it has been over the past year that I have really discovered the most about fitness and the healthy eating habits that work best for My Body. ¬†{{ Check out my ‘About Me‘ for more information about my lifestyle change and fitness journey! }} ¬†When I returned home from living abroad for the 2nd time(in Sept.2013), I was doing mostly cardio, 45 minutes to 1 hour+ on the elliptical, followed by some Abdominal exercises or a little work with the machines. This lasted for a couple of months and while it definitely helped me lose some initial weight, in addition to completely changing my eating habits, I still felt weak and was having so much trouble toning up. So I started doing more and more research online about different types of exercises and payed close attention to other people at the gym.¬†I also started using social media sites such as Instagram and discovered so many amazing Health and Fitness accounts, and I will forever be grateful for those discoveries. I found fitness and food tips, daily workouts, insightful and educational posts about different types of exercises and more. This really sparked my motivation to try new things and step out of my comfort zone in the gym!

image One of my first big changes, during Spring of 2014, was to start lifting light weights and using more of the machines. I was nervous to pick up the free weights or get on a weight machine and look like an ass in front of the more experienced lifters, but thanks to seeing other women around the World doing the same, and the support of my sister (who is very knowledgeable when it comes to fitness) I quickly got over myself and went for it! Everyone starts somewhere after all. I started with super simple routines with free weights, but was still mostly relying on the machines.

¬† ¬†¬†¬† One of my Biggest discoveries¬†on Instagram¬†was Australian Personal Trainer, Kayla Itsines. She is the creator of the Bikini Body Guide, a 12-Week training program that uses variety of different training techniques.¬†I discovered her Instagram and Website last February (almost a year ago!) but didn’t buy the guide right away.¬†I was still learning, wanted to go at my own pace and didn’t feel I was ready.¬†But I saw all these amazing women changing their lives and saw Kayla, a relatively small girl completely Destroying Stereotypes about smaller women. She was So Strong and Fit and her Strength and¬† Workout Videos truly Inspired me..¬†So I started slowly but surely started incorporating some of her recommended exercises, such as Box Jumps, Tricep Dips, Lunges and Step-Ups! Some of my Absolute Favorite Exercises Now. I followed her tips and also started using some weights when doing Squats, Lunges and Started using a variety of new machines and free weighted exercises.

Slowly but surely I was getting
stronger!¬†Finally this Summer I decided to buy her training guide, but just as I was really ready to buy it, she came out with a 2.0 version. A continuation of her 1st guide. By this point I felt that my fitness level had greatly improved (it had been about 5 months) and I was much more into lifting weights than anything else, and knew the 2.0 exercises required the use of more weights. So, I purchased the 2nd Guide beginning of September and finished it 1st week of January 2015. Towards the middle/end of the 2.0 Guide I realized how much better it would have been to have done the 1st guide from the beginning! and so I decided after I finished the 2.0 guide (with some modifications) I would go back and Start fresh from the Beginning. So, I am on Week 6 from the 1st guide and I’m Loving it!! And I discovered that the 1.0 guide does actually incorporate some weights.

>>I HIGHLY Recommend starting with the 1.0 Bikini Body Guide!¬†If I could go back in time I would start with this one, but instead I’m doing it now, alongside thousands of other women around the World with #thekaylamovement, which started January 5th, 2015 and is still going strong! I’m currently on my 4th round and just hit the 1 year mark!!<<

I really love the fast paced, timed workouts from the guide, but I do still like to go at my own pace and do some extra weighted workouts sometimes, although much less than before (will do a separate post about that Very Soon!). With the BBG, each session, (which are a variety of Legs & Cardio, Arms & Abs, and Full Body workout) has two different circuits, each of which you repeat twice. The goal is to repeat the 4 exercises and the listed repetitions as many times as you can can in a 7 minute period. Then you rest for a short period (30-90 seconds), and go on to do the 2nd circuit in the same way, and then repeat the 1st and 2nd again. It takes a total of roughly 30 minutes or so. It has been such a great experience having this guide and challenging myself to do all these exercises.

image Every week my fitness knowledge grows, thanks to easily accessible knowledge sharing through sites like Instagram, certain blogs and the internet in general. Each and every day I learn something new about about how to take care of my body, how to sculpt it, nurture it and heal it. My fitness journey has been such a learning experience, and I am grateful to have found my own healthy balance with exercise and eating. I am so excited to see what the future brings and what I can accomplish.

I encourage you All
¬†to do some of you own Research, ask friends with Fitness experience for help and find a supportive community of like-minded people with similar goals, whether it be on Instagram, Facebook or in the “Real” World.

Keep Believing in Yourself and Never Give Up!

Will share my Weekly Schedule, including my BBG Routine and extra Workouts very soon!
Love, Alena