Finding the ideal balance for a healthy lifestyle is tough. The struggle is real. Food is just so delicious and exercise can be torture. Apparently you have to eat healthy and workout more than once to get in shape… this is so cruel and unfair 😉
In the past, I have taken kickboxing classes, step classes, spin classes and bootcamps. I actually enjoyed many of them. Nothing like leaving it up to an instructor to force you to work your behind off for an hour! I attended classes for about three years on and off.
I was also suffering through cardio a few times per week. Sometimes it would be the elliptical, sometimes I’d row or run. I do not dig lengthy cardio sessions. I’ve completed a few 5km races and a 10km race. My training schedules appeared decent on paper, but once my feet hit the gravel or that dang treadmill, running didn’t feel so pleasant. I wanted to like it. I tried to like it, I really did. But a few hours of gratification after crossing the finish line just wasn’t worth it for me.
I felt good about attending fitness classes and adding in cardio. But I wasn’t seeing any results. I thought that if I wanted to lose pounds, cardio was a must. I knew that diet was a big part of my lack of progress. So in an attempt to monitor my calories, I began to meal prep. I decided to ditch the classes and cardio and pick up some weights.
Every Monday I cook. I make a menu, buy groceries and fill the fridge with four to five days worth of healthy eats for myself and my husband. Breakfast, lunch, supper and usually two snacks.
The past six months we’ve been carb cycling. I highly recommend carb cycling. I went old school – borrowed all the books I could find at the library and did my research. Once I had a good understanding of what exactly carb cycling was and how it works, I purchased the book that was most helpful. Extreme Transformation by Chris & Heidi Powell. I use the recipes in this book almost every week so it was worth the buy!
One of the best things about carb cycling is that it’s not a short-term diet, it can become a permanent lifestyle change. The concept allows you to eat carbs without adding body fat. Carb cycling helps you burn fat as fuel. Also, if you are looking for mega health inspiration, I urge you to check out Carter Good on Instagram for a ton of nutrition and fat loss information through comparisons.
Switching to the weight room was an intimidating learning experience. But luckily I have a patient and knowledgeable husband who has been doing it for years. Putting my time and energy into strength training instead of cardio was when I finally found what I’d been looking for: Results. Progress. Muscle. I actually look forward to going to the gym now. I really love it.
I did not completely eliminate cardio. One or two times per week I suck it up and do approximately 12-15 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training). I generally alternate between two minutes of walking and one minute of full-out sprinting on the treadmill. I don’t particularly enjoy it, but it’s short and sweet and gets the heart rate fluctuating. HGTV helps!
I was fortunate to be gifted 12-half hour sessions with Ashley, a certified personal trainer. Having a degree in Kinesiology she certainly knows her stuff! I learned oodles of exercises I can now use in my day to day training. Additionally, Ashley provided me with the confidence I needed so I could get out there and achieve my fitness goals. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with her if you are in need of some motivation and an awesome personal trainer! You can find her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yxefitness/ or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apyxefitness/
Commonly, most gym-goers focus on one or two body parts per trip to the gym. I found I was not gaining as much muscle as I had hoped. I’d have a sick child at home for the day and wouldn’t make it to the gym. Or all the kids would have a random day off school. Or I would have an appointment or too many errands. Or, or, or. Too often, almost two weeks would go by and I hadn’t worked on a certain muscle group (somehow leg day never got left behind – this girl craves a good leg day), making progress nearly impossible. After months of little success and too often deviating from my routine, I started lifting full body each and every time I went to the gym. Switching to full body workouts as well as implementing some TUT (time under tension) is what personally made the difference, finally. TUT refers to how long a muscle is under strain during a set. A decent book for someone just looking for a place to start, that focusses on full body exercise, is The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Weird title, but good workouts.
I am FAR from a fitness expert, still learning as I go. The above are some changes that I’ve slowly made over that last couple of years. The combination of all these changes are what has made a difference in MY fitness journey.
Consistency is king.
Find what YOU love. Do what works for YOU. Don’t give up. Be patient. Be active. Be healthy. Hustle for that muscle.Please follow and like us: