I get emails and comments pretty frequently about fitness. I always get a tiny boost of self esteem whenever y'all ask me how I stay in shape because that implies that y'all think I am in shape. I've always been pretty active and played soccer since I was very young all the way until I graduated high school. In high school staying in shape was quite a bit easier with cross country in the fall and soccer in the spring I never even really had to think about it. Upon arriving at college you're given tons of freedom and loads of time that you have to decide what you will do with it.
Fortunately, I really like working out. I never really thought of soccer in the sense of working out (I mean I realized it was a great workout) but I did it more so because I enjoyed the game and was pretty decent at it. Cross country always felt like more of a workout because it is an individual sport and the only objective is to keep running. I adored my teammates and often viewed running as a way to keep myself in shape for soccer season. A year and a half removed I've found myself really enjoying going for runs whereas it used to feel more like a chore since it was a part of the sport. In addition to liking running I also really enjoy going to the gym on campus, turning on some high energy music, and de-stressing for a bit.
While I am by no means an expert (nor would I ever claim myself to be) I have found a workout schedule that I do each week that I really enjoy. I may not be doing things in the best order or following a personal trainer but this is a mixture of workouts that I like and feel good about doing so that's why I choose to do them. Motivating yourself to go to the gym is ALWAYS the hardest part, especially in the winter! I try to go daily but I would be lying if I told you that always happens, school gets busy and academics come first but I will say that working out is an excellent study break and always leaves me a bit more energized.
You may remember a similar version of my weekly workouts from this post and that is still a great mixture of cardio and strengthening exercises that some of you may want to try out. Again, I want to specify that this is what I like to do and is at a level I feel comfortable with. Some of you may want to do less repetitions and time which is completely fine and some of you may want to do a lot more which is great as well. Take this as an example and modify it to best fit within your time frame and ability level!
I am always pretty hungry before I workout so I try to eat a light snack before hitting the gym and if you know me well then you know that I swear by Luna's Chocolate Peppermint Stick Bar. I probably eat 6 or 7 of these a week and it is uncommon for me to not have one of these with me at all times. If you've never tried them then you must! They are filling and delicious and I would be hungry a lot more frequently if it weren't for these! Go ahead and stock up because once you've had one there is no turning back.
Returning from my food tangent...
I am kind of picky when it comes to the settings on different machines and it would not have been easy to specify all of that in the graphic so here is a look at what I like to do setting wise on different machines.
Treadmill // I am not a huge fan of running on the treadmill so whenever I feel like running outside I substitute that for time on the treadmill. When I am on the treadmill however, I have found that walking at an incline is just as great of a workout and burns just as many calories. Machines vary with their settings but I like to put the incline all the way up to 18 (the highest on our machines at school) and usually start at about 3.5 as my speed. Every 2 or 3 minutes I bump up my speed about .2 each time and I don't tend to ever put the speed setting about 4.2.
Elliptical // I am not sure if anything frustrates me more when I am working out than if someone is going so slow (i'm talking barely moving their feet) on an elliptical and snapchatting or checking instagram the whole time and calling that a workout. When I am at the gym I like to get stuff done and push myself. A lot of the time I use the elliptical as my warm up and like to bump the incline to the highest it can go so that I can get the most from my time. As for resistance I tend to start at about 9 and adjust it higher as I am farther into my time.
Stair Climber // So many people hate this machine and I guess that is understandable. Walking up stairs without actually getting anywhere could seem discouraging but you can't deny that it is a great workout. I usually put the speed at about 8 or 9 and work from there. I like to change things up on occasion and spend a couple of minutes walking sideways on each side so that I am working lots of different muscles (this means turning your hips fully and facing one side of the gym and doing the same thing facing the other side of the gym).
Rowing Machine // I usually put the setting around 8 and work from there.
Arc Trainer // I know a lot of gyms may not have this but this is basically a better version of an elliptical. It gives you a fuller range of motion and in return I usually feel more from my workout. I usually set both the resistance and incline to about 20 when on this machine.
After cardio I like to stretch and then do some core and strengthening exercises on a mat. Here is a quick overview of some of those workouts.
Weighted Lunges // I usually use 6 or 7 pound weights for this. I like to focus on one side before doing the other so I try to do around 15 forward lunges on each leg and then I do the same thing but do side lunges.
Arms // I keep the 6 or 7 pound weights and do various arm workouts with these. I do bicep curls and front and side lifts. I try to do ten of each on each arm and then do 2 or 3 sets.
Abs // I try to mix up my ab workouts by including exercises that will engage all sides. From planks to crunches and sit-ups and russian twists and bicycles I try to do it all.
Calf Raises // Exactly like it sounds. I tend to hold weights when I am doing them but it also is super effective if you do these on the edge of a stair case because you will be able to move up and down without the floor as limitation.
Squats // You all know what squats are I am sure. They definitely aren't my favorite thing to work out but I always feel great after doing them even if that greatness involves some soreness.
I hope y'all are now at least inspired to head to the gym and maybe you'll try out a few of these things!
If you need even more inspiration to go workout clothes can always do the trick, check out my post here all about great places to shop for winter workout clothes!