Taking My Fitness Into My Own Hands

I have always loved working out. Ever since I started learning more about fitness in college I have loved the feeling a good work out gives you and how it helps shape a healthy lifestyle.

Even though I love to work out I’ve noticed that over the years I tend to go through an ebb and flow of work out routines. I’ll be super into whatever I’m doing…and then one day I’ll start becoming bored with it or feel like I need to switch things up. Or sometime life gets in the way and weeks will go by without me lacing up my sneakers. 

My most recent ebb and flow happened when I decided to leave CrossFit a year ago. I wasn’t achieving the results I wanted anymore and felt that I needed to try something new. Around this time was when I changed jobs. I went from a 9-5 desk job to a job that had me out and about quite a lot. 

I had heard a lot of great things about OrangeTheory and decided to give that a go. I enjoyed the classes…coaches were great, workouts were great…but because of my schedule I just couldn’t get myself into the studio more than twice a week (when I was used to working out 5 times a week). 

Fast forward a year later and I started noticing something I was not so thrilled about. I looked at photos of myself on Facebook…I looked in the mirror…my body looked different. My clothes were getting snugger. I wasn’t feeling like myself. I felt sluggish and bloated. 

My lack of exercise wasn’t the only thing to blame. I started thinking about how my eating habits had changed since my new job. At my desk job my go to lunch was a salad I brought from home, a healthy sandwich or leftovers from the night before. And I always had a stockpile of healthy snacks within reach (almonds, yogurt, dried fruit, etc.) Since my new job entailed me to be in my car a lot I didn’t have the ability to bring my lunch along with me. Luckily, I am not a fan of fast food…but even so, meals at places like Panera and Jersey Mike’s still add up. I realized that I had become more carb dependent in my meals and didn’t have as much focus on lean meats and vegetables. 

So, as much as I love trying new fitness venues, I realized that I needed to take a different approach this time around. Take my health back to basics. Luckily, Jon was in need for a change as well. An Anytime Fitness had just opened around the corner from us, so one day we decided to sign up for memberships together. 

For about a month and a half now I have been consistently going to the gym 5 days a week (give or take a few busy weeks along the way, but hey, we’re all human!). I started off by taking advantage of a free personal training session that Anytime offered when we signed up. After my first session I signed up for a few more training sessions. My trainer shared my healthy lifestyle philosophy and was great at pushing me when I needed it. She also gave me the tools I needed to create my own workout plan.

After my last training session one of my fav bloggers, Fitnessista, was starting up her yearly Summer Shape Up. I decided to give it a whirl and loved it! It was 4 weeks of fun (and sometimes intense) total body work outs mixed with cardio, barre and yoga.

After Summer Shape Up I decided to turn to BodyBuilding.com. Jon has been doing their Big Man on Campus program and enjoying it so I decided to see what programs they had for women. The website is great…it gives a handful of free workout plans based on your skill level and what your fitness goal is. I’m currently doing this plan plus 20-30 minutes of cardio each day after my strength training. 

It’s very different to be working out on my own. I’m used to not thinking and having a coach tell me what to do. Relying on a coach to push me. But what I’ve realized is that I can be my OWN coach. Being able to walk myself through exercises has helped me focus more. Not only on my form, but also on my body. And I’ve found that I can push myself when I need to, which I never thought I could do!

Aside from my fitness makeover I’ve been making over my eats as well. I’ve been focusing on centering my meals around lean proteins and vegetables again. I’ve been limiting my carb and sugar intake. And also just practicing mindful eating…really paying attention to my body and letting it tell me when I am hungry and when I have had enough. Results? I feel fantastic. I feel lighter and have more energy. And just this week I’ve started to notice some changes physically.

Most importantly? I feel healthier and more like ME. It always amazes me how much what we see in the mirror can play with our emotions. A few months ago I was feeling very down about how I looked and very self conscious…feelings I hadn’t had in years. And I have always been one of those people who believe that self esteem comes from within and that how you look shouldn’t define you. But I realized that what I was feeling was associated with me not taking care of myself properly like I have always prided myself on. Now that I’m back to working out regularly and eating healthier I feel more like my old self and therefore more confident. There has been no drastic change in my appearance, but just the fact that I’m taking care of myself, that my body is working hard and that I’m fueling it correctly…makes me feel GOOD.

Have you recently undergone a “fitness makeover”? What do you do when feel you need a change regarding your fitness?

How Compression Helps You Be A Better Runner

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary pair of compression socks from Tiux in exchange for a review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

When I first started running and training for my first race my body didn’t know what to do with itself. My leg muscles were being used more than they had ever been used. While training I became familiar with some common running injuries. Specifically shinsplints and tight calf muscles. As a new runner I turned to my good friend, Google, to see how I could alleviate these injuries and make my runs more comfortable. That’s when I learned about compression socks. 

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Compression socks were my BEST running accessory while training, especially for long distances. I’m just now getting back into running and once again I’m relying on compression socks as my muscles get used to the motions of running again. That’s why I was thrilled to receive a pair of new compression socks from Tiux. Tiux is a small startup that sells performance compression socks exclusively online. Since they cut out the middleman, retail stores, etc. their socks get shipped directly to you for only $35 AND free shipping. Not bad, right? Plus, they come in some pretty awesome colors.

If you’ve never tried compression socks before here are some reasons why I LOVE them:

1. They help your muscles recover faster.

Some people wear their compression socks during a run and after their, or just during their run. I do both. I wear them about 1-2 hours after my run and I definitely notice a difference in my muscles not being as sore than if I hadn’t worn them. The compression helps to reduce lactic acid build up in your muscles and improves circulation. Plus, they’re really comfy!

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2. They help you run better.

If you’re legs are sore from yesterday’s run and you still need to fit a few miles in the next day just slip on compression socks to help alleviate the soreness and enjoy your run. 

3. They protect your feet and legs.

Compression socks are great coverage for your legs if you’re prone to scrapes, bumps, getting dirty, getting bit by bugs, etc. They also help with chafing, which sometimes happens when wearing ankle socks.

4. They keep you warm on cool days.

We are a LONG way away from cool days here in FL, but when they do come around compression socks are a great way to help keep your legs warm. I wear them over running leggings, as well as with shorts.

5. They just plain look cool!

Stand out during your next race or be the talk of your running club when you show up with awesome, colorful compression socks!

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These Tiux compression socks gave great compression and are really comfortable. It may be silly, but my favorite part about them is their color! I am a big fan of the purple/pink combo. If you want to get your hands on a pair of these awesome compression socks check out Tiux at tiux.co.

Do you wear compression socks?

 

Why I’m Breaking Up With CrossFit (For Now)

Yes, it’s true…after 1 year and 10 months I am cancelling my CrossFit membership. But not forever. I still love CrossFit and this has been a hard decision for me to make. This truly feels like a break up! “CrossFit, it’s not you, it’s me…” Why the sudden change? Here a few of my reasons.

I’m not getting the results I want

When I first started CrossFit I saw results. My muscles were becoming more defined. I felt stronger. I felt faster. I felt amazing. But about a year in I started to plateau and I stopped noticing changes. Especially after I took a break from running after my half marathon in November. I know that there are other factors that are playing into this, like needing to clean up my eats more (where did you go metabolism, where??). But I’ve also realized that my body needs more cardio. I’m already starting to add more cardio to my routine on my own, but also would like a workout that incorporates cardio as well. CrossFit can be strength heavy in their workouts and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough cardio.

I’m afraid of hurting myself

Let me preface this statement by saying that the coaches at my CrossFit box are FANTASTIC. They are extremely knowledgeable and are always making sure our form is correct. However, weightlifting is weightlifting and I’ve been feeling lately like I need a break from putting this kind of strain on my body. And when you’re in the middle of a WOD that includes lifting a certain amount of weight as fast as you can you inevitably compromise your form. I try to be as careful as I can, but it’s always a thought in the back of my head that maybe one day I could lift wrong and hurt myself.

I just plain need a change

Before I started CrossFit I went to a regular boot camp for about a year. I loved it and saw great results. But eventually I felt like I needed a change. And that’s how I’m feeling right now. This very well could be my MO, where I need to switch fitness classes every year or two. And I’m ok with that. I think it’s important to switch it up every now and then and keep your body guessing. There are SO many forms of fitness out in the world, it’s not a bad thing to explore them.

Like I said, this was not an easy decision. I’m going to miss my CrossFit classes a lot, but am excited for the next chapter of my fitness journey. I credit CrossFit for my new found confidence in my fitness ability and the ability to test my limits. And I will most certainly be taking that with me into my new form of fitness. Most of all I will miss my coaches and the amazing atmosphere CrossFit provides. It definitely feels like home to me, but I know that I’ll return eventually.

Have you changed up your fitness routine recently? 

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