Fat-Burning Treadmill Workout

cardio2

This is my favorite treadmill workout because it’s HIIT, and it has enough variety for time to pass quickly. I usually this for 30-40 minutes.

  1. Warmup — Walking 3 minutes. Speed: 3.5
  2. Side shuffles right. 45 seconds. Speed 3.0. (Start at 2.5 just to get the hang of it, and increase as much as you are comfortable with. Keep knees bent and arms in front of you when shuffling.)
  3. Side shuffles left. 45 seconds. Speed 3.0.
  4. Sprint. 30 seconds. Speed 8.0.
  5. Walk. 1 minute. Speed 3.2.

Repeat (excluding the warmup) until 30 minutes is up.

The treadmill speeds that are listed here are close to what I do. If it seems too hard or too easy for you, simply adjust as needed! Remember to keep pushing yourself each time. Try sprinting a few seconds longer than you did last time, or increase the speed a little every time 🙂

Shoulders and Back

shoulders and back

A lot of girls (me included, at one time) don’t think they need to develop their shoulders and back because they don’t want to look manly. But trust me, a well-toned back is one of the sexiest body parts you can have! This workout will help build narrow shoulders, help get rid of “armpit fat,” love handles, and back fat. Yeah, none of that is attractive. And the benefit to having muscular shoulders is that it makes your body more proportioned and narrows your waist, giving you more of that desired V-shape.

Circuit 1: Shoulders

1. Heavy alternating dumbbell shoulder press

shoulder press (Use the heaviest weight you can for these, if you want to build some shoulder muscle and definition. If you only want to tone, use light weight. Heavy weight= a weight where your max reps is 6-10. Light weight max reps should be 15-20. I like to do these seated on a bench, especially when using heavy weight.)

2. Front raise (20)

front raise (Use a light weight)

3. Incline bench lateral raise (15)

incline bench (Use a light weight. The reason for doing it on the incline bench is to keep constant tension on the shoulder to make the exercise more effective.)

4. Rear delt flys (light weight, 15)

You can either use dumbbells while bent at the waist as in this picture:

rear delt fly

Or you can use a rear delt machine:

rear delt machine

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat for 3x total.

Circuit 2: Back

1. Chin ups (on assisted machine if necessary) (15)

assisted chin up

2. Lat pulldown (15)

lat pulldown (use a medium-wide grip as shown)

3. Bent over row (barbell or dumbbell) (15)

bent over row (Be sure to use the underhand grip as shown. This recruits your lower lats, which gives your waist a more tapered look!)

4. Seated row (15)

seated row (Be sure to keep your back straight and chest out. Feel free to use this, or any seated row machine that your gym has).

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat for 3x total.

Circuit 3: Cardio

I purposely left out an abs session today so that they can recover, and so that you have plenty of energy for a good cardio sesh! Sometimes I like to do my cardio first, sometimes I feel like doing it after, so the order is up to you. Just make sure you get a solid 20-30 minutes of HIIT or 40 minutes of steady-pace.

Click here for my absolute favorite treadmill workout that doubles for a leg-slimmer too!

Bikini Butt Workout

Brazilian Butt Workout

Circuit 1: Warmup/Abs

  1. Overhead dumbbell or cable side bend (low weight) (20 each side)

side bend (If using a cable, hold the handle above your head and bend sideways, using your obliques)

2. Cable crunches (30)

cable crunch

3. Lying heel touch (20 each side)

heel touch

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat 3x total.

Circuit 2:

1. Wide stance sumo squat (15)

Variation 1: With barbell:

wide stance

Or Variation 2: With kettleball or dumbbell (heavier weight):

wide stance2

2. Single leg deadlift (15 each side) (10-15lb dumbbells)

single leg deadlift

3. Weighted split squats (15 each side) (Use a Smith machine for better balance. Make sure your front leg and glute muscle are the only ones working.)

split squat2

4. Jumping jacks (100).

jumping-jacks1

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat 3x total.

Circuit 3:

  1. Step up + leg lift (15 each side. Use 10-15 lb dumbbells or a 20 lb barbell if you can. Unlike the picture, make sure you lift that back leg parallel to the floor.)

step up leg lift

2. Lying hamstring curl (12. Use the heaviest weight you can do 12 of.)

legcurl legcurl2

Or if you don’t have that machine, hamstring stability ball curls are also good! (Do 20)

lying ball

3. Hip extension with weight in knee (20 each side)

donkey kick

Follow the picture above, but hold 5lb dumbbell behind knee as shown below:

donkey kick weight

4. Squat jumps (40)

(You can use your arms for momentum, or keep them wherever feels comfortable for you. Aim to get really low and achieve maximum air for these!)

squat jumps

Rest 45 seconds. Repeat 3x total.

Cool down! Make sure you stretch and walk those muscles out so you’re not too sore the next day.

Great job! This is one of the days that I recommend a pre-workout, or some coffee beforehand, along with a solid meal of carbs and proteins an hour before the workout.

Tips:

When I first started doing a program that involved not using machines 100% of the time, I felt kind of awkward at the gym, and sometimes I would skip exercises that I felt would be too weird to do with everyone there. DON’T DO THAT. As soon as I got the guts to just do it and ignore everyone else, I noticed much better results in my fitness level, as well as more confidence in the gym! People at the gym come up to me all the time now and say I look like I really know what I’m doing, or they ask for suggestions for new exercises that they can do too. Usually the weird, conspicuous exercises are the ones that work the best! So don’t be afraid to make a little corner of the gym yours, put everything you need for one circuit there, and just do your thing.

Arms and Chest Circuit

toned arms and chest

Circuit 1 – Abs Warmup: (Repeat circuit 3x total)

  1. V-up with toe touch (add dumbbells when ready) (15)

v-up

2. Stability ball plank (hold for 30 seconds to a minute)

stability-ball-plank

3.  Russian twists (30 total)

RussianTwist

Rest 45 seconds.

Circuit 2 – Chest: (Repeat circuit 3x total, without pausing between each exercise)

  1. Dumbbell pec fly on incline bench (15)

pec fly

2.   Dumbbell chest press on incline bench (15)

chest press

3.   Pushups (to failure)

Rest 45 seconds.

Circuit 3 – Arms: (Repeat circuit 3x total, without pausing between each exercise)

  1. Walking lunges with dumbbell bicep curls (30 total)

walking lunges

2.    Reverse lunge with hammer curl (30 total)

reverse lunge (Be sure to step backwards, instead of forwards like you did in the previous exercise, and, unlike the picture, keep palms facing each other when you curl up.)

3.     Tricep pulldown (20)

tricep pulldown

4.    Tricep dip (using assisted dip/pullup machine, or from a bench) (20)

tricep dip

[Read How To Do a Tricep Dip here for hints and tricks!]

Rest 45 seconds.

That’s it! Now realistically, if you must rest between each exercise, do so because I don’t want you to pass out or not be able to finish the workout, especially if you haven’t previously worked out your upper body very much. My recommendation is to use lighter weights if you want to simply tone and define your arms. If you’re trying to get some size, use heavier weight. And by “light weight,” I mean whatever is really heavy by reps 15-20. “Heavy weight” should be very difficult by rep 6 or so.

If you need to get some cardio in, I would suggest to do it today (chest and arms day), on shoulders and back day, and of course the cardio and abs day. That way you’re not missing cardio sessions, and you don’t have to do them on a leg or butt day (trust me, you don’t be able to). I like to start my workout with either a 20-minute HIIT session, or a 40-minute low-intensity session, like jogging, cycling, or uphill walking (rotate HIIT and low-intensity back and forth day to day).

Spring Break Workout Plan

Spring Break Workout Plan

It’s starting to show up everywhere. In Target with the huge bikini display, the mall with all the workout clothes, and definitely Pinterest with everyone’s “get into shape” boards, showcasing motivational toned abs and a perky butt. Oh yeah, and at the gym! Did you even know that many people have a membership to your gym?? Welp, you guessed it… IT’S SPRING BREAK SEASON!!!!

And unless you’re a crazy gym-goer and have eaten nothing bad for you at all since the holidays, you might be getting a little panicky about how to lose those last few pounds and get that toned muscle that you know is hiding somewhere beneath your winter layer. Instead of frantically scouring the Internet for quick-working fad diets that you know you’ll give up by this weekend, keep calm and read on :). I’ve got you taken care of.

I’m going to share with you my meal plans and workouts that have helped me make more progress over the past 2 months than I’ve ever had, ever. We’ll be doing these together since my spring break vacay starts EXACTLY one month from today, and we can record our progress together!

The Way It Works

You’ll be following a basic 5-day program that you repeat every week until your deadline. Since our bodies quickly adapt to any workout, you can modify the workouts to get some variety week to week, and I’ll post my modifications so we can all be on the same page.

Workouts

Here is the 5-day plan to be repeated (with modification) week to week:

I will post the exercise circuits and modification ideas for each day on a separate post and link them back to that list.

Diet

The best way to lose weight, burn fat, and tone up is to have a diet high in lean protein and healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates. You should only be eating carbohydrates at breakfast, if you want, and after a workout. Vegetables are free-for-all and should be consumed at every meal! Fruit is ok, but stick to the ones lowest in sugar and high in antioxidants, like grapefruit, and berries.

Proteins:

  • ground turkey
  • extra lean ground beef
  • chicken
  • fish
  • salmon
  • egg whites

Fats:

  • almonds
  • mixed nuts
  • avocado
  • natural almond butter
  • natural peanut butter (I don’t recommend a lot of peanut butter though)
  • fish oil
  • egg yolks

Healthy Carbohydrates: (slow-digesting as opposed to quick-digesting)

  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • sweet potatoes
  • oatmeal

Try to eat at least 4 small meals a day, so your metabolism increases and you burn through calories quicker. To help you out, here is my basic meal plan for a typical day:

  • First I have a detoxifying smoothie with spinach or kale, cucumbers, peppers, celery, lemon juice, and half a banana. You can find more recipes for delicious ones here!
  • Breakfast: Ground beef and eggs, oatmeal if you want (fats in the morning keep your energy levels up all day!)
  • Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled chicken, veggies, and a vinaigrette dressing
  • 2nd Lunch (?) or Post-Workout Meal: Ground turkey with eggs, brown rice, steamed broccoli + mixed nuts
  • Dinner: White fish or chicken, steamed mixed veggies
  • Snack: Mixed nuts, berries, raw veggies

Other, more exciting recipes to choose from are here!

Notice that the amount of calories tapers by the end of the day, so that when you go to sleep you don’t pack on pounds by unused calories consumed too late in the day. Make sure you avoid at all costs all fast food, processed foods, sugary foods AND DRINKS (yup that means Starbucks frappuccinos are out!), especially towards the end of the day. For best results, I would also recommend cutting out most dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Tips

I don’t know why, but by bedtime my self-discipline always dwindles, and I’m very prone to breaking my rules and having ice cream at night. That’s why I make a point to drink a lot of water towards the end of the day to stay full, have some of my favorite flavored tea to sip when I have a sweet tooth (honey isn’t too bad), and go to bed as soon as I start getting tired so I avoid staying up and eating.

I can’t wait to go on this journey with you guys! It’s going to be a hard road sometimes, but when you can post those pictures on Instagram and Twitter of you looking hot next to all your friends in a bikini, you’ll be SO GLAD you did this!

Good luck and let’s get started!

Read about the Top 5 Mistakes Women Make In the Gym , 10 Fat-Loss Tips for Women, and check out the Workouts page for more exercise ideas!

Health Benefits Of Lemon

lemon for weight loss

Remember to take advantage of any “shortcuts” like drinking lemon water, now that you’re back on track with your fitness this new year! There are so many health benefits of lemon that it’s hard to list them all, but my favorite one is its helpfulness in fat loss. Lemon naturally cleanses and detoxes the body, which is exactly what we all need after the holiday festivities. It’s also nice because if you’re tired of the taste of plain water, a few lemon slices really perk it up and make it easier to stay hydrated. My personal favorite time to drink lemon water is first thing in the morning or right before bed, with hot water and honey. It’s calming, delicious, and washes away that stubborn fat. Just in time for spring break!

The best way to stay motivated to keep up with your goals is to plan a deadline to have them accomplished by. Plan a spring break somewhere warm, a rewarding photoshoot, or something that will keep you excited to be fit! It will help you remember that everything you do will be worth it 🙂

Check out more Detox Recipes here and also How To Stay Motivated With Your Fitness Goals!

xoxo

 

How To Reach Fitness Goals

inspiration

I know from experience it’s really easy to make goals and then hope they somehow happen without having to change your behavior. Change is uncomfortable, and it’s not easy. Change requires a lot of dedication and willpower. But change also gets you results. Once you start seeing results, I can tell you it becomes addictive. It’s easier to stick to your diet and workout plan if you can actually see it working.

If you haven’t seen any change yet, remember if you want something you’ve never had, you’ve gotta do something you’ve never done.

What areas of your diet or workout have you been neglecting or slacking on? How can you take that next step that will put you closer to your goal? Take the time to examine what changes you can make in your daily ritual, and plan a way to make them happen. When you see your results, you will see how every sacrifice is 100% worth it!

xoxo

Also, learn The Best Way To Set Goals and How To Stay Motivated here 🙂

3 Healthy AND Delicious Vegetable Side Dishes

One of the most challenging things for many people who are adapting to their new healthy lifestyle is enjoying their food. They are used to rich-tasting, cheesy, salty, or fried foods, and have the incorrect idea that healthy food has to be bland and boring. I can tell you first-hand, if your food is tasteless, it will be very hard to stick to your nutrition plan.

Although it is true that you should stay away from sodium (which is found in many tasty seasonings), and fast-digesting carbohydrates (like white pasta and rice, and potatoes), there are many other ways that allow you to enjoy vegetables, and flavor your food without the guilt trip!

Here are three healthy and delicious vegetable side dishes that will spice up your meals and impress your friends!

1. Mediterranean Roasted Broccoli And Tomatoes

low-calorie side dish12 medium size florets  (about 4 cups) 

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1  tablespoon lemon juice
10 pitted black olives, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed  (optional)
Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Toss broccoli, tomatoes, oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, 10 to 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine lemon zest and juice, olives, oregano and capers (if using) in a large bowl. Add the roasted
vegetables; stir to combine. Serve warm.
2. Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
low-calorie side dish

8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets, (about 1 head)
4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
4 teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1  teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
 Freshly ground pepper, to taste
 Snipped fresh chives, for garnish
 
Directions:
1. Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)

2. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.
Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
3. Mediterranean Lima Beans
lima beans and tomatoes2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups  chopped fresh or frozen onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1  teaspoon dried oregano
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
2  14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2  10-ounce packages frozen baby lima beans,  (4 cups)
Directions:
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in oregano, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, tomatoes and lima beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are fully cooked and the mixture is heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Enjoy the new spice to your meals! Let me know how you do in the comments below 🙂
If you liked these recipes, check out Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken and Easy Turkey Burgers for some great entrees to pair with these healthy and delicious side dishes!

How To Make Effective New Year’s Resolutions

how to make effective new year's resolutionsWe all want to be successful, rich, and happy, with fulfilling relationships and exciting careers. But why is it that some people achieve those things, while most of everyone else does not? Surely it’s possible to have all those things otherwise we wouldn’t know that we wanted it.

The real question is, what separates successful people who have everything they want in life, and everyone else who can only dream of those things?

You can read any book or watch any interview of a successful person (not necessarily a celebrity, but someone who has attained a well-rounded level of wealth), and they will tell you the secret.

What separates successful people from wishful thinkers is goal setting.

They start with New Year’s Resolutions, but they definitely don’t stop there. They have lists of milestone goals (big events that can be marked in their life), long projects, lifestyle goals, and smaller goals that they want to achieve. But goals are only words on paper until they are attained. Successful people follow an action plan that guides them through the steps to reach each goal.

And they never quit.

2014 is a chance for you to get on the path that you really want to be on and never look back. You have to know what you want and have dogged determination to get it. Trust me, you will never look back and regret breaking old bad habits that held you back and the things you had to give up to gain something much better later.

It’s always 100% worth it, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.

What if you don’t really know what you want? Maybe you know you want something better but you just don’t have a clear picture of it yet. It’s time for you to sit down and do some thinking. There’s no way for you to go anywhere if you don’t have a end in mind! Imagine trying to drive somewhere but you have no idea where you’re going. It’s impossible. You need a destination to type into your GPS in order to get the step by step directions that will lead you there.

New Year’s Resolutions are the destination you put into your GPS. They have to be precise and exactly what you want. If they’re too vague, it’s like putting “restaurants” instead of where you really felt like eating, and being led to McDonald’s instead of The Melting Pot.

Here are some amazing tips for setting New Year’s resolutions from a professional self-development coach, Lucio Del Monte. These are really helpful in obtaining a well-rounded life and achieving real happiness. Money and fitness are not the only things to think about!

Set New Year’s Resolutions in each of these four categories:

  • Physical
  • Career/Business/School
  • Relationships
  • Spiritual

Physical goals include all areas of fitness, diet, and sleep. Choose a few specific and doable habits or goals, and don’t make it too hard for yourself. The key to achieving goals is to set actual activities rather than ideas. For example, say, “I will go to the gym at 7:00am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday,” instead of, “Get in shape.” See how the first one seems very achievable, rather than the second one is so vague that it seems impossible.

For your Career/Business/School goals, ask yourself what is the next step you need to take to advance in your job? in school? If you have your own business or you want to start your own, what are some improvements you can make? Who can you contact to help you with these goals? What are your specific financial goals and how will you get on the path of achieving these goals? Again, set specific activities that you will DO, not intangible ideas.

Relationship goals apply to your family, friends, and significant other. How can you improve your relationship with your family? Can you spend more time with them? Do you have friends who are a good influence on your goals? Are you getting quality time with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse? What specific activities can you plan so that you can have the opportunity to get closer to these people in your life? Maybe you can go out to dinner or a movie every Tuesday night at 7pm, or have a girls’ night every other weekend with your mom and sister. It may sound like a very structured life at first, but it will be so rewarding when you see problem areas in your life improve.

Spiritual goals involve your inner self. How would you like to improve your personality and strengthen your character? This is the opportunity for you to really sit down and define your core values. What are the qualities in your role models that you want to mimic in yourself? What kind of adjustments can you make to improve yourself and also be a good influence on others? If you are religious, you can examine your faith and see if you are a good representation of it. What can you do differently that will have a positive effect on your life? Remember to come up with activities that will help you reach the ideal you have in mind.

Having a few goals in each category will help you keep a balanced life and improve all areas of your happiness. Behavior change is unnatural, so it will feel a little weird at first when you take on these new habits, but it will pay off!

In order to KEEP your New Year’s Resolutions, review them every week or so, and have pictures or other things that remind you of those goals. For instance, the lock screen saver of my phone is always a goal that I want to attain, whether it’s physical fitness, or keeping to a diet, or aiming to have more adventurous fun in my life. I change the picture often enough to keep my attention, and I find it works really well!

At the beginning of every month, review last month’s goals, cross off the ones you did (my favorite part!!) and WRITE NEW ONES. Keep making new goals every month that follow the main plan you have for yourself. Before you know it your life will be changed for the better in so many ways.

Good luck! Thanks for liking and commenting! Also SUBSCRIBE for more helpful ideas on how to stay motivated and keep your New Year’s Resolutions all year round 🙂

Need a couple nutrition resolutions? Check out The Best Morning Ritual Ever and great dinner recipes to try!

3 Types Of Squats You Have Not Been Doing, But Should

We all know you gotta do squats to have a great butt. But did you know that certain variations of the squat can tone your inner thighs, build your glutes more, and slim your quads? Most people only do the traditional squat and think they’re good, when actually they’re really missing out on some other great benefits that different squats offer.

1. The Sumo Squat

how to do a sumo squatThis exercise does an amazing job toning your inner thighs while activating your glutes. This is my new favorite exercise because I’ve gotten the best results from it!

I recommend using a 20lb to 25lb dumbbell, or a 45lb barbell held with arms straight down. Remember your knees should always be lined up with your toes to prevent knee injury.  Do 3 sets of 15-20.

 

 

 

2. The Split Squat

how to do a split squat

The split squat also really engages your glutes in ways that the regular squat does not because it’s a unilateral exercise. This means it works one side at a time, making your backside proportioned and well rounded.

Go as low as you comfortably can, using a 5lb to 15lb dumbbell on each side. Do 3 sets of 15.

 

 

 

3. The Front Squat

how to do a front squathow to do a front squat The front squat is an exercise not many people know about, but it’s great for your quads. If you’re trying to build them, these are your new best friend! If you want to just tone and define your thighs, use a lighter weight (like the 10lb or 20lb barbell shown) with 3 sets of 20-25. Make sure you position the bar on your anterior deltoids as shown, and follow the tips in the picture. Remember to always keep your knees behind your toes when doing any squat!

Have fun incorporating these exercises into your workouts! Good luck, and enjoy the benefits afterwards!

For more lower body exercises that really work, check out the Workouts page and The Best Lower Body Exercise For Women!