02-01-2016

3 Reasons Exercise Programs Fail & How To Overcome Them

It’s February 1st! A new month…a clean slate…

Did you know that a third of those who make New Year’s Resolutions don’t even make it to the end of January? We need to stay strong and committed as a new month rolls in!

Many people make resolutions to be healthier, work out more, etc. So why do they fall off within a month or two? That’s what I wanted to talk about today AND invite you to participate in a FREE 5 day fitness challenge that starts next week, so we can hold each other accountable and motivate each other. I’ll talk about that more in a bit.

Here are 3 reasons why exercise programs fail, and how to overcome them. + a FREE 5 day fitness challenge to re-ignite your goals and motivation! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Getting to the gym is a hassle

For many people, in the beginning they’re going to the gym every day, and then it starts to taper off. Why? Because getting to the gym might be a hassle. If you’re going after work, you might have to sit in traffic to get there. If you’re going in the morning, you might opt out because you don’t want to lug your work clothes, towel, shampoo, etc. for the post-workout shower. These small annoyances might start leading to, “I’ll just go tomorrow.” Here are a few ways to get back on track:

  • On days you get out of work late, or you wake up not wanting to drive to the gym, do an at-home workout video. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, it is better than nothing, and you’ll feel great. I love Fitness Blender on YouTube for home workouts.
  • Sign up for fitness classes. I’ve been staying consistent with my morning cycling classes because if I cancel I have to pay $20. When you have a commitment, you’re more apt to go. A second idea is to schedule a workout time with a friend…you can’t bail on your friends!
  • Create your own dumbbell workout routine that you can do at home. I wrote more about creating a full-body routine here.

Gym equipment is confusing

Alright so maybe you get to the gym, but then what? There are so many pieces of equipment, how do you know which to use OR if you’re even using them properly? This overload can cause some to feel intimidated and stop going to the gym all-together. Check out the link above on how to create your own routine. You can also use sites like bodybuilding.com that have a ton of workout plans and show how to do each exercise. My advice is to just stick to dumbbells or kettlebells. You can get a great workout with just those pieces of equipment, and oftentimes a BETTER workout than using a machine.

No accountability

If you’re trying to go at this alone, it will get tough at times. Even though I train with my mom, there are days I dread going to the gym or running. And that is even with a workout partner, so I can’t imagine if I didn’t have her! You need people to hold you accountable. Find someone to go to the gym with or run with a few times a week. Tell yourself you can only do X if you go to the gym that day (watch Netflix, get a manicure…whatever you think will work for you!). It doesn’t necessarily have to be a workout buddy either. Tell people about your goals and ask them to check in with you. When you know that people know what you’re working towards, you’re more apt to actually achieve those goals. Which is why my 5 day fitness challenge is perfect for you if you want accountability…we will all be checking in with each other and supporting each other!

So what will this 5 Day Fitness Challenge entail?

  • Daily 15 min. workout videos by me, sent to you for 5 days so you can work out right at home (and you only need dumbbells)!
  • PDF printables of the workouts in case you want to do it at the gym.
  • Instagram hashtag so you can connect with other challenge members and support each other.

AND

  • PRIZES! One lucky winner will win a PlantFusion prize pack with 1 full-size PlantFusion product of their choice (Thanks PlantFusion!). PlantFusion is a plant-based protein powder (which I love) that is perfect for smoothies and post-workout recovery shakes.

So here are the quick details:

WHEN: Feb. 8 – Feb 14

HOW DO I SIGN UP: Click below and enter your email to sign up. I will send you all the details before Feb. 8 so you’re ready to hit the ground running!



 
Leave a comment below and let me know if you signed up! :)
 
 
What do you think is a reason many people “fall off the resolution wagon” come Feb. or March?
What steps do you take to make sure you stay strong and committed?

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11-19-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

I am starting to get nervous about the Philly Half this weekend. I usually LOVE tapering (less miles woohoo) but this is the first time I’m feeling kind of anxious about the drop in mileage. I know I can do this but then I’m also like “omg what if only running 3 times this week isn’t enough?!” Crazy thoughts, I know ;)

Here are this week’s links!

Featured: Loaded Philly Cheesesteak Potato (Skinny Taste)

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I had to feature this because I made it last night and it was delicious. I found it yesterday when someone on Twitter suggested I check out Skinnytaste for recipe ideas. Even the BF loved it – and he’s a picky eater!

  • Running & Weightloss (Run To The Finish) – A shameless plug for a guest post I wrote for Amanda of Run To The Finish today. Go check it out if you’ve had issues with running more and more but hitting a weightloss plateau.
  • 20 Delicious Thanksgiving Day Side Dishes (Jessie Loves 2 Run) – Thanksgiving is almost here! I am bookmarking this for myself in order to make something new this year. Can’t wait to eat!
  • 15 No Equipment At-Home Workouts (Ex Sloth) – Winter time means less motivation to go to the gym or exercise outdoors. No excuses with this list of workouts you can do right in your own living room.
  • How To Mobilize & Stretch Hip Muscles with Tennis Ball (TriDosha Wellness) – I love using a tennis ball as opposed to a foam roller. Gets in deeper and you’re able to move around on it more. 

Do you use a typical foam roller? Or one of those rollers with the grooves or ridges (I love the RumbleRoller too!)

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07-24-2014

Booty Burner Workout

I haven’t posted a workout in a while, and I thought why not focus on legs? I’m going to start half marathon training in the next week or two, so it’s time to make my legs stronger.

This leg workout includes some cardio in the form of burpees! Everyone’s favorite exercise ;) Check it out, and read on for instructions.

Booty Burner Workout

I love bulgarian split squats…they are killer, and you will feel it in your glutes and quads! This is an especially great exercise for athletes, since it’s a single leg exercise. You’ll be working on balance and core throughout the movement as well.

If you’re not familiar with them, take a look at this video:

The key thing to remember is to keep your chest up and shoulders back. Start with a lighter weight so you get the hang of it, and then increase.

Let me know if you try out the workout! I love hearing feedback

Have you used bulgarian split squats in your routine?

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06-25-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day (Travel Edition)

One more day and I’m outta here! I’m excited to be traveling to South America…though I’ll admit I will miss my cats ;) But at least my uncle will be home to take care of them. We were nervous we wouldn’t be able to find someone to watch over them. Yes, I have multiple cats…I swear I’m not a crazy cat lady! :)

Today’s links will be travel related for all of you who will be going on a vacation this summer. Found a lot of helpful information! A new thing I want to add to these health & fitness posts is a featured post:

Featured Post

15 Minute Hotel Workout

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Definitely doing this workout by Healthy Happier Bear while I’m away. I love timed workouts because it’s easy enough to do and all you need is a timer. Plus, 15 minutes? Perfect for when you don’t have time to dedicate to a longer workout – whether you’re on vacation or not!

Healthy Eating While Traveling

Fitness

What are some of your tips on how to stay healthy while on vacation? I’d love to hear them!

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06-24-2014

21 Day Fix Review

So a few weeks ago I posted about being unhappy with myself. I was not happy that I had gained weight, and even less happy that I seemingly lost all motivation to eat healthy or exercise at the intensity that I used to.

During this time, my mom and I had been seeing more and more about 21 Day Fix by BeachBody.

Autumn-Calabrese

I looked up reviews and others who had tried it had good things to say about the program. I wanted something to hold me accountable and get me back on track with my nutrition.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about BeachBody in general, so I was excited to try this. Of course, there were some nay sayers who said “Why don’t you just count your calories/macros” but this seemed much simpler especially for someone who hates counting calories.

I didn’t write about it, and specifically said I’d wait until after I finished the program to document my experience. I wanted to do it on my own and see whether I truly liked it or not before talking about it on here.

PROGRAM OUTLINE

So the program comes with several different containers as well as 2 workout DVDs with 4-5 workouts on each.

What are the containers for? For portioning out your food. I have had major issues with portion control in the past, even while trying to eat healthy. You can easily eat too much “good fat” in a day without even realizing (hello cheese and hummus).

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But you can easily NOT be eating enough veggies and protein as well. I noticed that once I started this program I was eating way more vegetables than I normally do.

In the handbook, there is a calorie calculator depending on how much you weigh. I know those aren’t the most accurate…so I was a bit skeptical of this, but ate in my calorie range (around 1,500 calories) to test it out. With each calorie range, you are given how many of each container you can eat. I was able to eat 3 veggies, 3 fruit, 4 proteins, 1 healthy fats/cheese, 1 seeds, 1 oil, and 2 carbs.

On days that I did two workouts (like running + one of the workout DVDs) I did let myself have another carb or some extra fruit. Occasionally I did eat extra fruit because I’d get hungry after dinner. Fruit won’t kill you ;)

I also love that 3 days a week you can swap out a carb container for something like a glass of wine, or a cookie. It’s not restrictive. And even though I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, I actually didn’t use up many of those days. The first week I didn’t use any!

The book also comes with a few recipes to make your own healthy sweet treats. Like oatmeal cookies or double chocolate brownies. I tried the oatmeal cookies and my whole family loved them.

THE WORKOUTS

The plan comes with a workout DVD. They are pretty good workouts. Here they are:

  • Upper fix
  • Lower fix
  • Cardio fix
  • Dirty 30
  • Pilates fix
  • Yoga fix
  • 10 min. abs

They are pretty good workouts and only 30 minutes. Perfect. I did like the videos but some of them were not challenging enough for me. Sure I was sweating but I felt like I could get a better workout in on my own at the gym. So some days that’s what I did. I think the DVDs are good for those who need accountability when it comes to working out. Plus, it’s only 30 minutes so what is your excuse??

I will say the pilates one is hard! Who know leg circles could burn so much?

You only take about 10-15 second breaks which is another thing I like. Sometimes you go to the gym and don’t realize you’re taking way longer breaks than you should be if your goal is to burn calories. That definitely made it a tougher workout. My first workout was cardio fix and my mom and I were sore for days after that!

RESULTS

Okay so I have never posted progress pictures but wanted to show what you can do in 21 days with eating pretty clean. I’m too embarrassed to show my front view (maybe one day when my “after” pic is a 6 pack lol). Before starting this, I really did feel so bloated and heavy. Weeks of unhealthy eating/eating whatever you please will do that to you. Here’s my back progress pic:

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I’m not proud of this picture, and I have a long way to go to get back to where I used to be, but it’s progress!

I have felt more in control recently with food than in the past couple of months. This program really helped put me back on track, and control my portions better. It also helped that my mom did it with me, as well as my best friend. Accountability and a support group really help!

Speaking of support groups, if you’re planning on trying 21 Day Fix, definitely join a Facebook support group. I’ve found great recipes and tips through them. These are 2 groups that I am a part of.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really liked this program. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first – especially because the containers look so small when you first get the program.

Pros:

  • Helps with portion control. You may be surprised by how much or how little you are eating of certain types of foods!
  • No calorie counting or macro counting.
  • A lot of freedom with what types of food to eat/recipes to create.
  • Not ridiculously strict – you’re allowed 3 “cheats” per week in exchange for a carb container.
  • Surprisingly fills you up (the amount of food you eat).
  • 30 minute workouts are perfect for busy people.
  • At-home workouts that only require a pair of weights or resistance band.
  • Helps with accountability with your food intake.

Cons

  • Workout DVDs may be less challenging for those who are experienced lifters.
  • Booklet does not say how many calories you should eat if you are running AND doing a workout DVD (or other type of workout).

And that’s really all I’ve got in terms of cons. I really loved it. One tip would be to not actually eat out of the containers. They’re not the sturdiest things in the world, so I’d just use them to measure and put my food in other containers if I needed to pack a lunch bag.

So there you have it folks…my 21 Day Fix review. I would definitely suggest it to anyone who is looking to get back on track with nutrition and also does not enjoy calorie counting/tracking. I really do hate that. Once the 21 days are up, they offer a maintenance calorie calculator so you can alter your intake (for maintenance) or you can continue if you still want to lose some weight/bodyfat.

I think that once the 21 days are up, you’ll also have a better idea of how to eat on your own. You won’t need to rely on the containers as much. That’s where I’m at right now! I’m still continuing the plan even though I’ve had a few treats since then. I’m traveling to Paraguay on Thursday so my goal is to eat healthy until then!

Okay, my long @$$ post is over now ;)

Please let me know if you have any questions at all! I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts on my experience.

Have you tried any BeachBody programs?

Do you count/track calories?

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06-23-2014

Benefits Of Not Training For A Big Race

I’ve been loving not having any races to train for. It has given me the freedom to run when I want, and skip a run when I want. The days I’m not feeling a run, I’m okay with doing something else. In fact, I’ve been wanting to do other workouts since when I AM training for something, it’s hard to get other types of workouts in.

So what have I been doing?

Well, last week I went to play tennis with my sister and I remembered how much I really like it. My parents used to send me to tennis lessons as a kid and I hated it. Now, I wish I had kept up with it…who knows maybe I actually would have been good at tennis :)

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Side note: I always wonder, what if there is something I’m really good at but will never know. Like what if I could go to the Olympics for snowboarding or swimming or something? The world will never know…

Anyway, I’ve also gotten back into spinning. I have taken a few classes with a friend, but also make up my own workouts at the gym.

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The above picture was from a combo spin + yoga class at Ride + Reflect in Bernardsville, NJ. 45 minutes of spin, 45 minutes of yoga. Loved it!

Here’s my spin playlist I used for my own spin workout that I did yesterday, if you’re interested:

I used to hate spin but actually really like it now. I am on the hunt for an inexpensive bike so I can start riding outside. I’ve written about how I want to do a sprint triathlon later this summer (possibly), so I need a bike for that! I have a mountain bike, but not sure if I can use that?

I’ve also enjoyed going to the gym and getting back into lifting. I’m not following any set plan right now, but have liked doing more interval type workouts using weights. My sister and I did a tough one yesterday, which I will actually share on my YouTube channel later this week – so stay tuned!

Here we are after the workout:

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 But I can’t forget about running. I do miss it sometimes, and the other day I just felt the urge to go for a run, even after an hour of lifting. I decided not to wear a watch or anything, and just go with the flow. I ran 2.6 miles and felt amazing despite the heat.

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I love those runs where you just feel like you can run forever. I could have kept going but dinner was waiting and it was already 8 pm and I was hungry :)

I think my mom and I will be doing a half marathon in September or October, and we’d also like to do the Philly Half. We are considering doing a spring full marathon but I don’t know how I feel about training in the winter time! I have only done it once for a May half marathon, and it wasn’t bad…but I do prefer training in the summer. We’ll see!

What types of workouts do you do when you’re not running?

Have you done a spring full marathon? Which one? How’d you adjust to running in the winter?

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06-18-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

I actually got up to exercise today! I was going to run, but I felt like a zombie and didn’t want to force my body right out of bed. Instead, my mom and I walked a half mile to a steep hill, did 5 hill runs, then walked back home. A 25 minute workout to start the day ain’t so bad! I’ll be writing more about this later :)

Anyway, here are some great posts I found this week!

  • Green Bean Fries (East & Exercise By Amber) – Such a great idea for a guiltless side!
  • Enchilada Cups (The Lean Green Bean) – Another great idea – will have to make this for my next BBQ.
  • Dos and Donts of Running Your First Marathon (Runner’s World) – Runners, you have to read this one. Some of them made me actually laugh out loud!
  • Upper Body Workout Circuit (Jessie Loves 2 Run) – Lateral raises always get me…I so “feel the burn!”
  • Trigger Clothes (The Get In Shape Girl) – Very interesting. My “trigger clothes” are always jeans. They are just not comfortable and never fit right.

Do you have “trigger clothes?” or clothing that just doesn’t make you feel good about yourself even if it is your size?

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05-13-2014

Full Body vs. Body Part Split Routines

Everyone seems to lift differently. Some of us do HIIT training. Some of us do full body routines. And some do body part splits. I’m sure you’ve read routines where one day it’s chest and back or chest and biceps, another day it’s legs and triceps, etc. But what is the reasoning behind this? And is there a “best” way?

Full body vs. body part split routinesPhoto Credit: Nick in exsilio via Compfight cc

Well, I personally like body part split routines because it allows me to do more exercises for certain body parts, and allows me to strengthen my weak points. For example, one of my weaknesses is chest presses. During chest and back day, I’m doing various chest exercises that are helping me to get stronger. If I were doing a full body routine, I’d probably only be doing 1-2 chest exercises in the whole routine. Moral of the story: it all depends on your goals.

Here are a few body split routines I have done:

  • Chest & back
  • Legs & shoulders
  • Chest & Biceps
  • Back & Triceps
  • Leg day on its own day, shoulder day on its own, biceps & triceps on its own.

But what type of routine is better? 

BENEFITS OF FULL BODY ROUTINES

Full body routine has it’s place and a lot of benefits. For runners, a full body routine is probably the best, since you probably want to spend less time lifting (so you can do this 2-3x a week), and you want to strengthen your whole body in order to be a strong runner. Here are a few other benefits:

  • Burn more calories since you’re working multiple muscle groups at once.
  • Great for beginners because they can learn different lifts, and only do 1-2 exercises per body part (less soreness).
  • You can create circuit style routines to combine strength and cardio.
  • Can take less time.
  • If you miss a workout, it’s not a big deal because you have another full body workout scheduled later in the week. (If you miss chest and back day, you probably won’t be able to make it up).
  • Easier to do at home.

I probably will switch to full body routines soon once I start really getting into half marathon and marathon training, simply because I can schedule it two times a week. I also do like that you get more of a cardio component from it. On the days where I was only doing arms or shoulders, I felt like I was barely sweating. Though I do really like chest/back and leg days…

BENEFITS OF BODY PART SPLIT ROUTINES

  • You can focus on each body part and will definitely get stronger.
  • Ideal if you are looking to build a bit more muscle. Ladies, you won’t get bulky so that’s not what I mean ;) 
  • You will do more exercises per body part, so if you’re looking to strengthen your legs (or arms, or shoulders), this will definitely help!
  • Less fatigue. For example, if you pair chest and back, you are doing a chest press then a pull-up. You’re using opposite muscle groups which means less fatigue. In a full body routine, you’re using all muscle groups. You may go from a chest press to shoulder press…well, you were just using your shoulders in the chest press too, which means you may put up less weight.

Honestly, I love body part split routines. I recently completed a 16 week program that was all body part split, and I loved it! I ended up hitting PRs (personal records) for bench press, military press, leg press, barbell squats and more. I have never felt stronger. I just wish it was easier to incorporate with a running schedule.

So who should do which routines? It all depends on your goals. If you’re a beginner or looking to lose fat as opposed to getting stronger, then I’d say go with full body routines. You’ll burn more calories overall, and it’s easier to schedule. If you want to gain a bit of muscle or get stronger, then try a body split routine. Either way, no matter what you choose, lift heavy! :) You should be struggling by the last few reps, and if you’re not, up your weight a little bit.

Which type of routine do you prefer?

Are you able to balance lifting and running?

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05-07-2014

What Workout Should I Try Next?

So on Monday I decided to try out a new workout: “Cardio Barre.” It was described as a mix between Barre and willPower & Grace. Hmmm…

A co-worker had suggested a while ago that I try willPower & Grace because she thought it’d help with my shin splint issues. It’s a barefoot class which focuses on balance and leg strengthening.

It was tough in a totally different way! A looottttt of squat variations, my legs were on fire. The hardest part for me was the balancing part. We did a lot of one-legged exercises and I felt like I was the only one falling all over the place. I’m way more wobbly on my left side, which may be part of the reason my left shin is always the one to give me more issues? 

During all those balancing exercises my ankles and calves were also burning. It was weird because the day after my shins felt sore? I obviously didn’t do anything with major impact to make them sore, so I’m thinking that working all those muscles in that area is what made my shins hurt a bit. I definitely want to do this class again to help with my balance which is obviously very important for runners.

Which leads me to my next point…I want to experiment with more classes and types of workouts! I’d like your suggestions as well, especially if you use classes or other workouts as cross training. Here’s what I’d like to try out, or do more of in, in the next few months:

workout-checklist

 

What workouts do you want to try OR do more of? Leave a comment and let me know so I can add it to my list too!

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04-09-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

It’s only Wednesday…I seriously feel like it should be the end of the week already!

Here are your health links for today:

Do you strive for “perfect” eating or are do you treat yourself when you have a craving?

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