Egad, it's been WAY too long since I've had a regular fitness regime. I hate to admit it, but it's been just over 2 years since I've made going to the gym a regular activity. At that time, I had a goal in mind (wanted to lose 25 lbs) and I had achieved it, but then got into some bad habits and started traveling more. I lost my momentum and, though I didn't gain the 25 back (only about 5-10 depending on the day), I got terribly out of shape again.
I've actually been blessed with a very athletic body base. Sports and endurance came easy for me when I was younger (except for distance running - have always hated it). I could get away with very little exercise to stay in pretty decent shape. Saying that, I've never been a beanpole...not even as a child or a tween. I was born with strong, sturdy thighs (my brother called me 'thunder thighs' from the age of 6), tall and big-boned. A couple of years back, I had my bone density measured and I'm off the charts. Just recently I had my body composition analyzed and I have over 125lbs of muscle and bones alone! Which means I'll never be a Kate Moss...even if I wanted to. Personally, I'm more into being a Venus Williams anyway. ;)
Ever since I moved to Montreal, I've been talking about getting back into that routine, but between travel and all the exhaustion that comes with it, that routine has been a big #FAIL. That was, until I met Jonas and David, behind the impending startup TrainingMobs, at a StartupDrinks in Montreal about 6 weeks back. We made a deal...we support one another in our startup woes/victories, I help them with community and they help me get in shape!
Not to mention it was about the time that I fell in love with P!nk's new tattoo and the thighs that go with them:
So...here is my schedule thusfar (except I've mainly stuck with just getting to the gym whenever I can every day, there are some classes that I've fallen in love with):
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If you can't join me at the classes, it's pretty simple: 45min-1hr/day/4-5x per week in cardio (getting the heart rate up) that is at fat-burning levels (65%). The rates on the machines are bullocks, I've found, because they make generalizations. So I found a really great calculation where you can actually figure out your target levels:
Target heart rate calculation:
220 - Your Age = __A___
A - Your Resting Heart Rate = ___B___
B * 65% = __C__ (low end of heart rate) B * 85% = __D___ (high end)
C + Your Resting heart rate = ___E___ (fat-burning zone) D + Resting heart rate = ____F____ (cardio zone)
The target heart rate zone would be E to F.
220 - 36 (my age) = 184
184 - 110 (my resting heart rate - it's high!) = 74
74 * 65% = 48.1 (low end of heart rate) 74 * 85% = 62.9 (high end)
48.1 + 110 = 158 (fat-burning zone) 62.9 + 110 = 173 (cardio zone)
My target heart rate zone is 158 to 173...WAY higher than most machines tell me.
So no matter what machine I'm on, I'm trying to stick to the 158-162 level of heart rate in order to burn fat (machines tell me 128 - which puts me in sleep zone). I also plan to get myself a heart rate monitor for my classes to make sure I'm sticking with that target.
And working out is boring for me, so I try to switch it up a lot. I move between classes and machines. I even found Dance Dance Revolution at my gym! As it gets nicer, I'll move some of my workouts outside - get a bike and hit various trails, hiking, rollerblading, etc. As long as I get in that hour of cardio 4-5x per week, it doesn't matter what I'm doing. Finding friends to share it with is also optimal to keep you interested and motivated.
A great workout mix is also helpful. Here is an example of mine:
1. Obsessed - Mariah Carey 2. According to You - Orianthi 3. Jumpin Jumpin - Destiny's Child 4. Telephone - Lady Gaga 5. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas 6. Tik Tok - Kei$ha 7. Bulletproof - La Roux 8. Evacuate the Dancefloor - Cascada 9. Faster Kill Pussycat - Oakenfold 10. Me and My Imagination - Sophie Ellis Bextor
I am also finding it useful to aim for body part goals based on bodies I admire. I showed you P!nk's legs/butt, but I'm also shooting for Michelle Obama's arms (perfectly sculpted, strong, but still feminine):
And Gwen Stefani's abs (they are more pronounced in this photo, but I do want to reveal a stomach that is shockingly six-packed for a woman - I used to have it and I think I can again):
But the biggest driver for me is my 37th birthday is coming up and I plan to be in Vegas with all of my friends hanging poolside at Mandalay Bay and I am bound and determined to have a bikini-ready body. So, set a date, some body goals, grab a few friends and have fun. :)
My diet is simple: Stay under 1500 calories/day and stay away from processed sugars, wheat or anything that is difficult for my body to process. Snack on fruit (I bought a load of unsweetened dried fruit like apricots, apples and berries), peppers, carrots and other veggies that can be munched on raw. No pasta, bread or big starchy bases at meals. Keep meals light and focus on snacks. Stick with fish and chicken breast. No beer right now or drinks with sugar (fancy martinis). Limit to Gin or Vodka and soda water with lime (but keep that to a minimum). Wine is the only thing I'm allowing a little slack to, but only 1x per week (cheat day?).
My body burns about 1600 kcal/day without getting out of bed, so it's pretty efficient (as per my body assessment). Many diets say to eat around 1200 calories/day for weight loss when you aren't regularly active and 1500 calories/day if you are working out regularly. That doesn't give you much room. I hate counting numbers on boxes, so I try to stick to the rule of thumb that if the food is natural and unprocessed, my body is more likely to use it as energy rather than store it as fat. I don't count every red pepper and dried apricot.
Basically, eat when I'm hungry, but only food that is unprocessed, non-starchy and only has natural sugars. Drink loads of water. Don't starve myself. Don't binge. Instead of three round meals/day, I graze.
Know your body. I've never really jived with personal trainers because they use general principles on me. Over the years, I've gotten to know what my body responds to the best. What I'm doing above may not work for you at all. Maybe you need to do more weights (my muscle mass is quite big for a woman, so I have to stay away from weight training) and less cardio. Maybe you would be better off in a higher cardio zone. Perhaps you can't survive without at least 3 steaks/week. Figure out what your body responds to through trial and error and go for it. Maybe the gym doesn't work at all for you. A friend of mine lost significant weight by engaging in activities he loved like indoor climbing and dancing, but never hit a gym. To this day, he has a smokin physique.
But I do think what David and Jonas are working on at TrainingMobs is key for me anyways - having a fun, flexible, social routine works the best. In July I plan to post my 'after' photos (I guess I should take some before even though I'm a bit into it?) and be their first guinea pig. And I hope some of you join me.