Back in August I promised that I wouldn't write this post a month later than I intended. I mean, I kinda kept my promise because instead I wrote it 4 months later...
Like a boss.
This is the last post of my #Tracis30For30 series and it is still kind of surreal. God has done an amazing work in my life and has turned it around and gotten it back on track. He is to receive all the credit. If I could post a picture of him flexing, I would, but instead you'll have to settle for my fitness pictures.
Which, if I may ask you, please don't laugh at the pictures that go along with this post. It took everything in me to actually pose in such a manner that shows how my physique has changed. And if I am being honest, IT WEIRDS ME OUT, PEOPLE! I am not a fitness model...so naturally, I felt like a troll taking these pictures. But I did it, because I hope to motivate you! I did it all for you!! (See, I am guilt tripping you out of your heckling.) Ok, enough about my glamour shots. Let us get on to the real reason why you're reading this post, shall we?
To give you some back history of the few years leading up to my fitness change, I didn't do anything. Working out consisted of getting winded while walking up my apartment stairs. And I lived on the second floor, y'all!!!! I played pick-up games of football and basketball here and there...but I stopped once I couldn't breathe, which was about 5 minutes into the game. I'm telling you, I was out. of. shape.
(Before and after...though, I am still working on the "after"! I feel more toned and in shape!)
I pretty much made fun of people who worked out, because I was insecure. Judging others is what insecure people do. If you posted about fitness on Facebook, I probably got really frustrated. Mainly because you were living the life I wanted. I was just too lazy to pursue it.
When God changed my heart about the way I viewed myself, I began to realize that I had to work for the results. He wasn't going to make the fat melt away instantly. My sweat, pain, and tears (I'm not kidding, sometimes I cried out of frustration) was physical proof that I trusted in his plan to change my life. Without joining a gym and actually working hard, I wasn't putting my faith into action.
I joined Gold's Gym on January 12th, 2014. I remember the exact day because I refused to make this a New Year's resolution. Mainly because I suck at those. I didn't want this to be a cliché promise I made to myself; I wanted this to be a promise I made to God. It wasn't about starting over on the first day of the New Year, it was about starting over on the day God found best.
Even if you aren't a member of Gold's, they have a great tool on their website to help you start your fitness journey. (Click here for the page) You plug in all your measurements and they give you a work out plan that will help you navigate your way around the gym and give you the best results for your workout level. I highly suggest starting off with this page! I was terrified of the gym before and would spend all my time on the elliptical because that's all I knew how to do! I also suggest taking advantage of orientations with a trainer when you join a gym. I thought he was going to give me a tour of important things, like where the bathroom was. But instead he did a fitness evaluation....that lasted an hour...in which I yelled at him many times because he was killing me. And he laughed. But he taught me how to use a lot of the machines and got me comfortable in a gym setting. I don't regret it one bit.
While I am not going to go over things like reps and technique, I will just give you a peek into my weekly fitness routine and let you make up your own! I utilized social media outlets, such as Instagram and Pinterest, to help find workout routines that were fun and easy! Don't start off killing yourself! Do what you feel comfortable doing and work your way up! If you try to begin by running a mile on the treadmill or trying to bench press 90 pounds, of course you are going to hate working out! Instead, find small workouts that make you feel accomplished when you are finished and work your way up. For example, I made up a routine in which I only did 10 squats on leg day. Now I do 100! Without doing 10 and working my way up, I never ever would have made it to 100.
When I go to the gym, I alternate days in which I work out my arms and upper body, and my legs. I always integrate ab workouts into both those days. I am no fitness expert so I have no idea if that is how you are supposed to do it?! (Hey, I'm just being honest!) Here is what a typical day in the gym looks like for me:
*Note: before hitting the gym, make sure you are properly hydrated. A good rule to follow would be this: Aim to drink 15-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercising. 8-10 ounces of water 10 minutes before exercising. 8-10 ounces of water every 15 minutes during exercising, and 20-24 ounces of water after you are finished working out. I also love snacking on bananas on my way to the gym and eating a protein bar when I'm finished.*
-When I arrive at the gym, I usually warm up on a stationary bike for about 7 minutes. This is to be done at a moderate pace and gets your body warmed up.
-I then do some kind of cardio for 25-30 minutes. I like to alternate between the treadmill, elliptical, or stair stepper. (If you really want to boost your work out, I suggest doing High Intensity Interval Training, also known as HIIT. What the heck is that, you ask? It's a way to work out that helps you burn more fat in a shorter time period. For example: if I am on the elliptical, I go at a moderate pace for about two minutes, then I go complete beast mode for a minute. I alternate between the two paces for the whole time I am doing cardio, and before you know it, I burned over 300 calories in 25 minutes because I kept my heart rate up and healthy. Plus it keeps things interesting. I get super bored on the machines!!)
-After cardio, I give myself a little break to get my heart rate back down. I refuel on water and catch up on a few games on TV.
-I am ready to start my weight training!
Can I please say- DO NOT SHY AWAY FROM STRENGTH TRAINING!!
I believe I have lost more weight, and kept it off, because I lift weights. I don't lift to look like a man, I lift so that my muscles will be in good shape and I will look lean and fit.
-On arms day, we wear pink. (Just kidding, I couldn't help it) But seriously, on arms day, I use free weights! At the end of the post, I have attached some profiles that I follow on Instagram that have little videos to show you how to use different weights. I have found this most helpful!! And I even watch them in the gym while working out.
-On legs day, I use some weight machines and have recently been addicted to kettle bell exercises. Again, the profiles posted at the end have some great videos and charts that show you what to do!! I like to write, but I just can't put those exercises into words so you'll have to check them out!
-After weights, I work on my abs. I like to mix it up. Sometimes I'll plank, and sometimes I will do various forms of crunches that involve medicine balls.
-When you are done with your gym workout, don't forget to stretch!! Some people rush through this but it is so important to take care of your muscles so they are ready for your next work out!
(I hate flexing and taking pictures of myself in the mirror, so naturally I made a face to show how I truly feel.)
*Some of my gym essentials include: a towel, a water bottle, lifting gloves, a ridiculously awesome playlist, and my Polar watch. I LOVE MY POLAR WATCH. It monitors my heart rate and tells me when I am burning the most calories. I am not a calorie-counting freak, but it is nice to know that on an average day at the gym I burn about 600-650 calories. It makes me think twice next time I want a 400 calorie pastry from Starbucks. It puts into perspective the amount of work I am doing in the gym and how quickly I can throw it away with just one snack. I highly recommend getting a Polar watch, and you can usually find a good deal on Amazon!)
-I start off with warming up and cardio. I use the Couch to 5K app because it is a great mix of walking and running. It also helps you get your body in the right shape to run a 5K...which I've yet to do...but I still love the app!!
-When my cardio is over, I go through this routine in my apartment. Thankfully my neighbor below can't hear me jumping...I made sure to ask her before I continued!
100 jumping jacks (2 reps of 50)
100 crunches ( 2 reps of 50)
50 wall pushups (2 reps of 25)
100 air squats (10 reps of 10 or 5 reps of 20)
and then I dance. I am not kidding you. I have kept track of the calories on my watch and I actually burn quite a few...plus it makes it fun!!
Want to start off slow? Try:
20 jumping jacks
20 wall pushups
Remember, work your way up! Try to add a little more every week!
Also, try to find other ways to incorporate little fitness routines into your everyday life.
I mapped out half a mile from my apartment in 3 different directions so that when I take my dog for a walk, we walk to that stopping point and then back. Before you know it, we knocked out a mile for the day! Do the same thing when you park somewhere for work. Map out half a mile from your car to your work and get some cardio in for the day.
Every little bit counts, and it all adds up! In a matter of time you'll be having fun in the gym and feeling good about the way you are honoring God with your body. Protect what he gave you and treat it right.
Keep it tight, treat it right!
How's that for a Christian bumper sticker?!?!?
It also always helps to have a workout buddy, one that helps keep you accountable physically and spiritually!! I'm lucky enough to have such women in my life!
Sorry for the novel, I honestly can't keep these posts short but I hope you feel encouraged and motivated to make a change in the right direction.
Try to workout at least 3 times a week, even if it's for 30 minutes, and build up from there.
If I can do it, anyone can!! Trust me.
If I can do it, anyone can!! Trust me.
Here is the list of Instagram accounts that I love to follow because they offer motivation, healthy food recipes, and awesome workout videos: