It seems like almost every winter I gain 10 pounds because I go out to eat more often, stay inside more often & wear sweats more often. I like to call it hibernation. My recent trip to LA I indulged for breakfast lunch and dinner and was officially at the “gained 10 pounds” mark when I got home at the end of February. This is where I decided it was time to buckle down to tone up for spring. Here’s a picture for you all to see I’m not just skinny in certain angles, have a perfect metabolism, or don’t have to work for my body. I do work for it. I also live in bathing suits in the summer since it’s only a few months out of the year here in NY. Therefore I like my body to look a certain way.
To start, I have been active and exercising for years. So typically it isn’t that difficult for me to get back to my toned self when I slack off a bit in the colder months. I am not ashamed of my before picture, but I was uncomfortable in that body because I know what I can look like when I put in more effort.
I alternate between 3 different styles of exercise. HIIT cardio, circuit training & weight lifting.
For cardio, I 99.9% of the time do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises. A perfect example of this is sprinting on a treadmill for 30 seconds on and hopping off to the sides for 30 seconds off. Or walking slowly on the stair master for a minute and then practically running the next minute. I often do this for 20-30 min. Research shows that HIIT burns the most calories & fat in the shortest amount of time. Not only that but you will be drenched in sweat and high on endorphins which in my opinion is one of the best benefits that comes from exercise. HORRAY FOR MENTAL HEALTH, am I right?
As for circuit training, I either make up my own exercises or use Kayla Itsine’s original bikini body guide pdf screenshots. Her success has skyrocketed so now you can pay for her app or guides off of her website.
Here is an example of circuit training. Starting with the first column complete the 4 exercises/ reps as many times as you are able to within 7 minutes. I am able to do each exercise twice in the 7 minutes. I use the stopwatch on my apple watch for this. Do the same thing with column 2 for 7 minutes. AND REPEAT. Totaling 28 minutes. More so 30-35 min so that you are able to catch your breath and take a drink of water in between each circuit.
First column- 7 min *drink/breathe*
Second column- 7 min *drink/breathe*
First column- 7 min *drink/breathe*
Second column- 7 min *drink/breathe*
I like these workouts because you can do them at the gym or at home, they’re fast & super efficient. You will sweat, you will gasp for breath, you will be sore & you will tone up(!!!)
There are so many exercises you can do with your own body weight/adding 10 pound free weights at home. Buy them & stop making excuses that you don’t have time to go to the gym. You can manage 30-45 min in your living room a day if you are totally against going to a gym.
As for weight lifting. I don’t have any pictures for you as the majority of the time I exercise alone in the gym, even when I go with my boyfriend. Luckily, my incredible friend Paige runs a fitness youtube channel & has many helpful tips/exercises. You can follow her Instagram HERE. You can check out her youtube channel HERE. My style of weight lifting and training is very similar to hers.
A typical GOOD week for me looks like this:
Monday- 60 min weight lifting leg day/5 min abs/ 5-10 min stretch
Tuesday- 30 min circuit training arm day/20 min HIIT/ 5 min abs/ 5-10 min stretch
Weds- 30-40 min cardio session at home/ 20 min full body circuit training/ 5-10 min stretch
Thursday-60 min weight lifting arm day/20 min HIIT/ 5 min abs/ 5-10 min stretch
Friday-30-40 min cardio session at home/ 20 min full body circuit training/ 5-10 min stretch
Sunday- 30 min circuit training leg day/20 min HITT/ 5-10 min stretch
Not every week is the same exact. A lot of weeks I only exercise 4 times a week. Now the goal here for exercise shouldn’t always be to lose weight, of course we all want to look a certain way. If you are exercising strictly to lose weight you won’t enjoy it as much as you could. Exercise for physical and mental health. Exercise for confidence, exercise to reach goals, exercise to show yourself/others what you’re capable of.
On the days you don’t feel like working out, just do it and by 20 mins you will lose yourself to the sweat, the music, the endorphins. I promise it’ll feel worth it when you are done. Don’t forget to stretch (so important).
As for nutrition, I do not diet. I do not restrict. I understand I am young and my metabolism absolutely is in its prime. I am able to eat beer cheese and fried pretzels. I can eat pizza 3 times a week (I work at a delicious organic wood fired pizza place), but that is not all I eat.
I will let you in on my secret. BALANCE. Yes, I am able to eat “cheat meals” more than once a week while maintaining the body I feel most comfortable in. That may not be an option for everyone and I understand that. But I don’t feed my body crap all the time. I eat lots of fruits, veggies & grains.
Being the daughter of a chef, I can’t eat chicken rice and broccoli 10x a week. Sorry. My taste buds need flavor explosion. It is what it is.
A typical breakfast for me includes in one way or another vanilla protein powder, fruit, yogurt & whole grains. I also like eggs. Scrambled, fried, poached. With salsa, veggies, or over quinoa.
Strawberry banana vanilla protein powder/greek yogurt smoothie bowl topped with fresh fruit, granola, coconut flakes & chia seeds.
Vanilla greek yogurt parfaits with fresh berries & dried cranberry and almond granola.
Maple oatmeal with warmed frozen berries & peanut butter drizzle.
Whole grain french toast, with warmed frozen berries & a vanilla protein powder/vanilla greek yogurt “frosting”
My friend Andrew had an incredible salad in LA that I recreated for lunch:
Arugula, roasted sweet potatoes & Brussel sprouts, vegetable medley quinoa, pesto sauteed shrimp, feta cheese crumbles, olive oil, salt, pepper & a squeeze of lemon juice. Filling, yummy, wholesome, flavorful.
I don’t always eat lunch. Some days I am not hungry until dinner time, like I said every day and week is different for me.
One of my favorite healthy dinners is Chrissy Tegans Thai chicken lettuce wraps.
These are flavor packed, finger licking, go back for seconds, good. This night we had butternut squash & pear bisque from my job with it 🙂
I am lucky enough to say I don’t have a sweet tooth often. But if you do there is now protein packed, low calorie/fat/sugar ice creams available in most supermarkets. They sell out super fast tho! I can see why!
For drinks, I honestly almost ALWAYS drink water. I don’t like much else. Drink lots, drink for hydration, drink when you’re hungry to fill yourself more. Just drink it. It is so good for your body & skin.
Out of all the questions I get from people online, how I lose weight/ tone up is definitely my most frequently asked. My best advice is to constantly push yourself in and out of the gym. Try new things, work hard, stay humble and try to love yourself every step of the way. JUST KEEP TRYING!!!
Thanks for reading & feel free to comment what other things you’d like to see in the future, xo