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How To: Recover from a Weekend of Overindulging

If you’ve been here before, you know the core purpose of my fitness journey is to encourage balance and living your best life. And if you’re like most people I know, even once you’ve found that “balance”, it can fall out of whack from time to time.

For me, it happened this weekend. I was on my first-ever trip to Boston and I wanted the full experience (aka some craft beers and hot pretzels at Harpoon – seriously if you haven’t done this you need to). I don’t regret it, but I did know I wanted to get back to my veggie-filled lifestyle come Monday morning.

Summer is full of celebrations like this. Traveling, bridal showers, weddings, bachelor(ette) parties, graduation parties.. the list goes on. These weekend experiences are key to enjoying life (who wants to say no to a party?) but going overboard can set you up for feelings of guilt and demotivation. We’ve all been there. But the good news is, one weekend of binge eating (and drinking) doesn’t have to be a complete setback. Read on for my tips to start the next day fresh, followed by little tricks to keep yourself balanced on those weekends where you’re afraid you’ll spiral out of control.

How To- Recover from a Weekend of Overindulging

  1. Stop beating yourself up. That’s not helping. You can’t set the clock back 24 hours and knock that piece of cake out of your hands, so stop thinking about it. Also, one or two days of overeating won’t ruin your life. What matters is what you do now to set yourself up for success moving forward.
  2. Break a sweat (or two). Push yourself a little harder than you usually do in your next workout. Picture all those extra calories fueling you through one more mile or helping you hit that new lifting PR. If you usually run, add some strength or interval training to your workout in addition to that run, or vice versa. You’ll get your metabolism and motivation fired up!
  3. Hit 10,000 steps. In general, moving more than usual will help you get back on track. It doesn’t have to be high intensity. Bonus if you get outside and go for a walk – the fresh air will help you feel better.
  4. Fuel up on fresh fruits and veggies. Take a break from the processed foods that are probably sitting like a rock in your stomach. Replacing those with only nutritious foods for an entire day will help you get your glow back and increase your energy!
  5. Fill up on clear fluids. Drink water and tea to help get things moving in your system. This helps even more if drinking played a part in your binge.

And as for preventing those feelings of guilt down the road, try these tips on your next weekend of expected debauchery:

  1. Set small limits for yourself. If you love dessert, don’t go for the apps. If dip is your thang, stay away from the dessert. Make a rule that your plate has to be half full of veggies and you have to eat them before moving on to anything else. Little things like this will allow you to indulge and enjoy without feeling like you’re back at square 1.
  2. Still break a sweat. No matter what you have going on that day or where you’re traveling to, set aside 20 minutes to sweat. You’ll thank yourself later. Also, if you’re traveling, it’s fun to check out a workout class that isn’t offered where you live.
  3. Limit your calorie-laden booze. Craft beer and specialty cocktails make a great first drink, but once you’re buzzed a vodka soda or light beer will do the trick.
  4. BYOB. That second “B” being “breakfast”, if you’re traveling. Packing your own breakfast (preportioned bags of oatmeal, bananas, protein bars, etc.) can cut calories (and costs) when traveling.

How do you reset after a marathon weekend? What keeps you on track while celebrating?

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My Happiness Project: Part 1

A few months ago, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I was really inspired by her approach to being happier in her everyday life. Rather than suggesting that you leave your job for a year of world travel, she focused on identifying behavior patterns, getting to know yourself and striving for personal growth. Since I read her book I’ve started to slowly chip away at my own happiness project – the first step of which is to identify my personal commandments (the core values by which I try to live my life).

  1. Get out of your comfort zone
  2. Make time for fun
  3. Sweat it out
  4. Reach out
  5. Live deliberately
  6. Express gratitude
  7. Embrace necessary conflict
  8. Focus on what matters

Some of these core values are easier for me than others. “Sweat it out” is so ingrained in my personality, while “embracing necessary conflict” is a challenge. I hope that by keeping these values visible, they continue to guide me in my daily life.

What books have inspired you? What are your personal commandments?

 

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April Goals Update + May Goals

In April, I set some pretty light/attainable goals:

  1. Go Streaking: run outside every day in April (1 mile minimum)
  2. Grow my @healthydoseoflife Instagram to 550 followers.
  3. Self Care Sundays: Reading, running for enjoyment, Epsom salt baths, foam rolling, yoga, relaxing with a cup of herbal tea are all examples

So, how did they turn out? Streaking and Self Care Sundays were easy. Were there days I didn’t feel like running? Sure, but one mile is a small enough distance that no matter how sore I was or how hard it was raining, I knew I could do it. I loved it, but I’ll be incorporating rest days again in May. I like to be able to listen to my legs and take breaks when necessary (which would’ve been nice the day before and after my half).

As for growing my Instagram: I didn’t put as much work into this as I should’ve. I grew my account, but not by as much as I wanted to. Ultimately, the purposes of my @healthydoseoflife Instagram are to inspire people on their health journey, get people to check out the blog, and connect with other health/fitness enthusiasts. I need to prioritize the “connecting with others” aspect moving forward to achieve my goals!

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For May, I’ve set a few more goals and am hoping to challenge myself with a few of them:

  1. Do 3 hours of yoga per week. I feel so great when I do yoga, but I’m quick to cut it out when my schedule gets packed. 3 hours/week feels very attainable to reap the benefits without making it a “chore”. I’d love to do more classes, but to keep my wedding budget on track I’ll be youtubing from home. I love Sarah Beth Yoga and Yoga With Adrienne – let me know if there are others I should check out!
  2. Do ab/core work every day. I usually rely on crossfit and lifting to target my core, butI’m going to spend some time outside of class working on bodyweight movements.
  3. Read 1 book for purpose rather than pleasure. I loved how this goal turned out in March, so I’m excited to revisit it! I’ll probably read “Start Where You Are” but would love to see your recommendations in the comments.
  4. Follow 3 health/fitness publications. I don’t read a lot of news or articles, but I’d like to change that. Starting with a subject I’m passionate about should help this become a habit down the road.

What goals are you chasing this month?

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Race Recap: Eart Day Half Marathon

As the weather here in ‘cuse is getting more enjoyable, I’ve picked up my mileage and made running a priority again. I started running when I was 11, and since then it’s never something that’s fully out of my life (the longest I’ve gone without it was one month due to injury). I do fluctuate on how much I prioritize it though, and it’s been taking a backseat to crossfit since I did the marathon in October. Marathon training takes a lot out of my body (and tends to make me love running less) so I needed a little break from high mileage training runs. Six-ish months later, I’m back at it and lacing up more often!

For the month of April, I’m actually doing a run streak: getting outside for at least one mile a day (most days range from 2-4). On day 23 of the streak, I headed out to Baldwinsville for my first half marathon since September.

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Since I’ve never really “stopped” running, I’m not very concerned about training for races. Aggressive training is what can make running feel like a chore instead of my mental break. Because of this, I don’t enter many races with the goal of winning or breaking my PR (of course there are exceptions to this). But today, I went in with the goal of enjoying the ride. For me, this means getting outside for a longer distance than usual and pushing slightly faster than my comfortable pace.

I also chose to run this race because I love the Earth Day Half Marathon and 5k. This event is in its 3rd year, and I’ve been there for all 3. Year 1 as a 5k participant, Year 2 as an event promoter, and Year 3 as a half marathon participant. Every year they’ve upped the bar, and this was the best year yet. A nice challenging course (country roads with a few hills) followed by BBQ, brews, and the best chia pudding in town.

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And as far as the actual running, I ran with one of my fellow Urban Lifers, and it made for a really fun race! My music wasn’t working, but having a fellow athlete to chat with and push me was great. We conquered every hill and picked up our pace for the last 5k, finishing at 1:44:52 (8:01 pace). I took third place for my age group and he took first for his, so we each won a six-pack of Southern Tier beer! Now I know I JUST said I don’t enter with the goal of breaking a PR or winning, but both happened today and I have to say, it did make the experience even sweeter. They say things happen when you least expect it, and this was a perfect example! Guess we’ll see where my next race takes me.

What’s the best race experience you’ve had? What races are you running this year?

 

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Talking Goals with the Fiance: Grit

Hey, y’all! Christine has FINALLY asked me to make my first celebrity contribution to A Healthy Dose Of Life. My topic of choice for today’s blog post is Grit. What exactly is grit and how do you know if you are a gritty individual? How can you apply grit to all of your goals and ambition? That’s what I’m here to help you find out!

Let me start by saying: while Christine and I both share a passion for healthy fitness and nutrition, we go about achieving our goals in very different ways. We also have very different goals. Which brings me to my first point: never compare your goals, desires and results to someone else’s. As human beings we’re all similar in the fundamental fact that we’re all different people. Confusing? Possibly. However, understanding that you are a unique person can help you determine what the best approach and execution method is for achieving goals, in fitness and in life.

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Back to grit. Grit is such a great word. My high level of grittiness is an aspect that is a true part of my personality. It’s my badge of honor. Trust me when I say that you want to be as gritty a person as possible because you can’t spell “Integrity” without the aforementioned “Grit”.

I get my definition of grit from Angela Duckworth; a psychologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She wrote an excellent book (which has subsequently become one of my staples), titled, simply, “Grit”. Grit, as defined by Angela, is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. As a result of Angela’s definition, it is my belief that whether you have long-term goals or short-term goals, in fitness, health, or in life, it is important to have a certain level of grit in your repertoire if you want to be consistently successful.

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A few months ago I went to visit Angela’s website to do additional research and I stumbled upon her test. The “Grit Scale” (her words) is a ten question test that upon completion gives you a number that compares your grittiness to all others that have participated. Simply knowing the number that you receive – I scored 4.8 (out of 5), which is higher than 99% of American adults in a recent study – is certainly not going to help you fully understand what grit is and how you can apply it to your goals. However, it is a great starting point because answering the ten questions on the test will make you think about yourself and how you approach all different types of situations. Maybe more importantly, the test will also make you think about you react in all different types of situations.

Take a minute right now and think about a time in your life where you were challenged but ultimately found a way to succeed. If you can give an example to that scenario then you can probably also think of a time where you really wanted something great, whatever it was, but ultimately gave up at some point before accomplishing the goal.

What was different about your approach to your success versus your failure? What was different about your reaction towards your success versus your failure? Answering the questions related to approach and reaction can help us begin to better understand exactly how our mind works in given situations and how the answers can be applied to your grittiness.

When I was twelve years old I ran into one of my first memorable crossroads. I had played baseball since I was five and I was entering my final season of Little League. I loved baseball and I wanted badly to succeed at a more dominant level — something I hadn’t been able to consistently do in the past.

At that time I was one of the shortest kids I knew, standing a towering 5’0” if I was lucky. This had bothered me in the past as I would get bullied and teased by my classmates. It was also apparent that not everyone believed I could be successful in sports because of my height.

Luckily, I had a strong support system back home. My parents taught me that having a strong work ethic mattered more to my ultimate success than my perceived (and actual) height. That year I personally decided not to let my lack of height have a negative impact on me. I also took it upon myself to use my developing work ethic and do some research into fitness for the first time while also deciding to actually listen to the advice my Dad had when it came to hitting.

In the cold of Syracuse’s winter when most people are content with cozying up on the couch I made two key decisions that positively altered my performance and my confidence as a baseball player.

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The first move I made was to incorporate push-ups, sit-ups and bicep curls into my nightly TV routine. It’s crazy for me to think had I grown up in 2017 and without commercials that I might not have gotten the idea to be productive during that time. But in 2000-01 during every commercial break, there I was: working through one of the variations and building my first fitness foundation.

The second move I made was to commit to hitting off the tee in my parent’s garage every single night. Not only did I commit to hitting off a tee (such an easy thing to do you can pay “tee-ball” when you are as young as five), I was also committing myself to doing drills off the tee and tuning my mechanics like I never had before. One drill, in particular, holding my right hand on my left wrist and pushing my dominant arm through my swing zone, helped my with my bat speed and was probably the single most important drill that I ever learned.

When winter finally broke and the season began I got off to a notoriously slow start that season, but eventually the preparation I had obtained from my daily grit all off-season finally paid off. I hit my first home run in May and I never looked back. I ended up leading my league in home runs that season even though I was easily one of the shortest kids on the field. My newfound fitness strength and my vastly improved bat speed contributed to me crushing everything that came my way. More importantly, I was helping my team win and we began the season 16-0 before losing in the Tournament of Champions (a game in which I also homered on the very first pitch).

To some people, this example of grit may seem silly because it happened so long ago. But I don’t see it that way. I see it as the example that laid the foundation for all my future and continued successes.I gained a great deal of confidence because my preparation and grit allowed me to reach new heights. Long before I knew about Grit I had proved to myself the value of commitment when working towards a goal.

Successful people set long-term goals, and they know that these aims will only be achieved through short-term habits that need to be observed and maintained every day. I wanted to be a superstar (long-term goal) so I committed two hours every day in the off-season to fitness and hitting (short-term habits).

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Now take a minute again to think about yourself. How do you approach situations and how do you react to them. Does your approach and reaction allow you to stay gritty and on track, or do you find yourself giving up and quitting too easily and too often? If your approach is working then that is great; stay on track but continue to challenge yourself! If your approach is not working then you might want to do some homework on yourself so you can stop wasting your time and ultimately find results in the successes you aspire to achieve.
As I leave you I think it is important to note that not everyone has to be a 4.8 on the “Grit Scale” to incorporate gritty habits into their lifestyle. My definition of grit is encompasses a lot of Angela’s findings; but I think the key aspects to grit are patience, discipline, commitment, and sometimes even sacrifice. It’s also important to remember that healthy habits shouldn’t be something you do; they should be something you are. Whether you are trying to apply grit to your life goals or your fitness goals take the time to learn about your approach and your reaction to situations. What you learn about yourself will help you unlock what makes you a gritty person and can help you define your definition of grit.

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Friday Faves #2

Happy Friday! Here are some of my favorite things from this week:FridayFaves (1)

  1. Quote: “This has the meaning I have given it”. This sounds like it would make a great mantra when you’re feeling dragged down.
  2. Moment: Accomplishing my first ever muscle-up! A week and a half too late for 17.2, but right in line with my March goals. Checking this off as complete!
  3. Recipe: These protein pancakes. Here’s what they looked like pre-cooked.

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What are your highlights this week?

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Crossfit Open: 17.3 Recap + Tips

So this post is a little later than usual, meaning the tips won’t really help anyone trying that’s in the open this year. BUT if your gym is like mine, you’ll have this workout thrown into your programming at some point anyway! Might as well know what to expect, right?

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I like to watch the live announcements for the open workouts. I’m the type of person who needs to know ASAP what to expect. So as I sat with my glass of wine watching Dave Castro put the dumbbell down and say the workout would be using barbells, I felt some immediate relief. THANK GOD, A BREAK FROM THE DUMBBELLS (which are such an irregular part of our programming!). Then he announced “snatch ladder” and I knew I was in for a rough one. Make that a SQUAT snatch ladder. Paired with chest-to-bar pull-ups? Absolutely savage. Brutal. Bring it on.

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Let’s start by taking a look at those jumps in weight! My power snatch max is right around 100 lbs. Squat snatches are a whole other ball game, so I knew 95 would be a struggle. Taking a look at the standards, I also saw there were “no free rides”- aka, you can’t power snatch, adjust your feet, and ride the bar down into an overhead squat. You either had to catch the bar below parallel or ride it down smoothly (no pause). Hellooooo, no reps!

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Let’s also note that chest-to-bar pull-ups increase in reps per round. So as you’re getting more and more tired and your muscles are feeling more and more taxed, you need to do more reps. Good thing I won’t be making it too far into this workout, right?

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Taking these movements into account, I went in with a few strategies.

  • I knew shoulder mobility would be important, so I spent a  lot of time rolling out/stretching and opening up my shoulders prior to the workout.
  • I knew grip would be taxed quickly – the rig + snatches are the special sauce for popeye arms.
  • Being in the rig and on the barbell means your hands are likely to rip. Especially because the kip required to successfully execute a chest-to-bar pull-up means your hands are really moving on the bar. I made sure to chalk up and break up my sets of chest-to-bar to avoid this.
  • Knowing that the weight was going to get too heavy too quick, I made it a point to fly through the reps at 65 lbs so I would have plenty of time to try to get as many 95 lb snatches as possible (and get the best possible tiebreak time at 65 lbs).

So how did it go? I made it successfully through the 65 lb round with few no-reps (squat snatching is awkward. I got better as I went along.) The chest-to-bar pull-ups presented no issues for me.

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Then I got to the 95 lb snatches. There were a lot of deadlifts, high pulls, and no-reps among my 4 successful reps. I power snatched the bar and got stuck/paused on the way down too many times which was wasted time and wasted effort. The last 4 minutes of this 8-minute workout were a bit frustrating and slow for me, but again, I know something I need to work on moving forward: squat snatches!

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I also learned just how big of a difference lifting shoes make. I borrowed a pair from a friend for this workout and they were a game-changer for stability. I went home and immediately ordered a pair!

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All in all, I left this workout with a sense of purpose. I know my goals moving forward. Is a 135 lb squat snatch one of them? Absolutely not. But I’d like to get to a point where 95 lbs is easy. Stay tuned!

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Crossfit Open: 17.2 Recap + Tips

It’s week two of the crossfit open (you can read about week one here). On Thursday, I anxiously watched the live announcement of the workout. I started off feeling pretty good about the movements. Weighted lunges? Hell yeah! Toes to bar? GREAT, I’ve become really efficient at those! Dumbbell power cleans? Not sure what’s with all the dumbbells this year, but yeah, those are fine. Then Castro announced the move I’ve been dreading since I decided to sign up for the open: bar muscle ups.

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I was pretty discouraged to hear it even though I knew it was coming. In my years of crossfit, I’ve probably spent a collected total of three hours working on muscle ups (i.e. not much time at all). So it’s no surprise that I’ve never successfully performed one, and I’m very unprepared for the 16+ that this workout is calling for.

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When you can’t perform a movement, you have two options: scale it or fail out. In crossfit workouts, you actually score better for getting through the workout up until the muscle up portion than you would for scaling the workout and smoking everyone else competing. Also, there’s always hope that with the competitive atmosphere, you’ll be able to do things you’ve never been able to before. I knew I was strong enough to do a muscle up and just needed to get my form down, so this was the hope I went with.

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I also went into the workout planning for the worst. If I wasn’t going to get any muscle ups, I better get a great time for the movements leading up to them.

The workout started off great: I finished my third round of lunges right around the 5 minute mark. This left me with 7 minutes to attempt a bar muscle up. I knew I would need a solid break before I made my first attempt. Those movements crushed my forearms and had me breathing pretty heavily – no need to waste any energy trying a muscle up when I knew I was too tired and would fail.

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So after about a minute passed, I made my first muscle up attempt. Fail. Breathe. Second attempt. Fail. Breathe.

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I filled the last 7 minutes of the workout with failed muscle up attempts and rest. I was stringing together chest to bar pull ups like a boss, and I had a couple of pulls where I was close to getting over – but I fell short every. single. time. Even with the cheers and the coaching, I just wasn’t ready. At least I know what I need to work on moving forward! And who knows.. maybe I’ll try again before I submit my score on Monday 😉

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As for my 17.2 tips:

  1. Be efficient with how you hold your dumbbells on the lunges. This workout taxes your grip – don’t make it worse by relying heavily on your forearms during the lunge portion. Make sure the dumbbells are at least somewhat resting on your shoulders to help take the load off your arms.
  2. Only touch the front head of each dumbbell to the ground between cleans.
  3. If you’re going to rest on your cleans, rest around rep 6 or 7. DO NOT drop the dumbbells after your 8th rep. Move right into your lunges to avoid having to add in an extra clean to get the dumbbells into the front rack position.
  4. Try not to break at all during the lunges. You’ll get tired re-cleaning the dumbbells and you have to start again from behind the last line you passed. These are heavy lunges, use your momentum to keep you going.

Did you do 17.2? How did you do? What are your tips?

 

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March Goals

You know what they say about March weather: coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb? Well, in addition to the weather portion, March has come in like a lion for my personal life – stomach bug, wedding planning meetings, open prep. So I’m a little late with this post! But I’m excited about everything on this list and will be using this blog (in addition to my fiance and the goals outline hanging on my wall) to hold me accountable.

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So without further adieu, here are my March goals:

  1. Grow my @healthydoseoflife Instagram to 450 followers. My action plan is to post at least twice a day, follow 100 people per week, and take the time to comment on other peoples posts and connect with them rather than just liking their pictures and moving on. I really enjoy Instagram as a platform to connect with other like-minded people, so this is where I’ll focus a lot of my energy this month.
  2. Break my record for “most viewed post” on the blog. So far, my most popular post has been my 17.1 recap. This post even ranked in search engines for some terms about crossfit open tips which brought people to my site – a first for my blog. I think I’ll need to recap all of my open workouts to break this record!
  3. Run 75 miles. This is always a tough one to complete on top of crossfit. My runs outside aren’t very long (especially when the temp drops below 30) and the treadmill doesn’t keep me occupied for more than 30 minutes. I’ll also count the few elliptical miles I accumulate each month when the only way I feel like going to the gym is if I can read during my workout. So far I’m only 5 miles in and need to pick it up!
  4. Perform a muscle up. This goal has eluded me since I started crossfit. I tried for 7 minutes to get my first bar muscle up last night during 17.2 and failed, but got really close. I know I’m strong enough but my form needs work and I need to believe it will happen. The time is now!
  5. Read 1 book for purpose rather than pleasure. I love to read fantasy. My fiance loves to read sports biographies and motivational books. The more I see him take notes and learn from the books he reads, the more it makes me want to try it myself. So this month I took out a library loan for “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. It is SO good, I can’t put it down. I can’t wait to start my own happiness project after reading it – not because I am unhappy, but because I could be happier and more appreciative of what I have right in front of me. This goal is as good as achieved already.

What goals are you focused on? How do you keep yourself accountable?

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Tabata: Legs

Happy hump day! For #workoutwednesday, I put together a leg-intensive tabata routine. This routine is great for an at-home workout since it requires no equipment. But don’t let the bodyweight movements fool you: tabata is an intense workout. This form of HIIT has a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio – so you’re working twice as long as you’re resting. Each movement should be performed at max effort for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for 8 rounds.

Before we get into the movements, let’s dive into some of the benefits of tabata:

  1. It’s a great time-saver. Tabata is a quick, effective workout. Studies have shown that you can burn the same amount of calories in 4 minutes as you would in a 20-minute traditional cardio session.
  2. It’ll spike your heart rate and keep your metabolism fired up even after your workout.
  3. It can be varied easily. Check out this post for more exercise examples to build your own routines.

Seems like a win, right? Try it out and let me know what you think. And don’t forget to warm up first!

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Have you tried tabata? What’re your favorite movements?