6/11/14

Fitness on the Daily

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Last week I posted a little bit about my fitness routine (here) and I was pretty surprised at the response to off-topic content here. It must be the bikini weather, because everyone seems ready to be up in the gym, working on their fitness. So for those who wanted more info, today it's all about the details. For those thinking, "Ugh, not again..." Friday will be back to all fashion, all Express, so I hope you'll check back then!

There seemed to be a few main follow up questions and comments, along these lines:

1. You have kids?!! 
 Way Before  / 39 weeks pregnant / Way after
 (about 5 years between each photo)

Yes. I really have two children. I only bring them up here because women often use "Had Babies" vs. "Didn't Have Babies" as a gauge for fitness expectations. So if you wondered which category I fall into, now you know. I have been through the experience of getting back in shape after pregnancy and I do understand the unique challenges it presents.

2. How often do you work out?

I like to work out daily, so I do. I got where I am by working out 5 days per week: 3 days of weights, 2 days of cardio.  Then I added the two other workouts later on as my kids outgrew the baby stage because I had the time and energy. The extra cardio days have not changed my physique, I just do them because I like the endorphin boost to start my day. I take rest days when I'm sick and when I travel.

Sample Schedule:


Fitness sample week


Now that I've been working out at home exclusively for several years, I've built a good-sized workout DVD library. Here's a sample week of workouts with DVDs I own and use regularly:

Monday: Legs with Cathe Friedrich STS Phase 2 Week 1

Tuesday: Cardio with Amy Bento Advanced Step Challenge #5, about 30 minutes (Warm up & Step Combos 1-2) ; Abs with Cathe Butts & Guts Stability Ball Ab Segment (15 minutes)

Wednesday: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps with Cathe STS Phase 2 Week 1

Thursday: Cardio with Cathe Friedrich Intensity (Two HiiT Segments, about 30 minutes)

Friday: Back and Biceps with Cathe STS Phase 2 week 1

Saturday: Cardio with Amy Bento Advanced Step Challenge #5, about 30 minutes (Warm up & Step Combos 3-4); Abs with Cathe Kick Punch & Crunch Stability Ball Ab Segment (10 minutes)

Sunday: Cardio with Cathe Kick, Punch, Crunch Cardio Conditioning Premix (about 40 minutes)


3. How long are your workouts?

Image: Source


No more than an hour per day. Most of the time it's in the 45-60 minute range total. Even if the DVD I'm doing has a running time longer than an hour, I break the workout into two separate days (as indicated above) or reduce the number of weight sets to fit it into my time frame. I just get bored after that long and/or need to get on with my day.

3. Do you have a particular diet you follow?

Image: Source

I don't follow any particular eating or diet plan like Paleo, Primal etc. I mainly focus on portion control. I eat the foods I like and haven't cut out any food groups, I've just learned to eat smaller portions.

For Losing Weight:
Image: Source

When I needed to lose weight post-pregnancy, I used a food journal. The first time I ever tried a food journal (in college), I counted calories. When losing weight after each pregnancy I didn't bother with the calorie-counting part of the journal, because I knew well enough how much was too much. It was motivating enough for me to not have to write "FIVE COOKIES" in my journal. I know there are Apps for this to make it all easier now, but I have been out of losing mode and into maintenance mode since they became a thing.

For Maintaining Weight:


Image: Source

If I were to pinpoint one thing that influenced my current habits, it was learning several years back about the National Weight Control Registry and adopting some strategies from their research. The NWCR simply studies the (rare) people who have been successful at maintaining weight loss long term (defined as losing at least 30 pounds and keeping it off for one year or more). They don't sell diet books or fitness equipment or have any of the financial motivators that many fitness and diet "experts" have. They just research, analyze, and report.

These are some of the success strategies from the NWCR that have become part of my lifestyle:

90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.
I just covered my routine, but I think this point affected me because I always thought I needed a certain number of rest days. Now I just go by how I feel. If I feel healthy enough to exercise and I have the time, I do. It's also worth noting that 76% of their participants report "walking" as their form of exercise. (More details here.) Walking won't give the muscle definition that I prefer for myself, but I guess I could say it's one of my hobbies since we go on family walks fairly often. If there comes a time that I need to lay off the higher impact cardio, I'll probably be moving myself into the "walking" camp.

78% eat breakfast every day
I've always been a breakfast person so this wasn't a new thing to me. But when I wanted to lose weight after pregnancy, I switched my eating pattern around so the size of my meals matched my activity level for that time of day. For me, that meant they were tapered breakfast being the biggest (I am busiest and most active in the morning), medium lunch, small dinner (least active). It did seem to help me bust through a weight loss plateau, and I've continued that pattern in maintenance mode. I have read studies that say it doesn't matter what time of day you eat your calories, but for whatever reason it helped me.

75% weigh themselves at least once per week
This is a strategy that's frowned upon by a lot of people in the fitness community, and it's something I was reluctant to adopt. I didn't own a scale prior to either pregnancy, and my weight would yo-yo quite a bit over the years (judging by clothing size and an occasional weigh-in at the gym). But this article summarizes it well:  "This frequent monitoring of weight would allow these individuals to catch small weight gains and hopefully initiate corrective behavior changes." This has been exactly my experience. There's no room for denial, so when I see an upward trend, I make simple corrections so a small gain doesn't creep its way up to a big gain.

62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week
I just read this strategy in preparing today's post so it's pure coincidence that I also happen to do it. I only watch about an hour of TV per day (lately it's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon...DVR'd from the night before) because I'm just busy doing other things, which possibly keeps me from sitting and snacking on the couch? I'm not entirely sure how this one plays into success and it wasn't as common as the other strategy points, but just one more thing to think about.

* * *
Finally, I just want to emphasize that this post is NOT intended as advice. I am not suggesting that anyone needs to do any of what I do. I'm just one person sharing my own fitness journey (sharing is caring...) for those who wanted to know more.  I fully respect that other people will have different genetics, different preferences, and different paths. I do what I do because it works for me and makes me happy, and if you're not happy with your current fitness level, it's worthwhile to go on your own journey, wherever it leads!



Linking up with: 
Healthy Diva EatsVMG206 / Vodka Infused Lemonade / Fitness Blondie / HeatherAsh & Erin

The Hump Day Blog Hop

CONVERSATION

44 comments:

  1. This is ridiculously helpful- thank you!! I love hearing and reading success stories!
    I know that at my best, I too could eat what I wanted simply watching portions, as long as I worked out 3-5 times a week. I need to get back to cardio regularly and this motivates me to do so!
    Http://morepiecesofme.com

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    1. Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm used to just *doing* this stuff, not writing about it, so it's very nice to hear that it's helpful.

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  2. great post Gina, I'm super nosy so I was dying to know, so thanks again for sharing. I got my first Cathe dvd and I will start it this weekend, after I get some weights and such. I will keep you posted. Totally agree with eating breakfast, I am less likely to overeat when I have a good breakfast. And weighing yourself is important, great way to get a reality check.
    PS: you look amazing :)

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Rachelle, and I'm really glad you found the post informative. I'm definitely eager to hear how your first adventure with Cathe goes!

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  3. Great post Gina! You look Amazing! I can't believe you do this at home. I have some great video's but sadly I don't make this a priority and I should.
    xo, Lee

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    1. Thank you so much for the kinds words, Lee. I really appreciate it. :)

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  4. I fell off the chair looking at your body changing photos! Hats off to you and shame on me for being such a lazy a$$. You look unbelievably amazing! I need to get my act together and start being more deciplined about my workouts! Thank you for this biblical information on how to get started..I needed this push.

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    1. Oh wow, you are way too kind! Thanks so much for the nice words and I love hearing that I was able to give you some motivation and inspiration!

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  5. You look great! Thanks for sharing your information. I am curious what you started with to get in shape? Have you always followed this "program" or did you start with something else and work yourself up to what you posted. I'm just beginning my journey and could use some guidance. Thanks. Toni

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    1. Hi Toni! Thanks for your comment, and that's an excellent question. I could probably do an entire post on "other fitness plans I've tried over the years" before I settled into where I am now. In college I started going to the gym at the student rec center. I would go with roommates several times a week and just do...whatever. Some days treadmill, some days random weight machines. I just wanted to work out but didn't have a plan. Later on I read Body for Life and followed that weight training program, then I subscribed to fitness magazines like Oxygen and Muscle & Fitness Hers and tried a bunch of different workouts I found in those magazines (ALWAYS at the gym). It wasn't until I had kids that I switched to working out at home, because that was all I had time to do. I was already used to working out so I didn't start with beginner DVDs, but if you are just beginning and want to work out at home, there is a LOT to choose from for beginner/intermediate workouts. I would suggest maybe subscribing to Netflix to try out a bunch of different options (they have lots to choose from) before purchasing anything so you can figure out what you like first. Feel free to email me with more questions. :)

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  6. Seriously there is no easy way to fitness! Literally its working out and eating right. There is so magic pill you can take or shaper that will tone you! It takes hard work and I respect alot of people for recognizing that! YOU KILLED IT!

    Eleventh & Sixteenth

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    1. Yep, it's true. It's really easy to SAY "exercise and eat less" but a lot harder when it comes to actually doing it!

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  7. Not watching TV definitely helps me! Instead we are out doing stuff.. although not sure how much of a difference it makes when I spend an hour or so blogging each night haha!
    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

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    1. Yeah, they didn't talk about computer time, unfortunately! But at least for me, when I'm on the computer my hands are usually too busy to be eating, so it's different in that way!
      Gina -- On the Daily Express

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  8. You look incredible! Honestly you are such a fitness motivation. Keep up your hard work. Ive found that portion control is the best "diet" out there. I can still eat moderately everything I want and am always happy and nurtured not deprived and starving. Great post.

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    1. Thank you so much for the nice words Kelly!

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  9. I love this post! Since finding out about my arthritis I've been struggling to stay active not doing lots of running or elliptical at the gym, it's encouraging to see somebody who works out at home that is doing SO well! Also I love your points about the diet, because it's so hard feeling like you're missing out on foods you love, so I live by portion control! Can't wait to read more! :)

    xox
    Catty Fashion

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting Megan! I am sure that you have some unique challenges with arthritis and fitness, so I'm glad to know you can still find encouragement from my routine.

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  10. Your transformation is incredible!! Thanks for sharing what's worked for you...I know everyone is different, but this type of info also let's us know anything is possible and doable! I like how you haven't eliminated any particular food group..everything in moderation and watch the portion sizes. I bet one of my biggest downfalls is portion. Good to know!

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment Kellie!

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  11. You look amazing! You're in better shape now that before having children. I have 3 kids and try to be in shape, basically , for health reasons. I love running and swimming, as well as eating healty food. When you do some exercise and eat well, you feel much better.

    Jasmine x
    For a Real Woman
    So easy Spanish!

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    1. Thank you so much for the nice words, Jasmine!

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  12. I love this post, babe! You have a killer body- and work HARD for it! Love your no-nonsense, practical approach. It truly is a lifestyle change. :)

    -Ashley
    http://lestylorouge.com

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  13. You look good girl! Thanks for sharing. I always love learning more about people. Overall health is really important to me and there is always something to learn. I appreciate your balanced approach and honesty. I may be rereading this some day when I am post-pregnancy. :)

    xo, Amy Ann
    The Real Arnolds

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    1. Haha, well, better bookmark this page. :)

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  14. This is SUCH good information!!

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    1. Thank you Alissa! Glad you found it helpful!

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  15. You look amazing, Gina! Major inspiration to get fit and healthy! Thanks for sharing, loved learning more about you!

    xo, Erica
    www.casuallystyled.com

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    1. Thank you so much Erica. Glad you enjoyed the off topic post!

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  16. You know I love my fitness Gina and I really enjoyed learning more about your routine. :) I totally relate to You have kids??? question, it's always a topic of interest and I think it inspires people to know moms do get and stay fit. So happy you included that. Your fitness DVD's look very similar to the routine I had when I did just home fitness a couple yrs ago. Loved my cardio high intensity ones. Instead of your food journal I use the app but again the logic is the same. Btw your way after is rocking, bravo for sticking to your fitness routine. <3<3 XOXO, Elif

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    1. Thank you so much Elif! And yes, I love reading your Fitness Friday posts. Even though I'm set in my own ways in my old age (ha ha), I still find motivation in what other people do!

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  17. The nwcr sounds really cool... I'm very suspect about most diets and diet gurus, but their advice just sounds like common sense with a twist...I like that. Keep up the good work!

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  18. Thanks for posting this Gina! You are inspiring! A lot of people seem to think that once you have children you automatically gain weight, look older, let yourself go, etc. I don't believe in that at all. Thank you for posting this!

    Cheresa
    www.misshotcouture.blogspot.com

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  19. seriously, you're so motivating and inspiring. it is true that women use the kids vs no kids as a weight indicator. like its not considered as good if you're in great shape but not a mother, does that make sense? i like your no nonsense, common sense info. i just need to get my lazy butt off the couch and working out more.

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    1. Aw, thank you so much Kristen. Enjoy your time in Australia. You can think about working out more when you're done with holiday and back to real life!

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  20. I absolutely loved this! Thank you for sharing Gina, as I know it's more personal! It's definitely inspiring. I need to work out more. I eat very well, but I don't move enough. So I'm going to get up and work out now :) I hope you keep us updated if you find more research!

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    1. Thank you SO much Noelle! Yes, it's more personal, and I don't really mind sharing (as long as people aren't asking for my social security number and what not) as long as other people find it motivating and informative!

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  21. Great Post. I have so much respect for people who have the passion and will to exercise regularly because I have never been one of those people. Thank Godness for an active lifestyle overall and good genes in general. And girl you are in GREAT SHAPE after having two kids. Are they boys/girls, one of each and how old are they? =)

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  22. I have to say that I can't do long workouts anymore! It's so tiring!

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  23. Finally commenting - I scanned this before but wanted to take the time to really read this post carefully and digest everything - including everyone else's comments LOL! I love how you were so methodical about your fitness plan - same creative & researched approach that I find in all your posts :-) And I think it's amazing that you work out from home - figuring out a time to go the gym can be such a hassle - it's great that you can get such an effective workout from the comfort of your own home :-)

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  24. Just found this post through a linked within from today's post. This is such a great post and is a much-needed inspiration for me. I'm great at exercising--love Cathe and agree about the 1 hour (at least) daily and listening to your body for rest days rather than telling yourself you have to have them...and I weigh daily--but I needed the good ole' advice about food journaling again. I think I've used the, well I've got two little kids, excuse for too long. You look great. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I sincerely appreciate each and every one and always do my best to answer questions promptly!