Fitness Q&A Part Two

Today is Part Two of my Fitness Q&A series to finish up the Fitness Chapter of the blog, so to speak. If you missed Part One, you can find it here. If you're not much into fitness posts and just want to see outfits, I'll be back on Friday with more of that!

6. What process did you go through to get to your current home workout routine? Did you originally try gyms?
My current workout routine evolved over many years, and a lot of times it didn't happen because I wanted to make a change or try something different, it was some other life factor (like having kids) that required me to make a change. To avoid making this post the length of a novel, I'll skip my straight to my "adult life" and start with the full-time office job, pre-kids phase of my life.

Full Time Office Life: 
Based on that inherent desire to stay fit I talked about in Part One, I joined a gym once I had a job where I could afford that and would go every day after work. It just seemed like the thing to do if you wanted to stay in shape, so that's what I did! I also started reading various diet and exercise books, subscribing to fitness magazines (e.g. Oxygen) to see if I could improve my physique. I felt like despite being consistent with my exercise since high school, I didn't see a lot of improvement or changes in my body and that became frustrating. Body for Life was the first book I read that convinced me to create a structured weight training routine and change my emphasis from cardio to weights. After about three months of dedication, there was a noticeable difference in my body composition and I became a big fan of lifting weights. I finally felt like I was getting somewhere and my workouts were accomplishing something besides just "fitness."

Pregnancy and Mom Life: 
I continued my regular gym workouts while I was pregnant with my first baby and modified to what felt right for my body. (Of course, I had permission from my OB/GYN to continue working out and I had very uncomplicated pregnancies so there were no issues.) When I got to my third trimester, I started to feel quite uncomfortable working out at the gym because people stared SO MUCH. (I lived in an area that just wasn't very family/baby friendly so there weren't a lot of pregnant women.) Even if I felt fine for my pregnant body to do squats with a light barbell, at eight months pregnant I was a spectacle doing that whether I wanted to be or not. I didn't like that at all, so I went online to start looking for some home workout DVDs for legs so I could do at least do some things with privacy.

I really enjoyed working out in the privacy of my own home during late pregnancy, so I started to purchase a few more DVDs and by my final month of pregnancy, I was working out exclusively at home. I thought I would go back to the gym after baby since I did enjoy the social aspect of it, but life just didn't work out that way. For one, my gym didn't take babies until they were at least three months old. So once I'd been cleared to work out again, I still had to work out at home since I couldn't take my child to the gym with me and my husband's demanding job didn't allow for me to have consistent time away for a workout. By the time my child was old enough for me to go back to the gym, I was really enjoying the convenience of my home workouts and just didn't want to take him there for a number of other reasons, so I continued to work out at home. It wasn't long before the next pregnancy and baby came, and so the home workouts continued to make the most sense.

Now that my kids are in school, I could go back to the gym, but I simply don't want to. I already have the set-up for working out at home and it's just far more convenient on weekdays. Two years ago I started doing drop-in fitness classes (dance and kickboxing) on the weekends, and now I'm very happy with my balance of  home vs. away/social workouts.

As far as how I came to use the specific workout DVDs I use now (full list in this post,  also shared in rotation every Friday for a seven month period starting here), it involved reading a lot of home fitness message board forums like Video Fitness and plenty of trial and error! I wanted something that would challenge me as much as a gym but without a gym, and I feel like I've found that.

7. What kind of outfits do you wear to workout?
I don't like to spend a lot of money on fitness attire, nor do I have a lot of variety in what I wear to work out since 5/7 of my weekly workouts are done at home where it doesn't matter if I look hideous. I mostly care about comfort and function. For my weekend classes, I try to look a little mor presentable and be comfortable for the activity.

Here are four basic examples of my workout clothes:

ONE: Kickboxing Class (No shoes worn in the actual class)
Tank: Gap (Current Colors) | Sports Bra: Target | Pants: Target | Shoes: Nike (Similar)

TWO: Home Workout
Tank: Target | Bra: Target | Shorts: Target | Shoes: Nike (Similar)

THREE: Dance Class or Kickboxing
Top: Express | Pants: Target | Socks: Amazon

FOUR: Dance Class
Top: Target | ShortsTarget | Socks: Amazon | Shoes: Amazon

Shop the Pieces:

Dance studio fashion is probably the most unique out of all of these and could be the subject of its own post! We do conditioning exercises and various moves on our knees on the floor so I like to have my knees covered. A lot of the women get adventurous with wild tights and socks but as usual, I'm pretty basic with black.

8. How can we copy your routine at a gym if it's not possible to do it at home?
With a little planning and preparation you should be able to do the same things I do at home in any standard gym, at least for the weight training. Cathe Friedrich is my favorite for weight training DVDs, and if you Google "Cathe Friedrich Weights Spreadsheet" it should pull up quite a few results that give a detailed breakdown of her workouts. (Like this site.) Take the spreadsheet to the gym via print out or on your phone and voilĂ ! Same workout at the gym.

9. Can you talk more about nutrition? How much do you splurge vs. stay strict?
When it comes to nutrition, I admit I may not have the most perfectly balanced diet. My main focus is portion control because it allows me to enjoy my favorite foods in moderation, and that's something I want as part of a balanced lifestyle. I do think I've developed pretty good self-discipline and portion control over the years. For me, it's been a little bit like gradual muscle growth. Every day that I resist the temptation to buy a bag of chips at the gas station makes it easier to repeat the good decision the next time. Every time I go to a social event (which inevitably involves food and drinks) and keep the caloric damage to a minimum, I feel better about myself the following day and more resolved to do the same thing at subsequent events. It kind of goes back to the fitness motivation I talked about yesterday where I ask myself, "do I want to be more fit or do I not?" When I'm tempted to eat something I don't really need or go for a second helping of something decadent I try to get myself to pause and think about whether this takes me where I want to go with my goals or not. So even if I'm not the healthiest eater, I am not an over-eater and that is the key to maintaining weight for me.

As for how much I splurge or stay strict, I try to plan my "splurges" around social events. On average that's roughly 2-3 meals per week that involve restaurant food or a couple of glasses of wine that aren't part of my everyday eating habits. If my life suddenly changed and had a lot more food-oriented events I think I'd have to come up with a different game plan, but for now a few splurge meals per week seems to be okay.

10. What foods do you gravitate towards? 
I tend to go in phases where I eat the same thing for a meal for months at a time, then suddenly I'm sick of it and move onto the next thing. I often share current meal favorites in my "What's Up Wednesday Posts" so feel free to check those for ideas (e.g. my current favorite breakfast in the June post). Generally speaking I try to plan my meals around a lean protein (eggs, chicken...the usual stuff) and keep starchy carbs to a minimum. I don't take any specific supplements or meal replacement bars, shakes, etc. because I simply don't like them very much and would rather get my calories from other sources.

* * *
And that brings us to the end of the Q&A! If you read through all of this you deserve a medal! Eventually I'm planning to put together a Fitness Reference post with links to all the other fitness posts I've done since they are currently scattered all over the blog. So I'll keep working on that behind the scenes here as well as getting back to the regular fashion content starting tomorrow!



  1. I read the whole thing because I'm fascinated with anything fitness, I love your approach on food. I really need to work on that.


    1. *Gold Medal* awarded for making it to the end and being the first to comment! (As usual!) Thanks for your support as always!

  2. How do you look cute even in workout clothes!? Thanks for all of these tips! I'm someone who can't workout at home (I just don't have the motivation or discipline to do it) but thanks for all the advice!

  3. I really enjoyed these Q&A's! Body for Life was the first fitness book I read too and it really made a difference on how I approached my workouts and eating. I only belong to a pool now so I really need to start doing more weight training at home and need some new DVDs. Have a great day!

    Doused In Pink

    1. That book was such a thing in the late 90s! I don't even know what happened to that movement but it was a good thing for me even though I don't follow it anymore.

  4. Loved this post -- thanks for sharing! Currently making the switch from gym workouts to home workouts so this is very helpful!

    1. So glad it was helpful! Tomorrow I'm going to share a few favorites in each category of workout DVD so I hope that will help as well.

  5. I would love to try a cathe workout but with so many options I have no idea where to start. Which is your favorite? Or which one would you recommend I start with?

    1. Hi Kaci - what's your current fitness level and what kind of workout do you want to do? Cathe does everything from weights to barre to kickboxing to step aerobics, but I'd need a little more info from you to make specific "where to start" suggestions.

  6. Thanks for sharing all this! I think I need to get more into weight lifting to get more toned as I gravitate towards cardio whenever I work out.

    1. Weights are definitely the way to go if you want more muscle definition! Thanks for reading, Laura!

  7. It's great to see your example, showing how a full, at-home, workout is a very realistic endeavor. Do you also incorporate sports with your boys? Also, I'm always interested in reading about more healthy eating ideas, as you've shared before.

    1. Hi Rina! If you mean sports with my boys as part of my own fitness plan...the answer is somewhat. no. My boys have done Tae Kwon Do for five years and last summer I decided to do it with them instead of just dropping them off and watching. So I do that with them a couple of nights a week, but for me, it's not part of my fitness plan. It's more of a family bonding activity and it happens to be active. Aside from that, I'm really terrible at sports and don't enjoy them much (probably because I'm terrible!) so it's pretty rare for me to participate in them!

    2. That's so great (and brave) to join class with them! Wish I'd done that with my first two (doubt they would've let me. You must be the "cool mom").

  8. I read the whole thing too, and it's another bookmark! You are just so dead on Gina! We do own a gym membership to a very small gym. We used to go to golds, and I never felt comfortable there. Too many people, and as someone who has some wiggle and jiggle, I felt constantly judged. That was probably all in my own head ( I didn't have my trusty badass book back then) but we switched to a tiny gym after our wedding. Now, we barely use it. I'd much rather work out at home because I can look as silly as I want and not worry about others giving me the side eye. You look fabulous in your workout clothes! I love them all! And I also agree with going out to events and not over eating, I think a couple shared apps and less than 4 drinks is the way to go for me ;)

    1. I totally understand. I have actually done trial memberships at a couple of gyms since my kids have gotten older and I just didn't feel as comfortable working out there as I do at home these days. And as you also know by now, the "shared appetizers" route is my favorite way to go for social events! :) I'm not a fan big sit-down dinner events. That ends up being more food than I need and it's usually delicious, therefore harder to keep the portions under control! (for me, anyway!)

  9. I love this series and I am impressed how discipline you are at working out at home. I need to be a in a class environment to help keep me accountable. I have become really good friends with my workout buddies at Crossfit and we text each other to make sure we go to class and suffer together.


    Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.

  10. How am I so behind on your blog?! Anyway, this was also a good read for me. Very interesting to hear that your pregnancy ended up being the initial factor to you working out at home. And I also feel like I am at the point where my body is not changing anymore so I'm trying to challenge myself more with weights, yoga, and basically anything that is not the elliptical! Though I do still love getting my cardio in.
    Thanks for sharing all of this!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

  11. i am so nosy so i loved reading it all haha. i like what you said about nutrition and whatnot. portion control is definitely somewhere i struggle, somewhere along the line -and i'm sure this happens to lots of couples- i just started giving myself the same amount of food as KC. I squat a bit over 100lbs and he squats like 450lbs so......... I obviously do not need to be eating as much as him! Add that to portions in general being bigger here vs at home, it's a struggle. and i totally use events and whatnot as an excuse to gorge, because i simply do not allow bad food at home, and i never ever binge at home anymore (i'm sure i've mentioned it a thousand times, i used to go and buy a bunch of food and eat it when i was home alone, did it for like 7 years i think? haven't done it in almost 2 years, high five). Though I definitely agree about making one good decision makes it easier to make the good decision next time. That definitely helps me. Unfortunately, it works the same way with bad things, the more bad i do, the more bad i do.
    I am curious to see what I will do when we have kids. The gym we go to now is the first one I've ever been at where they take kids, so I am not sure about when they take them, but that's good at least. My friend has kids and takes them all the time, but I don't remember how old her youngest was when they joined. I am just not .... 'motivated' is the wrong word, rather i am just not 'disciplined' at home. i let myself slack off and get distracted. i get super intimidated at gyms, but this one is the first that i don't feel intimidated at all, when we first started going KC just nipped my all cowed and scared act in the bud and was like none of that. we pay to go here just as much as they do lol. now i even use the squat rack on my own. sometimes ;) i saw a pregnant lady the other day doing squats and i was like you go girl.
    anyway. love these posts, i generally love fitness/health posts anyway (because it's something i'm curious about and have always struggled with) and i'm just plain nosy, so there's that.
    sorry for the longest comment ever!


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!