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Ever see that person who works out super hard once a week, but doesn't return until next Monday? Maybe you've been that person and you're frustrated knowing the effort you give, while lacking to see results. One of the biggest questions I get, is "How often should I workout?"

Let me start by emphasizing there's no magic formula. When clients come in for their first consultation, we don't workout, instead we chat through their goals, medical and exercise history, run through a series of movement tests, then jot down some measurements to measure their progress.  Bottom line, each and every one of us is so unique that what works for one is not a guarantee for the other.

That being said, two primary factors in any & all client success stories are water consumption and consistency. Consider the first a life-tip (we should all be drinking more water), but the second is your key to seeing results. 

In general, I recommend strength training a minimum of 3 times a week, and here's why...

Supercompensation is a term in sports science describing the process your body undergoes following a workout. Eery time you workout, you're essentially breaking down tissue, creating microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, (this is how you develop new muscle). When we do this, we send our bodies into a bit of a shock– call this the "Oh Sh*t" moment, as your body quickly reacts by not only recovering back to your normal fitness level, but overcompensating in anticipation of whatever you have coming next. During this time (generally a 72hr window), you're body is prepared to perform at a higher capacity. The key is to catch your next workout, while your body is still in that overcompensating state, so as to build on what you did previously and develop that upward momentum towards your goals. Similarly, if you fail to catch your next workout within that 72hour window, your body's performance capacity will slowly drop back to your original baseline, making it difficult to see results, hence that person who only works out once or twice a week & is disappointed by their lack of progress.

Have you found yourself in one of these two categories?

While there's no magic formula to success, strength training 3x a week with added cardio on off days is a solid guide. Below is a graph I drew up to help demonstrate this process. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. I tend to geek-out over this, so while I don't want to overwhelm you, I'm more than happy to help!

Glutes & Core

I always warn my clients they'll get sick of hearing me say "glutes & core". Despite that coveted peach & chiseled six-pack, these are the two most important muscle groups to train not only individually, but in unisen.

Your glutes & core are your two largest muscle groups, providing balance, control, and power. You cannot have one without the other; a strong core will only get you so far without a strong pelvis, and when performing a movement if you lose engagement of one, the other follows suit.

Below are some of my favorite glute & core exercises, all of which are easy to progress or modify as needed... 

As for this outfit- Abercrombie is kind of my guilty pleasure, which makes me feel 15, but surprisingly my 15 year old self never shopped there. It wasn't until a few years ago while Christmas shopping that I stumbled across their store and found some gems I couldn't turn down. Now, I'm always checking in, especially because they have the best sales– this bra is only $8!

 

SINGLE LEG HIP THRUST

Lay flat on the mat & pull one knee in to the chest, extend that leg out at approximately 45 degree angle. Squeeze your glutes to lift the hips. Keep your neck in line with your spine & your back flat, so as to not over extend (aka. don't arch your back). At the top of the movement, you should be able to draw a straight line from head to toe. 

To modify simply keep both feet on the floor. For an added challenge ditch the mat and lean up against a bench. Line up with your back against the edge of the bench at the bra-line. Keeping your back flat, you'll pivot on the bench with each lower and lift of the hips. 

 

SQUAT

Pro Tip: Keep your weight in the heels & reach back as in sitting in a chair. Keep knees behind the toes & only lower as far as you can keep that core engaged. The moment you start to fee that core give out, squeeze your glutes and press through the heels to standing. As you strengthen, you'll be able to increase that range of motion while maintaining proper muscle engagement. If you're feeling this in your quads or knees, your likely keeping the weight towards the front of your feet & not reaching back enough. Transfer weight to the heels and lead with the hips. 

 

Reverse Lunge 

From standing, reach back with one leg and lower the knee one inch above the ground in the center of your stance. You should see a 90 degree angle from hip to ankle on both legs. Press into the front heel and push back up to standing. Avoid kicking off the back foot. Keeping the weight in the front heel, your back leg should float back up to standing. If you're doing this right, you'll feel on one side of your glutes at a time.

 

Pilates Step Down

This is a modified pilates chair exercise. To start, place one foot on top of a bench, shift all of the weight forward onto that leg. Find your balance & engage your core. Keeping your upper body in place, and your back leg light as a feather, reach back and gently tap your toe to the ground, return to bench, gently tap the toe, and repeat. If you're doing this right, by 15-20 reps your glute will be burning out. 

Pro Tip: As with the squat, if you're feeling this in your quad, transfer your weight to the heel of that front foot.  

 

Brick Bug

Don't underestimate this simple movement, this is one of my favorite core exercises & a great replacement for crunches, since it doesn't apply any pressure on the neck. Begin by lying flat on the mat, bring legs up to table-top, and grip a yoga brick on one side between your knee and elbow. Rather than applying pressure down through the elbow, flex your foot (toe to chin) and apply pressure through the knee up toward the chest. The more your press up through that knee, the more you'll feel those lower abdominals engage. On the opposite side, extend your arm overhead and straighten your leg at a 45 degree angle. Only extend as far as you can keep that back flat to the mat. If you feel pressure in your low back, or notice it starting to arch, limit your range of motion & focus on straightening the leg, rather than lowering it. 

 

Plank

If you ever feel back pain in this position, the following instructions are for you. 

Start on your hands and knees, lift the knees off the mat, make sure your back is flat- there should be a straight line from head to toe. If you struggle keeping this form & feel your low back arch, tuck your pelvis toward your ribcage. Pull your weight forward just a couple of inches making sure your shoulders are directly above your hands. To fully engage your core, squeeze your glutes and  flex your thighs. The more musclsd you can engage, the better.

To modify, either lower down to your elbows, or drop down to your knees. For an added challenge, simply practice lifting one arm off the mat at a time. The key here is control, maintaining the hips in place, while transferring weight (aka. avoid that side-to-side sway).

 

Pilates Single Leg Stretch

Begin by laying flat on the mat. Pull your knees into the chest, peel your neck and shoulders off the mat & engage your core. Extend your left leg forward, & slide your right hand down your ankle, using the other to gently brace the inside of your knee. Switch legs & repeat for 10-15 reps. 

Pro Tip: Keep your shoulders down away from the ears & peel up off the mat an added couple inches.

 

Side Plank with Hip Dips

Turn onto your side, bend your knees slightly & place your hand under your shoulder. Press into your hand & lift the hips off the mat. Stack the shoulders, stack the hips, and find your balance. You should see a straight line from head to toe. In a controlled fashion, lower and raise the hips. 

To modify, separate the feet for a wider base of support. Additionally, you can lower down to your elbow and/or knees. Bend the knees at a 90 degree angle & lift the hips– you should see a straight line from your shoulders down to your knees.  

 

Rest

5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday // Feat. Fabletics

5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday // Outfit c/o Fabletics – To get your first outfit for just $25 here!

Happy Monday! The holidays are officially here, and starting Friday it'll be Christmas tunes all around. If you're anything like me, this can be a dangerous season for loading up on sweets and some of the year's best family recipes. Don't get me wrong, I am all for treating yourself, but the guilt I can do without.

As we head into the hustle and bustle, I want you to be at your best to enjoy the holidays, so while I'm no fitness expert, today I want to share five tips I've found helpful in keeping healthy over the holidays.

  1. Four Legs Go Further Than Two: This is the perfect time of year to grab a girlfriend and make a pact. No need to wait for a new years resolution, team up with a friend and commit to being workout buddies this holiday season. Whether meeting up for a group class or meeting up for a run, I've always found it harder to give up when with a friend. With two of you involved, not only will you keep each other accountable for showing up, but working out will be much more enjoyable knowing the pain and gain is shared. Also, if you're in anyway competitive, this is a great way for the two of you to push each other further. Keep in mind the holidays are bound to get hectic, so this is a great opportunity to be productive and guarantee some quality time with one of your girls.
  2. Get Ahead of the Game: Start now. Thanksgiving is on Thursday, and I promise you'll enjoy the holiday much more freely if you get a few workouts in before the big feast. There is no need to feel guilty when enjoying an evening with loved ones, so plan ahead, squeeze in an hour a day if possible and make it an investment in yourself. This rule applies throughout the month of December as well– if you know you won't be able to get to the gym on Wednesday, push yourself harder or give yourself an extra hour on Tuesday. You'll be sore, but you'll be ahead of your game plan, and that's the goal. Catching up during the hustle and bustle of holidays is far too stressful, and the boost of confidence you'll get from being ahead of the game is 100% worth the effort. Remember, investing in yourself is not a selfish use of time, but a way to better prep yourself both physically and mentally for work, family, and social responsibilities– your health is reflected in all aspects of life!
  3. Become a Morning Person: I am the least morning person I know, so trust me when I say, I understand your pain. That said, with holiday parties and gift shopping this is the safest bet that you'll get your workout in during this busy season. When trying to become a morning person every detail matters, and there are a variety of seemingly silly but effective ways to help get you there. For starters, wear your workout clothes to bed, or at least lay them out the night before. Plan everything ahead of time, and I mean everything: socks, hair ties, water bottle, protein bar, everything. If you're not a morning person, you will be in a much clearer state of mind prepping these items before bed, than your will in a hazy morning daze. I guarantee you are much more likely to get to the gym on time when not having to rummage through a dim-lit room in search of your shoes. Need some extra motivation? This is another great reason to have a workout buddy– you will be much more likely to roll out of bed if you know someone else also gave up their sleep and and is waiting on you at the other end. Additionally, try signing up for a group class. Many gyms have penalties for missed classes once you're already signed up, so adding that extra pressure could be just the trick.
  4. Log your progress: We all need pep-talks, and a Pinterest board is great place to start, but why not take it one step further and get a little more personal? One habit I've found to be surprisingly effecetive is tracking my monthly fitness routine. Hit up a class today? Simply jot the type and length of the class in a note on your phone. Went for a run? Jot down the date and length of your run. Seeing your work on "paper" is a great way to reference progress and watch yourself break limits. Again, if you're in any way competitive, you'll likely find yourself setting new monthly goals based on this data. While physical change can take time to show, this is a great way to track your strength and endurance. Keeping this information logged on your phone makes the task nearly effortless, so why not?
  5. Treat Yourself: Like I said, I am all for treating yourself, but why limit your treats to just food?... Eyeing a new workout outfit? Set tangible goals and reward yourself! Set aside a small budget each and commit to working out 5 time this week. If at the end of the week you've met your goal, the outfit's yours. Same goes for accessories. Need a new bag for carrying that change of clothes? Agree that if you get to the gym before work for a week, you've earned it. Trust me, if you're hitting up the gym as often as you'd like, you'll be sweating through some serious gym clothes and a new outfit can be just the motivation to get you back. That said, keep in mind that, as cheesy as it sounds, your time spent working out is it's own treat. I know it can be difficult to make time for the gym, especially when work and kids get involved, but this is a time to clear your mind, relax, be tech-free, and burn some steam, so while you may be dying in that group class, remember this is your time, and you're quality of life will be better because of it!

To shop more outfits like the one above, click here– the sports bras are awesome!

This post has been braught to you by Fabletics, however, all opinions remain my own. The integrity of this site is far more important to me than any compensation or brand partnership. – S

Fitness Friday // Fabletics

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Outfit c/o Fabletics | ShoesBag | Aviators

Happy Friday! I don't know about you, but few things make me more excited than sweats that look sexy! Between moving and marathon training, activewear is as good as it gets these days, but let's be honest, I love activewear! Today, I'm excited to introduce you to a new line by the name of Fabletics...

Co-founded by Kate Hudson, you know this brand is destined for glory, and best of all it's extremely affordable!

Created with the everygirl in mind, Kate wanted to provide a new concept for functional activewear that's on trend yet attainable.

How it works? First you create an account and take a brief style quiz, then each month either select your favorite outfit or let a stylist do it for you. Outfits include two to three pieces for a complete look and rage from $60 to $70 for VIP members. Don't like what you got? No problem! All orders have a generous return policy and free shipping to guarantee perfect fit & style.

Ready for the best part? Your first oufit is only $25!!

Oh, and let's not forget the selections! Styles are updated monthly and right on trend with the season's colors and patterns, so you're guaranteed to look fashionably fit while working those kettlebells.

To try your first outfit for only $25, click here.

If you're sceptical about quality at such a low cost, don't worry I was too, but I can guarantee that you will be highly impressed! I don't know how they do it...

This post has been braught to you by Fabletics, however, all opinions remain my own. The integrity of this site is far more important to me than any compensation or brand partnership. – S

Swoosh

Top (one size up) | Pants | Bra - new collection! | Shoes - updated | Fuel Band

I grew up in Alaska, where an active lifestyle comes with the territory. If you follow on Insta, you know I'm constantly trying new workouts. While I can't always find a convenient hike or mountainous trail, Chicago has it's own urban jungle to play in. 

Recenetly the hubs and I started training for the marathon, and I'm quickly being reminded of how much this training process takes over your life. Needless to say, these days my workouts consist of runs along the lake and through the city. While I'd like to say we accomplish these runs in the morning, truth is we're more evening people (note: if you ever see a really late night run posted on social media, know that I only do so because my husband and pups are with me– safety first).

On "rest" days you can find me cross training with a local studio, and here is where I've fallen in love with Nike Training Club!

Nike Training Club is an exciting extension of the brand's fitness expertise offering free– yes, FREE – studio classes and running clubs throughout the week. NTC is always providing fun and innovative ways to reach your fitness goals with special events scattered throughout.

This season NTC has been hosting a summer tour across the city hitting up neightborhoods like South Loop, Logan Square, Lincoln park, Pilsen, and this weekend the West Loop! While the workout is always different, you can count on awesome trainers and a great playlist every Saturday.

If you've never tries NTC, I'd love to invite you to tomorrow's event! It's not to late to get your RSVP in, so just click on the image above and meet me in the West Loop!...

xo

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Fitness Friday // SELF Magazine

Happy Friday, Glitteraries!

As you know, fitness is a regular part of my lifes, so I'm always on the hunt for fun workouts. Anytime I can do this outside, even better!

A couple of weeks ago, SELF Magazine hosted their annual Workout In the Park right here in Chicago. This was my second year attending, and even though it's a 4 hour fitness endeavor, it always a guarantees a day full of sweat, laughs, and toned bums.

While, I'll enjoy most any workout, once I'm in the zone, I think I like this event most, because it hosts a variety of cardio routines heavy in dance. This year's sessions included the likes of some bollywood, beach body, and drumming all led by key instructors from across the country. My new favorite? PoundFit, a full blown jam session with rock out results of 400 to 900+ calories per hour, plus additional strength and toning through lightly weighted drum sticks. Not bad for what felt like a drumming lesson to my favorite tunes.

Also at this year's event, a fitness genius who was seriously going to kick my butt, none other than The Biggest Loser's, Bob Harper. This year's weather forecast was not nearly as generous as last, and this meant that when Bob came down off the stage and walked by, you couldn't hide in the crowd and slack off. Talk about intimidating! Thankfully, Bob was nice enough to get down in the mud with us if he was going to demand burpees. Needless to say, this was our most strenuous workout of the day, but if Bob says "jump", we say "how high"...

Oh, and let's not forget the swag. SELF always brings in the best sponsors, providing healthy snacking and hydrading throughout the event, not to mention a great oportunity to try out new product from brands like Athleta, Reebok, Garnier, and Victoria's Secret Sport.

This year's theme was Sweat is Sexy, an effort to inspire women to re-energize their lives and feel their best. As to be expected the immediate (and lingering) result was soreness, but nothing gives you a better boost of self esteem than knowing you pushed your limits and surpassed them!

What are your favorite ways to stay active? Any plans for weekend adventure?... xoxo

To learn more about SELF & subscribe to the magazine for just $3, click here.

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