Doing your first (or best) push up: top 3 exercises to improve push up strength

When we think about our fitness goals, one of the most common ones I hear revolves around push ups. I hear from ladies all the time that they’re trying to achieve their first push up from their toes, working on their range of motion, or trying to crush a fancy push up variation. Even in my #ConsistentlyLean coaching group, many of the ladies are working on their push up goals.

And I get it.

Crushing a full push up is HARD. It requires tons of upper body and core strength. And as women, we do tend to have more lower body than upper body strength. But don’t read that as “I’m never going to be able to do push ups from my toes.” There are SO many ways to increase your relative strength enough to complete lots of different types of push ups (the triceps push up is one of my faves).

woman push up

I’ve worked with nearly 100 women online over the last year and have helped many of them achieve their push up goals. So today, I’m sharing my three favorite exercises to progress your push up (learn exactly how to implement them in my free #PushUpPower Blueprint).

 

But first, let’s talk form.

One of the biggest mistakes I see ladies make in the gym is doing push ups with crappy form. They’re on their toes, arching their backs, and barely moving their chests towards the ground.

I get it. There’s pride involved. We want to be able to do *real* push ups. But the truth is, our bodies don’t care if we are on our toes, knees, or up against a wall. Our bodies know the force exerted on the muscles. And with a push up, range of motion is queen. We’ve gotta make sure that we’re correctly progressing (here’s how to progress or regress any exercise) so that we are moving towards a full range of motion (think chest all the way to the ground while still engaging the core).

This is why I won’t default to having clients perform their push ups from their knees; the range of motion is different AND it does not engage the core muscles in the same way. Today, I’m gonna share my three favorite exercises to help you build push up strength so that you can do your first (or best!) push up. If you want me to break it all down for you and show you exactly what to do, check this out.

 

Before we get started…

If you’re working through an injury, follow the cardinal role of working out: don’t do anything that hurts! If you’re feeling pain, stop it.

However, if you’re feeling stiff, that could be a warm up or activation issue. It’s so incredibly important to warm up prior to exercising, but it’s something so many of us skip, because it feels like just another long set of exercises to do before we start our actual exercise. That’s why I warm up like this instead.

Additionally, it’s super important that we activate the muscles we’re about to work, prior to exercising. This (1) decreases the likelihood of injury and (2) helps our muscles work harder during the actual workout. Activation is so important that I specifically call it out in my DARR formula for effective workouts.

Alright.

Assuming now that we’re all warmed up, activated, and ready to go, here are my three favorite exercises to improve your push up strength.

Learn the 3 best exercises to improve your push up. push up challenge - how to do a push up - beginner push up - push up workout

Wall Push Up

If you’re just getting started with push ups, this is the best place to start (yes, instead of push ups from your knees). This exercise will build the strength you need while also engaging your core.

Elevated Push Up

Once wall push ups become too easy for you, it’s time to elevate your hands. By elevating your hands, the movement becomes quite a bit easier (while still forcing you to use your core muscles).

While you’re doing elevated push ups, you can definitely incorporate some push ups from your knees for variety.

Push Up Holds

Once you’ve mastered these push up variations, it’s time to start increasing the challenge. One of the best ways to do this is through push up holds.

By holding yourself at the bottom of the range of motion, you’ll build lots of strength so that you can do even more challenging variations. It’s super important NOT to arch your back while you hold, so be mindful of your form.

By incorporating these three exercises into your routine, you’ll definitely master the push up! Try adding one (or all) to your next workout. If you want a step by step guide, grab my push up blueprint. I’ll tell you exactly what to do and when to do it to get your first (or best!) push up in the next four weeks. Check out all the details here.

How to handle high stress situations without falling off the wagon

When life gets intense, often the first thing to go is our good nutrition and exercise habits. It’s the last thing on our minds. So the question remains, how can we weather the tough times without completely falling off the wagon?

As a coach and trainer, I get this question a lot. And over the last month, I’ve had to figure it out for myself, too.

Dealing with a break up is hard. And with all of the this emotional stress, I basically stopped eating in a way that’s in line with my goals. It felt like everything was completely OUT of my control, so controlling my food intake more closely seemed to give me a modicum of peace.  For a while, I didn’t think much of it – skipping a snack or eating a smaller breakfast seemed pretty innocuous, considering how much my heart hurt. But, after a week or so of wallowing, I came to a tough realization.

I’m struggling, and my actions are doing NOTHING to lessen the struggle.

Well shit.

Tell me I’m not alone here.

stress management - destress - self care routine - self care ideas

Life gets really tough, and all we want is to make it a little bit easier. So, instead of recognizing that we’re having a hard time and addressing the stressors, we slip into bad habits, whether that’s overeating crap, skimping on sleep, or killing ourselves at the gym to numb the pain.

Sound familiar?
Yep, me too; that was my reality during the second half of September. I struggled to maintain my weight, and as I lost weight week after week, things got even harder. Once I realized wtf was happening, I knew what to do to make life a little easier, instead of digging myself deeper into a self-destructive rut.
Today, I’m sharing how I pulled myself out of my bad habits and figured out a better way to cope.

Get back to the basics.

No more counting macros or worrying about what % carbs I’m taking in on non-workout days. I return to my default, using my daily food rules/nutrition survival strategies to guide what I eat.
  • Prioritize veggies and protein at every meal to stabilize blood sugar and satiety.
  • Eat one BIG ASS SALAD  per day to ensure I max out the micronutrients & fiber of veggies.
  • Dark chocolate every day. Keeps me sane.
  • When in doubt, choose dietary fat over carbs. Carbs often leave me feeling bloated and uncomfortable, and I have found food timing to be incredibly important.

Move HAPPY.

Stop being a slave to your workout plan and do the movement that brings you joy. Make your workouts something to look forward to each day by doing more of what you love.

Instead of doing your defined workout plan, maybe it’s time to revert to the the type of exercise that is the most fun for you.

Love dancing? Dance more.

Love running? Run more.

Lifting weights brings out your inner strength? Lift more heavy shit.

Practice gratitude.

When life leaves you reeling, it becomes even more important to center yourself on what really matters. Start and end your day with reflections on three things you’re grateful for – I’m always SO grateful for this girl.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling stuck, sad, or like you just can’t stay on track, return to YOUR survival strategies. Sure. They’re not perfect (who wants to be?), but they get you through absolutely anything life throws at you.
Even at 10 years in recovery, my eating disorder still comes up. These are the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up.

What I do when my disordered eating tendencies come back

A couple weeks back, I got a question that shocked me a bit. One of my past coaching clients/friends, asked me outright: do you still struggle with your eating disorder? Honestly, for a second, I paused, worried what admitting the truth about my disordered eating tendencies would do. I momentarily panicked that it would make me *less* of a coach. I stumbled with my words for a moment, trying to figure out what to say.

But only for a second.

After my momentary slip into imposter syndrome, I confidently wrote back this message.

Yes.The thoughts come up. I just don’t act on them.But I think the thoughts will always be there to be honest, especially when we’re stressed. 

And this is really common isn’t it?

When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, our bad habits and self destructive tendencies show their ugly heads. Whether it’s overeating, drinking a bit too much, or exercising excessively, it’s really easy to slip back into old patterns when life gets tough.

And for me, that’s my disordered eating tendencies. Whenever it feels like shit is hitting the fan, my brain reverts to how I used to handle stress (cuz that’s easiest). The difference between me 10 years ago and now is how I handle it.

Today, I’m sharing the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies come back.

What I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up

Even at 10 years in recovery, my eating disorder still comes up. These are the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up.

Revert to my nutrition survival strategies

When all I want to do is eat less (or workout for an extra 20 minutes), I immediately return to simple nutrition strategies that make it really easy to eat well (and enough).

I don’t stress about getting enough veggies. I stop worrying about eating too many bars. I snack.

Basically, I make my life reallllly easy when it comes to food, so that I have less room for error and I stress about it less (I talk all about my nutrition survival strategies here).

Recognize when we’re slipping

But how can we do that? Simple. We get super clinical and figure out what’s actually going on.

My favorite way to do this is to ask ourselves why, not just once but about 5 times. As we force ourselves to double down on what’s actually happening we can get to the root of the problem. Below is the exact conversation I had with myself a couple weeks back.

Why am I worried that I’m restricting?
Why am I restricting myself?
Why do I think restricting is gonna help?
Why do I feel like I need to change my body?
Why do I have to diet and restrict to change my body? 

Getting to this point broke my heart a little bit, because I realized why so many of us are struggling: we see restriction and over exercise as the only ways to change our bodies (spoiler: it’s not).

See, I’m a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. I coach women every single day on how to change their bodies without obsession, stress, or restriction. I absolutely know better. But the truth is, restriction is such a part of who I am, I have to call myself on my BS every once in a while. This doesn’t mean that I give into these tendencies anymore but I have to acknowledge that they’re still present.

So, if you’re struggling, start asking yourself why. Keep asking until you get to the root of the issue. It’s not easy, but it’s so so important.

This kind of personal, vulnerable stuff is EXACTLY what I share with my tribe. They get my best stuff, and I email them weekly. I would love for you to join us. Sign up here or at the link in the sidebar 🙂

Why your body isn’t changing: 4 lies you’re telling yourself

You’re ready to see changes in your body but don’t wanna get obsessive or stressed about fat loss. #ConsistentlyLean Coaching could be the perfect fit for you. Sign ups are open until Sunday ONLY, so grab your spot asap to learn how to get stronger, leaner, and more confident without stress or restriction. 

You’ve been trying to change your body for a while now. You know the basics of what matters to fat loss , so you’re eating more vegetables, exercising, and getting better sleep. But it’s Saturday morning, you roll out of bed, and head over to the scale to check your progress. You can feel the dread in the bottom of your stomach as you step on, and dread turns to frustration when you see that you’re up a pound from last week. As you walk out of the bathroom to get dressed, you’re so angry that you aren’t seeing results.

And if you’re anything like me, that’s when the little voice starts talking (yelling) in your head, giving you all the reasons why you’re failing at this whole fat loss thing.

What if I told you that little voice is what’s keeping you from seeing changes?

Through working with over a hundred women in the last year, I’ve found that a lot of us are telling ourselves the exact same lies. And these lies about ourselves and our fat loss journey keep us from moving forward, making progress, and seeing changes.

If your fat loss journey has stalled, check yourself and see if you’re telling yourself one of these four lies. Heads up, this is a little bit of a tough love post <3

Four lies you’re telling yourself about fat loss

Fat loss progress stalled? Make sure you're not telling yourself one of these lies. Fat loss diet - fat loss workout - fat loss plan - fat loss articles

I don’t have time.

One of the most common things I hear when ladies are struggling to see results is that they just can’t seem to find the time to exercise and eat right.

Look, I get it. Life is busy. We have a thousand things going on, and often the last thing we want to do is fit in a workout.

Truth is, both exercise and thinking about what we should eat take time. But, it doesn’t take up as much time as we think.

If you’re having a hard time seeing results AND you think it’s due to a lack of time, we gotta do two things:

  1. Audit our time – figure out where we are spending our free moments and double check that they’re in line with our goals. Although watching two hours of Grey’s Anatomy (just me?) is fun/relaxing, if I’m missing my workout because of it, be aware of it.
  2. Shorten the amount of time required for fitness & nutrition – I swear, it is possible. If we can automate our eating decisions (one of my fave methods) and shorten our workouts (here’s why), we can stop using the ‘time’ excuse. Often, just a few simple shifts are enough to help us feel much more in control of our routine.

I can’t eat X.

One of the BIGGEST lies we tell ourselves during our fat loss journey is that we can’t eat some specific food that brings us joy.

Cookies…cake…red wine…Mike’s HardER Lemonade…chips…whatever. The actual food doesn’t matter.

Coaches and trainers will tell us, over and over, that we have to eliminate specific foods from our diets in order to see results. And for those of us with any restrictive or obsessive tendencies, being told we can have ‘none’ can send us into a downward spiral.

And I hate to break it to you, but these coaches and trainers are simply being lazy.

Yes. There are foods that will slow down our progress a bit. But in no way shape or form does that mean we *can’t* eat them.

If you’re finding yourself constantly thinking “I can’t eat this,” this is for you.

Instead of completely depriving yourself, let’s find a way to include this food into your eating, without it creating a ton of stress OR derailing your progress.

With my #ConsistentlyLean ladies, I teach them to consciously indulge. Consciously indulging allows us to eat/drink our fave foods, without letting it turn into a binge. This is HUGE.

From one of my clients: Indulging, letting yourself eat (and drink) the things you love without feeling guilty was a huge piece for me.” 

My friends, it IS possible to lose weight while still enjoying pizza and cocktails. I can show you exactly how through #ConsistentlyLean Coaching. Grab deets and your spot here.

I’m already working out, so it’ll never work for me.

One of the most frustrating things is when we are already working out, trying our best on our own to make our body change, but not seeing results.

This happened to me for YEARS as I slogged my way through 60+ minute BodyRock.tv workouts every day. I thought I was doing everything right, training correctly, and doing what mattered to results. Still, week after week, my body remained unchanged. This left me looking in the mirror, thinking that I would never be able to see changes.

False.

If you’ve been training for a while and results have stalled, that does not mean that you’ll never reach your goals. It just means that you need to make a change to your workout routine. Ask yourself these three questions.

  1. Am I actually being consistent with my workouts? Many times, we let ourselves think that we are doing it all correctly but are still missing multiple workouts. Missing workouts is a recipe for stalled progress. Double check that you’re not making one of these consistency mistakes that lead to missing workouts.
  2. Do my workouts continually challenge me to get stronger? If you’ve been doing the same thing for a while, your body knows and has adapted. This is why it’s so important to follow a periodized training program that changes things up often and keeps your body guessing. You can try to do this alone (this post may help) or you can join a program like #ConsistentlyLean where a coach does it for you.
  3. Am I getting enough rest? Often, we are working too hard AND under-recovered. Our bodies actually need rest and recovery in order for us to see results. So if you’re feeling a bit worn down, that could be playing into your stalled results. Check this out if you’re wondering how many rest days you *actually* need.

I just can’t stay motivated.

If we aren’t talking about consistency, I guarantee we’re talking about motivation as the biggest barrier to seeing results.

When I asked a bunch of ladies their number one struggle, this is what I heard:

Staying constant and motivated. I often dread working out.

Consistency & Motivation

Motivation in the face of baby related exhaustion

Eating healthy and being motivated to exercise

Sound familiar?

I get it. Staying motivated isn’t easy when we have dozens of competing priorities. However, we can do two things to make motivation easier (and stop telling ourselves that motivation is why we’re struggling).

  1. Stop relying on motivation to eat well and exercise. To be totally honest, motivation has absolutely nothing to do with reaching your goals. If you’re following a solid program, with plenty of support, and have automated (most) of your eating, you shouldn’t need any motivation to reach your goals. This is why I have designed #ConsistentlyLean to focus only on the things that matter, so that we can take motivation out of the equation. If you wanna try it on your own, this may help.
  2. Get really clear on WHY you’re doing this. When it comes down to it, if we don’t really know why we are trying to make these changes, we’re bound to fail. We’ve gotta figure out the real reason that we’re trying to lose weight/get stronger/feel more confident. So, if you keep telling yourself that motivation is your downfall, read this and start moving forward.

What now?

I know. Fat loss is hard. We can try to do absolutely everything right and STILL not see the results we’re hoping for. With awareness around these four lies, you can start trying to implement all of these changes on your own and make progress towards your goals.

But, if you want a done-for-you exercise and nutrition program, designed to help you lose fat and change the shape of your body without restriction or obsession, #ConsistentlyLean Coaching is for you. Obsession over the details is what’s keeping us from reaching our goals, so Consistently Lean will teach you how to move, eat, and think in a way that gets you the results you’re looking for, without stress. Grab your spot before Sunday night, and start with me next Monday! 

My two step system to overcome your trigger food

Whether it’s ice cream, peanut butter, or french fries, we all have one – a trigger food that makes it almost impossible to stay on track. We generally try to avoid said food like the plague but when we are finally around it, we binge and feel super guilty afterwards (this is why I will never encourage *perfect* eating).

For so many years, this was me and almond butter, more specifically Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter (if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out). Whenever I had this $17 jar of almond butter around, I couldn’t stop eating it. 

In college, I would go through the entire jar in a week. When I was stressed out, I’d pull out the almond butter and a spoon, sit on my bed, and binge. Of course, I would never mean to eat 1/3 cup of almond butter – I would always intend to have just one tablespoon – but it never worked out that way.

This almond butter was my trigger food. 

The moment I tasted the salty goodness, I couldn’t stop. I’d eat more until I felt so guilty, I had to immediately wash and put away the spoon.

At some point, I just stopped buying the almond butter.

And that’s always our solution, isn’t it? We try to completely remove the trigger food from our environment. And that works…as long as you never have to be around the trigger food again.

Frankly, I think that’s a little unrealistic. What about when we’re visiting family and they have the food in their fridge? We’re grossly unprepared.

Instead, here’s my two step strategy to being triggered by your trigger food.

Use my 2 step system to stop binge eating your trigger food. stop binge eating - trigger food - binge eating help

Eat protein and veggies at every meal

If we focus on taking in lots of protein and vegetables, we will fill ourselves up, leaving minimal room for processed treats. Protein, especially, will leave us feeling super satisfied for hours after our meals, and vegetables offer the micronutrients we need to be truly healthy.

Some of my favorite options?
-Egg whites + mushrooms + spinach
-Steak + roasted broccoli
Mint chip protein shake
-Big ass salad with chicken (I share plenty of these over on Instagram)

Indulge in your trigger food daily

Instead of forcing ourselves to abstain from your trigger food, we’ve gotta make the food less triggering.

The goal here is to make the food available—rather than forbidden—at all times. This is central to #myconsciousindulgence framework: the idea that indulgence CAN be part of every single day, as long as we consciously choose it (learn exactly how to implement #myconsciousindulgence here). I believe that indulgence isn’t keeping us from reaching our goals but UNconscious indulgence can be the reason for our plateaus. When we indulge without being mindful/even thinking about it, we end up eating or drinking so much more.

So, instead of restricting myself, I consciously indulge every single day, regardless of if I’m in weight loss or maintenance mode. You’ll always see me indulging in something small (like a Lenny & Larry’s cookie, Clif Bar, or some chocolate covered almonds) each day, normally before bed.

With your conscious indulgence, I recommend saving it for the evening, because this helps maximize our willpower. Eating it after dark gives us something to look forward to whenever a craving hits. In fact, I save the majority of my carbohydrates for my last meal of the day. This helps me stay on track throughout the work day, because I’ve got some good things coming later!

How to implement

Starting today, I want all of us to pick to pick our conscious indulgences. Pick something that you’ll look forward to each day, and eat it daily for a week. Note your hunger, cravings, and food obsession level. Using this simple strategy will keeps us from over-indulging or binge eating when we’re around foods we enjoy. Real talk, I used to not be able to keep almond butter in the house. Then, I started having a small spoonful every day. Over time, this daily indulgence made almond butter way less stressful for me. I knew I could have just a little bit, whenever I wanted.

If you want to learn exactly how I’ve conquered my trigger foods and gotten 1000x more consistent, check out my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet. I’m breaking down two of my best nutrition strategies to help us get more consistent without stressing about it. Grab all the details and get your copy here.

My 5 tips to create and implement a short effective workout routine. workout routine for weight loss - workout routine at home - full body workout routine

How to create a (short) effective workout routine – 5 tips

Sign ups are now open for #StressFreeStrength, my FREE 10 day fitness challenge to help you get back on track with your workouts, stress free! Crush 8 workouts over 10 days, and get a chance to win free coaching with me! Join in for free here!

I talk a lot about why it’s so important to workout intelligently and for less time (two reasons to shorten your workout today). But the truth is, I haven’t talked much about exactly how to do it!

Information and knowledge are all well and good but until we learn to implement, we’re stuck in the exact same spot. Honestly, I think this is why we are all still struggling – we have so much great information out there but nobody will take time to show us how to make it work for our own lives.

If I’m honest, I fell into this trap just a couple years ago. Back in early 2015, I knew I wanted to make a change to my workout routine and body composition, so I started researching.

I read one article saying HIIT workouts were the only way to lose weight, so I added an extra 20 minute workout onto my long run.

I saw that strength training workouts were the best way to change your body shape, so I completed 60+ minute BodyRock.tv workouts every morning.

It felt like I was doing everything *right,* listening to all the advice I found and still not seeing results. Talk about frustrating.

Looking back now, I see that my inability to create an effective workout routine was alllllll in the implementation (need help implementing? My #StressFreeStrength free challenge will teach you to get back on track with your workouts without any stress or obsession). Even though I had some of the core ideas right, I failed at creating an effective workout routine that would help me reach my goals.

So today, I’m gonna stop talking about WHY we should shorten our workouts to get more consistent (if you’re struggling with consistency, make sure you’re not making one of these mistakes) and talk more about HOW to implement a short, effective workout routine for yourself. Of course, if you want a done-for-you workout program, #SkipTheGym is always available for ya, but if you wanna DIY, these are my 5 pro tips.

5 tips to create your own short, effective workout routine

My 5 tips to create and implement a short effective workout routine. workout routine for weight loss - workout routine at home - full body workout routine

Focus on full body workouts

One of the biggest mistakes I see is focusing waaaay too much on small muscle groups. I blame this on Pinterest and all of the workout pins promising tone our flabby arms or spot reduce belly fat. We find a pin promising to get rid of bat wings, so we do an hour of triceps extensions and wonder why we still have fat on our arms. Yikes.

While there is some benefit in doing upper/lower body split workouts (example), when we’re aiming for a short effective workout routine, we gotta get efficient.

And full body workouts are efficient (see my full body workout archives here) because by working both your upper and lower body, you force your body to work harder during your workout. Working harder = more calories burned = more results

How to implement

Instead of doing workouts that focus on a single muscle group, work your entire body. Alternate between upper and lower body exercises within a single workout. This is how every #StressFreeStrength workout is set up.

Train with compound movements

A compound movement is an exercise that works multiple parts of your body at once. So, going back to our toned arms example, instead of simply doing a triceps extension or overhead press, we combine it with a lower body exercise to make it way harder.

Below is one of my favorite compound movements to incorporate into my workouts.

How to implement

Take a look at your workouts and identify exercises that are only working one muscle at a time, and sub out these movements for compound movements. Comment on my FB if you have questions or need help picking a new exercise.

Combine cardio and weight training

When it comes to an effective workout routine, we want to find ways to get our cardio and strength training in a single workout.

This saves time and can help speed up our results/push through plateaus.

How to implement

Do not read this tip as: add some strength training to your long cardio workout. That was the mistake I made that kept me struggling. Instead, you can do one of two things.

  1. Add a cardio finisher or primer to your strength workout. Think 5-10 minutes of super intense cardio intervals (like sprints) that you add to the beginning or end of your workout.
  2. Incorporate cardio exercises into your strength routine. Here is a workout where I do exactly that. You’ll notice it works your full body, uses compound movements, and combines cardio and strength.

Lift heavy for you

Doing strength training with weights that are too light for us is not gonna help us achieve any of our goals. In order to force our bodies to change (and show us the results we’re waiting for), we have to challenge them (AKA lift heavy).

How to implement

Grab heavy weights for YOU in that SPECIFIC exercise. It should be difficult to complete the last 2-3 reps of any exercise, and yes, that means you will ideally have multiple sets of weights.

I wrote an entire article on the topic, if you’d like more information on choosing the appropriate weight.

Keep it simple

If you’re doing tips 1-4, it’s time to stop stressing about the rest. Don’t worry about heart rate zones or the number of calories you’re burning. The more we focus on the small details, the more likely we will struggle with consistency

How to implement

If you’re overwhelmed by all the things, pick ONE of these tips to incorporate into your workout routine this week. See how that goes, them add more the following week. Slow, small changes ARE enough.

Ready to get started with a short effective workout routine? Let me do all the set up for you. If you’re ready to dial it in but don’t know where to start or how to get back on track without getting super obsessive about it, #StressFreeStrength is for you.

#StressFreeStrength is unique, because I’m gonna show you exactly how to structure your workouts in a way that keeps you from getting stressed out. The goal is to crush 8 workouts (all 30 minutes or less and doable at home) over 10 days, and every lady who completes all 8 will be put in the running to win free coaching with me.

We get started on Saturday September 9 (yep Saturday!) so sign up ASAP here.

Full body TRX HIIT workout for women. TRX workout for beginners. TRX workout at home.

TRX HIIT Workout – Bodyweight & At Home

When it comes to versatile and portable equipment, the TRX is second to none. This super simple implement is amazing for creating full body workouts, using nothing but our bodyweight. Whether you workout at a gym or at home, incorporating TRX movements is a great way to increase your relative strength and improve stability/balance. Oh, and it’s really flipping fun. Today, I’m sharing my favorite TRX HIIT workout so that you can train with the TRX anywhere.

TRX HIIT Workout

When I’m traveling, my TRX is my go-to piece of exercise equipment, because it can be used to work your entire body (and doesn’t take up much space in a suitcase).

In fact, when I went to Ireland back in 2015 for work, the TRX was all I had. I was in a foreign country, without access to a gym or any other workout equipment. For 10 days, I did a TRX HIIT workout almost every day.

I’d wake up early, roll out of bed, grab my TRX, and hang it up in the door, using the door attachment. I’d scour YouTube and Pinterest for workout inspiration until I found a TRX HIIT workout that looked fun.

Today’s workout is inspired by the TRX HIIT workouts I would do in my corporate apartment in Ireland. It’s gonna work your entire body, with minimal equipment. I filmed the workout at the gym (for ease of camera angles) but this workout is 100% doable at home, using the TRX door attachment.

Full body TRX HIIT workout for women. TRX workout for beginners. TRX workout at home.

Instructions & real time video demo

For this TRX HIIT workout, we’re combining strength movements and cardio portions for maximum results.  We’ve got four full body strength exercises and cardio intervals in between.

We’ll perform 10 reps of each strength exercise before moving into 10 burpees. If burpees are too challenging, substitute a 60s of cardio movement (high knees, jump rope, etc) of your choice. 

As always, I’m sharing a real time, follow along video of this workout so that you can workout with me. For exercise progressions and modifications, want this real time demo. I go through one round, in real time, with you, providing ways to make the workout easier and more challenging.

Complete this circuit 3-4 rounds through for an awesome full body workout.

5 things buying a house taught me about fitness

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that a huge part of my summer was buying our first condo. They accepted our offer in May. We moved in June. We did renovations and updates all throughout July. And now, my lovely friends, it’s August, we’ve made our first mortgage payment, and we’re finally starting to settle in.

We’re almost two months into homeownership, and I already feel like I’ve learned SO much in the process. And I’m not just talking about how to tile a floor, paint a wall, install baseboard, or stain a bathroom cabinet (although I’ll happily talk your ear off about those things). I’m talking about those *real* life lessons that we only learn through a lot of struggle.

So today, I wanna share those with you, because I’ve realized they’re actually super related to nutrition and fitness motivation.

5 things buying a house taught me about fitness motivation

After buying a house, I had some serious realizations that applied to fitness too. Sharing them! fitness motivation - fitness motivation quotes - fitness motivation ideas - fitness motivation meme

We can’t have it all

When we moved into our condo, I wanted to make it our own. It felt like we were crashing in someone else’s house. I immediately wanted to change absolutely everything.

As we sat down to come up with a game plan for updating our home, it became clear that we didn’t have enough time, money, or skill to do it all right now.

We couldn’t hire someone to paint the entire space AND rip up the carpet. 

We couldn’t pay for updates to both bathrooms immediately after dropping our savings on a downpayment. 

Laying down grass in the middle of the summer was just not gonna work.

Writing this now, I know it sounds silly and unrealistic, but in the moment, I wanted to do literally all the things. But the last couple months have shown me that everything is tradeoffs.

We have to choose the things that are most important to us in the moment and go from there.

And this is SO true for fitness, isn’t it? We all want to lose weight, build muscle, run faster, get stronger, and complete our first marathon.

Life is about priorities and tradeoffs.

Is losing weight more important than running a marathon?

Is running faster more important than building muscle?

All of our goals are totally valid, and it’s important to set goals, but we have to be able to prioritize the things we want in the moment and what can wait.

Take a look at your approach to fitness right now, and start prioritizing those goals.

The journey is never over

As we began making changes to our home, I thought I would begin to feel at peace and ready to stop.

Yeah.

The opposite happened.

As we made changes, I continually became aware of more changes I wanted to make. I’m told that this is the reality of a homeowner: always wanting to improve and work on your home.

This reminded me a LOT of our fitness journeys. As we start seeing results and feeling better, we get addicted. We want to keep doing it.

And even though we think that our fitness journey is gonna end when we lose 10lbs/run that first marathon/squat X weight, it never does.

It becomes part of our lifestyle and who we are, same as homeownership.

Perfect is an illusion

As we’re taking before and after pictures of our home and sharing them with friends and family, I’m amazed by the responses. I keep hearing things like: it looks perfect, you did such a great job, you must be so proud, etc etc etc.

And don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly proud and love everything we’ve changed about our home.

But it is far from perfect.

I see the spots where the tile isn’t 100% level. I notice the baseboard corner that is definitely not straight. It’s hard for me to ignore the water spots on the back of the counter.

I nitpick absolutely everything, because it is MINE. And isn’t this the same when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and all the social media representations of it?

We are so much harder on ourselves than others, and I think it’s important to remember that what we see is almost never the reality. It’s also been a great reminder to be more gentle with myself: perfect is impossible, and we’ve gotta remember that when viewing others’ social media highlights.

Patience is perhaps the most important virtue (that I don’t have)

Holy f. When we moved in, I wanted the walls painted, bathroom redone, and carpet pulled up YESTERDAY. Each day has been an exercise in waiting (im)patiently for the things I want.

And of course, life is always there to encourage our personal growth.

The bathroom shelves are still not done.

The flooring we ordered from Home Depot was never actually ordered and arrived 2 days late. 

Half of our furniture didn’t fit through the office door.

And I’ve had to learn to deal with it, accept the process and let go of the things I can’t control. Because, by the time our floors were finished, the desk was in the office, and our bathroom was functional again, it was worth the wait.

Same thing with fitness motivation, no?

We want all the results, right now, but that’s just impossible. We’ve gotta work towards the things that we want, and be patient enough to give it time.

Never sacrifice your life for your goals

When we first moved in (and for most of June/July if I’m being real), all I did was work on the house. I would get up in the morning, write, paint, and work out. Then, as soon as I got home from work, I’d change into my grubby clothes and start painting again.

There were quite a few nights that Andrew and I argued over whether we should have a drink and relax or work on painting/cleaning/moving.

You can probably guess my vote 😀

But as time wore on, I started to figure out that there was no rush. This is my life now, and work will always be there. As a friend of mine said, that’s why we signed a 30 year mortgage. So I started to slow down (not as much as Andrew would like but hey, baby steps), take a few breaks, and actually go out for drinks/dinner again.

And honestly, this reminded me SO much of our fitness and nutrition journeys.

We all want to get to the finish line as fast as possible, so we’re often willing to skip out on drinks with our friends, dinner with family, or an afternoon of hanging out by the pool instead of meal prepping.

But it is SO not worth it.

We’re here to live our lives, not restrict ourselves to a tiny box in the name of our goals.

So if you’re trying to reach some fitness or nutrition/body goals, take a second to ask yourself if you’re truly living your life or if it’s taken a back seat to reaching those goals.

It’s not a race to the finish line. We’re never gonna achieve “perfect” (here’s what I recommend instead). This journey is never over.

So we might as well enjoy the ride.

I hope these truths help you with your fitness motivation, and frankly, your life! Coming to terms with these concepts has been a huge part of my summer, and I wanted to make sure to share out what I’ve learned. If you want more fitness, nutrition, and mindset nuggets, join my email tribe. I share all my best stuff with my email buddies on Thursday mornings. Join the conversation!

3 reasons you don’t feel like working out (and how to fix them)

I hate to say it, but motivation is SUPER fleeting. There are mornings we wake up and are ready to go. We slept well, had a great cup of coffee, and are itching to crush a workout (why not #SkipTheGym and do it at home?!).

But that’s not always the case, is it?

Alarm goes off for the 5th time, after repeatedly pressing snooze. We had planned to get in a workout but staying in bed seems like SUCH a better option. It’s not that we’re sore, overly tired, or injured. We don’t don’t feel like working out.

Motivation shifts and changes, sometimes even throughout the day. As a trainer and nutrition coach, I work with ladies all around the world, helping them to get consistent with exercise and healthy eating without obsession. And honestly, when we don’t have obsession or rigid tracking to motivate us, there are many times that we just won’t feel feel like working out.

And that’s okay…if it lasts for a day. Not feeling like working out can be a sign that your body just needs a rest. So when my clients are feeling super burned out, I encourage them to take a rest day.

BUT, if the lack of motivation outlasts the rest day, we gotta figure out what’s going on.

After working with hundreds of women online, I’ve found that we often fall into one of three traps. Today, I’m sharing the 3 reasons we might not feel like working out AND what to do about them.

3 reasons you don’t feel like working out (and how to fix them)

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You’re bored

I’m not sure about you but when I’m dreading the monotony of a workout, I have no desire to get my sweat on.

Too often, I talk with women who are doing workouts that bore the crap out of them because they think they’re what they *should* be doing.  Their old personal trainer said HIIT was best for fat loss. They read on Tone It Up that we have to lift itty-bitty weights. BodyRockTV says intensity is key to getting results. So they drag themselves to the gym to do the next popular workout…even if they hate it.

And frankly, this is one of the worst ways to approach fitness, because we’ll never actually feel like working out.

How to fix it

Lady, we gotta add some fun into our workouts, once and for all. Fitness should never be a punishment, and if “working out” is synonymous with dread, something’s gotta change. When we actually enjoy the process of what we’re doing, motivation stops becoming an issue (see the research/my take on it here) and consistency comes naturally (see the three most common workout consistency mistakes here).

Love circuits? Do circuit workouts. (These are what my clients love and are central to #SkipTheGym workout programming).

Yoga makes you so happy? Do yoga.

Running helps you be chill AF? Go run.

Even if it’s not the *best way* to workout, do your thing. That’s what’s gonna help us crush workouts week after week.

You don’t know what to do

One of the other super common reasons we may not feel like working out, is we don’t actually know wtf to do.  There’s so much information out there that we can often get into a state of information overload and stop working out all together (this is why I wrote my entire Master the Weight Room series, to break everything down and stop the overwhelm when it comes to strength training).

And this makes sense, doesn’t it?

There are so many ways we could workout, so many trainers we could listen to, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When we feel overwhelmed we’re so much more likely to stay with our current way of doing things (in this case, skipping workouts because we don’t feel like working out).

How to fix it

Follow a plan and take the guesswork out of it. Having someone tell us what to do can be SO helpful if we’re overwhelmed by all the options.

This is why #SkipTheGym takes all the guesswork out of the equation. In my at-home exercise solution, you’ll be set up with a done-for-you 4-week exercise program that makes it nearly impossible to miss your workouts. Get more details here.

You’re frustrated because you’re not seeing results

If we’ve been exercising for a while, it’s pretty easy to lose motivation when we are not seeing results.

My favorite example is when you think about a recreational runner who runs a three mile loop, five days a week, hoping to lose weight (she should be lifting heavy shit but that’s besides the point). At the beginning, she may burn 350 calories over the course of her run and notice some changes in her leg musculature. Pretty sweet. But even within the first four weeks of her starting her running program, the calories burned over those three miles could drop to something like 300 and her body’s not going to keep changing.

At the same time, that lack of body change is going to make it a lot harder to keep crushing the workouts. We begin wondering why to do it if it’s not working.

How to fix it

Results come from effective, challenging workouts done consistently. I wish there was a magic way to change our bodies but it comes down to two things:

Consistency & Variety

Why? Your body ONLY responds to the demands that you place on it. So in that first Studio BARRE workout, you body was working pretty hard to get ‘er done. You were probably super sore and tired afterwards. That second, third, fourth class, maybe you felt the same. But by the thirteenth class, yeah not so much. By that point, your body has adapted to this type of activity and can do it pretty well.

Sooo…what should we do instead?

  1. Stay consistent. Workout 3-5x per week.
  2. Mix it up. Don’t do the same thing week after week.

This is why #SkipTheGym includes a workout calendar that changes after 2 weeks. Two weeks is about how long it takes our bodies to get used to a workout, so it’s time to change things after that 14 day mark.

When we do these simple things, results will come.

If you wanna learn to stay consistent with your workouts, #SkipTheGym is a great option. I created a 4-week blueprint to consistent, efficient workouts that you can do without going to the gym.  In my four week #SkipTheGym program, you’ll get 10 full-length workouts, 3 of my favorite warm-ups, and a suggested workout calendar so that you can build a consistent workout routine, without ever stepping foot in the gym.

Each workout is designed for maximum efficiency so that you can warm up and complete the entire workout in less than 35 minutes #MoveSweatMoveOn.

Grab all the info and sign up here.

Five things that have changed the way I think about exercise

We believe morning workouts are the only way to go; we can’t understand how anyone could hit the gym in the evening. Or maybe we hear coworkers talking nonstop about SoulCycle and can’t understand why they would ever spend $35 for a cardio class. Or maybe we see the CrossFit games on TV and think those, those are the athletes to emulate.

We all think about fitness and exercise but we rarely stop to think about why we think the way we do.

Almost a year ago, I shared one of my most popular posts yet. In it, I chatted about the five things that radically shifted how thought about food, eating, and nutrition. It was such a popular post that I wanted to switch gears about talk about exercise.

Below are five events or milestones in my life that have impacted my fitness and my overall approach to exercise. Some are more serious than others but they’ve all changed me into the coach I am today.

Five things that have changed my approach to fitness. Exercise. At home exercise.

Five things that have changed my approach to fitness

Competing in half marathons

Running was my first love. As a chubby middle schooler, when I discovered there was a sport allowing me to run for extended periods of time without having to throw/kick/catch anything, I was hooked. I vividly remember going to run club at 6am…as a thirteen year old! High school cross country & track filled my days. Even when traveling, going on service trips, or during the off season, I would throw on my shoes and just go for miles. It provided me a calm I had yet to experience in any other part of my life.

By the time I got to college, I realized I was pretty good at it, too. I started racing in competitive half marathons and even placed second in my age category.

April 2013

Running competitively taught me how to think about fitness from a performance mindset. It taught me how to set goals and work to reach them. These are all skills that I still use today, in my and my clients’ fitness journeys.

Discovering strength training

As I mentioned, in high school and most of college, all I did was cardio. I was queen of the long run, treadmill, and elliptical.

Because of this, I constantly exercised to burn calories; that was all I could ever think of.

But when I started lifting weights, I realized there was something much more important than burning: building. Calories stopped being those pesky things I needed to get rid of, and they became the fuel I needed to change my body. Strength training gave me a way to build myself up, instead of always trying to be smaller.

Completing P90x3

When I originally started lifting, my workouts were long. I would do sixty minute lifting workouts, because I believed that if it wasn’t an hour long workout, it didn’t count.

Towards the end of my college career, Andrew and I decided to try P90X3, which included 6 30 minute workouts per week. It was my first exposure to shorter workouts that still could give results.

I’m not and never will be a Beachbody coach but I’m grateful that I discovered the program so that I could finally quit the idea that I had to workout for a full hour.

Being put on bedrest

In the summer of 2013, I was in an exceptionally unhealthy place. I was working out two+ hours a day, eating nowhere close to enough, and constantly thinking about my body, trying to get smaller and smaller.

I can vividly remember dragging myself away from the beach on vacation with my family and Andrew to get in my second workout of the day. It was so hot that I was wearing just a sports bra and shorts, barefoot, doing my second Insanity DVD of the day.

I called out to my mom, “It’s just 20 minutes. I’ll be there soon.”

In my heart, I wanted to be out there, watching the sun go down with the people I loved, but I couldn’t pull myself away, so sure that I would gain weight on this vacation if I didn’t do my two workouts per day.

Almost as soon as we got back from that vacation, my doctor told me I had to stay in bed for three days, no exercise at all. My heart was not stable enough to handle the incredible amount of stress I was putting on it. I could either do the bed rest at home or go into the hospital.

Well shit.

Real quick I had to rethink my approach to eating and moving. This rude awakening was what I needed to stop restricting and start moving towards eating disorder recovery. It was one of the hardest times of my life.

Becoming a personal trainer

I’ve always been super interested in fitness. I had lots of knowledge bouncing around in my head but didn’t exactly know how to apply it or how to use it to help others. Becoming a NASM CPT in May of 2016 helped me implement my knowledge and love of movement to help others.

Fitness is such a big topic, and we often have thoughts without fully understanding why we feel the way we do. That’s why it’s so important to break it all down. When we understand why we feel the way we do, we’re better able to make a change.

If you’d like to shift the way you think about fitness, I’d LOVE to share free workouts with you. I’m currently beta testing my newest workout program, #SkipTheGym. For the month of July, I’m sending out free weekly workouts so that we can all learn to stay more consistent with our workouts, without ever having to set foot in the gym. Grab all the deets (and your first workout) here!