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!

3 reasons to skip your Monday workout

Your alarm clock sounds on Monday morning, and it’s way too early. The weekend went way too fast, and you’re still dead tired. Still in denial, you reach for your phone to scroll through Instagram to help you wake up. As you scroll through the countless images, you’re flooded with pictures of men and women dragging themselves to the gym on Monday morning, always tagged with #nevermissamonday. After seeing these images, you wonder if you should crush your workout, even though you’re exhausted.

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a little too much fun over the weekend or a lack of motivation, we don’t always feel like working out on the first day of a work (or school) week. And even as I see trainers across the internet touting the importance of nevering missing a Monday, I completely disagree and often tell my clients to completely ignore the #nevermissamonday hype. I completely disagree because I’ve struggled with the obsession that comes with believing missing a single day will derail our progress.

I remember one Monday morning in particular; I had recently graduated college, started a new job, and was living with my boyfriend. We had had friends over to our apartment the night before. We drank wine, watched movies, and had an awesome time. When I rolled over to look at the clock, I felt nothing but exhaustion. The idea of dragging myself out onto the pavement to run five miles sounded like torture. But when I walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, I knew I was going to go anyway, because there was no way I was going to let myself miss that workout. For years, this is how I lived.

3 reasons to skip your Monday workout

Monday workout motivation. Monday workout quotes. Monday workout at home. Monday workout inspiration.

So, now, as a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I work with women all across the United States to help them change their bodies without any obsession or extra stress. And even though #nevermissamonday encourages accountability and motivation on the days we’re dragging, it also:

Encourages an ‘all or nothing’ mentality

Central to the #nevermissamonday mentality is that we’re either working out/active/good/on track or we’re completely off the wagon. So if we miss our workout, we might as well eat fast food for the rest of the day, right?

Yeah. No.

Maybe we don’t feel like a full workout but can squeeze in a longer walk with our dogs. Or maybe we need an extra rest day, so we focus on cooking healthy, delicious meals.

It’s never all or nothing, and we can have a healthy Monday without an intense workout.

Ignores the importance of listening to your body

Let’s be real. Sometimes, we just need a break. An extra rest day can actually be better than a workout when our bodies are wrecked or we’re super stressed. When we stop listening to our bodies, we set ourselves up for problems in the long term, including overtraining, injury, or illness. This is definitely not worth it.

dynamic stretching

Listening to our bodies can be tough. Here are my three ways to listen to your body when you don’t know how.

Hands over our power and motivation to a ‘day’

I think what bothers me most about #nevermissamonday is the insinuation that if we skip a Monday workout, we’ve somehow doomed the rest of the week. There’s no reason that missing your Monday workout is more detrimental to your progress than skipping a Wednesday workout.

At its core, we’ve got to view each day is its own separate entity. This empowers us to make a decision of what’s best for us in that moment. Some Mondays, we are ready to go; others require a little patience and ease. Both are okay, and neither dictates the outcome of the rest of your week.

So the next time Monday comes around and working out isn’t top of our priority list [make sure you’re not making these consistency mistakes, too], we all need to ask ourselves one question: why?

Exhausted or hurting? Yes. 

Sick? Yes.

Stressed out by every other part of your life? Yes.

Bored of your current routine and just kinda don’t feel like it? Probably not. Do something completely different to mix it up, like beta test #SkipTheGym

Because we are all on a long-term fitness journey, it’s important to remember that no one workout is separating us from success or failure. Whether or not your balanced approach to fitness it includes this Monday’s workout is irrelevant. As long as you find what works for you, you’re golden.

Now, if you’re missing your Monday workout because you’re too busy to go to the gym, lovely, I made this for you. #SkipTheGym makes it possible to never miss a workout again. And for the month of July, you can try out the workouts absolutely free before the program launches to the public next month. Grab all the details and sign up here. 

Single Kettlebell Workout – 6 minutes per round

You’re looking to stay more consistent with your workouts when you don’t have the time to go to the gym. #SkipTheGym could be a great fit. Try it out for free. 

Sometimes, we just need a workout that doesn’t require a ton of equipment. Whether we’re traveling, have to work out at home instead of hitting the gym, or don’t have much workout equipment available to us, having bodyweight (see all my bodyweight workouts here) and limited equipment workouts in our arsenal can help us be so much more consistent with working out.

Without them, we can slip into what I call the “fuck it” mindset. You know what I’m talking about, that moment when we’re weighing trying to fit in a workout vs. crashing on the couch to watch a few Criminal Minds reruns with a can of Mike’s HardER Lemonade, and we go “f it, I’m skipping my workout today.” (Are you making one of the top 3 workout consistency mistakes?!)

I get it. Just a couple weeks ago, Andrew and I were moving into our new condo (learn the full story on my recent IG post). We were painting, moving heavy stuff, herding the dogs, and trying to figure out why the guest bathroom toilet was flushing so dang slowly…all in 100ºF heat. Carting my crazy home gym equipment from our old apartment was the last thing I wanted to do.

I could easily have gone into that “fuck it” place, skipped my workout, and been done. But, instead, I grabbed just one piece of equipment—my kettlebell—and crushed the workout I’m sharing with you today (get free workouts delivered to your inbox every single week for the month of July here).

I had tested it out at our family cabin, and let me tell you, I absolutely loved it. It’s super simple, quick, and will work your entire body. And the best part? You can complete the workout with barely any equipment.

Full body single kettlebell workout breakdown

Full body kettlebell workout. Kettlebell workout video. Fat burning kettlebell workout.

The workout has six exercises that you’ll do for 12 reps each. In between each exercise, we’ll complete 12 kettlebell swings. The kettlebell swings are great for bringing our heart rate up within this strength workout.

Follow along with me real time in this video and repeat the video 2-3x, depending on how much time you have.

This workout is perfect if you’re traveling for the 4th of July and don’t wanna carry around a bunch of equipment. Complete this kettlebell workout with a single kettlebell or dumbbell.

If you enjoyed this workout and want more free workouts, sign up to beta test my newest program, #SkipTheGym. For the month of July, I’ll be sending you free weekly workouts until the program drops on August 1. Grab more info (and get free workouts) here.

Full Body, Bodyweight Stair Workout

Want free workouts all July long? Try out my newest program, #SkipTheGym, before it launches on August 1!

When we are pressed for time and have zero equipment, sometimes it’s best to turn to the things that are already around us. Whether traveling or at home, we often aren’t far away from a set of stairs. So that kind of makes it the perfect piece of workout equipment, doesn’t it? That’s why I decided to share today’s newest full body stair workout.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a workout, so after Andrew and my trip to Healdsburg (see the shenanigans on Instagram), I wanted to create a workout we can do while traveling.

As I started thinking about the workout I wanted to create, I started thinking about the time in high school I went to Washington DC on a class trip. Thousands of high schoolers flocked to DC to see the 2008 election. Apparently, my school had worked out some sort of agreement with the hotel that barred the students from using the hotel gym. Now, I was in the throws of my eating disorder and absolutely panicked at not being able to work out. We were seeing museums and sitting in buses all day. There was no way I wasn’t working out.

I remember weighing the options in my mind and settling on using the stairs. I was so scared to wake up my roommates that I simply walked up and down ten flights of stairs for an hour.

Looking back now, I had options (quick bodyweight circuit in the hallway anyone?) but this memory got me inspired to create a workout JUST using the stairs. I’m sharing that workout with you, today.

What is it?

Today’s stair workout will work your entire body. One round will take about 6 minutes to complete, and I recommend completing 2-3 rounds for a full workout.

Today's full body bodyweight stair workout will work your entire body. One round will take about 6 minutes to complete, and I recommend completing 2-3 rounds for a full workout.

As always, be sure to incorporate a warm up and some activation per the DARR Formula for Effective Workouts.

If you’d like to follow along with me, you can use one of my favorite warm up routines.

What do I need to complete this stair workout?

You’ll need a flight of stairs. That’s it! I’m using the stairs (there are 12 steps) leading up to my second story apartment

If you have more stairs (like a set of bleachers), that works too. I’d suggest breaking up the exercises into reps of 12-16.

How should I incorporate this stair workout into my routine?

This stair workout incorporates both conditioning and a bit of strength training. Given that we’re not lifting super heavy weights, you can include this workout 2-3x per week in your workout plan (learn more about how I create my workout plans here).

As always, take it to your level. I’ll provide modifications and form cues in the demo video below. If you’re looking to progress this workout without adding any equipment, I’ll show you how here.

Let me know if you have questions! I hope you enjoy this one (more bodyweight workouts here) as much as I did! If you’re looking for more short, effective workouts that you can do at home, check out my newest program, #SkipTheGym. #SkipTheGym makes it possible to never miss a workout again. And for the month of July, you can try out the workouts absolutely free before the program launches to the public next month. Grab all the details and sign up here. 

What’s your workout today!?

What if you really hate working out?

Exercise. It’s either a passion, source of enjoyment, or the bane of our existence. There doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground. But whether we hate working out or love it, we know it has tons of benefits.

So when I got an email from a woman earlier this week saying she knows she should be more active but she hates working out, I felt compelled to write about the topic.

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I work with women all around the world to help them get more consistent with their workouts and nutrition without becoming obsessive. And the truth is, not all of them come to me loving fitness [start with my free fitness challenge if you want some guidance]. So sometimes, we have to work through why they aren’t wanting to exercise.

Through working with lots of women, I’ve found that asking three simple questions can help us be more consistent with our workouts even if we’re not currently enjoying them.

Three questions to ask yourself if you’re hating your workouts

Do you hate working out? Through working with lots of women, I've found that asking three simple questions can help us be more consistent with our workouts even if we're not currently enjoying them.

Do you have a skills based goal?

Often, we exercise without specific goals. We try to drag ourselves to the gym because it’s “good for us” but we have no real reason for being there. That’s where skills based goals come into play.

A key way to achieve long term fitness motivation is to focus on building skill competency. In other words, emphasize skill development in your workouts. By picking a new sport or skill, you’ll set goals that revolve around improving yourself. This is HUGE with adult exercisers, because research shows that skill development is strongly correlated with greater exercise participation over the long term.

Spend some time thinking of a skill you want to develop and make a plan. This could include joining an adult sports league, mastering a tough movement pattern (like maybe a Turkish Get-Up), or increasing your squat weight.

Are you focusing only on outcomes?

Outcomes goals are the most common type of goal, right? We workout because we want to lose 10lbs, fit into our skinny jeans without sucking our stomachs in, or rock that LBD for our high school reunion. But what about when we reach (or fail to reach) those goals?

I’ll tell you…we start to hate our workouts.

I’m not saying to throw away outcome goals all together, in fact, they help you get started, but if you also work to value the actual act of exercising, you’ll achieve much more long term success.

Start thinking about all the positives that come with working out. These will be super individualized and personal but some examples of how to focus on the actual act of working out include mantras like:

  • Doing circuit workouts are fun/enjoyable.
  • I love improving my kettlebell skills.
  • By working out, I’ll be able to stay active for the rest of my life.
  • I build a community of friends through my workouts.

To get your personal mantras, ask yourself questions like:

  • How does exercise help me live the life I want?
  • What do I enjoy about working out?
  • How am I building social connections through working out?
  • How does exercise make me feel?

Are you not moving in a way that brings you joy?

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.

Lovely, this just won’t work. If consistency with working out is our goal, we gotta move in ways that bring us joy so we actually want to keep moving.

It’s time we stop punishing ourselves with movement and find ways of working out that bring us joy. 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).

If you wanna refresh your workout routine and try new workouts, join my #SkipTheGym beta test group. #SkipTheGym is the at-home workout solution for the busy woman who finds herself inconsistent with her workouts because she can’t always get to the gym or fit in a 60 minute sweat sesh. Grab all the details and get your free workouts here.

Whether workouts are second nature or we're still trying to build the habit, shortening our workouts can be a game changer. In fact, as a nutrition coach and personal trainer, I find myself consistently telling my clients to workout for LESS time. It's counterintuitive, I know, but this simple shift can be the best thing you can do for your fitness. Below are my top two reasons to shorten your workout!

2 reasons to shorten your workout

Do you think a workout has to be 60 minutes? Or maybe you think it’s impossible to see changes in your body if you’re exercising for less than an hour a day.

Yeah. I used to think that too.

Somewhere along the line, we got it into our heads that an hour of exercise per day was *best.* To be totally honest, I’m not really sure where that came from; the USDA and other government agencies, popular fitness culture, and PE teachers around the world all seem to profess the importance of getting an hour of physical activity per day.

All throughout high school, college, and my early twenties, I went through my life thinking if I didn’t have that hour long workout it somehow didn’t count. Every time I laced up my shoes to go for a run, I’d set that stopwatch for 60 minutes. When I’d search through FitnessBlender’s video archives for my daily workout, I’d mentally tabulate if the videos added up to an hour. As I stepped on the elliptical machine, I’d calculate how much cardio I’d need before starting my arm workout to hit that 60 minute mark.

I felt constant anxiety any time I exercised for less than an hour and constantly thought about how to fit in my long ass workouts.

And let’s be real, this sucked.

Whether workouts are second nature or we’re still trying to build the habit, shortening our workouts can be a game changer. In fact, as a nutrition coach and personal trainer, I find myself consistently telling my clients to workout for LESS time.

It’s counterintuitive, I know, but this simple shift can be the best thing you can do for your fitness. Below are my top two reasons to do a short workout!

2 reasons to shorten your workout TODAY

Whether workouts are second nature or we're still trying to build the habit, shortening our workouts can be a game changer. In fact, as a nutrition coach and personal trainer, I find myself consistently telling my clients to workout for LESS time. It's counterintuitive, I know, but this simple shift can be the best thing you can do for your fitness. Below are my top two reasons to shorten your workout!

You can dial up the intensity

When we have to do a full 60 minutes on the treadmill, it’s nearly impossible to push ourselves to the maximum intensity. From the mental standpoint, it’s hard to motivate ourselves to go hard when we know we have to keep on going for another 40 minutes. And from the physical standpoint, our bodies can’t go all out for long periods of time.

So when we work out for long durations, intensity drops significantly.

On the flip side, when we shorten our workouts, we can work much harder. And honestly? Intensity is what brings the results.

When performed correctly, high intensity training majorly increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption [source]. This means extra calorie burn even AFTER you finish your workout while your body is making up for all the energy it used during your sweat session. Intense training is what gives you the afterburn effect all the online fitness websites reference.

You will be more consistent

If you’re like me, you don’t often have time for 60 minute workouts. However, a 20 minute workout is super reasonable AND effective. If you cram intensity into 20 minutes, you can still get results, because you’re forcing your body to work hard, instead of going through the motions on the elliptical for an hour.

Here’s the thing, lovely. 60 minutes of exercise is great…if it’s doable, stress-free, and fun. But for most of us, that’s just not realistic on our busy (standard) days. 60 minute workouts are for that best case scenario, when we have a day off work, the fur children (kids) are taken care of, and our schedule is wide open. They’re not for Monday mornings when we have a 9am meeting and the dogs need to go for a walk.

If 60 minute workouts are our default, we inevitably are less consistent.

If our workout routines are all 60 minutes long and we only have thirty minutes, what happens? I’ll tell ya what happens….we slip up. We fall into a fuck it moment and tell ourselves “oh well, I can’t do xyz, so I’ll just get back on track tomorrow.” These moments are what make us inconsistent. I am a huge proponent of shorter workouts–not because 60 minute sweat sessions aren’t valuable but because they can hinder consistency and progress.

Before implementing shorter workouts, I’d feel overwhelmed by the amount of time it’d take to complete a workout. On days where I didn’t have at least an hour to devote to working out, I’d just skip it and make myself eat less to “make up for” my missed workout. Now, I’ve cut my workout time in half without compromising results.

If you’re ready to try out some shorter workouts, I’d love you to check out my free 7-day fitness challenge. Over the course of 7 days, we’ll work together to get your workouts short, consistent, and efficient.

How long are your daily workouts?

dynamic stretching

How to create the best 20 minute workout

We head to the gym or lace up our running shoes most days. Maybe we’re 100% consistent with our workouts or maybe we’re still struggling to build that habit. But either way, we can all identify with the nagging question: did I do enough?

I talk with women all the time who tell me they’re hitting the gym, getting consistent, but they never feel like they’ve done enough. When they get home, they are constantly beating themselves up, wondering if they should have done more, pushed harder, or stayed longer.

They’re never finishing a workout feeling awesome. And that sucks, right? This makes working out 10000000x less fun AND it makes makes staying consistent with our workouts even more difficult. (are you making one of the top 3 workout consistency mistakes?

I get it. When I first graduated college and started trying to make changes to my body composition, I was working out a TON. I did at least two BodyRockTV or FitnessBlender workouts per day and ran three days a week. I remember waking up at 6am, rolling out of bed, and grabbing my computer to choose my daily workout. First, I filtered out the ‘too easy’ workouts (anything level 1-4). Then, I reviewed the level 5 (or most advanced) FitnessBlender workouts and picked 2-3 to complete that morning. Even after killing myself for an hour, I would feel like I should have worked harder or done more. It was an awful feeling.

So, with lots of experimentation, I’ve found a formula for creating the best 20 minute workout, and I’m sharing it today. I’ve found that the best 20 minute workouts have four components, so  if we include these, we can rest assured we’ve created the best 20 minute workout out there and stop questioning whether we’ve done enough.

Why 20 minutes?

When we’re training for RESULTS (whether aesthetic or performance), intensity trumps duration. When we work out for short periods of time, we are able to push harder and challenge our bodies more than if we drag ourselves through a 60 minute session.

By implementing 20 minute workouts into our routines, we stop making the “I don’t have time” excuse. Through working with women around the world, I’ve found that the 20-30 minute workout is a #ConsistencyKey (a high impact behavior that make us significantly more consistent).

With that, let’s see this formula for the best 20 minute workout, shall we?

The DARR Formula for creating the best 20 minute workout

So, with lots of experimentation, I've found a formula for creating the best 20 minute workout, and I'm sharing it today. I've found that the best 20 minute workouts have four components, so  if we include these, we can rest assured we've created the best 20 minute workout out there and stop questioning whether we've done enough.

Dynamic warm up

When we’re pressed for time, our default is to skip the warm up (*I’m guilty of this*). This is a big no-no.

Warm ups decrease likelihood of injury and help our bodies prepare for intense movement.

If we don’t have time, just include 2 minutes of dynamic stretching and light cardio (think jumping jacks, high knees).

dynamic stretching

Activation round

OK. We’ve used 2 minutes for our warm up. 18 minutes to go in the best 20 minute workout. The next step of the DARR Formula is activating the muscle groups to be used in the workout. With DARR, we focus on full body workouts, so I recommend choosing 1-2 movements per muscle group (listed below).

Lower body

Glute bridges

Glute bridge marching

Bodyweight squats

Bodyweight lateral lunges

Upper body

Arm swings

Arm circles

Elevated push ups

Core

Bird dog

Toe taps

Dead bug

Plank

Alternatively, you can go through one round of my general warm up or my glute and core activation warm up. Both incorporate the dynamic warm up and activation elements.

Resistance training

When pressed for time, we want to make the most of the time we have. So for the remaining 16 minutes of our workout, we will do some high intensity resistance training. My favorite way to do this is implementing Metabolic Effect’s Rest Based Training (RBT) principle (see more here). With RBT, we work as hard as we possibly can for the prescribed interval, resting only as needed.

The simplest way to do this is to do a 4×4 circuit: four exercises (1 total body, 1 lower body, 1 upper body, and 1 core exercise), 1 minute per exercise, four times through.

Alternatively, below are a couple of my favorite full body workouts that you can use for the resistance training portion of the workout.

My go-to full body workout

25th birthday inspired full body workout

10 minute full body ladder workout

Full body chained complex workout

Metabolic conditioning full body workout

Recover

Here’s our bonus section. Before we get on with our days, the best 20 minute workout’s gotta include some sort of recovery or cool down.

Foam rolling, stretching, and dog walking are my favorite forms of post workout recovery. Even when pressed for time, taking just a few minute to breath deeply and take a walk can make a huge difference to your performance longer term.

Use the DARR Formula to create the best 20 minute workout out there, and let me know how it goes!

So, with lots of experimentation, I've found a formula for creating the best 20 minute workout, and I'm sharing it today. I've found that the best 20 minute workouts have four components, so  if we include these, we can rest assured we've created the best 20 minute workout out there and stop questioning whether we've done enough.

What’s your favorite 20 minute workout? 

Three workout mistakes that are keeping you inconsistent

Struggling to stay consistent with our workout routine sucks. Sometimes we’re on it. Our workouts fit perfectly into our schedule, our motivation is high, and we’ve got tons of energy. All is good. Until, suddenly, out of nowhere, we’re sitting on the couch watching the Bachelor, realizing it’s been two weeks since we last hit the gym.

Whoops.

I get it. I hear from women all the time who are working so hard to get consistent with their fitness. They know that eating healthy and exercising is “good for us” but they can have a hard time implementing. They buy countless online training programs, download free workout templates, and sign up for Classpass (see why you’re not getting the results you want here), believing that this time will be different, but they’re still missing workouts. (If this sounds like you, my free fitness challenge could help! Sign up here.)

In our minds, it shouldn’t be so difficult. We shouldn’t continue to struggle even when we *know* working out is super important–and even a priority.

Well, I’ve found that we struggle to make our workouts consistent, because we’re making the same we’re-doing-the-best-we-can-and-trying-to-do-all-the-right-things kind of mistakes over and over.

No more.

Today, I’m sharing the top three workout mistakes that are keeping us from consistency in our workouts AND how to overcome each workout mistake using a #ConsistencyKey. A #ConsistencyKey is a high-impact behavior that makes a huge impact on our ability to be consistent. If you’re new to exercise or struggling to get consistent once and for all, it’s time to check yourself.

Three common workout mistakes that keep us inconsistent

Still missing workouts? Check yourself. Are you making one of these mistakes? #3 was the hardest one for me to fix!

Workout mistake #1: we’re doing workouts we don’t love

Our old personal trainer said HIIT was best for fat loss. We read on Tone It Up that we have to lift itty-bitty weights. BodyRockTV says intensity is key to getting results. [Insert source here] said we need to do [insert workout here], so we drag ourselves to the gym to do the next popular workout…even if we hate it.

Lovely, this just isn’t worth it. If consistency is our goal, we gotta move in ways that bring us joy so we actually want to keep moving.

#ConsistentKey Solution: Change it up!

Just a couple weeks ago, I was checking in with a client of mine who was scared to let me know she wasn’t super excited about doing a particular workout in her program. She told me “I know it’s good for me, so I do it anyway.”

Full stop.

Instead of preaching the benefits of a particular style of workout, we pivoted, discussed her exact goals for the next two weeks, and created a new plan she was actually excited about. And you know what? She crushed every single workout in that new phase.

It’s time we stop punishing ourselves with movement and find ways of working out that bring us joy. 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.

Workout mistake #2: we’re don’t have a plan

When consistency becomes an issue, self-discipline or willpower will never be our solution. Too often, we try relying on self-discipline, which sets us up to fail.

Instead, I’m a huge proponent of doing all things nutrition and fitness without any willpower and with a lot of planning. It sounds so simple but it’s true. We don’t just skip work meetings because we’re tired. We don’t no-show dinner with friends because we’re stressed about school (well most of the time). But we do this with our workouts all the time.

#ConsistentKey Solution: 3 S Formula for Consistency

By implementing this formula [read the full breakdown here], missing workouts will be a thing of the past.

Schedule

As with anything else in life, failing to plan is essentially planning to fail. So, when it comes to our workouts, we’ve got to schedule them. I recommend taking 10 minutes every Sunday to review the upcoming week and insert workouts into particular dates and times.

Start ahead

While having a plan is definitely helpful, we need to take it one step further and really prepare for each workout sesh. I take it a step further and start ahead mentally by asking myself the following questions before every workout:

What exercises are included in my workout?

Do I need any modifications? Progressions?

What’s my goal for the workout?

How much time will I need to complete the workout?

Stay accountable

It’s incredibly valuable to have someone hold us accountable for the workouts we want to complete. A simple social media check-in can be sufficient but I like to take it a step further. This is why I incorporate accountability elements in every single program I do. Accountability is SO important to our long term consistency success.

Workout mistake #3: we’re forcing ourselves to abide by the “60 minute workout rule”

For years, I believed that I had to exercise for an hour in order for it to *count.* If I couldn’t get in a 60 minute sweat sesh, I’d skip my workout.

I remember waking up late for class in college and realizing I didn’t have enough time for my crazy long workout session. Instead of throwing on my shoes and doing a quick bodyweight circuit in my dorm, I huffed off to class, feeling like a failure.

And that’s so common, isn’t it? We get down on ourselves and feel guilty when we can’t fit in that hour long workout, regardless of the circumstances. 

#ConsistencyKey Solution: reset expectations asap

We gotta get our minds right and reset our expectations.

Before implementing shorter workouts, I’d feel overwhelmed by the amount of time it’d take to complete a workout. On days where I didn’t have at least an hour to devote to working out, I’d just skip it and make myself eat less to “make up for” my missed workout. Now, I’ve cut my workout time in half without compromising results.

Instead of focusing on duration, I encourage my #SpringIntoConsistency ladies and clients to focus on intensity. Whether I’m outside running sprints, doing bodyweight metabolic conditioning, or modifying a strength session to be more metabolic, I LOVE making my workouts intense and super fast.

Why?

They rev our metabolism, making that 60 minute, slow and steady workout pretty pointless. You can bet that’s why all #SpringIntoConsistency workouts are less than 30 minutes!

When train intensely, it majorly increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This means extra calorie burn even AFTER we finish our workouts. While we are resting and recovering, our bodies are making up for all the energy it used during that sweat session.

Before I started training efficiently, I’d spend hours every day working out. And if my nutrition was less than perfect? I’d punish myself with excessive exercise. Now, working out almost every day is just part of my lifestyle. I don’t think about it, and I do it, even when I’m not feeling motivated.

How do you stay consistent with your workouts?

{wedding ready workout} my go-to core workout

I’ve always been slightly obsessed with my abs. I’ve tried every exercise, piece of equipment, program, and core workout touted on the internet. When I was still on my quest for a six pack, I did Tony Horton’s Ab Ripper X video at least three times a week. I’d roll out my yoga mat in my dorm room (cuz we def can’t do 300 sit ups on linoleum) and get to work. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I was sure to do this routine. At the end of each core workout, I’d shyly look at check my stomach in the mirror for results. And each time, I would be disappointed by the lack of a chiseled six pack.

Even though I don’t necessarily want a six pack anymore (see why!), having a strong, lean midsection is important to lots of us, especially during wedding season.

As we’re inching closer and closer to wedding season, I’ve created my Wedding Ready workout series to help my friends, teammates, and clients get ready to rock their wedding dresses. Over the last few weeks, I’ve put together three exclusive real time workouts to get you wedding dress READY.

In case you missed the first few workouts of the series, check them out here:

Upper body workout: perfect for shaping your back, shoulders, and arms

Lower body workout: special emphasis on your glutes and quads to build strong, shapely legs 

This week, we’ve got the last workout in the series: core! But let’s be real, this is not your typical six pack sit up workout, because I’m all about results. And in order to change your physique, we’ve got to incorporate both effective ab exercises to build strength AND interval cardio to reduce body fat [source 1, source 2].

If that seems like a lot, no need to stress. We’ve got it all in today’s workout.

Your wedding ready core workout

Today’s core workout is exactly how I like to structure my HIIT cardio workout days: sprints and core work. To get the absolute best results possible, we want to do both parts of this workout together. If you need to split up the parts of the workout, don’t stress too much, hit the core workout portion. Just make sure you work a sprint session into your weekly routine.

Before you begin, I highly suggest you do a substantial warm up (like this one). By activating your core, you ensure that it’ll work hard throughout both parts of the workout. Even without the core workout portion, if you sprint hard enough, I guarantee that you’ll feel your abs the next day!

Part 1: sprints!

Head to a track, treadmill, or hit the pavement to complete the following intervals.

Looking for a new core workout? This ab workout will get you wedding ready in no time. And, let's be real, this is not your typical six pack sit up workout, because I'm all about results. And in order to change your physique, we've got to incorporate both effective ab exercises to build strength AND interval cardio to reduce body fat.

Part 2: core workout

When you complete your sprints, it’s time to work that core. We’ve got five super effective ab exercises, with 10 reps each. Go through this super short circuit 2-3 times!

Looking for a new core workout? This ab workout will get you wedding ready in no time. And, let's be real, this is not your typical six pack sit up workout, because I'm all about results. And in order to change your physique, we've got to incorporate both effective ab exercises to build strength AND interval cardio to reduce body fat.

When you smash your workout, be sure to tag me on instagram and facebook so I can cheer you on 🙂 If you enjoyed this workout, you’ll LOVE my free weeklong fitness challenge. If you’re looking to jumpstart your fitness goals, there’s no better time than now!

What kind of workout do you want to see next?

{wedding ready workout} my TOP lower body workout

We’re inching closer and closer to wedding season! I don’t know about you but tons of my friends and teammates are getting married in spring/summer 2017. With their weddings around the corner, getting ready to rock their stunning wedding dresses is top of mind. I get it!

That’s why I decided to create my Wedding Ready workout series. I’m putting together three exclusive workouts to get you wedding dress READY.

A few weeks ago, we worked our upper bodies, because many popular wedding dress styles emphasize the bride’s back, shoulders, and arms. But this week, you’re in for a treat, because I’ve put together a Wedding Ready lower body workout, with special emphasis on your glutes and quads.

Having strong, shapely legs is super important for those form fitting wedding gowns (or just for rocking shorts next summer). 

But, in order to make serious changes to our legs, we’ve gotta get some weight involved. Because our legs and butt are our biggest muscles, it’s important to add additional weight when you’re doing a lower body workout. This maximizes our results and ensures we’re not wasting time in the gym.

Your Wedding Dress Ready Lower Body Workout

For today’s lower body workout, we’ve got two 10 minute AMRAPs. The first AMRAP is bodyweight and plyometric. I wrote this circuit to raise our heart rates and get us nice and warm. This cardio primer of sorts will prepare you to lift heavier weights in AMRAP 2.

For today's lower body AMRAP workout, we've got two 10 minute AMRAPs. The first AMRAP is bodyweight and plyometric. I wrote this circuit to raise our heart rates and get us nice and warm. This cardio primer of sorts will prepare you to lift heavier weights in AMRAP 2.

You’ll complete 10 reps of each exercise in AMRAP 1, resting only as needed. Repeat as many times as you can in ten minutes.

Rest for 1-2 minutes before moving into AMRAP 2.

Most importantly? Have fun with it! This one is definitely a toughie, and if you workout with me real time, you’ll see me struggle.

This lower body workout is similar to the quick, effective workouts in my free weeklong fitness challenge. If you’re looking to jumpstart your new year’s fitness goals, there’s no better time than now!

What kind of workout do you want to see next?