You can either hate Mondays because you don't want the weekend to end and you're dreading that pile of work on your desk, or you can love them because they signify a NEW week and a FRESH START. Whichever way you look at it, Monday is the best day to hit the gym! I know how easy it is to hit that snooze button, but trust me, that 10 minutes of sleepy bliss is nothing compared to how you will feel after you crush it at the gym.
Here are the Top 5 reasons to workout every Monday!
So let's do this! Scheduling your Monday workout is a great habit to get into and one of the best decisions you can make for your body and mind. And if you start your week with one good decision, chances are it will lead to many more. Win-win!
And always remember the goal: STRONG not SKINNY!
Yes, you read that right. Carbs are AWESOME, oh so tasty and I love them! With the rise of diets like Paleo, the misunderstood carbohydrate has become a dirty word in our society. There is a silly widespread view that carbs will make you fat. But what exactly is a carbohydrate? Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. They are a macronutrient, which means they provide ENERGY for the body. Carbs are the macro that we need in the largest amounts as they are the body's main source of FUEL.
If you maintain a low carb diet for an overly extended period of time, the body will eventually start to target muscle protein to burn which leads to a breakdown of lean muscle tissue. We definitely don't want THAT. It doesn't make sense to train hard if you're just going to lose your gains through an insufficient diet that you don't even enjoy! If you experience fatigue after training, suffer from low motivation or have an energy crash in the afternoon, it's time to add some carbs to your diet especially post-workout. Now, before you run to order an extra thick crust pizza with a side of bread sticks and chocolate cake with sprinkles for dessert, you must know that all carbs are not created equal. It's time to redefine the carb so you can add awesome carbs back in and not feel guilty about it.
Let’s break this macronutrient group into two sub-groups: produce and starches. Think of produce as non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Starches are a little larger group and contain both healthy and unhealthy options by definition. Healthy options include: brown rice, white rice (post-workout), whole grain breads, quinoa and sweet potatoes. Unhealthy options include: refined grains, sugar and just about
all processed foods.
So what carbs should you be eating? Here are some great options:
If you're training hard and also running on a low carb diet, add some of these foods and see if you experience a spike in intensity, energy and lean muscle. Moderate-to-high carbohydrate diets provide better energy levels, support muscle growth, prevent muscle break down, and promote faster recovery after training.
Here's an easy and yummy recipe to get you started!
Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Kale and Feta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Brush the insides of the squash with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay the squash face down. Roast 30 - 45 minutes or until the bottom is caramelized around the edges, and you can easily poke a fork or knife all the way through the flesh.
While squash is roasting, cook 1 cup quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Once cooked, fluff with a fork, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the thick stems from the kale and thinly chop the greens. You can either sauté the kale in a pan with olive oil or coconut oil or just toss into the hot quinoa to wilt. Spoon the quinoa and kale mixture into the squash halves and top with crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts and fresh herbs.
This is a great side paired with grilled chicken or baked fish as your lean protein source!
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has become all the rage in the fitness industry over the last few years. HIIT describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. There are many reasons for its popularity.
HIIT does have a lot of benefits, but is it right for YOU?
The first thing to understand is that HIIT intervals are performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate which means giving it your all! You have to WORK and WORK HARD. If you're new to HIIT, take it slow. The second thing to consider is your diet plan. If you cringe at the idea of eating carbs, this type of exercise is not for you. You simply cannot workout at the intensity required by HIIT without glucose in your system and if you don't have carbohydrates in the diet to any extent you will not have the resources to complete the session. You have to FUEL your body! Finally, what are your fitness goals? If you're hitting the weights hard looking to put on muscle mass and doing multiple HIIT sessions in the week, you may be at risk of overtraining. Listen to your body. If you're strength is lagging, REST. If your goals are to boost your anaerobic capacity, improve your speed and sports performance, and get in the best shape of your life, then YES, HIIT is for you! Remember, as with any workout, make sure to keep proper form to avoid injury.
Try this workout and find out just what you're made of!
HIIT WORKOUT (click the blue links to watch videos on how to do each exercise)
>Jump Lunge to Feet Jack
Repeat rounds 3 times with 1 minute of work and 30 seconds rest between each exercise.
Spring is almost here! Which means SUMMER is just around the corner. For some, summer means the chance to finally show off all their hard training by rocking a bikini at the pool. For others, the mere mention of "bikini" can spark cardiac arrest. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, this is a great workout to strengthen your core which underpins almost everything you do at the gym AND in everyday life.
Sit-ups are commonly associated with building strong abs, however, sit-ups only target the front abdominal muscles. They also place undue stress on the back. This strain can eventually lead to bulging or herniated discs, compressed vertebrae and nerve damage.
Plank and rotational exercises are much more efficient for tightening the entire core. Compared to roughly seven muscles used during a crunch, the plank engages a whopping 20 muscles! This core workout, which can be completed in LESS THAN 20 MINUTES, will help strengthen not only the front abdominals, but your obliques and deep abdominals leaving your whole body feeling and looking stronger and LEANER.
Keep in mind, however, that all the core exercises in the world are not going to give you those six-pack abs if you're not eating right! Combine this workout with my meal plans and you'll be strutting your stuff in no time!
If this is your first workout of the day, make sure to do a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up. High knees, butt kicks, jump rope and squats are great exercises to get that blood flowing!
CORE WORKOUT (click the blue links to watch videos on how to do each exercise)
> Spider Crawl - 12 reps
> Side Plank Hip Raise - 12 reps each side
> Scissor Kick - 30 reps
> Bicycle Crunch - 12 reps, slow and steady
> V- Sit Crunches - 12 reps
Repeat circuit for 5 rounds. Rest 60 seconds in between rounds.