Tag: Fitspo

The Good Kind of #Fitspo

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There’s currently quite the controversy brewing in the health, wellness, and fitness communities about “fitspiration”, or “fitspo”–aspirational images of people, items, or quotations meant to inspire and motivate viewers. The good: healthy, fit, realistic bodies, positive affirmations, cute gym clothes and shoes, and motivational quotes. The bad: generally unattainable {real or photoshopped} or unhealthy bodies, tiny meals, and/or faux-motivational quotes. To sum up the debate in a sentence, people are questioning fitspo for validity, possible harm, and a link to things like body shaming and eating disorders. {If you’re curious about any of this, check out these articles from gURL, Huffington Post, and Everyday Feminism for more info.} Personally, I consider myself a fitspo fan…the GOOD fitspo, anyway 😉 and I find images of healthy food, cute clothes, and inspirational quotes and mantras to be both engaging and motivating. It’s something I seek out. It’s something I enjoy.

Recently, while scrolling through my We Heart It app, I came across the image below…

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THIS is good fitspo. Actually, this might be the BEST fitspo! I knew I wanted to share it on TSB. Maybe it speaks to you, too? Though it lacks the traditional bright colors, attractive photography, gorgeous hand lettering, and toned bodies that many of the most popular fittie shots seem to feature, it gets everything right. The message is clear. The actions are simple. The focus is truly on health and fitness. It’s plain, yeah, but I found myself more inspired by this image than I have been in a long time. It’s health, balance, ease, and action. Baby steps. That’s what we should all be striving for.

How do you feel about fitspo?

xx,

Liza

Travel Like a Fit Chick: How to Go on Vacation WITHOUT Gaining Weight

Yes, please. {Source}
Yes, please. {Source}

VACATION ALL I EVER WANTED!

Said every girl ever. Every babe deserves a little getaway. Travel is, in my personal opinion, the best way to treat yourself. So get it, girl!

Except, wait. You probably can’t really meal prep. Your desire to spend half an hour on the elliptical goes out the window. Frozen drinks are calling your name. Oh, and you have to be in a bikini 24/7. I totally get it. Vacation is not real life…and that’s why it’s so awesome! For someone who is concerned with meeting fitness or aesthetic goals, though, the aforementioned travel-related scenarios can be a bit troubling. Can you go on a trip, have an incredible time, and NOT totally derail your progress? Yes! Travel doesn’t have to mean weight gain or fitness loss. You just have to be mindful. Read on for a realistic way to stay happy, healthy, sane and in great shape while on vacation.

1. Embrace activity. Here’s some good news: You totally DON’T have to hit the hotel gym when you’re on a trip. If you’re not feeling it, skip it! There are a plethora of other ways to stay fit while traveling, from increasing your daily step count to booking active excursions. If you’re somewhere tropical, for example, paddle boarding, surfing, and snorkeling are all viable options for keeping fit and active. Heading somewhere colder? Hike, ski, snowshoe, or snowboard. Rent a bike or go for a hike. Walk around and explore the locale! Outdoor options abound. If you’re all about relaxing {read: not leaving your hotel} many resorts now offer free or low-cost fitness programs and workout classes for guests. Or, you know, just go to the gym. Whatever you do, keep moving. You’ll enjoy yourself, burn some calories, and maintain that fit lifestyle of yours.

2. Splurge once a day. Believe me – when it comes to vacation, I am ALL about indulging. Another thing I am all about, however, is feeling confident on the beach. How to have the best of both worlds? Treat yourself, but limit it to once a day. Cake. A huge margarita. A plate of fries. Homemade chips and guac. Nutella french toast. Mini donuts. Seriously, feel free to go a little crazy with your vacation treat! There’s no need to completely deprive yourself–you have to enjoy your life, and eating amazing travel cuisine is part of that. Nothing is forbidden! Just keep it to ONE splurge a day and you’ll be good to go. You can have it all, but not all at once. Be mindful, and remember that your favorite treats will still be there tomorrow–there’s no need to stuff yourself with everything that sounds appetizing and indulgent on your first night.

3. Stay hydrated. Flying + salty food + different sleep schedules can wreak havoc on your body! Avoid dehydration and/or excess fluid retention by consciously monitoring your water intake. Start on the plane! Not only will this benefit your skin since cabin air is notoriously dry, but it will also keep bloat at bay throughout your trip. This is especially important if you’re going somewhere warm!

How do you stay on track while on a trip?

xx,

Liza

Four Unexpected Ways to Bust a Fitness Rut

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What do you do when fitness stops being fun? When you’ve skipped exercise for a week or two and are worried about getting totally off track? When you’re starting to feel bored? If you’ve been exercising for awhile, this is probably something you’ve encountered…especially if you’re focusing on weight loss, hitting specific goals, or are fighting to complete a longer-term training plan. It happens to the best of us–sometimes you just need to shake it up! Here are four ways creative ways to break free from the ordinary and bust a fitness rut.

1. Try something counterintuitive. I’m all for finding exercise modalities that you love and that compliment your lifestyle, but opposites attract, so don’t be afraid to try something unexpected! If you’re high-strung or always on the go, try a yoga class to center yourself. Super chill and laid-back? Check out kickboxing, boot camp, or HIIT.  Not only will this help you create balance, but you just might find that your new workout compliments your personality pretty perfectly.

2. Get rewarded for working out. Did you know that there are apps, online services, and contests that reward you for hitting your fitness goals?! Uh huh, honey! If you’re a runner or walker, Charity Miles will make a donation to the organization of your choosing based on the miles you complete. With higi, you earn points and perks that can be cashed in for discounts, gift cards, and special offers. Pact pays between $.50 – $.75 per workout…and makes you pay if you skip the gym! For those looking to lose weight, DietBet provides community support AND a share of prize money to competitors who hit their weight loss targets in the time allotted.

3. Book a few sessions with a trainer. If you’re feeling burnt out, unmotivated, or like you don’t know where to begin, paying for a few personal training sessions can be majorly beneficial. You won’t skip your workout since cant flake on your trainer {and you’re basically paying for the privilege to be there!} and having an expert show you the ropes or create a personalized training plan for you to follow can be both helpful and inspiring.

4. Change up your playlist. A good cardio or LISS session is approximately 100x better when you have great music to listen to while you sweat. Pandora, iTunes Radio, and other streaming services allow users to create motivating stations based on their favorite jams, while also offering pre-selected playlists designed to be used in the gym. You can even download songs that have a certain BPM to run, bike, or elliptical-train to for effortless pacing! You can also DIY it; I’m personally a fan of curating my own playlist that I fill with new, upbeat, workout-only tracks that I’m excited to hear…and I only get to listen to them if I get to the gym.

How do you keep your active lifestyle interesting?

xx,

Liza

Must Watch: Cassey Ho’s “The ‘Perfect’ Body”

perfectbod

You’re probably already familiar with Cassey Ho–the 20-something YouTube star, blogger, and personal trainer behind the fitness empire that is Pop Pilates. Yesterday, Cassey released a new video, entitled “The Perfect Body“, that deals with our collective obsession with body image, media messages, and negative online interaction. She writes,

“When you look in the mirror, are you happy with what you see? Or do you stare at yourself, pinching your fat away, lifting up your butt, pushing in your boobs, wishing you looked like a VS supermodel? It’s hard to be content with the shape of your body when people are constantly telling you how fat you are. The backhanded compliments, the mean comments, the cyber bullying – all of this messes with us…and it hurts. What if getting flat abs and bigger boobs was as easy as a click. What if you could stop all the hate and just photoshop yourself right now, in real life? What would you change?”

If you haven’t already seen this video, it’s worth a watch:

In the age of Instagram, these are all issues we deal with. As a trainer and online personality, however, Cassey has opened herself up to appearance-related commentary on an even larger scale. The comments she receives are not always positive. Now more than ever, it seems as if the ultimate goal for many involved in fitness isn’t to be happy, healthy, or strong, but rather to LOOK good. To have a hot body. To be able to post sexy gym photos and tag them as #fitspo. If you don’t look good/right/fit/hot, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. Ew.

The pressure to look perfect can be suffocating. What are we willing to do to get there? What does body perfection entail? Is it even real?

 

xx,

Liza

Coming Soon: #thek2movement. You In?!

BBG perfection. {Source.}
BBG perfection. {Source.}

If you’ve been following TSB for awhile, you  might remember a post I made this summer about Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide…I loved it. Since the writing of that post, Kayla has released an additional BBG workout guide, an update to her original guide, a new cooking guide, and new fitness gear to her online store. Girl is blowing up, and her clients’ transformations continue to be incredible! This January, a Facebook group of Bikini Body warriors created their own challenge: The Kayla Movement. With 1000+ members and their own Instagram hashtags, these girls worked together to conquer Kayla’s guides and keep each other motivated. {#bbgsisters!} They’re even planning a Chicago meet-up this summer. Now, though? It’s happening again! Starting on 4/6, The K2 Movement begins.

If you missed out on the first round of The Kayla Movement, if you needed to stop in the middle of a round for whatever reason, or if you’ve been meaning to get started with the guide, April 6th is the perfect time for you to get started…with a giant group of virtual friends by your side! You guys know that I’m a total sucker for challenges, and this one pretty much ensures a hot summer bod AND a bunch of new friendships to boot. I mean, seriously – the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Get it, girl!

Want in? Here’s how to get involved…

Let’s kick some BBG booty!

xx,

Liza

Story Time! My ~*Journey*~ With Running

My favorite Nikes--probably the most important, most-used piece of exercise 'equipment' I currently own.
My favorite Nikes–probably the most important, most-used piece of exercise ‘equipment’ I currently own.

If you told me 10 years ago that in 2015, I’d consider myself a runner, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had told me that five years ago I wouldn’t have believed you. Shit–if you told me ONE year ago I wouldn’t have believed you! But it’s 2015, and here we are.

I was ALWAYS the slowest mile runner in gym class. Always. I remember running the mile as a part of the Presidential Fitness Test in lower school and feeling as if my lungs were burning, like I was going to die. I was super embarrassed about my pace, my body, and my inability to continuously jog four laps {or even ONE lap} around the track without stopping. The first time I ran a quarter of a mile without a walk break, I was 19. I hated it. I didn’t run again for a year. I took a kinesiology course my sophomore year of college from a professor who also taught a marathon training class, and was ensured that people who didn’t like running had likely simply never learned HOW to run correctly or to become efficient at it. That gave me hope. I tried Couch to 5K next, but became discouraged quickly when I found even the most basic training days difficult. I lasted maybe a week.

Because of these experiences, I basically considered myself the anti-runner–I didn’t do it, I couldn’t do it, and I thought it was stupid. Screw running. I went along doing 30-minute elliptical sessions, YouTube video workouts, and Jillian Michaels DVDS instead, building a baseline of fitness. When I grew tired of that, I hit the treadmill…and walked. On an incline. I started out walking at a 2mph speed, 5% incline, and eventually, over the course of a few months, worked my way up to 4mph speed, 10% incline. And it was HARD. At first, anyway. I did it gradually, and eventually, it became pretty easy.  Then, all of a sudden, something snapped in me–if I could do my hardcore incline walking thing for 35 minutes, running probably wasn’t TOO much more difficult. Right? I decided to crank up the speed to a 6 and see what I could do.

I lasted ten minutes.

…But it was five minutes longer than I had ever run before.

As I’ve mentioned, I have definite workout ADD, so actively feeling my body adapt to a routine drives me nuts. This is what had happened with the elliptical and the 30 Day Shred, and it was beginning to happen with the incline walking, too. It wasn’t challenging anymore. It used to be hard, but it had become stale and standard. I wasn’t sore. I wasn’t out of breath. My heart rate wasn’t incredibly elevated. I had acclimated. I needed something new to conquer, and running seemed like a logical, though frightening, next step.

How I got started…

For the next few months, I challenged myself to just run a little every time I went to the gym. I added it on to whatever I was already doing. At first, I ran at only 5mph, and did it for as long as I could–this usually ended up being between 7-12 minutes. From there, I challenged myself to beat my previous time, either by running longer OR running faster. Even if by just a few seconds. The Nike+ running app became my new BFF. I was hooked.

It wasn’t easy. It took a LONG time. I had to get fit–really fit, in my opinion–before running became a doable thing for me. It took losing weight and working out consistently for over a year before I was able to run a mile without stopping to walk. Now, I run one in under seven minutes most days. I run three miles multiple times per week. My current record for longest run is 10 miles. It’s one of my 2015 goals to run 13.1. It took me nearly three years to get to this point. I’m not a natural. It didn’t come easily. But now I can do it. That’s probably part of the reason I’m so into it.

I haven’t gotten tired of running {yet} because it remains challenging. I could always run faster or longer or on different terrain. There are always new milestones to meet. There’s no real end in sight. I appreciate that. I also appreciate the work that my body has learned to do. I NEVER THOUGHT I’D GET TO THIS POINT! I didn’t think running would be something I would ever really be able to do, let alone ENJOY. But, like I said before, here we are. It’s 2015. I run. And I like it.

xx,

Liza