How fun is Instagram’s new “Ask me a question” feature?! After receiving a few fitness-related questions, some of my followers insisted I put together an updated health and fitness routine for the blog–and how could I resist?! I really haven’t discussed anything like this in over a year, so it is about time I catch all my readers up.
Although I love staying in shape, I am slightly nervous to post anything health-related because I definitely am not a health or fitness professional. I do not feel that the information I have will work for everyone; I can only share what works for me. Of course, I encourage all my readers to consult a physician before upgrading their diets and/or fitness routines.
So, what’s changed?
My lifestyle did a major 180-flip when I decided to give up a full-time freelancing gig. Instead of a work-from-home job that allowed me to travel (both for work and for pleasure) as much as I pleased, I now work Monday through Friday in New York City.
Of course I was a little nervous starting out. For the most part I used to prepare food, eat and work out whenever I felt like it. I thought the lifestyle change would cause a decrease in how much and how hard I work out (and that the potential stress would cause me to binge eat more often). But I was totally wrong! I almost always make it to the gym five days a week (though which five days changes from week to week).
Being healthy and in good shape is really important to me, so I do my best to always make time for either a gym or an at-home workout. But when I am feeling run down, I listen to my body and skip it if necessary. It’s not a big deal and it doesn’t happen often when I am taking care of myself.
Not to mention, I have always been a take-the-stairs kind of gal, so I get a ton of extra exercise I wouldn’t normally be getting. In fact, my walks to and from the train station add up to 30 minutes total per day. I definitely break a sweat on most days, and I’ve learned to love it! It’s really rewarding and WORTH IT because it is part of an exciting career.
In addition to my take-the-stairs habit, I have been a pack-my-own lunch gal since, well, my mom stopped packing my lunch in high school. I bring healthy snacks to work with me every day (nuts, popcorn with sea salt and raw veggies are my favs), and I hardly ever eat out.
If given the choice between sleeping in or going to bed early, I would have a hard time choosing because I LOVE sleep. And having an extra-busy life has made me appreciate sleep so much more. It is so important to your health and your overall wellbeing. I never go to bed past midnight on a night before work. This keeps me energized and focused throughout the day. Plus, lack of sleep causes sugar cravings, and I can vouch for that firsthand; when I don’t sleep enough, I crave candy and carbs like crazy the next day.
I’ve never been a heavy drinker; three drinks are more than enough to get me buzzed. So, I’ve never had a hard time limiting my alcohol consumption because I’ve never needed to. Since leaving college, I no longer have an excuse to drink on weeknights (and I miss Thirsty Thursday’s terribly), but that doesn’t mean I go crazy every weekend. When the occasion calls for it, I will enjoy a couple cocktails or a glass of wine on the weekends, but that’s only once or twice a month. And hello—drinks in the real world cost upwards of $10, whereas a gin and tonic cost me anywhere from 50 cents to $4 in college.
Surprisingly, a lot is still the same.
My eating habits haven’t changed a bit, with the exception of the times of day that I eat. Now, I have a bowl of oatmeal around 7:30 a.m., as opposed to my usual 9 a.m. when I was freelancing. I’ll eat my snacks throughout the day at work to avoid that too-full, sluggish feeling I get after eating a lot at once, and dinner when I get home from the gym around 9 p.m. This works perfectly for me, and I am never starving or left with crazy cravings at any point.
Like I said, though, my diet in terms of what and how much I eat is still pretty much the same as it has always been. I don’t have any restrictions; I just limit processed and packaged foods, as well as refined sugar. Carbs (including sugar) from fruit, quinoa and anything else natural and nutritious are perfectly fine with me! I eat meat or seafood most days a week, and dairy occasionally and in small portions. And yes, I give into cravings once or twice a week, too (I love fried foods, chicken wings and sour candy).
How do I workout?
It’s cliché, but I just don’t feel like myself if I’m not working out enough! To stay challenged, I have a three-day cycle. On Day 1 I do an hour of varied cardio, 10 minutes of stretching and 10 to 15 minutes of ab exercises. Lately I have been loving Alexis Ren’s video on YouTube, but sit-ups on a stability ball work perfectly fine, too.
I have the flattest feet, so running really hurts my knees and hips. That’s why I love the stationary bike! Over the years I have taken so many cycling classes, which means I really know how to get a good workout when I’m on the bike by myself. To make my workouts as effective as possible, I cycle in positions 1, 2 and 3 (if you’ve ever gone to a spin class, you know what I mean) and increase the resistance throughout.
On Day 2 I do half an hour of cardio (almost always on the bike) plus stretching and a number of exercises from Katrina Brodsky’s pilates-based Curve Builder workout program. Because this program requires purchase, I can’t share any information beyond that; Katrina developed Keller Rose Fitness alongside her personal trainer. It lengthens and strengthens the muscles while toning and enhancing your curves! I love that Curve Builder is easy to do at home or on the go (equipment is minimal).
Day 3 includes weight training. I warm-up with 20 or 30 minutes of cardio, stretch, then head into the weight room. To tone my bod without building bulky muscle, I do light weights (nothing over 120 pounds) and high reps (two to four sets of 15 to 20 reps). If I notice I’m not breaking a sweat or feeling a burn, I increase the weight and/or reps. Mainly, I keep the focus on my back and legs, but I like to work my arms, too.