Best Fitness Apps to Change Your Lifestyle

I know people have different opinions on how technology has changed society for better or worse. Many people think that it has made us sedentary and that is what has caused the obesity epidemic. I feel like, yes people do spend more time using technology, have it be your Ipad to your smart phone, to the television. In my opinion it is not technology’s fault! Every person has the power to make the decision to spend hours watching television or surfing the web. Let’s not blame it on the amazing technology that we are lucky to have!

I have found out first hand that technology can actually HELP you in your journey to living a more active, healthy lifestyle. You, of course, have to want to use it this way.

So without further ado I give you MY favorite fitness apps that I really do use on a regular basis.

At the bottom I have attached a link to an article with other people’s stories of their favorite fitness apps! Enjoy and let me know what apps you are using to help you on your journey!

RunKeeper– free and Pro Version

Although I have not used this on in quite some time because I have not been able to run while being pregnant, I used it before and love it! This app tracks your progress for various activities such as running, cycling, rowing, the elliptical and more. All you do is pick which exercise you will be doing in the beginning and it starts tracking. I have only used it for running.

This app has a built in GPS to log where you have jogged and you can also create a pre-planned jog if you have a certain route you would like to run. It displays on the screen your stats such as distance, speed and pace. My favorite part about the app is that it gives you an audio update of how you are doing every five minutes or every mile, however you want it set up. I have found this to be extremely motivating and I don’t constantly look at the screen to see how far I have gone. Another cool feature about this app is you can start your own music playlist within the app.

Okay I lied, this really is my favorite feature about the app.. you can use it as your own personal trainer by setting up intervals for yourself. Once you set it up a voice will tell you when to start the fast and slow intervals! Love it.

Nike Training- free

While I prefer to create my workouts most of the time, this is the best weight training app on the market right now in my opinion. You have the option to choose cardio, toning or muscle building. It also has 15 minute workouts to combine all of these for a busy person’s workout.

What is so great about this app is there are complete 15- 45 min workouts with a description and step by step pictures on how to do the exercises! It is so helpful. You really do not have to even think when working out with this app because they have done all the work for you. There is even a voice telling you which exercise is next so you don’t even have to look at the screen.

You even get rewarded for all your hard work with this app. Each exercise you do you get points. With these points there are rewards such as a new workout routine by a celebrity or a great recipe!

Seconds Pro- free or Pro Version

I use this app more than any other app on my phone. I love it. It is an interval training timer. You have the option to QUICKLY create your own interval workouts. When creating the timers there is an option to choose the timer type. The options are HIIT, Tabata, Circuit, round timer, compound timer and empty timer. I use the circuit timer the most because that is what I do the most of! Once you pick the timer type, all you do is type in the name of the exercise and there is an option on the rest time between intervals and sets. When you want to do the workout you just choose one you have created and the lady will walk you through all the exercises.

There are also workouts that come with the app that you can use. It comes with tons of free ones but you can also buy more if you would like. LOVE LVOE LOVE IT.

Danial miller Daily workouts- Free and Pro version

I love these little workouts and they are actually what helped me get started with strength training. There is a different app for arms, legs, butt, cardio, abs and yoga. For each exercise there is an option for a 5min, 7 min or 10 min workout. The exercises are fairly easy and still effective. I definitely recommend this for any beginner because it will get you comfortable to doing these types of exercises.

So now I will leave you with an article about others who have used their fitness apps to actually change the way they live for the better. I hope this will motivate you to take that small step to a better you. It is just a click or tap away! Have a great weekend and let me know if you have used any of these apps and your opinion on them!

Want to get fit? Pull out your phone

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Strength Training 101

So many women who try to lose weight and get the perfect body will spend hours doing cardio only to be short of their physical goals. They get frustrated because they feel like they are putting the hard work in and not getting results. They are ‘fat/skinny’. You all know what that means; they have slimmed down but still have the ‘mushy’ fat under the clothes. There is no definition. People, it is so important to realize how vital strength training is for EVERYONE.

I once was guilty of being a cardio junkie. I love feeling the burn. It makes me get the sense I am actually making a difference… until I wasn’t. I quit seeing results and needed to change up the routine. Reluctantly I started weight lifting. I never knew the positive effect it would have on my body and mind.

First, I want to point out all the benefits of strength training.

1. It helps raise your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have the more
calories you will burn at a resting state.
2. It strengthens the bones, which is particularly important for women.
3. Elevates your levels of endorphins to put you in a good mood and raises your energy levels
4. Prevents diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
5. Improves balance and coordination.
6. Boosts confidence and self- esteem

Now that we all know how helpful strength training is physically and mentally, here are the basics of strength training and how to get started.

There are four basic principles everyone should know about strength training.
1. OVERLOAD– More resistance than your muscles are used to is needed for you to gain strength and muscl mass. The more you do the more your body is capable to handle.
2. PROGRESSION– You must constantly increase your intensity to avoid a fitness plateau. You can do this by increasing the weight being used, changing the sets and reps that are being done, or changing the resting periods between exercises.
3. SPECIFITY- Decide what your goals are and train for them.
4. RECOVERY- It is vital to allow your muscles a recovery time so they can heal and grow.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends progressive overload. This is when you use weight that you are able to do 8-10 reps and by the 10th rep your muscles are exhausted. You should not be able to do another rep. When you are able to do more you should increase the weight. This principle creates the greatest gain for muscle strength.

GETTING STARTED!!
– One set of 8-12 repetitions of eight to ten exercises that condition the major muscle groups at least 2 days a week is the recommended minimum of the American College of Sports Medicine.
– If you are cleared by your physician than I feel like starting out three days a week is perfectly safe.
Compound exercises are multi joint exercises and are most effective for building all over muscle. Also, the more muscle engaged in the exercise, the more calories burned. These exercises should be the core of the workout routine.
– It is important to monitor your resting periods between sets.
Less than 6 reps 2-3 minute rest.
More than 6 reps 75 sec or less.
– Make sure you are not doing a routine for longer than 4 weeks. This prevents a plateau.

THREE DAYS A WEEK ROUTINE:
If you are doing a routine three days a week, than I would recommend doing a total body circuit.
Doing 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps of a combination of exercises that target the upper body and lower body.

FOUR DAYS A WEEK ROUTINE:
You can do an upper/ lower body split. This is where one day you focus on upper body and the next day focus on lower body. You can do more specified exercises if you are using this routine.

FIVE DAYS A WEEK:
If you have five days a week you can focus on certain body parts each day.
– Example: legs/abs
Chest
Back/ abs
Shoulder/ abs
Arms
This was recommended on bodybuilding.com I have attached the link for more information.
Five day workout split

I hope this post has enlightened you on the benefits of strength training and how to get started. If you still have questions than feel free to ask!!

ALL or NOTHING mindset is TOXIC!!

If any of you have ever tried to get serious about living a more healthy life you know that there are some major changes that usually have to take place to get you to where you want to be. This even goes for people who are relatively healthy to begin with. It can be a daunting task that sometimes feels so overwhelming that people quickly get intimidated and quit their new routine shortly after they started or don’t even start at all for fear of failure.

I believe that people should change their mindset about getting into shape and living a healthy life. The all or nothing motto needs to be thrown out the door. It is TOXIC. It sets everyone up for failure. I know because I have been there.

I believe that people need to focus on making one small change at a time. It is the only way you will not feel overwhelmed and be defeated by your good intentions. Feeling like you have to change ALL of your bad habits and add all new, good habits at once is ridiculous – yet most of us actually try to do this when pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

I like most girls and women, have struggled with body and weight issues. I have never been ‘fat’ but you do not have to be to feel bad about yourself. There was a time in my life when I was dealing with personal issues and it affected the way I treated my body as far as living a healthy life. I was in college so I drank more during this time and didn’t respect my body enough to put the right foods in my system. When I finally had enough with feeling depressed and gross I decided to make a change. Of course I tried to change EVERYTHING at once. To no surprise I failed.,, again and again and again. It was so frustrating because I have always been healthy and in shape and knew what to do to get back to that place, but my mental and emotional brain was not letting me. Failing so many times just made me feel worse about myself and my self- esteem plummeted. After struggling with this for about two years I read a book that totally changed my life and the way I thought about food. The book is called Feeding the Hungry Heart By: Geneen Roth. It sounds cheesy but it is a very powerful book.

I decided then that I had to quit letting this run my life. I needed to make small changes one at a time. As soon as I did this my life changed. I quit worrying about everything at once and focused on ONE change at a time and it worked! That was four years ago and up to this day I am still in the best shape of my life.

Change is not instant. It takes time. The hardest part about making small changes is having patience, but once you start making the small changes and you see you can actually succeed at them you will build your confidence. Confidence is the most important thing when trying to change any lifestyle for the better. You have to be confident enough in yourself to know that you deserve to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

You also have to know that you can’t feel defeated every time you make a mistake on your journey. So what if you eat four pieces of birthday cake and it wasn’t even your birthday! Tomorrow is a new day and you will do better. Focus on the good things you did for yourself that day. Always focus on the positive.
Once you start making small changes it will motivate you to make more changes. I promise.

I know this was a long post, but the subject is important to me because I feel like so many people fail because of the ALL OR NOTHING misconception and it drives me crazy!

I have attached an article below about the process of forming good habits and dropping the bad ones. It is a great article and I hope all of you will take away something positive from it!

Build a better you, one habit at a time.

YouTube Fitness Guru’s

Happy hump day everyone! I am really excited about this post because I will be sharing with you my absolute favorite YouTube fitness channels!

The past several months I have researched the YouTube fitness scene for at home workouts and advice. I am not opposed to going to the gym. I love going because of the social interaction and access to weights and machines you get. I have found that while being pregnant, working out at home has been what I feel more comfortable with. Exercises have been more intimidating since my body has changed so dramatically in such a short period of time. I have had to experiment with what techniques work best for me for new and old exercises.

Below are my top five favorite channels. I have posted a video from each. Let me know what you think of them! Enjoy!!

1. My go to girl would definitely have to be Amanda Russell. I love her workouts because they definitely fit my style of fitness. She is a runner and loves the interval training. Amanda posts a new video every week!
Channel: AmandaRussell

This is her metabolic meltdown and is one of my favorite workouts!

2. SarahsfabChannel is also a great place to go for quick, yet effective workouts. She is bubbly and outgoing with a realistic, strong body type that every girl would love to have.
Channel: SarahsFabChannel

I love this workout! I have found that it one of the most effective butt workouts, which is definitely a problem area for me.

3. Rebekah Borucki has a great YouTube channel that enlightens us on how to live a natural, healthy life with recipes and workouts that mostly use your own body strength. These workouts are intense and extremely effective. I love her positive attitude and spunky personality.
Channel: genghisgirl

This workout is for all you tabata fans! It concentrates on the abs. Perfect for bikini season!!

4. Diethealth.com is such a great channel because it offers a variety of exercises from Pilates to hardcore cardio intervals. The video’s are effective and informative, always explaining the right technique for each exercise.
Channel: Diethealth.com

This is a great workout for glutes and lower back: AKA LOVE HANDLES!!!

5. Susan Becraft is definitely the model spokesperson for a strong women. Her arms, abs and legs are rock hard. I love her workouts because they involve intense, strength training exercises in an interval style.
Channel:StrongLikeSusan

This workout is extremely intense and is going to be one of the first I do post baby!

I hope you guys enjoy these fitness guru’s. I feel like I have provided you with a variety of fitness styles so everyone can find a channel they can be devoted to! Let me know your favorite!

I like the way it makes me feel!

I came across an article today about people who not only stay motivated to workout, but actually crave it. This was very interesting to me because I feel as though I crave exercise. If I go more than a day without working out it puts me in a bad mood and I feel sluggish all day.

This article argues that people ‘crave’ exercise and stay motivated to keep up a routine in the long run because of the way it makes them feel and not the benefits. I agree with this completely. Of course I think that the positive effects of exercise motivate people to start exercising but let’s be honest, if they do not like doing it they won’t no matter how great the benefits are.

People who work out because of the way it makes them feel quit making excuses to not workout and actually find a way to workout even if it is inconvenient.

It is no secret that being pregnant is exhausting and can make you feel that you need a nap before lunch is served. I believe that this gives people the excuse to take a hiatus from there exercise routine because they feel that they can barely get out of bed much less voluntarily do extra physical activity. I realized early in my pregnancy that taking a break in my pregnancy would just make me feel worse physically and mentally. When I feel exhausted I actually feel more motivated to workout because I know it will give me the boost I need and put me in a good mood all day. The hardest part is taking that first step.

I have been able to keep up some sort of physical activity because of the way it makes me feel. Being pregnant has actually enhanced the good feelings that come with exercising and I have actually craved it more. Some days I still have to make myself exercise. I have been up all night because of heart burn and aches and pains I did not even know I could have; I am most certainly not ‘craving’ it but I have to remember how I will feel after. It is such a good feeling that it usually wins. Below is a link to the article and I have also added it to the health and fitness article page!

Sold on the feeling, if not the benefits to health

This is the workout I did today to satisfy my craving. 🙂

The ‘feel good’ burn cardio circuit ( do this circuit two times through with a 1-2 minute break in between)

5 sec spiderman push ups
15 sec rest
45 sec power squat jumps
15 sec rest
45 sec ski hops
15 sec rest
45 sec plank jacks
15 sec rest
45 sec donkey kicks left
15 sec rest
45 sec skater jumps
15 sec rest
45 sec donkey kicks right
15 sec rest
45 sec mountain climbers
15 sec rest
45 sec jumping jack squats

Lower Body Circuit 2 (Do each exercise three times through)

12 calf raise squat

12 chair lunge

12 jumping squat

15 plie

12 sumo squat with side arm raise

12 squat with kickback

12 inside roundhouse – each leg

12 outside roundhouse – each leg

Please leave comments about the exercises to let me know what you love and hate about them!!

No more ‘fitness funk’

I have to say that staying motivated while gaining 30+ lbs has not been the easiest thing. It makes it more difficult to get out of a ‘fitness funk’ because technically you have an ‘excuse’ to not feel like working out. I am making a human in my body is that not enough of a workout??! Unfortunately it is not. The days where you are in a funk turn into a week and then two. At this point you may feel like “what’s the point?”

I came across a great article today by Jenna Wolfe on this common issue. It was extremely motivating to me and I think that anyone who has ever felt this way will enjoy it. I have also posted it on the health and fitness article page!

In a fitness funk? How to make a comeback

After reading this article I felt fully motivated to get my workout on. today I did a video from Amanda Russell YouTube called Super Calorie Burn workout! This is the first time I have done this workout and I loved it. I did it three times through. It took about 20 minutes. After that I did my Upper Body Circuit 1 workout. I have posted both below and also added them to the cardio and strength training pages on this blog!

As for my H2O goal… I only drank 8 glasses today! 😦 It has been a little more difficult than I had anticipated because your actually have to make a conscious effort to drink that much water! I am determined to make this a habit and I will do better tomorrow!

Upper body Circuit 1 (Do each exercise three times through)

12 reps Overhead Extension

30 second forearm plank

12 reps of chair dips

12 push ups

12 dumbbell curls

12 lunge and curl

12 bent-over row

12 reverse bridge dips

 

Leg/ cardio circuit

So yesterday I was in a bit of a hurry and did not get to post my workout! below is the workout I did yesterday that I have created for myself. I have posted it on the strength training page because you can also do this without the cardio intervals for an extremely effective strength training workout.

You can change out he jumping jacks in this interval for any cardio workout you like. I love burpees because they are so effective but being 8 months pregnant has made that exercise I tad bit difficult!

Leg/ cardio circuit

12 squats with dumbbells

12 lunges with dumbbells (each leg)

45 sec jumping jacks

12 chair squats (each leg)

30 sec wall sit

45 sec jumping jacks

12 goblet squats

12 donkey kicks (each leg)

45 sec jumping jacks

12 jumping squats

12 hip bridge

45 sec jumping jacks

Do this interval 2-3 times.