Settle in, this is going to be a long one. I’ve got a lot to say about my recent fitness-enlightenment.
This amazing thing happened two days ago while I was purusing some health and fitness blogs, like I tend to do when I’m procrastinating my finance homework. I found my new fitness goal. I have been aimlessly searching for a new source of motivation for the past month when my marathon training came to a (successful) end. Some days I would run laps around the field outside my apartment. Other times I would complete a few rounds of strength circuits. Weekends are full of hiking and biking. But there was no PURPOSE. I had no specific goal to reach for, and that really affected my overall mood and fitness.
One fateful link led me to Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Program from Bodybuilding.com. (The 15-minute introductory video had me instantly hooked. Which I subsequently sent to my mom, who was instantly hooked. Which I’ve now shared with you. Prepare to be hooked.) Jamie Eason is gorgeous, her body is incredible (I will sacrifice peanut butter for those abs), and her attitude was completely inspirational.
What had me sold: it’s not just workouts. The “3×3” philosophy includes Workouts, Nutrition Plan, and Supplementation Plan. My intial introduction sent me into hours and hours of research on supplementation, meal prepping, clean eating, clean recipes, weight training and muscle recovery. THIS IS THE STUFF I LOVE. Learning about metabolic functions/nutritional science/macros is pure fun for me. A lot of this information was not new to me, however I’ve never experimented with supplementation, meal prep or complete 100% clean eating.
As per the program’s requirements: cutting out processed foods, NOW. I am giving up my beloved Luna Bars, Clif Bars, and even the emergency Nature Valley Bars. (And replacing them with Quest Bars! Much more expensive but a much cleaner alternative.) I’ve decided to replace my powdered coffee creamer with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Jamie made it very clear that her abs are made in the kitchen. You could have abs of steel, but if they are hidden underneath a layer of “cushion” then no amount of russian-twists are going to expose them. Plus, the chemical and preservative content of most processed foods leads to bloating and retained water (mainly due to high sodium content). So I solemnly swear that by committing to the program, I will follow a clean-eating lifestyle. All natural, whole, unprocessed foods. Fortunately there are SO many great natural foods.
I’m also exceptionally excited to try out clean-eating and protein-packed recipes from bodybuilding.com like the sweet potato protein pizza crust, which I found on Pinterest. *Naturally I’ve followed Jamie on Pinterest and Facebook. We’re basically friends now ;)
Jamie does not support cardio in Phase 1 of the training. She believes we are solely focusing on building muscle and supporting our physique through weight training and diet. She also admits that she HATES cardio and can’t stand running. Guess what? I LOVE CARDIO. RUNNING IS MY FAVORITE THING TO DO. I do it for fun. I need to run. I am grumpy and unpleasant if I don’t. Running makes me feel confident and fit, and the endorphins are my drug.
Needless to say I will continue my cardio exercise because I believe that it is an important part of my life and I can sustain enough energy to follow both the weight training program and cardio.
Now that I’m typing this out, I realized I am going to break it up into multiple posts. Next I will cover my thoughts and experience with supplementation, meal prepping, workout routines, clean recipes, and other goodies like carbs, alcohol, & cheat meals. (<—- including that list just made me accountable for keeping up the blog posts!) I’ll also share my progress and thoughts on the program :)
Fitness, for me, is a way of becoming confident and happy. I love the feeling of accomplishing something. Exercise gives me the opportunity to feel this every day.
Oh and I should note that I am in no way trying to become a “body builder.” My goal with this is to achieve a completely clean diet, commitment to build muscle, and see how my body transforms in 12 weeks. I will never be perfect, I know. I’m just trying to be the BEST I can be. I want something to give all of my energy to and see the pay off.
Keith Urban put it perfectly. And I have no shame (see what I did there? Listen to the song & you will..) that I played this song exactly eleven times during my run last night. You should turn the volume up way too high for this one:
Working out is instantly more enjoyable with the addition of a.) an iPod, b.) a friend, or c.) a team of hot Australian guys to watch from the treadmill. My iPod hasn’t been charged in two weeks and the Australians are probably in Australia, but LUCKILY I had my friend Kerri to workout with last week! We love doing extra strength routines in the gym before or after our cross country practice. She created her own circuit workout for us to complete, and played “personal trainer” for our last gym session. Some of the exercises were even new to me – score!
Let’s dive right into the workout! We started with a super set of the following:
- 4-Step Squats (see picture below) 15 each leg
- 4 Mountain Climbers; 4 Burpees; 4 Mountain Climbers; 4 Burpees (Holy Heart Rate!)
- Jump Up! Touch your right toes. Jump Up! Touch your left Toes. Repeat 15 times on each leg
- Monkey Push-Ups (see picture below) set of 10
REPEAT THE ABOVE CIRCUIT 3 TIMES BEFORE MOVING ON.
The squats are essentially just bringing one leg straight up into a knee raise in between each squat.
The Monkey Push-ups. WARNING: You will look silly/ridiculous/quirky. Your butt is in the air, heels off the floor, and you continue to do a push-up, lowering your body until just before your head touches the floor. This works more tricep than chest.
Next we ditched the Circuit Format to do straight sets of some new and funky exercises:
Time for some Tricep Situps…these things take some serious core stabilizing. I’d never done them before, and the first time with a new exercise is always challenging. I guarantee you will feel the effects the next day ;)
Instead of regular sit-ups on a swiss ball, add a 5-8lb weight, and extend it over your head when rolling back. Use your whole core to bring the weight and your body back to seated position. Complete 20 reps.
These next ones are not new. They are the shake-inducing, body-aching Leg Raises! I’m used to the style where you plant your elbows into the arm pads by your rib cage and I have to say that hanging is definitely harder. Start with Knee Crunches, graduate to Leg Extentions or alternature between the 2. Complete 3 sets of 10! *Make sure you’re not swinging your legs; no momentum!
The rest of the exercises really don’t need picture demonstrations:
- Body Weight Tricep Dips
- Leg Raises (Lying Down)
- Toe Touches (Lying Down)
- Shoulder Press and Bicep Curls with Weights
The next day, I was S.O.R.E. That’s the great thing about new/different exercises – your muscles haven’t adapted to the movement over time, and are being utilized more than during your daily crunches. After repeating the same exercise many times, your body becomes more efficient. You don’t need to work as hard, you burn less calories, and you may not feel the next-day soreness anymore. That’s why it’s always good to mix things up. Thanks for the killer workout, Kerri!
Friends who get fit together, stay together!
( ….Cheeeeeeesy. :D )
Sometimes in a race, you hit a wall; sometimes on a diet, you want to punch a wall; sometimes, in a workout you can use a wall.
The WALL Workout:
Basically, there is no excuse to not to be able to do this workout unless you live in a tent. There are 5 exercises, targeting the core, butt, quads, and chest.
1. Wall Push-ups – takes all the impact away from your knees. The further your feet are from the wall, the more challenging! But keep your body in a flat, straight line from your head to your toes! (Set of 20)
If you’re really up for a challenge, try the modifed one-arm push-up:
2. Wall Hip Hikes – this one looks a little funny. But it really works your obliques! Lean the side of your body against the wall; now move your feet about 3′ away from the wall, but keeping your hip bone against the wall. Engage your obliques and bring your hips into alignment with your body, touch back to the wall and repeat. It should look something like this:
Repeat on other side. (Set of 20 on each side)
3. Wall Sits – you all know these. The shake-inducing pose that leaves you burning ;) Make sure your feet, knees and hips make a 90 degree angle with your back flat against the wall sitting tall. No cheating! Hold for 1 minute.
4. Wall Hip Bridge – time to work the booty. Lie down with your back on the floor, facing the wall. Put your (clean) feet flat against the wall, then lift your butt and hips as high off the ground as you can. Hold it and squeeze for 1 minute!
5. Toe Touches – Abs engage! Without bending your knees, place your legs straight up in the air, bringing the back of your legs and your butt to the wall. Alternating hands, reach up and try to touch your opposite hand to foot. (Set of 20 with each hand)
Make it a circuit and complete 3-5 rounds, depending on your desired difficulty level. It’s up to you how challenging this workout can be!