There are as many exercise programs out there as personalities in the world. Find what feels good for you and mix it up so you don’t get bored and you don’t plateau. Again, it’s all about intention. Don’t force yourself to go to the gym because the bitchy little voice in your head says: “if you don’t, you will get fat!” Go to kickboxing, take a hike, or go for a swim because you want to relieve stress, detoxify through sweat, or get an endorphin rush. It could be as simple as taking a walk outside because being in nature feels good. When you shift your intention from fear to wanting to feel good, you will tap into a whole new level of energy and strength.
My workout habits have shifted drastically in the past year. People often ask me what my workout routine is and many don’t believe me when I tell them I workout less than ever before. A LOT of it has to do with self-love and switching my intention. I agree that when you want to lose weight fast, it might serve you to bump up the intensity and frequency of the workouts. But trust me when I tell you that eventually you will be able to get to a point where you can workout 2-3 days a week and effortlessly stay in great shape.
I listen to my body. Some days I have a ton of energy or a lot on my mind and I want a super intense workout for 30-45 minutes. Other days I am so depleted from stress or a bad night’s sleep, I can’t imagine donning a sports bra. On days like that, I used to beat myself up and force myself to go for a 5 mile run despite my body screaming for rest. Nowadays, I let my body tell me what is best for me on any given day.
Sleep is essential to staying healthy and fit. The more stress in your life the more sleep you need to recharge your system. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body over-produces the stress hormone cortisol, which might end up being stored as belly fat. Lack of sleep also affects your insulin sensitivity. After a couple of sleepless nights, you become more resistant to insulin and end up storing fat in all the wrong places. Also, your body repairs and recovers when you are sleeping. If you don’t allow your body this much needed time of reset and recovery, you are more likely to develop chronic inflammation. As I said before, chronic inflammation is at the root of all major disease like cancer, Alzheimers, and diabetes. And perhaps most obviously, when I am tired, I find myself reaching for sugary foods that will temporarily boost my energy and mood, only to send me spiraling back down 20 minutes later. When you get enough rest, you have the mental capacity to make healthier, empowered choices.
I use to run 25-30 miles a week, and do yoga or a spin class on my days off. Because my intention was FEAR-based and my body didn’t have ample time to recover, my adrenals were shot, my body was always tense, and my thighs were bigger! Now that I know how important sleep is, I find that some days it is more beneficial for me to take a 45-minute nap then force 45 minutes on the treadmill. I choose to listen to my body instead of that bitchy little voice inside my head…who, by the way, rarely speaks up anymore.
Because I’ve done a lot of the emotional healing that comes through self-love, I actually work out less and I’m thinner than ever before. I listen to and honor my body. I went from working out 6 days a week to 3. When I’ve been sleeping well and time permits, I do intense interval training on the treadmill for 25 minutes, power yoga, or simple body resistance exercises like pushups, squats, and sit-ups. My interval training consists of running at 7.5 – 9mph for 45 seconds of every minute, and then hopping onto the side rails for 15 seconds of recovery, while treadmill keeps going. Hop on, hop off. After every mile you can walk for 1 minute at 3.2mph. I love this workout because it is short and sweet, and does the trick.
During the summer, when my hometown changes, so does my workout. I go to Soul Cycle 2-3 times a week for the great music and the great sweat. Its two minutes away from my summer home and I love it. (Convenience and fun are great indicators of which workouts you should choose.) If I am slammed and not sleeping well, I give myself a break and rest. I might sit in an infrared sauna and sweat out the toxins while listening to a guided meditation and zoning out. If I’ve been going crazy on the martinis and French fries, I might call in the big guns (trainers Fred Khorshidi or Ashley Borden) to kick my ass. It’s the price I pay for gluttony. Give yourself a break, find the balance, and let go of the guilt attached to “cheating” or chilling.
Oh, and for that pesky problem of cellulite that we women have to battle as we get older? I found a two-part solution that works for me. Detox and roll out. As I said before, the cleaner your system, the less your body needs to hold onto fat. Eat clean and sweat it out. And purchase a Rumble Roller (or foam roller) off Amazon.com. Rolling out has many benefits, including releasing water retention in the butt, hips, and thighs. It also activates dormant muscles, which allows you to workout more efficiently. This, in turn, allows your body to transform into a more desirable shape. Rolling out also releases the myofascial tissue, improving blood and lymph circulation, releasing tightness, and increasing flexibility. Men, this is key for improving the quality of your workouts, giving you the ability to increase strength and avoid common conditions like back pain as you get older. It hurts so good and it’s a must do!
Woo! That was a lot to cover over 6 days. I know it’s a lot of information to take in. Sometimes it only takes one subtle little shift in your way of thinking to change your life. We are all unique, and all have different obstacles to overcome in order to achieve our highest potential. If nothing else, I remind you to do your best and be kind to yourself. Thank you for reading. See you at the beach.