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#LookForLove Challenge | Weeks 5 & 6

Happy Monday! Can y’all believe we’re already THIRTEEN DAYS into February?! I cannot, but I’m not complaining because I’m just a few days from a three-day weekend and I’m so looking forward to it! Well, the Tone It Up #LookForLove Challenge has come to a close and I’m recapping the last two weeks.

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#LookForLove Challenge Update

If you’re unfamiliar with the #LookForLove Challenge, it’s a six-week fitness challenge designed by Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up. Every few months, they put together awesome challenges to get people excited about getting fit. I love their energy and positivity so I always jump in feet first.

All in all, I lost about four pounds doing the challenge since January 1. That’s not a whole lot, but it’s a lot more than nothing. 🙂 I practiced balance and mindfulness with my food and had great success. I’ve been watching my macronutrients lately and have felt better and more satisfied since starting that. I’ll continue to watch my macronutrients and loosely track my calories moving forward. That’s not to say I didn’t have a few slip-ups or cheats in the last six weeks — I just chose not to dwell on them. For me, that is as much a win as losing weight.

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As I mentioned in my last update, I strayed a little bit from the suggested schedule. I signed up for a 10K that I’ll be completing in March, so I had to expedite race training. 🙂 I haven’t ran in a race since 2014, so I also haven’t trained for a race since 2014. When I think back to my half-marathon training almost three years ago, I’m not met with pleasant memories. This training experience (even though it’s just a 10K) has been so much different — so much better. What’s changed? Well, a lot has. So much that it’s probably a completely separate post. BUT, I’m so grateful for a better and more pleasant training experience.

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On the strength front, I’ve been focusing on total body workouts twice a week, with a restorative stretch-and-strength workout each Sunday. This is working right now and I’ll probably stick with this type of schedule until at least the end of March. At that point I might scale back on running until time to start training for Wine & Dine. I love total body workouts, but I also don’t really know how to incorporate a balanced training split without spending hours and hours working out right now. Time is not on my side lately, so I’m just trying to practice prioritizing. 🙂 (Totally open to suggestions, by the way!)

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Your turn: Did you complete any New Year’s fitness challenges? How did they go? How will you be adjusting your fitness schedule moving forward?

To read my recap on weeks one and two, click here.

To read my recap on weeks three and four, click here.

To follow me on Instagram, click here.

#LookForLove Challenge | Weeks 3 & 4

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

Hey, girl, hey! And happy Monday! What an oxymoron, right?! It’s so hard to believe we are already at the end of January! I feel like I just got back into my classroom and this semester is already flying by. For all my teacher friends in a tested grade, you know that’s both a good and bad thing! 😉 Anyway, I’ve got a TIU Challenge update for you, so maybe that will help glaze over some of the Monday blues.

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Tone It Up Challenge

This challenge is already 2/3 complete! With only two weeks left, it, like January has felt like it’s flown by. In the last two weeks, I’ve made some tweaks to the suggested training schedule, which I’ll address. But let’s get to the recap, Instagram round-up/life lately style!

A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded Jillian Michaels’ new app because I’d been hearing her talk all about it on her podcast! I went through the steps of being matched with an appropriate program and it put me with her Advanced Bikini Body program. I got in a great 30-minute total body workout!

 

 

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The next day, I took the first steps in meeting some of my 2017 goals by registering for the 2017 runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon! When I started looking into long distance running for myself, a runDisney experience was at the top of my list (duh). I also had an old blog friend who wrote about her Wine & Dine half years ago and ever since then I’ve wanted to do that race in particular. Since it’s held during the annual food and wine festival, I knew this race would be one of the easiest to convince my husband to tag along to! When he said, “yes,” I had my credit card in hand and hit refresh as soon as the registration opened. I am so excited to start training and planning a Disney trip!

 

 

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Since I signed up for the race, I started looking into submitting my proof of time. I need to run in at least a 10K by August, and the only one in my area is in March! I signed up and pretty much jumped right into an expedited version of 10K training. I decided to do a Couch to 10K/Hal Higdon hybrid. Because of this, I haven’t been able to follow the Tone It Up weekly schedule exactly as its prescribed. I always feel a little bit of guilt, like I’m not really “doing the challenge” if I stray off on my own. That’s so silly and something I’m overcoming. Part of practicing balance is doing what’s right for ME and MY BODY. Right now — and probably until the 10K has wrapped — that means three runs a week with two days of total body strength and one day of stretch and strength (yoga/pilates/PiYo). I’m still adding in Tone It Up workouts, and I’m loving this one for sure.

 

 

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Nutritionally, I’ve been doing SO much better, even than the first two weeks of the challenge. This past week I started tracking my food, as well as my macros, and I’m down three pounds! Hahaha, that’s a sure sign that I needed to get that part in check. 😉

Anyway, I’m still loving this challenge and looking forward to the final two weeks. More than anything, the Tone It Up community is so inspiring and that’s part of what keeps me going. Click here to see for yourself!

 

 

A photo posted by Jessica (@teacherfit.jess) on

If you enjoyed this post, check out Best Workout DVDs When You’re Pressed for Time or How to Wake Up Early to Workout!

 

To read my recap of weeks 1 and 2, click here!

Follow along on Instagram by clicking here!

#LookForLove Challenge | Weeks 1 & 2

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I’m going to chronicle my journey through the six-week #LookForLove Tone It Up Challenge! I’ve been on the #TIUTeam for almost three years now. I have done a number of different programs in the last three years — many of which I loved — but I always find myself turning back to Karena and Katrina for their positivity and confidence. And I also feel like we would be BFF if we knew each other in real life.

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Tone It Up Challenge

I have really enjoyed the first couple weeks of this challenge! As long as I’ve been following Tone It Up, I’ve never really followed the weekly schedule they write. I would use their workouts, but pick based on whatever I felt like I might want to do that week. So far, I’m enjoying the way they’re making the schedules. Every since they added the Daily Moves feature, the workouts are much more prescriptive.

Tone It Up Challenge

Follow my #LookForLove Challenge journey on Instagram!

The first couple of weeks have been so much fun! I’m loving all the new workouts and collaboration with Jillian Michaels fulfills so many of my fangirl dreams! Right before starting this challenge, I finished Jillian’s BodyShred program and a lot of the TIUxJM workouts are very similar to it. I love them!

Tone It Up Challenge

My nutrition the first week was completely lackluster. My Christmas vacation didn’t end until last Monday, and I took full advantage of vacation mode! I didn’t meal prep anything and I snacked a lot. Honestly, I kind of enjoyed it, but I’m paying for it now. This past week was much better on the clean eating track, though I did have a few slip ups. I need a chocolate detox, haha.

I can feel the changes and the effects of the workouts on my body, but I’m not seeing a lot of measurable changes yet. In fact, I’m actually up a couple of pounds since starting the challenge. That’s probably due to my wild Christmas vacation. 🙂 But I’m not going to stress over two or three pounds because those pounds represent fun, rest, and loving my body enough to loosen the reigns for a short time. I’m looking forward to getting back into my #mealprepsunday habits and staying on track for the remainder of the challenge. Four weeks to go!

Anyway… I’m off to get my hair cut and enjoy this last day of my three-day weekend! If you have the day off, what are you up to today? Are you participating in any January fitness challenges?

Last Week’s Workouts

It’s Monday and that means I’m back for another recap of my workouts from the previous week! Today begins a few days of state testing for my students and many, many others across Texas. I’ll be getting in four hours of “active monitoring” while my kiddos strut their stuff and show what they know. We’ve been working up to this since August and I’m proud of them already just for trying their best.

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Last Week's Workouts

To take my mind off some of the *stress* and *pressure* of standardized testing, let’s talk about something a little bit more fun — like the workouts I completed last week. 😉 This was Week 2 of the Tone It Up Bikini Series, so how did I fare? Let’s see.

Sunday, 4/30/17:

I love doing yoga on Sundays, so I used the Tone It Up Beach Babe 4 videos to create my own workout. I completed a cardio flow followed by a flow using the kettlebell. It was the perfect balance of stretch, strength, and elevated heart rate.

Last Week's Workouts
Monday, 5/1/17:

I started off the month of May with some serious HIIT! I did Beach Babe 5’s HIIT the Beach (the same one from last week!) and the Tone It Up 5 Daily Moves. Today, those consisted of 3 rounds of 15 reps of bridges, curtsy lunges, stationary lunges, kettlebell swings, and kettlebell squat-to-press. My booty was feeling it for days.

#100bySummer tracker by @amylynnntiu on Instagram

Tuesday, 5/2/17:

For this week’s Tone It Up Tuesday, Karena and Katrina uploaded a new workout to YouTube called Totally Toned. It was a total body routine and you already know I love total body workouts! I followed that quick workout with 2 miles on the treadmill. When I was closing up the treadmill for storage something went flying and I thought for sure I had broken it. However, my awesome husband fixed it for me, so we’re back in business. 🙂

Wednesday, 5/3/17:

I tested out another new workout from the Beach Babe 5 series, Tight & Toned Core. It was a nice, equipment free break, but still buuuurned like crazy. I also did HIIT Me Up from the Beach Babe 4 series for another 1.5 miles of cardio toward my 100 mile goal!

Thursday, 5/4/17:

On Thursday, I slept in (until 5:15!) and fit in an afternoon workout. I took Pippa out for a run and thankfully, she did much better than she did last time. 🙂 When we got home, I did the Tone It Up Daily Moves, which were upper body focused. I completed 3 rounds of 15 reps of curl-to-press, upright rows, plank tricep kickbacks (these are hard!), bridge chest flys, and cross body hammer curls.


Friday, 5/5/17:

Friday, I tried out yet another Beach Babe 5 workout — Bootylicious🍑. (Yes, sometimes I feel ridiculous writing/typing/speaking their workout titles.) Additionally, I did the K+K HIIT workout from Karena and Katrina’s Look for Love/Body Love series. If you can’t tell — I love quick HIITs of mixed strength and cardio work.

Saturday, 5/6/17:

Our nephew’s 1st birthday party was this weekend, so my Saturday workout was cut a little short so we could get out the door! I did a 30-minute Beach Babe 5 workout, 30 Rep Challenge. Think 30 reps of every exercise using a variety of weights. I can totally see how this workout can be used to build strength because you can use whatever weight you want to get those reps in! Except for push-ups. I am awful at push-ups and I definitely didn’t get in 30 reps.

This week, I’m looking forward to Week 3 of the Bikini Series with some extra walking, thanks to active monitoring. I always get my steps in early on those days! Are you filling your schedule with any new workouts this week?

Things to Ask Yourself Before Cancelling Your Gym Membership

Have you thought about cancelling your gym membership? Home gyms seem to be THE THING right now. I, personally, workout at home (or run around my neighborhood) 100 percent these days. This was a decision my husband and I came to together to initially try and save money. Then we found out we were moving and with new commutes and significantly less free time, it’s the best option for me in this stage of life.

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Things to Ask Before Cancelling Your Gym Membership

This wasn’t a decision I took lightly. In fact I fretted over it quite a bit. This was because, a few years ago, I would NOT have been able to make it work. But I promise I tried! I bought P90X and Insanity and I was READY. But I hadn’t made the mindset shift at that point and most days, sitting on my couch was much more appealing than working out in front of it. For that reason, I got back into the gym because group classes and unlimited cardio machines were my greatest motivation. However, life is full of ebbs and flows, and as the years passed, I flowed into a different state of mind and decided to give it another go. It didn’t hurt that my in-laws had recently handed down their unused treadmill either. Do you have workout equipment collecting dust?! I’ll be glad to take it off your hands. 😉

Because driving to the gym in the dark for my early morning workout was basically second nature, I really had to take a step back and explore whether quitting the gym would be the right choice for me. I asked myself a series of questions, and there were some biggies that really helped sway my decision. I suggest asking yourself the same questions if you’re on the fence about making the switch to home workouts.

1 // Will this motivate me?

This was the biggest decider for me! I had been accustomed to trekking it to the gym each day for such a long time. When I was attending group classes regularly, it was the highlight of my day. However, after moving to start my teaching career, group classes were no longer an option. When I found myself craving the dark and quiet of my living room at 5 a.m. as opposed to a crowded a weight room, I thought it might be time for a change. I decided, yes, this DOES motivate me! I look forward to my workouts each day and love being able to walk into the next room and immediately pour myself a cup of coffee. Being fit and healthy is at the top of my priority list, regardless of if I’m working out in the living room or in a gym.

2 // Does this align with my goals?

Obviously, I don’t believe you have to have a fully equipped gym to have a great workout or get super fit. I mean, hellurrr… Melissa trained for a bikini competition completely from home using 20 lb. dumbbells! But for some people, that may be a necessity. Ask yourself if you’ll still be able to reach your goals without four different cardio machines and a squat rack at your immediate disposal. Additionally, if you’ve recently signed up for a distance race, you will soon be spending less time in the gym anyway.

Working out at home is a lot more fun when you’re accountability partner is this cute.

3 // Do I have the right resources?

This question goes hand in hand with #2. For many people, they want specific equipment to reach specific goals. Depending on your budget, you could go all out and build an entire gym in your garage with a squat rack, olympic bars, etc. For the person who just wants to maintain fitness and be healthy for life, home gyms can be great options. I have a hand-me-down treadmill*, a few sets of dumbbells and kettlebells, and a few resistance bands. For the most part, I do the exact same workouts I did when I worked out in a gym. I’m still in great shape and I break a sweat every morning and I don’t even have to brush my teeth (although I do, I promise!).

*My husband mentioned that it would be worth asking if the significant other in your life would be willing to move your treadmill for you. 🙂 As you can imagine, moving a treadmill can be QUITE the undertaking.

I’m linking up for Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annemarie, and Jen!

Have you considered cancelling your gym membership? What was the deciding factor (or distractor) for you?