Full disclosure: I am 100% an anti-gym and anti-diet type of gal. I think diets are just systematic ways to torture innocent women into feeling like shit for wanting to eat. And, I think a gym membership is generally just a way to feel better about yourself when we all know you’re only going to go like once (maybe?).
Even though I feel this strongly about diets and structured exercise, I’m still quite lean and relatively fit. I stand at 5’7” tall, my weight fluctuates between 120 and 125 pounds, and I have just enough muscle tone to feel good about my body during those weeks where I put on my “lady bloat”.
I’ve never been overweight, but I’ve been trying to get healthier and more into shape ever since I was about 18. Throughout high school I was 5-10 pounds heavier, I struggled with constipation and acne, and I had NO muscle tone.
In college, I avoided the dreaded “freshman 15” by purchasingLeslie Sansone’s Belly Blasting Walk (which can be purchased on Amazon for about $10, used). This DVD includes a fantastic 30-minute cardio workout and two floor sessions that keep your stomach and back toned. I still incorporate this video into my routine.
After doctors and friends alike recommended yoga to me, I finally caved and tried it. Now – I swear by it. Since starting regular yoga, I get so many fewer cramps in my legs and I’ve never looked better naked. To me, that’s enough reason to do yoga *wink, wink*.
I mean, I still can’t tolerate the “namaste” crap, but I stand by the practice! Burning your favorite candle and practicing yoga is a fantastic way to keep toned while helping you be less tense.
We all know that workout routines can get dull though. So, over the years, I have discovered a plethora of fantastic YouTube videos that are great for keeping my body toned all over.
My current weekly workout routine consists of:
- 30 minutes of yoga throughout the week
- 30-45 minutes of cardio
- One abs workout a week
- One arm workout a week
- At least one walk (1-2 miles, weather permitting)
Generally, I mix these up throughout my week when I have the time to commit AND I mix up what exercises I’m doing so I never get too used to it. This way, it’s always a touch challenging and never too boring.
Mixing workouts up seems to also help with maintaining energy levels and not getting too sore before you run out of motivation.
Here are some of the awesome videos I use to stay in shape (for FREE) on YouTube:
Bonus: Check out the end of this article for a little more information on eating healthier without dieting.
This one is currently my favorite yoga routine. It’s awesome for gently stretching every muscle out while helping you work on your balance all while gently toning your body.
This one is also great for stretching everything out while toning, but it really works your legs so be ready to be a bit sore at first. Personally, I separate this one from cardio day because it makes my legs too sore if I don’t.
This one gets a little harder as it progresses, but it does a lot of the yoga poses that are great for stretching out and trying to relax your body.
This is my absolute favorite cardio dance workout from the Fitness Marshal! (But he has all kinds of great songs to pick from if you look him up!) I love this song and find the moves easy and fun! I probably do this one 4-5 times a week for a burst of energy in the middle of the day.
This is my second favorite cardio dance workout from the Fitness Marshal. It’s also easy, but even more intense than “Cheap Thrills”, but we both know you’re “worth it” *wink, wink*.
NOTE: for more cardio workouts check out these other dance workouts you can find on YouTube.
This one is fantastic because you only need one set of weights. Plus, it seems to work your arms all over AND your shoulders and upper back. Oh, la la *wink, wink*.
Note: you can use things in your house as weights (like cans of food – that’s how I started) if you don’t have a set of your own.
I like to rotate between the first one and this one to work my arms so it’s always a challenge. For this one you’ll need a set of weights (I use 5’s) and one 10-pound weight. This one also works your whole arm and your shoulders, which is why I love it.
Note: before I had my own weights (they were a Christmas gift), I used cans of food for the 3-5 pounds weights she recommends and an old juice jug I filled full of water as a 10-pound weight. It’s preferable when you’re starting out because it’s not as heavy.
This one is fantastic because it works those lower abs. I mean, let’s be honest, that’s generally the problem area for like – almost everyone. It is exhausting and makes you very sore, but it’s less than 8 minutes – you can do it!
Disclaimer: this one is HARD. I usually just end up doing the ab session on my Leslie Sansone DVD. BUT when done regularly, I’ve gotten some intense abs with this workout. I tend to prefer the flatter look myself, but if thick, sexy ab muscles are what you’re looking for – this is the ab workout to commit to!
For me, a more successful way to stay in shape is to try to incorporate more healthy foods into your diet until you no longer crave so much crap. But, never deny yourself your favorite foods completely (that’s just torture, in my opinion).
It takes years and it’s discouraging to start eating better, but I think it’s the only way to truly be happy. Eat better, not perfect. Be realistic. I don’t know about you, but I can’t quit sugar and pasta. I’d rather be a little heavier than to stop eating my carbs.
In my opinion, the goal can’t be just to lose weight. It needs to be about being healthier and feeling better (but still remembering what chocolate tastes like). Let’s get real ladies, it’s fucked up that being thin is generally the goal with most “diets”.
Your diet should focus on keeping you healthy, not thin. Which is why I’m 100% anti-fad diets. I believe that food is fuel and key to maintaining a healthy weight. But stressing yourself out and denying yourself the foods you love generally just leads to binging and feeling like shit about yourself. So, fuck that.
For me, eating better is more about cutting back on bad foods instead of eliminating them and adding more good foods. For example, I used to drink a 16-ounce latte AND a can of Pepsi, every day. Now, I basically only drink coffee and water.
And, over the years, I have incorporated more and more healthy foods into my diet. I still eat all my favorite foods, just healthier alternatives. Like, quesadillas with whole grain tortillas, chicken instead of beef, a lower fat cheese, and I sneak in a layer of spinach.
You’d be surprised at how much easier it is to maintain your weight (or lose a pound or two) by just making a couple of healthier choices. Like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain noodles instead of the “white” alternatives. Making sure to buy a container of spinach every weak and be sneaking it into your meals. Eating more fruit. I mean, fruit is delicious, what’s your excuse?
For me, vegetables are still hard. But, I refuse to beat myself up about it. The 2-3 salads and 2-3 green smoothies I consume a week is better than the ZERO vegetables I used to it.
Now, if only I could cut back further on my “candy problem”.