Day One.

Is there anyone out there still?

As I type the sun has set on the first day of 2015. Many of you may have resolved to live a healthier/fitter life, starting January 1st. This morning you woke up feeling determined to succeed and with that determination you had a stellar first day of 2015. As the day draws to a close, you’re feeling good about yourself and ready to do it all again tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, remember this, each day we need to renew our commitment to ourself to make the best choices presented to us in that moment. Wake up January 2nd, with the same determination you had when you awoke this morning. Repeat this 363 more times. Overwhelming? Likely. Can it be done? Absolutely. Will you stumble? YES.

When we start off down the path to improving our health & fitness we often have a strong start and then we lose steam along the way. People often ask me how I stay motivated after so many years, I don’t really know to be honest, but what I do know is that we must simply take this journey one day at a time and slowly those days start to stack up, building a strong foundation as we progress. Will the foundation have a few cracks, sure, but it will not tumble the entire structure. These first few days of the new year you’ll lay some solid “bricks” to your foundation, as the weeks pass, some of the “bricks” might be a little crooked but they are still there, helping you build your ultimate dream house. Don’t let one crooked brick crack your foundation. Every day is a fresh page, a new layer in your dream house. Write your story, create your dream house.

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Stay with me over the next year as we explore all things health, fitness, wellness, food and more. Slowly things will shift over to the new domain CourtneyLeeFitness.com but the archives will always be here. I’ll be documenting my progress over the next 365 days as well as I build my “dream house”. Join me?

 

Sexy Summer Arms Workout

Working on my arms has to be one of my favorite things. Love how quickly you see changes! One thing I have learned lately is you don’t need to lift super super heavy to build and/or retain your muscle. Just remember there is always more than one way to achieve results – do what works for YOUR body!! Friday mornings are made for headphones with great tunes and lots of lifting. I got into a groove the other day and it turned out awesome! See below for what my sets looked like.

SEXY SUMMER ARMS WORKOUT

Be sure to include a dynamic workout of 5-10 minutes before you begin your lifting session. Complete this routine 2-3 times, if proper form allows, completing 12-15 reps of each exercise. If your form is beginning to suffer be sure to decrease weight or simply stop at 2 sets.

  • Regular Fly
  • Front Raise
  • Side Raise
  • Bicep Curl
  • Tricep Dips
  • Bent Over Row w/ Barbel or 2 dubmbells
  • Overhead Press
  • “The Princess Wave”: with arms in the starting position of the overhead press keep one arm bent at 90 while holding the dumbell. Slowly rotate the other arm down maintaining the bend in the elbow, slowly rotate back up to starting position.

Once I finished my sets I topped off the workout with some BOSU push-ups and some BOSU Jackknife crunches.

Finding Fitness Outside

Don’t get me wrong, I love the gym, but sometimes life has different plans for our days that don’t include a trip to the gym. So how do we fit in a workout at home or while traveling? For my workouts I have a few things I like to keep at home or pack while traveling. Some tension bands, a couple kettlebells (medium & heavy weight), a skipping rope and good suspension trainer like the TRX are some of my favorite items for a great non-gym workout!

busy mom workout

So the kids want to go to the park? Perfect. GO WITH THEM. Let them ride their bikes and jog along side them (your warm-up), once you get to the park scout a location like some monkey bars or a soccer goal post to hang that TRX. Kids playgrounds offer all kinds of great opportunities for fitness! Instead of sitting on the benches use them for box jumps, Bulgarian split squats, step-ups, mountain climbers, or push-ups. Need a little cardio? How about a game of tag on the playground? It keeps you in the moment and enjoying time with the kids all while running, ducking, and climbing across the playground. There’s a reason kids pass out when they get home from the park – playing is hard work!

Here’s an idea of what your workout could look like WITHOUT Equipment…

  1. Warm-up: Walking or biking to the park or up and down the block while the kids ride their bikes
  2. Body Weight Strength: Find a bench and do 3 sets of 15 (1. Step-ups/box jumps 2. Push-ups 3. Bulgarian split squats (L&R))
  3. Cardio: Go play tag for 5-10 minutes
  4. Body Weight Strength: 3 sets of 15 (1. Squats 2. Plank 3. Static Lunges (L&R))
  5. Cardio: Head back to the playground, play something like red rover or some kind of racing game. Bonus points if there is a hill involved.
  6. Body Weight Strength: Back to the bench and do 3 sets of 15 (1. Tricep Dips 2. Mountain Climbers 3. Side Lunges (L&R))
  7. Cardio: Kids choice, play tag, work on the monkey bars etc.
  8. Cool-Down: walk or jog home. Be sure to stretch when you’re done.

Here’s an idea of what your workout could look like WITH Equipment…

  1. Warm-up: Walking or biking to the park or up and down the block while the kids ride their bikes. Toss your TRX
    in a backpack.
  2. Find a secure place to mount the TRX like a soccer post or monkey bars
  3. TRX: 3 sets of 12-15 (1. Push-ups 2. Tricep Dips 3. Chest Fly)
  4. Cardio: Go play tag for 5-10 minutes
  5. TRX: 3 sets of 12-15 (1. Squats 2. Sprinter Starts 3. Full Body Extensions)
  6. Cardio: Head back to the playground, play something like red rover or some kind of racing game. Bonus points if there is a hill involved.
  7. TRX: 3 Sets of 12-15 (1. Plank Rollouts 2. Lunges (L&R) 3. Hamstring Curls
  8. Cardio: Kids choice, play tag, work on the monkey bars etc.
  9. Cool-Down: walk or jog home. Be sure to stretch when you’re done.

Best Workouts of 2013: Cardio Edition

It truly is hard to believe that last year around this time I was getting ready to celebrate my 1 year fitaversary. This really has been a year of amazing change for me and I’m so lucky to have a great support system in each and every one of you who continue to come here and read these words. When I look back over this past year there are  few workout styles that stick out a favorites for me…

Of course indoor cycling makes my list of must-do cardio!

Of course indoor cycling makes my list of must-do cardio!

Prior to having kids and gaining over 100+lbs I used to be a cardio queen – this included lots of step classes (yes step!) and lots of cycling. For a while we (cycling & I) weren’t right for eachother – even though we probally should have been – so I stopped for a while. It wasn’t until this past spring that I really fell back in love with it after taking my first SOUL CYCLE class and needed to find a way to keep a little SOUL in my rides back home. It’s been a hot romance with my bike ever since. You can find me teaching or riding in a class at least 3-4 times per week. One of the things I love most about indoor cycling is that it’s a great workout for any fitness level – you’re in control of that fly wheel and can make it as easy or tough as you need to! One thing I will say – even as an instructor – I find it difficiult to stay motivated and really ride to the max when on the cardio floor – give a class a try – the energy will keep you going and keep you pushing outside that comfort zone!

Ah, the Ladder!

Ah, the Ladder!

If you’re a fan of the Biggest Loser you may have noticed this piece of equiptment in their gym. If you’re looking for a full body cardio style workout than this is where you want to spend some time. Jacob’s Ladder and I got to know eachother quite well last winter and at one point I could easily climb for over an hour and burn MASSIVE amounts of calories. This is a great low to no impact workout for someone with joint issues, or in my case for the last few weeks, a sinus infection that won’t quit! The trick to conquering this machine is a good playlist – turn up the tunes, let your mind wander and just keep climbing. It’s my version of cardio-yoga. If you’ve got one at your gym be sure to hop on and give it a try!

HIIT Treadmill Runs

HIIT Treadmill Runs

I’ve never been a true “runner” but I do enjoy some good sweaty HIIT Sprints on the Woodway – which is like the Cadillac of treadmills. Last winter when I did my first SKORA review was when I really started to enjoy running again. When running feels good it suddenly becomes less of a chore and much more enjoyable. There are so many ways to work your intervals with HIIT training that it never really gets old. One of my favorites is the 30/30 split. It allows me to run at max speed and then quickly recover before starting over again.

Just keep rowing!

Just keep rowing!

Most gyms don’t tend to have an excess of these like they do treadmills and ellipticals so if you see a free one, hop on! The rowing machine is a great workout and can be done as steady state cardio or as HIIT training. In the photo above I was doing 500m sprints than recovering, with a goal of 1500m. Rowing also makes a great partner workout as you can race to a set distance – using your partner to motivate you to push harder! My friend and I have been known to do 500m sets followed by squats and or burpees and then repeat a few rounds – which is all you’ll need to be toast!

If you’re in a gym rut and looking for a change give these a try and shake up your routine! Or combine them for 10 minutes each and get a well rounded cardio style butt kick without getting bored!

 

Leave No Doubt

December always seems to sneak up on me for some reason and this year is no exception. December is my “FitAversary” month so I always like to re-set goals, challenge myself and finish out my year leaving no doubt that I’ve worked my hardest to meet my goals. Last December I wrote this post:

Wow – only 15 days left in 2012! I’ve got big plans for those 15 days and I’ve set a big goal to reach by the 31st. Do yourself a favor and skip the “I’ll start January 1st” excuse and start making healthier choices today. This way you’ll feel more in charge and it’s less likely to fall into the traditional “resolution” trap. Last year around this time I was still hovering over 270lbs…as of this morning I hit 210.2lbs – I started this Journey on December 28, 2011 and chose not to wait until the “New Year” to make big changes. I joined Weight Watchers that day and haven’t looked back. Yes there have been bumps and stalls along the way but I’ve kept a forward moving attitude and slow and steady I will win this race.

So TODAY I encourage you to print off this goal sheet and set a goal – any goal and write down in the box what you did to make that goal happen each day. Trust me – it works! I made one of these for my challenge and I kept it with me everyday and I still have it in my office as a reminder that I can do things I set my mind to! Here’s a look at what my sheet looks like today…

I thought I’d make another calendar for us this year. Set some goals and soar past them! Last year one of my goals was to fit into my wedding dress by NYE and I was able to get into the dress but couldn’t totally zip it. I’m excited to try it on again this year and be able to zip it and hopefully it’s loose *fingers crossed*!
December CalendarFeel free to right-click and save OR download this calendar to track your goals! Use it to plan your workouts, jot down meal ideas and set some weight loss or inches lost goals (if you’re working towards that).
Here’s what my goals will look like:
  1. I will run/bike (mostly bike) 180+ miles
  2. I will PR my deadlift – hoping for 125lbs
  3. I will reach 170lbs or lighter
  4. I will exercise 5-6 times per week – Christmas week included.

Will you join me? Let’s leave no doubt that we’ve worked as hard as we can in 2013 and we’ll go into 2014 with a bang! NO waiting until January 1st to get started – let’s get started!

I Think I’m a Hippie…

I think I’m a hippie….and I’m surprisingly okay with that. I’ve been on my weight loss journey for 2 years (December 28), and I’ve learned a lot over that time and that’s lead me to make all kinds of changes in my (and my families) lives. Looking back I wish I would have saved some of my food journals so I could look back and see just how different things are now. When I first started my weight loss my diet was a highly process reduced calorie diet and has slowly morphed over the last 2 years to a package-free organic home cooked diet. Prepacked 100 calorie snack packs, Fibre1 bars, etc were all part of my daily food log – now thanks to sites like FoodBabe I’m educated and informed and feel like I’m making better more natural choices for myself and the family.

10 Signs You're A Hippie

Since this is my bloggy space and all I feel it’s okay to get to the “I Think I’m a Hippie” list…

  1. I’ve switched to natural deodorant & toothpaste – ditch that toxic crap!
  2. Opting for natural & organic fiber based workout and fitness clothing – just think; you’re at the gym all sweaty and your pours are open and all the hidden toxins in fabric and sneak into your body – no thanks!
  3. Organic juice boxes, crackers and snacks for the kids lunches. Most days I’m able to send them with a lunch that looks just like their friends – with them feeling like they are missing out.
  4. As I’m shopping for new clothes they too are from eco-friendly fabrics like hemp, organic cotton and bamboo.
  5. I’m pretty sure hemp products & coconut oil can fix just about anything
  6. I’ve stopped taking traditional “pain” meds like Tylenol and Advil, however, I also find that since changing the above things on the list I don’t have the need for them. I haven’t had the flu shot in years (for fear of needles) – but now I’ve got different reasons for not wanting to go close to that shot. See above point about hemp & coconut oil
  7. My hate for wearing a bra is growing by the day
  8. I’ve let the gray hairs on my head get to an unacceptable level for a 30 year old female while I researched organic hair color!
  9. I now enjoy the scent of Patchouli and Sandalwood
  10. I bought a mala bracelet.

Shall I go on? I’m sure I could keep the list going. Thanks for sticking around this space while I’ve been transitioning to this new lifestyle – I know it’s not for everyone and I totally appreciate that. I think one hippie practice I have yet to adapt on a constant basis is yoga. In my head I think I’m an amazing yogi and dream about incorporating it into my daily life – hopefully one day I’ll get there.

Are you noticing any lifestyle/personality changes along your journey?