Wednesday, September 17, 2014

HOW TO GET FROM WHERE YOU ARE TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE

Here's the first video for the "motivation" playlist on my YouTube Channel. I hope these videos are simply a sit down we can have together to talk about the deep stuff as we navigate through going for our dreams and living with passion and purpose!

When I decided to forgo dental school and go for my dreams (you can read more about that here), I had to have one thing: a vision. I look at this like going on a trip; we don't just hop in the car or jump on a plane and take off aimlessly...we always have a destination. I hope this video helps you establish a destination for where you want to go, so getting there becomes more feasible!

Click here to view the video on YouTube


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WORKOUT WITH ME WEDNESDAY: No Equipment Cardio & Ab Circuit


Workout Download: Want more out of this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes my personal training tips and explanations on all the exercises listed + a meal plan to enhance results!

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Tip of the Day: All anything requires is decision followed by action! Do you ever find you have a task that sits on your to-do list for weeks? It generally sits at the bottom in that spot called "oh yes, I should do this, but I most likely will find an excuse not to" hehe. For me, that place holds tasks like returns and miscellaneous phone calls; it's typically the stuff we dread, yet know is important.

What also may sneak into that zone are tasks such as: grocery shopping, getting to the gym, meal prepping, etc. Be very careful with allowing any health or wellness tasks to slip between the cracks. From personal experience (both successes and failures), I've learned taking positive, impactful action requires FEELING GOOD!

How can we feel good? The best, quickest way to uplift our mood is through working out. Studying the physiology behind this demonstrates the truth to this! When working out, the body releases chemicals called endorphins; these endorphins find their way to receptors within the brain where "pain" is measured. Endorphins act as analgesics, diminishing the perception of pain.  In fact, endorphins bind to some of the same receptors that pain medications bind to! So, that "euphoric" feeling post-workout or that "runner's high" both are the real deal.

The bottom line is that when we put our health and wellness tasks at the top of our to-do lists it leads to feeling good. When we feel confident, we are more likely to accomplish the greater challenges of our day! So, don't put that workout off any longer!

-Is the science nerd/biology major in me showing?? Oops, I love this stuff-

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Squat Emphazised Leg Workout - 9/16

Workout Download: Want more out of this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes my personal training tips and explanations on all the exercises listed + a meal plan to enhance results!

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Sometimes I just feel like FLEXING :)
Top & Crops: Lululemon | Shoes: Nike Frees

Tip of the Day: What is all the hype about the squat?? Last week's leg workout was all about the lunge, so naturally, it's only fair to give the squat a day of its own; I'm joking about that, but seriously...do you ever wonder if squats are overly hyped up and for what reason? When it comes to squatting, it seems like ladies fall on either side of the fence - some love it, some hate it, and there's really no in between.

From an injury prevention perspective, squats are commonly avoided when there is an injury to the spine or knees. From a strength training perspective, squats are a very beneficial lower body exercise. Squats are a compound movement, meaning the recruit several muscle groups in order to perform (similar to a lunge): the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the glutes and even the core. I view compound movements as getting more bang for your buck or hitting two birds with one stone; if you're squeezing in a workout and are short on time, compound movements like squats are a great way to go for this reason!

The benefits to squats are clear, but aspect I like to stress most is FORM! Proper form and technique will allow any squat movement to serve as beneficial and help protect against injury. 

Here are a few overall form tips:
-Squat with a full range of motion, squatting to at least parallel to the ground if not deeper
-Keep from allowing the knees to cave in
-Push through the heels (toes should be able to wiggle off the ground)
-Keep the chest high throughout the entire movement
-BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE

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LAUREN'S LIFESTYLE JOURNAL: A DAY IN THE LIFE

Anthony and I moved into our new place in Houston a few weeks back, but because of his job, we were spending the past few weeks in Dallas. So, we came home to furniture that needed to be assembled, wall decor that needed to be hung, and everything in between.

Fortunately, my parents came to help us with the furniture and enjoy a yummy din to break in the new dining set!


Instead of telling you more about my weekend, I thought I would hand Anthony the camera and have him film me doing whatever I do on a Sunday. I like to spend my Sundays relaxing and getting ready for the week ahead, so here's a compilation of a bits and pieces of how my day went!
  
XO,
Lauren

Sunday, September 14, 2014

HIIT Cardio + Ab Circuit - 9/15


Workout Download: Want more out of this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes my personal training tips and explanations on all the exercises listed + a meal plan to enhance results!

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Tip of the Day: Fancy up your health and fitness. You know how a fancy gala gets you excited - the long dress, the updo hairstyle, the primping, the fine dining; it's not only a fun evening due to the excitement of the event, but it's the entire process leading up to it as well! We may have felt that exciting build up with school dances like homecoming and prom! Well, when we learn to cultivate those same feelings with our health and fitness, it becomes easier and more exciting. 

Create a build up to anything health and fitness you have going on in your world. Maybe you love a particular health food store, but it's a 25 min drive, so get excited about going there on a Saturday morning when you have a bit more time; make a list of your favorite items to purchase there, invite a friend to come alone, and hype up the event. Perhaps you're working up to running 3 miles on the treadmill without stopping. Create a plan for yourself...schedule out how many miles you will run each day until you build up to your goal. Plan your reward for when you complete that accomplishment - maybe it's a new pair of running shoes, maybe it's a celebration with your significant other.

My personal example has to do with water intake - it's something I am cognizant of daily because I know if I'm not focusing on drinking enough, I fail to do so. Instead of forcing myself to simply down water, I mixed sparkling water with a splash of natural lemonade I purchased at Trader Joes. The combination was a yummy H20 alternative and the fancy glass was the cherry on top of a delicious sundae!


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Friday, September 12, 2014

September 14 - 20 Meal Plan + Week of Workouts

This is my meal plan and week of workouts that I follow; I share in hopes of reaching our goals together! 

Get Excited to be in the Kitchen:
THIS WEEK FEATURES HEALTHY RECIPE ALTERNATIVES TO OUR FAVORITE INDULGENCES - SEE A MENU OF ALL THIS WEEK'S MEALS BELOW! OH MY, YUM!
 
Facts About the Meal Plan:
*The meal plan serves as one day full of meals and is repeated for 7 days, which is not too long to get sick of the food but allows for food to be pre-made in mass amounts
*I do 5 meals - meals 1, 2, and 4 are more of a breakfast, lunch and dinner, while meals 3, and 5 are smaller portioned meals to keep my body fed properly throughout the day
*I suggest spacing meals around 3 hours apart (give or take depending on your schedule)
*My meal plan style is SIMPLISTIC; I've found the fewer ingredients and the easier the prep, the more likely one is to stick to the plan
MEALS THIS WEEK: 1) Healthy Breakfast Sandwich 2) Healthy Burger + Fries 3) Healthy Single Serving Cake 4) Healthy Pizza 5) Healthy "cookie dough" dessert

Facts About the Workouts:
*5 total workouts
     -4 weight training workouts to target legs, glutes, calves, back, chest, biceps, 
     triceps, shoulders & abs
     -1 HIIT cardio workout
*Workout style is high intensity interval training, which studies have shown to be the most effective at maximizing results in the shortest amount of time + creating an afterburn to continue the calorie burning after the workout is complete
*Result-driven workouts for a fit and lean body
MY FAVORITE WORKOUT THIS WEEK: No Equipment HIIT Cardio & Abs Circuit

Other Information:
*After payment, you will see a link to return to sellfy to download or you can download from a confirmation email that will be sent to the email linked to your paypal acount. 
*This downloadable pdf can be printed or saved to your mobile device for easy access in the grocery store or gym!
*If you download on a tablet or phone, be sure it's somewhere that is permanently saved or the file may be lost; I like to screen shot it so that it saves to my pictures

For the combo pack (meal plan + 5 workouts):
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For just the meal plan:
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For just the week of workouts:
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Weights Arm Workout - 9/12

Workout Download: Want more out of this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes my personal training tips and explanations on all the exercises listed + a meal plan to enhance results!

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Tip of the Day:Yesterday, on social media, I shared the photo below as a #ThrowbackThursday (which I rarely do). Then, that post and the idea of throwbacks got me thinking. Am I hesitant or forgetful to do throwback Thursday or flashback Friday picture posts because I'm so focused on the future? That's what we've all been taught is "good", yet is it really the best thing for us? 

Let me know what you think about my thoughts - some may agree, some may disagree, but I believe in exploring these two options, we can find a balance for us individually that actually benefits us greatly. First, there's the popular idea of always keeping your eyes set ahead. Any problems we had, obstacles we faced, or difficulties we experienced are behind us the second they unravel and we need to focus on what we can do in the future. Sounds inspirational and positive, right?!

On the other hand, we can look back. That problems we solved, the obstacles we overcame, and experiences we turned into a lesson helped shape us; in some form, we were able to grow from each of those instances. Personally, I believe the balance and benefit comes from the perspective we take when looking back. Look back only if you are viewing things from the lens of positivity and strength (ie: what lesson was learned from an experience).

How can this apply to you today? Go ahead and take a look back on a picture from last year, two years ago, or even ten years ago. You may initially not like what you see, but just think how far you've come. How has your body changed as you've begun taking control of your health? How has your mindset developed from the person's in the picture? How have your relationships strengthened? It's awesome when we can look back and enjoy because of what we've accomplished!

PS - this is me 4 years ago when I was constantly referred to as a "string bean." Although I felt strong and fit back then, I have progressed significantly in adding lean muscle to my body! It's possible to love your body as it is, yet want to better it.


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Upper Body Jump Rope Circuit - 9/10

Workout Download: Want more out of this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes my personal training tips and explanations on all the exercises listed + a meal plan to enhance results!

Read more about this week's complete plan (meal plan & 5 workouts): 
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Tip of the Day: Do you jump rope?? I may be a bit biased, but if you're not, I think you're missing out. Jump roping has benefits like working your heart, burning calories, and improving your speed and agility, but it can also be done anywhere and is an inexpensive work out! Still, I know what it's like to be a beginner jumper, so I'm sharing a few tips to jump rope like a pro!

(1) The Jump
How you jump is actually quite important! Be sure you're jumping on the balls of your feet, so that your heels never touch the ground. It's also important to be jumping just a bit off the ground: more of a hop than an actual jump. The jump should be just far enough off the ground that it allows for the rope to pass below the feet.

(2) The Rotation
Jumping rope with a rope length that is appropriate for your height can help get you in a proper rhythm. In order for jumping rope to be easiest for you, the rope should reach your sternum when you stand bisecting the length of the rope and hold it straight up. Once you have the correct rope, you want to rotate it by holding the handles slightly above the waist and rotating at the wrists...it's all in the wrists!

(3) The Alternative
So, maybe you decide jumping rope just isn't for you OR perhaps you simply cannot find a jump rope at the moment. Simple solution...go through the motions! Place your hands by your side and pretend you're rotating a rope, jumping at the appropriate times. This is actually a great place for a beginner to start as you start learning the rhythm!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WORKOUT WITH ME WEDNESDAY: Arms & Abs Mat Workout - 9/10

Workout Download: Want more out of this workout?! The downloadable workout version includes my personal training tips and explanations on all the exercises listed + a meal plan to enhance results!

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Tip of the Day: You get out of bed in the morning and as soon as your feet hit the floor, you think, "oh geez, those hamstrings are tight." Then, you go to reach for your morning coffee or tea in the kitchen cabinet and your arms are achy. Have you experienced a situation like this? Muscle soreness is a normal side effect of weight training, but how is it possible to maintain a regular workout routine given the soreness?

First off, when you're sticking to a weight training plan, I highly recommend a minimum of one rest day per week...a full day of rest! This type of rest day contrasts an "active rest day" in which one would take off from weights and instead would partake in an exercise like walking or yoga. You may notice I share workouts on here Monday-Friday and that is because I work out in a gym on those days, on Saturday I take off completely (my rest day), and on Sunday I go to a yoga class (my active rest day). It's a good break for my body, but an even better time off for my mind...on Monday, I'm craving the gym!

Further, I've began implementing 3-4 days of intense weight training, such as yesterday's leg workout, and 1-2 days of a lighter workout like today's. On these days, I like to include smaller muscle groups: biceps, triceps, shoulders, abs, calves, and even some cardio! Alternating between weight workouts and other style workouts is a great way to circumvent the soreness issue.

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WHY ALL WOMEN SHOULD LIFT WEIGHTS - THE TOP WEIGHT TRAINING BENEFITS

By now, it's probably pretty clear that I LOVE weight training! I am an advocate for women lifting weights because I've personally experienced what it was like to not only change my body, but also change my perspective and therefore life trough a workout style. That statement may seem a bit over dramatic, but it's true!

Through this workout style, I believed I found a solution for what I call a typical woman's dilemma: a struggle with body image, difficulty losing fat, believing body shape is completely determined by genetics, and an overall lack of self confidence and self love. When I began sharing my story and workouts with other ladies, I was amazed at how many of them saw this inner and outer transformation (read the real testimonials here).

We are real women facing real struggles, yet we can see real results from the inside out!

Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty to see exactly why and how weight training can transform your body and life! 

Don't forget to change the video settings to 720 HD :)
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