Full Body Beginner Workout

Today I'm sharing a full body workout that's perfect for beginners.

Happy hump day.

I can't believe it's already Wednesday. Of course the fact that Monday was a holiday here in Calgary makes a difference. I skipped my workout yesterday morning because I slept terribly the night before (woke up multiple times, had a hard time falling back asleep), but I was back at the gym this morning with a steady state cardio workout on the elliptical. It was a sweaty workout, but exactly what I needed to get rid of some stress. Now onto today's workout!

If you're in need of a quick and easy workout that will get you in and out of the gym, then this is the post for you. This full body beginner workout has exercises that focus on your upper and lower body as well as your core.

Each circuit contains 3 exercises (upper body, lower body, and core) and is indicated by color. This workout has three circuits. Perform each workout for thirty seconds before moving onto the next one. At the end of each circuit rest as much as you need before you move onto the next circuit. Repeat all three circuits three to four more times for a full workout. For the side planks, alternate the side that you do them on every time you come to them in the workout.

For more workouts, check out my workouts page.

Full Body Beginner Workout

Overhead press 

Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.

Bodyweight squat

With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feel flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure your neck stays in a neutral position. The upper back should be moving, not the neck. Slowly lay back down on the floor.

Bicep curl

Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the forward leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs for the entire 60 seconds.

Plank

The plank is very similar to the starting position of a pushup. Your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width, and your body is a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, hips, and knees, to your heels. Just like with the pushup, if you need an easier modification, use your knees instead of your toes.

Knee push ups

Starting on your knees and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your knees to hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line.

Clam shells

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feel flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure your neck stays in a neutral position. The upper back should be moving, not the neck. Slowly lay back down on the floor.

Side plank

To perform a side plank, lay on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder and your forearm on the ground. With your top foot stacked on top of your bottom foot, lift your hips off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line. Hold and then repeat on the other side.

What's your favorite kind of workout? HIIT? Circuit? Share in the comments below. 

As always, speak to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed.

Finding Your Fitness Motivation

Today I'm sharing some tips for finding your fitness motivation. I think everyone has days where they struggle finding the motivation to make it to the gym. I'm hoping that this post will help.

Finding Your Fitness Motivation

Find an activity that you enjoy

This might be a no brainer, but making sure you're doing a workout that you enjoy can make all the difference. Don't sign up for a half marathon if you hate running.

If you're unsure of what you do enjoy, take different fitness classes to find out what you like. Similarly, drop in sports are perfect to figure out what you like. Since you only pay for the days that you show up, it's budget friendly and there's little commitment.

Not all workouts have to take place in a gym. Think outside the box (or gym) and take your workout outside. It's cold and snowy here right now in Calgary, so trying cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding are all options.

Find a workout buddy (or several)

Make a workout date with a friend. I spent two years going for weekly walks with a friend and her two kids. Knowing that she was counting on me to show up made all the difference in my motivation to be active.

If you have a favorite teacher who teachers group fitness class, commit to going to his or her classes. If they're your favorite, you'll have added motivation to go.

This is one that I know I can do better at, but talk to people at your gym. Having it be a friendly place where you know other people will make it more likely that you'll end up going consistently. It's easy for me to put on my earphones and start a podcast while I'm still in the change room and not turn it off until I get back to the change room. I've been trying recently to turn off my podcast after I've finished my workout and do my cool down with my earphones out of my ears. That little change has meant that I've had a few conversations with people that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

Find a goal to work towards

Knowing that each workout has a specific purpose will keep you going. Sign up for a race – having a training plan where you're committed to workouts will give you that little bit of extra motivation.

Sign up for a challenge at your favorite fitness studio if you're not a runner. My favorite yoga studio runs challenges a few times a year. Being able to put a sticker up at the end of each class you take can be just the thing you need to get you there. It might be silly, but I've seen lots of people on Instagram share about completing challenges because of marking off a square and visually seeing themselves getting closer to their goal.

Use technology

Embrace technology and use it to your advantage to motivate yourself. I personally love my Fitbit Charge 2 (affiliate link). It tracks my sleep, resting heart rate, heart rate and heart rate zones while I'm working out, and keeps a log of my workouts. I really love using it – more than I thought I would before I got it.

Alternatively, if you're a runner or cyclist, keep track of your workouts on Strava. Buy yourself a GPS watch and keep track of your mileage.

Create a workout playlist

I think everyone pushes a bit harder when they're listening to great music. Put together a playlist of some of your favorite upbeat music. I like to only listen to my workout playlists when I'm at the gym. That way they “stay fresh” longer and if I'm wanting to listen to a specific song on my workout playlist, it means that I have to go to the gym.

If you're looking for ideas for songs, you can find all of my workout playlists here, and Spotify usually has some pretty great playlists as well.

Reward yourself

Make a deal with yourself that after completing 10 group fitness classes, or doing all of your planned workouts for a month, you'll buy yourself a treat. That could be a new pair of leggings or a relaxing massage. Knowing that you're working towards something that you want can make all the difference between skipping a workout or getting yourself to the gym.

Plan your workouts

I know for myself that I'm much more likely to get to the gym if I've written it down in my planner. I like to write down all of my workouts at the beginning of the week. I'm not quite sure what it is, but somehow having it written down gives me that little extra bit of motivation to get it done, even on days when I don't want to get out of bed. If my workouts aren't in my planner, I'm less likely to go to the gym.

Treat your workouts just like any other appointment that you'd put in your planner. You wouldn't bail on an important meeting at work or on dinner with a friend at the last minute, would you?

Change your mindset

Sometimes workouts seem to accentuate all the things that you can't do yet – missing that PR you've been chasing for two weeks now or not being able to get that handstand yet. Consider changing your mindset and thinking differently about your workouts and what your body can accomplish. Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. If you're dreading missing that PR again, you're less likely to do your workout.

In addition, stop following those accounts on social media that bring you down. I think it's an individual thing, (an account can be motivating for one person and de-motivating for another), so do what's right for you.

Pay attention to your body

Lastly, listening to your body is so important when it comes to fitness motivation. One of the reasons that so many people fail at their New Year's resolutions is that they try to do too much too fast. If you're sore or have a nagging injury, give yourself a day (or longer if need be) to feel 100% again. It's so not worth pushing through pain if it means you're just going to end up feeling worse or injuring yourself even more.

I promise that one missed workout isn't going to ruin all of your progress. Caring for your body when it's less than 100% is just as important as working out.

What's your favorite tip for fining your fitness motivation? Leave it below in the comments.

This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it!

Weekend Recap February 19 2018

It's been awhile since I last did a weekend recap, so I thought that I'd share one today. I always like reading them on other blogs and getting a sneak peak into someone else's life.

Friday

New Fila Shoes

I had bought these Fila shoes on Zulily at the end of January, and they finally arrived. I can't remember where I first read about Zulily, but I'm so glad I did. While they don't have stuff that I'm interested in most of the time, every once in awhile I find a great deal on something that I've had my eye on for awhile. I managed to get these shoes for half the price that they usually are. Can't go wrong saving some money.

Beer Glass

Friday night was date night, so I headed over to my boyfriend's place. We ended up ordering Chinese food on Skip the Dishes, drinking a beer or two, and watching The Burbs on Netflix. It was my first time trying lemon chicken and it was so good! I can't believe it's taken me 35 years to give it a try. I thought this glass of his was pretty cool. It's made from an old beer bottle. How cool is that? Although I know The Burbs is a silly movie, it makes me laugh every single time I watch it. It's probably my favorite Tom Hanks movie. He looks so young in it!

Saturday

Speaking of Netflix, they recently added Gossip Girl, at least here in Canada. I used to watch it sporadically when it was on TV. I'm looking forward to watching it from the beginning. It's one of those shows that doesn't take a lot of brain power to watch, but still holds your attention. Plus it's fun to see all the pretty fashion. And for the record, the phones that they show (in the first season at least) all seem so old, yet it was only back in 2012. It's crazy to think how quickly technology changes.

Saturday also included getting some laundry done and some behind the scenes blogging stuff. If I didn't have a blog of my own, I never would have thought that it was as much work as it actually is.

Sunday

Sunday morning I reached a pretty big milestone – I've now meditated 500 minutes since I've started using the Headspace app. The vast majority of that has been since January 1 2018. Back when I first started meditating for 5 minutes seemed like forever and I'd always get distracted thinking about literally anything. I've grown a lot though, and I'm now regularly doing 15 minutes at a time. That probably still doesn't seem very long for people who are meditation pro's, but for me it's a huge accomplishment. If you've been thinking about giving meditation a try, I highly recommend trying out Headspace.

I also spend some time doing some deep cleaning. Let's just say that you don't realize how disgustingly dusty your house is until you start moving furniture. While it was definitely a lot of work, it feels so good to know that the place is cleaner now.

Leave a comment below with the highlight of your weekend. 

Friday Favorites February 16 2018

Welcome to another edition of Friday Favorites! As usual, I'll be sharing some of my favorites from the past week.

Friday Favorites

A Secret Kept

A Secret Kept Book

On Sunday morning I finished reading A Secret Kept (affiliate link) by Tatiana de Rosnay. It's been a while since I last read a book this good. It only took me a couple days to finish it, including one very late night because I just couldn't put it down. It centers on a brother and his family, and his journey to finding out the circumstances surrounding his mother's death when he was a child. While it might sound a bit dark, it's more about the family dynamics and about how each family member dealt the the loss of the family matriarch. If you liked Sarah's Key, also by Tatiana de Rosnay, I think you'll like this one too even though it's not historical fiction. A Secret Kept is also set in France and it almost felt like the different locations featured in the book were additional characters because they were featured so heavily. If you have any other book recommendations, let me know! I'm always looking for more suggestions to read.

Chicken skillet recipe

I've made this chicken skillet recipe a few times now, and it's delicious each time. Although I wasn't able to find the exact same recipe online to share with you, this one is very similar. I've served it over both brown rice and egg noodles, and brown rice is my favorite by far. It's pretty easy to make (if you buy sliced mushrooms it cuts down on some prep work), and the ingredients are super easy to find at the grocery store. I love that it includes the mushrooms and broccoli in it, so I don't have to make veggies as a side. This is one of those dishes that gets better the day after as leftovers, so it's perfect for lunch the next day.

Origins Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream

I got this in a Sephora sleep favorites box, and this is definitely one of my top three items from it. Origins Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream (affiliate link) smells amazing on top of keeping my dry trouble spots on my face feeling soft and moisturized. The skin on my chin is stubbornly dry, so the fact that this can keep that in check is awesome. I will definitely be buying another one of these once I finish up this tube.

What was a favorite of yours from the past week? Share it in the comments below.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

Valentine’s Day Circuit Workout

Today I'm sharing a Valentine's Day Circuit workout. It's the perfect thing to get you sweaty when you're in need of some inspiration at the gym.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Before I get into today's workout, does anyone have any plans for today with their special someone? My boyfriend and I got together on Friday night and he got little red velvet heart cakes for us to enjoy from Sunterra for dessert after dinner. They even had strawberry jam in the middle. They were so good! I usually like to keep Valentine's Day pretty low key (there's way too much unneeded pressure otherwise), so it was a perfect way to celebrate together.

And now onto the workout! This Valentine's Day themed circuit workout contains three circuits, each of which have three strength exercises (upper body, lower body, and core) which are done for 12 reps followed by one minute of cardio. Do the first four exercises, rest as needed, and then go onto the next circuit. Complete all three circuits 4 to 5 times for a full workout. This full body workout will work all your major muscle groups in less than an hour.

If you're going to do this workout at home and are in need of some dumbbells for the squats, side shoulder raises, and overhead presses, I like these ones (affiliate link) that are available from Amazon. They're available in different sizes so you have some choice when it comes to what weight you use for different exercises. For example, I typically use a higher weight for squats and a lower one for upper body exercises. To find more of my favorite fitness equipment, click here.

Below you'll find a graphic with the workout on it that you can pin on Pinterest or save to your phone so you can reference it at the gym. I've also described all the exercises just in case there's one or two that you're unfamiliar with.

Valentine's Day Workout

Push ups

Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.

Dumbbell squats

With feet hip width apart and dumbells in your hands at your sides, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees and ankles. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, again using your glutes to propel yourself.

Bicycle crunches

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. With your hands behind your head and elbows out to the side, bring your feet off the floor so that your shins are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Bring your shoulder blades off the floor and alternate bringing your left elbow towards your right knee, and your right elbow towards your left knee. Your feet should look like they’re pedaling a bike.

Butt kicks

Stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms bent comfortably at the elbow. Bend your left knee and bring the heel of your left foot behind you so that it touches your butt. Lower your left foot back down to the ground and repeat with your right foot.

Side shoulder raises

With your arms down at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand, slowly raise your hands away from your body to the side, keeping your arm straight at the elbow. Once your hands reach shoulder level, slowly lower them back down to your sides.

Curtsy lunges

Similar to alternating lunges, instead of stepping straight back with your left leg, you place your left foot behind you and to the right, so that it crosses behind you and return to standing. Repeat with your right foot stepping back and to the left.

Side plank

To perform a side plank, lay on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder and your forearm on the ground. With your top foot stacked on top of your bottom foot, lift your hips off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line. Hold and then repeat on the other side.

Jumping jacks

Stand with feet together and arms at your sides. Jump both feet apart from each other while raising your hands above your head with straight arms. Jump your feet back together and lower your arms to the starting position.

Overhead press

Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.

Step ups

Find something that when you put your foot on it, your knee is at a 90 degree angle. This could be a chair or bench. Step up with your left foot, and pushing off that heel step your right foot off the floor and onto the bench. Immediately step back down with your left foot, followed by your right foot.

Punches

Stand with your feet hip width apart with your left foot slightly forward. Lift your arms up so that your hands are in front of your face with your left hand slightly forward. Punch one hand at a time in front of you, repeating as quickly as possible while maintaining good form.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it!

As always, talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed.

Are you doing anything fun tonight for Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comments.