Every Workout I Did This Year

It’s been an amazing year at the gym, and here, with the help of the almighty Beyonce, are photos before, during and after the 175 workouts I did as a 32-year-old. Thanks to my gym fam for helping me shine. Enjoy!

 

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In Weight Loss, Perception is Half the Battle

It takes a gym girl to know one, and lately I’ve been noticing a good friend of mine looking fierce on Instagram. Yes, even more fierce than the side pony I rocked last week at Crunch, but because of a common … Continue reading

How to KEEP Going to the Gym

We’re midway through January, which means one of three things:

1) You’re still keeping up your New Year’s Resolution to get fit

2) You gave up on the gym last week

3) You never went in the first place

This post is aimed at everyone in group number one. Congratulations! We’re all very proud of you.

Nicki-Minaj-Anaconda-Video-LARGE

Exercise isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be camping out for the new Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Core Ice Cream. Working out is a pain in the ass (and the rest of your body if you’re doing it right) and recently this tweet caught my eye:

ex tweet

This anonymous tweeter hit on something that makes a lot of people pack up their sports bras and quit. And as a gym regular, I’m here to help with a few tips on how to keep it fun.

-THE BUDDY SYSTEM

A lot of people skip the gym to hang with their friends, so make the gym the place you hang out. Find a friend to work out with who will hold you accountable, and be pissed if you flake. It’s easier to get through that final set, or a tough class, when you have someone sharing your pain. I also recommend getting to know the people who work at the gym, because when they say “see you tomorrow”, you want to prove them right.

-DRESS ALL CUTE

This might sound dumb, but ditch your old Garfield tee shirt and pajama pants for some cute gear, and I promise you’ll immediately have more fun. It’s like when you get a new dress or a sweet pair of kicks. You want to show them off, and the same goes for gym clothes.

And you don’t have to spend a ton of money either. Old Navy has a sale like every five minutes and their clothes last forever. My trick is to buy everything in the same color palette, which makes it easy to mix and match.

Clueless-009-full

-LOAD UP YOUR IPHONE

One of my favorite things is the Nerdist podcast, and the only place I let myself listen to the Nerdist podcast is at the gym. Reserve a bunch of things to listen to and watch during your workout, and you’ll actually start looking forward to your time on the treadmill…

-DON’T DO STUFF YOU HATE

…And on that note, while the treadmill is my jam, you might find it to be super boring and repetitive. Simple solution for that, stay off the treadmill. You will never find me on the elliptical machine because I totally hate it. I’d lose my damn mind if I took more than two spin classes in a week, so I don’t.

You have to find the things you like at the gym and only do them. Mix it up, take the classes, and come up with a varied schedule that both challenges your body and leaves little room for your mind to wander.

-THINK ABOUT HOW YOU’LL FEEL AFTER

I know I’m not the first one to say this, but when I’m really having trouble finding the motivation to exercise, I always fast forward to how I’ll feel afterwards. If you think about it, you’ll only spend about 60-90 minutes at the gym, which means it takes three episodes of Mindy Project, or one and a half listens to the new Taylor Swift album to feel like a new person.

And in that time, those exercise endorphins will make you feel all happy, and you’ll earn the right to try some of that new Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Core Ice Cream. You’ll also sleep better, think more clearly, and feel like a total badass.

-AND FINALLY

If all else fails, pretend you’re Buffy. How are you gonna kill all those vampires if you can’t run a mile or do a sit up? This might only work for me…

buffy

Click here for more on my weight loss journey.

Maureen swears by SoulCycle, but don’t call her a “fitness enthusiast”

The holiday weekend brought sun, fun, and a steady diet of bagels, cheese, beer, and chips, so there’s no better time for some serious fitness inspiration. In this special edition of “Skinny Girl Problems, I’m getting to the bottom of SoulCycle, with fellow Conqueror Maureen Granados. She was nice enough to talk to me about the softer side of the exercise institution, and Maureen’s story of dedication, perseverance, and getting in shape will definitely have you excited for your next workout. I know her Facebook posts always get me stoked for mine.

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 A lot of people’s fitness/health journey starts with an “A HA!” moment. What inspired you to get in shape?

It’s funny – I’ve never considered myself a fitness enthusiast, and still don’t…but I guess the “A HA” moment came in February 2013, when I was knee-deep in an intense work project, eating poorly out of stress and not really exercising.  It wasn’t so much an “I want to get in shape” situation as much as it was “I’d like to not completely destroy my well-being over the next two months.”  I knew regular exercise would be the best medicine but I was bad at self-motivating…so I also knew I needed something that would force me to show up, led by someone who would kick my ass.

Enter my old friend Bethany Lyons, who is an instructor at SoulCycle (one of the originals, in fact), who’d been trying to get me to come to her class there since the place opened.  Finally, I was ready to take her up on it…and I fell in love right away!  (Seriously…her class is mind-blowingly amazing.  I can’t believe I’m saying that about ANY sort of exercise, but it’s true.)

What kinds of exercise are you doing?

Besides SoulCycle, I also take yoga at Bethany’s own studio (Lyons Den Power Yoga).  I find that the two exercises complement each other really well, and having grown up dancing, I’ve always done best in a group exercise setting.  However…recently I’ve also sloowwwwly started incorporating running back in to my fitness regime…and am kind of liking it.

Tell us about the results! What are some of the rewards of all your hard work?

Again, I’m not a fitness junkie so I don’t weigh myself or track calories burned or anything like that.  I guess the best results have been those I can’t quantitatively measure: a renewed sense of self, a completely energized outlook, boosted confidence…the list goes on.

What have you found to be the key in staying motivated and dedicated to your workouts?

I think the key was finding something (or things) that I liked.  It’s easy to keep coming back when it’s fun.  Also, both Soul and Lyons Den foster a strong sense of community amongst their students.  While it’s implied at both studios that mostly everyone is there to keep healthy and stay in shape, really what instructors at both studios emphasize – and what I find to be the attitude of many of my fellow riders/yogis – is that everyone should show up with the intention of doing their best and inspiring others to do the same.  The energy this creates in each space is incredible – I will say that I have been pushed in these classes by my fellow students as much as the instructors sometimes!  And, as a result, I’ve made some phenomenal new friends who not only motivate me in class, but whose support extends far beyond the bike and the mat as well.

I’ve heard Soul Cycle can be pretty intense! What about them keeps you going back?

It’s definitely not an easy workout!  I love so many things about it, but most of all I love that it’s a workout for your body, mind AND spirit all at once (as cheesy as that may sound).  Through Soul, I have built not only physical strength but also emotional strength through the supportive yet challenging environment created by my fellow riders and the instructors.  Speaking of which: the instructors are amazing!  You’ll never experience the same class twice, and there is someone for everyone.  The four with whom I regularly ride are, for me, role models on and off the bike, and all play a major role in my dedication to SoulCycle.  I’m very lucky to know them!

What has been your proudest fitness moment?

I surprised myself recently – I signed up for a little 5K on Long Island just to see if I could do it.  I didn’t really set any goals but was just a little hopeful I could finish in 30 minutes (I’m not a runner AT ALL, so this is a good time for me)…and I ended up running it in 28 minutes and change!  It was an amazing feeling to have run faster than I ever have in my life, with seemingly less effort than when I made slower times.  I guess the work is paying off!  🙂

maureen

“This was taken following one of Bethany’s recent SoulCycle classes.  I’m second in from the left; Bethany is next to me to my left (wearing the bandana)… We had just had an amazing class and were, simply put, just so purely happy to know each other and be in each others’ presence that morning.  This photo makes me smile every time I look at it.  Oh…and hopefully no one involved minds my posting a sweaty picture of them to the internet!”