Two Skin Care Ingredients That Will Change Your Skin

Hi everyone,

I haven’t done a post on skin care in a bit so I wanted to share my two recently added ingredients that have changed my skin for the better.

The ingredients include collagen and glycolic acid. If used appropriately, I guarantee you will see a noticeable difference! Let me touch on the benefits and properties of each, and describe how I have integrated them into my daily skin care.

C o l l a g e n 

Collagen is essentially an anti-aging protein. It is even found in our muscles, tendons, and bones. It is essential for the healthy appearance of your skin, especially by boosting skin elasticity.

Fine lines/ wrinkles: As you age, you lose collagen steadily over time. This is completely natural, however, with the addition of sun exposure, environmental toxins, and diet, collagen loss can be additionally decreased.

Improvement of general skin tone: Making your skin tone a priority not only makes for a more youthful appearance, it also improves your self-esteem and overall mental health in regards to your skin. Most skin collagen is located in the dermis, however, the amino acids in this particular protein aid the outer epidermis in hydration and a smoother appearance.

Moisturizer: Collagen is a very effective moisturizer, when take internally and as a topical moisturizer. In other words, collagen plumps up your skin, thus helping diminish lines and imperfections as results of dryness and dehydration.

Joint health: In addition to the skin benefits, collagen aids in joint health, which compliments an active and healthy lifestyle.

In order to really get the full benefits of collagen, I recommend using a skin care product with it as a primary ingredient, such as the PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator I’m currently loving. I have also had great results by taking it in powder form, and the brand I use is below. GNC has the collagen for a really reasonable price, and the brand is considered the best for what you’re getting.

Collagen products I currently use:

➳ PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator

link: https://www.pcaskin.com/collagen-hydrator.html

➳ GNC’s NeoCell Super Collagen

link: http://www.gnc.com/NeoCell-Super-Collagen-Type-1-3/product.jsp?productId=3704754

G l y c o l i c  A c i d

Glycolic acid is a great multi-tasker of an ingredient. It is in the AHA compound group (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). It originates from sugar cane. Given how small of a molecule it is, it can penetrate deeper into  the dermis when compared to other compounds.

Exfoliator: Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells with its exfoliation properties, without physically aggravating the skin. This helps dullness of skin due to outer layer dryness or flakes, and your skin will be more radiant when that layer is sloughed away. I am also completely sold on chemical versus physical exfoliation, to better cater to sensitivity.

Diminishes pores: Pores often get clogged on the surface layer of the skin due to oil, dirt, and makeup.

Hyperpigmentation: glycolic acid diminishes dark marks and redness by its rejuvenation of the outer skin layer.

I currently use glycolic acid as an occasional “peel” for when my skin is starting to look a little dull. Glycolic acid cleansers are also popular, however, when purchasing a cleanser with glycolic acid be sure to keep your skin type in mind. Higher concentrations of the acid can in turn worsen redness or cause irritation, if your skin is not adjusted. The great thing about adding it in a cleanser is it will not be sitting on your skin for a long time, but you will still get the benefits.

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Of course it is very beneficial to eat a healthy diet and exercise to get a healthier complexion, however, sometimes you need an extra boost from the right ingredients. Climate, skin type, and age play major roles in how your skin appears on the surface, and these boosts can preserve the health of your skin even as you age.

*A common myth: You don’t need to use anti-aging ingredients and products until you are older.

I reject this statement because you are never too young to take care of your largest organ. You may be surprised at the improvements anti-aging essentials can do for you!

In addition to the above information about collagen and glycolic acid, these are some of my mainstay skin care rules for a healthy complexion:

➳ Do not fall asleep with your makeup on. This may seem obvious, but coming from someone with naturally dry skin, sleeping in your makeup is very drying and your pores are being clogged as you sleep for hours. If you’re having a lazy moment, even using makeup wipes would be a better alternative. That gets to my next rule.

➳ Use proper cleansing methods. I prefer to double cleanse, first with a micellar water to get my makeup off and then I use an actual cleanser for a deeper clean. I do not use makeup wipes because these must be made with preservative chemicals to kill bacteria. You might want to switch to micellar water or a cleansing oil without strange unpronounceable ingredients! *I use the Garnier micellar water with the pink cap*

➳ Don’t over- exfoliate. I get nervous when someone tells me they scrub their face daily with a physical exfoliator. Some even use them twice a day. The weird thing about exfoliating is that too much of it will actually cause the problems you’re trying to scrub away (dry flakes and dead skin). I like to use chemical exfoliators with active ingredients like glycolic acid, so I don’t have to physically scrub my face with beads.

➳ Always check ingredients when you are buying anything that will go on your face. Get to know your skin type and any sensitivity you might have to specific ingredients. It’s always wise to be aware of the contents you’re putting money towards.

I hope you enjoyed this skin care check-in! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

Fitness Trackers & My Fitbit Charge 2 Review

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone had a great NYE and holiday break, which brings me to my review of the Fitbit Charge 2. I jumped right into that because I’m excited to share its features! Probably a bit too excited.

When looking at fitness trackers, you may be asking yourself:

➳Do I need a tracker? Or is it just another thing I have to charge?

➳What brand of tracker is the best for different workouts?

➳Which Fitbit would be right for me and my routine?

➳Are these trackers aesthetically acceptable for daily wear? (shout out to others that think this way)

Let me tackle each of these based off of my final choice of the Charge 2.

In regards to needing a tracker, this of course depends on your fitness goals and how organized you wish to be with your fitness routine. If you think you would benefit from looking at numerical goals for workouts, I think you should consider one. Checking your heart rate, steps, sleep quality, and meal tracking, these all directly relate to a healthy and active lifestyle. Actually seeing the numbers can motivate you to make necessary changes.

There are many brands of fitness trackers currently on the market, and I went straight to customer reviews for this one. The main thing to look for in my opinion is accuracy of the actual data on the tracker. Some trackers are better suited for runners, for instance. Some are water resistant while some can’t take more than the average sweat session. It really depends on how much you want to spend, how many features you want the device to have, and what types of activities you most frequently do.

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Some comparisons:

The Garmin VivoSmart HR+ was named the Fitness Tracker of the year for 2016. This particular tracker is water resistance whereas the Charge 2 is not. It has the features as high up as GPS, but it retails quite a bit higher over $200 and is described as pretty chunky looking on the wrist (again, for the aesthetic folks).

Even comparing those two, the Fitbit Charge 2 retails for less around $150 but does not have GPS and is not water resistant. I like to pair my phone with the tracker and I don’t mind going in the shower without it, so these details don’t matter to me personally.

There is another more basic tracker called Moov Now, a small and round tracker that can go around your leg or clip on. It has much less features, but is said to be a great choice for getting in shape and particularly for longer intensity workouts such as running, cycling, and swimming. It retails for much less at around $60.

The Tom Tom Touch is another tracker that is mainly targeted for weight loss. You get very accurate data of your body fat composition as well as muscle percentage. It retails fairly high at about $130, however, you also get the features of daily steps, sleep quality, and heart rate.

As for the Apple watch, it retails too high for what it is in my opinion. In addition, it is basically a second phone due to its phone call alerts and texts, as well as ability to play music. This drains the battery life of the iPhone paired to it. and i’ve read that the watch’s battery life averages at about 18 hours. My Charge lasts up to 5 days!

Lastly, I have seen a lot of Polar A360’s on Instagram. This fitness tracker is definitely cool looking, to give it aesthetic credit. It is said to have a great full-color display for even outdoor light, is waterproof, and it can be directly connected to a USB port to charge. Essentially though, it not having GPS makes it at the same level of features as the Charge 2 except for it being waterproof, and the Polar A360 retails about $50 higher.

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Now getting more specific with which Fitbit device could be right for you:

I was going between the Alta, the Charge 2, and the Blaze. I would suggest going on the Fitbit website and looking at the features of each device, as well as a comparison chart.

Essentially, I didn’t want GPS tracking from the Surge, and I thought the Blaze, although really interesting looking with the display face, was too bulky for daily wear. The Charge had heart rate monitoring which the Alta did not, So it was really a process of elimination there based off of features.

As for aesthetic, I actually really like the look of my Charge 2 for daily wear. I got the black band with the plum purple for a replacement. I think it’s a great size, however, most men I have seen including my trainer like the look and size of the Blaze! When doing additional research, many women stated that the Alta, being slimmer than the Charge 2, was a bit more discrete and they preferred that. It’s all up to you! All of that aside though, don’t feel self conscious about wearing a fitness tracker. You’re on your way to being a healthier version of yourself.

I’ve been loving my Fitbit for multiple reasons. I consider myself a healthy person who goes to the gym on average 6 days a week, but we can always do better. We can always be better. I have already learned:

➳how much sleep I really need to have enough energy

➳how much protein and other essential dietary needs I can improve on

➳how active I am during the day in terms of steps and calories burned

and on top of that I have an app of fitness data to track my progress.

I find myself more motivated and organized to get the most out of my workouts.

The standout con I have noticed about the Charge 2 is the screen responsiveness, due to the fact that you have to tap the screen a certain way to get the displays to switch. I haven’t had an issue with this personally. Another piece of advice is to be sure to place the tracker correctly when exercising and when you’re sleeping, in terms of higher or lower on the wrist and tightness. The instruction manual that comes with the device touches on this.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so having a fitness tracker excites me as opposed to makes me dread having to keep track of another device. I can understand the fact that our society is in love with technology, but remember, this is a fitness and health device aimed to benefit you not distract you 🙂 .

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I hope this review of the Charge 2 and the fitness tracker comparison was helpful for those looking into investing!

Get out and sweat! xx

♥  Kelly

 

 

 

 

♥ New Year’s Resolutions/ Motivations!♥

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone’s December weeks have been filled with great memories to end 2016! I wanted to open up discussion to the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. I have to admit I do not do these every year. However, being graduated from college and finally having time to dive into my passions, I want to hold myself accountable to continue to push boundaries and have more amazing experiences.

I have categorized my resolutions into the following: fitness, health, career development, creativity, and adventures. These may seem like too many categories to successfully target, but they’re all really important for goal setting. I hope you find them relatable in your own goal setting for 2017.

➳ FITNESS (and a little about my fitness story)

Fitness has meant different things to me over the years. Being a college athlete meant planned workouts with specific programs that catered to better performance in one sport. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I was a bit disoriented once I left the security blanket of college athletics, because I didn’t know what to train for anymore. I didn’t have matches to prepare for. When you don’t have something to work for, you lose motivation sometimes. But do you want to know what my motivation became? The simple answer is just self contentment.

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Above is a transformation picture I posted on my Instagram recently showing a major time jump between 2012 (left) to today (right). In 2012 I was going to modeling agencies, and spending too much time on the elliptical and not enough time hitting the weights. I wasn’t completely confident in my body. I was never empowered by it. Fast forward to today when I’m graduated and spending 4 days a week at least smashing out weight training (with a trainer once a week!). I’ve never seen more progress, and I’m beginning to love my body for real, for my own standards of beauty. Self-love is powerful, guys.

That being said, here are my fitness goals:

♥ Build my bum. I honestly really want to gain this curve, and I’m making progress! Whenever I do legs I make an effort to work my bum.

♥ Strengthen my lower back. It’s a common complaint to avoid “muffin tops,” and my lower back has never been really targeted in previous workout routines. Hi deadlifts!

♥ Be able to do 3 legitimate pull-ups. I say 3 because I’ve never done one in my life. I use the assisted pull-up machine for now, so I’m preparing for that magic.

♥ See a steady progression of my body fat percentage. When I started my personal training, there was nothing wrong with my body. I would wear crop tops or short shorts or even wear bikinis all summer long, I just didn’t have the muscle. A tip: keep lifting HEAVIER. Ladies, do not stay at the plateau of 5 or 10 lb dumbbells. Keep going up in weight and you’ll notice that you are actually shredding and losing fat, not “bulking.”

➳ HEALTH

Always aim to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. This includes mental and physical health. If you’ve noticed potential improvements you could make throughout this year, whether large or small, really focus on those! I’m a Public Health major and a gym goer, but I still have quite a long list in my head of changes I could make in this department.

My health goals:

♥ Drink the daily recommended water intake. I am so terrible at getting my daily water. I love Kombucha and fruity things, and I often grab other options besides just water. This is a major goal of mine to boost my hydration levels. I am stoked on a christmas gift  of a filtered bottle to infuse with fruits for my water. Now I just have to use it. 🙂

♥ Get better, more regulated sleep. I got a solid 5-6 hours a night through my college career, and that’s not great. My Fitbit has been reminding me that my average need of sleep is 7 1/2 hours. Basically I was reminded that I was sleep deprived for four years.

♥ Gratitude. This world is full of so many individuals, and many do not have the opportunities we can take for granted. I want to be grateful of what I have in life and frequently remind myself of this, in order to not get negative over things that will change for the better in time.

♥ Meditation. I want to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. Whether it is 5 minutes or 20, I think this is a great way to dip out of reality and center yourself.

♥ Get more fresh air. Because fresh air, in the middle of nowhere, on top of a mountain, in the middle of a rainstorm, means a fresh mind.

♥ Focus hard on my nutrition. I need to up my protein intake given I’m a pescatarian, and I need to eat multiple small meals a day to keep me well nourished. I plan to dedicate myself to food tracking via My Fitness Pal and my Fitbit.

➳ CAREER DEVELOPMENT

We all are working towards something. College brings on that idea, and how we are released into the world of possibility, elevator talks, interviews…

I always use the process of elimination for my potential career. Internships have been helpful for me in this way to give me an idea of what I don’t want. I have recently learned I cannot work in an office full-time. I will probably be let go due to spinning in circles in my chair with zero creativity. I don’t know about you, but office settings with fluorescent lighting kill my creative vibes.

My career goals:

♥ Keep record of things I learn from each job. Likes and dislikes!

♥ Build my blog and pursue health and wellness. I love photography and writing, and sharing my health and fitness journey on Instagram and on this platform. I look forward to where this path takes me.

♥ Decide on graduate school

♥ Establish a personal brand for myself.

♥ Collaborate with a fitness brand with my blogging and online content

Essentially, I want to be a creative and make this my life and job. I see myself blogging from Iceland, or Spain, maybe even from Australia to visit my friends over there!

➳ CREATIVITY

♥ Get back into sketching. I have accumulated sketch pads and pencils that haven’t been used in under a year. I miss driving someplace to people watch and channel those sights into sketches.

♥ Start a YouTube channel. I’ve considered this for a while, but I am more used to still shots as opposed to video. We shall see!

♥ Continue with my poetry. I have been writing poetry since Freshman year of college and it’s a great mental release.

♥ Get crafty. I see things in the store like planetarium, and I tell myself I could just make one instead. And I never do. So getting more crafty is going on the list.

➳ ADVENTURES

My age group has been referred to as millennia. It is also a time in society where creatives are said to be flourishing. Companies and organizations are now seeking creative individuals to compliment their values, their missions. I want to stay creative, and stay adventurous.

♥ Go on two adventures per month at minimum. This could be a small road trip or a complete day of wandering, but this will be my bare minimum. I want to feel in the moment more, not looking towards future events. I don’t have to switch classrooms when the clock ticks anymore, so I have zero excuse not to fill my time more with adventurous activities.

♥ Set aside money for plane tickets. I want to see more places, of course. Next stop, Iceland!

*pause in the goal setting*

I want to be honest and say my three financial investments in life are currently skin care, fitness, and travel aspirations.

♥ Explore my camera more and as I add lenses and become less of an amateur, I want to collaborate more with other bloggers near me

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That was a long list, my apologies if it was a bit too much. I am a over-thinker after all.

Also, here’s tonight’s sunset.

sunset

I’d love to hear about your New Year’s Resolutions. Leave a comment with your ideas and I hope you all have a sparkly last day of the year! xx

Follow my fitness journey and health posts on my Instagram @kmzwicker

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Weekend Outdoor Workout

Hi everyone,

In light of my long seasonal work hours this weekend, I’m posting my favorite outdoor workouts that keep me in shape when I don’t visit my gym. They’re simple, and they don’t require any extra equipment.

Cardio 

Running stairs: Your heart rate increases and the constant climbing and descending pushes your muscles to work harder. You get the cardiovascular activity as well as the muscle-building. Because of the step incline, the activity is engaging more of your leg muscles and is easier on your joints. Not to mention running stairs is great for toning your glutes.

Trail running: I personally want to encourage trail running over pavement due to the extra cushion on the joints. I’ve had experience with shin splints, and the thought of running on pavement makes me cringe. Trails are also more therapeutic, given you are surrounded by forest coverage and nature as opposed to traffic and cement.

Uphill sprinting: This is a great shorter, high intensity cardio workout

HIIT

If you have a park bench or something similar:

  1. Single leg step-ups
  2. Tricep dips
  3. Decline push-ups

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If you want to really make your arms burn:

Commandos: these are done just with your bodyweight, and they are great for toning

Push-ups: these are a standard arm workout with no equipment and done with bodyweight

For your abs:

Mountain climbers: These are so effective for the abdominals. I usually really start to feel them at 30-40 reps!

Straight leg raises: Be sure to support your back by placing your hands slightly underneath

Ab bikes: I prefer to do these slow to really target my abdominals correctly. I often see people rushing through these and I never find them as effective that way!

*For the ab exercises above, make sure to keep your core engaged the entire time to get the best possible tone*

Legs:

Squats: These are so common because they’re great for building your leg definition as well as your glute muscles. I like to get really low with my squats to better train all of my leg muscles, including my hamstrings.

Lunges: I do either reverse lunges or walking lunges, depending on space. If you have a lot of it, aim for doing 20 walking lunges each leg in one set.

*With squats and lunges, be sure not to let your knees come over your toes in sake of your form*

Ready to get outside and sweat? Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

Strength Training Myths + My Workout Tips

What’s on my mind: the idea that girls will bulk if they lift anything over 10 lbs.

I wanted to try to help this clarification, mainly because girls and women often find it questionable when built men say females won’t bulk. How do you know for sure? It actually has to do with the fact that women have much lower levels of testosterone than men. However, if you’re looking for other reasons to ease you into heavier weight training, I’ve come up with the reasons I told myself after research as well as reliance on qualified professionals.

Women tone through heavier weight training as opposed to “bulking” like men, because they don’t gain the added mass on top of the muscle. The result is toned muscle. This is a great thing, for the fat that surrounded the developed muscle reduces, and you are left with a toned physique.

It should be noted that reps and sets make a big difference to the type of training you’re trying to do, as well as recovery time. Some are training with more weight and less reps for more muscle, and some are doing less weight and more reps for more endurance. It really depends on you. Simply lifting heavier weights will not make you bulky, in fact, it’s important to increase weight to continue gaining benefits from your exercises. Your body will adjust to a stagnant routine, and you will be left with zero progress. 

Bulking is calorie dependent. If you eat more calories than you are burning, then there is a chance you will experience weight gain. And sometimes when you start lifting heavier you have a higher appetite, so make sure to follow the next tip: diet.

It’s a false assumption that increased gym time or adding weight training to your routine means you can slack more on your diet. This is not true at all! I have personally experienced myself needing more protein with my new workouts, but I focus on eating clean. Eating clean and working out will get you so much farther than you think. So much of what you see in the mirror comes from what you’re eating in the kitchen! It is said by trainers that diet is 80-90% of your fat loss. 

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I also need to pay special attention to the seemingly universal rule that women should do sets of 10 reps. It has been ingrained in our heads that we shouldn’t do more than 10 reps, when in reality we could probably do 30 per set with those small dumbbells we always carry to our corners out of everyone’s way. Listen to your body and also listen to qualified trainers that could give you a free consultation at your local gym. You may be surprised with what your body can do. 

There’s no universal workout routine for everyone. People have different body types, fat distribution and problem areas, as well as metabolisms. It’s not realistic to compare your workout routine to someone else’s to achieve your desired results.

Also take note that women you see on magazine covers that specialize in weight training also take supplements to enhance their muscles. Not everyone takes supplements. I personally just use protein powder, a plant-based one from Vega, in order to increase the protein missing from my pescatarian diet.

Your personal genetic makeup plays a huge role in how your muscle develops, as well as fat reduction. Everyone loses fat in certain places in a certain order. In other words, if you are trying to focus on two specific areas as priorities, you might lose the fat in other areas first due to your genetic makeup. This process takes time.

If you’re looking for an even leaner look, integrate cardio into your routine, but don’t overdo it and deplete the muscle you’ve worked hard for. I like to do no more than 20 minutes of cardio at my gym sessions.

There is also the theory that men and women have to train differently. This isn’t entirely true. I go through workouts with my trainer or with guy friends in the gym and I’ll do the same exercises as them. Yes, I will be using less weight, but that’s because I’m not strong enough to do the heavier weight with correct form. So do not avoid workouts thinking they are gender specific, because this is also a myth.   

Bottom line: train the way you want to train. There are many different types of training to choose from, however, adding weight training can only benefit weight loss and toning of the muscles. My current mix of training is as follows:

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) : lots of jump squats, mountain climbers, etc to boost my heart rate up

Weight training: personal training with heavier weights and getting new material!

Cardio: believe it or not I actually get very bored doing cardio now. But when I do I like to do 10 minutes warm-up doing sprint intervals on the treadmill or the elliptical, and then often end weight training with 10 minutes on the stair master. This gives me a variety. Sometimes my shins bother me from the treadmill, so if you have the same issue, choose a lower impact cardio workout with the bike or elliptical.

Yoga and Pilates: I love yoga for flexibility and Pilates for toning and core. I would highly recommend integrating them into your weekly routine, and there are plenty of online videos to follow if your schedule doesn’t allow time to go to a class. 

I hope these tips and clarifications helped anyone deciding on a new workout routine! Feel free to ask questions on the above content in the comment section below.

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For my fitness journey, refer to my Instagram. My username is @kmzwicker

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

Affordable Gym Gear and Where to Buy it

What’s on my mind: Ways of getting quality and fashionable gym gear, without the high cost. Interested? Read on, because these stores contain beautiful bargains. It’s all about the bargains.

First off, I want to love the gym gear I work out in and feel comfortable, because I’m doing a lot of movements that require both flexibility from me and the fabric. Getting super low for squats or doing shoulder presses, quality gym gear is key.

The top places I have found steals:

  1. TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s: These stores have the best deals. I find brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Athleta in the fitness sections. Recently I got a pair of Nike cropped tights for $29, regularly around $85. You save a ton of money scouting these stores. Another thing to look for are zip ups and sweatshirts. I have also gotten my protein shaker, jump ropes, yoga mats, as well as free weights from one of these.
  2. Costco: I know Costco is a beautiful place due to free food samples, but the clothing section is actually pretty sweet. There are regular brands such as Calvin Klein or Adidas, and then less known brands that have recently collaborated with Costco. Ladies: the tights featured in the above photo are from Costco, a brand called Tufts Athletics. I bought two pairs, each for $16.99. They are super comfortable and flattering on, and the patterned one is fun to wear to weight sessions.
  3. Nordstrom Rack: This one is lower on the list because this store is such a hit or miss for me to find something, and usually the gym gear is shoes not clothing. Then again, I am very picky about running shoes in terms of arch support. However, if you want to snag a pair of Nikes for maybe $60 or less, go here.
  4. Target: So Target carries a lot of gear made by Champion, and I have on occasion gotten tights from there that lasted a long time. I find the brand to fade faster than higher end ones like Nike and Adidas, but the cost is super reasonable.
  5. Amazon: Shout out to those addicted to Amazon prime for fast deliveries and bargains. You find some really good gear and workout accessories on here. I purchased a spiked foam roller for my shin splints in college, made by a company is Utah. One of the best things ever, although rolling out shins is not a pleasant thing.

Another sidenote: I did work for Athleta for a year, and I absolutely love their clothes. The quality is amazing and the clothes are completely functional. However, it didn’t make the list because I wouldn’t consider the store “affordable” for many people. Athleta is a great store to splurge on. The reason why I own 5 pairs of yoga pants (as well as tights) from there and some tops is because I had a 50% discount as an employee. If you’re looking for a retail job and live in the gym, consider working there because you’ll be covered for a while.

These are the places I think of for the best deals on workout gear. Why buy full price when you don’t have to?

Where is your favorite place to get gym gear? I’d love any other recommendations for steals. Comment below! xx

-Kelly

 

Swapping Cardio for Weights

Hi everyone,

We all have an idea of what it means to be healthy. Eat right, workout, live an active lifestyle within an increasingly sedentary society. Seems simple, right? What if you are doing these things to live that healthy lifestyle, but begin to lose the results? Change is then going to become the solution to your problem. It was for me.

Being a college athlete for four years, I was always doing mass amounts of cardio training, mostly on the tennis court. Hours were spent in high intensity competition or repetitive drilling. Weight training and HIIT workouts were also included in team workouts, however, cardio was the dominant exercise. If you’re curious what happens when you graduate from this lifestyle and try to establish a new routine, I’ll share what I learned in this time period about fitness.

I have always been dedicated to the gym, mostly going 6 days a week without fail. When I graduated this summer I continued going on 45 minute runs and doing very similar weight training, and I saw myself hit a plateau. My routine was stagnant. I’ve been doing personal training for two weeks now, a program I never associated with because I didn’t think I needed to be coached to workout. Let me clear this up. You can utilize some training sessions even if you’re a gym junkie.

By no means am I saying personal training is essential to meeting your goals, it’s just a challenge that will only bring benefits. I am doing all new workouts that test me in new ways, and, most importantly, i’ve completely switched my workout routine ratio of weights to cardio.

My former tentative post-graduation fitness routine:

  • Cardio approximately 45 mins a day
  • Weights 2-3 times a week
  • Mat workouts (abs, glutes, etc)
  • *to note: I was using primarily free weights just up to 10 lbs

Current routine:

  • Cardio just 3 days a week for 20 minutes
    • Mixing it up between the stair stepper, treadmill, stair runs outside etc
  • Weights up to 4 days a week
    • Every day is working different muscles
      • legs, arms, back, shoulders, glutes
      • Beginning at heaviest weight for true form and decreasing weight each set of reps
  • I try to incorporate a pilates or yoga class once a week, because stretching is key to preventing injury. I also love the relaxation part of these, given the strenuous nature of weight lifting.

I’m going to be 100% honest, I’ve never been pushed this hard in the gym with weights. Tennis was so heavily based on endurance and how long I could last during match points, I didn’t spend a lot of time on the machines. Now I spend most of my time on them.

The best part: There are only benefits. I haven’t found any reasoning to second guess the investment of personal training or the swapped routine. I have more energy because weight training fatigues only my muscles, instead of making me feel sluggish. My muscle composition is already improved. I’m learning a lot more about what my body needs from workouts, to better compliment my other healthy habits.

Another awesome part about all of this: I’m never bored. There are days I skip cardio because I don’t need it. At a certain point, cardio begins to take away the muscle you work so hard for.

muscle > fat 

strong > everything?

I was careful with the second bold statement above, because there’s nothing “wrong” with anyone’s body. Everyone has different genetics. I just personally wasn’t satisfied anymore with just being “fit.” Because what is fit? I’m a person that functions off of constant improvement and balance (Libra issues). Now my gym routine is included in that as well.

It’s slightly uncomfortable at first to put my trust into another person to push me to get better results, but the truth remains that I didn’t know enough about what it takes to gain proper muscle composition. I wasn’t aware how helpful it was to keep a training journal to record progress and BMI updates. I didn’t know the potential of my own body. Someone had to tell me to stop running and get on the bench.

I’m not going to fully dive into the gender discussion about girls’ incessant need to complete cardio sessions, because I’m guilty for that blind reliance as well.

The women I admire most and follow through web content and Instagram lift weights on a constant basis. Weights are your best friend. Cardio is an accessory to weights. Looking at it this way has really helped me move forward.

Sometimes you need a little assistance separating myths from facts.

Effective this week, I’m going to be adding workout routines, gym gear posts, as well as on-the-go nutritious meals that I stick to on a weekly basis.

I’m really excited to be expanding my content and posting more regularly, and thank you so much to those who have already been following for more!

Comment below on your favorite workout, or your next fitness goal you desire most.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly