There are 148 hours in every week. I only use 3 of them for working out, and that’s plenty. Yes, you can workout just three hours a week and be healthy and slender. To prove my point, I am going way out on a limb and showing pictures of my full body (and my sweet doggy Sky, who just passed away, seeing this pictures breaks my heart! He was notorious for photo bombing!).
Several people have asked me what my workout routine is like, and I thought in honor of the new year and the resolutions that go with it, I would talk about my routine.
I grew up dancing. I started at age 2 and continued to dance through college. It had always been my main source of exercise. I started going to yoga classes at age 13 and I did track and soccer a little bit in middle school and high school, but most of my muscle memory is from dance.
That muscle memory is really great because my body shapes and tones up pretty easily. And despite whatever weight I have been at (by the end of my pregnancy with Penelope I was over 110 pounds heavier than I am now), I have kept a nice shape. Don’t forget about my number one weight loss tip and my tip for losing 3 – 4 pounds of water weight in 48 – 72 hours.
Of course, all this isn’t possible without a healthy, organic, natural diet, eaten in proper portions. If you’re cramming sugary snacks, fast food, and other crap down your throat, no amount of working out is going to make you look or feel good. But if you’re doing all that stuff right, then just a little bit of exercise goes a long way!
After my daughter was born I did workout classes with a personal trainer and a couple of friends. The biggest thing I learned from that time was to be consistent with your workouts. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy or super intense, it just needs to be consistent. Working out with friends is a great way to make that happen. I looked forward to my workouts each week because we could talk and catch up.
I highly recommend getting a small group of friends together and committing to a time and place to workout. If you can get a personal trainer, great, but you really don’t need one. You just need you and your friends to make the commitment. You could do something fun like each week one friend is responsible for finding the workout routine.
Another big key is variation. Don’t do the same work out every day, every week. Your muscles will get used to it, and they will require less and less energy to accomplish the exercises. This means the results won’t be as dramatic from the same workout as when you first started doing it.
- Now that I work out on my own, I just go to Pinterest (there’s a wealth of information on types of workouts and routines) and find an ab workout, a leg workout and an arm workout. Then I do two sets of each, and each set is usually twenty. If I need to do a leg or an arm one at a time, it’s 20 each side. It usually takes me about 20 to 25 minutes total. I do this two or three times a week.
- On a good week, I go to a yoga class. I try to make that one class a hot yoga class, but if it is a regular flow or even a gentle yoga class, that’s fine, too. I like going to a class so I can get out of the house and away from my family for a bit, but I also do yoga or stretching in small spurts throughout the day all week long at home.
- Twice a week I go for a walk/sprint. This is only a 20 minute walk/sprint. I warm up for a few minutes and then I alternate sprinting as fast as I can (I like to imagine a bear or lion is chasing me and I am running for my life!) and then walking to cool down. I started doing this last summer when it started getting hot and I couldn’t run for 30 – 40 minutes without getting overheated and I started doing this as way to cool down. Later I found out it is actually one of the most effective ways to do cardio.
Now, if you are overweight, working out 20 minutes three times a week is not going to help you shred fat super fast, but you will eventually if you stay consistent. My routine is all you need to do for slightly toning up and maintaining muscle mass. Some experts say that working out more than 4 hours a week is too much for a woman to stay healthy and not deplete the body of nutrients and vital energy. Also, of note, we are a very active family and usually go on a hike once a week and all our trips and vacations include a lot of walking/hiking/biking/surfing etc. So I don’t consider that time my “workout” time, but my normal “active” lifestyle.
So am I a super model with a perfect, flat belly, that could grace the cover a magazine in my swim suit? Um, no. Are my arms as cut as Kelly Ripa’s? Ah, no. Do I consider myself a skinny girl like Bethenny Frankel? No. But I do consider myself slender and at a healthy weight.
I am mostly happy with the way I look. I feel good in 90% of clothes, and feel attractive. I am a perfectly normal and healthy size six. Sometimes I really wish I didn’t have a little belly pouch, but even when I was 5 pounds skinnier than I am now, I still had it! I have talked to my acupuncture doctor and many other wellness professionals about it, based on my current diet and lifestyle, it’s pretty much genetic and where I hold my extra fat. Lucky me.
But the most important thing is that I am healthy. And I also don’t spend a million hours working out. I spend a little over 3 hours a week “working out”. If having cut arms and perfect flat abs are very important to you, then just workout a little bit more than me and cut out all sugar, grains and starches. But remember all those women you see with cut abs and arms and not a single ounce of fat are usually not healthy.
Those kinds of bodies are not really what a healthy (and fertile) woman is supposed to look like. It’s just something our culture says we are supposed to look like. They are probably deficient in calories and maybe even suffering from bone loss, infertility or a whole host of other health issue. To learn more about the Female Athlete Triad check out this post.
The pictures above let you see what I mean. I am pretty muscular, pretty slender, but I don’t look like a skeleton and I have a little pooch and love handles still. And it’s all good\\