The body of your dreams? I'm kind of shocked I even said that myself. But I don't mean the typical fantasy of looking like the model on the magazine. I don't even want you to compare yourself to anyone. I want you to be able to become happier, stronger and comfortable in your own skin. That is the ultimate goal. You know why? Because when you feel good, you'll be able to do more with life. You'll have the confidence to make your dreams come true, and hopefully help people along the way.
This is something I struggled with for most of my life. How did I truly find happiness, love the workouts I do, and just feel good about myself? Well, it all started with getting out of my comfort zone and experimenting with workouts that I enjoy, and that help me get to my personal goals. Because if you're working hard and aren't seeing the results you want, then that can become extremely frustrating.
Initially, I thought I had to do hours of cardio a day to have a sexy, strong body with popping abs. Boy, was I wrong! Let me introduce you to something called HIIT (high intensity interval training). I'm sure you know what it is by now, or at least heard the term before. The purpose of HIIT is to push yourself to your maximum for a certain working interval, and then resting for another period of time. HIIT includes high intensity exercises that get your heart-rate sky-rocketing so you burn fat like crazy. It also incorporates strengthening exercises like pushups, crunches, and plank movements to build strong, lean muscle.
What's my favorite way to do HIIT right now? Well, it's actually something called PIIT.
Pilates Intense Interval Training. Why do I love PIIT? Well, because it combines two of my favorite things. POP Pilates and HIIT! As a POP Pilates instructor, I obviously love Pilates because it's such a functional way of exercising. You don't need any equipment to sculpt a six-pack. You don't need any equipment to bust out those push-ups or tone any part of your body. It's beautiful, graceful, and makes me feel like a princess (and who doesn't want to feel like a princess?).
PIIT will build the strongest, sexiest abs ever because:
1. That's what Pilates focuses on - your core
2. With HIIT you'll be burning fat so your abs can show through!
Now, let's be real. PIIT is not easy. It's actually really hard. You might not be able to finish without taking a longer break than you're "supposed" to. You might have to modify a lot of the exercises at first. But personally, to me, those are all GOOD SIGNS. That means your body is working extremely hard. And you know what happens when you work extremely hard? You see results. You feel good about yourself. You're proud of what you're doing.
PIIT is a 28 day program created by Cassey Ho (@blogilates). It's only $40USD and once you purchase PIIT 1.0, it's yours forever. You can continue do to the workouts as long as you like. So, it's not like a one-time thing. You do it. See results. Stop. Then go back to old habits. It's something that you can do throughout your entire workout life. Learn more about PIIT HERE.
The next piece to the puzzle is my current fave way to workout - weight lifting. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm definitely the girl that started out scared, intimidated, and not knowing what to do. It's scary going into a gym with all these machines and weights! You don't know if you're doing the exercises correctly. You think people are looking at you weird. So, I get it, it's difficult to begin! But, you seriously just need to get over it. Get uncomfortable and just do it - with some research and education before you start of course ;)
So what did I do when I first stepped into the gym? I had a personal training session with a PT at my gym. She basically showed me how to work all the machines and do the exercises with proper form. She put me on a basic program that I quickly quit. Let me explain why I quit her program. She put put me on a full-body routine 3 times a week. But I knew I wanted to train more of a bodybuilder style with certain workout splits. With all that being said, her PT session was EXTREMELY beneficial and I would recommend doing it if you're starting new at a gym. It will get you comfortable with the equipment and give you confidence in the gym.
Side note: I'm actually really good friends with this PT and it makes gym life so much better when you go there and are friendly with the staff, can talk about life and fitness and all that stuff.
Anyways, back to working out! So, now my lifting routine looks something like this.
Day 1: Back + Biceps
Day 2: Legs - Quad Focused
Day 3: Shoulders + Triceps
Day 4: Legs - Hamstring/Glute Focused
I'll either repeat that or the next day would be rest and then repeat. I don't do the exact workout for each of these days. I like to switch things up, but my main lifts are the same, and I like playing around with super-sets. Always start your workouts with the "hardest" lifts. For example, start off Leg Day (after your warm-up) with squatting, then dead lifting. Or start off Back Day with bent over barbell rows, dumbbell rows and wide lat pull downs. Get the "hardest" work out of the way while you're strong and fresh.
I learn A LOT about weight lifting from many of my friends who are really into power lifting and bodybuilding. I talk to the staff at the gym all the time about my goals and how to improve. I educate myself online through bodybuilding.com or www.exrx.net.
There's no secret to it. It's just about learning how to perform the exercises and creating a workout for your goals.
So, to me weight lifting, with a few PIIT sessions, results in a body that is strong, sexy, flexible, and most importantly ... HAPPY. It's not about vanity. When it comes down to it, it's how you feel, and when you feel good, you'll thrive in all areas of your life. And to me, that's when you have the body of your dreams.