Fitness Favorites

I think it's pretty obvious that health and fitness are two of my biggest passions! However, just because I workout about 6 times a week doesn't mean that I'm always in the mood to or have the motivation! I've definitely had days where I succumb to that lack of motivation and skip a workout; I mean, that's a part of everyone's fitness process! But honestly, these days I've been really good about getting in my workouts whether its a hike, sprints, or bringing myself to the gym. No, a flip didn't just switch. I genuinely think that the things I've recently included into my health and fitness lifestyle have helped create my recipe for success. I know it can be hard to figure out what type of workouts, what kind of apparel/shoes, and what sort of supplements/diet tips work best for you, so today I'm sharing with you all my fitness favorites! These are things I have used to help encourage, strengthen, and maintain my love and progress for fitness, and my hope is that it might do the same for you! Before I get started, a little PSA: This is what works for ME. I truly feel that these things I'm about to mention will help you as well, but if they don't, that's okay. Nothing is a one-size fits all. Everyone is different and your fitness journey is something you should totally tailor to yourself. So, like always, take everything with a grain of salt! But enough ranting, here are my fitness favs:

FAVORITE PLACES TO WORKOUT:

I'm a big fan of group classes like spin classes, HIIT classes, yoga, and other circuit training facilities. However, lately I've been loving doing my own thing. For me, it's important to switch things up in order to maintain my love for training, so this means less group classes and more individual workouts! It's also nice not having to worry about making it to a 10 am workout and just going to workout when I have the time, because each day is totally different for me! If you're someone whose schedule is always different or you're always busy, don't set yourself up for failure by signing up for a class you might not be able to attend; just get your workout in when you can!

Local gym: I love going to the gym when I'm strength training specific muscle groups. Sometimes I go with a workout written out, other times I go and make it up as I walk around the gym. It's just nice to have access to dumbbells, machines, and other equipment when working on certain muscle groups! 

Outside: Although I'm really loving the gym right now (especially on days when the weathers crappy), I will always, ALWAYS prefer exercising outside rather than indoors. I feel like a lot of people use not having a gym pass as an excuse to not workout; however, if you have a phone and the outdoors, you're perfectly set. What I do for long cardio (runs, walks, hikes) is either find a running or hiking trail through Iphone apps like AllTrails, or just from a simple google search. My favorite way to sweat outside is with sprints or HIIT workouts, so I'll either go to a park that has a big field that I can run across/circuit train on, or sometimes I'll even utilize a local track! Most school tracks are open to the public on non-school hours, so just do your research! Churches sometimes have them as well. I also love using the app IntervalTimer for sprint workouts!

FAVORITE HEADPHONES:

I know, I'm so unoriginal, but I love my Beats Solo Wireless Headphones by Dre. I used to use these wireless earphones, however I'm really into headphones at the moment because I feel like they block out more noise and keep me in the zone.  

FAVORITE APPAREL // SHOES:

Let me just get one thing straight: running shoes are not supposed to be fashionable! Sure, you can find running shoes that are trendy and in style, however, you should always make the support of the shoe more of a priority than the style of them. For running, I'm hands down an Asics girl. I used to wear nikes, but they're more style than support, in my opinion. These are the pair I have! When it comes to leggings though, lets be honest, it is both about comfort AND style. My favorite pair of leggings are the Lululemon Fast & Free Tight II Non-Reflective Nulux. I don't know what Nulux mean, that's just part of the name, lol. I love them because they're high waisted which gives you a tight, sucked-in effect like spanx would, but it does it without feeling uncomfortably tight! They also have pockets on the side leg where you can keep your phone or credit cards! I have like 2 full-length pairs and a cropped pair. I wear them when I run, do yoga, or strength train; they're literally so versatile. Plus, I'm that grub that will go to the gym and then go straight to class, lunch with a friend, or to run errands, so these leggings keep me looking stylish even outside of the gym! 

FAVORITE PROTEIN POWDER:

I try and eat a dairy-free diet 90% of the time, so when it comes to protein powders I choose plant-based powders over whey. This is totally a personal preference, so if you use whey protein and it works for you, that's great! However, if you're like me and keep dairy out of your everyday diet, I highly suggest trying Vega Clean Protein Powder in the chocolate flavor. I've found that pea protein works best with my body as opposed to soy, so this one is a blend of pea protein, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, and alfalfa protein. In my opinion, I hate when I add a protein powder and I can't really taste it. Vega's Clean Protein Powder literally has the smoothest consistency and the most delicious chocolate taste! It's almost like a rich, chocolate gelato. I don't typically do "post workout shakes," so I'll add a scoop of this to my morning smoothie or even put it in my oatmeal!    

FAVORITE PRE-WORKOUT:

Just like I don't do post workout shakes, I don't do pre-workout drinks either. Instead, I actually just use my morning coffee as my pre-workout. The reason for this is because 1) I absolutely LOVE coffee and 2) There are so many studies showing that caffeine can help to unlock fatty acids from fat stores in your body so you can potentially use them as fuel for your workouts. Here is a good video that explains it! Now, I've always been more of an iced coffee girl to begin with; but even despite that, there's nothing that'll get you feelin' as jazzy and hype for the gym like a Starbucks Cold Brew will. DO NOT GET A VENTI UNLESS YOU ARE LACKING SIGNIFICANTLY IN MOTIVATION. I'm telling you, this shiz is strong. They even cut it with water because of how strong it is. I add almond milk, but you can add in coconut, soy, dairy, whatever you want!

FAVORITE PROTEIN BAR:

Again, because I don't like to include dairy, or gluten really, into my daily diet, I try and find bars that exclude those foods and focus more on whole, natural ingredients. I've tried, and enjoyed, Rx Bars, Square Organics bars, and other superfood/protein bars, however the ones I've been absolutely obsessing over are No Cow Bars. DAMN, you guys. Not only do they taste amazing, but they actually give me the energy I need, satisfy my hunger, and digest in my body really well! The protein blend in them is a combination of pea protein and brown rice protein. Sometimes bars like Rx that contain fruit, such as dates, upset my stomach; so, these have been such a nice alternative! 

FAVORITE FITNESS INFLUENCERS:

Whitney Simmons is my favorite youtuber/instagram influencer for easy-to-follow circuits and all things fitness related! Sarah's Day is my go-to girl for all things health and fitness; she's such an energetic, funny, ball of motivation and her youtube videos are so entertaining/informative! Her and her boyfriend also have a new podcast out called The Health Code that's loaded with awesome tips and motivating fitness hacks! Krissy Cela is an instagram influencer that I like to go to when I'm blanking on what to do in the gym. She has some really great circuit training videos on her instagram and I like them because they're usually always super straight-forward. 

FAVORITE AB WORKOUTS:

My favorite form of abs at the moment are actually planks. Any type of plank variation, really. Currently, I'm trying not to focus on building my abdominals too much; I already have a pretty strong core and defined obliques. What I'm focusing on is leaning out, so my abs actually show through, lol. So, to maintain a strong core and just tighten my whole body, I like doing 1 minute planks at the end of my workouts. Whenever I do an ab circuit though, I almost always do the circuit I learned in track in high school. It's been my go to for so long, here it is:

30 russian twists

20 toe taps

20 single leg V-Ups

10 double leg V-Ups

20 dish & tucks

10 russian twists with a crunch

Repeat 2-3x! 

WORKOUT PLAYLIST: 

Last, but not least, I give you my workout playlist! I'm a big rap gal when it comes to what I listen to while working out. Moreover, if it's cardio, I have to be listening to something that I know majority of the words to. Yes, I'm that girl that will silently sing along to a song in the gym #NoShame. It keeps me motivated while running and gives me something to focus on during a workout that I'm really not in the mood for, lol. The playlist is kind of a mix of new rap, older rap, OG songs, and a few pop/dance songs. Let me know if it gets you as hype in the gym as it gets me, lol!