A Workout Routine that WORKS

December 2, 2021


Since posting this picture on my Instagram account, I have had several people ask me what my workout routine is - and it's probably not what you think. The photo above is only 13 weeks apart, and I don't have a true "before shot" but it's along similar lines of the first, but with a lot more bloat, lethargy, and no real sense of direction or balance.

Let me preface this by saying, I am blessed with good genes. I've always been small and thin, but I'm gonna own up to it: life has not been a cakewalk with my physical and mental health (& we need to remove the stigma attached to talking about it. EVERYONE HAS TRAUMA). I've battled anorexia, debilitating anxiety, and a venomous self-image in my past (& I still have bad days! I'm human!), but that's not what this post is about. I just wanted to throw out a little disclaimer that no matter what size someone is or where they fall on the body spectrum, you never know what someone is going through or where they've been. "Healthy" looking people can actually be anything but sometimes, and I was an example of that.

Since starting my personal journey last year, I decided I needed to begin making myself a priority. As a mom, I felt like back then I was falling somewhere towards the bottom of my list. Life became this intense balancing act with 6 plates spinning at all times: family, work, home life, relationships, social media, and mental & physical health were somewhere near the bottom. It was a lot of giving to everyone else but myself.

I see this all the time in a lot of my friends - my fellow mom friends especially. We give and give and give and then there is hardly anything left for us. We accept the scraps, and we think it's good enough.

But I'm here to tell you: you have to start making yourself a priority - whatever that looks like for you. For me, it meant establishing a strong workout routine, but it had to encompass both the physical and the mental. The two work in tandem. The body does what the mind tells it to do, so it makes sense that if you want to begin establishing good habits, it starts with a mind-makeover. 

So what exactly is my regimen?

1.  B U I L D    A    S T R O N G    B E D T I M E     R O U T I N E 
Getting enough sleep is crucial to literally every function in your body. If you're constantly staying up scrolling social media until well past midnight every night and then waking up for work at 6:30am, your body will reflect this. They say it takes about a month to form a new habit, so you have to really commit to changing, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. 

I wind down for bed around 9:00pm and will read a book for about 30 minutes and have a cup of tea. NO PHONES OR SCREENS. You want your brain to get the message that it's time to start producing all those sleepy time hormones so you can fall asleep faster. Usually, I can't keep my eyes open by 9:45, so I put my book away and crash.

2.   W A K E    U P    A T     5:00 A M
Yup. You see why it's so important for me to stick to an early bedtime? For me, mornings are when I have to do my workouts. I'm one of those people that likes to start my day with a workout, and I have much more energy first thing in the morning (once I've shaken off the grogginess) vs. working a full day at the office then dragging my ass to the gym. Everyone's different. This is just what works for me.

I also have to wake up super early because #momlife. My daughter often wakes up anywhere between 6:00 and 6:30. If I'm lucky, she'll give me until about 6:45. If I want to do my full morning routine from start to finish, I have to get up early. As a mom, you just have to take the time where you find it.

3.   R U N N I N G    2-3 X    A    W E E K
This really varies. Some weeks I can only go once, some weeks I can squeeze in a gym sesh 3 times. I usually will go Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and then either a Saturday or a Sunday. I run anywhere from 2-5 miles per gym session. Sometimes I'll throw in some elliptical work, but most of the time, I just like to zone out with my music and run.

It takes practice and commitment to build your miles. While 5 miles might not seem like a lot (or maybe it does), when I started, I was huffing and puffing like 4 minutes into a run. Over time, it just compounds. I ran 10 miles for a charity run last November and signed up for the Disney 10K in February, so it's all just practice, practice, practice!

4.   A T -  H O M E    Y O G A    2-3 X    A    W E E K
Yoga has been paramount to staying grounded and present. It really does help you balance out all of those anxious and stressful thoughts. I typically do a YouTube yoga video like Yoga With Adriene or Yoga With Kassandra.

The secret to my abs though? Honestly, it was this video

I found that video last year when I injured my ankle and couldn't run. I still wanted to stay fit, so I looked up videos I could do that wouldn't put pressure on my foot. Lo and behold, I still use that video before every yoga workout I do. A year of doing that video has really made my abs pop (but also: kickboxing has sped up that process).

5.    K I C K B O X  I N G
This is the newest addition to my workout regimen. I go on once during the week and try to squeeze in a weekend morning session when I can. The sessions I go to are only about 30 minutes long but oh man, are they powerful! Wailing on a punching bag is also a great outlet for those days when I'm feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. The instructors always make it fun as well by blasting music that really gets you in the zone or pumping you up with motivational speeches. It's a ton of cardio and they also often incorporate lunges, jumping jacks, squats, and ab exercises. By the end of the class, I'm always drenched in sweat!

So you're probably thinking: holy shit. How in the world do you have time do that much exercise!?

Well, like I said - you just have to start making yourself a priority. You absolutely have the time, and no one said you have to go hard with running, yoga, and kickboxing. Pick what you like and start small. Maybe try yoga a few times a week from home, or maybe just go run outside once or twice after work. It's just up to you to figure out how to manage it. I work a full time job, have a daughter, and I also run several side-hustles. If I can do it, anyone can.

6.   W O R K     Y O U R      B R A I N
Your brain plays such an important role in how the body functions, so unless you're really practicing these new healthy patterns on the regular, they won't stick. Working your brain can look like anything from meditation to a mindfulness app to listening to some podcasts on building healthy habits. I love meditation and there are so many types out there. It's not just monks on the floor sitting in silence for 5 hours (my brain is too active for that). I like to do guided meditations that incorporate visualization techniques, which is perfect for a creative like me.

Working your brain can look like gratitude journaling (starting your day with positive thoughts is paramount). 

Working your brain can look like reading before bed.

Working your brain can look like therapy or self-help books.

And working your brain can even look like EFT and clearing out all that old, yucky stuck energy. This is something I've recently stumbled upon and have been incorporating into my morning routine. In short, EFT (emotional freedom technique) uses tapping on various meridian points in your body while reciting "scripts" about the old beliefs, habits, or thoughts you want to clear out and replaces them with new, better, positive ones. I use Brad Yates' tapping videos on YouTube and it has been magical!

All that being said, none of this will work if you don't take a good, hard look at your diet.

If you're working out 5 times a week but still trashing your body with McDonalds and riding the sugar train, you won't see results (or feel them). That's not to say that you can't have pizza and ice-cream (I definitely still do), it's just all about being mindful of your eating habits. You're going to have to commit to eating cleaner and in moderation if you want any of it to really stick long term.

And however much water you're drinking now, you probably need to double (or maybe triple) that. Water is CRUCIAL. I keep a 60oz jug with me at work, and I aim for drinking two of them a day. Then I come home and have water with dinner and tea at night. Except for the occasional glass(es) of wine and my usual morning coffee or kombucha, water is literally all I drink. 

Looking back, I truly appreciate how my mindset has transformed around food and exercise. Exercise used to be a means to burn off calories while I chased double digits on the scale and food was always the enemy. Now, food is medicine. It is nourishment. And those red scale numbers? Honestly, I couldn't tell you for sure how much I even weigh because it doesn't matter. I couldn't care less how much I weigh because it's just a number. It's not a measure of how I feel or how far I've come.

Don't measure your progress by muscle mass, calories burned, or inches lost. Measure your progress by how you feel. Ultimately, that's why I work out now. Bottom line: it makes me feel good and it gives me energy. The toned abs are just a byproduct bonus, but the biggest takeaway I've gotten from revamping my entire mindset & body: CONFIDENCE. And that's priceless.

I guess I'm just ending blog posts with quotes now, so today's sage advice is brought to you by Elle Woods.

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