Eating real foods and avoiding processed foods is important and that’s what the majority of my blog is geared towards. However, I also think being physically fit is a large part of our overall health equation:

Real, whole foods + regular exercise = long term health & happiness!

We know that eating veggies, fruits, and other real foods is important for our long-term health, but I also think including exercise as a part of our daily routine is just as important. I run long distances, use the elliptical several days a week, and lift weights as part of our current workout routine, but do I think everyone needs to workout as much as I do? Definitely not. I believe everyone is at a different fitness level and that’s ok! While I need long distance races and weights to challenge my body and elevate my heart rate (my resting heart rate is in the low 40s!), other people can get just as much of a workout with a long walk/light jog and some light lifting. I think the most important thing is to continue to challenge yourself and make (and meet) small fitness goals along the way.

Build gradually. Don’t overdo it in the beginning or you’ll either get burned out or worse…get injured!! A general guideline I live by is to increase your workouts by 10% each week.

My own personal number one fitness tip is to USE WEIGHTS. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female or if you’re young or old(er)…weight lifting is so incredibly beneficial for all of us. Women: you are NOT going to bulk up and look like those women body builders.  I promise! Instead, you’ll get lean, toned arms and legs. PLUS, the more muscle you have, the more calories it takes to move your muscles. You will burn more calories with EVERY move you make (even when you sleep!!). It’s pretty much a win-win all around. If you’re still not convinced that YOU should lift weights, read this article.

You can use weight machines at a gym or a simple set of free weights at home. You don’t need anything heavy or a big range of weights to get started. (We have a large range of free weights, but I find that I use my 5 lb, 8 lb, and 10 lb weights more than any others.)

My favorite moves that (I think) give you the most ‘bang for your buck’ are bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions, shoulder flies, lunges, calf raises, and, of course, crunches for your core. Just by incorporating those few moves into your regular workout routine, you’ll work all of your major muscle groups!

Workout clothes can be expensive, but I’ve found that the Target Champion C9 brand has a lot of cute stuff and goes on sale quite frequently. I wear a lot of this brand, but my favorites are still Under Armour and Nike. (I’m completely brand loyal to Asics when it comes to running shoes.) You can also use buying new workout clothes as your reward for meeting fitness goals! (Example: when you lose 5 pounds (or stay at your current weight for 2 weeks, etc.), you can buy yourself a new pair of shorts and/or sports top.) Just an idea…take it or leave it!

Here are some links to past posts I’ve written regarding my fitness routine:

No matter what you do for exercise, just keep at it!! Push yourself to work hard, but also listen to your body and know when you need to stop. If you are having any type of sharp pain, stop! Getting injured from overuse or improper technique isn’t going to help you meet ANY fitness goals. It’s better to rest and take a day or two off then it is to get injured…and then be required to take months off (with possible medical bills added on to that)!

Happy exercising, everyone! Be safe and have fun with it!

Finishing strong in my recent half marathon!
Finishing strong in my recent half marathon!

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