I’ve recently received sooo many requests to share my fitness routine, and the time has finally come! I typically change it up every once in awhile, so all of this may change in the future but for now, I’ll share exactly what I’ve been doing to get in shape for summer. Let me preface this post by telling you all that I am by no means a personal trainer, nor do I have any professional fitness experience on my resume. That being said, this routine is just what I have found to be helpful for me and my own body. Everyone’s body is different. REPEAT AFTER ME: Everyone’s body is different! And that’s what makes each of us special in our own way. (It’s really a beautiful thing!) Just keep that in mind throughout your fitness journey because what works for me may not work for you or vice versa … and that’s okay! However, I am happy to share what has been working for me lately and you can feel free to join me in this routine if it sounds like something that would be helpful to you.
First, a little backstory …
Growing up, I was always very active. I was a competitive cheerleader from age 5 all the way into my senior year of college. 18 years! For 18 years, I was in the gym — tumbling, stunting, running, lifting weights, etc. Since I was practicing nearly every single day for 18 years (no lie, I practically lived in the cheer gym as a little girl LOL), I never really had to focus too much on a set fitness routine. I got my workouts in during practices. Then, while cheering at the University of Tennessee, we had set days throughout the week where we would workout with a trainer. Besides those two training days and the occasional runs or at-home workouts that I would do on my own time, I never really focused too much on a set fitness routine … until after college once I was done cheering.
Once I hung up my pom poms for the final time, I knew that I would eventually have to settle into a consistent, yet realistic workout regimen if I wanted to stay somewhat in shape. Since I had grown up being so active and constantly practicing for cheer, I knew that this would be a little bit of an adjustment, simply because I had never really had to force myself to be active in the past. It was just a part of my daily routine for so many years.
I graduated college in December of 2015, right around Christmastime, so I let myself enjoy the holiday season and didn’t go straight into a set fitness routine. I also wasn’t super strict about my eating habits at that time because who can say no to all the holiday foods??! Not me, haha. Surprisingly, I actually lost weight during that time, which was so strange to me, but then I soon realized that I was actually just losing a lot of my muscle that I had gotten from cheer over the years … I didn’t mind to lose some of it. However, I knew that I needed to come up with a workout regimen to do on my own if I wanted to stay in shape and stay healthy. It’s so important to take care of our bodies!
Fast forward a few months and I was in full-blown wedding mode. Teej and I got married in June of 2016, so of course (as any bride does), I started focusing on healthy eating habits and a more consistent fitness routine. I would mainly go on runs — cardio is my jam! Crazy, I know. But, something about going on runs outside would help me clear my mind of all the wedding planning chaos and served as an escape for me. I would run a few miles each day leading up to the wedding and occasionally throw in some lightweight dumbbell exercises to tone up. I also really loved barre classes at that time. Barre classes are THE best for toning if you just want feminine muscles and cuts in your arms/legs/abs. They definitely helped me get that definition I was looking for right before our wedding day.
Then, fast forward to our honeymoon, where we honestly ate and drank our way through St. Lucia haha! I swear I must’ve gained at least 5-10 pounds on that trip. Or well, it felt like it at least! (Totally worth it though — I mean you only get one honeymoon, right?!) Then, we return home right before the 4th of July and then comes football time in Tennessee, which if you’re from here, you know it’s a huge deal. Lots of BBQs, tailgates, parties, etc. I was also right in the middle of launching my blog at the time and had recently just changed jobs. Not to mention, moving the rest of my things into mine and TJ’s home together and trying to figure out the whole #wifelife. Therefore, when in the world did I have time to focus on working out??? That’s what kept going through my mind, at least. But the problem was really that I just didn’t make it a priority for several months. I would focus on the occasional workout here and there, but it wasn’t until mid-2017 that I actually made the time to start on a more consistent workout schedule. I got back into my barre classes, which I loved! (Highly recommend Neighborhood Barre for all my Knoxville peeps!) And then, started running more consistently again. I felt SO much better. It’s crazy how much better you feel throughout your days when you take the time to get out and be active!
Right at the start of 2018, Teej and I pulled the trigger on a gym membership. We had been debating it for awhile, and of course, they got us with their “new year new you” discounted rates. 😉 TJ likes to use the weights and machines, and I typically go for the classes (they have a barre and a cycling class!!). Shortly after we joined, I decided to start this program called BBG (Bikini Body Guide). It was designed by Kayla Itsines, and I had heard about it for MONTHS. I had researched it. So many people had been raving about it for years! Then, I saw where Rachel Parcell, a blogger who I’ve looked up to from the beginning, had been implementing BBG. Her transformation pictures were amazing, and she really inspired me to go for it. She looked healthy and strong, yet feminine at the same time. (I know we all like different ‘looks’ and body types, but for me personally, I’ve always strived for lean muscle, while still having that feminine body type with a few curves. I personally just don’t like the way I look when I have a bunch of bulky muscle, which is why I was okay with losing some of my cheer muscle right after I graduated. I think it looks great on some people, but this is just my personal preference for myself.)
After seeing Rachel’s results, I asked my friend, Hana Shea, if she wanted to start the BBG program with me. She had completed it once before (and warned me how hard it was lol) but agreed to join me on the journey! (Our gym has a separate room with hand weights and equipment where we complete the workouts, but you could also easily do them at home.) We started BBG in mid-January of 2018, and it’s still my go-to workout to this day!
So, what is BBG? And how do you get the program? Why do I love it so much? Does it actually work? So many questions are probably coming to mind right now, so I’m going to do my best to answer them for you all!
In short, BBG is a 28-minute resistance training workout. It’s 8 total sets of resistance exercises that mix in bodyweight/lightweight reps + cardio. You’ll rotate the first 4 sets of exercises for 7 minutes. Rest for 30 seconds. Then, rotate the 2nd set of 4 exercises for 7 minutes. Rest. Then, you’ll repeat the exact same thing that you just did (1st set of 4 exercises for 7 min., rest. 2nd set of 4 exercises for 7 min., rest.) It sounds like it would be super easy since it’s only 28 minutes total, but trust me when I say that it kicks your bootaaay — in a good way of course! 🙂 The entire program is 12-weeks long, and then once you complete that, you can start on BBG 2.0 (which would be similar, more advanced workouts for weeks 13-24). To get started on the program, you can download the Sweat app from iTunes and pay either a monthly membership of $19.99 per month or a yearly membership of $119.94 per year. Inside the Sweat app are a few different workout regimens for you to choose from: BBG (1.0 & 2.0), BBG Stronger (more advanced), Body & Mind (yoga-based), PWR (gym-based/weights), & Post-Pregnancy (low impact).
BBG is my favorite for many reasons:
- Short, intense workouts: Since I always have such a busy schedule, I prefer something that is going to kick my butt in a short period of time. I don’t have time in my days to spend hours upon hours at the gym, so I like when I can get in, get my sweat on, feel the burn, and get out. Ideally, I like to be in and out of the gym in 45 minutes.
- You can feel it working instantly: I can honestly start feeling the exercises burning my muscles during the 28 minutes. After BBG Leg Day, your legs will for sure be shaky as soon as you complete the workout. It’s a good feeling though! Just be sure to stretch because you will be sore after the first few times you do it (especially on those leg days).
- The perfect mix: BBG is the perfect mix of cardio + weights. Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t love lifting heavy weights because I gain bulky muscle really easily, which is not the desired look I’m going for. The exercises for cardio may include jumprope, squat jumps, x-jumps, etc … plus, you should be moving through the exercises rather quickly to get that heart rate up anyways! Also, the program incorporates cardio days with HIIT & LISS (running/walking/rowing/stairmaster/etc). The other exercises may include bodyweight squats, step ups, weighted lunges (I prefer 15 lbs. & under!), pushups, ab work with light weights, dumbbell exercises (again, 15 lbs. & under), etc. I really love the exercises in the program, and since they get switched up each week, I never get bored having to do the same exact workout over and over again. It’s always something different!
- I feel much stronger: Although I love my outdoor runs, I have to say that my body has started feeling so much stronger and healthier since I began BBG. I still mix in cardio days because BBG also incorporates the HIIT and LISS workouts for cardio, but getting to mix that in with the resistance circuits makes me feel much more balanced and healthier overall.
- Do it anywhere: Many people think you have to go to a gym to complete these types of workouts; however, I’m here to tell you that you do not! I personally prefer going to the gym when I can, just to get out of my house (since I work from home), but a lot of times when I’m on travel, I’ll even do these workouts in a hotel room. If I don’t have dumbbells with me, I’ll find something that is about the weight that I need (purse, etc.) and use that. Sometimes, you may have to improvise and do some of the workouts without weights, but you’ll still get a great workout in even if you are just doing bodyweight exercises. If you’d rather implement this program at home, you can get creative! Use your stairs for step-ups or run over to your local TJ Maxx to buy some light hand-weights. You can make it happen anywhere!
- RESULTS & consistency: Of course, one of everyone’s favorite parts of working out is seeing results, duh! Once I got to weeks 4 and 5 in the BBG program, I started seeing results. By weeks 7 and 8 — major results in the tone of my muscles and the way I felt on a daily basis. My intention with this program was not to lose weight (because quite frankly, if I’m at a healthy weight and I like the way I look, I could care less what the number on the scale says!). My intention was to tone up and feel stronger/healthier. I wanted to get in better shape for summer — just like everyone else out there! And most importantly, I wanted to find something that I would like enough to stick to it. I will be honest and say that I’ve lost a few pounds doing this program, but again, that was not my main goal here. (If you’re looking to lose weight, it is possible to do so with this program; however, I recommend talking to a medical professional or trainer/nutritionist to help set up the best plan for your body.) Not only do I enjoy and look forward to these workouts, but I’ve also seen a major difference in the way my body looks and feels since starting out. Because of that, I know that I will be able to stick to it and have a consistent fitness routine in my daily life.
My best advice when it comes to choosing the right fitness routine for yourself is to listen to your own body. Do what is best for you. If you hate circuits and quick, intense workouts, you will probably hate the BBG program. But that is okay because there are hundreds of other routines out there to choose from! If you hate running, maybe you should try out a cycling class to get that cardio in. Just because one person likes working out a certain way doesn’t mean that you’ll enjoy that same routine. However, if you do like the resistance training mixed with a little cardio, I highly recommend trying out the BBG program — it’s been a game changer for me! I typically mix up my fitness routine once I start to get bored of it, but I see myself sticking to this type of training for awhile longer. I’m really loving it at the moment, and I’ve seen positive results.
Again, the most important thing to remember is just to figure out what works best for you! Most days, I’m looking forward to that intense 28-minute workout, but there are still some days when it’s sunny and breezy outside that I just decide to skip BBG and go for a run instead. Or maybe, my body is telling me that it needs a mix of yoga and pilates today so I’ll go to a barre class. Or lately, since it’s been so hot outside, Teej and I will use wake surfing on our boat as a form of cardio. It’s fun and it requires me to use certain muscles that I may not otherwise workout in a BBG circuit. Listen to whatever your body is telling you each day. As long as you’re being active in some way, you’re on the right track (and your body will love you for it)!
All that to say, here are a few of my top tips to keep in mind throughout your fitness journey:
- You will have days when you absolutely dread the thought of working out. Those are usually the days your body needs it the most. If you can just push yourself enough to just START, then you’ll be able to complete the workout and afterward, you’ll be so glad that you did. You’ll feel so much better throughout the rest of your day.
- Find a prime time of the day to designate to your workout. Try to keep it consistent each week. For me, I’m a slow person in the mornings. I ease into my mornings at my own pace; therefore, I avoid working out in the AM at all costs. I’ve found that my best time to get active is around 2:00pm to get over that afternoon slump. Find your prime time!
- Allow yourself to REST!!!! This is so important. Sometimes, we kill ourselves to make it to the gym 6-7 days a week, and if that works for you, that’s great! But for some people, it doesn’t work that way. I’m one of those people! I strive to make it to the gym 3-5 times a week. And let’s face it, I have my good and bad weeks. Some weeks I’m lucky to make it even one day, and others, I’ll make it 5 days in a row. But you can’t beat yourself up over it! Set your desired days for working out/gym time, and try your best to stick to it. Just be sure to incorporate AT LEAST one rest day each week! Your muscles need time to recover.
- STRETCH! This is something you can do at home every single day. It only takes 10-15 minutes a day to get a good stretch in, and I promise you will feel SO much better in your daily life if you make this a habit each day. Not only is this such an important part of a fitness routine, but it’s something that will keep your body healthy as you get older.
- Drink lots of water! I know that this is technically more of a ‘health’ tip, but it definitely goes hand-in-hand with working out. Think about how much you sweat during each workout, and how dehydrated your body gets! Of course, we should all be drinking lots of water daily no matter what, but especially if we are working out a lot. We have to make sure to replenish our bodies and stay hydrated. When I started making myself drink more water each day, I found that I felt so much better and less exhausted. My body literally craves water nowadays, as crazy as that may sound. But it’s true! I strive to drink at least 5 glasses of water in this tumbler each day.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. I wrote an entire blog post about comparison a few months ago, and it sounds so cliche. But it’s true, and it’s one of the most important things you can remind yourself of throughout your fitness journey! You’re on your own race. Stay in your own lane and focus on the road ahead of you! It’s okay to look to others for inspiration and encouragement, but just don’t ever let that turn into comparison. Comparison is the thief of all joy, and you want to stay positive throughout your fitness journey!
- Find a workout partner! When I have someone to workout with, I have someone to help encourage me when I get so tired that I don’t think I can keep going. If TJ and I are on a run, we push each other to go a little bit further on that uphill climb. Or when Hana Shea and I are on week 9 of BBG Legs, we have each other there to remind each other that we’ve got this. If I see her pushing her body through the toughest parts, that encourages me to keep going and to finish strong!
- Make a BOMB workout playlist. Find the songs that inspire, encourage and push you — the ones that pump you up! Music has a lot of influence on your mind and body … use it to your advantage! See one of my personal cardio playlists below (very random mix LOL, but it’s just what gets the job done!):
*Leggings, sports bra and workout tank are all from Wantable.com!
I hope this post has been helpful to those of you who have been asking for my fitness routine. I will keep you all updated if it changes in the future, but for now, this is just what works for me! I enjoy it all and I’ve seen positive results. I hope that my fitness journey has inspired you in some way! As always, feel free to leave any comments, concerns or questions in the comments section below this post. Thank you so much for stopping by!
*As previously mentioned, always consult a medical professional or professional trainer before starting on a new workout regimen. I am not a professional. Just sharing my own personal experience.*