4 Ways To Look Forward To Your Workouts

We all know the amazing benefits, both mentally and physically, that come from getting exercise. So why not make the experience as enjoyable as possible? There are so many different fitness programs out there, it just takes time to find one that caters to your liking and needs. From a variety of sports, hiking, running, getting outdoors, walking your dog, indoor surfing, workout DVDs, and gym fitness classes, there really is something for everyone! 

Here are some ideas on ways to look forward to your workouts (really)!

1. Learn something new- Put in your headphones and listen to Tedtalks or a podcast that interests you. (An uplifting, free fitness based podcast that I enjoy is called "The Chalene Show".) 

2. Grab a partner or Take advantage of the alone time- Activities may be more enjoyable with a friend plus it helps with accountability. Or make working out YOUR time. If you’re usually around people or your kids all day and need a moment for yourself, make working out a time to step away. Leave your cellphone and focus on what you’re doing for yourself.

3. Download some motivation apps- These are sure to ignite your fire and make your workout fun and engaging:

4. Double Duty Workout- Below are two examples of workouts you can do while playing a game or watching your favorite tv show. You can even do these with kids! 

*Feel free to get creative and make your own version of a workout to your favorite movie, T.V.Show, or board game. 

Whatever you do, just remember that working out is never a punishment to yourself. It is a way of showing love to your body. There is always a way to incorporate movement into your everyday activitie; just get creative. You’re worth it!


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Ashley Wright has a passion for health and fitness. She is a Team Beachbody (C) Coach, PiYo instructor, and has helped women of all ages gain the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. She believes that a healthy lifestyle will instill confidence as well as provide a solid foundation for you to accomplish your goals. As a former Utah's Distinguished Young Women of Utah, she knows the importance of incorporating health and fitness to be a well rounded woman to better serve those around you. Get Moving - Eat Healthy - Love Yourself. Visit Ashley's Facebook Page to learn more.

Empower Yourself

I would like to direct my words today to anyone that has ever felt the "backwards" way of spelling the word 'desserts' (which would be 'stressed'). Because this life is not meant to be easy all the time, but rather a growing, stretching, and learning opportunity, I think it is safe to say that we have all felt that six letter word creep into our lives. One of the most common effects that stress creates is anxiety. There are many forms of anxiety, some are more severe than others. From work demands to social pressures, anxiety can surface at anytime. I have seen it debilitate the strong and control the determined. However, there are many tools that can help us combat this [sometimes] daily visitor.

You've probably heard of the phrase "runner's high"- the positive and energizing feeling in the body after a workout or run. This is because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins that interact with the receptors in your brain that trigger positive feelings. When you feel stress, your body releases the hormone- cortisol. Evidence has shown that movement is what gets rid of cortisol, bringing it back to regular levels; exercise can be one of the greatest medicines and most powerful antidepressants. While I'm not suggest that therapists, doctors, and medications are not needed (because there is definitely a time and a place for those), I am suggesting that exercise is a powerful tool that can be used daily, to empower yourself and ease any stress level.

Now, when experiencing anxiety and stress, working out is usually the last thing you want to be doing. It is much more tempting to dish out the ice cream and call it a night. But having a plan in place will help you be successful. Exercise is never a punishment to the body, but rather a gift. Maybe you like group fitness classes or solo yoga time. Whether it's swimming, running, dancing in your kitchen to music, playing soccer with your kids, or taking a walk around your neighborhood; find something that you enjoy doing that can be your go-to stress reliever. A 10 minute walk can be just as effective as a 60 minute workout. One key thing to remember is consistency. Science suggests it is better for our brain and body to move every day for 30 minutes than to move for 3 hours just one or two days per week. Consistency is important. No matter what situation you're in, make exercise a part of your therapy; whether you struggle with occasional or diagnosable anxiety, exercise is a [free] tool to help.

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Here is a quick stretching routine you can do anywhere to let go of anxiety. Stretching before bed each night helps us sleep better. We naturally will start to breathe a little deeper when stretching which brings our heart rate to a normal pace and gets oxygen flowing throughout the body.

Keep your belly button tucked in as you bend from your hips to one side. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Stretch the triceps simultaneously as you lightly press on the elbows, extending out from your body.

Extend triangle pose- bend from your hip, not the waist. Hold for 30 seconds and do the reverse side.

Make this an active stretch by driving both legs in opposite directions. Lengthen the tailbone to the floor and keep your shoulders down and away from the ears. Have front leg remain at a 90 degree angle. Never have the knee reach past the toes.

Legs wide- squat low without leaning forward- center yourself with heels firmly planted on the ground- palms pressed together- inhale gratitude and exhale doubt. End in child's pose, breathing deeply, and reaching your fingertips away from your head.

References: Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, by Michael W. Otto, PhD, and Jasper A.J. Smits, PhD (Oxford University Press, 2011)


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Ashley Wright has a passion for health and fitness. She is a Team Beachbody (C) Coach, PiYo instructor, and has helped women of all ages gain the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. She believes that a healthy lifestyle will instill confidence as well as provide a solid foundation for you to accomplish your goals. As a former Utah's Distinguished Young Women of Utah, she knows the importance of incorporating health and fitness to be a well rounded woman to better serve those around you. Get Moving - Eat Healthy - Love Yourself. Visit Ashley's Facebook Page to learn more.

Get Strong

I have two words for you- strength training. One common fitness myth is that lifting weights and strength training will bulk you up. In particular, this myth is strongly believed by most women. I want you to throw this myth out, today! I'm here to tell you about a secret weapon to put into your body to burn more calories, and that is muscle! Muscle is beautiful. It is like the fountain of youth, allowing our bodies to naturally generate a human growth hormone. Muscle helps us move and gives us shape.

When working out in the gym with hand weights, it is a good idea to choose a weight that you will fail. Meaning, after 8-15 reps, you can't do it anymore. Women can't bulk up because they don't have the muscle building hormone (testosterone) at the level that men do. If you look at average testosterone levels in men and women- men have 16 times the amount of testosterone that women do (men have about 700 and women have about 42).

A study conducted at Penn State involved dividing a group of people into three groups- no exercise, aerobic exercise only, and aerobic exercise with weight training. All the participants lost about 21 pounds, but the people that did weight training shed 6 more pounds of fat than those who didn't pump iron. Those that lifted lost almost pure fat while the others lost fat and muscle. The bottom line? Strength training is the most effective way to lose fat. Plus, after strength training, your body will continue to take in additional oxygen the rest of the day, which is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. When your body uses more oxygen, it promotes more expenditure of calories and will increase your metabolic rate.

Here are three more reasons to add more strength training to your routines.

1. It will improve the quality of your sleep. International SportMed Journal suggested that morning resistance training positively affects your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and longer!

2. You will have an increase of energy. So when the afternoon slump hits and you're tempted to grab some caffeine, grab a barbell instead!

3. It will decrease your risk of osteoporosis as well as heart disease.

As I have incorporated strength training into my fitness routine, I have definitely felt more confident. We all want to feel stronger, healthier, and leaner, so what are you waiting for? A new kind of strong begins today.

I encourage you to take 5 minutes, right now, and try these strength building moves using your own body weight!

Start in a raised side plank, stretching your top arm as high as it will go. Keep feet one on top of another or notice the modification with keeping one leg bent. Align your body into one diagonal line from heels to crown of head.

Take that top arm and bring it under the chest, keeping the core engaged and bottom arm strong. Do this 10 times each side.

Get back into side plank, straighten the arm by firming the tricep muscle and press the base of the index finger firmly on the floor.

Tap your foot in front of your body twice...

...and behind your body twice. Repeat 7 times with controlled movement. Then repeat on the other side.

And for a bonus, I always incorporate the core muscles! When these muscles feel strong, you will always feel better.

Tighten your core with this bicycle move. Laying flat on the ground, with hands supporting your head, bring your elbow to the opposite knee and hold for an exhale breath, then switch and bring your other elbow to the opposite knee. 

Lay on your back with legs and arms stretching out from your body. Push in your belly button to the ground and use your core to bring your knees into the chest. Do this 7 times.

Finish with the upward-facing dog post. Inhale and press hands firmly into the floor and keep your knees off the floor.

References: 1 | 2 | 3


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Ashley Wright has a passion for health and fitness. She is a Team Beachbody (C) Coach, PiYo instructor, and has helped women of all ages gain the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. She believes that a healthy lifestyle will instill confidence as well as provide a solid foundation for you to accomplish your goals. As a former Utah's Distinguished Young Women of Utah, she knows the importance of incorporating health and fitness to be a well rounded woman to better serve those around you. Get Moving - Eat Healthy - Love Yourself. Visit Ashley's Facebook Page to learn more.

What's Your Why

At one point or another, we have all made some sort of health and fitness goal. Whether it’s been a New Year’s Resolution, a race to train for, wanting to fit in that outfit for a special event, or just because we want to get fit. We start out with so much motivation and drive, but within time, that drive dies down and we get back into our same slump. Why does this happen? Why do we make excuses for ourselves to “start tomorrow?” And the most important question  - what can we do to combat that and press forward? Three words, my friends…Create Your Why.

Your why statement should be the reason of why you will work out and eat healthy. Take some time to really think about it. Don’t let your reason float on the surface; go deep and then go deeper. It may be that you want to be in the healthy range, feel confident from the inside out, have more energy, respect your body, overcome a health problem, relieve stress, or create a balance in your life- a feeling of having a solid foundation. When we communicate the reason we are doing something to ourselves, it drives decision-making behavior. “It literally taps the part of the brain that inspires behavior (Sinek, Start with Why). This why statement will serve as your own motivation to yourself! Write it down and post it somewhere you’ll see every single day. On those days when you don’t feel like working out, refer to your why statement. Of course, there will be days that getting up and working out will be harder than others, but if you rely on your why statement, you are that much more likely to accomplish your goals! Remember, it all starts with your why.

Here’s a routine that is guaranteed to make you feel amazing! If you are still figuring our your why, your “core” of why you will make fitness part of your foundation, then keep pondering as you complete this Core Challenge! It’s sure to get your core feeling tighter as well as your core reason more solid!

Hold Plank for 1 minute. Draw in your abs (press your belly button into the spine.)

Start in plank position on palms of your hands. Pull your knee over to one elbow as you go halfway down into pushup position. Push back into plank and bring the other knee to your other elbow. Switch back and forth until you have reached 7 reps on each side.

Stretch out your abs while working on your balance. Push your belly button up to the ceiling and hold for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and do another rep!

Begin in crouching position and lift one leg up to the ceiling. 10 reps each side.

Lie on your back in figure 4 position (one leg with knee bend crosses the other leg) and lift your lower back off the ground. Lead with your hips and tighten your core. Slow and controlled is key. 15 reps.

Scissor Kicks. Lie on back and bring legs up to criss cross them over each other, back and forth. Slow and controlled. 1 minute


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Ashley Wright has a passion for health and fitness. She is a Team Beachbody (C) Coach, PiYo instructor, and has helped women of all ages gain the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. She believes that a healthy lifestyle will instill confidence as well as provide a solid foundation for you to accomplish your goals. As a former Utah's Distinguished Young Women of Utah, she knows the importance of incorporating health and fitness to be a well rounded woman to better serve those around you. Get Moving - Eat Healthy - Love Yourself. Visit Ashley's Facebook Page to learn more.