My Favorite Workout: Walking

I love walking. Enjoying the outdoors, walking the dogs, window shopping. Walking is also very accessible. There’s a reason why there are so many fitness trackers that encourage 10,000 steps per day. It also doesn’t involve many accessories. If you have a comfortable pair of shoes, you are good to go. You can do it with friends, family, kids and animals! It’s also a very safe way to exercise during COVID-19.

When we lived in a building downtown, I walked everywhere. I estimate I could walk upwards of 5 miles or more each day. I walked the dogs around Lake Eola each morning, walked my daughter to her preschool, then walked across downtown to my office building. There were several months where I was walking to her school for lunch. We walked to the grocery store on the other side of the lake, we walked to dinner, we walked to the park and playground. We walked everywhere! That was definitely the least I have weighed since I hit my 40s.

Once we moved to the suburbs, I would still walk my daughter to school but the 7 block walk fell to 1 block. The daily 1 mile dog walk around the lake was 1/2 a mile around the neighborhood (and sometimes not even that since we could just let them out in the backyard). I had to drive to the grocery store and to my office. My daily movement dropped drastically, even with other exercise programs!

I still prefer to walk over driving when I can. When I am visiting my client las firms downtown, I often park and walk from building to building. I’ve even worn through the bottom of my shoes! I love vacations to places like New York City or Las Vegas that encourage a lot of walking. I also love to spend the day at Disney with friends, walking a ton!

There are also many health benefits to walking, aside from the obvious weight loss. The Mayo Clinic says that walking can lower your blood pressure and your blood glucose levels, can lower your stress levels, can improve your memory and cognitive functions. Walking can be part of your self-care routine as well.

So make October in Walktober and add this great exercise into your routine!

My Favorite Breakfast: Egg Muffins

For those mornings I don’t have a lot of time (which is most lately), I premake these egg muffins. They are super easy to make and you can add whatever ingredients you prefer.

For these, I beat two eggs and pour them individually into a muffin tin that I prepared with some cooking spray. I do this for portion control but if it’s easier, you can just beat 12 eggs in a large bowl and pour into a six-muffin tin. I also added chopped tomatoes, chopped veggie sausage, chopped spinach and a pinch of shredded cheese into each.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F. I test mine with a toothpick to make sure they are cooked firmly. Let them cool and then refrigerate. While I reheat mine in the microwave before eating, my husband often grabs them right out of the fridge.

I promise one of these days I will do another non-breakfast recipe!

My Favorite Workouts: 21 Day Fix Extreme

I wasn’t going to review another Autumn Calabrese workout this soon but I just finished 21 Day Fix Extreme and I had to get my thoughts down while they were fresh. This was a really tough program for me but it was also a fun challenge to see how hard I could push myself and what I could accomplish!

I did 21 Day Fix (Real Time) and 21 Day Fix Extreme (Real Time) back to back so I really did a 42 Day program. 21 Day Fix Extreme is similar to 21 Day Fix in that it progresses in difficulty each week but is also very different in difficulty and complexity. It is definitely an advanced program. For example, most moves are compound (squat to shoulder press) and your plyo and cardio moves are done with weights. There are a lot of 30 second holds and plyo jumps. By week 3, your burpees are really two shuffle steps with a weight, the burpee and then a plyo jump with the weight! I have see this program advertised for fitness competitors to follow to prepare for competition.

As a note, I have never done the original 21 Day Fix Extreme, which I believe is 7 workouts that you repeat for 3 weeks. It is available on the BOD library but I like the Real Time programs as they offer a unique workout each day and they have the weekly progression.

I loved and hated this workout all in one. It pushed me but it also caused pain and soreness like I haven’t felt in a while. There were many workouts where I was checking the clock to see how much longer I had to do it! The Pilates with the workout band was so awkward and difficult, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. On the flip side, I loved the upper body workout, which is usually not my favorite, and the yoga pushed me and stretched me like no other! I finally nailed crow pose!

Bottom line, I really got results. Doing these two programs back to back shaved 10 inches off my body and I am fitting into clothes that have been in the back of my closet for a while. I am sure I will do this program again but it won’t be in the near future!

My Favorite: Workout Necessities

This list isn’t about workout equipment or outfits, but about little things that make my workout routine (and life) a little easier. I really can’t live without them!

1. Pre-workout and post-workout supplements

I personally use supplements from the Beachbody line: Energize and Recover. Honestly, since I don’t really drink caffeine, Energize is my go-to morning drink even when I don’t workout. It gives me a boost of energy for my workout and the day without jitters. I mix mine with lots of ice so it’s like a refreshing glass of lemonade. It comes in lemon, fruit punch and mixed berry. I really like the fruit punch but I have some mixed berry to try next. Energize has also helped me relieve headache pain!

When I first started lifting regularly, I didn’t use any type of post-workout and I definitely had muscle soreness the next day or two after. When I started using Recover, my muscle soreness became virtually nonexistent and it also helped increase my endurance for my subsequent workouts. Recover comes in chocolate but I prefer orange flavor which tastes just like a creamsicle! A thicker shake-like drink but definitely a pain-saver.

2. Dry shampoo

I have a lot of long hair and I couldn’t possible wash it every day, plus who has time for all of that? Dry shampoo is a girl’s best friend anyway but when your head and hair are all sweaty, you need to get clean. I have tried a bunch of different kinds but my favorite by far, especially after a workout, is Bumble and bumble Post Workout Dry Shampoo Mist. It’s better then just the standard dry shampoo and really works on the sweat to make your hair manageable, presentable and smelling nice. Perfect on second (or third) day hair!

3. Yoga Balm

I was introduced to Yoga Balm this year after a massage at the Ritz Carlton where we stayed for my birthday (ah, the pre-pandemic days). Yoga Balm works with the heat generated in a massage or while you work out so I put it on anything that is sore prior to exercising. It works really well on the parts of my back or neck that sometimes feel sore from sitting all day. It smells much nicer than a sports cream and feels much better too. It’s a little on the pricy side but a little goes a long way. It’s not currently available on Amazon so I linked to it at the Ritz shop. You may be able to find it somewhere else less expensive.

4. A good playlist

I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to get through cardio or a tough workout without a little music for inspiration. It can be as simple as listening to a playlist on an Amazon Echo or curating your own inspirational list. I used to have a great list of music for my Half Marathons to keep me going. I would make sure they would last as long as my run without repeats and would throw in some special songs depending on the race (Star Wars for Disney races and some Vegas-related songs for running the Strip at Night). I used to save mine on Apple Music or listened to other playlists on Spotify. If you aren’t sure what to listen to, there are plenty of playlists to sample. Most music services will let you save songs to a playlist as you are listening.

What are some of your workout essentials?

To purchase any of my favorites, just click the link. I don’t have an affiliation to any of the products listed above with the exception of Beachbody, which I will earn a commission if you purchase using my link.

My Favorite: Breakfast

Here’s another routine breakfast for me…

My omelet is two pasture raised eggs, one vegetarian sausage and a pinch of cheddar cheese. I bought this egg cooker from Amazon, which is amazing. While my omelet is cooking, I steam my zucchini and season with salt and pepper. For my carb, today I ate half of a Killer Davie’s Bloomin’ Berry bagel but I also add sprouted wheat bread or a veggie muffin. Depending on how hungry I am, I may add some grapes or berries as well. I often eat those right after my workout so they are sort of a pre-breakfast and then eat this breakfast 30 minutes after that.

I’m actually surprised at how much I am enjoying zucchini for breakfast. I used to add steamed spinach but never loved that as part of my breakfast. If I am ever not very hungry, I may add spinach or broccoli to the omelet to get those macros in!

My Favorite Workout: Yoga

Yoga is one of those omnipresent things that it seems like everyone has tried at least once. One of the things I love about yoga is it strengthens your body and your mind. It also helps to stretch out all my muscles I make sore while I’m lifting weights. It can be your only method of exercise or you can fit it into a cross-training schedule. It is perfect for active rest days. I am pretty sure I do at least a few down dogs and crows every day just to stretch!

Total Zen

I was fortunate to experience my first yoga class on a rock pier jutting into the ocean in Jamaica. The teacher was an Expat hippie with dreadlocks down to her ankles. It was so amazing and zen, especially at the end, sitting in Shavasana (corpse pose which has you lying on your back, still, at the end of each class) at sunset. I honestly thought this is what yoga was all about.

I didn’t really start taking regular classes until after I had my daughter. I had gained 54 pounds with my pregnancy and when she was six months old, we relocated to Orlando. I signed up for the local YMCA and started attending yoga classes there. Taking classes three times a week, along with regular walks, helped me shave off those 54 pounds and then 10 more! I felt strong and clear headed. My favorite teacher (no deadlocks on this one) would put a lavender scented towel over your eyes while you were in Shavasana. Again, total zen!

Since then, I’ve had private classes in Las Vegas (surprise that I was the only one that signed up for the 8am yoga class), a giant class outside on top of one of the office buildings in downtown Orlando, tried out the Beachbody Yoga, a few apps including one called Pocket Yoga and quite a few yoga DVDs. The favorite DVD (also available online) is Body by Bethenny which is shockingly good for a celebrity exercise program, especially the core section. Yoga is so versatile that it translates to so many different modes.

You can even do virtual yoga! My friend Kelly is a yoga teacher in at the Yoga School of Miami. Unfortunately, I was never able to take her class because of the distance but now anyone can! Just sign up here. With Kelly, you get Pink Floyd, David Bowie & Prince, which is an awesome way to do yoga! Check her out. She does yoga teacher training too!!

Photo by Cedric Lim Ah Tock on Pexels.com

Yoga is perfect for all fitness levels and ages as well. There are even programs specifically for kids. I have heard many times that there is no ego in yoga. You only try and improve yourself each time your practice. I have also found the others in my classes are only encouraging. At the Y, we would have time to practice stands, whether it be shoulder stands, head stands or even a handstand. It would usually involve lots of laughter and cheering when someone achieved the stand that had been working on. I always leave yoga a happier person then when I started! So where some people don’t enjoy working out at gyms, yoga is a much more inviting space for group fitness.

So get your yoga on!

My Favorite Workout: 21 Day Fix

21 Day Fix (and now 21 Day Fix Real Time) is one of the most famous Beachbody programs there is. With super trainer Autumn Calabrese, you will exercise seven days a week for three weeks: upper body, lower body, cardio, cardio with weights, pilates, yoga and what she calls the Dirty 30, which is a total body weight workout. On the third week, you can add a second workout each day if you wish. There is also 2 days of 10 minute abs.

I am on week three of this program right now but this is probably the 5th time I’ve done it. I love this program for three main reasons: the workouts are 30 minutes a day, the program is only three weeks long and there is such a variety day-to-day. This is a great program if you are just starting out or you want a sense of accomplishment. If you do multiple rounds of 21 Day Fix, you can really see how much stronger you get with each round.

It’s not to say that this program is easy. Even in 30 minutes, it will challenge you. In fact, the first time I tried this program (on DVD years ago), I didn’t even finish the first week! I had to pause abs and cardio the first few rounds! The biggest thing is, as with any fitness regime, you have to have the right mindset. As Autumn says, whether you think you will succeed or you think you will fail, you are correct. It’s all about what you choose to do.

Autumn is one of my favorite trainers. I’ve done two rounds of 80 Day Obsession, I follow her nutrition program Ultimate Portion Fix and I love her cookbooks and cooking show, Fixate. If you do one of her programs, you are going to get a lot of talking, inspirational quotes and motivation throughout the workout, something that I know is not for everyone. Last year, Beachbody remade 21 Day Fix into a real time program, meaning each workout is different. The workouts also progress in difficulty each week in the updated version. I love this format because you don’t get bored and it really brings out the personalities of both Autumn and the cast. This really helps with home workouts!

I guess a fourth thing I love about this program is that I don’t outgrow it by not having heavier weights. I have weights that range from 1 pound to 15 pounds. When I was doing 80 Day Obsession, there were days I really could have used 20 or 25 pound weights. With the current pandemic, weights are extra expensive and backordered for months, so I haven’t upgraded my collection yet. However, because of the other enhancements in the workout, I could easily challenge myself without needing something heavier than a 15 pound set of dumbbells.

If home workouts aren’t your thing, I also easily brought this workout into the gym and on the road to the hotel gym. With Beachbody On Demand, I would just throw on my AirPods, prop my phone on the weight rack and follow the program . No one ever looked at me funny (or if they did, I sure didn’t notice them!)

As with most Beachbody programs there is a modifier who works out alongside everyone else but uses low impact moves, a smaller range of motion or lighter/no weights. This truly is a great program for all fitness levels. It even made me enjoy HIIT cardio, which is really saying something!

There’s also a 21 Day Fix Extreme (also updated to real time last year) which I will be starting next week so check back for a review on that program. This one I haven’t done before so it will be exciting to try something new!

If you want to try Beachbody on Demand for free, click here.

My Favorite: Breakfast

One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast is also one of the easiest! If you want to be fancy, you can call it a yogurt parfait but basically it’s yogurt, granola and fruit.

Loved the mixed berries this week

I usually use Siggi’s Mixed Berry Yogurt, Kind granola and whatever berries I buy. The only thing missing is some veggies but I usually make it up by adding spinach to my smoothie later.

What is your favorite breakfast?

My Favorite Cookbook (or 2)

I like to do home workouts using Beachbody on Demand (BOD) fitness programs but what most people don’t know is there is a cooking show in the BOD lineup called Fixate. They also have 2 cookbooks, Fixate and Fixate 2. There are recipes for everything from breakfast, lunch & dinner to snacks, cocktails and even holiday favorites. If you are vegetarian or vegan, there is plenty in there for you and a lot of the recipes are gluten-free, if that is important to you. They even have spice and dressing recipes!

I love these cookbooks not just because they are full of yummy recipes but because they breakdown two measurements that make my life easier: nutritional information, especially carbs, and container counts.

Nutritional information: I cook for two people with Type 1 Diabetes so knowing how many carbs are in foods is essential. Most mainstream cookbooks don’t have this information (love you, Chrissy Teigen!) so I don’t use those books as often. Most “diet” cookbooks have a breakdown but the foods are often boring and bland. All of the Fixate recipes have the nutritional information broken down so if you are counting carbs, calories or macros (more on macros to come), it’s perfect!

Container counts: I can hear you saying what the heck are container counts? Well, you may have heard of a fitness program called 21 Day Fix. This goes hand-in-hand with the Portion Fix way of healthy eating, which is what I follow most days. The containers make it easy not only to measure the portion sizes of what you are eating but to balance your macronutrients. The Fixate cookbooks spell out the container counts and balance for you.

I promise to do a whole post on macronutrients and the containers in the future. Another nice thing about counting macros using the container system is you can Google any recipe and add “Fixate” to it and you will likely come up with a bunch of recipes someone already invented, with the container counts already figured out!

I will be trying out some new recipes as well as sharing some of the family favorites. For now, I will leave you with the donuts we made last weekend. These are only 226 calories per donut with 32 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber! Compare that with a Dunkin Donut which is 360 calories, 41 carbs and 1 gram of fiber. These were super easy to make and so delicious!

If you want to purchase either Fixate or Fixate 2 from Amazon, please use my affiliate links. The containers are also available on Amazon.