Spring is just around the corner for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s that time when everyone is getting ready for summer, changing their eating habits, hitting the gym. But why not be ready for summer all year round? (Winter pool parties could totally become a thing…) Why not already be eating a clean healthy cruelty free diet and following a regular workout regime all the time? I believe that is what separates those who are living a healthy lifestyle from those who simply jump on and off the bandwagon- consistency, long term consistency is the key! Yes, it requires commitment, but what is better to invest in than your own health and wellbeing?
So here it is, my long awaited (and overdue) workout routine! But before I get into it, I would like to make a quick disclaimer: Please be aware that I am in no way an expert in this area. This routine may not be suitable for everyone, I just follow what has worked for me over the past two years. However, I hope I will be able to shed some light on this topic for some of you! *I am not currently following this regime, as I am trying out Kayla Itsines workout guide, not her nutrition guide which is not vegan.
Exercise is an essential component to a healthy lifestyle, in conjunction with the correct diet (High Carb Low Fat Vegan!– post coming soon), daily habits and a positive attitude and outlook towards life. I have been following this basic workout routine for approximately two years now, please keep in mind that I do make alternations every session depending on how I’m feeling on the day as well as based on my progress.
I divide my workouts into the following categories and exercise 4-6 times weekly, for 30-60minutes each.
– Butt and Legs
– Shoulders and Arms
Each of my resistance workouts are 20-25minutes, I repeat each exercise for 1minute, and take two 30-45second breaks during that time.
Always remember to warm up before working out! You may not feel a significant difference from doing so, but many years down the track you will be very glad you did! Stretch before and after each workout!
BUTT + LEGS:
Personally, I feel like a girl’s butt and legs are a really good indication of how fit and healthy they are, I try to do at least three sessions a week, sometimes I do them everyday! Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to attaining for unrealistic and unhealthy goals such as stick thin legs, thigh gaps, box gaps etc. none of those represent health (unless of course, your natural stature allows it at a healthy weight)
Examples of Exercises I do:
Weighted Lunges (basic, walking, jumping, side, step back lunges) TIP: Ensure both your legs are bent at right angles, so your knees are aligned with your ankles.
Weighted Squats (basic, jumping, narrow, wide legged) TIP: Always keep your weight in your heels, you should be able to wiggle your toes around throughout the entire exercise! Keep your back straight and chest open.
High Knee Runs
Lying Straight Leg Raises (30seconds on each side, lie on your side and lift your top leg up and down: small raises and high kicks) Do not rest your top leg down until the 30seconds are over. TIP: Place your bottom arm under your head to support your neck and your top arm bent in front of you to help with balance and reduce the strain on your lower back. To take this to another level use ankle weights and perform the exercise at a slower rate.
Lying Straight Leg Circles (30seconds on each side, lie on your side and circle your top leg: small and large circles) You can apply the same tips as above to this exercise.
SHOULDERS + ARMS:
Who doesn’t love those toned slim arms?! Exactly, no one.
My arms have always been naturally quite lean and toned, which I am very thankful for, therefore I usually workout my arms once a week, or twice if my schedule allows for it. I prefer to use my body weight for these exercises as I don’t go to the gym, so it is quite difficult for me to access a variety of weights.
Examples of Exercises I do:
Pushups (Basic, tricep, diamond, clap) If you’re just starting and are not able to do full pushups- on your feet, starting with ladies pushups- on your knees is fine, however you should be aiming to do full pushups in the end! Make sure your abs are engaged, your body is straight and lowered to at most 7cm from the floor or have your arms bent at right angles.
Walking Planks (This also targets your abs, ensure you keep your core tight throughout the whole exercise, do not let it slump as this could injure your lower back. Your body should be as straight as a plank from side on) Start in plank position on your elbows, place one of your hands on the floor slightly wider than your shoulder and push up from that arm to raise yourself into pushup position. Alternate between starting with each arm throughout the minute.
Single leg Reverse Fly (30seconds on each leg) This exercise is weighted
Down Dog Dive To Cobra (You may need to google this if you are unfamiliar with yoga poses) Start in down dog position dive forwards in a wave like motion, lowering your chest first, followed by your abdomen and pelvis, until you are in chaturanga, from here lift your chest up into cobra position and finally return to down dog. Repeat. TIP: Breathe! Ensure you are inhaling and exhaling deeply. This is a fairly advanced exercise, do not feel discouraged if you feel the need to lower yourself onto your knees during this sequence, keep working on it!
Burpees with a Pushup
A lot of the exercises I have already outlined will also target your abs, ensure you’re performing them all with your core engaged and tight! I do my ab workouts 2-3times a week.
Examples of Exercises I do:
Planks (basic, one legged) TIP: As mentioned earlier, ensure your hips are not dipped too low or raised too high, not only will this prevent you from receiving the benefits of the exercise, but could also result in injuries.
Full Plank Passé Twist (1minute on each leg)
Side Planks (1minute on each side: basic, with hip dips) For beginners, you can do this on your knees.
Toe Touches (weighted, can also be done without for beginners) Lying on your back with your legs raised vertically, raise your torso to touch your hands to your feet.
Russian Twists (weighted) Keep your torso strong, abs tight, do not twist your shoulders, you should be twisting your entire upper body.
Lying Leg Raises (I use ankle weights for this) Lying on your back, lift your legs till they are vertical then slowly lower them back down, without touching the floor. TIP: If you find that this exercise strains your lower back, you can place your hands under your tail bone, this reduces the pressure.
*cringe* A.K.A. My least favourite form of exercise, but nevertheless, it’s a very important component of any workout regime; getting your heart beating, pumping your lymphatic system, sweating it out (you’ll learn to love it eventually… I think) It is also the key exercise to burning fat! Which is what needs to happen before you can see those glorious sexy babies underneath!
I aim to do two to three cardio sessions weekly, each of which are 30-45minutes. There are many forms of cardio such as: running, swimming, biking, boxing, martial arts, cycling etc. My personal favourites are: jump rope and dancing. If you’re like me and dislike cardio with a passion, I highly recommend you to try out different forms of cardio, until you find something you enjoy (or remotely enjoy) It will be a lot more fun and easier to maintain these cardio sessions if you don’t actually hate every second of it!
Working out is as easy or hard as you make it! You want to get maximal results for all the effort you’re putting in! Always check your form throughout your workout, having a mirror near you is very helpful in that sense, and also if you’re into taking those #workoutselfies.
Your body is an amazing machine, beautiful, strong and capable of so much! It’s a fact, and the only person you need to convince is YOU! Don’t settle for mediocre, settle for the best, and nothing less!
You say you need motivation? This is your body, if you’re not going to take action to make changes, then no one will, and you will always be stuck in the cycle of feeling dissatisfied with your current state. Why not change that today?! Stop putting it off, start NOW!
Love, Jenny xxx