guest post: 5 tips for finding a fitness plan that works fo you
when it comes to finding a fitness plan that works for you, it’s important to remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. in fact, there are so many ways to keep fit and stay healthy that you don’t need to worry if hitting the gym just isn’t your thing. simply getting off the bus a few stops early or maybe going for a walk during your lunch hour can all add valuable physical activity to your day.
but, what you do need to remember is that any fitness plan has to work around your life, otherwise the likelihood is that you won’t stick to it. this isn’t necessarily a reflection of you, it’s just human nature … and it doesn’t have to stay that way! if you can find a way to get fit that works with your lifestyle, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals.
keeping all of this in mind, let’s take a look at the best ways to find a fitness plan that will work for you!
1. don’t push yourself too hard at the start. when you first begin a new workout routine, you may feel super motivated and like you have something to prove, but pushing yourself too hard at the beginning is only going to create problems. if you haven’t worked out in a while, you could be increasing the chance of getting hurt if you push yourself too hard. not only this, biting off more than you can chew will encourage you to skip sessions when the going gets tough, and this will likely lead to you just stopping completely. a fitness plan is a lifestyle change, so when it comes to planning yours, you need to make sure that you find something that’s realistic for you.
2. do your research. whether you love going to the gym or would rather spend time at the park with family, there are plenty of ways to get fit. researching will help you to find exercises that you think you may enjoy. If you like swimming, find a pool that has an adults only swimming time so you can get a workout without the distraction of children. if you worry about how you’re going to fit your fitness routine around family/friend time, then bring them with you! working out with a buddy is more enjoyable than working out alone, and if you have kids, they can benefit from a bike ride or a run around the park, too. get creative!
3. tag team it. one of the best ways to ensure that you stick to a new fitness plan is to enlist someone else to join you. whether you choose to take your partner or a friend, it can be a great way to spend some quality time with someone. exercising together will also help you to bond and stay connected, while having someone to keep you motivated and vice versa. if you can’t get anyone on board, try making friends with people who workout at similar times as you. if you’re in touch with someone at the gym or in a workout class and they’re expecting you to be there, you’re more likely to show up.
4. follow a gradual plan. fitness is becoming more and more popular all the time, and because of this, the amount of plans aimed at people who haven’t worked out much before is growing. there are plans that can help you go “from your sofa to running a 5K” and much more. diving in head first isn’t sustainable, but working gradually towards a goal means you will be much more likely to stay on track.
5. find what works best for you. if you have a fitness plan in place and haven’t noticed any changes after about four weeks [or you just aren’t enjoying it], consider changing it up! remember, it’s always best to do a mixture of cardio and strength training, but strength training can be anything from yoga to hiking, and cardio can range from dancing to jumping on a trampoline …. think outside the box and create a fitness plan that keeps you entertained, motivated and is something you love to do!
getting fit and starting a new fitness plan can be intimidating at first, but when approached the right way, can change your life for the better. all you need is the motivation and a plan that works for you and your lifestyle.
and remember, fitness is about leading a healthier lifestyle, not worrying about the number you see on the scale or the tags of your clothes. focus on how you feel, because that’s what really counts!
this post was written by amy leach on behalf of focus training.
class review: bfx studio burn + flow
guys. okay. i’m really excited about today’s class reviews for a few reasons. first, i can’t say that i ever thought i would find myself actually enjoying the type of class that i’m about to rave about, but i’ve become obsessed. seriously, i’m going to miss not having this as an option now that i’m no longer living in new york! second [and most importantly] my good friend melissa is the instructor and she’s pretty much the sh*t [i promise i’ll try to be as unbiased as possible].
so, bfx studio is a fairly new studio in new york with a location in chelsea and an even newer location in thefinancial district. it’s a luxury gym with options for personal training sessions and a variety of group classes, but today, we’re specifically going to talk about their new burn + flow class, exclusively taught by my friend melissa!
i can best describe this class as a boot camp style class with a twist. you start off with a little warm up and then get right to it, performing eight sets of different exercises for 50 minutes, getting a full body workout and sweating like crazy. within the eight sets, the exercises range anywhere from tabatas to plyometrics… a lot of plyometrics…. to simple toning and weight training. i’m talking squats, push-ups, ab bikes, tuck jumps, bicep curls… you should probably just show up to class prepared for anything. melissa bumps the music, which i personally love during a fitness class, because it keeps me going when things start getting difficult.
for the last 10 minutes of class, you cool down with a little yoga flow to stretch, relax and let your body settle after a really intense workout. [this is definitely my favorite part of class.]
i have to mention that melissa is an amazing instructor. she knows what she’s talking about and gets you working hard right away. most importantly, she keeps you motivated without being annoying about it. she’s energetic, positive, friendly, super approachable and obviously loves what she does… and she’s like… really pretty [sorry, i just can’t resist the opportunity to reference mean girls when it’s presented to me].
it’s also worth noting that bfx’s fi.di location is brand new and gorgeous, which i’m not ashamed to admit really helps to keep me motivated during an intense workout.
so, if you haven’t already guessed which way this was going…
5/5 bananas for bfx burn + flow!
like I mentioned before, melissa is currently the only instructor teaching the burn + flow class, but their signature class, bfx burn, is also worth checking out if you can’t fit burn + flow into your schedule. they are also currently on classpass, so if that’s your kinda thing, definitely look into it!
guest post: the balanced beauty’s top tips for achieving the body of your dreams
it’s been a while since i’ve had a guest blogger appear on bananas + bellinis, but after i connected with aly of the balanced beauty i knew that you guys would love what she has to say, and what better way to share her approach than with a guest post? a few of my recipes were featured on aly’s blog during her summer slim-down series [here + here] so be sure to check that out as well, but without further adieu, meet aly!
hi there! my name is aly mang and I am a board certified holistic health coach, founder/owner of the balanced beauty and fellow green juice lover… kelsey and i connected because we share a similar passion for health, wellness and striving for balance.
i personally believe balance is the key to living a healthy, happy life! my business was created because as i began to coach many young women, i saw that the majority were using an “all or nothing” approach when it came to dieting or wanting to change the way they looked. my advice is to ditch the extremes and know that balance on your plate, in your relationships, fitness routine and overall life is the way to achieve complete harmony and peace within yourself.
here are a few of my top tips for achieving the balanced body of your dreams!
1. love your body NOW.
the first step is to be grateful for who and what you are. stop comparing yourself others… you were born to be you. also know that the grass is not always greener on the other side. each individual has their own unique set of concerns, challenges and struggles. be grateful for the body you were given and if you want to change it because you want to improve it, come from a place of love! when you shift your desire to change for all of the right reasons, it will make the process much more rewarding and your goals will be more attainable.
2. eat from the earth!
this is a simple way to check yourself. before you consuming anything, ask yourself, “is what I’m eating from the earth or is it manmade?” often times manmade foods are processed and loaded with ingredients that can be toxic to your system. hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colorings may make our food look pretty or have a longer shelf life, but they can reek havoc on our skin, body and immune system. read labels and pay attention to the chemicals or preservatives you are putting into your system. a build-up of toxic ingredients may be the reason you feel sluggish, bloated or are lacking that inner glow!
3. food is FUEL.
the #1 misconception I find when first coaching clients is that they think they need to eat less if they want to lose weight. false! i encourage my clients to eat throughout the day to keep their metabolism burning like a well-oiled machine. go longer than four hours without eating and you’re setting yourself up for ravenous eating and poor choices later on. making healthy choices and fueling your body throughout the day is the best way to keep your metabolism strong and in time will make you a fat-burning machine!
4. quality supplementation is key.
i understand healthy eating can be difficult all day everyday. we sometimes slip-up or have limited time in our schedules to prepare and organize our meals and snacks properly. this can leave holes in our diet, causing us to lack very important nutrients we need to function at an optimal level. this is why, in addition to eating from the earth and making mindful food choices, I recommend proper supplementation. this helps to ensure that your body has what it needs to feel mentally alert, energized and properly supported.
**below are a few of my favorite supplements that i recommend to support overall health, immunity and fitness goals. all of these products are all-natural, non-gmo and made with high quality ingredients. **
morning greens [my #1 recommendation!]
this is a green powder that you can mix with water and drink each morning on an empty stomach to fortify your entire system with 100% of your daily vitamins, minerals, greens, antioxidants and probiotics need! it’s also great for gut health, which is necessary for a healthy metabolism. this formula is 100% all-natural and raw… the perfect foundation for any balanced beauty body!
**the link above contains a limited-time offer of 50% OFF exclusive to balanced beauty and bananas + bellinis clients and followers… so act fast!
omegas fight inflammation, improve workout recovery and brain function, and are optimal for beautiful hair, skin, nails and a healthy heart! this formula has no fishy aftertaste or added ingredients.
grass-fed whey protein
protein powders can be a great option pre- or post-workout when you’re on-the-go and can help you build lean muscle in a delicious way! while there are many similar products on the market, athletic greens are the only products i recommend to my clients because of the high quality ingredients. i credit these particular products for my own personal health and overall wellness, which is the only reason i feel 100% confident in sharing them with you!
thank you, kelsey, for the opportunity to introduce myself to your fabulous community. for more healthy tips, recipes and inspiration, be sure to check me out on instagram, twitter and facebook or at the balanced beauty blog!
health + happiness,
class review: 305 fitness
if you listen to nothing else that I say, do yourself a favor and just try this one thing: take a class at 305 fitness... a$ap. i went to my first class back in january with a group of girlfriends and was instantly hooked… obviously… i mean just look at the stairs leading down to the studio…
305 fitness is essentially zumba meets south beach nightclub. we’re talking fun dance moves taught by upbeat, positive instructors, a live dj, flashing lights and lots, i mean lots, of bass. seriously, i think my favorite thing about these classes is how loud they bump the music.
oh, and did i mention that you’ll sweat your ass off?
everything about the studio and the classes is amazing. they really have channeled the whole south beach vibe and there are positive messages and cool art plastered just about everywhere to keep you focused and motivated, even when the class becomes challenging. it’s mostly cardio, but they alternate between arm and leg days to work on toning up, as well. latoya and sadie are my favorite instructors… they basically both define #badbitchalert.
The verdict? …. I mean… DUH…
5/5 bananas for 305 fitness!
if you like dancing, loud music, positive energy and are looking for a serious sweat session, grab your friends and run to 305 fitness immediately [the cost is worth it].
class review: peloton cycle
let me just start this post, a review of a spinning studio, by being 100% honest with you: i absolutely hate spinning. like, seriously, hate it like i hate no other form of working out. my friends and i still joke about the first time i ever tried soulcycle because i was just that miserable. i don’t know what it is, but i just can’t seem to get down with spinning.
now, with that being said, since my first trip to soulcycle, i have, oh, i don’t know, come to terms with the idea of spinning in the sense that a] i sweat a sh*t load, b] it’s challenging [both physically and mentally, at least for myself] and c] it’s a good way to switch my workout routine up here and there. i’ve pushed myself to attend a handful of spin classes at various studios and i’m at a point where i can handle it in small doses.
about a month or so ago, my roommate invited me to check out a beyoncé ride with her at peloton cycle here in nw york. as you know from my first class review, i’ll sign up for any workout that is beyoncé themed and i figured that even though i’m not into spinning, the music would get me through the ride.
… and i was correct! the instructor, cody, was energetic, funny and kept it positive and light-hearted… and obviously the music was ***flawless. i even enjoyed myself enough to book another class the following week [it was also free soooo]. same instructor only this time nicki minaj themed. again, really fun and definitely a challenge.
i do need to mention that i did take one other class… a 7am-er with a different instructor last week… and let’s just say, even though the theme was jay-z vs. kanye… i still hated it. i’ll go ahead and behonest here: the instructor’s style was not doing it for me. she gave really confusing instructions, made strange noises and by the end of the class i was literally just making sh*t up and doing my own thing. after that class, i think it’s safe to say that it will be a few months before I’m setting foot in a spin class again.
so, what’s the verdict?
3/5 bananas for peloton cycle!
here’s the thing with peloton: if spinning is your thing, definitely get to a class. your first class is full price [$30] but when you check-in they will credit your account for one free ride, meaning that your first two classes are only $15 each. if you feel the way i do about spinning, make sure you take a class with a theme you’ll enjoy [and take a class with cody, you will love him].
another thing to note: the space is amazing and has a community feel. it’s super modern and fun, with a lounge, smoothie bar and really nice, clean locker rooms with all the amenities you could ask for [although the line for the showers after class is ridiculous].
finally, peloton could have earned a 4th banana [even from me] if they bumped the music a little louder during class… i like my music effing loud.
what class should i be heading to next?! i’ll be in l.a. next weekend celebrating my birthday and will definitely be trying out some classes there… any recommendations? share them in the comments below!
image courtesy of peloton
class review: banana skirt productions
lately, i’ve been making an effort to switch up my workout routine as much as possible. i’ve never been much of a gym rat and need variety in order to stay motivated. one thing that’s great about living in new york is that there is no shortage of gyms and studios offering soooo many different kinds of classes. i’ve been class hopping a lot lately and i thought i would start doing some class review posts so that you guys can get a glimpse of what some of these places are like. hopefully, i’ll be able to do this for other cities i travel to, so that the reviews won’t be strictly for the city i live in, as i know i have readers all over the place!
last week, a friend of mine invited me to check out a cardio dance class with her at banana skirt productions and it was so. much. fun. banana skirt offers a few different types of classes, but most importantly, they are most popular for the artist specific classes where an instructor teaches you the actual dance moves from the videos of some of your favorite songs, which is what we were dying to try. obviously we decided to attend a beyoncé class… because duh.
we went to the 7/11 class because this has kind of been my 2015 theme song. i definitely own the KALE sweatshirt she wears in the video and just felt like this was the class i had to take. if you’re not familiar with this video, get familiar with it asap. it was a full class of people of all different skill levels [oh, i should mention that i’m a terrible dancer and still had a great time] and the instructor really broke down the steps and made it accessible for everyone… and she was also really encouraging and made it a point to make everyone feel comfortable, since clearly we can’t all move like beyoncé [although it’s really fun to try]. they also will post a clip from your class to their instagram [you can check my class out here] which is super fun to see after the fact. so, what’s the verdict?
4/5 bananas for banana skirt productions!
i’m giving banana skirt 4/5 bananas only because i didn’t sweat as much as i would typically like to [it’s not really the nature of a class like this, since you’re stopping and learning the actual dance moves] but the $20 price point [so cheap for new york!], the atmosphere and the overall experience will definitely be bringing me back soon!
what other studios should i check out?!
guest post: quick workouts when you’re pressed for time
happy friday, everyone! i’m super excited to be welcoming missa, blogger over at skinny affair, to bananas + bellinis for today’s post! missa and myself recently connected somewhere in the blogosphere and when i saw how aligned our approaches to health and wellness were, i knew she would be perfect for a guest post. i asked her to share something that she thought fit into the bananas + bellinis lifestyle, but was still true to who she was and what she puts out there on skinny affair. she came up with a little list of her favorite quick workouts for when you’re on-the-go or in a rush, but still want to maintain a certain level of activity. i can’t wait to give these a try!
we all know what it’s like to be super busy [or just plain lazy]. experts recommend adults get at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity. that’s about 10 minutes per day!
so, on those days when you don’t have enough time to go to the gym or your favorite workout class, try doing quick bursts of at-home workouts. i’ve put together a list of my favorite youtube workouts for when I’m pressed for time. all you need is a mat and a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
- your yoga gym | energizing mars yoga routine: when i’m feeling like i need some energy, this is my go-to yoga workout. this sequence goes through vigorous movements in a little less than 10 minutes.
- tone it up | bikini yoga: this yoga sequence is about 15 minutes long. it’s a little less traditional, but it can stretch, elongate and strengthen your entire body. i love that this sequence starts off slow, but quickly picks up the pace.
- livestrong women | lift + tone booty routine with katrina: it’s becoming obvious that i’m a huge tone it up fan. katrina and karena have so many quick workouts that target different areas of the body. this specific routine will teach you a bunch of great booty workouts to target all angles.
- tone it up | bikini abs routine: we all need a good ab routine! this one has movements for your obliques, upper abs and lower abs. karena’s bikini abs routine is one of my favorites because it’s so quick, but still gives me a good sweat.
tip: wake up 15-30 minutes early and do one or two of the workouts above first thing in the morning. it’ll wake up your muscles and give you some energy to start your day strong.
have a go-to workout? i’d love to hear about them! share in the comments below or tweet me @skinnyaffair!
and, if you’re into health/wellness, style, beauty and everything in between, check out my blog!
guest post: morning glory blog’s workout playlists
happy friday, readers! i’m beyond excited to introduce you to my seriously talented, gorgeous, chic friend ashley of morning glory blog today! ashley is a boston-based fashion and music blogger, so i asked her to put together a couple of workout playlists for you guys. i’ve turned both of these into ppotify playlists [which i’ve shared with you below!] and plan on using them for myself starting like, yesterday.
i’m typically blasting hip-hop or electronic music in my ears when I’m at the gym [or taylor swift’s 1989, if i’m being honest], but i’m excited to try out a more rock-based playlist when i hit the gym next week. so, that’s enough from me… everyone, meet ashley… and expect to see more from her in the future here at bananas + bellinis! oh, and be sure to follow ashley on facebook, twitter + instagram!
hello everyone! my name is ashley and i am the founder of morning glory blog, a style and music blog. today, i am guest posting on bananas + bellinis to bring you the perfect workout playlists for your active and healthy lifestyle. music is a major part of my life. seriously, i don’t go a day without it, and i never leave the house without my ipod.
for ten years of my life, i was a competitive swimmer. from the pool, to dry-land training, and weightlifting, there was always music playing somewhere. it was the one thing that kept me sane and got me through a hard workout. music is a great way to bring positivity and excitement into your workout.
- “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” by Oasis
- “Don’t Sit Down Cuz I’ve Moved Your Chair” by Arctic Monkeys
- “Blind Faith” by Chase & Status
- “Dance Commander” by Electric Six
- “Easy Money” by Johnny Marr
- “Club Foot” by Kasabian
- “Come Closer” by The New Pornographers
- “What A Life” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
- “Echoes Round The Sun” by Paul Weller
- “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba
- “Purple Yellow Red & Blue” by Portugal, The Man
- “Lost” by Coldplay
- “Run [I’m a Natural Disaster]” by Gnarls Barkley
- “Contact” by Daft Punk
- “Big Jet Plane” by Angus & Julia Stone
- “In Safe Hands” by Badly Drawn Boy
- “Talk is Cheap” by Chet Faker
- “Push Your Head Towards The Air” by Editors
- “Islands” by Hey Ocean!
- “9669” by The Joy Formidable
- “Blood” by The Middle East
- “Welcome Home, Son” by Radical Face
- “Midnight” by Coldplay
- “Islands” by The XX
motivation mondays: week 6
wow, i can’t believe this series is already in its sixth installment… time goes by so fast these days it’s actually scary. i feel like it was just a few weeks ago that i was ringing in 2014, but in reality, the year is almost over already. seriously, where is the time going?
this weekend definitely went by too quickly. i ate at some awesome restaurants [mostly very unhealthy ones, but remember… balance!] and yesterday i ran my first half marathon, which definitely helped me justify all of the indulgent meals i consumed over the weekend! i needed to carb load to prepare for the race… right?
running a half marathon was something i decided i wanted to try to do about four months ago. honestly, if you would have told me at this time last year that i would be completing a half marathon ever in my life, i would have laughed at you. i never thought long distance running was something i could do. when i first started training, i wasn’t sure how i was going to do it, 13.1 miles?! that was crazy to even think about.
at first, my goal for race day was to finish, no matter how long it took, my only goal was to finish. walk it. run it. just finish. i started training and realized i was actually better at running than i thought i was, so i switched my goal to finish without walking at any time during the race. before i knew it, i was surprising myself with my times and setting the goal to complete the race in two hours. it seemed like a stretch, but i was gonna go for it.
i ended up really surprising myself, finishing the race in 1:53:17… almost seven minutes under my goal of two hours! what surprised me even more was that i still was able to do this despite some serious pain in my right knee and hip that started around mile ten. i managed to push through the last three miles without stopping to walk [i think my playlist really helped keep me going towards the end]. my friend, jenna, ran the race with me and also surpassed her goal, so we both felt pretty amazing post-run… and here we are!
we had our post-race meal planned for months to be at queens comfort in astoria. just take one look at that menu and tell me you don’t want to eat there. the menu was slightly different from what is currently listed on their website, but we all shared the atomic fireballs [deep-fried mac + cheese with sriracha and ranch] and capt’n crunch french toast balls for appetizers. i ordered the crispy pumpkin eggs benedict as my main course, which consisted of poached eggs layered on top of deep-fried pumpkin and fresh spinach on top of the most heavenly biscuits, all smothered in chipotle hollandaise sauce [pictured below]. out. of. this. world.
now that i’ve gotten that little half marathon recap out of the way, let’s get to this week’s quote for the motivation mondays series!
like i mentioned before, i surprised myself in so many ways yesterday. not only did i complete a half marathon, i ran the whole thing and beat my personal goal by seven minutes. i’m still in shock over what i was able to accomplish… and it feels great! i put the work in, trained as much and as hard as i possibly could and before the race, i just kinda let go of the anxiety about crossing the finish line in two hours and just did it. if i had been worrying the entire time i don’t think i would have done as well as i did.
we can plan and plan and plan our lives away, but sometimes just allowing things to run their course and releasing control can feel so good. of course, we shouldn’t apply this to every aspect of life, as there are definitely some things that require more attention than others, but if you’re a planner or someone who feels totally uncomfortable in situations where you don’t have control, letting go from time to time is something you should try.
letting go is really good for your mental health, especially if you suffer from constant stress and anxiety. it allows you to step back, take a deep breath and slow down your thoughts. then, you can put all of the energy you were putting towards worrying and stressing towards something more positive, like finishing a project you’ve been working on forever, spending time with friends you don’t get to see very often or just taking the time to take care of yourself. sure, you can do all of these things while worrying about something else, but you won’t get the same results as you would without the added pressure and anxiety.
when your life isn’t consumed with worry, you’ll find that you have so much more time in your day-to-day life to do the things you actually enjoy and want to do. worrying can take so much joy out of life and in the end, all of the worry in the world isn’t going to change the way things end up 99% of the time. in the end, you’re left with a lot of wasted time and energy, the side effects that stress and anxiety have on your body and mind and a situation that was going to end up how it was going to end up with or without you constantly obsessing over it. remember that old song, “don’t worry, be happy“? i think that guy was onto something.
a couple things i’m loving at the moment that i think you will love, too:
malala yousafzai being awarded the nobel peace prize at age 17. if you haven’t read her book, i am malala yet, stop what you are doing immediately and go do it. since reading her story earlier this year, she has been such an inspiration to me and is an amazing role model for people struggling anywhere.
this sundae from pure food + wine, an all raw vegan restaurant in manhattan. i ate here on saturday night and the food was good, but the desserts were out of control. i can say with absolute certainty that this is the best thing i have ever eaten.
thug kitchen’s new cookbook. i’ve read thug kitchen for a couple of years now [and it still gets me] and i’m so excited to buy this cookbook and “eat like I give a f*ck”.
coming up this week, i’ve got another pumpkin recipe in the works and a new edition to the “healthy lifestyle staples” series, so be sure to keep up so you don’t miss out on anything! how are you guys liking the motivation mondays series? is there anything else you would like to start your week off with besides a positive mantra and fun links to check out? maybe a new smoothie recipe or healthy living tip? leave a comment with any suggestions and i’ll see what I can do!
have an amazing week!
image courtesy of La Bonne Vie
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