Sleek and toned.

IMG_0527I talk about this all the time, you need to mix up your workout if you want to amp up your results. Classes are a great way to do this, but if you’re like me you’re not that big of a fan. Admittedly this comes from the virgo / control freak side of my personality. Plus, having been exercising and interested in all forms of the practice starting at a young age, I have developed a fairly good arsenal of workouts I do on a regular basis.

If you don’t have this, classes and trainers are surely beneficial. But you can also go on-line and view lots of different cardio and strength training routines that will help you as well. For example, I love spin but I don’t care for an hour-long class. I don’t want to spend all my time on a bike. I want to get my cardio in along with strength training almost every time I go to the gym. This is the only way you will get that sleek, toned physique you are looking for, by combining cardio and strength.

Back to my original story, so I love spin, don’t want to spend an hour doing it so I do a routine that I found on YouTube that I love. It’s a 25 minute interval training class and perfect for what I’m looking for. It gets me sweating and my heart rate up, I really feel like I worked hard at the end. Then I can squeeze in 10-20 minutes of toning. That’s all it takes!! Don’t get discouraged when I tell you to combine both, now you will be in the gym for almost an hour (if not more) but it flies by when you are combining different workouts and always mixing things up. Having a diverse routine is not only better for your attention span and keeping you interested, but makes a tremendous difference in how many physical “gains” you make as a result of your workouts.

I’ll post the spin class I did on my Facebook page later today.

What’s your favorite form of interval training?

xo,

Hil

My secret to stay in shape.

Fit body

Staying in optimal shape requires a strict workout regimen. Follow mine at least twice a week and let me know if you start getting the results you’re looking for.

As promised I’m going to share with you the secret to how I manage to stay in shape. Now, everyone is different so how I am able to get and stay in shape may not work for you. You need to be willing to try lots of different diet and exercise techniques to figure out what works for you.

For me it’s simple, and I’ve been preaching this for a long time. Mix up your exercise regiment. First off, you need to combine cardio and weight training exercises to get a svelte, toned look. Second, the muscle you build through target toning will boost your metabolism and keep your body burning calories throughout the day. And finally, it’s the best way to get and stay interested in exercise because you and your muscles won’t get bored.

Here’s the routine I follow about 3 times a week. I exercise almost everyday, whether running, walking or hiking with my kids, I’m always active. This is the routine I do when I can get to the gym and have a little more time and freedom.

Warm up. I always warm up on the elliptical machine for 10-20 minutes.

Strength training (10 minutes). This is always different. I mix in free weight training and body weight training where I target tone my arms, legs, abs, glutes and back.

Examples: Squats, Lunges, calf extensions, walking lunges, step ups…

4 minute Tabata. This is a high intensity interval workout in a 20-10 format that I’ve written about many times on the blog. Perform any exercise of your choosing at high intensity for 20 seconds an take a 10 seconds break for 4 minutes, then rest for a minute.

Example of a tabata HIIT

20 secs running in place, 10 secs break (2X)

20 secs jumping jacks, 10 secs rest (2X)

20 seconds jumping lounges, 10 secs break (2X)

20 secs burpees, 10 secs break (2X)

10 minute strength training. Again, target toning.

Examples: (with 3-10lb free weights) Bicep curls, tricep extensions, military press.

4 minute tabata.

10 minute strength training.

Examples: sit ups, crunches, side crunches, planks, bicycle crunches…

Finally, I run 1 to 2 miles.

This might seem like a lot but once you get going you’ll enjoy it and the time will fly I swear! If you have questions about specific exercise you can do to target tone  or exactly how to perform tabata please email me at hilary@ugobabyfitness.com.

What’s your secret to staying in shape?

xo,

Hilary

5 Tips for getting started running.

The Boston Marathon was today and perhaps some of you are inspired to train for a marathon or simply start running. It might seem a bit daunting to some of you who have never run before. I started running as a kid, my dad was an avid runner and I would often run with him in Prospect and Central Parks in New York. It was really easy to run with such beautiful spots to choose from, plus there were so many runners, bikers and roller bladers around it was easy to get inspired. I forget how hard it might be for those who haven’t run before and might have some hesitation getting started. Here are some tips.

 

  1. Find a good running path. Do some research and ask around about good areas to run. It’ll be easier to start and stick with it if you have a scenic location with optimal running paths.
  2. Spring time is the best time. Now is the best time of year to get started, it’s warming up but not too warm yet. And once your get into the rhythm it’ll be much easier to stick with when the weather isn’t so great.
  3. Plot your course. There are great on line apps that will tell you how far you’ve gone and even give you reviews of paths other runners have already chartered for you. An example is MapMyRun. I find that when I know how far I’m running it helps keep me going.
  4. Get some good running shoes. This is very important. Old sneakers, sneakers that are too small or not appropriate for running can damage your feet and joints. You can get some good advice at running stores like Marathon Sports.
  5. Take it one mile at a time. A lot of people I’ve talked to about running get discouraged quickly. If you have never been a runner you need to take it easy and be kind to yourself through the process. Start by running one mile, or even a half a mile, then work up from there. As you gain strength, run longer, this requires you pushing yourself but you will be surprised at how easy it starts to become after even just a few weeks.

Do you have any tips or need any advice about running? Post your questions comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Thanks!

xo,

Hilary

Taking your workout to the next level.

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Intermittent high intensity exercise , like sprints, are the perfect way to challenge yourself and create lean muscle mass. 

Yesterday I posted the HIIT for this week (you can view it here) and talked a little about the benefits of interval training and how to take your workout to the next level. In today’s post I wanted to touch a little more on that subject.

Steady state cardio is awesome and irreplaceable. Getting in 20 to 30 minutes of walking, running, ellipticizing (is that even a word?), biking etc… four or five times a week is essential to getting and keeping fit and healthy. But, if you want to amp up your workout, take it to the next level and really see a change in how you look and feel you need to include some interval training in your workouts.

What is intereval training?

Interval training is a type of training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. – Wikipedia

For example, if you’re preferred form of cardio is jogging, you can get some intereval training in by including some sprints in your normal jog. This means sprinting for a short bit, say 20 to 50 seconds, then taking it back down to a light jog or walk for a brief rest of 10 to 30 seconds and repeating this format for 10, 20, 30 minutes… or however long you can do it comfortably while still pushing yourself. It’s very intense exercise so even just 10 minutes will give you great benefits.

Although you can do interval training within steady state cardio exercise, I highly recommend including some exercises that will challenge all the muscles in your body and create “muscle confusion”. This will amp up your workout even more so your body is really kicked into high gear. This is the type of interval training I post on my YouTube channel, cleverly named U Go Baby Fitness, every Monday. These include exercises like burpees (I know you love those), high knees, jump squats, skaters, and even some floor work like planks and mountain climbers. It really can be almost any exercise that you perform at your max intenisty for 20 seconds with a 10 second break in between for a total of 10 minutes. This is called Tabata intervals and have been proven to give the maximum benefit as far as interval training goes. Just performing 10 minutes of tabata style HIIT twice a week will help boost your metabolism and create lean muscle mass.

I’ll leave you with this, CrossFit is one of the most popular workouts right now and I’m sure you know people who do it and look amazing. Well, CrossFit is glorified interval training. Follow me and I’ll get you there for free.

Any questions? What’s your favorite exercise to do in intervals?

XO,

Hil

“I forgot my sneakers!”

frustrated-woman

You know the feeling. After treading your heels all morning you finally manage to pack yourself and your kids up to go to the gym only to realize you forgot an important piece of equipment. Your sneakers!

This is what happened to me on Saturday. It’s snowy here in New England so snow boots are the uniform right now. In an attempt to remember everything I need for my kids, I forgot my sneakers. I even went back in my house specifically to get my gym shoes and water bottle. I remembered the water bottle.

As frustrated as this scenario is, there is a solution.

Yoga. You don’t need sneakers, you don’t even need socks, to do a cardio boosting yoga flow. Here’s the routine I do to get my cardio in and strength training exercises to round it out. Sun Salutations are the back bone of this cardio boosting routine, if you do not know how to perform them here is a great instructional video.

sun-salutations

  1. Stretch and warm up.
  2. Perform 3 sun salutations.
  3. Leg Workout.
    1. 20 squats.
    2. 10 front lunges.
    3. 10 side lunges, right and left.
    4. 10 back lunges.
  4. Perform 6 sun salutations.
  5. Ab workout.
    1. 20 basic crunches.
    2. 20 side crunches, right then left.
    3. 20 leg lifts.
    4. 30 second planks, regular and side.
  6. Perform 9 sun salutations.
  7. Arm workout.
    1. 10 push ups, 10 tricep dips (repeat twice)
  8. Perform 12 Sun Salutations .

Rest and stretch.

Any questions?

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

Hilary

Bootcamp Benefits.

bootcamp

I did a bootcamp class this morning at Commit 2b Fit in Quincy, MA. I love bootcamp style classes! Basically this involves HIIT (high intensity interval training) combined with weight training and muscle toning. I always preach about the importance of mixing up your workout and this is the perfect way to do it.

Here  are some benefits of bootcamp style classes:

  1. Torch calories with internal training. It’s been proven that interval training even just a couple of times a week torches calories and helps you lose weight.
  2. Works all your muscle groups. The variety of exercises in this style class usually involves working your entire body so its like one stop shopping for your workout.
  3. Team atmosphere is very motivating! Especially if you go to the same classes and really get to know the instructor and people who generally attend. It so encouraging being in a class with people you are comfortable with and once you know the class, it’s format and people you will be more excited and invigorated to get to class.
  4. Learning new moves to incorporate into your personal workout. For example I learned this great squat move. I often incorporate squat jumps into my HIIT workout but this is a good way to amp it up! Perform a basic squat then jump and pulse a few times before jumping again. I’ll show a demonstration of this on my Instagram and Facebook pages so make sure you are following me there: U Go Baby Fitness on FB ; U Go Baby Fitness on Insta.

xo,

Hil

Weight Loss tip: Change your attitude.

weight-loss-tip

I used to get sick of hearing about fitness professionals and fit celebrities thinking of food as fuel. Even though I knew it was the right attitude to have, I thought it was silly and improbable that I could actually make choices based on the idea that I was fueling my body. I love the taste of food and that’s what I based my decisions on most of the time.

Nowadays I’ve completely adopted the attitude that food is meant for nourishing the body, not just for taste. A lot of it has to do with getting older. The effects of what I eat on my mind, body and emotional state are much more obvious than when I was in my twenties.

Mindfulness is another big component of adopting this attitude. I wake up in the morning and instead of not eating (do NOT skip meals!!) or eating an unhealthy breakfast, I realize the importance of starting my day off right. I make conscious decisions like eating whole wheat toast instead of white, or having egg whites instead of the whole egg and including calcium to balance out the meal like a glass of milk or yogurt. And of course adding some sort of fruits and vegetables to all your meals is key. I love avocado for any meal. It’s one of the most nutritious and filling foods you can eat.

Weight loss is not something you can focus on for a few months and then forget about. You need to make eating healthy your lifestyle. This is my mantra that I repeat over and over again to people who ask me how to get fit, stay fit and be healthy. If you struggle with weight loss and keeping it off you probably need to change your attitude about the whole process. Here are a few tips:

  1. Be patient. Whenever I hear someone talking about going on a crash diet it makes me cringe. Crash diets do not work in the long-term! Make a point of eating healthier and making better choices all day everyday and you will see the weight come off. Maybe not as quickly as you would like, but it will result in a lasting change that you can maintain.
  2. Take every opportunity you have to get some exercise. Every little bit counts! So walk to work, take the stairs and park a little further from the entrance than usual. You’ll be amazed at how much these little changes make a big difference. I used to walk to work everyday when I lived in the city, it was the main form of cardio I got and it worked for me.
  3. Get to know your body and what works for you. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. What works for one person may not work for another. Everyone is different so rely on how you feel personally to make healthy decisions regarding diet and weight loss.
  4. Love your body throughout the process. This is most important. Love your body for all it does and has done for you. DO NOT beat up on yourself. You are beautiful just the way you are and need to appreciate your beauty and use that confidence to motivate yourself to be better and take better care of yourself.

xo,

Hil