A Fitness Update (+ A Workout Playlist and Cute Workout Clothes!)

August 30, 2018

Cute Workout Clothes + A Workout Playlist

It’s been a minute since I talked about my current workout routine and given there have been some changes I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing with you guys + my current workout playlist and my go-to workout clothes!

Cute Workout Clothes + A Workout Playlist

Cute Workout Clothes + A Workout Playlist

Cute Workout Clothes + A Workout Playlist

Cute Workout Clothes + A Workout Playlist

My workout journey has ebbed and flowed like I’m sure a lot of you guys can relate to but it was several years ago that I finally figured out what worked best for me: classes! I’ve been a ClassPass user since early 2015 and it’s been the key to keeping me honest with my workouts. (Granted the membership has gone through far too many changes on their side and it’s nowhere near as great as it used to be but still it’s what works best for me.) I use ClassPass to go to a variety of barre, pilates and yoga classes and earlier this summer I began adding in BBG workouts as well. Let’s break it down.

As a bit of background, this Spring I was feeling a bit stalled in my workouts and I wasn’t seeing much progress despite improving my eating habits. I knew I needed more cardio but I’m not a runner (I tried!) and there aren’t any good spin studios on ClassPass in my neighborhood unfortunately. Then I injured my back and was totally wiped out for a couple of weeks. (Truly, I had to lay on the ground for hours after the injury and could barely get off a couch / sit up in bed. It was brutal.) I took time off to stretch, recuperate, see a chiropractor and wait till the pain subsided. I still have days where I’m in pain but I work hard to stretch my body and engage my core when working out so as to try and protect it from further issues.

When I was in Portugal with Merritt I did one of the BBG workouts with her and decided it could be just the change up my workouts needed. Merritt’s transformation has been inspiring as she’s committed to the workouts so I decided to add it in. More about my experience is below!

Nowadays I’m attempting to get back on track with my eating habits. Summer travels and indulgences have largely thrown me off and I need to get back to eating not for the sake of eating but eating to feel good and energized. My sweet tooth is out of control and I’ve been eating too many carbs. I’m hopeful that once I resume my better eating habits I’ll see even better results from my workout efforts.

So onto my current workout routine…

Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide

These Bikini Body Guide (BBG) workouts are 28 minutes in total and consist of doing 2 circuits, 8 times total (Circuit 1 x 4 and Circuit 2 x 4) three times per week. The circuits are 7 minutes each (you’ll do Circuit 1 twice within 7 minutes then Circuit 2 twice within 7 minutes and then repeat that from the top for a total of 28 minutes) and timing yourself is key! I honestly couldn’t believe how hard these workouts were! I end each one dripping in sweat. (And generally have to give myself a pep talk to make it through the last 7 minutes / last 2 circuits).

Here’s some more detail about my experience:

  • I started by doing the Beginner Workouts which I highly recommend. They were hard even for someone like me who works out several times a week! They do help familiarize yourself with the format and a lot of the moves so I think they’re a great way to start your BBG journey. I did 5 weeks of the Beginner workouts before I moved onto the Training workouts which are 12 weeks in total. I started Week 4 this week and while every workout is still so hard, I’m definitely feeling stronger. And I’m seeing results, too! I took the recommended photos before I started the workouts and after the Beginner workouts and next week I’ll take my next set. I could tell subtle but noticeable results which has been a major motivator in ensuring I do each workout.
  • Every week’s workout consists of Legs (Monday), Arms/Abs (Wednesday) and Full Body (Friday) and I haven’t missed a single workout since starting! (I’ll admit though that I didn’t read the instructions carefully and I only did the first 2 beginner weeks halfway through – whoops! Lesson learned: read Kayla’s instructions through thoroughly.) You will need some equipment and I recommend doing the workouts at a gym for sure because of how sweaty you get. I’m lucky that I now live in a building with a small gym as that’s been key for me having the space to do the workouts and most of the required equipment. (I don’t have a gym membership.)
  • Having an accountability group and friends participating in the workouts, too has been a game changer in terms of ensuring I finish the workouts each week.
  • Listening to your body is key during these intense workouts. Since I have low back pain I have had to make some minor modifications to certain moves to ensure I’m not aggravating the problem. I also find it super helpful to always be tightening your core during the moves. Your form will be improved and the moves become a bit “easier” to complete when you do this.
  • As mentioned in this post, I opted to buy the PDF and have it printed and bound so that I’m not on my phone and distracted during the workouts (except to keep time of the 7 minutes). It’s worked well for me but a lot of you guys told me you love the Sweat app so keep in mind that that’s an option, too. (I also keep the PDF in my Dropbox folder on my phone so I can easily access it while on the road).
  • I have found a lot of motivation in following Kayla herself on Instagram because she shares great Before & Afters of other BBG users that make you want to keep going. I also like seeing how quickly/efficiently she does some of the moves.
  • I almost always do the workouts in the morning so I knock them out and don’t spend the day dreading doing them. I have found this has been to my completion rate. They’re also way more fun to do with friends so see if you can convince a girlfriend to join you from time to time!
  • I tell myself before every workout you get out of it what you put in. I really, really want to continue to see results so I keep doing every single workout and every single move even when I want to skip certain ones or cut down on reps because I feel like I’m dying.

Hot Yoga

I began practicing hot yoga several years ago but got truly hooked about a year and a half ago. Hot yoga feels like a full-on detox for my body every time I do it. It’s incredibly restorative I find. I used to always be fearful of doing any sort of workout in a heated room but after dipping my toe into the practice I realized how much more energizing the 90+ degree room makes my practice feel. Truth be told, I get bored during regular yoga classes. My mind wanders and I get sick of the constant flows. But with hot yoga, the heat and the sweating distracts me and I find my body feeding off the energy being cultivated in the room. I am so much stronger and more brave in yoga now than I was even a year ago! I try new poses and more difficult modifications and do moves I used to always be afraid of. I’ve loved seeing how my body has adapted to various poses and I love all the great stretching your body receives when doing yoga in a heated room. When I leave a hot yoga class I feel lighter yet stronger. My body feels cleansed and energized. I am 100% hooked. I go 1-2x per week and I really love going either Sunday nights to round out the weekend or Monday nights to start the week. If you’re in New York, I am obsessed with Heatwise because the studio is beautiful and intimate, the teachers all great and the mats and towels are free. The other studio I’ll go to is Yoga Vida but only after I’ve used up my monthly ClassPass credits at Heatwise. (ClassPass limits you to 3 classes per studio nowadays). If you’ve never tried a heated yoga class I can’t recommend it enough!

Pilates

I love pilates but didn’t get hooked until I started pilates on a reformer machine. I find doing the moves with a machine more engaging and more challenging than mat pilates where I tend to find myself getting a little bored. I have loved learning the different moves on a reformer and find classes go by so quickly! I’m always surprised at how a series of small movements can make such an impact. When it gets particularly difficult I just remind myself Jennifer Aniston credits her body to pilates – ha! Given my low back pain pilates is important to strengthen my core. My favorite studios are Brooklyn Heights Pilates and New York Pilates. Both are on ClassPass but NYP is extremely popular and therefore “costs” more credits on the app and thus I only go 1-2 x per month. It makes it feel like a treat when I do go as a result though! Typically I do reformer pilates 1-3 x per month.

Barre

I’ve tried just about every barre studio New York has to offer but by far my favorite is Xtend Barre. When I moved to Brooklyn Heights it was the first studio I went to and I couldn’t believe what a hard workout it was! I was dripping sweat and that had never happened to me before in a barre class! The classes are designed to get you as much cardio as possible and the teachers are all so good at giving you options to challenge you but also ensuring you’re perfecting your form. I love Xtend because in addition to classic barre classes they also offer a myriad of other classes like Pilates Fusion (a mix of mat pilates + barre), Xtend Sweat (a heart-pumping HIIT class), Xtend Suspend (you’ll use TRX suspension) and more. This studio is always where I go to use my ClassPass credits first but if you’re in the neighborhood know that they are always offering great specials as well. I love this spot and have gotten a lot of my girlfriends in the hood hooked, too!

. . .

So there you have my current routine! I add in a spin class from time to time but have to minimize it as nowadays they sometimes aggravate my back. I also love to go on walks in my neighborhood but that’s been a bit less frequent lately due to the heat.

My current routine has me working out usually six times per week; sometimes five depending on how busy my schedule is. I really rely on working out as a stress reliever and as a way to combat anxiety. Adding in BBG has actually made me a person that works out in the morning now which I can hardly believe! Getting in the workouts is important to me so I ensure I allow time to do so and sometimes that means getting up extra early to fit them in. The commitment is so important! The other most important thing I’ve found is taking time to do recovery with stretching and foam rolling. I have such tight hips and hamstrings so spending even just 10 minutes foam rolling is key. I have one similar to this & I love how compact it is. I got one for my mom a couple years back and got her hooked, too!

At this point I’m really working out to keep myself happy, keep myself sane + tone up. It’s hard for me to lose weight given my thyroid condition and truthfully, I’ve come to really love and accept my body. There’s of course always room for improvement but I’m not trying to lose a bunch of lbs at this point.

And because part of my motivation to workout is doing so in cute workout clothes, I thought I’d break down what I wear for each of my workouts.

My current favorite workout clothes:

  • For barre and spin classes I love this tied back tank. I prefer to workout mostly in high neck tanks and some of my other favorites from Athleta of all places. I really like this one and this one.
  • These leggings I mentioned in a recent weekly roundup but I am full-on obsessed. I’ve never found a better legging for yoga. They stay put and are so comfortable. They’d also be great for travel. I own two pair already and am about to buy a 3rd as I always want to be wearing them!
  • For BBG, barre and pilates classes I swear by Outdoor Voices leggings. My favorite are these (the Hunter color is my favorite!) but I also own and love these as seen in the above photos. I own the leggings in both Small and Medium but prefer my Medium. I love that these leggings really stay in place. I’d caution you against the lighter colors though as I have a pair in pale pink and I can’t wear darker underwear with them.
  • The other leggings I wear for BBG, barre and pilates are a few from Lululemon. I love the these and these.
  • My go-to sports bras for BBG, barre and pilates is this simple and inexpensive one from Nike.
  • For hot yoga and BBG workouts with more bounce involved, I will wear this sports bra or this one. The former is hard to get on but SO worth it as it is the best supporting sports bra I’ve tried. (And I’ve tried a lot).
  • I just bought these cross training shoes for BBG and they were well worth it. A lot of the BBG moves require good foot support and my other sneakers weren’t cutting it.
  • I prefer to workout mostly in high neck tanks and have found some of my favorites from Athleta of all places. I like this one and this one.
  • FYI that I’m always adding cute workout clothes here!

And here’s my go-to Workout Playlist in case you want some new curated jams to power through your workouts with. (Other Playlists of mine I’ve shared in the past are here, here).

What are your guys’ favorite ways to workout? Have you tried the BBG workouts? Would love to hear from you in the Comments below!

Tank // Leggings // Jacket // Sneakers

p.s. a past post about working out and ways to improve your workouts.

[MBZ Photography]

what I'm wearing

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