It was around this time last year that I decided to make fitness a priority in my life. I finally joined a gym, taught myself how to run and started taking regular pilates classes. Minus a little laziness over the holidays and then our vacation to Mexico, I’ve been on my fitness grind hard for the last three months. I’ve been working out four times a week doing a combination of pilates and then my own weight training and running with the goal being increasing my overall strength and toning. I’m finally seeing results (hello ab muscles) and just feel so much more motivated. I’ve reached a point where I actually look forward to going to the gym (never thought that would happen) and have never felt better both physically and mentally.
Another shameless bonus of my newfound love for fitness has been getting to shop for cute gym clothes. Nordstrom is my go-to for everything, whether it be Adidas sneakers or wallet-friendly Zella leggings. Activewear can get pricey and I love how there’s such a large selection of items at prices under $100. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been dying for a pair of white leggings (something about them is just so crisp & clean) so I immediately scooped up this cropped pair when I saw them hit new arrivals. The fabric is moisture-wicking, super soft and matches perfectly with my sneakers and water bottle 😛
I’ve been getting a lot of messages recently asking about what I do for workouts and I’ll admit I was hesitant to blog about my routine. Why? Well, I still very much consider myself an amateur. I’ve never had a trainer and everything I know is from watching tutorials on YouTube or Instagram. It’s taken me months of trial and error to teach myself proper form and figure out the exercises that work best for me. That said, I am seeing results, so hey I must be doing something right? While I don’t plan to make fitness a big focus here on Katie’s Bliss, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to keep you guys in the loop on my journey. PS you can read about how I started running + my tips for beginners here.
MY WEEKLY WORKOUT ROUTINE!
DAY 1 | Pilates Class
I love starting the week with a full-body workout by taking a Flex Studios pilates class. I’ve tried a lot of different group fitness classes and this is the only one I’ve found that works for me and is worth the money. I love the non-traditional pilates format– the exercises are fast-paced (none of that zen crap or yoga nonsense) and targeted for toning and strength. I was really intimidated at first by the reformer machine, but have grown to love it because it’s so hard to cheat. Think about it: if you get tired in an aerobics or cycling class you can just slow down. When you’re on the reformer your only choice is to push through the exercise.
Besides being a killer workout, the biggest takeaway for me from pilates is the overall core strength and knowledge of correct form. When I first started going to Flex I had absolutely no flexibility, terrible balance and my form was a hot mess. At any other studio I probably would’ve hurt myself, but the instructors at Flex watch you like a hawk and will make adjustments so you’re always doing the exercises correctly. Without the foundation I’ve formed via pilates I definitely wouldn’t be able to maximize my solo workouts in the way I am now.
DAY 2 | Lower Body
I try and devote 1-2 workouts per week to my legs and glutes, and I’m not gonna lie these days are always tough. It’s taken me almost a year to finally nail down a consistent weight-training routine for my legs/booty and really learn how to properly use the equipment at the gym (and not get intimated by all the #gymbros.) I always start a workout by stretching and then doing a few activation exercises like squats or kickbacks just using my bodyweight.
Then I’ll begin with compound exercises using the leg press machine and then hip thrusts on the smith machine. I do 3 sets of 10 at the absolute heaviest weight I can handle to target muscle growth (#flatbootyproblems.) I always start with these exercises first because they hit more than one muscle group– so both my hamstrings and glutes. Since firming up my booty is the primary goal of my lower body day, I’ll then use the cable machine for glute isolation exercises like kick backs and donkey kicks. I also will use the free weights to do exercises like one-leg split squats, traditional squats, Romanian deadlifts and sumo squats. There’s nothing glamorous about these exercises and when I first started I could barely even do these non-weighted, but I’m finally starting to see results which is super motivating 🙂
DAY 3 | Upper Body
At first I was intimated by the idea of lifting weights, but I’ve really grown to love my upper body day! I don’t have a consistent routine– usually I’ll use free weights to do a combination of exercises that target the muscles in my back, biceps, triceps and shoulders (always 3 sets of 10.) Then I’ll move over to the cable machine and do a few more exercises that target the same muscles. PS I usually end every upper body with a 2 mile run on the treadmill. PS these are my go-to running sneakers!
DAY 4 | Whatever I’m feeling!
Depending on how sore I am, some weeks I’ll push myself and do two leg workouts. Then other weeks I’ll split my upper body workout into two days– back/biceps one day and then triceps/shoulders on another. I’ve also really been enjoying building my cardio endurance with interval training on the treadmill. I found this free app called Intervals where you can create your own HIIT interval workout and set parameters for duration and distance. I created my own 25 minute workout where I sprint for one minute and then recover (aka jog) for two minutes. I do this a total of seven times and currently my distance record is 2.5 miles!
Instead of devoting a single day to my abs and core, I like to incorporate a few exercises into every workout. For example, I’ll add leg raises or weighted v-ups to the end of a series of upper body or leg exercises. If I’m really feeling ambitious I’ll head over to the TRX straps and do a series of planks, pikes and mountain climbers for 3 sets of 20 at the end of my leg or upper body day. My abs are by far where I’ve seen the most progress so I really like this approach. I can actually see defined muscles now, which is really exciting 🙂
Okay so my diet. I don’t watch what I eat, but I do make a point to try and incorporate nutritious foods into my diet. I like making green smoothies in my Vitamix (here are my favorite recipes) and prefer to cook lunch and dinner at home vs ordering takeout or going out to eat. I also try to buy only organic produce and grass-fed meats, and finally kicked my soda habit in favor of sparkling water. I also always make sure I have protein after working out– I’ll either eat a bar or down a water bottle mixed with two scoops of protein powder on my walk home from the gym.
Last thing! If you’re new to weight training and have no idea where to start, I highly recommend watching YouTube or Instagram video tutorials (I shamelessly do it all the time) to learn proper form and get ideas of what exercises you can do on your own at the gym. I know the gym can be so intimidating, but everyone has to start somewhere and just getting your butt there and sweating it out is an accomplishment. Trust me: if someone as uncoordinated and clumsy as me can do it, anyone can.
Big thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!