8 weeks to a better me: Week Two


Thank you all so much for all of the encouragement on week one of this project! It's awesome to know that so many of you are participating in this challenge, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun.  I wanted you to know that at the request of a few readers, I made a button over on the left hand side bar. I linked it to the very first post so if you'd like to add it to your blog for these next 8 weeks please do! 

This week I am so, so excited about my guest blogger. Amber is by far one of the most positive girls I know via blogging and it's hard to not smile when you read her blog or look at her photos. To me, Amber exemplifies what it means to really love life- through her blog you'll see that she is a happy, confident, wonderful woman who really loves her life and the people in it. She exudes positivity, and every time I visit her blog I find myself smiling. And additionally, Amber is an amazing role model for fitness and health. Working out is a part of her daily life, and through her posts, Instagram photos and tweets I am always motivated to get out there. I was so happy when she agreed to be a part of this project, and I know she will really inspire all of you too. I definitely encourage you to add her blog to your daily reads- she's such a fabulous person and her blog is one of my very favorites. Thank you Amber for being a part of "8 weeks to a better me"!

hi hi! I'm Amber and I blog over at I Love You to the Moon.  I'm 23 and married to my very best friend. We live in a smallish Texas town with our two pups: Emma, the Great Dane, and Tank, the Boxer.  Adam is a police officer and I am a dispatcher, going to school to be an elementary teacher. I love enjoying rainy weather on the back porch, early morning coffee, sweet music, a strong cigar, belly laughing, drive in movies, and good conversation. Jesus is my favorite. :]

When Danielle asked me to be a part of this super inspiring feature, I was thrilled. I read through the email and saw that she chose fitness/working out as my topic to write on! Perfect. I love staying healthy and working out is a huge part of my life. I've been active in some way or another for just about all my life. I started cross country and weight training in junior high and fell in love.  Since then I’ve been pretty passionate about staying fit and taking care of my body.

These things are my biggest encouragements on a daily basis. I hope they are helpful for you too!

1) Find out what your limit is, and push yourself further.

* Believe that you can accomplish what you want. This mindset keeps me motivated constantly. Now, if you have medical issues, please don't push yourself too hard. Otherwise, if you feel like you are GOING.TO.DIE. You won't! Just keep on! Your body is a crazy beautiful constantly adapting machine. It can handle 10 more minutes on the treadmill, 10 pounds added to your bench press, or 10 extra reps.

*I keep a mental note, and some written ones as well, of the activity that I do each day. All of my running stats are kept in my phone and I strive to beat my record every run.

*If my endurance is waning I just think to myself, “If I keep moving my legs, I will keep moving. It’s just the way it works.”  It’s really crazy how much the human body can take. Marvel at what your body does every workout. The more you work out and push yourself, the more you will notice just how strong you are. 

*If you have a friend or significant other, try working out together! I never thought I would enjoy working out with anyone else. I loved the solitude and getting in my own little zone. I also thought the sweat and funny faces should just be kept to myself. However, I adore working out with my husband. He pushes me when I don’t feel like pushing myself. He knows that I can lift more than I do sometimes and puts a few extra plates on for me. He spots me when I want to go heavy and encourages me the whole workout. Seeing him workout hard makes me want to work out just as hard. On days that the gym doesn’t sound fun to me, but does to him, we both go and he is there to get me in gear. It’s been such a good thing.

2) Be nice to yourself.

* When you just don't feel like working out, take a rest day. Your body needs rest. I have learned this the difficult way and completely overworked myself. As much as I would love to work out 7 days a week, my body loves working out just around 5 best. It needs those two days to recover. When I don't rest, I usually injure myself and am then forced to take days off anyways!

* Drink plenty of water. I bring a cute Nalgene bottle filled with cold water and drink it all during my workout. This makes my workouts last longer and feel better.

*Give your body fuel before or after your workout. I am not a big breakfast eater at all, so I have a protein shake before every workout. Then I make a hearty lunch afterwards with plenty of carbs and protein to refuel.  Eating healthy also totally motivates me to get to the gym.  Good food and hard exercise is such a good combo!

* Encourage yourself. Most of the times, I am my biggest critic. Tell yourself things you'd like to hear from your family and friends, and BELIEVE it. Positivity is more powerful than I give it credit for sometimes. When I go to the gym with a positive mindset, I have much better workouts.  Focus on the things you like about your body instead of the things you don’t. Notice new muscles that are forming and toning! You earned them!

* Look cute to get sweaty. I know this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out! I actually want to put on my workout gear in the mornings when I look and see that I have a mint green polka dotted sports bra, loose fitting racer back tank, black compression pants, and awesome sneaks set out. I even use a dab of concealer and brush of blush to feel fresh before I head out.  Of course I’ve gone to the gym in a ratty t-shirt, ill fitting shorts, and worn out shoes and still gotten the job done; it’s just not quite as enjoyable to me.

* Make sure to stretch out before and after workouts. It helps more than I realize and makes my muscles happy.  I even have a day of the week, mostly on my rest days, that I devote to stretching. (P90X stretch is amazing.)

3) Mix it up.

* Nothing will burn you out faster than the same routine every day. I love running more than anything, but I can't run every single day or I start dreading it. Same goes for the gym. Branch out and try something new. If you have never ventured into the weight room before, give it a try! It's my favorite place in the gym, actually. It can seem intimidating at first, but once you get a few basics down it won't seem so bad. If you need to, google a few free weight exercises before you head to the gym, just so you will know where to start. You can even take a little journal with exercises jotted down to keep you on track and focused. Some girls have this preconceived idea that weights will make you look like a man, and that they aren't for girls. FALSE. I've lifted weights since 7th grade and I'm pretty sure I don't have a manly figure. Now, if you take steroids, testosterone pills, and bench press 400 pounds that might make you look like a man. ;] Picking up a set of 10 pound dumbbells for a few sets will sculpt the muscles you do have and burn lots of calories in a different way than cardio.

* Some days I don't feel like going to the gym. The weather may be yucky, or just being around other people doesn't sound appealing. I pop in one of my favorite workout videos and get after it at home. If you are looking for a cheap video that really will get your heart rate up and work your muscles, I would suggest any of the Jillian Michaels workout videos. They are less than $10 a piece. I even heard they are on Netflix Instant queue!  My favorite workout videos, although a little more pricey for the whole set, is P90X. Tony Horton is amazing and his workouts are challenging. Most the time I can cruise through workout videos, but with his I find myself having to catch my breath and take water breaks. Good stuff! So even though you skip out on the gym, you still get physical activity in and will probably be even more motivated to the hit the gym the next day.

* Find new ways to get your heart rate up. Pick up a hula hoop while your favorite show is on, go for a bike ride and enjoy the weather, go walking with a friend during some free time, swim a few laps, or if you’re lucky enough to have nature trails, go on a hike!

1) Switch out two of my gym days for outdoor exercise. (I need more fresh air!)

2) Get my bike tire fixed this week and order Henry's bike trailer. Although this isn't a direct fitness goal, once I do both of these things I'll be able to enjoy our beautiful spring weather via daily bike rides (and Henry, too!).

3) Integrate yoga into my routine this week. Either take the Tuesday night class or use a video at home.

So, those are my goals for the week! What are yours? Be sure to link back in the comments so we can all check them out. And as always, feel free to grab the feature image and/or the "3 goals" image. Also, I still haven't quite finished going through and visiting everyone's blog who posted last Sunday, but it's a blog priority for this week (along with visiting the links below), and I look forward to stopping by your corner of the internet! I can't wait to see what you guys choose for your fitness goals too.

I hope you all were successful in last week's blog-related goals (I was for the most part, minus one!) and I also hope that you have the best Sunday/Mother's Day! Don't forget to pop over to Amber's space and say hello! :)