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Finding time for the Gym while working full-time

Hello dedicated readers!

Well, I finally did it – I got myself a job. I am so happy to be back in the working world with a steady schedule, a reason to leave the house every day, and aย paycheck.
All very good things ๐Ÿ˜€

I have been working for three weeks now and I am finally starting to feel like I’ve found my work/gym balance. The first week was rough and I felt like all I was doing every day was going to the gym, coming home, cooking dinner, packing my lunch and gym bag for the next day, and crashing into bed. I have streamlined my routine over the last three weeks, though, and I am really starting to enjoy it!!

SO, here are some of my tips for finding time for the gym!

1.) Go to your gym at different times during the day to see when it is the least-busy.

On my first day of work, I decided to try going to the gym after work around 5pm. Bad idea. It was SO busy that I couldn’t do the workout that I had planned. Luckily, I had already biked on my indoor trainer before work so I didn’tย need to do any cardio, which turned out to be a good thing because there were NO free cardio machines!! None!
I decided that I couldn’t handle going to the gym after work again. The stress of potentially having to change my workout plans upon arrival at the gym is too much for me.

The next day, I left my house at 5:15am, arrived at the gym around 5:45am and walked into a nice and quiet scene withย plenty of open cardio and weight machines. Although I don’t LOVE getting up so early, I find that the benefits outweigh the costs and 5:45am is my new gym-time ๐Ÿ˜€

**Bonus: If you’re close to the gym or if you have a shower at work, consider doing a lunchtime workout!! It’s a really nice way to break up the day and get moving.

2.) Pack your breakfast and lunch at night.

If I had to cook and pack my breakfast and lunch ย in the morning before leaving the house, I’d have to get up at least 30 minutes earlier than I do… and that’s not okay with me. haha. Even if I wasn’t going to the gym in the morning, I wouldn’t want the stress of trying to make food before leaving the house.
Instead, I pack my lunchbox while I’m cooking dinner! Might as well multitask while I’m in the kitchen, right? Any leftovers from my dinner go straight into my lunchbox for lunch the next day. Very easy. And my breakfast is typically overnight oats that are really easy to throw together ๐Ÿ˜‰

3.)ย Choose your work outfit and gym clothes at night.

I pick my work outfit at night because I am a serious second-guesser when choosing what to wear. I usually try on 3 different outfits before landing on a winner. If I waited until the morning to choose my outfit, I’d never make it to work on-time, let alone the gym.
I put my work outfit in my gym bag and I set my gym outfit on top of my dresser. That way, all I have to do when my alarm goes off is hop (orย crawl) out of bed and get dressed!

SOOO those are my tips for making time for the gym ย even when you’re busy and working a full-time job.

Moving on – I have a workout to share!! It’s another treadmill workout that is great for days when you get to the gym and just feel blah and not interested in running.

Feeling Blah Treadmill Workout

I called the “Easy-Does-It” workout. I created it on a day when I stepped onto the treadmill with the intent of completing a 30 minute run and immediately experienced this feeling of dread. Suddenly, running for 30 minutes was the LAST thing I wanted… This doesn’t happen very often so I decided to just go with it. I thought a walk/run workout sounded a little less daunting so this was the result! It starts off with two minutes of walking and includes six 2-minute walking intervals over 30 minutes. Knowing that I would be walking for a bit after each 8mph interval was so comforting. It took all of the pressure out of my workout and allowed me to just enjoy moving, which was really nice.

SO if you feel yourself really not wanting to run non-stop but you still want a good workout, try this out! The intervals keep your mind busy and the 30 minutes are over before you know it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Alright, I hope everyone’s having a great day and staying safe during this crazy snow storm!! (we’ve already gotten about a foot of snow here in VT, which I really wasn’t expecting).

Happy FRIDAY!!!

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A New Treadmill Workout! 5k in 25:15

Good Afternoon and Happy New Year!!
It’s 2014 Woo!

I hope everyone had a fun New Year’s Eve! I ended up going to Montreal with my boyfriend and had a fantastic time!
We went to an indoor market called Marche Jean-Talon and had fun looking at all of the beautiful fruits, veggies, and baked goods before getting some lunch ๐Ÿ™‚

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Lots of yummy-looking fruits!

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Fancy Macarons!

We decided to be adventurous and get lunch at a place where the entire menu was in French. We both remember some French from high school but not enough to have been able to read the menu clearly. We decided to share two different meals: a salad topped with feta cheese and tomato and a baked polenta gratin that was basically a mini baked polenta loaf served on marinara sauce with a little melted cheese on top. Both meals came with a bowl of green veggie soup that was surprisingly delicious! Of the two meals that we chose, the polenta was my favorite. It was just above zero degrees outside so I’m pretty sure that’s why I liked the warm food better than the salad – although both were very tasty ๐Ÿ™‚
After eating lunch, we headed over to a bakery that we had our eye on. There were SO many choices but the one that really stood out for me was a raspberry scone. It didn’t look like any scone I had ever had but it looked really good so that’s what I got!

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Yummmmy scone! Looking at it makes me wish I had one right now. ๐Ÿ˜›

The rest of our time was spent exploring, enjoying tasty wine, a ridiculously good dinner in Old Montreal, and celebrating the start of a new year!!

Soooo now that the holidays are all done – and it feels like it was holiday time for a solid two weeks with Christmas and New Year’s both falling in the middle of the week – I started this week feeling really ready to get back into a solid workout routine. I kind of relaxed about my workout schedule for the first week of the year because my boyfriend was visiting and we had so much that we wanted to do! I did get in a few good workouts at the gym, but I didn’t really put a lot of time into it since we were busy doing other things ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s all about balance and making time for fun as well as fitness ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, today was an awesome gym day so I had to share my workout with you all.ย 
I decided to do a treadmill workout that focused on endurance as well as speed. The workout involved quickly building up to 8mph and slowly going back down to 7mph. After a half-mile warm up, I increased my speed every tenth of a mile by 0.2mph. Once I got up to 8mph, I decreased my speed every tenth of a mile this time byย only 0.1mph. So the increase in speed happened quickly and the decrease happened slowly, meaning my speed stayed above 7mph for 1.5 miles total… Then I did some quick 8mph pick-ups for the last mile.
So, in case you want to save the workout and bring it to the gym to try it out, here it is!
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I called it the “Up-Down” 5k workout because it’s all about making the speed go up and down at specific intervals ๐Ÿ™‚
Another fun thing about this workout is that you’ll end up doing a 5k in 25:15 which is something to be pretty proud of! If you want to modify the workout to make it easier or harder, you can just change the speed to match your fitness needs. But keep the length of the intervals the same because the whole idea is to work on endurance, and then speed.

OK I hope everyone’s week is going great so far and that people are doing some awesome workouts in this new year!

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Hills & Sprints Ladder Workout

Good Evening!!
I hope everyone has enjoyed the holiday time!!
I have had a great couple of days filled with family time, cooking fun food, and giving presents to people. They always say that giving makes you feel good and it’s so true. When you know you have picked out a perfect gift for someone, it feels so nice to watch them open it and to see how happy it makes them!

The weather was beautiful all week; some days snowy, other days sunny through the snow-covered trees!

ImageThis is my back yard on Christmas Eve morning ๐Ÿ™‚ Very pretty sunrise!

And here are a few of the gifts that I received on Christmas! The top left is a dvd of one of my top two favorite Christmas movies!! My other favorite is Santa Clause is Coming to Town ๐Ÿ˜€
I can’t wait to start reading these two books!! Good thing I’m still unemployed and currently have lots of reading time ๐Ÿ˜€

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There was an amazing sunset yesterday that I had to take a picture of because it was cloudy ALL day up until 4:30 when the sun went down.

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Because we have had quite a lot of snow in VT over the past few days, my gym routine has been a little thrown-off. But that’s ok! It’s good to switch things up every now and then ๐Ÿ˜‰

I did end up making it into town today and did an awesome treadmill workout that I am excited to share!

By the end of the workout, I was red-faced and dripping with sweat, which is not so attractive, but I’d rather feel like I did a solid workout than feel pretty at the end ๐Ÿ˜‰

SO here’s what I did!
ImageThis is similar to the last treadmill workout that I did, except that this one is a “Ladder” workout, meaning that the intervals get progressively harder, then progressively easier. So with the hills, I started with an incline of 5, maxed out at an incline of 6, then went back down to 5. Same thing with the sprints – I started at 8mph, worked up to 9mph, then went back down to 8. I also made my recovery time a little quicker by running at 7mph between all intervals rather than 6.8, which is what I did in the last workout.
And let me tell you, that extra 0.2 mph really makes a difference!!

You can alter the workout to match your fitness level. If you love sprinting, do all of the sprints a little faster than what I did! If you would rather run steeper hills or run the hills faster, just change it up so that it fits your needs ๐Ÿ˜€

If you do try this workout, let me know what you think!!

OK well Happy Friday and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend ๐Ÿ˜€

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Happy Christmas Eve + Two Workouts!

Hello and Happy Christmas ย Eve!!
I hope everyone has been able to travel safely over the past few days. The weather in VT has been pretty bad for driving :/

I am not traveling anywhere but my grandparents are coming to our house today, if the weather turns out fine. They were supposed to arrive yesterday so they have postponed their drive once already because of icy roads!

Although I haven’t gone to the gym in three days and am going a little stir-crazy, it has been a fun and productive weekend. Saturday was spent Christmas shopping with my parents. ALL day. Fun, but super tiring. Knowing we’d be out for a most of the day, I decided to get my workout in right when I woke up.
I did four Blogilates videos, the first of which involved doing ten sets of ten different kinds of Burpees…Yep, you read that right….I started off my Saturday with 100 Burpees! Ahhhh!! I felt a little crazy jumping around in my room before anyone else was awake but when I realized that our shopping was going to take until late afternoon, I was so happy to have already done my workout.

On Sunday, my mom and I baked for FOUR HOURS!!
Here are some of the things we made:

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Waffle Pretzels with a Hershey Hug melted on top, topped with a mint M&M!
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Peppermint Bark with a shortbread base rather than white chocolate.

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Classic Thumbprint Cookies ๐Ÿ˜€

We also made some “white trash” which is just like a Chex Mix with pretzels, M&M’s and peanuts, coated in white chocolate. Pretty darn tasty.

And then yesterday, I had planned on going to the gym but there was a tree across our driveway and I couldn’t be bothered to go and move it. SO I did my own workout in my room.

So that brings us back to Friday as my most recent gym day during which I did a fun Elliptical workout that I’d like to share with you!ย I wanted to get in some solid cardio and an arm/upper back workout. My first choice for cardio at the gym is the Treadmill but I felt some pain in my hamstring after my run on Wednesday so I figured the elliptical was the way to go for my workout today. I dealt with a very annoying pain in my hamstring all summer and it’s finally at a manageable state so I try to back off from running if I feel any pain in that area ๐Ÿ˜‰ย In my experience with running, it’s wayyyy better to be safe than sorry!!

I never really plan out workouts on the elliptical for some reason but I did on Friday and I’m really glad that I did! I felt like I got an awesome workout and the intervals made it all fly by ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s what I did:
ImageI call it the “Burn off the Christmas Cookies” workout because it will totally burn some fat. What makes the elliptical so difficult, for me, is that you can’t just choose a speed and zone out. If you want to go 9mph, you have to make yourself do it and focus on keeping that speed for the entire interval! If I catch myself zoning out, I always see that I have slowed down accidentally. SO keep your focus throughout this workout and it will get you all hot and sweaty for sure!!

The last 0.2 miles of the workout you should be going as fast as you can with the resistance anywhere between 10 and 15. Just put on a crazy-motivational song and push through!!

For the arms and upper body portion of my workout, I stuck with a few classic moves to target my biceps, triceps, shoulders, and back. Here’s my strength routine from today’s workout:

Classic Arms + Back

This workout was quick and did the job ๐Ÿ™‚

And I’m about to go to the gym today and do a sweaty cardio workout followed by a lower body routine! I’ll wait ย until after I’m done before posting it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday!!

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Treadmill Workout and What to Wear for New Year’s!

Good Evening and Happy Wednesday!!
I hope everyone’s having a great day so far ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a little warmer out today so that made me quite happy!
Can you believe Christmas is only one week away!?! It is coming up so quickly!! Luckily, I only have one more gift to buy – a Sudoku book for my Grandfather ๐Ÿ˜‰

While I am very excited for Christmas and all that goes with it (Family, Cookies, Egg Nog, Etc), I am super excited for New Year’s this year!! I’m going to Montreal and it will be my first New Year’s spent in a large city! I’ve spent the Holiday in Cambridge just outside Boston, but that wasn’t too huge. I think Montreal will be really fun!!

I spent this afternoon choosing my outfit and hairstyle for the evening. I love a good night of dressing up because I rarely wear dresses/skirts/fancy shoes in my day-to-day life ๐Ÿ˜‰ Should be fun!!
Here’s one of the hairstyles that I tried:
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Where are you celebrating New Year’s andย What are you wearing??

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Sooo today was an at-home Pilates kind of morning followed by a trip to the gym for some cardio. I decided to do a treadmill workout that combinedย hill repeats and sprint intervals. I wanted my buns to get a really good workout and what’s better for your buns than running uphill? ๐Ÿ˜€

These kinds of workouts go by so quickly since you’re always getting ready for the next repeat or sprint! It’s a great way to spend a good 35-40 minutes on the treadmill without getting bored.

SO here’s the complete workout!

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The speed and incline can be adjusted according to your fitness level. If you want more of a hill sprint, just run up the hill at a faster pace. I am trying to work on keeping my speed up while running up hills so I just left my speed at 6.8 throughout all of the intervalls ๐Ÿ˜€

OK off to make some dinner! Let me know if you try this workout!!

Have a great night ๐Ÿ˜€

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My Mom’s workout!

Good Evening!

It was a verrrry chilly day here in Vermont! 22 below zero when I woke up this morning. Wowza.
SO needless to say, today was an indoor type of workout day for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 
I followed aย Blogilatesย HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)ย workoutย so I’m not going to post what I did but you should definitely click the link and do the workout – it’s awesome!! It may have been cold outside but this workout had me sweating like crazy inside!! Whew!

So, because I don’t have my own workout to post today, I’ll share my mom’s workout with you! I’ve been creating workouts for my mom for a while now because she wants to get into shape and get stronger ๐Ÿ™‚

Since her primary goal is fat-loss, I like to design HIIT ย workouts for her so that she is burning fat the entire time she’s moving!

So here’s the workout that my mom powered through today:Image

This workout combines strength and cardio moves in order to build a strong body while keeping the heart rate elevated the entire time! You could easily just do this whole workout once through and be done but I had my mom repeat the squats, pliee squats, and push-ups with their respective cardio moves before moving moving on to the Abs ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

So I hope you try this workout and let me know what you think!!

Stay warm!!!

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Where Have I Been?! (Plus TWO new workouts!)

Good Afternoon Fit People!!
It feels a little weird to write this post because I haven’t written in SO long!! Months!! So I guess I’ll do a really quick update on my life and why I have been so absent on my blog.

So for the summer, I actually moved to central New York with the intention of living there for 3 years while my boyfriend finished up some post-graduate school…and all summer we did lots of fun things like mountain biking, road biking (a new hobby for me and so much fun!), running, Boston for July 4th, went to the beach, and just enjoyed the warm weather. I even got a job working at a book store while I tried to find a job in my field (which is Environmental Science). I tried really hard to make central NY a place that I could stay for 3 years but by the end of September, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wasn’t finding anything in the way of job prospects, I just wasn’t really feelin’ the area I lived in, and I really REALLY missed Vermont. SO, I came back. I am unemployed right now but have a few job possibilities on the horizon and, most importantly, I am SO happy ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you didn’t follow through with your “plan” but I choose to look at this as a both learning experience and as an opportunity for growth. The learning part is that I now know that I can’t live somewhere that doesn’t have all of the things I like to do! For example, I really missed hiking and being able to pick a dirt road and just go for a walk. I also missed the people in VT and all of the little pokey stores and fun restaurants and the night life in Burlington. The opportunity part is that with all of my free time (what with being unemployed and all ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I have plenty of time to focus on my fitness and being super-healthy! Until I eventually do get a job, I’ll be doing lots of exercise all day and experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes!! Although it’s tough to be in a long-distance relationship, that’s also kind of like a new opportunity as well – my boyfriend and I get to plan visits and get excited for when we do get to see each other ๐Ÿ˜€

So that’s my life at the moment! And because this is Sweet Potato FITNESS and not just Sweet Potato blab all about my life, I will share with you my workout from today!!

I started off the day with some Abs by following a few Ab-focused videos from my FAVORITE Youtube fitness guru Blogilates (try her videos, she’s amazing, upbeat, and TOUGH!)
After helping my Dad with a top-secret Christmas project ๐Ÿ˜‰ I headed out to the gym for a cardio and leg/buns workout!

I don’t go to the gym every day because it’s about 25 mins from my house and I’m trying to save on gas…so when I DO go to the gym, I like to do a solid cardio session as well as weights. Gotta make good use of all that equipment while I’m there!

SO the cardio part of the workout looked like this:

Image I like to do a quick and tough workout on the treadmill as often as I can and this one was perfect! It got me sweaty and all warmed up so that I was ready for the next step of the workout ๐Ÿ˜€

After running, I did an awesome lower-body strength routine that BURNED! I called it the Hottie Pa-Tottie Buns Workout because if you do these moves, you’ll surely get some hottie pa-totties lookin’ at your buns ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are the details:

ImageLike the spacey background? I love it! I want a pair of leggings with an outer space design on them…Christmas list, here I come!

OK well I hope whoever is reading this will try the workout and tell me what you think of it!! I’m hoping to be sore in the buns area tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!
Keep fit and stay happy!

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