Tag Archives: weight loss

A Few of My Favorite Tone It Up Fitness Videos

15 Jul

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles! I’ve been living here for nearly two weeks now. Such a fun city! My husband and I have been having the best time exploring and getting to know the area.

I’m currently working as a freelance writer, so I can pretty much do what I want all day. No complaints about that! One thing I’ve been doing a lot more of is exercising. Our new apartment building has a gym that’s about 25 steps away from our little one-bedroom abode, which is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Instead of just doing cardio and a few fitness videos here and there I’ve been adding these toning exercises to my regular workouts.

I love Tone It Up. They have the best fitness videos! They’re challenging, but not so much that you get discouraged and give up mid-workout, because you can’t keep up. These exercises are fun and you really feel them the next day, so they’re obvious doing some great work!

Here are three of my current favorite Tone It Up workout routines. Try them to get tightened up for those bikinis, strapless dresses, and short shorts!

Tone It Up Holiday Hottie Video

If you’re looking for full-body workout routines that you’ll feel the next day (and probably even the day after) this is it! Not only is this video fun, it’s also nice to literally feel the burn and know  you’ve really gotten a great workout in a short period of time.

Love Your Arms Routine with Karena!

I’ve been neglecting my arms for awhile and it totally shows. I hated going to the weight area at my old gym in Pittsburgh, due to the hoards of sweaty Yinzers causing major overcrowding issues. Thankfully our new apartment gym has a beautifully undercrowded weight room, in addition to the cardio area, so I’ve decided to get back to work on my less-than-sexy limbs. I love this Tone It Up video! I started out using 5lb weights on all exercises and quickly graduated to 8lb-ers on everything but the “Swaying Angel.” I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am a beast!

itty bitty BIKINI! Tone up the love handles workout

Short and sweet workout routines that get the job done in a timely manner are my favorites, and this totally fits the bill! This workout is fantastic for many reasons. Best of all because it’s a five-minute workout that you actually feel the next day! I do it in hotel rooms, on days I don’t have time to work out, after pigging out when I’m feeling like a big cow, and when none of the former reasons apply, I do it just because I love it.

Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up make sure each of their workouts come with a downloadable printable that you can take to the gym with you, which is fantastic! I have these on my phone, because I always forget a move or two, so this way there’s no excuse not to do the full video in its entirety!

Back in the Saddle — My Return to Yoga Classes

27 May

My gym offers free yoga classes a few times a week. Once upon a time I used to go to these yoga classes all the time. I’m not going to lie, I loved bragging that “it’s yoga night,” or “I’m sooo sore from yoga.”

I suspect that most of the classes are structured primarily as a yoga for beginners group, but some of the instructors show us moves that are definitely not meant for yoga newbies. Some of the more “strict” instructors also like to correct you when you’re not doing the yoga poses correctly. I’m not a fan of being manhandled by strangers, so I quickly learned to avoid those classes. And then I just quit going to yoga classes altogether.

Fast forward about a year and a half to last week. My husband and I are getting ready to move to Los Angeles in a few weeks, where according to urban legend, everyone does yoga and drinks kale juice all day. Rightfully, these people are lean, toned, and look fabulous while prancing on the beach.This is a far cry from Pittsburgh where the average person’s idea of exercise is lifting an IC Light back and forth from the table to their mouth, while watching actual athletes from one of the city’s sports teams run around a field, hockey rink, or whatever.

I need to perfect my yoga poses before moving to LA.

I need to perfect my yoga poses before moving to LA.

Though I do not identify with the yinzer “couch athlete,” I decided it was time to hop back in the saddle with the yoga classes. After all, if I’m going to be a California resident, I need to brush up on my ability to bust out yoga poses in class and not look like a flaming idiot.

My Triumphant Return to Yoga Classes

I walked into my first class in a year and a half feeling excited to be at it again, but a little apprehensive. The teacher that night was someone I’ve never taken class with, and my friend who used to take classes with me has since quit going to our gym.

A few minutes into the downward dogs and forward folds though, I realized this was probably going to be pretty easy. Though I hadn’t done yoga in awhile, I had taken to doing Pilates videos at home almost daily. This turned out to be clutch.

As our hour long class went on, I was almost getting bored. Hands down this instructor was easier than some I’ve had in the past, which was kind of a good thing, but also made me wonder if it was worth going back for another class next week. Many of the people in the room seemed to be struggling with the poses, so perhaps I magically graduated from yoga for beginners?

Regardless, I was still blissfully sore the next two days, so although the yoga poses were pretty easy, they did something!

Now, should I go back next week or skip it?

Make Losing Weight a Balancing Act

13 May
Counting calories is one tiny sacrifice I'm more than willing to make to look my best while frolicking on the beaches of Santa Monica.

Counting calories is one tiny sacrifice I’m more than willing to make to look my best while frolicking on the beaches of Santa Monica.

So, I’ve been trying to lose weight. Nothing remotely substantial, just a pesky little five pounds or so. Swimsuit season is around the corner, and I’m moving to LA next month. Get it now?

As previously mentioned, I’ve been counting calories with the Lose It app for about a month now. My bathroom scale is consistently insane, and currently on my list of things to replace that I haven’t gotten around to doing yet. So you guessed it, a lack of reliable scale in my life makes it a bit difficult to know if I’m actually losing weight or not.

Then it happened — the annual worksite wellness exam, complete with a weigh-in from what I would assume is a perfectly functioning scale. The good news is I have not gained weight. The somewhat discouraging news is that I’ve only lost 1.2 pounds in the month I’ve been counting calories. At first I automatically assumed it was the scale’s problem, not mine. Then I realized how completely stupid that rationale was.

I’m very fortunate that eating healthy is something that naturally comes pretty easy to me. It’s not a struggle to choose vegetables over french fries or a salad instead of a cheeseburger. During the week I pretty much eat the exact same things everyday, never going over the 1,500 calorie per day limit (plus extra daily allowances depending on how many calories I burn exercising) that my Lose It app has set for me.

However, I’m typically not so well behaved on the weekends, which in my world is defined as Friday-Sunday. So four days a week I’m staying at or slightly under my daily calorie limit and I’m defying the rules the other three. And I wonder why I’m not not losing weight at the speed of light?!

Losing Weight Without the Sacrifices

I’ll admit it, while I typically don’t spend my weekends scarfing down french fries and raiding all-you-can-eat buffets, I do like to indulge a bit more than I do on the weekdays. I’ll have a couple glasses of wine, split a pre-dinner appetizer with my husband, and often eat a “filling” portion of self-serve frozen yogurt. I don’t feel bad about this.

Eating healthy every single day at every single meal is not only boring, it’s exhausting. You’ve got to live a little!

While I have to applaud myself for this uncharacteristically sane way of thinking, I still need to find a way to balance out my extra weekend calories. So I decided on two things — first, to exercise a bit harder. Second, to start counting calories on a weekly basis, instead of keeping it as just a daily goal. If I can manage to bank some extra calories during the week, I’ll have some extra leeway to do as I please on the weekends, and not have to wonder why I’m barely losing weight.

Thank me now, future abs!

My Latest Obsession: the Lose It App

6 May

Let’s face it, no one truly enjoys counting calories. It’s not particularly fun having to figure out the nutritional values of everything you eat, and then (*gasp*) hold yourself accountable for it!

In a way, ignorance is bliss when it comes to eating delicious food. When you don’t know the nutritional content of your favorite burrito or have managed to convince yourself that any item containing the world “salad” is healthy, you can enjoy eating it guilt-free.

While this is a perfectly acceptable and encouraged practice occasionally, being completely uninhibited with your diet all the time will lead you nowhere but to a wardrobe filled with elastic-waist pants. Not a good look.

I’ve previously written about my attempts at counting calories using the Daily Burn, where I’ve tried logging what I eat a few times in the past. While it’s a great site, I’ve never been able to stick with it, because it’s quite tedious. Even for those of us who eat the same thing most weekdays, you have to go in and log each item again every single day.

Enter the Lose It app.

Oink oink! I went over my calorie goal on this day.

Oink oink! I went over my calorie goal on this day.

At last, calorie counting made easy! I accidentally stumbled upon a review of this app when writing a story for work and consequently downloaded it immediately. That was three weeks ago and I haven’t missed a day of logging since. I’m obsessed!

The Lose It app makes it so easy to input everything you ate for the day and track your exercise, that I can literally get an entire day’s worth of data logged in about two minutes or less. It saves everything you logged for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks as a group and allows you to copy each meal over to other days, adding and deleting items as you wish. It also has a barcode scanner, so you can zap the nutritional data right off a package. So easy!

To get started you enter your current weight, your ideal weight, and how much you’d like to use each week. It then calculates the amount of calories you need each day to achieve that goal. However, it also calculates your calorie intake for the week, so if you eat a little less one day, and a little more the next, you can see how it balances itself out. On days that you exercise, you simply input the activity, choose your level of effort, and it adds the calories you burned onto the total you’re allotted for the day.

If you need some extra motivation, you can invite friends to start using the Lose It app with you, and join in on some fun little challenges. They also give you cute little badges when you do good things, which I secretly love!

Honestly, I LOVE the Lose It app. Sometimes (especially when drinking wine and eating “freely” on the weekends) I don’t love seeing how many calories I racked up, but it’s definitely good for me. It inspires me to work out harder and more often, and also to really think twice before eating something super unhealthy or stuffing my face when I may not even be hungry.

My bathroom scale is seriously insane and needs to be tossed, but I have reason to believe I’ve lost about three pounds since I started using this app three weeks ago. Such a nice healthy pace and I’m not dieting or depriving myself at all!

Sunny Days and Lunchtime Walks

29 Apr
Amazingly, this pretty little park was once the home of an OccupyPittsburgh camp.

Amazingly, this pretty little park was once the home of an OccupyPittsburgh camp.

Though it currently appears to be operating on a day-by-day basis, rumor has it that springtime has arrived in Pittsburgh! I swear, it feels extra fantastic this year, after Mother Nature’s cute little torture fest over the past few weeks.

Despite the fact that I live in a city that averages about 12 sunny days per year and is perpetually freezing, I hate cold weather. So, when it’s cold outside, I only venture out into the great outdoors when I have to. No leisurely little outings necessary.

Prolonged hermiting can result in a serious case of cabin fever, so now that some gorgeous spring days are finally making it into the mix, I’m busting out of my cave every chance I can get!



One of my favorite times to get outside is during lunchtime. It really helps to break up the day and gives me a much needed boost of afternoon energy! Believe it or not, sitting in a cubicle, staring a computer all day can get a little monotonous…

No matter where my lunchtime walks take me, it usually results in walking over a bridge.

No matter where my lunchtime walks take me, it usually involves walking over a bridge.

Not only is taking a long lunchtime walk good for the spirit, it’s also good for your waistline. Trotting around at a moderate, comfortable pace for an hour burns 167 calories. As bikini season is supposedly right around the corner, I’m absolutely loving this as a fun little addition to my normal workout schedule!

My Newest Workout Obsession: The Tone It Up Best Ab Workout Circuit

15 Apr

Summer is almost here, meaning it’s time to shed that layer of blubber that kept you warm all winter, and get in swimsuit shape!

While I’m not a huge fan of the ab workout, I do understand that it’s a major part of the bikini body package. A lot of ab workout videos either bore me or require me to move in ways that I simply cannot (or in some cases will not) do. It’s hard to make yourself do any type of exercise when you feel like you’re buying yourself a one way ticket to hell while doing it. Not fun.

Well thankfully I recently managed to find a new ab workout that I actually like! It’s from the ladies at Tone It Up, and exercises are tough, yet manageable. I am SO gloriously sore the day after, which is always encouraging because if your muscles hate you, that’s a sign you’re making them work.

Truth be told, I actually start getting sore abs during this workout (but it hurts so good). Honestly, I can only do two rounds of it at a time right now, but one of these days I swear I’m going to start doing three.

Counting Calories Made Easy

11 Mar
Looks like I need to do a better job of counting calories.

Aha!  Perhaps this is why I’m not losing weight?

Let’s get one thing straight, I am not a fan of counting calories. This is not a long-term habit that I care to get into, but simply a short-term activity. As previously mentioned, I gained about five pounds on my British honeymoon. I’m fine with this. If there’s ever a time for a temporary weight gain, honeymoons and trips to Europe are certainly the best excuses I can think of .

The problem is I’ve been exercising like a crazed animal since our return and I still haven’t lost a couple of those pesky pounds. I know could be seen as slightly anal retentive to fret about a couple of pounds but whatever. First you gain a couple pounds, then a couple more, then you’ve got a real situation on your hands. A situation I don’t care to find myself in.

It seemed crazy to me that I could be putting so much effort into exercising and not really losing weight. I’m completely against fad diets, so counting calories to see what I’m doing wrong was really my only other option. I’ve used the Daily Burn Tracker in the past, so I decided to dust my account off and try it again.

I knew working out so much was causing me to eat like a pregnant heifer, but I didn’t realize that even though I was eating healthy, I still wasn’t eating the right food combinations. Using the Daily Burn Tracker helps me to see exactly where I’m at for the day with fat, calories, protein, and carbs, so I don’t accidentally oink it up.

On the average weekday* I typically eat pretty much the same thing, which makes counting calories pretty easy. Each morning, I put everything I plan to eat for the day into my Daily Burn Tracker Nutrition Log. I also enter a workout in if I plan to go to the gym later and it adjusts my nutrition limits accordingly.

Although counting calories isn’t an ideal situation, I think it’s much more effective than going on fad diets for a few weeks. You gain weight back after stopping a fad diet, while counting calories simply teaches you how to eat healthy portions of foods you actually like.

*I don’t believe in counting calories from Friday at 5pm through Sunday evening. Though I do my best to eat healthy on weekends, watching it this closely on weekends is a bit more than I care to do.