The Best Cardio To Burn Fat!| At Home Or In The Gym

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If you are like me and hate cardio but want to burn fat then keep reading because these moves are for you!

The best type of cardio for maximum fat burning is Plyometrics. Plyometrics or plyos for short and often known as the jumping exercises. These are moves where you are exerting maximum speed or power for short intervals. Plyos are great because you don’t need a machine to do them so essentially you can do them anywhere. This is a good tool to use to burn fat and maintain muscle.

These are moves like: squat  jumps, jumping lunges, burpees with or without a push-up, lateral side hops (hop side to side reaching to the ground near your foot with the opposite hand), jump jack squats (jump spreading legs wide like a jumping jack and into a squat, then jump up bringing your legs back to center), foot ball run drops, foot ball shuffles side to side, knee tuck jumps (small hop then high jump bringing knees to chest), skaters (jumping curtsy lunges touching foot with opposite hand), side to side hops on a step bench or a Bosu ball, in and out hops on a step bench or a Bosu ball (jump on feet together then jump off feet on either side, squat after each jump), squat to lunge hops or booty blasters I like too call them (lunge then jump into a squat then jump back into a lunge with other leg) and High knees.

A great way to come up with a good work out that is different each time, is to write each move onto a piece of paper and place them into a jar, hat or bag. Then select ten moves out of the hat. Do each move for 30-60 seconds or 10-20 reps with 30-60 second rest in between to recover. You should be allowing your body enough time to recover and allow your breathing to return to a normal pace. If this means taking longer to recover then do so. As you continue to do these type of workouts you an decrease the amount of time you take to recover. Repeat the whole thing 3-4 times through. You can download an app on your phone to time your intervals so you don’t have to watch a stop watch or clock.

Plyometrics are categorized as anaerobic exercises. There are two types of exercises aerobics and anaerobic. Aerobic focuses more on endurance and long training while anaerobic focuses on high intensity at short bursts like interval training, weight training or HIIT cardio. Plyos can be used to spike up your heart rate to get that HIIT cardio in and train your muscles. These type of workouts don’t allow your body to adapt to the exercise. For example if you were running on a treadmill for 30 minuites at the same speed and  intensity your body will eventually adapt or get used to it. With plyometric type workouts you are constantly tricking your body, not allowing it to adapt or plateau.

If you have access to a gym you can do cardio on the machines in intervals. 30 seconds high intensity 30 seconds low intensity. On the treadmill you can do sprints by adjusting the speed and incline. Stationary bike- switch between low intensity sitting at a moderate speed and high intensity at a fast speed standing up. The Arc trainer is one of my favourite cardio machines because it can get very hard and burns the booty. For intervals on the Arc trainer switch between a moderate pace at standing and a fast pace sitting back into a slight squat. This is super hard and will burn. This can also be done on a step machine (not a stair master, my fav stair master workout soon to come). Lastly, you can do interval cardio with a jump rope again 30 seconds on at max speed and 30 seconds off to recover.

All exercises mentioned are basically High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. The best part about this style of cardio is its fast, its constantly changing so you don’t get board and it revs up your metabolism allowing you to continue burning calories after your workout has ended. I like to add HIIT workouts into my fitness routine to get my cardio in and burn fat.

 

Hope you enjoyed my first blog of blogmas! If you like this subscribe for more posts

XOXO- Krystal

 

 

My Half Marathon Experience

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For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to run in some kind of race. You can say it’s been on my bucket list for a while now. However, I never thought it was something I would be able to achieve. I was overweight, out of shape and always out of breath due to my asthma. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to run 5 km let alone 21.1 km.

After I had lost a lot of weight (you can check out my blog post about my fitness journey for more on that) I also got my asthma under control I started talking about doing a race or a triathlon but was to chicken to actually sign up. I was all talk and no action. One of my close friends Maddie (check out my last blog post for more about her) pushed me outside of my comfort zone and convinced me to sign up for a half marathon.  After I signed up the realization of how crazy I am started to sink in. I had never run before. The most I did was sprints outside and 5 minutes on the treadmill. I never ran in any race in my life and the first one I signed up for just happened to be 21 km, I truly thought I had lost my mind. Maddie however, had full confidence in me and was constantly encouraging and reassuring me throughout my training. Without her I would have never signed up.

I had no idea how to start training for a race. It was obvious I would have to run quite often but I had no idea what to eat or how I could fit my other fitness goals into my training especially as a vegan. I still wanted to lift and gain strength. One day I googled  “vegan personal trainer” and the first thing that came up was Samantha Shorkey’s – Jacked On The Bean Stock online training.  I looked at her success stories and what she was about and decided that she might be a good fit for me. I have had a personal trainer in the past but I never tried online training before. I sent an email inquiry and signed up. This was honestly one of the best decisions I could have ever made in regards to my training. Sam’s training plan was excellent but challenging and personally I loved it. I followed my training plan and did long runs on Sundays with Maddie. We helped each other to keep pace (well Maddie helped me more than I had helped her). This was good so during the race we would be able to keep track of each other somewhat. Sam and her sister Sarah would answer any questions or concerns I had and send emails with motivational videos and check in on how I was doing. I accomplished my goals and more, I lost 20 pounds and was feeling great. If you are vegan and are looking for a personal trainer I highly recommend you check out Jacked On The Bean Stock. Sam and Sarah are amazing positive people, with a great approach to training. I will definitely be going to them for all my future training.

3 weeks out from race day I unfortunately injured myself.  Maddie and I were doing one of our long runs at High Park in downtown Toronto. We started to do our long runs in different parts of the city for change of scenery. We hadn’t run at this location before and it turned out to be a lot of hills. After completing a 16 km run my left knee started to hurt not severely but enough for me to become aware of it. The following week I skipped the long run and just walked, I iced my knee and did foam rolling. I noticed that it was fine and did not bother me until I started running. That’s when I realized that it was not my knee that was injured but it was my IT Band. I wanted to try to rest and recover my muscles as much as possible before the race. So, I knee supports to wear while I run and Kinesiology tape. I learned how to tape my legs best for recovery.  I did any and everything I could Because after all the hard work I had put into this day I was not going to let anything stop me from running.

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Race Day: October 16, 2016, I ran in the Scotia Bank waterfront run. The morning of the race I was excited and did not know what to expect. Maddie and I stayed over at our friend Nhu’s place. She lives downtown so it would not be a far commute for us on the morning of. We saw so many people heading down to the race either to watch or participate. This made me get nervous and excited at the same time. As soon as we got there, we saw people crossing the finish line for the 5km run.  We made it to the runners area to check in our bags and use the bathroom. They had all kinds of booths set up for the participants: food, stretching area, a place to get your picture taken with your medal once you crossed the finish line. It was pretty cool. We checked our bags and got split up going to the bathroom. I thought Maddie had ditched me and went to start the race so, I followed the other runners to the starting line. Our start time was in a few minutes and I figured I would have to look for Maddie once I got to the finish line but, by some miracle I saw Maddie heading to the starting line and helped her jump the gate to where I was so we could start together.

Once the race started I was at a good pace, following the Running Room pace makers. It was pretty cool running down the streets of Toronto with hundreds of other runners of all shapes and sizes. There were people cheering us on from their porches and the sidewalks holding up encouraging signs. People were dressed in costumes, salsa dancers dancing and volunteers cheering us on as they handed us water and Gatorade. Maddie and I were able to stay in range of each other for the most part of the race until my knee started hurting again and I had to slow down my pace at about 8 km into the race. I wanted to give up and stop at so many points after that. But I thought about my training, how much hard work I put into training for this race and the donuts waiting for me when I finished.  I saw a blind runner pass me (he had a sign on his back and a guide helping him) and a woman in a wheel chair and that motivated me to keep going. If they can do this with their physical limitations I could too.

(Yes I was too cheap to pay for the photos)

At about 16km into the race, I somehow thought I still had 10km left to run and I started cursing myself for letting Maddie convince me to do this. I soon realized I only had about 5km left and my spirits lifted, until I started walking for a bit, at 19km and realized how much it was hurting to start running again. I wanted to cry but there were photographers taking pictures and I did not want a picture taken of me like that. I started to look around to see if I could find Maddie maybe she could help me. The pain at that point was unbearable but I didn’t dare stop running because I knew if I stopped running I wouldn’t be able to start again. I realized I couldn’t see Maddie anywhere and started having a panicking and I was struggling to breath it felt like the beginning of an asthma attack. I somehow managed to calm myself down and get my breathing back to normal. I continued to run and I was determined to cross the finish line no matter what.

I crossed that finish line and found Maddie who was laying on the ground. They gave us medals and took our pictures. In that moment, I was in so much pain but at the same time so proud of the accomplishment Maddie and I had just made.  We had been on this journey together, helped motivate each other and pushed each other to keep going.  One of our good friends Paolo along with Maddie’s parents came to cheer us on. We met them at the finish line and the first thing Paolo says to me is “I was looking for you guys expecting to see you looking disheveled and not like yourselves but, you guys came around the corner looking fresh AF!” I guess I was looking way better than I felt.

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This just proves that your body is a lot stronger than you may think. It is 100% true that your mind will give up a hundred times before your body does. I think this is one of the hardest things I have ever done and I am excited to continue to do things that scare and push me to my limits. It’s amazing to push yourself and see just how much our bodies can do.  All in all, It was an amazing experience and I will probably do it all over again next year. Thank you to everyone who believed in me and encouraged me while I was on this journey.

XoXo – Krystal-Lee

Check out Jacked on the Beanstalk for training with Sam and Sarah –

www.jackedonthebeanstalk.com

10 Tips To Start a Healthy Lifestyle

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Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen over night. It starts with small changes that become a habit and develops into something you like. If you are looking to start a healthy lifestyle these are my tips on how to get started.

Tip #1- Start Now! All the time I hear people say they will start tomorrow, next week or next year. You don’t need to wait till you have all the right clothing or equipment. Be creative and use what you already have. These are all just excuses to keep living how you currently are.  The future is not guaranteed so why wait till tomorrow, next week or next year to start living a beautiful healthy life.

Tip #2- Set goals. Set achievable short term and long term goals. Be realistic when setting these goal make them something that is possible for you to accomplish and when you do it will motivate you to continue living a healthy lifestyle.

Tip #3- Drink more water. 75% of all Americans are chronically dehydrated. Most people are not getting enough water throughout the day and don’t know the difference. Water is important in making our bodies run smoothly and effectively. It helps to flush out toxins out f the body and drinking more water will help with acne, cause your skin to be brighter and vibrant and will help with weight loss. A lot of the time people mistake hunger for thirst. Drinking more water in a day will allow you to feel fuller in turn making you eat less. Drinking more water will also boot your metabolism helping you to burn more calories. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces. This can be simply done by making the conscious decision to drink water instead of pop or juice. You can also spice up you water by adding lemon sliced, frozen fruit or mint to your water.

Tip #4- Cut out processed foods. Aim to eat more whole foods like fruit and vegetables. Processed foods have so many preservatives, additives and chemicals in them so they can have a longer shelf life. Just imagine what all those things are doing to your body. Try to cook more of your meals that way you know exactly what is in the food you are using to fuel your body. I’m not saying you have to cut it out cold turkey or completely but, start by adding more raw and natural foods to your diet and work your way up from there.

Tip #5- Find healthy alternatives for junk foods.  There many healthy options and recipes for the junk foods you crave and once you start eating healthy continuously you wont crave junk anymore instead, you will crave healthy foods. Check out my last blog post for a healthy brownie recipe.

Tip #6- Plan. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Planning out your meal and workouts a head of time will give you no excuses to not eat healthy or work out. Often times its when I don’t plan out my meals ahead of time that I turn to fast food because its quick, easy and convenient but, if you plan ahead healthier options can become quick, easy and cheap. Also, by planing your workouts before going to the gym will prevent you from lollygagging and wondering what you should do next.

Tip #7- Do what you love to do. Do exercises or activities that you like to do. Eat foods that you like to eat. Don’t try and force yourself to do things or eat things that you don’t like just because you know its good for you. Eventually, you will stop doing what ever it is you are doing because you don’t like it.

Tip # 8- Mental health is important too. Being healthy is something that is often attributed to having a nice body because that is something that we can see but, it is actually so much more than that. Mental health is important to. Someone can look healthy on the outside but are struggling mentally. Mental health is something that is recently been coming to light. Many people suffer from all sorts of mental illnesses and it is a sickness that cannot be seen. If you or someone you know are showing signs that they may need help please tell someone and take the steps forward to getting help. With that being said it is important to take the time to relax, stress cant take a toll on a persons body. Light some candles, read a book, write in a journal, take a bubble bath or watch a show do things that you like to do to unwind form the stress of everyday life.

Tip #9- Get a good night rest. Sleep is very important in regulating our bodies. While you are asleep is when your body repairs the muscles that were broken down while exercising. So, sleep is very important for recovery. Sleep regulates lepton and cortisol levels in your body. These keep your metabolism up. A good nights sleep will also give you the energy you need for the next day.

Tip # 10- Give your self a cheat and rest day. Cheat days and rest days are much needed to reset your body and mind. having a cheat day will allow you to indulge in all the food you have been craving. This is kind of like a mental reset button that will allow you to continue eating healthy. The same thing goes for a rest day. I often find that all I want to do on a rest day is go to the gym and it gets me excited to get back in the gym the next day.

 

My Fitness Journey: How I Lost 70lb

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My fitness journey started in 2013. I was in my fourth year of university and loving life. I’m not going to say my life was miserable before I lost weight because it wasn’t, I was very happy with myself and my life but, looking back I think I was in denial. I was in denial about my health and my weight. After gaining what must have been 50 pounds in freshman year I still thought I was the same size I had always been. Although, I knew this was false seeing as how none of my old clothes fit me. Nevertheless, I got new clothes and thought I was fabulous (which I was just fluffier). My wake up call came when I started getting asthma attacks more frequently. It was scary and my friends who where there and helped me through them can attest to that. My second wake up call was when I stepped on the scale for the first time in years and the number read 225 pounds. I was mortified. That was the moment I decided to turn my life around. I did not tell anyone about this self revelation because I was too ashamed. So I started going to the gym. I didn’t do anything other than the bicycle because 1. I didn’t know how to work out properly and 2. I was way too intimidated to even attempt going into the weight area. I also changed my diet started having smoothies for breakfast and sauté crab wit bean sprouts for dinner. I did not starve myself or eat anything I thought tasted bad. During this time is when I lost the first 25 pounds. I didn’t even realize I had lost weight my friends started telling me and I weighed myself.

It was after that I realized I had to step it up a notch and decided  to check out the Goodlife fitness near my house. My roommates had been telling me about it and I wanted to see if I should sign up too. This was when I started working with a personal trainer for the first time. I learned so much from her. She taught me how to squat, deadlift, and bench press. I was soon able to do my first full push up and shortly after that I reached my goal of 50 push ups in a row. I started getting very strong and my trainer started teaching me how to do snatches and clean and jerks. That was when I fell in love with health and fitness. The weight started melting off and my clothes were getting looser and looser. Slowly over time my diet changed completely. I switched from milk to almond milk, I stopped eating cheese, rice, pasta and would occasionally have bread. I had broccoli, chicken and sweet potatoes every night for dinner. It was in December 2013 that I started joining boot camp classes on top of my training sessions with my personal trainer. I met a new lifelong friend in that boot camp and I’m so glad I made the decision to sign up and try it out. By spring 2014  I had completed all my personal training sessions and I weighed 163 pounds.

Fast forward to today September 2016 I still have a passion for fitness and am now training for my first half-marathon. I became a vegan and have been for over a year now. I am loving life and living it to the fullest.