Category Archives: Health + Fitness

Killer Ab Workout

I recently strained my foot during a workout (or at least, I think that’s when it happened) so I haven’t been able to follow my regular lower body Alexia Clark workouts lately. In exchange, I’ve been focusing a lot on my upper body (arms and shoulders). Great for improving my arms and shoulders but they’re really tired and need a break! So, I put together some of my favourite ab workouts from Alexia Clark and made my own ab circuit. I last posted my HIIT Skipping Workout, so I thought it was about time I shared this one. It’s all about abs, so I hope you’re ready! (PS: I’ve tried to link example videos for the exercises but whatever isn’t linked can be found on Alexia Clark’s Instagram)

Circuit 1
3 Rounds

Chest Press Leg Raise – 20 Reps
Flutter Kicks – 15 Reps (each leg)
Bench Crunches – 15 Reps (each leg)
Plank Weight Push – 10 Reps (each way)

Circuit 2
3 Rounds

Cable Squat Twist – 10 Reps (each way) 
Cable Wood Chop – 10 Reps (each way)
Cable Hinge Row – 10 Reps (each way)
Bent Over Reach Row – 10 Reps (each way)

Circuit 3
3 Rounds – 40 Seconds On, 20 Seconds Rest

Weighted V Ups – 40 Seconds
Weighted Russian Twists – 40 Seconds
Pull Over Alternating Leg Raises – 40 Seconds
Kettlebell Swings – 40 Seconds

HIIT Skipping Circuit

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is my favourite to do at the gym when I’m feeling lazy but want still want to get in a quick + effective workout. I stumbled upon this HIIT skipping workout on Instagram and if you guys haven’t gotten on the Instagram workout train, do it. Honestly, it’s the best place to find free workouts – you can piece smaller ones together for a larger gym session or if you follow someone like Katie Crew or Alexia Clark, you get full workouts! I wish I could remember where this workout came from (I want to say Alexia Clark, but I could be wrong) so I’m sorry to whoever deserves credit. If I find the Instagram video again, I’ll definitely link it here.

HIIT training is a form of interval training where you alternate short periods of intense periods and then less intense ‘recovery periods’. When I was doing BBG I would do HIIT sprints on the treadmill (running on twelve speed, 30 – 60 seconds on, then rest for equal amounts of time) but I was looking for something a bit more ‘entertaining’. I hate the treadmill!! Anyways … without further delay, here’s the HIIT Skipping Circuit! I will add that I like to do a 30 second warm up and at least a minute cool down of light skipping.

3 Rounds, 30 Seconds for Each Exercise, 13.5 minutes total

 

Light Skipping
Fast High Knees
Back + Forth Split Skips
Right Single Leg Hop
Left Single Leg Hop
Star Skips (like jumping jacks)
Single Leg Alternating Double Skip
Fast High Knees
BREAK

PS: I love the app ‘Seconds’ for timing intervals. It’s one of the few apps I paid for (a whopping $6.99) so that I would be able to save different timers. It reads out the exercises and counts down the last few seconds so it’s perfect to ‘set and forget’, especially for HIIT intervals like this one. Now go get your sweat on! 

2017: The Year of “Positive Body Image”

This past fall, I decided to try Kayla Itsine’s ‘Bikini Body Guide’ – I’d heard really great things about it, had a friend that tried it with a lot of success, and after spending roughly 10 hours looking at ‘#BBGTransformation’ Instagram posts, I was sold. I quickly paid and downloaded the two guides, accompanied by the meal guide, saved them to my iPhone and was ready to go.

And go I did. I’ve never been more dedicated to a workout program before. I religiously went to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and didn’t miss a workout in the first eleven (of twelve) weeks. I felt like I never cheated the workouts (they’re 4 x 7-minute interval circuits) and always kept going until my timer went off. But, alas, I didn’t see the same amazing, life-changing transformations that Kayla bragged about on her social media pages. Sigh. Isn’t that how it always is? It doesn’t work for a majority of the people that actually try it. I mean, my friend saw results but was even more religious than me I think and it wasn’t the first time she’d done #BBG. Looking back, I’m sure I could have tried a bit more with my reps, or squeezed a little harder, gone a little faster, or done something better. I’m also confident that it had some results and if I continue with the program in the new year (which I plan to), I will eventually see results. Not everyone can be shredded in 12 weeks (but damn those who can).

This post isn’t about my experience with #BBG though. During my 12 week obsession with all things #BBG, I also started following a lot of ‘fitness gurus’ on Instagram (I blame a few likes on Kayla’s posts + my searches for #BBGTransformations + Instagram’s algorithms) and eventually my feed was filled with shredded, toned (and tanned) women who had #BodyGoals. I’m confident that every woman has struggled with body image issues at some point in their life (and with that being said, men, too). We either feel we’re too thin, too fat, not toned, our love handles aren’t so lovely, that damn cellulite just won’t go away, etc. etc. etc. And whatever my reasons were, I turned to #BBG to help me feel better about them. I was a little disappointed when I didn’t get my results but my loving boyfriend reminded me I was beautiful, regardless (#HesTheBest). Annnnyways, I digress. Back to my Instagram feed, filled with #FitnessGoals / #BodyGoals. It seemed motivating when I was going to the gym but disappointing once I stopped. I’d never be these women who had the time to workout (what seemed like) all day and would never be #BodyGoals. So, I slowly started unfollowing them. But I kept following Kayla Itsines, queen of #BBG.

Until today, when she posted this photo:

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It’s ironic to me that the image of ‘Body Confidence’ is a toned, beautiful woman without an ounce of imperfection. So, this is my long, drawn out way of saying that I unfollowed Kayla Itsines because I don’t agree with how Kayla supports a positive body image. She probably wouldn’t be as successful if she was always posting otherwise – but whatever. It would have been much more impactful to show a woman who isn’t perfect. Yes, 2017 should be the year of #BodyConfidence – 100% – but that includes being confident in your body how it is and knowing you’re perfect and beautiful just the way you are. Don’t let Kayla, #BBGTransformations or Instagram tell you what’s beautiful or what’s confidence. Be confident in your body and love yourself. Make changes for the right reasons, not to flaunt your body across social media.