A more portly Zeena in 2009
It took me 28 years to truly embrace the power of taking care of your body. When I was younger, I always made it a point to go to the gym when I could but never pushed myself out of my comfort zone. In fact, the minute a workout got too intense, it would immediately turn me off to continuing the program. Looking back I realize it was insecurity in me, that feeling of “I’m not an athletic person, I could never pull this off.” If I was tired at 21, it was a slim indication of how stressful and event filled life would be at almost 31. Time is a joke and if it’s not one thing, it’s another. I can only imagine how difficult it becomes after you have a kid. Finding even an hour of down time to think about your health and body seems almost impossible factoring in children and work in tandem. God bless the ladies who bounce back quickly after child birth, you have my utmost lady respect.
A few years ago a guy I used to work with re-surfaced a whole new man and noticeably skinner and fit. When I asked him what the secret was he told me “I put working out in my schedule and don’t budge unless it is a total emergency.” When he listed off various examples it really hit me that for some time I had used small distractions as a cop out for really maximizing my workouts and time. Once I began Crossfit, I truly realized that in an hour to an hour and a half even 2-3 times a week, you CAN change your body. I found that even at my most stressed when I push myself to workout, I feel 100% better after. Nothing makes you FEEL better than looking your best and everyone’s “best” can be gauged differently. I know it’s cliche, but it is a lifestyle change – one that requires a little sacrifice for a big gain. 3 hours a week for a better present and future is a small price to pay.
Unfortunately a few months ago I inadvertently broke my foot which took me down HARD. The prospect of not working out really killed me inside because it took me 2 years to really identify and connect with the importance of health. What it did force me to do post recovery, was shift and modify my workouts to keep myself active and toned. What I learned is the the importance of the following moves. Think of it this way – if you can fit in an hour for TV every few days, replace with with any variety of repetitions of the following exercises and BOOM there’s your exercise for the week. It will be the best swap of your life I promise! Here are some things you can do for an hour which if done 2-3 days a week, will help to re-sculpt your body and mind.
I cannot stress the importance of these thangs, especially as a woman. Have no booty or a jiggly derriere? A month of squats will remedy that and show you what an ass should look like. I like to rock these in 3-4 rounds of 15 reps. This way, you can dive into the motion, perfect it, rest a bit and go back in to retain it. A good guide can be found through YouTube but I always this of it this way: Pop it like it’s hot, balance on the heels and keep that chest up.
When I started Crossfit, I could not understand why anyone would put themselves through this kind of torture. A few reps in most people get that dreaded puke feeling and I can’t lie the first time…it sucks. Now, I ADORE that feeling and can’t stop until I feel it bubbling up. When you see how quickly burpees can kill out your cardio in less time than running a mile, you understand why people go through the pain. Don’t forget to make it all the way down and take your time to avoid injury, you don’t need to be anyone’s hero but your own. I like to rock a set of 10, split up into 4-5 rounds.
This ain’t a double dutch battle, this is some unbridled cardio training. Easiest motion that you can do at your own pace. The best way to jump in (har har har) is to split it up into 3-4 rounds of 100. You can alternate between this and a short run to make the cardio in your workout a little more exciting each time. You don’t have to be Rocky, just keep it moving!
Short Run Intervals
I used to think long runs were key and I honestly cannot pull off long runs effectively. If you have the same challenges, a great way to approach incorporating running into your workout is to work with shorter sprints and quick runs. Do a lap around the block then come back to squats and burpees. Each time you can give yourself more incentive to do longer but you will be able top keep interest because you’re not burning out so fast. When you feel like you want to give in and walk, give it 15 seconds more. That 15 turns to 30, 30 to 45. Small triumphs! Sneak these in when you can and I promise you it will get easier each time.
I was born with a stomach that was definitely NOT the skinniest part of my body. In fact, I have the hardest time losing weight from my midsection. I’ve tried every type of crunch out there and V Ups shred me every time. Focus on hitting your core and not letting your legs down and you’ll be feeling the burn. Hit 15-20 reps of these about 3-4 rounds and you’ll see a real difference.
Weights are you friends
Using weights has always terrified me, until I picked up a bar and realized it was no big deal. I can’t lie and say I am an expert here but if you can find a trainer to assist you one-on-one DO NOT BE SCARED OF WEIGHTS. They will do more for you in less time and sculpt you in a way you didn’t know possible. You don’t need to over do it but make it a point to learn at some point the correct way to approach weights, there is nothing better.
You are what you eat!
Hopefully for all my female friends reading this, this condition pertains to a man strapping on the bib. Box is calorie free! But for real, there’s a reason why supermodels and pro athletes aren’t eating nachos for breakfast. Your diet is everything and each person knows what makes them feel great and what foods make them feel like trash. We all have out challenges, especially as a woman during “special times” of the month. During this time food seems to be the only cure and myself, like many of my other female counterparts, devour piles of fries, cakes and chocolates. The body wants what it wants. The key to all this shit is moderation and as cliche as it sounds, you will immediately see results if you exercise that principle. Portion control is huge too, try to eat less at every meal. Even if you decrease your intake by 1/4 it will make a difference.
Stop making excuses for yourself and take baby steps. If I can do it as a woman of debauchery who loves excess, YOU CAN TOO
Me, at my peak physical shape!