8 Fitness Tips for a Happy Mind and Healthy Body

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If you’ve been following along here in the last couple of weeks, I hope you’ve noticed my efforts to write worthy content that adds value to your life. I truly appreciate that you take time out of your busy day to be here and I want you to get the most out of it!  I love fashion and beauty and girl talk and don’t worry- those posts aren’t going anywhere- we can all use some levity and fun (and good hair!), right?!

But, I also want to dig deeper and share more on how we can live an intentional and vibrant life with ways to set goals and reach them, how to make the most of your day with productivity and organization, and how to boost your health self confidence through food and fitness. You can catch up on 30 Healthy Habits for 2018, The Miracle Morning and How to Plan Your Entire Year in Advance (with free printable) if you missed it.

When I asked you at the beginning of the year what you needed the most help with regarding productivity and organization, the two biggest responses were: 1) meal planning and 2) fitness. I shared my meal planning tips with you and today, I’m sharing what I do for my workouts and how you can get fit in 2018 too.

YOU ARE EXTRAORDINARY!

I have to start by telling you that you are extraordinary!  There is no other person like you on the planet and no other person with your unique set of qualities, skills, and talents.  You are worth far more than you know and you most likely haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what you’re capable of!  And for some reason, I feel like it’s part of my calling to pass down my Grandma’s wise advice that she gave to me at a very young age- Take Care of You! I think she knew that with my own parents having me at the age of 17, I’d need that advice! She’s 92 and still tells me that!!

Taking care of you and living a life with more energy, health and wellness starts with getting moving!  Yes, of course, diet is always crucial, but when you get moving first, the food part tends to follow.

Before I get into the fitness tips, I’m always mindful to consider the person who might be having a hard time in their life and the last thing they want to hear is some energetic cheerleader telling her she needs to workout.  I get it. Trust me, even though I’m naturally positive and optimistic, there have been a few times in my life where I have been IN THE PIT.  I mean, really feeling bad and depressed and anxious.  I KNOW how it feels to wake up and feel like you don’t want to get out of bed. I have struggled with those lonely feelings and knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know how to heal it.

how to get fit.4 Zella crop leggings

Crop Sweatshirt • High Waist Crop Leggings • Seamless Sports Bra • Similar Running Shoe

Of course we want to wake up full of life and with energy and start our day with focus, but if you’re in that dark place, it’s hard to. I once had a counselor tell me that physical exercise would help me more than anything, and you know what, when you don’t feel like exercising is exactly when you need to the most! I say that with respect and love, but someone needs to hear it. 

The benefits of exercise are explained concisely in an article I read online: When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Regular exercise will reduce stress, relieve anxiety and depression, boost self esteem and improve sleep.

Sounds good, right?!

You just have to do it!  Even a brisk walk outside will help.  When I started feeling the beginnings of the baby blues after Jordan was born, going on afternoon walks was exactly the medicine I needed to feel like myself again.  I was surprised at how quickly I went from feeling “off” to feeling great when I got off the couch and started moving again.

For me, exercise is that natural stress and anxiety reliever and even when I’m not feeling particularly stressed, after a sweaty workout session, I always feel a million times better!

Zella workout crop leggings with red FILA sweatshirt

Crop Sweatshirt • High Waist Crop Leggings • Seamless Sports Bra • Similar Running Shoe

MY WORKOUT ROUTINE

My sweet spot for working out is 4 days a week, about an hour each session.  That’s a realistic goal that I can make time for in my day. I also try to do things like park far away from the entrance when I go somewhere, take the stairs, and get outside and play with my kids.  Every little bit helps!

I’ve found that group classes are a fantastic workout and I like that there is someone instructing you what to do, so you don’t have to rely on your own motivation! There are four workouts I commit to a week, and they generally look like this:

MONDAY : 6-7 a.m. – “HIIT Me with Tabata” class.  Short 20 second bursts of high intensity exercise, requiring 100% effort, incorporating a variety of equipment- good for cardio, strength and calorie burn.

WEDNESDAY : 6-7 a.m. “HIIT and Run” class. Incorporates 5-7 strength and cardio exercises performed in timed intervals followed by brief recovery and immediate return to another group of exercises performed for another 3-4 rounds.  The class is challenging for even the most conditioned participant.  #youretellingme!

FRIDAY : 6-7 a.m. “Muscles” class. A total body strength training class for all levels.

SATURDAY : 11-11:45 a.m. “40×45” class. HIIT format for a total body workout.  You perform 40 exercises for 45 seconds, then rest 15 seconds.

Or, I’ll get on the treadmill and usually do intervals of 5 minutes. Minute 1 : Walk at 3.0 at Incline 3. Minutes 2-5 : Walk at 3.0 at Incline 10-12.  I’ll alternate that for 30-45 minutes.

Or I’ll do running intervals.  Run a few minutes, walk a minute and so on.

Then maybe spend 20 minutes lifting weights.

workout crop leggings and black long sleeve top

LeggingsTop • Sneakers

If the weather isn’t freezing cold, I love to run outside or do exercises at our local park to change it up and get some fresh air.

Zella workout crop leggings with red FILA sweatshirt.2

Zella workout crop leggings with red FILA sweatshirt.3

Zella workout crop leggings with red FILA sweatshirt.4

Crop Sweatshirt • High Waist Crop Leggings • Seamless Sports Bra • Similar Running Shoe

8 FITNESS TIPS

PLAN FOR IT • You have to schedule your workouts just like you schedule any part of your day. I literally write in my workouts on my daily planner.  Early morning workouts are the best because they start your day off in a productive way and then you have it over with for the rest of the day! If you need help waking up early, read this post.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY • If you always have set days for working out, or you always run on Mondays, lift weights on Wednesdays, for example, you tend to stick to that routine because it’s just what you do.  It becomes your life.

FIND EXERCISE YOU “ENJOY”  • Most of us may not LOVE working out and exercising while we’re doing it, but we love the benefits and how we feel afterwards!  If you find an exercise you do enjoy more than something else, do that!  There are limitless options, so explore what fits best for you.

FOCUS ON THE BENEFITS • Just knowing what good you’re doing for your mind and body could help give you that nudge you need to get you up and going.  KNOW you will feel better after it’s over and just do it!

SWEAT, STRENGTH, STRETCH • For exercise, think about sweating (cardio), strength training (with weights or your own body weight), and stretching (perhaps yoga or other dedicated time stretching).

FIND A FRIEND • If you have a friend or group you can join up with, that can help motivate you and keep you accountable.

MUSIC • I cannot stress enough the benefit of listening to music to lift your spirits and get you going.  So many times I won’t feel like working out, but once I get my headphones on and start jamming out to Bruno Mars, I’m totally ready to go!

WEAR GOOD QUALITY CLOTHES • Of course, I’m also gonna tell you to wear good quality and cute workout clothes too! Call me superficial, but I swear it works! Once I got smart and realized Nordstrom carried quality workout clothes, I started investing in them and immediately saw and felt the difference.  If you’ve read for awhile, you know that before I found the Zella brand at Nordstrom, most of my exercise clothing was cheap and uncomfortable.  I realized I actually hated my sports bras and didn’t look forward to putting on my shorts and leggings.

Now there’s no going back to my old cheapies!  When you dress better, you feel better.  But it’s not just a vanity thing, it’s a quality and comfort thing! But there’s no denying there are some pretty dang cute workout clothes at Nordstrom!

Zella high waist pants and pullover

Cowl Neck Pullover 40% off • High Waist Leggings XS • Sneakers • No Show Socks 

This cozy, super soft pullover keeps going in and out of stock, so I hope it’s there for you!  It’s really warm and the cowl neck is perfectly slouchy, with a small hole for your headphones. I also like how the front has a criss-cross shape!  And y’all know I’m all about the high-waist leggings!  I especially like the pattern on this pair!

Zella twist tie top and high waist leggings

Twist Top

This lightweight criss-cross top is perfect when you need something more than a tee, but not a sweatshirt.  It’s lightweight and airy. Another cool thing about this top is that you can wear it with the twist in front or in the back!

Zella high waist moto leggings and sports bra

High Waist Leggings 40% OffSports Bra

I got these leggings because it’s been so cold here and they are on the thicker side. I love them so much, espeically the high waist that tucks you in!  But the design is super cool too with moto detail and mesh panels.  They fit TTS.  The sports bra has a cute keyhole back and I sized down to a Small.  I’m 34D and usually wear a Medium sports bra.

best running sports bra

 This sports bra is the best for running, especially if you have a larger chest. The awesome thing about this sports bra is 1) it’s sized according to your bra size with hook and eye closures in the back so you can get a very accurate and comfortable fit.  I find they run TTS.  I wear a 34D bra, and I buy 34D in this sports bra. 2) The shoulder straps are thicker and padded so they don’t cut into your shoulders or hurt while you’re wearing it. And they are adjustable with velcro, so you can lengthen them or shorten as necessary.

Before I got this bra, I used to double up sports bras when I would run, but I hated it because I always felt constricted in my chest and like I couldn’t breath as easily.  Once I found this it was like the heavens opened!  Running is a breeze now and I only have to wear one bra!

8 Fitness Tips for a Happy Mind and Healthy Body

In my younger years, I worked out and exercised for purely physical reasons – to have a better looking body. Now, I exercise to have a better looking body AND for my own mental well-being AND to be healthy and strong AND have more energy for my young kids!  I can tell you that a one year old and eight year old DO NOT CARE that you’re in your 40s and tired, they just want to play with Mom!

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19 Comments

  1. Jennie
    January 23, 2018 / 5:54 am

    You’re such an inspiration to me! I just started this week getting up at 5am to exercise before work and I always think of your motivating words. Thank you for being so kind yet honest!

    • January 24, 2018 / 11:13 am

      I LOVE hearing that Jennie! I’ll think of YOU at my next early morning workout!

  2. January 23, 2018 / 6:09 am

    I like your idea of scheduling your exercise. I also think four days a week is a great idea. I often aim too high and then cant fit it in and I get frustrated. Great post!

    • January 24, 2018 / 11:14 am

      I know! 4 days is totally doable!! I know our bodies need a rest too!

  3. Robin
    January 23, 2018 / 6:31 am

    I always love your posts and most importantly your “realness”! I am 57 and I did not any type of fitness routine until I was in my early 40’s ! It is now a daily routine – I need to get up and go to my trainer at 8 every morning so I can get my day going! There are days I have to drag my tired butt (like today) out of bed and FORCE my self to workout – but I know that after that hour is over, I am glad I did it!

    • January 24, 2018 / 11:15 am

      Wow! Good for you for picking it up! Having a trainer makes a world of difference! I miss mine but for now the group classes are working!

  4. Andrea
    January 23, 2018 / 8:08 am

    I am really enjoying your new posts this year – your effort has not gone unnoticed! Thank you for the motivation and inspiration!!

  5. Kaitlin
    January 23, 2018 / 8:55 am

    Great post, Megan! You are so right about the mental health benefits working out has, sometimes I like that more than the actual workout! I do group workout classes and when the instructor is teaching the whole time and there is music in the background, it’s hard to think about much else! Makes for such a great mental break where I can get out of my own head. I workout at 5am so that it’s over and done with and since I schedule all my classes, it’s so much easier to get up and go!

  6. Alicia
    January 23, 2018 / 9:26 am

    Thanks for this post, Megan. Your fitness and nutrition posts are some of my favorites and helped inspire me to get a fitness buddy and commit to a regular workout schedule. It’s been a month and we’re sticking to it. I also appreciate the workout clothing inspiration–I recently added a couple of pieces to my gym rotation and they definitely help improve my attitude about getting to the gym 🙂

    • January 24, 2018 / 11:48 am

      Good for you Alicia! I swear having good workout clothes motivates me to workout! I look forward to wearing them!

  7. January 24, 2018 / 6:04 am

    Great tips! I make my workout music playlist on spotify and love it! I also like to workout with friends, makes it fun, but most times I employ an unwilling teenager to accompany me on hikes, lol.

    • January 24, 2018 / 11:46 am

      Ha!! Did you know I’m a huge fan of your IG? So proud of everything you’ve accomplished Darnetha!

  8. January 24, 2018 / 7:14 am

    OH my god I am so motivated now!! You’re awesome and you look fantastic!

    • January 24, 2018 / 11:45 am

      Thanks Ellen! I always enjoy having you stop by!!

  9. Joan S
    January 24, 2018 / 7:52 am

    I have really enjoyed your posts this year-before that, too! I have found that class format workouts are the best for me, too. I never worked out until i found what clicks and keeps me motivated to go back. And cute workout wear and making friends at the classes also keeps me going back!

  10. January 25, 2018 / 9:59 am

    Your tips are great! I guess my biggest problem consistency, but I’ll make sure to work on that and follow your tips! Thanks for sharing =)

  11. Brittany
    January 28, 2018 / 7:58 pm

    I am in my early 30s and have just started excercising regularly. It totally helps me be a better mom. Loved these tips and a look into your schedule. You have it down! My hang up?? I have super thick long hair that takes a long time to wash and dry. Its so silly but sometimes I struggle with working out because if I get too sweaty I just dread having to re wash my hair. So vain I know. I have to figure this out!

  12. Amy
    January 29, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    You are such an inspiration to me. I think we are the same age and I would love to have half the energy you do. I signed up at a new gym in my area a few weeks ago and have been enjoying going more than I thought I would. Today I had a session with a personal trainer and wow, was it eye opening. I think you mentioned you have had personal training in the past….did you feel it was worth it?

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