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The best YouTube Workouts

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As winter sets in the inspiration to leave your house goes out. Right now, as I watch the snow fall I can’t imagine leaving my room let along walking to the gym.

But this is no excuse! Instead of going to the gym, get your own personal trainer at home by checking out online workout tutorials. To help you out and provide a little inspiration, I’ve posted some of my favorites below.

So get off the couch and give these a shot in the comfort of your own home.

Stay warm!


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The Thanksgiving Debacle

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Possibly my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving is great for a little time off from school to relax with my family. Oh, and also to eat my weight in food.

Thanks to the fitness therapy that is writing this blog, I’ve decided to take a different approach to this years’ holiday season. Usually I approach holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas with the mindset of the foods I crave: pumpkin pie, anything with sweet potatoes in it, eggnog, peppermint hot chocolate, stuffing, etc. You see where I am going here.

This year promises to be a different one because regardless of what I’ve said every year as a joke, calories DO count on Thanksgiving. Fitness goals can be set back by forgetting to portion food properly. I’m not saying that you cannot have the mashed potatoes or the cranberry sauce, just remember that just because your eyes and brain tell you to eat all of it, does not mean that you can or should.

Some Ohio University students weighed in on their holiday struggles.

“I always eat with my eyes before my stomach during the holiday season,” Brett Carrol, OU senior said. “It’s just so easy to get caught up in all the food.”

“My family just makes so much of it (food),” Erika Martinez, OU senior said. “I don’t want to insult my family by not eating a little bit of everything because they worked so hard to prepare it.”

“I think the reason we all eat so much is because we don’t have access to home-cooked food here on campus,” Regina Donizetti, OU junior said. “Then when we go home, it’s like we’ve never seen so much food before.”

To give you a better idea of what you are dealing with during Thanksgiving, I’ve created a chart of my favorite Thanksgiving foods telling how many calories are in one serving.

Another great way to stay in shape during the holidays is to sneak in small workouts. I, like many of my fellow OU students, will not have a gym around during break so I need to find a way to stay in shape in order to pick up where I left off next semester.

Fortunately, has a great seven ways to sneak in a holiday workout page. They are as follows:

1. Do a “condensed but intense” workout: This is a great tip. Instead of spending hours at the gym, combine cardio and body-weight training into 30 minute sessions to get your heart rate going and give your muscles a wake up call.

2. Rehearse your routine: Stick with the exercises you have chosen.

3. Bring Tubes, Bands and more: Resistance bands can often pump up an otherwise boring workout and make it easier for you to stay interested.

4. Get active in airports: I will not be flying this holiday season but there is nothing wrong with taking the longer walk through the terminal if you have a long layover.

5. Get a jump rope: This is probably the most simple and effective exercise to do. Time yourself for minute sessions while jumping as much rope as you can. The best part: you don’t have to go anywhere to do this!

6. Plan to relax: Don’t overdo the workouts. The whole reason for the holiday season is to relax and see your loved ones. If you must workout, plan some of them as yoga or low-key sessions.

7. Ease back into your routine: A few weeks before returning to school, try using lighter weights and shorter distances to ease yourself back into your more intense routine so that going back to the gym doesn’t shock your body.

So don’t let the holidays be an excuse to forget your health. There are ways to enjoy and relax without putting yourself at risk of giving up your fitness goals.

For more inspiration, check out my post on Storify for some holiday workouts.

Happy holidays!


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Heart rates: more important than you think

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So often women work out to achieve fitness for appearance purposes. What we sometimes do not acknowledge is what is happening inside of our bodies as a result of little or no exercise.

Heart disease is currently the number one killer of American women according to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This disease beats others such as cancer and conditions like strokes, lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes. Heart disease also tops the charts for both Caucasian and African American women while ranking second for Asian or Pacific Islanders, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaskan Native females of all ages.

Being aware of a healthy heart rate which is appropriate for your age can help you determine the amount of exercise that is appropriate, what types of foods you should cut out of your diet and much more.

One of the best ways to determine a healthy heart rate is to measure it at rest. When you are working out, there can be a lot of fluctuation based on the type of work out you do, when you take breaks and for how long, etc. Resting allows your heart to slow to its normal speed and thus, for measuring purposes, be more accurate.

But many women are unaware of their heart rates, let alone what a healthy heart rate for their age even is.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had my heart rate measured outside of a doctor’s office,” Sara Nealeigh, an Ohio University Senior said. “Even when they do measure it, they never say what the number means.”

Exercise and age have everything to do with heart rate. According to Top End Sports, the younger and more active you are, the lower your heart rate should be. This is due to your heart growing and becoming more accustomed to working out. Because your heart is stronger, it is able to pump blood throughout the body easier.

“I do notice that when I haven’t worked out in awhile, my heart tends to beat faster,” Ashley Overholt, OU senior said. “I try to stay on top of my heart rate because I know it is important and it can help or hurt me.”

The best way to determine if you have a irregular heart rate for your age is to consult a doctor. Telling your physician how much you exercise and how intense those work outs are will help him or her determine a healthy heart rate and then help you to work your lifestyle around it.

“I feel like it (heart rate) is just something we never think about. We just expect our hearts to keep on pumping no matter what,” Camille Davis, OU senior said.

To get a better idea of what your target at-rest heart rate should be, check out the chart I made on and stay healthy!


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Gym Insecurities (Cont…)

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Earlier last week I shot some video about gym insecurities. I was curious to find out if other people had little “isms” they noticed about themselves or other people while working out. I myself have been insecure about the way I run or my technique when I lift.

I was surprised to find that I am not the only person to have this problem. Several of the other OU women I interviewed also want to feel secure at the gym, weird running and lifting problems included. But fear not, we insecure people are not alone!

When I googled “insecurity at they gym” there were so many results. Women everywhere wonder who is looking at them while they workout, why they sweat as much as they do, what certain exercises may or may not say about them. Sometimes, the problem lies with other insecurities and weight problems. For example, on My Fitness Pal’s website, one reader spoke about her recent problems at the gym.

“I went to the gym the other day, for the first time in my entire life, with the mindset of getting fit and healthy. With almost 100 lbs to lose to get in a healthy BMI, I’m a pretty big girl. But when I got to the gym, I felt super self conscious! There were literally NO overweight people in there…everyone had a body like a God and were easing through their workouts. They gave me weird looks and I became super self aware of my every movement. I felt like everyone was looking at my red, sweaty face, listening to me being out of breath.”

Another fellow blogger, Aimee at Anxious No More, gave some great tips about avoiding your insecurities at the gym.

1. Take a friend with you. I think it is less nerve-wracking to go to the gym with a friend. You won’t be so focused on yourself and what everyone else thinks of you if you have a friend working out alongside you.

2. If you cannot bring a friend with you to the gym, bring some music to listen to while you workout. Bring an MP3, iPod, or Discman with you to the gym to listen to while you exercise. Listening to music while you exercise will energize you and help you keep focused during your workout.

3. Take a tour beforehand. When you sign up for a new gym, they will usually allow you to take a tour of the exercise room before you actually go in there to workout. Some gyms also give you a guide for your visit to show you how to work the machines and weights in the gym. If the gym you chose offers this service, I’d recommend taking advantage of it. It can be really helpful.

4. Wear something comfortable. Be sure to wear something you feel comfortable in to the gym. This will help you feel better about yourself.

5. Don’t look in the mirrors if you can help it. I was reading a study the other day that said people who go to gyms with mirrors in the workout room are less likely to keep going to the gym, so I don’t even know why they still put mirrors in there, but if you can help it, don’t look in the mirrors while you workout. Having some music might help you distract yourself from watching yourself workout in the mirror. Some gyms also have televisions you can watch while you workout.

A couple I have observed on my own:

6. Read a book while on the treadmill. I see lots of people doing that and want to try it out.

7. Hire a personal trainer. I would love this but they are too expensive for my budget. If you can, they will help you stay focused and motivated. 

So don’t let your own head get to you! The more comfortable you get with your body and your routine, the less you will care what others think.



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Circuit training; my favorite

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When I work out, I love being surrounded by others and constantly active so as to avoid boredom or an excuse to stop. Circuit training is the perfect way to fill both of those requirements.

In addition to doing circuits, it is also a good idea to warm up with some form of cardio and get your blood pumping.

I found a circuit training workout through Fitness Magazine. The workout should only take 20 minutes to complete and can burn up to 800 calories of done correctly. Check out Fitness Magazine for the complete workout and get going!


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Sometimes it’s ok to take a day off

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Let’s face it, we can’t go to the gym every day. Sometimes we have prior commitments, sickness, vacation, or are just tired.

Rest days can be some of the most productive days in your fitness schedule because they allow your body to reboot following a hard workout. I usually follow a schedule of working out every day but Thursday and Sunday because of my schedule, but you may adjust yours differently.

Taking a day off allows your muscles to build up tissue lost from lifting weights or running. You can also take the day to eat red meats and indulge on that one meal that you’ve been wanting to eat all week.

So kick back and relax. After all, it’s the weekend!


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Food Substitution

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Every now and then I get  craving for something sweet or salty. This is your body’s way of letting you know what it needs. But even though your body sounds like it is saying, “chicken wings,” or “candy,” there are often other substitutes and ways to eat appropriately.

One of the best books I’ve found to curb my eating habits while still getting the taste I want is the popular book series, “Eat this not That.” I’ve found all types of tips on changing one or two ingredients and saving hundreds of calories. For example:

1. Eating frozen grapes instead of candy. It still gives your body the sugar (but healthy instead) that it is craving while also mixing up eating fruit the traditional way.

2. Try pretzels instead of potato chips. It’s a simple and effective switch. Unlike potato chips, pretzels have usable calories instead of empty calories.

3. Make a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich. I just started doing this and I love it! Lettuce wraps provide the same fullness without giving you the sluggish feeling that can come from eating too much bread.

4. Eat chips and salsa instead of with cheese. If you must have chips,(which, come on, we all do sometimes) try having tortilla chips with salsa, minus the nacho cheese. Tortilla chips are healthier than other chip options and salsa is miles ahead of cheese because it provides more nutritional value.

5. Use avocado instead of mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is mainly fat. Avocado is also fat, but a healthy fat in moderation. It provides the same creamy need when put on sandwiches that mayo does, just minus the fat.

Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you along the way!


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