Lady Lovin’ Workout Playlist

The Slender Student's Lady Lovin' Workout Playlist (a playlist to get you girls pumped in the gym!) | The Slender Student I don’t think I can count the number of times I’ve told y’all that I’m really not that into working out. I was born with zero athletic ability, so I give myself double points when I exercise for fighting against nature. That takes some serious work.

Nothing gets me more motivated to combat my inherent laziness than music. It’s a huge part of why riding at Cyc works so well for me. It’s also the reason why I walk around the gym with chronic B face. I’d classify the music I listen to while I workout as mean. It mostly consists of hip hop– songs in which the artist rattles off lyrics about how great he is, and how less great everyone else is. I, in turn, evoke the same attitude that’s being siphoned into my brain via my headphones.

Hey, it’s not charming, but it works. I truly believe that confidence can fuel a workout.

Since the conclusion of the holiday season, I’ve felt a lot of self consciousness and heard a lot of fat talk from both myself and my friends. I put together this playlist as a way to counteract all of this negativity. I hope not only that these songs get you in the gym, working toward your goals, but also that they give you a little confidence boost and remind you that you’re the HBIC. Heads up, language is explicit.

Thank you to my Instagram and Twitter followers who gave me song suggestions. It was really fun listening to what gets you all amped. Follow the playlist on Spotify so you can listen to it where ever you go, and leave a comment if you think I’m missing a crucial jam!

February 2014 Push Up Challenge

I’ve alluded to my history as an overweight child many a time. My former lack of strength, endurance, and overall fitness always made me fearful of any athletic endeavor. I distinctly remember facing every fitness test in middle and high school with trepidation. They always started with a (painstakingly public) measure of our body fat percentage using those hand held body fat analyzers. That number alone was enough to send me into an emotional, fat shamed tailspin. The mandatory timed mile run, crunches, and push ups that came after  just poured salt in the wound.

While I still sometimes carry the mentality of that self conscious, chubby adolescent, for the most part I’ve overcome these psychological and physical burdens. Except for push ups. I still suck at push ups. I can bust out maybe three regular push ups in proper form before I have to drop to my knees for the sissy stuff. And while I have no problem walking with confidence in the boys’ club that is my gym’s weight room, I know that doing my sets of girly push ups is both a bad look and a cop out.

That being said, let’s perfect our push ups this February. In addition to your regular fitness routine, perform the number of push ups indicated on the calendar below. Start with as many regular push ups as possible and then, if necessary, drop to your knees to finish ‘em out. Proper form for both can be found here.

February 2014 Push Up Challenge | The Slender Student

Motivation Station

Tips for staying motivated when it comes to your fitness and nutrition goals! | The Slender Student

So as some of you may know, I kind of suck at answering emails. I really do try, but things get a little crowded in the ol’ inbox and by the time I sit down at my computer at the end of the evening, I often find solace in telling myself, “maybe you should answer that one when you’re a little more awake and clearheaded.” That email just got marked as read and was soon swallowed by the abyss.

I mean at least I read them all, right? No? Ok. Fair enough.

Let me at least note one positive that has arisen from my lazy reading-not-responding habit. I notice trends. So after receiving a handful of emails asking about how I stay motivated, I figured it must be something worth writing about.

Let me start your visit to Motivation Station with one mantra: MIND OVER MATTER. I’m going to share a few tips that I use to keep myself in line, but none of them will be of any worth if you can’t get this concept down. The fact is that most of the time, eating healthy or exercising is the more difficult option available. If you want it, you’ll suck it up.

Let’s say it one more time– mind over matter.

Moving on.

1. Prioritize yourself. Getting fit, or healthy, or losing weight requires a change in lifestyle for most people. When you reach a point that you’re honestly making that effort for #1 (i.e. you), these changes will really stick.

Corny confession: there have been many instances of me mentally telling myself, “this is for you,” in the middle of a particularly difficult portion of a workout. Mind over matter, y’all.

2. Set small goals. Begin each week with a plan regarding your eating and exercise schedule and stick to it. Telling yourself (or your mom, or friends) that you’re going to lose 8 pounds this month means nothing if you don’t have a set path to get there. Creating that path step-by-step will make the journey as a whole much less daunting and much more attainable.

3. When you’re considering doing something that you know is counterproductive to achieving your goals like bingeing on cookies or taking another day off from the gym, weigh your emotions. Will the joy you receive from those 8 cookies outweigh the pride you feel after making a conscious decision to feed your body what it actually needs? Will the hour you gained from a skipped workout last longer than the time you spend whining to your friends about how much you need to workout?

4. Schedule your workouts in advance and plan accordingly. Treat a trip to the gym like you would anything else you prioritize– class, doctor appointments, meetings, etc. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically should be a non-negotiable.

5. On your first workout in awhile, remember how much it sucks. Bookmark this feeling and return to it when you think about skipping a scheduled workout.

Now that I’m more or less a working girl (just started my dietetic internships; please comment if you’d like some posts about the process of becoming a registered dietitian!), I need all of the motivation I can get so please share your wisdom in the comments!

January 2014 Fitness Challenge: Try Something New

Keep your New Year's Resolutions and TRY SOMETHING NEW to keep from getting bored with your fitness routine! | The Slender Student Trying something new is arguably one of the more important parts of the January 2014 Fitness Challenge. Let’s be honest, going to the gym, warming up, lifting weights, and then finishing off with cardio can easily become redundant, no matter how many different moves you do. And with boredom comes a loss of motivation. And once you’ve lost motivation, it becomes that much easier to abandon a workout routine. That’s where trying something new comes into play. Getting your body moving and working in a way that’s unusual for you prevents that mental burnout. It’s a way to have fun getting fit and may even allow you to stumble upon a new favorite way to be active. I tried my first class at Cyc Fitness on a total whim and it ended up completely changing my point of view on indoor-cycling, cardio, and group exercise classes. Ya never know.

Far beyond any of that, though, trying something new allows you to prove yourself to yourself. I don’t know about y’all, but I approach any new physical feat with trepidation. Despite being a pretty active person, I sometimes revert back to my unathletic, overweight, self-conscious former self. That all disappears after trying something new and succeeding.

Enough fluff, let’s get down to business. Here are some suggestions for ways to try something new:

If you’re a member of a gym, attend a group class you’ve never done before.

Many private gyms/studios offer a free first class. Call around to your local yoga, Pilates, boxing, or cycling studios and see what they’re offering.

If you’re normally chained to a treadmill, try running outside instead.

Hop into that one piece and swim some laps (indoors, guys!).

Look online for a cardio dance video and get stupid in your living room.

Leave a note in the comments and let me know what new activity you’ll be trying! I’ll be heading out to Cayman for a few days tomorrow so maybe I’ll be doing cardio in the airport terminal or, more likely, going for a jog on the beach.

January 2014 Fitness Challenge: Shoulder Day

January 2014 Fitness Challenge: Shoulder Day | The Slender Student

arnold press

single-arm barbell jammer

barbell rear delt row

dumbbell shoulder press

upright barbell row

lateral to front raise

steering wheel

I never realized how much I like/value working shoulders until I started. I found that my delts and traps began showing progress fairly quickly after I began focusing on them, which that motivated me to keep working them every week, lifting as heavy as I could.

Speaking of lifting heavy, I have something to say on the subject. DO IT.

Girls, seriously, you’re not going to get bulky from grabbing a challenging size weight and getting to work. We simply don’t have the biology to do so. You’re not doing yourself any favors by grabbing the 3 or 5 pounders off the rack and doing these exercises. That won’t burn enough calories and won’t build (lean, slender, sexy, strong) muscle, so don’t waste your time!

Yeah, you might feel like a bit of an idiot changing weights in and out while you find one that’s comfortable yet challenging, but that’s temporary and it’s worth it. Lifting a weight that’s lighter than your purse looks worse. Trust.