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Don’t Give Up on Your Fitness Goals + Funny Workout Tank

Don’t Give Up on Your Fitness Goals + Funny Workout Tank

I shared a story about how far I’ve come in terms of fitness via my personal Facebook account Thursday. The post generated SO much positive feedback that I knew I had to share it with my HGG readers as fitness motivation for 2015.

In the past 18 months, I’ve learned self-motivation is the key to sticking with a fitness goal. Find whatever motivates YOU to keep going when the going gets tough. And remember, things that motivate someone else might not work for you.

I create new playlists, work out with friends and change up my routine with different classes, equipment and tempos to keep things fresh. Having the chance to wear funny workout clothes is always a plus too . . . 

"Ruck Funning" Workout Tank from Constantly Varied Gear on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

I took this photo early in the morning after drinking waaaaaayyy too much coffee in one sitting. Hence the serial killer face.

I was also excited it was a lifting day and not a running day. I really don’t like running, unless it’s with friends or sprinting in the heat of a sport or a competition. Naturally, I picked the tank above when Constantly Varied Gear asked me if I’d like one in exchange for writing about its products.

Constantly Varied Gear Funny Tank Top on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

The company sells A TON of funny shirts and tanks in a variety of colors for men and women. I spent an hour trying to choose a tank before deciding on the “Ruck Funning” one. It’s soft and thin, which is perfect for when Florida decides winter doesn’t exist.

The tank is so comfortable that I now have my eyes on this yoga tank, this coffee tank and this tank about punching people. Because, you know, you can never have too many workout tanks or leggings for that matter. Who needs to wear real shirts and pants when workout clothes are so comfy?!?

Order your own hilarious gear here. 🙂 

Note: Constantly Varied Gear or any other company did not compensate me for this post. The company simply sent a tank top to me without charge in exchange for writing this post. As always, all thoughts, opinions and reviews are my own.

Questions:

  1. Who or what motivates you to exercise?
  2. Do you have a 2015 fitness resolution? What is it?
  3. Do you own any funny workout clothes? What do they say?

  

Related HGG Posts:

10 Goals to Improve Overall Fitness in 2015

 

Hungry Gator Gal’s Top 10 Posts of 2014

10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Runner

10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner from Hungry Gator Gal 

150-Rep Lower Body Challenge

150-Rep Lower Body Challenge

This lower body endurance workout + a 6.6-mile run afterward = sore quads and hip flexors for days.

But really. I was sore to the touch for a SOLID 48 hours. I really have no idea what I was thinking. All I know is that I hobbled around the mall and Target the next day in pain. I looked like a baby giraffe learning how to walk. But it was amazing.

So if you love self-imposed pain, check out this workout. Feel free to tell me how awful and awesome it makes you feel afterward. 🙂

150-Rep Lower Body Challenge from Hungry Gator Gal

Exercise videos:

P.S. This is an awesome at-home or holiday workout that requires minimal or NO equipment. No gym = no excuse. I usually complete 50 reps of one exercise and then 50 reps of the next exercise, etc. Feel free to split up the 150 reps however you choose.

Questions:

  1. Do you ever complete lower body workouts and longer runs on the same day?
  2. What’s the hardest workout you’ve ever completed?

 

Related HGG Posts:

10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Runner

10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner from Hungry Gator Gal 

26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout 

26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout from Hungry Gator Gal 

5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast


5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Runner

10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Runner

New to running? Me too! Here’s what I’ve learned in my first six weeks of truly pursuing my goal of becoming a “runner.”

10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner from Hungry Gator Gal

1. Check your form!

Go to a running store or find a running coach who will videotape you while you’re running to check your form. I went to Fit2Run in Gainesville and completed an assessment for FREE. Other stores also offer the service at little or no cost.

I discovered I’m a heel striker during the assessment, so I’ve been walking around on the balls of my feet and my toes for weeks to change the way I walk and run. My calves hurt like hell, but I don’t feel pain in my shins anymore. I did a simple search online and found these tips on running form.

2. Buy new running shoes, if necessary. 

Women's Nike Zoom Pegasus 31 Shoes on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

If you receive an running assessment, the store associate will likely tell you what type of runner you are (i.e. under pronator, over pronator, neutral). The associate will then suggest specific brands and types of shoes that fit your stride.

Trust me when I say that the correct shoes will prevent injuries. I’m a neutral runner and recently bought the pair of Nike Women’s Zoom Pegasus 31s you can see above (affiliate link!), which make it feel like I’m running on clouds, no joke.

No shin splints = a happy Brianna.

For my male readers, check out the same pair of Nike shoes below, which my brother bought in a different color. Each pair cost about $100.

Men's Nike Zoom Pegasus 31 Shoes on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

3. HYDRATE.

Nalgene Wide Mouth 32-Ounce Water Bottle on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Drink water all day, every day. Keep a water bottle at your side at all times. Challenge yourself to drink a liter every 60-90 minutes. I drink at least four full bottles of water from my Nalgene water bottle every day and often more. That’s 128 ounces or nearly 4 liters for you math wizards.

Hydrating properly before and after a run is especially important if you live in a more humid climate like Florida, even if you run in the mornings when it’s not as hot outside.

How do you know if you’re drinking enough water? Let me show you this lovely pee color chart . . .

4. Mind over matter.

 

The struggle is real . . . but, it’s more mental than physical.

I had never run more than 2 miles without stopping prior to joining the Army ROTC program. Now, I regularly run 4 miles at a decent pace without stopping. I’m not the fastest of the bunch, but I push my personal limits with each run.

To ensure I don’t give up, I usually pick a mantra and repeat it to keep myself going. I can’t wear headphones or listen to music when I’m working out for ROTC, so I usually repeat something like, “The faster you run, the faster it’s done!”

5. Make “pre-hab” a priority.

 

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Do dynamic stretches before running and static stretches afterward. Go to yoga at least once a week. Foam roll. In other words, do something now to save yourself from an injury, subsequent rehabilitation and time off from all exercise.

Here’s my favorite warm-up, the ultimate static stretch for hip flexors and quads, and my favorite  yoga stretches.

6. Don’t forget about strength training.

If you run, run, run all the time without taking time to build muscle, you won’t become stronger or faster. Aside from running with ROTC, I complete two strictly strength workouts on my own each week.

I’ve been digging “One-Set-to-Failure” workouts lately because they’re challenging and time-efficient.

7. You are what you eat.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps photo by Brianna Kolota

If you eat crap prior to a run, you’ll probably feel like crap. In other words, put down the fried foods, pizza, candy, etc. and go eat your veggies and lean meat.

And even if you eat relatively healthy, make sure you’re not eating too much fat. More than once, I’ve made the mistake of eating too much “good” fat (i.e. nuts, avocados) the night before a cardio-intense 5:30 or 6 a.m. workout. And guess what? I was as slow as molasses.

You can eat fat before a run. It’s your choice. However, I realized I need more carbs, less fat, and a moderate amount of protein to perform my best. If I have a physical training test in the morning, I like to do a moderate “carb load” at dinner the night before with fruit, starchy veggies and occasionally some whole-wheat cereal, pasta, bread or crackers.

8. Track your progress.

Photo by Brianna Kolota

I bought this $15-Casio watch at Walmart to time my runs. It’s the cheapest watch I’ve ever bought, but I LOVE it. It’s waterproof, easy-to-operate and has a 24-hour clock for military time.

P.S. Here’s a similar Casio watch you can buy on Amazon (affiliate link!).

9. Don’t think every run has to be better than your last.

Some days you might not be “feeling it.” Don’t give up and go home on those days, but make the most of what you can do if you’re not in the “running groove.”

Case in point: I could tell during the first lap of my first Army Physical Fitness Test this semester that it wasn’t going to be my best run. My legs were stiff. My hips were tight. I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. I was nervous. But you know what? I made the most of it and told myself the next test would be better.

10. REST.

I couldn’t resist the seal photo. . .

First, sleep at least 7 hours every night. And if you can’t sleep for at least 7 hours, try modifying your sleep schedule. You don’t want to feel exhausted before you even start running.

Secondly, take FULL days off. Don’t run every day and overdo it. This concept sounds easy, but it’s easy to forget if you like to exercise.

The amount of time you need to recover is personal. I typically take two or three days off from all strenuous physical activity each week. I also have one day where I walk a lot and/or practice yoga.

When you take rest days, enjoy them. Be productive. I usually knock out a bunch of homework on rest days and sometimes even sit on my butt for a few hours to watch “JAG” or “How to Get Away with Murder.” I thoroughly enjoy the laziness, and you should too.

Side notes:

  1. Yes, I hope to join Army JAG after law school; and 
  2. “How to Get Away with Murder” is incredibly unrealistic in terms of what I’ve experienced in law school, especially in my criminal law class. 

    Conclusion:

    Photo by Brianna Kolota

    After six weeks, I can say I still don’t love running. If given the choice, I prefer to cycle, hike, interval train without running, etc. However, becoming a better runner currently tops my “fitness bucket list” in terms of ways I want to keep challenging myself physically and mentally.

    So if you’re new to running like me, please don’t give up! Learn from my tips and mistakes. That’s why I’m sharing them. Secondly, if you’re a seasoned runner, please offer your advice by leaving a comment on this post. Sharing = knowledge.

    Also feel free to email me at bkkolota@gmail.com or reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter or Google +  if you have questions about running or anything really. I LOVE talking with readers.

    Thanks for reading, and have a great day! 🙂

    Related HGG Posts:

    Tips for Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

    This Hungry Gator Gal’s Post-Grad Plans

    Photo by Brianna Kolota

    Best Treadmill Workout for Killer Legs

    Upper Body Drop Set Circuit Workout

    Upper Body Drop Set Circuit Workout

    If you’re new to weight training, this upper body workout might not be for you. However, if you’re a seasoned lifter who’s ready to shake up your routine, get ready because this advanced workout is KILLER.

    This challenging, high intensity plan combines circuit training and drop sets to leave you completely and utterly exhausted by the final rep of each exercise.

    Circuits allow you to work on aerobic conditioning while the sets allow you to work onr muscular endurance.

    In other words, you’re getting more bang for your workout buck. 
      

    Upper Body Drop Set Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

    Video demonstrations for the exercises:

    When I train hard in the gym, I train HARD. I’m talking about the let’s-make-sure-I-can’t-lift-anything-tomorrow type of hard.

    Now you may be thinking, “Don’t you work out five or six days per week? How can you go hard all the time?’

    Well, the truth is that I don’t go full throttle every day because I don’t want to over train. I like a mix of hard, moderately hard and easier workouts, which you’ll see if you check out my workout log.

    Although this opinion is based purely on personal experience, I don’t suggest you complete a workout like this one more than twice per week. You’ll end up doing more harm than good because you won’t have enough time to recover, especially if you work out more than three times per week.

    With that said, I encourage you to try this workout if you’re a fitness veteran who’s stuck in a rut or if you’re looking to improve muscular endurance. This workout is a doozy. Let me know if you give it a try. 🙂 

    Question:

    1. Do you incorporate circuit training and/or drop sets into your workout routine? If so, many times per week?

      

    Helpful articles about circuit training and drop sets:

    What Is Circuit Training?

    What are the Costs and Benefits of Circuit Training?

    Definition of Drop Sets in Weight Training

    Creative Drop Setting

    Related HGG Workouts:

    Total Body Burnout Circuit Workout

    Total Body Burnout Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

    Push + Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout 

    Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal 

    Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout 

    Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

    Chest + Back Supersets Workout

    Chest + Back Supersets Workout

    Some days I lift heavy with fewer repetitions, and other days I train with lighter weights and a higher number of repetitions.
    So what happens when I feel like doing both in the same day? Routines like this chest and back supersets workout.

    Whether you should complete a high number of reps with lighter weights or fewer reps with heavy weight is an often-debated topic in the fitness world. However, the truth is that neither training plan is better than the other. You can do both!

    Although I’m not a certified fitness professional, I’m a firm believer in keeping your muscles guessing. I constantly switch both my cardio and strength workouts each week.

    Now more than ever, I’m focusing on a well-rounded fitness program. Basically, I’m training concurrently (i.e. for cardio and lifting goals at the same time). I’ve been doing it for a little more than a year and have seen significant gains in overall physical fitness.

    Although I hope you try the workout, I’m not going to be disappointed if you don’t. Why? Because you should move in a way that makes YOU happy. <—-Great post. Seriously. Check it out!

    If you train concurrently, that’s great. Feel free to join me in the gym. However, if you don’t train concurrently, that’s awesome too. YOU should do what works best for YOU.

    Maybe that’s running three times a week. Maybe it’s practicing yoga every day. I could care less as long as you’re happy. Life’s too short to do things we don’t like to do. 🙂

    Question:

    1. What’s your favorite way to move?

    Additional Upper Body Workouts:

    Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout

    Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

    Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Circuit

    Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

    Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout

    Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal