HIIT it Up!

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, workouts are a phenomenon sweeping the nation. What is it, and is it safe? Read on!

HIIT is a cardio session that consists of short, high intensity bursts. HIIT can be an incredibly effective way to work out to see the body composition and fitness results that you want, but you need to do it right. Numerous studies have shown that working your hardest is key when it comes to boosting endurance, increasing metabolism, regulating insulin levels, and losing body fat. HIIT routines that involve bodyweight work (e.g. push-ups) or added weight, such as kettlebells, medicine balls, or dumbbells, will tone your muscles while spiking your heart rate. All types of exercise will ultimately help you burn fat by burning calories, but the more intense the exercise, the more fat you will burn. As a result, it is a very effective way of helping people get the “shredded” look.

A true HIIT workout will involve pushing yourself to the max during each set, which should never exceed 90 seconds. These workouts are typically quick and convenient since they are such high intensity; they usually are 30 minutes or less. They can also be done virtually anywhere, with little to no equipment. The only stipulation is that you should rest in between sets. This may not be the first thing that comes to mind with such an intense workout, however, it is imperative. Recovery is essential so that the body works to adapt from the anaerobic (high-intensity) period to the low-intensity recovery period in HIIT. This workload results in high caloric expenditure, which can lead to fat loss.

That fat loss also comes from an increase in metabolism, which is a benefit to any high intensity workout. Research shows that this is due to an increase in post-exercise exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. EPOC speeds up your metabolic rate and can result in a metabolic boost for up to 48 hours after a complete HIIT routine! The high intensity cardio raises your metabolic rate to the point where you continue to burn calories even after the session ends—in some cases 15% more.

If weight loss is your ultimate goal, the old saying that you can’t out-train a bad diet is true…even if your workouts are super demanding. HIIT isn’t an excuse to neglect your diet, so keep it clean! By incorporating HIIT training into your exercise regimen and keep your diet in check, you’ll start to see some amazing results!

If you’re looking for a safe, yet awesome HIIT workout to try…subscribe to my weekly series on YouTube! https://youtu.be/1l6TamfSeko?list=PLcrZ2KJHxs8xBs1F3sT3jpUNjFVGGXjjG

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Adventures in YouTube Land


Well, folks…the day has finally come. I’ve teamed up with the gym that I manage to create workout videos! It’s something that people have been asking about for a while so when my boss suggested it…I ran with the idea. As great of an opportunity as it is, the venture itself into videoland hasn’t been all roses & sunshine.

I love taking pictures and posing for them. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve had a camera in my hand basically everyday since I was 5 or 6 years old…and I was a ham for the camera long before then. BUT there’s a very big difference between a still photo and a video. That may seem like an obvious statement but let me elaborate.

Despite being heavy on and off my entire life, I still loved taking pictures. I learned how to pose to avoid double chins and look as small as possible. Let’s just say Tyra (and ANTM) taught me very well. I also love taking pictures and capturing memories of pretty much everything and everyone I’m around. It’s always been a big hobby of mine. This new venture…on the internet no less…is an entirely different animal.

I try to be honest about my struggles and this video business has definitely been one. Mentally, that is. Every week we film and as I sit down to edit…I cringe. I love being in front of a camera but when I watch the action shots back, I die a little. I work very hard to be where I am. So when I see rolls on my stomach or a double chin or some sort of flashbacks to fatness staring back at me…it’s like none of that hard work matters. Now, the rolls and whatnot are likely due to my bad posture and discomfort shooting in front of certain people…but it’s still really hard to watch. When you are in a video, you can’t pose. You’re doing some sort of motion, in this case exercising. It’s great when it’s just you talking – you can stand a certain way, get a good angle….but when you are moving around it’s about the action not so much how you look. When I shoot my talking pieces, I have someone behind the camera who I’m very comfortable with and who seemingly calms my nerves, while helping me sort out what to say. It adds more work and more time to the project but it definitely turns out much better this way.

I’m no fitness model. I work really hard to maintain my size 2/4 and keep my weight in the 130s. I found balance with food, where I can enjoy beer & various treat meals without a ton of guilt afterwards. However, I still struggle with body image issues. I have loose skin and suffer from mystery stomach problems…which together can sometimes mean my body doesn’t look like it should. Still, I manage to push all of these internal conflicts aside and I post my videos weekly anyway. I’m not perfect but I know my story is one that many people can relate to…and hopefully my workouts can help someone get started on their journey…just like certain videos helped me. The people watching likely aren’t nitpicking like I am. They are watching the workout and seeing a girl who has struggled her entire life DO IT. So while I may nitpick over some stomach rolls or weird faces., I find comfort in knowing that there may be a girl out there just like me who will watch my video and get motivated to jumpstart their own journey.

I may still struggle mentally…especially with this nagging shoulder rehab…but deep down I know that I’m not the same 210lb girl I used to be. Mentally or physically. While I can’t do many of the things that I want to do or that I used to do, I’m learning to adapt. The old Gina would’ve given up the minute she got hurt…and probably gained all of the weight back. This Gina has finally figured it out. It’s not easy. Every single day is a struggle but I try my best to put one foot in front of the other to keep going. I’m not the girl I used to be – and I’m so much better for it.

If you want to check out my Fight to be Fit video playlist, you can find it here. I welcome any & all feedback!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

Summer Shred – Kicking Off Week 2 

And so begins another week…and the 2nd week of my Summer Shred! 

I haven’t been crazy hungry or having weird cravings this go around. I will say my sweet tooth has reared it’s ugly head…but I’ve found the “sour patch” blueberries really do the trick.


I sat in a ton of traffic…after spending more time than anticipated getting new car insurance 🙄 so I wasn’t able to get in a crazy workout. BUT I did manage to get in 25 minutes of good, sweaty cardio. 15 minutes on the arc trainer, 10 minutes on the old school stair master = 200 calories burned!

My diet was on point today…and my macros were just about perfect. Here’s what my day looked like:

Breakfast

  • RX Bar
  • Caramel latte protein coffee (with almond milk)

Post-workout: phormula1 chocolate shake (with water)

Lunch:

  • 4 oz ground turkey
  • 1 oz quinoa
  • 1 oz mushrooms
  • 1 oz string beans

Snacks:

  • Oh yeah! Chocolate chip cookie dough bar
  • 9 baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup blueberries with crystal light lemonade

Dinner:

  • 4 oz rotisserie chicken
  • Approx 2 cups of romaine lettuce chopped
  • Sprinkle of cheese
  • Baby carrots (1 oz)
  • Mushrooms (1 oz)
  • Cauliflower (2 oz)

*All mixed together with homemade balsamic vinegarette

Here’s to another awesome day tomorrow! Have a good night everyone 🙂

-Gina

6-Week Summer Slimdown

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In 2014, I embarked on a 4-week shred and Mission: Hot Body challenge. I mimicked the very strict & regimented diet and workouts of bikini competitors. Super clean eating , 2-a-day workouts…you name it, I did it. It was crazy hard…but I got it done. After 4 weeks of extremely hard work, I had abs and was the leanest & most cut I’ve ever been. The problem was that as soon as the challenge ended, it was my birthday and with it came ice cream cake & plenty of drinks throughout the weekend. To top that off, just one month later I ended up seriously injuring my shoulder…which I’ve recently had surgery to correct. Within two months, all of that hard work seemed to be for nothing. I still worked out and I continue to eat fairly well, but my body just doesn’t look how I want it to. I’ve also been feeling lost in the gym so I’ve decided enough is enough. Maybe it’s this whole recovery process or maybe I’m just tired of feeling so stuck…but this year I’m doing it again. Better than before. This time around, it will be a 6-week shred which will incorporate a stricter diet & some hardcore workouts. I’ve been working with a trainer to help me with corrective exercises throughout this rehab process so I’ve enlisted him to assist me with designing a more realistic…and safer workout program, which I’ll be posting as I go along.

First things first – the diet. In general, I eat pretty well…I’m just not super strict. For the next 6 weeks, I will be cutting out most sugar, alcohol, and processed foods as well as limiting my caffeine and dairy intake. Also, rather than guesstimate my portions I invested in a food scale. I’ve never been a huge fan of things like that but if I’m going to do this…I’m going to do it right. My only “treats(s)” will come for my birthday, which falls the week before the shred is set to end. My workouts are going to be structured to be hard…but not harmful to my recovery process. That being said, I have to be super diligent about everything I eat if I want this to work. It’s not going to be easy but I’ve done it before so I know that I can do it again.

My ultimate goal with this new challenge is to lose fat while gaining my lean muscle…and motivation…back. I’d love for you all to join me! We start Monday, April 17 & go until Memorial Day. Every night (for at least the first week), I will be posting my workouts and meals so as to help those who want to follow along. This is a list of the foods that I will be sticking to throughout the next 6 weeks, in case you want to reference it for food shopping:

  • Oats
  • Egg whites
  • Tuna
  • Brown Rice
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Chickpeas
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken
  • Ground Turkey
  • Veggies (kale, asparagus, string beans, zucchini, brussels, cauliflower, peppers, butternut squash)
  • Tilapia
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Calamari
  • Shrimp
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Cottage cheese
  • PB
  • Carrots
  • Frozen blueberries
  • RX Bars
  • Seltzer
  • Unsweetened cashew milk

**Not listed here are my kitchen staples (balsamic vinegar, spray/oil, hot sauce, mustard, spices, etc.) as well as my protein powder /BCAAs.**

Please feel free to message me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com with any questions you may have. Let’s get beach body ready & Fight to be Fit together!

-Gina

 

Turning a Setback into a Comeback

img_0451Happy holidays everyone!! I am a little over 2 months post-op and I’m feeling great!! Slowly but surely I’m getting back to normalcy. My pain is almost non-existent and I have been using real weights in physical therapy!! I’m amazed by how quickly I’ve been able to bounce back…and how little pain I experience daily.

Now that I have a semi-normal routine again, here’s how it goes: Mondays and Thursdays is physical therapy. Each session lasts about 45 minutes, during which time I start with the arm bike then proceed on to more fun activities 🙂  I usually start with the seated row followed by lat pulldowns. As of this week, I’m up to 50lbs on the row – which is more than ever before! For the pulldowns, I’m typically at 40lbs but on a good day we go a little heavier. After 3 sets of 10 on both machines, I move along to use the TRX bands which I use for two exercises – The T and The Y.


I always hated TRX and with my current situation, it’s that much worse. Still, I do what I’m told so as to get back to doing what I love on my own. After the TRX (and a healthy dose of complaining), I head over to the tables where get stretched and do a few sets of dumbbell exercises. These include side raises, shoulder extension, and external rotation. Then I stand up to do jumping jacks…without jumping but with weights. My weights for all of these exercises range from 7lbs down to 3, depending on my pain tolerance (which my therapist gauges from the faces I make, since I rarely complain about the weight itself). I also do a swimming exercise, which I must say, is probably one of the most miserable things I’ve done yet. However, like everything else I’m sure a month from now I will sing a different tune. I drop to the floor for a few rounds of shoulder push-ups (or cat-cow) followed by plank to push-up. Lastly, is the VERY best part – ICE!


Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been cleared for any cardio that I desire…so I’ve been taking advantage of that by doing it on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Last week, I also got cleared to begin doing bicep curls and tricep pushdowns on my own! Since all of this is happening, I have begun the process of meal prepping so as to keep my diet in check. I haven’t weighed myself but the transformation I’ve seen in just a couple weeks is crazy!

It’s not perfect but it’s some serious progress! I am SO much further along in my recovery than I ever dreamed. So while I’m not where I wanna be….this is a DAMN good start! The biggest struggle for me thus far has been overcoming the mental aspect. I’ve been out of commission, workout wise, for several months. Seeing how my metabolism works, I know that if I don’t workout I will gain weight. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. I worked really hard to get where I am and have been working tirelessly to build a career based on helping others do the same. Seeing myself slide backwards wasn’t pretty but I made it through. As with everything else, whatever struggle or hardship we face often makes us stronger in the end. So rather than dwell on the negatives, I’m taking my setback and using it to form my biggest comeback yet! If you are facing any obstacle, I challenge you to do the same. After all, pain is temporary…but quitting lasts forever.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

 

6-Week Summertime Shred

HERE WE GO!!! Every year I create a challenge for myself…and this year is no exception. Join me as I get summertime fine with this 6-week shred!

The original plan for this 6-week shred was to happen a bit closer to summer. However, with an upcoming trip to Florida fast approaching I figure there is no time like the present. Besides, better to get into good habits now rather than wait until its beach time anyway. Everyday I will document my meals, using MyFitnessPal as well as all workouts.

The workout plan that I will be using for this round is taken from Bodybuilding.com and is based upon the 30-Days to a Fitness Model Body plan that Kelsey Byers created. I will be adapting the workouts to last an additional two weeks…and to not further injure this bum shoulder.

The workouts alternate between specific muscle groups each day, varying the weight and reps with each week. It also incorporates a lot of cardio. Now, as I posted on my Instagram account (@FinallyFit23) not so long ago, I will be aiming to run a race before the year ends. In order to keep with that mission as well as this training plan, I will be doing fasted cardio 5 days of the week, barring the two days when I have to be at work for 6 a.m. On those two days, I will incorporate a different type of cardio routine into my daily plan. No matter what, there will be two-a-days happening from here on out.

As far as diet goes, I will be making it a lot more strict but no where near what it was the last time I did this. No fish for breakfast for this girl! I have been practicing flexible dieting a lot and I believe that there is a way to be just as shredded without making yourself gag first thing in the morning. Personally, I like to have certain things at certain times of the day. Call me crazy but chicken or fish first thing in the morning just doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my life NOT eating breakfast…but even though our body has no idea what time of day it actually is…I know. And it’s something I can’t bring myself to do. To each is own. I will be having my normal meals, at their normal times, but I will be limiting my dairy considerably as well as my sugar – God help us all.

Jokes aside, I am very excited to be embarking on a new challenge. I invite you all to join me on the quest to become summertime fine! I am offering free meal plans and workouts to anyone who wants to participate. Shoot me an email at the address below for more details. Let’s make the summer of 2016 the sexiest summer yet!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

When in Doubt, WORK IT OUT!

Well…it had to happen sometime I guess. Winter has come in full force and brought a blizzard with it. I hate the cold weather but living in NY it’s sadly part of life. If you are like me and go completely NUTS being stuck inside – work it out! Press pause on your literal “Netflix & chill” kinda day and get moving! Hell, you can even keep your favorite show or movie running as you do it. It’s a total no-brainer.

For starters, most of us have some sort of shoveling to do. As much as we all complain, it really is an amazing workout…so get outside and do it! Besides completing your shoveling duties for the day (or the hour), there are plenty of indoor workouts that can keep you moving. My favorite? HIIT! Nothing is better for fat burning and total body toning than High Intensity Interval Training. While these are typically done on a treadmill, I’ve created several HIIT circuit workouts that can be done anywhere…with little to no equipment necessary!

Here are just few to get you off the couch…and working up a good sweat. Try them out and let me know what you think!!

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Use any flight of steps in your house for this one:

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This one targets the booty and it can be done with either of the above circuits. I did this one last night and trust me – it’s NO joke:

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Last, but not least, ABS! This can be done anytime…anywhere…with any or all of the above workouts. This is one of my personal at-home ab routines…& it’s a killer!:wp-1453663354404.jpeg

I know firsthand how hard being stuck in the house can be on a weight loss journey. With all of the snacks available and so much free time, it truly can be a recipe for disaster. However, you have to remember your goals and just fight the urge to binge eat. Use your time productively! If you really want to be in the kitchen, use the extra time to meal prep for the days ahead. Keep in mind – summer is just a few months away! Don’t let the winter blues ruin all of your hard work and stop you from getting that sexy summer body! It may be hard to fighting the boredom binges but when you are happily strutting your stuff on the beach in a few months…it will ALL be worth it.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com