Dear Strong Chick: All about fitness

Happy, happy Friday Strong Chicks!

I am feeling an overwhelming amount of gratitude this holiday week for all of the love and support that the Dear Strong Chick, the column has already received! If you would like to share some ideas for future advice topics, please reach out my Instagram @abundantly.annanoel or via email

Today we are talking about exercise and fitness- two things I am incredibly passionate about. I have always been an active person, growing up on sports and bike rides. However, for a period of time, I worked out for all of the wrong reasons. I abused my body by slaving away for hours at the gym, never listening to what it was telling me. The only purpose I found in movement was body manipulation. I wanted a body that I was never going to get with that approach.

I exercise wayyy less than I used to. I do not spend eternities on cardio machines or force myself to the gym when I am exhausted. Know what? When I started listening to my body, I started seeing results! Now I am able to feel the mental benefits, clarity, and empowerment that comes with regularly moving my body. I always say, just a quick walk or 20-minute stretch can make all of the difference!

Dear Strong Chick,

What does your fitness routine look like on a day-to-day basis?

I do a mix of strength training/cardio/stretching. We often only think about cardio, when in reality resistance training is what makes your body stronger. When we have lean muscle mass, it’s actually helping us burn more calories! Strength training is so important as we get older for bone health, anti-aging, and chronic disease management. I follow circuits from Rachel, my trainer, that include strength/bursts of cardio about 3 times a week. On other days I enjoy spinning, biking outdoors and going on walks. I also practice yoga 1-2 times per week. Yoga has really helped my mental well-being, strength, and recovery. YOU DO NOT NEED TO WORKOUT THAT OFTEN TO BE HEALTHY AND SEE RESULTS. Exercise for me is my biggest form of stress relief and time to myself, which is why I enjoy spending so much time doing it! Just two strength workouts a week and some other forms of movement will make all of the difference. Don’t forget rest days!

Dear Strong Chick,

I have gone from a full commitment sport to working out on my own. How do you figure out how to plan workouts? I have no idea what the mix should be between cardio, weights, and whatever else there is.

This is so common! It took me a long time to figure out. The key is to do what you enjoy or else it will never work. One way to combat this bump in the road is to find a workout class that incorporates both resistance and cardio. Bootcamp classes, barre, and pilates are all great examples. If you are taking your workout plan on by yourself, educate yourself! Rachel has some great materials on the Rachel Turner website. I spend a lot of time reading. It is definitely worth investing in a plan. Some I have used are the BBG Guide and Lauren Gleisberg Fitness plan (only $12!). **Can you link the BBG website and Lauren Gleisberg?**There are many options on the internet, just find what works for you. Consider if you will use your home or a gym. If fitness is really a passion for you, invest in a trainer. I was so hesitant because I thought this was too much of a ‘luxury’ but the truth is that I spend so much of my time working out! So I budget and put my money towards what I really want. I hope one of these three options sounds like a fit for you :)

Dear Strong Chick,

How do you take away the guilt that happens when you leave the gym feeling like you didn’t workout at all?

SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING! Strong Chicks Rock is the place to be if you want to hear about the insane benefits of 20-30 minute workouts. Rachel has so much information on short and effective! If you move your body, get your heart rate up, complete a circuit, or just move instead of sitting around, you have made a difference! Typically when I move in a way that feels good, by the end my mood and energy are brightening up. Even just a 15-minute walk can do this! Pay attention to how you feel, not how long or how much you did. Then use that to guide you through future workouts.

Dear Strong Chick,

How can I have a good relationship with exercise, in terms of health, without trying to change my body?

This really flows over from the previous question. Exercise is all about how it makes you feel. Lifting weights make me feel strong and empowered. Spinning gives me energy and that “I can’t believe I was capable of that” feeling. When you focus on other aspects of fitness, not just body manipulation, you will find empowerment in working out. With enjoyment and commitment comes results. Without even trying, if your body is in a place that needs to change and is getting proper nutrients, you will see changes. Fitness should be a lifelong commitment. That will never come with only trying to change your body.

Dear Strong Chick,

What can I do to motivate myself to workout?

Pay attention to how it makes you feel :)

Get out and move this week Strong Chicks!

All the love,

Anna. x

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