My Killer Leg Day Routine

My Killer Leg Day Routine

Let's make gains.
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Here is my guide to a killer leg day at the gym here on campus. Reminder, you only need to do a leg workout 2-3 times a week.

10 Minutes, Stretch and Foam Roll

It is critical to make sure that you spend a good few minutes listening to your body and stretching out your muscles to avoid injury or unnecessary soreness following your workout. Foam rollers can help break down scar tissue and speed up the recovery process for your muscles after a heavy lifting day.

12-15 Minutes, Cardio Warm Up

Usually, I will either go on the bike for my cardio warm up. Since it is a leg day, we don’t want to engage in a HIIT workout or to tire our legs out too much before we can get to lifting and activation work.

Activation Exercises and Body Weight

Start with 40 hip thrusts with a resistance band and make sure to squeeze your booty when your hips are up. Do not rush the exercise and try to focus on your mind to muscle connection for the best results. I would do these exercises in one of the lower level rooms that has plenty of space and the yoga mats.

Next, try 40 jumping squats. Don’t let your knees pass your toes.

Time for donkey kicks ... use leg weights and do 50 kick backs on each leg.

Try to do 10 crab walks from one side of the room to the other with a resistance band.

Reminder: Stay hydrated and take a short rest if needed. Don’t push yourself to a point that is unhealthy, but remember, a little bit of pain is good.

Time to lunge! Try this: 30 alternating lunges, 30 bouncing lunges each leg, 30 side lunges.

Time To Add Weight

I normally start with 4 sets of 8 on the hip abduction. You can adjust the weight to what is most challenging for you.

Next, maybe have a friend spot you for some barbell squats. If you don’t love the barbell, you can use the smith machine. For those who don’t want to do either of those options, you can use the highest weight dumbbells upstairs and hold one in each hand for some squats in the stretching area or on the track. I would also do 4 sets of 8 reps with weight for squats. Keep squeezing the booty.

You could finish with the seated leg press and do the magic 4 sets of 8 reps at whatever weight you are comfortable with using.

Extra: If you want to challenge yourself even more, try doing sumo squats with weight or some of the lunges that we did earlier, but with weights.

10-20 Minute Cool Down

Spend some time doing cardio to cool down. Maybe try 20 minutes of the glute toning exercise on the Arc Trainer or the fat burning mode on the stair machine. You could end by stretching and rolling out downstairs.

Enjoy your workout! Please note that I am not a professional. Do your own research and decide what you think is the best workout for you and remember to stay hydrated and eat plenty of protein after your workout for optimal recovery.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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10 Small Diet Changes That Will Help You Lose Weight This Summer

Doing even just a few of these diet changes will impact your weight loss journey tremendously.

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I never used to watch my diet. I'd eat whatever I wanted even if that means eating McDonald's 3 times a day. When I was in the mindset, I gained so much weight. As soon as I started watching my diet and stopped eating McDonald's, I dropped 15 pounds. Then with exercise, I was able to lose more. But, it all starts with your diet.

1. Stop putting sugar in your coffee.

I started drinking my coffee black just a few months ago and it was life changing. One cup of coffee can have less than 5 calories in it. Putting sugar and cream can make your coffee really bad for you. One teaspoon of sugar is 16 calories and half and half has 37 for two tablespoons.

2. Minimize snacking and snack healthy.

We all do it. Snacking is hard to control, especially when you see cookies sitting on the counter or your favorite chips. It's hard not to take one or two. You may not realize how much sugar and calories are in those things. Replace those sugary and unhealthy snacks with veggies or fruit. Your body will thank you.

3. Cool it on the fast food.

Anytime anyone asks me how I stay fit, the first thing I say is I don't eat fast food. Occasionally, I'll get Chick-fil-a or a burger from a fast food joint but it is very rare. First of all, you have no clue what is actually in that food. Chicken nuggets from fast food places are "mechanically separated" and McDonald's french fries don't disintegrate even after 3 years. If mother nature can't disintegrate french fries, how do you think your body will handle it?

4. Eat a protein rich breakfast.

Eating protein in the morning will help suppress your hunger during the day. Instead of eating a bowl of sugary cereal, eat some eggs instead.

5. Drink water.

So many people are not hydrating enough. That can cause your body to think it's hungry. Instead of reaching for a snack, drink water and see how you feel afterwards.

6. Cut out the soda.

We all know soda is horrible for you. The other day, I watched my boyfriend pour diet coke on my corroded battery in my car to clean it. Do you really want that in your stomach? If you don't believe me, YouTube things that dissolve in soda. It's disgusting.

7. Watch your carbs.

Carbs aren't totally bad for you. There are such things as "healthy" carbs. These are things like oats, sweet potatoes, and kidney beans. Some of the "unhealthy" carbs are white bread, chocolate, and fruit juices with added sugars.

8. Cool it with alcohol.

Being in college, I see so many people binge drink every weekend. Not only is that horrible for your brain, but it's so bad for your diet. Even going to the gym won't always fix your beer gut if you continuously drink.

9. Portion control.

Being on a diet doesn't mean don't eat that chocolate cake. It means don't make a habit out of it. Restaurants almost always give too much. Don't force yourself to eat it. Get a to-go box instead.

10. Stop eating when you are sad and stressed.

Even though you might think it will help, this won't help your sadness. If anything you'll be sadder because you ate 10 cookies and now you don't feel good. Instead of eating, find other things to take your mind off those emotions. Exercise, journal, or do other hobbies when you're sad and stressed.

Even just following a few of these will help you stay healthy. Just be mindful of what you're putting in your body and your body will thank you.

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