Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: HIIT Workout

Happy wellness Wednesday! I’ve been getting way more into HIIT workouts recently and wanted to share one with y’all today, to give you something new to try in the gym! I’ve been loving HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) because they are extremely effective, efficient, and challenge my body in new ways.

The premise of a HIIT workout is basically to spike your heart rate for a short interval of time by pushing to your almost max effort, and then bring it back down by recovering, then do it again and again. There are a few benefits to working out this way. You will burn fat much quicker, and also continue to burn calories even AFTER the workout is over! (Note: i am not a personal trainer, but that’s what I’ve read and heard from trainers and coaches). And the HIIT workout I’m sharing with you guys today also involves strength training so you’re building muscle as well!

There are thousands of different variations you could do of a HIIT workout. The one I’m sharing with y’all today involves both cardio and strength training and will work your entire body! The great thing about it is you are strength training while your heart rate is already high from the cardio portion, meaning it will be more effective!

Megan’s HIIT Workout

  • Start by warming up on the treadmill. Fast walk or slow jog for 5-10 minutes
  • Hop off the treadmill and complete the following 3 moves (if you have questions about what any of these moves are, you can google or YouTube it! Set a timer for 8 minutes – get through as MANY sets as possible before the timer goes off! Meaning little to no rest in between sets!
  • Side plank on your left side – hold for 30 seconds. Engage your core by pulling your belly button to your spine. After 30 seconds, switch to your right side
    • Alternating lunges with dumbbells (I use 8lbs but use whatever feels challenging to you). Start with your feet together, then step your right foot back into a lunge, making a 90 degree angle with both left leg and right leg, bringing your right (back) knee to JUST above the ground. Then bring feet together. Repeat on opposite side (left leg back). Complete 10 reps PER leg (so, 20 total)
    • Shoulder press with dumbbells (I use 8lbs but use whatever feels challenging to you!). 12 reps
  • After you have completed all 3 moved for a total of 8 minutes, get back on the treadmill and RUN at your 80% max effort for 3 minutes, without stopping. (I typically put the treadmill around 7.0, but do whatever YOUR 80% max effort is). Run at this pace for 3 minutes. When the 3 minutes is up, walk for 1 minute to recover.
  • Repeat the entire workout above (minus the warmup) for a total of 3 or 4 sets total (depending on how dead you are at the end of 3!).

Unfortunately, I don’t have a treadmill so I can’t do the running part of this workout but when I did I would do this workout all the time. It’s a simple yet super effective HIIT workouts. If you try it, make sure you tag me on instagram or in your stories and let me know what you thought! Thanks for reading!

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Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: My Battle with Anxiety

In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month I decided to share my battle with Anxiety. In the past few years, I r been dealing with some tough personal stuff (divorce & cancer) that’s been a big journey for me and I really want to share it with you. Im still very much working through everything, but I’m excited to be stepping in a positive direction.

When I think about it, it’s hard for me to imagine a life without anxiety. It’s hard to explain that it doesn’t feel like anxiety all the time- sometimes it feels like a nagging sense that I’m behind, and if I just worked a little harder I could catch up. Sometimes it feels like opening night before the curtain rises and the butterflies are strong in my stomach. Sometimes it feels like not knowing where to put my hands when I’m talking like I’m self-conscious or am about to say the wrong thing. Sometimes it feels like I’m sea sick and the world is sliding out from under me, and sometimes it feels like barely anything at all- just like there’s the slightest weight on my chest. But it’s hard to imagine my life without it, as lovely and strange as it would be.

I just thought that everyone was like that, until a year ago.

In the year things have been fabulous on paper- friends and family are beautiful, my health is improving, I have great boyfriend, I’ve been traveling and reconnecting with friends, and digging into the wonderful messiness of life, but day to day it hasn’t felt like that. Slowly things have been getting hard- I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve gone from my normal (being slightly anxious most the time, but it was manageable) to being extremely anxious, having trouble concentrating and with my memory, and being easily tired out. Things that have always been mild quirks of mine started to amplify to the point of making life less comfortable, and then it started to get exponentially worse.

It was a level of stress I can only describe as similar to a moment when you realize someone is breaking into your home, only it was like that from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. I was agitated and exhausted, stressed and confused. I had negative thoughts that I didn’t want but had a really hard time keeping quiet. I had no idea what was happening and fewer words to describe d. I kept it to myself and tried to manage it on my own, but in the end, there was nothing to say other than “Something is wrong, and I need help!”

I made an appointment to see my doctor. It was so profoundly confusing, I knew intellectually that nothing was really wrong, but I felt like my body was on the verge of deciding between flight or fight all the time, and I couldn’t calm down. When I met with my doctor I was so relieved to see her I could have hugged her. We went through a symptom checklist and after answering “yes” to every question she asked, she said a word that made everything snap into focus:

Anxiety

That word was exactly the one I’d been trying so hard to find myself. It was a perfect fit, and more than that it was a diagnosis.

Anxiety Disorder is a psychological disorder much like depression, where you experience some level of anxiety at almost all times. It’s not normal anxiety- like being worried about a test or a performance- but an underlying constant, like a hum in the background of every day that might feel different from time to time, but is always there. The flare up I had in a year ago was hard, but it was a huge opportunity to see that my level of anxiety has been high for many years, but I so was used to always feeling on edge that it didn’t seem strange to me, and there was always a logical explanation for my stress level. I felt like things were legitimately causing it, and often times they were real stresses in my life (I do live in the real world!) but when those stresses were removed, the feelings wouldn’t go away, they would calm down for a time or shift, and I would think that something else was causing them. Until they became too big for me to ignore.

I was diagnosed last April and I’m still very much at the beginning of my journey with this. Because I was in such an extreme state I’ve started on a medication to help calm my symptoms down, and the clarity and peace that I’ve gained from it has been exceptional- I feel like I’m myself about 70% of the time again, and while I have good days and bad days it’s lovely to be able to live more effortlessly than I have for a while. I’m also still in the process of looking back and seeing how this has affected me, and how long it’s been a burden to me that I didn’t have the ability to see.

Because the symptoms are such a mix of psychological and physical, people with anxiety often wait for over ten years to seek help, and I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d had this diagnosis when I was 15 before it was so severe rather than when I was 33. But knowing what I do now, more than anything I feel excited. I’m excited to explore my treatment options, and to find a way to live with this that is comfortable and manageable. I’m excited to know that I don’t feel like this because something in my life is causing it, because knowing that means I don’t have to solve anything, I just have to wait for the feelings to pass. I’m so excited to be having fun day to day, to find writing easy again, and to have the words to explain what’s been too confusing for me to talk about until now.

If I can ask one thing from you, at the end of a very long post, it would be that if you have anxiety that is interfering with your life please talk to someone you can trust about it. A friend, parent, teacher, guidance counselor, pastor, doctor – anyone, just reach out. They might not understand what you’re feeling, but they can help you work out what a good next step is for you. There are lots of treatment and therapy options, and you don’t have to deal with it alone.

And just as an aside, thank you so much for reading my corner of the internet – I can’t express how much it means to me. Thank you so much. <3

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