2 Rounds of BBG in 2017 and SWEAT APP for 2018 Goals

Photo above – Me at my peak fitness in 2017 and one of the BEST days ever – swimming in the Mediterranean sea on the coast of Monterosso, Italy with my husband (forgive the pale legs – that was amended as the trip progressed lol)

Yes, we are over halfway through the first month of the new year and I’ve just gotten to my 2017 fitness review lol.  Better late than never! 🙂

2017 was a great year for fitness:

  • 2 rounds of Bikini Body Guide – total 32 weeks
  • 1 round of Tammy Hembrow’s Booty Guide – total 8 weeks
  • 2 weeks off while on vacation in Europe (although we walked an insane amount!)
  • 2 post BBG rest weeks
  • Then 8 consecutive weeks off for my laparoscopic myomectomy surgery/recovery

40 weeks total of exercise – 4 weeks of rest – 8 weeks of recovery

I also used the My Fitness Pal App to track my calorie intact as I was trying to gain weight during my Tammy Hembrow workouts/BBG workouts.  I successfully gained 5 pounds of muscle.  Not that impressive but it’s hard to eat a ton.

I also incorporated kettle bell training/yoga as the third day of BBG for my HIIT/LISS exercise.

Eventually, I moved onto running for my HIIT training in the 12 weeks prior to my surgery where I ran two speeds for 20-30 minutes twice a week.  This was in preparation to shed fat from my stomach as I wanted the layer of fat the surgeon had to cut through to be minimal.  I lost 5 pounds but didn’t lose any muscle.

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Me about a month before surgery – Please forgive the background clutter LOL! Especially those cat litter containers… 🙂

Post- surgery I lost another 5 pounds unfortunately and haven’t taken a photo of myself without them.  So that means my….

2018 Goal is:

Gain 10 pounds of muscle! 🙂 YAY!

I started my workout regime for 2018 on January 3.  I decided to start with BBG pre-training which is meant for people who haven’t exercised in a while.  It helps your body ease into a more strenuous routine. I told myself I would only do half which is about 15 minutes of working out and 5 minutes of stretching.  I needed to test my limits in particular with my core strength as I have 5 incisions on my stomach and one large internal incision.  After the first workout, I did feel some pulling across my abdomen.  It wasn’t terrible but it certainly was noticeable.  I also was incredibly sore throughout my body for the next 4 days. I pushed forward and worked out again on January 5.  I have kept consistent at the two day a week/half workouts since then.

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Recently, my sister found that the Sweat app by Kayla Itsines (BBG founder) is $1 for 3 months total.  It is usually $19.99/month.  It includes not only there traditional BBG workout but their BBG gym format, yoga, post-pregnancy and a power program.  It also includes meal ideas and recipes, activity schedules and all sorts of goodies.  I promptly signed up for this to help me reach my 2018 goals.

Since I have signed up I made the decision to follow their yoga program.  I haven’t focused on yoga for so long but I think it would be a nice change of pace so stay tuned for those results! 🙂

I’m very excited to get back into my routine as exercising just motivates me to accomplish so much in all avenues of my life.  I love all those endorphins flying around my brain!

How about you sewing friends?  Did you do anything fitness related in 2017 or have plans to kick butt in 2018?

BBG Fitness, Blue Apron and Fitness Sewing Patterns

A workout update is long overdue.

As of writing this I am currently in week 6 of my second round of BBG (Bikini Body Guide). That means I am about to be officially almost halfway through.  Luckily this second round hasn’t been as tough as the first one but that isn’t saying much because it’s still pretty hard.  I end up sore the next day after every workout.  I gotta say that I like being sore though because I feel like it’s proof that the 30-40 minutes went towards building a better me. If I’m not sore I feel like I didn’t challenge myself.

Some of the other things I have incorporated on an on and off basis are kettlebell exercises, yoga and 5 mile walks or HITT (BBG calls for LISS or HITT on your off days).  This may sound like a lot but instead of doing the optional 3rd day of BBG I do a kettlebell exercise or yoga instead.

Here is the kettlebell exercise I’ve been using from BodyFit by Amy:

 

Here is the yoga exercise I’ve been using from Fitness Blender:

 

I tried this HIIT workout – which is tough so I most definitely did not do it perfectly.  I’m not much of a runner even though I try every so often.

Interval Training – Kick Your Ass and Kickstart your Metabolism in 20 Minutes

Other changes to my diet and fitness have been due to time constraints.  My husband and I decided to re-join Blue Apron.  We used to get their meals then we had a few weeks where we just weren’t enjoying them as much so we stopped.  It worked for a while but our schedules can be kind of hectic which leads to poor eating habits including not buying healthy meals at the grocery store, eating out or not eating enough.  To combat this, we re-activated our account and it’s been such a relief to have the ingredients for three dinners a week delivered straight to us.  It’s also really nice to cook interesting meals together too!

Some of the other things I wanted to touch on that are fitness related are sewing a fitness wardrobe!  I’m far from it but I wanted to share a few patterns that I’m hoping to sew in the future.  My list is quite long and I’m currently trying to sew together a casual work wardrobe but that is for another post. Check out these cute patterns! I hope to get to at least one very soon. 🙂

Endurance Sports Bra by GreenStyleCreations

Endurance

Purl Soho City Gym Shorts – Free Pattern

City Gym Shorts

What have you all been up to fitness and health wise?  I would love to hear your tips!

As of posting this I just entered week 8 of BBG!  🙂  Yay!

BBG Round 2

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with my fitness in the past two months.  After I came back from my vacation I struggled to get on a good routine.  I had little motivation because I found my old workouts kind of boring.

I tried to do a second round of BBG but it wasn’t sticking so I moved onto Kettlebell training.  I was using the FitnessBlender videos which are super helpful and a great at home workout.  Then about 4 weeks ago my sister asked about doing the BBG program so I told her I would be happy to do it with her. This will be her first time completing the program and my second time.  Now that I have a BBG partner I have the motivation I need to not get bored and stick to the program.  That feels pretty good.

I don’t think I’ve ever explained the BBG program but it stands for Bikini Body Guide.  It was created by Kayla Itsines.  She is a young, Australian personal trainer who created this program to help women get the body they desire.

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This is a 12-week program that gets progressively more challenging each week as you build strength.  If you haven’t exercised in a while you can begin with 4 weeks of pre-training to get your body warmed up and ready.  I highly recommend doing this so you won’t burn yourself out going straight into the 12 weeks.

BBG is a combination of strength training and cardio.  It is a 28-minute workout completed 2-3 times a week.  There are two circuits.  Each circuit should be completed in 7 minutes then repeated.  You should also incorporate stretching before and after your workout.  The workouts are designed to be completed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Tuesday and Thursday should be dedicated to Low Intensity Steady State cardio (LISS) and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  When you begin the program you should stick to LISS which is a 35-45 walk minute for this program.  HIIT is a combination of low and high intensity interval such as walking then running then walking again.  This is something you will move up to as you progress through the program.

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There is also a meal component to this program.  It focuses on clean eating and if you are looking to lose a lot of weight it is highly recommended.  Your diet plays a big role in your fitness.  Working out hard can only get you so far with the wrong type of fuel.

I’m excited to be in my second round and I highly recommend this for anyone wanting a great at-home workout.

Aires Leggings by Colette Patterns

I finally finished Aires!  Let me tell you, July was not a very productive sewing month.  Sometimes life happens and the things you love get pushed to the side. Finally, I got some time and completed my project.  I now have a full workout outfit for the first time ever!

The Low Down:

Aires pic

The Aires PDF pattern from Colette is a pair of capri fitted athletic tights with a hidden pocket.  You can order the pattern by itself from Colette Patterns or subscribe to their monthly online publication Seamwork and use one of your two monthly credits to download the pattern. This pattern should take 3 hours if you make no mistakes unlike me. 🙂

Seamwork

Materials:

  • All-purpose polyester sewing thread
  • Ballpoint needle
  • Ballpoint twin needle (optional)
  • 2 yards of ¼” knit elastic
  • Any mid to heavy weight athletic fabric with 4-way stretch (at least 25%) such as nylon, spandex, and rayon blends such as ponte knit and milliskin
  • Stretch mesh fabric for contrast panel (optional)

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my materials from the Los Angeles fabric district.  I’m using the same fabric that I used for the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy.

The Process:

I think this is my first official pair of me made pants

Aires is a bit of a different pattern.  Most patterns you cut on the fold but since this is a knit most of the pattern pieces are cut as one whole piece.  With this in mind it is necessary to not only have enough fabric to distribute the full pattern pieces correctly but also you need to really pay attention to whether the pattern piece needs to be placed face up or down.

I decided to trace the pattern pieces so I could lay them out all at the same time.  This was especially important because I was using a printed fabric and needed to make sure all the pieces were in the right direction.

Despite my self-imposed setbacks this was a fairly straight-forward project. I used a standard sewing machine and it worked out great.  I sewed my Aires in a size XS.

Thanks to cutting out the full pieces all the notches and circles matched up nicely.  I was a little nervous about the hidden back pocket but it was actually really quite logical and so much easier than I realized.

I used a medium zigzag stitch to sew the pieces together and for topstitching. I really liked how the topstitching turned out.  You can use a cover stitch or a twin needle but zigzag worked just as well for me.

Hiccups:

There were more than I anticipated of my own doing of course.

Realizing that I needed duplicate pieces I ended up tracing the original patterns but I forgot to look at the cutting layout!  Well I actually did look at it but I made a mistake and cut two pieces in the same direction because I didn’t double check my work.

I found this out when I tried to sew my legs together only to find I had two left legs.  I actually realized earlier I had made a mistake but I was just like “close enough!” haha I paid for that later.

My machine also decided to pull its same old tricks and I ended up using the seam ripper quite a bit.

Recommendations:

The directions and photos were really clear and concise.  I do believe this would take anyone 3 hours as long as they pay close attention to the directions and cutting layout.

Don’t forget to use the stretch guide when selecting your fabric!  You can find it on page 3 of your PDF instruction manual.

When cutting out your fabric I would suggest using a rotary cutter if you have one.

Happy Sewing!

 

Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Being that I’m very into my workout routine I was ready to dive into sewing up whatever sports bra I could find!  I stumbled across two patterns and both were for free.  I decided to go with the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy because it seemed to have a good amount of support and I really liked the style lines.

Ultimate Sports Bra

The Low Down:

The So Sew Easy Ultimate Sports Bra is a free pattern with a comprehensive video tutorial.  You can download the pattern here.  This is ONLY the pattern.  This link will direct you to Craftsy.com where you will need to sign up for an account if you do not already have one to access this pattern.  Directions are not included so you have to either go read the directions here or watch the tutorial here.  I highly recommend watching the tutorial and keeping that in the background as you sew. I also recommend watching the tutorial before you head to the fabric store which was something I really wish I had done.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Materials:

  • 1/2 yard of Spandex/nylon 4-way stretch or lycra milliskin nylon Spandex
  • 2 yards of foldover elastic to match the main fabric. Either 5/8” or 3/4” width.
  • Thread to match
  • #10 ball point needle
  • Optional: Bra cups

Purchased from:

I purchased all of my supplies from the Los Angeles Fabric District.  If any of you have been there you know you can get some great fabric for an outstanding deal.  The So Sew Easy blog provides links in the materials section of their tutorial for you to easily purchase these items on Amazon.com.  Otherwise, your local fabric store or favorite online shop.

The Process:

I usually prep my pattern, fabric and instructions in steps.  It takes me a few days to get everything together as I don’t have big blocks of time to spend on them each day.

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Day 1:  Cut out paper pattern and fabric

Tip from Mayra of So Sew Easy:  When pattern pieces are drafted on a fold and you are using slippery fabric always trace that pattern piece and draw the matching side so your new pattern piece is one unfolded pattern piece.  This will prevent slippage issues and inadvertently cutting incorrectly.  She also suggests using a rotary cutter. 

To be completely honest, I didn’t do this.  Not because I didn’t want to but because I cut the pattern and fabric out before I watched the video/read the tutorial.  My pieces turned out just fine though.

Day 2: Watch video on my bus ride home.

Day 3:

This happened to be a Saturday and my husband was out kayak fishing so guess what I got to do?!  Work on this pattern until my sewing machine and I got into an altercation… haha

Ultimate Sports Bra  Ultimate Sports Bra

I carefully watched each step of the tutorial in sequence with my sewing.  I sewed the back pieces together with ease once my machine cooperated (more on that to come).  Next was the front and the sides.  Then you apply the facing which was my favorite step because the facing is applied to the front interior and you sew the sides to the bra but not on a seam. The outcome is the zigzag stitch appears on the right side of the sports bra giving it a RTW princess seam look.

You can see that here:

Ultimate Sports Bra

You will also see that the facing is left unsewn where it lies on the straps.  This is left open so you can add bra cups if you so choose.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Sew the shoulder seams together then measure the sleeve opening and the neckline opening with your measuring tape.  Subtract 1” then measure your foldover elastic and cut.  Be sure to double check this as for some reason I messed my measuring up and I’m not sure how.  You will need to fold each in half lengthwise and sew the ends together at 1/4” to create a circle.  Measure as directed and sew them on the openings while stretching the elastic being sure that they enclose the fabric and reach around the whole perimeter of the opening.

Day 4:

Finally, you will create a band for the bottom of the sports bra where you will be directed to measure around the opening of the bra and subtract 1”-2”.  You will then draw this on a piece of large paper and create your own band pattern.  Attach to the bottom of the bra and you are complete! 🙂

Hiccups:

My machine!  Sometimes it really seems like it is plotting against me… Here is my frustration: I spent so much time and thread trying to get the tension just right.  I am using a regular sewing machine by the way so I use a zigzag stitch for my knit projects.  My machine doesn’t seem to care for a narrow zigzag stitch unless it really really feels like it.  For the most part it will sew in a wavy line then skip a few stitches then just maybe do what it’s supposed to.

Unhappy stitches below:

Ultimate Sports Bra

My machine seems to favor a wider zigzag but doesn’t like it if I switch between zigzag and straight stitch.  It gets confused… Let’s just say my seam ripper should just be medically attached as a 6th finger.

I cleaned up the mess and this is how it turned out.  Not bad when my machine is happy!

Ultimate Sports Bra

Recommendations:

  • Watch the tutorial before you get your supplies and before you start sewing this project.
  • Test your machine’s zigzag capacity on thread that you don’t mind wasting if using a regular sewing machine.
  • Double check your foldover elastic and band measurements before you cut.
  • If you’re anything like me you’ll need to keep that seam ripper handy. 😉

Ultimate Sports Bra

Fitness Progression & Strawberry Almond Smoothie Recipe

The last 6 weeks I have been using the Tammie Hembrow Program and let me tell you it is tough.  I was so unbelievably sore the first week.  I stuck to it and slowly started adding more weight each week as I got stronger.

Tammie’s program is a 3 day a week for 8-weeks program focusing on your bum.  This may sound silly but this area is very important to me and I feel it is often neglected in most workout programs.  The reason why I am pursuing it is for several reasons.  First, I want to work out every part of my body equally.  I don’t just want a strong back and then weak legs, that doesn’t make sense to me.  Second, as you age your glute muscles get weaker and your bum flattens out so naturally I want to avoid that.  Third, I have sciatica and it stems from my piriformis muscle which is basically in your glute.  For whatever, reason whether it be stress, improperly lifting something or lack of exercise my piriformis will squeeze my sciatic nerve and cause pain and weakness in my right glute and leg.  The best way I have found to deal with this is consistently working out and de-stressing which I combat through daily meditation and of course my sewing hobby.  Fourth, workout programs have an ending, a goal, something to work towards.  I like that, I thrive on that.

In this program, you do need to use a gym.  I don’t have all the exact equipment in my gym but I make due.  This program focuses on the smith machine, leg press, arm pull down machine, barbell and free weights.

I also decided to use her arms and abs YouTube video 2 days a week.  That exercise probably lasts about 30 minutes.  It’s pretty simple but it burns. I do find myself plateauing a bit so I will be upping my weights pretty soon.

I’m just about done with week 7 and after this program I will be taking a vacation so when I get back I will start up a new program or repeat this one.  We shall see.

In the meantime, I’ve been pushing clean eating although it can be tough.  The days where I don’t follow it well I find that I am sorry not too shortly after eating as the bloating, nausea and headaches kick.  I’m still associating the “bad” foods with pleasure but soon enough I’ll have to condition myself to make more and more better choices.  I’m not aiming to do this perfectly but I am aiming to do it in the best way possible to fit my lifestyle.  It will always be a work in progress. 🙂 I am loving my morning routine of making a Strawberry Almond Smoothie.  I’ve changed this up to cater to my tastes.  It is very filling at about 200 calories and slightly sweet. (My recipe below.)

Finally, I’m also trying to eat more because the more you lift the more calories you need to turn into muscle.  In order to do this, cardio is no longer a part of my work out because it burns off too many calories.  However, I do take enough steps in the day to keep my cardiovascular system healthy.  Right now, the best way for me to do this is to add a protein shake to my daily calorie intake.  I’m only doing half a serving at the moment but soon enough I will need a full 310 calorie serving.  In time… 😉

Strawberry Almond Smoothie Recipe

1 cup almond milk

1 frozen banana

5 frozen strawberries

2 tablespoons flax seed

Blend!