Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

Category: Exercise ideas (page 1 of 2)

Strategies for Sticking to Your Workout Routine

Happy New Year! Many of us have set healthy goals for ourselves for 2017. You can read about my 2017 fitness goals here. For me, it’s pretty easy setting goals for myself. The hardest part is sticking to them.

Here are some strategies for sticking to your workout routine.

Whether you decide to start working out more often thanks to a New Year’s resolution or another reason or you have been exercising regularly for years, it can sometimes be tough to get your feet out the door and have it be a habit that you keep and that you continue for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, you can take advantage of several methods to get that extra jump back in your step.

Positive Visualization

The experiences that we imagine for ourselves are what invariably end up resulting, and many people who have trouble sticking with a workout routine are those who keep on visualizing themselves not being active for one reason or another. Change that mindset and start visualizing yourself as becoming – or continuing as – an active person, one who sticks to a workout routine and who is better because of it.

Think of The Example You are Setting

If you have people that look to you as a role model, particularly if you have children, remember that everything that you do sets an example for them, and this includes how physically active you are. Thinking of exercise as something that you do for others, not just for yourself, can really help propel you out the door and into a more physically healthy routine.

Set a Goal

If running is part of your workout routine, picking a race is a perfect way to stay motivated. You can choose a local race or even pick one that would require a road trip, maybe even an overnight stay, in a city that is on the other side of the state or perhaps even the other side of the world. Regardless of the goal, having something specific to push towards has been proven to keep people more motivated and result in them being more successful than not.

Of course, this strategy can still be used even if you are not interested in running a race. Plenty of competitions revolving around swimming or bicycling also take place all around the world while you could also do something like have a healthy weight-loss target or make your ways towards a goal of walking a certain amount for a number of times a week, lifting a specific weight, something like that.

Make sure that the goal is a mix of being a challenge while being realistic as well. If you realize that your goal is not at all realistic, feel free to adjust it. You want to be challenged; you don’t want to be demoralized.

Insert Workouts Into Your Schedule

Start treating workouts as an integral part of your day, of your week. You have to be at work at 8 a.m.? Children need to be picked up in the afternoon? Your run or workout session should be treated similarly. It’s even better if you can do it at the same time every day although it is understandable if your life is not as structured as would be necessary to allow that. But whenever you do schedule it in, stick to that time.

If you can do it then, morning or mid-day workouts have specific benefits in that they tend to energize you for the rest of the day. However, evening sessions are great too if that’s the time that you have free or are most motivated.

But Don’t Be Too Structured!

Of course, when you work out can remain structured, but the types of workouts that you do should vary at least a little, or you may end up bored or, worse, burned out. Make sure to incorporate fun, relaxing workouts as well as intense ones and more run-of-the-mill workouts. And change up what you do. For example, if you are training for a 5K or longer race, incorporate things like bicycling, dancing, basketball or volleyball, things to break up the monotony.

More Visualization

As you are going to sleep, visualize as specifically as possible your workout for the following day. If you’re going to work out first thing in the morning, you can even leave out some Fabletics clothes so that you can sleepily roll out of bed, put them on and step out the door before you fully wake up.

Check out this adorable outfit!









picture source



Whenever you are going to exercise, visualize every step of the process as vividly as you can, from dressing to warming up to the workout itself and then the cool down. This works in all aspects of your life, and that includes the workouts that you have scheduled into your days.

Surround Yourself With Supportive People

If possible, surround yourself with supportive people. Of course, don’t let unsupportive family members stop you from stepping out the door, but it does help if they back you. Also consider working out with like-minded people who want to get into and continue exercising on a regular basis as well. Knowing that a friend is waiting to go on that run with you is a very strong motivating tool.

This post is sponsored by Fabletics

Print Friendly

Fitness Now & 2017 Goals

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice holiday. Our Christmas was wonderful. I’ve always loved Christmas, but I love it even more since having my daughter. Seeing Christmas through a toddler’s eyes is truly magical.  As 2016 winds down, I wanted to share my personal fitness goals for the upcoming year.

In 2016, I was fairly consistent with my workouts. A typical week consisted of 3 full body strength training days, and 2 or 3 days of cardio. My cardio workouts were a combination of Zumba, running (not as much as I would’ve liked to do), LISS, and HIIT. Some weeks I got 5-6 workouts in and other weeks I would only manage 3 days. Even though, I stayed pretty consistent, I haven’t reached my personal fat loss goal. I don’t really focus on the scale that much, but I do weigh myself every few weeks. I mostly take my measurements and gauge how my clothes fit to determine how my body is changing.

This past year, my body has been fluctuating due to hormonal imbalances. When I was nursing my daughter, my body fat was lower and I was losing inches. As soon as I stopped nursing, my body stored every ounce of fat (as if a switch went off). Despite my healthy eating and exercising, my body continued to hold on to the unwanted body fat. This upcoming year, I am determined to lose it. So, I thought I’d share my goals on here as a way to hold myself accountable.

Here are my 2017 fitness goals:

  • Run at least once a week (preferably outside)
  • Exercise 5-6 days a week
  • Strength train 3 times a week
  • Zumba once a week
  • Lose body fat

I have some really fun (and new) things that I’ll be doing in 2017 to help me reach my goals.

First, I’m taking part in Young Living’s 60-day Slique Challenge.





picture source

Young Living has an incredible product line called, “Slique”. The Slique Essence  (which is the supplement that I’ll be taking) combines the following essential oils: grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, spearmint, and ocotea.

Some of these oils help to:

  • support healthy digestion
  • control craving
  • provide powerful antioxidants

For 60 days, you pair your Slique supplement with a nutritious diet & regular exercise. Young Living will be giving away fun prizes to everyone that participates. In addition, they are offering some amazing prizes to people that have the biggest transformations. You can read more about the challenge here.

The other fun thing I’m going to be doing is the 2017 Tone It Up Challenge.





picture source

The Challenge starts on January 1st and it will run for 6 weeks. Karena & Katrina from “Tone It Up” will be providing a meal plan & workout plan. I’m really looking forward to trying something new (as I am getting bored with my own workout routine).

What are some of your 2017 Fitness Goals? I’d love to hear them!

Print Friendly

Just a little update & Strength workout

Hey everyone! It has been a long time since I last posted. I haven’t tried many new recipes, but I have some in the works. Hopefully, that means I’ll be posting more often. I haven’t had much to write about and I have been super busy enjoying my days with my sweet toddler. It’s hard to believe she’s a toddler already. When people told me it goes by fast, they weren’t kidding. She is always on the move and I love watching her learn. I can easily get 10,000 steps in (according to my Fit Bit) each day, by just chasing and playing with her. It’s fun and every day is a new adventure!

My 2015 Holiday Shred wrapped up and was a huge success. It was so very inspiring seeing everyone’s encouragement and successes. We had a great time. I hope to do another one in the summer.

Food Update

Like I mentioned, I haven’t tried many new recipes, so meals have been a little more boring lately. We are really lucky though because the little one is an incredibly good eater and eats pretty much everything we do. Every week we’ve been enjoying Zoodles. My husband and I like these because they are a healthier alternative to regular pasta and the little one just gobbles them up! I use this spiralizer to make them. It works SO well and cleans up very easily.

Workouts Update

I usually have about 30 solid minutes to workout, so I’m all about quick and effective workouts. I typically do 3 days of full body strength training, 1 day of HIIT, 1 day of steady-state cardio, and 1 or 2 (depending on the week) rest days.

I finally got back into taking Zumba on a regular basis. Besides strength training, it’s my favorite workout. For my HIIT workout, I’ve been doing 20-minute sprints on the treadmill (30 seconds as fast/hard as I can go with 30 seconds rest). I’ve never been a fast runner, but this past week I was able to sprint at 7.5mph. This was a big deal for me since I have only ever been able to sprint at 6.0 mph.

I’m really looking forward to getting outdoors and running this spring. I signed up for a 5K just to give me a little extra motivation.

Here’s my current strength training workout. All you need is a set of dumbbells and a timer.


Print Friendly

Fall Shred 2015


Fall Shred


Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand, so by signing up you’ll get over a month’s worth of meal plans, workouts, and chances to win prizes.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, eat healthier, or just want to do something different, the Fall Shred is for you!

If you did my Fall Fitness & Nutrition Challenge back in 2013, you’ll find that the format is very similar. However, there will be one major addition to this year’s Fall Shred. I’ll be posting videos to help you with some of the fitness moves.

Here’s everything that you’ll receive for signing up:

Meal Plans:

  • Every week you will be emailed a meal plan for the upcoming week (usually on a Friday).
  • Meals will consist of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, & dessert options.
  • You will have a couple of options to chose from in case you don’t like certain foods or have dietary restrictions.
  • Meal plans will come with recipes that are fast, healthy, & perfect for those busy week nights.
  • Prior to beginning this challenge, I can do a free calorie assessment for you, so that you know how many calories you should be eating each day.

Fitness Plans:

  • Every week you will be emailed a fitness plan for the upcoming week (again, usually on a Friday).
  • The fitness plans will consist of 5 different workouts that include cardiovascular training & strength training.
  • The workouts included in the fitness plan are extremely flexible so you can do them anywhere (at home, at the gym, etc.)
  • The best thing about the workouts is that you can tailor them to meet your individual needs. They can be pretty challenging, but there are modifications that you can make to get a great workout.
  • You will not need expensive equipment to do the fitness plan. You will only need dumbbells ranging from   5 lbs. to 20 lbs. (depending on your fitness level). You can even use your body weight for most of the workouts.
  • I will be providing videos to demonstrate proper form and certain exercises.

Additional great things you will get:

A Private Fall Fitness & Nutrition Challenge Page

This will be a private Facebook group where you can interact with others that are doing the challenge. It will be a place where you can ask questions, and encourage and motivate one another.

Coaching (This is the part that I’m most excited about!!!)

I will be helping you throughout this entire challenge. If you have questions, need modifications, or just need clarification, I’m here for you. You’ll be able to contact me whenever you need to!


Throughout this challenge, I will be giving away prizes. This is just a fun way to keep everyone motivated. Smile

What is the cost to participate in this challenge?

The cost is only $30!!! This breaks down to about 85 cents a day for an entire month’s worth of meal ideas, workouts, and a private group (not to mention some pretty cool prizes too)!!!

When does the challenge start?

The challenge begins on Monday, November 2, 2015.

When does the challenge end?

The challenge ends on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

When does registration begin?

Today! Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When does registration end?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sign up here:

Print Friendly

Bikini Series Week #2 Completed

Happy Sunday! Today marks the end of week #2 of the Tone It Up Bikini Series. Here’s what my workouts looked like:

Days 7 & 12- “Rest Days”

photo (47)photophoto 1 (6)photo 2 (5)photo 3 (3)photo (48)

I really loved all of the workouts this week! My favorite was “Mommy and Me” yoga because I was able to take the little one with me to class (she loved it)! It was also great connecting with other mothers and meeting their babies. I also really enjoyed the Caribbean Kettleball & Beach ball workouts. After doing 2 weeks of this Bikini Series, I’m already feeling stronger. 

My workouts and meals are all planned for Week 3. I’m looking forward to this upcoming week. Smile

Print Friendly

Full Body Strength & Cardio Home Workout

Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re having a good week. My week has been great because I’m at home spending time with my little one, but it’s a little sad because it’s my last week of maternity leave.

I’ve been so fortunate to have this time at home. I’m just still not ready to return to work. In addition to that, (without going into too much detail) my work has been less than helpful regarding my return. Rather than being a little flexible to make the transition a bit smoother, they are being pretty difficult. I’m not asking for any special treatment. I am just asking for a little flexibility  with my schedule since I’m exclusively breastfeeding and need time to pump (sorry if that’s TMI, but that’s what’s going on). The thing that is so upsetting to me is that I am a teacher working with families and children. In my opinion, you’d think an environment like that would be more understanding to working moms. Okay, enough of that because it gets me too upset (and if you read through all of that, thank you). Onto a new workout routine!

As you know, I like my workouts to be short but efficient. This workout is great because it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I also love it because it incorporates strength training, cardio, and can be done at home (no equipment necessary).

The cardio warm-up and intervals can be anything that gets your heart rate pumping. If you have cardio equipment at home (an elliptical, treadmill, bike, etc.) you can use that for your cardio. I alternate between cardio equipment and plyometric exercises (jumping jacks, burpees, etc.).

I perform 15 reps of each strength exercise while moving continuously from one exercise to another. I do this workout two times through (with the exception of the warm-up). You can use hand weights, resistance bands, or just your own body weight.

full body strength and cardio workout new.docx

Here are pictures of the donkey kickbacks and the ab v-hold:donkey kickbacks healthpicture sourcev holdpicture source

If you give this workout a try, be sure to stretch and cool down at the end. Also, I’d love to hear from you if you give it a try!

As always, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new workout routine.

Working mamas out there, do you have any words of advice/encouragement for my return to work? I’d love to hear from you!

Print Friendly

How My Workouts Have Changed

Happy Monday! I thought it would be fun to share my current workout routine with you.

During my pregnancy, I remained pretty active. For cardio, I did Zumba, steady state cardio on the elliptical, and walked on the treadmill. I continued lifting weights, but had to change the amount I was lifting. I also stopped doing some exercises that were too intense for my body. I continued wearing my heart rate monitor to make sure my heart rate didn’t get too high. Mostly, I just “listened” to my body and did what felt right. Some days just coming home from work and taking a nap were what my body needed (I wouldn’t dare argue with this).

Despite staying active and eating healthy during my pregnancy, I gained 50 pounds. I retained SO MUCH fluid (especially once I reached the third trimester). The doctors were monitoring me because I began showing signs of preeclampsia. The fluid retention was the first sign. Once I reached 35 weeks, I was retaining so much fluid, I was too uncomfortable to exercise.

I was cleared to exercise around 6 weeks after having my baby. I started out really slow by taking walks. My body just had a baby and I needed to honor that. It was probably around the 10-week mark when I felt comfortable starting back up with strength training and more intense cardio.

Now that I have a baby, the only thing I want to do is sit and hold her all day. I seriously cannot get enough of her. However, I know that I need to make the time to exercise. After all, I need to be healthy for myself and for her. So how have my workouts changed now that I have a baby?

First of all, I never have a set time for my workout (and I’m completely fine with this). I workout when the babe is napping. Her naps vary from day-to-day, so I don’t have a set time. I just know that as soon as she goes down for a nap, I throw on my workout clothes and get started right away.

Secondly, I don’t want to spend a lot of time exercising. I no longer have the desire to spend more than 30 minutes exercising. My workouts are much shorter in length (but more intense). Since I’m not exercising more than 30 minutes, I work harder (quality over quantity).

The number of days I workout have changed. Before I used to exercise about 6 days a week. Now I aim for 4-5 days a week.

One of my favorite cardio workouts right now is T25. The workouts are literally 25 minutes long and are extremely effective.

photo (26)

Here is my current strength training routine:

Full body strength and cardio intervals february 2015

I do this routine twice through (about 3 times a week). For the cardio intervals, I hop on the elliptical for 1 minute.  Each exercise is done @ 15 repetitions.

Exercise is still very important to me, but my life doesn’t revolve around it. I exercise to be healthy for myself and my daughter. Not only does exercise help me physically, but mentally as well. It is such a stress reliever for me. I’m a better mom when I’m not stressed out. Smile

What exercises are you loving lately?

Print Friendly

Weekly Workouts January 27-31

Hey! I hope your weekend is off to a great start. We have a busy one planned (post to follow), so I wanted to make sure that I posted your weekly workouts before time slipped away.

Last week’s routines were more focused on full body strength. For this week’s workouts, you will do the upper body/lower body split routine again, but with heavier weight. Be sure to focus on proper form and lifting heavier weight.

Here is your calendar with this week’s workout schedule: Click here for your printable calendar

January Workout Calendar Jan 27-31


Complete the Upper Body Strength Workout #1.

Perform each exercise with the prescribed number of repetitions. You’ll do this routine a total of 3 times through.

What you will need:

  • 5-20lb. dumbbells (depending on your fitness level)

Click here for the printable version




Be sure to maintain proper form & listen to your body.


Complete the 20-Minute Cardio Interval Workout. Burn that fat cardio!!!

Choose your favorite: treadmill, elliptical, stair climber, or stationary bike.

If you’re using a treadmill, follow the “Incline” column. If you’re using an elliptical, stair climber, or stationary bike, use the “Resistance” column.

Keep in mind that the speed/resistance numbers are suggestions. If they are too easy, increase. If they are too hard, decrease. Be sure to challenge yourself, but also listen to your body.

What you will need:

  • Treadmill, elliptical, stair climber, or stationary bike
  • Timer (optional since most cardio machines have times displayed)

Click here for a printable version



Complete the Lower Body Strength Workout #1.

Perform each exercise with the prescribed number of repetitions. You’ll do this routine a total of 3 times through. Please keep in mind that your lower body is made up of larger muscles, so you can generally heavy weights (give it a try…you’ll probably be surprised at how strong your lower body really is).

What you will need:

  • 5-20lb. dumbbells (depending on your fitness level)

Click here for a printable version





Perform 30-45 minutes of steady state cardio. It doesn’t matter what you do, just stay active for 30-45 minutes. Some options are:

  • elliptical
  • treadmill
  • stationary bike
  • stair climber
  • row machine
  • going for a walk
  • taking a group fitness class
  • going for a jog/run


Rest Day! Congratulations on completing a month’s worth of workouts! Celebrate your hard work!

Spend some time stretching today. You’ve worked really hard this week. Allow your body to rest and build those muscles! Remember recovery days are the days when your body is repairing muscle tissue. In turn, this is what will give you the definition you’re looking for.

I hope you enjoyed this special January feature of workouts. Hopefully this gave you some new exercise ideas and at the same time helped you get closer to your reaching your fitness goals. I won’t be posting monthly workouts next month, but I will be adding new routines to this site periodically.

Have a great week! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at kristin@operationnutrition.com or just leave a comment on this post.

Print Friendly

Weekend Re-cap & A Rip Deck Workout

Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend.

My husband and I had a date night on Friday. We went to Camden Yards to watch the Baltimore Orioles play the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only was the weather perfect (rain stopped and cooler temps. came in), but the Orioles won AND the game concluded with a pretty nice fireworks display.


Sunday was a run day with my friend. It was a good run, but the humidity made it a challenge. We completed 5 miles (I started my Garmin a few minutes late so the picture is not accurate).

photo (66)

Last week I got some great news. A representative from the RipDeck app contacted me to tell me that they were featuring one of my deck of cards workouts on their website. If you’re not familiar with this app, here’s some information about it (taken from iTunes):


“RipDeck is a deck of cards workout that will help you meet your fitness or weight-loss goals. Each suit is a different exercise and the number of repetitions is based on rank. With Ripdeck, you can workout at home, in the gym, when traveling, or anywhere.”

I cannot tell you how much I love this app! I even used it on vacation in Jamaica. If you don’t already have this app downloaded, I highly recommend you get it! You will get an amazing workout and it’s completely customizable. Here’s my workout that RipDeck featured on their website:

  • Clubs – Floor to ceiling jumps (Squat down to floor and jump up. Be sure to land with soft knees.)
  • Diamonds – Jumping Jacks
  • Hearts – Burpees
  • Spades – Mountain Climber Pulls (Get into a plank position, alternate pulling each knee in toward elbow)
  • Jokers – Push-ups

As always, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine and always listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Print Friendly

Exercising While On Vacation

Vacation is a time to relax & take a break from our every day routines. It is also a time to do what we enjoy doing. I enjoy laying on the beach, taking dips in the ocean, going out to eat (while not stressing over the nutrition content).

As crazy as it may sound, I actually enjoy exercising while on vacation. I think I enjoy it for a few reasons. For one, I don’t seem to have as many time constraints while on vacation, so I can exercise when I want and for however long I want. Another reason I enjoy it is because it is a change of scenery (whether it is being on a beach, going for a hike, or just being in a different place while working out). Here was the view I got to enjoy while exercising on vacation this past week.


I also mentally feel better if I exercise on vacation. In other words, I don’t feel as guilty for indulging on “vacation foods”. While on vacation, I didn’t worry about calories whatsoever. I enjoyed pasta, bread with butter, crème brulee French toast, desserts, iced coffees, French fries (and the list goes on and on). At the same time, I made sure that I made healthy choices at certain meals. For example, at breakfast I’d make sure that I had a healthy protein along with some fresh fruit.

The thought of exercising while on vacation can be a little stressful though; like, trying to figure out what exercises to do, where to exercise, what equipment is available. In order to maintain your fitness routine while on vacation, here are a couple of ways to make it happen:

Make a list. Write down what type of exercises you want to do while on vacation. In other words, don’t plan to do exercises that you don’t enjoy. You are on vacation and should be enjoying what you’re doing. Before going to Jamaica, I wrote down the types of exercises I wanted to do during the week. I enjoy strength training, running, and HIIT cardio training.

Research where you are staying. Go online to see what exercise facilities are available. I did a quick internet search to see if the resort had a fitness center with weights. Not only was I able to figure out that there was a gym at my resort, I also found pictures and reviews (pictured below). I discovered that the gym at the resort had free weights. Yay!

fitness center jamaicaPhoto Source: Oyster.com

Pack a deck of cards (or download the app “Rip Deck”). You might be thinking “What does a deck of cards have to do with exercising?!?!?” The deck of cards workout is one that can be done anywhere at any time. It can be made into a cardio workout or even a strength training workout. Here’s what you do:

  • Designate either a cardio or strength training exercise for each suit.
  • Shuffle the deck.
  • Place all cards face down.
  • Flip over a card (one at a time). The suit  tells you what exercise to do and the number on the card tells you how many repetitions to do. Aces = 11 reps  Face cards = 10 reps

I created a cardio deck of cards workout. Here are the exercises I chose:


If you download the app “Rip Deck”, it will have a deck of cards that includes exercises or you can create your own custom workouts. I love this app!

Be flexible. Change your workout plan around if you need to. For example, if your plan was to run and the weather wasn’t cooperating, do a different cardio workout. I originally planned to run 2 days while on vacation. What I didn’t realize was how hot & humid Jamaica would be at 7:00 am. I had planned to go for a run on the resort’s running path early in the morning (to beat the heat). Little did I know that there is no beating the heat in Jamaica. Instead, I did the deck of cards workout and HIIT cardio workouts on those days.

Download apps. There are some great exercise apps out there. I downloaded the “Daily Cardio Workout” app. and used it 2 times while on vacation. This app is free for workout #1, however, if you want workout #2, it is $0.99. It gives you the option to select how long you’d like to exercise (either 5 minutes, 7.5 minutes, or 10 minutes). I selected the 10-minute option and did it 3 times through. I got a great 30-minute cardio workout in and burned a ton of calories. Here’s a screen shot of my workout:

photo (31)Screen shot from Daily Cardio Workout App

Create a tentative plan. Remember you are on vacation, so just create a quick sketch of what days you’re going to do what exercises. Remember you can switch them up if you need to. Here’s the schedule that I created:

photo (32)

Schedule your workouts around the fun. Plan to exercise at a time that won’t interfere with the fun. I knew that if I exercised at 7:00 am, then I could enjoy a nice breakfast with my husband afterwards and we could be on the beach no later than 10:00 am. The rest of the day was just fun in the sun and no stressing over my workouts. Here is what my workouts ended up being for the week:

  • Sunday, Tuesday, & Thursday @ 7:00 am- Strength Workout

photo (33)

  • Monday @ 7:00 am – Deck of Cards Cardio Workout 
  • Wednesday @ 7:00 am – “Daily Cardio Workout” Workout #1
  • Friday @ 7:00 am – “Daily Cardio Workout” Workout #2

Don’t stress. Like I said, make your exercises enjoyable. Just try to stay active doing the things you love doing. Also, don’t stress over calories. Eat what you enjoy eating while you are on vacation.

Enjoy your vacation!

Do you enjoy working out on vacation? I’d love to hear from you!

Print Friendly
Older posts

© 2017 Operation Nutrition

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑