Sunday, May 8, 2011

8 weeks to a better me: Week Two

Thank you all so much for all of the encouragement on week one of this project! It's awesome to know that so many of you are participating in this challenge, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun.  I wanted you to know that at the request of a few readers, I made a button over on the left hand side bar. I linked it to the very first post so if you'd like to add it to your blog for these next 8 weeks please do! 

This week I am so, so excited about my guest blogger. Amber is by far one of the most positive girls I know via blogging and it's hard to not smile when you read her blog or look at her photos. To me, Amber exemplifies what it means to really love life- through her blog you'll see that she is a happy, confident, wonderful woman who really loves her life and the people in it. She exudes positivity, and every time I visit her blog I find myself smiling. And additionally, Amber is an amazing role model for fitness and health. Working out is a part of her daily life, and through her posts, Instagram photos and tweets I am always motivated to get out there. I was so happy when she agreed to be a part of this project, and I know she will really inspire all of you too. I definitely encourage you to add her blog to your daily reads- she's such a fabulous person and her blog is one of my very favorites. Thank you Amber for being a part of "8 weeks to a better me"!

hi hi! I'm Amber and I blog over at I Love You to the Moon.  I'm 23 and married to my very best friend. We live in a smallish Texas town with our two pups: Emma, the Great Dane, and Tank, the Boxer.  Adam is a police officer and I am a dispatcher, going to school to be an elementary teacher. I love enjoying rainy weather on the back porch, early morning coffee, sweet music, a strong cigar, belly laughing, drive in movies, and good conversation. Jesus is my favorite. :]

When Danielle asked me to be a part of this super inspiring feature, I was thrilled. I read through the email and saw that she chose fitness/working out as my topic to write on! Perfect. I love staying healthy and working out is a huge part of my life. I've been active in some way or another for just about all my life. I started cross country and weight training in junior high and fell in love.  Since then I’ve been pretty passionate about staying fit and taking care of my body.

These things are my biggest encouragements on a daily basis. I hope they are helpful for you too!

1) Find out what your limit is, and push yourself further.

* Believe that you can accomplish what you want. This mindset keeps me motivated constantly. Now, if you have medical issues, please don't push yourself too hard. Otherwise, if you feel like you are GOING.TO.DIE. You won't! Just keep on! Your body is a crazy beautiful constantly adapting machine. It can handle 10 more minutes on the treadmill, 10 pounds added to your bench press, or 10 extra reps.

*I keep a mental note, and some written ones as well, of the activity that I do each day. All of my running stats are kept in my phone and I strive to beat my record every run.

*If my endurance is waning I just think to myself, “If I keep moving my legs, I will keep moving. It’s just the way it works.”  It’s really crazy how much the human body can take. Marvel at what your body does every workout. The more you work out and push yourself, the more you will notice just how strong you are. 

*If you have a friend or significant other, try working out together! I never thought I would enjoy working out with anyone else. I loved the solitude and getting in my own little zone. I also thought the sweat and funny faces should just be kept to myself. However, I adore working out with my husband. He pushes me when I don’t feel like pushing myself. He knows that I can lift more than I do sometimes and puts a few extra plates on for me. He spots me when I want to go heavy and encourages me the whole workout. Seeing him workout hard makes me want to work out just as hard. On days that the gym doesn’t sound fun to me, but does to him, we both go and he is there to get me in gear. It’s been such a good thing.

2) Be nice to yourself.

* When you just don't feel like working out, take a rest day. Your body needs rest. I have learned this the difficult way and completely overworked myself. As much as I would love to work out 7 days a week, my body loves working out just around 5 best. It needs those two days to recover. When I don't rest, I usually injure myself and am then forced to take days off anyways!

* Drink plenty of water. I bring a cute Nalgene bottle filled with cold water and drink it all during my workout. This makes my workouts last longer and feel better.

*Give your body fuel before or after your workout. I am not a big breakfast eater at all, so I have a protein shake before every workout. Then I make a hearty lunch afterwards with plenty of carbs and protein to refuel.  Eating healthy also totally motivates me to get to the gym.  Good food and hard exercise is such a good combo!

* Encourage yourself. Most of the times, I am my biggest critic. Tell yourself things you'd like to hear from your family and friends, and BELIEVE it. Positivity is more powerful than I give it credit for sometimes. When I go to the gym with a positive mindset, I have much better workouts.  Focus on the things you like about your body instead of the things you don’t. Notice new muscles that are forming and toning! You earned them!

* Look cute to get sweaty. I know this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out! I actually want to put on my workout gear in the mornings when I look and see that I have a mint green polka dotted sports bra, loose fitting racer back tank, black compression pants, and awesome sneaks set out. I even use a dab of concealer and brush of blush to feel fresh before I head out.  Of course I’ve gone to the gym in a ratty t-shirt, ill fitting shorts, and worn out shoes and still gotten the job done; it’s just not quite as enjoyable to me.

* Make sure to stretch out before and after workouts. It helps more than I realize and makes my muscles happy.  I even have a day of the week, mostly on my rest days, that I devote to stretching. (P90X stretch is amazing.)

3) Mix it up.

* Nothing will burn you out faster than the same routine every day. I love running more than anything, but I can't run every single day or I start dreading it. Same goes for the gym. Branch out and try something new. If you have never ventured into the weight room before, give it a try! It's my favorite place in the gym, actually. It can seem intimidating at first, but once you get a few basics down it won't seem so bad. If you need to, google a few free weight exercises before you head to the gym, just so you will know where to start. You can even take a little journal with exercises jotted down to keep you on track and focused. Some girls have this preconceived idea that weights will make you look like a man, and that they aren't for girls. FALSE. I've lifted weights since 7th grade and I'm pretty sure I don't have a manly figure. Now, if you take steroids, testosterone pills, and bench press 400 pounds that might make you look like a man. ;] Picking up a set of 10 pound dumbbells for a few sets will sculpt the muscles you do have and burn lots of calories in a different way than cardio.

* Some days I don't feel like going to the gym. The weather may be yucky, or just being around other people doesn't sound appealing. I pop in one of my favorite workout videos and get after it at home. If you are looking for a cheap video that really will get your heart rate up and work your muscles, I would suggest any of the Jillian Michaels workout videos. They are less than $10 a piece. I even heard they are on Netflix Instant queue!  My favorite workout videos, although a little more pricey for the whole set, is P90X. Tony Horton is amazing and his workouts are challenging. Most the time I can cruise through workout videos, but with his I find myself having to catch my breath and take water breaks. Good stuff! So even though you skip out on the gym, you still get physical activity in and will probably be even more motivated to the hit the gym the next day.

* Find new ways to get your heart rate up. Pick up a hula hoop while your favorite show is on, go for a bike ride and enjoy the weather, go walking with a friend during some free time, swim a few laps, or if you’re lucky enough to have nature trails, go on a hike!

1) Switch out two of my gym days for outdoor exercise. (I need more fresh air!)

2) Get my bike tire fixed this week and order Henry's bike trailer. Although this isn't a direct fitness goal, once I do both of these things I'll be able to enjoy our beautiful spring weather via daily bike rides (and Henry, too!).

3) Integrate yoga into my routine this week. Either take the Tuesday night class or use a video at home.

So, those are my goals for the week! What are yours? Be sure to link back in the comments so we can all check them out. And as always, feel free to grab the feature image and/or the "3 goals" image. Also, I still haven't quite finished going through and visiting everyone's blog who posted last Sunday, but it's a blog priority for this week (along with visiting the links below), and I look forward to stopping by your corner of the internet! I can't wait to see what you guys choose for your fitness goals too.

I hope you all were successful in last week's blog-related goals (I was for the most part, minus one!) and I also hope that you have the best Sunday/Mother's Day! Don't forget to pop over to Amber's space and say hello! :)


  1. If you decide to do yoga at home, you should check out Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown ... I always strayed away from yoga because I felt like I was never getting a "real" workout but with this tape I honestly feel a difference (however slight it may be) in my abs and thighs after only a week. It's great! :)

  2. Yeah! Two of my favorite girls:)) great post xxoo happy Sunday friends

  3. Great post Amber! This totally makes me want to head to the gym now :)

  4. I like this post idea. Keep em coming! Happy Mother's Day by the way!!!

  5. Great post! I like looking cute at the gym as well :) And yay for switching out indoor exercises for outdoor ones--I just did this last week and it was great!

  6. Great post idea! I am on the verge of working out again since my foot injury is pretty much healed. I have been walking my dogs every day and I take a Zumba class every Thursday. This might sound funny, but since I bought the Skechers Shape Ups toners sneakers, I look forward to going to Zumba and walking my dogs!


  7. Yay, thanks for this! What a great idea!
    I didn't post about the blogging goals I set, but I did decide to post about the fitness goals =]

  8. great post! i just love amber. i'm really looking forward to this weekly installment danielle!

  9. I am excited for this week! I actually came up with my goals pretty easily. I just hope I accomplish them this week. :P

  10. I love this post! I already added Amber to my Google Reader. I work out every morning during the week, and leave the weekends to rest. It has made me feel so much better all around. I love reading about other people getting fit. Helps motivate me. Thank you!

  11. Fun goals, great topics! I definitely need to work on all three areas. and I posted my specific goals at

    Fun to also check back in on last weeks goals!

  12. Oh wow! So happy to see Amber in this post! :)

  13. This is such a lovely post idea. I also would like to do more outdoor spend more time just playing blocks with my son (simple things)...

    Delighted Momma

  14. aw, i adore amber! i stumbled upon her wonderful pictures on instagram, and i keep forgetting to check out her blog. bookmarking now!

    i use the p90x workout routines myself and they are definitely intense. and if you stay true to it, you're going to succeed. i actually don't want to use anything else after tony horton's program.

  15. This might be my new favourite feature EVER! I love it! :)

  16. I love bebebirdbeck!! I follow her blog quite regularly. :) I also enjoy your blog as well!!! Your posts are so fun and your baby is tooo cute!


  17. Great tips. Good luck with your goals, I'm aiming to work out more outside too as the weather's been so nice lately in London. I'm also a big fan of Jillian Michaels DVDs, great for when it's raining! x

  18. Thank you for this post Dani and Amber! It's perfect timing for where I am at with my exercise routine... the beginning.
    I love the Jillian Michaels DVDs as well. She is great!

    Last week I didn't post my goals, but this week I have

  19. I loved this post.. so encouraging.

    Here are my goals for week two:

  20. She is so lovely! I am in love with her fox tattoo. Here is my post for this week:

    Oh, thanks for the button too! :)

  21. Thanks for another inspirational post! Here are my goals for the week:

  22. Happy mother's day!

    Huuum, this is perfect! Exactly what I needed! Great tips! ;)

    Oh, and I loved your #3! I LOOOVE yoga, and I think it's one of the most complete exercises routne ever.

    Have a great weekend!


  23. I just love amber.... I have been following her for awhile and I just love her blog!

  24. This is definitely my favorite feature. The topics are always something I've wanted to improve about myself, but needed the motivation to :)

  25. ah, LOVE Amber. She is a superwoman when it comes to fitness. Great lady to have on here. Totally inspirational.

  26. What a great post from Amber! I loved all of her advice and I hope to start including more of it in my routine. Great series Danielle! Can't wait to read more!

  27. your goals have helped me remember mine. & you guest blogger had some very useful tips. good luck with your little project. :)

  28. I'm a new reader, and 8 Weeks To A Better Me was what directed me here. It's a long story. Anyway... I'm still at school, and our PE lessons are mandatory. But come September, tricky Latin declensions will replace running laps, so I'm determined to start doing exercises at home. Living in a tiny village doesn't make for a teen-friendly gym space, so the farm across the road is my track and the gate in the garden is my step-up bench. Thanks for the encouragement, and here's to early-morning yoga, weekend jogs, and evening stretches!

  29. Hello again! I'm ready for week 2! Below is my link.

  30. You're right, Amber is awesome! I seriously love her blog. And yours! You girls are both SO inspiring. =]

    Here is my post with goals for this week!

  31. So excited about this week's topic. I was able to complete all last week's goals & felt so accomplished after. :)

  32. Here's mine: :)

  33. Awesome! These are fantastic ideas. I especially relate to the suggestion of working out with a partner and changing up workout routines. I've totally hit a wall a few times only to realize these were the solutions!

    As far as fitness goes, I really believe that anyone can stay motivated as long as they seek out workouts that are fun and compatible with their interests.

  34. I think I'm in love ...
    No homo. You're just a totally awesome, inspirational person.
    I have been weightlifting for about two and a half years now. I have endured so much crap for being the only girl in the "boy's weightroom," but I really don't care because I know what is good for my body. Besides, when they see me benching 105 pounds, they tend to back off me. Some females think they will look like men if they weightlift, but that is so not true. You look like a beast, instead, which is pretty awesome.
    I love mixing up my workouts because it keeps me from getting bored, and yoga has helped me in more ways than just strengthening and toning my muscles.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  35. What a great post by Amber! I must say I love to see her Instagram pics of her cute workout outfits and I think her tip about dressing it up just a bit will really help me out. I definitely feel motivated!

    My 8 week post should be up tomorrow!

  36. This was perfect timing for me! I'm SO ready to get serious about working out. Spring is upon us, which means motivation! I wrote out some goals even... <3

  37. I love this idea! I started this week:)

  38. Hanging in there, week 2!!!

  39. this is a great idea! i set a summer goal of getting to be my "fittest" self because of your original Summer Goals post...I'm feeling so motivated after reading this!

    Oh, and I'm totally going to start reading Amber's blog. She's adorable!


  40. Better late than never right?!
    Here's my week 2 post

  41. Now, this was a topic I needed! I just wrote my goals for Week 2.


    Alison :)


    Good luck to my face!

  43. i really like this feature so please keep 'em coming. thanks for the inspiration. got to go work on my own goals now :)

  44. I am so excited for this feature! I was excited to make some goals this week but then I sprained my ankle ... I'm such a klutz.

    I look forward to seeing what next week brings; I wish it was longer than an 8wk feature -- it is great! :)

  45. this is such a great idea! i think i am going to start my own, counting down the weeks until i go to college! thank you for the idea, and goodluck on your own count down! (:

  46. i'm a bit late catching on, but i love this feature. i've posted my goals on my blog - it was quite difficult narrowing it down to just 3! thanks for the inspiration!

  47. Be nice to yourself! I love that. All too often I see people getting frustrated in the gym. I suppose a little frustration is okay but we need to be nice to ourselves at the end of the day. Listening to our bodies can make all the difference in motivating us to get back in the gym the next day!

    Loren P | London Fight Factory


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