women who workout: what's your what, where + why?


we all have our reasons for working out - health, strength, appearance, skinny jeans. we even have our seasons for working out - what may have started as a typical teenage urge to look cute in our bikinis often evolves into so much more as we pass through different times in our lives. whatever the reason or season, whether you love cardio outdoors or kickboxing in a class, consistent workouts help build lean muscle mass, reduce body fat, lessen anxiety + depression and help slash your risk of cancer and chronic illness. we caught up with some of our favorite fitlosophy females - single ladies, boss babes, new + seasoned moms alike - to get the what, where + why for their workout routines.

the what: what workout do you prefer?
the where: where do you prefer working out? a studio? the gym? at home?
the why: what’s your “why” for working out?

[angela mader]

what: for me, variety is the spice of (workout) life. and just like my life has changed, my workouts have evolved right along with me. you used to find me crushing the bench press, knocking out a set of pull-ups, or owning the orangetheory orange zone. this season of my life, i've learned to simmer a bit - not completely by choice. but i've actually found so much joy in finding new ways to stay fit and healthy while (still) nursing a few injuries. for strength training, i’m a huge fan (and the creator) of the 6-week COMEBACK, which i designed to inspire those who have faced a setback to move more + stress less while allowing themselves a healthy dose of grace. i also love me some pilates on the reformer, which has been helping me gain strength back while adding in flexibility and lengthening. every now + then i pummel the boxing bag + of course i love my beloved spin class, but limit that to once a week, otherwise it does a doozy on my hammy. i also enjoy long walks on the beach (no really), preferably in italy. is travel walking a sport? because if it was, i would dominate. last summer, i walked 147.8 miles through through belgium, croatia, italy, spain, and france in 24 days! lastly, my absolute favorite hobby-slash-exercise is horseback riding, which one friend argues is more of a workout for the horse, but after a few hours in the saddle, my thighs beg to differ.

where: love me some classpass to fit in maybe 2-3 classes per week, then i like to go to the gym a few days a week to do my COMEBACK workouts. i know some people love working at at home + when i'm short on time, i'll do my quick 15-20 minute workout at home, but it’s not my fave. i really prefer to get outside, so i text my girlfriends on sunday and get at least 3 walks on the calendar for the week ahead so i have built-in accountability, time with a good friend to catch up, and enjoy the outdoors bright + early! again, variety. mom said when i was growing up, one of my favorite phrases was, “i'm bored.”

why: my why is to feel good about me. for me, working out is important for being healthy, but vital for being happy. it's taken years (and some tears) to work through my idolizing fitness and that’s why i'm so grateful to have been knocked down a size (literally) to get me to realize that what we look like isn’t a reflection of our worth. i work out to be strong and maintain some semblance of sanity! plus, it’s just part of who i am – emphasis on the word “part” – it no longer defines me. to be completely truthful, until this little assignment, i hadn’t taken any pictures of myself working out in a long time, because i haven’t loved the way i look or feel. but after some "progress" (and by progress, i mean less pain, slowly improving strength, and just feeling good moving versus excruciating pain), i’m encouraged lately, so i felt good about taking this photo. it just felt nice to feel good about myself again! i think so many times we define progress by what we see in the mirror and for the first time in my life i’m so happy that my definition has changed - pun intended.

[lani merlina]

what: my favorite workout right now, which i always end up going back to no matter what else i try, is 21-day FIX extreme from beachbody. it’s quick and i can bring the dvds along with me wherever i go. but lately i've been working in the 6-week COMEBACK to add some variety + the workouts are still super effective when my athletic injuries flare up!

where: for me, it’s all about the home workouts. it’s just so much more convenient, and it allows me to fit everything in without even leaving the house, so i can make sure i maximize my time. working full-time coupled with having a husband, 2 teenage boys, a dog, 2 cats + 2 guinea pigs, i'm all about fitting in workouts in the most time-efficient way possible.

why: i work out to keep up with my two boys, which helps me feel youthful. and to keep my body “tuned up” for the health benefits [heart and circulatory]. i believe working out also helps me avoid visits to the doctor’s office.

[laura brown]

what: i prefer anything with weights. i’ve found that high-cardio + plyo workouts just aren’t my jam and i get burnt out easily. with weights, i can do a longer workout and i feel that lifting helps my body composition more!

where: i mostly workout at the gym because i love just getting away. i do our  COMEBACK workouts at home when needed, but there’s just something about being home that distracts me. being in the gym motivates me more!

why: of course i work out for the physical benefits, but since becoming a mom it’s so much more about the mental wellness. i love just getting away and taking 45 minutes to focus on me! then, i’m more energized and happy to spend time with my little one.

[heather waldorf]

what: i prefer anything low impact, fun cardio (dance), and weights.

where: pre-kids i was a gym lover! i loved being there and took every class i could. but now that i have three kids, i LOVE working out at home. i don’t have time to load three kids in the car, drive to the gym, check them all into daycare, get a workout in and go home and be consistent with it. working out at home at this stage in my life just gives me less room for overall excuses. the result is that i am FAR more consistent at getting in 4-5 workouts a week because of that.  i also like the fact that i don’t have to look ‘put together’ to be in front of anyone. ☺ working out at home gives me the freedom to just ‘come as i am’ , get it in, and get on with my day!

why: honestly, just to be healthy and feel good. yes, i have toning to do, weight to lose from having three kids, and a whole other band of reasons as to what the world tells me my WHY for exercising should be. but i’ve learned that i am far more consistent if i take those pressures off, move to feel better and gain more energy, and just allow myself freedom to enjoy exercise for ME. it makes me a happier person overall and a MUCH better mom to my kids if i feel good in my own skin. after battling infertility + 2 back-to-back high-risk pregnancies, i'm just grateful to be healthy for my family! [read more about how heather enlisted her son (and legos) to get healthy as a fam]

[courtney marton]

what: weight training is my favorite! it is what my body responds to the best. i like incorporating HITT cardio + weight training. i love walking my dogs as my bonus workout or maybe a good beach run!  i also squeeze in  the yoga + pilates moves from the COMEBACK to add in flexibility to offset my intense training in the gym.

where: i have done them all and right now i am hooked on F45 training (studio classes). if i don’t find a group class i love, then i prefer to work out at home.  dream goal: have a full gym in my house! 😉

why: working out is my therapy. i hold onto a lot of anxiety, stress, and depression and the hour i give myself to work out every day helps me release that, it is my “me” time. also, i love feeling strong, being healthy, and bringing out my inner athlete.

[katy allan]

what: i like HIIT-type classes and quick, effective workouts. i love switching it up - boxing, Tabata training, spin, HIIT circuits. i also love yoga flow. i’m not a big fan of straight-up cardio, so that aspect just needs to be naturally incorporated into whatever workout i’m doing. if i had to be on a treadmill for 45 minutes, i’d lose my mind. i would never be consistent with it.

where: i work out in a studio whenever i want to take a new class, but since i live in a small town, there aren’t a lot of good studios within a 30-mile radius, so for those, i usually have to drive into the city. therefore, most often, i’m working out at home in our basement gym. it is fully loaded down there - there are weight machines, a bench, free weights, a spin bike, an elliptical, a treadmill, workout bands, slam balls, kettlebells, yoga mats, you name it. typically, i’ll either do a 30-minute P90X3 or 21-day FIX workout dvd, or a 30-minute spin class on the peloton app. having three young children and working full-time from home, i absolutely love the convenience of having a home gym and quick workout options. it gives me less of an opportunity to make excuses to skip workouts and makes me much more likely to fit it in. big gyms are intimidating to me - i can’t be left to my own devices around all that equipment and grunting, haha. i need more direction.

why: i’m gonna be completely honest - my why is half + half. i work out partly because i want to be strong and healthy and live a very long, active life, but i also work out to look good. i feel like we’re not allowed to admit that anymore, but it’s the truth and there’s nothing wrong with that. call me vain, but looking good is a very big motivator for me to get my workout in, haha! when i believe i’m lookin’ good in my own skin, i feel good in my own skin, and that translates into so many other areas of my life. mentally, i feel better and more confident, which in turn makes me feel happier and more productive and energetic. i’m not into extreme dieting or hitting a certain arbitrary number on a scale, but i want my clothes to fit well, i want to see muscle tone in my arms.   

[kristen crowley]

what: weight training! i love feeling strong and weight training was the only workout that reshaped my body after baby #2!

where: gym or home, but let's face it..... sometimes you get distracted at home so i go to the gym RIGHT AFTER work so i don't have any excuses. plus, seeing everyone in the gym working out gives me the extra motivation i need to power through my training!

why: my why has changed over the years. i used to workout to stay in shape and feel more energized..... now i train for ME, for my family and for a long and healthy life. i want to be a role model for my kids and help show others that living a healthy lifestyle is not complicated, it is honestly pretty simple! your health is a gift that should not be wasted so have fun and live life fit! [read more about how this tv-anchor mama bounced back after 2 babies]

[jen aceves]

what: i love strength training and HIIT! i recently found boxing and love incorporating that when i can!

where: the gym is my home. definitely trying to branch out more lately.

why: i work out for my mental health.  i’ve noticed a difference in my mood on days i don’t work out. it’s my space to zone out of everything that may be going on in my life, and zone in to myself. i just love it; i can’t put it into words. working out has helped me get through so many things from being overweight, to a break up, to just straight-up anxiety.  [read more about jen's story from being bullied to biceps]

whether you find comfort in the similarities or inspiration for your next sweat sesh,
when you identify your why, the what (and when) becomes much more consistent, no matter where you are in your workout journey.

what’s your what, where + why for working out? whose workout what, where, why do you most identify with? we're reading every single comment + will pick one of you to feature on a future blog! share in the comments below!

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