Ask Erin

The Fitness Question I Get Most Is...

Hi friends! A quick post from me today with the answer to a question I've gotten quite a lot. People are often curious about how often they should be exercising, and what that exercise should be (cardio, strength-training, flexibility, etc.). Every body is different, so take what I'm going to suggest and run it through the filter of your own sense of what's reasonable for you. Or, share it with your physician if you're new to working out and make sure that he or she thinks it's safe.

What follows is the general schedule I followed when I was first getting into exercise and I think it's a fairly reasonable one. 

I only did 30-minutes a day of any kind of exercise. That was all I had time for and all I had the energy to do. Sometimes I broke that 30-minutes up into smaller sessions (three, 10-minute bouts, for example). 

Three times each week I spent that 30-minutes doing some kind of strength training. When I was first starting out, that meant exclusively exercise DVDs. I wrote a post with some recommendations, which you can access here. Jessica Smith has some great ones and many of them are 30-35-minutes. I love this one. And this one, which is a 6-week program with several DVDs to rotate through. Or you can find 10-minute workouts on Pinterest or YouTube and do one in the morning, one at lunch and one at the end of the day, if shorter is better for you. There are tons of those. I left at least one day in between strength training sessions for rest or for some kind of cardio exercise.

Once or twice each week I took an active rest day, where I just did some gentle yoga, went for an easy walk or did some stretching. Just gives your body some time to recover, which is essential for building strength.

And then 2-3 times each week, depending upon how many rest days I took, I'd do some cardio exercise. For me that meant walking. Walking is great exercise! It's low impact, you don't need any equipment, and you can do it anywhere. I like to walk outside, but I also love putting some music on and walking on the treadmill.

Hope that helps give you some ideas! Again, you don't have to do what I did. I just know that when I was starting out I really had no idea how to build a program for myself, so something like this would have helped me. If you're really not sure what's good for you, or if you're new to working out, I would encourage you to talk to your physician or spend an hour with a trainer in your area and ask them to help you put together a plan. 

Questions and Triple Axels

Hi all! Wondering how to start loving your body? Want to know how often you should be strength training, or doing cardio? Not sure how to do a plank correctly? Curious whether you're working out too much or too little? Or maybe you're wondering whether your muscles will always be so sore after a workout and what you can do to prevent it. 

Whatever your health and fitness questions, we're here to answer them. Starting next month we're going to be running a regular feature called, Ask Erin. I don't know yet whether they'll be their own posts or whether we'll just include a few questions and answers at the end of our regular posts as questions come in. It kind of depends on how many we get...

The point of our blog is to provide content that's of value to all of you reading. To that end, we'd love it if you would send in questions or even just suggestions for topics that you'd like us to write about in this space. You can share them in the Comments section below, or if you'd prefer not to share them publicly, you can email me directly at

On another note, I'm not watching the Olympics. But, I've heard a lot over the last week about figure skater, Mirai Nagasu's, history-making triple axel at this year's games. If you're like me and are wondering why that's such a big deal, here's a video from Vox that tells you everything you need to know in less than five minutes. It is actually amazing that anyone can do this.