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Fit & Faithful: Lenten Tips for Week 2

Stay On The Health Kick With Tips from ILoveKickboxing

It’s the second week of the post-Carnival cleanse that the more faithful call Lenten. Those who gave up beer for Lent may struggle with St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, while everyone who swore off sweets might want to steer clear of all the St. Joseph’s Day altars around town. As part of our ongoing series, NoDef is calling upon a different health expert each week to ask for tips for the fit and faithful. By Easter, NoDef will have 40 tips for each day of the season. Laughing Lotus Yoga’s Dana Trixie Flynn started the series last week with some tips to ease people into mindful health practices. This week, Jenny Kern of ILoveKickboxing's New Orleans outpost offers her ten tips for getting in shape as well as some advice on how to stay strong during this booze-and-bread filled weekend. 


Kern is part of the managerial team at ILoveKickboxing (ILKB) — teaching classes, leading nutrition and diet groups, as well as handling the group's social media and marketing initiatives. Her love affair with kickboxing began following a massive leg injury that kept her barely moving for months, and the high-intensity workouts helped her to lose weight as well as strengthen her bones and regain muscle definition. 


In short, Kern knows what it’s like to start from square one with a workout routine. She transformed herself from someone who could barely stand on her own to a leading trainer at ILKB’s Pittsburgh location and now part of the founding team in New Orleans. 


The instructor offers some advice on how to get started with a workout routine and stay motivated as we approach St. Patty’s, St. Joseph’s, and festival season debauchery.  


A way to stay on track during times of temptation is to make use of fitness apps and diet trackers. “Logging what you feed your body helps you understand daily nutritional intake and will encourage you will make small tweaks every week to your diet and teach you portion control,” she said. 


The key is to understand that your fitness routine will take time to make into a habit. “Start with a few times a week if you’re not exercising,” said Kern. “Do something that feels like the best hour of your day, the ‘me time’ hour of your day.” 


Tip 1 - Start a new routine! Make a habit of it so you get in a rhythm, but you never want your workout to feel stale. Be careful not to overstretch your goals — instead, aim to gradually build up to them. 

Tip 2 - Add more protein to your diet. You should be making it a priority to eat your recommended dose before you allow yourself to indulge in any sweets or other cravings. Shifting your diet is one of the quickest ways to change the way your body looks. 

Tip 3 - Hydrate. Your body needs water — and probably needs more than you think. Try to get a gallon a day, and make sure to pace your intake. I like to pour myself 30 oz. of water first thing in the morning when muscles are most dehydrated. Invest in a nice water bottle so you're more likely to carry it around with you. 

Tip 4 - Get a workout buddy. It can be intimidating to start something new. Having a buddy can make it less daunting and you can keep each other on track by pushing each other to achieve your goals. 

Tip 5 - Be aware of what you are putting in your body. Learn about your dietary habits by recording your food in a journal or on a fitness tracker app like MyFitnessPal. 

Tip 6 - Catch some zzz's. Sleep is when your body heals and resets, and it affects all parts of our body — from muscle development and gastrointestinal functions to hormone, energy, and stress levels. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, check your environment. 

Tip 7 - Start your day with some stretches. I love using a foam roller — I taught myself how to roll out my back and legs by watching YouTube videos. With always being on my feet at work, a foam roller can help blood flow to tight areas. Even doing 5-7 minutes of simple yoga poses in the morning is enough to help improve your mobility throughout the day. 

Tip 8 - Lift weights, or kettlebells, or just something heavy. Resistance training, as long as it is controlled and safe, has so many awesome benefits. Not only do muscles get bigger and stronger, but bones get denser and stronger as well! Neuromuscular adapters and reactions firing from your brain to your muscles that create movement learn to fire faster. Your posture gets better, your hormone levels balance, it even helps you to burn calories faster. 

Tip 9 - Get moving! Cardio works to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, lowering everything from blood pressure and cholesterol to stress and hypertension. 

Tip 10 - Most importantly, find something FUN that you like to do that stays challenging and engaging during your workouts. I love kickboxing, but if group workout classes aren’t your thing, try a personal trainer. If that all sounds too scary, get started with workout DVDs or exercise streaming sites to help you build up a routine without having to leave your house! 


ILoveKickboxing’s NOLA outpost is located at 2100 Franklin Ave., check out their website here

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