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My Fitness Story: The Legs

Hi there love bugs! (I’m having fun experimenting with name calling so I don’t just do the boring “hi everyone” thing). 🙂 In the previous “My Fitness Story” article, I spoke about food, portions, what I eat and how I try to eat healthy. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

After a specific lookbook post (Black Friday) many of you commented on social media and emailed me about my legs and what exercises I do to tone them up. Ok, firstly I can’t believe I’m writing about my legs because that would on the tipping point of vanity on my part and secondly, I’m not blessed by the Gods with loooooong beautiful legs. BUT if you ask, I will deliver and I’m glad you asked because I’ve always wanted to share some of my workouts with you.

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From as long as I can remember, I hate my legs, it was a childhood thing because I had really skinny legs and I absolutely hated it! I took ballet hoping that it would strengthen my calves because they were just so small and it made my legs look like skinny weeds. I continued to have skinny legs throughout high school, then university but since I started going to gym and doing leg exercises, my legs are more toned, they look more balanced because my calves are a bit bigger now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to have overly muscular, big bulky legs, but I do believe that toned legs are a sign of strength and that’s sexy!

Some areas I focus on would be my quads, my calves and hamstring. The others are just toned from running, running does wonders for legs so that would be a good start. Then comes jumping and leaping, basically any form of exercise that gets you moving and gets your heart rate up will probably do good for your legs. Here are some of the basic exercises I do to tone up the legs (no equipments needed). Just know that these exercises also work out your bum! 🙂

1. Basic squats 

So the trick to squatting is to make sure you keep your back straight because often when you don’t straighten your back, you bend over instead of actual squatting, you’re working on your back muscles instead. So keep your feet shoulder width apart, squat and stick your bum out, keep your back straight and make sure your knees don’t go over your toes. Don’t try do them as fast as you can, do them nice and slow, once you’re familiar with the exercise then add some weights onto your shoulders.

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2. Basic lunges

Going back to the standing upright position, you can either lunge forward or backwards. Again, making sure you keep your back straight is very important and also making sure that your knee doesn’t go over your toe. The important thing about lunges is to make sure your weight is on the leg that is bent in the 90 degrees and not balanced between your bent leg and straight leg. Alternate between your legs and once you’re familiar with the exercise, you can add weights to your shoulders.

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3. Squat jumps

Now this is where it gets a little more complicated but out of all my leg exercises, I feel that this one works the best for me because it’s more explosive and you burn more calories.

You start upright with your feet shoulder width apart, then do a normal squat but instead of standing upright again, you push yourself up with your legs and straighten them in the air, then come back down into the squat position. I normally repeat this and do 15 reps. Remember it’s important to come back down into the proper squat position with your back straight and it’s ok if you do it slowly because at least you know you’re doing it right.

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4. Split jumps

This is basically an explosive version of lunges because instead of going back to the upright position, you jump up, change legs and go back into a lunge again. Again, it’s important to make sure you bent leg is at 90 degrees, your knee does not go past your toe and your back should be straight at all times. Try go back to the lunge as low as you can without your straight leg hitting the floor (it can potentially be pretty dangerous for your knee).

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5. Single leg squats

Starting off in the upright position, lift one leg just slightly and squat on the other leg that’s standing. Make sure that when you squat, your knee does not go past your toe and keep your back straight at all times. Because you’re squatting on one leg, you’ll tend to bend over and use your lower back instead of squatting. Do about 10 reps per leg, I generally only alternate between my legs after 10 reps.

This one is a little difficult at first because you’ll probably feel like you’re going to topple over and lose your balance half way. The trick here is to keep your core tight and start off slow, this way you will be less likely to lose your balance. Once you’re familiar with this exercise, you can either do this exercise with weights on your shoulders or simply hold a 3-5kg weight in both your hands.

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So how many reps you do and what’s the sequence, you may ask. Well it doesn’t matter what sequence you do them in, you can start off with 15-20 reps per exercise and add more as you go along. Start off slow but at the same time, push yourself and test what your limit is. Remember if this was easy, everyone will be walking around with toned legs, washboard abs and toned arms. If this was hard and you’re sweating after a session, good because you’re doing it right!

Hope you all enjoyed this post and if you enjoyed it, remember to share and subscribe! I would also love to hear your thoughts, what exercises you enjoy doing and whether you want me to continue with “My Fitness Story” posts, you can comment below or email me! Good luck and happy exercising!

With love…xxx

Lookbook: Casual Stripes

Lookbook: Casual Stripes

Hi everyone! Boy am I happy to be back in Joburg, the week that we were in Durban, the weather was so miserable. The only hot day was on Xmas itself and it was gloomy and grey for the rest of the time we were there. Our packed beach towels and swimming gear was not used at all. I absolutely love the weather here in Joburg, it’s hot during the day and as the sun descends, we get an hour or so of thunderstorms and showers. Not only is there a perfect balance but it’s so beautiful during sunset when there are thick, fluffy clouds rolling in.

I paired up something casual for this look post, you know I like a mix between the dressed up and the dressed down looks. I bought this pair of Converse sneakers from New York and I haven’t actually worn it yet. It may look black in the pictures but it’s in fact dark grey, which is pretty unusual I thought. People say that horizontal stripes are not flattering but I absolutely love them! I think they’re great because stripes is something you can wear up and down, especially the top I’m wearing from H&M with the gold button details on the sleeves and also the shoulders. I also really love the straight neckline, which means that other parts of your outfit and details gets more attention rather than just the neckline. 🙂

Hope you enjoy this look!

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Remember to subscribe and share if you enjoyed this post!

What I’m wearing: 

H&M top

Sissy Boy high waisted shorts

Converse All Star sneakers

Michael Kors bag

Roberto Cavalli sunnies

Earrings from Forever New

With love…xxx

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LoveMaryLu Best of 2014

Hello honeypots! Hope everyone had an amazing New Year celebration filled with lots of bubbly (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), friends, laughter and good food! Now that Christmas and New Years have come and gone, it’s time to settle down and really take time to reflect on the past year but most importantly, on the new year ahead of us. We have all been through the good, the bad and the ugly in the past year but now that it’s all behind us, it’s time that we shift our focus on the new year, letting go of the great times and also the terrible times from 2014. It’s important we learn from our mistakes but equally important to learn from the mistakes of others to ensure that we live a more positive, happier and self improved 2015. Let’s all make an effort to make 2015 our best year and starting it off with a simple, yet reasonable new year resolution: happiness.

These are my best moments of 2014, hope you enjoy my post!

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Lookbook: Black Friday

Lookbook: Black Friday

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Here’s to many more posts in 2015 and thank you for sticking with me and reading my posts!

With love…xxx