Inspiration to Fitness Week 1

I am so excited to be one of the fitness experts for BlogHer’s new program Inspiration to Fitness.  Every Thursday for the next 8 weeks, you will see my posts both here and on the BlogHer website.  I hope you will join in and get on the track towards better Heart Health! 

Hello and welcome to the Inspiration to Fitness program!  My name is Alysa Bajenaru, I am a personal trainer and registered dietitian, and I am going to be your fitness expert for the Heart Health track of this 8-week program.   Through my blog Inspired RD, I seek to challenge you to live a life of inspiration.  Whether that is from learning how to cook for your family, getting a jumpstart on a new fitness routine, or even trying out a new craft, inspiration is everywhere.  As a mom of two young kids, I know that it can be tough to find the time and motivation to start something new.  My goal is to make it easy and fun for you and your family to get healthy together!  Visit my blog for recipe ideas, workouts and more.

Inspired RD

Over the next 8 weeks, I am going to take you through an exercise program that will improve your heart health. We will be combining cardiovascular exercise, strength-training, and flexibility.

Heart Health

So why is it important to take care of your heart? Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America.  Approximately 1 in 3 American adults has some form of the disease leading to an average of one death every 37 seconds.  Crazy, right?  And despite recommendations of completing 30 minutes of exercise per day, more than 60% of Americans over the age of 18 lead completely sedentary lifestyles.

heart health

There is good news though.   There are three key factors that are under your control that can decrease your risk for developing cardiovascular disease and improve your heart health. 1. Exercise 2. Eat a Healthy Diet 3. Quit Smoking.  I will be focusing on #1, exercise.

Exercise & Goal Setting

There are two very important things to remember when we talk about beginning an exercise program (aside from getting the OK from your doctor). 1. Start – Don’t wait for the perfect conditions, the perfect timing, the perfect equipment, just get started. You can make changes as you go. 2. Find an activity that you enjoy– Exercise shouldn’t be something that you dread doing. Find an activity that makes you excited to get to your workout. It’s different for everyone, and it might take some time to figure out what you like best. Stick with it and keep trying new things.

soccer goal

Now we need to talk about goal-setting.  Whether your goal is to run a race, see a drop in your cholesterol numbers, or complete 20 pushups, you need to have a goal in mind. Here are some goal-setting tips: -If you have a large end-goal (such as running a marathon), set some smaller goals to measure your success along the way. You will be more likely to stay motivated, and less likely to get discouraged. -Make your goals measurable. Instead of saying, “I’m going to start exercising” say, “I’m going to take a brisk 30-minute walk after dinner for 5 days a week.” -Set realistic goals. Don’t stress yourself out by posting a photo of a fitness model on the wall and making it your goal to look like her. Base your goals on you, not on someone else. -Reward yourself for goals achieved. When you blaze past your first goal, reward yourself with that new pair of running shoes you’ve been eyeing. When you hit your second goal, schedule a massage or pedicure. Choose non-food rewards that will keep your eye on the prize.

exercise fitness

The Plan

Like I said, we will be combining cardiovascular exercise, strength-training, and flexibility in our workout plan. When people think about exercising for heart health, their first thought goes to aerobic-type exercise.  While cardio is good for the heart, combining all three types of exercise is even better. Benefits include: -lower blood pressure -improved circulation -stronger heart -improved response to daily activities -more energy -less pain -more flexibility -improved balance -stronger bones -less stress and improved sleep The 8 week heart health plan will involve 3 days of aerobic exercise each week and 3 days of strength and flexibility training. One day will be your rest day. We will work on improving your endurance and intensity, increasing strength and balance, and improving joint mobility and overall flexibility.

pen and paper journaling
Are you ready to get started? Here is your homework for today: 1. Set at least 2 specific goals, and write them down. 2. Schedule workouts in your calendar (make sure to schedule for 6 days each week). Workouts will average 30 minutes in length. 3. Optional: buy a foam roller (such as this one) to use in your flexibility training.


  • Catherine Denton January 5, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Thanks for these tips. I needed them today and I’ll be excited to follow your posts. Off to write down my goals.
    Catherine Denton

  • Janel January 5, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Congrats Alysa!!!

  • lorrie January 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    thanks for this great article I’ll go write down goals and schedule works now

  • Kerri January 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Congrats on a great opportunity. I am going to be following a long and share with my clients as well!

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  • Molly Parker January 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm


    What a great blog you have here! Your emphasis on nutrition and fitness caught my eye. It is crucial to get the word out to people, so they understand how much it truly impacts their health. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, we give our patients the resources to live a healthy life. We have a dietitian on every care team as well as on onsite gym where we offer personal training. Thank you for spreading the message of health! Keep up the good work.
    Your friend from Cancer Treatment Centers of America,

  • tonya@happybodynlife January 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I have not been online much since the beginning of December. I am back now and very excited to see that you are doing this. Congratulations and I look forward to more posts!

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  • Jennifer@The Foodery June 22, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I’m a few months behind, but this is what I need to help get started again. I used to love going to exercise classes but have moved and even though I have exercise DVDs, I think I really miss the idea of having scheduled activities (and the camaraderie!) I’ve got step 1 down, on to step 2!

    • inspiredrd June 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Awesome Jennifer, let me know how it goes!

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  • Kevin Winslet October 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for this article. I have decided to do exercise daily. I am just too busy at work and failed to do so. But now I am scheduling my workout plan by reading this article.