Hi all!!! I am SO excited to share my ‘CSL Workout Guide’ with you all!!! By no means am I claiming to be an expert in any way- but I have has great success with all of these moves, tips and ‘lessons learned’ over the years- so I am hoping some of you will benefit from it in some way, whether you are new to hitting the gym and need somewhere to start or you’re looking for a variety of workouts to up your game and change things up. Before I get into the “good stuff”- my workout routines-ish, {I say ‘ish’ because routines just don’t always work perfectly in our lives- and that is OKAY} I want to share a few thoughts that have come up as I’ve put this guide together. These thoughts come from a place of trying to promote a healthy, mindful, and body-positive approach to working out that has changed my life for the better:

1. *This is important: You know your body- and your MIND- more than anyone else.

I say body because each body has its own physical limitations-whether it be due to injuries, your ability level, or different factors that may be personal to you. More importantly, I say you know your mind more than anyone else, because our mind often tries to run the show when we set goals for our fitness, our health, our workouts, our aesthetic and our goals, and sometimes, it can end up being our own worst enemy when it tries to be too controlling. Our mind can manipulate us more than anything, and while I think goal setting is SO important, I think it is even more important to keep our mind in check, to make sure we are achieving success in a healthy, balanced, organic, and mindful way. It has taken me a long time to accept and admit this to myself, and I might have taken the long way to figure it out, but above all else, it was the best discovery I have ever made- and I honestly feel it has benefitted my physical and mental health more than anything else. And I have truly never been happier. Stay aware, be mindful, and listen to your mind & body. You know that quote that goes “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live?” Well, it’s kind of full of shit. You live inside your mind more than your body- we need to take care of that, too.

Compromising your mental health for your physical well-being is never worth it.
{ Okay- now that I’ve had my rant- onto the rest! }
2. Fuel your body. Make sure you are fueling yourself for workouts- your body, your muscles and your mind need nutrients when they are being put to work. It’s not fair to them if you don’t take care of them! {and they will tell you that over time if you don’t nourish them.} Muscle tissue that you want to grow stronger can break down, and your energy level will sink. I try to stick to simple carbs before a workout {give yourself time to digest!} & protein afterward.

3. Start slow. Make your own goals based on where you are. Not your friends, not magazines, not your Instagram feed- solely based on Y O U. To start, what you see in people around you, the world of social media and the unrealistic “Beauty Standards” of our world {aka: BS- what a fitting acronym} is never what it seems, and you never know the ways in which people get to their end goals {and if it seems too good to be true- someone losing an absurd amount of weight in an absurdly short period of time, restricting or overworking your body in some way, using some “magical formula” to help you get the “best results”- usually it’s not good for you, your body, your mind or your being.} You cannot go 0 to 100 in a day, expect change and keep your own sanity. Look at your ability level with honesty, and DO WHAT YOU CAN. Then build on it. Little victories are the BEST victories- and should always be celebrated! Especially when you are trying new moves, it is best to master the movement with small weights, not do it improperly, add weight and only induce self-injury. Small, steady strides. The best way to make healthy progress is by making realistic goals for yourself, doing it authentically and finding some consistency that works for you and your day to day life!

4. DITCH ALL NUMBERS. Weight. Pounds. Inches. Calories. Sizes. Ditch em. Our world is number obsessed, but you do not have to be. You are more than numbers. What is important for your journey is how you feel. Again- took me too long to figure that one out, but since I have let go of the scale, nutrition labels and a size ‘defining’ me and ruling my life, I have experienced the best form of freedom that has allowed me to track my progress through how my body, my strength, and my energy are perceived by me- and that truly feels amazing.

5. Love yourself. Love your body. Find what will make your confidence boost- and go for it.

Before you set any goals for yourself, take a look in the mirror. Tell your body that you love it, unconditionally. Tell it you will not take it for granted. Tell yourself that above all else, you will take care of your mind and your body in a healthy and conscious way. Make goals for you and you alone- and go for it. The only person standing in your way is yourself, so once you commit to making positive change that suits your life, you will be ready to live your best life.

Now let’s get to work, babes !

-I have found working on isolated body parts to be most beneficial. It allows me to focus solely on one muscle group at a time (or a few in one area) which allows that specific area to get the attention and work it needs. So typically I will rotate days with one muscle group at a time- arms, shoulders, back, chest and legs- sometimes, if I’m running around and have a busy week ahead, I will add in arms to a shoulder/chest day)

-Generally I stick to 3 sets of 10 for most moves. If I am coming back to the gym after a break, or am more sore than usual, I may reduce the amount of weight I use, but do sets of 12.

-No, I don’t do every single move I have listed for my workout- I will usually incorporate 4-6 moves per workout/muscle group. If you don’t like a move, or it bothers you in some way, don’t do it! Find what works for you and feels like it’s working for your body, and stick to it.

-I try to do core every day, {hence my #absaday challenge} even when it’s the last thing I want to do. Do I get to it every single day of my life? No- life happens. But I really do my best to get to my mat each day! Even if you do five minutes, it’s better than nothing! Strengthening your core will help with working all of the other muscle groups.

-I try to do cardio every other day- for me, I like running, biking and the arc trainer the most. I also like to incorporate yoga into my workout here and there, whether it be a class or doing rounds of sun salutations at home. Find what works for you! {When I’m training for a race, cardio looks different for me and is more frequent, so my day to day workouts will look much different.}

-Stretch, stretch, stretch! Before & after you workout! You will get the most out of your workout when you do, trust me.

Here are the main exercises I do for each “day”, give or take a few depending on what kind of day I’m having. Like I said, start slow & build! Master your form. Watch videos and tutorials. If you are just starting to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle, start off trying to get to the gym 1 or 2 days a week- once you master that, commit to adding on days as you are able! Do one or two sets. Gradually build your weight {I still use 5 pound weights for some exercises that are more difficult for me!} Do what you can. And you will get there!

-rope pulls (slight angle in your stance with feet a bit further back; be sure start position is @ chest, pull down toward body and bring rope outward as it hits your waist area)

-hammers with free weights (alternating sides, 10 with each side)

-16’s with free weights (set at waist with weights in fist, palms up; 4 on left side bringing weight from shoulder down to hip, reset at waist; switch to 4 on right side, reset at waist, repeat once– hence ’16’ counts all at once.)

-one arm tricep extensions (you can use 2 arms but I think 1 arm isolates the tri muscle better)- free weight in one hand starting behind your head and slightly above, bring the weight down as the elbow bends and bring up, fully extending your arm straight; 10 for each side)

-tricep bench press (lay on bench with feet planted on ground; hold free weights on sides close to chest; push straight up into air until fully extended, bring back slowly to chest)

-skull crushes with bar (lay on bench with head at top of bench; hold bar with hands close together in the middle, either touching or an inch apart; keeping elbows in, bring bar to the forehead, then extend forward into the air, still keeping elbow in and straight)
-bicep curls with bar (hands about 4 inches apart on bar, palms up; lift from upper thigh to shoulder)

-pushups- always try to end with pushups, as many as I can get up to. I’ve gotten comfortable at 10 and will do 1-3 sets depending on the day, making sure I start/stay in the plank position, elbows are staying in, and keeping a flat back/not dipping my lower back. Also great for shoulders/core!

-side raises (2 free weights, start position arms by your side, slight bend in elbow; raise arms to about your shoulder, lifting should be lead by your elbow-not the arm- so its slightly more rounded)

-front raises (2 free weights, same start position as side raises, raise one arm at a time around to the front to eye level and back down, same thing with the other side)

-shoulder press (2 free weights, sit straight on bench, starting with weights at shoulder level; push weights straight up til elbows lock, come straight down)

-shoulder press machine (sit facing machine, arms straight in front on bars; pull outward toward your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together)

-shoulder flys (stand with legs bent, shoulders bent forward, hands with weights together at front; while bent over, separate arms and bring backward, bringing shoulder blades together, bringing arms back to start)


-dumbell bench press (lay flat on bench with dumbells held above you; 90 degree angle, thumbs facing each other, start with weights at bra-line, push straight up in the air til elbows are about straight; keep core tucked in and feet planted flat on the ground for back support)

-incline dumbbell press (2 free weights, palms facing up, on incline bench, push straight up)

-incline dumbbell flys (2 free weights, start with palms facing each other, elbows rounded, bring back weights toward the ground, bring back to midline with palms still facing each other- I call these ‘tree hugs’, once you give it a try you’ll see why)

-seated chest fly (handles should be at chest height; start with arms back, bring them forward to about a shoulder length apart, bring back slowly)


-lat pull downs (use a flat bar; lean back slightly on the bench; bring bar down to bra line, slowly bring back up)

-bent over barbell rows (slightly bent knees, bent over, pulling bar up over thighs, arms 90 degree angle with elbows facing ceiling)

-seated cable rows (V bar, pull inward to bellybutton, release slowly)

-T bar rows (bent over, slight bend in the knee, pull bar and weight up to chest keeping knees slightly bent)

-pull-ups (use pull up machine with weight added that feels comfortable, pull up as close to your chin as possible, pull from the arms- don’t rely on the weight pushing you up!)


-leg press (start with legs bent, 90 degree angle, push with weight until legs almost straight, slowly bring weight back toward your chest)

-hack squat (feel should be under your shoulders, when squatting keep knees over your toes)

-barbell squats (hold bar behind neck by your shoulders, start with legs slightly bent, squat keeping your core tucked in until legs break 90 degree angle, then slowly bring back up)

-leg (hamstring) curls (keep knees a few inches apart, start with legs straight, curl upward until at about 90 degrees, slowly release)

-leg (quad) extension (start with bar in front of calf above the ankle; push up until leg is straight)

-wall sits (sit against wall in chair position, legs bent at 90 degree, hold position as long as you can!)


*I tend to do 1-2 sets of these when I work out, and try to rotate the different ones each day/when I get around to doing them! Try to get at least 3-5 different moves in- but do what you can!!! Even 5 minutes a day can start initiating core strengthening J

-standard crunches (feet flat, curl up to knees as close as you can- take your time coming back down!)

-crunches with legs crossed and elevated, touch elbows to your knees

-russian twists (use weight or hold hands together as you twist, side to side with legs slightly elevated and crossed)

-bicycles (elbow to opposite knee twisting as you rotate)

-plank (keep core in, don’t dip your lower back and keep back as flat as you can! Hold position several inches from the ground for as long as you can)

-dead bugs with alternate arm/leg) (*may be best to watch video for this one! Lay on back with arms straight up, legs up and at 90 degree angle; alternate leg and opposite arm, moving both away from midline at the same time, keeping the rest of your body still; switch sides doing the same; be sure to keep core close to the floor as you’re doing it! Draw bellybutton into the floor)

-reverse crunches

-side plank

-sit up with legs out and twist to the side

-toe taps (crunch position with feet bent and flat, tap heel one at a time with twist movement)

-mountain climbers

-incline push ups (do the push ups on a block, or up against a wall so your body is slanted but aligned, don’t dip your back)

That is A LOT to take in, but try one thing at a time and see how you like it, and if you feel it working for your body, too! Once you find a solid group of moves that work for you, build your routine gradually, be consistent with doing them with your isolated body parts, rotate your days and find cardio/other outlets that work for you! If you love spin, yoga, barre, or fitness classes then go for it- you have to be comfortable doing it to end up liking (or even loving!) it.
I would LOVE any feedback you have, so please feel free to let me know!!! And for anyone interested, I am planning to set up a private Facebook group AND email list (since the breakdown was almost 50/50 when I asked!) to do follow-ups for clarification, Q & As, body-posi words of encouragement, share stories and celebrate all of the little victories we accomplish along the way on our journey- because we really deserve to celebrate starting somewhere! Really hoping to build a community of women (and men!) who find a love of fitness in their own way. Be good to your body-and your mind- and it will be good to you.

Cheers to a healthy, mindful, and body-positive fitness journey.


Sydney Paige