Tag Archives: fitness

Make It Count

January 27, 2015

weight training istock

While many are in the gym every day, are they making the most of their time? Brynlea Cunniff, certified fitness trainer and figure competitor, provides a fitness routine that will produce the most results.

“First of all, get rid of the myth: lifting weights will make me look like those manly bodybuilding women. False. Steroids will make you look manly. I do figure competitions. I lift heavy; I push my body. That’s the only way to change. You must command your body to grow and change.

Do not be afraid of weights. Start light. As it gets easier, go up weight. Got it? Aim to lift 5 days a week. One muscle group a session. Push yourself. The last reps should be hard in each set.

Weight training:
Each day train a different muscle group! Start with 4 sets of 12. Then after a few weeks, try adding weight each set doing 15, 12, 10, 12. Change it up!

Sample weight routine:
Mon- shoulders, abs and cardio
Tues- biceps/triceps and cardio
Wed- back, abs and cardio
Thurs- legs (skip cardio)
Fri- chest, abs and cardio
Sat- your choice or OFF
Sun- your choice or OFF

Aim for 5 sessions a week for 30-45 minutes. Do not go over 45 minutes. You want to tap into your fat storage-not your glycogen levels (this fuels your muscles). Do cardio first thing in the morning, before eating, or right after weight training. When you weight train, your body begins to tap into fat storage, so by cardio time, you are ready to go!

Sample cardio workouts:
Research shows that anaerobic exercise builds lean muscle, and your body will continue to burn calories hours after the workout. HIIT(high interval training) is an example of anaerobic activity.

Example: Sprint for 1 min, walk for 2, sprint for 1 min, walk for 2 min. Jog for 3 min., sprint for 1 min., walk for 2 min. Repeat. Do this for 30 minutes. Download the Tabata Timer to help you keep time your sessions.

Elliptical. Vary the resistance and incline. 30-45 minutes.

Stair stepper. 30-45 minutes.

Walk at incline of 10 or more. 30-45 minutes.

The key is to change your workout’s intensity and weight training every 3-4 weeks. Vary the exercises and machines. Your body will adapt, so you must confuse your muscles often.

Do your research and get acquainted with the body and muscle groups. You can find tons of workouts for each of these muscles.”

Brynlea Cunniff

Follow Brynlea on Instagram.


April 9, 2014


Since the widespread of Instagram, I’m noticing more and more women showcasing their bodies… and their goodies- not just their fit, toned selves in workout gear, but hyper-sexualized pictures. Take the “fitspo” and “fitnessmotivation” trends and the pictures that accompany them for example. Who wears a thong and lace push-up bra in full hair and makeup while doing tricep kick-backs on a bench in the gym ? NO ONE.

What message are women sending these days? Has vanity overtaken our society? What about the girls of future generations? I fear that the answers to these questions are what women have been fighting against for decades.

What message are women sending these days? These risque pictures (in hopes of getting “likes” and “comments”) are leaving nothing to the imagination; they send universal approval to men to lust and sexualize women. Women of today are adding to the over-sexed hype that our culture has set as a standard. As if it hasn’t gotten bad enough through commercial media, we as women are adding to this standard by means of social media. We are counteracting what we have been wanting for years and years to happen-to be taken seriously, given equal opportunities as men and to not be looked at as a mere sex object. Instagram is a sea of semi-nude women in sexually explicit poses, and we are to blame. Women are posting these.

Has vanity overtaken our society? I get it-I love style and fashion. I post #ootds (not with my face in them) and the occasional “selfie” (rare), and some days, quite frankly, I just feel beautiful! However, my first reaction is not to take 100 photos just to capture that one perfect look to post on Instagram. I have a confidence that came from years and years of experience, self-reflection and self-acceptance. Today, women have become self-absorbed; hovering over their heads is an unhealthy pressure to capture how beautiful their hair looks or how amazingly flawless their makeup is or how tight their booty is getting. Very often it’s captioned with a insightful quote that has nothing to do with the fact that they are posting a picture out of vanity just to get approval.

What about the girls of future generations? They are the ones most engulfed by this. I teach freshman in high school. I see girls taking selfies in the bathroom, walking to class, and sadly sometimes in my classroom before the bell rings. It’s a norm for them-to post pictures on Instagram, tweet on Twitter and make videos for Vine. The scary thing is, how will they know when to draw the line between innocent pictures and delving into the more sexualized photos? Which picture would get more likes? I think we all know the answer to that question.

My hope for young ladies and women all around the world is for them to know that they don’t have to post pictures of any kind  in order to gain approval. I want them to know that their beauty doesn’t rely on the number of “likes” or “comments” of social media. I want them to find inner-confidence, self-control and more importantly, self-respect.

So, think before you post. Think before you envy that girl in the tiny black bikini working out at the gym. I just have to giggle at those.

~ Brynlea Cunniff

Follow Brynlea on Twitter.