The 4 pillars of fitness

This post is sponsored by Collectively on behalf of HP.

GinaHighRes 69

(Photo: Danny Chan)

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a wonderful day. <3

Recently, I was gifted the new HP X360, which is an amazing laptop/tablet hybrid. It has four modes: laptop, tablet, tent and stand. The laptop mode is perfect for toting around or writing blog posts, tablet mode is ideal for travel, and the tent/stand modes have been helpful for video streaming.

Hp 1 of 1

I put on an online barre workout, set up the little tent, and was able to easily watch the video without tilting the screen. It’s a versatile, light, and awesome computer. 

4 pillars of fitness

(Photo: Danny Chan)

To go along with the theme of “4” (for the 4 modes of the computer), I thought I’d share some of my best tips for the 4 pillars of fitness: strength, cardio, flexibility and rest. Here are some easy ways to shake it up if you’ve found yourself in a rut!

The 4 Pillars of Fitness:

1) Strength. Strength is a critical component of a solid fitness plan. Not only does it help strengthen and sculpt your muscles, but it’s critical for bone health and maintaining bone density as we age. 

Some ways to change it up:

-Play with the amount of sets that you complete. I like to experiment with high reps and low weights, low reps and high weights, and drop sets. For the drop sets, start off with a much heavier weight than you would usually use, and for the second set, go back to your normal weight. Your normal weight will feel much more challenging! For the third set, maybe drop down the weight again, as your muscles will already be sufficiently fatigued.

-Add tempo variations. Try to emphasize the eccentric portion of the movement; release from “work” component (like the “dip” of your triceps dip), slowly and controlled. For squats, try a combination of slow squats, down quick and up slowly, down slowly and up quickly, and pulses.

-Change up your strength training split. Some ideas on how to do that are here!

-Don’t neglect the core. Add in core training 2-3x a week on nonconsecutive days. You’ll want to target your abdominal muscles, your back (especially your low back, or erector spinae), glutes and pelvic floor. Some of my very favorite exercises are here. 

2) Cardio. Cardiovascular exercise is fantastic for heart health, a flood of feel-good endorphins, and a great way to burn extra calories. Cardio can be completed at the gym on a machine of your choice, or at home with bodyweight alone. Here are some ways to amp up your cardio routine:

-Add in some intervals. This is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and get your metabolism going, through a glorious thing called EPOC (our oxygen consumption post-exercise). The intervals do not have to be high impact: try experiment with equal ratios of easy and challenging work. For example, go hard (crank speed or resistance) for 30 seconds, walk or rest for 30 seconds. Repeat for 10-20 minutes.

-Conquer a tough hill. Add a huge hill into the middle of your cardio session. Gradually increase the resistance, hold it at your highest point, and then lower it back down to sprint to the finish.

-Take a new cardio class. This is an excellent way to change up your cardio routine, especially if you’ve noticed your results have plateaued. Try something new, and bring a friend to join in the fun!

3) Flexibility.

-Find a flexibility routine that works for your body. Some people love to foam roll, some love to hate it, and others just loathe it completely. Some people live for yoga, while others choose Pilates or barre. You can also add in a stretch at home on your own if that works for you. Aim to maintain full range of motion through your joints to prevent compensation and injury. Even throughout the day, try small stretches (even at your desk) to promote healthy posture and blood circulation through movement. 

4) Rest.

Results occur during rest; if you don’t rest, the muscles aren’t able to adequately rebuild and pair themselves. 

Take at least one day each week off completely. You can still enjoy a stretch or easy walk, but give your body the chance to repair. Not only will this encourage results, but it will help prevent overtraining and burnout. 

What are 4 things you love about your current fitness routine? How will your fitness change this spring? I’m excited to get outside and run more often; it’s been Orangetheory treadmill city (which I love), but there’s nothing like sunshine on your face during an outdoor run.

Have a happy Friday!

This post is sponsored by Collectively on behalf of HP. HP is currently on tour with Meghan Trainor to create a fan-generated documentary using the new HP X360. You can check out the fun videos at the hashtags #bendtherules #ThatBassTour. Thank you so much for supporting this blog and the companies who help support our family. xo

Post Navigation:


  1. kristin | W [H] A T C H on February 20, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    oh my gosh, the tent feature is brilliant!

  2. Jessica @ kiwiyogirunner on February 20, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Wow this looks like a great computer, so cool that it has four different modes! I definitely need to work on my own strength pillar! Tempo variations are a great idea to make it less boring, that’s my downfall with strength, I love it in a class but at home I find it harder to be motivated.

  3. Cara's Healthy Cravings on February 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    My fitness routine will not change that much, but I am looking forward to busting out my bike again. Cycling is a much better and more efficient mode of transport here in Toronto, so here’s hoping for an early spring!

  4. Vera on February 21, 2015 at 6:13 am

    I can’t wait to get outside once the spring gets here. We have been stuck inside in this horrible cold weather for way too long now…i am excited to see green grass again under all of the snow and ice….can you tell I don’t like winter?? 😉

  5. Tracy on February 21, 2015 at 7:05 am

    That’s an awesome computer! Thanks for the pillars of strength summary. You make it simple to understand…great explanation.

    Where are your cute leggings in the first pic from?

    • Fitnessista on February 21, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      thank you! they’re from fabletics 🙂

  6. Sagan on February 21, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Great ideas here! (And the HPX360 looks AWESOME!)

    I’m also looking forward to getting outside and running again, but that will be many weeks away yet… my fitness isn’t super structured right now, which can be nice, but it also means that I’m not as strong / fast / agile as I’d like to be. Things to work on!

  7. Ashley on February 21, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I LOVE your four pillars of fitness! So true! Especially rest, that is something I used to neglect and it left me so drained and beat up. Now rest is a huge part of my routine!

    Thanks for the great post! Sweet computer!

  8. Alex @ True Femme on February 21, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I love that picture of you! This year I’m definitely trying to be more well-rounded with fitness. Last year I did Pure Barre almost exclusively, and while it definitely toned up my leg, arm, and back muscles, the results I saw with my abs plateaued. This year I’ve been doing 3 PB classes a week instead of 4-5 and adding in HIIT/resistance training a few times a week along with a few runs. As a result, I’ve gotten faster and my endurance has increased, which I’m pretty proud of.

  9. Meredyth on February 21, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for the four pillars tips! Do you have any advice on how to structure a week of workouts that hit all these areas? I know I should be doing all 4 of these things multiple times a week, but it feels hard to fit it all in. Any tips?

  10. Julia on February 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I love these four pillars and definitely need to incorporate them more into my routine! I’ve been injured for the past year so I’ve been mostly doing pilates, stretching and other low impact exercises. I definitely need to add in more cardio – I get plenty of rest though 😉
    By the summer, I hope to be back to running and martial arts, which will definitely help me up my cardio component!

  11. Cheri @ Overactive Blogger on February 21, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Rest is such a tricky one for me! I hate to slow down!

  12. Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out on February 22, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Rest is hard but so necessary!

  13. Kariann on February 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Thanks for the pillars and the tips! In the spring I look forward to exercising outside as well. I’m trying to work on my running stamina (mind over matter!).

    Four things I like about my fitness routine:
    1. I feel that I am varying my exercises and targeting different muscles each time.
    2. I love my HIIT and Boot Camp classes at the Y – I’m with a supportive community in my classes; even if we don’t socialize or chat (because we are all sweating it out!), if someone isn’t there, it’s like where’s so and so? I feel like I’m being held accountable on days I kind of want to cheat. 🙂
    3. My rest days! Sometimes I feel guilty, but then I remind myself that they are essential.
    4. I feel like I can conquer the rest of my day because I’ve gotten my workout done in the morning!

    I love reading your blog! I’m gonna check out Fabletics now 🙂

  14. Ash Bear on February 23, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I’m on the hunt for a new laptop so this post is perfectly timed!!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.