So boys and girls, for fun today, I thought we would discuss the benefits of the elliptical machine.
Let me state, I usually prefer to be out on the road and not on machines, but there are times and places for everything.
Sometimes I use it as a warm up for strength training, about 15-20 minutes to loosen my old body up. Sometimes I use it at the beginning and end with weight training in the middle, makes for a nice solid workout.
The other day though, I just felt like slamming out a serious cardio sesh so I did a little over an hour on it.
The thing I love about that? It gives me the same exhausted, sweaty,exhilarating feeling I can get with a solid run.
Which I’ll take, since running is off my plate for now. 😑
It’s not all fun and games
In the comparison of running to the elliptical it works like this for me :
First 10 minutes on it…..”Oh my word, are we done yet? Why am I doing this??”
20 minutes in…..sweat has been free flowing for awhile, I’m keeping a steady pace, thinking “ok maybe I’ll do 30 minutes ”
35 minutes in, all of my favorite metal music in my ear, I’m totally in my zone thinking “hey I’ll just do 45 minutes….”
40 in, “I forgot how amazing this feels, I’ll stop at 50”
Then…..I’m hitting that hour mark….
Sweat in my eyes, blinded by it, heart strongly pumping, breathing hard because I’ve gone all out in the last minutes……
There is something so therapeutic about it, something cleansing and satisfying in the work of it.
Ok…but admittedly I’m a weirdo and you may not get the same sick thrill from it I do.
But can I share some positive benefits of tackling it for any time period?
Benefits of elliptical training
It can aid weight loss. A 30 minute session can burn between 150-400 calories.
It’s low impact. So if you have any joint issues it is a perfect non impact exercise that can pack a good cardio punch.
Offers a whole body workout. Not only using the stepping motion for lower body but using handle levers that work with the upper body give a total body workout.
A big boost for your cardio health. Love it or hate it, cardio exercise benefits your heart and lungs, strengthening them so they can do their work more efficiently with less work. Spending 20 -30 minutes on the elliptical will greatly help your heart.
Improves cardio stamina. A high intensity session of 15 minutes or moderate for 30 minutes will greatly improve cardio stamina. Building yourself up will also allow you to have more stamina in other exercises.
Helps to improve balance and mobility. Elliptical trainers are good for conditioning your body for better balance and mobility.
The Elliptical trainer workout also helps improve blood circulation. Better blood circulation helps maintain oxygen flow to all parts of the body. It boosts immunity, reducing the risk of diseases and chronic sickness. Good circulation also keeps the vital organs healthy and helps improve sleep quality. It also reduces your skin and hair issues.
Spending just 5 minutes on the elliptical machine can help you feel less stressed. That’s because exercising releases serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone. Serotonin has blood pressure-lowering or antihypertensive effects.
Doing low-intensity or moderate-intensity elliptical workout every day can have a positive effect on hypertension. However, you must consult your doctor if you are taking medicines for hypertension or have undergone major surgery.
Elliptical exercise is weight-bearing. This means your muscles and bones need to work to push the pedals. This causes muscle wear and tear, which is good for building stronger muscles and bones. This workout is great for people with osteoporosis and those with a high risk of fracture.
There you have it! Some positive and beneficial reasons to try out and implement an elliptical into your fitness routine.
Now your turn, have you tried one before? What is your take on it?
I’m in the midst of reading a book ( among many other projects) right now. With so many active things to keep me moving, getting still to read is a treat.Not only am I carefully reading through the smart, intelligent writing of this book, I’m also fact gathering for the book review I will write on it. The book is titled “Give Yourself More” by Georgie Fear and K. Aleisha Fetters. ” a science backed six part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals “I had the pleasure of writing reviews for Georgie’s book “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”, both editions. Be sure to check those out in my past posts.What I love about this book so far is the sound truths women need to hear and be reminded of.You are enough. It’s ok to take up space, to be strong and powerful.It’s ok to eat food, real food that is healthy, tasty and nutritious.I’m so tired of seeing ads, sales posts, multi level marketing companies etc telling women the only way to lose weight is to go on a cleanse or fast. That they need to detox their bodies to get healthy. That they have to be miserable, hungry, live off shakes and pre-made who knows what fake foods, or denied of adequate food to lose weight. Really, how fun IS it to be at a party or out to dinner and you are sitting there watching everyone enjoy themselves while you are denying yourself the pleasure of good food? Why when you can enjoy in moderation and balance and not sabatoge your goals, really you can.Ah! I digress.I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m just so dang passionate about this topic.I was talking about exerciseA few years back, I wasn’t on the “exercise is awesome” train. Like many of you I viewed it as a painful chore to get done.Something I “had ” to do to lose weight or to validate myself in some way.Like many of you, I’d determine a day I was starting and I was going to get it done.Once for all, I’d become permanently hooked on it.Then I’d crash and burn a couple weeks into it. Sound familiar to you? I’ve seen far to many people get on social media with a similar agenda. There are so many consistent similarities I can almost see the end before it starts.Why is it like that? Thankfully, I’ve learned a whole lot about myself these past few years and what exercise means to me. I pushed through those initial weeks, then months, and moved to a whole beautiful world on the other side.I love my workouts, I miss them when they don’t happen. I love how they make me feel, mentally and physically. I love the side effects of building a strong body.There are so many wonderful benefits when you stay strong and push through your mental struggles to do it.Oh, the bookYes, I was telling you about what I was reading.The author asked ( me, you, the reader) how we viewed exercise.Did we see it as a form of punishment, something to atone for the foods we ate, something to get done to lose weight? These ideas are geared towards us becoming “less”. To be Smaller, take up less space, be less. We are critical with our bodies picking out flaws or short comings, focusing on what is “wrong” with us instead of celebrating our body for all the awesome things it can do.It was mentioned that as ( women) we’ve lost the ability to enjoy movement, something as simple as a walk in the evening or playing outside with our kids.Our bodies are designed and made for movement.Yet we’ve made it something to dread or a form of punishment for eating the very food our bodies need for fuel.We’ve bought into the ” no pain no gain” mentality. That we must hurt or suffer for it to matter.Not true.A personal perspective During my strength training yesterday I was thinking about how people can view exercise as punishment. I’m long past that and although often “work ” I enjoy and appreciate exercise. I love the feel of my heart beating strongly, the deep breathes from my lungs and the sweat pouring off of me.I was also thinking about progress and appreciating our bodies even if we aren’t happy with something. And I thought about how I can lift things 99% of people around me can’t do.Like my 185 dead lift, or my 110 bench press, or doing butterfly situps with a 35 lb weight plate, and renegade rows with 25lb dumbbells and so much more…. And I thought about how freaking awesome my body is, middle-aged and all, tipping more towards the 60s after my last birthday, but how much stronger and more powerful it is now than it ever has been. And that my friends, is the bomb. 😁The Joy Of Exercise I guess you could say by now I have ( mostly ) 😀 found the joy of exercise. I have found the ability to appreciate it, for how it makes me feel and not use it as a means to the end.So how do you get that? How do you walk that path that turns into consistency and is built into your daily life?* think of activities you truly enjoy and start there. Do you enjoy feeling the evening air on your face after dinner? Go for a walk around the block. The next day do it twice. Think about what you see and feel. Just enjoy the movement of being outside. *Focus on activities that you will be consistent in.*Strive for at least 30 minutes to do your activity, most days of the week.* Be positive about your body, thinking of the ways it is serving you in that activity.* What do you want to get better at? What goals can you set to do that? When I started running nothing made me want to get better at what I was doing than having an event to train for. Since I was my only competition I was always looking for ways to improve my running game.* Don’t use your activites with the idea of weight loss or for punishment for eating. Appreciate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you!* Plan in variety. The more activities you can choose from the less you will be likely to feel bored with constant repetition of the same activity. My physical activities have ranged from running to cycling, rowing, weight lifting, boxing, walking, and the elliptical. Every day I pick a different activity, or activities. Exercise is now, more than ever, important for our mental and physical well being. Love your body, appreciate it, and offer it exercise as a form of self care, not punishment.Tell me, what has been your mindset on exercise ? Punishment for eating or a tool for weight loss? Or an activity to be celebrated and enjoyed?
So I’ve been camping on this idea for awhile now and after a particularly strong and energetic week I decided to get it out, dust it off, and talk about it.
Between physical therapy and those single leg presses ( do you hurt after doing them? they ask.. all 30 reps….Me…nooo.) ok then add ten more, 40 reps per side with your 165lb weight.
I like how they challenge me.
Plus, add the strength training I do at home, it’s been a vigorous week. My deadlifts are at 185 with me currently doing about 3 sets of 4. Baby steps ya’ll…baby steps…I mean this is literally picking up 185 dead weight straight off the floor…not bad for the old lady group 🤣
My workouts include body weight work as well as using a kettlebell, dumbbells, and weighted bar. Resistance bands come in handy too.
I didn’t start here, I’ve come along way from my little 8lb dumbbells from several years ago!
I do talk a lot about the importance of strength training, for women and men, and the crucial role it can play in our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be old and weak.
Old may happen, weakness doesn’t need to.
Why strength train?
Let’s define that first. Strength training can be accomplished using just your body ( we all have those!) And with the obvious, weights for lifting. Both are done to build more physical strength
Strength training is the best way to increase muscle mass, keep body fat at bay, and increase overall strength.
Even in todays world women who participate in formal or consistent weight training is extremely low with many opting only for cardiovascular exercise. If you’re a woman, you shouldn’t be avoiding weights, and you should take strength training seriously.
Let’s look at reasons why
* you will get physically stronger. If there is one thing I love about how my workouts carry over into my daily life, it’s being strong and very capable to handle anything. I love being able to move and lift things without needing help.
Not because I want to feel tough( well maybe a little 😉) but because it’s rather empowering.
I often help customers unload equipment at my sons engine shop. I love the looks I get when I tell a man I will help unload.
One guy…”well it’s pretty heavy…I mean you look strong but it’s heavy..”
I didn’t tell him I was more concerned he wouldn’t be able to deliver on his end than mine.
A well trained womans body is as capable as a man. Strength is not gender specific.
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent on others. Increasing your strength also means daily tasks and routine exercise will be less likely to cause injury.
Do you know….. research concludes that even moderate strength training can increase a womans strength by 30 to 50 percent. Research also shows a woman can develop her strength at the same rate as a man.
You’ll lose some fat
Studies show the average woman who trains 2-3 times a week, for two months, can gain nearly 2 pounds of muscle and lose 3.5 lbs of fat.
And for the record…you don’t turn fat into muscle….the times I read that in places…nor can you claim gaining weight as muscle after working out for 2 weeks. It takes consistent work and time.
You’ll gain strength without bulk
For whatever reason, if there’s a myth out there regarding women and weight lifting, it’s this.
They worry about getting “bulky”.
Sorry ladies, we just don’t have the genetic makeup for that to happen. We lack the hormones and honestly we aren’t gonna eat enough and workout hard and long enough to even come close.
What will happen? You will develop muscle “tone” and muscle definition and that’s a huge win.
You will decrease your risk of osteoporosis
Weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) this coupled with adequate dietary calcium is our best defense against osteoporosis.
You can improve your athletic performance
No matter what you do, strength training can not only improve your athletic ability, it can protect from injuries as well.
You will reduce your risk of back pain, injury and arthritis
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Strengthening the low-back muscles can help in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
Will reduce your risk of heart disease Weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.
Weight training can help with peri menopause symptoms
During midlife women have often put on weight, become more sedentary, and do not exercise which can enhance the symptoms women complain of during the years of peri menopause and menopause.
Fatigue, hot flashes, low mood or depression, weight gain and muscle aches and pains and other issues are often complained about. Strength training can often help combat these symptoms or offer some level of relief. Strength training decreases body fat, increases muscle mass, and optimizes hormones, not to mention, getting stronger is a great mental boost too.
Finally, it’s never to late to benefit Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.
Adding strength training to your weekly exercise ( 2-3 times a week) man or woman will give you great benefits that will help you in all areas of your life.
Your turn.. is strength training a part of your week? What benefits have you seen doing it?
In today’s installment of Saturday Snippets, I’m gonna just talk about numbers for a bit.
Ironic considering I don’t find numbers particularly interesting or remotely fun…. sorry you little math nerds out there who love them. 😉
However, numbers do interest me when it comes to weights and seeing how much I’m capable of lifting, how fast I can ride, or row a mile and tidbits like that.
This weeks rounds at PT had my therapist commenting that the “165 lb. single leg presses were looking easy” for me.
Welllll…I’d never describe it like THAT….but I haven’t exactly mentioned to him I feel like I could probably handle more (I suspect that is coming)
You see, those things matter. It indicates where my strength is at and I will have a knowledge of where I’ve progressed from.
When numbers shouldn’t matter
I’ve been stalking….er…I mean…observing… this cultic diet group from afar. They place a whole lotta emphasis on their products helping people miraculously lose all kinds of weight and inches in only….8 days.
Yep you read right. There are tons of glowing life stories of consumers being transformed in these 8 days.
Almost makes me question my old school approach of healthy eating and purposeful exercise…not.
Of course they neglect to tell you that you largely do a starvation diet but hey! Food is overrated.
Of other short term glowing reviews there’s a huge focus on getting into significantly smaller sizes in a short time.
Here’s where I’m going
Wearing smaller clothes and losing weight is certainly not bad. Losing excess fat is good for the body and your overall health.
But who says it has to be attempted in a ridiculously short term manner? Why is the focus on those numbers instead of focusing on a slow sustainable loss of 1-2 lbs a week?
The reality is, even if you do lose a “big” amount in the first week it’s mostly water weight as you have greatly reduced carbs which hold water. Heck! With this plan you’ve pretty much reduced all food!
Successful long term weight loss isn’t a speed process, sorry, it’s just not.
And it doesn’t need to be.
Numbers that matter
Instead of focusing on perhaps, unrealistic or unsustainable numbers consider things like this on your fitness journey:
How many steps did you get in your day? Did you get more than the previous day?
Can you walk/run farther than previous weeks?
How many stairs can you climb?
Is your weekly weight loss a steady 1-2 lbs?
What about your body measurements? Often we will see those numbers change even if the scale doesn’t.
What about your blood pressure or lab results numbers? These are internal indicators of your health.
Lifting weights? Can you do more reps or have you increased weight you are using? Celebrate the strength of your body!
There are so many numbers that reflect our health and fitness, beyond the scale.
Attempting to do things “fast” doesn’t earn you extra rewards and if anything, potentially sets you back. You don’t become over weight “fast”, why is there a thought weight loss occurs that way?
Slow and steady weight loss, combined with consistent exercise will lead to long term success you can be proud of.
Oh it’s been one of those weeks. Why does it seem like every time I turn around there is just another new version of craziness when it comes to diet, nutrition and exercise?
Sometimes, I don’t notice as much, but then when there is a lot of it I guess I’m more prone to thinking… stop… like stop it already.
Many times I’m glad I’m behind a computer when I see things so my eye roll isn’t apparent and obvious haha
What’s got me bothered?
Hmm, well I’ll tell you. Quite a few things. I guess I get troubled over information and shared ideas that people will gulp down as fast as a frog can gulp a fly.
I’m often horrified at how people believe things without their own research or fact gathering on a topic.
So what’s at the top of my list?
Can we please stop demonizing foods/food groups?
Really. Unless you have a medical condition, or a food allergy or abstaining from something just makes you overall feel better, then don’t get on the “exclude foods train” because Bob at work is doing it.
Worse yet are people who are on the train but have no idea why they are… like gluten free. Really, the only people who need to be on a gluten free diet are ones who have celiac disease.
Stop deciding foods are “bad” or that they offer no value.
Excluding entire food groups robs your body of essential vitamins and minerals not found in other foods you keep in your diet.
One of the worst things, like THE worst is how the diet industry has somehow made many fruits “bad”.
Yes, I know I’m kinda yelling here, and yes I’m fully aware some fruits have a higher sugar content than others,
Big deal. Natural sugars found in fruits are not the same as sugars you get noshing on your donuts, cookies or candies. Or your 64 oz. big gulp soda.
Fruits are low calorie and loaded with so many amazing things for our body and really, you’d have to eat loads of high sugar fruits to make an impact on your health.
Stop demonizing fruit.
Is there a bumper sticker like that??
Listen you know what the enemy really is?
You… or more like you’re not controlling what goes in your mouth and the quantity of it. That is the problem.
Food is simply, food.
What we do with it becomes the bigger issue.
The magic diet bus.
Another one bothering me, is constantly seeing credit given to a particular diet as if it holds the very unique and magical keys to unlocking permanent and successful weight loss.
Uh…if you believe that… I’ve got some diet pills to sell you…. 😉
All together now boys and girls, there is no great diet that is the be all and end all to successful weight loss.
I hate to keep throwing the same ‘ol science bubble around but here I go again…..
weight loss occurs, and only occurs, when there is a caloric deficit plain and simple.
Not because Diet “X, Y, Z” has made you lose weight.
You are simply consuming less calories, combined with maybe some purposeful exercise and that combination will lead to weight loss.
You’ve also most likely maybe made adjustments to some “non- essential” foods that has helped too.
And by that I mean those extra snacks and treats you don’t need to live but make life worth living haha
Find what works for you, that gives your body real, nutrient dense food, and go from there. The idea is to do what is sustainable for you, for a lifetime, and not a few weeks or months.
And any plan that restricts, or eliminates foods is just not going to be long term sustainable. If it were I wouldn’t see people excited over having cheat days so they could feel normal again and have what’s been withheld from them. That’s a cycle you really don’t wanna be on.
You want a side of protein with that?
If there’s a marketing bus every company in the world has jumped on now, it’s the protein bus.
If it moves, let’s slap protein in it, and throw a big label on the package so the consumer who’s heard something about “getting more protein” will buy it up., even though they may not entirely know why. Kinda like the gluten free thing.
People really are sheep.
I mean after all, it worked for the “fat free” gimmick for years, right? I saw fat free on labels of products that would’ve never had fat in them to start with. For example…A bag of jelly beans comes to mind ..
Honestly, I cannot tell you how many products that would never be a protein source I’ve seen on store shelves proudly displaying it “contains protein”.
Here’s a couple of my thoughts on this.
Protein IS important. It is the building block our bodies for skin, hair, cell growth, muscle growth etc
Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
There is also just a certain amount our bodies need and then excess is just flushed or stored as fat.
I swear by protein as the main thing in my meals that keeps me full, not sluggish and giving me that steady energy source….of course plenty of veggies and fruits go with that too to keep me full and give me all day energy.
Real foods with protein keep us satisfied longer and keep blood sugar levels steady ( meaning no crashing feeling)
The normal person has no trouble getting in their daily protein when they eat a balanced diet.
If you’re more athletic than the normal person, or a serious competitive body builder, your needs may be different.
If at all possible, you should get your protein from real food sources and not added supplements.
Protein rich foods include dairy like Greek yogurt ( 23 grams of real protein in a cup serving of plain) cottage cheese, yogurts,eggs, lean meats, cheese, fish, milk etc
That’s such a relative term, isn’t it? What is easy for one person, may not be so for the other.
Webster defines easy as ” achieved without great effort, presenting few difficulties”
Reading has always come easy for me. I loved it as a child and was a classic bookworm. Summers were for dragging bags of books home to get immersed in.
Words come easy to me. It’s satisfying to use them in creative ways, to paint pictures and to be able to describe and tell a story.
Now imagine my shock when one of my sons really didn’t like reading. At all.
Why? Because it was work for him. It was hard and he had to have no distractions otherwise it didn’t “stick”. Words were hard and he did not find the joy in it that I did.
It’s precisely why one year, I too, read “Where The Red Fern Grows”, out loud to him. In reading it to him, it somehow stuck better, and even though he was older we both enjoyed that time each night reading a chapter so he was ready for the quiz the next day on it.
Word got around that was going on and soon his friends who hadn’t read would ask him…”so what’s going on in the current chapter?”
But ugh… seriously… damn sad book. Tears fell for both of us.
Reading and words were easy for me. My son struggled.
I guess we can see this applied almost anywhere in life, right?
The shining athlete, the top scholar, the jack of all trades who can seemingly do anything, the cook who effortlessly whips a gourmet meal out of nothing but flour, salt, beans and some peanut butter.
Ok, I’m teasing on that, but we all know that ONE person who can work with nothing and make something, and Suzy Q is struggling to follow directions on a box.
All of us can do things, can strive for improving on them yet it will never come easy.
For the love of numbers, I hate math. I’m always semi in awe of people who wield numbers the way I can words.
They look at those algebra equations and it all….makes… sense.
Amazing. Like how does your brain DO that??
I barely, and I mean barely, skated by my last math class in high school and I really think it’s ’cause my teacher just had a level of mercy on me.
And I did show up for extra tutoring so there was that…..
I was never, ever so glad to say good bye to math class. It’s what freaks me out about ever doing any college stuff. I took a practice exam once for the English and nailed it off the charts.
We won’t discuss the math one…… 😉
Easy for some, but not for me.
Hold on… I’m going somewhere….
I was thinking a few times this week during my workouts how some things I view as “easy”, most people think are crazy and can’t imagine doing. They view it as ridiculously hard. Hubby tells me all the time he doesn’t know how I do what I do.
This usually comes when we’re driving up a huge hill and I’m telling him what it feels like on bike or foot. Or telling him about my run/bike/run sessions.
I do it. I don’t think about it. It’s work but it mostly comes easy for me.
Recently doing dead lifts I thought how they weight was starting to feel not as challenging. I’ve been doing around 140lb, at a 3 set 10 reps as a part of my strength training.
Now some of you who lift a lot.. no laughing.
I try not to overwork my body on weights because training right now, I hit the road the next day and sometimes my legs and lower body are asking why I killed them the day before.
Strength training is icing on the cake for my other sports.
Here’s the deal.
In the term of being “easy”, it’s not.
Honestly, to think of lifting something weighing 140lbs straight up off the floor would seem like work.
My body is going through this wonderful thing called adaptation. I’ve been doing it long enough now that in some ways it’s starting to feel easier, but really, I’m just getting stronger and it means I’m going to have to up my game soon.
When it comes to exercise, so many people put at the top of the list, it’s hard.
Why? Well, because in the beginning, it is!
Exercise can quickly reveal to you that you are out of shape and need to be doing it more.
No one likes that feeling.
Exercise really, I don’t think, comes “easy” to anyone. Well, at least in the beginning stages.
And if you’re wanting to continue, grow and improve, if it starts to feel easy, you should be looking at the next step.
How do I get to the easy part?
In the running world, we talk about base miles. Basically, a foundation that you can build on. You train and work in certain mileage that allows your body to get stronger and make those adaptations that come from the rigors of running.
So many cool things change inside your body as it adapts to it. These changes are good and allow you to stay on your feet longer, work harder and go farther distances without injury.
I didn’t wake up one morning and just decide to go run a marathon. It took months of training building my body and adding more mileage each week.
This is how you need to approach getting into a new exercise regime.
It has to be slow and steady, no matter what activity you may choose to participate in. Doing it in this manner not only keeps your body from hating you the next day, it encourages you to keep pressing on to the next step.
And for you the next step might be literally committing to evening walks around the block. Or it could mean increasing your distance if you’ve stayed at the same distance forever. You could be thinking of dusting off the bike in the garage ( and you better be wearing a helmet!)
Maybe you want to start lifting some weights. I can’t stress enough to make sure it’s heavy to make you work. I mean maybe 4-6 reps before you can’t lift one more.
Find a starting point and then build from there. Always be mindful to do enough, but not to much in the beginning, to avoid injury.
With a careful, intentional approach, in time you will find yourself thinking that what once seemed so hard, now seems easy.
Tell me. Can you relate? Have you moved from a point of it being hard and painful to feeling easier?
Hello beautiful people. It’s evening as I write this, unwinding with my preferred drug of choice, a big mug of coffee and patting myself on the back that I didn’t give in to any basic urges and punch someone today.
Working with, and dealing with the public has challenged that a lot lately.
I’m constantly amazed at the sense of entitlement so many have and it’s been an extraordinary and amazing to thing to not only keep my hands to myself, but my tongue too as my brain can conjure up sarcastic comments like crazy.
It’s work keeping that in!
Haha ok I jest…. well…. partially…
But let’s say I’m glad to now be relaxing and letting the ideas out of my head that have been bouncing around for awhile.
I thought we’d talk a bit about ways to make staying active easier. We are ending summer here in the states and moving towards fall and maybe a bit of winter here in the south. Typically a time of year when most begin to want to hibernate inside and the idea of exercise seems like an even bigger chore. Unless you are already a dedicated gym goer or have a disciplined exercise program you may not be thinking it’s a time of year you want to start getting active.
So what are some steps to build a fitness plan?
No one, and I’m pretty sure no one, decides they are just gonna scamper into getting active. Let’s be honest, most dread the idea of having to do exercise even though they may talk about it and really want to do it.
You may admire those who are active, understand the benefits of doing it, and strive to do it yourself but somehow you can’t quite put it together. Of course you also understand that staying active take a lot of work and discipline.
Don’t get discouraged. Some planning and structure will go a long way to your success. Staying active does require more work than being sedentary but it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to maintain.
Let’s take a look at some ideas to help.
Find the thing you want to do.
It’s important to choose something you think you will enjoy and can stick with. Don’t worry about being “good” at it or thinking you can’t do something. Just get out there and start taking baby steps. In time, you’ll gain confidence at it. If you like what you’re doing, you’ll look forward to your time working out.
Like building any new habit, consistency is key. Find a time to workout in the day that is suitable for you and your schedule. Forget what your neighbor or sister is doing, you do your thing. Find a time that you can devote to yourself and put it in your day.
For me mornings have evolved over the past few years. In the beginning it was what I did to get the job done before the rest of my day started. It was hard to get up earlier to get it done but I did.
Mornings are best for me because in the 24 hours of my day it’s when I have people needing and wanting me the least.
I’ve actually come to love being out on the road early. There’s something quite satisfying knocking out miles while the sun is coming up and the world is still getting coffee.
Not only that, it just sets an energetic tone for the entire rest of my day.
Pick your time of day and stick to it.
Get your gear ready the night before.
Now days it doesn’t take much for me to reach for my exercise clothes. When I had to be up on Saturdays at 5a.m. for long runs, I had everything laid out for me to just step into. My mind immediately, although still sleepy, knew it was time to get serious. ( I do not wear athletic clothes as “leisure wear”, for me they represent work and my mind shifts to a different mode once I’m in them)
If your clothes, shoes, socks, accessories etc are there and waiting you won’t have to think about putting it all together. Even if you are an evening work out person, have it laid out and waiting. It will be one less thing you have to think about doing.
Get your nutrition in order.
Knowing what you will have for breakfast and having it prepped will give you less reason to skip on fueling properly. If you are an early morning person, you may have food ready the night before.
Having healthy snacks prepped for pre and post workouts will keep your energy levels up and will be one less thing you have to attend to when you finish.
Have stretches or moves you use at the end of each workout.
I have several go-to yoga moves that feel good after I’ve been running and cycling. This helps my body recover after a workout and ease tight muscles.
Have some stretching and mobility exercises that you can use afterwards. Not only does it feel good, it helps your body to recover faster.
Leave your gear in the same place.
My running bag has everything from some spare change to extra cycling gloves, my running belt, ipod (although I rarely use it on the road anymore) my helmet, glasses, a clean top, and a whole host of other things. I always know where my stuff is at in a moment.
Find a bag or space that is dedicated to what you need for your workouts to keep you organized.
Focus on your workout.
ok I’m notorious for being in the midst of a workout thinking about what needs my attention when I’m done, what I want to write about next, or being distracted by other random thoughts.
This totally takes my mental focus off what my body is doing and keeps me working hard on the task in front of me.
Be in the moment with what you’re doing. Appreciate all your body can do for you, think about how movement feels. All the other stuff will still be waiting for you when you finish.
Plan your workouts.
I literally schedule appointments around knowing the time it takes me to get them in and clean up and look like a respectable human again.
With my duathlon training I consider what days in my week I can devote to my longer sessions, my run/ bike days, and put them there. Shorter mornings may be one of my fast high intensity workouts that I can slam out in 30 minutes or less. Regardless, I know where to fit them in and how much time it will take.
And no, there’s nothing wrong with scheduling that anymore than scheduling a doctors appointment. It’s important, just do it.
With some planning, structure, and intentional purpose you can build a strong and healthy exercise program that will serve you well. When our minds know what to expect we can look forward to being active and truly benefit from each activity.
Tell me, do you have any tips or tricks that helped you get on a disciplined path for exercise?
Monday, the day of the week that seems to garner the most whining, complaining and lamenting. It’s the killjoy of the week, the black sheep of the family, the ugly step-child, or the stuff you stepped in on your shoe.
I’m never sure why Monday always gets such a bad rap.
Oh I know, the party’s over, right?
Back to work, the grind, the no fun and games grind of the work week.
Of course some of you get up with your positive pants on and head into work and you be like…..
And with all the negative Monday talk have you ever wondered if…….
Yeah, something to ponder.
But then, I’m over here like….
I guess for me it’s easier to embrace it as another day of opportunities and chances to do things.
It’s another day we’ve been given this amazing gift called, life, and we are complaining about Monday.
You. Are. Alive.
One more day to spin around the sun, see things, do things, feel, touch, love, and experience life.
Yes, you might view Monday as the armpit of the week, but don’t miss out on living while you feel that way.
Speaking of living….
Yikes. I seem to be meeting myself coming and going lately. Working with my son for awhile at his business ( means being gone all day) training for my duathlon, maintaining the household/ life stuff, writing for this blog, doing research for mentioned blog ;), and attempting to work on my projects for my business leaves me feeling like I want another hour or two in my day, preferably to sit and be still for a moment.
Training is rolling along for the duathlon.
I took off Sunday morning to go run both legs of the course where the race will run. I’ve done it like. twice, since last years race. As I shared in a recent Instagram post, it’s not an “easy” 5k. I mean really, to me a 5k is a distance I’m just warming up in. But this 5k, literally out the start line, is on an incline and you head right into hills, big hills. It continues pretty much until they turn us around to head back, then there is some down hill work, but also more up and down action too.
Anyway, I wanted to be out there to get it under me again mentally as well as physically. The heat and humidity is just a part of what goes with my training so that adds to fun as well.
As I was heading into the final stretch I checked my watch to see that I had clipped a 10 minute mile… now for a lot of you that’s like…slow.
For a 50ish year old woman, I’m okish with that 😉 especially given the mile it had been. I saw my finishing time was close to what I did in the duathlon last year when I was in my peak condition and all I could think is… “I need to get my average pace down”.
I’m hard on myself. I expect a lot and I have high goals. don’t like to feel like I’m not working towards improvement in what I do.
The beauty of athletics right? The sky is the limit on reaching new goals no matter how small or big they may be.
I reminded myself that my last mile was worth cheering over and a decent time on that course was celebratory too.
Of course I might’ve been smiling ’cause I knew food would be imminent. It’s not a good sign when I take off and my tummy is already growling. Food never, ever tastes better than post workout and my hunger is deep, real, and needy.
Do you ever let yourself get that hungry? Trust me, you appreciate food on a whole new level when you are that kinda needy.
Speaking of food….
nothing like finding a random snack hanging out in my purse haha I guess it beats having candy in there or something of that nature.
In the category of things that make me go hmmmm.
Featured stories on the daily news leave me shaking my head.
daily interaction with your children will help them grow and thrive.
eating a diet with less processed food and sugars will help you lose weight.
exercise can help you feel and look better.
eating a diet high in vegetable and fruits can help prevent many cancers.
reading to your children will grow their vocabulary.
smoking can shorten your life, be aging and cause other health issues.
I mean, aren’t these “no brainer” kinda things? Common sense? Like you should just know this stuff? Maybe not but it always leaves me scratching my head when I hear stuff that just seems like you’d know to do it or not do it.
When I’m not trying to eat well and train for a duathlon….
Ok I’ve shared in other posts about my new little vintage business. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/ Believe it or not, it’s been a month since I jumped in the deep end and got my little space at a local shop. I’m so excited that the month has gone really well! I’ve sold a lot of things, I’ve also sold stuff online and picked up some custom orders too.
This is where I start thinking I need 8 days a week with 36 hours in a day…..
especially with the upcoming holiday season on top of it all.
I’ve got plenty of projects going on. I scored this cute little number the other day…
I have a thing for these old phone tables. This one is unique so I was excited to literally stumble across it one day last week at a local thrift shop. I love the fabric on seat and it appears rather new so I’m working with it… I already have a vision for what the rest will look like so stay tuned.
Ok, it’s getting late for me and I need to wrap this up… but first.. this week when I was doing a shift at the shop… I saw one of the girls selling this…. I instantly related….
I mean… really…. I do believe this could be true 😛 Coffee is a the soothing beverage of life. It can pat me on the back and remind me I can do great things haha
I do believe it could be my spirit animal.
Do you have one? How do you feel about Mondays? Tell me something cool and interesting from your week.
Exercise. It’s one of those subjects that when the topic comes up, people delicately shudder and walk off as if you’ve mentioned the plaque or some other horrible ill.
There are jokes made about pain and sweat and how hard it is.
There are comments about how “they should start to do something” or their “doctor told them to” or “my friend is trying to get me to go with them” and many other similar thoughts.
We can be challenged, made to feel guilty, or completely ignore the idea.
For some, just the mere thought of having to move their bodies in purposeful exercise makes them sweat.
Honestly, I was in a similar boat a few years ago.
Then one day, like many people are, I was at a doctor appointment for my yearly check up. When he asked me what I did for exercise I told him I “used” to go for little walks but hadn’t done it in a long time. He encouraged me to do something, to at least get back into walking and to try and drop a few pounds.
I literally left his office that day, went home, took my first walk and pretty much never stopped after that.
It wasn’t all fun and games.
I didn’t skip out and dive into my walks happy. No. I grumbled over it. I lamented being fat and “having” to exercise. ( gosh have I learned a lot since then) I hated being hot and I would’ve preferred staying in and doing something else.
I wanted to come up with reasons not to do it, but I’m kinda stubborn and when I get into something I get determined to make it work.
Yet somehow in all of the talk about the “how’s” and “why’s” for exercise, there’s a whole lotta things that never get mentioned.
Exercise IS hard.
In the beginning it feels like… death. You wonder why on earth you signed up for this fresh hell and how is it really gonna benefit you? Where are the results already?
Seriously, I’d dutifully go for my 2 mile walk and want, ya know, instant results, for my efforts.
Honestly though, I always did feel mentally better after I did it, so there’s that.
Exercise reminds you that you are really outta shape.
Admit it. Who hasn’t gone up a flight of stairs, tried to run for a short distance, or even gone for a brisk walk without breathing like a freight train and feeling like your heart is gonna come out of your chest.
Yet I never got the memo that those were some of the awesome side effects I could encounter when I decided to pursue exercising.
I hated that feeling ’cause it did tell me I needed to work on what was inside of me as well as what was on the outside.
Let’s not forget the other awesome side effects of looking like a red ripened tomato ’cause your blood is wildly rushing and you have sweaty hair plastered to your face.
You ache and feel muscles you never knew you had.
No wonder people run away from exercise.
Don’t do what you hate.
If I had a chocolate bar for the times I’ve had people come to me asking about exercise activities to do but they start with… “Ok, well like, I reallllyyy hate running. I mean, I know YOU like it and all but for me…well..no.”
I simply tell them, well then, don’t run.
Hey I never imagined I’d turn into a runner. That stuff is hard. But somehow, in some weird way, I started doing it and before I knew it… I was running.
I won’t lie. There’s a pleasure and pain pay off to it, but it’s always fiercely rewarding so I’m kinda loathe to give it up 😉
Find something you can enjoy and look forward to and then become the biggest expert at it you can. It’s that simple and it’s the best way to stick with it.
It eventually WILL pay off.
It will. Trust me. It won’t pay off after 9 days or maybe even a month, but it will. But long before you may see physical changes, you will mentally feel better. Going for purposeful exercise can clear your head, help you problem solve, and make you feel better overall. It’s a great day to unwind from your day or start it. I prefer and have turned into a morning workout girl for a variety of reasons.
Mornings are when people typically want/need almost nothing from me so I can take that time. I also feel like it starts my day in an energetic positive way… even if I may still be rubbing sleep out of my eyes why the sun comes up behind me. I am also smart enough to know it is easier to have excuses later in the evening than morning so I just make it my first priority.
No matter what time you choose know you are making an investment in yourself and it will have pay offs.
You’ll actually start to look forward to it.
Really, you will. Once you’ve built it into a new habit it will become easier to incorporate it in your day and you’ll come to actually crave that time, even when you know it will be hard and it will be work.
You won’t mind that because you will come to understand that it makes you feel good and that’s a pretty nice side effect to hard work.
I honestly schedule appointments and other activities around making sure I have time for my training and some moments to get cleaned up and human looking after I’m done . This is as important as anything else in my day and I make no apologies for putting it on my agenda.
You shouldn’t either.
Some things won’t feel so hard.
Really. In the beginning when you are gasping for air like a fish out of water and your heart is pounding you may think you’ll never adapt.
Your body will begin to do all the miraculous things it can and make adaptations so the work “feels” easier but the reality is you are getting stronger. You’ll be able to walk or run longer, lift more and as you make progress you can ( and should) keep pushing on for more that feels hard again.
Years ago when I started doing a little lifting I had these cute 5 lb weights.
Yes, for real. ( I’d never let anyone get away with that now 😉 )
Anyway, I decided I’d make a big move up to 8 lbs. at the time, I felt it a little more. When that started feeling like nothing after a million times, I made a huge move to 15 lbs. ( go big or go home right?? haha)
I won’t lie. That was work. I could barely do 6-8 reps without deciding it was enough. ( girl arms)
I worked those weights a lot. I did what I could do and when I felt like I could add “just one more rep” before my arm fell off, I did it.
Obviously, I camped there for awhile gradually building in sets of high reps that kept me feeling it.
A while back, I realized the 15lb weights felt like the previous ones, like easy, no effort.
I got the small barbell, tossed on about 25 lbs and oh yeah, I’m feeling it again.
Seriously, the first time I could barely squeak out 3-5 reps before it was fail ( meaning I couldn’t curl it one more time)
I just worked that in each time… I’d push for one more rep…
Now, I’m kinda proud to say I can do 3 sets of 8 before my arms are yelling at me. Even though I use heavier weight for other moves, the 25 is for single arm work and my arms are definitely earning their muscles haha
I’m serious… keep at what you do… no matter how small it seems… and build on it. You’ll get stronger and the work in some ways, can feel easier.
It can really build your confidence
So you’re thinking, “well, I am a confident person without working out”. Yeah, I was too. But when you start exercising and putting your body through vigorous work, it changes and you get stronger and you’re doing things other people tease and make jokes about, it will build your confidence even more.
When you set goals, sometimes bigger than you foresee being able to do, go through training, sacrifice, sweat, tears, exhaustion and a whole list of fun things, you’ll get it.
Train for and run a marathon, it will give you the confidence you can do anything. Trust me.
You’ll meet amazing people doing what you do.
So, I’m a little bit.. social.
I’m mentally seeing my hubby reading this choking, reading that last line to which he would snort and say… “A little?!?”
Ok well maybe, quite a bit.
Turning into an athlete certainly has brought me into different circles, and in those circles, meeting some amazing and talented people.
A few years back when I was selected to be in Runners World, “Runners Body” edition, https://sassyfitnesschick.com/runners-world-body-edition-feature/ I was privileged to share the pages with some amazing athletes scattered all across the U.S. These were people I would’ve never encountered otherwise. After the magazine hit the market (Dec 2012) thanks to the world of social media many of us connected. Many of us to this day, are connected and cheering on each others accomplishments.
Locally, I love knowing people who perform in similar sports as I do and having that common ground to discuss our fields of interest ( this often saves the sanity of our loved ones who may or may not be weary of hearing of our times, our negative running splits, or what technique is best for releasing worked muscle groups 😛 )
Knowing these people remind me I can always strive for more, to get more from myself, and to keep setting bigger goals.
My Ironman friends… well… are you even human???
Maybe… someday… who knows.
All that to say, you can meet some interesting people when you get out there. And if you’re semi- social like I am… well it goes together like peanut butter and jelly 😉
Energetic. You’ll get more energy.
I will admit. That was a hard sell in the beginning. How… how… could I get more energy when I could barely drag my carcass off the sofa to go do something ?
This didn’t happen over night. However, the more I did, the more energy I seemed to get. It’s like exercise became the breeding ground for more energy.
Weird, I know, but it happens.
Just start, it will come.
That whole healthy thing.
Ok, I knew intellectually, before I started working out, that it had some health benefits. However, I had no experience with it. This takes a little time but when you start eating better and exercising, it has positive results on your body, inside and out.
My doctor tells me each year at my annual check up my labs are boring and normal, which I think is a good thing.
My good cholesterol level is off the charts past “normal” to which he tells me is generated from all the exercise I do.
There’s a win.
My resting heart rate is usually dancing around in the 40-50 bpm range, thanks cardio and a whole lot of endurance training.
The things I do in my daily life are easy and I have strength to do things on my own and not need “help”.
Let’s not forget how exercise also constantly is generating new cells and growth which many believe is the best anti-aging medicine.
Find some posts below I’ve written on this topic….
There are many words or slang in the English language that either annoy me, bother me or trouble me.
I thought if I had to see or read a post with “Bae” in it one more time, I’d vomit. If there was ever a contest for dumbest slang words, I’d nominate that one. There are of course others that could make the list.
Then there are clever words that were kinda amusing as I watched my daughter in law use the word “clutch”
She would use it in a situation and ask my son or myself, “did I use it right?” that alone was entertaining.
( for the record, it means exactly what you need, exactly when you need it)
Then there are normal words that trouble me when I go to write them ’cause I feel like a first grade kid again having to think them through….. “Am I spelling it right???”
Restaurant, Wednesday, February, Rhyme, Rhythm and a plethora of others make me slow down my typing skills. ( for the record, I just had to very carefully, methodically, type those out 😉 )
And they let me have a blog………
But there is one tiny little, easy to spell, almost innocuous word that can always trouble me.
It’s defined as …. “To make an effort or attempt to do something”
Now you’re probably sitting there tossing down your morning coffee rubbing sleep from your eyes wondering why I’m over here hating on such a tiny word.
Maybe because when I hear the word used it comes along with conditions.
I’ll try to be there…..
I’ll try to get the time off…..
I’ll try to call…..
I’ll try to make the meeting….
I’ll try to come by…..
I’m going to try and go to the gym….
I’m going to try and get up earlier to workout….
I’m going to try to eat better…..
Are you seeing it? when you use the word “try” you’re leaving yourself an out, a way to commit but still escape responsibility or follow through if you decide you’d rather not.
If someone tells me something and they use the word “try” in it, I’ve already dismissed them as not being serious about what’s being discussed.
They are giving themselves a way out.
They are going to “attempt” or “make an effort” to do something but there’s a strong probability it won’t happen.
Hey, I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve used it before too. Maybe that’s why I can say this, maybe I see it a bit more clearly.
Do or Don’t.
Do or don’t. Skip the “try”.
Yes, I understand it requires commitment to go in one direction or another but at least it’s decisive.
But let’s take it out to our commitment to ourselves. When we say we are going to “try” and eat better, start an exercise plan, go to the gym, get to the doctor etc. we are giving ourselves an out, a way to escape from the self inflicted torture we are setting ourselves up for.
Exercise can be work, hard work.
Losing weight involves making different choices and learning to eat better foods and perhaps leaving some behind.
Going to the doctor who is going to tell us that we are over weight and need to lose some for our health convicts us. Well, hopefully it does and you listen and take steps to change things.
The whole process promises to make us… uncomfortable.
No wonder we throw in the word try when it comes to lifestyle changes.
To try something is to accept the possibility of failure. If you set out to do something, the possibility of failure doesn’t enter your mind.
I remember after I had finished my ( I think, third, half marathon) the thought came to me that now was the time for a full.
At first, I dismissed it as craziness and endorphins from running my best half yet.
The idea persisted. But gosh, that’s a full 26.2 miles of hoofing it along on my own two feet!
That’s a pretty long way.
It didn’t take much for me to commit to it. I knew it was time. I knew I was ready.
I signed up and found the training plan I wanted to use.
It hit me one day not long into my eagerness to pursue this new adventure.
The dialog went something like this….
“What, and I mean WHAT are you thinking?? 26.2 miles!” ( this would be my logical brain speaking)
My free spirit , not sane part of my brain responded, “Yeah, I know. I get that. It’s pretty long. I can do this.”
Logical brain… “you’ve not really thought this through. You are trying something you’ve never done. It’s long. It’s hard. What if you fail? What if you can’t do it?”
That brought me up.
I was trying something I’d never, ever considered in my life. I must be insane. Who signs up for a 26.2 mile run???
What if I couldn’t do it? What if logical brain really WAS right?
You know what I did?
I stomped logical brain down, never let myself consider again that I couldn’t do it or would fail at it, trained my butt off, and ran my first marathon that year on one of the hottest November days Texas had seen.
It was brutal. But I finished with the goal to do one again the next year.
I had never been more physically wasted, tired, drained ( physically and emotionally) ever in my life.
It was exhilarating.
Taking on and training for a marathon, it gave me the confidence I could do anything, that I can try anything and that I can take on the world.
I did another marathon, and then a 50k. If you’ve followed me for awhile then you know I also have gone on to do a duathlon and am training for my second this year.
I would have accomplished none of that if I hadn’t been determined and just set out to do it.
I never allowed the idea of failure to come into my mind again. Training and then doing it made me victorious no matter what. It really comes down to our “state” of mind, what we believe, what we focus on.
I never approached it as I’m going to “try” because that would give me an out, a way to say, “hey, this is hard, I’m old, I don’t have what it takes, but at least, I tried!”
No. I know I would’ve hated myself for caving into such things.
I would challenge you to remove that word when you approach new or challenging goals or plans in your life.
Contemplating a new exercise or a new goal? Maybe you are going to find healthy recipes or join a class.
Think of how you use the word “try” in general, but specifically when it comes to new challenges. Don’t allow “try” to be your escape hatch.
With a different perspective you might find yourself removing obstacles and doing amazing things you never thought you’d accomplish.
Have you thought like that before? Have you thought you’d “try” something fully knowing you might not commit to the process?