OK, slight exaggeration, but I’ve had a really hard time getting all of my water in lately. This makes zero sense because it’s been a million degrees here, and that should make me want to drink more water, right?
Apparently not. I’ve been drinking about 2 or 3 liters of water per day, which seems pretty good for the average person. But when you’ve been drinking 4.5 to 6 liters everyday for a very long time, your body kind of doesn’t know what to do with itself. I’ve been tired, slightly unmotivated, thirsty, and I just haven’t felt as good. This should be enough to push me to chug a few bottles, but I just haven’t done it! Whether it’s a sudden boredom with h20, the fact that I now get most of my cardio while biking around the city (no bottle rack yet), or being in an air-conditioned studio a lot of the day, I’ve got to figure out the reason. I’ve started off every single day of the last two weeks saying, ‘OK, you’ve got to get at least 4 in today. Just 4.’ or ‘No coffee until you’ve had at LEAST a liter.’ I start off strong, and right around 4pm, I just don’t want to drink any more water! The thing is, I’ve never had this problem, and I’ve never been one of those ‘Ugh-I hate-water’ people, so I don’t know what’s going on.
But…that’s gotta stop. Even when everything else falls apart, I’m always good about water. Once the water things slides, I know I’m in trouble. So to keep all of my other healthy habits going, I’m going to get back to my mega-hydrating ways — even if that means I have to schedule out when I should be drinking water in the same way I plan out my meals. This is just a really odd struggle for me!
Have you ever had one of your usual healthy habits slip? Did you figure out what caused it? How did you fix it? Help a sister out and spill!
So I’ve decided to add a new title to my ever-growing list. Personal trainer, writer, gym rat, assistant manager, resume expert, non-stop talker…and group fitness instructor? I’ve been thinking about trying it out for a while, despite my previous reservations about classes (and, uh, my subsequent retraction). But then last week, we needed a last minute sub for a core class, so I took it on and… LOVED IT. Of course I totally adore my regular gig training my clients, but this was just fun! A little scary too, because I felt like I was on stage performing or something, since I was the only one talking (and probably awkwardly telling jokes). But in the end people were sweating and I got good feedback, and it was kind of a rush.
I’m going to be taking more classes at work to learn as much as I can, and hopefully, slowly I’ll be able to add more classes to my repertoire. Either way, I’ve been bitten by the group-ex bug, and in addition to thinking about every song I hear in terms of my own workout, I’ve been considering how it would work for a class. My current fave? This Kelly Rowland song, ‘Commander.’ Crank it up and tell me you don’t want to start moving.
What about you? Which songs have you loved hearing in your classes or at the gym lately? And instructors, which songs have been pumping up your classes lately? Spill!
So last night as I was sweating away, doing my cardio (yeah, my Friday nights are super exciting), I was thinking about which music pumps me up to push another mile or another 5 minutes and why. And I must have been inspired by Angela and Bess because I wanted to share some of my workout tunes with you. Here are some of the songs that kept me moving yesterday when I almost skipped the gym:
This Keri Hilson song goes along with that whole vanity thing. But hey, I like being cute, which is one of the reasons I work out. The song’s a little cocky, but I love that about it. I also love that she doesn’t necessarily relate being ‘pretty’ with being a certain size (so many female artists do this, and it drives me nuts), and she tells all the ladies to do the ‘Pretty Girl Rock’ because we all should know we’re beautiful. Amen, girl. This song totally makes me do a little hip pop every now and then on the treadmill or elliptical. Good thing I go to the gym at off hours.
This song is NOT new, but it came on last night, and I was jamming at the gym. Again, such a good thing I go to the gym at weird times. I love JLo, her dancing, her gigantic fly girl hoops, her ridiculousness, and her confidence (mostly about her ridiculousness). And I can’t help but rock out to her stuff because she’s a fellow lady with a behind. I can’t help it! I totally have a girl crush on her — along with Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, and Jessica Biel. I’m sensing a theme!
Just good for sprints or if you’re angry. Nothing else to say about it. This song never fails me.
Yes, I know she’s like 9. Yes, I’m completely serious. This one warrants a hip swivel (as long as I’m not running –disaster!) instead of a pop. You know what I mean.
This one makes me feel like a BA chick in a completely different way. Also good for sprints. Or imagining yourself wearing black eye liner, sneering, and strutting around with hair that belongs in a White Snake video.
For some reason, this song was my go-to running jam for a while (while I was still running a lot). I would turn it on for timed half miles, knowing that if I wasn’t almost done with 800m before Jeezy was done rapping, I had better pick up the pace. “No pain is forever. Yup, you know this” always pushed me on when I was thinking of how much I didn’t want to run that day. And this song still wakes me up every morning! (That’s more out of laziness though, since I just haven’t changed the CD in my alarm clock in a year. The ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ at the beginning apparently isn’t quite annoying enough yet.)
This one seriously makes me want to dance during cardio. And I am slowly revealing myself as that crazy person at the gym right now.
Speaking of the Gaga, this one is amazing for intervals. Stay steady on the verses and go all out on the choruses. I usually pick up the pace even more on the bridge.
Equal parts anger, defiance, and optimism. I like it. I feel a little invincible (maybe even… bulletproof?) when working out to this song. Get ‘em, girl.
You know what this sampling of my cardio tunes has shown me? a) That I totally know why people pick the treadmills farthest from me, b) that I’m all about the girl power (OK, like that’s a revelation), and c) that I need some new music since nothing on this list is even remotely new. (Still working on uploading some of the awesome suggestions I got a few weeks back!)
What tunes do you rock out to for cardio? Do you share any of my favorites? Do you think I desperately need to update my iPod? Spill!
As a writer and an English major, I know that it’s not always just about what you say, but also about how you say it. I could tell my friend that the jacket she’s trying to wear out tonight is not such a good idea, OR I could ask her what else she was thinking about wearing and steer her in another direction. In both instances, I’m saying the same thing, but the second one probably won’t piss her off. I can do the same thing with my clients during workouts. I can tell them I’m about to bring the pain with Bulgarian split squats, or I can tell them that we’re going to get them looking good in their jeans with this exercise that’s really going to burn. I’m warning them about the difficulty of this next move in both cases, but in the latter I emphasize the positive and what it’s going to do for them.
Yesterday, as I was making my new vision board, I came across an interesting little blurb in an old Shape magazine that I was tearing pages out of. It said that in order to create a positive association with exercise, we need to start by turning our language around. For example, instead of declining a lunch invite by saying, “Oh, no, I can’t… I should get to the gym for that cardio hip hop class,” I can say, “Let’s reschedule! I want to hit up this class at my gym that I’ve been dying to try.” Or, instead of, “MAN, I have to do legs today,” I can say, “Ooooh, I get to do legs today! Let’s see who I can out-squat!”
I really do think there is something to changing up the way you talk about exercise, because recently I switched up my training plan, and started using ‘get to’ and ‘want to’ instead of less positive phrases, and now I’m excited about my workouts! I think, after reading that, I’m going to consciously cut out the negative words and replace them more often with words that make sweating sound pretty sweet.
Does how you talk about activities — especially those of the fitness variety — change how you think about them? When you say you ‘get to’ hit the treadmill, do you mean it? What other words and phrases make working out seem (even more!) fun? Spill!
Who else is glad that it’s FRIDAY?!
This week hasn’t exactly been stressful, but I guess it’s just been one of those weeks for me. This weekend, I plan on getting some good workouts in — boot camp tonight, training session tomorrow — and catching up on my writing and blog reading. And in general, I’m just going to try to pull it together! I want to make some more of my mom’s fab turkey chili too, and if I do, I’ll be sure to post a recipe! Or maybe just a picture because I’m still amazed that I haven’t minded being in the kitchen lately.
What about everyone else? What are you up to this fine fall weekend? Give me the details! I hope for your sake it’s something more exciting than what I’ve got going on!
And last item on the agenda… I need your help! I did some deadlift-y move the other day, and ever since, my hamstrings have been crying/screaming/preventing me from walking appropriately. I know I can foam roll and do the usual exercises, but anyone else have a creative or just really GOOD stretch that will restore my normal range of motion? Help!
So after Wednesday’s post on getting past your excuses for not working out, my friend Kira asked yet another great question: ”Okay here’s another excuse … money. Say you get bored to death running (or get too many weird pains), but you can’t afford a gym membership or sports equipment. I personally would love to go to a climbing gym regularly but I can’t afford it. I would also love to hire a personal trainer, but clearly, same issue. Any thoughts on this one?”
For some reason, even though I’m a semi-broke twenty something myself, this excuse didn’t even occur to me. Maybe it’s because I work at gyms or the fact that I got an amazing deal on my own gym membership (I now pay $9 per month for the rest of my life!) or the fact that I just can’t imagine a life without exercise. Whatever the reason, I’m always fretting about money, so it’s crazy that I didn’t think of this one! But once it was brought to my attention, I couldn’t stop thinking of new ways to sweat for very little money! Here’s a somewhat abbreviated list for those of you who, like me, don’t have dollar bills falling out of your pockets:
1) Use what you have. Now let’s start with the basics. While Kira mentioned that she didn’t love running, some of you might. I’m guessing you already have a pair of shoes, and that’s all you need (besides yourself), so give it a try! Add in intervals by sprinting on the choruses of your workouts songs if you’re listening to music, or, if you’re not, decide on a certain number of blocks you’ll go all out for. And there’s no shame in doing a walk-run combo if that’s what gets you moving. If you’re still not a fan of pounding the pavement, try biking! I’m guessing that about half of you have an old mountain bike from Target in the garage or stuck in storage somewhere. And if you don’t have it, I bet your parents still do, so if you live close enough for you or them to drive, throw it in the trunk on the next visit and you’ll be good to go (at least until it starts snowing here in the Midwest)!
As far as strength training goes, use your own body weight! Pushups, squats, and situps are awesome moves that require nothing but your own fabulous self. Once you master these, add weight with household items (as silly as it sounds, fill up old milk jugs with sand, even!) or try standing on one leg to make them harder. If you really can’t afford a gym membership, you already have everything you need to cover all of the basics. Trust me.
2) Buy used. If you don’t have a bike or other exercise gear, and buying new is out of the question, try craigslist. Honestly, you can find anything on there, and some people are selling some pretty nice exercise equipment in the Beauty + Health section. A client of mine bought a never-been-used wetsuit for a Tri, and I’ve even seen someone selling their gym membership for cheaper, so be on the lookout for those bikes as well as things you wouldn’t expect! If you have a Play It Again Sports or other used sporting goods store in your area, check it out as well! Sure, some things might gross you out to buy used, but a soccer ball or basketball or set of dumbbells is still the same, even if it did have a previous owner.
3) Learn to share. The things we learned in kindergarten are still valuable today. Sharing or splitting the cost of things is a HUGE money saver. Really want to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions? Find a friend or two who does too, and halve your cost! Honestly, most personal trainers (especially newer ones at big gyms who need clients desperately!), are willing to work two people out for the cost of one (sometimes a little more, but your cost is still lower than hiring one on your own), because it’s not much extra work and they’re still making the same amount of money for an hour of work. Recruit a third friend and your individual cost will go down by a lot even if the overall price goes up a tiny bit. (Note: with this situation, don’t expect the same individual attention you might get if it were just one or two of you, though. When training three or four, it gets hard to focus entirely on every single person in the group.) There are even tons of places that offer cheaper group training (like Motiv in the Chicago area) or pre-set workout plans available to their members (check out TEAMiFIT, also in Chicago).
However, if a gym membership and split personal training sessions are still a stretch, check out some do-it-yourself programs that you can split with friends. You buy the P90X or other workout program between four friends and have up to 3 months of workouts for next to nothing! Do it at a different pal’s house every week to be fair, and make copies of any written instructions. You’ll all reap the benefits! You could also host a workout video swap, and have your friends bring all of their used CoreFusion, step aerobics, and yoga DVDS that they aren’t using anymore. Everyone will be able to find something that they haven’t tried before, and no one loses any money! You can always get your DVD back after letting the other person try it.
4) Look for deals! Call your local gyms and see if they’re running any specials and if they offer any additional discounts for students or family members or people in a certain profession. If you really want to try a gym, this is key! I know that when I worked at Bally, they were always offering month-to-month memberships for 20 to 30 bucks! They might not be the fanciest gyms, but they have all of the basics and even some classes! Basic gym is better than no gym, my friends. Call up gyms in your area to see if they do anything similar.
Additionally, I have found a ton of really cool stuff online by signing up for email updates from Groupon, Tippr, and Living Social Deals. They’ve got them for all of the major cities and surrounding areas, so I bet you’ll be able to find something! I recently bought a month of hardcore bootcamp classes for only $20 from Tippr, and I’m eyeing today’s deal on Groupon for two months of unlimited Bikram for only $39. And for just new and cheap ideas, check out Vital Juice. I get an email update for all sorts of fun activities, and they even do an email blast on free healthy things to do in your city! Seriously, this one is just about being resourceful!
5) Take advantage. Are you sure there aren’t services available to you, for free, that you just haven’t been paying attention to? Does your office hold a before-work bootcamp or fitness class to all employees? If not, would they do something similar to lower their insurance premiums? (Ask them! And if you’re in the Chicago area, tell them you know of someone who can lead the class!) Is there a running group that meets nearby a few times per week? Most groups have a website or ad on craigslist, so get to Googling! You could even start your own by tweeting or Facebooking that you want to start a group for swimming or climbing or cross-training… whatever! I bet you’ll get a ton of feedback from people just like you!
Do you have a library card? Head over to the nearest library and check out a workout video or fitness book (FYI, books usually have longer check-out periods so make sure you turn those DVDs in on time to avoid fees!) Does your local high school have a rec center or pool that’s open to the public for a small fee per visit? Try it! It’s like a gym, but on a pay-very-little-per-visit basis. Does a local workout facility or yoga studio host free weekly classes that you can join in on? I know that even my local Lululemon store has free Sunday classes right in the store! Even if these free classes are being used to plug a business’ services or clothes, so what? It doesn’t mean you have to buy anything! Go and take advantage!
I’m sure there are a million other ways to sweat on the cheap (or for free!), but this is what I’ve got for now! Have you tried any of these tips? Would you be willing to? Got any other inspired tips for me? Like, I said, sharing is an awesome way to get fit for free –and that includes sharing information, so if you have any more ideas, spill!
No excuses. When it comes to exercise, that’s what I’m supposed to tell you, right?
Well, I would, but I know that we’re human and we’ve all got excuses when it comes to fitting in our workouts. However, the trick to getting past those excuses is to hear them and then beat them by using a little bit of strategy and planning. Here are a few of the most commonly heard excuses for not exercising (some of which I may have used myself) and how to get around them.
1) Not enough time. You work 10-hour days, you volunteer, you have a packed social life with a boyfriend, a great family, and tons of friends demanding your attention. Oh, and we can’t forget your standing appointment with your DVR that’s recorded all of your favorite shows. Sounds like you have a pretty full, pretty great life. But you know what’s missing? EXERCISE. You manage to fit all of these other things in, but you aren’t able to squeeze in a few sweat sessions? Grab your calendar and pencil in at least 30 to 45-minute workouts per week. Honestly, to improve your health, that’s all it takes. A little more if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, but if you’re already where you want to be, for less time that it takes to primp for work or happy hour, you can get your heart pumping. And please, please, PLEASE don’t let TV be your excuse. First of all, go ahead and say that one out loud. It just sounds silly. And second, if you must watch that show, why don’t you tune in while working out? Do an at-home strength program while watching or ask the gym if they’ll turn on your show when it’s on. You can’t be the only one obsessed with “Glee.”
2) Not enough sleep. Uhh, why not? I understand that the above crazy busy life may limit your time spent snoozing, but getting enough sleep is so important! I didn’t realize how much better I felt with more sleep until I switched jobs and stopped working 13-hour days (which is ridic, btw). I started getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep almost every night, and my mood and my health both improved! It takes a whole lot more to get me stressed or upset now, and I even lost a few pounds just because my body was rested enough to repair itself and do its thing. Rachel had been telling me I needed to sleep more for the longest time, but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that I became a true believer! But let’s just say that you’re still struggling in the sleep department, moderate exercise will actually do nothing but wake you up! That’s the great thing about it. And if you you’re missing out on Zzz’s because you just can’t fall asleep then exercise will help with that too! Regular activity = regular sleep schedule. Just make sure you get your sweat on at least 3 hours before bed so you can sleep soundly. Either way, get moving!
3) Not feeling like you can do enough in the time that you have. You think that that 20 minutes you have every weekday won’t do a thing, right? Not so! Bump up the intensity on most days, and you can really elevate your heart rate. Try intervals in your cardio, and limit or eliminate your rest between strength sets altogether. My favorite is treadmill intervals of 90 seconds at a steady pace with 30 second all-out sprints. For my resistance training, I like to do supersets between my back and chest or quads and hamstrings (biggest muscle groups burn the most calories!). You can still do a LOT in a little time. Trust me.
4) Not exactly loving the whole ’working out’ thing. You’ve tried running because it’s supposed to burn the most calories, but you ended up getting bored or a case of shin splints. You’ve tried swimming because it’s supposed to be a great full-body workout, but you ended up doing two laps and coming up gasping for air, making you feel like an athletic failure. You tried a cardio kick class, but the instructor was just a little too peppy for your liking, you couldn’t follow the moves fast enough, and the guy behind you really could have used some deodorant. Whatever you tried, you hated it, and you stopped working out altogether. But why? Why did you only try that one thing and give up on exercise entirely? There are so many options out there! Try a yoga-cardio fusion class if you need something a little more zen. Get a mountain bike or a pair of hiking boots and find a trail if being in the gym is just not your idea of a good time (you can even do a little resistance training outside! Squats and pushups, anyone?). Hire a personal trainer that fits your workout style and personality if you like being in the gym and need a push, but don’t like sharing with other people. Whatever gets you moving, do it! And don’t limit yourself to what you see your friends or family doing. Find what’s right for you and start sweating!
Alright, so those are the most common excuses I’ve come across, but what others have you heard (or used yourself!)? How do you combat those excuses or the ones I’ve mentioned? Spill!
I know, super creative title, right? Anyway, it’s been a coffee kind of day. I visited Starbucks twice before 10am today, but in all fairness one was before 6am since I had to be up at FIVE (for one of my fave clients though, so I didn’t really mind). Also, I think I should let it be known that Starbucks itself is enabling my java addiction by giving me a gold card with my name on it and everything. It’s so shiny and it gives me refills and a free drink for every 15 I buy or something (that doesn’t take too long for me to rack up, sadly). So…it’s not my fault? It’s a good thing I just drink plain coffee instead of anything fancy, but STILL. I love my coffee and all, and I refuse to completely give it up, but maybe I should find some other ways to perk up besides getting an IV of espresso.
What about you? What are your favorite (non-caffeinated) ways to wake up in the morning? Give me your best suggestions and help a sister out!