Things have been… a little out of control lately.
Nothing crazy, but I haven’t been as on track as I would like to be. I’ve been using my commute as more of my cardio than I would like to admit. In truth, I’m on my bike at least an hour every day, but still. My body is pretty used to it by now, so I really shouldn’t be counting it as a workout. I also haven’t been lifting nearly as much as I’d like — and I can tell in how I feel AND look.
Food has also been slipping. I make food at the beginning of the week — lots of chicken, veggies, egg whites, etc. But when meal time comes? I just.don’t.wanna. So I spend money and calories somewhere I shouldn’t. That one has got to stop too, because you know what? I feel amazing when I’m eating right!
And lastly, water and sleep. Not enough of either, and I don’t know how this happened! Time to just buckle down and recommit.
So on Monday, I’ll be starting Operation: Remotivation and Rehydration. Let me know if you’re interested in joining me on this….Details to come!
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 after I posted the video of Jim Carrey (and how I think my mom assumes that me lifting heavy will turn me into that), I did a little more poking around on YouTube for funny fitness vids. And oh, did I find some gems. Since it’s Friday and I think we’re all ready for the weekend, I’ll leave you with these!
This one gives an entirely new meaning to ‘low-impact’ exercise…
Oh, public access TV…
This next one is actually clips from a bunch of different workouts, but really, I just need to know what #3 is and HOW that is possible.
Do you ever wonder how many of the workouts we’re doing now will end up being made fun of in 10 years?
Um, this one canNOT be serious.
Ride it twice per day? When you wake up the next morning, find out which new muscles you’ve used? No way. Really? And recommended for one person at a time only. They actually had to say that. Are these Canadians for real? How was the host not DYING?
And this one — with the huge shorts to cover tiny legs, the overuse of ‘OK,’ and the not-so-amazing form — is my favorite…
Oh, right. He was being serious.
If you’ve got other funny workout links, send ‘em this way! I think we all could use a laugh! Happy Friday! Go work out!
I know this might not sound like my usual advice, but if you’re really feeling burnt out or apathetic about your workouts, then take a break. Sometimes you just need some time away from your routine to get excited about it again. If you keep trying to get back in the swing of things without switching it up, you’re going to start pushing less in those workouts, which means fewer results.
With that said, I don’t mean take a break from working out entirely. Please, do you know me?
What I’m saying is that when you start to absolutely dread that workout you’ve been doing over and over again for months, it might be time to make a change. And by change, I mean a challenging alternative that will get you excited to work out again. For example, I’ve been doing almost the exact same strength workout for about 3 months. While I love it (I really do…lifting heavy is the newest object of my affection), a few weeks ago I was feeling like I was dragging through every workout. I even started skipping a few exercises at the end of my routines because I was so BORED. (OK, really it was just dumbbell flyes because I hate them and they were starting to hurt my shoulders. But still.) On top of that, I wasn’t seeing the results I was hoping to, so I was slacking on other habits as well. Things just weren’t going well, and I knew I needed to make a change before I totally threw in the towel.
Enter Crossfit. After taking a few days to just loosen my limbs with some cardio (for all of you heavy lifters out there, you won’t lose strength in a week — I promise!), I decided to use a YouSwoop I bought at the end of last year for Crossfit, partially because it expires in a few weeks, but mostly because I knew it would still be killer resistance training. I went for the first time on Friday, and I have to say that it kind of kicked my butt. I haven’t been mixing cardio in with my strength, so this was a wakeup call! However, it did make me realize how strong I’ve gotten in the last few months, since I powered through it with all of the folks who had been doing it for a while. And because the guys running it decided to sneakily add more weight to my barbell when I was doing sprints because they thought I was too strong and wanted to slow me down a little. Not nice.
Anyway, the point is that after taking a short two-week break, I’m super excited to get back to my regular training on Sunday (oh leg day, I’ve missed you!). When I was at the gym the other day, I could see the weight room, and I found myself surprisingly jealous that I wasn’t in there tossing around (OK, fine, struggling with) dumbbells, too. I’m excited about and looking forward to my regular workouts again! And I have to say I’m relieved! It’s like when you eat the same food over and over again because you love it so much, and then one day, you just don’t and you’re kind of sad because it used to be your favorite. So you find something new and unfamiliar to replace it with, only to find yourself craving your former fave a month later.
So go out and try something new! If you’re a runner, give swimming a shot. If you’re a yoga devotee, try a PiYo class. If you normally use just weight machines, try free weights or adding in some plyometrics. If you work out solo, test out some classes. The possibilities are endless!
And just for fun, here’s a Jim Carrey classic, and what I’m assuming my mom thinks will happen to me if I keep lifting heavy:
Have you ever been in a workout rut? Did you take a break or push on through? What have you done to switch up your workouts? Spill!
I know so many of us in the blogosphere have talked about women’s health and fitness magazines and all of the ridiculous information they sometimes spew, but I do think there’s a difference between some of the mags out there. I had been meaning to write this post for a while, but at a staff meeting this weekend, another trainer I know reminded me of how completely silly these publications can be. After she told me I looked like I was leaning out a little bit, I said thanks and then promptly whined that I kept hearing that but wasn’t seeing it on the scale. She shook her head at me and asked if I was a trainer or a client. Fair enough. I know that as a trainer, I should be focusing on body composition and changes other than those on just the scale, but there is a always a little client in me — namely a female client who has been conditioned to equate a downward change on the scale with success.
She then picked up the issue of Self we have sitting in the lobby, and said, “Help me, Kim Kardashian, how can I lose those last 10 pounds? How can I make it easy? What do I doooo?” OK, OK, I got it. I shouldn’t be so focused on the number on the scale, even when it’s what these women’s mags have drilled into my head. So in that spirit, I started thinking of which ones have actually given me good information, and which ones have just regurgitated what I already know (and have already read a million times) from their last 20 issues. Starting at the bottom, here’s my hierarchy of women’s health magazines:
Health: To me, this one is all the way at the bottom because it is seriously the most generic of them all. They tell you the same thing every single month, and it’s always about shrinking some part of your body, but doing it the easiest way possible. ’Sub in skim milk for whole, and you’ll save hundreds of calories!’ Well, thanks, Health — since I couldn’t have figured this one out from reading the nutrition facts. If you’re an absolute newbie to health and fitness, then this might be good for you, but after a while, even novices will catch on that they’ve already read the newest issue… last month. Consider this the tricycle of health mags. A decent start, but it won’t be long until you’re onto a big girl bike with training wheels. Oh, and they have super random celebs that aren’t doing much other than commercials (Brooke Shields) or trying to sell their new book or reality show (Bethenny Frankel). I do love Lauren Graham, though.
Fitness, Self: These two are on the same level for me. They might give you a new tidbit of information every month, but it’s usually something that would have been common sense if you really thought hard enough about it. They both tell you that you can have your dream body if you tack on an extra 10-minute walk on your lunch break, which, well, isn’t true. At all. Those women with your dream body? They put in the WORK. Or have amazing genes. Either way, the tiny tweaks they suggest aren’t going to do it. Both of these mags also have otherwise very intelligent women fearing fat, protein, and heavy weights. Yeah, that 10-lb dumbbell is tooootally going to bulk you up, better grab a three! And the amount they talk about happiness and how it will help you melt away weight and other health issues is ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I think mental health is so important to overall wellbeing, but at some point after you’ve worked on your head, you will have to work on your body to see real results. Even the celebs they have on their covers repeat the same happiness speeches over and over again. I was reading Self last month, and Minka Kelly (who I normally adore) was talking about how she finally came to terms with her body… and then got in amazing shape! I had to flip the cover over to make sure I hadn’t already read this issue, because there was some serious fitness mag deja vu going on.
Shape: I like Shape, I do. It’s better than the others previously mentioned, but frankly, I still don’t buy it off of the newsstands. One, because my gym has it, so I can just read it when I’m there. And two, I probably can still get all of the info I need from one of their back issues. They give you a little more science-based information with the diagrams of the muscle groups in their moves of the month, and they do tell you to strength train. However, they still equate skinny with sexy and healthy a little too much for my liking. They also talk a little too much about style and beauty for a health mag — if I wanted to know how to get beachy waves while wearing my shape-flattering bikini, why wouldn’t I just read Glamour? Or Elle? Or another style magazine? And I roll my eyes every single time I see an ad for Skinny Cow ice cream or 100-cal packs juxtaposed with an article about eating real, whole foods.
Women’s Health: As far as mainstream women’s health publications go, WH is my absolute favorite. I would totally get a subscription to this one…if, again, my gym didn’t already have it. I do feel that they provide new information (at least a little) in each issue, and they don’t coddle their readers quite so much. They get a little more scientific and explain muscle groups and chemical processes in the body in depth and don’t seem to be afraid of scaring readers off by getting technical. They also aren’t constantly ramming ‘think positive thoughts!’ and ‘go easy on yourself!’ messages down their readers’ throats. It’s clear that the editors at WH think you have to work harder if you want to look or perform better. The other topics they talk about like sexual and mental health aren’t covered up by cutesy euphemisms either, which I appreciate, since I think any of us reading the mag are big girls. And while they do have some skinny fitness models featured, they also have some women with kickass abs, quads, and biceps that you know didn’t come about by just taking walks or curling 5-pounders.
Oxygen: This one isn’t quite as mainstream, but as far as women’s health magazines go, I think it’s the best one out there. I actually buy this one every month, and think I’m just going to go ahead and get a subscription. They cut out most of the beauty and style stuff that we can find in, uh, beauty and style magazines, and pack each issue full of new workouts, clean eating recipes (no 100-cal packs to be found!), and new research. The cover models are always ripped, and are usually someone whose fame has come about because she’s an athlete (Dara Torres, Jamie Eason) rather than a movie/pop/reality star. I know being jacked isn’t everyone’s ideal, but I think this publication does a much better job of educating its readers so that they can make informed decisions on their training and diet based on how they want to look and feel. I’ve found a lot of exercises that, as a trainer, I love to incorporate into my own workouts as well as my clients’. I also appreciate that they don’t always tell readers to find the lowest calorie item, but the cleanest calorie item– meaning whole foods! And they make it clear that looking a certain way takes work, and lots of it. The only other thing that might turn people off is the excessive number of ads for protein powder and fat burners. But if you can get past that, you’ll learn a lot more reading this magazine than Health or Self.
What do you think? Which mag is your favorite and which ones can you do without? Did I miss one? Spill!
So when I decided to do this figure competition, I don’t think I knew exactly what I was in for. Don’t get me wrong, I did my research, but there is always more to learn. Here are a few things that I was not expecting when I made this decision:
The callouses on my hands. I mean, they’re really bad.
How badass I would feel when squatting close to or the same as the guy next to me.
How many funny looks I would get in the weight room when squatting the same as the guy next to me.
That cardio would not be my favorite thing anymore.
The people who look at you sideways while you’re writing down the details of your workout between sets.
How many questions I would get about what I’m doing and how hard it is to explain sometimes!
Wanting to conserve my energy for a workout later in the day. I used to take advantage of any extra activity, but if it’s going to mess up my strength training, I’ll skip the extra calorie burn now.
How much I now adore strength training.
The amount of mental strength I have. I thought I’d lost it, but I’ve really surprised myself lately.
How much easier it is to get back on track if I do slip. On Saturday, I was far from perfect, but I still got my workout in, and it gave me that much more motivation to get pretty darn to close to perfect with my workout and diet on Sunday.
How much effing protein I would have to eat. And how quickly I go through chicken breast, tuna, Greek yogurt, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.
The eye rolls from my roommates when I tell my to feel my flexed bicep or quad. (OK, JK, totally expected this one. I’d do the same!)
Any figure competitors out there? What was most shocking to you? Anyone who has just started a new fitness routine or a new way of eating? How many of you had experiences you didn’t expect? Spill!
This week has felt all over the place, and it’s only Wednesday! Either way, I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. So this week I…
Have felt like I worked a lot, even though I’m not working any more than normal.
Put off finishing my maid of honor speech for my sister’s wedding about 20 times. And it’s this weekend.
Delayed two workouts earlier this week and am now trying to frantically cram them in before I head to Michigan for the wedding. Probably not ideal.
Have not posted anything, and have been fairly MIA from Twitter and Facebook.
Ordered Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet — Recharged! from Amazon since this past week a few not-so-hot foods have snuck into my diet, and I need to really get focused after the wedding this weekend for the competition!
Drank way too much coffee.
Started the 30 for 30 fitness challenge with my readers!
Jammed out to this Auburn song about 80 times since I downloaded it Sunday.
How’s your week going so far? What have you accomplished? And what are you working on?
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!
Hi all! I’ve gotten a number of emails asking when this challenge was starting, and unfortunately we’re going to push it back a week or two. Life has just been unexpectedly crazy the past few weeks, and I didn’t want the challenge to fall apart because I was all over the place. Plus, I need a certain number of participants and I’m still one or two shy because some folks were still deciding and hadn’t gotten back to me. SO, if you are still interested in the fitness challenge, then shoot me an email (hguith at gmail dot com) with your ‘YES, Heather, I need a kick in the pants because I still haven’t used my gym membership I bought on December 31st, and I think my gym is laughing its way to the bank at all of the resolution saps, and I don’t want to be one of them’ response. Or you know, just, ‘Yeah, I want a chance to win money for working out.’ If you didn’t get the details the first time around, shoot me an email too! I can send you the rules in a separate email and we can go from there. The main idea is that you need to move 30 minutes per day for 30 days. And just a reminder that the grand prize is worth at least $250! And I’ll have some other prizes as well, in different categories, so don’t fret if you don’t win the overall prize! I want everyone of every fitness level to be able to participate, so email me for details or to confirm your participation.
In other news, how are everyone’s goals (if you set any) coming along? So far so good on mine! I haven’t missed any workouts, I’m in the process of clearing the junk from my room, and I’ve been pretty social if I do say so myself! So tell me how you’re doing and how you plan to go get ‘em this month! Spill!
I have a new favorite toy at the gym! It’s not a weight, or the TRX, or a cardio machine, or a new kind of BOSU, but rather…
the Precor Stretch Trainer!
I seriously LOVE this thing. I first tried it when I went to the chiropractor, and when I saw it sitting by the stretching area at my gym, I knew it was meant to be! We didn’t have one of these bad boys at the gym where I used to work, so I was thrilled to see it at my gym. I always have lower back tightness and less-than-loose hamstrings (hence the help from the chiro), and this is the next best thing to having a physical therapist or trainer stretch you out. Plus, I love that it gives you instructions on how to stretch every single area, including your back, glutes, hips, shoulders, and hamstrings. I usually say ‘pfffft’ to detailed how-tos for stretching, but in this case, I love it, since I had no idea what this piece of equipment did before! I promise I’m not being paid for this when I say: I would keep one of these at home and stretch in front of the TV (after a little warmup of course –NEVER stretch cold muscles!) or while chatting with my roommates if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Anyway, just wanted to give you all a little insight into what’s been going on with me and how I got involved in my latest love affair. (Kidding!) (Kind of.) (Not really.) But I’m wondering… am I way behind on this? Have you all been using it forever? Do you like it? What’s YOUR new favorite thing at the gym?