Oh yes, I just shamelessly used the words “Black Friday” in my title, knowing it might give my blog a few more hits. But for those of us trying to maintain a healthy weight, the day after Thanksgiving can indeed feel like Black Friday, should one be so stupid as to step on the scale. Therefore, instead of being out shopping with the Crazies, I am at home, drinking coffee and writing an exercise entry in my blog.
If you are like me, you know the holiday season can wreak havoc on the best laid plans of healthy eating and exercise. In the long, dark days of winter, it’s very easy to choose sleep over an early wake up call to the gym, or to just go home after a late day at work, and watch the Big Bang Theory while eating your dinner instead of bundling up for a walk or run in the dark. So, now is the time I encourage you to add some spice to your normal routine. Boredom is the number one killer of exercise programs!
The first thing I did this year was to join the Y. I haven’t belonged to a gym in over 3 years, choosing instead to utilize the gym we have at work with my co-worker workout buddies. Very cheap (free) and it’s always more motivating to know someone else is depending on you to be there. But lately, we find more and more excuses not to go. It seems like such a chore – depressing even – and if one person backs out, it sucks the motivation from the rest of us.
Joining the Y has brought some spice back into my workout plans. I can join a spin class, hit the pool, jiggle my love handles in Zumba, or run on the indoor track (so thankful I won’t have to think about running across ice patches this year). It was just enough to bump my brain out of hibernation mode. If you already belong to a gym, but are bored and find yourself not going, try creating an at home program. Or find ways to exercise outside – like snowshoeing or cross country skiing if you have snow, or biking, running and/or walking if you don’t (be sure to read some articles on cold weather exercise. There is a good one here: ACTIVE.COM). Or join a new gym – maybe one that offers some things you don’t have at your current gym.
The next thing I did was purchase an Ipad, which led me to justify said purchase by figuring out how to use it for reasons other than playing Spider Solitaire or Siege Hero. I started looking for good workout apps, and found a few worth mentioning: Daily Workouts, IPersonalTrainer, and Workout Trainer. I’m not going to review them today, but brought them up because it was in my search for workout apps that I ran across a video called Plank Workout for Flat Abs and Toned Arms, led by a cute, perky girl who made doing a plank look oh-so-easy, even while adding in weights and arm movements.
Further investigation brought me to more videos and then her website –Blogilates.com. Oh my goodness – so much more perkiness (really, I am 48 years old – not much of me is too perky anymore) and sweating. Seems an odd combination, but this girl has some killer moves. Her name is Cassey Ho, and despite her everlasting good mood, or maybe because of it, I absolutely love her workouts. They challenge my strength, they teach new moves to this old dog, and they make me sweat like a pig. (Hmm…maybe that last bit wasn’t very appealing…).
Plus, she makes new videos all the time! And she has a clothing line! And she has a monthly workout calendar. And she has recipes. And meal plans. And inspirational stories. And icing on the cake – she is FREE (although you do have to subscribe to her newsletter for access to some things, like the workout calendar).
Her videos are about 10-15 minutes long, so perfect for those days you need something quick. Or you can do two or three in a row, or you can do what I did. I went thru a few of her videos, pulled out the exercises I wanted to try, and created an hour long workout routine that we did in the gym at work. Holy sweat balls of fire.
And my last bit of advice – sign up for an event that will make you start training. It doesn’t have to be grandiose (but it can be, if you want) – maybe as simple as just wanting to get personal best, or try something new. Need some inspiration? There are a lot of charity events and organizations (like My Team Triumph or the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Team in Training) you can work with to add some meaning to your training. I have found I train better knowing I am running for someone who can’t run for themselves. It adds a spiritual level to my workouts, and reminds me to be grateful and humble.
And that my friends, is that. For now…