Friday, February 3, 2012

Dear work out, let’s break up… it’s not me, it’s you…

Does the thought of working out make you groan and roll your eyes?  Does it feel forced, almost like something you have to drag yourself to do?  Perhaps, the problem is not you at all, but the workout you are begrudgingly straining yourself to do. Here is a shocker for you, working out should not feel like work.  It is like a bad blind date, or an ugly Christmas sweater- some things are just not your type, and that my friend is a okay… You tried, you hated, you move on… now all you have to do is find the right fit for you.

Let’s start with obvious choice- a gym.  Some people are motivated by paying for a gym membership; the act of paying sparks the sudden urge to “get your money’s worth”.  For those who feel they are “not the gym type” or fear being judged; I think you would be surprised to know how welcoming “gym rats” are.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and the people who frequent a gym are focused on themselves, and living healthier lifestyle.  You showing up is a step in that direction, no matter what stage you start at, you share the same goals.  If looking at the cardio equipments and weights makes you start to panic and look for the nearest exit, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Gym members and staff are generally very nice and happy to help you show you how machines work, or provide advice. For that added boost of a one-on-one mentorship, you can always consider getting a personal trainer. An expert at what they do, they will work with you to understand your needs, lifestyle and eating habits and be focused and dedicated to help you meet your goals.   Another gym benefit, my personal favorite is group classes; from body pump to cycling, there are various options for you to experiment with.  I became a certified Zumba fitness Instructor over a year ago, and thrive off of the energy classes and other people’s enthusiasm provide.  Teaching helps mandate that I show up (the most important step), try extra hard to be a good example as others are watching every move I make- literally, and lastly I get to earn extra money for working out!

Some prefer to be solo, running on a treadmill, elliptical, or around a lake or trail with only head phones or their thoughts gets their juices flowing.   Others prefer to be at home, at least until they are comfortable, and that is perfectly fine.  There are actually tons of options for the people who prefer their nest.  For those I recommend investing in a home elliptical, treadmill, or bike.  For half an hour or hour a day, you can turn on your favorite TV show or movie on, and sweat it out, rather than vegging out.  For those who invested in the equipment, and now use it as a clothes dryer (we have all done it once, at least I admit it =o)), don’t give up perhaps that is just not your mojo.    Another great idea for those of you who are gamers, you can try Wii Fit, The Biggest Loser, Gold’s Gym Cardio Work Out, or Just Dance to get moving and shaking.  Moreover, can always try home DVD’s there is a vast array of options from P90X (I am currently up to week 8 of intense  muscle confusion, and eXtreme exercise), Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (this is a great option of only 20 minutes a day of intense exercise; perfect for those who do not have the time), or anything and everything from Yoga and Pilates, to Zumba, Belly Dancing to Carmen Electra’s Strip Tease- somewhere out there,  there is a home DVD that can work for you!

        You can use the seasons to your benefit.  Summer is not only great for BBQ’s it is a perfect time to stroll along the sandy beaches or swim in the ocean or pool.  Don’t have a pool? Join a local YMCA! Swimming is a great form of exercise, which uses all muscles in your body without putting strain on your joints.  This is a great exercise for all people from experts through starters (even if you need swimmies). In the fall you can go apple picking, pumpkin picking, or just take a stroll to watch the beautiful fall leaves change color.  In the spring, you can go to a local botanical gardens, or park and look at all the beautiful flowers.  Winter? Want to stay in, walk around the mall and do some window shopping.  Explore your local museums or art galleries.  Want to feel like a kid again, build a snowman with the family, or have a snowball fight.  Feeling adventurous, try skiing , snowboarding or ice skating ; not only are these superior cardiovascular workouts, which can help you lose weight, increase your endurance, and tone your muscles, but more importantly it is a great way to have family fun.

This can be you! 
·       You never know which exercises you might surprisingly love, unless you try.  Most places offer beginners a free class. I took a free class, and got hooked on boxing/kick boxing/ MMA (yes I have pink boxing gloves) great release of frustration, stressful work day, or method burning 800-1000 calories in a single class!  Husbands/boyfriends, want to impress your wives/girlfriends and earn extra brownie points?  Enroll in a couples dance class!  We don’t care if you are clumsy and have two left feet, we will be ecstatic that you want to try together.  Don’t have a partner?  No problem!  There are plenty of dance studios that allow you to come and switch partners so everyone has a turn.  There are plenty of singles, and you never know who you will meet? ;) From Salsa to Swing, Ballet to Hip Hop, Bollywood to Hula, the world is your oyster, *Tap* into it ;).   Ladies, next time you have a girls night- instead of calorie rich dinner and drinks, have some Crystal Light Margaritas (awesome new low calorie mocktails, you add the tequila) and try Pole Fitness dancing instead!  It is surprisingly silly and fun, as well as a great way to feel feminine, sexy, and get in great shape with your gf’s.  

These are my fur kids!
Perhaps you want to revert to the activities you loved most as a child, where playing was fun and not exercise- jump rope, go for a bike ride, walk and talk with a friend, lover, or your best furry friend- the excitement my dogs have from the mere word “WALK?” can both shame you for not being more excited to exercise, and enthrall you to share in the simple joy they have from being outside and seeing the world.

The moral of this story is simple- you have to be open minded to try new things! As the weekend approaches, I encourage each of you to go out, find something new and fun to try.  Don’t worry about making a mistake, in the words of Tony Horton (P90X guru) “Do your best and forget the rest!”. In Zumba, we say you ditch the work out, and join the party. Fitness needs to be perceived as fun and games or we subconsciously avoid it!  If you find something you love, instead of counting the minutes, the time will just fly by, and you will be healthier and happier for it.

Stay tuned for my next blog. Now that you’re moving, we’ll need to start tracking! I will let you in on some awesome electronic gadgets and gizmos which can help you track your progress!

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