Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Fitness Challenge Continued
It would seem we have two camps of readers: those who are already exercising regularly but need some variety in their routines and those who are having trouble motivating to start a new, or resume a previous, exercise program.
So here’s what we’re going to do. Starting this Sunday, Feb 21, for the rest of February and all of March, we are going to challenge ourselves to vary our workout programs and try new things, or we are going to commit to at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Either way we are all going to see results and create some new, positive habits. I realize this is a smidge longer than the original 30 day plan but, well, math is hard. I feel like it’s easier to commit to an entire month but I don’t want to wait until March 1 so let’s just consider the extra week a “bonus” week.
My plan is to post fitness and nutrition information and new recipes on the blog each week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Five days a week seems like overkill when it comes to health and nutrition information, don’t you think? When I worked as a personal trainer I never saw clients more than 2-3x/week, the rest of the time they were on their own, so we will adopt a similar schedule here on the blog. Of course, if you ever have a pressing question or concern you can always email me and we can use Tuesdays and Thursdays for comments and supporting one another.
For those of you who are just trying to establish some consistency with your exercise program, all you need to do is print the fitness challenge calendar at the end of this post and put an “x” on each day that you do at least 30 minutes of exercise. Like I said, it can be anything you enjoy doing that gets you moving, raises your heart rate and burns some calories. I suggest placing the calendar on your refrigerator as a reminder that you should be going for a walk or exercising instead of mindless snacking.
For those of you that are cardio-queens and never stretch or lift weights, you should pick two days on the calendar each week that you will focus on flexibility (maybe attend a yoga class or do a Pilates/yoga DVD) and/or strength training and mark those days with an “x.”
When it comes to losing weight, people always put the emphasis on cardio. But if you really want to fire your metabolism and blast calories, you need to add some strength training to your workout.
If you need some additional motivation to vary your current cardio routine or to start strength training, I give you my Top 10 Reasons to Lift Weights:
1. Weight training tones your muscles which looks great and raises your basal metabolism...which causes you to burn more calories 24 hours a day. You'll even burn more calories while you're sleeping.
2. Weight training can reverse the natural decline in your metabolism which begins around age 30.
3. Weight training energizes you.
4. Weight training has a positive effect on almost all of your 650-plus muscles.
5. Weight training strengthens your bones reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis.
6. Weight training improves your muscular endurance.
7. Weight training will NOT develop big muscles on women...just toned muscles!
8. Weight training makes you strong. Strength gives you confidence and makes daily activities easier.
9. Weight training makes you less prone to low-back injuries.
10. Weight training decreases your resting blood pressure.
Keep in mind that you don't need a fancy gym membership or expensive equipment in your home in order to start weight training. You can use your own body weight for resistance (think squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups) or make a small investment in some dumbbells and an exercise ball. I still do a lot of squats while holding a fussy baby and "baby push-ups," where I press a baby overhead while lying on my back, are still a favorite. The babies love it and, now that they are over the 20lb mark, it's getting challenging!
I do have a TRX suspension system at home which is light-weight, portable and can anchor to a wall or door for a killer full-body workout. It also comes with an exercise DVD that leads you through a fast, effective workout in just 25 minutes, which is all I have some days. But, as I said, you don't need any equipment to get started and I will be posting exercises on the blog that can be done anywhere with little or no equipment.
So, print your fitness challenge calendar and get excited to make some positive changes over the next five weeks!