Thursday March 6, 2014
We're all pretty good at finding excuses to skip our workouts. For example, if you haven't alphabetized your CD collection...wait, I just transported back from the 90s and am back in the current century. If you haven't organized all the Apps on your iPad or watched every episode of "Breaking Bad," how can you possibly take time to workout?
You may be an expert at avoiding exercise but, today I want you to practice finding reasons to exercise. We're often so busy thinking of all the obstacles that stand in our way, we don't think about the fact that, deep down, we really want to exercise. Or maybe we just want to want to exercise? Not sure.
Here, I'll get you started:
- To lose weight - You already know that exercise, along with a healthy diet, can help you lose weight, something most of us wouldn't mind accomplishing.
- To feel good - This is a great reason to exercise because you can feel good in a variety of ways and at a variety of points during your workout and even during the rest of your day. You can feel good by getting some stress relief or by increasing your energy or just by knowing you did something good for yourself.
- To check it off your to do list - Doesn't it feel good to clear your to do list? Workout? CHECK!
- To prove you can - I have a client who tried and failed multiple times at exercise, something her husband regularly teased her about. After a year of working with me, she takes great pleasure in finishing every workout and singing the na-nanny-boo-boo song to her doubting husband.
- To beat someone else - If you're ever lying in bed, thinking about skipping your workout, think of all the people in the gym right at that moment who are working out. Don't let them beat you!
- To be able to say 'yes' when your doctor asks if you exercise - It just feels good.
- To be able to smile at the jogger passing you on the street - Instead of feeling guilty that you didn't do your workout.
Well? What reasons can you come up with to exercise today? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
What about you? What reasons can you find to exercise? Write them down and put it nearby when you need a boost to keep going.
Wednesday March 5, 2014
Yes, it's okay to want to have me arrested for using the phrase "super fun!' in the title of this blog post.
Moving on, I've been talking a lot about exercise boredom lately and about how we can change our workouts to make them more interesting and effective. One of my favorite ways to do that is by supersetting exercises. The idea is to put together two (or more) exercises that work the same muscle group and do them one right after the other with no rest in between. By doing that, you add intensity to your workouts and, of course, you save time since you cut out the rest periods - Although you do want to rest after each superset.
To try it yourself, all you have to do is choose at least two exercises that work the same muscle group, but work in different ways - Say, pushups and chest flies or overhead presses and front raises. Do them one after the other, rest and then repeat. You'll find this really fires up a whole bunch of muscle fibers you never knew you had.
Another option is to just follow the superset workouts I've put together for you:
Superset Total Body
What about you? Do you use supersets in your workout? Or do you have other techniques you use to mix up your strength training? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
Tuesday March 4, 2014
February is finally over, so I think it's time to blow some stink off with a little challenge...what do you think? Below you'll find some ideas for how to challenge yourself this week but, of course, if these don't work for you, I expect you to come up with your own. I'll know if you don't...I have PTESP (Personal Trainer Extrasensory Perception).
- Do one extra workout this week - Just for fun, schedule one extra workout this week. Be smart about it - If you already exercise every day for 2 hours, do you really need another workout? No. But, if you average 5 or 6 days of exercise, could you squeeze in one more workout? There are no rules here: It can be a 5-minute walk or an hour-long sweatfest...just make it a planned workout session and see how you do.
- Do your workout backwards - This is for those of you who, like me, tend to do your exercises in the same general order. Start with your last exercise and end with your first and your workout will feel completely different. You might even discover that you like doing certain exercises at different points in your workout.
- Charade-a-cise - For this challenge, tear a sheet of paper into 10 pieces and write an exercise on each one (I'm pretty sure you know where this is going). Here are some ideas: March in place, jumping jacks, pushups, lunges, squats, burpees, jog in place, planks, plyo jacks and lunge jumps. Now fold them up and put them in a bowl, scramble them up and pick one. Do that exercise either for 60 seconds or for as long as you can before you lose good form. Now go to the next and the next and...you get the point. What's great about this is that you could totally pick 10 easy exercises and I'll never know! (But you won't do that, right?) Oh and make sure you start with light exercises to warm up, of course.
- Take a mini-vacation - This is probably my favorite option this week: Set aside 15 or more minutes sometime this week. Find a space in your house where you can lock everyone out for your chosen time. Pile up a bunch of blankets on the floor, turn off the lights, light a candle if that's how you roll and lie down with a pillow under your knees and your head. Close your eyes and breathe, counting four counts in and four counts out. Keep doing that for as long as you can. Tell family members and pets this is a very important work assignment and they must not disturb you for any reason (except to bring you a glass or wine or something).
Well, are you up for any of these challenges? If not, what challenge could you give yourself this week? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
Monday March 3, 2014
There are very few certainties in life, beyond death and taxes of course, but one other certainty is this: You will get bored with your workouts at some point. It's not your fault...it's just that you can only move your body in the same rhythmic fashion so many times before your mind rebels and that rebellion can be an ugly thing.
Your mind could go on strike, for example, refusing to workout at all. Or your mind could take a more subtle approach, slyly talking to you in the back of your mind and telling you to do bad things like sleep in instead of working out or to go out for that drink after work, even though you were planning on going to the gym.
There are ways to beat exercise boredom, and you'll see some of those ideas listed below but, first, I want to hear from you. How do you beat exercise boredom? What magic tricks do you keep up your sleeve to stay on track without going a little stir crazy? Vote in this week's poll and then leave a comment, telling us about it.
More Ways to Beat Exercise Boredom
- Bribe yourself - A new computer game, a new book, a new pair of shoes, a night out...give yourself something to look forward to after your workout.
- Do something totally different - Go walking in a new neighborhood, try a new class at the gym, workout at a different time of day or make up a whole new workout on the fly. Try picking up one set of dumbbells and seeing how many exercises you can do with that one set of weights. Liberating, isn't it?
- Mix it Up - If you tend to gravitate towards the same machines, try mixing it up by doing a circuit workout. For example, 5 minutes on the treadmill and then 5 strength exercises, doing each for 1 minute, repeating that for the length of your workout. Try this Treadmill Cardio Circuit for more ideas.
- Walk or Jog Backwards on the Treadmill - Still dreading the 'dreadmill?' Wendy, our Walking Guide, teaches you how to walk backwards to ward off boredom and to work your body in a whole different way. Will you look funny? Probably.
- Try a New Circuit Workout - If you want a change as well as a challenge, this circuit workout is a great place to start. Our Weight Training Guide, Paul Rogers, offers up a tough program that includes both weights and cardio for a non-stop workout
- Go back to bed - Oops...did I say that out loud?