Hello, RBW ladies!
Since we’ve been at it for over a month, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss what I like to refer to as “reality fitness”. In an ideal world, we’d have personal trainers and nutritionists and fancy gym memberships to get us through our weight-loss challenges and healthy lifestyle goals. But the reality is, we have jobs and families and lives. Our obligations often make adopting a healthier lifestyle more challenging than the workouts themselves. How then, can those of us with busy lives still make it happen? Reality fitness, that’s how.
Reality fitness is all about getting workouts and nutrition into your day in a feasible yet still challenging manner. Here are some ideas for your routine that will help boost your metabolism, burn calories and fat, and help build lean muscle mass when done over time.
Find a workout partner. Last month, we talked about accountability with our food (keep on those food journals!). It carries over to exercise. When we work out with a partner, not only is it more fun— and thus we’re apt to want to do it— but it’s a lot harder to blow it off. So think of working out with your buddy (neighbor, friend, spouse, kid, dog…you name it!) as an appointment. Written in pen. When you do your cardio (taking walks, biking, doing a workout DVD together), use the “talk test”. If you’re able to recite lines from your favorite romance novel to your buddy with little to no exertion, it’s time to step it up! Likewise, you should be able to engage in brief chat and still not feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Change it up. Are you doing the same workout every day? Mix it up for better results. Walk or jog a few times a week, then try swimming or water walking (one of my favorite calorie busters that also builds lean muscle mass!) on the third day. If you do go to the gym, ask the staff there to show you what some of the machines do (don’t be intimidated, either by the machines or the staff. It’s their job to help you figure it out, honest!). Or, better yet, try a class if your gym offers them. This may be a great way to find a workout buddy. And don’t worry if you’re a beginner. Many gyms have classes for everything from intro to spin class to gentle yoga for beginners.
Weight train. Lean muscle mass is not only a more effective fat-burner, but the strength benefits will help get you through your day with more energy and less aches and pains. Exercises that use body weight as resistance (like squats, modified push-ups, lunges and modified triceps dips) don’t even require any equipment. If you’ve got light hand weights, the possibilities are endless. Check your local library for a weight-training DVD, or do an online search for weighted exercises to target specific areas. Or feel free to ask in the comments and I can point you in the right direction!
Let yourself rest. Typically, the first few weeks of a workout program are when we see overuse injuries start to creep up. I know you’re excited to see the inches come off, but honor your body! Take one day a week to do only light exercise (gardening and housework count!), and take another (preferably not back to back if at all possible) to rest completely. Your body will thank you by becoming healthier for the brief respite.
Hydrate. This is self-explanatory, but bears repeating. Enough said :)
Stretch. Take five minutes at the end of your workout to stretch your muscles. They’ll become stronger and leaner over time, serving you— and your workouts— better in the long run. Plus, it feels great to stretch those calves and hamstrings after a nice bike ride. Same goes for those shoulders after your weight training.
Now it’s your turn! How have you incorporated your workouts and nutrition into your real-life routine? Share what works for you, and even what doesn’t. And, as always, if you have any questions about exercise, weight training, or how to find resources, ask away. Next month, we’ll talk about more specialized kinds of training, so get your cross trainers ready to go!