Exercise – How to Do It and Survive It

I think my biggest problem with keeping on an exercise regimen is my ability to hold myself accountable. As things get busier (remember, I have two jobs) I start coming home tired more often and my motivations plummets.Then, if I do get into a workable regimen, something happens like I start pet sitting or my schedule changes, and I have to start over from scratch.

That’s why I have apps – to pretend I have someone there to hold me accountable. I have a FitBit (thanks to my friend who got a new one and decided to give me her old one!!! Super happy she is so generous!) and I love getting badges in the app for reaching my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I also log everything on MyFitness Pal. I also try to go on a walk once a week with my Affianced to talk and enjoy a nice day, and I track it with MapMyWalk. All of these apps link together, so if I track something with one app, it gets logged in the other two. But, ultimately, it really doesn’t matter what I do, I just feel better when I’m more active.

And, because I’m too poor to go to the gym (and I kind of hate going to the gym anyway), I have fallen in love with workout videos. I do have a few that I have purchased (I used to work at B&N, so it was super convenient to go into the Music & DVD department to pick one up) but now that things have changed I am more dependent on free, online videos.

If you’re into Yoga and don’t want to pay $5+ for each lesson, I like Rodney Yee. He gets the meditative feeling of a Yoga workout, and he describes his movements very well if you’re a beginner. If you aren’t a beginner, he has some super-hard videos to choose from, and they’re all available on YouTube for you to search through. Don’t forget that Yoga is good for more that just strength and flexibility, because the mind and spirit need active rest, too.

But, the website I love to go to is FitnessBlender.com. Daniel and Kelli were fitness trainers in a gym for several years, and one day they decided that they wanted fitness to be affordable to everyone (it wasn’t so sudden as that, but close enough for Jazz). So, they started the website that I already mentioned and started filming videos and posting them so that anyone, regardless of fitness level, can work out for free. These days they do have fitness regimens that cost $11.00 at most, but they are two months worth of workouts added to your calendar on their website, and you can do them over and over again for no additional charge. Otherwise, you can choose from hundreds of workout videos. You can even do a search on their website for videos of a certain type, length, and difficulty. They do the workouts with you, and you see them getting tired just as tired as you. They also have their own app, which is a social media app so someone else can keep you accountable, and they promote clean eating as well.

Here is the first of my favorite series of workouts from Fitness Blender – Day 1 of the their Five Day Fitness Challenge to Burn Fat and Build Lean Muscle. Its totally free, and you can find links to the other four workouts at the bottom of the notes.

I guess you may have noticed that i don’t like the gym. I never felt good about going, even though I have had two different low-cost memberships. If that works for you, then go for it! But my gym buddy ditched me, I never felt confident about the machines, and I hardly noticed any difference when I wasn’t paying extra to attend classes. These days, though, I have everything I need for a workout at home – totally worth the investment for these dumbbells!

Hey, I know what you’re not thinking about right now – soreness. You are thinking that you don’t have enough energy at the end of your day to work out because exercising tires you out (and makes you sore). Exercise does tire you out in the short-term, but over time you’re body will become better at producing energy and recovering from energy loss, so if you keep it up (like I’m trying to do) you’ll feel better after you exercise.

Soreness, though, is a sign of a good workout that’s hitting muscles you don’t normally use. Any time you add variety to you’re workouts, you can expect to feel some soreness a day or two after. It’s a good thing! In order to become stronger, some exercises such as weight lifting actually damage your muscles a little bit, causing soreness. Over the next couple of days, this soreness will fade as your body heals the damage and even creates more muscle tissue, in effect making you stronger. Lean muscle tissue helps you to burn more calories, so having more muscle is a good thing when trying to burn fat. The best workouts don’t leave you sore until the second day after – don’t ask me why.

But how do you deal with the pain? First, take a warm bath (preferably) or shower (workable) after you’ve stopped sweating. The heat soaking into your muscles will increase blood flow, allowing the removal of lactic acids that make you tire and to speed up the healing process. Next, get a good night’s sleep to accommodate your healing and energy needs. Don’t take pain medication unless you absolutely must, though. I personally feel that we tend to reach for medicines too soon, so our bodies become resistant to their effects so they don’t work as well over time. If you’re so sore that you can barely move, then go ahead and take some Ibuprofen – NOT aspirin – because it will help reduce swelling and allow better blood flow to heal your injury faster. However, pain is your brain’s signal to send your immune system over and repair damage, so if you can still move then you’re body will work it out on its own.

And, last but not least, exercise when you’re sore. This does not mean that you have free reign to exercise when you’re injured. In fact, this is not good advice for when you are injured and if you are hurt, then you need to talk to you’re doctor about physical therapy and the timing/types of exercises you can do. But, if you are only sore, moving your muscles actually works some of the pain out and limbers you up. If you continue working out despite some soreness and stiffness, your body will learn to heal itself without throwing a fit. Be careful, but keep going.

So, given everything I’ve told you so far, how is it I manage to work out for an hour five days every week? I don’t. I’m currently very bad and between regimens at the moment. Things went downhill when I quit my ballet classes about 9 years ago. I used to dance for 4 hours each week at the Galt Dance Center, but since I am no longer available during class times, I haven’t been back in the last couple of years. I think what I’m going to have to do is schedule my workouts on my calendars just like I do everything else. My Dalrling future husband can see it and give me crap about it if I don’t do it, so that creates some accountability. It’s definitely something worth making time for. Please let me know how you are able to keep yourself moving through the week, so maybe I can do something similar!

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