Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Current Fitness Pursuits

There once was a gal who worked out
To prevent herself growing too stout.

Weights she did lift, and her fat it did shift,

Which it won't if ya just bum about.

I have officially been working out for three years. I used to think doing anything that made me sweat for 5 minutes FELT like three years, but now it has to be about 50 minutes before I start looking at the calendar and wondering what month it is. There are still hills and valleys on the Road To Fitness, but with three years under my still-decreasing beltline, I believe I can safely call it a habit. But I do think I would still be a slug if we still lived in the pre-internet age.

I only read two fitness-related things online. The first is the Video Fitness forum. Anything you need to know about absolutely any fitness DVD on the market can be learned here. Lots of these women have been working out with home videos since the Jane Fonda days. You can find people that are super advanced, as well as beginning beginners and every level in between. There is no talk about specific diet or eating plans allowed at Video Fitness, and no discussion about the specific bodies of any instructor. They want to promote at-home fitness for reasons other than thin-ness. I almost never make a mistake in a fitness purchase anymore because I can read so many opinions of a particular workout before I take the plunge.

My other favorite place is Skwigg. She is just a little older than me and has run the gamut from anorexic to chunky to obsessive bodybuiler food-freak who never put anything into her mouth that had not been weighed, measured and analyzed. She finally got tired of being controlled by food and exercise and managed to find a balance where no food is off limits and she doesn't have to beat herself up in her workouts. She likes to take little pictures of what she eats and post them on her blog, and she keeps numerous boxes of Cadbury Creme Eggs in the cupboard with her aluminum foil. She looks awesome and is very funny, as well as knowing lots and lots about all things fitness and nutrition.

Now, from Skwigg to me...I am just getting back into exercising regularly after about 3 months of low energy. From about March to June I didn't feel great, and didn't do much besides walk most evenings and do a full-body weight workout once or twice a week. I did lose about 10 pounds during that time though, because I was having digestive problems and so ate way less and very little junk. But to be really lean, I could still stand to lose about 10 more pounds...I don't know if I will ever get there, but things are firming up nicely since I have jumped back into working out 5 days a week.

Like I mentioned above, I don't do really long workouts these days. There are too many other things to get done, plus I don't really need to work out much longer than 45 minutes to get the results I want. I have a lot of DVDs that I can use alone or mix and match to give me a good workout in about that much time. This is what I have been doing recently:

M/W/F...some kind of full-body or mostly upper body weight workout. Most often I have been using Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness series. I think I would probably choose these DVDs if I had to give up all others (although I hope it never comes to that!). Kelly is definitely in her mid or even late 40s, and her workouts are fun and challenging without being so hard they have a dread factor. Every DVD has two 30 minute workouts as well as various pre-mixes, so you get a lot of bang for your fitness buck. None of the workouts uses super heavy weights, but with a few of them you can use up to 15 lb dumbbells, which is not for wimps. There is even a workout that is all bodyweight exercises and uses no equipment at all. She has a really good modifier for beginners, or people with knee problems or other situations (like general tiredness or lack of energy like I was experiencing for a few months) that might require less impact, or more moderate range-of-motion, or whatever.

I can't gush enough about Kelly. I never get tired of her.

Sometimes I substitute pulldowns with my extra heavy-duty-in-the-door-hinge resistance band for back work, instead of using dumbbells, because getting rid of the last of my back fat is my main fitness obsession. I have also used Bob Harper's new workouts a few times on M/W/F...those are tough!

On T/Th I have been doing the warmup, YES only the WARMUP, from an Insanity workout - plus the 5 minute stretch that follows. The warmup is about 10 minutes and is tougher than many actual cardio workouts. I have come to really hate cardio and since I can't walk these days because it's too hot, this is my compromise. Then I have been following that with a medley-for-the-buns...some floorwork with ankle weights from Brazil Butt Lift, followed by the seat section from Squeeze Stronger (not having a pancake butt is my other fitness obsession). Then a little ab work (as little as possible, like about 5 minutes) and then I'm done.

I used to try to get in a workout on Saturday, but so often that just didn't work and I would get frustrated, and one of my main goals these days is to minimize frustration - so I decided to just exercise M-F and take the weekend off.

Foodwise, I am working on watching portions and really upping the servings of fruits and veggies...ideally, I have two salads every day, and at least a huge smoothie made with a bunch of different fruit and greek yogurt. When I manage that, and eat normal sized portions of everything else, I feel healthy and not overly full, and I am usually at a good place calorie-wise. I do pretty well not eating something just because it is sitting there - but sometimes I still pop whatever it is into my mouth. I also eat between 2-4 squares of Lindt 85% dark chocolate every day! My goal is to get lean enough that if I gain weight during menopause, it will be no big deal.

Moppet 1 is waiting for the computer - we are sharing since mine is being repaired - she is learning how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements.

So far, this blog experiment seems to be working; 3 posts in one day.

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