On the Road to a Healthy Lifestyle… and Bikini Season!!
The “Non-worker-outer’s” Diary
By ERIN BROWN
My goal for the new year…or at least until May, is to break a sweat every day. This was the motto of a hockey player from New York I dated a few years ago. The guy looked amazing. Breaking a sweat didn’t just mean he logged hours on the treadmill. He would go outside and do activities to stay in shape as well. If our objective is to “break a sweat every day,” I can guarantee that we’ll both be closer to our weight goal thanwe are now… and happier at that.
Have you ever noticed that the more emphasis you put on NOT eating, the more you eat? It’s scary. I’m trying to stay focused on being healthy and making a singular decision every time when it comes to choosing healthier food options. Of course, I am now rationalizing that pizza is a healthy choice (Vitamin C through the tomatoes, carbs for energy and cheese for calcium)…It’s not the worst option, but certainly won’t help drop weight, which is the goal.
Having said I was going to try all forms of exercise, so I could inform you of all the highlights in this hyper-workout crazed age, here’s the run-down to date:
First, a 12 mile hike at Fall Creek Falls State Park. Straight up and over two mountains… rock terrain…it was a nightmare. I have to admit, I didn’t try this because of you guys..I was sort of tricked into it, thinking I was instead going on a fun camping trip and a leisurely hike with friends. As we were getting off the interstate exit (in December, mind you), I was informed that it was a two day hike and we were going one-fourth of the way in the dark, that night, and three-fourths the next day. At the end of it all, it was worth it. Sweat-soaked in December, we made it to the end and felt what victory and overcoming something you never thought you could do feels like.
Hot Yoga made me want to die. Somewhat of a hypochondriac, I’m not sure that I was wanting to die, so much as I was thinking it was happening…a stroke that is. It is a 90 minute class on Elliston, downtown Nashville, and would be really cool, if it wasn’t so darn hot (cue your laughter)….seriously. At a sweltering one hundred four degrees, you’re guaranteed to sweat like the dickens. Despite the feeling that I wanted to run out the door into the breathable air conditioned adjoining room, I bravely stuck through it and was glad I made that decision. At the end of the session I was sweating profusely(to say you’re drenched is a serious understatement), face reddened…I felt light as air…so relaxed. The next day, I knew inches off my body were gone. The concentrated moves they have you do during that 90 minute session, release toxins from your body and compress parts of you that you didn’t know needed compressing, like your adrenal gland, your digestive system, etc. I really felt it to be a major learning experience; I had grown in overall body consciousness after just one session. All ages and genders were in attendance. I would whole heartedly recommend this practice for anyone to try once…maybe stick with a shorter class the first go-round. You’ve truly never worked out until you’ve tried this at least once—I challenge you.
Faithfully, I am continuing my Pilates reformer class with trainer Bobbi, at Sports Village. She is such a joy to work with, and really enthusiastic about helping you reach your healthy lifestyle goals. Body-wise, I am seeing notable improvements in flexibility as well as balance. Pilates originated as a toning workout for ballet dancers; it is so graceful. There are many moves Bobbi has me do on the reformer machine; each designed to strengthen all of my little muscles for overall health. If you have tried her floor Pilates classes, I would recommend you challenging yourself with a few private lessons to see how you like the reformer. Group lessons are offered if you want to get a few girlfriends together and bond through the weird moves, or go solo to just breathe and give yourself the gift of relaxation while becoming a longer, leaner body shape. I think it would make a fantastic gift for either yourself or someone you love for Mother’s Day.
Something highly recommended that I tried at Sports Village was Women on Weights with trainer Will. If you are looking to push yourself with something fresh, this is truly the class for it to happen. Women of all ages attend this group class, and it is super tough! What I really liked about this class in particular: the upbeat hip hop music that made me wanna dance, the encouraging women that are there every week, and the constant moving you do during the class. While there, you can almost feel the calories burning away. A little fact–weights are proven to help with bone density problems when it comes to aging, and proven to help you build more muscle, so that you can burn more fat, even when you sleep (what a great plan!). On top of everything you gain physically from this class, Will is a very motivating guy; always a smile and a positive attitude. So even though it is a hard class, his encouraging style of teaching
makes you want to push through the workout with him.
It’s Week 3 and diet-wise, having limited all major white colored food sources, I am feeling a little lighter. It’s a good feeling. I craved fries the other day, and ate them. They were amazing, but it just lasted for that meal. I’m not craving carbs like I used to…or having that insatiable hunger that you just can’t quell. For hunger now, I’m learning to lean on fresh washed spinach with a dab of Raspberry vinaigrette, with almonds and a few bacon crumbles. By no means am I completely depriving myself. But when I have a choice and am not completely ravenous, I am choosing well. I’m choosing to add broccoli with each meal… If still hungry after the meal, I can eat more of it. Vegetables have almost negligible calories, so take advantage of this. Do you know what is sooo very yummy? Crisp red peppers with dashes of salt and pepper on them and a hint of olive oil, broiled in the oven. This is delish and also a quick snack. When you’re hungry, try to feed your body with nutrients rather than popcorn snack cakes. True, it’s many a person’s diet food, but look at those people… Are they at the weight you would like to be? Probably not, because for most of us, those popcorn snack cakes or other sugar free or low-fat options leave us craving even more…for the real thing. It’s hard to substitute when you’re talking about gimmick snack foods. This is just my experience…maybe you have had a different one. My mother has always been tiny, yet she will have bacon, steak, etc…But if you want to know the key to keeping your weight under control long term? Eat lots of hearty protein, fruits and vegetables…minimal on the carbs, drink milk and exercise 45 minutes every day…or even 20 minutes. Just do something.
As for the gym…If you, are an independent worker-outer, like me, you probably don’t have anyone to really push you. Therefore, you must push yourself. Play a game with yourself. For example, if you’re on the elliptical and you choose to do only 20 minutes, when it gets around that 19 minute mark, can you keep going? If you can, sign on to four more minutes; once three minutes roll around, evaluate. Can you keep going to 28? Then do it. Games like this, where you are always pushing yourself, have been incredibly successful for me to keep at it longer.
Bottom line: whether you prefer working out with someone else or solo, there are plenty of options out there to suit your style. Maybe you need a trainer or a friend to push you each week. It’s not easy, but when you begin seeing those results, you will have more motivation to keep going!
“There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide.”
– Rolf Arands
Contact writer Erin Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Make sure you’re doing your exercises correctly. Otherwise, you won’t receive the benefits in the areas you are trying to work, and worse, you could injure yourself in the process…both noneffective.
• My friend’s father, who has always lived a very healthy lifestyle says, “The hardest part of working out is just getting through the gym door.” He’s right; once you’re actually there, it’s easy.
• Concentrate on fluid, controlled movements while using weights. Trainer Bobbi explained to me that diet makes up about 80% of your results!
• Vary your abdominal exercises. Abs are something you can do every day if you like. Consistent point A to point B motion (regular crunches) day after day isn’t going to really work the overall area. Also, trainer Will says the best way to get great abs is consistent cardio to burn fat so you can see them. Ask a trainer at your gym to show you a few examples to vary your ab routine.
• Try push-ups! Will says push-ups are the best daily exercise for overall body toning.
• If you like spicy, try hot sauce on your salad instead of creamy dressing. The heat from the hot sauce revs your metabolism naturally and you can save your calories for a different tasty treat.