April 20, 2009 6:00 am
Welcome to week 26 of Club HASAY! Not sure what HASAY is? Read all about it here. I was a bad HASAY leader this week and gorged on birthday cake (two, actually), pizza and a few other horrible things. I’m getting back on the wagon starting today. Also, if your birthday is anytime soon, please don’t invite me to the party since I’m caked-out. That’s a waaaaaaaaaay different thing than being coked out so don’t get confused.
It seems as though some (most) of us are all out of whack with our exercise routines. For today’s guest post, I’ve enlisted the help of Bex from Adventures of the Grigg Boys (She’s also the creator of the Funky Foto Flashback meme that’s been sweeping the blogosphere). Bex is a Yoga and Pilates instructor and knows how to bring the pain. She has compiled a list of extremely useful tips to help us all get back on track. Thanks Bex!
Also, check out the HASAY members page, we’ve had a few newbies get on board with the program!
• WORK OUT WITH A FRIEND: this is beneficial for a few reasons. For one thing, it keeps you accountable; on the days you don’t feel like working out, she’s counting on you so you do it anyway – and vice versa. Also, it’s a lot more fun! Everything is more fun with a friend (keep your head out of the gutter, I’m talking about exercise!). My BFF, Beth, and I are both SAHMs (I don’t count my part time gig as Yoga / Pilates Instructor against my SAHM status) so we sometimes get to run together but usually we trade off. I’ll go to her house with my kids and watch hers and mine while she runs and when she gets back we trade off. It’s a great system that ensures we get our beauty rest so we don’t have to wake up before the husbands to run. San Antonio, however, is getting hotter and hotter so our runs are already getting earlier on that account.
• MUSIC: getting bored of your workout? Download some new itunes! I recommend: Rihanna, Joan Jett, M.I.A., Flobots.
• WATCH OUT FOR YOUR KNEES!: they are more delicate than they seem. Be careful to keep your knees at 90 degrees when you do lunges, wall sits or even warrior pose (yoga). If you over extend your knees (if they go over your toes) you are very likely to cause injury. Ouch! Take it from me, you want to keep your knees happy and healthy. On that note – good exercises for knee health are lunges (in an isometric hold) and wall sits. This works the quadriceps which strengthens and supports the patella.
• EXHALE: You’ve heard, “don’t forget to breath!” It’s true! Breathing brings oxygen into your body, into your muscles and burns fat. If not sure “how” to breathe, just remember to exhale during the hard part. Be aware not to hold your breathe. I see my Pilates students hold their breath and I know its happening because they are turning bright red! That’s bad. Normal skin color and normal breathing is good.
• STRETCH IT OUT: Ok, I’m a yoga instructor so I might be a little partial to stretching. But stretching has real benefits; it decreases your chance of injury by increasing your range of motion in your joints and reducing muscle tension. It also increases your blood circulation and that alone will increase your energy. If you ever feel tired and listless, there are many stretches you can do to give you energy. It is important to note however that you don’t want to stretch “cold” muscles. You should always do some sort of a warm up to bring oxygen into your muscles prior to stretching. Otherwise you might pull something you didn’t mean to pull!
• MAKE GOALS: … and track your progress. This is an excellent way to stay focused. Make goals that are attainable and not unrealistic. For instance, you might want to make a goal to work out 5 times a week for three weeks. Three weeks isn’t a long time. After that, you can make a goal to work out 4 times a week for three more weeks. Track your progress. If you are lifting weights, its encouraging to look back to see how your weights and repetitions increased over time. A fantastic fitness goal is to sign up for a race – a 5k or 10k for a beginner and half marathon for someone used to working out regularly. This way, you have something to look forward to. My husband and I once went backpacking through the mountains in WY – to prepare for this we wore backpacks with 40 pounds of dumbbells on the elliptical machine and the stair master at the gym. We got some funny looks but we knew what was coming so we didn’t care.
• WEIGHT TRAIN: There are a lot of women who think weight training is going to bulk you up. This is not true. It also can sculpt you into one sexy lady! I am a big BIG fan of weight training. Check out this picture of me from when I did P90X. I had given birth to my second child six months prior and had recently come out of knee surgery. My fitness regimen was as lame as I was. At the time I was a personal trainer but I felt that I needed a personal trainer myself! So I bought the series and it followed through on its promise. P90X is based on muscle confusion (mixing up your routines and not doing the same thing over and over) but it is heavy on weight training. I never exceeded 8 lb dumbbells but my reps increased dramatically. Also I was able to unassisted pull ups and man style pushups. P90X doesn’t pay me to tell you to buy their program so until they do, I’m not going to tell you buy it – but I will tell you that this photo is proof that weight training does not bulk up a lady.
• MIX IT UP: Try a new class (like pilates or yoga! Come to my classes!), maybe kick boxing or karate. I have a Pilates student who also take stripper pole dancing lessons and she is really hot! She says it’s a really hard and fun class. Have you tried it? If you are tired of your regular exercise routine, maybe you should try it. There are tons of different things to try out there. A little internet research and you are well on your way. Variety is the spice of life, my friend.
• MENTAL HEALTH: First of all, regular exercise gives you energy. Energy makes us happy. That’s why we’re all addicted to coffee and red bull. But there are studies that prove that exercise can make even the nuttiest (like me) a semblance of balanced emotions. Personally, I prefer the runner’s high. But you don’t have to run a gazillion miles to feel good mentally. Exercise helps us stand up straighter, hold yourself up higher, gives you confidence (you deserve it after working out five days a week!).
• YOUR KIDS: Not only do your kids want you to be healthy so you live a long, long, long time, but also they watch you. They mimic you. They do what you do. If you exercise, they will exercise. My dad was a runner, tennis player, racquetball player, baseball player. I grew up watching him go for a run or take off a night a week to go to his bar league games (back then I really thought they played baseball). But still, he was a fitness junkie to a fault. He still is, even though he no longer runs (bad knees – so be sure you keep your knees healthy!). He gets the credit for me becoming a personal trainer and instructor. Maybe we can also give him credit for my kids exercising along with me at the ages of 4 and 2. If you aren’t used to exercising or didn’t have a fitness role model growing up, guess what? Now is the time. You can start something so great for your kids and their kids; it will surpass your own lifetime. Wellness and a healthy lifestyle are VERY important and often overlooked.
• LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: No one wants an injury. It’s very important to know the difference between a muscle burn, a good kind of hurt – and a bad kind of hurt or muscle pull. If you have an old injury, it’s especially important to listen to that part of your body. In terms of running and other cardiovascular exercises, stop immediately if you feel faint or light headed.
• SHOW UP: There was a sign at the gym I went to when I was a teenager that said, “Showing up is 80% of success.” I thought that was really cool and very true. How often have you felt like bailing out on the gym or working out but once you got started you really got into it? I just googled that quote and it turns out that Woody Allen coined that phrase which makes it just a little less cool. But I guess as a teenager we were all so impressionable.