I haven’t done a fitness log in a really long time, but today I tried two new videos from Youtube, and I thought I’d share my thoughts. I was looking for a Jillian Michaels’ workout on the BeFit channel, but when I couldn’t find it, I settled for another result.
This 40-minute yoga and Pilates inspired workout was supposed to be a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routine, and the upvotes convinced me to try it. I didn’t love it, but I was surprised by how much I noticed about the quality of instruction since having completed my Power Pilates training.
Classical Pilates includes the modifier classical to indicate that it more closely resembles founder Joseph Pilates’ method of Contrology (or what is now just referred to as simply Pilates). A weight-bearing, low-impact, and mind-body type of exercise, Pilates stretches and strengthens the muscles, developing them in a balanced fashion aimed at increasing everyday functionality. From experience, adherence to this practice results in more bodily ease, and an increased sense of balance and freedom within one’s self. And this seems to hold true for practitioners starting at any age.
To me, Pilates is all that and more, and if you haven’t tried it, the short online course I am about to recommend in this post might just be the perfect place to start!
It wasn’t too many years ago that I found myself at a weight that made me really unhappy. I had tens of pounds to lose to get back to where I was before and where I am back to now, and I knew I didn’t want to follow any specific diet. I recently watched an interview about why despite the majority of Americans now finding themselves overweight, fewer of them than ever before are dieting.
One subject very aptly put it this way: “dieting is a four-letter word for failure.”
This post is a throwback to the first time I ran a mile. For years now, people have known me as someone who loves to jog. I recall the first time someone texted me with something along the lines of, “I’m looking for a local race to run. Which one would you recommend?” I was shocked, and for good reason.
I didn’t know myself to be a sporty person of any kind. I had run “the mile” for the first time ever in grade 9 gym class. It was a mandatory part of the class curriculum, and it was also the most physically challenging thing I’d ever done up to that point. My experiences running before that had been few and very far between.
I had spontaneously enrolled in a 3,000-metre race at a cross country meet when I was in the fourth grade, and I’d dropped out after less than two full laps around the track because I couldn’t catch my breath enough to continue, and then I’d watched another last-minute contender wearing high-heeled wedge sandals sprint to a first-place finish. Then there was the maize field where my father jogged… He’d taken me once, and I had not had an easy time of trying to keep up with him. I’d walked more than I’d jogged.
I’ve often heard people claim they don’t have time for exercise. I have never actually had this problem, but there have been times when I wasn’t organized enough to make the time. I think this might be the case for some others, as well.
Becoming intentionally organized with my time has helped me feel as though I have more of it. The feeling of being on top of your day can leave you with that precious hour or two that you can choose to spend exercising.
I first faced a major time-management problem when I started working from home. The lack of structure as compared to working in an office meant that if I took things at too leisurely a pace during the day, I would find myself scrambling to finish tasks and projects in the evenings. I had no time to exercise, and any social plans I might have had suffered. Not only that, the added stress from that disorganization was a drain on my energy levels.
A few basic changes worked really well for me, and I am sharing them below.
When Aunt Flo visited two days ago, I had to take a day off from my workouts. This is a time during which some women actually feel best picking things up and sweating it out, but this time, I just needed to use the holiday to its full allowance and stay in bed a little extra.
By the time yesterday morning came around, my body really felt the effects of not having been exercised, and I could almost feel the pent-up energy in my muscles calling me to change into my workout gear and begin. I didn’t have a particular plan for what to do. I knew a good sweat and muscle resistance training would do the job of helping me to feel good and balanced once again.
Once I was ready and had drunk as much of my cup of coffee as possible, I headed for my workout. Even as someone who loves to exercise, I still face that nagging feeling that calls me to procrastinate on some days. Sometimes, if I’m going outside, it’s cold, or sometimes, if I know the workout will be hard (as yesterday), a little bit of dread creeps up.
Yesterday, I needed to sit down for a few hours to write a take-home school exam. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t do; I had studied all of the material already. I knew what I was getting into and how much I was supposed to write, and the questions for the exam were not tricky. I was supposed to choose one of the three question options and write an essay response. But I couldn’t shake the nerves that had built up a bit of tension in my muscles in the time I had waited to get started.
Luckily, the exam was not timed. I decided to use that opportunity to destress by getting out of my mind and releasing some of the tension that had built up in my muscles through a workout. Focusing on exercise, especially movements that require control and mental focus, has been an effective way for me to change my train of thought and get out of my mind. When I am focused on keeping good form while performing different moves, it’s easier to let go of anything else that might be vying for my mental attention, and it becomes possible to just be in the present moment.
In the last few years, online fitness programs and subscriptions have become very popular. They offer a level of convenience that is higher for some people than going to the gym or taking classes, and they’re usually more affordable, as well. Studio Tone It Up is one of those subscriptions. It is a fitness mobile application with free and paid options offered by the creators of Tone It Up, Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott.
Tone It Up is the fitness empire that was started by the two women in 2009. I have been involved with their work on-and-off since about 2011. I’ve done many of their free Youtube workouts, and I even purchased their nutrition plan in 2013 and their “Beach Babe 4” workout video bundle a couple of years later.
Meb Keflezighi is an Eritrean-born, American distance runner. He’s a four-time Olympian for Team USA, he participated in two World finals, and he has won prestigious races such as the Boston and the New York City marathons. He is practically as “elite” as a runner can get.
This morning, I woke up an hour before my alarm, at about 7:45 a.m. That’s still about an hour later than I usually get up, but after a day filled with two exams, I wanted to set myself up for a good day today and get a ton of rest.
I knew I’d be going for a jog this morning, even though I hadn’t decided on the specifics. I’ve just gotten back into running with the warming April weather, and so far, I’ve played it by ear each time I’ve gone, setting a goal for myself based on how my body feels within the first minute or so of the jog.
I had a few procrastinate-y thoughts as I got up and sat in bed, thinking about the chilly 5-degree weather (41 degrees Fahrenheit, for reference) waiting for me outside. And things got even (a little) more challenging when I started getting dressed and realized, after digging deep into my closet, that I’d have to wear knee-length pants/shorts because all of my workout pants (I don’t own many) were in the laundry basket.