I don’t know about you, but if I go too long without exercising, I feel out of shape and extremely sluggish. Plus, exercising helps lower my stress level. But, that’s a whole other story.
I used to be a runner. That changed several years ago when I took a boot camp course at my local fitness center. Each time I would go to the gym, I began to loathe the “dreadmill”. I was so bored. I would run a few miles and then try another piece of equipment – the bike or elliptical machine, but the feeling didn’t change. So, I decided to take a class. A friend of mine who was a fitness instructor and also the teacher of the class did a great job of persuading me.
It was an eight week course that started at 5:30 am every morning, five days a week. (At that time I was a stay-at-home mom, so I was able to nap in the afternoon.) It was an hour each day. Although I cursed getting up at that ungodly hour, it was the best (and only) class I had ever taken. It literally kicked my butt. I got a full body work out each day and at the end of the eight weeks, I had lost a few inches off my waist and had toned certain areas of my body that I had never thought possible. We did strength training, cardio, and ab exercises. It was awesome! I knew then, I would never go back to running.
Since then, if I don’t have a full body work out, I feel incomplete. I thrive on the feeling of being able to work out every muscle in my body. Running definitely does NOT do that…at least not for me. For those readers who I might inspire, please keep in mind that this full body work out comes with its draw backs. If you have never done something like this before or it’s been a very long time since you last exercised, it is IMPERATIVE THAT YOU STRETCH! There have been several times when I have had a lapse in working out and when I am able to do so again, I think I am invincible. I do a hard core work out and pay for it the next day (and the day after and sometimes, the day after that)! In all seriousness, stretching is a necessity after a long, hard workout. On a few occasions, I have been so stiff, walking was difficult. This doesn’t bode well when you have two small children. Live and learn I say! After so many years of “not getting it”, my husband will still empathize, but does not sympathize.
If you are an exercise fanatic like me, you’ve probably heard of or tried some of the celebrity work out programs. For example, Insanity, P90X, Chalene Extreme. These programs are meant to show mega results in a short period of time (60/90 days). For a lot of people, these programs have GREAT results – you see them in the infomercials. But, bear in mind, it is NOT without sacrifice! To see the “REAL” results, you must follow religiously both the workout schedule and meal plan. When I did Insanity, I wasn’t able to do either. Insanity is a very high impact cardio program. I was able to complete three weeks. After that, I would pick and choose the DVD that I would work out to on a given day.
For me, I like challenge and variety, but the concept of having to watch what I eat every day, seven days a week, doesn’t bode well with me. I’m an eater and always have been. I’m far from overweight, but the idea of having to watch my carbs, eat a certain amount of protein, fruits and vegetables, etc. is very difficult. Not only is it extremely expensive to eat healthy, but it’s boring! Don’t get me wrong, eating healthy every day, every minute is great, but it’s not for everyone. Generally, I eat a lot of good calories, but I still like the occasional ice cream cone, candy bar, glass of wine and let me not forget, carbs – breads, pastas, et. al. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel strongly that a person can generally stay pretty healthy and eat (almost) anything that they want (in moderation of course) as long as one exercises on a regular basis.
For the past year, I have been a huge advocate of the Jillian Michaels (The Biggest Loser) exercise DVDs. I highly recommend them to all people — beginners, intermediates and advanced levels. I’m currently doing the “Ripped in 30” program and have started to see results extremely fast. It’s a four week program – each week is different – with a 25 minute workout which includes warm-up and cool-down. I never thought I could sweat so much in a short period of time, but I do. It’s great! It’s three minutes of strength followed by two minutes of cardio and one minute of ab. It combines all of the body parts and you’re done in 30 minutes!
In closing, for anyone who is looking to get their groove on and I don’t mean in the intimate way, exercise is the way to do it. IT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD AND LOOK GOOD! Start off slow and with each day, you’ll get stronger and more confident. All you need is the willpower and commitment and you can achieve ANYTHING!