National Running Day – 5k?

Photo Credit: LittleFancyNancy.blogspot.com Click for link to article

Today is National Running Day. I post about fitness on Fridays usually, but since it is National Running Day – I’m branching out. I’m not an accomplished runner, in fact I only run for one minute at a time. A prior post about how I have recently decided I enjoy running talks about how it takes me 30 minutes to grab 2 miles. I run for 1 minute, and walk for 1 minute. Between warm up/cool down and my run/walk routine it takes me 30 minutes.

Normally I run on a treadmill in the gym. I have family and friends who love running trails or down pathways. My biggest challenge is finding the time where I have time outside. During the workday, the streets and sidewalks are pretty crowded and there is no real great area to run. The gym in the building where I work provides a treadmill for free and it is only an elevator ride away. So when not working out with my personal trainer, I hit the gym in my office building. On non-working days I am usually surrounded by my kids. The older kids would probably run with me, but I can’t get the 2 year old motivated. (He is sooo much like his mother!) I suppose I could break out the jogging stroller, but I really want to break him of the stroller habit. So, on the weekends you can usually find us indulging in at least one walk  to the park to get him used to going distances without the struggle of having to coax him.

Several twitter friends of mine: Heather ,  Jennifer and Holly inspire me towards better fitness. These are ladies who manage to balance fitness and family. Heather was recently convinced to run a 5K. Im told a 5K is only 1 more mile than what I am currently doing on the treadmill. I think a 5K challenge might be worth exploring. Does anyone have any experience going from the treadmill to the road/sidewalk? Any advice? Am I completely crazy or is this something I could do?

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Running it CAN be fun!

Picture courtesy of Toronto Girl West

Ever watch Friends? Maybe Im dating myself, but I remember an episode where Phoebe and Rachel went running. Phoebe’s form was, shall we say, unique. Her arms swung wildly and her legs kicked strangely. Rather than be upset at her ability, her personality looked at the silver lining, she was having more fun than the people who were running ‘correctly’.

Proper form is important to avoid injuring yourself, but having fun is just as important. If you aren’t having fun, you don’t want to continue and a habit you are trying to grow will die a slow and painful death. Its mind over matter. Not that you have to convince yourself you are having fun, just convince yourself you can DO IT. Because you can.

As a child, I was never athletic. I was clumsy, uncoordinated, routinely picked last for any team sport in gym class and even the teachers would make snide comments about my ability. My nickname in gym class during the gymnastics portion was “spaghetti legs”. All this did was reinforce my inability to really do anything well physically. So, I reverted to what I was good at, academics and books, sedentary activities. Ive always said my natural state was on a couch, reading a book. Don’t get me wrong, I like that I am smart, well-read (I think) and am pretty confident that when I start grad school it will be hard, but I can do it. But I don’t think these things are necessarily exclusive.

Since starting on my journey of becoming healthier, I have started running on a treadmill. Working with my personal trainer, reading blogs like pfitblog.com and jfoyohealth.com and other sources like Jillian Michaels, I have discovered a love of running. Its not pretty, but its pretty fun. I can do anything for 1 minute. That was how it started. 3 min warm up (walking at 3.0) then running 1 min (at 5.0) and 1 min at 3.0, rinse repeat the 1 min cycle for 30min or 2 miles, whichever comes first. This is called HIIT training or Hight Intensity Interval Training, or so they tell me. All I know is by breaking it down into 1 min increments, it is doable. If I can do this, anyone can break that cycle and change their natural state, even at the ripe old age of 35! thats a lot of habit to overcome!! I’m calling it. I am no longer ‘spaghetti legs’, but a runner. For at least a minute at a time.

Working out – The Gear You Need

Picture from RealSimple, one of my fav magazines! Click for article on how to save money on workout essentials

I’m a huge fan of fashion. Okay, I like to look at pretty things. But, I’m also a bit practical and WHY on earth would I spend a ton of money just to sweat in it? That just doesn’t make sense to me. As practical as I am, I do think there are a few essential items if you are going to be working out that are MUST haves:

  1. Sports Bra: For women I can’t imagine anything worse than accidentally poking out your eye with your boob as you try to jog on a treadmill. For goodness sake, and for safety, lock those babies down in a sports bra that fits! Go to Nordstrom and get a free bra fitting. Even if they do not carry your size sports bra, I bet WalMart does.
  2. Shoes: Your feet support the rest of your body and if your feet arn’t happy, then you will not be either. Invest in some quality shoes. Remember, quality does not have to mean $300 pair of shoes. If you buy $300 pair of tennis shoes for working out and sweating in, you’d better be able to afford that lifestyle because if you go to the gym with regularity, you will need 2 pair. Yep, get 2 pair and switch out daily to allow the first pair to air out. This is a must for me, but maybe I just have really stinky feet. Either way, I recommend it.
  3. Comfortable clothes: you will need clothes you are comfortable in. Nothing worse that seeing someone bent over to tie their shoes and seeing plumbers crack. Only slightly better is seeing someone work out and constantly pull their clothes up. Heck, Im glad to have dropped some poundage myself. But, I don’t want to trip myself in a class because my pants keep falling down.
  4. Water bottle: you need to stay hydrated and waiting in line at the water fountain just stinks. Instead of buying little disposable water bottles, consider getting a refillable one. There are all kinds out there, just keep your eyes open for the specials. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on anything fancy.
  5. Hair ties: Im a girl with shoulder length hair. Pulling it out of my face is a must for me. Other people whip their hair about (not sure why it looks uncomfortable) but I think pulling your hair back is essential. Buy some hair ties or head bands or something.

Well, that is it. Not much start up cost involved in getting moving again. Thank goodness, Im cheap and I love a good deal. That also means some of my prior excuses for not exercising just flew right out the window. Pbbth! Bring it!

**Next week expect an update on the contest

Personal Trainers: Are they worth the money?

Photo courtesy of CNN.com *click for CNN article*

In my quest for personal fitness, I tried to set up a schedule to work out at the gym. I thought to myself: “I can do it. I don’t need to spend money on a trainer.” Boy, was I wrong! I thought after years in and out of gyms, taking classes would prepare me for focusing on how to change my life. That wasn’t realistic. I finally realized after about a month of spotty attendance and no results other than a pile of dirty laundry, I wasn’t really getting anywhere. If I employed a professional to do things like roof my house or fix my car, why shouldn’t I rely on a professional to give me a leg up in the change department? So, bring in the trainer and the results.

Since Ive been working out with my trainer on a regular basis, 2 times per week for 2 months (I attend cardio classes 2 other days during the week for a total of 4 days a week working out) I have lost 25 pounds!! Ive been watching what I eat, logging my food (I will get into that next week), and working out consistently. I also gave up wine. Shocking! But an herbal tea in the evenings is nice too. My shirts are starting to fit better and my pant waistbands are getting a lot more loose. Another 10 pounds and it will be time to see the tailor. This is a good thing.

Trainers are expensive, so here are some tips I learned to keep you from wasting your money:

  1. Try to bargain a rate when you sign up to the gym. Sometimes they will throw in an extra session or give you an over all discounted rate.
  2. All professionals should come with some sort of credentials and reviews. Do your research. Make sure you have an accredited trainer and ask for referrals.
  3. Interview your perspective trainer. Make sure they are fit (In my opinion, if they are going to tell you how to get fit, they should be on that journey or fit themselves.)
  4. Make sure your trainer’s style fits your needs. You have some trainers that prefer weight training, others prefer a cross-fit kind of a thing. Ask about their style and see if it is something you would be interested in. If you don’t want to be yelled at, then don’t buy sessions with someone who yells no matter what their YELP rating is. There is no use buying training sessions only to find out later the style isn’t for you. That is  a waste of money.
  5. Make your appointments consistent. Pick a day or time of day and commit to it. Your trainer can’t help you change your body if you only see him/her once a month.
  6. Make sure you know cancellation and expiration policy. I purchased a re-occurring block of sessions. These sessions are more than I will use in a month, but to get the best rate, I will buy 4 months then cancel the subscription. This will let me use up the rest of the training sessions and I will effectively have sessions booked for the rest of the year.

If you want to see a really great video of some of the ways a trainer can guide you, even if you are already fit-ish, but maybe want something a bit more agressive, see the following link.

http://live.wsj.com/video/bikini-bodybuilding-one-woman-experience/25A25F60-A7EC-41F7-87AF-1D11BDC00646.html?mod=WSJ_article_outbrain&obref=obnetwork#!101BA629-7E8A-47E4-8508-35EDAC570E78