Archive | December, 2009

How Working Out Became One Of My Passions

10 Dec

A couple of you have commented that you want to see my workout/eating plan and tips on how I stay so motivated to work out.  Those two posts are coming up later this week, but first I’d like to share with you the story of just how I got sucked into the world of fitness.

First and foremost, making and keeping a commitment to fitness and good health takes years to master.  It is NOT something that you can turn into a permanent habit in 21 days or whatever the supposed rule of thumb is.

In high school, I was one of those lucky people who was a twig naturally, but eventually college and maturity caught up to me in my late teens and early twenties.  In college, I gained about 20-25 pounds.

Towards the end of college, I began a 3-times-per-week running plan.  However, I never really lost weight because I had zero muscle mass (well, not zero, but I wasn’t building any muscle mass).  This frustrated me to no end and was very discouraging!  Here I was, getting myself to the gym 3 times a week and pounding it out on the treadmill and I wasn’t seeing any results!  What gives?!

What I discovered after a couple years of on and off cardiovascular exercise was that running was not going to take off the pounds if I wasn’t building any new muscle to burn extra calories throughout the day.

Sometime in 2006, I fell in love…with weight lifting that is.  That year, I picked up my first dumbbell and never looked back! I had finally found my workout soul mate and couldn’t have been happier.  This year we celebrated our 3rd anniversary. 😉

Ladies, when I began lifting heavy weights, I lost about 20 pounds in 2-3 months!

I didn’t change my diet, I didn’t do any extra cardio (running, elliptical, etc.).  The one and only thing I started doing differently was lifting weights for about 15-30 minutes 2-4 times per week.

There is something very important to point out that makes a lifting regime so effective.  This is the point where women usually get scared off and go running to a Step class claiming they don’t want to become manly!


Please, please, step away from the 3, 5, and 8 pound dumbbells.  Those do not do you any good.  “Spot training” or “toning” is a myth that has been created by the media.  The only thing that works is building real muscle mass with heavy weights that will burn crazy amounts of calories throughout the day.  Essentially, when you build an extra 2, 3, 4, or 5 pounds of muscle, you’re working out ALL day because your body is burning more calories.

When I say heavy weights, I mean 15, 20, 25, 30 pound dumbbells.  Of course, I know some exercises can’t be done with this high of weight and you have to use the 5s or 10s, but double digits is really where it’s at.

The weight loss happens fast, too.  If you really start pushing yourself with the heavy weights, you will really start to see pounds fall off your body.

Your body will start to change shape, too.  It will NOT change in a bad way.  There is NO way you can look like a man unless you are taking steroids or you have some sort of crazy testosterone imbalance (in that case….uh, get thee to thy doctor).  Instead, your body will look tighter, tinier, more compact.  I remember when I was heavier in college, I would sometimes experience a sort of “blob” feeling – now I feel like I have a tight, lithe body that I have more control over.

I’ve been lifting as heavy as possible for over 3 years and not one part of my body has gotten bigger (as the media claims); on the contrary, each part of my body has gotten smaller.

A funny thing happened when my body started changing and the weight started falling off (without having to follow some exhausting, ridiculously time-consuming workout plan) – my whole life got better.  I walked with more confidence, I slept better, I felt better throughout the day, I carried myself better, I just felt healthier.

Let me tell you, feeling and looking better than you’ve ever felt or looked in your life can be really life-changing.  It can turn whatever you’re doing to make yourself feel this way into a passion.  So, that was it, I was hooked.  I was officially a workout addict.

I remember when I was younger, when I would first start up an exercise program,  I’d think, “Oh, I can’t wait to lose 20 pounds so I don’t have to workout anymore!”  Even if I would have lost 20 pounds, it wouldn’t have lasted.  It’s so cliché, but it truly does take a lifelong commitment to maintain good health.

My love for heavy lifting doesn’t mean that I shun cardio exercise anymore.  Surprisingly, it has made my cardio workouts ever better!  I still do some form of cardio exercise a couple times a week, it’s just not my favorite part of working out.

My life is so much better now that I’ve found one of my many passions in exercise, but the key to making it stick was finding something I loved about exercise.  Hate running?  Don’t do it!  Hate group classes?  Never go to them again!  Experiment until you find something that makes you feel happy or helps you relax at the end of the day.

Everyone’s passion for health is out there somewhere, you just gotta dig until you find your workout soul mate.

Coming up this week and next:  How I stay motivated to workout & my workout/eating plans!


Tax Laws That Make You Go Hmm…

8 Dec

Many of you know that I’ve had my nose buried in a tax book the past couple months (and several upcoming months…it’s never ending! Ugh.) for the CPA Exam.

I was reviewing Charitable Contribution deductions the other day and got to thinking…why can’t this deduction be available to everyone?  Charitable Contribution deductions are only allowed for those taxpayers who itemize, and there are a lot of people who aren’t able to itemize on their tax returns.

There are several expenses that can be deducted before Adjusted Gross Income (think student loan interest) and I think Charitable Contributions should be added to this list so that everyone can benefit from donating to charity.  Why do the laws limit being generous to charities to only a select group of people?

Maybe there’s a good reason for this, and if you know what it is, please share in the comments.  I have a feeling there would be a lot more donations to charities if it became an adjustment that all taxpayers could claim on their tax returns.

I’m not bitter though. 🙂  Even though I don’t itemize and I can’t claim the deduction, I still give my fair share to charity every year.  Gotta pay it forward!

Let Me Count The Ways I Put Off Studying On Sunday…

6 Dec
  • Primped way too long for church (full blow out is not necessary)
  • Lounged on the couch with Lloyd (already did several hours of this yesterday, why must I do it more?)
  • Imitations of Lloyd to Lloyd (really should be studying)
  • Baked some bread (I mean really…)
  • Ate bag of almonds on couch (wait, haven’t I already been here?)
  • Computer
  • Couch
  • Computer
  • Couch
  • Grocery Shopping (Hey, look – something productive!)
  • Facebook (Pretty sure I have a couple people’s profiles memorized by now)
  • Downloading Britney Spears “3” and Black Eyed Peas “Meet Me Halfway” (loooooove that song)
  • Typing post about how I procrastinate while I’m procrastinating….Hmmm….

Update: I was able to kick my rear in gear and get several hours of studying accomplished tonight!  Yay!

Sunday Reads: My Favorites From The Week

6 Dec

Awesome and/or HI-larious articles from the week:

One Of My Miniature Dreams: A Home Gym

4 Dec

Have you ever wondered about that side bar towards the bottom of my page that’s titled “Home Gym”?  You know, this one:

Well, let me explain.  For me, working out is like brushing your teeth.  It’s just something I do everyday without a second thought.  If I miss a couple days of working out, I get cranky and can’t think straight.  I have an inkling that this is how I felt most of the time before I started working out daily.  But, that’s another post for another day…

My point is, though, that you wouldn’t buy a house without a sink to brush your teeth or a bathtub to take a shower in would you?  Nor would I buy a house where I could not build my very own home gym.

It must have been fate when I met a guy who was even more of a workout addict than myself!  😉  Lloyd is an inspiration and never misses a workout.  He works out 6 days a week and is an avid weight lifter.  Needless to say, he wants a home gym just as much as I do.

I know a home gym will take time to build.  It could take years even before we have it perfect (Lloyd wants to build a “locker room” in our home gym which I think is a little absurd considering there will probably be a bathroom around the corner.  Boys…).  However, it is one of my requirements that I have a few necessities before I have a kid (Momma’s gotta work off the baby weight somewhere!):

  • treadmill
  • spinning bike
  • set of dumbbells (preferably convertible like these)

Those three things are my bottom-line, must have requirements to build the foundation of our gym.  Of course we’ll need other necessities eventually like:

  • plastic floor tiles (the kind they have in gyms)
  • mirrors
  • TV
  • stereo
  • resistance bands
  • barbells
  • flat bench

Sometimes Lloyd and I will get to dreaming really big and claim we want these things in our gym:

  • cable crossover (the big machines with the cables)
  • locker room (again….not gonna happen)

I totally get that most people probably think we’re crazy for wanting to spend so much money on a home gym.   However, I often daydream about rolling out of bed in the morning and heading right down to my personal gym instead of driving half-asleep, 10 minutes across town to my public gym – and that alone makes me so happy.  An added perk is the fact that I will no longer have to work out next to “talks-too-much-guy”, “stares-too-much-guy”, “smelly-guy/girl”, or “Spandex-guy” (quite possibly the fashion faux pas of the century).

There you have it – that little sidebar is no longer a mystery.  It’s one of my miniature dreams that I can’t wait to make into a reality someday!

Now that you know about my mine – what are some smaller dreams that you want to accomplish in your life that you are saving for?