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Use These Tips When Your Motivation For Working Out Dwindles

16 Dec

FOR YOUR HEALTH

  • You’ll sleep like a rock instead of tossing and turning all night. (Bonus point for looking refreshed in the morning!)
  • You’re less likely to get sick.  Before I started working out, I was sick ALL the time.  Now I get about 1 cold per year – sometimes zero!
  • Your heart and blood pressure will thank you!  Last time I checked, you kinda need your heart to stick around for a while!
  • I always feel better after I sweat out a gallon of toxins!  It’s so cleansing for your body.
  • Everything, and I mean everything, works & feels better: your hips, your posture, your walk, your skin, your glow!

FOR YOUR LOOKS

  • Muffin tops, back fat – be gone!
  • Pants won’t cut into your hips/belly anymore.  Trust me, I’m not a rail, but I used to HATE that uncomfortable feeling of too tight pants in the waist-region.  This feeling alone greatly increases the quality of my days – all day, every day.
  • The above bullet applies to your entire body, too.  Clothes will actually fit you and skim your body instead of suffocating it.
  • 2 words: BIKINI SEASON
  • Looking better in front of cameras.

FOR YOUR AGING

  • I plan to have fun in retirement, not sit in a rocker all day long.  Working out will give me the stamina I need live a good, quality life well into my senior years!
  • Building and maintaining a workout plan in your youth can help prevent or lessen the ailments of old age.  Keep your hips healthy with strong leg and ab muscles, keep your back sturdy by stretching and lifting weights, etc.

FOR YOUR KIDS

  • So I’ve heard (and this makes sense), being in shape makes pregnancy & delivery easier!
  • It’s more fun to play with the kiddos than watch from the sidelines.
  • Who doesn’t want to be the MILF everyone talks about in the neighborhood! (What, that’s not everyone’s dream?)

FOR YOUR MONEY

  • If you’re getting sick less, you’re taking less time off work, going to the doctor less, and spending less on medicines.  Cha-ching!
  • The more you work out, the less likely you are to sabotage your hard work with fast food or other bad food choices.  Those things can add up!

FOR FUN

  • There is something to be said about knowing that you can throw down if you need to, if say, some girl tries to flirt with your boyfriend.
  • You can make friends at the gym or use it as bonding time and bring one of your girlfriends along!
  • Lloyd and I worked out together a lot when we first started dating.  It was almost like an exciting date every time we went.  Drag your new girl/boyfriend to the gym with you and pretty soon you’ll be going daily!

FOR YOUR MIND

  • There’s nothing like that calm, relaxed feeling that you get post-workout.
  • Hate that afternoon slump?  Feel tired every morning?  Feel like you never get enough sleep?  Your energy will skyrocket and those feelings with disappear with a regular and consistent workout program.
  • You can actually have the occasional ice cream or other treat and not complain about how guilty you feel for eating it – you deserve it!

FOR YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER

  • I’d love Lloyd if he were 500 pounds.  Love may start with looks, but after a while it’s just about what’s inside.  However, I want to be there to grow old with Lloyd.  What’s the fun in retirement if you can’t enjoy it with the one you love?  Respect yourself and your S.O. with some regular TLC for your bod.
Disclaimer:  I don’t condone violence or truly “throwing down” with someone.  Please don’t go out and beat someone up just because I said it can help motivate you to work out.  Thanks! 🙂

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!

YOU MUST LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS.

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!

PHOTO SOURCE

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?

Staying Fit: 5 Things To Splurge On

6 Jul

After my great knee fail of 2009, I’ve learned a few things about what NOT to skimp on when it comes to working out…

PROTECTION:  No matter if it’s midmorning or midnight, I always carry pepper spray when I go for a run or bike outside.  I’ve heard too many horror stories of poor girls getting attacked while they’re outside working on their fitness.  Invest in an $8 bottle of pepper spray at the local hardware store and put yourself at ease when you’re outdoors.  It also just helps to know your surroundings and avoid listening to music when you’re in a secluded area.  Another good thing to have is at least one sturdy knee – a swift knee-to-the-groin will hopefully send even the craziest weirdos running in the opposite direction.

SHOES:  After buying “cheaper” shoes that didn’t fit and subsequently injuring my knee, I’ll be benched for who knows how long.  Choose shoes that feel comfy and fit you well.  Too big is always better than too small as your feet tend to expand during workouts.  Since your feet are absorbing the impact for most cardio exercises and a lot of weight-bearing exercises, you’ve gotta have something to support that smokin’ hot bod of yours.

SOCKS:  Seriously, socks are important.  I don’t know how many times my cheap-self has tried to forgo buying new socks for a couple more weeks only to walk out of the gym with blisters bigger than I ever thought could exist.  I’m not saying you need to go out and get super-special socks or anything.  Just try to avoid the holy socks that are so worn down they’re basically 5 white threads barely weaved together.  If you can’t muster up the $2.99 for an entire new pack, you can always wear 2 pairs of socks.  That should do the trick.  (Lord knows I’ve donned 2 or even 3 pairs back in my college days.)

SPORTS BRA:  Ladies! *shakes head*  Even if you’ve got small ones, they’re prone to bouncing a full 180 degrees when you’re huffing and puffing in Step class.  Stop the madness!  Get yourself a smasher, a compressor, a harness, WHATEVER it takes to lock those bad boys down.  No one wants to see that except for the perve in the back of the class – and trust me, you don’t want to give him any more material than he’s already got.  Ew.  On a more serious note:  a good sports bra will save your back and keep the girls in tip-top condition.  An extra $20 is worth it to prevent the pancake effect of your elder years.

SUNGLASSES:  No need for the $100 Oakley’s that people who are bad with their money usually wear.  Most of my sunglasses are in the $10 range from Target.  Make sure you get a wrap-around pair as the whole point of the sunglasses is to save the skin around your eyes.  (Don’t forget sunscreen!)  Did you know that the sun can hurt your eyeballs, too?  Call me crazy, but I’d say my eyeballs are worth at least a $10 pair of shades.

What do you splurge on to keep your work outs going strong?

[Photo Source]

The Cost Of A Broken Knee

4 Jul

As I mentioned in my last post, my knee has been bothering me for a couple weeks.  It has been getting worse and worse everyday – it feels quite “inflamed” and really achy.

Seeing that exercise is my favorite outlet, it has been really hard for me to not be able to run or do any type of cardio.  I have been able to do some weight lifting which is helping to keep me sane.

But, I’m starting to get quite worried about the costs that could be associated with my knee.  You see, I have what I like to refer to as “risky health insurance”.  It’s a health “fund” insurance (you can read more about it in another post, here) that allows me to avoid co-pays and prescription costs as long as I keep my health expenses pretty low throughout the year.

This has worked wonderfully until now.  Normally, my only health costs are monthly prescriptions and annual dentist/eye appointments.  However, now that my knee is acting up, I forsee X-rays, MRIs, and maybe even surgery.

All of those thing most definitely do NOT fall under the $1,250 in health “funds” that I am allotted each year.

I have an appointment for my knee in about 10 days and I’m praying that they just tell me it’s a simple case of tendonitis and to rest it for awhile.

If they tell me it’s more serious, I’ll probably have to wait until the first of next year when I can switch to a more reasonable insurance.  Well, either that or fork over tons of money so they can fix up my knee now and I can regain my sanity with exercise.

In just over a week, I’ll have to choose between my two loves: money and staying fit.  Which would you choose?

——————————————————–

UPDATE:  I had my Orthopedic appointment about a week ago.  They took X-rays and my bones are just fine.  *jumps for joy*  However, after some further testing, the doctor said that my IT Band is inflammed (common in active people).  My remedy is rest, anti-inflammatories, and stretching.  The stretching seems to be helping quite a bit!  I also got a “knee sleeve” for it for when I work out, which basically prevents inflammation.  Conclusion:  I don’t have to empty my savings for surgery, but I do need to take better care of my knee to prevent having to do that in the future!

The New Gyms In My Life

24 Jun

A couple months ago, The Kansas City Star outted me when they published an article that said I worked part time at a gym.

Well, I did, anyway.  I worked part time at a gym for a couple years and got really spoiled with a free gym membership.  After I started studying for the CPA, my priorities shifted and I barely had time to get in my regular workouts, let alone actually work at the gym.

So, I quit.  Since working out is a big part of my life, I sort of panicked that I wasn’t going to find a gym on the cheap.

The good news is that I found lots!

I already told you about my apartment gym which is really great for cardio since their weights kinda suck.  I also hit up the gym in my office several days a week over lunch to get in some quick lifting sessions (perfect for us busy folks).  They’re both free so I can’t really complain about either of them!

Since then, I’ve found a gem of a gym. 😉  It’s local and it’s huge and it’s got all the weights and cardio equipment I could ever want.  The best part is the cost.

$11.66 per month

Crazy, right?!  The total cost for the entire year was $140 and there wasn’t even a sign up fee!

However, it’s not all good.  A price that low brings in plenty of crazys!  Note to Spandex Dude at gym: even spandex in black isn’t flattering on anyone.

That’s all right though.  For eleven dollars a month, I can deal with a little crazy.

CPA: T-2.5 Days

10 May

It’s official – I take the first part of the CPA exam this Tuesday.  Eek!

You may know I rescheduled it from April 24 because I was sooo NOT ready at that point.

I feel MUCH more confident these days.

I took a practice test this morning (basically the test with questions from past years) and got an 89% – woohoo!  You need a score of 75 to pass the CPA.  This shouldn’t be confused with a score of 75% because the questions are weighted (from what I’ve read).  I read somewhere that a score of 75 pretty much equates to 60-65%.  Sounds easy, right? Wrong!  The pass rate is still 35-45%.  Yikes.

At this point, I will be happy with just a score of 75.  That means I can move on with my life and to the next test.  This would also mean I wouldn’t have to shell out another $300+ to re-apply and take the same test over again.

I’ve learned SO much about how I learn over the past 8 weeks.  I’ve been out of the study habit for 4 years and let me tell you – it is HARD to get back into!

I plan to review the things I missed on this morning’s test for the rest of the day.  Tomorrow I have to work all day, so I plan to review during lunch and all night tomorrow night.

Tuesday – the big day – I am off the entire day!  My test is at night but I do NOT want to get stressed at work that day.  I’m going to do some light studying on and off all day.  I plan to sleep in so I’ll be wide awake for the test.  I also plan to get in a good, sweaty cardio workout and go tanning to clear my mind so I’ll be fresh for the test.  Also, I’ll be partaking in lots of healthy, clean eating on Tuesday so I won’t feel fuzzy that night.

But after I walk outta that damn testing center, you better belive I’m having a drink!  Lloyd is bringing me a sixer (or a twelver, depending on how I feel) and we’ll be celebrating with some drinks on our new patio. 😀

Cardio and lifting have kept me sane and focused during these past 8 weeks! I’ve always kept a pretty consistent work out regimen, but I really started kicking my runs into high gear the past couple weeks.  It has helped immensely!

Wish me luck! I’m well on my way to actually knowing what I’m talking about on this darn blog! 😀