Thursday, May 1, 2008

Get Moving!

Sorry everyone. I meant to post yesterday, but life and work got in the way. The trip home to see Mom went well. She just kept patting my face and telling me my face looked so thin (in a good way). I did fear that she was going to channel her mother any minute and pinch my cheeks, but she resisted.

Ryan Update: As far as poor Ryan and her discovery about frozen dinner ingredients—she very carefully purchased new meals that showed whole meat shapes on the package face only to discover that the meat (chicken this time) had been treated pretty much like the beef we discussed a few days ago. Now, keep in mind that this girl cannot cook. (And, no, I won't get in trouble for this statement. She'll be the first to tell you she has no culinary skills.) She's convinced now that the only thing she'll be able to eat for lunch is canned soup. (Let's hope she doesn't look at the label. Otherwise, I'll be making lunches for her for the rest of my life.)

Working Out
Today's topic—exercise. (I realize that to some of you this is actually a 4-letter word disguised as an 8-letter word.) Eating changes aside for a minute, the other half of the success I've had over the last seven months is because of the amount of exercise I get every week. The trick is to find something that you like to do that involves moving your body in a way that will make you get warm and maybe a little sweaty. (Okay. That last sentence didn't quite come out right.)

I may be a little weird. I really like working out. The harder it gets the more I smile and crack jokes (although 90 second planks apparently make me start whining halfway through.) This morning a trainer I don't know came up to talk to me. He thought I needed dumbbells to push my arms more. Of course, what he tried to hand me were tiny things that weigh less than my hands. I started laughing and told him that I'd need a lot bigger dumbbells if he wanted me to take him seriously. I'm not sure he believed me. He did note that I seemed to be having an awfully good time for someone who was breathing so hard. Another trainer I know had watched all of this and came up to me laughing and said it was obvious this guy had never seen me train.

The point is I've found the type of exercise that I think is fun and makes me happy. For me it's lifting free weights (the heavier the better) and body weight circuit training with a little cardio on the resting days. For you it might be playing soccer, rowing, riding a bike, or just a brisk walk in your neighborhood. The goal is to just get moving. The more you move, the better you feel, and the more you move. See a pattern here? The bonus: it brings your blood sugar down.

You can turn anything into circuit training. Take 3-5 exercises you like that move you in different directions: up and down (i.e., squats), side to side (i.e., side step on a raised step), forward and backwards (lunges), push and pull (bench press or pushups), add a set of crunches or v-ups; do 8-10 reps of each exercise, string them together without stopping and you've got a circuit. Rest for a minute or two between sets. Then do it again. As it gets easier (and you get smaller and stronger), add some weight.

This is really simplified but there are a lot of good books and blogs out there. I like New Rules of Lifting for Women in the book category. It's a really easy read and it has workouts that you can follow with pictures and descriptions of all the exercises in the book. Both me and my trainer/training partner are seeing improvements in strength and endurance after four months of using the book as a loose guide. It started out as an experiment to see how two women, one who was already very fit and one who was somewhat fit but overweight, could benefit from this type of training. Neither one of us could do a full set of "man" pushups when we started in January, now we're both knocking off 3 sets. And six months ago I couldn't do even one pushup. For workout information online, visit Stumptuous. Krista has a lot of good information on her site—and she's funny to boot.

And don't be intimidated by the meatheads at the gym. You have every right to be there regardless of your size or fitness level.


Kathleen C. said...

That last sentence... that *really* hits home. I work at a mid-sized university and one of the perks is free use of the rec center, BUT... the rec center here is packed with teen-to-twenty toned and trim co-eds. I feel so deep down uncomfortable there. I'm not treated badly; I know it's just inside me. But still... there it is.

Maybe... maybe if I could find an exercise partner as you have...
How did you find a like minded workout partner?

Kristen said...

Kathleen, I understand. Completely. See if you can find an all-women's gym in your community. I went to one in a neighborhood with a high population of Orthodox Jews for a few years, so you can bet it was definitely no men over the threshold! There was a wide diversity of women, from your professional weightlifting types to housewives to twenty-somethings, but there just wasn't a competition. It let me get comfortable with all the machines and such so that when it shut down (boo-hoo!) I was fine moving to a co-ed gym. Though these days I do my working out outside or at home. I learned I do better outside in the fresh air whenever possible. If there's no women's gym where you live see if you can find a time to go to the rec center when it is less busy.

TMK said...

Kathleen: I started by taking a weightlifting class through continuing ed at one of the community colleges. This got me access to a gym once a week and I got some instruction on how to lift properly and how to put together a workout. It also gave me more confidence when I did join a gym. As far as workout partners, I've met both women I work out with at my current gym.

Norma said...

"The trick is to find something that you like to do that involves moving your body in a way that will make you get warm and maybe a little sweaty. (Okay. That last sentence didn't quite come out right.)"

This made me laugh out loud because today in my deposition (horrors: classes are over, so I'm taking depos again) a woman, when asked if there were any physical activities that she used to enjoy before the accident that she can no longer do, she responded, "By physical activity, do you mean exercise?"

ROFL. I'm quite sure she didn't mean it the way it came out, but I had all I could do not to guffaw.

TMK said...

Norma: I left that sentence as originally written just for you!