Why can't we just enjoy the holidays?
And here are some tips on how to do this.
So the holidays are upon us and this usually means a plethora of get-togethers that involve food. We read the articles or tweets that warn us about over eating and tips on how to avoid this. But, with everything we tend to overdo it. Meaning we're so conscious about what we eat, we can't enjoy the party or worse, we're insulting the host.
Why can't we just enjoy the holidays?
And here are some tips on how to do this.
Hello!! So sorry I haven’t posted in a while.
When I started this blog my goal was to fill a void in I saw in the world of fitness blogging. Many fitness blogs just focus on the actual workout part. But I wanted to talk about the nuances that make your gym visits and workouts a little easier. In my first blog I wrote about topics I wanted to cover such as organising your gym bag, constructing a workout schedule and dealing with the hiccups that gym going can involve.
Over the next year I wrote about running in the cold, contact lens wearing and the benefits of working with a personal trainer. But now I feel like I have said all I can say.
I really want to thank everyone for reading and for all your lovely comments. I especially want to thank my editor (you know who you are). I am going to keep this blog up as a reminder to keep learning and keep having fun.
If you have any questions or blog topics or anything you want me to try out, please don’t hesitate to connect with me.
I wasn’t planning on writing about this, but after reading the online reaction, coupled with my own personal feelings about weight loss and my general hatred for the show, I feel like I should.
As you all may have heard by now, The Biggest Loser has crowned their winner for Season 15.
I haven’t watched the show in a while, so I didn’t get to see Rachel’s journey. I won’t body shame her or anyone else. But let’s look at the show.
The Biggest Loser is not about promoting weight loss. It’s a game show. You’re competing to see who loses the most weight. That’s a messed up premise, right there. Think about it, you’re competing against other people to lose weight not only for your own pride because you want to succeed, but also for bragging rights (because no one wants to get sent home). It doesn’t matter that you’re being monitored by health specialists. This has to mess with your mind.
Let’s talk about the workouts that the contestants are subjected to. Now, you all know I haven’t been working out that long. I have read articles how it takes years to be able to work out the way the contestants do on the show without injuring oneself. And apparently, people do get injured-all the time.
Apparently, if you go to The Biggest Loser resort this is what your workout will look like. Imagine if they showed that on television? Bor-ing. Instead, the contestants are put through workouts that trained athletes probably wouldn’t do.
Finally, let’s look at the trainers themselves. Apparently, they’re just awesome people in real life. But they’re contestants, too. They want bragging rights and sometimes that can lead to cheating.
But what does all this have to do with us? Sure you can boycott the show and advertisers or we can have a discussion about how the show impacts its audience.
If you’re a parent who is afraid this show sends a bad message to your kids-educate them. Tell them the show is harmful and unrealistic, while watching it with them. Direct them to the Biggest Loser website and show them what life is really like at the ranch.
Finally, don’t make the show bigger than it is. How you react to it has more impact on your child than the show ever could.
Christmas Holidays 2011, I decided to take a two week break from working out. I lasted a week before I wanted to go back (I actually dreamed about working out). Last Christmas break I did manage to take the holidays off. It was great!
The New Year came and went and I promised I would go back to my routine. I didn't have the same resolve that I had the previous year and anxieties about how crowded the gym would be hampered any enthusiasm I might have had. I also had anxiety about how hard I should work. My “break” was only two weeks, so I was able to ease back into a somewhat steady routine quite easily.
But what if your break was a bit longer than two weeks? Depending on why your workouts were put on hiatus or how long your break was, the same principle applies. You need to ease back into it.
This is why charting workout programmes is important. I still have my very first workout programme stashed somewhere. What worked before can certainly work again, but tweaked to your current conditioning.
If you’re really stuck or lost, there is nothing wrong with seeking out a professional. A qualified personal trainer can certainly help you get back on track.
Be patient. Rushing into things can take the fun out of the journey and may also get you injured.
Most of all, remember why you work out to begin with. Enjoy your time with whatever you’re doing.
I was recently asked to write about working out on your own vs. taking classes, as I am a fan of both. However, for me it’s a bit more complicated than what I’m in the mood for. In deciding how you want to get in shape comes down to two simple rules- do what you like and find something that works within your schedule.
There are advantages to both. The main advantage to working out on your own is that you can follow your own schedule. The main advantage to taking classes is the variety and guidance.
However, knowing what works for you is knowing oneself and also trying something out. I like to run. Currently, I run outside. Other than the brief encounter with a polar vortex, this has been working out rather well. I have a good training programme that I follow and running with a group would definitely get in the way of that. Plus, running on your own is a good to really zone out (while being aware of your surroundings, of course).
Others may prefer the awesome camaraderie that running groups provide. They’re a great resource for info, encouragement and a way to meet people who have the same goals that you do.
But, when I’m at the gym, I definitely prefer classes. Working out on your own or with a trainer is great, too. If you’re new to working out or new at the gym, I highly recommend working out with a personal trainer. They’ll give you the basics of what you need to know, plus they’ll recommend any programmes the facility has to offer and they can introduce you to other staff and gym members.
As much as I like hanging out at my gym, I felt my workouts were taking way too long. If I wasn’t spending time on setting up equipment and looking for weights, I was chatting with someone. Also, I had to constantly change my workouts (every three months) to avoid getting bored.
Going to classes let’s me get in all the benefits of a normal workout in a condense period of time. You show up ten minutes before class starts (there may be minimal equipment set up), chat with other people, get your workout in, maybe chat with the instructor after and you’re ready to go home.
During classes, I am focused because this is it. I have no excuses. All my equipment is in front of me and no one is there to distract me as everyone is focused on their own workout. Plus, you don’t have to worry about wearing headphones if you like music and working out with an instructor is always fun. Their upbeat personalities make things entertaining.
But whatever you decide to do, if it works out it's a win-win!!
How do you like to work out? Do you prefer a class or working out on your own? Maybe you like a mixture of both?
During the recent and brief polar vortex, the thought of running outside became so daunting I swallowed my pride and brought the workout indoors to the treadmill. For some, the treadmill is regarded as the “dreadmill”, but I've done this before I could do it again.
My runs have gotten a bit longer and I feared monopolizing a treadmill for longer than the maximum thirty minutes that my facility allowed. However, the gym has been unusually quiet, so I decided to chance it.
Armed with my best tunes and a great channel on the television, I started my workout. I only made it halfway through my run before the boredom took over.
This may be why people hate cardio-especially indoor cardio. It can get monotonous. Spin classes and other types of cardio classes are really popular because they’re fun.
But what if you want to get in a long run or a long bike ride? How do maintain your sanity past the twenty minute mark?
How cold does it get before you decide it’s too cold to exercise outside? How do you deal with snow and ice?
So, come January I will be celebrating my two-year anniversary of working out consistently. It’s had its ups and downs.
Mostly, it’s been a positive journey.
One thing working out has helped me to do is watch my diet. I was a chronic meal-skipper/late meal-eater. You can’t do that when you’re about to go to bootcamp or out for a run. Well, I know I can’t. But, I’ll blog about my eating habits for later.
I’m pretty sure I mentioned that one of the reasons I go to the gym is because I can’t work out on my own. I have old videos and weights from before, but right now working out on my own is just not in the cards.
Still, I don’t go as often as I used to and there’s a few reasons for that.
When I first joined, I started going five days a week: four days of weights and a mix of cardio, and one day of class - usually mid week and usually spin or yoga. Then I changed it up when I got bored or someone introduced me to a new class.
But when I started running outside again, it cut into my gym-going immensely.
Now my gym visits revolve around my runs and consist of the wonderful classes that the facility provides. Yes, I can make adjustments, but I’m no longer bound to I-need-to-do-this-on-this-day-and-workout-exactly-like-this.
I have running to thank for that.
In fact, the longer my training runs are the less weight training I can do. And that’s where I am now.
The winter is almost upon us and I have decided to continue running outside. My runs last over 40 minutes (I’m working through an 8k run programme) and I would feel bad monopolising a treadmill for that long. I’ll probably have to rework my schedule if I have to take running back indoors. But I am optimistic I can last the outdoor winter training.
How often do you change up your routine? What are your triggers? How do you come up with a new routine?
Is it safe to workout wearing contact lenses? Of course it is. I wear them because I hate wearing my glasses, but my eyesight is so bad that not wearing corrective lenses gives me eye strain and headaches.
Contact lenses aren’t foolproof, though. With the climate controlled environment in the gym, the dryness of the air combined with sweat can irritate the eyes. This usually only happens during the summer months, though, coming into the gym from the outside humidity, and only lasts a few minutes.
Like anywhere else, you have to be diligent about how you care for your eyes. I have lost a lens at the gym and it’s no big deal because my glasses are always in the car. But what if you’re a contact lens wearer and you shower after your workouts, or swim in your lenses?
Why is this big deal, you ask? Because swimming or showering with your contacts in increases your chance of getting an eye infection.
Many people use the showers or pools at the gym. How many of them are contact lens wearers? I’d say quite a few. Are they thinking about eye infections? Do they have safeguards to prevent this?
If you do wear your contacts to the gym here are a few things you can do to avoid showering in them;
1. Shower when you get home.
2. Take your case to the gym and take them out before showering (for AM pre-work gym rats).
3. ALWAYS have an extra pair of contacts or bring your glasses, just in case.
This is probably the only time where I’ll actually say ‘do this’ or ‘don’t do this’. I truly don’t want anyone to get an eye infection.
To celebrate a small milestone, I bought the Garmin Forerunner 10. It’s really the best thing I ever bought (sorry Blackberry smartphone and iPod Nano). The hardest part about choosing one is which colour to get http://static.garmincdn.com/shared/emea/custom/forerunner10/img/watches.jpg.
The main reason why I bought the device was for the GPS system and the interval functions. Using my phone’s GPS is very accurate, but you can’t always get a signal, it eats up data, it’s heavy and pretty sensitive and has a tendency to log out mid workout. The iPod Nano has a distance calculator, but it’s pretty inaccurate.
The Forerunner 10 is as basic as one can get in a GPS exercise watch. It has pace function, a calorie counter, a timer and an interval function. You can also upload your workouts to your computer. While this feature is not necessary at the start of a running programme, it’s nice to see your progression once you start running longer intervals.
For example, as I was working through Todd Lange’s 5k101 http://runningmatemedia.com/ (also available in iTunes), I noticed how much closer I was to hitting that 5k mark.
Now that I am noticing my fitness improve, I’ve decided to increase my mileage. As such, it’s important to keep track of a comfortable run pace. You can go by feel, but it’s easy to zone out and next thing you know you’re flying through your workout before prematurely hitting the figurative wall. Or you can look up a pace using a pace calculator, but ultimately, those numbers means nothing if you don’t know the distance and that can mean running on a track. BOR-ING! (More on track workouts in a future blog).
Being a base model, the Forerunner 10 does have its limitations. One of them being you can’t see all your data on the same screen at one time. For example, if I am concerned about pace and distance, I have to scroll between screens, which really doesn’t bother me since I’m such a slow runner that slowing down for a couple of seconds doesn’t make much of a difference to my overall time.
The second limitation and this is more inconvenient is that the run walk interval settings don’t go more than 10 minutes. This can be worked out somehow, just not sure how.
Overall, I can say that I am happy with the Forerunner 10. I’m sure I’ll be able to work through my issues with it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Do you rely on gadgets to track your workouts? What are some of your favourites?