Hi team –
Lots going on today, so I’ll have to be briefer than usual (which isn’t very brief I admit).
Fitness thoughts for those of you looking to revive or begin a program. Off the top of my head:
1) In order to gain aerobic benefits (i.e., cardiovascular health, stress reduction, improved “fitness,” which can be measured myriad ways), you need to be moving at a moderate* pace for at least 20 minutes continuously. For those first 20 minutes, your workout fuel is readily available carbs: what you recently ate (w/in the past 2 hours) or lean body mass. To start burning fat, I’m sorry: go longer.
*on a scale of 0-10, 0 being watching Vincent D’Onofrio on the couch, which admittedly for me can be aerobic: 5 is a nice attentive pace, not moseying. 7 is more focused and close to the range of people you see working out. 10 is like running from a velociraptor. So “moderate” is likely a 6-8 — but remember this is YOUR moderate. What could be a ton of work for Bipsy in accounting, could be a piece of cake for you. This rating scale is referred to in the biz as “perceived rate of exertion.” Google it if you’re curious. Another cue: if you can talk when you’re walking, you’re likely less than a 5. If you can only fit in two or three words when you’re walking, you’re closer to a seven. If you can only yell, “HELP!” or “STOP!” or “FIRE” or “NO!” or “MOMMA!” you’re at a 10.
2) When to exercise? Whenever you will do it. Fit it in, make yourself a priority. After you start getting into a groove, you can decide if working out in the morning or in the evening or late afternoon or mid-late morning, late morning-early afternoon or late afternoon – early to mid evening is best for you… The point is to get started. Can’t do 30 at the moment: do 10 in three bites. It doesn’t matter if you go long or go short: to your heart, 30 minutes is 30 minutes. (But to hit that magic fat burn, ya gotta do 20+ continuously.)
3) Are you a sloucher? STOP IT! Want to enhance your core (trunk) — anything that’s not a large appendage (neck/head, arms and legs is core)? Do this: ESHKA. I tell it to my yoga kids all the time: Ears over Shoulders over Hips over Knees over Ankles; pretend there’s a string pulling your head to the sky and your ankles to the ground and that it’s a straight string, no curves. Are you a sitting sloucher? ESH, then your KA. Think right angles for your knees and elbows whenever you workout when you’re bending / lifting / squatting.
4) Treadmiller? Want more heartbeats per minute to build up that aerobic fitness and cardiovascular health? Move your arms in natural rhythm with your legs and body. If you’re already doing that, great! If you’re a “handle holder” at present that’s cool, just try for 30 seconds or less every couple minutes and then increase your time off the handles. Keep your incline at “0” so you can get used to the motion.
Want more? Increase your incline a level or two.
Want more? Ok: move your arms more vigorously and/or use hand weights.
Want more? (You badass!) Increase your incline and raise your arms above your head: do shoulder presses or swing your arms in “windmills.” You’ll be heating up in no time.
Are you insane? Increase your incline, slow it way down and increase your range of motion: lonnnng, slowwww, striiiiides with connnntrolllll.
Try a lunge or two if you’re certifiable. I am. I call it “LungeMilling” it takes some coordination though.
Treadmills are amazing devices, but I think people consider them one-dimensional. They can really aid you in your exercise endeavors.
Are you ready to pick up the pace? Go for it, but bring it down when you feel woo-woo: lightheaded, excessively winded (you simply CAN NOT catch your breath), chills or nauseated (no matter what you’re doing).
5) Do you use the stairs? Good for you! Here’s more: soften your step. Consider feather steps: they require more abdominal control and posture awareness. Anything that keeps you in the moment is better than taking you to that imaginary terrible meeting with the boss or awkward moment in carpool.
A great article in the Wall Street Journal discussing meeting exercise where YOU are is here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324432004578304250252788528.html
There’s a great debate about slow speeds and their mythical efficacy in a workout. Curious about it? Go here: http://www.more.com/health/wellness/are-you-working-out-hard-enough
1) What to eat? Anything you can purchase in the perimeter of your grocery store is going to be WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better for you than anything in the middle aisle (especially the aluminum foil). I like to think of it this way: the inside of the store is where the grinder (processor) is — so try to stay away from that stuff. Think caveman diet: they ate what they killed and picked. There was no Entenmann’s back then.
5 little meals throughout the day or 3 squares? — I’ve tried both and I usually ends up just grazing. The rule here (and it should really be considered a rule) is that you eat when you’re hungry and you stop when you’re full. Eat foods rich in color, from the ground or something with a heart (I’m not a vegetarian) and be aware. Love chocolate? Fine! Have a Gharadelli square but stop there. As I said last week: cravings last 14 minutes. Beat the craving, you win the moment. Awareness.
2) Drink water — as often as you can. I am a sludge: I hate the taste of plain water, so I add flavor to mine. For every 20 ounces of water, I add 5 ounces of a juice or lemonade. I just do. It makes the water taste better for me. Glam it up: add lemons or orange slices or bits of strawberries: treat yourself as if you’re at a spa. You are the spa.
3) In a bad mood? Get off the couch, walk around. Crank up the dance music. Sometimes just a change of scenery or posture or noise can be the thing to get you out of the funk. I realize this can sound glib; there are people who suffer from depression and other similar mood disorders. I’m not being intentionally glib. But I will say this: moving around will always help. What you don’t wanna do is go online. Nope. Close the laptop. Put down the iPhone.
4) see #2. Having enough water in our systems can remedy a TON of common complaints. Don’t believe me? Maaaaybe you’ll believe my friends at the MAYO CLINIC: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
5) Get to bed on time. Really. If your house is like mine, we put the kids to bed at 8:30 and they’re up again at least three more times in the next 30 minutes. Thirsty. Bad dream (already?!). Cold. Blankets all smushed. There can be no relief. You know what the relief is? If you go to bed when they do. (I know, it sounds nuts — but even if you’re just in your room reading or watching a little TV
and folding laundry) they will be more quiet when you’re on the same landing as they are. After a little while, when they dial down, you can go back downstairs to:
- Fold laundry
- Make lunches
- Sweep up the kitchen
- Walk the dog for the night
- Let the cat in/out
- Load the dishwasher
- Start another load of wash
- Let the other cat in/out
Believe me: there will always be something waiting downstairs.
I’m really not here today. I wrote my monthly post about writing for Peevish Penman at this link: http://peevishpenman.blogspot.com/2013/03/are-you-ready-or-not-new-beginnings.html — some of it might be repetitive for you; but in that post I talk about revising my book with the foreword because I’m feeling a little confused at the moment. The good news is that I read and edited like a boss yesterday, so I’m happy with that progress.