~ My Philosophy ~
Many people have either a love/hate relationship with exercise or, let's be honest, a non-existent one. I don't think either one of these approaches to fitness is helpful or healthy, so I tend to follow my own philosophy: An active lifestyle is important and it's got to be FUN. I don't believe in running to burn calories because that is 1) the beginnings of a love/hate relationship and 2) seriously boring. So, shake it up and stay active. If this means going for a long walk with the dogs, taking a hike with some friends, or running around, enjoying the sunshine and exploring your town, then you're on the right track to finding that balance!
~ Tips for enjoying yourself while getting a great workout ~
Yes, I'm sure I know where most of your minds started to wander... but no, these tips are G rated my friends. For those of us who aren't exactly thrilled by the idea of heading out for a five mile run, I've developed some tips that I use for all my workouts. I'm not kidding, they work!
Check out this post for some more tips!
1) Smile at everybody. It's super easy to look at the ground, avoid eye contact, and scowl the whole time you're pounding the pavement, but you'd be surprised what a difference it makes when you look up and smile at somebody who's passing by. It not only encourages a positive mindset while working out.... but you never know who you'll end up jogging past so you might as well try to look like you're not in serious, ass-kicking pain.
2) Killer playlists. Create the ultimate playlist with a list of feel good songs. My trick? Mixing up the traditional rap/rock workout songs with tons of happy songs that will make you want to sing a long (or if you don't have enough breath to spare, perhaps mouth the lyrics) while you work out. My favorites include some classics like Sweet Home Alabama and
3) Stop looking at your watch. Guys, I hate to say it, but checking your watch every two seconds will not make your workout SPEED by. I always wear a watch while I workout, but I rarely look at it. I prefer to take away the mental stress of counting down the minutes and instead focus on creating delicious recipes or thinking about something equally entertaining, like
4) Tape up any problem areas. I get the worstttt blisters from every single pair of running shoes I own so I've decided to take preventative measures and bandaid/tape the areas that are blister prone. This way, when I'm running those last two miles, I'm not focusing on my raw and throbbing feet :)
5) Challenge yourself. No, this doesn't mean sign up for a half marathon that you have two weeks to train for. A workout is supposed to be fun but still challenging. You should be testing your mental and physical strength, and keep pushing your limits. Have fun with this - tap into your competitive edge. I always think about people in power who can run farther than me and I immediately start saying "if they can do it, so can i" (fact: Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin are avid runners... not to say Palin is my role model but I'm not about to let her pass me on the trails).
So, bottom line: HAVE FUN. PUSH YOURSELF. and think about desserts, cause that always helps!
~ Fun Workout Ideas ~
I typically run or get some form of cardio exercise 6 days a week, but there are definitely those days where running is the last thing i want to do. So, I browse my handy list of go-to workouts...
- Bikram Yoga: For those of you who are unfamiliar with this complete and total body workout, Bikram is not your average yoga. It is a series of 26 intense postures done in a room that is set at 105 degrees and about 50 percent humidity. If you're not a fan of sweat, do not attempt, because you will be dripping after the first breathing exercise. Great health benefits (like sweating out all those unhealthy toxins & opening up your joints) and a great cardio and strengthening workout!!
- Hiking: NorCal has some amazing trails that can be absolutely beautiful while still kicking your ass. I have some favorite trails (some for running, others for exploring) that I frequent with friends when I really crave some outdoor activity. Look up some of your local trails and take a hike!
- Pilates: This is a new one for me. I've decided to dedicate 3-4 days at the gym to strength training and one of the most entertaining/challenging ways is through a class, I chose pilates and I wasn't disappointed! Great mix of yoga, stretching, strength training - focusing mostly on your core and back. Check out this post for more info.
- Spin Class: Oh yeah. I'm sure we've all been there: at the gym, walking past the door to spin class, completely intimidated by the loud music and the instructors screaming "inspirational" words of wisdom. But I took the plunge and went to my first class and LOVED it! It's seriously addicting. The loud music takes your mind off of the burn in your legs and booty when you're really working that butt off. Don't be intimidated, drag along a friend and pedal your heart out.
- Run to a Far Away Land: I know we all have our favorite running routes memorized, but sometimes you need a change. This happens to me quite frequently, so in an effort to mix it up, I've started picking stores, streets, landmarks, & locations that are 3-6 miles away and begin mapping out a new route. It's a great way to explore the parts of your town that you don't typically see AND running to a specified location really helps you push yourself. If you choose a place that is far away (6 plus miles) and you're too lazy to run back, enjoy the long walk back and reflect on just how far you ran!!
These are just some of my go-to workouts, I'm sure I'll send more your way but for now, try it out!