I noticed something interesting this year. It seems every November diet groups are closing meetings and seeing membership drop, while my gym is actually adding classes.
It's always been my experience both with dieting and exercise that in January you have to show up early and plan on long lines and difficult to find parking, to maker room for all the people who set a new years resolution, and by February things are back to normal. This year I noticed that while the diet groups are scarce these days, my spin class today was full and the gym is pretty normal, not deserted.
People who are on diets aren't always loving how they feel.
In contrast people who exercise regularly continue to make time for this because they feel great.
I have reviewed the many benefits of exercise in earlier blog posts in more detail, they include improved mood, energy levels, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, improved sleep and an overall improved sense of well-being.
People who exercise regularly feel fabulous
So if your workout isn't "working-out" so well ~ how can you reap these great benefits too?
- Cardiovascular: Make it fun. Don't "work out" instead "go play" many gyms offer racquetball but there is also indoor tennis, soccer, basketball and many more. A quick google search for adult "sport in my town" will tell you where to start. The Wii fit can be a great workout. I find the obstacle course to give m the best cardiovascular workout of them all, but many of the aerobic workouts are great. No membership fees, no driving, no parking, and you can get your kids involved and call it family time. Dancing is also great exercise if you don't enjoy sports.
- If you enjoy the outdoors, run or bike. Of course if the weather doesn't permit this all year you'll need a seasonal back up plan.
- Try a class at the gym, Spinning is a great workout and no fear ~ if you can't keep up you can just pedal slower, you can't "go the wrong way" and bump into people so it's a great workout but also great for beginners. Zumba is great fun and there are many more classes to try.
- If all else fails try Craigs list or free-to-recycle for a piece of gently used exercise equipment. Get something quiet and put it in front of the television and just get on it and move during your favorite show. Even just 5 minutes a day is better than nothing and you can work your way up from there. If you have high enough ceilings and enough room jumping rope is also a great workout.
- Weight train. The fastest way to lose weight is to combine cardiovascular exercise with weight training. Put on your favorite music and just do it. I timed myself a few times and half a circuit takes 15-20 minutes, the whole circuit takes about 30. I either do arms OR legs plus core when I will be back the next day or the whole circuit when I am not going to the gym the following day. So for example Tuesday arms & core, Wednesday legs and core, Saturday whole circuit, Sunday no weights. For best results lift weights 3x a week on non-consecutive days. Arms and Legs need rest days in between but most experts feel the core (abs, back, waist) do not need rest days. A set of resistance tubes is a great way to accomplish this at home, if like most people you don't have room for a big home gym.
- Weight training keeps you strong and makes you lose more fat and less muscle. This in turn keeps the metabolic rate higher. For more information see my earlier blog post on strength training
- Most gyms offer an orientation. Make sure you're using the equipment correctly. You should do 1-2 sets of 12 repetitions each. By the 10th repetition it should feel hard but not impossible. If you can do 2 sets you should feel like you need a rest in between. If it's too easy, increase the weight by 20%. Most gyms have free sheets to keep track of weights, reps and sets. Myfitnesspal.com also has a tracker you can easily use on your smartphone.
- EATING For best results eat lightly before a workout and have a higher protein meal or snack afterwards.
- SCHEDULING This falls under "just do it" take out the weekly time map or planner and plug in 4 moving your body sessions, even if this is playing with the kids at home, write it down. Invite a friend to move with you to make it harder to skip it. After 21 days you'll feel so fabulous and have so much more energy you won't WANT to miss out and you'll have found the room in your schedule. The important thing is to start now.