May 7, 2015

Workout Stuff and Things 5/7

It's been awhile since I've talked about working out.

I would like to take this Stuff and Things to talk about what I've done for the month of April.

I don't really go to the gym anymore.  It's kind of a fruitless effort.  It used to work for me in other locations but at some point it became more trouble than it's worth.  The gym on base here doesn't have a schedule that fits my schedule and there are no private gyms on my side of town.  In the summer and on extended breaks, I'm able to go to morning kettlebell classes on base or the occasional yoga class.  Which is great.  But it's not a part of my routine.

I've been a fan of Pilates for years and then I started doing more yoga earlier this year, via Youtube. So in an effort to set up consistency for myself (I thrive under consistency), I joined The Balanced Life Sisterhood back in February.  It's provided me with a workout calendar that includes Pilates 5-6 days a week.  Some of the workouts are 5 minutes long, and some are 50 minutes.  It depends on the day.  However rigorous or involved the workout is, this has instilled the idea of consistency back into my day.  In February and March, I used the calendar as a guide and supplemented here and there because I generally know what I feel like working on each day.  However, for April, I followed the calendar exactly and I'm really glad I did.  It gave me a "okay, today I do this.." mentality and put some form and function into a wide-open schedule.  With Scott deployed, I could come home from work and just sit on the couch and waste away the evening. But knowing I have a workout that I'm committed to is enough to make me complete other tasks so I can fit it in.  It's given me a sense of accountability and I really appreciate that.  If you're interested in joining the program, here's the link.  It's $9/month, totally worth it, and this is not a sponsorship of sorts....just my opinion!

I do like that I've been able to supplement my daily Pilates with weekend workouts.  Whether it be a circuit workout, a hike or walk, or a class at the gym.
I do feel the need to add that there are only two weekend classes at the gym here and the one I've opted to go to is usually "Body Sculpt".  Now, it's not as good as it sounds.  It's essentially taught by one of those over-exercisers who just needs to take a break because her injuries affect her ability to teach.  It's really just hundreds of squats, hundreds of lunges, and running laps.  That's not "sculpt"; It's poorly executed circuit training.  With a terrible playlist.

So I really need to stop bothering with that.  It just has made me feel productive on Saturday mornings but the last time I went the instructor didn't show up and the gym didn't even give a reason.  I asked for a refund and they gave my $3 back but offered no explanation.  It was odd.

And while I went to spin class on Saturday mornings once in awhile over the winter, I'm not doing that anymore.  I hate it too much.  It was the only physical activity I could fit in at that point, and now I'm focused on walking with the dogs and outdoor exercise instead.

I'm not a runner and I don't claim to be, but even I can't deny that endorphin-high you get after a cardio workout.  It makes your entire day better.

Case in point: A few weeks ago at school we had a Fund Run.  The entire school was told to run/walk laps.  Six laps equaled a mile and there were teachers keeping track as each of the kids completed every lap.  The P.E. teacher had a giant sound system and music (though Blurred Lines might not have been the best choice and now I have Shake It Off permanently stuck in my head).
I ran with my class and, while I don't usually run much, I enjoy any opportunity I get to wear workout gear because it's much more comfortable than the jeans that are usually stand-issue on Fridays.

While I probably only ran 2-3 miles, including walking breaks, I found it so exhilarating to encourage and motivate the kids.  I typically am pretty confident of my teaching abilities in the classroom, but I found it easier to motivate them as we ran.  I would pick a kid and run with them for half a lap and then find some walkers (ha ha "walkers") and tell them "If I can do it, you can do it!" and they'd start running again.  It was probably the best time I've had at this school thus far.  We ran for 35 minutes and some kids managed to do over 3 miles.

The point is that I felt SO much better for the rest of the day because I got that physical activity.  The kids, whilst feigning exhaustion, also did better for the rest of the day.  They were more focused than they normally are on Fridays. It was a great experience and I realize that cardio IS important, but organized or regimented cardio isn't something I'm currently participating in and that's okay.

Back to Pilates.  I've learned a couple of tricks to make consistency my friend.

+Set aside a time.  Evening is best for me.  I'm more flexible after a day of moving around.

+Set aside a space. Having a space for just working out breeds consistency. I use the guest room, with a mirror to check my form.

+Have a plan.  You can plan out your week of workouts or you can join a program in which the dirty work is done for you.  Robin at The Balanced Life not only sends out a calendar (which I appreciate because I can track progress), but she also sends out a list of links to the videos.  I don't even have to search for them.  Half the work, for me, is choosing a workout.  This eliminates any excuse-making.  And we're all good at making excuses.

+Focus on making gains, not being perfect.  When I first started Pilates classes back in 2012, I was really not flexible.  I couldn't even touch my toes.  After 6 months of once a week classes, I could touch my toes.  Since I've been doing online Pilates/yoga for the last 15 months, flexibility exercises have gotten easier.  Currently, I'm working on the roll-over.

+Sometimes I have to break up a workout.  45 minutes on a Tuesday night is not always ideal, but often I'll do 20 minutes, take dogs for a walk (so they stop glaring at me), come back in and do the rest. Sometimes I'll start dinner in the middle of a workout.  I try not to get so sidetracked with "I need an hour to complete this workout" and nothing else gets done.  I really only have 4-5 usable hours each day after work (an hour of which usually includes prepping for the next day!) and I have to fit a lot into that time.

Do you have any secrets for establishing a consistent routine?


  1. I miss being in Alabama where I had a gym membership with childcare included. Made things way easier! I started a lifting program which I LOVED, I could definitely tell I was getting stronger... but then we moved here. Childcare, not really happening, and the husband's schedule was too erratic for me to do anything. Oh well. I focus on getting out with the kid, walking, whatever, and exercising when I can. Which is never nowadays because I'm just too pregnant to care :P

  2. I think this is great. I'm with you - I can't focus on I need one hour it all has to be done in one hour, etc. I think it's really important to be adaptable.

    I have to write things down in my planner for them to get done. Right now I'm doing a six week weight workout (will switch up after six weeks) on M - W - F. Tuesdays and Thursdays I either walk at lunch or with a DVD at night. Weekends are typically me getting out with the dogs.

    I took a pilates class many moons ago and sometimes I think about reintroducing it to my routine. Maybe that should happen on a weekend.

  3. My SIL does Pilates and yoga and gooooooodness gracious she looks good. I'd kill to be flexible and "toned," but I'm afraid to get into it because how the heck will I know if I'm doing it right? And I'm just not a classes person (I don't think...). I guess I could bring my ipad over to the complex gym and use the mirror there to spot form. Now there's an idea....

  4. I need a kick in the butt to get me motivated to work out again. The first three months, I was consistently working 60-hour weeks and I told myself I just didn't have the spare time. I still probably did, but now I really have no excuse given how much work has slowed down. I never thought about doing pilates by myself. I'm going to go check that link out...

  5. Sounds like you're putting in a valid effort though! Kudos to you. I've recently started getting back to the gym. I don't LOVE it, but I like it a hell of a lot more than working out at home. It makes me try harder when I'm at the gym.

  6. I like the gym but it really isn't my favorite place to be. I would rather be outside and run.

  7. I've had a newfound love for working out lately, too. I found a program I'm really enjoying and seems to be working pretty well, and is something I can do at home or at the gym later if I want to. And, it helps fill my time. I get home from work around 4:15-4:30 and the program I'm doing only takes about 40 minutes on 3 days of the week, but I always add in some low impact cardio just because I have nothing better to do and I don't hate the treadmill too much as long as I have something good to watch. I end up working out for around an hour and a half to two hours which sounds like a crazy long time - and it is - but it keeps my mind off of being alone, so I like it.

    I will never get over that your gym classes cost $3.00.

  8. I need to get on some Pilates and/or yoga.

    The consistency is so important and that's what I struggle with. I also struggle because I spend time doing what I "should" do and not what I enjoy so it makes it even harder to develop that consistency. I've started walking 2-3 miles every day and I love it so for now, that's what I'll do. I need to work in weights.

    I love the idea of knowing what workout to do so maybe I'll check out the Pilates thing you mentioned.

  9. i totally agree about breaking it up - i used to think i had to do it all at once, or not at all, which is obviously ridiculous. the consistency is the biggest thing for me, and finding what works can be so hard. but you're right - i feel SO much better when i workout, especially cardio. makes me wonder why i don't do it more!


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