Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm Channeling Katy Perry

Alright, friends. We have to man up. Get Tough. Make like Katy Perry and Roar! And no whining.

Rachel, my friend and personal trainer, shared this article recently about the importance of pushing women clients to work harder. It really got me thinking because I can be a major WHINER.  

Face it, working out is hard. Some days I really have to drag myself to the gym or to Jazzercise when I'd really rather head home and crawl into bed with the TV remote. Exercise makes me sweat, wrecks havoc with my hair and turns limbs to jello.

And there are many times I've moaned and groaned, complained, kvetched and generally turned into a baby. It's too hard! I can't do that! Planks? Nooooooo. 

Here's the deal.

Sometimes you just have to push yourself.

It certainly is important to move at your own pace and modify exercises to fit your needs. I  change the way I do anything that involves deep knee bends to accommodate sore joints. Rachel and my Jazzercise instructors are good at showing alternate exercises or modifications.

But it's okay to push the limits of what you think you can do. Sometimes I surprise myself. And that builds confidence and gives me the courage to move to the next level.

Just give it a try.
  • If you're used to doing modified pushups, try military style. I was so surprised to find out that, yes, I can do full-out, on my toes, military-style pushups and as I get stronger, I add to the count.
  • The same goes for planks. Challenge yourself to hold it for 30 seconds and then a minute and then see how long you can go.
  • If you've been using the same set of weights for awhile, kick it up a notch or grab a couple of sets of dumbbells that are different weights.
  • Try something new. Train for a race, take tennis lessons. Try a different Jazzercise format. I have a couple of brand new experiences on the calendar. I'm nervous about them but eager to see what I can do. 
The best part is that pushing yourself a little bit harder will bring results. I promise.

Now get out there and ROAR.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Do They Make Stiletto Athletic Shoes?

I want these....

I believe in moderation in all things. Except for shoes. I can never have enough shoes. Shopping for shoes is one of the greatest pleasures in life. (And a shoe sale can be, well, dare I say, orgasmic?)

So why is it that I hate to buy athletic shoes?

I'm notorious for wearing my workout shoes long past the time when they should have been demoted to the lake or the garden.

...Not these.
The wrong athletic footwear can lead to a host of problems such as calf and knee pain, heel spurs, shin splints and stress fractures. I don't want to be sidelined so I'm heading out this weekend to find a pair of shoes. And I promise they won't be the kind with stiletto heels.

Before I go, I did a little research and here's what I found out.
  • Shoes don't multi-task. A shoe built for running isn't a good shoe for Jazzercise. I'm going to look for a crosstrainer, a shoe that provides support for side-to-side movement.
  • Get some help. A knowledgeable sales person can measure your foot and help you match the shoe to your exercise routine. WebMD reports it's a myth that your foot stops growing in adulthood so measurements are important. Also, your feet swell during the day so shop in the afternoon when they're at their largest.
  • And while I'm on the topic of size, different brands run differently so judge by how they feel, not the number on the box. And bring your own socks.
  • Know your foot. I have high arches and my feet tend to roll outward. My shoes show wear on the outside heel. Someone else's feet may roll too far inward. Each condition requires a different type of support. Again, it's another good reason to find a store with a knowledgeable staff. 
  • Don't wear your workout shoes for any other purpose like running errands after class. It causes your shoes to break down faster.
  • And replace your shoes often. The length of time varies depending on the source but I read workout shoes should be replaced after anywhere from 60 to 100 workout hours or 350 to 400 miles of use. At least every six months.
  • And that's a lot of shoes. Cha-ching. Which brings me to price. According to WebMD, you don't have to buy a shoe with all the bells and whistles. A $15 shoe isn't a good choice but paying extra for a pair endorsed by a celebrity isn't necessarily the best shoe either. 
So. I'm off into the brave new world of athletic footwear. It's not exactly the same thrill I get from stepping into the back room at Von Maur's  or making the trek to DSW. But, who knows? Maybe I'll stumble on a shoe sale. 

Next week, I'll report on my success!

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's the Little Things.

I’ve been struggling a little bit with my diet lately. I simply hit a plateau and just didn’t budge. And I think I know why.

It’s the Little Things.

By that I mean, the little handful of Honey Nut Cheerios I ate straight out of the box this  morning. The three mini-Tootsie Rolls I grabbed at the bank. The Wheat Thins I shoveled into my mouth before I went to bed. You know…those little things that “don’t count”.

Yes, there are all kinds of little things that really DO count and they can make life harder or easier.

Enhance Your Dance!
Or make your workout more effective, like the little things I learned at Enhance Your Dance, a special Jazzercise workshop designed to help us kick it up a notch. Here are a few tips I learned to help burn a few extra calories, work that muscle a little harder and pump up your workout.

  • Your body has two plains: upper and lower. Use them both! You can burn more calories if you use your arms during a cardio routine. You should even swing your arms when you’re on the treadmill or taking a walk. (Personally, I get bored on treadmills. I’d much rather dance.)
  • But when you use your arms, don’t flail. Find a starting point and a stopping point and use your muscles to reach them. During a Strike kickboxing class, for example, think about contracting the muscles in your arms when you do a hook or uppercut. Flailing arms are only helpful when you need to be rescued or summon the waiter.
  • When lifting weights, focus on the muscles you’re working and don’t be a swinger or a rocker. So when you’re doing a curl, think about the bicep and working it up and down. (And welcome to the gun show.) 
  • Breathe! Exercise demands oxygen and breathing deeply will help you work harder. When lifting weights, breathe out like you’re fogging a mirror. Exhale during the most intense part of the exercise and inhale during the easiest part. Just don't hold your breath. You'll turn an unpleasant shade of blue.

  • Power up. If you've been using the same weights for awhile, go heavier. Even just a pound or two will improve results.
  • Lift your knees higher, even if you’re doing a low-impact routine.
  • Don’t cradle your head in your hands or pull on your neck during ab work like crunches. Your elbows should be out flat and you should be able to put your fist between your chin and chest.

We learned a lot more during the class, but the message I took from it is to Pay Attention! Those little things matter. 

Lindsay demonstrates proper knee position...over the heels, not past the toes.

And, while you're at it, check out the bling-y shoes. Just a little Mod Podge and some glitter, I'm told. Gotta try this.