Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Reality of Exercise

There's a lot of hubbub these days for people to try all sorts of extreme sports and fitness activities.. from cross-fit to insanity, to circuit and suspension training.. there's definitely an exercise to float your boat. 

Yours truly here kicked laziness in the butt and started hitting the gym regularly in March of this year. I am now at the 7 month mark, and I feel it is time, dare I say, I have earned the right to express the reality of exercise. 

You may have heard a couple things about working out, and of course, I'm going to bullet point them and give you my two cents. Because that's what you're expecting by now. I am not an expert by any means. I am just an ordinary girl like you that wants to make sure she works off the french fries and buttery breads she eats on a regular basis. The points below are just my opinion. Always remember to check with your Doctor before starting any exercise routine... I don't want you passing out mid way through Zumba. 


  • Exercise is addicting! Um; to put simply- NO. It's just as addicting as electric shocks and sitting on forks. Even though I have maintained a regular routine; I have yet to feel withdrawal symptoms from not going to the gym. Really, the main driving force to going back is the fact I'm paying for it. Okay, that and the fact I feel better. Here's the deal- its easier to stay in bed and watch Netflix, or sleep in and feel groggy all the time. But when you get out of bed, or leave work and head straight to the gym, your mood does improve post workout and your energy levels rise. But the knowledge that you are going to put yourself through torture is never tantalizing to me, personally. I much rather sit down at a table and indulge in freshly cooked bacon. Of course, after working out I always feel like an Olympic medalist, with a little extra flab here and there. 
  • It boosts your self-esteem. Yeah sure, once you pull your hair back in a bun and wear dark colored yoga pants, it can all be uphill at that point. Not to mention sweating bullets next to a life sized barbie and ken on steroids to your right. But in all sincerity, I have to agree with this one. Knowing you made the right choice that day and your body is thanking you in the long run is a positive note. At the end of the day you will sleep better, feel more relaxed, and overall better about yourself. 
  • Structure your exercise with cardio and weights.  I guess here it all depends on your goals. I'm not looking to become the next Mrs Universe, but I do want to stay a healthy weight and have a happy, regularly beating heart. Cardio is definitely a good way to start, but make sure you change it up and continually increase the intensity. Otherwise you won't be doing yourself much of a favor. For example, if you start running on the treadmill, try to hit new levels every week. Try to outdo your personal best so that your stamina and endurance increase, which in turn will give you a positive boost. Add weight training for muscle definition, less weight and more reps for a leaner definition and more weight less reps to bulk up. Don't forget to take your protein post workout! I love to add frozen fruits to mine and soymilk. 
  •  Switch it up. I personally enjoy taking classes such as cycling and kickbox, and choose different instructors so that I don't get bored. Exercise is already grueling. It doesn't have to be boring and predictable as well. During the better weathered months, I like to run and jog outside. Sometimes even by the beach if I'm feeling adventurous. Have a somewhat regular time frame, but change what you do, so your body doesn't plateau and you're working out but not reaching the weight loss you were expecting. 

That pretty much wraps up the main points. Try  not to let more than a week go by without exercising. Once you fall off the horse, it's really hard to jump back to a steady routine. So don't lose momentum! Even if you're tired, or you've had a long day, make the effort. Set a minimum of just 30 minutes. And you will be a happy camper. 

Word of advice: if it's been a long time since your body has been put through a regimented exercise routine, take it slow at first. And make sure you always drink plenty of water, especially after weight training. Start and finish with a little cardio to warm up your body and then break up the lactic acid build up. That will help you avoid jellyfish arms the next day. See fig 1A(Take it from me; the inability to use any arm and raise it above eye level is not a walk in the park.)

And after all is said and done, happy working out! 

P.S. Don't forget to have a little reward here and there.. i.e. extra bacon cheeseburger.. yum...
Fig 1A Jellyfish Arms. Extremely painful, rare condition caused by extreme overuse of biceps during exercise after a long period of no physical strenuous activity. 

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