My Top 10 Tips on Making Fitness Simple

Waaaay back in January I wrote about my Word of the Year, Simple. Oh, I had grand plans to write how I was transforming different areas of my life to be more simple. The idea was to write about simplifying 12 areas, one for each month. You know how January is, you buy a new calendar, promise to use it diligently and if you are anything like me….forget where you put the calendar by January 20th.

So, here we are at the end of March and I want to share my tips on making fitness simple. PLEASE let me say that I am in no way a fitness guru, at my ideal weight or even close to being a model of health. But, I am an average gal who lives an active, adventurous life. I do not wear a size 4 and never will. Thank goodness, my self worth is not dependent on my scale.

20140326-094049.jpgWhich brings me to my first tip…1. Throw away the scale! Seriously, just throw it out the window. It’s freeing…just throw it on out there. I know, I know, I could stand to lose about 20 pounds (or more), but won’t I know when I do lose some poundage when my clothes fit better? Or looser? My scale actually is very evil, one moment I am 150 lbs. I’ll go for a run, come back to stand there hoping to “see” all the weight I lost and the dumb thing says I’ve gained 5 lbs! …..Seriously. Out the window. You don’t need it.

20140326-094833.jpg 2. Find an exercise buddy. I’ve tried over the years having a walking buddy or someone who will meet me at the gym regularly, but I’m usually disappointed. They get busy, kids are sick, or they have already walked their allotted amount this week. (What is that about? You can’t walk a fourth time this week?) Anyway, Sam is my exercise buddy. She’s dedicated, trustworthy and willing to do whatever whenever. She’s great at motivating me when maybe I don’t really feel like going. I know how much she depends on me to keep her healthy and her weight down….and maybe I need those things too.

20140326-101507.jpg3. Buy a cute outfit. I know I’m not looking very cute here. I think I was nursing some sort of injury. Anyhoo… don’t go to the gym in your husband’s old yard shirt that’s three times too big! You need to have an outfit that makes you feel good. And cute is always good. Something in a bright color or a cool pattern. I love Athleta and Title Nine for feminine activewear. If their prices are too steep, try my favorites Target and Academy.

20140326-103253.jpg4. Buy the right shoes. All athletic shoes are not made the same. If you are going to be running, you need a shoe with cushion and support. If playing tennis, the shoe needs to support side-to-side movement. If you decide to go hiking, a heavier shoe or boot is needed to navigate over roots, rocks and uneven terrain. Be not like me, where I showed up to class with two different shoes on. Hello!

20140326-104006.jpg5. Do something you enjoy doing. I LOVE swimming! I used to swim competitively each summer and was actually pretty good at it. I would love to be able to swim every day at the YMCA, but the reality of me getting across town, putting on a suit and jumping in is not real high. I’ve done the 5:30 a.m. boot camp class at the club for many years, but for some reason lately, I just haven’t enjoyed it. So, I’ve stopped. And you know what? That’s ok. What I enjoy doing is walking with Sam and playing some tennis. If during our walk, I’m feeling a little frisky, we may even go into a bit of a jog. I’ m moving. I feel good. Isn’t that the point?

20140326-104814.jpg6. Be prepared. So I show up to the newly popular Core Barre class. I had no idea what was involved, but had heard marvelous things about it. For one, no one told me you take your shoes off. People! I was standing there with my scaley, dry, bunioned feet and chipped painted nails. I was so embarrassed. I’m sure no one noticed, but it made me so self-conscious. During many boot camp classes, young men in their early 20’s would come to the class all puffed up thinking they were going to show us old ladies how big and strong they were. What they didn’t realize, was that at boot camp you got your booty kicked! Every single last one of those guys either quit during the class or never showed back up. (Wimps.) My point is, know what you are getting into to save yourself some embarrassment.

20140326-172939.jpg7. Listen to upbeat music. I love Pandora. If you haven’t heard, its a free, relatively commercial-free radio station app, kinda sorta. See, you download the app and tell it the type of music you like. Let’s say, you really like a certain group and would like to hear more of that type of music. You type the band’s name in and Pandora will make a radio station similar to that artist. Of course, Pandora already has stations made if you’d like. When running, I’ll listen to Country Fitness. I’m sure my neighbors wonder what all the yowling is when I run by their house. I find having music helps me keep going.

20140326-174121.jpg8. Find an exercise app that works for you.Maybe you’re like Superman, who makes out charts and data tables to organize his work-out schedule. He writes on green index cards, (yes, green is the magic color, don’t cha know) precisely how many minutes, at what speed and the number of reps for each exercise, which he takes to the gym. If you’re like him…Good for You! Now, if you’re someone more like me, you go to the experts, instead of figuring it out yourself. I like not having to figure it out. Just tell me and I’m on my way. For example, I like this C25K (Couch to 5K) app. I plug in my earbuds, turn on Pandora and wait for C25K to tell me what to do. She’ll say something like “Begin warm-up now.” Then for whatever time is appointed she’ll beep through the music and say “Begin run for ” however minutes. I don’t have to keep up with how long to run or walk. She gently reminds what to do. You know there are a million exercise apps out there and there’s one for you. Go for it. Give some a try. So many are free!

20140326-180232.jpg9. Have a good water bottle. Man, you are working it. You are sweating it up. So what are you drinking out of to hydrate? Please tell me you aren’t drinking from a can. Beer and soda are not approved. With all our years in soccer, cross country, tennis, running, and biking this family knows water bottles. I like this guy from Target. One- I don’t have to suck out the drink making all sorts of noises. Two- not only does the top twist off, but the “shoulder” part does too, which allows me to add ice and clean it well. Three- it doesn’t leak. Nothing worse than taking a sip to have your front drenched in Gatorade.

20140326-181515.jpg10. Get out of your box. Sure you’re comfortable swimming your daily laps at the pool. Or doing your downward dogs in yoga. And that’s great! Don’t get me wrong…but there is so much more out there! The whole purpose of exercise is not to just be able to check it off our list of things to do, it’s to LIVE! Sign-up to run a 5k or a Mud Run or a Color Run. Be adventurous and try something new like hiking a mountain trail or bike along a country road, or maybe kayak a nearby river. I read recently that it is better to keep moving throughout the day, than to just do one activity or class then sit the rest of the day. I say…doing just one thing is boring and our muscles and mind don’t get challenged. Although I didn’t actually do much running in this Color Run, I was moving, laughing and engaging in life. And that I think is healthy.

So from this middle aged momma…You don’t have win any races or model for the next swim suit edition, Just Move!

Do you have any special things you do that motivate you to exercise? I’d love to hear about them! This gal needs all the help she can get!

Thanks for dropping by!>



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