A Quirky Girl's Guide to Working OutFriday, July 27, 2012
One of my favorite things to do when I'm feeling edgy or stressed out is to throw on my sneakers, grab my pup, and go for a run. The endorphines you receive from physical activity have a magical effect on me, especially when I get my heart pumping while jamming out to my favorite workout playlists. Now, I haven't always been a big fan of working out. Like a lot of people, I used to trudge to the gym a few times a week just to stay in shape. These days, I try to get active everyday in fun & unique ways. For me, working out has to have variety in order to keep me engaged.
The other day, a random girl at the gym asked me how to get started. She expressed that she really wanted to utilize our gym, but she was completely lost. I am not an expert when it comes to fitness, and I would suggest consulting your physician especially if you have any health issues. But I was inspired to write a blog post with some tips on getting started because I have always loved being active. Getting active does not require a lot of fancy equipment. Having a gym membership is a great workout resource but it can also be quite costly. All of the fancy machines & weights can also be intimidating for those new to working out. Working out should also be fun and personalized for your physical needs.
Advice on Getting Started:
Before you start a workout regime, sit down and write out your workout goals & limitations. Do you want to slim down? Are you hoping to tone up? Do you have any health issues to keep in mind? How much time can you commit to your workout on a daily basis? These are things that you need to keep on mind when you begin your workout journey.
My best advice for anyone starting a workout routine is to start out slowly. I would not advice jumping into a rigorous program if your body is not accustomed to such conditions. Slowly add more activities & challenges into your routine as you go. If you find that an exercise that was once challenging has become easier, increase the intensity or add more repetitions. If you find yourself completely exhausted or very sore, give yourself some time off to rest. Don't overdo it or you could do more damage than good to yourself.
I tend to be very organized about my workouts. At the beginning of the week, I sit down and jot down the different activities I want to accomplish during the week, and then I schedule when I will do each activity in the calendar section of my filofax. Having a plan in place helps me so I don't have to think too much during the week when I'm really busy. Some people enjoy making up their workout routines as they go. It is all about personal customization.
No-GYM-Required Workout Ideas:
A lot of people shy away from working out because the idea of huffing & puffing in a crowded gym sounds more like their own personal type of torture than a way to stay in shape. I have always loved a well stocked gym because there are some many choices & options. Gyms also usually have someone on staff who can answer questions & give you workout ideas. But if gyms are just not your thing, worry not. There are plenty of other ways to stay in shape outside of the gym. Here are some of my own ideas for a non-gym workout:
Go for a walk around your neighborhood, play tag with your kids or pets, vacuum your entire house (yes, cleaning is exercise), jumprope, dance, pilates/yoga, exercise DVD's, run up & down the stairs, chase your dog around the yard, play frisbee with your friends, jump on a trampoline, go to your local mall and walk around the entire building a few times, do jumping jacks during all of the commercials while you are catching up on your trash tv, park as far away from your building as possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator ( we used to live on the 15th floor of an apartment building, and I would always get my cardio when climbing up the stairs), do leg lifts & squats while brushing your teeth, go for a bicycle ride ( some cities even have bicycle rental available), put on some hip hop music while you are cleaning the house and have several dance breaks in between rooms, or go swimming at your local municipal pool.
My Workout Essentials:
Comfortable workout outfits...Look for comfortable and breathable fabrics when shopping for workout clothing. You don't want to feel self-conscious about your outfit while you are trying to focus on a challenging workout. I tend to pair shorts or breathable sweatpants with a comfortable tee or tank top. Make sure to bring a hair tie/headband to keep your hair out of your eyes. I also like to wear an elastic headband to keep my bangs from getting sweaty( oh, so glamourous) Victoria Secret's PINK makes some really cute workout clothing.
Colorful sports bras...I tend to buy Champion Women's sports bras because they are comfortable & very supportive. Victoria's Secret has some cute sports bras, but their sizing can be selective.
A good pair of workout sneakers...I recently purchased a pair of toning Reebok sneakers and wore them for an entire week during my workout. The results were incredible. Toning sneakers are not a requirement because they can be costly, but you do need a pair of good quality athletic shoes. Make sure that your shoes fit you well before wearing them during a workout. Shoes that are too tight or too big can cause extreme blisters. I gravitate towards black sneakers, but you can usually find sneakers in many different color combinations. Before working out, be sure that your sneakers have proper arch support or you could end up with an exercise related injury.
A water canteen...Fill up your canteen with cool water prior to working out and keep it with you in order to stay hydrated through out your workout. I just bought a hot pink glitter canteen to tote along on walks & workouts.
A workout bag...A place to put all of your small workout essentials & a change of clothes. I like to pack my sneakers & workout clothes inside my bag the night before. I'm more likely to workout if half the battle is already packed & ready to go in the morning. Some others things to consider putting in your bag include baby wipes, mini hairspray, body mist, mini deodorant, hair clips, dry shampoo, headphones, and a small snack.
Sunglasses...Make sure to protect your eyes if you decide to workout while outdoors. I love to go for walks/jogs outside, but it's important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. You can also wear sunscreen if you so desire.
Yoga/pilates mat...I love to do pilates, but it's such a pain when you don't have a mat to workout on. A lot of pilates/yoga studios will provide mats, but there is always a chance that you may not get one. It's also handy to have your own mat if you want to do pilates/yoga videos at home. I found some cute yoga mats at Marshall's the other day in a variety of sizes and colors.
Working out can be fun as long as you continue to change things up and keep your personal goals in mind. Remember to constantly reward yourself for all of the hard work. I like to get a pedicure or spend an evening watching my favorite shows as a reward for getting through my weekly workout routine. Think of some ways to keep yourself motivated and go with it. And if you get off track or simply don't have time to workout when you had planned to, let it go and hit your workout even harder the following day.
I would love to hear some of your workout ideas!
Lots of love & positivity,