Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Exciting New Regimen

For the past 3 weeks, morning and evening, I've been engaged in a new exercise regimen.  I would love to share it because it is rare that I'm excited about exercise.  Extremely rare!

It all began at the end of the holiday season when Eric and I were at a dinner with some of his high school friends. We ended up sharing a table with the couple who owns the local yoga studio.  We discussed attending some classes, but, with Eric's schedule we've been unable to make it happen. Still, the discussion lit a spark in me.

All of us have our preferences when it comes to exercise.  Mine involve not wanting to pay a gym, devoting daily walking time with my dog, and exercising in my own home.

And we all have our vices.  Mine are chocolate, soda, not drinking enough water, and having a difficult time staying with a regimen.  If I'm in the middle of a good regimen and something interrupts it (like an illness that lasts a few days,) I have a hard time returning to it.  If the regimen is too hard, I'll really rebel.

But I did have a spark.  And my body, at nearly 43 years old, has not completely turned on me.  I'm fairly athletic, coordinated, and physically strong.  I just needed to tap into my strengths.

So I did some research with my streaming choices on Amazon, watched parts of several exercise videos with many different instructors, and spent 2-3 days refining the schedule that works best for me.  Believe it or not, but after watching some Jillian Michaels (too tough,) some Denise Austin (a voice I cannot listen to,) and some random instructors I have never heard of, I ended up coming back to the grandmama of workout videos...Jane Fonda.  Don't laugh, there's a reason she's been doing this with such success for so many years.  She's very good!

With 5 videos available, I am now using 3, rotating throughout the week.  They take about an hour in the morning and 35-45 minutes in the evening, depending on the sections I do.

The best part?  I feel great!  I feel stronger, with better posture, higher quality sleep, and my flexibility has really improved.   Pounds have started to melt away, I only eat until I'm full, and I'm drinking more water. (Eric built a DIY Berkee water filter system in our kitchen that is AWESOME and which has really helped me to drink more water.)

Here's what I do:

The Walkout.  The WHOLE thing.  Both workouts.  I end up a sweaty mess after 50 minutes, but not sore and limping for the rest of the day.  The first section is one mile in 20 minutes, the second is one mile in 18 minutes, each with a cool down and stretch at the end.  You do much more than just marching in place.  Some reviews criticized the fact that she is off beat with the music once in a while, which is true, but not a huge issue.

Some may feel that this video is too easy, but I like the fact that hand weights are involved, that it gives me a little break between the Walkout days, and I still know that I'm doing something good for my body.  Sometimes I will increase the difficulty.

SUNDAYS (in the morning)
Because Sundays are a day of quiet, meditation, and honoring the Sabbath, I do the AM sections of the AM/PM Yoga.  Terms like "heart's center" and "putting light back into the world" are perfect for the day.  The background music is quiet, the poses feel spiritual, and it is a wonderful way to begin the day.

EVERY SINGLE EVENING (starting anywhere from 8:00 to 9:30pm, depending on the day)

I do the PM section of the AM/PM Yoga video above.  The first 10 minutes are for Mobility and using your core strength and the last 15 minutes are for Relaxation, but still require concentration and strength.  The last 10 minutes are done laying on your back and I actually do them with my eyes closed, now that I know the poses.  It is very meditative.  There is also a 5 minute section at the end on Balance.  AND, for the past few days, because I love the feeling when using the hand weights, I've added the Strength section to my evening schedule too.  I used 2lb weights for 2 weeks and then switched to 3lb weights.  The difference in difficulty is significant, so I'll probably use the 3lb weights for a while.  When I do progress, my goal is to go straight to the 5lb weights and skip right over the 4 pounders.  Fingers crossed! 

Here are things I like about these workouts:
  • She is excellent at explaining the position you should be in, the part of the body where the strength should be coming from, and where you should be feeling the effects.
  • The sets, music, and background distractions are simple and minimal.  At most, she has 4 people behind her (in the morning Yoga section.)  The Walkout is only Jane.  One of the videos I looked at had 6 people behind her and it was just too much.  
  • The videos feel possible to do again and again.  If I was feeling soreness throughout the day I would not feel motivated to go back.  On the contrary...
  • ...I actually look forward to doing them!
  • And, as mentioned before, I'm thrilled with how my flexibility has improved.  It is nice to see my body responding in more ways than one!
  • My balance has also improved.  I love the "warrior series" in the yoga poses.  Warrior 1 and 2 poses are used in the AM section of the yoga video, and Warrior 3 is used in the Balance section.  Warrior 3 is not easy, but over time I'm getting better and better!
  • For someone like me who is very right hand dominant, I really like the range of motions my left arm and shoulder are engaged in with these exercises.  They are out of my comfort zone with my day-to-day duties and my left side is being challenged more than usual.
Maybe someone who reads this will find this schedule useful!  I hope so.  And if you don't have Amazon streaming, the DVDs are sold for very reasonable prices (around $6-$8.)  You will also need a good exercise mat (not necessarily a yoga mat, which is thinner,) tennis shoes, hand weights, and a sturdy chair with no arms. (I'm linking to products very similar, but not identical, to what I use.)  The chair is used for a variety of things in all 3 videos above.

Your body will thank you!  My does! 


MOM said...

Great blog...very encouraging for all of us who want to improve our bod...I am totally with you in that I don't want to go to a gym, pay money, use someone else's sweaty equipment, waste time driving. I love doing what I do at home. I may have to adopt some of your ideas and increase my routine.

MOM said...

Great blog...very encouraging for all of us who want to improve our bod...I am totally with you in that I don't want to go to a gym, pay money, use someone else's sweaty equipment, waste time driving. I love doing what I do at home. I may have to adopt some of your ideas and increase my routine.