Wednesday, March 24, 2010

10 Tools to Exercise Your Ass Off

Before I go any further in this experiment, I should state that I am not a fitness expert despite seventeen years of dancing (i.e., ballet), six marathon completions, and a few years of teaching P.E., drill team, and dance. I am not a certified nutritionist or personal trainer; I only know what works for me. Therefore, in my humble opinion, here are 10 tools that every woman needs to exercise her ass off:
  1. Set a goal—It doesn't matter what your goal is ... drop weight, lose inches, finish a marathon, fit into your favorite jeans, or look fabulous for your 20-year high school reunion, having a goal is crucial to sticking to any workout routine. I admire my husband because he works out practically every day without any specific long-term objective beyond staying in shape. Honestly, I need a more substantial goal than maintaining my appearance!Hausmann Vinyl Coated Dumbbell - Sold Individually - Plumb - 3 lbs.
  2. Lift free weights—I never appreciated the value of weight training until I hit my thirties. Since I prefer to be toned rather than overly muscular, I opt for light weights: 3lbs, 5lbs, and 8lbs with lots of repetition (i.e., 12 – 15 curls per set). Don't spend a lot of money on weights; the pretty ones will not do the lifting for you.
  3. Pull resistance bands—Often used in yoga, resistance bands are a terrific alternative to weights. Depending on the exercise, I will use bands in lieu of weights especially if 8lbs is not challenging me. I like the Beachbody B-line kit; it comes with three sets of bands that provide 15 – 30 pounds of resistance. I'll let you know if I ever break out the 30-pound bands!
  4. Squeeze a ball—Made by Beachbody, the Squishy Ball will complement your abdominal workout. Honestly, I never felt my abs work until I tried doing crunches while squeezing the ball with my thighs. Initially, I avoided buying the ball, but it's so cheap on Ebay—just do it.4" Yoga Blocks 4lb (2 Per Pack) Black
  5. Balance with a Yoga Block—I waited to buy a yoga block because I thought I didn't need one. Yoga blocks, however, are good for people who think they cannot do certain yoga poses because they are not flexible or in my case, not as flexible as they used to be. Yep, I had to lose the ego and buy a block from my local Sports Chalet.
  6. Monitor your heart—When you are doing cardio exercise, it's imperative to know if you are in your fat-burning zone. Since I used to have a heart condition due to Grave's Disease, it's important for me to make sure that my heart rate does not exceed 165bpm. I recommend the Polar Heart Monitor; it is simple to use and reasonably priced on Amazon.
  7. Walk in Skechers Shape-ups—I haven't actually walked in my Shape-ups yet, but they should arrive any day now. After reading many positive reviews and hearing some stories from friends, I had to buy a pair. I justified spending the money by telling myself that Skechers are one of the few brands of tennis shoes that fit my wide feet perfectly, and that my current athletic shoes have been through more than one marathon so they're toast. I'll keep you posted on the Shape-ups.
  8. Strengthen with P90X—I first saw this program on a late-night infomercial. If I had known that it wasn't for beginners, I probably wouldn't have ordered it from Ebay, but I'm glad I did. The workouts may be tough, but the variety makes the challenge worth it. The one thing I hated about training for marathons was the tedious daily workout on the treadmill, but P90X is never dull. With resistance/weight training, yoga, cardio, and kenpo (think karate), you feel like you are becoming stronger by the minute. *
  9. Dance with Yoga Booty Ballet—I was very skeptical about Yoga Booty Ballet (YBB), but the dance routines looked like too much fun. I also needed a break from the grueling P90X workouts. There are few ballet moves in YBB, but Teigh and Gillian make up for it with high energy dances (i.e., cardio) followed by yoga. Moreover, YBB has the best ab workout ever! *
  10. Take vitamins daily—You should check with your physician before adding any supplements to your diet, but most women do not get enough calcium, and many women lack sufficient vitamin D (your doctor can run a test) in their diets. If you suffer from arthritis like I do, I also recommend glucosamine. In addition, I take a multi-vitamin, which contains iron and the vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C, fish oil supplements, and acidophilus to aid with my digestion. 
Now you know what 10 tools I plan to use in order to Exercise My Ass Off. You'll notice that I never mentioned going to the gym. I'll tackle that subject in my next post.

AWW – XoXo

* P90X and YBB are exercise programs that I like, but as long as you find or develop a workout that balances aerobic (e.g., walking, running, cardio routines), anaerobic (e.g., strength/resistance training, weight lifting), and flexibility (e.g., yoga, pilates, stretch) activities, you will meet or even exceed your exercise goal!


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    The information in this blog is not intended as a substitute for professional health care. Please consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.