Fitness Finder

Finally…proof that exercise machines are evil.

So you want to work out more often?  Me too.  I’m not sure if it’s boredom, discouragement, lack of commitment or that I’m just wishy-washy sometimes…but I am always on the fence about whether or not I like to workout.  I start looking for something new to do, fitness-wise, thinking that will surely motivate me to workout more often!

I have friends who are addicted to yoga or pilates, and I am so impressed by their tone and strength.  I keep thinking “I need to get into yoga!”  And, of course there’s the Zumba-addicts, who I think are very cool, but I’m way too self-conscious for that!  I like sprints and interval training, because it keeps things interesting, and you can accomplish a lot in less time.  On the other hand, lately I keep hearing about Barre, and it sounds like something I’d like to try now!  

So, how about you?  Are you like me, and have a flaky approach to fitness? Are you totally into something for a week or two, and then bored and looking for something else that’s fun and effective?

For now, here are 2 fitness genres that I’ll highlight today.  If you’re looking for something new, try one of these.

So apparently celebrities such as Madonna, Kelly Ripa, and Natalie Portman are flocking to barre workout classes. And I’ve noticed they are popping up everywhere in suburbia.  It’s basically ballet barre work mixed with yoga and pilates, and relies mainly upon your own bodyweight for resistance.  

A few noted benefits of Barre:

~ Fast body shaping results.
~ Long term postural benefits.
~ Builds long, lean muscles and a strong core.

Debunking a few myths about Barre:

~ You do NOT have to be a tall, long-legged, very thin ballerina to do this. (that’s kind of the point – this is the benefits of ballet barre work redefined for regular people!)
~ It’s not easy.  It’s not all stretching and plies, stretching and plies… Oh no, it’s tough and may require a couple of tries to get the hang of it.  Prepare to be sore.
~ It’s not just for women.  Men do yoga…men can also do barre.

You don’t have to have an actual ballet barre to do a barre workout.  Shape has an At-Home Barre Workout on their website.  Try it!  Otherwise, buy a DVD or google it in your community to find a studio.  Two studios that I came across frequently in my research are Barre3 and Pure Barre.  

Interval Training
Do you find yourself drawn to workouts that are called something like “The Five Minute Fast-Blasting Workout”?  Of course you are, because who wouldn’t want to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time? You’re in luck, because “Research shows that interval training—workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods—increases fitness and burns more calories over a short period of time than steady-state cardio (you know: just doing the same thing for your whole workout time)”. –  Shape Magazine: Short Workouts Really Pay

For me, it’s quite simple.  I get on the treadmill, but rather than stick to one speed the entire time, either walking or jogging, I do this:

Walk, Sprint!!!, Walk, Sprint!!!, Walk, Sprint!!! And the sprints, let me tell you, are WAY faster than I could ever endure for more than 60 seconds.  I usually bump up the speed to about 8 mph.  That’s nothing for some long-legged excellent runners, but I have short legs and for me, that’s super hard!  But I can push myself for 60 seconds.  Then, I bring the speed back down to below 4 mph and walk  to recover my heart rate (all the while looking for the next fast-paced song to sprint to).  I sweat a ton, and I know that my body is challenged beyond that of a steady pace.  

There are far more sophisticated interval training methods out there. Shape Magazine has 3 interval training plans that will definitely have your body saying “OMG” but you’ll do the job in half the time of a typical workout.  Recently I heard Cameron Diaz credit her body with interval training.  She said when she’s on set, for example, she doesn’t have a lot of time, so she will do intervals to get a good workout in very quickly.

It goes without saying that the best type of workout for you is going to be whichever one you’ll actually do!  Go get ’em!  

3 Replies to “Fitness Finder”

  1. Also, I am with you. I am just not a fan of exercise or anything involving athletics or sports. It always feels like a chore. The only things that don't are walking outside, hiking, or swimming. So during the winter, I get extra discouraged!

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