My Favorite Workout: Walking

I love walking. Enjoying the outdoors, walking the dogs, window shopping. Walking is also very accessible. There’s a reason why there are so many fitness trackers that encourage 10,000 steps per day. It also doesn’t involve many accessories. If you have a comfortable pair of shoes, you are good to go.

When we lived in a building downtown, I walked everywhere. I estimate I could walk upwards of 5 miles or more each day. I walked the dogs around Lake Eola each morning, walked my daughter to her preschool, then walked across downtown to my office building. There were several months where I was walking to her school for lunch. We walked to the grocery store on the other side of the lake, we walked to dinner, we walked to the park and playground. We walked everywhere! That was definitely the least I have weighed since I hit my 40s.

Once we moved to the suburbs, I would still walk my daughter to school but the 7 block walk fell to 1 block. The daily 1 mile dog walk around the lake was 1/2 a mile around the neighborhood (and sometimes not even that since we could just let them out in the backyard). I had to drive to the grocery store and to my office. My daily movement dropped drastically, even with other exercise programs!

I still prefer to walk over driving when I can. When I am visiting my client law firms downtown, I often park and walk from building to building. I’ve even worn through the bottom of my shoes! I love vacations to places like New York City or Las Vegas that encourage a lot of walking. I also love to spend the day at Disney with friends, walking a ton!

There are also many health benefits to walking, aside from the obvious weight loss. The Mayo Clinic says that walking can lower your blood pressure and your blood glucose levels, can lower your stress levels, can improve your memory and cognitive functions. Walking can be part of your self-care routine as well.

This is also a very pandemic-friendly exercise and can be done by just walking out the door. So try and add this great exercise into your routine!

New Year’s Resolutions…Part 2

My last post detailed my annual tradition of setting goals versus resolutions. Part of this process is reviewing past goals. As I started this ritual, I realized I couldn’t do this year like I had in the past.

I decided to take this year month by month. I think especially since the status of the world seems to change so much week to week, this will make things more realistic.

I’m excited for 2021. In January, I’ll be sharing all the stuff I’m doing, including Dry January, my first Diet Bet, my 21 Day Ultimate Reset and how I’m doing with my new workout program.

New Year’s Resolutions?

A time honored tradition as each year closes is to make New Year’s resolutions, usually containing things like “lose weight” or “make more money” but do they really do anything to help us improve our lives?

I don’t make resolutions but I do a review of the year and set goals for myself for the new year. How is that different? Resolutions are so much about pass/fail. Goals also include an action plan and progress towards obtaining those goals are a success!

In 1996 (I know, that’s crazy) I started a Dream Book. In it, I wrote out my values and then set goals for each year. Now, have I been perfect for the last 25 years? No, but I do review past years and craft my goals for the upcoming year. There were a few years I skipped (hey, it’s been 25 years!) I think about things I want to accomplish personally, family wise, professionally, and physically. I also started the book with a list of “life goals” which I still work towards.

My Dream Book

Reviewing last year was interesting as so many goals were impacted by the pandemic. However, others goals appeared that I wasn’t expecting! I review goals periodically throughout the year and make changes as necessary.

I’m excited to set this year’s goals. I’m turning 50 (I know, I can hardly believe it myself) and I think this year will be an amazing year! What are some goals you have for 2021?

A Wish on Christmas

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and Happy Holidays to all!

This year is different. We are missing spending time with our parents and other extended family. I miss my friends and our annual holiday brunch. I am thankful that we all still have our health so we will make the best of it.

Everyone else is still sleeping this Christmas morning so I am going to sneak in my workout now. Much joy to you all and here’s to a Happy and Healthy Christmas!

My Favorite Workout: 10 Rounds

Working my way through the Beachbody on Demand catalog, I wanted to mix up my usual workout selection. I felt like I had hit a plateau with what I had been doing and I needed something to give myself a kickstart. I decided to do Joel Freeman‘s boxing workout 10 Rounds. 10 rounds is a six week program consisting of five days a week, three days of boxing and agility and two days of weight lifting.

The workouts range from 30 to 40 minutes but don’t include a cool down or stretching at the end. (There are videos included in the program that you can watch afterwards for a cool down but I just cooled down and stretched on my own.) The boxing and agility were the longer ones and clocked in at about 40 minutes. One day of lower body and one day of upper body weightlifting usually was around 28 minutes, so a very quick workout. The way Joel structures the program is that you can work out any five days of the week and rest the other two of your choosing but just to do the workouts in the order specified. Another cool thing about this program is that it was done in real time and the cast went to a different city every week so it was really interesting to see where they would be.

When I first started this program, I felt pretty clumsy and uncoordinated, and this is coming from someone who used to routinely have to follow choreography for dance teams and cheerleading. After the first couple of agility workouts, I did get used to it more and then the soreness the following day really made me realize how hard you were working out! I loved the lifting workouts because they weren’t multiple sets that were very repetitive. It was a really fun way to get that workout in and I’ve actually incorporated those lifting workout into other weeks where I’m doing something different.

Results wise, it was pretty shocking! While my overall weight didn’t change anything dramatically the amount of inches that my body changed was crazy! My biceps are actually bigger and more defined and my legs are smaller, leaner and definitely stronger. Overall, I enjoyed this program because I got very good results in a short period of time and it’s just added on to my goals of being stronger and leaner.

You can access this program in the Beachbody on Demand workout catalog. Joel also incorporates this program into some of his hybrid calendars that you can get from following him on Instagram. I will probably do the hybrid of this and Liift 4 sometime in the spring.

Giving Yourself A Little Grace

So I’ve been giving myself some grace. Some grace to not update my blog because I’m not feeling especially inspired. Grace to stress eat cake the week of the election. Grace to skip a workout because I’m tired. Grace to realize that despite all of this, the world kept turning and I didn’t fall apart! The alternative would be spending more time in the fetal position than is healthy.

Part of being healthy goes beyond just caring about your body. You have to consider your emotional state, including how much bandwidth you have to take on certain situations. Especially when we are dealing with post-election craziness and a global pandemic, you have to be fully aware what you can take on or more specifically what you can’t.

So as 2020 winds down, let’s all remember to give ourselves some grace every now and then!

Non-Scale “Victories” or Milestones

Losing weight is always a tricky thing. Our bodies change as we age, exercise, gain and lose weight. One person’s 150 is another person’s 130. It may also be difficult to choose a “goal weight” because you may not have weighed that amount in a decade or more so how do you know if that is an appropriate weight for your current self.

So how can you tell if you are being successful on your journey to slim down? I have several non-scale ways of monitoring my progress.

1. Am I getting stronger or is my endurance changing? The thing I like about doing the same workout programs is I can really gage my progress. If I started out doing 10 pound goblet squats and I’m now doing the same exercise with 30 pounds, I am definitely stronger. If you can make it through a tough cardio workout without pausing, that’s a great sign too. If you are a running, adding distance or dropping your minutes per mile shows progress. These are great non-scale victories.

2. Are you clothes fitting differently? This is a great gage for me. I even have a pair of mint green jeans I am looking forward to fitting into! When I can wear those comfortably again, I know I will have hit my goal! Other clothes begin to get baggy and maybe need to be given away. Be realistic though. If you have been working out a lot, your clothes may fit differently and some may never fit the same as they did before. That’s not a bad thing! Athletic women know the pain of finding pants that can fit right!

3. Do you feel better? If you have more energy, are sleeping better and are less bloated, that is great progress. Honestly, I would rather take all of those than a random number on a scale.

What are some of your non scale methods of tracking progress?

My Favorite Breakfast: Egg Muffins

For those mornings I don’t have a lot of time (which is most lately), I premake these egg muffins. They are super easy to make and you can add whatever ingredients you prefer.

For these, I beat two eggs and pour them individually into a muffin tin that I prepared with some cooking spray. I do this for portion control but if it’s easier, you can just beat 12 eggs in a large bowl and pour into a six-muffin tin. I also added chopped tomatoes, chopped veggie sausage, chopped spinach and a pinch of shredded cheese into each.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F. I test mine with a toothpick to make sure they are cooked firmly. Let them cool and then refrigerate. While I reheat mine in the microwave before eating, my husband often grabs them right out of the fridge.

I promise one of these days I will do another non-breakfast recipe!

My Favorite Workouts: 21 Day Fix Extreme

I wasn’t going to review another Autumn Calabrese workout this soon but I just finished 21 Day Fix Extreme and I had to get my thoughts down while they were fresh. This was a really tough program for me but it was also a fun challenge to see how hard I could push myself and what I could accomplish!

I did 21 Day Fix (Real Time) and 21 Day Fix Extreme (Real Time) back to back so I really did a 42 Day program. 21 Day Fix Extreme is similar to 21 Day Fix in that it progresses in difficulty each week but is also very different in difficulty and complexity. It is definitely an advanced program. For example, most moves are compound (squat to shoulder press) and your plyo and cardio moves are done with weights. There are a lot of 30 second holds and plyo jumps. By week 3, your burpees are really two shuffle steps with a weight, the burpee and then a plyo jump with the weight! I have see this program advertised for fitness competitors to follow to prepare for competition.

As a note, I have never done the original 21 Day Fix Extreme, which I believe is 7 workouts that you repeat for 3 weeks. It is available on the BOD library but I like the Real Time programs as they offer a unique workout each day and they have the weekly progression.

I loved and hated this workout all in one. It pushed me but it also caused pain and soreness like I haven’t felt in a while. There were many workouts where I was checking the clock to see how much longer I had to do it! The Pilates with the workout band was so awkward and difficult, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. On the flip side, I loved the upper body workout, which is usually not my favorite, and the yoga pushed me and stretched me like no other! I finally nailed crow pose!

Bottom line, I really got results. Doing these two programs back to back shaved 10 inches off my body and I am fitting into clothes that have been in the back of my closet for a while. I am sure I will do this program again but it won’t be in the near future!

My Favorite: Workout Necessities

This list isn’t about workout equipment or outfits, but about little things that make my workout routine (and life) a little easier. I really can’t live without them!

1. Pre-workout and post-workout supplements

I personally use supplements from the Beachbody line: Energize and Recover. Honestly, since I don’t really drink caffeine, Energize is my go-to morning drink even when I don’t workout. It gives me a boost of energy for my workout and the day without jitters. I mix mine with lots of ice so it’s like a refreshing glass of lemonade. It comes in lemon, fruit punch and mixed berry. I really like the fruit punch but I have some mixed berry to try next. Energize has also helped me relieve headache pain!

When I first started lifting regularly, I didn’t use any type of post-workout and I definitely had muscle soreness the next day or two after. When I started using Recover, my muscle soreness became virtually nonexistent and it also helped increase my endurance for my subsequent workouts. Recover comes in chocolate but I prefer orange flavor which tastes just like a creamsicle! A thicker shake-like drink but definitely a pain-saver.

2. Dry shampoo

I have a lot of long hair and I couldn’t possible wash it every day, plus who has time for all of that? Dry shampoo is a girl’s best friend anyway but when your head and hair are all sweaty, you need to get clean. I have tried a bunch of different kinds but my favorite by far, especially after a workout, is Bumble and bumble Post Workout Dry Shampoo Mist. It’s better then just the standard dry shampoo and really works on the sweat to make your hair manageable, presentable and smelling nice. Perfect on second (or third) day hair!

3. Yoga Balm

I was introduced to Yoga Balm this year after a massage at the Ritz Carlton where we stayed for my birthday (ah, the pre-pandemic days). Yoga Balm works with the heat generated in a massage or while you work out so I put it on anything that is sore prior to exercising. It works really well on the parts of my back or neck that sometimes feel sore from sitting all day. It smells much nicer than a sports cream and feels much better too. It’s a little on the pricy side but a little goes a long way. It’s not currently available on Amazon so I linked to it at the Ritz shop. You may be able to find it somewhere else less expensive.

4. A good playlist

I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to get through cardio or a tough workout without a little music for inspiration. It can be as simple as listening to a playlist on an Amazon Echo or curating your own inspirational list. I used to have a great list of music for my Half Marathons to keep me going. I would make sure they would last as long as my run without repeats and would throw in some special songs depending on the race (Star Wars for Disney races and some Vegas-related songs for running the Strip at Night). I used to save mine on Apple Music or listened to other playlists on Spotify. If you aren’t sure what to listen to, there are plenty of playlists to sample. Most music services will let you save songs to a playlist as you are listening.

What are some of your workout essentials?

To purchase any of my favorites, just click the link. I don’t have an affiliation to any of the products listed above with the exception of Beachbody, which I will earn a commission if you purchase using my link.