Summer is on it’s way! How can I tell? Is it that the days are longer? Is it that it is getting hot? Is it that I’m getting fewer and fewer prescriptions for antibiotics? Nope! It’s that the bloody Sensa and Hydroxycut commercials seem to be playing back to back. I completely understand that fitting back into that summer dress or your favorite swim suit is important. Trust me… I’ve got before and after pictures coming up in the next couple weeks to prove to all of you that I practice what I preach. The one thing that I have been hammering at for months is that changing your diet is not enough. Taking a pill will not make you healthy. Being or becoming thin will not make you healthy. If you are thin, but do not exercise you are what we call a skinny fat person. You are at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol because thin does not always mean healthy. Cardiovascular exercise and toning exercise, together, can really give you the best results (damn, there’s that “balance” thing again).
Cardiovascular exercise, whether its swimming, running, walking, dancing, etc, increases your heart rate. What does the heart use for energy again? Oh yeah, fat. Cardiovascular exercise can help tone you as well, but it’s major purpose is to burn fat. HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is most effective at burning fat. It works off of intense cardiovascular exercise to medium or mild exercise. For example: Sprinting for 2 minutes and jogging or walking for 2 minutes. It keeps the muscles confused and revs up the metabolism for longer than just the work out. This means extra toning, extra fat burning, and, my personal favorites, it’s a shorter workout (usually) and it keeps me engaged (a boring workout will shoot my motivation faster than chocolate mousse). Cardiovascular exercise doesn’t need to be high impact either. You can do it on a bike, some forms of yoga can be primarily cardiovascular, swim, hula-hoop, whatever gets your heart rate up!
Toning exercises build up muscle strength. Free weights, yoga, kinesthetics, resistance training, and weight machines. You don’t need big fancy machinery though. Using your own body weight, soup cans, resistance bands, or some cheap weights from Target… all of these things will do the same thing! They’ll increase your stamina and make sure that you build lean muscle (If you don’t want to get bulky, use smaller weights and more reps). Circuit training is one of my favorite ways to tone. It works multiple muscle structures, you can do as many or as few circuits as you want, and you can do the circuit as fast or as slow as you want. If you’re really challenged, just remember: stop, take a breather, and take your time. Just get through one circuit, you can work up to two or three later.
Still not convinced? Do you seriously want to keep shaking your Sensa instead of your booty? Here’s some more reasons to exercise:
- Increase your HDL (good cholesterol)
- Decrease your LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Decrease your blood pressure
- Decrease your risk for Type 2 Diabetes (or manage your diabetes)
- Increase your metabolism (Pills don’t do this, action does)
- Increase your stamina
- Decrease your risk for heart disease
- Boost your mood (that’s right, a dopamine AND serotonin boost without going to the pharmacy!)
- Boost your energy
- Decrease your risk for osteoporosis
- Manage arthritis
- Decrease your risk for falls
- Decrease your risk for stroke
- Decrease your risk for certain types of cancer
- Control your weight
- Sleep better
- Have better sex (if that’s not motivation I don’t know what is)
- Improve your focus as you get older (Squirrel! Let me tell you, I’ll take any help I can get…)
- It can be soooo much fun (Jump rope and tag were my favorite childhood memories)
- And most important: You are 100% worth the work.
- Zumba is done in YMCA’s, gyms, and community centers all over the US! It’s based off Latin dancing and I have patients who pay $30 a month at the gym and I have other patients who pay $2 a class at the community center! They even have Water Zumba for lower impact… oh yeah, and you get to dance. How much fun is that?! Dance party!!! Check out the many different classes available (even for kids) and locations: http://www.zumba.com/
- Tone It Up puts out a monthly calendar and try to keep things positive. You can get as involved or uninvolved as you want. I love to brag about my successes and even though I am not a frequent commenter on their Facebook I always get positive feedback. Now, some of you might have met me (especially if you’ve been coming to Mixtures for a long time), but I’m not a perky, giggly person. I’m pretty sarcastic (I know, you’re shocked) and blunt, but when it comes to working out I really need for someone to be positive and these girls (as smiley and irritatingly happy as they are) are incredibly supportive to their followers and make a point that no matter what size your are, you are worth the work. When I started following them I couldn’t run worth beans. A year + later I’m running and using heavier weights and able to do all the circuits. It’s all about building up to it. Follow them on facebook, twitter, and their blog and watch for their free workout videos (with accompanying PDFs) and HIIT workouts: http://toneitup.com/index.php Trust me kids, man or woman, young or old, their workouts are great for working at your own pace.
- Self magazine released in April and May a Drop 10 eating and workout program! The eating program even includes on the go items from Subway and Starbucks! The best part? It allows for fun calories like french fries and ice cream and chocolate (oh my!). The workouts include cardiovascular three times a week and toning twice a week. Even with my insane schedule I can fit it in AND I even followed the plan on vacation! What you need? Weights and your cardio of choice. The girls at Tone It Up helped arrange the program too so it’s all very positive and if you can’t do something? Just ask them what to substitute. You may have a hard time with some of it, but you’re worth trying SOME of it. The down side? You have to sign up. The upside? Ummm losing at least 10 pounds. Yes please: http://www.self.com/drop10
Remember, you’re worth it!
Do you have a favorite workout, video, or trainer? Please share with the readers! I know you people are reading and I’m dying for some real live comments (not just the bizarre spam that I filter out daily).