Exercise is like brushing your teeth.

Exercise should be like brushing your teeth, something you do daily. That’s how I think about exercise. Besides not brushing your teeth for a a month or two would be pretty gross and you wouldn’t do that. At least I hope you wouldn’t. Sometimes you have to change how you think about something to start getting it into your life.

Exercise is good for you that’s something we all know, its the implementing of it that is difficult. I rarely hear an excuse that someone was just way too busy to watch the current episode of Game of Thrones, but my they were too busy to exercise. Really it should be the opposite or try combining the two. I watch movies or shows while I peddle away on the stationary bike.

I’ve been told how consistent of an exerciser I am and that is because I made a point to become one. This did not happen overnight but over years. Now I feel off when I am not active, it doesn’t feel good. Yes, there are days I don’t want to but I’ve learned that most of the time and by most I mean 99% of the time I am happy I have exercised.

There are a lot of Tv show and movie workout out there. Game Of Thrones is an easy on to do this for, try this next weekend while watching the season premiere.

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There Will Never Be A Perfect Time

I’m a planner and a researcher. I like to know the ins and outs of what I’m doing but sometimes all that planning and researching starts to get in the way. That’s not a good thing. When I start getting hung up on getting things just right so I can get started. I stop and take a deep breath…
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And stop getting ready to do. Because there will never be a perfect time in your life for anything. There will never be a time that you magically start exercising because its the absolute perfect time and that hour you needed for it appeared. That doesn’t happen. there is not house elf who stocks my fridge with healthy food ready for me to eat.

There’s never, ever going to be a perfect time do or start on anything. The choice to just start has to be made and made over and over again. Will it be the perfect time. I doubt it. So what do you do?

You start, just start this very second. No you do not need to jump up and exercise this very second, just today sometime. Even if its just for five minutes.

Research is not going anywhere, if anything its being added to. Starting and still learning is good. After decade plus of yoga I am still researching it and learning.

To steal a line from Nike, “Just do it.” Schedule it, yes I am big on scheduling your exercise time and treating it like an appointment.

Try things. You can read all you want but what works for me might not work for you. Try other peoples strategies and keep what works. Two of mine are carrot and celery sticks and freezer meals.

The perfect time will never happen no matter how long you plan, strategize, think, research, etc. All you can do is start now and try things out. Get started and stop waiting

Monthly Groove: DIY Risers for a Barbell

This month’s groove is a DIY project. I’m at the point in my lifting plan (NROLS) that I am heading into deadlfits. My 22 pound plates are taller than me 25 pound plates so i start with my 22s but they are only 5 inches high when my starting position should be 8 inches unless I want to lift from a deficit.
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This is one of those things that’s important but for a home gym risers for the barbell, well I can think of other things I’d rather spend my money on. A second set of handles for dumbbells and two more 10 pound plates come to mind. So I thought on this for a long while.

My first inclinations was to hit up our scrap pile of wood. The one big issue there would be needing to make stops for it, heavy things rolling off risers does not sound like fun. I kept that in the back of my mind and kept searching.
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One day as I was pulling a bunch of old magazines out of the crawl space it came to me. Magazines! I have plenty of them. I got out the trusty duct tape and made myself magazine risers. Since they are paper they have more give so my barbell won’t roll off and away when I’m not using it.

This was a simple and easy thing to do. You will need
Magazines
Duct tape or some other heavy duty tape
A ruler

Measure you tallest plate. Mine was 5 inches which meant I needed about 3 inches of magazine height. Stack the magazines, measure, tape up. Repeat to make two. I checked and make sure my magazines were level for my second stack by comparing it to the first stack.

Don’t lift more than 5 pounds? My purse weighs more…

Whenever I come across information that tells women not to lift more than five pounds, it makes me wonder how they came up with that number. Why is five pounds the alleged magic number for women and weights? Nothing in our lives weighs more than five pounds? How is that even helpful to anyone?

It makes me think about what I pick up in a day. How heavy is that bag of groceries? More than five pounds that’s for sure. Women pick up heavy things everyday in real life. Kids weigh a lot more than 5 pounds, even my little cat weighs more than 5 pounds. I carry her around with one hand.
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My guess is my purse weighs more than 5 pounds too. Which lead me to ask just how much does my purse weigh and pull out a scale. The current state of my purse is that it needs to be cleaned out. It stays that way for months. So the contents of my purse in its current state is typical.

My purse weighs 8.8 pounds. I thought it was going to be 9 or 10 pounds so I was pleased to come in under my guess. I was correct that I carry around over a pound of lipsticks. Its been this way for months now and I just keep collecting more change so it will only get heavier until I break down and empty it out.

Next time you time you hear the message women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, ignore them. It is a ridiculous idea that women are either incapable of lifting heavy things or that we shall wind up with big bulging muscles (most of never will get to bulgy). For me lifting heavy things had made me more compact and strong enough to lug my heavy purse around all day with no problem.

Don’t let others ignorance hold you back from strength training. Lifting heavy things will do wonderful things for your health and your vanity.

Tips for Staying Healthy in the Winter

The holidays are over and its now January with its lack of light, some nice cold weather and a ton of wind. January is the anti month for getting outside and raw foods sound well cold and raw. It is the month that I struggle the most with getting my veg and fruit in. Here are my top tips for surviving January and staying healthy.
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Tip number one is for getting some veg and fruit in your diet via the green smoothie. They can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. They always perk me up.

Tip two indulge in some cardio. I’ve pulled out my old school videos (yes, videos) and added in one long indoor cardio session. Gets the blood flowing and your mood will improve as you try and Hiphop along with Paula Abdul or get really old school with Kathy Smith. Kickboxing is another favorite of mine. Janice Saffell delivers a great workout.

Tip three soup. Soup is nourishing and comforting. You can veg it up, plus it hydrates. Make a nice broth based soup for dinner or lunch.

Tip four, don’t forget to drink your water too, winter heating dries you out. Winter in general can mean lower humidity levels and you don’t sweat as much. This makes it easy to ignore water.

And tip five is yoga tells us if we feel sluggish we need to get our energy moving. Try this simple exercise: Sit on the floor cross legged and than get up without using your arms if possible, sit back down, repeat this for one minute. You will give your systems an energy boost.

There they are my tips for staying healthy this month. What do you do to stay healthy?

Lost your Exercise Mojo?

Sometimes you just lose your exercise mojo. For whatever reason you just do not want to exercise at all. Those favorite activities become a chore and just something to go through the motions with or skip it completely. It happens, sometimes the exercise mojo just goes away. So what do you do when that happens?
 photo 23520d60-2dde-4055-9acd-e5a6e88729e0.jpg1. Take a rest week. Do not exercise and if you have been eating at a deficit eat at maintenance for this week. Its about long term health, sometimes losing the mojo is a sign we need to rest.

2. So you took the rest week and still don’t have any mojo. *raises hand* Dial it back. This is not the time to push your limits. Keep a minimum of activity going on formal or informal. I’m currently in a dial it back phase as my mojo is so fracking missing.

3. Do something different. Try a new class or exercise routine. If you love vinyasa yoga try relaxation yoga. That different thing might be more rest days if you already exercise consistently.

4.No judging or blaming yourself. Being stern with yourself is not going to help. Mojo loss is not the usual hemming and hawing about exercise, don’t yell at yourself. What would you tell a friend? I bet you would tell them to rest and dial it back.

5. Mojo loss is temporary. You will want to exercise again, don’t worry, it will come back. Not wanting to exercise at all means to me that my mind and body are trying to tell me something, especially when I finish a workout and still feel blah or tired.

When all exercise sounds awful listen to your body and mind. Taking some time to rest, de-load, or dial back is healthy and in the long run better than forcing yourself through mojo loss.

Weekly Groove: Dynamic Warmup

Weekly Groove is the Dynamic Warmup. Ever since a dynamic warm up appeared in NROLA (New Rules of Lifting Abs) I’ve been hooked. I’ve created one to warm up with weights that is a mix of NROLA, NROL4L (for Life), some GGS (Girls Gone Strong), and stuff I like. There is also one from Runner’s World that I use before running.

If you are just starting out the dynamic warm up is going to look a lot like a work out and probably feel like one too. It was tough getting started with the dynamic warmup it felt hard but after not using it a couple times I realized I feel more prepared to lift or run. The running one is a very subtle feeling of being more ready to run.

Here is my current dynamic warm up that I use before weights. It takes me a bout 10 minutes.

10 Walking Crossover toe touch
5 Squat to stand
10 1- leg 1/4 squat
10 Side lunge with touch
10 Glute bridge
5 Knee to armpit (supine)
5 Rotation form quadruped
5 Bird dog each side
5 Down dog to spider man
5 1/2 kneeling thoracic rotation
5 inch worms
5 reverse lunge with twist
10 Grande battement
10 March in place
10Butt kicks

Staying Active in Winter

Staying active during the winter can be challenging. It is cold out, there is weather, and less daylight. Working runners often end up running in the dark morning or evening, add in a nice warm house or bed. Who wants to get out and run. Heck who wants to go out to a cold car and drive to the gym. No one. Here’s how are my top 5 tips for staying active during winter.

I know I’ve used the Yoda picture before but he just nails it.
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1. Schedule your workouts. You wouldn’t skip a meeting or doctors appointment, would you? Think of your workouts the same way.

2. Have the right gear. If you are going to run through winter or do outside cold weather activities get the right clothes. Cotton holds sweat and will have you cold before you know it. I have wicking underwear for winter, how I survived before them I have no idea.

3. Do a Challenge. I did a squat challenge last year that was a lot of fun. Other years I did a cookie challenge. For each cookie I ate I did an extra minute of exercise. It really makes you think before you gobble a bunch of them up.

4.Keep it flexible, yeah I know I told you to schedule them but if time is short and you planned on an hour you don’t have, change your plan. Even 15 minutes of exercise is going to make you feel better.

5. Rest is important do not neglect it. If you feel under the weather or still beat up from your workout take a rest day. Should I workout while sick is a question that gets asked a lot and I respond that your workout is to get better if you are sick, rest if you are sick. Take the time to nurture yourself when you need it, it will pay off.

Weekly Groove: DIY Weighted Backpack

I was walking past our garbage one day and noticed a backpack in it. We don’t have garbage pick up so we have to hoard our garbage until someone deicides to drive seven miles to the green boxes. So I pulled it out, it was on top and not slimed. Which led me to check out the zippers, most of them were fine. It was just what I needed. If it got destroyed no one cared and it was free.

I put rocks in it and made it into a weighted bag. Sometimes you have to think out of the box when you have a home gym and create what you need. What I like about my weighted backpack was free and I can remove or add rocks easily. You can carry in your hands, put it on your back, or hug it and run up a hill with it.
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Body Image, Pinterest, and Me.

As I peruse pinterest I am always amazed at the amount of sexualization of fitness and fitness photos. It gets to the point where it feels almost overwhelming and disheartening. There’s the squat butt camp, the thigh gap group, the you can do it just ignore pain, etc. The one thing the have in common is a picture of a woman with no head. She is just a breasts, bum, and thighs, even the Venus of Willendorf got a head.
 photo Venus_von_Willendorf_01.jpgThere came a point where I stopped looking at these and started dissecting them. What are they saying to me and others out there? If you do enough squats you will have a perfectly rounded bum, work hard enough you too can have a thigh gap, never mind the pain hurting yourself is good. Are these healthy? I ask myself this and I wonder who out there is damaging themselves to get something that just might be unattainable for them.

I have a butt, it doesn’t matter if I squat or not. I have a butt: skinny, fat, and in between its just there. It is a matter of genetics for me. A college study buddy worked very hard to get a small bum, she squatted and did heavy weights, she will never have a “squat butt.”
 photo eosbvffrt76ee6r.jpgAs teen Mademoiselle magazine was where I first encountered the thigh gap concept. The gist being you did not have a thigh gap you were, not thin. First thought was crap I don’t have one, I’m fat. The truth is to achieve a thigh gap, maybe, because I haven’t ever had one, and might never get one even at anorexic body fat levels. It would take a lot of starvation on my part to get me anywhere near a thigh gap. And if you feel pain while working out, please stop, that is called an injury. Yes, you might feel discomfort but pain, pain is not good. Pain is your body telling you to stop.

We need to celebrate our bodies and not some in the future potential us. What you look like right now is gorgeous, what you will look like tomorrow is beautiful. Celebrate who and what you are now, because the truth is you need to love yourself, just as you are.

Venus of Willendorf picture from Wikipedia.