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Hiking Fail August 14, 2010

Posted by Jen in Exercise, Strength Training.
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This morning I was supposed to meet up with a new friend to go hiking. It did not work out as planned.

Last night I packed lunch and snacks, got my Cambelbak backpack ready, printed out a map of the area where we were going to hike, and packed a set of extra clothes just in case.

This morning I got up, did some strength training on my lower body (a smart thing to do before a hike? Since I didn’t end up hiking, I’ll never know), had breakfast, and headed out.

I got to our meeting point about 10 minutes early. Let me tell you, this area was empty…scary empty! I live in Western North Carolina, and although there are plenty of people here, there is also lots and lots of woods and protected land without much of a population.

We were supposed to meet at 9 am, but my friend wasn’t sure exactly when she’d get there because she didn’t know how far the spot was from her house. After waiting for 43 minutes I really had too pee, so I gave up and went home ūüė¶

Hiking fail.

Instead of giving up altogether on exercise, though, I headed out to my usual walking or running spot and did a hill-filled 36 minute walk that had me nice and sweaty. Of course, the extremely ridiculous humidity may have had something to do with the sweat!

And, bonus, I already had my lunch made! Score.

It’s not a very nice Saturday here; grey, overcast, humid. Instead of hiking I’m doing laundry and reading. Not such a bad way to spend the day, I suppose!

What do you do when exercise plans fall through?

Motivating Yourself to Strength Train July 28, 2010

Posted by Jen in Exercise, Strength Training.
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I love cardio. But I hate(d) strength training. Sooooo boring! But now I’m finally doing it regularly, and I’m seeing results!

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Okay, so this is Madonna, who, at 50+, still has a way more muscular bod than me, that’s cool.

The point is, strength training can take some getting used to. And keeping up with it takes some serious motivation.

Here’s how I got myself motivated and have kept it up regularly for the last few months:

  • Focus on the benefits!¬†I’m 30, and I know my body is already going to start losing muscle mass if I don’t counteract it. Not only do I want to counteract any muscle loss, I want to build it, because lean muscle makes me look good, feel stronger, and impresses my cats¬†because I can now 12 bent-knee push ups in a row. Another benefit? Calorie burn. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you’re sitting around scratching your butt, so you want to have more, people!
  • Don’t go it alone. If I had gym buddies to help motivate me, I would go that route, but because I only join the gym in the winter and have a perfectly good DVD player at home, my best friend for strength training is Cathe¬†Friedriche. Followed by Jillian Michaels. I do sometimes life free weights on my own, but I find I push myself much, much harder if I’m working out with someone else, even if they’re on the TV. Lately I’ve been doing this DVD, which kicks my ass (actually, my abs, biceps, shoulders, chest, and ass).

  • Set a goal. The main reason I think setting a goal is important is so that you give yourself enough time to actually see results. Your goal may be to strength train twice per week for six weeks, or it might be to follow an outlined muscle-gaining plan that lasts much longer.¬†Your goal might be to lift a certain amount of weight, or whittle your waist to a certain measurement. Whatever you decide, make sure you pick something tangible that you can check off in your mind and say, “I did it!” Pick a goal that will yield results you can see.
  • Let your results be your biggest motivator. I’m telling you, now that I can actually see my biceps and triceps and actually feel stronger, I want to strength train. Sure, like any other exercise I sometimes have to get my mojo up to do it, but those results and my desire to continue to gain strength and tone are the biggest motivator for strength training I’ve ever run into.

Strength training is just as important as cardio and stretching, not to mention doing things for your mental and spiritual health, to your overall wellness. Quit making excuses and pick up those dumbbells!