Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Rules To Live By: Workouts

I think a lot of us want to start losing weight and think -

“I HAVE to go to the gym”
“I HAVE to workout 3 hours a day”
“I HAVE to lift heavy, or start running” 

It’s simply not true, at all.

Everyone asks me what I do, what workouts I like. Honestly, I like them all, but for me it comes down to three things.

1) Did I burn calories?

Yes? Ok then I like it.

2) Did I sweat/Am I sore?

Yes? Ok then I LOVE it.

3) Am I able to do it in a short amount of time?

Yes? It’s the perfect workout.

That’s it. I’m really not super picky otherwise. I will try anything.

That being said, I do have my favorites but let’s talk about how I started out.

When I started working out, I was almost 300lbs and had never stepped foot in a gym before in my life. I had a 5 month old baby at home, so I needed to be able to workout at home during nap times but had no idea where to start. I had a workout buddy, and she agreed to send me some of her favorite workouts to try but while I was waiting I had to do something. My family had given my husband and I a Wii Fit for the previous Christmas. We had used it but I was pregnant most of the time we owned it so I hadn’t bothered with it in a real fitness way. That first night though, I was determined to do something, so I pulled out my wii fit and got to it. Just 20 minutes of Wii Fit and I was sweating, and it felt amazing. It was nothing too hardcore, just getting up off the couch and getting me to move around. 20 minutes of a game, that was it to get me started and everything grew from there.

Later that week I received dvd’s in the mail from my friend, and couldn’t wait to try them out. She had sent me so much! Stuff I had heard of, stuff I hadn’t, stuff that scared me, easy stuff, hard stuff, you name it! It was a weight loss goldmine. I put the first one in and tried it right away with no hesitation. It was Zumba and it was instant love. I found out through this that I have a love for dance workouts, they are the perfect cardio.

The next day I tried one of the workouts that scared me. Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. I tried it, and I never looked back. It is still my #1 favorite workout, and I feel it still gives me better results than any other workout I have ever tried. I started doing it with no hand weights whatsoever and gradually moved up to holding mostly empty soda bottles, then 2lb hand weights. I remember buying that first set of hand weights, my best friend made fun of me, saying I definitely needed heavier weights, then she came over and tried the Shred herself and she no longer made fun. That workout is no joke, and only 20 minutes! To this day, 3 years later, I still alternate 3lb and 5lb hand weights on this workout.

After really getting into working out, I asked for EA Sports Active for the Wii and I loved it! It was a little frustrating with all the leg bands and movement tracking, but it was amazing how much of a workout that video game could give me. Plus it had a dance section for cardio, which turned into my favorite move. This is also the first time I attempted running. It was indoor running, and running in place, but it was still hard and I was winded.

Everybody has to start somewhere.

Many Dvd’s and games followed, I have posted about a lot of them on here. I also started feeling more fit and gaining more confidence. I finally decided to try out the gym.

That’s right, probably 6 months into my journey before I stepped foot in a gym.

It was a nice change of pace, and thanks to the Couch to 5k program I was soon running on the treadmill, getting stronger every day. I also started setting myself a walking goal weekly, and breaking it down into smaller daily goals. My normal goal was 12-15 miles a week, starting out small on Sunday and always ending with a 5 mile walk on Thursday night, before my weigh in. There were evenings that I walked into the night, walked in the pouring rain and cold, and those weeks were my best weight loss weeks. Even if I dropped everything else, and only walked, those were the best weeks. Never underestimate the power of simple walking.

Eventually we moved, and I lost access to my gym. It was a sad day because I had gotten so used to being able to visit the gym or pool as soon as my husband got home from work, but I kept moving on and found more videos and games to help me lose weight without getting bored.  2 Months after the move, our twin surprise pregnancy came along. Refusing to let pregnancy stop me, I worked out for half my pregnancy (until the doctors would no longer let me), and the end result was being only 15lbs over my normal weight when I got home from the delivery.

Moral of all of this? No matter how many ups and downs I’ve had, I have never let anything stop me. I never used excuses -

“I’m 300lbs, I can’t do that!” – Yes, you can.

“I’m pregnant, I don’t need to workout” – Yes, you do.

“I can’t afford the gym”
 - Tons of workouts on youtube, google them.

“I don’t have any equipment” – Do you have water bottles, or an empty milk jug? Then fill them with water and you have all the equipment you need!

 I wanted this, and I made it happen. Just me, and my body, my dvd player, and my dinky little 2lb hand weights, my wii, my yoga mat, and running in place. Making just 30 minutes a day count, because you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to make miracles happen. Working out at 1am because that’s when the baby was asleep, altering workouts due to injury, pregnancy, walking in the rain and cold. Everything was me, because I wanted it. You just have to want it.

To this day these are my favorite at home workouts and programs -

Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred (Level 3 is my favorite), Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (I have not tried any of her newer workouts)
Bob Harper – Pure Burn, Super Strength, Yoga for the warrior, Kettlebell workout
EA Sports Active Wii
Wii Fit Plus (especially free run and advanced or free step)
Just Dance
Couch to 5k
100 Pushup Challenge
200 Squat Challenge
200 Sit up Challenge

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