Holiday fun can wear you down — eating, drinking and festivities can take their toll on you mentally and physically. While a workout may seem like the last thing you have the time or energy for, it can enliven your spirit and alleviate stress. Think you have to choose between fitness and fun? Not so! Incorporate elements of the holiday season into your workout routine and you’ll add variety and interest and increase your motivation and enjoyment. Here are some ideas to help you put the holiday spirit into your workout:
By The FIRM Master Instructor Melissa Hurst
You’ve made it through the holidays! Your weekly schedule, while still hectic, is becoming more routine and you have even found time to fit in your workouts (hopefully). There’s only one problem: Instead of your workouts re-energizing you, they are wearing you down.
If you are facing this dilemma, you are not alone. There are many reasons why you may feel as though your workouts are not giving you the results (emotionally or physically) you expect.
I love walking — outside, on a treadmill, whatever — but I have a little problem commonly known as lack of motivation. On days when it’s cold outside, or drizzly, or appears to be either of the above, I am easily dissuaded from working out … and easily persuaded to sleep the extra half hour instead. But I hate the “no cookie for you today” feeling of regret that not working out brings.
Lucky for me (and you!), GaiamTV.com has a ton of great walking workout videos. They’re perfect for working out at home — no weather restrictions, no too-loud-for-the-downstairs-neighbors cardio; just fun routines for burning calories.
My favorites combine upper-body strengthening with the lower-body workout. If they have gorgeous scenery, so much the better! These videos eliminate my excuses and, in time, my jeans size. Here are my top five favorites from Gaiam TV. I’m confident you’ll find at least one in here that will tempt you to pick up the pace.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee
Are you confused by all of the information out there about cardio fitness and how to do it so that you get the best results?
“Eat before your workout — No, don’t eat before your workout!”
“Running burns the most calories but walking burns more fat!”
“Work out for 30 minutes a day or don’t bother working out at all!”
It’s enough to put any girl off her workout routing. That’s why we’re getting to the truth behind some popular “cardio myths” — to help you sort out the fact from the fiction.
I have found that in times of stress, physical exertion is one of the most effective and important steps to take — and it can actually help us through hard times!
Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the right amount of exercise relieves stress and boosts the immune system. It releases feel-good hormones — such as endorphins and adrenaline — and reduces levels of stress hormones.
Yet our natural reaction to stress is usually to take things out of our day that seem superfluous and time-consuming. Often that includes the time we spend on our own health. We sacrifice that time — and ourselves — to other more “important” causes at hand, even when the cause of our stress is something we don’t have control over anyway.
I’d like to point out three other important benefits of exercise that are less often highlighted — but equally great reasons to find time every day to just move.
I am not good at working out. Yoga never seemed to be my thing, and now I have a new baby to take care of.
And that’s exactly why I wanted to give Gaiam’s new video subscription service, GaiamTV.com, a try.
After one month of using the service (OK, to be honest, my workout routine was pretty sporadic), I trimmed my waistline by 1.5 inches and my hips by 3 inches, and I lost 1 lb. of stubborn baby weight. I can only imagine what the results would have been if I had been more consistent.
I was skeptical that this sort of thing wouldn’t appeal to me for the reasons mentioned above. But after giving it a go, I think new moms like me are ideal subscribers. Here’s why:
by The FIRM Master Instructor Kelsie Daniels
I said in a past blog that I prefer to be a lean 145 pounds versus a plain ol’ 145 pounds. A lean 145 just looks better … tighter, smaller, stronger, FIRMer, and, well … leaner! I would take that one step further and say that most of us would also feel better if we were leaner instead of just smaller!
When your goal is “weight loss,” you want to lower the actual amount that you weigh; in other words, you want to see the number on the scale go down. A goal of “fat loss” involves the desire to lower your body fat — the actual amount of visible and invisible fat you carry on and inside your body. People who want to lose weight probably need to lose body fat as well, so I say why not just go for a “two for one” and make fat loss your goal and get some weight loss as an added benefit?
We all know that the key ingredients to weight loss and maintenance are exercise, healthy nutrition and proper rest. But what happens when you feel like you’re no longer getting results with your exercise routine? Does this mean that exercise doesn’t work anymore? Not a chance! It could just mean that you need to break out of your current workout rut — variety is the spice of life, after all!
Here are four signals that your routine might need a tune-up:
1. Your workout bores you.
You used to enjoy walking outside, so why do you dread your walk workout each day? It’s easy to get bored if you stick with the same routine for too long. Sometimes it helps to add variety to your walks. For example, try listening to music when you walk, adding speed or hill intervals, or bringing a family member or friend along with you. I’m sure your family pooch would welcome a stroll around the neighborhood! If all of that isn’t enough, then maybe it’s time to try a new activity. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try biking or are interested in taking a dance class? Change can help keep your workouts fun and interesting, giving you something to look forward to.
I don’t know about you, but it seems the older I get, the harder it is to rebound from holiday excess back to my summer weight. But lucky for me, I have a proven way to get my weight and my body back to where I am most comfortable and looking my best.
My thought has always been that when you have no control of anything else in the world, you can get control of yourself. It will make you feel more powerful, healthier, clearer and creative. How you look is directly related to how you feel, and how others relate to you. Better posture, a little toning and firming, a longer neck, and a flatter tummy are all directly related to your self-esteem.
We are still early into 2011, so talking about recharging our batteries and taking a rest might sound crazy. However, it’s important to remember that sufficient rest and recovery periods are necessary to avoid burnout and injuries, as well as to get the best results possible from our exercise routines.
Check out this list of signs to see if you may need a little recharging: