Archive for the ‘cardio workouts’ Category

Hey, Look at Me! I’m Trying to be a Blogger!

I am a goal-oriented person.  I like setting them, planning my strategies for achieving them, and bragging about them later.  My affinity for goals is probably my primary source of self-esteem.  So, in order to boost my flagging self-image, I’m setting a couple for July.

July will be the month of “Dogs and Blogs.”

Here are my goals:

1.  Exercise my dogs several times a week.  I live in the deep South with a good, fenced-in backyard.  My dogs live outdoors.  It’s stinking hot.  Too hot to walk a dog.  But, I’m going to even if it’s just a little.  My dogs are out of shape.  They’ll tire quickly.

2.  Blog more.  My goal is to blog 15 times this month.  I’m also going to take more pictures.  I don’t usually take my own pictures, but I’m going to.  Otherwise, how will I ever get better at it.

I think that getting a little more exercise at night with the dogs and being a little more conscienscious (did I spell that right?) with my food, I should see my dogs become more pleasant company and my food get interesting again.  (I’m pretty sick of humus and crackers, pasta, Boca burgers and canned minestrone soup.)  I may even see the 3 pounds I gained in Disney World magically disappear.

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Have you tried Zumba?

This picture right here is why I never wanted to try Zumba:

But, my daughters really wanted to go so I went too.  I learned 2 things:

 1.  It’s pretty fun for an exercise class.  I’m over the 1980’s aerobics class or the 1990’s Firm Fanny Lifter.  Zumba goes by quickly, wrings out a killer sweat, and engages both mind and body.

2.  I don’t know what I look like doing Zumba, but I was pretty darn impressed with the other women in the class.  They’re not all 20-somethings or fitness fanatics, but when they start rolling their hips ands shaking their shoulders, they look pretty damn hot.  No wonder Latin and South Americans are known for being passionate–they’re dances are like foreplay.  I come out of Zumba thinking that if I weren’t soaked in sweat and smelling like a gym sock, I’d be one sexy bitch!

All that to say, if you haven’t tried Zumba, you probably should.  You may feel ridiculous, but you’ll look fabulous!

 

Fitting a Workout into a Busy Schedule

I’ve been skimming a lot of fitness and weight loss sites out there in the world wide web, and they seem to have something in common:  they make me tired.  I see words like “pushing myself” or “addicted to running.”  I read people’s discussions about adding something new to their two-hour long routines in utter consternation.  Where do these folks find the time or energy?  What is the rest of their family doing while they’re working out?  How do they have energy left to unload the dishwasher and fold laundry before going to bed?

I can almost hear my fit friends telling me that it is a choice to achieve their level of fitness and a matter of priorities.  I agree wholeheartedly and still say, No thanks.

It’s not that I don’t think exercise and fitness are important.  It’s just that I have a lot to juggle and a 90-minute workout is not a priority for me when I have kids at home that haven’t seen their mother all day, dinner to fix, housework to do, and deadlines to meet.  For me to carve out the time and energy this kind of workout regimen demands I’d have to take it from the other things that occupy my time and energy now.  And, since I spend almost 100% of my time after work tending to the needs of my family and household, I’d have to take that time away from them.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think working out is important, and I do it.  I just don’t feel the need to do it to the level that some of my fit friends do.  I have to balance my workouts with everything else.  For me, 30 minutes a day most days of the week is all I can work in.  I don’t feel bad about this.  I don’t feel guilty.  I don’t feel the need to do more.  I can accept that I won’t see the results that my friend who alternates between P90X and Insanity every day sees.  In exchange, I’ll get a workout that I can adjust to my interest and commitment level for the rest of my life.

This is definitely not for me.

With that said, Pilates is my favorite workout.  Pilates stretches and strengthens at the same time.  After a good workout, either in a class or on dvd, I feel worked and rejuvenated.  I can do a good Pilates workout in around 30 minutes and barely break a sweat.  What’s that you say?  How good can a workout be if you don’t break a sweat?  Well, I took a 45-minute class yesterday that saw nary a glisten on my forehead, and today my obliques, thighs, and abs are sore.

Winsor Pilates is my favorite, but there are plenty of others. I like the Circle Workout.

Once I’ve worked in a few Pilates sessions (my goal is 3 a week, but usually I only get in 2), I feel really good about doing 2-3 cardio sessions (30 minutes, tops, of jogging, doing the elliptical or rowing) and calling it a week.  Pilates works my muscles.  Cardio works my heart and lungs. Done.

I realize that doesn’t seem like much.  (I watch Biggest Loser so I know what people think you have to do to lose weight.)  But, if I continue this plan for years and years, I’ll see all the results I want.  I’ll be 50 in 2023.  I want to look like someone who has exercised her whole life, not someone who worked really hard for a few months until she twisted her ankle or until her son started playing baseball or until whatever else pops up in the next few months and years that would keep me from exercising.  A manageable amount over a long period of time.  That’s my plan, and Pilates fits it perfectly.

Easy. Vegan. Fitness

I should clarify why my website is entitled as it is and why I feel entitled to write about being a fit vegan when I am neither vegan nor fit.

Let’s start with vegan and the easy part will no doubt creep in where it wants to.  I am convinced that the vegan lifestyle is the way to go.  However, I do not want to have such a stringent diet that I have to forfeit anything I want for forever or inconvenience everyone I live and eat with to accommodate my choices.  Therefore, you will notice that I refer to myself as vegan-ish.  I try to make vegan choices as often as I can.

Two things come in to play here.  One is that I’m not a hard-core student of preparation and processing so I might not even know that something isn’t totally vegan.  For example, a true vegan avoids white sugar because some part of the whitening process is accomplished with an animal byproduct.  I don’t know all that stuff and don’t have the enthusiasm to find out.  I’m more concerned with cutting my animal protein down as much as possible.  Two is that I’m not going to eat crappy food for the rest of my life.  I don’t care if it’s vegan if it doesn’t taste good.  I’m not satisfied with a piece of fruit of breakfast and a handful of nuts and greens for lunch.  I don’t want the same foods over and over again.  I can’t eat a tossed salad with no cheese, no bacon bits, and light vinaigrette every day and be happy with that.  So, I have to balance my desire to be vegan with my desire to find pleasure in eating.  Sometimes I do that great (like the Winter Apple Salad and Riesling or Moroccan food), and sometimes I drift.  Real vegans will hate me, but the rest of you will understand.

The second part of the site is about fitness.  I haven’t written about that much yet, but I’m getting there.  I want to see muscles.  I want to turn heads.  I want to have firmness in good places and roundness in others.  I want to minimize jiggling wherever it occurs.  However, I only have about 30 minutes a day to exercise, and sometimes I don’t even have that.  So, I can’t do an hour of P90X before work or take a leisurely 5-mile jog in the evenings.  I need something that will burn calories and tone muscles quick.

Right now I’m doing 2-3 days of cardio and 1-2 days of Pilates.  I never work out for more than an hour including warming up, cooling down, and usually changing clothes.  I don’t work to exhaustion because I have too much to do to waste all my energy exercising.  I mean, who’s going to clean up the kitchen if I’m too weak to force one of my kids to do it?

I hope I don’t sound lazy.  I’m not.  I demonstrate a lot of discipline.  I’ve been keeping up with this routine for over a year.  My theory is that I may not see huge results right away, but after a while I’ll start looking like somebody who has worked out for years and years.  I’m happy to say, it’s working.  Today I bought the first pair of size 6 jeans I’ve ever bought.  Ever.  In my whole life.  The last time I wore a pair of pants that said size 6, they were 6x’s and I was 4 years old.

The down side to working out steadily is that boredom sets in.  I’m going to be trying new, easy exercises and letting you know how they work out for me.  Pilates is good and easy.  I’m going to do lots of that with different instructors to let you know what the variations are like.  Yoga seems pretty manageable so I’ll try that too when I have a chance.  Jogging isn’t fun, but it’s simple. Doing 30 minutes on an elliptical won’t kill me either if I don’t have to do it too often.

So that’s EasyVeganFitness in a nutshell.  I’m going to be doing all the research so that you can join me in my effort to buy more size 6 pants and maybe even wear them in public sometime. And remember, since I’m vegan-ish, I won’t be drinking any protein shakes or grilling 7 chicken breasts a week.  And since I’m looking for the easy ways, I won’t be keeping a food journal or counting calories either.

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