August 2015 archive

Do You Have to “Train Insane?”

If you pay any attention to the latest fitness trends, you’ve probably noticed that things seem to be getting more and more extreme. The more “insane” a workout is, the better. Words such as “killer,” “brutal” and “hardcore” are the new norm when describing popular workouts. The new craze in running is “Ultra Running” where 50 or 100 miles is the target. Whew! If that’s your thing and your body can handle it, cool, but is it necessary for the typical exerciser to push their body to the brink?

I get asked frequently, “Are you training for anything?” My response is that I’m training for life. I don’t do races or competitions. My goal is simply to live a fit and healthy life and have a little fun in the process. Instead of training harder, I want to train smarter. Don’t get me wrong. We have to work hard. People who come to my classes know this. We WORK. You can’t just lollygag with your fitness. You have to challenge yourself and be consistent to get results, but you don’t have to go to extremes.



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(Photo taken at the Waco Family YMCA, for membership information, click here)

Unfortunately, the current trends can be discouraging to people who have fallen off the fitness wagon or who are contemplating jumping on for the first time. A fitness newbie’s desire to start can be totally shut down when he or she feels so far behind and when the current workout trends seem so unpleasant and extreme.

Our egos can be the problem on both ends of the fitness spectrum. The person who has gotten out of shape doesn’t want to feel embarrassed or like a “fitness weenie” compared to others, so that ego keeps him or her from doing anything. On the other end, the very fit person can push harder and harder even when they are injured or could get injured by the extreme exercises they’re doing. As we age, it can be a real blow to the ego when our bodies can’t quite do what they once could. Our egos want our bodies to do awe-provoking things. We want to be admired, for other people to think we are bad to the bone, but at some point, our bodies will win and say “Enough!” And who cares what other people think? Whether they think good or bad, it doesn’t change my life. What matters is the tape I’m playing inside my own head. If I think I’m doing alright, then good for me.

Is there a happy medium?? Absolutely! It really is possible to have a healthy, fit body without all the craziness. How? If you’ve read my blog or come to my classes, you’ve heard me preach this before. It’s nothing new, but I cannot emphasize these two simple things enough.

  1. Consistent Exercise– Whatever your exercise of choice, be consistent. If you don’t have an exercise you enjoy, start experimenting until you do. Make it fun! If you walk or run, download some great music and get going. Just move and move most days of week. Every week. Every month. Every year. Work up a sweat! Starting out can be rough, but when you get into a regular routine, you will begin to crave it. You will FEEL so much better, and, of course, you will look better, too.
  2. Healthy Diet– This is usually the tough one for many, but if you clean up your diet, it will show. When someone is exercising consistently, but still carrying extra weight, his or her diet is almost always the culprit. Many people look for the magic exercise formula or a new and better workout program to fix this, but, as many of you have heard before, you cannot out train a bad diet. It’s not hard to do a little research to educate yourself on healthy eating. The info is out there. In a nutshell, work to eliminate as much processed food from your diet as possible. Begin to add in more fruits and veggies and start eliminating the junk a little at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so give yourself some time to adjust and change.

Be encouraged! You don’t have to be a total fitness freak to have the healthy, lean body you want. When others tell you of the insane workouts they do, applaud them and hold your head up high. Enjoy your workouts. Be consistent. Eat healthy. Smile and enjoy life!

 



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My Fitness Career and Child #3

The first time it happened my youngest was just a baby. I had just finished teaching a class and a woman from LA who had been in the class came up to me. “What are you doing in Waco, Texas? You should be in LA or New York!” She was so complimentary and it made me feel great, but I just brushed it off. Fast-forward more than a decade and situations similar to that one are not entirely uncommon. Many have said I should do more than I am, that I could be “big” in the fitness world if I put myself out there. “If you created a YouTube channel, you could be traveling around and really be known!” “You should work to have a strong social media presence and then sell your workouts or create your own workout program and get out there and promote it.” The idea sounds cool and tempting. I begin to think, “I could do that! Why not?” But there is always something holding me back. It’s not fear or lack of confidence. It’s not self-doubt because I know that any talent or gifting I have in this area comes from God. If He called me to “go big,” I would follow. It’s something entirely different. It’s this cute thing called Child #3.



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I have three kids. Two are in college. Wow. It’s weird just typing that. In the summer of 1999, I was home with two small children and I prayed for a skill. I had a degree in Communications, but I wanted a specific “skill” that I could form into a career. I prayed and God delivered in a big way. I started teaching fitness classes and it took off. My classes were exploding and I was a happy camper. I worked hard to keep my career manageable. I was able to teach my classes in the morning while still getting to be a part of my kiddos activities. And activities there were…. select soccer, select basketball, track, volleyball, cross-country, etc. During the early stages of my fitness career, Child #3 hit the scene. Poor, sweet baby, he was dragged to everything. Most moms say that because their last child is dragged everywhere, they are easy going, but I think it’s God’s mercy. He gives us happy, pliable last children because He knows we would lose it otherwise.



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Oh, that sweet Child #3. I know that without a doubt, if I decided to take this fitness thing to the next level, he would be fine. I don’t know if I would be though. It’s just how God has wired me. I don’t want to miss out on his stuff. I want to finish this motherhood thing strong. I don’t want to give Child #3 less than I gave Children #1 and 2. With two in college, I look back and realize what a quick ride this has been. It’s been a blur. A wonderful, difficult, fun, crazy, busy, exciting blur.



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So, who knows what will happen? I’ve slowly been adding more to my schedule as we’ve ushered two kids out the door and as Child #3 has gotten older. If God changes my heart and gives me the desire to ramp things up, awesome. If not, I’m cool with being a big fitness fish in a small pond instead of being world famous. In the meantime, I’ll just wait and enjoy what I have. In four short years, that sweet, fun Child #3 will be out the door. Maybe that will be “go time” for me. Of course, I may be leading “Chair Aerobics” by then! Come to think of it, I don’t know of a famous YouTube channel dedicated to that. I’ve got four years to plan. Get your chairs ready, world!



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