Archive of ‘Uncategorized’ category

5 Steps to Get Your Fitness Back on Track

 

We are well into the New Year and it’s time to take a good, hard look at how you’re doing on your fitness goals. If you’re like many people, you started the year with gusto and newfound determination. You had big goals and were committed. Fast-forward a few months. The workout sessions have gotten fewer. The bad habits have crept back into your life and, more than likely, you’re not feeling too great. Don’t throw up your hands and wait until January 1 of next year. I have 5 steps to help get you back on track right now and put those goals within reach. I urge you to get out a notepad and write these 5 steps out for yourself instead of just reading them.

  1. Make an Assessment of Your Failed Plan. It’s important to look at what went wrong to help you get it right. Was your plan overambitious? Were you doing exercise you didn’t enjoy? Did you join a gym that was inconvenient to your home or work? Look at all of these things to determine if your plan was doomed to fail. Many are so excited to get in shape at the start of a new year, that they go full force with an unrealistic, unsustainable plan. If you did that, it’s ok. Pinpoint what went wrong.

 

  1. Revise your Goals. Now that you’ve figured out what the problem is, change your goals. For example, if your original goal was to lose 50 pounds by Spring Break, change your goal to something much more attainable. It might be much less overwhelming to change your goal to 5 lbs. per month. Make your goals reachable and then go crush them.

 

  1. Make a New Plan. So, you know where your plan went wrong, you’ve set new goals, now it’s time to put a new plan in place. Write out a new plan that is doable and compatible with your schedule, interests and personality. Maybe your original plan had you running 4 days a week, but you hate running. Don’t run! Do what you enjoy. Take classes that are fun. Get outside and walk if you prefer that. Didn’t enjoy the gym setting? Plan at home workouts 4 days a week instead? Really look at and decide on a plan that you can sustain. Ask yourself these questions. What form of exercise do I enjoy? How many days per week can I feasibly workout? Do I enjoy solitary workouts or a group setting? Set your plan according to your answers. So often we make our plan according to what is popular or because something worked for a friend. Each person is unique and your plan needs to be specific for YOU. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or what’s popular on social media.

 

  1. Don’t Make Too Many Changes at Once. Once your new workout plan is in place, be careful not to overwhelm yourself with too many changes. I usually advise clients to get the exercise going first and THEN work on your diet. As you are getting back to a solid fitness routine and are feeling confident, start making slow, steady changes to your eating. One change at a time can often be the best formula for success.

  

  1. Tell a Friend. Call or have coffee with a friend and explain your new workout routine and goals. Ask for accountability. Pick someone who loves you enough to be tough with you and truly hold you accountable. Invite them along because chances are they need accountability, too.







It is so easy to get off track from the healthy habits we start at the beginning of the year, but you don’t have to stay there. Follow these steps and you’ll be back on track and feeling great in no time.

10 Tips to Help You Maintain and Not Gain This Holiday Season

Have you heard that the average person gains 8-10 lbs. during the holidays? Whoa. No wonder gyms and fitness classes are bursting at the seams in January! Like most people, I love this time of year. Over the years, I’ve learned some tips and tricks to keep from putting on that dreaded holiday weight while still fully enjoying myself and not feeling deprived. It is possible!

 

  1. Keep Working Out! This is huge. Continuing your workout routine throughout the holidays goes a long way in keeping those pounds off. I know life is busy in November and December, but you can carve out some time to exercise. Get up a little earlier. Spend less time on Facebook and Netflix. I guarantee you can find time in your schedule if you try.

 

  1. Get an Accountability Partner. Find a friend who wants to keep the holiday pounds off, too. Encourage each other to stick with your workouts and not go off the rails with eating. Check in daily by texting or calling and support each other when you’re struggling.

  

  1. Drink Water. You’ve probably heard that drinking water helps curb your appetite, but have you actually tested it? I have and it really does help. Buy a fun water bottle and carry it with you everywhere. Drink a big glass of water before meals and before you go to parties or events. I also like to drink a glass after a meal if I’m planning to have dessert.

 

  1. Move More. It’s important to keep on our feet as much as we can, but it’s especially important during the holidays. Work to increase your steps by 1,000 during this time. Stand when you’re online shopping or working on Christmas cards. Take a walk around the block after dinner. Just move more! Being on your feet and moving burns calories and every little bit helps.

 

  1. Pick which days you plan to indulge. Most people simply give themselves carte blanche throughout the holidays and put off worrying about it until January 1. Instead, pick your splurge days. Maybe your plan is to splurge at Thanksgiving, a few parties or events, Christmas day and New Years. If so, eat a healthy diet on the other days. Having splurge days keeps you from feeling deprived while keeping you from going hog wild the entire month of December.

  

  1. Snack BEFORE the party. I know people who starve themselves all day before a party or event and then go NUTS at the party. I’ve found a better plan is to eat like normal and even have a healthy snack before the party. By feeling satisfied and not ravenous, you will have better control and not inhale the entire dessert table.

 

  1. Splurge on seasonal goodies. One fun aspect of holiday food is that much of it is only around during this time of year. Cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, fudge and eggnog aren’t on your normal weekly menu. When you splurge, don’t waste calories on things you can eat anytime such as bread or brownies. Save it for seasonal stuff.

 

  1. Eat greens at every meal. This is a good year round tip, but it can be especially helpful at the holidays. Load up on plenty of healthy greens to help fill you up, leaving less room for all the other stuff. I even enjoy having greens at breakfast by throwing some spinach in scrambled eggs or a smoothie. If that’s not for you, have fruit with your breakfast. Having healthy produce at each meal is always a good idea.

 

  1. Enjoy your food and don’t feel bad. On the days you choose to splurge, fully enjoy it and don’t stress. One of the keys to enjoying your holiday splurges is to eat healthy and exercise throughout the year. When you have a consistently healthy lifestyle, some holiday indulgence won’t hurt you. Key word is “some.” Indulging constantly throughout the holidays will have you wearing your fat pants in January, so pick your days. Once you do that, relax and savor every bite.

 

  1. Finally, and this is crucial, get right back on track. So often, we have an “all or nothing” mentality. We think, “Oh Well! I’ve blown it, so I may as well keep eating garbage.” Before you know it, you’ve gone two weeks without working out or watching your diet. Free yourself from that way of thinking and just get right back at it after a splurge. Overdid it Christmas Day? Start back December 26. Went a little nuts at a Christmas party? Get back the very next meal and workout the very next day. Don’t let unhealthy habits linger.

 

With a little effort and planning, you can fully enjoy this wonderful season without doing damage to your waistline. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, y’all!

 



susan-67



Get Back on Track after Blowing It

 

The holidays are behind us and it’s time to get started on a brand new year. Assessing the holiday damage on your waistline can sometimes be shocking and a little depressing. It’s okay. Take a deep breath. Look the truth square in the face and let’s get back on track.



Woman choosing between fruits and cakes in the kitchen



 

First of all, remember, you are not alone. Most people go a little nuts over the holidays. It’s easy to do. Honestly, I think I would be sad if I didn’t get to enjoy some fudge and peppermint bark at Christmastime. I’m sure there are people who eat clean through the entire holiday season, but…..no thanks! Good for them, but I’m glad I’m not one of them. A little indulgence isn’t going to kill me.



They taunt me with their seemingly innocent smiles



No matter if you went a little nuts or waaaaaay nuts, there’s hope. You can get back on track!



Work! Sweat!



  1. Set your sights ahead and don’t dwell on the past. Even if you’ve tried to get back on track in the past and failed miserably, keep reaching for that goal. It’s worth it. Stay positive and forget what’s behind you. Dwelling on our past failures can set us up for yet another failure. Look ahead with optimism and hope.
  2. Don’t make things too complicated. Eating well and getting in shape don’t have to be difficult or complex. Start slow if that works better for you. Get moving 15-30 minutes a day. Examine the way you’ve been eating. Most people know where their diet problems lie if they are truly honest with themselves. Start eating a little less. Eliminate the things that cause you to binge. A few simple changes in your diet and exercise habits can do wonders.
  3. Get an accountability partner. Everyone needs a workout bestie or two. Going to a fitness class or hitting the weight room is always better with a friend. Go beyond just a workout buddy though. Find someone who will encourage you to eat well and isn’t threatened by your healthy habits. The best accountability partners are those who truly want the best for us and will talk us off the ledge when we are about to devour a pan of brownies.
  4. Find a workout and eating plan that YOU like! No one particular eating and fitness plan is right for everyone. If everyone you know is doing a hardcore boot camp, but that’s not something you like and will stick with for the long haul, DON’T DO IT! If your friends are going gluten free, but that sounds awful to you, DON’T DO IT! It will take a little trial and error, but keep experimenting until you find what works for your life.
  5. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t expect to lose those 10 holiday pounds in two weeks. It will take time. Know that going forward and accept it. Be patient, patient, patient.
  6. Expect setbacks. You may really blow it one day. You may sleep through a work out or gorge on chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, but that’s okay. It happens. Pick yourself back up. Lace up your sneakers and get back out there. Don’t wallow in self-pity. So, you blew it. Big deal. How will you respond? THAT is what matters. THAT is what will determine if you will be successful in your health and fitness journey.



FullSizeRender 2



Forget about the past and get on with living healthy. Make this year the best one yet!

 

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.



Image



(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!

 



websusanbell15



 

 

 

 

 

 

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.



Image



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.



Image 5



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.



Image 3



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!



Fall 2014 985



Vacation without wrecking your waistline

Years ago, I struggled with guilt when I would go on vacation. Being off my normal eating and exercise routine would cause me stress and although I always enjoyed my vacations, I could never quite shake the feeling that I was doing something wrong. “Will I gain weight?” “Will I be able to get back on track?” Well, that was then and this is now. Over the years, I’ve realized a few things about taking time off and how to do it without negating all my hard work.

 

  1. Eating healthy and working out consistently throughout the year trumps a few weeks of vacation. One of the biggest ways to avoid a big vacation waistline train wreck is to work out and eat well all year long. Week in, week out. Not a few weeks here and a few weeks there. Not at the beginning of the New Year for a month or two. One reason I don’t stress about lying on a beach for a week or eating my way through Seattle is because I know I’ll be right back on track when I get home which leads me to my second point.



Image 1



  1. Get a workout in within two days of returning. Re-entry into the real world can be quite the buzz kill. Laundry, grocery shopping and gads of emails to return can make it easy to justify not getting back into your healthy routine. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself three weeks home from vacay without a workout. I make it a goal to workout within one to two days of getting home. No excuses. It doesn’t have to be a life-altering workout. Just do something to get back into the flow.

 

  1. Avoid the “unbutton the pants” fullness. Splurge and have fun, but stop before you’re super full. I hate the feeling of being uncomfortably full, so I stop eating right when I’m satiated. If you don’t go nuts on your portion size, you can enjoy things you don’t normally eat without guilt. That’s all good, but what happens when you do go a little crazy and wind up in a food coma? See point #1. Yes, your pants may be a tad tighter when you get home, but if you return to your healthy living routine, you’ll be back to normal in no time.



Image 2



  1. Relax and enjoy! I take full advantage of my time off now. Sometimes I might go for an easy run to check out my new surroundings. Sometimes I don’t. I only exercise if I truly desire to do so. Some vacations, I just need a total break. Either way, I don’t stress. My goal is to relax and enjoy the time with my family.



Image 4



Getting a break from life is a gift and we should all take advantage. Guilt free. Happy vacationing and I’ll see you at the gym when you get back!



Image 3



 

My 5 Keys to Aging Well

Aging is a fact of life. No matter what you do or how you try to avoid it, it’s coming. I never really thought about aging until well into my thirties. In fact, I didn’t really begin to feel the effects of aging until my mid forties. I always believed because I take such good care of myself, aging wouldn’t happen to me or, at least, it wouldn’t be very noticeable. Ha! Oh, to be young and naive.

No matter how good you care for yourself, no matter how good your genes are, no matter what you eat or what exercise you do, you, my friend, like every other human, will age. It’s how God designed life and we can’t change it, but we can do things to age well.

Of course, there are many things to make this process go well, but since this is a blog and you have things to do, I’ve narrowed it down to what I believe are the 5 most important things.

  1. Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise has gotten a bad rap in recent years thanks in part to social media. Some of the most popular fitness accounts on Instagram and Facebook are bodybuilders or figure competitors whose primary focus is heavy-duty weight training. Cardio is often dissed and lifting heavy is praised like the second coming. Now, I love weight training (it’s my second key in this list), but to have a balanced life and to age well, our bodies need heart-pumping cardio. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, which helps to keep us lean. It improves heart function. Your heart is a muscle and needs to be worked to stay strong and operate well. Cardio releases “feel good” chemicals that can help with depression and stress. The list goes on, but suffice it to say, cardio is a must for aging well.


IMG_6394


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

 

  1. Weight Training

Weight Training (also called resistance or strength training) is SO important when it comes to aging well for many reasons. Of course, strength training makes you look better. Many women think weight training will make them bulky, but that’s not the case. Muscles are smaller than fat, so no matter what the scale says, as you gain muscle, you look smaller. Also, as we age, we lose muscle mass, which slows our metabolism and causes weight gain. Strength training helps to stop that muscle loss helping to keep our weight in check. It also helps to stop and even reverse bone loss. Don’t be scared by what you see on social media. You do not have to lift insane amounts of weight to get these benefits. In my opinion, to age our best, we have to protect our joints and lifting too heavy can lead to problems down the road. When I’m doing my weight training (and my cardio, for that matter), I’m not just thinking about my current body, but also about my body 10, 20, 30 years from now. I am careful not to overdo it because I want my joints to stay healthy throughout my lifetime.



websusanbell15



  1. Flexibility Training

As we age, our flexibility decreases making daily tasks such as bending, reaching and even walking more difficult. Staying flexible helps our mobility and allows us to stay active. Yoga is part of my weekly fitness regimen, but if that’s not your thing, adding regular, intentional stretching into your routine will make a difference.



IMG_2788



  1. Healthy Diet

No surprise here. We all know that what we eat matters. Not only does it affect how we look and feel but also how we age. One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, legumes, nuts and lean protein such as fish, chicken and lean red meat. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides needed vitamins, minerals, fiber, age-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants which battle free radicals that damage cells. Low fat dairy provides calcium to strengthen bones and is also a good protein source. Whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, whole grain pasta and oatmeal provide fiber, vitamins B and E and antioxidants. Legumes have fiber, antioxidants and are a good source of complex carbs. Protein is important because it helps to build and repair tissue and our bodies use it to make enzymes and hormones. Protein also helps to keep us full and satisfied.

Although I’m a big believer in eating healthy, I’m also a believer in moderation. Sticking to a healthy eating plan is much easier if we allow room for treats. I would go nuts if I couldn’t eat chocolate or chips and salsa. I try to adhere to a 90/10 plan where 90% of what I eat is good, healthy food and 10% is just plain fun. Truly aging well involves having a happy, peaceful outlook on life and on food. I would not age well if I was obsessive or too stringent with my diet. I would be a foul, grumpy wench. No thanks!



Image 2



  1. Acceptance

The final key is acceptance of ourselves and our aging bodies. To age well is to feel good about who we are in the present, instead of trying to relive the past and look and feel like we did way back when. I’m not saying to throw in the towel. Quite the contrary! As we age, accepting some of our new limitations can help us avoid injury and avoid being constantly frustrated and unhappy. I’ve seen people severely injure themselves trying to do things better suited for people 10-20 years younger. Our egos don’t want to accept these changes, but our bodies will demand that we listen. So what if you can’t lift what you did in college? So what if you’re not a size 2 like in high school? It’s okay. Our bodies change. Our abilities change. Let’s strive to be as healthy and fit as we can within the limitations of our aging bodies.

Happy aging, my friends!



websusanbell03




What’s in My Gym Bag

Whether you’re just getting into this fitness thing or you’ve been at it for years, I have a couple of tips to make this habit just a bit easier and more fun. Who are we kidding? I have a ton of tips, but I’ll just focus on two today.

The first is to like your workout clothes, and by that I mean, buy cute workout clothes. Don’t wear your hubby’s old t-shirt, no matter how comfortable it is. Don’t wear the shorts you weed your flowerbed in either. Give yourself permission to go shopping and get some clothes you really dig, clothes that are actually designed for exercise. It makes a world of difference! Before you even start your workout, you’ll feel better just because you like what you’re wearing. Workout clothes breathe better which helps you perform your workout better. An old t-shirt gets heavy and cumbersome as you sweat and that is NOT a good feeling when you’re in the middle of a tough class. Today’s workout wear is so fun, fashionable and comfy that I still feel and look somewhat decent running errands after my gym session.

My other tip is to invest in a good gym bag. Have that sucker packed and ready everyday. When I get home from the gym, I unload my bag and restock it for the next day. It certainly does speed up the process of getting out the door each morning when my bag is ready to go.



Image



So, what should you have in your gym bag? I have perfected the art of packing a gym bag since I live out of mine. My gym bag may actually be a tad over packed since I teach fitness classes and want to be prepared for anything, but I’ve discovered a few essentials that everyone needs in their bag.

FOOD! 

I always have snacks in my bag. It’s a good idea to have a snack 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. I’m usually running errands at that time, so having snacks in my bag keeps me from making a less than healthy choice when I’m out and about. Sometimes, I burn through my breakfast before I’m done at the gym, so having a KIND bar on hand saves me in the middle of my workout. It’s also nice having extra snacks with me to help someone else who may not have fueled properly before class.



Image 2



Water Bottle

I bring a big, ole bottle to guzzle, not the little fun-sized, kid-sized bottles. I drink steadily throughout my workout and try not to let myself get thirsty.



Image 3



Sweat Towel

I’m a sweater so I really love my little sweat towel. You may not think you need one if you are just starting out, but as your fitness level improves, the harder you can go, and the harder you go, the more you sweat.

Baby Wipes

I have to “fake” my showers after class when my schedule is tight. Baby wipes do the trick until I can get home.



Image 4



Dry Shampoo

Again, faking it.



Image 5



Jacket

Most gyms have the AC cranked; at least they do in the group fitness rooms. I almost always have a jacket on before I start class. After class, I’m sweaty and get cold if I don’t have a jacket.

Chapstick

When you’re working out at an intense level, you’ll be breathing out of your mouth and your lips can get very dry. I always put on chapstick right after my workout.

Breath Mints

With all that mouth breathing, everyone’s breath needs a little freshening!

Those are my essentials. With cute workout clothes and a well-packed gym bag, you’ll be ready to conquer the world or at least the gym.



Image 1



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

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Way to Workout

We all know that in order to establish lifelong fitness, we need to find a workout or workouts that we like and consistently do them. More and more studies are showing that it isn’t as important what type of workout you do. What’s important is that you DO SOMETHING and do it regularly. Don’t listen to people who say that one workout is better than another. Maybe that certain workout is better for THEM, but if you don’t like it, it’s not for you. Don’t be confused by what you see on social media. You will see all kinds of workouts and varying fitness information, but no matter what you see, the best exercise is the one you will actually do…long term.

With all that being said, I thought I’d share my very favorite way to workout. It should come as no surprise, but group fitness rocks my world. I LOVE it so much and not only because I teach it. Of course, I totally love teaching it, but I love being a participant, too. There is just nothing like it. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy solitary workouts. I either run or do HIIT training alone once or twice a week. Running by myself clears my mind and, as a dance fitness choreographer, I do my best choreographing in my head while I’m running. Go figure. Still and all, group exercise is special and my favorite.

I love walking in the door, seeing familiar faces, and being greeted immediately each class. I get a sense of what Norm on “Cheers” must have felt when he walked in the bar and was greeted with a loud “Norm!” each day. As you get to know the people around you, friendships form. Some of my best friendships have come from a group fitness class. I love how the people in class become a family and look out for each other. I know many people in my classes text each other or send Facebook messages when a fellow class member is absent. We care about each other and that’s not typically something that forms in the cardio room on treadmills.

Image 3



I’m much less likely to skip a workout when I know my fellow class members will be there and wonder where I am. It definitely makes it easier to be consistent when I have that built in accountability.

In a group fitness class, you push yourself more than you might otherwise. When we exercise on our own, it’s easier to stop when we probably could go a little harder and a little longer. When your instructor is pushing and challenging you, it’s easier to continue on when you really want to quit.

I feel a sense of camaraderie in class that I don’t get elsewhere. We are in the fight together. We struggle, groan and hurt together. These are my fellow warriors. My people! We laugh together, like today when I went face first into my mat while trying to hold a difficult pose in yoga class. Thanks to my friend, Holly, for lightening the mood with “She’s going down!” as it happened. We bond over our soreness and encourage each other to keep going. It’s comforting to have my buddies with me, working hard, enduring the pain and getting through even the toughest workouts together. It’s a bonding experience and I always leave feeling accomplished, empowered and just a little better than before.



Image



I also learn from group fitness. If you have a good instructor, he or she is constantly educating you on fitness and health and keeping you updated on the latest research and information. Also, class members share great information with each other. We swap everything from recipes and diet tips to what stores are having great sales on workout clothes. I’m constantly learning from people in my classes and it’s awesome.

Just writing this has me excited about my class tomorrow. I’m ready for a little bit of socializing and whole lot of hard work with my fellow workout warriors. If you’ve never tried a fitness class, I encourage you to give it a shot. It will change more than your backside. It could change your life.



IMG_6657



All photos taken at the Waco Family YMCA. For membership information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Change Comes- Ready or Not!

This has been a year of change for me. My job has changed; not my job in fitness but my main job, my job as mother.

Last August, our middle child and only daughter, headed off to college and joined her older brother at Baylor. While we were thrilled for her, it’s been a huge adjustment for her momma. I struggled when our oldest left for college. It was hard to let him go, and then, just as I’ve adjusted well with his absence, the next one leaves. This go around has been especially tough since she is a girl. I grew up in a family of 3 girls. I NEED girl time to function as a happy human. Having a daughter in the house has kept me sane in our boy-heavy home. Do not get me wrong. I LOVE having sons. Oh my goodness! They are awesome, but just when I don’t think I can handle yet another conversation about sports or cars, my daughter will walk in and the balance in my universe is restored.


IMG_5972


Her leaving has changed a lot of things for us. For the first time in 19 years, we only have one child at home. This is weird. It’s weird cooking for three. The reduction in laundry is weird. Oh, and I’m back to talking about sports and cars. All. The. Time. I guarantee you I know more about the NBA than most 47 yr.-old women.

It’s been a little lonely, too. My daughter has been the only one of my children who wants to go with me when I run errands. My weekend errands were actually fun because we would often get Starbucks and a pedicure while in the middle of my mundane errands. She’s the only one who will watch “The Bachelor” with me (don’t judge us), and she’s the only member of the family who acts as my personal stylist. My style confidence has taken quite a hit now that my consultant is out of the house.

Another adjustment has been the loss of varsity sports. We have had a child in varsity sports since 2007 when our oldest son was a freshman in high school. We’ve gotten to watch our children compete at State in cross country (two times), track (two times) and basketball. What a ride! Let me just tell you, it’s a big change going from varsity sports back to middle school sports. A big change. Of course, we realize in a few short years, our youngest will be playing varsity sports, but for now, it’s weird.

Life is different. My role of mom is changing. When the main job you’ve had for 22 years begins to change, life feels a little unstable. You begin to ask questions and wonder what your future will look like.

What does any of this have to do with fitness? Not a lot… but a little. Like other times of change in my life, fitness has been my companion and friend through the changes and adjustments. Exercise has helped to keep me upbeat, emotionally level and sane. Well, Jesus and exercise. Well, ok, Jesus, exercise, my husband, family and great girlfriends. BUT exercise has been crucial. It always clears my head and makes me feel better.

Our lives change. Our roles change. Our bodies change. Change WILL happen. It’s hard to prepare yourself for it. When it hits and you’re feeling a little blue, call a friend, pray and head out for a run or go to a fitness class. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll feel better able to face these changes, and for me, better able to handle yet another conversation about the NBA.



FullSizeRender



 

1 2