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27 Rules for Conquering the Gym

Sunday, January 08, 2012

This article originally came from the WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240
mod=WSJ_WSJ_News_BlogsModule). I thought it was a funny read with a few good insights. Hope you all enjoy!

This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.

Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you're going to join a gym (or returning to the gym after a long hibernation) consider the following:

1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.

2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds

3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading "The New Yorker" and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.

5. Bring your iPod. Don't borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it's playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.

6. Don't fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.

7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn't bought a record since "Walking on Sunshine."

8. There's also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn't here today...there he is, lurking by the barbells.

9. "Great job!" is trainer-speak for "It's not polite for me to laugh at you."

10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.

11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.

12. Nope, that's not a "recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate." That's a chocolate bar.

13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.

14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs - but that's super tough!

15. If you're motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a "wooden coat rack." It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.

16. There's the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.

17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you're either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.

18. Be cautious about any class with the words "sunrise," "hell," or "Moby."

19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it's hard. If you're relaxed and enjoying yourself, you're at brunch.

20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.

21. Don't buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.

22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you're basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.

23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.

24. If you're at the point where you've bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It's way more fun and it doesn't make you listen to C+C Music Factory.

25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.

26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it's good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it's not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.

27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PARASELENIC 1/9/2012 3:28PM

    This was an awesome, awesome post. Thank you!

Happy to NOT be one of the worst people in the universe!

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Bored on a Friday night? Work it out!!!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

So Dave Ramsey has a death grip on my finances right now, so I stayed in tonight instead of going out with friends and facing temptations of appetizers and beer. After watching some inspirational weight loss videos on YouTube, I decided to cure my boredom with some exercise.

First, I did Coach Nicole's 10 Minute Bootcamp Cardio Video twice. Let me just say that I can tear the treadmill or elliptical up all day, but I got winded after one minute of jumping jacks and "mountain climbers". I highly recommend this video if you are in a rut with your typical workout or want to feel the parts of your body that you aren't (and need to be) working out regularly.

So after the Cardio video x2, I was still feeling bored, restless, and up for a challenge. I took my playlist downstairs to the apartment gym and hammered out 35 minutes on the elliptical. It felt AMAZING. So amazing, in fact, that I still had a little stamina left in me. I concluded my Friday evening with a 20 minute upper body weight training workout.

I might be a little sore tomorrow, but right now, I feel amazing. Endorphins are so worth the sweat and effort!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!! Keep Sparking!!! Remember: Small changes make big differences!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWOSWEET504 1/9/2012 1:01PM

    emoticon You Are Rocking It Honeybun!! So proud of you...keep up the great attuide and workouts!! Doesnt it feel good to do the RIGHT thing (sometimes)lol!!!


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TICTACS26 1/8/2012 1:08AM

  So positive and inspiring... I think I will head down to my apartment gym now!

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There is no shame in the Nutella jar...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Why was my day a good Spark day?

- Woke up early and had my breakfast of oatmeal, flax seed, and whole wheat toast with honey.
- Came home for lunch and got a 30 minute workout including a mile on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the elliptical.
- Went grocery shopping for healthy and nutritious snacks.
- Had enough calories left over at the end of the day to indulge in some Nutella.

Nutella. Like anything, it is perfectly OK in moderation. I know there are healthier things (the first ingredient in Nutella is sugar); however, there are worse things. I like to think it is a happy medium that helps me get my chocolate fix.

The stuff is addicting - I could probably sit and eat the whole jar.

But my will is good. There is no shame in the two tablespoons of Nutella I enjoyed with some whole wheat crackers.

Nope - no shame in the Nutella jar tonight.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWOSWEET504 1/6/2012 9:18AM

    Never tried Nutella but if its as good as you say it is I may have to try it out!! But Congrats on having such a Great Spark Day...Keep it Sparking!!!

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CBAILEYC 1/5/2012 11:23AM

    This made me grin - I'm a Nutella fan as well. I'm right there with you! ALL things in moderation.

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I've got to get my head back on... I've got to get myself together...

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012 is the year! Tomorrow I go back to work after the holidays. The fridge is stocked with healthy things. I have a plan of attack to get back on my exercise routine. Here are my resolutions for January:

1) 30 minutes of cardio daily. Preferably this will either be in the gym (think elliptical or treadmill) or outside for a run if the weather is nice (which is a rarity in Portland).
2) Back to multiple meals each day. No excuses. I cannot skip breakfast because I want to sleep late. I cannot skip lunch because work is busy. I cannot make dinner my one and only big meal of the day.
3) Eat at home. Allow myself to spend money on healthy nutritious meal items that can be eaten at home instead of adventures to the food carts.
4) Use SparkPeople to track food intake and exercise. I need to monitor my calories in/out more closely, at least until I get my healthy habits back on track.
5) Weight training 3 times a week. No excuses. I need to work on my core and work on building muscle mass to help me in this journey.

By doing these things, I hope to lose 6lbs in the month of January. That would put me at 224 lbs and get me back on track.

I'm going to be using weekly and monthly goals for tracking purposes; however, these all will culminate into my large goal of being 180 lbs by the end of summer 2012.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CBAILEYC 1/3/2012 1:49PM

    Sounds like an excellent plan, and very do-able and sustainable! Set your mind to it and Make It Happen!

I read that you'll be doing the Portland Half in October. That's great! I've signed up for it as well, and will be training for it, and the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half in May, with the Galloway Training group through out the year. I wish you much success in your running - don't let the rain stop you.
emoticon emoticon

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I'm back and ready to continue this journey...

Friday, December 30, 2011

I can't believe it has been 6 weeks since I have blogged (or really Sparked for that matter). I suppose, like many people, I got caught up in the holidays and pushed Spark down on my list of priorities. I am realizing, however, that in doing so, I also pushed myself down on my list of priorities. Now is the time to get back on this journey.

Fortunately, not much damage has been done. I came back from my (gluttonous) week in Alabama for Christmas totally thinking that I had undone all of my hard work. I've been able to stay in 220-ville thankfully!! This plateau is getting boring though. Time to kick it in high gear.

Mind you, I wasn't TOTALLY bad while I was away for the holidays.My best friend Jessica and I ran the Rudolph Run 5k in Huntsville, AL on December 17th. We agreed to stick together through the whole race - I have a hard time pacing and end up burning out, and she likes the motivation of a running partner. We finished in a decent time, and I shaved 6 minutes off of my first 5k time. There's definitely room for improvement, but we ran probably 90% of the course (except for that REALLY BIG HILL strategically placed at around Mile 3). Here's a pic of us after our finish:

I'm taking the opportunity of the purged pantry from the holidays travel and stocking the kitchen with good stuff. I'm also going to get back on my exercise regiment. I have actually missed the elliptical over the past week. Lunchtime cardio and evening weight training. No excuses!

I've also committed to some friends that I will run the Portland 1/2 Marathon in October. My friends Elizabeth and Mike have both ran a couple of halfs. My friend Ginni just took up running a few months ago, and this will be her first half as well. It'll be a great thing to share with them (and a great way to get them to come visit me in Portland from back East).

I'm committing to regular blogging and making this continue to happen! I've lost 28lbs on my journey so far. I'm over 1/3 of the way there. I can do this.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWOSWEET504 1/1/2012 10:23AM

    emoticonBACK My Partner In Crime (lol) you look Fab and you know that you can do this so I'm not going to even say it!! I'm just happy that you are back on Spark and giving it 100%


O...Kisses Twosweet504!!
emoticon emoticon

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LINDAJ0621 12/30/2011 11:05AM

    Welcome back! You look great and you are doing a fantastic job with keeping at it. Persistence pays off! Congrats on the marathon...that is something I doubt I will ever attempt. But, do what YOU love...the most important thing I have learned about fitness/exercise.


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