fitting in workouts

Top 6 Creative Fitness Fit-Ins for the Holidays

Are you feeling rushed with shopping, partying, packaging, baking, cooking, planning, and...oh yeah, keeping up with your "normal" life?

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!" ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or some other year end-tradition, this time of year is always full of way more than most of us can normally imagine fitting in. Yet we do all the "extra's" gladly because of the joy it brings in the end.  With all of this running around, perhaps you may be getting in the movement you need. After all, it's estimated that:
  • Wrapping gifts for an hour burns 120 calories, and
  • Shopping while pushing a full cart of presents can burn a little over 100 calories in just 3 minutes.

Imagine!  But here's a little secret.  These little blips of movement add up to more than you think- and I will testify that one of the primary reasons Erica and I can stay in the shape that we do is because we have lots of little bouts of lifting, moving, carrying, stretching, and rushing in our days.  It's the perk of being in fitness, yes, but you can create this for yourself too.  All it takes is a little creativity.

A study completed in 2000 showed that subjects who stood and fidgeted burned 81% more calories than those who stood still, and those who sat and fidgeted burned about 50% more than those who sat motionless.  Ah-ha.

Here's our top 6 list for Creative Fitness Fit-Ins for the Holidays...

  1. Stand, talk with your hands and act out your stories at parties and family events.  You might need a cocktail to get this one rolling, but your family will surely be entertained.
  2. For every present you wrap or open, stop and do one burpee or jumping jack (or better yet, have the person who gave you your gift give you a new challenge for every gift!)
  3. Purposely take the stairs as many times as possible per day.  Even if it means you commit to using only the bathroom on whatever floor you happen to not be on. (Oh, and commit to drinking a full glass of water every time someone says "Thank you".  I am banking on the idea that you have grateful families and friends).
  4. Speaking of the bathroom, do 50 squats after every time you visit the are all alone in the room (is my guess) and there's no one to judge anyway.  A 135 pound person who does 50 squats in 2.5 minutes can burn about 22 calories.  May not seem like much, but considering how many times in a week you visit the bathroom, this could really add up!
  5. Help with clean up in every way possible.  Do the dishes, take out the trash, help the kids set up their new toys and them put them away, make a "giveaway" box for the things that must go to make room for your new stuff.
  6. And finally, if you are willing to get really creative, grab the kids- or just be willing to get a little silly, and learn  this kid friendly dance (includes tutorial)...don't worry- you don't have to do it perfectly, just get up and dance!

Above all- move.  It matters.

P.S.  We are partnering with a phenomenal nutrition coach to lead a 21 day Health Transformation support group for January.  Stay tuned for more info!!

Get it together, really.

It's been one of those days.  You know, where you start off feeling like you are conquering the world, and then one thing leads to another, and all of the sudden you wanna hide under a rock and stay there for a few days because you can't get your sh*t together.

Or so it seems.

You spill your coffee all over your shoes, you forget your phone, you lose your keys, you get a call from the sitter that she needs to leave early, you have an 'emergency' at work, you're out of cash and they don't take credit, you burn dinner...or all of the above.

Suffice it to say, we have all had those days where everything seems off.  The bad news is that some of us see these days as tragic failures on

our part and we require 2-3 days beyond them to recover our self-esteem.  What's worse, is that many of you aren't getting your act together when it comes to your health, your activity, and/or your nutrition.  Unfortunately it is all too easy to let workouts and eating right slip by the wayside when we have a bad day and then use our lack of discipline or planning to be one more reason to beat ourselves us.  I know because I have done it at least a thousand times.  And I finally got sick of it.  I'd say the reason I stay healthy is more to keep my self-esteem up than it is any other reason.  I hate wasting time beating myself up for something that I could avoid if I would just do what IO say I want to do.

What do you want to do for your health that just isn't getting done?

Is it because you "still have to get the rest of your life figured out"?  Well, guess what, life is moving on whether you are or not, so you might as well MOVE with it!

If you know what you need to do and you just aren't getting to it, here's some ideas to get you moving (and stop procrastinating):

  1. Declare your plans publicly: send out an e-mail, call 3-4 friends, post it on facebook.  There is power in announcing your plans to the world.  it makes it more official, gives you inspiration- and a great reason to keep going- you can't lose face in front of your friends!
  2. Put a date on when you will complete your goal and declare that publicly too: Putting a date on something helps you to know how to work backwards to get it done.
  3. Structure your calendar around what you want to get done, even if it means moving a few things around or getting help.
  4. Make up your mind that you won't let yourself go another week without getting through as much that needs to be completed as possible.
  5. Get an accountability buddy or Coach.  I can't tell you how much having a coach has changed my life.  We offer wellness coaching that can help anyone stay on task and focus in on what needs to be done so you can free yourself from the guilt trips and excuses.

Your greatest motivator is going to be your passion for why this is so important to you in the first place.  For an added push, consider writing your goal over your mirror, save it as a screen saver, write it on your hand every morning...whatever you need to do to keep the task at the top of your mind and inspiring you to live with urgency around getting it done.  In the end, what matters most, isn't always that you got the goal or get the task done, it's that spent your time with focus and intention to do the things that matter most.  And that's getting it together all by itself!

What's a Strategic Health Plan?

When I say "strategic" things like accounting, business development, or college planning come to mind.  What doesn't come to mind is when I will work out, what I will do, and for how long will I commit to the workout.  Still, most of us plan our vacations better than we plan the day to day things that could have more meaning and add more fun to our daily existence.  Too often we drudge our way from one to do item to the next without stepping back and really thinking  about what will make our lives more exciting and meaningful.  We regress into a state of just getting by and letting life happen.  Unfortunately, entropy will only ensure that if we allow ourselves to constantly go with the flow, our health may just flow right out the window. Never in my life have I had to engage in so much planning to get anything done.  That includes my workouts, or even just a quick stroll with my 4 month old twins.  Last Friday I had the liberty of rejoining the morning Fitness Fire classes that we offer at Restoration Fitness.  All I could think the whole time I was there was, I feel so incredibly privileged to get to workout out, and OMG, am I gonna be sore!  It felt incredible to be back in a high energy atmosphere working out with people I love.  I was motivated, inspired, and energized.  I was also sore for 6 straight days.   It would be easy for me to complain about the soreness, the time it took, how out of shape I feel, how I would rather have had more sleep, but to tell you the truth- it doesn't even occur to me.  I showed up anxious to finally get to do something for MY body.  The hard part is committing to do it again and again when a schedule constantly changes and my energy ebbs and flows.

It just so happens I also just finished reading an exceptional business book by Chuck Blakeman about strategic planning.  It got me thinking-  What if we all strategically planned our workouts so they actually got done and we could really look forward to them?  One of the reasons I believe in fitness coaching and training so much is that it helps you do just that...just like a financial planner helps you with your financial assets, we help you with you health assets.

So, in a nutshell, I thought I would give you a little tutorial about how to strategically plan your workouts based on how we do things here:

1) Get a clear picture of WHY you are doing this.  You won't get far if the only reason is to fit into your jeans.  One of my underlying reasons is that I am simply a better person when I workout. Everything about me is better: my mood, energy, attitude, physical appearance, stamina, and much more. I can tell within days if I haven't worked out because I get crabby.  I am no fun to live with if I am crabby.  Just ask my husband (or my mom for that matter).

2) Choose some specific goals and put a date on when you will achieve them.  Nothing sets your body and mind in action than a deadline you can see in the not so distant future.

3) Get accountability.  This step is probably one of the most crucial.  Tell everyone about what you are doing.  Spread your excitement by talking to people, asking questions, blogging, logging your workouts and food (Get a free copy of our food and exercise log sheet here), workout with a friend, or get accountability with your trainer.  The regular conversations and opportunity to trouble shoot where you are and what is going on will help you in the day to day grind of making changes.

4) Get your workouts planned and on the calendar.  You can find workouts online, or you can make them up...but the preferred and easiest method is to simply have the experts write them for you.  We make sure you are doing balanced exercises that keep you pain free and progress your exercise so you don't have to go through the 6 days of soreness like I did (and I did it knowingly and willingly!)  Once you know what you are going to do between weight training, cardio, or yoga, put the specific times on  your calendar and treat them like a sacred appointment.  It's not just you whom you are letting down when you are letting down your accountability group as well!  Here is a sample of how we change up our sets and reps every 4-6 weeks to progress our clients and keep their muscles growing!

Month 1: 1-3 sets of 15 reps

Month 2: 2-4 sets of 10 reps

Month 3: 2-3 sets of 12 reps

Month 4: A combination of 2-4 sets of 10 reps and 1-2 sets of 20 reps for speed.

As for cardio: Consider doing intervals for 15-30 minutes starting with 1 minute hard. and 90s easy.  Then start reducing your rest time.  Once you get better at these, start reducing your effort to 45 or 30 seconds hard, and give yourself equal rest.  Remember to push yourself to a high intensity for maximum benefit!

5) Check in regularly for milestones along the way:  Re-time your mile, get your circumference measured every 4 weeks, see how many more push-ups you can do.  As long as you choose something that can be measured, it will help you see how far you are coming even if when you look in the mirror you are not seeing as much change as you thought you would.

Most of all, remember that your body is not to be taken for granted.  Keep yourself a a priority, and your health will reward you!