I told you with the (slightly) warmer weather I’d end up running again (see Sporadic Running).
I can feel my knees and ankles protesting already – but it IS for a good cause.
Last year’s running spurt was caused by entering the 5k all ladies Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research encouraged by a few friends. And the same friends have persuaded me it’s a good idea this year too. As my Dad died of cancer in October last year, it will be especially poignant.
Thing is – I haven’t run since last year’s race – so I’ll be starting my training plan from the beginning again with the cool running couch to 5k plan – I only have the 8 weeks so I’d better get to it.
Anyone care to join me? Actually Race for Life takes place all round the UK at around the same time so it’s something to aim for if you live here in the next 2 months (and if you live elsewhere there will be tons of events no doubt too).
Photo by exfordy
If you’re looking to lose a few pounds and help things along with exercise, try working out twice a day rather than once.
With split routines
- you increase the calories you can burn without tiring yourself out in one long mega-session – you can work out for longer in total each day and put more effort into your routines
- you keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders giving it a big boost twice during the day
- you keep your goals central in your mind – and hopefully yourself on the straight and narrow
- you won’t have much time left for sitting around pigging out in front of the TV!
If you try this be sure and vary your activities each session and each day so that you reduce the risk of strain and injury on any one part of your body.
Split routines are used most often in weight training to mean working different muscle groups each day and avoid overtaxing any one part of the body, but if you are up for it here is a suggested a.m. p.m split routine incorporating both cardio and strength training.
I have found this fitness motivation tip to be easy but also very effective for my clients (and it works for me every time too!)
If you’re trying to start a daily fitness habit then the best thing you can do if buy a large paper calendar and a big thick black marker pen and pin it up on your wall where you will be able to see it often.
Then every day you do your workout (or other good habit – whatever you’re trying to achieve) take your marker pen and put a big cross through the day.
After a row of crosses you are not going to want to leave a gap.
Aim for 30 crosses in a row – miss one and you have to start right back at the beginning.
If at all possible put your calendar up where co-workers or family will see it. They’ll ask about it and that will help spur you on too!
If you’re feeling under pressure then its easy to say you don’t have time for exercise but even a brief walk or run in the fresh air will help clear your head and mean you get more done overall.
A slightly longer exercise session where you put in a bit of effort releases endorphins – those feel-good brain chemicals that make you feel wonderful and is an even better stress-reliever.
Any exercise with a rhythmic pace such as running, walking or swimming can be quite meditative in itself – especially if you do it alone and let your thoughts go wherever they want. If your thoughts are in turmoil however, calm yourself by focusing on your movements and your breathing.
Far from tiring you out or being a time-killer, exercise can mentally and spiritually rejuvenate you so much, you definitely don’t want to miss out.
And a crisis point, the very time when we tend to shun exercise the most – is the time when we most need it.
My niece just came back from a long weekend in New York with a great gizmo for running – a nike + ipod sport kit – and it seems to be just right to improve your fitness motivation – fun too.
Apparently these have been around for a while and the whole thing has just passed me by. (Well, I AM in a non-running phase just now)
For once the technology seems pretty easy to master even for those of use still working out how to record something on the VCR long after everyone else has moved onto Tivo or Sky+
Anyway this kit my neice bought has a sensor to fit in your Nike+ shoes and then a receiver to plug into your ipod nano (has to be a nano) and away you go running.
Actually though my niece has these anyway, you don’t really need the expensive shoes just something to fasten the to them that you can buy for next to nothing (see here for a shoe pouch you can use as an alternative).
Once you get going, your ipod nano tracks your running time, distance, pace and calories burned and at the end of your workout you can transfer your workout data to itunes and nikeplus.com to and see your progress in full color and graphic detail. You can get voice alerts during your workout too where the music neatly fades in and out around the alert.
Online you can set challenges, goals and resolutions to keep you motivated.
But the best thing is downloading upbeat music to keep you going – there are special selections at itunes and my niece has a great victory song she uses every time. As she says “I ran 7 miles yesterday because of my ipod – I never did that before”.
Definitely worth checking out if you are a runner. You can buy the Ipod Nike+ kit at Amazon.
Photo by Thowra_uk
A lot of people start all guns blazing on a fitness program, put in a lot of hard work, get pretty fit and then give up until the next time they get the desire to do something about their condition.
I have done something similar myself with running (though I usually do at least something to keep fit all year round).
It’s such a waste of effort to let fitness go once you have achieved it.
I’ve just been thinking why so many of us do this and the answer keeps coming back to me that we try and get fit with activities we just don’t like enough.
And I’ve also come to the conclusion that there’s no point even starting something if we KNOW we’re not going to keep it up for more than a brief period.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new stuff – after all you don’t know whether you’ll absolutely fall in love with circuit training or yoga or horse riding until you’ve got over the initial few weeks training – the awkward stage.
I just mean that if you know yourself well enough to be pretty certain you’ll never visit the gym regularly for the rest of your life BEFORE you sign up for membership, you are just kidding yourself when you hand over your hard earned-cash.
You see paying for something never made you fit – only doing it on a regular basis does that.
Try activities that you will look forward to doing, that you’d like to learn, that you think you could enjoy forever given half a chance.
Try loads of different things until you find something you will stick at – simply for the pure pleasure of doing it.
Even if you’re not that enthusiastic about an activity to begin with, give everything a fair chance and you’re more likely to uncover the pursuits that will keep you fit and having fun for the rest of your life.
Photo by Darren Copley
Did you know that on average every 20 steps you take you burn another calorie?
Use that as an incentive to
- get off your butt
- get moving today every chance you get
- make it a habit every day of your life.
How many steps would you take if you “lost” your remote control and stopped asking your kids or your other half to fetch and carry things for you.
In fact, see it as a favor they are doing you if you end up fetching and carrying for THEM instead of feeling like a martyr.
If you move around while you’re on the phone, while you brush your teeth, every time you get to take a breather or a water break at work you’ll use calories.
And if you actually do all those old tricks like parking further from the front door and getting off the bus one stop before your destination you’ll burn even more.
Just 10 calories a day and you’ll lose a 1lb in year without even trying and you could easily clock up ten times as much….
Just think about that when you’re too busy to get to the gym.
Global Health and Fitness are offering a couple of free ebooks to help draw attention to their site.
I was a member of GHF a couple of years ago and even then the amount of content on the site was impressive and the support and personal help were outstanding. They have added so much to the membership since then.
If you are looking for a fitness membership site to help you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals it’s well worth taking a peek especially as they have a $1 trial running just now.
In any case, take a look at the free fat burning ebooks – you can get these without paying a single dollar.
I have a tyrant in my bathroom, lurking in the corner every day – a Tanita body fat monitor scale calling my name. I weigh myself every day just before my shower almost without fail.
But I’m really quite grateful to that scale.
I’ve long been an advocate for daily weighing when you want to maintain your weight and my trusty scales let me know as soon as my weight is creeping up.
If I’m 2lbs over my target weight for more than a day I am on the case. (Don’t know about you but my weight can easily fluctuate up and down by a pound or so for all manner of reasons other than pigging myself and being a lazy slob).
I’m not perfect by any means but I feel it’s an occupational responsibility to keep reasonably slim and fit otherwise what good is it me trying to tell my clients how THEY can get fit or lose weight?
To be honest, I’m always struck by the pretty sizeable men and women (even those who have lost some of their vast bulk successfully) selling diet books and programs – I have come across 3 in the past week where I thought they could be listening to their own advice a bit better first. (And no I’m not going to name names because I think that would be pretty hurtful – you can see them for yourself all around the net) I just don’t want to be one of them.
The scales I use also have an inbuilt Body Fat analysis function. I don’t use that very often – maybe once a month or so (I can never remember how to do it without getting out the instructions).
I know body fat analysis with scales is not that accurate but I think it’s worth getting that functionality if you are going to buy scales anyway. It lets you do a regular check to see if it looks like you are losing lean body mass (muscle).
If you lose weight too fast (more than one or two pounds a week after the first week or two of initial rapid water weight loss) or you don’t keep active enough, you are probably reducing the proportion of lean tissue in your body. You can tell this is the case on your scales if your weight is going down but your body fat percentage is not.
If you lose as much (or more) muscle than fat, you will pile the weight back on after you stop dieting. Muscle is active tissue which burns fat even at rest and you don’t want to lose ANY of it.
Keep up your lean body mass with exercises to tone and strengthen your muscles while you lose weight – at the very least keep as active as you can so that your body does not give up muscle tissue without a fight.
See the whole range of Tanita body fat analysis scales here.
You can save money in lots of ways when it comes to exercising (see 27 ways to get fit for free) but buying good shoes is one area where you should not compromise.
The wrong shoes can affect your performance and cause injury.
Athletic shoes need to
- fit your feet properly
- feel comfortable
- offer support
- be flexible where required
- offer protection for your bones, joints and muscles by absorbing shock
- keep your feet in a good position for whatever sport you are doing
Do You Need Shoes Designed for each Activity?
Some activities need specialist equipment, for example climbing or hill walking and if you are involved in these you have to buy what you need.
For more general activities like running or tennis it might not be so obvious. Can you get away with a cross-training shoe?
If you run, you should always wear running shoes which are designed to absorb shock – they have more cushioning than other athletic shoes and they support the forward motion without too much side to side flexibility.
For other activities, it depends how often you take part and what your budget is – three times a week or more and it definitely becomes worth investing in shoes designed to meet the needs of your particular sport.
If you do a mix of activities such as aerobics, walking and tennis, a cross-trainer may be a good option – they are supportive for the whole range of motion in the foot.
Where to Buy Sports Shoes
It’s best to choose a specialist retailer. When I chose my running shoes my local running shop video-taped me running on a treadmill in several pair of shoes – and some of them which felt quite comfortable when I put them on, rubbed the skin and hurt when I ran in them.
They also assessed the action of my feet for over- and underpronation both from the video and the wear patterns on my old shoes and gave me the right kind of shoes for my running style. I have normal pronation it appears but I’m still not sure I liked looking at myself running on the video (but I got over it).
Even if you don’t need a specialist running shop – look for a shop where they know their products so that you can get plenty of advice before you buy. Get the size checked too – you should have plenty of room to wriggle your toes and the heel should not be slipping when you wear your usual sports socks. The best size is often larger than your usual shoe size.
When to Buy
Shop for shoes in the afternoon as your feet become larger as the day goes on.
When to Replace your Athletic Shoes
Replace your shoes after about a year even if they show no signs of wear – as the cushioning and support will be getting less effective. (You may need to replace running shoes earlier than that if you do a lot of running – every 500 miles and walking shoes every 1000 miles).