Tag Archives: exercise

Women’s Fitness

Crossfit gym

Recently, Matt and I started doing Crossfit, which is, for those who don’t know, a “functional fitness” regimen.   Designed to increase strength, flexibility, and overall fitness, Crossfit incorporates my favorite parts of many different types of workouts — there’s lots of weight lifting, lots of cardio, lots of movement, and lots of variation.  Lots of sweating and swearing, too.  Lots of blistered and calloused hands. 

I love it.

I think women often steer clear of lifting weights when they try to get in shape, but to me, that’s a huge mistake.  Lifting weights is SO important — especially for women!  Lifting weights increases muscle mass.  Having more muscle overall burns more calories (even when you’re sitting).  More muscle = less fat = stronger = faster = healthier. 

Back in the day, when I first met Matt, I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am right now.  And I used to run ALL. THE. TIME.  I was in the Army and joined the run team on base when I was stationed in California.  I was running five days a week and averaging between 15-20 miles a week at a minimum — some long runs, some short, some intervals or stairs.  I lost ZERO pounds.  Then I started going to the gym with Matt and lifting weights.  And I am telling you, weight started just falling off of me.  I was losing 2-, 3-, 4-lbs a week having made absolutely no dietary changes.  The only thing I was doing differently was lifting weights.  Running is fine, and I still do it, but cardio alone doesn’t work for me if I want to lose excess weight.

So far, I’m still in the baby stages of Crossfit, but it’s addicting.  Because I can measure my progress — I can do twice as many push-ups as I could in December, for example — it’s really motivating.  I want to keep going.  I want to see how much faster I can get through a set workout or how many more reps I can get in for a timed workout.  I want to see how much more I can squat or press.  I really, really, really want to do unassisted pull-ups, which I’ve never in my life been able to do.

Out of all the many fitness regimens I’ve tried — from running to yoga to spinning to Pilates to “boot camp” classes — this is the most fun and the most addicting. 

What’s your favorite way to work out?  Have you ever tried lifting weights?  Would you?

Also, you can learn a lot even from not-so-good workouts, and how you should be eating to get the most out of everything — working out and just life in general!


Taking a Walk

B and Daddy walking

I remember taking walks with my family when I was little.  My sisters and I would ride our bikes or roller skate, going off ahead of my parents and circling back.  They walked and talked about stuff that didn’t register with me at age 10 — bills and cars and house stuff.  The stuff I talk about with Matt now. 

They probably chatted about other, cooler things too.  Just like Matt and I do, although my children, like I did when I was little, most likely cannot fathom that their parents would talk about anything cool.

According to this article from the BBC, going for a walk is a becoming a lost art.  In many places I think it might be, but not here in England.  No, here walking is like a religion.  Everyone walks.  They walk far.  They walk places I would most certainly drive.  They walk no matter what the weather — rain, wind, dark, cold.  I know for a fact that if I leave my house at a certain time of day to drive somewhere, I will pass specific people on my way out of the village.  I don’t know them.  But I know they walk, every day probably, at about the same time.  Some with dogs.  Some without.  Walking is a thing here.

The article says May is National Walking Month in the UK.  I can’t imagine that people here need a specific reason to celebrate the art of walking, but I can see why May might be the most lovely time to walk.  I can imagine how beautiful it will be here come Spring. 

Walking supposedly ignites creativity.  It’s good exercise.  It’s almost certainly time better spent than sitting on Pinterest pinning just one more amazing outfit I won’t buy or perfect kitchen I don’t have. 

We haven’t adopted this particular cultural pastime yet, but the weather is getting warmer and we’re all a lot more comfortable in our new surroundings.  The days are getting longer — they are SO short here in winter, but gratefully they lengthen quickly.  By summer I hear the sun won’t set until possibly after I’m in bed, never mind the children. 

A walk here and there sounds pretty good.

Also, this is one of the most beautiful walks I’ve ever taken, and this is pretty much the definitive book on purposeless walking.


Get In Shape, Girl

your body can stand almost anythingAlthough it’s a year-round goal of mine to be in shape and stay in shape, the impending season of shorts and bathing suits always makes me kick it into high gear in the spring.  I’m doing a self-imposed fitness challenge: cutting calories a bit to lose a few pounds of winter insulation, and increasing my weekly workouts to try and tighten up all the parts that got a little squishy over the winter.

I am not a naturally self-disciplined person when it comes to eating in moderation (cheese is good, more cheese is better). 

And I’m also not naturally motivated to work out every day without some kind of incentive. 

I really don’t enjoy: running.

I really enjoy: eating food.

So I run in order to eat more.  Sad but true, my only real incentives are cheese, wine, and bread.

Because I need assistance in the get-motivated-and-lay-off-the-brie-and-pinot department, I use an app on my phone called MyFitnessPal to track my calories, my exercise, and my water intake.  It really helps me get a handle on things to track every little bit of food that goes in my mouth, and it motivates me to work out more when I see calories added on to my daily allowance every time I exercise. 

In weight-loss-mode, my daily calorie allowance for my current height and weight is 1200 calories per day.  When I’m not dieting, I eat like I am a 6′ tall, 200-lb man, not a 5’3″, 130-lb woman.  So 1200 calories a day is a pretty drastic decrease. 

I mean, I CAN eat 1200 calories a day and be just fine.  But I have to go to bed for the day at 3PM.  And I can’t be around other humans without wanting to kill someone.

Working out helps me get a few hundred extra calories per day, which helps me not be a homicidal maniac.  And it helps me tone and build muscle, so it’s a win-win.

Right now I’m in the honeymoon phase where I’m still excited about eating less and working out more and can’t wait to see my results in a few weeks.  That will end soon though, and I’ll need to work hard to convince myself it’s worth it to eat another salad instead of bread. 

Maybe I should just post this on the fridge:

get off your assAnd then try on some bathing suits.  If that won’t convince me to keep it up, nothing will.

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