I’m not sure what my New Year’s resolution is, mostly because I’m relying on other people to help me figure it out.
I’m pretty happy with the way 2009 played out—I started grad school, we launched Three Many Cooks, Mom and I ran a marathon, I moved into my very first apartment (and I’m paying the bills and feeding myself!). And I’ve managed to live my life with a degree of balance that, though not perfect, is the closest I’ve ever been to normal…ever.
For those of you who didn’t know me in high school and college, I was one of those chronically sleep-deprived overachiever types who launched into every pursuit—school, working out, new friendships—with the same determined, energetic abandon that ultimately left me burned out within a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. My life resolution has been to find balance. To study some, cook some, go out some, exercise some, spend time with family some, read some, clean some, and so on. So far, so good. I could clean more, eat vegetables more, read for pleasure more, and call my grandparents more, but in the grand scheme of things, I am doing ok.
After the marathon, I took a little hiatus from hardcore workouts. The marathon was great, but I’d had enough of 20-mile runs for a little while. I’ve put on my running shoes a few times in the last month or so, but I could definitely do that more. Running is not the issue for me—I’m lucky enough to like it (I know, for those who don’t, that is so annoying.) However, what I loathe more than anything is lifting weights. I’ve read enough issues of Self and Shape and Cosmo to know the facts. I know that lifting and building lean muscle burns more calories, I know toning is key, I know weight-bearing activities help prevent bone loss (it’s never to early to start worrying about that!). I know all these things, and I’ve spent years going on and off major weight lifting routines—you know the ones with all the bands and balls and awkward acrobatic moves.
No doubt, it works. But I hate it. So, I am trying to figure out how to tone without being annoyed every time I go to the gym (or don’t go to the gym, since I am too irritated by the prospect to even make it there.) I know from experience I have to like it, and it can’t take up too much of my time, or else I’ll never stick to it. And I am not in the business of burning out anymore.
So, can someone help me figure this out? Swimming? Yoga? Yoga-booty-lates? Kickboxing? Good old-fashioned push-ups? Whatever it is, it needs to be cheap (free is even better), since I am a poor grad student. And I have to be able to do it with a little joy, or else it’s never going to last. So, let’s have it.
Lynn from For Love or Funny says
I’m lucky – my neighbors run a fitness/Pilates studio, and I train with them 2 times a week. Every time I see them, the workout is different, challenging, and most of all FUN! I’m laughing while I’m breaking a sweat. Perhaps the key to incorporating more weight training is to find a training partner and an instructor who make you laugh. It certainly keeps me coming back for more!
Linda J-H says
I agree with Lynn. Pilates! It works the core, strengthens the arms and legs, and makes you feel darn good all over. Most universities will have free or low cost pilates at the gym.
I’m with you on the weight training. Know I should do it and don’t . But I am older than you and can’t deny that I need to do some kind of strength work now.
I’ve done two Ironman races. Now that is a fairly expensive option for a poor grad student so I don’t recommend Ironman necessarily. But a sprint triathlon wouldn’t be that expensive and would be a good all over workout. When I was doing the Ironman training my aunt commented on my toned arms and was surprised when I said I didn’t do any weightlifting only swimming.
I used to like going to the gym and lifting but… I moved away from that gym and now packing up, driving to the gym, working out, showering and then driving home seems like too much trouble.
I found this program online to do 100 push-ups and I am going to recommend it to my clients as a New Year’s resolution. Think I’m going to do it myself, perhaps it would work for you. http://hundredpushups.com/
Sadly, I don’t have the answer either. At least not yet. I have pretty much done what you’ve done – I get really obsessed with running, lifting or a new diet and do really well with it for a few months and then burn out. It doesn’t help that I had an ankle injury last year, which I’m just coming back from. But I think you make a good point here, it’s more important to find balance in your life than to make a short-sighted New Year’s Resolution….something to think about.
I think that swimming is a great way to tone up without even realising how many muscles you’re working. Good cross-training for runners too! But that’s easy for me to say because I love swimming.
For basic kind of exercises, I bought a cheap set of dumbells and I work out at home to my favourite music or a workout DVD.
You can get an idea of some popular workout DVDs if you check out the bestselling fitness items on Amazon. Or if you’re cheap like me, you can even watch them on YouTube or something so that you don’t have to buy them!
Hi! Just happened upon your blog, and thought I’d chime in – I feel the same way about weights – I know how good weight lifting is for your body, but I just don’t know what to do or have the motivation to make it happen…about 6 weeks ago, I started going to a Les Mills BodyPump class at my gym, and it’s great. In 60 minutes, we use a bar with weights to do a FULL body workout (and it gets a bit of cardio in there too). I’d recommend seeing if your gym has any kind of class like that. I have also found that classes in general keep me accountable – I plan which ones to attend, and then they’re hard to skip and therefore I’m guaranteed to get the workout in 🙂
How about doing the 100 Pushups (http://hundredpushups.com/) or 200 Situps (http://www.twohundredsitups.com/) programs. I printed both of these out, but I haven’t decided which one to start with. I have been working on the Couch to 5K program (http://c25kapp.com/) for about three weeks. I have always been an avid walker, but have never really enjoyed jogging/running. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. By the way, love this blog!
yoga!! It tones without making you feel bulky. If you do some type of “flow” class that keeps you moving, you really do get a work out, and feel relaxed at the end. I LOOOOOOOVE it as a suppliment to running and other cardio exercise.
Kickboxing-with a good instructor-is BY FAR the best workout you will ever have in your entire life. I studied Thai boxing and I am telling you, I have never had a better work out. Do not bother lifting weights. You should learn how to use resistance bands and your own body weight-calisthenic exercises. Try a plank position and from there go into a push up position, do a push up, and come up from that and go back to plank position. Do this 9 times, and on the 10th hold the push up position (allllll the way down!) for 10 seconds. Then use a pull up machine and do pull ups and chin ups-with with weight underneath your feet (use a machine for this) for some help. Do 9 and on the 10th hold the pull up or chin up for 10 seconds). DO BOTH A PULL UP THEN A CHIN UP! For your 3rd exercise in the set, lie flat on your back, put your feet vertically in the air and reach for them-this words your upper abs-50 times and on the 50th hold for 10 seconds. Do this sit up as fast as you can. Do this set up three things, three times. This is merely an example of the trillions of workouts that you can do that will build lean muscle, work your core and upper body. You can throw in leg exercises too.
I have loved reading all the great tips from everyone. Of course, everyone has a different idea of what works for them on a permanent basis. I’ve learned that having a buddy gets me out of bed and in my running clothes, yet sometimes I wish I could just get my iPod and jog alone — I’m not always in the mood to talk to somebody. With my personality I have to change it up all the time because I get so stinkin’ bored doing the same thing. Thanks for putting your concerns out there, Sharon. We’re all with you!