I promised you all a post on my weird workouts and I like to keep my promises. I’ve found that one of the biggest obstacles to a regular workout routine for me is TIME. If I have to leave work, go home and change and head back out somewhere like the gym to work out, it’s really hard for me to stay motivated enough to make it back out of the house.
Once I’m home, one of a few things usually happens: 1) I’m exhausted from the day and once I see B and Stella all I want to do is hang out and snuggle for the rest of the night, 2) I realize I have a ton to do at home, i.e. cleaning the house, reading for work, law school stuff, scholarship applications, etc. and justify to myself that I cannot possibly leave the house again with all I have to do or 3) something else comes up and we end up going out for dinner or meeting B’s family somewhere or getting together with friends. You know how it goes.
I’ve learned; however, that the reality of the situation is far from that which I described above. Over the last month or so that I’ve really been working out consistently, I’ve realized that I still get everything done and in fact, I think I get even more done. EVERYONE is busy. For example, my Mom (Love you Mom!) is one of the busiest people I know. Well, I should rephrase that. My Mom keeps busier than almost anyone else I know. She gets more done in a day than most people get done in a week. I am almost certain this is by choice, she seems happiest when there are a million things going on, her head is spinning and the house is buzzing. (I’m sure she appreciates her quiet moments as well.) How does she do it? I’m not 100% sure what her secret is, but I do know that she makes time for a 3-3+ mile run almost every day. Pretty good, huh? I think so and that’s one of the many reasons my mom is a huge role model for me. (We’ll get into the other couple hundred reasons another time 🙂 ). So as I was saying, I’m finding now that I am making exercise one of my top priorities, I have more time for other stuff, not less.
So what’s changed? As I mentioned, coming home after work and having to leave the house again to work out has been a huge obstacle in the past, but that’s not all I’ve tried! B and I used to work out religiously in the morning before work. We would get up before 6:00 a.m., walk Stella and drive separately to the downtown YMCA. We’d work out together, get ready for work in the locker rooms and part ways for the work day. Although I really loved having that time with B before work every morning, I see now how much more of a hassle it was than my current routine. We had to pack our green smoothies, lunches, work clothes, work or school bags, shower items and toiletries (which for me meant hair dryer, make-up and all that good stuff), etc! It was a lot to remember everyday and forgetting one thing or over sleeping could ruin an entire work out. Plus, while I don’t really mind getting up early when I have to, I felt sleep-deprived a lot especially when trying to do intense cardio in the a.m. It would take a while for me to warm up and I probably didn’t push myself as hard as I could have some mornings because I just wasn’t alert enough yet. And while I did feel great from the exercise at the time, I honestly think I’m seeing better results this time around.
B and I have also tried using yoga as our primary means of exercise. Last winter/early spring we signed up for “30 days for 30 dollars” at what would later become my favorite yoga studio (Hilltop in Old Town). The deal is for $30 you are able to attend any yoga class at any of the three Hilltop studios for a full 30 days. You can go as many times a week or even multiple times a day if you want, during the 30 day window. The verdict? We LOVED it. It was a fantastic workout, I never got bored of the classes and after those 30 days (which we spend very well, made a class almost every day) I was stronger than I’ve been in a long time and we both fell completely in love with yoga (especially the HOT POWER kind!) The problem, again, came back to time. It is an incredible time commitment to take a 90 minute yoga class every day. You really have to plan your life around it, or at least that’s how I felt. Plus, in case you haven’t heard (and I’m sorry to break it to you if that’s the case) yoga is EXPENSIVE! Most local classes are about $15 a class to drop in. That makes it $30 a class for both B and I. Not cheap! We have found a few ways around that though.
First, we’ve tried practicing at home. It’s great, it can be done and I should do it more often but I find it incredibly distracting and I don’t get the “zone out and flow” benefits I do in a super intense hot yoga class. Maybe I need more yogi/zen/pranayama/om practice but Stella, love her, is very curious about yoga poses (and not just downward dog, ha). Baby girl tends to take over the mat and get up in your face whenever she can.
We’ve also tried scoping out the discount classes. A lot of studios have a free or cheaper class once or twice a week. Around our area, we can practice at JustBYoga for $7 each on Wednesday evenings. (It’s technically a “free community class” but the suggested donation is $7 and the classes are so awesome B and I try to donate at least that when we go.) “B”– (different one, Belinda, the owner of JustB) is an incredible instructor, probably my favorite ever. It was at her studio that I took my first yoga class (a free Wednesday power class and got my a** kicked). If you can make it to one of these classes, do it. It promises ambiance (once we did almost an entire class in the dark- the only light was from candles!), heat, great music, motivation, some food for thought, a kick in the booty and much more. I should take my own advice and get there next Wednesday, it’s been awhile.
NEXT, if you’re still hanging on despite my atrocious rambling, there is a free Saturday morning class at Hilltop. It used to be at 8:30 a.m. but is not at 7:00 a.m. I believe. I haven’t been since they changed the time but it was always a great class. Lastly, Hilltop has two $5 weekend classes, one on Saturday evenings and one on Sunday evenings. I went to the class last Sunday and it was glorious. Literally, angels sang and the heavens parted. 🙂 I suggest you check it out.
Where was I? Oh right, time. So basically what I’ve learned about myself is that time is crucial in the success of my exercise regiment. Mornings are tricky for me and super long workouts every day of the week don’t work either. But the most important aspect of time is making the time. And more importantly, making regular workouts a priority— an important use of my time. That part is all mental. I guess I started thinking about it the way I think about retirement savings (I promise I’m not about to lecture). Right now is really the most important time for me to be saving for retirement. I have to get into a good routine of being financially healthy and putting a portion of my income into savings now, because if I can’t do it now, it’s going to be that much harder to start a few years down the road. Likewise, now is the time to really cement my fitness habits to maintain and ensure the good health I am so blessed to enjoy now. Sidenote: my Grandparents are also fitness role models of mine. They are 87-years-young and still make it to the Y to swim a few times a week. In fact, most of my Mom’s side of the family is pretty fit. So there really are no excuses!
So without further adieu, I present to you my somewhat ridiculous yet extremely fun and effective Capitol work out! Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, I have been working out in our great state’s Capitol building. What the…? Okay, let me explain. So this only really works because I work in the building and as such am allowed to be on the premises after it closes to the public for the day. The idea came to me because I started trying to take the stairs whenever possible at work for extra exercise. I thought to myself, “Tthis is actually a really good work out. Maybe I should walk the stairs on my lunch break.” Well the problem with that is most days I don’t have a defined lunch break and really I only take a designated lunch break when I’m going out to lunch with friends or have a business lunch with the boss or something like that. Not very often. There’s usually too much going on around lunch (session beginning, groups and associations have legislative visit days, I’m trying to catch up on work while things have slowed down for a minute, etc) and at the Capitol in general during the day. So I decided maybe staying after work to walk the stairs was a better idea. Turns out it was! I’m like a glorified mall-walker I guess but I do much more stairs than I do plain walking and I get to walk in one of the most beautiful buildings in which I’ve ever been. See for yourself:
Not bad eh? It’s even prettier inside!
One thing I forgot to mention is that the Capitol has gorgeous staircases and really high ceilings. The building is four floors and I walk up and down those staircases about an hour a day but there actually used to be twice as many floors. When they renovated a few years ago, the middle floors were removed to restore the building to its original splendor…. from Wikipedia,
The legislature funded an extensive historical restoration starting in 1989 which was completed in 1992. The restoration returned the dome to an off-white shade and made improvements to the interior, providing for access to people with disabilities as well as restoring many of the original interior designs. One of the largest phases of the restoration entailed removal of “half-floors” that were installed in 1969 to create 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of additional office space. The floors were created by dividing the 16-foot (4.9 m)-high rooms horizontally and creating a level of rooms which was accessed from the stairway landing.
It’s a pretty intense walk up the stairs from the ground floor! My legs are definitely getting stronger from all the stairs. I also have a yoga mat and free weights that I set up behind my desk after everyone leaves (I know, I know, so sneaky). When I need a break from walking, every 15-20 minutes or so, I’ll stop back up in my office and do some quick ab, arm, or leg toning exercises. I just try to mix it up and keep it fun! Oh, and I also listen to audio books on my iPod while I walk. That way, I’m killing two birds with one stone. So far I’ve listened to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. In case you’re curious, I’d highly recommend both. I wasn’t really sure about either before purchasing but iTunes was having a sale on “self help” type books right after the New Year so I snagged both for $3 each.
So the cat’s out of the bag. That’s my crazy workout! It’s kind of goofy but I seriously love doing it. And hey, keep a good thing going right? For your viewing pleasure, here are a few pictures from my workout on Thursday 🙂
Hope you had a great weekend! Back soon with that recipe post and a recap from my first Pilates class!