Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Tips to Get the Most from Your Workout by Melinda Curtis

I’m a writer, which means I have Writer’s Butt (a documented phenomenon, similar to Reader’s Butt, I’m sure). But I’m also a fitness instructor, which means my Writer’s Butt isn’t as bad as it could be.  Here are five tips to combat Reader/Writer’s Butt and get the most out of your workout.

  1. Set Goals: Do you want to lose weight? Get stronger? Whittle your waist? Get fit? This impacts how much you need to up your cardio, increase the weight you lift, target trouble zones and/or change what you eat.  Bonus tip: always change what you eat to amp up your results. Replace chips with nuts (good fat), soda with Mio (carbonated water plus a squirt of water enhancer tastes just like soda), and your favorite Starbucks drink with the skinny version.
  2. Start Slow: Figure out what motivates you to exercise. Don’t just show up at a class without knowing what you’re getting into. You want to find something that fits your ability and makes you smile. If you like to walk outdoors, walk outdoors. If you hate to step to the music, don’t force yourself into a step class.  Similarly, if you aren’t a runner, don’t sign up for a 5K.
  3. Seek Variety: There’s been a lot of research into the science of muscle tone. One I find the most interesting is the 6-week theory. Basically, your muscles get smart after 6 weeks of the same routine. Yes, that means the step class you go to with weights 2x a week is no longer effective if the instructor isn’t varying the workout. Yes, that means the circuit you’ve been doing in the weight room for years has reached a plateau…long ago.
  4. Think in Intervals: World class athletes often train with a High Intensity Interval Workout.  What does that mean?  If they don’t offer a class like this at your gym, super-charge your workout with 10-30 second high intensity bursts – go faster, kick higher, dance with more hip action. For example, in the midst of climbing a hill in spin class or while road cycling, go faster for 10 seconds. Wait another 20-40 seconds and do it again. If you walk to music, pick up your pace on every chorus, slow back to your regular pace on the verse.
  5. Say Hello: You’re more likely to show up consistently at the gym (or at the park where you walk everyday) if you interact with other people. Say hello. Start up a conversation. If someone misses you, you’ll show up more often, and be more likely to meet your fitness goals.


Do you have any helpful workout tips you'd like to share?


17 comments:

  1. Nice to get a jump start on the fitness revolution for 2015, Mel. :) Thanks for the check off list and the reminder that exercise (and moving in general) is important. Fitness here we come!

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  2. And it's good for our brains, too, right? I don't drive, so I walk everywhere and walk the dog. I'm in better shape now than when I was in my thirties, but I love to eat - I love gooey stuff and I love salty stuff. Any advice on a good diet for my age? Thanks for all the information. Very useful - but I'm waiting until January to get serious. There are so many goodies circulating in our neighborhood.

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  3. I didn't know you were a fitness instructor, Mel! Very cool and thanks for the much needed tips!!

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  4. I'm a 2x a week fitness instructor who only fell into that because Mr. Curtis would only exercise before work and the morning instructors often quit. All of a sudden, I'm an instructor. Please note: I don't look like the 20-somethings who teach at night nor do I wear makeup at 5:30 am. Keepin' it real.

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  5. I've always been an easy-breaks-the-habit exerciser, but a couple of years ago, my cat died and my daughter moved out, and I got desperate for endorphins. I started exercising 6 days out of 7, but I don't always want to. This sounds simplistic, but when I seriously don't want to put on my shoes or my swim duds, I just imagine getting up and doing it. Before I know it, I've already put the stuff on and gotten on my way. And I may hate the act of exercising, but I love the way I feel after. Yay endorphins! And, Mel, I love that you became an instructor because you were trying to exercise w your fella! He's a lucky guy! But--I'm positive you can do anything that comes into your head at all!

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  6. Having large, active dogs is a great way to stay fit!

    My husband bought us Fitbits earlier this year. If you are not familiar with the device, it monitors activity, you can register calorie intake and even set it to record your sleep patterns. We've always been active (see previous note about dogs), but it's interesting how we now make trade-offs in terms of food intake. I like getting the 10,000-step buzz it gives you each day!

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  7. I’m with Muriel, waiting till January to get serious.

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  8. I just got back to walking. I thought I'd injured my left knee. Turns out it's arthritis in both. Got cortisone shots, but the doctor says to start walking again. Doesn't matter if it hurts.

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  9. I don't have any tips to share, but I didn't know about the need to change routine. No one at my health club has ever mentioned that. So, I appreciate the info. Thanks, Melinda.

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  10. I generally do Pilates 2x a week and water aerobics 2x as well. Used to run but the knees went bad. And Anna, I didn't know anyone else in the world imagined themselves doing something to jumpstart an activity. :-)

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    1. Patricia, do you do that, too? (Or am I weird?) :-) If we lived closer, we could go together!

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    2. Yes, I do that all the time and not just with exercise--anything I don't want to do--sometimes even writing...I see myself getting up. I see myself at the computer...I see myself typing... lol

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    3. Patricia! I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one! I've been doing the same with working. This last book has been killing me, but we're getting to be friends now! :-)

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  11. I need to establish a good workout routine! Thanks for the great tips!

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  12. I love going to the gym, but with a full time job, writing, a family, and church, I'm not sure where to pencil it in and the 24 hour gyms are a bit scary at 2 a.m.

    Good for you.

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  13. Thank you for #3. I started walking three years ago. I increased my steps until I reached 20,000 a day. I lost 30 pounds. Then I hit the plateau and for the last year I haven't lost or gained a pound. Last spring I added three hours of tennis a week and still no change in weight.

    My body tone is great in my legs and arms. I still have the roll at my stomach, but it's much smaller and the love handles under my back bra straps is also much smaller. But I want to get off this plateau.

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  14. This time of year, my workouts consist of pushing the vacuum cleaner and scrubbing the floors! LOL I do sit on an exercise ball whenever I write. Does that count? LOL

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