I went for my morning work out and was shocked how much I love working out now. I mean, I’ve know that I like working out, but when I get to a gym and I really push myself I feel SO good. I wasn’t like that a year ago. I did not want to get myself to a gym, not at all. I was terrified. I hired a coach to help me with my weight loss, she is awesome and has been a big cheerleader in operation shrink Natala. The first thing she made me do was join a gym, and write out some very specific goals about how I was going to start working out.
One of the things I learned about working out, was the more I did it the more I didn’t want to eat crap because it kind of negated every thing I did in the gym that day. I mean sure, I could eat an oreo but that was a few minutes on the treadmill that I was never getting back, and it just wasn’t worth it. Now I feel like I have a really good balance, my eating is really good, I still watch how much I take in, but going vegan helped in more ways than I could list out – my body is finally efficient, because it’s not trying to digest all the meat and dairy, it can actually burn calories with out my body first having to work so hard on processing the other junk.
So here are my rules for working out:
1. Get over yourself.
This was key in my working out. I really was so self absorbed that I thought if I was on a treadmill EVERYONE would be staring at me. Seriously, I’m not that important, nor does anyone else care. And when you get in the gym, you will start to notice that you do not stare and look at everyone else, and so no one else is doing the same. Just decide you are the type of person who could give a damn what other people think about you, it’s your health, it’s your body, get past your fears and get your ass into a gym.
The most important lesson I learned from my trainer was that I needed to learn to fail. I did every thing till the point that I couldn’t. And trust me, I knew the point that I couldn’t. My trainer reminded me often that she knew CPR pretty well, and if I felt better, she could always put a soft pad at the end of the treadmill in case I fell off. This never happened, but it was a fear of mine, that somehow I’d kill myself on a treadmill. It turns out you can stop them if needed. I did this fail thing with every thing – I did weights until I failed (or lost my form), I would run until I couldn’t, I would swim until my arms literally could not move. I learned to fail and love it. Be a failure. But don’t be stupid, I mean you can work hard, but also know your limits. If you feel your heart rate going up to high or you feel like you are about to faint, stop.
If you haven’t been working out or haven’t been doing so on a regular basis, commit to moving. Pick 3 activities that you can do weekly to get yourself moving. Even if it’s jogging in place in your living room while watching American Idol, it’s moving.
4. No TV till your ass starts shrinking.
When I first started working out I decided I wouldn’t watch TV unless it was in front of a treadmill. And I couldn’t stand on the treadmill while watching TV. (I thought about it). I’d play games, like while watching American Idol if Simon said the word “Cabaret” I had to increase my speed by 5, or if Paula cried I had to increase my incline by 3. *(by the way, if you do this beware, you’ll be walking at a 30 incline in no time). I realized that sitting in front of my tv was doing nothing in project shrinking Natala, and so I stopped watching TV unless I was moving at the same time.
5. Make time.
You have time. Don’t tell me you do not have time. If you have to, learn to wake up earlier, make time to get moving. Do whatever it takes. Go through your schedule minute by mintue to find time. I have friends with multiple jobs, or kids, or both who find time to work out, so I know it’s possible. And if you have kids, find a gym with a good childcare. Think of it as cheap babysitting. When I’d have my nephew for the day or a few days, I’d bring him with me to the gym, I’d pay 2 dollars and he’d be playing in the gym child care room for an hour, happy as could be, and I’d get an hour all for me. I’m guessing if you have kids, an hour or 2, four times a week with out the kids, where you are just concentrating on yourself would be really nice, right? So go find a place where you can drop the kids off while you go for a work out, and of course a few minutes in the sauna and taking a long hot shower, with out a kid banging down the door to tell you that the cat is taped to the ceiling, again.
6. Walking, they do it in Europe, but they don’t call it working out.
I think living in the US we have this notion that walking is special, and is working out. IT’S NOT. Sure, okay, if you aren’t moving at all, and you start to walk, that is great, walk away. But really, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing anyway. We are the ones that sit in front of our computers or TV’s for countless hours a day, we are the ones who get in our car to drive 1 mile to get something to eat, and then a mile back. I realized in the beginning of my working out experience that it was going to take more than walking 3 times a week for 20 minutes, as doctor after doctor told me. I mean, again, if you aren’t doing anything that is a fine way to start out, but you are going to have to move on from that. Learn to do other things. Learn to lift weights, learn to use other gym equipment, take a class in something (I LOVE kickboxing) take up dancing (something like Zumba) try as much as you can and find something you like to do. And be sure it’s something that really gets your heart rate up, and that you wouldn’t ordinarily do. You can also pick up some work out videos, those have been great for me while I travel.
7. Get a heart rate monitor.
I have a Polar brand heart rate monitor, it tracks my heart rate, calories burned and keeps a record of everything for me. It even tells me when I’m in my target heart range and how much I’m burning based on my body weight. It is great for setting goals. I try to wear mine all day to see what I am burning through out the day, and to see how my recovery time is. You can pick one up for not that much money. Be aware though – they really don’t work under water very well. So if you are going to be doing water aerobics, just keep that in mind.
8. Learn to do circuit training.
This is by far my favorite way to train. You can do this in a gym or in your house pretty easily. In your home, get a few different work out accessories – a band, some free weight hand weights, a jump rope, a step, a exercise ball and a mat are all good (not all necessary, but all good) do repetitions of each work out for 60 seconds, giving yourself about 15 seconds of recovery between each exercise. For instance:
- 60 seconds of jump rope (if you can’t jump you can jog in place or do something that looks like jumping)
- take a break
- 60 seconds of bicep curls with hand weights
- take a break
- 60 seconds of crunches (watch your form)
- take a break
- 60 seconds of squats – all you need is a chair, just pretend like your sitting down, and briefly let your butt touch the chair.
- take a break
- 60 seconds of side steps using your band. Just put your feet about a foot apart in your band, and side step across your floor, 30 seconds one way, 30 seconds the other.
- take a break
- 60 seconds jumping jacks (or modified if you can’t jump)
- take a break
- 60 seconds of arm raises using your band. Put feet on top of band about a foot a part, then take bands and lift over your head like you are doing a press)
- take a break
- 60 seconds of marching – get your knees up as high as you can
- take a break
And then… repeat. Circuit training can be modified and you can do all sorts of things with it. In the gym, you can do this by using various exercise machines, moving back and forth between them, using your recovery time to get yourself to the next one. Utilize the entire gym! Use what they have – learn to use things like medicine balls and balance boards. Get a pair of boxing gloves and go punch a boxing bag (it’s great therapy). Be sure to practice good form, there are a bunch of work out videos even on youtube that will show you form, or just ask a trainer.
Circuit training mixes things up for your body, meaning it will burn calories faster, because the muscle groups have to change. My trainer once told me I was better off doing 10 minutes of circuits than I was doing 30 minutes of walking. Everyone has 10 minutes. And then you just increase that each time you work out. Do 10 minutes for a week, 13 the next week, and keep increasing until you are doing an hour like a champ.
So many people tell me they get bored with working out. You get bored when you get lazy about it – that is what my trainer told me many times. If you are getting bored, change it up, chances are your body needs it anyway, you don’t want to keep working the same muscle groups.
10. You are worth it.
I learned this lesson early on, it was something my coach, Mary drilled into me. Every thing in my life could be put on hold, because I was worth spending the time to get myself healthy. I wasn’t going to be much good to anyone, not a job, friends or family if I wasn’t here, or if I was suffering every day from a disease that I could be helping out by getting healthier. I started to ask myself “what if I were the type of person who just worked out and liked it” I started acting like that person more and more. It turns out all the times I said “I will never be a gym person” or “I could never work out 5 times a week” or “I could never give up X food” were just me making excuses that were really me just telling myself I wasn’t worth being healthy. It’s called depression. I was slowly killing myself with the way I was treating my body, there were days I just didn’t care, days where I would eat junk and sit in front of the tv, and just not care anymore. I lost the desire to want to live, and maybe that didn’t result in me doing something drastic, it resulted in me deciding I was not worth moving my body, or learning about my health. You need to know that you are worth it. You need to know that your family, your friends, maybe even your co-workers think that you are worth it. Do whatever it takes, quit your job, and learn to survive on less if you have to. A year off right now even if you had to go into debt is not going to kill you, but not taking care of yourself just might. Decide to love yourself more than anything and decide that you are worth every bit of effort you put into your body. All of what you dream of and all that you have worked for is not going to mean anything if you are suffering from some disease day in and day out. Your family and friends, if they really love you are going to understand if you have to drop the ball in order to take care of yourself. And if they don’t? You do not need them in your life. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people, refuse negativity in your self and those that surround you. Prove to yourself that you are worth being alive.
and #11: Eat right.
The reason going plant based works so well for losing weight is that your body isn’t working in overtime trying to process foods like meat, dairy and eggs. Those foods were not meant for our consumption so our bodies get really stressed out when we eat them. Our digestive tracks, our organs, our acidity levels were just never meant to handle animal products. When you go plant based you give your body a stress break. Think of it as a low stress way of eating. The less stressed your body is, the easier it is to work out, you will naturally want to move more and be more active. Ever wonder why a Lion sleeps for hours after it eats? It’s because even a lion, who is a carnivore needs to let it’s body slow down to process food. Our bodies, that are not like carnivore bodies take a lot longer to process all of the junk we put into it. So the more you stress your body out, the more that it will not cooperate with you and the less you are going to want to move. There is a reason why you don’t want to get up off the sofa, it’s not that you are lazy, it’s that you are not cultivating an system with in your body to be able to be active with out a lot of stress. So if you want to move more, eat better, if you want to eat better, go plant based, and give up the high stress diet.
So those are some of the lessons I’ve learned about working out. What are some of the things you do to work out? What motivates you? If you are vegan, have you noticed that you have more energy or can move easier than when you were eating meat?
Let me know in the comments! Okay, off to the gym for a workout!