What I Do For Exercise

I get asked a lot about what I do for exercise so I thought it would make a good blog post!

Running

Those of you who have hung around here for any length of time know that I picked up running a couple years ago. I don’t run often enough (two or three times a week — and that’s a good week) and I don’t run very far (four miles, tops, usually closer to three and sometimes just two) but I absolutely love it for how it makes me feel.

I run in Vibram Five Fingers, much to the dismay of my friends and family.

barefoot running

I love them so much that I even included them in my newest photo header, and cuz I’m a dork like that. (Yes, I have two pairs.)

They are goofy looking, but I had lots of knee troubles before I tried these, and now I don’t, so I’m a total convert. They helped me learn to run more on the ball of my foot or mid-foot than a heel-to-toe type of gait. I still have to be careful with my form, or my knees bother me, but for the most part I’m running pain free. In fact, I ran one day last week in my new minimalist sneakers, thinking they would be okay, and my knee pain flared up again. So it’s back to the Vibrams.

I ran my first 5K last fall, and I came in well under my goal of 30 minutes. I did it in 29:03:91.  I really need to sign up for another, I have been working on my time and would like to get it down to 28 minutes, but I haven’t done that yet. I also would like to start running longer distances and perhaps even work up to a half marathon. Right now I can NOT imagine running 13 miles, but I’d like to see how far I get.

Running is great for cardiovascular and mental health, but I also think it’s extremely important, perhaps even more important, to make strength training a regular part of your life.

Strength Training

Last week I wrote about hiring a personal trainer and why and how that’s working out for me.

When I went for my first training session, my goals were to lift heavy and get strong and toned as quickly as possible. I didn’t care how we did it, I just wanted results. We started out meeting twice a week, and alternating weight lifting and TRX.

T-R-Whahhh?

TRX is a suspension training program using your body weight and these thick straps. The program was actually developed by Navy SEALs as a way to stay in shape in tight quarters. Take a look.

There are literally an endless amount of different exercises you can do with TRX equipment. If I had to work out at home and I could choose only one piece of exercise equipment, I’d invest in TRX.

It is as hard as all get out, but it’s incredibly rewarding. You can adjust your position based on your strength level and make it challenging no matter what your fitness level is. Cause I’m clearly no Navy SEAL.

Although doing TRX does make me feel pretty tough.

After a couple months of one-on-one TRX sessions, I graduated to a TRX class, so now we only have personal training sessions once a week and I take a TRX class once a week.

While I love our one-on-one sessions, I also really like the class dynamics. I find that I’m motivated by having other class members with me, and I don’t feel so foolish when I can’t get something right because usually I’m not the only one.

Weight Lifting and Floor Exercises

I love working with free weights; I always have. I find them much more beneficial than the weight machines. For one thing, they force you to use your core muscles to build balance and coordination, and I need all the help I can get in that department. Plus it’s harder to favor one side over the other. If there are any inequities in the strength of one limb versus another, it becomes immediately apparent when you’re working with free weights. But it definitely helps to have a trainer or some basic knowledge of how to lift.

We mostly work with free weights, although sometimes we use a machine or two. The other thing we do is floor exercises with one of those weight balls. Oh and the push ups. She loves push ups. And planks. I actually have homework, although I usually forget to do it. My daughter loves to do push-ups and planks with me though.

We do different exercises every time so it’s hard to really detail my exact program. I love the variety though.

What kind of exercise do you like to do most? Do you find it hard to stay motivated, or are you pretty consistent?

I wrote a post a few weeks ago on Exercise and Doing It All. It’s really hard to stay committed. I sometimes miss a week of exercise here and there, but I’m getting better about getting back on the wagon when I fall off. I’d love to hear how you stay motivated to keep going.