Ah, summer... Season of the dreaded swimsuit. Like most folks, I typically find that I gain a little weight during the winter holiday season, although I've gotten better at controlling my weight over the years. I do work out year round, but I always find that I need to kick it up a few notches come spring to make sure I'm ready to feel awesome when the temperature spikes and fewer clothes become a necessity. I've been working out in earnest since February, after having a lazier fall and winter that mostly involved dog walking and yoga because my workload was so out of control. Below is what a "normal" workout week looks like for me right now, although every week is different and sometimes I find that I can't stick to my routine because of another commitment or due to illness or injury. As with the food, I'm not any sort of expert in fitness, this is just what has been working for me.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Interval strength training for 40 minutes. Here I alternate intensities between low, medium, and high. I typically use five or eight pound hand weights to make sure that I'm challenging myself. This usually happens in the morning before breakfast.
Tuesday, Thursday: 30 minutes of cardio, often on the stationary bike we have in our spare room. I use intervals here, too. A normal 30 minutes goes something like this: warm up for five minutes at low intensity, then alternate: 3 minutes high intensity (either speed or resistance) followed by 2 minutes of recovery at a lower speed/resistance. Doing this four times plus a five minute cool-down takes me to thirty minutes. Again, this usually gets done before breakfast
I also walk one or both dogs each morning first thing before it gets hot out and just purchased a two month unlimited yoga pass at the studio I like. I'm planning on setting aside time for an early morning yoga session most weekdays. Yoga helps me stretch out the muscles I work hard during other kinds of exercise, builds flexibility, and is a major stress-reliever because it helps me slow down and be in the moment.
In addition to how it makes me look, I love the way working out makes me feel. It gives me a chance to get out of my head and just be in my physical body. I always feel strong and clear-headed after a good workout. In fact, if I'm very busy for several days in a row and can't fit in workouts, I find that my body craves that post-exercise feeling.
What keeps you strong and feeling great?