Basic Benefits of Pilates

Good morning!

 

Guys, obviously I am biased because I chose Pilates as my preferred obsession and hope to make it my full-time career, but it is really just such an amazing way to work every single part of your body. Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates as a method of recovery and rehabilitation for WWII vets. I completely understand why this was such a fitness breakthrough in the early 1900’s and is quickly becoming more and more popular today.

Even the most basic Pilates exercises make me feel stretched, strengthened, and relaxed. Switching up workouts is of course important, but something about adding in just 20-30 minutes of Pilates everyday, even if it’s a warm-up, really makes a huge difference. I have been trying to use a few minutes of Pilates as a warm up exercise, adding in some strength training, and then cooling down with a few more minutes of mat work and I feel amazing.

Stanlee Stretch

(Stanlee does not feel the same way I do about Pilates)

 

A basic mat flow is broken down into a number of categories;

  1. Warm-up

Many instructors begin the sequence from a standing position, starting with very, very basic movements to warm up the extremities. Arm circles, neck/head rolls, forward fold. To start firing up some of the major muscles (quads, glutes) I add in some squats, which I love doing anyways, to really start warming up.

2. Core warm-up

We all know, (if you didn’t you do now!) That one of the major goals of Pilates is focusing on alignment and core-work. Before we dig into the abs and set them on fire, we need to focus on what proper alignment really feels like; we need to discover what a neutral position feels like. Neutral is when no muscles are engaged and joints are free from strain. The body is merely relaxed in a natural position.

   3. Core Work

Core, core, and more core. One of the things I love about Pilates is that it feels like some inner part of my body is working. I feel the burn when I run, lift, cross-fit (that’s a verb, right?) but it all feels kind of…surface, for lack of a better word. Pilates attacks some muscle groups much deeper…I guess that’s why they call it the core.

lift a latte

4. Spinal Mobility/Extension/Strengthening

Spinal movement and flexibility is essential for helping with back pain, hip flexor pain and gripping. I happen to experience all of these. One of the great things about working on Spinal Mobility is that it also works the abs like crazy.

Side note, I recently purchased the Lo-Bak-Trax, partially because it’s being endorsed by Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner, but we both suffer from sever lower back pain. So far, nothing..unimpressed. 

However working on spinal mobility is amazing for back pain. Just be careful and listen to your body, do not over extend or you will exacerbate any tension you have going on.

 

    5. Scapular Mobility

scapula

(image)

Think push up without bending your arms. The Sternum drop, or (scapula push-up), is awesome for not only strengthening the upper back, but also for aiding in shoulder pain which is common among those who lifts heavy weights or have jobs that require a lot of upper body strength, lifting etc. Also a great workout for ANYONE who has a cellphone! Looking down constantly (like what I am doing right now at my laptop) causes serious neck and should cramping, as well as postural issues. A strong scapular region helps this so much.

 

   6. Leg strengthening

And who doesn’t love working their legs and glutes? The great thing, as I mentioned 16 times already, is that Pilates allows us to strengthen and stretch at the same time. I’ve seen this new (well upsurge, I think it’s always been prevalent) fear among women about getting bulky thighs by doing too much strength training. Apparently we all must have skinny thighs now, so I’m SOL no matter what. HOWEVER, Pilates is known for giving us the long, lean, dance muscles that Pinterest wants us to have so bad. Also, the more flexible we are, the better we can avoid hip gripping (pain caused by hip flexors doing the work when we the flexibility is not available). Flexibility in general decreases the need for other parts of the body to compensate when we do certain movements. However, engaging the correct muscle groups helps relieve strain, so always listen carefully to your instructor ;).

Johnny Bravo
Image
And I think that’s all for now, folks!

 

What do you think, do you feel stretched and lean after a Pilates workout? What is your favorite muscle group to attack?

 

❤ Cammy 

Forgive, Forget, and Remember that Everyone ‘Pilates’ Differently

Hello Fitness World,

The end of my official Pilates instructor training was bittersweet. I had created some great connections, friendships, and settled into my student mentality. My training courses gave me motivation and passion and as the class drew to a close I felt both sad and excited. Although not in any way done with the student portion of my journey, I was starting to feel confident enough to start sharing some of the knowledge. Needless to say, my first stabs at teaching raised some questions in the self-selection category.

They are as follows; When have we learned enough to transform from student to teacher? Is this the same for everyone? What happens when the teacher is taught?

Last weekend I finished my training at the Boston Body Pilates Teacher training center and started my first few stabs at teaching. Although almost 100% pressure-free, my first class went a lot differently than the scenarios I played out in my mind.

My head was a whirl of thoughts and fears as I drove to the studio. What if I can’t get my student into the correct position for each exercise? What if I stumble over my words? What if I forget how to do the exercises? The class commenced and as it carried on these questions faded into ridiculousness and a whole new world of confusion made itself known to me.

Beginning with my first question;

 

When have we learned enough to transform from student to teacher?

As I said, my original concerns were not really issues. In the least. I actually surprised myself at how easily the words flowed off my tongue and how I was able to control the bodies in front of me. I was surprised at how masterful and intelligent I sounded. and then something else happened…

student: “I can’t roll up.”

me: “What do you mean?”

student: “I just can’t do it my body doesn’t do that.”

me: “Yes, it does. Just squeeze your abs and roll up!”

student: “nope, isn’t happening.”

Awkward.

All my original fears vanished completely and whole new world of uncertainty unfurled before my eyes, and I mentally froze. I had actually never been exposed to a group of individuals who were not at similar or higher levels of fitness as myself. As I was teaching the most basic, beginner, simplistic flow written by Joseph Pilates, I had no idea how to modify the movements more than they were already modified. I had no idea how to teach Pilates to someone with absolutely no experience activating the essential muscle groups. I kind of felt like a failure.

But then I didn’t. This complete mental shut down was actually an amazing thing. Because of this situation I was forced to think about teaching in a whole different way. Instead of focusing on aligning the body in front of me, cueing which muscle groups to activate etc…I was looking at a body in front of me that actually did not possess the capabilities yet of doing these movements.

But did this mean I was doing something wrong? Was there another modification I wasn’t aware of or some cue I had forgotten that would allow this body to perform the exercise? I had no time to answer these questions in the moment, so what did I do? I talked my way out of it seamlessly and moved us into a completely different portion of the choreography. Saved!

So back to my question…Have I learned enough to be a teacher? If I was unable in this moment to assist my student in the same way as a more experienced instructor could, did that mean I had to stop teaching even though in all other aspects I was wildly successful? I really hoped not.

When teaching we can only prepare as much as possible, and then be prepared to throw it all away if the unexpected happens. When we are still learning the basics, we do not know which questions to ask until they are thrown in our face. So my answer is, you are ready when you feel ready. I am confident in my own abilities and I am confident in my ability to help others. Did my students know that I froze on the inside? Did my class still get a workout? I am still in my student phase, however I have reached point where I feel comfortable teaching others.

Question Two;

 

Is this transformation the same for everyone?

Probably not. In my moment of mental meltdown, I was still able to hide this and move on. My class was unaware and only a slight trace of lingering failure flickering in the back of my head, which quickly dissipated.

Many of us excel at talking a good game, really anyone who took college level courses. However in the beginning stages of teaching, although we already know many of the answers, we do not know how to present them and from this comes fear. I went to school for this I have been practicing Pilates for over nine years, it is just the act of finally taking what you know and passing it along that takes a little more practice.

Some of us are ready to take the plunge before others. Some are less willing to ‘wing-it,’ and would prefer to have all their lines memorized for 10 different scenarios before speaking in front of a class. I did not. I chose not to study before the test, and instead rely on my gut.

 

What happens when the teacher is taught?

I do not have a scenario for this question, although it begs for one. It is definitely one that plays in my head frequently.

I am teaching a class, we are doing [insert exercise], after the first few reps a student interrupts the class. “Excuse me Teacher, I thought this exercise was done like this, in this way, activating these muscle groups first?” Student is right. 

What do I do? Say, Oh, Sh*t, you’re right let’s start over. Completely freeze and stutter for a few minutes. Perhaps run out of the room and cry (oh, the drama). But no. First I will remind myself that I am forgiven for my shortcomings because whether novice or expert we are never really done learning. Then, also remember that there are so many different ways to ‘Pilate’ (it’s a verb now), why admit to your mistake in a class?

I’ve found that people are generally kind and forgiving. No matter what your reaction in this instance, they will forgive, forget, and remember you by all the amazing things you taught them, and how sore they were the next day 🙂

 

Our failures make us stronger, we all know this. We don’t know what questions to ask until they are presented to us in a real-life situation. My biggest, tiniest goal for right now is to overcome my fear of not knowing. I dread the moments in a class where I forget or fail. I dread them to the point that I have avoided it altogether. I think we can apply this to so many aspects of life. I am making it my goal to erase the fear of failure. I have already succeeded, and if anything I should embrace my ignorance in these moments so that I may overcome and learn how to improve a little bit after every class!!!

 

Perhaps as students we must also remember that maybe our teacher is also learning from us? 

 

Share your thoughts with me in your comments!

 

❤ Cammy

 

 

 

 

Rollover and Balance

This weekend concluded the first stage of my Pilates instructor training! I am elated and nervous. Elated because I have one so far in my training over the past year. Scared because…well, now the rest is on me.

Like learning a foreign language, the only way to become fluent is to immerse yourself within the culture. As a very, very novice teacher with little teaching experience, this part is scary to me. All I have to rely on is my years and years of practice, my training, and the confidence I know is within me. (Yes, corny I know. But whatever, it’s true!)

It’s easy to get lost in the barrage of information you receive in the 16 hour-long course, but there is always something that really stands out. This time, I learned a small variation to the rollover that changed everything.

It’s amazing how the tiniest little thing can change every single workout you do. 

Notice what part of our body we rely on for balance by removing them from the equation. In rollover, without the support of our arms flat on the floor, the already advanced pose turns into a balance challenge.

Avoid if you have a serious lower back injury. 

 

  1. The Original Rollover

rollover

In the Rollover, we begin supine on the mat with the arms at our sides. As we engage the core and begin to lift our legs, we press down with our arms into the mat to add support for the back and core, peeling the lower body off the mat (like a band-aid).

Tap the mat with your toes if you have the hamstring flexibility, and then SLOWLY press one vertebra at a time down onto the mat.

 

But what happens when we remove the added support of our arms?

2. Rollover with arm variation

Rollover variation 2

We can challenge the core even further and turn the workout into a balancing exercise which challenges the core even more.

Intermediate and advanced level trainings are so fun because once we have the basis of each exercise we have the freedom to play around with it. Adding challenging variations or adding in different props (ball, straps, yoga block) completely changes which muscle groups are activated.

You can add in this variation during any point of the exercise. For an ultra-challenge, try wheeling the arms over head before you even begin to lift your lower body, being careful to engage your abs as much as possible so the lower back stays protected.

OR, use your arms for support as you roll up, only reaching the overhead at the top of the movement for a moment. Balance, then replace the arms by your side as you roll back down.

Pilates is so fun! Rollover is amazing as both a core workout but also as a sort of self-back massage.

And now…

What is your favorite exercise? Can you increase the challenge my removing part of the support?

Tell me!

 

❤ Cammy

Plank Stretch and Core Work

Good Morning readers,

We’ve had some great weather for the past few days, so I have been moving my routine outside. It’s reaching the end of August so it seems like a good idea to soak up as much sun as possible and enjoy the greenery while it lasts!

I want to share a short flow that I practice almost every day. The following series is great for stretching, strengthening the core, and strengthening the back body.

Working the back body has always been such a struggle for me. I actually believe that because I can’t see it when I look in the mirror I forget that it’s there. That being said, it is so important to build strength evenly throughout your whole body. It is what you don’t see that makes all the difference.

 

And so we begin with the first pose: Plank

Plank pose is popular within all areas of fitness and is known for its amazing full-body benefits. Plank position strengthens the core, both the inner and outer thighs, the abdominals, the shoulders, the upper back, the glutes, the arms….

 

plank

In my opinion, plank is one of the positions where we really choose how hard we work. It is possible to ‘fake’ this particular position. When I say fake it, I mean that we are not consciously activating all of the appropriate muscle groups. In order to work the glutes, you must make a conscious effort to engage them! The same goes for all of the afore-mentioned muscle groups.

My personal struggle is with the shoulders and the upper back. I have been working on strengthening my upper back because my shoulders and arms are my weakest points. Strengthening through the upper back also helps maintain the extension from the tail bone through the crown of the head.

We don’t want to wear our shoulders as earrings…

Engaging all the muscles while trying to maintain a nice form does take practice. Often times I’ll find myself focusing so much on one muscle group, I forget another and so on. After time, as the muscles strengthen, they automatically engage which allows us more freedom to focus on alignment.

 

 

Pose Two: Up Stretch (Down Dog)

Up Stretch in Pilates, possibly more commonly known as Down Dog in Yoga, is our second flow position.

up-stretch

Up Stretch helps improve flexibility in the hamstrings and increases strength in the abdominals, the back, and the shoulders. My hamstrings are generally tight so I need to warm up considerably in order to achieve the flat-footed up stretch we are familiar with, not shown here.

In the picture above I have my weight shifted forwards onto my hands which increases the work of the shoulders and upper back. Just like in plank pose we want to maintain strong shoulders, not allowing them to shrug. Keep the neck long and let the shoulder blades to slide back towards the tail.

Play around with shifting your weight forward and back. Try leaning forwards as I am, and then shifting back to put most of your weight on the balls of the feet. Notice what different areas of the body are forced to engage and which muscles are feeling the streeetttcchhhh.  (aaahhhhhh).

 

Pose Three: Plank rotation

There are many variations of this exercise including running in plank position, where we bring in alternating knees to kiss the nose while holding plank. This variation focuses on strengthening the obliques. I struggle particularly with keeping my hips square to the floor in this particular variation.

plank rotation

As always we want to strengthen through the upper back and shoulders. As you can see in the image above, my shoulders are sliding up ever so slightly because I am focusing on the movement instead of engaging my upper back and shoulder muscles (so much to focus on and engage….).

This is really a fluid movement (as are they all) in which we engage both the back and front bodies, however we also focus on the rotational plane of movement when we reach the knee to the opposite elbow. Coming into a round back position as the knee reaches in opposition helps send the knee further towards the elbow. This also increases flexibility in the spine.

 

 

Final position: Swimmer

The back body exercise swimmer has many variations. We can focus on merely lowing and lifting the upper and lower bodies, holding, and then releasing back down. The variation demonstrated in my photo shows me actually ‘swimming’ in which you lift up, creating a curve from feet to crown of the head, and ‘swim’ the arms and legs in opposition.

I think of this movement like a Pilates ‘hundreds’ for the back body, or a reverse hundreds series. We move in sequence with the breath, for or five breaths in, the same number exhaled.

IMG_5725

 

Just like the previous three exercises, try to engage all of the muscles. Alignment always starts from the feet, so pointing the toes will help create that long line we are always trying to achieve in Pilates.

Reach the arms forward meanwhile slide the shoulder blades down the back.

Lift the legs from the glutes.

Squeeze the glutes and reach the toes so far back that they just float up. The same goes for the upper body.

Try closing your eyes.

 

That’s it guys! Quick, easy, effective, and relaxing. I use this routine before and after my workouts to warm up and cool down. It is also a great morning routine because it doesn’t demand too much from your body before it’s completely awake.

 

Hope you enjoyed! Let me know in the comments below which exercise is your favorite!

 

❤ Cammy

Finding Confidence

How is it that I feel comfortable posting a picture of my bikini-clad bum on Instagram, yet have a fear of putting my foot in my mouth in front of a new friend or coworker?

This is a rhetorical question that I am merely using to ease into the main topic of this post… Clearly, or we would just let my tukas do the talking, pardon the French. 

It is a known fact that we all have areas of our being from which we derive confidence. Comparatively there are also areas that we feel self-conscious and unsure of.

I could not possibly write a whole post on the roots of human self-consciousness and over-coming said insecurities through fitness, diet, self-talk, therapy, getting a dog, running, doing Pilates, calling your mom/dad/sister-in-law/Aunt Suzie, writing a blog… or you know, whatever helps. So instead I will narrow it down and briefly discuss my continuing journey to accept and move past my own insecurities.

Humans are very dimensional beings. There are aspects of ourselves that we value highly and others that we maybe wish were a little different. We are all prey to this in one way or another. It is a constant game of putting ourselves in different situations that highlight our strengths and downplay our weaknesses. We dress ourselves specifically to accomplish this, put ourselves in different social situations where we will have something valuable to add, and choose activities that fall into the ‘strengths’ category.

Perhaps because I am making such huge generalizations I will switch to the first person. 

I have always been guilty of all of these things. I change outfits multiple times, avoid situations where I fear I may sound stupid, and pick activities that I know I will excel in.  It is such a limiting way to live life and I hate feeling bad about myself. I have now lived long enough to have a general sense of my own identity, which is detailed in my about me, and have become familiar with exactly what it is that makes me feel less-than. So I slowly started learning how to accept my shortcomings and my insecurities.

So how does one gain confidence to accept their weaknesses? Tying back to a previous post, we must stop making comparisons. I learned that a main cause of these this was noticing others moving through life with none of these weaknesses. In fact, I tended to ONLY notice when others excelled in areas that I struggled. Why?

Why did I only pay attention to the ways in which I was failing (in my own mind) and others were simultaneously succeeding? Why did I only seem to notice when others seemed good at the thing I struggled with?

My mind is a tricky, tricky beast and I needed to learn how to control it.  So I slowly learned how to accept my weaknesses and actually learn to appreciate them.

I am not perfect; I make mistakes, feel bad about myself, throw tantrums, spend money frivolously, swear at inappropriate times…the list goes on. And I’m fine with it. Yes, I would like to work on a number of these things and I will, but what I am not going to do is beat myself up over it and compare myself to others who excel in the areas I do not.

Do you struggle with comparisons? What are some weaknesses you have come to accept and maybe appreciate? 

❤ Cammy

 

 

 

 

 

More Media Problems and How to Set your Fitness Zone

I read a really eye opening post the other day;

Fitness Friday…on a Saturday // 005 – ciarralorren https://ciarralorren.com/2017/08/19/fitness-friday-on-a-saturday-005/
The blog discusses our unfortunate use of fitness as a punishment. We are all prone to the human condition of laziness from time to time. Over eating, drinking, eating junk food, or skipping out all together for a little while, sometimes these things just happen. Then we pick up and move on. There are numerous workouts out there that utilize guilt in their advertising and play to people’s weaknesses. I for one do not want to be motivated to workout because I’ve been made to feel bad about myself…right?

“Eat one too many slices of pie on thanksgiving? Well that was a huge mistake and you totally failed, but if you buy a [shake-weight?] problem solved! Easy as that.” 

These phrases imply that not only is workout a punishment for unhealthy choices, but also serves as an excuse to indulge. As long as you do the advertised workout, the slip up is completely erased. So what does this imply? We can have these unhealthy habits because our fitness routine compensates for it? Don’t get me wrong it’s better than having bad habits and no fitness routine, but we don’t want to use fitness as a justifier.

Now on the topic of workout/life balance, we enter into the opposite spectrum and a whole new world of issues. Once we get into a fitness routine, it can be easy to become obsessed with it (check out my post on fitness obsessions). Media definitely contributes to this. Five or six workouts a week are demanded of us so frequently from multiple sources that we feel an overwhelming obligation to keep up. Followed closely by a debilitating feeling of guilt if we shirk off one or two workouts.

I have been SO guilty of this in the past, I fully admit it. 

Not working out for an extended number of days (I’m being ambiguous on purpose) meant that when I returned from my fitness sabbatical it was with the most epic 2 hour cardio and strength killer burner. I would shut down that gym. How horrible is that? That we should compensate for lost time with a harsh and unwarranted blast of athleticism is certainly not conducive to any fitness goal. It certainly does not give working out a joyful place in my mind.

Anyways, this is all very serious and you should read her blog for yourself. The rest of this post is going to shift slightly to what I hope is a constructive and lighter subject than what I’ve discussed so far.

In short, we work out to feel (and yes, look) good about ourselves. If I wake up cranky, I know that I need to put my workout on the ‘sooner-rather-than-later’ portion of my to-do list for the day, and preferably before I talk to anyone so I don’t lose any friends or other valuable relationships.

For some of us, feeling good is closely related to esthetics. I’m not just talking about clothes, although I will be in a minute, but in everything. A beautiful garden, a romantic dinner, something about a really clean, nice smelling bathroom (anyone? no?), and yes, clothes.

So what do I do when I just don’t feel like working out, even though I know my body is telling me to? I surround myself with things that make me feel amazing. And here goes:

How to look forward to your workout:

  1. Create an ambiance

IMG_5838

I am very, very sensitive to smells. Bad smells cause my stomach to turn and I literally run for the hills. On the other hand, amazing smells take me away to another place. If I close my eyes and smell coconuts and sea salt I can almost taste the ocean spray on my tongue. Having pleasant smells filling the air and something about the serene flickering light of the candles is so calming.

If you are not uber-sensitive to smells like me create an ambiance that speaks to your senses. If you like working out in front of a mirror, make it happen. If music is your thing spend some time making a playlist that exactly fits your mood in that moment. Make your space beautiful for you.

 

2. Choose your workout zone

Don’t just throw your mat down wherever as you try to get through your workout as fast as possible without thinking about it. You will probably have a terrible workout, and you will remember that terrible workout the next time you reach for your mat. Setting yourself up for a random, kind of crappy workout creates a mental habit of association. We want to remember our workouts as highlights of our day, not random, distracting, can’t-wait-for-it-to-be-over parts of our routine.

Make sure your space is clean and exactly where you want it to be. You choose where your workout is going to be, not the other way around! Check out my post on cleaning, particularly if you have a hairy pet.

 

  3. Pick your outfit!

Some of us feel great when we look great. I for one, love looking put together and sophisticated. This goes for work, errands, happy hour, and FITNESS.

I am guilty of occasionally working out in my pajamas. It’s so much easier than scrunching tight spandex onto my tired morning-legs and squeezing my head through a sports bra. And then every 5 minutes of my workout I have to stop and adjust my Soffe shorts (they ride up..) or pull my over sized T-shirt off my face so I can see. Now I’m just left feeling silly that I thought I’d saved that two minutes prior to working out not getting dressed, as I have now wasted a total of 15 addressing my baggy shirt.

So get dressed, and wear something you love. Don’t sacrifice a great workout because you are bothered by something as silly as your clothes. Bad workout clothes can make a workout SO BAD, and good ones can make it SO GOOD. When you don’t have to worry about falling out of your top or uncomfortable elastic you can focus 100% on your workout. Wear something you look amazing in and every time you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror will be a tiny accomplishment.

 

What do you think? Are you guilty of hurrying through a random workout in your pajamas? Does setting your stage help you as much as it helps me?

 

❤ Cammy

 

 

 

 

 

Having a Fitness Obsession

Good morning Fitness Gurus,

 

I wrote yesterday about setting Tiny Goals  and how they help me accomplish bigger goals in the long-term. I find that smaller goals set you up for success as they are less intimidating and easier to accomplish, yet still give you that feeling of success once reached. Smaller goals help you stay on track without falling off due to feelings desperation that you will never reach your larger, more intimidating goals.

I love that within the blogging community you run across posts of like-minded individuals; I am learning as I become more fluid with the whole ‘blogging’ thing that it is very inspiring to read posts on similar topics.

One post I read this morning really resonated with me; Straight Talking Fitness, on how to never become obsessed with the gym.  In the past I have  been borderline obsessed with not only the gym but taking a healthy lifestyle to the extreme. Social time, time to enjoy life, time to just be spontaneous, these things are not available to someone who is focused on nothing more than achieving a fitness goal. The maintenance of such a strict fitness and diet/health lifestyle allows for none of the other joys in life.

 

I’m feeling obliged to add a disclaimer; this post doesn’t really apply to people who have a career in fitness, e.g. professional body builders, fitness competitors, professional wrestlers, etc… Fitness in these cases falls in the ‘career’ category, I would imagine. 

 

And now…

If you have read any of my other posts you may start to notice that I have a small obsession with finding balance in everything. 

 

Finding balance in life is the hardest goal I have ever set for myself. 

 

It is so easy to fall off track, and in opposition to this, so easy to build a routine that becomes an addiction. Fear of breaking this routine can cause obsessive behavior; “I had better work out harder today and eat cleaner because who knows what will happen tomorrow.”

Albeit these are extreme situations where a lifestyle can really overwhelm your entire being. I believe that it is important to imagine things to this extreme! One day you may look at yourself and be shocked at what you see.

These habits sneak up on you and as they become more engrained in your being they become harder to break.

So how do you maintain a fitness regimen without it affecting the quality of your life or becoming an obsession?

I am sure that many people who have been members of the fitness world for longer than myself have many ways to find balance. For me, I learned to stop counting.

Working out four, five, six days a week, is a great way to set a goal for yourself when you are just starting to workout. However weeks are relative, as are days (as is time…) Once you understand what working out so many times a week feels like, why not ditch the numbers?

I have no idea how many times I worked out last week. I know that I worked out yesterday, I know that I worked out the day before, and If I’m tired tomorrow I might just  take a long walk in the evening or do some gardening. If I’m still going strong tomorrow I’ll work out again and continue taking it day by day. Fitness is just a part of my daily life but it does not supersede other aspects of my life that I believe are important.

My family is important, having a nice garden and a clean home are important. Going to happy hour with a girlfriend, or perhaps my sister is important, and guess what? If I don’t work out because of one of these things, there is always tomorrow.

But how to we find the line? How important does another activity have to be to sacrifice a workout? 

How about you? Do you find it as challenging as I to find balance within your fitness routine? How strict can you be with yourself before you look at yourself and say “have I gone too far?”

 

❤ Cammy

 

 

 

Tiny goals, Tiny wins

I started this post a while ago and I was inspired to continue with it because of a series of blogs and articles I have been discovering on the WWW.

It seems to be a trend, and one that I can personally relate to, that we sometimes give up on our fitness and diet goals because we set the bar too high.

For example, working out 6 days a week is just simply unrealistic for many people. For myself, I tend to stick around four or five workouts a week. Pushing myself to workout six days a week is exhausting and my body simply needs a break. Recuperation is just as important as exercise; the two should go hand in hand. Tired muscles cannot perform correctly which leads to injury (check out my post on injury). Furthermore if you really really hate cardio, deciding to adhere to the popular cardio-lore of 30 minutes a day is just torture. Why not start with one or two? You might surprise yourself when you start looking forward to your cardio sessions…

Another example; eating only foods that fall into the ‘green zone,’ or ‘ridiculously healthy’ zone (think 0-point foods on weight watchers) is not maintainable, really for anyone. We can go on extreme diets and maybe they last three days, a week, even several years in extreme cases. But we all relapse because our bodies love balance. Giving yourself a little of what you really want is actually healthier than constant deprivation, believe it or not…

 

Diet and exercise is only maintainable if you make it your goal to commit to a healthy lifestyle. 

 

A healthy lifestyle is what I believe dieters and those just starting off in fitness are reaching for, however we get confused by all of these ‘do-it-fast!’ fads we are exposed to. The problem is literally written in the title. This lifestyle doesn’t happen fast, as a matter of fact it doesn’t really ‘happen.’ A healthy lifestyle evolves from setting tiny goals for yourself everyday, reaching them and triumphing in the achievement. Ten tiny goals later you have achieved one larger, much more attainable, goal.

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Changing who you are is not a realistic goal. It should not really even be a goal. For someone who just really can’t go a day without that nice wrap-it-up-late-night bowl of ice cream, omitting it is simply not fun and it’s not fair! So don’t. Think instead about maybe cutting down the portion size, skipping a night here and there, and focussing on other healthier adjustments you can make to your daily routine without getting rid of what really makes a happy you.

It’s a goal, it’s a small goal, and it’s not a goal you can’t wait to reach just so you can go back to the way things were. Moving forward is always the goal. When you take a HUGE PAINFUL leap to reach something crazy only to fall right back, have you actually accomplished anything?

 

The slower your pace, the further you will go.

 

Hmm…Turtle and the Hare anyone?

 

I can tell you that failing to reach a huge goal is a terrible feeling for me. Juxtaposed with the feeling of elation after accomplishing a little tiny one, I know which way I’m going.

 

What about you? Ever feel ecstatically happy after accomplishing something trivial?

 

❤ Cammy

Lavanda Michelle

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