Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FIT FOR LIFE - Getting Back to Basics

Forget the expensive gym memberships. Or all the expensive equipment that eventually gets pushed out into the garage to collect dust. You can lose weight without spending a lot of money. Like I said in the "Beat the Bulge" post, the key to losing weight is CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. Meaning if you want to lose, or even maintain, you're gonna have to get moving.

People ask me all the time how I stay in such good shape. For those of you that know me, I'm not super skinny, I'm muscular. Another love/hate in my life. I can thank genetics partly for my lean, muscular build. But it's not all genetics - I do have to work for it. Eating healthy is one thing but breaking a sweat is another. The secrets to my success - sticking to the basics. We have far too many 'tools' on the market that claim to bring you amazing results. Susan Summer's Thigh Master. The Bender Ball. The Ab Rocket. Tony Little's Gazelle. The Push Up Pro. The Butt Blaster. NEWS FLASH - THEY ARE ALL CRAP!! You can be just as effective staying fit without all the extras.

Below is a list of Hailey's Must Do's to stay physically fit:

1) Do join a gym. Not an expensive one. All it needs is basic equipment. Nothing fancy. We are members of Ballys. Talk about ghetto. It has all the necessities without going overboard with all the fluff that you pay extra for and never use. I think we pay $24/month for a family membership and we don't pay anything extra for childcare. A clean and safe Kid's Club is a must. Most all gyms offer classes like Spinning, Boot Camp, etc. that make going to the gym more enjoyable if you need structure. Pick up a schedule, tape it to the inside of your cupboard and make them a priority. I even write them in my calendar so I have to plan around them. Maybe you already have a gym membership but like most, you find it intimidating. You see a big open room with confusing machinery, aggressive salespeople, hardcore exercisers, and beautiful people. Keep in mind - like anything, you do it once and it will be as easy as tying your shoes. And all those beautiful, fit people had to start somewhere. They too were once in your shoes. But this isn't about them, it's about you. Soon enough, you will be right there with them. I suggest blocking out an hour in your day 3 days per week to do 30 minutes of cardio (elliptical, treadmill, bicycle, stair climber) followed by 30 minutes of weight training. Cardio will zap the calories quickly but lifting weights will keep you burning calories throughout the day.

2) Start walking. There's no need to go gungho on a crazy, unsustainable cardio kick. I LOVE speed walking. Occasionally I'll add in a run/walk interval (walk for 2 min, run for 1 min) but for the most part I'm a walker. Everyone always assumes that I am a runner which goes to show that speed walking can be just as beneficial. I hate the treadmill though. I will walk 500 laps around a track or preferably miles outside before I will willingly jump on a treadmill. Even if you only have 20 minutes, lace up your shoes, turn on the tunes and get walking. Forget the track, just go a few times around the neighborhood or even walk to do an errand. Little bursts of exercise are just as beneficial as grinding it out for an hour. It helps if you can find a walking partner and set a time to meet. This will hold you more accountable to actually do it. A good rule of thumb is if you are walking 10,000 steps/day, you will maintain your weight. Now add eating healty to that, and you're bound to see pounds shed off. Again, little changes can go a long way. I encourage you to always take the stairs, park further away and aim to walk at least 3 times per week. 3) Stick to basic exercises. These can be done at the gym but the beauty is that they can all be done in the privacy of your home. I believe less is more. If you do these simple exercise really well, you'll see amazing physical change in your body. A few of my favorite "basics" are - lunges, squats, dumbbell curls, lateral shoulder raises, butt lifts, push-ups, dips, crunches, planks, leg raises, calf raises, and jumping rope. Do 3 sets of 15 each during tv commercials, right after waking up or before bed. The only equipment you need for any of these are a set of small dumbbells. But a can of soup could work too! :)

4) Try Plyometics. MY FAVORITE. These are still basic exercises with a challenging twist - JUMPING. I got hooked on Plyometics when I was a volleyball player some 14 years ago. Call me crazy but I still jump around our house. Dave will come into our bedroom wondering what the banging noise is only to find me jumping to touch the ceiling. It immediately gets my heart pumping and works my body is ways that the gym can't. Some of my favorite plyometic exercises are: alternating jumping lunges, jumping squats, skiier's hop, box jumping, zigzap hops, tuck jumps, lateral side jumps. If you are curious as to what the heck I am talking about - check out this link. There are animated exercises to get you started.

You may be thinking - what about Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, P90X, Kickboxing, etc? I have tried them all for fun but have never done them long enough to see results. I do know several women that swear by their results but my concern is that these classes are usually expensive and when the budget gets tight, these are usually the first things to get cut. Plus class times won't always work with your schedule therefore you aren't as apt to go on a regular basis. In the end, it all boils down to what's going to work for you??? Carve out some YOU time in your day and find something that's enjoyable and sustainable for your lifestyle.

If you have any questions or would like help developing a workout plan for your specific needs, please don't hesitate to email me @

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