One thing I love about exercise is that it is limitless.
I’ve often had clients say to me “I really want to lose weight, but I hate/can’t run.”
And it always somewhat baffles me that so many people are so unaware of how MANY different activities there are out there that can challenge your body and result in weight loss and strength gain.
I like to think of the gym as a giant craft box. You know, the kind your mom had when you were little. If you were lucky, she’d break it out on a rainy day and let you have free reign of the contents. The possibilities were endless, if only you used a little enthusiasm and imagination (and of course, glitter and a glue stick). The gym is the same. With a little thought and variety, you an achieve your goals without ever succumbing to treadmill boredom.
There are five specific components you want to target with your overall fitness routine:
* Cardiorespiratory (CR) endurance (cardiovascular fitness)- the efficiency with which the body delivers oxygen and nutrients needed for muscular activity and transports waste products from the cells.
* Muscular strength – the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort.
* Muscular endurance – the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated movements with a sub-maximal force for extended periods of times.
* Flexibility – the ability to move the joints or any group of joints through an entire, normal range of motion.
* Body composition – the percentage of body fat a person has in comparison to his or her total body mass.
And these components can be achieved in numerous ways.
NOT just by running. (In fact, all of my runner friends, you are cheating yourself if *ALL* you do is run!)
Point being, without going into an exercise physiology lesson, fitness should be FUN. OK, sometimes, when you are sucking wind, and the lactic acid is causing your muscles to scream in fatigue, well, that’s not always every one’s idea of “fun”. But you catch my drift.
The past few weeks at the gym I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone and keeping my fitness FUN by trying new things. There are standard exercises that I’ve always shied away from, like a bench press. I’ve worked in gyms for a while now, and I can probably count on both hands how many times I’ve seen females on the bench. The guys are always fighting for bench space, but the girls seem to avoid it like the plague. And why is that? I’m sure there are numerous reasons. It’s heavy (I mean, the bar without any weights on it is still 45 lbs), and we are typically weaker in the upper body. I’m just calling it like it genetically is. It’s heavy, you typically need someone to spot you, it’s intimidating, let’s just go hop on an elliptical. Am I right?
And I’m guilty myself. Prior to about a month ago, the only time I’ve ever benched was for a one rep max test at school. I think I chickened out at like 55 lbs. But now, I’ve tried something new, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, my normal routine, and turns out, I’m having FUN. Each time I tackle the exercise, I find myself able to lift more and more weight. Yesterday, I did a pyramid working my way up to two sets of 6 reps of 85 lbs. I mean, sure, it’s not super heavy, but for a chick who at one time did a one rep MAX of 55 lbs, that’s a big deal. Seeing my accomplishments and improvements is fun in it’s own way.
I never imagined I’d love bench pressing. Guess you never know until you really give something a try.
Speaking of the fun gym box (be it CrossFit or the craft box reference, ha) here’s something new for you to try:
Push your limits. TRY new things. Still hate it after a few attempts? Try something else.
Don’t over think it. Push your body, believe in yourself, and above all, have fun. GET AFTER IT!
Want to win an awesome #getafterit shirt from Reebok?
Post a comment below and tell me what you’ve done lately to #GETAFTERIT. Have you been waiting for some inspiration? Then post a comment telling me what you are going to tackle in the near future.
***Get FIVE entries if you make a video of you as you #getafterit and share it with us!***
I’ve got one grey men’s shirt and three women’s purple shirts up for grabs. Winners will be picked randomly by random.org on Monday Oct 22 and notified via a follow up blog post.