Whatever It Takes

Let’s face it – things get busy and difficult sometimes. Life is the thing that gets in the way of many dreams and goals. At the end of the day, it takes a lot of determination to keep pushing toward something when you’re tired. There’s plenty of advice about how to plan your day and achieve success.

I’m not going to argue with any of those tactics. In fact, I’m going to say whatever it takes to get you up and moving is the thing you need in your life – no matter how silly you may think it is.

Case in point: I’ve been struggling with a little boredom when it comes to my exercise routine. My shoulder is injured, so I’ve been concentrating on lower body work. It gets kind of boring. The other day, I was looking at some of my old playlists and found a gem I’d forgotten about… it was my funkadelic list and I thought I’d give it a try since it has been literally years since I’ve listened to it. Boy, am I glad I did. I know why I made that list because it makes me want to move. I love it! I know it’s cheesy and the music is really outdated but… I don’t care. It works for me.

So the takeaway today is to find something that makes you want to move. Find something that inspires you and cling to it. Hold on to it with delight and let yourself get lost in it. Let it make you feel good and forget about the world.

The body you want is easier to work for when you want to move – especially on those days you don’t feel like it.

So, let it rip! Here’s to Zapp, Brick, Wild Cherry, Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, Earth, Wind, and Fire and more for giving me music that makes me want to move.

If you have any songs that get you ready to move, I’d love to know what they are.

 

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The Smell of Success

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Over the years, it’s worked out that I have one main t-shirt I wear when exercising. This particular shirt is my favorite to wear because it’s loose and thin. It’s also old. And it stinks. It might smell good after a wash but there’s always an underlying odor that I smell almost every time I wear it. No matter what.

I’m not too worried about it. I only wear the shirt when I’m working out, so basically no one else sees it – or smells it. But I’ve come to realize the shirt and it’s body odor mean something to me. When I’m taking it off and it’s sweaty and stinky, I know I’ve done something good. That stink is my fat and I’d rather have it on my shirt than on my body. It is the smell of success. I’ve come to not really enjoy that smell but, rather, appreciate it.

Then, there’s the case of my shoes, which have seen better days. They probably stink, too, but I’m not going to get too close to find out!

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It’s all good because these things show that I’m working and improving and I hope you are, too.

If you have any items that demonstrate your efforts and you’d like to share what they are, I’d love to hear about them.

Till next time, be proud of your sweat!

 

Progress

One of the most amazing things about the human body is its ability to adapt. The first few days of any new kind of exercise will leave yo feeling sore and defeated but, if you persist, you’ll find with every day, some progress.

The 30-day Shred is difficult for many reasons. It’s a lot of getting up and down and, if you’re not used to that, it can be really hard. If you have a belly, it might get in the way of getting on the floor and back up again. However, if you continue to pursue, you’ll find that after about the first week, things begin to change.

The first few days of any new regimen is simply surviving. You may feel like you’re getting your butt kicked and the best you can do is go through the motions. It is tough, no doubt. The following days might be filled with dread but you will notice small changes that bring encouragement.

For example, you may notice that you can lift your feet higher on butt-kicks or that you can do 30 seconds of jumping jacks without stopping to breathe. You might also notice that you can get down on the floor a little bit quicker and you can get up without as much effort. You might also notice you aren’t breathing as heavy as you were a week ago.

It’s all part of the process and, if you follow through, change will come – maybe even quicker than you think… the trick do staying committed during the early stages of any exercise routine is noticing how your body adapts in the smallest of ways. Give yourself kudos when you can do one more push up or a few more lunges – these small changes are significant because it’s your body telling you, “I can do this!”

Believe it.

The Power of the Plank

Many people think crunches and sit ups are the only way to tone your abs. This is isn’t true.

Plank exercises are far more beneficial than you might think because they work an incredible amount of muscles. Planks are isometric movements, which means they maintain stability in core muscles. Simply holding a plank for 30 seconds will demonstrate just how powerful these exercises are. Believe me, if you hold a plank this long, you will feel it. Everywhere.

Planks engage your back and transverse ab muscles, along with your shoulder muscles to hold up your body weight. These exercises are no joke and while it’s not funny to do them, it is awesome to feel the strength you get from them.

But that’s not all. Planks also help improve balance, especially if you advance enough to do arm rows and leg lifts while doing planks. Planks also are less likely to cause back pain, unlike traditional crunches and sit ups. Planks strengthen your core and while this terminology is bandied about often, it is good to have a strong core. Why? Because you get stronger. Stronger is better.  When you keep at it, planks will give you a solid core and that will make you love your abs.

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When doing a plank, remember to keep your pelvis neutral; don’t raise your butt too high or let it fall too low. Don’t let your chest fall; your shoulders should feel tight when in a plank position. As with any exercise, improper form can lead to pain and that’s not never good.

Challenge yourself. If you’re ready to work on that diy tummy tuck (which we all know, you are), try plank variations. Plank jacks are jumping jacks in the plank position and mountain climbers are the result of bringing one knee in at a time and alternationg a s quickly as possible. Side planks are exactly what they sound like – a plank on your side. They’re tough but they’re worth every second because they target obliques, which will give you a solid core.

Don’t wuss out; do the planks. Go do one now and tell me how it felt.

 

 

Photos: courtesy of Jaykayfit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plank.jpg