Tag Archives: gym

Give Working Out A(nother) Chance

gym

I was 22 when I got my first gym membership.
This was post college. I had just moved to Nashville where the currency is biscuits and butter. My new roommate had just lost 80 pounds by exercising and switching her diet (translate: cutting out teenage overindulgences on pizza, burgers and anything you can heat up in a microwave) and I decided maybe I would give it a try too. She looked happy and she was an ordinary person!

But maybe you’re like me. I had long avoided the gym for a lot of reasons.
I was self conscious. I had no idea what half of the equipment did or how it worked.
I had been disappointed by a lack of results in the past.
I realized that the hard part wasn’t just the workout. For me, it was just as tough getting through the front door because of all the baggage I carried about my body, the perception of others, a myriad of things.

But I went. And these were some of the things I learned from experience and from my fellow gym goers: Continue reading

The Importance of “Keep Trying”

keep trying
This is definitely not me, but let’s pretend anyway.

Six months ago I spent half of my savings on a gym membership and a personal trainer at the gym down the street from my apartment. It was supposed to be a three month membership only because I had this Groupon, but I’m a sucker and they brought their whole sales team out. Next thing I know I was handing over my debit card, feeling convinced that I was finally making the right positive change in my life. I was also under the delusion that if I lost the right amount of weight that I could potentially replace Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane in the next installment of Spider-man (and basically my entire life would be a fantasy). I woke up the next morning having a full fledged panic attack. If you’re not aware, six months of personal training is expensive. Like thousands of dollars expensive and while I love my job, being a wellness blog editor does not really afford such luxuries. When I called the gym to cancel they informed me that they don’t do refunds on personal training unless you get hit by a bus or something. This is not a fact they mentioned the night before, or else I’d like to believe I wouldn’t have been so willing to just hand over the cash.

The point is I paid for this trainer. And now it’d be my job to make it worth it.

Yesterday was my last session. I have lost a total of five pounds. It’s not my trainer’s fault really – or at all even. The thing is that even though you’re paying someone all that money to help you get in shape the job is still yours. So you can pay someone to tell you how many reps to do twice a week but if you go home and eat an entire bag of Sour Cream and Onion chips – you’re only screwing over yourself. This is not to discredit the work of personal trainers. Their enthusiasm and guidance are invaluable, but they can’t lose the weight for you and if you’re not in the mindset to do it then all the wisdom in the world isn’t going to get you there. I can make a lot of excuses about why I didn’t lose more – I was depressed, I was juggling too much, there were scheduling problems, I couldn’t get a regular routine – but at the end of the day I just didn’t do it. 

It’s hard not to feel like a failure with something like that. It’s not like I didn’t want it, you know? I’ve been chubby to obese my entire life and for once I wanted to know what it felt like to try on pants at Old Navy without having to go to the maternity or plus sizes section. I wanted to know what it felt like to go shopping with my friends and not want to curl up in a fetal position thirty minutes in because none of the clothes I want come in my size or look right. This was the perfect opportunity to get there and I didn’t make the most of it. I’ve been beating myself up about it for weeks as I knew I was running out of sessions.

It came even more acutely at the end of the session yesterday. I had made it through warming up, backward bench presses, arm curls, rowing, twenty minutes of boxing and ab exercises (Okay, so how much did I have to gorge to only lose five pounds doing all that? I KNOW.) But to finish it off my trainer wanted to do these push up exercises. You start on your elbows and then push up into regular push up position. Then rotate back down onto your elbows, repeat. On top of being a chubber I also have basically no upper body strength. So I got onto my elbows and could barely hold myself up. I tried to get up on my hands and every time I did I would collapse onto my front. My trainer kept trying to encourage me, but it happened two or three times and the frustration really set in. Really? I know I didn’t lose the weight but I really can’t do a few push ups on my last session? Universe kick a girl while she’s down why don’t you? So I started crying. Now I’m just collapsing onto my still larger than doctor recommended belly in a boxing ring that is literally in the center of the gym, with tears streaming down my face as I explain to my exasperated trainer “I can’t! I keep trying and I can’t! *falls* DAMNIT!”

But I kept going. Even when Darlene told me that I had basically done the 10 I needed to do, I knew I hadn’t done a full one. So tears, chub and all I kept pushing myself up and falling until I got up on my elbows, rotated my hands, pushed up, and down on my elbows again before collapsing to the ground. “I killed your arms today,” Darlene tried to explain, “Don’t beat yourself up because you couldn’t do this. It’s more important that you kept trying. It’s only once we lose that, that we have a problem.”

I have only lost five pounds. And all of the excuses – holidays, work, family drama, etc were killing my arms. The important thing is to keep lifting yourself up. Keep trying to do the push up. Maybe you never get to do it or it takes 5 times as long as you expected it to. The important thing is you keep at it because it’s only once you give up that any of it becomes impossible. I’ll be seeing you eventually, Old Navy.

photo by: mikebaird

Get Pumped with Our Workout Playlist with Tara Stiles

playlistWhat are your essential items you have with you when working out? We can bet that for most of you an iPod or some sort of music ranks in the top 3 things you need to get you up and ready to burn calories. Music is a really great way to get you moving and motivated. That’s why Tara Stiles always incorporates music into her Strala Yoga and teaching sessions – to keep things loose and energized.

Do you have a song that always gets you pumped up? Maybe a dance number that makes you jog a little faster on the treadmill? There are a lot of people that like to choreograph their yoga routines to peaceful music – or if you’re like Tara a little hip-hop couldn’t hurt either. We wanted to spring things up a bit this week, get everyone moving, so we made a workout playlist of our own. Check out the individual tracks below or favorite the entire playlist by clicking here.

PLAYLIST:

1) Pharell – “Happy”  *- If this Oscar nominated jam from “Despicable Me 2” is enough to make Lupita Nyong’o and Meryl Streep shimmy then it is good enough to get us up and moving too.

2) Classified – “Inner Ninja”*- This song makes us feel badass because who doesn’t love getting in touch with their ninja? (Everyone has one)

3) Aloe Blacc – “Love is the Answer”*- You know that unmistakable voice from “Wake Me Up” that won’t leave you alone every time you turn on the car radio? Well check out Aloe Blacc away from the DJ’s and get stirred again.

4) Quad City DJ’s “Space Jam” – In the wise words of Kid President, “What if Michael Jordan had never made Space Jam? And I looooooove Space Jam.” Part of the reason “Space Jam” is so great is because of the killer soundtrack. If this song can motivate a bunch of Looney Tunes to defeat evil aliens bent on enslaving them to an eternity of outer space amusement work then it can definitely push us to do a few more crunches. Plus it’s just the most fun song ever.

5) Taylor Swift – “22” – What is a workout playlist without a guilty pleasure song? And there is no greater guilty pleasure than the country queen of break-up songs herself. To be fair we added one of the only songs not about one of her exes, so let us have this one.

6) Jay-Z – “Run This Town” feat. Rihanna and Kanye West – If your preferred mood while working out is to feel like a boss then this is the song for you. It’s got a good beat and you can show everyone who’s in charge – just try to resist the urge to belt out Rihanna’s soprano verses in case you startle someone.

7) Keri Hilson – “Pretty Girl Rock” – There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning the fact you look fabulous, even in yoga pants and a raggedy t-shirt. This goes for you guys too. Have a little confidence when you’re stepping it out and this is the song to give it to you.

8) Maroon 5 “Moves Like Jagger” feat. Christina Aguilera – It’s possible that the radio also ruined this song for everyone forever – but when you’re trying to face that stair machine there are few jams like this one to make you feel light enough to get up there. Mick Jagger was one of the original kings of swagger so there’s no harm in borrowing a few of his “moves” if you need it.

9) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “White Walls” feat. Schoolboy Q and Hollis – If there’s one thing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis know how to do it is to make catchy songs. However, the chorus of “White Walls” is what makes this a stand-out hit for us and a necessary addition to the playlist.

10) Justin Timberlake – “Sexy back” feat. Timbaland – Did you think that a playlist could be complete without a touch of JTimbs? Of course not! There were so many good songs to pick from his catalog but this one is a classic – and the theme of this playlist is definitely songs that make you feel awesome and fabulous.

(* = Tara Stiles recommendations)

Want to see all the songs in order? Just press play below!

4 Reasons to Find a Great Work Out Partner

work out partnerWe know that motivating yourself to get out there and work out can be tough. So don’t do it alone! One of the greatest assets you can have is a great work out partner who pushes you to reach your own goals and doesn’t let you give up when you’re having a rough time. It can be a tough road to making a healthier lifestyle change, but when you have the right person beside you it can make all the difference. Follow these tips to create a successful work out partnership.

1. Choosing the Right Partner – The most important quality in a work out partner is that they are reliable. If you agree to go out or meet at the gym at a certain time you want to make sure they will be there. This also means that you have to be equally accountable to them. There are going to be days when neither of you want to get out there, but you have to push yourselves to do it! Having a reliable partner will remind you of your important goals when you want to give up. You have to be willing to be there for them in the same way.

2. Partners Help Create Variety – Having a partner in crime when you’re working out also helps to keep you from falling into a boring routine. When you’re working out with someone else you can trade ideas and create new routines that are interesting and challenging for both of you.

3. Compete but Don’t Compare – The other type of motivation a partner brings to your work out naturally is competition. Who can run a little father? Maybe do a few more push ups? Perhaps you can make your warrior-2 pose more aligned. Having someone there to push you a bit further is a great way to get yourself to do more than you thought you could.

However, it’s important to remember that everyone has a different body type that burns fat and changes in different ways. So while you and your partner may compete in healthy ways, don’t compare weight goals or size. Comparing yourself to someone else in that way will only lead to disaster. Everyone’s lifestyle goals should be independent and created on their own body type and hopes.

4. The Strength in Numbers – Are you one of those really social types? No one said you had to stick to just one partner! Mallika herself has written about the great support of having a group of people that hold you accountable. Start a walking group with people at your office or take a fitness class. The people there already share an interest and you can band together to make your work outs even more effective!

Why Wait: Setting Realistic Intents for 2014 to Increase Your Success

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As December draws to a close people begin looking towards the year ahead and making their resolutions. At Intent, we encourage people to think a little deeper, to set their goals based on the desires of their soul. As you are creating your list of intents for 2014 there are several things to consider. Often times people set goals that are unrealistic and when they realize that they won’t be able to reach that expectation they give up entirely. Don’t let that happen to you,especially if you are setting intents related to your health and fitness. Create goals that challenge you, but that you know you can reach so that it motivates you to keep going.

To help you start off 2014 in a healthier way, and maintain that change throughout the year, we talked to our friends at Sports Club/LA on how to set Intents that are realistic for your personality and lifestyle to help you create permanent change. Follow these tips when making your 2014 New Year Intent lists.

  1. Avoid Specific Numbers and Go for Overall Change – The most popular “resolution” on lists this year will be “Lose x amount of pounds.” Stop right there. There have been several studies that show your weight number does not necessarily correlate to your overall health, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. If you start playing a numbers game then you already set yourself up for unnecessary pressure. Instead create an intent similar to “I intend to create a healthier lifestyle for myself.” It’s more general, but it leads to more lasting change. It means not only are you going to work out, but take into account your nutrition and spiritual health as well. When you begin to think broader about your overall health, you don’t tie yourself to a treadmill trying to sweat it out into a new pair of jeans. You begin making small changes in several aspects of your life to make you a happier person in general. Challenge yourself to think deeper, not heavier.
  2. Choose Smarter Nutrition Over Fad Diets – Your eating habits can account for up to 80% of your overall weight loss, so beginning to change your nutrition needs to be taken seriously. If you start automatically on January 1 (or tomorrow) on a fad diet that cuts out all of the foods that you’ve been used to eating, you won’t last very long. Instead it is about baby steps and making small, gradual changes so that you build making healthy choices into your routine instead of something you torture yourself to do for a few weeks – because then the results will be temporary as well. Look at improving your nutrition for good as your gateway to a healthier you! “What we choose to put in our mouth is the most intimate experience we’ll have, therefore it’s important that food be looked at with the intent of supporting and nourishing the body,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood. “Foods that the body recognizes, i.e. fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and some grains should round out a person’s diet in moderate portion sizes. Weight loss is then just side effect of a truly nourished body. “
  3. Plan Challenging Routines that Don’t Ever Extend Yourself – The likelihood of you being able to go from couch to a 7-days a week work out regimen and sustain it is very unlikely. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead set a more realistic goal of 2-3 days a week to begin. This way if something comes up and you can’t make it one day you are still getting in a regular routine. Or start a regular class to get your feet wet – some place that will hold you accountable without overwhelming your schedule. As Karen also explains, creating a life change is about baby steps. “To make a complete life-change, taking baby steps and “leaning” into a new way of being is key. This enables us to pave a new foundation and build from there. It must begin with nutrition, and include an active life-style with focus on self care, rest, and stress management. When all of these wheels are working in harmony, the body and its relationship to food and the outside world begins to make sustainable change.”

Look over your list of 2014 intents and check them with these tips. If your current intents feel too numbers based or too specific, take a minute to think deeper – why are you setting that intent? Why is that something you desire? When you can answer those questions,  that is your true intent and focusing on that more encompassing goal will be more fulfilling than checking off a simple box. Setting an overall intent can allow you to make smaller goals, to create a plan of baby steps to reach it. Realize that creating true change in your life takes time and don’t rush it – allow yourself the patience to get there at the pace that is right for you.

Have you started your 2014 Intent list? We’d love to hear them so share in the comments below!

Should a Marriage License Have an Expiration Date?

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 11.34.54 PMI was working out early morning in my local Life Fitness Club next to six guys (45-62 years-old) who were lifting weights before playing their regular competitive game of racquet ball. They forgot that I was in the room as I quietly did abdominal crunches and planks on the floor. Consequently, I overheard a conversation which made me sit up (forgive the pun) and pay attention as one of the guys, a cardiologist, said, “A marriage license should be valid for ten year-increments with the option of renewal just like a driver’s license.  And you know what will happen? The divorce rate will plummet.”

Another member of the posse, a dermatologist, was asked for his opinion and he confessed that he did not have one as he never spoke about relationship matters because his words might get back to his wife. Another guy, a venture capitalist, asserted if a marriage license could expire, then nobody would stay married. The local wedding caterer asked what the economic formula would be if the marriage was not renewed and what would happen to the children?

To their surprise I interrupted, “I think marriages will be better than ever! Around the 8th or 9th year married people will try harder, even campaign to hold on to their spouse for another ten years. The romance would rev up.” The proponent of the idea did not agree with me. He seemed eager to walk away from his 25 year relationship – if he could.

The parallels between getting a marriage and driver’s license:

  • You need an eye “I” exam- a certain level of good vision to see signs and changes down the road. Do you really see your spouse, the person in front of you, even though you finish their sentences and interrupt?
  • You must bring proof of identity. Do you know who you really are and where you are going? What do you do to support your authentic self?
  • Are you always in the driver’s seat, a passenger, or a bit of both?
  • You need your social security number; in other words, are you secure socially to go it alone or do you want your sidekick?

Couples can either grow together or apart; some of us go through the motions of living together, stuck in a marriage with a spouse who has become a stranger. Others experience life with a loving team mate, feeling happier and healthier. If you knew your marriage license was up for renewal, what would you do differently? What would you want the license to do?

The Secret to Sex Appeal

Selling sex appeal is a billion dollar industry. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with sensory stimulation that insists how buying a certain outfit, a pair of shoes, a brand name perfume, handbags, prohibitively expensive cars, underwear, accessories even a certain pair of socks will make us ooze sex appeal.  Just the thing we need to spruce up our otherwise banal existences.

Billboards are getting exceedingly edgier, not to mention television advertisements in which models adorn high-end luxury cars, sending subliminal messages suggesting that the man who purchases this car will now be armed with the adequate sex appeal to attract copious leggy models. Recently I came across an advertisement doing the rounds on the internet, of a model biting hungrily into a juicy burger as mayonnaise drips down the corners of her mouth. It makes you think, who needs the hassle of a relationship when you can have a burger that apparently provides all the sexiness, without the drama?

Have we not become overburdened with such images? Everything guarantees sex appeal and lots of attention, even a dishwasher! So pervasive are these images that once too often we have noticed the poor dear on the street that donned the latest ‘sexy trend’ only to do him or herself the gravest injustice. Sexy is neither the fabric nor the tailoring, if you don’t’ have what it takes to carry it. But the persuasive advertisements will have you convinced otherwise. They will direct you to what ‘they’ think, (“they’ who have no clue of your individuality) what you should wear and how you should look. The dirty secret ‘they’ don’t tell you is how sex appeal, like many other qualities cannot be bought at the mall because it is not sewn into the fabric of the merchandise they are trying to sell you.

It is not such a rare occurrence to come across a uniquely attractive face, that does not hold up to the standard, air-brushed images splashed across magazine covers, and yet has a certain je ne sais quoi? We know it wasn’t the clothes or the shoes, it was unmistakably a deeper element ensconced within the personality, which ever so casually oozed out of every pore of that person’s being. You look carefully and see the facial features are not quite the standard idea of beauty, despite that, the whole persona is redolent with sex appeal.

When you don’t have to buy the hottest trends, the most expensive clothing or jewellery and get your hair and make up done by a professional each time you want to be ‘seen’, and yet, you exude an appeal that makes one hunger for just another look; that is what is sexy in the truest sense. We have all too often spotted women baring it (almost) all and looked on with dismissive amusement, while none can deny being totally taken by the vision of a confident woman who’s engaging and beautiful smile had our eyes follow her halfway across the block. There is an allure, a certain mystery that sets her apart. Baring it all will attract attention, for a definitive period of time and not always the kind one seeks, whereas floating with that inner confidence and feminine presence will always invoke lasting admiration.

Sex appeal is not a product that can be purchased over-the-counter, it is a state of mind, an inner state of being. It has nothing to do with the act of sex itself. It is not to be found in your closet, in what you wear, it is inside your head. Some women and men can look incredulously sexy hailing a cab, or stirring coffee in the kitchen or watering plants.

That is because sex appeal has more to do with self-esteem and confidence than with low necklines and high skirts. Not the kind of self-assuredness that comes across as hubris, but the kind that is at peace with its strengths and its flaws.

This holds true for men too — not all men who have toiled in the gym for the buffest body will ooze it. They may warrant a head turn or two; but we have also seen men who have a certain presence, an inner confidence as they walk into a room, again, that certain je ne sais quoi. That is the kind of sexy that lingers on in the mind, inviting curiosity and interest.

Confidence and self-esteem are qualities one is hard pressed to find in abundance in both genders. So when we see it, we instantly recognize it, it always makes the individual stand apart. It’s hard to put one’s finger on what it is exactly, but suffice to say people who have worked to conquer their inadequacies and made peace with themselves are the one’s who have that evanescent appeal.

Sex appeal comes from having the confidence to not just play up one’s qualities and revel in them, but to embrace one’s imperfections too. So its not as simple as putting on a sexy outfit, because on closer look anyone will notice that there is little else beyond the outfit. It is being sexy in whatever you’re wearing or doing.

Originally published July 2009

photo by: Helga Weber

Today’s Intent: Prioritize Exercise

My intent today is to prioritize exercise in my life. 

Want to improve your life? One easy way to do this is to exercise more.

There are the obvious health benefits of exercise. You increase your energy level and have more stamina throughout the day. You boost your immune system and are less likely to get sick. You are less likely to get winded down during busy, hectic days. You improve your sleep quality. You greatly decrease your chances of illness and cancer. Oh, yes, and let’s not forget about all those excess pounds that conveniently slide off when you are regularly burning off those calories and belly fat.

And let’s not forget the mental benefits as well. When you work it, you get that awesome endorphine boost that helps ward off depression and bad moods. And what better way to boost your confidence than the self-knowledge that you can stick to a regular physical fitness routine? Not to mention the overall satisfaction of feeling good about what your body is capable of doing? 

Bottom line: you are missing out on a whole lot of life-awesome when you don’t exercise.

Check out these handy related articles on getting you started: 

INTENT 101: Get Fit

7 Fitness Classes That Are Fun, Fun, Fun! 

Neighborhood Fitness For Workout Flunkies

7 Roadblocks To Physical Fitness And 9 Steps To Overcome Them

No Frils Work-Out: 7 Ways To Get Fit With Little To No Equipment

Don’t Be A Gym Jerk: 11 Health Club Pet Peeves

Recently, I found myself racing around a posh health club—typically a peaceful place for me—annoyed.  Really miffed.  Possibly on the verge of going bat shit crazy… Over a jump rope.  I couldn’t find one, and this was irksome.  After all my holiday indulging, I was hoping my high intensity interval jump rope routine would be just the workout to incinerate a surplus of gingerbread cookies.

Jump ropes are pretty standard pieces of equipment for a gym—maybe the single, most standard; yet, they were nowhere to be found.  It was the health club equivalent of standing in line at Dunkin’ Donuts to be told they weren’t serving coffee that day.  I don’t even drink coffee, but I imagine this would make me peeved if I did.  I imagine it would make me want to climb over the counter and throw Munchkins at someone.

Then, I took a deep breath and my Rocky-without-a-rope moment spawned a brainstorm befitting the season.  On the cusp of the health club industry’s, um, heaviest time of year (I’m talking about increased membership sales, of course), I wondered which gym pet peeves evoke the most ire from OG readers.

I took a scientific poll, by emailing some experts.  Let’s call them my personal “brawn trust” of devoted coaches, athletes, gym rats, meatheads, and fitness fanatic friends.  Their input, along with my own thoughts, comprise this list of top gym pet peeves, also known as 11 Ways to Avoid Being a Gym Jerk in 2011.

11.  Sweat etiquette.

Hygiene ranked highest, with most people mentioning their abhorrence for those who don’t wipe down machines after use.  Lauren Hefez, an Equinox fitness instructor of the Zumba, Barre Burn, and dance variety, aptly put it, “Sweating all over a machine then not wiping it down . . . Blah.”

10.  Ring, ring, pick up the clue phone.

Talking, texting, or generally being more mesmerized by your mobile than attentive to your workout tends to tick off fellow gym goers.  What’s worse is when these cell phone infractions happen in the locker room.  Ditto computers.  True story: I once witnessed a woman power up her laptop in the locker room, while the rest of us were changing, showering, etc.  It’s not likely she was a voyeuristic creep catching us on video with her Photo Booth application, but let’s face it, stranger things have happened.  At the very least, being unable to “unplug” during a workout represents a disrespect for healthy boundaries, your own and those of the people around you.

9.  Ugly naked gal?

Weird locker rooms antics make people uncomfortable; both men and women made this clear.  Remember the sitcom Friends?  Remember Ugly Naked Guy, Monica and Rachael’s off-screen but oft-referenced neighbor who was always in the buff?  Jenn Welch, an uber athlete gal pal of mine from high school, who coaches women’s hockey, confided that a woman at her gym had a similar disdain for clothing and, thus, earned the nickname Ugly Naked Girl (the moniker being more an homage to Friends than a judgment of the woman’s appearance).  My friend made it clear she’s all for body confidence but assured me that this woman wasn’t simply an unabashed clothes changer.  Instead, she strolled and preened, brushed her teeth and blow dried her hair, and, even, applied mascara: naked.  Those nearby—fully clothed and applying their mascara, one presumes—didn’t find this real-life sitcom moment very comical.

8.  Everybody’s an expert.

A Division-1 all-American, NCAA Champion, former professional lacrosse player, and current Crossfit junkie, my friend Joe Yevoli shared, “I personally can’t stand when I have my head phones in, I’ve just finish a set of whatever exercise I’m doing, and someone comes up to me and starts telling me about some other variation of the exercise I’m currently doing that I might like.”  This seems more imposing than “Can I work in?,” which I also find off-putting.  Sure, you can work in.  In the midst of this monstrous gym, with all this equipment.  Of course it makes sense that you would need to share this adductor machine with me, right now, and, while you’re here, why don’t you advise me on how to use said adductor machine.  Because that’s not intrusive, at all.

7.  You’re so vain; I bet you think this post is about you.

From spending inordinate amounts of time primping before a workout, to wearing such elaborate workout apparel as to look like one is attending some kind of Nike prom, to grunting so loud that everyone in the vicinity must look at you at the exact moment you max out on the bench press . . . Vanity was among the more entertaining yet cringe worthy complaints shared.

6.  Spacial relations.

Observance of personal space is important, but it can also be a matter of safety at the gym. Another former professional lacrosse player, Crossfit fan, and triathlete “Om Bro” Reece Pacheco describes this as one of his pet peeves, “People who aren’t conscious of others’ lifting space (if I’m doing power cleans, then no, you shouldn’t walk right behind me—that goes for you, girl-who-works-at-the-gym!).”

5.  Sub-par staffers.

Any establishment is made or broken by its staff.  In general, health club staffers are helpful, cheerful, and energetic—perhaps due to the regular doses of endorphins they experience during exercise.  These people create bonds with members, which, in turn, make people feel more connected to their gym.  When people feel a connection to a place, they visit more often.  In the case of a gym, this directly and positively impacts one’s health.  Alternatively, unpleasant or aloof staffers and unhealthy role models (e.g. teachers and trainers) can subtly undermine our wellness goals.  I once attended a great, challenging, fun fitness class in which the teacher attempted to motivate us by telling us to get rid of “that disgusting fat behind our arms.”  Maybe this “tough love” approach works for some, but I think people are generally hard enough on their own bodies without others joining in.  Despite being a great workout, I never went back to the class.

4.  Can you hear me now?

Health clubs, like restaurants, spas, or yoga studios, have their own ambiance.  The right ambiance, even when simple and inexpensive, sets a mood, inspires positive associations, and creates good energy, with elements such as music, lighting, and décor.  Loud music, audible even through our own headphones, messes with our workout mojo.

3.  Broken/poorly kept equipment (and missing jump ropes).

For me this is one of the biggest bummers.  Nothing derails a workout like hopping on an elliptical that sounds like a jalopy in need of AAA roadside assistance or looking forward to skipping away the stir crazy of a recent blizzard only to find that all the jump ropes have gone AWOL.

2.  Teeny Towels.

This one needs no explanation.  We’ve all been there: You sweated.  You showered.  You’re standing in the shower stall, dripping wet, eyeing a towel the size of a cocktail napkin.  Now what?

1.  No shows.

Spoken like a true coach and apropos for the time of year, when asked for his top gym pet peeve, Jack Fultz, winner of the 1976 Boston Marathon, respected running coach of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Running Team, and motivational speaker simply said, “The people who don’t come.”

If you’ve experienced any of the these pet peeves or have your own to share, post a comment.  If your resolution includes “getting in shape” this year, you’re in good company!  It’s the most popular resolution made each year.  Have fun hitting the gym, and, perhaps, consider bringing your own (standard-sized) towel.

This is what I did at gym today

 took it easy today and did light aerobics, as I had very few calorie intake and also tomorrow being Diwali. 

The advantage of light aerobics is: less muscle loss.

This is what I enjoyed and meditated upon at gym today :

  • 25 minutes on treadmill –  slow and fast walking (no jogging)
  • 25 minutes on spin cycle – slow and fast with leisure
  • 15 minutes on cross trainer – slow with leisure
  • 5 minutes spot running
  • 10 minutes stretching
  • 150 various ab crunches and abs on parallel bar

 

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