Posted in Get Moving, Keep Going

Home Workout Plan – Resources to Make it Work for You

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.

For those of us who like our “alone time” exercise can be our only time to get away and have space.  Some of us hate to go to gyms.  Sometimes we like to exercise with someone but can’t seem to coordinate it.  A home workout plan for solo exercising can be really satisfying with planning, and a little help from technology.  Some kind of audio, video, or reminder can provide structure to what we do and when we do it, which can help keep us on track.

Here’s a collection of resources I’ve compiled for you, some free and some paid.  Some I have used and others I still want to try.

Streaming Video    streaming video fitness

In researching for this post, I couldn’t believe how many options are out there now! The variety is amazing and it includes things like: yoga, core strength, interval training, and you can focus on different body parts individually. If you are a cable subscriber, with the right plan you have workout videos right there on demand for no additional cost.

Without cable, you still have TONS of options.

Channels Just for Fitness

We have a Roku, and with most any streaming device, there are paid channels like Daily Burn, Booya Fitness and Sportskool, plus free channels, if you’re willing to put up with ads. Youtube also has a mind boggling selection of videos for free as well as some subscriber-only channels.

On Youtube, Popsugar Fitness offers free subscription where you get access to a huge collection of kick-butt workouts.  They have beginner workouts30-minute workouts, ab workouts, butt workouts, full-body workouts, and no-equipment cardio workouts. Someone could get all their workout needs met right there for free.  Pretty awesome.

Streaming Services

If you have Amazon and haven’t checked out the workout videos included, get over there RIGHT NOW. You’re already paying for it, so use it!  There is a huge variety there, from 21-Day Transformation, to HIIT at Home, Zumba, Pilates, and Beginner Fitness  to lower-impact activities like yoga.  There are lots of options for people with limited mobility too.

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, there’s a deal going on now to try the Prime Discounted Monthly Offering for 5.99/month to give it a try, it’s worth it just for the video access, but of course there’s more that comes with it!

Apps to Keep You Moving

fitness apps
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Keeping track of progress, either on paper or with a form of technology is part of staying on track.  It can make you get real with yourself, and you can see even the smallest amounts of

progress, which can be motivating!

Both the Apple and Android App stores have a huge variety of apps to keep you going.  When I was actively watching the “Walking Dead”, I got into “Zombies! Run!“.  You can do free scenarios or unlock all the workouts for a one-time fee.  It’s an entertaining way to keep you moving while hearing a story at the same time.  If you’re not into zombies, there are tons of other Couch to 5K programs that guide you through the gradual buildup with your own music in the background. 

My Fitness Pal has Map My Run, with GPS that keeps track of your run or bike ride, your distance, time, intensity and calorie burn.   Not only can keep track of your progress but log your food intake and set goals based on caloric needs, then share your progress with friends (who can keep you accountable!).  

A new app I just discovered and am in love with is Runkeeper.  You can use GPS or map out your regular route, and it calculates the distance for you.  It will keep you moving with verbal updates and you can tailor the plan to meet your own goals.  It has a community where you can add your friends, or just cheer on new friends.

These are a few examples of digital products that don’t necessarily guide you through a workout, but allow you to build up and monitor your progress for a daily small victory each time.  That right there is hugely motivating!   

Activity Trackers

Of course, if you have an activity tracker like Fitbit, there are the apps that pair with your device and give let you visually monitor your progress – that’s what did it for me last year.  I had a daily goal and “orbited” our powder room or went for a quick walk to top off my steps and reached my goal almost every day!

fitness apps
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The other Gold Standard of fitness trackers is of course, the Apple Watch.  I haven’t used one, but it looks like fitness tracker and wellness guru wrapped up in one with its meditation feature on top of the movement and heart rate tracking.

Of course there are LOTS of less expensive options  if you’re not looking for a Cadillac, but just want motivation to move.

Fitness Video Games

If you have a gaming system, you don’t have to use it just to sit on the couch and exercise your fingers.  You can really work up a sweat with some of the games that are out there.  I have a dirty little secret, I still use my Wii Fit. The plus to using a game system that’s a bit older is that you can get used copies of the games for great, great prices.  I have games from Nintendo and from EA Sports Active and can really get a great workout. There are set routines or  you can create  your own workout with the exercises you want.  Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is an option that focuses on using your own body weight for cardio and strength training, and man, do I work up a sweat with that one!  If you’re looking for an upper-body cardio workout, Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout is for you.  The series of Just Dance games are also fun and you can even do it with the kids.

I don’t have an XBox but there are tons of fitness games for that system too!  Getting active by yourself can be a real challenge, but we are lucky to live in this day and age with so many options out there to keep us going!

What do you use to stay motivated working out solo?

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Posted in Get Moving, Keep Going

Walk With Your Father

This Father’s Day is likely the last one with mine.  My dad has terminal cancer and Alzheimer’s, and he is very weak.  Why am I posting something like this on a website about exercise?  You only have a certain window of time to be active.  It may be a long window, but you can’t count on being able to get up and go forever.

When He’s Strong

Take advantage of his strength and vigor and be active with your father when you can.  Some of my fondest memories are with my dad when I was a young adult.  On days when we had  nothing in particular planned, we’d say “Let’s go for a walk”.  We’d walk in the neighborhood, or go to a state park.  We’d walk for 15 minutes, or an hour.  It never seemed long, though, since we had some of our best talks on those walks.

I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I know he was always being my cheerleader, sharing his views without being condescending, and sometimes, he shared exciting things he was doing as a volunteer in our town.  At the time, I never gave much thought to how precious those walks were.

Don’t Take it for Granted

Fast forward about ten years, and he began to slow down, a lot.  We soon learned he had bladder cancer, and he needed surgery on average 2-3 times per year.  That took such a toll on him physically and mentally. Jump ahead a few more years, and he is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – we suspected something was wrong for a long time, but by the time it was confirmed, he was so weakened from cancer that our walks were long gone.  I have no idea when we last went for a walk.  Our talks now, are very, very different.  He’s still my cheerleader and a huge supporter, but well, if you’ve ever known someone with Alzheimer’s, you probably know how our conversations sound.

When You’re Strong

I know this is about Dads, but sooner or later, you’ll be in his shoes.  When I have talked about my reasons for exercising, disease prevention is way up there, as is general quality of life.  I am an older mom, and I want to have those walks (or trampoline jumps, or whatever) with my daughter as long as I damn well can, and want to keep my mind in the best shape possible so I’m still the same mom mentally until my dying day.

Some days I figure “why am I bothering to take care of myself?”, but then I remember the stats.  Lifestyle is the BIGGEST contributing factor to these diseases.  I may have my own health issues to worry about now, but I have to imagine how I would be feeling if I weren’t taking care of myself.  I.CAN’T.STOP.

Do a favor for yourself and all your loved ones.  Get moving and don’t stop.  Don’t complain when your loved ones tell you to get moving.  They love  you and want you around.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Posted in Get Moving, Keep Going

Group Fitness – Making it Stick

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.

Group fitness classes are a great way to establish an exercise routine that’s fun.  It can also improve your fitness with regular attendance.  Here are some more benefits:

It’s Scheduled

Many of us have the best of intentions, but when it comes down to it, if we have to initiate exercise, we’ll say “later”.  The great thing about group fitness classes is that they’re scheduled.  Since you have to go when it’s on, it helps get you going when you otherwise might put it off.
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It’s Social (or not)

group fitness for maintaining exercise
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You can grab a friend and commit to going together, or you can meet new people.  It’s always nice to have someone to chuckle with when you’re learning how to do something new, or to just say hi to when you get there.  Often the same faces will show up regularly, so you can build a sense of camaraderie with other exercisers.  If you’re regular enough, people notice when you miss, which is nice.

You can also take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to do it with anyone and can just focus on the music, your form, or any other goals you’re working on.

Variety Abounds

Back in the day, it was “aerobics” classes, and not much else.  Now, there are so many options it’s hard to keep up with the new offerings that keep popping up.  You can go hard core with CrossFit, or keep a nice flow with yoga on the lawn.  Like dancing? Try Zumba.  How about focusing on strengthening your core?  Pilates is great for that.  Want to train with weights but want a group to do it with?  Lots of facilities offer group weight training.

Goals to Work Toward

Research shows making progress in some way increases self-efficacy (your sense that you can successfully accomplish something), which increases your likelihood of sticking with a routine.  With things like running, goals are usually pretty straightforward – distance and speed.  With group fitness, what do you work toward?

  • Attendance – Setting attendance goals without holding yourself to a performance standard is a great start.  Just.Show.Up.  It’s a real accomplishment when you are just starting out or are working around a busy schedule!
  • Heart Rate – How much effort does it take to reach your target heart rate for
    heart rate goals for fitness
    Heart Health Pulse Care Blood

    cardiac conditioning, fat burning, or athletic performance?  As you progress, you will notice it takes a little more oomph to get you there.  From there, shoot for keeping it in that range longer and longer.

  • Strength Measures – Many group classes incorporate hand weights or resistance bands in the routine.  Watching your progress by increasing the difficulty you can handle is very satisfying!  Also, what functional improvements are you noticing? Can you stand up from sitting on the floor more easily?  Is carrying groceries easier?

Group exercise can be found in just about every community, and can range from those in private fitness clubs to free of charge through local groups.  If you are someone that likes to have a schedule, people to chat with, and prefers regularity in your plan, give group fitness a try!

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Posted in Get Moving, Keep Going

How to Keep Working Out

You’ve started exercising – that’s awesome!  Do you know how to keep working out?

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?

This will take some trial and error – identify what you like to do, how you can easily measure progress, and discover what trips you up.

When you’re early in establishing physical activity in your life, it’s either:

Exhilarating, and you want to go full-force, so you set goals for yourself that are really intense, leading to quick burnout, or

A drag, and you keep thinking “I can’t” and give up quickly, or

No big deal, you are just squeezing more movement into your life and not much else has changed, and you eventually forget about it, or

Making you feel optimistic that you can do this, but you still have all your other priorities competing for your time and energy.

I’m sure there are many others, but you get the idea, the direction your thoughts go will dictate what happens next.  Let’s look at each scenario:

This Rocks! Wait… What Happened?

I’ve done this one so many times.  Something triggers me to get going, and I’m all in!  I’m thinking “My life is going to be this way from now on! I’m going to get in the best shape of my life before (insert event or milestone)“.  I workout hard for maybe five days in a week, get sweaty and sore, and think “I just have to figure out how to keep this up and I’ll be good.”

how to keep working out
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Next thing I know, reality sets in (again).  This seems to happen sooner each time, too.  One of the biggest problems with my approach has been that “I just have to figure it out” part. On what planet does an intentional, dramatic lifestyle change happen without a plan?  None that I’ve ever been to.  Does this mean I should plan the all-out pattern I started with?  Well, my family and other responsibilities would say “um, no”. Needless to say, this is not the recipe for how to keep working out.

Ugh, What Was I Thinking?

Starting to exercise when you really weren’t motivated, or with the wrong mindset usually leads to this thought, pretty fast.  This can happen when you started doing something that wasn’t enjoyable for you, you placed unreasonable expectations on yourself, or your mind and heart weren’t in it for the right reasons.

I have memories of joining a gym when I first moved to a new city, and probably went two or three times during my whole membership.  It turned out the drive to get there was a major hassle, and honestly, the facility’s offerings weren’t enough of what I needed to overcome that hassle. I  assumed I would use it regularly and maybe make some friends, but learned pretty quickly that isn’t very easy for introverts like myself.

In a previous life, I had gone to step aerobics classes and had a blast, so I kept going back.  I needed to remember that lesson.  So, I made two rules for myself after this experience in the new city:  If I’m going to join a gym, the drive there needs to be reasonable.  Also, I need to enjoy the facility.  If the equipment isn’t what I like to use, and if there are no group exercise classes, I simply won’t like going – so I shouldn’t waste my money and create frustration for myself.

I also need to keep my reason for exercising clear.  The times it’s been simply “I need to lose weight and look good” and expecting it to start working right away have never worked.  This is not the best recipe either, it’s missing quite a few ingredients.  But I bet you already knew that, didn’t you?

I’ll Just Move a Little Bit Every Now and Then

You’re probably thinking “Isn’t that what you say we should do?”.  Well, yes and no.  Without being deliberate about moving more and aiming to build yourself up, you will very quickly forget about it and it will fall apart.  The key to the strategy of integrating movement into your life needs two important parts: 1. Having a clear and meaningful reason that motivates you down the road, and 2. effort.

Integrating movement into your life doesn’t mean no effort, you also need to put a little energy behind it, going at least a bit above your regular activity level.  Now, we all know the story of  the tortoise and the hare – the tortoise won, right?  He sure did! But, remember the key here is persistence and determination (to reach a goal), not being slow.  So pick up the pace and be more like a sea turtle if you want to build and grow.  Definitely smell some flowers along the way, but don’t let them cause your routine to flop.  Keep your eye on the prize, whatever that is!

I Can Do This, But It Will Take Discipline

 

how to keep working out
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Shoot for this one!  People who have the most confidence in staying active have several things in common:  They plan ahead, prepare in advance for obstacles, find something they like to do, and stick to the activity that’s most rewarding. This will take some trial and error – identify what you like to do, how you can easily measure progress, and discover what trips you up.  Have patience in the beginning!  Consider figuring out your process as the first goal if you have to.

Becoming an active person takes will, hope, good planning, and a decision to make your health and happiness a priority.  There are no quick fixes, but don’t let that discourage you!  With anything else worth doing, the greater the effort, the greater the reward.  Remember that.  Once you’ve got that down, go for the good stuff and start to feel better!

Don’t want to do it alone?  Find a support system, buddy, class, whatever will help keep you on track.  You really are worth it, you know?

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