Cardio Motivation

Heavy Metal…, #1.

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And company to cheer me on…#2.

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(Technically, he was sleeping off and on…but it was helpful to have company anyway!)

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More on fit jazz

Staying On Track When Away From Home

Actually…in this case, I was traveling BACK home…from my new home…for ten days to attend to wedding preparations¬†– I therefore knew about a gym location in advance BUT…had I not, I’d have scouted one out for sure.

Fitness isn’t a once in a while thing – it’s a lifestyle. ¬†Staying fit is a commitment to making good daily choices – keeping in mind, of course, that life is fast-paced, and sometimes unexpected. ¬†

But when we are traveling, or need to be out of our regular routine, there are ways to keep up with some activities.  Your body Рand mind! Рwill thank you for going the extra mile and making sure your hotel has a fitness facility, or that there is a gym, bike trail etc nearby.

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With all of the crazy things i had scheduled, fitting in my cardio and lifting wasn’t going to be easy – but I made¬†it work. ¬†I got up earlier than I might have otherwise, put on my spin shoes, and headed out the door. *Making the time* is a huge part of it – that’s where your commitment comes in. ¬†Your goals are achievable so long as you seize opportunity.

I made sure that I specifically put in the mornings that I wanted to go to the gym ON my schedule, in advance Рit mattered to me enough (knowing I would physically and mentally not feel myself if I skipped it!) to get there, and having it penciled in already meant there were no excuses.

Being away from home meant I was missing eight Martial Art classes a week, and regular other exercise – without making the time, I’d have fallen into a slump for well over a week, which – for me – equals a terrible mood, and a tired body. ¬†Don’t forget that exercise boosts your energy, and happy chemicals – endorphins to the rescue! Just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean ¬†you can’t keep up with SOMEthing. ¬†It’s worth looking into your options ahead of time so you don’t fall into a cycle of doing zero.

 

Must Have Music…

When in doubt…crank up the tunes! ¬†

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Some days you might find it harder to motivate – exercise is meant to be an effort, after all! ¬†When at all possible, add in some music…whatever it is you feel in the mood for…and turn up the volume. ¬†Once you hear a beat, chances are you will find yourself moving to it…!

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Get up, get out, and do it!  

Nothing feels quite as good as getting it done (even when it isn’t your record!)

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The eSpin and Cardio Days

A few years ago I got a refurbished Star Trac eSpinner – I am not a Soul Cycler, a spin-class-attender, nor an outdoor cyclist by any stretch. ¬†But I love spin bikes because they are one of those cardio options that are safer for bad knees (I’ve got two!),¬†or¬†when you are just not able to (or up to) the treadmill or outdoor running. ¬†

There are, of course, tons of other cardio options beyond a spin bike or treadmill! For example:

  • Recumbent Bike
  • Stairmaster / Stepper
  • Stairmill
  • Elliptical
  • Adaptive Motion and Arc Trainers
  • Versa Climber
  • Rowing Machines…

It is totally a matter of preference. ¬†For me, the bike is one of the more comfortable choices if I’m not doing treadmill sprints…and the reality of it is that if I was going to spend money on a machine, I wanted it to be the one I’d use most! ¬†I happen to like this older eSpinner because it has a fan, which admittedly helps me push harder longer. ¬†Don’t laugh!¬†

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Even then, though, it’s not always easy. ¬†When people ask about my cardio they seem to think I must enjoy it – I love activity, but trust me when I say…cardio that I am aware I am doing is¬†not¬†on my “love” list! It does take some self talk and encouragement most of the time, and definitely some good music!

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I also try to focus on the feeling of finishing – there is a sense of accomplishment that comes with getting through a workout, especially one you struggled to start! ¬†It is worth pushing through just for that sense of “I did it!”¬†

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Even if someone else appears to be loving Life while they sweat profusely and gasp for breath on the treadmill next to you…don’t assume it is a piece of cake for them,¬†and therefore that there is something wrong with you¬†because it feels tough.¬† There ISN’T – you are doing great (they¬†probably would love to be done¬†themselves!) ¬†

Getting ON the bike, or treadmill, or elliptical is a start. ¬†Once you are THERE, you will push through it, proving you can do more than your brain wanted to¬†trick¬†the rest of you out of¬†doing that day. Your pumping heart, and a body flooded with endorphins will remind¬†the¬†brain that its demotivating techniques¬†just won’t work this time! ¬†ūüôā

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The Reward

Some days are really hard to motivate as far as the cardio goes… But as the years have progressed, I find that cardiovascular work is absolutely¬†vital to my well-being. ¬†It isn’t strictly physical either – I need it emotionally and spiritually as much as¬†anything else.

The past few days made for a¬†more intense week than I have had in a long time, though… I’m sore EVERYWHERE!¬† I’m not only continuing with my cardio and lifting, but also endeavoring to maintain my Taekwondo and Hapkido practice (test coming up!) ¬†On top of all that,¬†I¬†also started two (to three)¬†new Martial Arts, which are not only challenging on an intellectual level, but very much so on a physical one as well.

With Ninjustsu, JuJutsu and Brazilian JiuJitsu on the roster, that¬†means new types of muscle recruitment AND extra exercise. ¬†That said, I am not in a place ~YET~ where it can take place of some of the cardio sessions (I’d love it if that were the case but I still have to do my HIIT treadmill and spin time for now!)

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So despite the weariness and sore muscles, I pushed through – it wasn’t my best, and it didn’t have to be. ¬†Getting ON a bike, or treadmill…stepping foot in a gym…it takes effort. ¬†Just getting there is a huge hurdle surmounted, and I always encourage people at that point who feel like they aren’t doing enough. ¬†You STARTED – you walked through the door, sat on the bike, hopped on a treadmill – that’s a big deal! ¬†Don’t forget that you had the choice to stay home or do nothing, and you chose to be active – WAY TO GO! ūüôā

Once you start, I find that you often are able to push more than you thought.  A friend of mine the other day said he hit a plateau with push ups Рthree sets of a certain number.  When he asked what I would do, I offered two thoughts:

  1. Get to that “I’m stuck number,” take a deep breath and squeeze out one more on each set…OR
  2. Try less reps, more sets, to pass the total number of the 3 sets combined.

He wrote me back to say he opted for less reps, more sets…and he beat the total by 7! ūüėÄ

My goal¬†on¬†the bike the other morning was 60 minutes – I normally stick it through and do 90, and I have habit of giving myself a guilt trip when I don’t get there… But listening to our bodies is what keeps us healthy – I could do a better job of that too! ¬†As my Grandmaster says, “are you going to the Olympics?! No? ¬†SLOW DOWN!

So I jumped on…put on the Sonos (thanks to my man!) and did it. ¬†It wasn’t the fastest, or hardest, or all-around most ideal ride…but it was SOMETHING. ¬†I felt better for the rest of the day knowing I got it in. ¬†Honestly, that’s one of the biggest rewards of all – knowing you made the effort and pushed through even when you wanted to quit. ¬†Proving to yourself that you have what it takes is like getting a trophy!

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I’ve also been doing activities like Aerial Yoga on the weekend, and one or two¬†Martial Arts classes…so I’ve decided that there will be zero traditional cardio and weights for Saturdays and Sundays. ¬†And when I need to sleep longer to recharge and rest my muscles…I DO IT!

Spinning With The Ninjas

I just WAS NOT in the mood to spin the other morning. ¬†I just moved – literally¬†moving my Life from one state to a new one – so I’ve been a wee bit exhausted. ¬†

BUT…I don’t believe in excuses.

If I am legitimately not up for it, I’ve gotten better about giving myself a break. ¬†But there are times when our brains endeavor to sway us with their trickery. ¬†Oh yes…the “I’m-moving-so-I-must-have-packed-my-spin-shoes” routine (never mind that they were on a shelf out of the corner of my eye!)¬†Brain hates cardio (so it proclaims!) but the body needs it!

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Maybe I’m gross from spinning. Definitely a “get away, mom!”

That was that – I spotted the shoes and my brain (practically audibly) went “dang it!” ¬†

As I did, the cats went flying by – they’re quite the ninjas, when they feel like it, these two. ¬†Jumping with grace and ease, flying through there air into full-on somersaults, and adding some comic relief with a “merowr!” tossed in here and there… ¬†It’s a sight!

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Not only did it make me laugh, it occurred to me that these two little black fur balls had enough energy for all of us.  If they could stay active, so could I.

Where is the logic in that, you ask?  I have NO idea!

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But it was enough to say “okay, let’s do this,” don the spin shoes, and jam. ¬†I put the iPod on shuffle and watched off-and-on the feline ninjitsu for the next hour. ¬†Put that to Metallica and it’s really pretty entertaining.

When the brain wants to give you a hard time, don’t back down so easily. ¬†Nothing feels better than when you get it done!

The Fun Of Cardio

No…not really. ¬†*LOL*

I’m not a huge cardio fan, I’ll be perfectly honest. ¬†In many ways, it is a necessary evil¬†and I go along with it because I knoooow it’s going to help my cause.¬† (You’ll notice I’m more of a weights girl.) ¬†

Devil Cartoon 6281, www.andertoons.com, (c) Mark Anderson

Devil Cartoon 6281, http://www.andertoons.com, (c) Mark Anderson

I much prefer my taekwondo class, dancing or skating, though…ANYthing that has me distracted while simultaneously sweating bullets and getting my blood to pump. ¬†But the traditional stuff (endless, indoor miles, elliptical etc) is difficult for me.

I’ll sprint on a treadmill, but I really have to get in the zone – I ALWAYS see results when I do HIIT so I’ll periodically tap my shoulder for the cardio dEVIL to hop on to¬†get me through said “necessary evil.” ¬†

I always feel better at the end.  Always.

Devil Cartoon 6696, www.andertoons.com, (c) Mark Anderson

Devil Cartoon 6696, http://www.andertoons.com, (c) Mark Anderson

Cycling isn’t a piece of cake either – sometimes I do sprints, other times I SERIOUSLY grind (as in 50 or 60 rpm) – ouch. ¬†Again, I will ALWAYS feel better AFTER I do it…so I focus on that, and work towards it. ¬†As a goal-setter, I know this strategy has the best chance of a completed outcome – whatever it takes.

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On the really tough days, when I just dang well don’t feel like it? ¬†I’ll just drop something like a credit card on the floor…because with the “ballroom nails” gel manicure I still have, picking up ANYTHING off the floor will be a solid¬†dose of cardio.¬† You *think* I’m kidding.

I’m not!

I usually laugh at everything – I’m part giggleian. ¬†But this scenario is so hideously annoying that the sweat I work up just from being peeved burns calories!

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Matter of fact, I willing to wager that anyone present will get a nice ab workout from observing the whole fiasco.  

So if you’re having a rough day too, give me a call – we’ll ditch the devil and the bikes and play a game of pick-up-Amex. ¬†

Ohhh boy!  

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