30 Day Fitness Experiment

What can you do for your body in 30 days?

It’s 2 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Motivation Is?

It would be on my second spin when my natural ...

Image by colorblindPICASO via Flickr

A strong outside strengthens the inside.
— Selene Yeager

“I just want to see how long I can keep this thing going. The easiest thing is dying. Living is a a pain in the butt.”
— Jack Lalanne

“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.”
–Marsha Doble

“Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health, lethargy, and fat.”
–Jill Johnson

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”
–Paul Dudley White

Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother.
–Voltaire

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”
–Joseph Pilates

“I never regret it when I do it, but I always regret it when I don’t.”
— Devin McDonald Vinson

Enhanced by Zemanta

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Inspiration, The Fitness Lifestyle | , , , , | 1 Comment

It's 2 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Motivation Is?

It would be on my second spin when my natural ...

Image by colorblindPICASO via Flickr

A strong outside strengthens the inside.
— Selene Yeager

“I just want to see how long I can keep this thing going. The easiest thing is dying. Living is a a pain in the butt.”
— Jack Lalanne

“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.”
–Marsha Doble

“Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health, lethargy, and fat.”
–Jill Johnson

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”
–Paul Dudley White

Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother.
–Voltaire

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”
–Joseph Pilates

“I never regret it when I do it, but I always regret it when I don’t.”
— Devin McDonald Vinson

Enhanced by Zemanta

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Inspiration, The Fitness Lifestyle | , , , , | 1 Comment

Pilates Book Winner!

Curso de Instructor de Pilates
Image via Wikipedia

Congratulations to Caitlin, who won the Pilates For Weight Loss giveaway.

She recently had her second child, and her goal is to designate 30 minutes a day to working out, and lose the baby weight! Pilates is a great choice. It’s a flexible workout that doesn’t always require special equipment (except maybe some stretchy pants), and it will tone up the abs and “powerhouse” while providing a great full-body workout.

Enjoy!

Enhanced by Zemanta

June 10, 2010 Posted by | Giveaways, Lifestyle Fitness | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pilates Book Giveaway 2010

Like This!

There’s been lots of jabber here on 30DayFitnessExperiment about Pilates, and even about Pilates instructors, and it’s high time for a giveaway, so here we go.

What’s up for grabs: A copy of the book Pilates for Weight Loss by Lynne Robinson.

How to enter: Comment on this post and tell me: 1. What one small change you’re going to make this month in pursuit of better health and fitness 2. What factors have affected your current state of health and/or fitness, i.e. I used to have a job where I was on my feet or physically active; now I work in an office or I had a baby and haven’t gotten back into shape or I used to play on a team and now I don’t or My mom used to cook for me and now I’m on my own so I eat fast food… You get the idea.

The fine print: You can enter up to 2 times, once by answering #1 above, and once by answering #2. Please include your email address when you make your comment (in the form, not in the comment itself, for your privacy), or your Twitter @name, so that I can let you know if you’ve won! If the prize is not claimed within 48 hours of the announcement of winner, we’ll re-draw.

The deadline: Enter by the end of Sunday, June 6th, Eastern Time.

Have fun! I hope you win!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Giveaways | , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Simple Fitness Sunday: Your Own Two Feet

Uncertain
Image by Brian Auer via Flickr

A few resources for starting a simple walking program:

UK: Walkit.com, the Urban Walking Route Planner, lists walking routes by city, with options like “Point A to Point B,” “Circular,” “Via,” and “direct” or “less busy.” Also contains a wealth of resources on walking for health, walking to school or work, and going green. Great articles and blog no matter where you live.

Los Angeles: 10 Best Walking Neighborhoods on RentedSpaces.com

Midwest: Chicago Park District Walking Trails, complete with maps and mileage counts. Milwaukee Without a Car includes How-To articles for biking, walking, and ride-share, safety tips, and links to trails. Go! St. Louis, “Inspiring Fitness One Step at a Time,” has tips on preparing and training for a marathon, walking for fitness, and a host of personal stories (look for “My Story” under the Getting Started tab) for all the inspiration you’ll ever need.

What area of the world are you in? What area would you like to see covered in a future post? Please comment below.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Share

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teacher Appreciation Day: Thank You, Brooke Siler

If you can read this, thank a teacher. It's Teacher Appreciation Day. If you can't read this, never mind.
I laughed at this, and then I thought: “Wait a minute, only 1 of my 19 students can read.” Hmph. Preschool.

Being a teacher and an ed major myself, there are a bazillion teachers I could thank today, but I choose Brooke Siler. She didn’t teach me how to read, how to ride a bike, or even how to teach others effectively. She taught me to take 10 minutes for myself each day, to insulate myself from the hateful environment I once existed in, and to find energy within myself and even spread it to others. How did she accomplish all of these things? She taught me Pilates.
The Pilates Body Kit
I was overweight, depressed, and still reeling from the abusive relationship I had just fled, and I knew I had to do something. Every morning I awoke in a fog, and I didn’t want to take a walk because I didn’t want anyone to see me. I looked at the few exercise books and DVDs I owned, but they all looked too hard. Then I remembered the little box I had picked up somewhere, called The Pilates Body Kit: An Interactive Fitness Program to Strengthen, Streamline, and Tone . It sounded like a quite a promise, and quite a workout, but it did have a Beginner’s section. I popped in the audio CD, and Brooke Siler’s voice came on, calm and steady, reassuringly explaining everything. There was no video, no group of fabulous bodies behind the voice to show me what I was supposed to aspire to. You might think that was a drawback, but it wasn’t. Being able to relax, listen, and follow the very clear directions was much better than straining my neck trying to see a screen and figure out how to move my body the way the people on TV were doing it.

Still, it was hard. The beginner’s program, where you learn to master the techniques you’ll use in the later Mat Class programs, is a lifesaver. Mastering Pilates breathing might be the hardest aspect of it all, and it’s an ongoing challenge. Still, after just one week of Pilates practice, I found myself feeling taller, more centered, more alive, and more relaxed. Eventually it made me stronger, better balanced, and helped me start my day with mental clarity.

If you haven’t tried Pilates yet, try it now. Commit to at least one week of practice. No giving up on the first day! Listen to the instruction, and really visualize what you’re doing. When Brooke says “Button your belly button to your spine,” visualize the change in your body. When she says to roll up the wall, “vertebrae by vertebrae,” see the bones in your spine sticking individually to the wall.

Also check out this YouTube video where Brooke talks about how Pilates changed her whole approach to fitness, and the role that physical exercise and body balance plays in a healthy life.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Share

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Six Ways to Measure Your Progress Without a Bathroom Scale

The Long Walk
Image by l.gence via Flickr

Thursday Check-in Time!

I gained .5 pounds this week. Yep, I’m half a pound heavier. Documenting this (and not feeling sad about it) got me thinking about metrics: what is the best way to measure progress?

That depends partly on what your goals are. If you’re in a body building program, you probably expect to gain weight.

In this project, I’ve stated my starting weight and measurements. I’ve also stated my basic, loose goal: Lose 100 pounds. Here’s how I got that number: I did not enter my height, sex, and age into an “ideal body weight” chart. I did not wake up one day and shriek: “Oh no, I’m fat! I’d better lose 100 pounds!” I did not research a celebrity, find out her weight, and make that my goal.

What I did was this: I thought back to the time in my life when I was most fit. I tried to remember what my lifestyle was. I’ve never gone on a diet or been involved in a sport, so what I came up with was this: I was physically active, I avoided fast food and junk food, and I ate lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The physical activity I participated in so regularly was using my two legs to get me places. That’s it. At that time, I weighed about 100 pounds less than I did at the beginning of this project.

That’s why I’m using 100 pounds as a basic gauge. If, however, I find myself physically fit and active but over 120 pounds, I am not going to take extreme measures to get myself to weigh less. See, the pounds in themselves are not the measure of my progress.

Six Ways to Measure Fitness and Weight Loss Without a Bathroom Scale:

  • Waist to Hip Ratio: This is a measurement of the distribution of your body fat. People with a lot of abdominal fat are at higher risk for heart disease and other maladies. How to do it: Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. For women, the number should be 0.8 or lower. For men, 1.0 or lower.
  • Vital Signs: Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels speak volumes about your health, including your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Resting Heart Rate: The fitter you are, the more efficient your heart becomes. To calculate your resting heart rate (RHR), count your pulse for one minute, before getting out of bed in the morning. Take an average over three days. The normal range is between 60-80 beats per minute, but the average rate steadily declines among people who are more physically active.
  • Endurance: The more you exercise, the easier it becomes. Find a way to log your mileage if you walk or bike. Compare what you can do at the beginning of the month with what you can do at the end of the month.
  • Body Composition: Your body composition can be measured by a doctor, or at a gym or university. There are several methods of testing. What it tells you: A body composition test tells you what percentage of your body is composed of fat. 32% is considered obese for women; 26% is considered obese for men.
  • Clothing Size: The good ol’ dress size test. If you can fit into clothes you couldn’t before, you’ve improved your body. You don’t need a bathroom scale to tell you that.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Physical Activity a Family Affair

You already know the benefits of regular exercise:

    family hike
    Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr
  • Weight Management
  • Bone Health
  • More Energy
  • Better Sleep
  • Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
  • Reduced Risk of Diabetes
  • Increased Life Expectancy

When is the best time to start reaping these benefits? Should everyone wait until they’re an overweight, at-risk adult?

Of course not!

Lifestyle Fitness is a concept that basically means: You don’t have to have a gym membership, a personal trainer, and a dire prognosis to be fit and healthy. Make physical fitness a way of life.

If It’s Your Way of Life, It Will Be Your Children’s, Too.

Julia climbing at Shelf Road
Image by s_mestdagh via Flickr
    Here Are a Few Things You Can Do:

  • Go for a daily walk together. A couple of blocks after dinner time works wonders.
  • Choose a far parking spot. While everyone else is competing for the ones nearest the door, you might even get in sooner!
  • Play games. Instead of passive entertainment (like watching TV), opt for an activity that engages both the mind and body, like catch, tag, or basketball. For younger ones, even Duck Duck Goose and Ring Around the Rosy will get their hearts pumping.
  • Plan fit vacations. Going on a road trip? Include some hiking, biking, or swimming. Feeling more adventurous? Take the family rock climbing or sailing. Many companies that rent out equipment also have beginners lessons or guided group activities. Even if you’re going on a Caribbean cruise, there will be plenty of planned outings at each port.
  • Eat (and serve) a variety of fruits and vegetables. This is an easy habit to start when your children are infants. Making your own baby food is not difficult, and exposing young children to a variety of foods will help them have a balanced diet later.

How have you incorporated wholesome nutrition and physical activity into your family’s routine? Share your tips and ideas below.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

New Experiment: Integrating Physical Activity Into the Daily Routine

Jogging on a bright November morning
Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

I’m so ready for the 2nd 30 Day Fitness Experiment!

The goals are: 1) Integrate physical activity into my daily routine and 2) use the car less.

The reason for using the car less is partially and environmental one and partially a personal health and well being one. The less I use the car, the less I pollute the earth, and that makes me happy. Also, the less I rely on using the car to get me places, the more likely I am to choose physical activity when I have the option which is a wonderful habit to get into. I think I am also more likely to shop and do business locally, which is another wonderful thing.

So, how to translate these goals into a measurable experiment…

I will use the car less by committing to walking or biking to work. I will also not drive to the grocery/drug store, or to the Farmers’ Market (even though it’s a couple of miles across town). “Not driving” also means taking public transportation. Ok, Cool.

I think these methods of using the car less fulfill the other goal of integrating physical activity into my daily routine. Perfect!

I’m leaving my job at Indiana University on 7 May, so that only leaves twelve days to walk or bike to work. We’ll also be traveling to California for nine days, and we’ve committed to not renting a car. We’ll travel by air, train, bus, and airport shuttle. We’ll also do a lot of walking and possibly some biking, so we’d better pack light!

This 30 Days’ Hypothesis: Through limiting use of our car, I will lose weight, build endurance and muscle/strength, and keep my blood pressure down. I hypothesize that I will lose another 10 pounds, drop another dress size (lose 1-2 inches everywhere), and maintain an average blood pressure no higher than 125/85. Strength is harder to measure, since I’m not climbing or lifting weights anymore. To see if I build endurance, I’ll clock my bike rides (mileage and maybe time) and see how much farther I can go at the end of the 30 days compared with the beginning.

And we’re off!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Share

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments