30 Day Fitness Experiment

What can you do for your body in 30 days?

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!

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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!

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

5 Ways to Work Out For Free: No Gym Membership Required

Beach Stairs @ Opal Beach
Image by live w mcs via Flickr

Are you on a budget? Have you had to give up your gym membership in order to cut costs? That’s ok. There are tons of ways to get in shape for free!

  1. Walk. You already know it’s good for your body. Just keeping active works wonders and keeps obesity and a host of health problems at bay. But what if you want more?
  2. Do Pilates. Yes, you can do Pilates on a mat, at home, without a studio or equipment. It will improve your posture, your breathing, your core muscles (which will tuck in your tummy), and will help you relax. Don’t be mistaken, though, it’s not all stretching and relaxation! Find a DVD with the basics at your local library.
  3. Find a flight of stairs. Yes, climbing a flight of stairs is good cardiovascular exercise, that’s not all you can do with them. Try this: Step on the lowest step with the ball of your right foot, heel hanging off the step. Tuck your left foot behind your right ankle (hold onto the rail or wall for stability), and raise up onto the ball of your right foot. Lower, repeat, switch sides. This strengthens and stretches your ankles and calves. To work your triceps: Do standard triceps dips, using a stair step instead of a bench. Sit on a step, arms at your sides, palms down on the step. Scoot your booty off the step, and lower yourself by bending your arms until you’re almost sitting on the next step down. Don’t sit down! Use your arms to push yourself back up to the starting position. Ta da! There’s a great video series on eHow called “Stair Exercise Workout.” Check it out!
  4. Go hiking. Even if you’re used to walking regularly, hiking or trail walking will work different muscles and give you a totally different workout than walking or running in town or on a treadmill. Bonus: You get to see new sites, breathe fresh air, and hang out with friends and family! Throw some camping in there when you get the chance. Most stunning spot for wild and beautiful camping: Carpinteria State Beach in Carpinteria, California. But there’s a place near you, too! Check out the hiking resources, including links to State Parks and National Forests by State, at americanhiking.org.
  5. Do push-ups. Yep. They’re not just for the military, and they’re not just for your arms. Push-ups work your shoulders, back, abs, several muscles in your arms, and your chest. There’s an amazing workout program at hundredpushups.com. It covers good form, etc., and then you start out with an initial test (how many push-ups can you do in a row?) and follow the program depending on the results of your initial test. The goal is to work up to 100 consecutive push-ups by working out three times a week for several weeks. Once you can do that, your upper body is going to be in much better shape than it was when you started!
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May 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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.

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

Walking, Running, Flipping and Flopping

Assorted colorful flip-flops.
Image via Wikipedia Photo by JAIRO BD

Day Four: So Many Variables!

Basic truth: Walking is good for you. Sure, there are some exceptions and limitations, but in general, walking is good/possible for most people. But what if you walk hunched over? In the wrong shoes? On the wrong kind of terrain?

Usually, I walk in New Balance running shoes. and they seem to have done wonders for my back and feet. No pain after walking a long way in those shoes. But the other day I read this LA Times article, where it was suggested that wearing flip flops could actually lessen knee pain. The more pounds I’ve packed on, the more knee pain I’ve noticed, so I decided to take a walk in my flip flops. Although flip flops are quite controversial in the world of health and fitness, I had a good walk. No knee pain here! I wouldn’t recommend running a marathon in them or anything, but…

Results so far: Even though this is only Day Four, I’ve already noticed some changes as a result of my new daily walk: Increased energy (this is probably also related to less junk food), a feeling of peace and joy (I have missed being outside every day!), AND stronger core muscles, leading to better posture. It seems as though walking with purpose reminds me to go into Pilates posture, which helps me to breath better and thus makes my walks more enjoyable/less laborious. I am really surprised that I’ve already seen improved posture/core in only four days. My tummy also seems to be pooching out (is that a word?) less as a result of stronger abs! Yay!

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March 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment