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Jessica's Adventures in Exercising: Update

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Jessica's Adventures in Exercising: Update | Faith Permeating Life

Given that we're in the time of the year when people tend to gain a pound or two, it seems like a good time to give you an update on my exercise plan so you know I didn't fall off the wagon in the past few months.

When we last left off I was still unemployed and so had jumped in with both feet to find an exercise regimen that worked for me, doing a combination of Couch to 5K, Wii Fit, and fitness classes.

What I'm Doing Now

Now that I'm working, and I basically leave in the dark and come home in the dark, I moved my running days to Saturday and Sunday, which has worked well. (Unlike the lovely stock photo here, there is no track on campus, so I run in the nearby neighborhood.) I just finished Couch to 5K this past weekend (yay!). The rec center on campus added two evening Zumba classes, on Tuesday and Thursday, so I go to those and drag various friends along with me when I can. I'm still trying to do Wii Fit occasionally, particularly when I need to stretch out sore muscles, but our Wii is on its last legs and keeps giving us error messages, so I'll have to take a break from that until we get a new one. I've also started doing a few of these ab exercises each night before bed.


What Has Changed

The biggest change has to be in my cardiovascular endurance. Couch to 5K starts you out with intervals of 60 seconds jogging, 90 seconds walking, which were doable but tough. The fact that I can now jog for half an hour without stopping is still amazing to me. I haven't quite jogged a full 5K (about 3.1 miles) as I'm still a slow jogger; in half an hour I've been able to jog about 2.4 miles. But that's more than fine with me! After how excruciating it used to be to run the mile in gym class, this is something to be proud of.

My calves have become rock solid muscle, which still catches me by surprise when I feel them. At the same time I seem to have developed cellulite in my thighs, which is confusing and frustrating. Also, my weight has started to creep back up, I think because I'm gaining muscle, but it seems a little strange when I'm basically doing hard aerobic exercise four times a week. I'm more concerned with my health and fitness than with my body image or weight, though, so I'm not going to worry too much about this for the moment.

Also, I've been doing the ab exercises for a few weeks now and they seem to be getting easier, so it seems like my abs must be getting stronger.


Where I Go From Here

I downloaded the 5K to 10K app because I liked using the Couch to 5K one for my jogs, and I'm happy to see that rather than just adding longer and longer times like the other one did, this app helps you move from jogging speed to running speed. That's really what I need at this point, so I can run a longer distance without giving up too much more of my time on the weekends.

The semester is winding down here, so unfortunately I only have a few more weeks of Zumba classes and then winter break, and I don't know what the fitness class schedule will be next semester. Classes help keep me on track in a way I can't do on my own, and I wish there were more evening fitness classes, but the only other one is a 9pm yoga class, and that's just too late for me. Depending on what next semester's class schedule is I may have to pony up for a real gym membership off campus to keep myself going. (At least the gyms all have sales in January, right?)

I'm going to try to keep up my ab exercises but add more repetitions each month. I've been using Illuum (recommended by Nikkiana on this post!) to keep myself accountable for doing them every night.

How do you keep yourself healthy and fit? Are you planning any New Year's resolutions around exercise?

8 comments:

  1. UGH I need to get back into exercising. Last year I started doing yoga, and for a while I was doing it every single day. It was awesome. Then I stopped. Then I got back into it. Heck, there were times I was doing it 2x a day. I was so proud. Then I randomly stopped again and haven't started up. But over Thanksgiving my family told me that I look like I've lost weight. So... maybe no yoga is working for me?

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    1. Haha, that's pretty funny. Were you exercising for weight loss, though, or more for general fitness? I've been exercising mainly because I was really out of shape, and also part of my job now is managing a statewide fitness motivation program, so it seems like I have an obligation to keep it up!

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  2. I did P90X right before my sister's wedding and though I did miss a couple of days here and there, I did the whole program and I was really proud of myself. Overall I lost about 10 pounds in the 90 days and definitely gained a lot of muscle strength overall.

    Recently, I've been really bad about exercising and eating healthy, but I just got cast in a show in which I play a model, which gave me a bit of motivation. So barring the next two weeks which will be crazy, my plan is to do 45 minutes of medium to high intensity cardio MWF, along with some strength training and toning exercises. Tuesday, because of an evening commitment, will be my short night where I either do 30 minutes of cardio or 20 or 30 minutes of toning exercises. Thursday will be my long cardio day where I do at least an hour and then in February, after the show is done, I plan to start taking a ballet class on Thursday nights which will be an hour and a half of toning, stretching, and dancing.

    I don't recall exactly how long you've been working out, but something that's important to remember with results is that it takes about 3 months minimum for the results to become really visible, so keep at it! :)

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    1. Good luck with your new plan! I don't think when I started out I could have done something as intense as P90X, but now that I'm in better shape maybe I should push myself to do something like that!

      It's been almost 3 months at this point -- I started Couch to 5K at the beginning of September, so this seemed like a good time to do a check-in.

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  3. I've vastly improved my "core" muscles by sitting on an exercise ball. It also burns some calories, not a lot, but it was enough to make a difference to me in early pregnancy when I needed every calorie!

    My main form of exercise is the walking built into my daily life. We chose a home from which we can walk to school, church, many businesses, and the city bus that takes me to work. Then it's 4 blocks from the bus stop to my office. In a typical day, I walk at least 1 1/2 miles total, often 2 or 3 miles, and usually I do it as fast as possible. We also have stairs in our house, so I'm up and down the stairs over and over when I'm at home, and that's good exercise.

    My partner built a gym in our hallway! Basically he made a frame out of metal plumbing pipe and put foam over the corners to hold it steady against the walls. It has some bars to hang and pull up on, rings, and a mini climbing wall. This hall leads to his home office, so when I need to ask him something and I knock on his door and he says, "Just a minute!" I use that minute for exercising. :-)

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    1. I looked into getting an exercise ball at one point, but ended up getting a Fitterfirst Disc, which I love. It made a big difference in my ab muscles when I first started using it, and now it's more of a maintenance thing. I use it at work (I have a standing desk at home) and when we moved I just deflated it, rolled it up, and then brought it in my bag to my new job!

      I used to have a 20-minute walk to and from work each day, which I didn't always enjoy (especially when it was freezing out) but which I was glad to have to do. Now the bus picks me up right on campus and drops me off in front of work! I've been thinking about getting off at the previous stop, but it's a bit of a distance and I'm not sure there are sidewalks and crosswalks in between, so I have to figure that out.

      That's really cool that you have a gym in your hallway! That's a great way to make use of those extra minutes here and there, especially since it's already set up for you. Love it.

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  4. Major kudos for the jogging (from she who also dreaded the mile run in high school). I've heard wonderful things about the couch to 5k program. I know Emmy brought it up, but yoga was awesome for me. It didn't make a huge impact on my overall fitness, but it did help to counteract the atrophy that my muscles are prone to experiencing without constant stretching (silly genes and their silly protein mistakes!) YouTube has some pretty decent videos that walk you through a routine. I find that if I get up and do a routine before I hop in the shower in the morning, it just becomes a natural part of my day and I get to loosen up before the day makes me all tight again. Another form of exercise that I fell in love with was belly dancing. It's great for core work, and was just really a lot of fun. Again, YouTube is the place to go if you want to check it out. I've also taken so classes on the cheap, which was helpful in terms of commitment ( I'd already paid to do it, so I'm going to do it) and in terms of technique (there are some things in life that are just better in person).

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    1. Definitely agree on how classes help with follow-through. The ones on campus thankfully don't cost anything for me, but since I've got friends who go with me regularly that keeps me committed. I always insist on standing in the front row because otherwise I have no clue what's going on! I don't think I would have the discipline to do the YouTube videos, but that's a good tip to keep in mind if I start getting antsy when campus shuts down for break.

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