So when I work out, it's usually late at night. By "late at night" I mean anytime after 8 p.m. I've gone in as early as late afternoon but also gone in as late as midnight.
I like going in at night, because the work outs let me get rid of any stress from the day.
But thanks to a weird work schedule that often includes late assignments, the occassioal date, etc., I think I need to move my work outs to the a.m. part of the day. It's hard to get to the gym when you've worked an especially long day and you don't get home from an assignment til 10 p.m. or later, or something like that.
Here's the thing: I am NOT a morning person. I can't stress that enough.
So how do you become one?
It's hard to even get up in the morning; I am close, close friends with the snooze button. So how do you a) get up and b) get active?
I'm going to try to force myself to get up next week and just give it a try... we'll see how it goes.
Weekend ephiphany: there is a huge difference in working out and eating well to get skinny, and working out and eating well to get fit and healthy.
The very end of this month marks one year of my healthful journey. As I've said before, basically my first six months were incredibly efficient. These last 6? Not so much.
For the first six months I was amazed at how much better I felt: I had more energy, I slept better, my mood improved. The falling clothing sizes was just a plus.
Then, for some reason, after Christmas I started focusing more on how I looked. Maybe it's because, suddenly, it's like everyone else was focusing on that, too. Instead of focusing on how I felt, I focused on what the scale said. If my jeans felt even a teeny bit tighter than normal, man, I'd hate myself and get depressed. Even though my energy level has dropped to nothing, I paid it no mind and instead focused on how my body looked.
Yeah. I've gotta stop that.
If there's anything I've learned in this journey, it's that you have to listen to your body. And it's more important to me to feel better than to look better. Feeling fit feels so much better than looking good but feeling horrible.
For the first six months, I ate food to fuel my body. I carefully chose what I ate to give my body what it needed to work. But for these last six months, I ate healthfully...but I gave in to (healthy!) cravings. I wouldn't have, say, a bunch of fruit because it was healthy but more because I was craving it. Not exactly smart.
So I'm back to eating to fuel my body, my workout and my life. No more giving in to silly cravings.
New mindset, whee!
For months now, folks have been telling me to get a new column mug since I've dropped 50 pounds. But I've been telling them, "Eh, I look the same. No sense in getting a new one."
But a few weeks ago I asked the lovely DJ photog Deste Lee for a new mug. I didn't look at it until just now, because it's running in tomorrow's paper with my column (about weight loss, actually).
I compared it to some of my old column mugs. I haven't been able to "see" my weight loss – body image issues I guess? – until now. I never took a "before" picture, so I had nothing to compare an "in progress" picture with.
Holy cow, y'all. I'm kinda speechless.
I'm also very thankful this happened today, because I seriously considered giving up on this weight loss thing over the weekend.
Think about it: it took four months to drop 40 pounds. It has taken six, almost seven months, to lose just 14. And I gained a bit last week, which yes I know could be anything from muscle gain to water weight to just silly scale fluctuations, but it really, really got me down. So I hate poorly and didn't work out this weekend, and I thought about giving up.
But this photo has kinda lit the fire up in under me again. With just 20 more pounds to go, surely I can do it – right?
I'm totally gonna kick butt at Zumba when I get home. Yay!
I got the Zumba Exhilarate set for my birthday, and now that I've made it through the entire set, here's my review.
(ps. Here's a website complete with an infomercial-y video about the set. I bought my set through Amazon for around $80).
I tried Zumba for the first time this spring and fell in love with the high-energy, fun dance work-outs. I've been getting bored with treadmills, ellipticals, etc., lately, so this exercise is definitely a breath of fresh air. But I can only make it to one or two classes a week, so I need more options. This set definitely provides several different ways to Zumba, with different styles and workout lengths.
It's a seven-disc set that also comes with Zumba toning sticks (1 1/2 pound weights that sound like maracas), as well as info on stretching, eating healthfully, things like that.
Here's a break-down of each disc:
Step-by-Step: This is a helpful place to start, even if you're familiar with the styles of dance (salsa, merengue, calypso, cumbia, hiphop, belly dance, reggaeton). I've gone through this one once to make sure I'm doing the steps correctly. This won't teach you EVERY step you'll encounter throughout the set, but you'll learn a majority of them. If you're totally new to Zumba, you may want to go through this DVD a couple of times before moving on, just to get the hang of it.
Activate: This is a 45-minute workout that includes all of the moves you learn in Step by Step. It's a wonderfully-paced workout – I had no trouble completing it – and it's a favorite.
Rush: Holy cow, y'all. This one is 20 minutes, and every single second is jam-packed. It's great if you're low on time, but on the other hand, it's SUPER intense. I actually had trouble completing it, and I've never felt too tired to finish a full hour-long class. So this one is definitely something to work toward!
Exhilarate: This is another 45-minute workout, and another favorite of mine. Like Activate, this one is well-paced, so you never get too out of breath and you exercise steadily throughout the DVD. (Ladies – and maybe some gentlemen – this one is hosted by Beto, a Zumba founder. He is, frankly, easy on the eyes, so that makes this one really fun to watch!)
Ripped: This is Zumba toning. I've never been to a Zumba toning class, so this was a nice explainer. I wasn't sure the 1 1/2-pound toning sticks would really help me work out, but they do (especially if you don't do much strength training, and I'm not quite ready for that yet). There's some dancing mixed in with the toning so it never gets boring.
Mix: This is probably my favorite. Along with your regular instructors, there are dancers from all over the world who show you how to move like they do. There was everything from native African dances to the flamenco. I'm not sure how long this DVD is, and it can get really intense in parts, but it's so much fun.
Fitness Concert: It's exactly what you think it is: it's a concert with hundreds of folks Zumba'ing. It's 60 minutes and, again, well-paced. The cool thing is you get to see all of these Zumba'ers who were at a Zumba convention back in 2010. The men and women there are of literally every size, every shape, every color, every age.
A nice feature in most of the DVDs is the "Learn It!" and "Feel It!" options. If you're still learning the choreography, you can watch the workout with instructor's cues and encouragement (that's the "Learn It!" option). Or, you can just listen to the music (that's the "Feel It!" option).
The one complaint I have is attached to a compliment, so I'm not sure how much of a complaint it is: the exercises, dancers, sets, lighting, they all look good. They almost look like music videos. That's awesome, but at the same time, sometimes the way they're edited (usually towards the end of the workouts) you can't see how the instructors are moving very well. When I couldn't tell what the step was, I'd substitute some basic move and keep time with the music.
All in all, it's a great set. If you want to try Zumba at home before heading to class, this is a great way to learn the basics. Or if you're like me and want more than just a class or two a week, this set is terrific.