Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Workout Journey

I really have a love/hate relationship with fitness.  I love how my body looks when I'm working out regularly, but I absolutely loathe going to the gym.  As I've gotten older, I've become much lazier with my cardio routine.  I'm not sure what it is, I just can't seem to get into that rhythm of enjoying a really good sweat.

In my twenties, I LOVED working out!  I would do two-a-days at the gym, go for long runs, take group exercise classes, work with trainers, etc.  I was serious about my fitness and committed to working out!

Bikini Competition Ready in 2010

Then in 2011, I just hit a wall.  I started traveling a lot with my fianc√© which interfered with my normal routine, and to be honest, I was burnt out of exercising 5 days a week.  I just couldn't find the energy to drag my butt to the gym anymore.  So I just stopped going.  I lost weight very fast (all muscle) and at first I liked it!  For the first time in ages I was below 110lbs, which is very skinny for me. However,  I lost my feminine curves, and I lost my butt!  I had such a flat, white-girl butt! :)  After about 4 months of doing absolutely nothing, I started to gain weight.  I was really unhappy with how I looked and started becoming very self conscious about my body.  Accepting your body and being comfortable in your own skin is always going to be a challenge, especially since society prizes such unrealistic images, and living in Miami is rough!  You are always surrounded by beautiful people with amazing bodies.  I knew that if I wanted to be happy with myself again, I was going to have to do some work.

After losing weight - where is my butt?! lol

In early 2012, I was introduced to Pilates.  I had always heard how great things about Pilates, and I was really eager to try it.  After 1 session I was hooked!  For those of you that aren't familiar with Pilates, it is a body conditioning routine that helps build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in
the legs, abs, arms, hips, and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. You do a variety of different exercise on a mat, stability balls, and on a reformer.

A typical Pilates Reformer

The particular type of Pilates that I do is called "Stott Pilates".  You can read about the differences between regular Pilates vs Stott by clicking here.  I have seen tremendous changes in my body since I started doing Pilates.  My body has become leaner, stronger, and longer.  It has decreased my chronic lower back pain, and has greatly improved my posture.   Pilates actually changes how you carry yourself.  Having a strong core and a flexible spine makes you feel good, stand straighter and actually appear taller.  I still have a ways to go, but at this point I'm extremely pleased with the results so far!

Without going too in depth into my workout regime, this is what I'm currently doing: I work out with my Pilates instructor 3 times per week.  Pilates is tougher than it looks, and most days I leave with a sweaty shirt!  Doing Pilates alone isn't enough to lose weight so I also try to do cardio 3 times per week.  I usually will do 35-40 minutes of either walking at a very brisk pace at 8-10% incline or 45 minutes on the elliptical machine.  I had read once that doing at least 35 minutes of cardio is key since your body doesn't tap into its fat storage until after at 35 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, not sure if that is factual information but that's what I do.  I also just bought this portable stair stepper for my living room, and I don't allow myself to watch tv unless I do at least 15-20 minutes on that.  I did pretty extensive research on portable stair steppers (since I love stair masters) and found one on amazon that seemed to be the best option.  View it here.   I believe that staying active is extremely important and living in a warm climate definitely makes that easy for me.  I love to ride my bike, rollerblade, and take my dog for walks.  

This year, I'm really trying to focus more on listening to my body and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle rather than the numbers on the scale.  This is obviously a little hard since I want look my absolute best for my wedding (what bride doesn't?)  But after our wedding, I am planning on sticking to that mentality.  To be happy, healthy, and in harmony with your body is much more important than how you look in a bikini!

I welcome all questions and comments/suggestions  :) 



On vacation this summer

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