Dienstag, 15. April 2014

5 simple tips for more everyday fitness.

The blogger workshop has to wait:
Today I feel the sudden urge to write something about exercise!

All workout fanatics and pros can skip reading this, as there will be neither groundbreaking news (“the perfect bikini body in just three weeks!”) nor any extensive instructions.

My post is more likely directed at all those who…

- have so far not really taken to exercise, but would like to be fit all the same,

- have a densely filled work day,

- instead of “my life will be completely different from now on, I am going to change absolutely EVERYTHING” prefer to integrate a short unit into their daily life, which shows a maximum of results with a minimum of effort.

In other words, people like me ;).

For, yes, I am slim (which is 90% due to my eating habits and 10% due to my genes) – but I am not completely fit.
And there is a big difference!
For joints and muscles as well as endurance.

I have actually meant to change this for quite a while.
Yet I wasn’t ready to invest a lot of effort and big changes, nor to put in a lot of time.

I have been running for several weeks now, and afterwards I add a few simple and effective exercises:
all in all it does not take me much more than half an hour.

How did this happen?
Here are my tips and personal experiences – I am sure one thing or another will help you, too!

1. Motivation.

What triggered me was one single sentence:
"When you get up in the morning, drink a glass of water, put on your running shoes and run! And only return after 20 minutes.”

I have talked about this here before.

The simplicity of this statement nearly shocked me, as I instantly knew:
"Even I should be able to achieve THAT?!”

Very easy.
Put on shoes.
Start running.
Return after 20 minutes.


All that’s keeping you are lame excuses, that’s literally ALL. So every time I didn’t feel like going (and it was obvious that that was going to happen) I asked myself straight off: "Do I not value my body enough to just go and invest 20 minutes? Or am I just too lazy?”
I just didn’t tolerate any excuses, that was all.
And, surprise: everything’s running smoothly.

I am excited for anybody who wakes up one morning basking in the deep revelation: "I will change my life – EVERYTHING. NOW.” And who then goes on to become a superjock and fitness guru – but honestly: how often does that happen?
How long do you want to wait?

In the meantime you better drink a glass of water, put on your shoes and run.

Nope. Easy.

2. Preparation.

As simple as I had set out, as simple do I intend to keep it.

Which means:
I already had a pair of running shoes, I added 3 sports bras from H&M.
That’s all.
No stylish functional clothing, no apps, no heart rate monitor technical thingamabobs.
I don’t even own an iPod.

Should you still need running shoes, please go to a specialist store and get some advice – it is a science in itself and you will truly get your individually perfect shoe there. But it is also quite funny.
In the morning I put on my sweatpants (oh yeah, the ones that I used to wear for lounging around), a T-shirt or a long-sleeved shirt and off I go.
I bet 90% of all readers own sweatpants and a T-shirt!

If it is a little chilly a hoodie serves me well, as my ears easily hurt in the cold wind.
I pull the cuffs over my hands as a substitute for gloves, the hood warms my head and if it gets warmer, I unzip the sweater jacket.
If it gets really warm, I take off the T-shirt too, tie it around my waist and only wear the sports bra (2 on top of each other, which was a tip from Jil who runs regularly).

I run entirely without make-up, my hair in a bun on top of my head – if it’s warm my hairdo usually morphs into a visual disaster.

Nope. Easy.

3. Speed and mileage.

Like anything else I do, I didn’t want to allow any pressure in this area either.

I decided to really ENJOY this time.
The fresh cool air, nature, my body and how it moves.
Amazing or what?
I have two legs that carry me, sometimes fast, sometimes slowly wherever I want to go!
If that’s no reason to be incredibly grateful!
When I slow down I feel a pleasant tingling all over – caused by the fresh air and the exertion.  
Like sparkly lemonade tickling me all over.

I have no intention whatsoever to “cover” a certain distance or successfully accomplish anything, I make no demands on myself – I don’t compete with anybody.
Why should I?

I am relaxed while running at a slow speed that allows me to breathe regularly.
The whole thing in intervals: 5 minutes running, 5 minutes walking, 5 minutes running, short sprint (after which I am half-dead!), and then walking.
The first few times I ran for about 13 minutes, upping it to approx. 25 to 30 minutes due to the route.

I can integrate this well into my morning.
I usually leave the house after the kids have gone to school and I have tidied the kitchen.
And I run only every other day.
No “I made 5km today!”
No “I want to improve.”
And above all (!) never ever a guilty conscience, if time restraints don’t allow me to go for 2 or 3 days.
I personally abhor things like a guilty conscience – for whatever reason - , and I certainly don’t want to add that to exercising, too.
If I exercise: great.
If I don’t: whatever.

By the way, you can seriously run almost everywhere, and you can even pack the shoes when travelling.

Come on.
So easy.

4. Muscle growth.

When I return from my run I am abviously already in my sports gear – so why not immediately add 2 to 3 simple and effective exercises to stimulate muscle growth? It doesn’t even take 10 minutes, I don’t have to drive to a gym, everything I need for it, I have at home. (One pillow, two one-quart bottles of water for weight lifting).

One of the exercises for example is relaxed sitting, back to the wall.
WITHOUT a chair, mind you.

(see HERE).
Now do that for a minute….

For as we know running is more of a cardio & endurance thing (please correct me, if I’m wrong, I am not so knowledgable with these things!) – for a great physique you have to put in a little bit more effort.

I carry out everything slowly and in a controlled manner, and just as often as I manage to do it – and that is usually not that often. Nevertheless my muscles are always sore the following day.

This makes for a flat stomach, strong support for the spine (a tense neck often results in headaches) and: muscles burn fat even when you’re at rest.

By the way, Jil’s trainer Alex showed me the exercises – a competent and unbelievably likeable man, who even writes a blog ;).
So if you are further interested in fitness and nutrition, visit him HERE!

3- 4 exercises that take not even 15 minutes?
Even I can achieve THAT – now that I am already standing here in my living room, sweating ;).

5. Attitude.

As in a lot of other areas there is a risk you run also in the area of exercise and fitness, a risk called: religion.

In other words:
You declare your own way of living as the Only One and from now on look down on anybody who is too weak/fat/lazy/ignorant/unable to live just like you.
Maybe only behind closed doors, maybe just in your head – still, from now on you look condescendingly at anybody who lives a different life.

So, if you already exercise regularly and notice the following or similar thoughts running through your head:
"Well, SHE could really use some exercise, look at how unathletic she looks!”
"5K?! Ridiculous, I can do 4 times as much!”
"Oh man, I am so much BETTER, because I am athletic!”
 - you are well on your way straight to hell.

Well, congrats!
By chance I overheard a conversation at the grocery store, where two women condescendingly talked about the contents of the shopping cart on the conveyor band at the check-out – mind you, not about their own, but about the person’s in front of them.
"When I look at what I just bought, only fruits and vegetables and healthy things, and compare it to this one up front, just processed food – I fell so much better. How on earth can you buy all that!”
This is a shining example of derogatory religious behavior – it exists, of course, also in other areas of life:
Be it fashion ("how dare you wear something like that?”, “I am dressed with SO much more style”) , parenting ("I am just totally the better mom, I would NEVER allow my child to do that!”), interior decoration ("OMG, a tiled living room?! My house is decorated so much more tastefully…”), vaccination of young children, vegan diet, etc., etc. etc.
In some areas outright religious wars are fought ;).

Every time you look down on others, compare yourself with others and feel better afterwards - just forget it.
If you feel worse afterwards, on the other hand, it’s simply inferiority – just forget it, too, is what I think ;).

Just be happy about your own change, don’t judge others – live and let live.
Not so difficult, right?
You see: everything’s easy ;).
That’s how I like it!

With love,

p.s. We had some girls sleeping over today.
When I took the pictures for this post, the ladies had just gotten up (11:30am!); in passing Noelle’s friend said to her, laughing: “Your mother! She rather takes a picture of her running shoes than run in them!”
It's a tough job.

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