Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Still shaking my groove thing

I'm happy to report that (Just) Dancing my ass off is still working.

So far, I haven't gotten bored by exercising. I'm sticking with my change-what-you-do-every-time routine and it seems to be keeping me motivated. To keep the momentum going, I splurged on a copy of Just Dance 2, and added a few similar games (like Dance on Broadway and Zumba Fitness) to my wish list. Even more exciting, perhaps, was my discovery of the Exercise TV channel that I can watch "on-demand" through my cable box. With the click of a remote I was dancing along with Billy Blanks Jr. for 20 minutes and bumbling my way through a hip-hop workout with a perky twenty-something. Either way, I was burning calories.

The best thing about the on-demand workout videos is that they're free! A close second, however, is the fact that there are enough videos to keep me entertained for quite some time and the selection changes with relative frequency. It really is much more appealing to turn on the TV, scroll through the options, and decide if I'm more interested in a Latin dancing workout or an arm-toning session, than it is to run to nowhere on a treadmill.

I haven't yet stepped on a scale during this latest attempt at fitness. Right now, I'm more interested in getting in the habit of getting moving than I am in wondering if the scale shows any progress. Given my proclivity for getting discouraged, I've decided that moving is better than not moving, and for now, that's all the motivation I need. I don't need a scale to tell me that I'm doing something good for myself.

Note: If you need some dance-like games and videos to inspire your own routine, try one of my favorites (suggestions in the widget below). The widget also includes a few pieces of exercise equipment that I've found helpful.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bring on spring!

Today marks the first day of spring and I am relieved.

I have lived in New England my whole life and I'm one of those stubborn Yankees that rolls my eyes and crosses my arms when someone complains about winter in New England. My thoughts were always, Too much snow? Why do you live here? or the classic If you don't like the weather in New England, wait five minutes. I had no patience for people who grumbled about winter; I always just dealt with the snow and haughtily embraced my Yankee grit.

But this year, Mother Nature got the best of me.

Surrounded by mountains of snow, I woke up each morning, peeked out the window, and cursed as I saw the inevitable snow that fallen in the night. I woke up hours earlier than usual to shovel. I crept along to work each morning as my 35-minute commute stretched into 45 minutes, then an hour, and sometimes nearly two. I gave up on wearing anything other than my sturdy boots. I bundled up like I was preparing for an excursion along some frozen tundra and I complained about the weather to anyone who would listen. In short, my hearty Yankee spirit got tossed right out the window into a snowbank.

Now, of course, I'm unbelievably thrilled that spring is here. It's such a relief! Yes, there's still snow on the ground, and yes, I know it could still snow, but the sun is warm and spirits are high. It's just the push I need to forget about winter for awhile.

Happy spring!

Friday, March 11, 2011

(Just) Dance your ass off

Okay, okay. I don't have the best track record with exercise. I get bored. I give up. I abandon my workout for a plate of nachos and a glass of wine.

But this time I've figured it out! (Don't roll your eyes! I can see you rolling your eyes!) The answer? VARIETY.

I'm not sure why I didn't think of this before. As we all know, I figured out that I have to exercise when it doesn't feel like I have to, but apparently that isn't enough. I also have to have some fun while I'm exercising. Moreover, I'm easily bored so I have to change things up frequently. (Damn, I'm picky.)

So I finally found a bunch of things that I like in small doses and I've been rotating them. I feel brilliant. (Seriously, why didn't I think of this sooner?)

I know why I didn't think of this sooner. Because fit people have exercise "plans" and "routines." They get up at 6 a.m. and run for an hour. They take Zumba on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work. They do yoga before breakfast and take walks before dinner. They toil away at the gym five days a week. They track their progress on pedometers, charts, and online forums. So if fit people have plans, shouldn't I have a plan if I want to be fit?

The answer is a resounding "no." It's obvious that I've never been able to stick to a "plan". So it makes sense that my new plan would be no plan.

The only routine in my new plan is that I get my butt in gear doing some cardio every other day. On the off days I try to do some strength training by lifting weights and stretching (or just carrying colossal loads of laundry up and down the stairs).

On my cardio days I boogie in my living room to Wii games like Just Dance and shake my groove thing to exercise DVDs like Bollywood Booty. (No, seriously, I do.) When the weather is nicer, I'll add riding my bike and taking walks around the neighborhood. I'm even trying yoga (though yoga via DVD is hard to do, since you can't look at the screen and bend over at the same time).

The trick, I've learned, is not to do the same thing two sessions in a row. The appeal of even the most enjoyable workouts wears off too quickly when I do the same exercise DVDs over and over, or even walk the same loop around town.

So, maybe this time it will work for me. Maybe not having a plan is the best plan I've ever had when it comes to exercise.

Of course, if anyone knows any cheesy dancing games or workout videos, feel free to send them my way. There's always room for variety in this girl's workout.