Posts Tagged ‘gym’

The New Year’s Resolutions That Never Happened

January 29, 2016

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Every January, I enter the gym in a state of dread, knowing that it will be swarming with people who aren’t normally there. Us regulars take a deep breath, secure in the knowledge that most of them will be gone before the month is over. This year however, they never actually showed up.

Did they give up the fight for a healthier and more svelte version of themselves? Are they all at Soul Cycle? I have a theory, and its not a bad one; they set themselves up for failure from day one.

In New York, we experienced mild temperatures all the way through Christmas Eve, which was a balmy 73 degrees. Suddenly, the thermometer dipped into the teens, and those dark, dreary mornings became instantly more difficult to navigate. There was little subtlety in the situation. It seemed like out of nowhere, winter arrived. It made it’s point this weekend, when 30″ of snow was dumped on our city, virtually shutting most of it down. When you aren’t used to getting up and getting out and hitting the gym while it is still dark, trying to do it when its freezing isn’t a good place to start. Eating clean, when all we crave is comfort food, is super hard this time of year. Setting goals like that are almost certain to fail. We opt to hybernate, instead of working out.

I never make New Year’s resolutions. I just resolve to try to do my best throughout the year. Perhaps deciding to become a morning gym person is a better goal for the late spring, when it is light out, and weather is more welcoming. Eating clean, while possible all year long, is much simpler when the produce is fresh and in-season, and lighter fare is more palatable than heavier choices. Getting out and running or biking is easier to achieve when there is more daylight available in which to partake in these activities.

May I suggest resetting some of these goals in the spring, with the intent to maintain them long term? Once the habits are set, they will carry through, regardless of the time of year.

I’m not advocating putting off trying to build a healthier lifestyle. I am however, suggesting that you cut yourself some slack and just do the best you can. Resolve to do better, and build on that throughout the year. Go to the gym whenever you can, and make some healthy food swaps when available. Come spring, you’ll be part of the way there, and easing into a more rigorous program will be much easier.

Photo:Glasshouse Images

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Resolutioner’s Etiquette

January 12, 2015

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It is that time of year again, when everyone vows to workout, joins a gym and then….you know the rest.

Coming from someone who is there all year long, year after year, I am here to tell you that you are annoying. While us regulars applaud your new found commitment and wish you lots of luck sticking with it, most of you are in our way, doing things that inhibit our workout, and taking up valuable space on equipment and in classes.

In an effort to have us all live happily over the next few weeks when most of you will go away as quickly as you arrived, let’s go over the ground rules once again, okay?

Know which classes require pre-booking (cycling) and which you can just walk into. We don’t take kindly to you stealing the bike we got up at the crack of dawn to book, only to have you waltz out 10 minutes in when you’ve had enough.

If you are new, get to class a little early to get help setting up, so the instructor can get things started on time.

Don’t do your own thing in a group fitness situation. There is a group for a reason. It’s very distracting to watch you flailing away at your own speed when we are doing drills. In a class like spinning, reduce your resistance to make it easier, but keep up the pace.

Don’t just stand around fiddling with your phone, or chatting with friends. You are in the way. And as for that phone, don’t even THINK about talking on it. Most gyms have a policy against it, and most people really don’t want hear you talking on it. If you are in a class, leave it elsewhere.

Pick up your towel. Even in a full service gym with lots of staff to do it for you. It’s rude, and inevitably, someone else will have to move it or climb over it before they can get to it.

If you should actually break a sweat, wipe it up! I mean, yuck!

Don’t spread your stuff out on the locker room bench so that nobody can sit on it or put their stuff down. And speaking of sitting on it, please don’t do it bare back, if you get my drift.

If there is a row of cardio equiptment, don’t take the treadmill or elliptical right next to someone else if there are lots of open ones. It’s just creepy.

Don’t leave your stuff all over the weight area to stake your turf and then not use said turf. Also, don’t do few reps and then sit there and play with your phone and your hair while others are waiting for that equiptment.

If you wear something to workout in, please wash it. Even if it doesn’t seem to smell bad and you think you can wear it again, you can’t. Trust us. The new sweat reactivates the old sweat, and the stench is stinky squared.

Please put your bag, coat, and coffee cup in a locker. Your stuff laying all over the place when it’s crowded is a nuisence, and a hazard.

When your coffee inevitably spills, please wipe it up.

It’s great that you have a workout buddy. Can you actually work out?
We don’t want to know about your date, your friend, your boss, your new shoes or hear you recite your last 7 text messages. Like, ok? OMG,that’s awesome.

We were newbies once, and we pushed through, so if you do it right, you can too.

Here are a few suggestions for success.

Schedule your workouts like you would a haircut or a dental appointment, and show up.

Try to workout at a similar time of day to start creating a habit. It will make it easier to maintain.

Set realistic goals: start with twice a week for a couple of weeks, then add another day. If you commit to too much too soon, you won’t be able to handle it, and you will become a New Year’s Resolution statistic.

If you can afford a personal trainer for a few sessions, get one. They will help you learn proper form, create a well balanced workout for you and get you off to a good start, injury free.

You probably aren’t burning as many calories as you think. Don’t undue your good work by treating yourself to a fattening snack. If you don’t adjust your diet, you won’t see results, and you will get discouraged.

Missing a workout or eating something you shouldn’t doesn’t mean it’s all over. You are only one meal or one workout away from being back on track.

See you at the gym!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

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What’s On My Mind This Week

August 7, 2014

After almost 10 months of traveling endlessly for work, I am back in New York for awhile and settling into my new, OLD routine again!

I am finding joy in the mundane things that I haven’t been able to do lately. Here are just a few of them:

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Cooking and eating greenmarket fresh vegetables : I love vegetables and finding a variety of fresh, simply prepared produce isn’t so easy to come by on the road.

Many hotel restaurants don’t offer a lot of vegetable choices, and slathering them in butter, a creamy sauce or frying them doesn’t help matters. My current fixation is zucchini. It has become my main course when the family is having meat ( which I don’t like,) or pasta, ( which doesn’t especially like me!) In addition to spiraling it into noodles and eating it with my other current fascination, tomatoes, I am playing with it in zucchini bread, and instead of lettuce in a salad, among other things. I’ll keep you posted with unrecipes soon!

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Nesting: I am reveling in being home, and taking time to do some improvements. I shampooed the bedroom carpet, and am slowly reorganizing.  My sofa needs recovering, and the whole loft could use a coat of paint. I have been discussing this for months, but the current downtime is allowing me to look at fabrics and paint chips, and actually make it happen. I didn’t plan to do anything else, but yesterday I swatted a mosquito that had flown in through the kitchen window, and both the insect and the glass backsplash in my kitchen did not survive. I’m thinking of replacing it with mosaic glass tiles in neutral tones. Any ideas?

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Training…hard! I have been a gym rat for many years, but it’s not easy to keep up with a fitness routine on the road. Yes, there are hotel gyms, and I do run outside a little, but those workouts tend to be maintenance, not real training. Travel days and early morning meetings wrecked havoc on my schedule, and I have been finding my fitness level has slipped. I was lifting lighter weights, running shorter distances, and biking at lower wattages. I am back on a serious regimen, and feeling great about it!(Okay, a little sore, but energized!)

Slow foods: I got a slow cooker a long time ago, but lately, I am actually using it! I can prep everything early in the day and leave it cook while I do whatever else I need to do. It means that I am not scrambling to get dinner ready at 7, or slaving over the hot stove when it’s hot outside. So far, BBQ pulled pork and Bolognese sauce were a hit, and I popped my favorite coconut miso chicken with shiitake mushrooms in there a few hours ago. It smells great!

Rebooting: It feels so good to relax, reconnect with friends, and think about what’s next. I love what I do, and the busier I am, the happier I am. Yet, I have missed a lot of social events, kid’s milestones, and just sitting back and relaxing! It’s also giving me enough breathing space to think about what I really want to do next, instead of just taking on the next project blindly. I usually panic at this stage, but this time I am enjoying it. Before the craziness began, I was working on a new concept for Indigo Jones. Perhaps now, I can take it to the next level. I’m pretty sure that will be what I will obsess over next week! I can’t wait to be able to share it with you.

Finding balance: These days it seems like it’s all or nothing with me. I’m not retired and I do still have work to do. I need to find the balance between committing myself to it fully, and living a normal life. And that is what I intend to do.

photos: Glasshouse Images

 

New Year’s Revolution

January 1, 2014

They’re coming and it won’t be pleasant. Like the zombie apocalypse, they will invade our gyms and fitness classes and unwittingly wreck havoc in our lives. Sit tight people, it won’t last long. By the end of the month, the masses will recede, and things will get back to normal. Who I am writing about, you may ask? The New  Year’s Resolutionaries!

Each year, swarms of people join gyms January 1st, and resolve that THIS is the year they will get in shape. They start out with all good intentions, and then somehow burn out and fade away. Health Clubs typically see a big boost in membership this time of year, and lock people into contracts so that they get paid whether or not their members succeed in becoming the gym rats they aspire to be.

If you are one of the millions of people starting the year off with the promise of fitness, here are a few tips for making the commitment stick, while avoiding pissing off those who were there first:

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Start slowly

If you over do it, you will be sore, exhausted and discouraged. Instead of vowing to workout everyday, commit to hitting the gym 2 or 3 times a week to start.

Set realistic expectations

Going from sedentary to running 5 miles straight isn’t realistic. Neither is lifting super heavy weights, or doing multiple fitness classes in a row. Start with a run/walk combination and increase the running time each week until you can get through a mile without stopping. If you aren’t experienced with strength training, invest in a few sessions with personal trainer who can teach you proper form and help design a program for you. Bad form + too heavy weights=injury.

Make a gym date with yourself and keep it

Put your workout into your agenda, and take it as seriously as you would if it were a doctor’s appointment, a business meeting or a date with someone you really want to see. If you really can’t make it, reschedule it right away.

If you reserve a spot in a popular class, show up, and don’t leave in the middle.

Some popular classes ( read: indoor cycling ) are difficult to get into. Us regulars become enraged when they are turned away from a full class, only to see you walk out 15 minutes later because it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. Do what you can, but stick with it! Take a short breather, pull back on the intensity but try to tough it out if you can. Conversely, don’t sign up for the toughest class in the gym right away. Find something more in line with your fitness level, and build up from there.

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Let the instructor know you’re a newbie:

They will help you get set up, watch your form and cut you some slack on your intensity. Set yourself up for success by letting them know you’re a beginner.

Be conscious of your food intake:

For the most part, weight is based on calories in, and calories out. Just because you took a 30 minute stroll on the treadmill, it doesn’t mean you can pig out afterwards. It takes 3500 calories to make a pound. If you do the math, burning 150 calories at the gym does not mean you can indulge in a 350 calorie congratulatory treat and lose weight. You also need food to fuel your workout. Starving yourself will not result in having the energy to complete a serious workout. Ask my friend who took 3 fitness classes in a row without eating, and passed out in the shower. Facing the paramedics and health club staff buck naked was not fun.

Keeping a food and activity journal will help you determine your calorie intake and expenditure. I recommend an free app called Lose It! to keep you honest, and on track to meet your goals.

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Find something you love to do, and stick with it.

If you hate running, you most likely will not do it enough to make a difference. If you love to dance, try a hip-hop or Zumba class. If you like a high intensity workout, and are motivated by a group setting, try indoor cycling or a boot camp style class. If you like being outside, go walking, hiking or skiing. If you find something you enjoy, staying with it will be much easier.

Don’t create gridlock.

Most people go to the gym to work hard. If you are going to just stand around and chat, please step to the side and get out of the way. This concept applies to walking down the street in New York City as well, but that is a whole other post! Don’t camp out on a bench or piece of equipment while you text, fix your ponytail or sip colorful water. Allow others to “work in” and keep moving.

Clean up after yourself:

Wipe your sweat off the equipment, put your weights away, and please don’t leave your towels, dirty tissues or makeup smeared Q-tips laying around. It’s disrespectful, unsanitary and downright gross. Shout out to those who leave their used disposable razors in the shower. Even in the poshest gyms, with ample cleaning staff, it’s just downright unacceptable.

It’s not magic.

Fitness and healthy eating isn’t a fad, or a quick fix. It takes hard work, diligence and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. You probably didn’t gain weight, or lose muscle tone in a week, and you won’t lose weight and gain significant strength in that period of time either.You need to do the work to get the results. Give it time.

If you fall off the wagon, get back on fast.

Nobody is perfect, and if you indulge when you know you shouldn’t, enjoy it, and get back to healthy eating right away. If you miss a few workouts, recommit and get moving again. Don’t take a defeatist attitude and decide since you already blew it, it’s over. You are only one meal, and one workout away from being back on track.

See you tomorrow at the gym?

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Back to the Gym: Day 1

February 21, 2013

Young woman stretchingFor those of you who know me, my workouts were part of what defined me:six times a week, every week.

I took hardcore cycling classes, ran intervals, and did circuit training, rowing and weight lifting. If I was really sore, or my Saturday cycling teacher was on vacation, perhaps I’d throw a little Pilates into the mix.

Then, in early November, something snapped. Literally. My patella, or kneecap for those not familiar with anatomy, cracked in a perfect, horizontal line.

I barely moved for a few weeks, and then worked my way up to a hobble. After about 8 weeks, I was walking with a limp. I have been progressing well in my physical therapy, and with the week off from my crazy work routine, I decided the time had come. I removed the medical freeze from my membership and gingerly hit the gym.

I started on the ARC trainer, a variation on the elliptical machine, which has a resistance setting of 1-100 and an incline setting of 1-10. Normally, I would do this at 10 and 100. Today, I left the incline relatively flat, and started slowly at a resistance of 15, working my way up to 50 at a steady but moderate pace.

Next, I tried some upper body weights. I was able to do about 80% of my former weight, and did some seated rows, lat pull downs, bicep curls, triceps pull downs.

I worked on most of the leg exercises that we do in physical therapy, this time working both legs. Although the left leg did most of the heavy lifting during the healing time, now it’s wounded sister gets all the attention. It’s time to show them both a little love.
I did floor based abdominal exercises with a small medicine ball. No standing cable twists, and no decline bench, which can put strain on the legs.

I stretched and iced and I am good to go.

I feel energized, accomplished and really, really hungry!

I expect to feel some soreness tomorrow, but hopefully the good kind, where you challenge your muscles and they let you know that they did their best.

I know I will get stronger everyday. It is hard to restrict myself from doing too much, but I know if I injure myself again, I will be sidelined for another few months. Moderation is everything.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Respect Yourself

December 27, 2012

Young woman having body treatment on legsIt’s been a tough few months. In late October, Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, leaving us powerless for almost a week. Days later, we experienced the chaos of voting, followed by another storm.

Just as we were getting back to normal in early November, I fractured my knee.
Hobbling around was difficult at best, and for the first month, I barely moved, yet somehow managed 60-70 hour workweeks.

I just started walking a few days ago, albeit slowly and gingerly.

It is amazing how weak I have become. I am experiencing soreness, akin to the morning after a crazy hard workout, just from walking around.

As an avid exerciser, and someone who walked everywhere, this sedentary life has been difficult. More importantly, it has been eye opening.
I think I have been not only rehabbing an injury, but also rehabbing my lifestyle.

Prior to my accident, I had an extremely healthy diet. I lived in fear of skipping a workout, and felt guilty over indulgences. I tracked every movement and every calorie with an iPhone app. The mere thought of not working out for a few days, let alone months, terrified me.
The first few weeks were the most difficult. Not only could I not make it to the grocery store, I couldn’t stand long enough to prepare the food. Add in a beyond crazy work schedule, thanks to Sandy tearing through in the middle of a big deadline. Eating well was not a priority. I ate whatever, whenever, and worried that I would end this 10 pounds heavier.

Guess, what? My weight has remained about the same. Yeah, I am surprised too.

A few realities:

My increased activity levels left me always hungry.
Deprivation left me always wanting something else.

Muscle weighs more than fat.

It takes a long time to build muscle. Fat takes over pretty quickly.

My appetite is reduced; therefore my calorie intake is reduced. Although I am not limiting myself to being fat free, gluten free, or sugar free, I am simply eating less. If I want a cookie, I eat a cookie. I don’t seem to want 6 of them.

Muscle does weigh more than fat. While my weight is about the same, my pants are actually getting to be too big.  Where there was muscle tone, there is now just flesh. I am looking skinny rather than healthy. My formerly hard body has been replaced by a very soft one. I now know that the number on the scale is not an indicator of how I look, or how much body fat I have.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not advocating a poor diet, or a non-active lifestyle.

I am not living on fast food and processed junk.
I will be back in the gym the minute the doctor tells me I am strong enough to do so.

What I am advocating, is giving ourselves a break. Would working out 4 days a week instead of 6 be so bad? Would eating healthfully but not obsessively, work better than constant restriction and occasional binges? For those who don’t have a good diet and exercise routine, the thought of all or nothing often feels too daunting and stops them from even trying. For those of who do, obsession can easily take hold.

I want to be strong and healthy, and of equal importance, happy.

I love how I feel after a hard run or a challenging cycling class. I have more energy and stamina when I eat well. But, moderation, for those of us capable of practicing it, is a good thing. And it works both ways. Too much of a good thing, is still too much. My body was trying to tell me to back off, with cranky aches and pains and constant exhaustion. It finally, just cracked. Right across the kneecap.

While many of you are crafting your New Year’s resolutions to start diets, lose weight, or join a gym, why not join me in vowing to respect our bodies and all it does for us?

Instead of thinking about a diet, why not think about nourishing your body for optimum performance? Care for your body as you might care for something else that is important to you.  Listen to what your body is telling you and respond to it.

We only get one body; take good care of it.

photo: Glasshouse Images


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