Last week I talked all about running. I’m waiting for this crazy-hot Texas weather to cool down so I can begin running every night. It’s still pushing 100 degrees at 7:30 in the evening. No bueno.
Once I made running part of my healthy lifestyle and regular routine, I started to feel like I needed to do more. I could see what the good food and running were doing for my body, but I wanted to see my muscles!
I’ve never had much muscle definition. Even when I played sports in high school (cheerleading, tennis, and golf), I had just an average body. Remember, I’m actually thinner and more fit than I was in high school.
I mentioned here that after we run, Ava and I stop off to play at our neighborhood park. Well, not only does our park have a playground (and volleyball courts, soccer fields, and a 1/3 mile gravel track), it also has some awesome fitness equipment.
When I first noticed the equipment, I was a little shy to try them out. So for the first few days, I just casual read the signs trying to figure out how to use each one and what muscle groups it would work out. Then I started using them.
At first, I did what I could. I could handle the sit-ups and maybe a couple of push-ups. Pull-ups (not the kind your toddler wears) whooped my butt. I’ve never been able to do pull-ups, even in elementary school. Fitness was never high on my priority list. That has seriously changed. Here is all the equipment I have available at my park.
My first bit of advice: Don’t be afraid to workout because someone might be watching. You’re working out, they’re not. That’s all I need to say about that.
My second bit of advice: Do what you can. When I started, I couldn’t even do one pull-up. I can now do four. Pathetic, I know, but I can only improve.
So what can you do if your park doesn’t have any fitness equipment?
I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercise. My baby sister introduced me to bodyweight exercise. She thinned out and toned up by working out in bed while watching TV. For real! She did crunches, leg lifts, and slew of other things. Not sure what bodyweight exercises you could/should be doing? Check out YouTube! There are so many helpful workout videos to be found. I was also able to find a handful of free apps for my iPhone that have a workout circuit. I also like the playground workout over at Nerd Fitness.
After a few weeks of regular exercise, you will find yourself looking at every object as fitness equipment. A table can be used for push-ups, etc. I have also become obsessed with walking. Walking can be done for fitness too!
I started walking when we lived in Alaska. Even when it was 9 degrees outside with 3 feet of snow on the ground, I would regularly walk to the grocery store. Once you strap a baby to your front (in the Ergobaby), you’ve got a decent workout. So it was only natural that I started walking everywhere I could once we got to Texas. For me, anything within one mile (one way) is fair game. We are lucky that there are many options within a mile. Even if it’s 103 degrees out, there’s no excuse.
Since I’ve added additional exercises to my running, I have noticed a significant difference in my body. I’ve got less arm flab for one!
I’m starting to see muscle tone all over. Once I started to see a change, I was curious about my body fat percentage (don’t confuse this with body mass index). Although I haven’t actually measured, I’m estimating my current body fat percentage to be around 23-24%, based on pictures. My goal is to be somewhere between 18-20%.
I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to try out their fancy scales that supposedly measure body fat percentage. Don’t waste your money (or time). The most expensive scale said that my body fat percentage was 36%, which is ridiculously high for my body. The Weight Watchers brand scale said I was 14%. I’m no bodybuilder! I’ll just stick with my estimate.
If you are trying to change your lifestyle, try adding a little at a time. With these little changes, you will begin to see your body change. With body changes, your attitude toward exercise and fitness will change. It will no longer seem like work, but rather an exciting challenge and hobby.