Tag: Making Fitness Fun

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

I’d like to talk about gym etiquette today.  It hasn’t happened often, but I have experienced rudeness at gyms (not at The Gym at City Creek, though!) over the years.   Not everyone follows proper gym etiquette.

The Cut Off:  One day, I was heading for a cable machine and someone cut me off and grabbed it.  Then when she was done, she left the cable up on the highest position.  I couldn’t reach it.  Before she used the machine, it had been left in the lowest position.  I should have grabbed it while I had the chance.  Please, consider those of us who are on the short side when you finish using cables and position them at mid-level or lower.  Thanks!

Equipment Hog:  On another occasion, as I approached the triceps press machine, a guy was using it.  I asked politely how many sets he had left and he said he had one more.  Okay, fine, I did my triceps extensions and waited for him to finish.  Then, I did one set on the press and switched back to the extensions.  An older man came by and asked if I was done with the press.  I said I was super setting them, but he could have it for one set.  The guy stayed planted in that seat for three sets!  I was sitting right there waiting for him and he sat his butt down and ignored me.   Not good!

Chatterbox:  This one really bugs me.  When I got to the gym, I went to do my cardio.  As I got on my usual elliptical, a couple of girls walked over to another machine nearby and proceded to drape themselves on the thing and gab at full volume.  Neither of them actually used it.  They were decked out in full spandex, headbands, heart rate monitors–the whole works, but they never broke a sweat.  If you come to the gym, use the equipment for it’s intended purpose, please.  Sure, chatting with your gym buddies a bit is perfectly acceptible, but remember, you are there to work out.  Get busy!

Okay, so the point of this post is to remind everyone who works out at a gym to be courteous.  Communication is key.  Make your position clear.  If you’re doing supersets, let the person who asks to use the machine know that you would appreciate being able to take turns after each set.  If you’re confronted by a continuously rude person and can’t seem to remedy the situation on your own, contact a staff member to sort out the problem.  And please tone down the chatter.

The gym should be a positive, supportive place where people work together toward fitness, not marred by inconsiderate patrons.  Keep it real.  Keep it productive.  Keep it fun.  Keep it safe.  Take care.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

This machine is great for anyone to use to build upper body strength, but it’s particularly useful for individuals who can’t use a regular bicycle or other cardio equipment requiring leg power because of a disability.  Instead of sitting down and pedalling with your legs and feet, you use your arms and hands.  It’s an all-round good mode of excercise that provides a low-impact workout for your arms, shoulders, chest, back, and abdominals.

Sit up straight on the seat (some models don’t have a seat, which better accommodates wheelchair users) and place your feet on the foot rests.  The display lets you choose the resistance you prefer and keeps track of your speed, heart rate and other variables, depending on the model.

You can do interval training, pedal with one hand or two, simulate rowing motion and more on the  handcycle machine.

Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you have a chronic medical condition, are 40 years old or older, or have been leading a

sedentary lifestyle.  Then start slowly and progress as you feel stronger, varying speed, resistance, and pedaling direction.

Should you weigh yourself regularly or not? Well, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to step on the scale on a regular basis to monitor your progress, keep you accountable, and head off any major weight re-gain. Weigh yourself once a week, every two weeks, some studies even suggest daily–whatever works for you. If you get out of the habit of those weigh-ins, it’s easier to slack off and write off that banana split you had last week…and the chocolate cake you ate three days ago…and the apple pie you had for a snack today. Allowing yourself a cheat day once a week is fine, but if you extend that on throughout the week and into the next and the next, without the benefit of a weigh-in, you could suddenly find you’ve gained back some, all or more than the weight you worked so hard to lose. But it’s important to realize that adopting a healthy lifestyle is more important than the number staring back at you on the scale. Relying too much on the scale could damage your self-esteem and be the equivalent of a wrecking ball headed straight for your motivation. So you may tend to either give up and gain more weight, or obsess about your weight to the point where you’re dangerously thin. Concentrate on eating a healthy diet and exercise most days of the week–and log it. Put it in writing to help keep you going. And, try to have fun with it.  You could have a family weight loss game for, say, 8 weeks.  Give small, fun prizes for the most weight lost each week, and total weight lost at the end of the game.  You could also play a nutrition game involving family members picking fruits and veggies of a certain color or two to try out, then searching cookbooks and online resources to find recipes using those foods.  Have a taste test to see which recipe wins as family favorite.  Make eating healthy, weight loss, and exercise a fun adventure! If you prefer to weigh yourself, here are some tips to keep in mind: 1. Use the same scale at each weigh-in for consistency 2. Weigh yourself in the morning before you eat breakfast since food and liquid can effect your weight 3. You may consider foregoing clothes if you weigh-in at home, and shoes as well, since they can add up to five pounds to the scale As you work out and eat healthier, your body will experience changes.  Muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat, it’s just denser, so it takes up less space.  If you build muscle, you will burn more fat.  With more muscle mass and less fat, your body will look leaner even if you haven’t necessarily  lost weight in the process. If you know that the weight gain is due to unhealthy eating habits, take charge.  Pull yourself back on track by analyzing your food intake and modifying your exercise routine. It’s important to have a healthy relationship with the scale.  Use it as a tool to help you manage your weight, but don’t obsess over it.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

It’s easy to get all excited about fitness when you’re just beginning, but what happens down the road when/if you start hitting plateaus, seeing less progress, and the “newness” of working out wears off?  That’s when you dig deep to find some motivation.  Here are so tips on how to stay motivated to exercise.

Change up your workout program:  Every 4 to 6 weeks or whenever your program gets stale or too easy, change it up.  Swap out exercises you don’t particularly like or you’re tired of and replace them with fresh, new ones.

Change up your workout music:  If the same songs keep coming up on your Ipod you might get bored.  After the first 10 to 20 listens, your favorite playlist can get old.  Every now and then, refresh your workout playlist with new songs that energize you. 

Distance yourself from negative people:  Leave the negative Nellie’s behind and surround yourself with people who are upbeat and supportive of your fitness journey.  This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your long-time friends or your family just because they aren’t jumping on the fitness band wagon with you.  It just means you may want to distance yourself from those people and spend more time with the supportive ones.  As with any life change–from smoking cessation to giving up alcohol–you need to separate yourself from those buddies with the old habit you want to break, especially if they aren’t supportive of your new lifestyle.

Make friends at the gym:  Gym friendships can be great for motivating you to hit the gym, because you don’t want to let them down by not showing up, or simply because having a gym buddy can make working out more fun.  But those friendships can also help others.  There are charity events, such as 5K’s and bike rides, happening throughout the year.  Get together with your gym buddies, train, challenge each other, form teams, get out in the fresh air, help a great cause, and have fun!  Don’t feel like competing?  That’s okay.  Team up to volunteer at the event instead.  Pick a task requiring a lot of movement, standing, and so on to help you burn more calories while providing a service.  Keep your eyes and ears open for events in your area.
Keep a fitness journal:  Have sections in your journal for weights/measures, food intake, exercise, positive affirmations, comments, and so on.  Make it personal.  Record compliments you get from loved ones and strangers alike, your weight, healthy foods to try, new exercises you’d like to introduce into your program, and so on.  Look back now and then to see how far you’ve progressed and where you need to improve.
Create a vision board:  A vision board helps you organize your goals–what you want out of your fitness program, life in general, or any number of aspects of your life–made with poster board and magazine cutouts, PowerPoint, or Pinterest, to name a few.  Do it however you want. Let’s take fitness, for example.  You could have a Pinterest board for your goals and how to get there, another with fitness tips, another for your favorite exercise demos, another board for clothes you’d like to get when you lose weight, and another for positive affirmations.  Keep checking your board (s) and reorganize as needed.
Set SMART goals:  Make sure your goals come from way down deep inside and are:
  • Specific:  Decide why you want to lose weight and how you’ll get there. “I will lose 20 lbs. by November 15.”
  • Measurable:  This goal above is measurable.  You’ll weigh yourself regularly and be able to see if you’ve lost 20 lbs. by November 15 or not.
  • Attainable:  Take into consideration your fitness level, health issues, work, family, community involvement, and so on.  What can you physically do and where can you fit it into your schedule?  It’s fine to squeeze in 10 minutes of exercises 3 times a day to get the recommended 30 minutes.  You don’t have to be a superman or woman, shoving aside everything else in your life to exercise for hours on end.  Another example is, if you want to run a marathon but have never done it before, you need to realize that you won’t be ready in 2 months.  Work up to it.   Do what you can and stick with it. 
  • Relevant:  Set a goal that is important to you, not one that you think you should set because your friend said it would be a good idea.  Setting a goal to exercise and lose weight because you want to lower your blood pressure is good, while exercising because your mother told you to is not.  Again, it has to come from a place deep inside you or you will have a harder time sticking with it.
  • Time-sensitive:  Set a start date and stick to it.  “I will start today toward losing 20 lbs. by November 15,” has a starting and ending point to determine whether or not the goal is met.  On November 15  you’ll either be down 20 lbs. or not, but it’s something to work toward, with a sense of urgency attached to it.

Offer yourself healthy rewards:  Give yourself a weekend away, a spa day, a new gym bag–anything non-food related and within your budget–as a reward for mini goals reached. 

Visualize goals being met:  Fantasize about stepping on the scale and seeing that you’ve lost those 20 lbs.  How does it feel?  How do you react?  How do others react?  Imagine yourself buying smaller clothes.  For the first time in years you can fit into your favorite pair of jeans.  Imagine enjoying a stroll through a Farmer’s Market, picking up great new fruits and veggies to try.  Imagine walking with a lighter step.  Drink it in and make it happen for real.

Don’t compare yourself to others at the gym:  Everyone is different with different goals, body types, health issues and so on.  Concentrate on your program, your goals, and your needs, not someone else’s.  So you don’t look like the co-ed with 2% body fat ripping up the treadmill.  That’s okay.  Go at your own speed and do what’s right for you. 

Believe in yourself:  You can do it.  It took you a long time to gain the weight you want to shed.  Give yourself time to lose it.  Be good to yourself.  Be understanding.  If you have a bad day, so be it.  Get back on track the next day.  Weight loss will happen if you believe in yourself and your ability to develop a healthy lifestyle.   

Take it one day at a time:  This may be frustrating, but weight loss takes time and patience.  A good weight loss rate is 1-2 lbs. per week.  Forget the miracle drugs and starvation diets.  Do your body a favor and lose weight by eating healthfully and mindfully, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, getting proper sleep, reducing stress, and ditching bad habits (excessive alcoholic consumption, tobacco use).