I'm not a natural athlete. I need daily encouragement and motivation to keep up the exercise habits I believe are integral to heart health. This post feels a little more personal then most but if sharing can help even one person then it is worth it.
We woke up this morning with big ambition for a long workout at the gym. First things first. A light breakfast of toast with homemade blackberry jelly (made by a family member in Michigan). At the gym we went our separate ways. I started with 30 minutes on the elliptical machine ("rolling hills" setting, level 8). Since the gym wasn't very crowded I also had control of the TV remote! (I watched Ghostbusters on Comedy Central). After cardio I went for the weights. Three sets of squats on the smith machine (70lbs of weights on the bar), my standard routine of free weights for arms and shoulders, two sets of 12 dips with 30lbs of assistance and finally leg raises on the machine. I was completely wiped out until noon!
As always, I had two dependable sources of motivation: my pulse monitor watch and the Girl Talk mash-up on my iPod. If you're someone who is struggling to develop a regular work out habit AND you have a pop culture addiction - then I encourage you to cave in to the pop culture and harness it as your exercise fuel. Oliver and I do not have cable TV at home. Therefore if I want to catch up on the Real Housewives of anywhere my only choice is on the elliptical at the gym. It may sound lame to some people - but I admit there are nights it will keep me running hard ten minutes longer then I set the machine. It doesn't matter what keeps you going with cardio - all that matters is that you do it enough to strengthen your heart.
"Girl Talk" has become my go-to for work out music. I doubt my Mom would like it but a cousin who is ten years older does. The mash-up mix keeps a fast tempo and changes songs frequently enough to accommodate even those with the shortest attention span. It's a free download (for real) so you really have nothing to lose. Click here for the music (despite the name - it's not a virus, promise).
The pulse montior watch validates my exertion which in turn motivates me to keep going. As soon as my work out starts to feel too hard I put my finger on the watch and it tells me I really truly am working out at my maximum capacity. That satisfaction encourages me to give it another set or another five minutes. In the end, it also estimates how many calories I've burned. Today I burned 962 in 59 minutes (which actually MEANS nothing to me but sounds good enough to do it again).
I admit that without my iPod, Girl Talk, pulse monitor watch and dependable work out partner a regular exercise routine would be much harder. That is why I encourage everyone to do whatever it takes to build a lifestyle that makes you the healthiest you can be. It's not easy - but you can do it.