Fitting In

As spring swells toward summer, seems like a good time to revisit a previous post. Happy to say I’m still at it!

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Getting in shape, staying in shape . . . you’d think we’d have it all figured out by now, given the aircraft hangars-full of books on the subject and the gazillion dollar diet industry. I am not about to contribute to the mountain of information (or disinformation) on the topic. I’m just talking logistics.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time every day sitting in front of a computer. I know, I know, sitting is the new smoking. Terrible for you. There are writers who bang out whole novels while standing up. Ernest Hemingway, allegedly did that (although he was probably smoking a cigar at the time). I’ve tried it and turns out I can’t write anything more readable than a grocery list while standing. So combatting physical deterioration along with creeping spread can be a challenge — just like it is for most people, unless maybe you’re a construction worker or a pro athlete. I have a couple of other factors to contend with:

  • I live in one of the food meccas of the world. The temptation to eat too well, too often, is ever-present.
  • Writing before 10AM requires toast. Writing after noon requires chocolate.
  • There are no local gym options that work for me.
  • I’m not as young as I used to be.
    • Perhaps you’re not either. If you are over 30, my friend, you are subject to creeping sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, and only about a billion articles in print and online urge you to take heed.
      • The only treatment for sarcopenia? Exercise. Especially strength training.

With these realities firmly in what’s left of my aging mind, I build exercise into every day. Well, almost every day. I have some factors in my favor that I take advantage of. For one, I have a dog, and dogs eschew litter boxes, so right there I’m looking at two walks per day. Our valley and its surrounding hills are blessed with beautiful walking routes and breathtaking hiking trails, so getting out and about with Molly and a supply of poop bags is no terrible chore, as long as the weather cooperates.vineyard

But the internet has become my secret fitness weapon. Turns out there are myriad effective, time-efficient, not-too-boring, and most of all FREE workouts just waiting out there in the ether, ready for you and me to join in and get our sweat on, right in the comfort (and blessed obscurity) of home.

Here are some of my favorites:

Jessica_Headshot-2-150x150Jessica Smith TV — Jessica Smith is engaging, knowledgeable, just perky enough, and has a host of workout videos suitable for all levels and interests. And all of them can be done in minimal space with minimal equipment. Click on the link, go to the “Exercise Videos” button, and you’ll find listings under Cardio, Strength, Yoga and Pilates Inspired, No Equipment Needed, etc. The “equipment” you might want is basic: light hand weights (sometimes she uses 10 lb. and 20 lb. dumbells, something you can work up to if you’re not quite there yet); a mat; resistance band; and an exercise ball. Videos range in length from eight minutes to just over an hour, and in intensity from mildly elevating sessions to heart-pounding, gasp-inducing sweat fests. She really knows her stuff, and there is enough on her site alone to keep you doing something new every day for a good long time. I feel like she’s my personal trainer and she doesn’t even know I exist. Big Jessica Smith fan over here!

Do Yoga With Me — I love yoga, but can’t always make it to a class and I need an instructor or I forget what pose to flow into next, resulting in frustration or near disaster on the mat. At this site, you’ll find scores of classes taught by different teachers, broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Something for everybody here.

Sadie Nardini Free Yoga — Think yoga types take themselves too seriously? Orimages-1 maybe that yoga is just fancy stretching and not a real workout? Meet Sadie Nardini, proponent of fierce yoga, who will have you sweating in minutes but will leave you feeling great. You do have to deal with some interruptions from ads, but those can be skipped after a couple of seconds (just don’t try to do it while you’re still in down dog). Try her 20 Minute Weight Loss & Fat Burning Yoga Routine for a taste of her fun, New York, rock ‘n roll style. Namaste, baby.

Pop Sugar — Another great resource with a bunch of free workout videos. They tend to be on the intense side, with exuberant hard-bodied fitness nymphs who look like they live in the gym, so just don’t overdo it. If you’re pressed for time but need a cardio blast, their 20 Minute HIIT Video (High Intensity Interval Training) will leave you gasping but feeling morally superior just for getting through it. Full disclosure: I have to fake it on some of the moves, like the combination burpees and plank jumps. But hey, those girls are at least 30 years younger than me.

There’s enough there to get you going. Or maybe you’ve already got this figured out. What do you do to avoid becoming an unfit writer? Please share.

Meanwhile, time to walk the dog!

6 thoughts on “Fitting In

  1. Sounds like you’re doing well on the keeping active front! You’re making me feel bad about how I’ve let this slip. Maybe even bad enough to do some rowing tonight. I’ve never tried secret internet fitness weapons, but I do row while watching TV, so that counts, right?

  2. Feeling bad is NOT allowed: studies have shown it makes your @$$ look fat 🙂

    Remember, unlike you I never grow bored with eating, so keeping up the activity is kind of a have-to for me.

    1. Oh no! That’s a great incentive to not feel bad. And I did do rowing last night and feel virtuous about it, so that makes my butt look toned, right?

  3. Great post – like you, I love food and sit too much. Plus we live in France, so bread and cheese are basically one of your five a day. Add to that the fact that I inherited my dad’s sweet tooth along with his knobbly knees (thanks, Dad), and I really do need to get my workouts in.

    I used to be a personal trainer, and still teach yoga, so the natural assumption would be that I’m really good at working out.

    Not so much. I’m good at *doing* workouts, and skipping one makes me restless, but there is a definite tendency to just do the same thing over and over (apparently I can design programmes for other people, but writers block kicks in when I think about my own). So I love online workouts – favourites at the moment are Mill Hoy for strength and cardio, Ali Kamenova for yoga, both on YouTube. I’ve tried Sadie Nardini before and like her style – I’ll have to check out the others! Thanks for the suggestions 🙂

    1. Ah, France . . . and bread, and cheese. Two of my favorite food groups right there. Thanks for the tips: I will certainly check out Mill Hoy and Ali Kamenova! Always looking to change things up and thus defeat my drastically low threshold of boredom 🙂

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