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3 years ago I had some health issues (cancer), and I've been
trying to get back to my pre-surgery weight since then
(remission). I've come down two dress sizes however, everytime
I actively begin an excercise program- I get a cold or the flu-
and I'm flat on my back, still out of shape, and irritated that
I'm back to rest an fluids all over again. This has been
consistant for the last year, and it's driving me a little
batty. My mental inertia is hard enough to battle, and then
when I think I'm getting through it- bam -sniffles, sneezes,
and achey all over.
Just so you know, Yes- I've talked to my doctor, and all my
tests show me as being super healthy, so his advice is to just
keep getting back to it as soon as I feel better. I am not
engaging in any major marathon training or boot camp. Just the
simplest AM calesthenics and 30 minutes of walking per day.
Has anyone else experinced this? I'm so done with this cycle-
any advice would be appreciated.
I am the same way: I start exercising regularly, feels pretty
good, but once I get a cold or something, I just can't continue
with the exercise, and it takes a Herculean effort to get back
into the groove once healthy. I don't have any advice, only
sympathy, and I am looking forward to other responses!
Yes! This has happened to me a lot. It doesn't happen anymore
because I start my exercise very slowly when I haven't done it in
a while. I mean either doing only 20 minutes a day 4 days a week,
or more minutes fewer days and building it. Also, you should
sleep more when you're building up your endurance. Lastly, you
could have some immune issues. Turns out I did. I recommended my
acupuncturist Bobby Lewis to the person posting about about her
husband getting sick all the time. She can really help you get
your immune system back on track with acupuncture, herbs, and
dietary recommendations. Her office is in Berkeley on Dwight near
MLK. Roberta ''Bobbie'' Lewis, 510/540-8528.
Have you had your liver function checked?
I had similar problems, and my acupuncturist as well as my
naturopath separately concluded that my liver was overtaxed.
So, what was happening is that I would exercise, melt a few fat
cells and the toxins stored in those cells were being
released. They'd all build up in the liver, but, because my
liver wasn't functioning properly, the toxins weren't being
processed. That failure was weakening my immune system. My
poor diet (I was unknowing eating foods that are typically
considered healthy, whole grains, lowfat dairy, eggs, but that
I have intolerances to) combined with the inability to quickly
process and eliminate toxins led to a unending cycle of
exercise/illness. Some homeopathic constitutional remedies to
clear my liver pathways, along with adding some specific foods
into my diet (beets, cucumbers, dandelion greens among others)
and cutting out the wheat, dairy and sugar have helped.
getting fit and healthy at last!
Gina Kolata, the science/health writer for the NY Times,
recommends exercising through colds. Her article (you can find it
in the Health section of the Times online) cites studies that
find no difference in lung congestion with moderate exercise, I
think if you don't have a fever, either, just a regular old cold.
I've taken this advice and gone for an easy jog in the middle of
a cold, after a rest, with a little caffeine, I can get my run in.
I think the human body is designed to work through the average
cold, but I know with this last sinus thing going around, I
really had no desire to jog, I just got a walk in when I could,
and it really helped my energy overall.
I also exercise straight through my cycle, and I never get cramps
anymore. Hope this helps.
Not overdoing it, just doing it
This has happened to me every time I have started lifting weights
or exercising again after a break and it is so frustrating! The
key is to drink a ton of water throughout the day because your
body is flushing out the lactic acid that has stored up in your
muscles. This plus stretching after a workout and taking plenty
of vitamin c will get you through. Stick with it!
I am appalled that I have gained about 10 pounds (a lot on my
petite frame) since the beginning of the year. I know that I am
not getting enough exercise. I can change my eating habits, but
I have so little free time, I'm not sure how to get the
exercise that must go along with diet change to lose the
weight. I work full-time, am in school every other Saturday all
day, and have a school-age child. I have no money to join a
gym, nor the time to go to one. So, I think the only thing I
can realistically do is something I can do in the evening at
home after my child has gone to sleep. I was thinking about
something like a mini stair-stepper like this:
Anybody have any experience with this type of thing? I do not
have room in our house for anything bigger than that really.
Recommendations of other similar types of equipment? Any other
ideas on how to get exercise/lose weight (which all seems to be
between my waist and my knees - I turned into a pear!)?
My pants are too tight!
Hi! I have something larger in my room, but the concept will still
apply--I try to do 15 min. on my elliptical 3+ times a week. I watch
tv & the clock the whole time & don't worry about speed or working up a
sweat. I figure that I am getting into the habit. I also do floor
exercises focused on specific body parts (think crunches) for about
10-15 min. After about 2 weeks of this routine, I start to see (mild)
results (it is better than nothing at all)! Plus, I have more energy.
Tired & Busy too!
I do exercise videos at home early in the morning. The ones I do I
have been doing for about 15 years so you probably can't find them
anymore, but I would suggest you just buy a few and try them until you
find a couple that you like. They usually run 30-45 minutes, but you
save time going to a gym, changing clothes etc. I am very busy also but
strive for 3x a week - sometimes it's only 1 or 2 times, but I do what
I can. And while you might have to spend a little money buying a few
videos until you find some you like, after that it's free.
I hear you on the no time to excerise front, especially with 3 kids. I
don't do well excersising at home, there's always too much work staring
at me in the face so I prefer to get out. That's why I *love* 24 Hour
Fitness' Fit Lite gyms. It's circuit training -- you warm up with at
least 5 mintues on a cardio machine (bike or elliptical) and then do a
30 minute circuit. There's a chime going off every minute letting you
know when to move on to the next station. The stations are weight
machines, core work on the floor, and resistence machines. It's a
really varied workout and effective, especially if you focus on
engaging your core muscles and giving it all you've got. I am really
motivated to go, because even if my kids have run me ragged all day, I
tell myself it's only 30'',that I can make it. I do the circuit at
least 3 times a week and then 2 times a week I go and just do one the
elliptical or bike for 20 - 30 mintues to get some cardio. I go to the
one on Solano and there are all sorts of people - a wide range of ages, shapes and sizes.
It's very low key, and I have more energy and tone than 2 weeks ago.
You can go on line and get a free week trial. Make an appointment for a
trainer to walk you through everything, and if you want, they can also
do a body fat, etc. analysis and work with you on that. You can also
push for a good deal - buying a year membership can come out to less
than $20/month. I'm doing month to month at $34/month.
Can you create 1/2 hour in your home about 4-5 days per week?
You can get a great work out with a few hand weights and an exercise
ball (or nothing but your body and a floor and 4 walls, also). The
biggest challenge about exercising is saying ''I'm going to do this''
and then doing it. You don't need to join a gym, get fancy equipment,
Personally I wouldn't recommend the stair stepper you showed...for one
you should try it before buying...will you really use it? It will use
the same muscles over and over again...so, no upper body workout, no
core strengthening. If you're anything like me, you'll use it for a
week or two and then get really bored.
You can DEFINATELY do this at home and for minimal
I don't know whether those mini steppers are any good or not. The best
advice I can give you is to start walking as much as possible. Your
lunch breaks are a good place to start. Also, can you get up 30 minutes
early and exercise by walking/jogging? You could put your kid in a
stroller if no one is home to watch him or her at that hour. Then you
can walk for 20 min when you get home. When I was working full time and
had small kids at home that was what worked for me: just working in
walks every day, often more than once a day. I never had that big chunk
of time to work out. Also, what about weekends? You could do bigger
chunks of time on the weekends and then shorter workouts throughout the
week. A good pair of running shoes is all you need to get started.
I was in your position a few years ago, and bought one of those little
stair-steppers. It was great for about a week, then it started
squeaking so badly I was afraid I was going to wake up the kids, so I
stopped using it. I finally found a few yoga dvds, and that was
something I actually started looking forward to in the evening. They
are relatively quiet, you don't get all sweaty and worked up just
before going to sleep, and in spite of the relaxation of it all, I did
find that after a bit I was getting more toned and losing some pounds.
You can get some to try from the library or Netflix. The ones I liked
best were from Yoga Zone. Some were about 40 minutes, but others had
two twenty-minute routines, which I would use when I didn't have much
time or energy. Usually I ended up doing both routines, since it felt
so good once I had started. Good luck!
I use free weights and bands and workout to exercise videos (there are
a lot of good ones) and also have DirectTV which has a station called
FitTV, which has several exercise programs on daily. I do a variety of
exercise-- aroebic, weight training, kick boxing, etc. to reduce injury
and work different muscles. Even if I get in 10 minutes of an exercise
routine, I'll do it. But- what's important is what works for you. I had
an exercise bike, but never used it.
The best way is to get an aerobics CD to do when you can - after your
child goes to bed? I have one I do three times per week which includes
a little work with weights and some floor work floor the lower back and
abs. This is a real life saver - and no large in home machinery or gym
Cheap and Fit
Consider exercise videos. Better yet, if you have Comcast ''On
Demand,'' check out the exercise routines available (for free). Lots
of choices -- cardio, strength, pilates, yoga -- at all different
levels of ability. Good luck!
I often walk/hike at lunch during the week, but I'm at a point where I need
to get some upper body strength workouts too. But I hate gyms! I hate
''working out'' inside. What alternatives are there? Yoga is an option (a
yoga studio is more appealing than a gym), perhaps tai chi? One thing to
note is that I'll need to work on specific muscle groups. Any
recommendations or ideas greatly appreciated!
Work me out please
join See Jane Run in their training sessions. Online or check the
store on College Ave: seejanerun.com
I've seen women from Montclair Recreation Center doing classes in
weights, so you might contact them to see what they can offer.
They do them outside in the adult area (Where you can do chin ups or
stretches or situps on an incline)for exercising at the edge of the
park by the rec center.I hope that helps.
I, too, hate going to the gym and working out inside. Why not join a
fitness boot camp? You work out in the outdoors with a group and a
trainer, usually weekdays either before work. You meet new people and
often end up doing lots of new exercises that you would not have
thought of on your own, so all those hidden muscles get worked pretty
well. Here are some:
boot camp fan
Two words- Oakland Bootcamp - www.oaklandbootcamp.com. All women
outdoor workout combines hand weights, resistance bands, cardio,
pilates - all outside.
Don't give up! For me, finding the right instructor/trainer was the
most important factor in my fitness ''recovery''. I found an
instructor/personal trainer at my local YMCA and I became quickly
hooked on my workouts. I went from being completely out of shape 3
years ago, to working out, happily now, 3-5 times a week. I think
you'll find that when you connect with someone with the right energy,
enthusiasm, vitality, warmth and fun spirit-you will have all the help
you need to meet your fitness goals. So, please, contact Sandy Endo
at: 590-6057, firstname.lastname@example.org. Sandy is a certified personal
trainer and pilates instructor and a lovely person; both inside and
out. She will be very conscientious of your limitations and know how
to help you work through any injuries. She gave me tailored exercises
when I had a foot and hamstring problem. She can explain which
exercises will help each muscle group and, more importantly encourage
you to give your muscles a rest if you!
are having problems. Sandy's bottom line is physical health with a
sense of psychological well-being. She really focuses on the whole
person and considers each person to have their own unique needs. She
is very caring teacher, and, oh- did I mention, has a great laugh?
Sandy is in Albany- but give her a call and ask her about rates and
a mom who finally got into shape at 43
Help! Has anyone had success in getting their middle-aged
husband into a regular exercise routine, and back in shape? Or
is this just one of those ''You'll never change him so stop
I have tried everything from asking him to join me in classes,
to expressing concern about his health, to explaining how
exercise will help not only with his strength and physical
health, but will also make him sleep better (he sleeps
terribly) and better his mental health (he suffers from acute
anxiety and maybe depression), and will give him more energy
and make him feel happier!
I've tried appealing to his sense of responsibility for staying
healthy as the father of 2 young children, as well as setting a
good example for the kids. I've tried working on my exercises
at home (push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc. - the more ''guy
friendly'' stuff) and asking him to do them with me - no luck.
I've tried family bike rides (which he'll do, but that's only
every week at most, and it doesn't ''catch on'' with him as a
great way to get around and get daily exercise). I've tried
giving him personal trainer sessions for gifts, which he does,
but then stops when they are over.
Lately, I have started to make less than veiled comments about
the extra weight he is carrying (he says 15-20lbs, I say 25-
30lbs), like pointing out how different he looks in pictures of
him taken 5 - 10 years ago, and then saying I guess it's the
face and the torso that look the most different. Then I
compliment how great he looks in the picture. It doesn't get
much more obvious than that, does it?
To make matters worse, he REALLY would like to have sex MUCH
more often. I already suffer from a somewhat diminished libido,
and to be frank, his body does not help! Though I too am middle
aged, have had kids, and look far from perfect, I do work on it
because I care. But he claims to love the way I look no matter
what, which makes me feel all the more guilty about wanting him
to look better, and wanting him to show some concern for his
body and his health. I am exercising to look and feel better
for me AND for others - I.e., him (and whomever else happens to
notice!), and to stay healthy for my kids, and get them to want
to be very physically active too. Why won't he do the same??
Any advice appreciated, especially if you experienced the same
thing and managed to turn him around!
I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice/opinions based on this post.
It occurs to me that you should think very seriously before
telling your partner (who you love?) that you wished he looked
the way he did when you first met. Are you willing to lose him to
someone who likes a big cuddly guy? I also wonder if you are
using your fixation with his weight to avoid having sex? I would
say that you guys should be in couples therapy. I would be
devasted if my spouse told me he thought I was overweight! I get
that you are worried about his health too but perhaps you have
control issues that are getting in the way of a productive
discussion about his health.
Perhaps if you inspire him with more love and sex he'll want to
get on the endorphin train!
I just cannot help but think of how many outraged responses you would
get if the
genders were reversed. If a man wrote that he was telling his wife how
looked when she was younger and thinner and did not want to have sex
with her any
more because of her relatively modest weight gain, I know I would be
appalled. I think
you should give your husband the same compassion and consideration that
women would want. If he was trotting out old pictures of you and saying
great pre-kids, younger and tighter, I imagine you would be devastated.
I would be.
Give the guy a break.
Compassion for couch potato
It is unfortunate that you and your husband do not value
appearances and health in the same way.
It sounds like you have done all you can do... except accept it
and move on. I would be really upset if I was married to you and
you compared me to pictures from the past and how much better I
looked then ~ don't you think I ALREADY know??
Anyway, I think you are sweet to want your husband to be the best
he can be, but it's starting to sound (from your post) that you
are a little too obsessed. Do what you can to encourage health
in your home, your family, and your husband but be kind!
-not the skinny I used to be, either
I could have written your post- in fact have been meaning to.
I have no solutions, so look forward to the responses you get.
However, no, I don't think you're terrible. I'm not in perfect
shape, but I care, I watch what I eat, and I get my cardio in
to take care of myself. It's really frustrating that my
husband seems to sit back and figure I'll be there to take care
of him when he hasn't bothered to take care of himself. Yikes.
another ticked off loving wife
You said you've bought him gift certificates for personal training
but as soon as they run he stops working out... why don't you just
get him a personal trainer longterm? It does take a while to change
habits, and the older we are, the longer it takes. If he will
work with a personal trainer, get one and keep him! Also, rather
than acting like you don't want to have sex because of his weight,
use positive reinforcement and tell him how attractive you find him
after he's been exercising. Even after just a week, encourage
him by telling him he looks better already, and act on it.
Carrots work better than sticks.
No, you cannot ''get'' your husband to
exercise. And I gotta tell you -- the constant nagging
followed by insulting discussions of my weight gain would make
*me* pretty darn annoyed and downright angry if my husband
tried any of the things you said you were doing. I'm sure he's
quite aware he needs to exercise -- you don't need to rub it
in. He will (or won't) come around on his own in his own good
time. Leave it alone. Keep up with your exercise -- if you
stop nagging it might just inspire him one day. Include the
kids at some point if that makes sense. Suggest hikes or other
outings as a family. Otherwise - leave it alone and be
grateful he seems to love you no matter what. Try loving him
no matter what -- you might find that goes a long way to
improving his mood rather than belittling how he doesn't look
as good as he did some years ago.
Grateful my husband doesn't comment on my weight
Boy, I really think the person you need to change is yourself. I
would be so ticked if my husband did/said the kinds of things
you're doing/saying. Your husband is an adult, and as such he
gets to make his own choices in stuff like this. It's not like
he's an crack addict. Actually you sound pretty lucky to me, he
sounds like a good guy.
You mentioned how your husband wants more sex this is a perfect
vehicle to get what you want. Why don't you tell you will have
sex or do something he likes for every pound he looses? If my
wife did this for me I would be anorexic :-)
As far as Exercise I highly recommend you have him try the very
succesfful Mens Health Belly Off club
http://www.menshealth.com/bellyoff2008/. This has a great
exercises and an easy to follow Diet which I have had great
Why don't you stop trying to change your husband, and start
loving and appreciating him? God forbid some day you will have
some real problems, and you will look back on this and say, why
was I being so shallow, when I could have loved and cherished
him every day? The actions you have taken sound so dominating
and judgemental and overwhelming, I wouldn't be motivated to do
anything you wanted either. I say, just lay off, find
something more important to worry about, and try to stop being
so harsh and judgemental about something so relatively
trivial. Just make him a cup of tea, stop talking at him, rub
his shoulders and whisper I love you. But the key thing is
to stop talking and nagging and start loving him for who he is,
not berating him for who he isn't.
I really identify with your husband, since I have always
struggled with my weight, don't enjoy most exercise, weigh more
than I did a decade ago, and have a thin, athletic spouse who
doesn't want to have sex with me very often. This isn't what you
want to hear, but it sounds to me as if you're doing some pretty
hurtful things to your husband. It's perfectly reasonable to wish
that he would exercise more and live a healthy lifestyle, and
some of the things you are doing -- such as telling him
(occasionally) that you're concerned, and creating opportunities
for exercise to happen if he's willing -- are also reasonable.
But some of the things you have done go way too far. Pointing out
how great he used to look and how much he has changed is just not
a way to treat someone you love (and I do believe you love him)
-- especially given that it sounds as if you are turning down
most of his requests for sex. I would feel incredibly hurt if my
husband said things like that. After all, face it, you're telling
him in not so many words that he's a fat slob. This can't be
helping with his anxiety and depression. If he doesn't react to
those comments with anger then he's probably just seething inwardly.
People who are athletic and enjoy keeping fit have a hard time
understanding that people who struggle with their weight and with
keeping fit aren't just lacking in will power and resolve -- it's
a lot more complex than that. It's your husband's job to sort
through those issues for himself, and your job to be as
supportive and loving as you can -- not to be constantly nagging
him to do something he evidently isn't able to do at present, for
Also, I'm not blaming you for your lack of libido, but think of
the horrible message you are sending him by constantly rejecting
his requests for sex (I know just how awful that feels because
I've been there). It's not unreasonable of him to want sex in his
marriage -- it's a fundamental human need. Instead of focusing on
how to change your husband, why don't you focus on trying to
reconnect with the sexy man you fell in love with, who is still
there under the love handles? The body he has is the body of the
man you love.
Sorry if this sounds critical. Your love and concern for your
husband do come across in your post. I hope this perspective from
someone ''on the other side'' will be helpful.
Exercise is good, but it sounds as if your husband needs to
improve his diet to lose weight. Add healthier foods to his diet
and explain why the new foods are better for him and how they
will help him lose weight.
Don't let him manipulate you to get sex. If his excess weight is
a turn-off, tell him so. It is totally obvious that he is lying
when he says he would be just as attracted to you if you were not
as attractive as you are. Call him on it.
Does your husband play any sports? Everything you explained you
have tried will not work with a man. You have to appeal to his
competitive side. Did he play any high school sports? Does he
like volleyball, basketball or soccer? (some team sport that is
not golf). If so, get him to join a league or get him to at
least once a week participate in that event. He will naturally
want to get back in shape for that event, even if he just wants
to play once a week. It has been my experience that when family
pressure doesn't work, peer pressure does. No guy wants to be
the scrub on the team. So get him to join a club or a team, or
some physical activity that he truly enjoys, give him the time
to do it, and he will take the time to improve upon it. Good
The bottom line is: your husband is not going to change if he
doesn't want to. Your nagging will only make him feel worse.
Telling him how horrible he looks now compared to 10 years ago
is pretty bad, honestly. How would you feel if he said the
same thing? You may work out, etc but you admit you don't look
exactly like you did then. In addition, your ''veiled'' comments
aren't veiled. He's your husband and knows exactly what you
mean. Perhaps he'd want to have more sex if you loved him
instead of critisized/tried to change him. At least he's
riding his bike with you and spending time with your family.
My advice is: love your husband as he loves you and stop
judging him. It may do more good than you think. Just try to
change your focus - to the great things about him instead of
what you want him to be.
It's called unconditional love for a reason
after I read all the responses that basically said you should change
your attitude, I
wanted to write and support you... while you cannot change someone that
want to, I think its perfectly valid to tell your husband it is
important to you that he
take care of himself so that you find him attractive. Marriage is hard.
children together and being business partners (owning a house together,
do a number on a marriage. And while you can still love your husband
unconditionally, there is no such thing as unconditional sexual
every mom I know complains about this very thing from time-to-time. If
to work at raising kids together, and being business partners, you also
need to work
on being a couple and sexual partners. And that means effort. From both
From what I've read, a lot of people cheat, especially men -- due to
lack of sex at
home. So its important to fix the problem if it is a problem. If he is
not ready to lose
the weight, maybe he can do something else. When my husband makes me
makes me more attracted to him, so I try to concentrate on that: how
funny he is.
But I still have bought him two gym memberships and tried to get him to
right there with you
You got a lot of responses to ''lay off'' and to ''love him the
way he is'', which are all very commendable, but are simplified
answers to a more complex problem. I know, since I am in your
same situation, and have tried any number of ways to get my
husband to see that not only has his body become less
aesthetically pleasing (the shallow side), but his health is
compromised (the important part). Results of my husband's
recent cholesterol and triglyceride blood tests were truly
shocking. Add that to the fact that he is having trouble with
his knees, sleep apnea, and back pain, and this becomes so much
more than a shallow appearance issue. It really begins to
affect the family as a whole. For example, I have only
purchased life insurance for myself, since my husband's health
means I can't afford the premiums for both him and me. I have
wanted to leave my corporate job and venture out on my own, but
I can't. I can't afford private health insurance if he is on
our plan, plus pay out of pocket for any pre-existing
condition. What does this mean for our future family health
expenses? It becomes so much more than what just affects him
and his health - it really becomes a family issue.
Unfortunately, I don't have any good answers for you, but want
you to know that others are in the same boat. I have tried
talking to my husband and leading by example. He knows he
needs to change his habits, but he doesn't. I have yet to find
the magic bullet that will inspire him to take better care of
himself, but when/if I do, I'll be sure to let you know.
I have to say, I was pretty disappointed to read the judgmental
responses to your question. People would like to
believe that weight and body size are simple matters of appearance and
preference, but as a medical student I can
tell you that the health issues that come about due to sedentary
lifestyle, poor dietary choices, and obesity are
If you posted here that your husband was an alcoholic and didn't want to
stop drinking, I'm sure you would get a
lot of support. The fact is, refusing to accept that a moderate diet and
regular exercise are necessary factors in
health and well-being is just as damaging as abusing your body in more
When I was refusing to accept that stress and depression were ruining my
quality of life, my husband's gentle
persistence finally got me to a therapist where I worked through my
issues. My beloved husband is also a ''big,
cuddly guy'' who at least 60 pounds overweight, pushing 40, and hasn't
had his bloodwork done in ten years. I
adore him and never want him to feel judged by me about his appearance.
But he has a responsibility to me and
our family to take reasonable measures to stay healthy, just as I do to
him. So he is taking small steps to exercise 4
days a week, drink more water, eat healthier meals, and see a
health-care provider for preventive care. I have to
hold his hand with every step, but he's doing it.
Heart disease, for which diabetes and high cholesterol are major risk
factors, is the leading cause of death in the
U.S. What is the major risk factor for diabetes and high cholesterol?
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. A person's
feelings may be hurt when they are told they need to lose weight, but
that hurt is a lot less than losing your loved
one to a preventable, premature death.
health is worth it
I need some serious help. Since the birth of my daughter I've
MAYBE participated in physical activity of some sort a dozen
times. Actually since I found out I was pregnant - which was over
2 years ago! I was never a crazy fitness nut before, although I
did once train and complete a marathon, but that seems like
another life ago. How do you healthy fitness moms do it? My
problem is motivation, i.e. that I have none. I work full time
and take care of my 15 month old. That's all I seem to have time
for. I really want to at least start getting in some sort of
workout once, twice a week. I'm realistic enough at this point to
know that that's probably all I could handle right now. I just
feel soooo unhealthy and tired all the time. What do you do to
get exercise? And don't say the gym because I've joined, and
subsequently QUIT so many gyms in my life that I could have
probably saved up for her college fund by now. Classes that you
go to? trainers that you work out with? activities you do on your
own? and more importantly, how do you motivate to actually get
out there and do it and STICK WITH IT???
longing to be healthy
I was in the same boat when my child was 3. I finally wandered into the
studio down on Jacuzzi Street near the freeway. The class format is1/2
aerobics then some dumbells and sit ups. The hour goes by quickly and
friendly. It isn't a fashion show or at all competitive. Some of the
childcare. I lost some weight and got my energy back. It's been about 5
I'm still going to classes!
I don't like to exercise - at all. Add to that the stuff you
describe - work and a toddler - who has time for something you
DON'T enjoy? So I set up walking dates with my girlfriends. I
LOVE being with a friend and the hour long walk (3 miles) goes
by quickly and pleasantly. It's my friends that get me to go,
the side benefit is health and a sense of wellbeing. Get your
friends to help!
I work full-time as well, and care for my 9 month old when I am
not working. On weekends, I go to the Baby Boot camp. It is a
wonderful experience - a terrific workout, an opportunity to
spend time outdoors, a way to exercise without trying to find
daycare for my son, and a way to connect with other mothers,
which can be tough when you work full-time. Find more info and
schedules for classes near you at babybootcamp.com. I have no
affiliation with the business; just a very happy customer!
Trying to be healthy
Maybe you could start by buying a fold-up treadmill and start with no
more than 30
minutes at a time walking/jogging on that, perhaps in the morning
could do a few stretches and floor or ab exercises with your daughter
there in the
morning or evening; this would also help you relax. There are DVDs you
can get for
this, too; your daughter might like them.
I was in the same situation last year after giving birth to twins
in 2005. I felt tired all the time, had raging migranes, and
just didn't feel my body.
I called a personal trainer, but could not figure out a schedule
for getting out of the house to train. Months later, she called
me to suggest out-call sessions in my home. She came twice a
week for an hour while the kids were napping. I was a
competitive athlete for most of my life, but I was really
starting at zero.
The trainer gave me gentle but challenging routines and increased
the challenge as my health improved. She also does bodywork
massage for the times I just needed to relax. Those two hours a
week were essential personal care hours for me that didn't
require a lot of motivation because the trainer came to me.
After just a few sessions, I felt much more energetic and good
overall. That was last December. After a year of sessions, I
can sprint up 140 stairs, jog uphill, and do full push-ups. My
body feels toned and strong. I now use the routines she gave me,
and have more time to get outside and do cardio. The trainer is
Margo Rose. She's located in Alameda and her number is
510-910-3719. Good luck - you can do it!
What about walking dates with friends? I am a part-time working
mama with 2 babies under 1. I had a difficult recovery from
birth and so ''exercise'' has been out of the question. But I've
been really happy with the results of just lots of walking - on
hills if possible. I make plans to meet friends or walk with my
husband on the weekends. On weekdays I try to get out for walks
before work with the kids. If you want to have your child in a
stroller you can do weekend walks at the Lafayette Reservoir,
Inspiration Point, Point Pinole. But hills are great for getting
in shape, so some of the fire trails in the area are good if you
can carry your child in a backpack. I like this because I feel
like I'm with my family, pointing out the birds and the trees and
our girls are entertained, and I'm getting in shape.
walk walk walk
You have to find a buddy to work out with and you have to meet
to workout. You have to be strict with each other and expect
that the other one will show up. By having someone waiting for
you there at the gym, that might be the motivation you need.
Getting there is most of the battle. Once you are there, you
are golden. So, find a workout buddy!
My two cents
I recommend the Ice Chamber www.icechamber.com Maya and Steve are
morning bootcamp is awesome, 45 minutes and you are done, lots of new
to get into shape. You are SO not alone, so good luck. Getting into
shape is the best.
This may not work for you but this is what worked for me - I
walked, pushing my child in the stroller. I walked fast, and I
used it as a mode of transportation. For instance when I want to
go some place I walk there, to get diapers or groceries and carry
stuff back in the stroller. Of course I hated at first compared
to the car but now I am totally hooked and mourning the fact that
my child will be soon too big for the stroller. I find I can
walk much faster and for longer with the stroller. Even if you do
just a 2 hour walk every weekend, you'll find it's great
exercise. I lost 20 lbs this way and didn't even diet!
just a thought
What if you sign up for a 10K or Bay to Breakers? I am 8 months
pregnant and due in Jan. I am thinking of signing up for the San
Francisco 1/2 marathon in August (I've never run that far and
have been completely inactive since I've found out I was
pregnant) to help me get back in shape. Even if I run a couple
of days a week it will help. My husband said he'll be supportive
and will walk around the lake with the baby while I (try to) run.
I think the biggest factors in motivation are results and
environment. If you could start to see or feel the effects of
your efforts, you'd probably be more motivated to stick with
it. If the gym hasn't worked in the past, then it's probably
not the right environment.
I highly recommend the Ice Chamber in Albany
(www.icechamber.com). Check out their Before and After gallery
for inspiration. Those results are actually fairly typical. The
Ice Chamber isn't your typical gym - you can't just drop-in and
work out (or avoid dropping in, which was always the case for
me at a standard gym). They offer bootcamp classes in the
morning so you could get in a class in before work. It's really
challenging but incredibly effective and will improve not only
your energy level, but your strength for daily tasks like
carrying a 15 month old. But the real magic of the Ice Chamber
is the people. There are lots of moms trying to get back into
shape so you will feel supported. And the owners and trainers
are the most wonderful group of incredibly knowledgeable and
creative people. They will expect to see you and you will want
to return, even though it's hard, because you know they are
waiting for you and cheering you on your quest to get fit.
I assure you if you join and stick with it, you will feel
better than your old self in no time.
Been in your shoes
Try crossfitoakland.com - not 1x1 personal training, but the
next best thing. Lots of variety, back to basics kind of
fitness. Try the 6 am class - it gets your workout out of the
way for the day and you will feel great.
I can relate, and I'm sure lots of others can too, it's hard
with and after pregnancy. I also hate gyms. The things that
saved me are: 1) my exercycle - it's a recumbant, so it's
comfortable, and the bargain I make with myself is that I ride
in the evenings while watching TV (less guilt!); and 2) during
my second pregnancy I hired a personal trainer to come once a
month to help me figure out new 1/2 hour routines that I could
alternate with exercycling. It worked wonderfully during my
pregnancy (only gained 25 lbs vs. 45 the first time) and now
I'm almost down to my pre-pregnancy weight (baby is 5 months).
My trainer is THE BEST, he'll work with you in a gym or come to
your house, show you how to use weights, do a zillion different
exercises, and do his best to keep you engaged. His name is
Mark Duvall and I can't recommend him highly enough, his # is
510 654-4977. The motivation of having someone come to your
house once is a month is also a huge plus. Good luck!
How many gyms have I paid for and abandoned after the initial
glamour of the hot tub and cool machines wore off? My wallet
felt a lot more pain than my quadraceps. At the Ice Chamber,
it's the other way around.
First, the Ice Chamber is not a gym. In fact, you can't work
out by yourself; it's either group fitness or personalized training.
As for staying motivated, they do that for you (no kidding).
Check out the blog and you'll see what kind of place it is:
http://www.icechamber.com/blog -- completely supportive and
motivating. I confess, I'm a lazy sloth, so if I didn't get a
total high from working out there, my butt would be parked in
front of the tv with a glass of cabernet. They make it fun. And
I won't lie. You'll sweat like Senator Craig in court.
Moreover, there will be days when you just want to go straight to
bed, but when you start to see the results, you'll get the itch
and you won't need ''motivation'' to bring you back.
If this sounds at all interesting, check out the website and give
them a call.
By the way, like all fitness programs, it's not for everyone.
It's not about how good you are, rather it's about how willing
you are to be good. It's not the place to go if you're not
going to give 100% while you're there. If you're more inclined to
a 50-yard mosey than a 50-yard dash (even if your workout partner
is holding plank waiting for you), then you probably want to go
somewhere else. In short, if you have a can-do attitude (even if
all you CAN do is a half sit-up) then check out the place that's
made me as strong as I was when I was in college.
I'm not back in shape (e.g., pre-pregnancy weight) and don't
exercise as much as I'd like but here is what I do: walk. Walk
the dog, walk during lunch time, walk while I'm talking on the
phone. It's definitely a lot less that what I'd like to do, but,
thus far, it's the only thing I can reliably fit into my
schedule. I try to do an hour each day: 5 min here, 10 there...
and sometimes I go for a full 1-hour walk!
Also finding it difficult to exercise...
I could have written your post. I found a couple of ways to get back
shape, but I
didn't get it together until my youngest was 4 this year, so you are
ahead of me!
One way that worked was to join a nice (and I mean nice NICE) gym. It
was really a
treat to go, like a mini vacation at a posh hotel. It was $$$ but had
so my husband and I had a weekly date at the gym, so when you figure in
a babysitter once or twice a month plus the usual YMCA gym fee, it was
same amount of money. But like most gym goers, I eventually stopped
expensive gyms let you just stop going (no contract) but by then, I was
exercise groove and didn't need the luxury to lure me into exercise.
started getting up early two days a week and resisted unloading the
and did 1-2 ''10 minute solution'' video segments. That has been
maintain. But the way I lost the most weight (2 pant sizes!!) was to
stop eating any
processed food and only having alcohol and desserts one day a week
(TGIF!). I had
to get myself organized, get a babysitter for the first couple of
myself in the habit of making large pots of food from scratch. Freeze
portions in zip lock bags, then you have meals for several weeks at a
time. It really
has made a big difference.
I used to be exactly the same as you! Forget gym memberships and
yoga classes and diets! I never stuck at anything I started.
Then a friend introduced me to Stroller Strides. You gotta try
it. It was great! I met so many moms that I didn't even think
twice about going back. Soon it was just part of my day. The
workouts were excellent and I could bring my little one with me
who had a ball. I lost almost all my weight and was back in
shape in no time. Not only did the other moms motivate me but
the instructors are great! I think the first week is free, so
you should try it!
From one mom to another mom
I can't say enough good things about Baby Boot Camp! Yes it
does cost money but it is a great overall workout, social and a
nice time to be with your baby. I did not drop the weight so
quickly with my first and have been going regularly with my 2nd
and it is keeping me in shape and feeling good. There are
classes everywhere and on the weekends too, if you have gone
back to work. It is in the morning so you have the rest of your
day to do what you want. Try a class - you will be hooked.
Glad to be back in shape
You may want to try pilates- it is a gentler way to get back into shape.
Part of the
reason i am thinking it may be a good way for you to start exercising
again is that it
sounds like you are low energy and pilates is great for creating more
energy in the
body without putting out a lot like you would in an aerobics class. i
energized from my pilates lessons even if i start off low energy, which
i often do being
that i work and take care of two little ones. i really love the trainer
i work with Caitlin
Smith- contact her at 508-1408.
I need some help here. As 50 approaches my stance of ''no time
for exercise'' is wearing thin. I am worried about cardiac
issues (a family history) and slow, but steady weight gain. I
want to be around to see my kids grow up!
Any thoughts for a middle-aged guy who hates sports and has
shunned excercise until now? Like most of us, I am pretty
booked from 6 a.m - 8 p.m every day with work and family - but
realize I need to make the time. I am willing to pay for this -
but need to find the right approach. Clearly, self-motivation
is an issue here! I looked at the Ice Chamber but am a bit
terrified of the ''boot camp'' group approach.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be most appreciated.
Hate to Exercise - Need to Exercise
It's great that you're looking hard at making time for
exercise. I think one of the issues is thinking about this as
an unpleasant duty, which I, as a former couch potato, can
understand, but it will work better (perhaps) if you think of
this as a treat you are giving yourself. And THAT will work if
it's something that you are going to enjoy. So, everyone will
say that you should start slow. Start something you enjoy.
Walk up in the hills, taking account of things that interest
you (cars, skies, plants, houses, animals, humans, whatever's
your thing). Start with a half-hour and work up to an hour,
just go fast enough to make your heart beat a little faster
(hills help, and they're beautiful). Lots of guys don't enjoy
swimming so much, but if you like the water, try an early
morning dip, just twenty minutes or so to start, then working
up. If you like to cycle, that's a really great sport. People
have the Lance Armstrong physique in mind when they think of
cyclists (spandex, etc.), but I cycle long-distance and I am
here to tell you that plenty of people with major girth are out
there getting fit. You have to start on the flats (bay trail,
etc.), then drive with your bike on a rack up to Tilden or your
nearest place with ''rollies,'' and finally you can work up to
cycling yourself up into the hills. A really good thing to do
is design little ''triatholons'' for yourself if you enjoy all
three things. You can start with just twenty minutes of each
and challenge yourself with longer times and harder courses.
And finally -- find a buddy or buddies. Someone in about your
shape is best. That's especially good for cycling, you forget
you're working sometimes. Have fun! The main thing...
fifty and fitter than I was at thirty
I just turned 51 and was exactly are a year ago. I too dreaded the boot
frankly thought I might drop over from over exertion, heart problems,
etc. I found
an acquaintance, now a great friend, and asked to join her group who
personal trainer two mornings a week. It was both personal and social
extremely hard for me. I may have limped around for two months. The
kept me going. Six months later I added in my own work outs at the Y
joined the Ice Chamber no longer feeling I would be utterly humiliated.
I am still far
from the most fit person at the Ice Chamber, and it is harder than
anything I have
done so far - but its great and they could not be more helpful. In
retrospect I think
I could have started there and moved along more rapidly. Most
important for me,
I am no longer feeling like I am in danger of dropping over. I think 50
really is a
crossroad and you can approach impending older age with physical
not. I urge you to act on your best impulses.
Some random thoughts:
*Bike or walk to work or BART station.
*Park in space farthest away from store or work entrance.
*If your kids are doing sports, run or walk while they're at
*Yoga stretching or free weights at night while watching tv (or
better yet, stationary bike or rowing machine etc.)
*Tag team parenting on the weekend so that you get an hour to
exercise and then your partner gets an hour. Depending on your
situation this can also work on weekday mornings if one parent
can be ''on'' and the other gets to get up early to exercise and
trade off days.
*After dinner family walks around the neighborhood.
need more hours in the day
Have you considered a sport ? Golf or tennis come to mind but
there are many others. I just recently joined a tennis club
after a long absence and am having a lot of fun. No, the workout
isn't extreme but I'm meeting people, getting some exercise and
(most importantly) enjoying myself while I'm doing it ! You
could also involve your family and meld the two activities. It
might be a good compromise - getting active but not over-doing it.
- working on that backhand
The hardest thing about exercising when we have busy lives,
family etc, is making the time. As a mother who works out 5-6
days per week and as a personal trainer I have a few suggestions
First....figure out when you can exercise. Try to do it the same
time every day that you exercise (esp. m-f). Maybe you can
exercise Saturday, Sunday and 2 other days during the week. It's
Do you want to go to a gym and work on equipment? All the gyms
have trainers available to show you the equipment and will help
you figure out a routine. Many gyms open at 5 or 6 Am.
Do you want to do a circuit place like Curves? I know Curves is
only for women but there are a few other places similar for men
You can try some aerobic classes, step classes, etc. at various
gyms. Richmond and Berkeley Y have lots of classes. THe Albany Y
is a great place for a workout...lots of classes, equipment with
trainers to help you...
Do you want to work out by yourself at home? You can do that
with minimal equipment and expense...hire a trainer to come over
and show you a routine with an exercise ball and a few free
weights. With that kind of workout you can get your cardio a
few times a week by r unning the streets, cycling, treadmill at
home (larger expense), or buy exercise ''steps'' and do a few
routines on them.
Do you like sports? Mens soccer, softball, fencing (great
fencing school in El Cerrito), swim?
What about dancing? Put music on and just dance for 30 miinutes.
Great exercise. Invite your wife and kids to join you. Or go out
dancing to Ashkenaz, dance jam, etc. on the weekend, OR....sign
up for west coast swing, cajun, lindy hop, ballroom dancing. You
can do it together which is GREAT for the relationship and also
Many possibilities, but back to step one: MAKE THE TIME. It
definately won't happen till you do that. Good luck and good
After a slow and slightly painful start at Ice Chamber, I am now
a total convert! Don't let the ''bootcamp'' name dissuade you - the
folks who run it are amazing, inspiring, and will help you get
adjusted. I'm about to turn 49 and started there when I was 47. I
haven't felt this good physically in years and I'm not one of the
more athletic participants, I've just stuck with it because the
routine changes every day, the others exercising with you are all
wonderful (and come in all shapes, sizes, and degree of fitness),
and the owners and trainers are fabulous people!
I will say with confidence that Pilates can give you the boost
and the results you need, if you work with an excellent teacher.
But as a teacher, I'm partial to Pilates! I used to tell people
you should not expect to lose weight from doing just Pilates,
but experience with my clients has proved that wrong. Taking on
an hour or two with an instructor (even in a group setting) plus
doing some simple things several times a week on your own, can
shift your metabolism, circulation, blood pressure, tone, and
most importantly, transform your sense of peace about yourself.
Pilates was designed by a man, originally for men (ailing or
injured soldiers in WW1) and has come to be known for women
because of its dance world heritage. In my experience, men derive
the same benefits and joy from their Pilates practice as do
women. It is especially suited to folks who do not relate to
traditional gym-type workouts or environments.
I have great respect for your desire to make this happen, and
your loving motivation to be present for your children will lead
you there. This can only sound self-serving but contact me and
let's see if my studio would work for you or if I can recommend
other excellent places for your training. Our studio operates
from 6am - 9pm and on weekends. There are others that do too.
Simple suggestion: Walk. This is something you can do at night,
assuming that you feel safe around where you live, and you won't
have to spend time in the car again to get to the gym. And you
won't have to spend money on the gym, etc. It will help you relax
and is a pretty easy way to get enough exercise. Two gizmos that
help me are a little pedometer (an Omron HJ-112) that i keep in
my pocket, and an iPod. I aim to get 10k steps a day (if i've
had a rather motionless day at the computer, walking for an hour
usually gets me there) and it's nice to have that as a goal. And
listening to podcasts i love (pretty much all NPR news and fun
shows like This American Life, and tons of other stuff including
university courses are free) or music on an iPod really helps.
Or get a walking buddy, human or canine. Even if i just do this
3 or 4 days a week, i feel a huge difference.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga, Yoga! It's gentle, your energy
will increase, and you won't feel like you are having to push
yourself so much to participate. It might be easier to add a
weight regime later, if you gain some strength in a gentler
practice that is easier to do at home.
I have similar problems--a slug who became pre-diabetic, weak
kneed, and on. Now I am remarkably fit, my knees work properly,
and I lost enough weight to get off my doctor's watch list. Here
are some tips:
1. You will not be doing the perfect exercise regime. Accept
that. What you need is the regime you can do for the rest of
your life. You will always here that you need to do free
weights, sit ups, some other obnoxious activities: find
something that fits your life, gets you aerobic, and helps
whatever particular weakness you have.
2. Everybody likes personal trainers. I do not have time for
the gym and all that stuff. Someday maybe. So I put that right
up there with #1, with things that if I have to arrange, I will
3. Here's what I did: I got a good, sturdy elliptical (nordic
track e9 is what I found) for under 300.00. I placed it in front
of the television set. I am on it for about an hour 5 days a
week. I watch entertaining shows, or dvds, or some more noble
types can read. Find something to make it less boring.
4. After I am done, I get to ''cool down'' by watching another
show, reading, or whatever. I have come to think of this as a
rather peaceful, lovely interlude in my life. It is usually
5. I do short myself a little on sleep, because the exercise
keeps me awake for a while. I could and have done some work
during that time.
6. I have also heard that you can put a simple treadmill in a
position under your desk, put your computer up high, and walk
while you work.
I have been able to keep this up for more than 2 years, and it is
a part of my life I look forward to.
in your message, you mentioned you were terrified of the
bootcamp approach at the Ice Chamber. Trust me, there is
NOTHING to be afraid of. Everyone there has had a first day,
first week, first month. I actually think it is something you
might find is perfect for you and helpo you achieve your goals.
The trainers are such great people, who want to see everyone
succeed in their goals. It's 45 minutes of pure workout
energy, with great people, who, like you, are trying to get fit
and deal with families, jobs, getting older, homes, etc. You
can try doing their starter pack before you get into the boot
camp. It will help you learn the different fundamentals that we
incorporate in every class, so it will make you more
comfortable with the pace. I am willing to bet one month at
the IC and you'll be amazed at how great you feel.
For me the key to regular exercise was finding an activity that I
enjoy doing. It is very difficult to stick with something just
because you think you should. Fortunately you live in an area
where so many options are available. You say you don't like
sports but how about moving your body, breathing and putting
attention toward your body. Perhaps try one of the many forms of
yoga or dance. You could also check out the climbing gym,
swimming, or hiking. My activity of choice as a 52 year old male
is squash- a racquet sport that delivers a full body work out in
an hour or less. (much better than tennis or racquetball). Check
out the RSF at Cal. There you will find many different ways to
get a good workout with many different types of classes. Sunday
mornings from 11-12 there is free squash instruction for beginners.
I would also advise setting your sights on something that appears
to be achievable. If you expect to go from nothing to doing an
activity 3 or 4 times a week then you are likely to fail and be
back to nothing in short order. Hiking some hills in Tilden for
an hour on the weekend alone or with others is a start.
Start by WALKING. I know many people who have lost plenty of
weight by just walking, walking, walking. It's an easy, painless,
free way to start, and it will be challenging enough to get into
the habit. Take the stairs whenever it's physically possible.
(amazing how much exercise you can get that way!). You'll start
noticing more around you too. Park at the far end of the parking
lot, get off the bus before your stop. It's so healthy! Likely no
injuries either. When walking gets too easy for you (it's not
easy for many who are out of shape), then you can start thinking
(on your walks) about a gym program. Bring an umbrella! It's very
refreshing in the rain!
Where/how to begin getting fit? I'm in my 40s, and get very little exercise. I have a
desk job and do just one exercise class a week. I am out of shape. The cost is right,
but I don't want to just join a gym or Curves since I really don't know what is the best
exercise program for me. I want an actual plan of action. Where to start?
it's time for action
About a year ago I was in the exact same place as you: in my 40s, out of shape, desk job, and getting
very little exercise. When I told my doctor that I walked a lot, she said ''that's nice, now what are
you going to do to exercise?''. I found a *wonderful* place through this newsletter: Ice Chamber
(www.icechamber.com). They have 6am, 7am, and 9:30am classes as well as 6:30pm classes during the
week, a Saturday 10am class, and personal training throughout the week. The instructors are amazing,
the class is challenging and fun, and the results are the real reason to go. About a month ago I added
Bikram Yoga to my routine which really rounds things out: the hard-core athletic performance training
from Ice Chamber and the challenging stretching and posing from yoga. I've never felt better and
highly recommend that you try Ice Chamber.
Just start walking! In the East Bay, we have easy access to wonderful hiking trails, and they are all
free. You can do gentle walks as you get in shape, and then hit the hills for a serious aerobic
workout. I got into serious hiking when I got a dog, because she loves to go on walks so much. Now
I'm out there several times a week, and I have never been in such good shape. It's also a great way
to catch up with friends -- instead of going out for drinks, take a weekend hike together.
I am someone who has struggled with getting fit my whole life, injured my knees the few times I tried,
had a variety of back problems recur since college. About three years ago, at age 34, I made the
investment in Pilates and it has been fantastic. It costs more than joining a gym, definitely, but the
one-on-one attention, the emphasis on alignment and core strength, have all been really great for me.
Ellie Herman Studios in Oakland offers a package deal that gives you 8 private sessions, 8 mat
classes, and 8 reformer classes for $750. They call it the ''Boot Camp.'' Go to ellie-dot-net. It's a
good deal, relatively speaking. But if you're really starting from scratch, the one-on-one sessions
alone are probably the best way to begin. That's what I did. There are instructors who specialize in
rehabilitation but that will cost more. Ask for someone who is in training, and rates may be as low as
$25/hour. (The person I see, Karen Fox, is a master-level teacher and charges $75/s!
I recommend www.bodyforlife.com BUT I must qualify it by saying we skipped all the supplements and
other ''hype'' stuff (the weight lifter bodies freaked me out a bit) and just followed the basic
premise of the importance of brief daily exercise in the morning and 6 small balanced meals per day
(we followed the no junk and yes protein plan fairly rigidly). We have young kids that make this
harder, but we both managed to do it quite successfully from home, without a gym membership.
getting fit too
I certainly have experienced your sentiments after gaining a lot of weight from changing to a desk job
after teaching for many years, having a baby, and satisfying a sweet tooth all too often. What I found
worked for me is a combination of approaches: joined a gym that had good classes and an nice
environment to work out in, worked with a personal trainer to teach me proper form and variety of
exercises to do in addition to the classes and other cardio, and have been consulting with a licensed
nutritionist who has been extremely informative and motivating. I can say that I have finally lost
weight, and on top of that feel great about my increased strength and energy from strength training
and a drastically improved diet. I feel better than ever. I can highly recommend my trainer, Karen
Parker and my nutritionist, Manuel Villacorta in case you're interested. Good luck!
Finally Feeling Fit
I've planned for days, weeks, months to start an exercise
program. I don't live anywhere near a gym and don't have any
buddies to hook up with for motivation or companionship. I
have a library full of books on the subject. But I haven't
figured out a way to engage in a regular exercise program that
is successful, consistent, and/or sustained. So if anyone has
any tips on how to get started on a regular exercise program,
what exercises to do to get going, tapes, etc, I would really
really appreciate the advice.
Get a bike. Walk.
Just do it.
You CAN do it!!!
Maybe what's missing is a group or group accountability. I was in the
same place--needed exercise for post-partum issues, better quality of
life and more energy, and because I was overweight. I knew what I
needed to do, but didn't do it. I finally went to Weight Watchers and
it was the best thing I've ever done in my life. I began exercising
regularly, was inspired to try new things, met people to exercise with,
and was accountable to a group. It has totalyl changed my life, I've
lost 50lbs, I feel great, and I'm going to run a 1/2 marathon in
October! I needed the accountability factor, group support,
encouragement from others. And once I finally started and started
seeing the results, I was compelled on...A year ago I couldn't run 1
mile; today I run 15. You can do it too!!!
weight watchers fan
I had been absolutely sedentary for almost a year when I knew I had to
get started exercising again. The thing that absolutely saved me is
that my family gave me iPod mini. I loaded it with all of my favorite
music and just started walking. It got me wanting to go out every day,
walking faster and faster and then ultimately started running a bit. I
now run/walk every day for about 3-4 miles and I am really attached to
it. I really can't exercise without my music but now it is quite
You can get an iPod shuffle for only about $100. It's worth it when you
consider gym memberships.
Happily Active Now
I feel your pain at not having an ''easy'' way to get started with
regular excercise. What has worked for me is to stop driving (sometimes
it's absolutely necessary to drive - but you'd be surprised at how often
it's not). So, instead of driving to work, I walk.... Instead of
driving to the grocery store, I take a backpack and walk. Once you have
been walking for a few weeks and start to feel more energetic, you can
incorporate other excercise more easily since the motivation levels
increase once weight has been lost and it becomes easier to do it.
Start slow and only modify (ie walk) what naturally comes to you - that
way you can't make excuses about why you can't go to the gym or class or
WW meeting or whatever. Also - you probably know this, but I always
take the stairs now, try to carry instead of push, etc. Try to take the
hard way in what seems like simply things. Good luck!
not much motivation, but still walking
I had books, tapes, cancelled gym memberships etc.. and was having no
exercise in my life. Note that this is post kids (ages
4 and 7)and I used to be in great shape. Life is so full and busy that I
just couldn't do much. The only thing that has worked for me is to
incorporate exercise into my life routine and be happy with what it is.
So since I work three days a week, I give myself a 35 minute walk on the
days I work by getting off the bus earlier than my stop. I take the
stairs at work and walk on breaks. Also, I can bike with my 7 year old
and swim a lap or two when I take them swimming at the pool (now that
they are a bit older). The bottom line is that this is all I can do
right now and I have to be happy with it. Anything is better than
If you are a gadget nerd, then perhaps what worked for me will work for
you: 1. An iPod (or iPod shuffle - small, portable, and customizable
with tons of tunes). 2. A Heart Rate (HR) monitor.
3. (Optional) The book (I know you said you have many): the Heart Rate
Monitor's Guide for the Compleat idiot. (John Parker) I have been
unable to sustain an excercise program for the past 4 years, despite the
fact that pre-baby I was very assiduous about working out. However, my
hubby had this book and an old HR monitor (about $40) and we had the
iPod. The premise is that you only go as hard as your heart lets you -
so given your level of fitness, it could be slower or faster, and that
you must recover properly on some days, and train hard enough on others
to stave off injury and sustain a fitness program. The book has
testimonials of all sorts of runners who did just that, as well improved
their Personal Bests in 5&, 10ks and marathons. I haven't run any
races, but this has helped me sustain an excercise program for the
longest streak in 4 years. It did give me was a plan of attack, and an
''Ok'' to be slow, or rather VERY SLow. I have been following the plan
(the 4 week Novice-
starting-from- scratch plan, and then graduating to the 12 week Novice
plan)for about 9 weeks. When i started, I WALKED every workout. Most of
the workouts (4 days per week) were at 70% of your heart rate max. I
was often exceeding my 70% just walking!
I was going SO slow, but I felt justified because the book said it was
OK. I have, over the course of 9 weeks, started to run for most of the
workouts, and better yet, I have been able to run some serious distance
(5 miles) - at least serious for an
out-of-shape person. And I have added a day of excercise. All
without feeling hurt, tired or like giving up. The idea is that on
''recovery'' days, one should go 70% of your max HR. The intensity day
is at 85% of one's max HR. The author feels that without monitoring
your HR you don't go slow enough on recovery nor do you go hard enough
on intensity days to achieve any sustainable benefit, or worse you get
hurt (we aren't getting any younger here). I have to say that I love
the HR monitor because on days when I am tired for other reasons, it
gives me an excuse to stop and walk!! For the record, I am still
mind-numbingly slow (I was passed yesterday by a speed-walking
octogenarian, even though I was ''running''), but I have seen incredible
improvement, nearly every day recording a faster time, and a significant
reduction in my resting HR. Constantly checking the gadgets help the
time go by faster during excercise as well. The iTunes playlist has
mostly fast-paced 8o's music (think Depeche Mode, and Boy George)to keep
me going. Being able to customize the music so every song is one I love
helps a lot when I am out there. There is also something to be said for
a plan that someone has already thought out for you. My husband,
running the ''Intermediate'' plan, often modifies it if the mood
strikes, but I cannot think that much. Sorry to be so long winded.
You can do it!!!
Good for you for wanting to move on this.
You can start by going for walks...dog walks, baby stroller walks, solo
walks...on the streets, on a nearby school track, etc.
I''ve been ''forced'' to walk cause I have a dog who needs lots of
exercise. In addition to that I recently started working with a trainer.
This person comes to my house. So far I''ve seen her 3 times at 3 week
intervals. She gave me some strength tests to see where my strengths and
weaknesses were. Then she gave me a program of exercises that takes me
20-30 minutes per day. I rotate the exercises so one day I do upper body
and the other days do lower body.
This is in addition to walking.
I feel SOOOO much better and stronger and am starting to see results
There are loads of great trainers around.
My trainer is Cindy Snyder, 684-8418. She's really great and makes it
fun and not boring. She uses an exercise ball and light weights. You
don't need to go out and buy expensive equipment at all. She also gave
me a program using elastic bands for when I was recently travelling.
Hi - I'm no expert but I have finally restarted regular exercise and maintained it the past several months. Everyone says pick something you love - sounds great, but I had to pick something that fit into my schedule, even though I didn't love it. Right now that something is running, because it packs a lot of activity into a short timeslot, with little prep time required. When I was pregnant it was swimming.
What works for me is to set a schedule and stick to it, no matter what. When I start saying to myself ''I shouldn't run today because I'm not feeling great'' or something, I force myself to just get out there and start, and tell myself I can do just half the time if I feel unwell. When I was swimming I'd force myself to at least get into the pool and do a few laps, even if I didn't think I had time. And usually I'd go ahead and do my full workout. When I couldn't run because I had blisters I did some exercises on my mat at home. Anything to keep that schedule sacred. For me, the natural resistance I have to starting (getting out of bed, getting into the water) is more than half the battle, and if I force myself to overcome that, the pattern is maintained and I still feel good about myself and am encouraged to keep at it.
I motivate myself by reminding myself that I'm only getting older and this is the easiest time left in my life to start exercising, and also by looking around at people with mobility problems or injuries who wish they could exercise, and counting my blessings.
Despite the fact that I don't love it, I have also come to value it as mental quiet time, otherwise totally lacking in my busy life. I've chosen to make it a priority which means sometimes other things in life suffer slightly to accomodate it, but that is what it takes for me.
Best of luck - I'm hoping I can keep following my own advice!
I hate exercise. I find it boring and tiresome and resent the time it takes when I feel I have other more pressing or inspiring needs. I have young children, I work out of the house, and have a spouse who works long hours.
I can't leave the house early for walks or jogging, and exercising late at night isn't for me either.
However, what inspires me is the thought of my health and mortality.
I am an older mom whose own mother died too early, and I want to be around for my children as long as possible.
It is my responsibility to do all I can to take care of myself and set a good example to my children.
Everytime I read yet another report on obesity, cholesterol, heart attacks, etc., I get up 30 minutes early and exercise to a dvd (thank you, Netflix).
Or put down the car keys and walk my children to/from school. Or put on music and dance around the kitchen with my kids.
Now if only I could start flossing regularly...
With You On This
Getting motivated to make changes is a challenge for us all.
There is actually lots of research about this now. One concept that I
find helpful is the Stages of Change theory. It is a circle with
several concepts on the circle:
1. pre-contemplation--where the thought of change is not even on your
mind 2. contemplation--where you are only thinking of the possibility
of making a change 3. preparation--where you have made small changes
and are making plans to change and intend to make changes within the
next month 4. action stage--you are doing it!
5. relapse--where you return to an earlier stage I like this model
because if you are in the contemplation stage, you are on the road to
making changes! So don't beat yourself up,
if you feel you are not doing anything. The trick is to figure
out how to move yourself along.
That's where Motivational Interviewing comes along. There is a lot of
new research on this as well. Many dietitians are getting trained in
this method. I have received training from a Health Psychologist at
Kaiser, so that is another place to pursue this.
This method assumes there is a lot of ambivalence about making changes,
so helps the client sort these feelings out.
1. One tool is to make the old pro/con chart. What are the benefits
and concerns that you have if you make no change in your exercise
habits; and what are the benefits and concerns you have if you do make
changes. Make a chart and brainstorm for 3 minutes.
2. Another ''exercise'' is to make a list of what you like about
exercise. What is good about it for you, how does it make you feel.
List as many things as you can in 3 minutes.
Good luck. I know you will make the change you want when you are ready!
A Registered Dietitian
What works for me is to set VERY realistic goals. So, for example,
start with just 20 situps per day. Do it everyday for however long it
takes you to get up the motivation to do 25 situps, or to add some other
calisthenics. And/or you can buy some 5 lb weights and learn simple arm
exercises on the internet or using an exercise video, and then just do 8
repetitions with the weights on each arm each day. It takes 1 or 2
minutes, and just tell yourself that 1 or 2 minutes is better than no
minutes. For me, once I'm back to the idea of every day, it naturally
extends itself. But the trick is to do it everyday, and to remember the
mantra that ANY minutes is better than no minutes! Good luck!
it adds up!
So, I've finally realized that in order to realistically get some
regular exercise, I have to do it inside after my 15-month-old
goes to bed (her dad works nights). I've been doing those old
Tae-Bo tapes. Does anyone have any good exercise tapes/dvds that
worked for you? Does anyone have any indoor exercises that they
do regularly that are simple but successful? I don't have a
treadmill and I can't really buy any equipment. I've checked the
archives, but didn't see anything.
--still trying to lose the baby-fat
I know you said that you can't really buy equipment, but I've
gotten a lot of mileage out of a step and step videos. I can vary
my indoor workout from easy to quite hard, depending on how much
time I have and how I feel. It's also really easy to store away
the step. I still like using the Kathy Smith step videos, but
I've also heard good things about Cathe Friedrich (she also has
killer resistance workouts!).
If you're also thinking about resistance exercises, an exercise
tube is really cheap and also easy to store away safely. The
Prevention magazine website has a lot of home exercise routines
you might want to try. Some require weights and some don't. I've
used a few of their routines on-and-off for years.
I'd recommend a yoga video (Total Yoga), but there's nothing more
annoying to me than being interrupted by my kids during the
relaxation section. I never do yoga at home unless the kids are gone!
working out any way I can
Inside exercises like---Skipping rope, jumping-jacks, push-ups,
sit-ups, free weights and toning exercises (leg lifts) alone
could take a few pounds off. Goodluck
Take a look at the Teresa Tapp website: www.ttapp.com.
I definitely lost inches with this method and you can do the
exercises indoors in a very small space.
Now, if only I had kept it up! Every time I re-start, though,
I notice an almost immediate result in looser clothing.
Having fun trying
I would suggest getting a resistance band and doing some
strength training exercises. Strength training not only tones
and tightens your muscles, but it also helps to raise your
metabolism, increase your muscular endurance, improve your
posture, strengthen your bones, and reduce your chances of
injury. You can easily strength train at home. A set of 3, 8,
and 10 pound handheld free weights will cost you less than $50.
A couple of resistance bands in 2 different colors (more/less
resistance)will only set you back about $20. You can buy them
at most sporting goods stores or online at
www.babybootcamp.com. There are so many exercises you can do
with these bands you'll never get bored. Add in some lunges and
squats and you've got a great workout without ever leaving your
Jump rope. It worked for Rocky, it will work for you.
The video ''Your Personal Best'' with Elle MacPherson is good. You
need to use a chair and weights for part of it. Good aerobic and
How about a mini trampoline (called ''rebounders'' these days.
You can get one at Big 5 for about $30.00 (or pay $250.00 for
the spiffy ''rebounder'' type on line). They are easy to put away
in a closet or under the bed when not in use.
You can jump, jog, bounce, dance, etc. for 5-10 minutes, or even
2-3 minutees a few times a day and get a great workout.
That sort of movement is really good for the lymph
system/ie:immune system, metabolism, getting in shape etc.
And it doubles as a fun toddler/little kid/bigger kid activity.
I think it's a great alternative to larger, more expensive
The name is off-putting but the exercises do really work. This
DVD was recommended to me a mom of two who is a self-
proclaimed ''exercise video guru.'' Tammylee Webb's ''I want that
Body'' really is great - it's six different 15 minute routines, 2
each of abs, arms and butt. All routines get your blood pumping
and you can mix and match as you please. It really helped me get
back in shape and because you can do as much or little as you
like it's great when you have to squeeze it in with kids -
available on Amazon. Also - the tried but true, (if you can get
past the eighties music) Jane Fonda's ultimate workout... 20
minutes of aerobics... I think the whole tape is 1.5. hours or
so... only for the really serious..
I bought a mini stepper at a used sports store in Alameda for $59. It
really helped me lose the ''baby-fat'' and is small enough to store in
closet or behind a chair, under a table, in my house it is under the
Also, I have some Pilates videos that you can buy at many places, and
do plain old crunches that you can see demonstrated on the web at
Active.com. If all else fails, just put on some music and move!
You might be interested in pilates- is great for toning and
working on posture and getting those abs conditioned- is
not aerobic though. Stott Pilates has some really good
videos- you can order them online:they explain important
fundamentals which a lot of videos don't. Their website is
stottpilates.com. All you need to do pilates is a mat or just
put a couple towels under the floor. You don't need any
fancy gear or anything. Good luck.
a pilates teacher
I've had great results with the T-Tapp videos by Teresa Tapp. Her
website is www.t-tapp.com. These exercises can be done in 15 minutes
a day, standing in a relatively small space, and they are low-impact
aerobic. In just a month I noticed a big difference, lost 10 pounds,
melted off, and my posture and energy were better all day.
Does anyone with a full time job and a toddler have time to exercise?
If so, I am looking for tips. But I need realistic tips - there is no
way I going to get up at 5am to go running or anything like that.
I was thinking that maybe there are a couple of people - moms or dads
who want to start a fairly unambitious plan and would like to get together
and figure out some way to squeeze in a little exercise.
Luckily there is already yoga at lunch right here in my department
(EECS) so I am really really going to go to that from now on, but I
also want to do a bit of aerobic stuff.
Regarding time to exercise etc, by Melanie.
I don't know how other people do this!
I have a full-time job (graduate student), and a son (1 year old)
in daycare, 8 to 5 or so, M-F. The last thing I have wanted to
do is get Curt out of daycare at 5 and put him in a childcare
program at the Y while I go do aerobics (my preferred exercise)
for 60 to 90 minutes. But I need exercise! Walking in the evening
doesn't happen, as it seems like a "we'll do it after we eat" activity
that doesn't happen cuz it's then "curt wants to be with mom and dad
(and we with him)" and then it's "get ready for bed" time.
It seems that the only way to get aerobic exercise is to do what I can't
bear which is to put Curt in another daycare while I exercise, which still
doesn't take care of the lack of time (my work doesn't end at 5).
One possibility is this. We've thought about doing exercise every
other day or so, husband and wife alternating taking care of Curt
while the other parent exercises. Maybe this is the best way. Every
other day is better than never.
I too am interested in (other) practical alternatives (are there
any?). Like Melanie, I'm not getting up at 5 or 6 or even 7 to
exercise. I prefer exercising between 5 and 7 in the evening.
In response to exercising when working fulltime: If you're working on
campus, there is a walking group that meets at the Campanile on Mondays,
Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12:10. We stretch and walk for 30-35 minutes
on three different routes. The walkers are at all levels and go
different speeds. The size of the group varies and is usually all women.
It's very enjoyable to get out at lunch and walk around the campus. You
should try it.
This is one that I constantly struggle with. Before an injury, I played
soccer. I found I could continue during (!) and after giving birth because
my teammates were so supportive. Many had kids and would help each other
watch them when mom was on the field. I also hired a sitter to sit on the
side lines. At women's tournaments, you'll often see lots of kids. (I was
impressed when I was in London recently and I saw a ad for pick up games at
which childcare was provided.) Practice of course is harder and I wouldn't
have made it often if the team I played with had held practices. But at
least once a week I got 90 minutes of intense exercise. I would suspect one
might find a similar atmosphere in other local women's teams sports.
During the week, I did and still do go to the gym -- but I find I can only
do it at 5 or 6 AM, later on the weekends. Recently what has helped is
paying a little extra (gulp) to meet with a trainer twice a month. That
motivates me to go and work more intensely when I do go. I still can not get
up every morning so early. I know some who go to the RSF during their lunch
hour. I've considered that, but one hour doesn't seem like enough time to
get there, exercise, shower and get back to work. Some gyms have childcare
-including I think 24 hour Nautilus and the Oakland YMCA. I was very
disappointed when my gym dropped childcare from their moving/renovation plan
and that will be a consideration when my renewal comes up.
I find it difficult to get as much exercise as I'd like. When I could run, I
found the jog-stroller to be a great thing and my son loved to ride in it.
With this injury, I'm totally frustrated because running and soccer are out.
Martha- mother of 2.5 year old Miles
I am fortunate that I can bicycle to work, so I get all the exercise I need
that way. I even bicycle my son to preschool--have been doing it since he
was about 8 months old. (I have a child seat on the back of my mountain
bike.) But even if you can't commute by bicycle, it's still a great way to get
recreational exercise with a child who weighs under 40 pounds. On weekends we
usually take family bike rides together. Sometimes we even take our son to the
carousel or trains in Tilden Park by bike.
I would like to respond to the issue of finding time to workout. As a
single parent of an active 3 1/2 y.o. I can attest to feeling extremely
overwhelmed with trying to do everything and still have quality time for
your child. I, however, am a firm believer in the "happy mommy makes
happy baby" equation.
For a brief period of time I ceased going to the gym and noticed my
energy level drop and stress level increase. I believe that as an
active, hard working parent you deserve to have that time to yourself.
Besides, if you are fortunate you may find a place that your child
really likes going to.
I usually prepare my child in the morning by telling him that we will be
going to the gym after I pick him up from school. He is usually
enthusiastic about going, and is prepared to go when I pick him up.
Throughout life there will constantly be obstacles thrown our way which
test our priorities and devotion to family. If you truly want to find
that time for yourself...there's a way. It may just take some
scheduling adjustments. Utilize your weekends, and then shoot for one
or two days during the week. Besides, think of the good example that
you are providing for your child regarding being healthy.
1. The Courthouse gym on Telegraph Ave. has a childcare co-op -
I think - you can get a reduced membership fee if you help out
with childcare. It also has a parking lot!!!!
2. Tang Health Center has some noon-time classes for faculty/staff about
exercise - maybe someone on the list knows about them and can post info?
3. The campus gym (RSF) has noon-time classes but you must already be a member
(about $25 month) and there is usually a fee of $30 or so for 6 weeks.
4. For grade-school kids, 5 and up: RSF has inexpensive taekwando
classes - if you're a member you can use the gym while they have their class.
Too bad RSF doesn't accommodate campus parents - no child care, kids not
allowed to use gym,pool,ball courts, etc. except in rare programs.
5. It will get better: my toddler is a teen now who gets up in the
morning to run with me. We both enjoy this time together.
Re: exercise. After our kids finished parent co-op preschool,
another mom and I calculated that we'd take the evening we formerly
dedicated to board meetings and parent ed meetings, and get some exercise.
We joined Berkeley Folk Dancers at Live Oak Park. This is a
venerable organization that meets to dance five nights a week. The
instructors are terrific (there is instruction at every level) and once you
advance through beginners, you can come more than one night a week, between
7:45 and 10:00 p.m.
Professor Bill Lidicker (Integrative Biology/MVZ) and his wife
Louise were our beginners teachers last year, and they are currently
teaching the intermediate class this year. They are wonderful. There are
other folks from the UC community there, too. There is an added bonus to
this form of exercise: not only is it fun, and quite aerobic, but we have
made many elder friends -- something that one easily misses, if separated
from parents/grandparents by the miles.
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