Tag Archives: working out

There’s No *NEED* For The Gym

When I have conversations with people outside the gym about fitness, health, and weight loss they usually combat with, “I can’t afford the gym,” or, “I don’t have time for the gym.”  I understand that the gym is not for everyone.  Some people do not have a gym close enough that they would find it convenient.  Other people truly do not have time for the gym (such as they work during the only hours a close gym is open).  I get that.

However, you do not necessarily *need* a gym to lose weight, be fit, and increase your health.  Food is the number one component anyway.  Really.  What you consume has *far* more to do with how healthy your body is, and how much you weigh.

Aside from food, though (because that is not the purpose or direction of this particular post), there are plenty of options that get your body moving at home – in the office – in the park – anywhere – anytime.  Here are some examples of workouts I have discovered recently that do not *require* a gym membership, and most do not *require* any equipment at all.

I, of course, cannot do all of these exercises right now because of the restrictions for my knee.  However, these look like great workouts and would really deliver some great results (if you stick to them).

The yoga workout above is pretty intense (especially if you do the moves one right after the other) and will really work your body.  I did power yoga last Monday night with Denise and Aaron.  That was the first time I had ever done yoga, and it was seriously intense.  I was pouring sweat (literally) and there were definitely some moves I have yet to master (as in tree with your arms straight up and warrior 3).  Balance is my nemesis – still.  I have improved my balance, but it is still not a strength of mine – yet.

This plank workout is not for the faint of heart – and not for anyone who cannot hold a plank for…a long time.  I plank often (I love them, and, yes, I know that is weird) and this workout still kicked my butt.  No joke.  I ended up using 8 lb weights for the curls and 5 lb for the tricep kick-backs.  I probably could have used heavier weights for the curls, but I did not want to kill myself.  I will also admit that I was not able to run through this entire routine while in plank position.  I did the top two and then stood up.  Two more and stood…then went back for the last one.  I will work up to doing an entire run-though, but that will take some time.  (Which just gives me something to work toward.)

This pilates workout was alright.  It would probably work better for someone who has not done these kinds of moves before (a beginner, perhaps?).  I do Russian twists (similar to the first move) with a 12-lb. med ball, so just twisting like that did not do much for me.  The last move; however, was pretty challenging.  I had a hard time keeping my back entirely straight.  That probably is an indication that I still have some postural muscles to strengthen.  The side plank was pretty easy for me, although I do have trouble figuring out how to position my feet.  Once I get that figured out, I should be golden.

This leg workout is excellent (for me) because it requires no lunging…and only a chair for equipment!  This is one workout that pretty much anyone can do – even if you are just starting out.  Maybe your leg will not go as high to start, but you will still be working those legs!

Everyone has to start somewhere.  I was not able to do a whole lot when I stepped into the gym at over 300 pounds.  At that moment I felt like I was never going to be good at anything (fitness-related).  I felt like I was always going to look awkward and struggle with the simplest moves.  However, just continuing on (not giving up) improved my abilities quickly.  I found that I was doing new things every week.  I was able to squat a little lower, lift the leg a little higher, do two more reps, five more minutes, etc.  My body got stronger every day, and it felt great.

Like I said, you do not *need* the gym.  You just need to make it a priority – in your livingroom, in a park, in your office – and do not let the lack of a gym membership or equipment prevent you from working your body.

Do you workout outside of a gym?  If so, what are your favorite workouts that require little or no equipment?

-Erica

An Update On This Knee

This knee…is a serious pain in my…knee.  My first physical therapy appointment was yesterday afternoon.  I honestly expected to get a “that’s not that bad” or a “that’ll be easily fixed.”  Let me tell you, that is *not* what was said – ever.

It turns out that my knee is worse than I imagined.  When she marked the edge of my knee cap and then asked me to flex my quad (still lying flat and not bending my leg at all) the shock on her face said it all.  She then marked the edge of knee cap with my quad flexed.  The result?  My knee cap deviates to the left *more* than half an inch when I flex my quad.  I do not even have to bend the stupid leg to dislocate the knee cap – just flex.  My outer quad is *that* much strong than my inner quad.  Go figure.

The other bit of bad news is that my right knee does the same thing…I’m just not symptomatic on that side – yet.  So, all the exercises/stretches I will be doing for my left knee, I will be repeating for my right knee.  Hopefully this will prevent me from doing as much damage to my right knee as I have my left (and, of course, hopefully that prevents the right knee from ever hurting this way).

When the physical therapist checked the strength on all four sections of my quad, it was surprising.  My leg is very strong in three directions, and weak like a child in one (which, of course, is the inner quad).  This imbalance is what is causing my malfunction.  Additionally, my quad muscles and hip flexors are extremely tight, which compounds the problem.  I stretch every day (usually multiple times even), but evidently I am not stretching efficiently enough to properly lengthen/loosen my muscles.  So, they showed me ways to properly stretch…and, who knew a stretch could hurt so bad?!  When she started to stretch the front of my thigh, I almost shot off the table and said an abundance of sailor words!  Sheesh.

In light of this information, I am seriously debating whether continuing with Zumba is a good idea.  I love it, and I seriously want to go back.  However, all that bouncing around and squatting/lunging is strictly forbidden for the sake of not grinding any more of my joint away.  Decisions, decisions.

Looks like this will be a challenging road to travel…and this certainly means more alterations to my workout routines.  I *must* be very aware of how I move my legs and when I flex my quad.  Should be interesting.  Thank goodness I have Denise – she always knows what to do!  🙂

-Erica

My Routine(s)

As I mentioned in my weigh in post this week, Denise changed my routines Wednesday.  I was working solely on four or five machines in a circuit fashion.  Apparently, that was not the best use of my time at the gym (go figure).  So, I thought I might share my new routines with all of you.  Some (actually most) of the exercises I do now *could* be done at home.  For those of you who do not go to the gym (for financial or other reasons), these moves may help you still get a great workout.

ARMS/ABS
15 minutes of warm up on elliptical/treadmill/bike
bicep curls – 25 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
tricep extensions – 50 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
lateral raises – 10 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
front raises – 10 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
rows – 50 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
tricep sides – 10 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
ab dipper (nautilus) – 3 sets of 5+
planks (inclined) – 3 sets of 10+ (holding for a count of 10)
35 minutes of high intensity cardio on elliptical/treadmill/bike

LEGS/BACK/ABS
15 minutes of warm up on elliptical/treadmill/bike
front lunges – 3 sets of 15
sumo lunges/squats – 3 sets of 15
pelvic raises – 3 sets of 20
calf raises – 200 lbs. – 3 sets of 30
thigh/hip abductor machine – 130 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
thigh/hip adductor machine – 130 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
leg raises (up and out) – 3 sets of 15
lower back extension – 260 lbs. – 3 sets of 15
crunches (on yoga ball) – 3 sets of 25
oblique twists (with med ball) – 3 sets of 20
35 minutes of high intensity cardio on elliptical/treadmill/bike

As long as I have been working out consistently (about 18 weeks) at the gym, there have only been a handful of times I have been sore the day(s) after working out.  This, of course, always frustrated me because I felt like I was not working hard/smart enough to really break down the muscle tissue and build more lean tissue.  However, since starting this new routine (on Thursday) I feel like I am working out “better” (so to speak).  Thursday I did the arm/ab routine and certainly felt it in my triceps Friday and a little Saturday.  Friday night I worked on the legs/back/abs and felt it yesterday.  My legs are still sore today, but I did walk (briskly) in the 5K last night, too.  So, I am sure some of my soreness comes from that.

If you workout on a time crunch, you can combine a lot of these moves into complex exercises.  My trainer says complex exercises work multiple muscle groups (including your core) at the same time…which can minimize the time/days you spend working out.

Combining moves into complex ones:
front lunges with lateral raises (or curls or shoulder presses or both)
sumo lunges/squats with front raises

I am sure there are other ways to combine moves, but those are the only two I know…for right now anyway.

-Erica