Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.
There are quite a few types of exercise I enjoy.
*Although I haven’t done either of these in a long time and definitely would need to recondition my body for them. That is to say, let’s pick the easiest versions of these things if you want to do them with me.
What all of these activities have in common is that they’re non-competitive, fairly easy on the joints in most cases, and can be done solo or in a group.
When I was a kid, the vast majority of my exposure to exercise was team sports.
I’ve never liked team sports, so it took me a while to realize how many forms of exercise are out there that don’t require competition, keeping score, or having winners and losers.
Kudos to those of you who thrive on competition and being the biggest, strongest, and/or fastest person in a group.
But to me, exercise is most enjoyable when it’s about doing something cool either by myself or with a few other laid-back people.
I talk about my love of reading and writing all of the time this blog, so I’m going to branch out and talk about some of the other stuff in this world that makes me happy. Oh, and I’m bending the rules and talking about two different topics because it was impossible to pick between them.
Board, Video, and Role-Playing Games
If we were all sitting together in a room and didn’t have Internet access, I’d probably ask everyone if they wanted to play Clue, Scrabble, or Life. There’s something so relaxing to me about the simplicity and predictability of them. I see playing board games as a chance to bond with friends, so I’d much rather spend my time chatting between turns than trying to remember a complex set of rules.
When I was a kid, my favourite video game was Pharaoh. It was a city-building game set in various points of Egyptian history. I loved deciding where my characters should build a pyramid and planning out the designs of my cities.
These days, I spend my video game time building homes, digging mines, and fighting monsters in Minecraft. As long as no monsters sneak up on me while I’m working, it’s a very relaxing way to end a day.
A few months ago, I started playing Dungeons and Dragons occasionally, but I don’t know enough about that topic yet to go into much detail about it. It’s far more complicated than I ever would have imagined!
Why do I love games so much? Well, most of the ones I play ask you to use your imagination. There are very few things in this world that I find more interesting than needing to do that.
I’m a weightlifter. It’s a form of exercise I first tried about four years ago, and it’s made me feel so good to grow stronger as a result of this hobby. I’m a short and petite woman, so every bit of strength I gain makes a huge difference in how I look, how I feel, and what I’m capable of doing.
Walking outdoors – preferably as close to nature as I can get to as a city person – is another fitness activity that I really enjoy. I originally tried to get into running, but I found that long, brisk walks were much more my speed. I like being able to take in my surroundings and notice that squirrel darting up a tree or a neighbour’s dog playing fetch in the distance.
Talking about this is making me very glad that spring is around the corner. I can’t wait to go to the park again.
Why do I love working out so much? Well, it makes me feel really good. I get an endorphin rush from cardiovascular exercise, and I really like the way weightlifting improves my life. There’s something thrilling about picking up a heavy laundry basket or bag of groceries and realizing that they feel a little lighter than they did the last time you needed to do that chore. It’s almost like gaining a superpower!
Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. This is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other type of workout routine.
In addition, I’m not receiving any kind of compensation for this post, I’m not affiliated with anyone at Fitness Blender, and there is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site in general. I’m reviewing this workout simply because I loved it and think some of you might, too.
Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a workout video here. it’s time to change that.
Fitness Blender creates the videos I use for the vast majority for my weightlifting workouts. Kelli and Daniel are the couple who created and own this brand. Their Youtube channel and website offer free workouts for every fitness level.
About the 30 Minute Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout
This workout consists of 5 groups of 2 different exercises. There are ten repetitions of each exercise before you move onto the next one, and all of the exercises are done in the AB/AB format. For example, Kelli’s movements looked like this in the first section:
Between each muscle-building exercise, she spent 20 seconds jogging in place.
This is a good routine for more experienced weight lifters. I would not recommend it to beginners due to the intensity of the moves.
All of the videos from Fitness Blender that I use require a minimal amount of equipment. For this particular one, you’ll need a barbell or dumbbell. If you happen to own a yoga mat, that extra cushioning can be useful for the cardio portions of this routine. It’s not strictly necessary, however.
The last five minutes of this video are dedicated to cool-down exercises, but it doesn’t have any warm-up activities. I’d recommend warming up on your own before beginning it.
This is one of my all-time favourite workouts, so you’re going to hear a lot of complimentary things about it today.
The lack of background music was one of the first things I noticed about it. While I like background music when I’m doing a dance video, I find it distracting for most other types of exercise. It was nice to not have to think about it during this video.
Instead of instruments or the sound of people singing, the only noises you hear on this video are of the narrator explaining which moves are coming up and discussing how they affect your body. There were alternatives suggested for people who couldn’t do the full range of motion for certain moves which was helpful. It was also interesting to hear Daniel talk about how your muscles will react if you’re able to do the moves the way Kelli was in this workout. I only ever felt encouraged by his descriptions. It was fascinating to hear how the human body works and how it can adapt to new challenges over time.
While Kelli did jog in place between all of the exercises, I appreciated the fact that participants were encouraged to find their own level of activity between sets if they weren’t able to jog every time. Honestly, I can’t jog in place for the entire workout every single session. There are times when I need to walk instead, especially at the end, and that’s perfectly okay.
One of the unique features of the Fitness Blender brand is an icon on the right hand side of the screen that shows you how much of the workout you’ve currently completed as well as how much of it you still have to go.
It looks sort of like a thermometer, and the color of it changes from green to yellow to red as you progress further into the routine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this feature to see how long I have left to go and to find another burst of energy when I know we’re getting close to the end.
The weightlifting exercises themselves are challenging for me in a good way. When I first began using this video, I was a little sore the next day. While my body has grown stronger and adjusted since then, this routine is by no means an easy one for me. I enjoy being challenged in this way, and I can see myself going back to it over and over again for quite a while yet to come.
I also enjoy the cool down portion during the last five minutes. By the time it comes up, I’m usually covered in perspiration and totally ready to take a break from exercising. All of the stretches in the last few minutes are a nice bridge between weightlifting and the quieter portions of my day that are soon to follow.
Honestly, the thing I’d change about it if I could would be to include a short warm-up at the beginning. I find that I am more diligent about warming up properly when I have someone else telling me which body parts to stretch and for what period of time. Going to the trouble of actually warming up for it is well worth the effort, though!
There is so much conflicting information floating around out there about fitness, nutrition, and various types of exercise. Today I’m going to be talking about the best fitness advice I’ve ever received. I’m not a doctor or other medical provider, so this post is not written in order to give health or medical advice to anyone. It is only meant to share my personal experiences on this topic.
1. Don’t Ignore Pain
There’s a massive difference between feeling fatigued from a certain type of movement and hurting because of it. Pain is a sign that something has gone or is going wrong. On the rare occasions that I feel this sensation while working out, I stop immediately.
2. Make Healthier Options the Easiest Ones
This is a trick I use for my diet as much, and even more so during the holidays when sweets are everywhere, as I do for my fitness goals.
It’s easy to stick with an exercise routine or a healthy eating plan on a great day when everything goes according to plan. Continuing to do so on days when my plans have been interrupted or I’m dealing with unpleasant surprises that make skipping that workout or ordering in fast food unbelievably appealing is another story.
If I already have healthy leftovers sitting in the fridge, I’m going to be less likely to go out and buy something that won’t provide the vitamins and minerals I need. As far as my fitness goals go, I live in a highly walkable neighbourhood and try to do as many of my normal errands on foot as possible. Those five or ten minute trips add up to a lot of low-impact exercise over time.
3. Pick Activities You Enjoy
For example, I love to go swimming. It’s not an activity I do very often for logistical reasons, but when I do get a chance to swim I’ll happily spend hours in the pool. At times, I’ve even fantasized about what it would be like to be able to sleep while floating in a friendly body of water. (No, this blog is not written by a mermaid, although that might be something a mermaid would write if they actually existed and didn’t know how to sleep in the water since they’d been raised on land).
4. Be Patient
Reaching any fitness goal takes time and effort. I know that I’ve often wished I could build muscle quickly, but that’s not how it works….especially for thin and petite women like me!
5. Create Multiple Backup Plans
A few years ago, I made plans to go on a low-key hike on a specific spring weekend when the weather is generally gorgeous here in Ontario.
Then it rained that weekend. I’m not talking about a light drizzle, either. There were thunderstorms and lightning everywhere.
It happened again on my backup date, and then yet again the next couple of times I tried to reschedule those plans. I don’t remember whether that hike ever happened or not, to be honest with you. What I remember most clearly from that experience is how frustratingly funny it was to see the weather report change to a high risk of thunderstorms on every single day I was hoping to spend some time out in nature.
This is a story I think about when I’m brainstorming various ways to include physical activity in my vacation plans or deciding how to get back into the habit of exercise after an injury or illness. If one idea doesn’t work, I always have two or three alternates tucked into the back of my mind.
6. Stick to the Routine, Including Rest Days
If it’s a workout day for me, I’m going to be getting that exercise in unless I’m sick, injured, or (very rarely) are travelling and legitimately can’t make my goals that day due to how many hours I’ve spent on an airplane, train, or bus. On rest days, I take things easy no matter how much I’m itching to do something more active with my time than walking or other low-impact forms of movement.
The longer these habits have had to form, the easier I find it to follow the routine. There is something reassuring about always knowing what that part of my day is going to be like no matter what else might be happening before or after it.
What is the best fitness advice you’ve ever received?
There’s something about the autumn season that makes me want to write out lists and accomplish things. Maybe it’s because of how much I generally looked forward to school beginning again when I was a student.
A blank notebook can hold an endless number of possibilities. Several months from now they’ll be full of lecture notes, but there might be poems or little drawings scribbled in the margins. The smell of fresh paper is enticing, too.
An unread textbook is often full of interesting things that you never knew about the world before. Sometimes I even read parts of my textbooks – especially the literature ones – that were never assigned to us for the sheer fun of it.
It’s been well over a decade since I took any courses, but I thought this year it might be helpful to set a few non-academic goals for myself. This post will be shorter than usual. My goals are fairly simple, and I see no reason to pad them out since they don’t require a thousand words of explanation.
1. Spend One Hour a Week Lifting Weights.
I’m currently recovering from a minor injury that temporarily derailed my normal weightlifting routine. As soon as I’ve healed, I’m going to leap back into my normal routine of lifting free weights. I can’t tell you how much I miss that. In the meantime I’m trying to do some bodyweight activities that don’t aggravate my injury to keep up my strength as much as possible.
2. Meditate for 20 Minutes Every Day.
Honestly, my meditation habits have been pretty erratic these past six months. That needs to change.
3. Join New Social Groups.
One of the downsides of being a writer, and especially a full-time writer, is how much time we tend to spend alone typing on a keyboard. While I’m incredibly grateful for the many benefits of this career choice, I think it would be healthy for me to get out and socialize with other people at times.
Ideally, I’ll find at least one group that had nothing to do with writing so I can meet people from other professions and walks of life. I’m open to all possibilities, though, and hope to blog about my experiences once I find a couple of groups that suit my interests and schedule.
4. Write My Second Sci-Fi Novel.
This is by far my biggest goal for the autumn. A while ago I began a novel that was about a woman living in what used to be Arizona several generations from now after climate change permanently altered the landscape there and North America at large. I got stuck 30,000 words into it and have yet to finish it. I’m hoping I’ll be able to figure out how to do that one if I work on a entirely new story in the science fiction genre.
I’m tentatively planning to check back in with my readers in December to discuss how many of these goals I’ve reached and what’s happening with them in general. My hope is that I’ll be very motivated to accomplish them now that everyone knows what I’m trying to do.
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