I’ve seen quite a few awesome Fall-inspired to-do lists circling around the blogosphere lately (like this one from the amazing Amanda). They include fun things like carving pumpkins and drinking hot apple cider and shoveling entire bags of candy corn into your pie hole (wait, that’s just on my list). And while those kinds of things are totally awesome, I thought it might be fun to do a twist on it—a fitness twist.
Fall is such an amazing time to step away from the treadmill, get outside and enjoy everything Mother Nature has to offer. For me, in particular, the garden/farm chores are slowing down, which means that I need to focus a little bit more on building conscious fitness into my fall and winter routines. Soon the days of 9-to-5 compost shoveling parties (par-tay!) will be gone, so now is the time for me to get back in the swing of working out just for the sake of working out. To help myself ease into it, I made a fun, fall-inspired seasonal fitness to-do list! On my list:
Go on a leaf-peeping hike.
President Bartlet would hate my use of the phrase leaf-peeping, but he can get over it, because checking out the fall fireworks is a tradition in my area of the country. I want to hike up some of the big, rolling hills we have in Southern Indiana and check out all the beautiful color.
Do a charity walk/run.
Fall is the second race season of the year, and it’s a great time to sign up for a charity walk/run event. I’d like to do at least one race (probably walking) this season.
Go apple picking.
Don’t think apple picking is fitness related? Well then you aren’t picking nearly enough apples, my friend! A bushel of apples weighs right around 45 pounds. After hulking that up and down the orchard a few times, you’ll have earned your PSL for the day.
Do an outdoor yoga session.
I’ve really gotten into outdoor yoga lately. I just pull out my mat, put in my headphones (with one of the free downloads from YogaDownload.com) and go to town. I imagine there’s a certain kind of bliss that comes from doing yoga practice on a crisp fall morning with leaves tumbling down all around you.
Play a pick-up game.
Football, soccer, basketball, baseball—whatever the sport—a few hours spent running around like a kid with your friends and family is an awesome way to spent a fall afternoon. Bonus points if you do it to help work off Thanksgiving dinner.
Rake leaves (and jump in the pile).
Raking leaves is a seriously amazing workout—averaging about 300 calories burned per hour of raking. And, of course, you can’t rake leaves without jumping in the pile afterward.
Go camping or backpacking.
If you’re outdoorsy, now is the time to get in one last hurrah before winter comes. For the best workout, haul in all your camping gear on your back. Hiking at a moderate pace with a full-loaded pack can burn almost 700 calories per hour (pack food!).
Get lost in a corn maze.
Corn mazes seem to be popping up everywhere around this time of year. Pay $5 and spend some time walking, skipping and scurrying your way through the maze. Make sure to get yourself good and lost before trying to find your way out!
Do a fitness assessment.
It’s hard to believe, but there are less than 100 days left in 2013 (98 to be exact). Now is a great time to give yourself a fitness assessment, work hard for the remaining three months of the year, and see how far you’ve come by January 1st. There are a lot of great fitness tests out there (The President’s Challenge Adult Fitness Test is a good one), but whichever one you choose, make sure to record your numbers and do the same one on January 1st for accurate comparison.
If you want to play along with me (and are more of a fan of pen and paper), I put all my to-do list items into a handy printable. Share it, pin it, download it, print it and use it all fall long!
What’s on your fall fitness to do list?
Wow, the first month of Super Summer (#SSChallenge) certainly flew by didn’t it? I hope having this challenge is helping you guys stay on track. Down below, Coach Krissie has some wisdom to drop on you about building momentum, but first, it’s time for me to do some boring housekeeping stuff:
- Math update: to hit your 10,000 point goals by August 31st, by the end of the day today, you should have logged right around 3,240 points in each of the two categories. If you’re blowing that number out of the water, maybe it’s time to adjust your goals? Falling behind? Check out Krissie’s post below about how she used the snowball effect to play catch-up.
- We’re moving into a new month! Don’t forget to print out a new calendar tracker (PDF) for July if you’re using those.
- Curious where Coach Krissie and I are in our own personal challenges? As of the end of last night, I have 2,845 body points and 3,530 mind points. Coach Krissie is rocking it with 4,025 body points and 7,025 mind points.
Alrighty, handing the reins to the lovely and talented Coach Krissie!
So. Super Summer. Almost a third of the way in.
How is it going?
I’m seeing a HUGE difference between the progress in my mind goals and my body goals. I’m way ahead in mind points and just barely below where I need to be on body. Not that I’m not able to catch up, but I just want to focus more on my body goals.
So that is exactly what I did on Wednesday. Kinda on accident.
And it all started with one goal. And then it snowballed.
I haven’t had a haircut in months. MONTHS. So I decided to knock out 100 points by going to get a haircut after work. (A kinda drastic haircut with lots of length gone and – gasp – bangs!) But then I got in the car and noticed how my haircut accented my grey hair. So I stopped and bought some hair color. While I had the smelly pile of dye-slathered hair on top of my head, I wondered, “What can I do in the next 25 minutes to earn some points?” And there it was. 500 points for an at-home spa day. So I was off. Eyebrows waxed and plucked. I found a facial scrub under my sink. Then the feet were scrubbed and slathered with lotion. Hands scrubbed and lotioned (should have waited until after I rinsed my hair for that). Hair rinsed, dried, and set on rollers. (Then I worked on my to-do list for mind points, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Feeling better about myself, and honestly feeling pretty fancy, I cooked a healthy dinner. Knocked out more of my to-do list. Then I was on a roll. I had planned on doing Bikram yoga on the back porch (100 points!), but a storm thwarted that plan. Also on the 100-point list? Try a new class. I wasn’t taking my newly styled hair out in the rain, so I found a ballet/barre class on youtube. I’m going to feel that tomorrow
Just like that, 800 points. EIGHT HUNDRED. And how do I feel?
Part of me is a little judgey, I’m not gonna lie. Can I really earn 800 points in an evening? Is that okay? Can I really have that awesome of a “body” day when I didn’t run or count calories or meet my water goal? Did I really work that hard?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I focused on me. I could have watched a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy from my DVR or gotten ahead on coaching work. But instead I focused on creating a positive feeling around my body. And what has it given me? Momentum. My thermometer made a huge jump. The body is catching up. I feel accomplished and excited and inspired. And, most importantly, I feel pretty.
I know that when I feel pretty, I am more likely to make choices that are respectful to my body. The more effort I put into my appearance and body, the more I treat it well with eating and exercise.
Looking for a little more motivation? Check out Committed Coaching’s newest program beFULL!
Do you have pampering items on your body goals? Do you think they would have an impact on your fitness items?
There are a lot of things that changed when I transitioned from living the city life to living in the country last summer. We can no longer just quickly pop-over to the Starbucks down the road to grab a latte. Instead of seeing the stray cat at our apartment every now and again, our wildlife viewing now consists of coyotes and deer and these really giant birds I have yet to identify. There’s no stopping at the health food co-op on my way home from work for a pound of grass-fed, organic ground beef anymore. Amazingly enough, changes like that were super easy for me to get used to. But the big change I’m struggling with? Figuring out when I’m exercising.
It’s sounds silly, doesn’t it? How does someone not know when they’re working out? But the truth is, before we moved here, my entire fitness life was tied to living in the city. Sure, I grew up a country girl, but I never “worked out” before age 18. I was in volleyball and color guard and basketball. I carried firewood and shoveled mulch and climbed trees. It never occurred to me to go hop on a treadmill for 30 minutes because I needed to exercise. Because I didn’t need to. I remember a particularly hellish summer in middle school where I had to go to volleyball practice for four hours in the morning and then come home and clear trees and briars for hours because we were putting in a lake. My life was exercise. Even if I wasn’t “exercising”.
Then I went to college in a city and it took years (years!) for me to understand that, yes, indeed, I needed to exercise my body now. I needed to use the gyms and use the running paths and use the city parks, because there wasn’t much firewood carrying or briar-clearing in the city. It wasn’t until I hit my mid-20s that I really got used to the idea of “working out” in the sense that it was something to check off on my to-do list. It wasn’t something that just happened in the goings-on of my day-to-day life anymore. I had to make a concerted effort to go out and exercise my body.
And that stuck. I got good at it. I got good at carving out an hour to go to the gym with no purpose other than exercising. I got good at heading out to the running trail on Saturday morning just for the sake of exercising. My entire mindset started to form around this concept of fitness. I never considered just living my life when I was a kid to be “fitness”, but this, this buying gadgets and going to the gym and lifting weights and running and getting on cardio equipment and taking a Zumba class, that was definitely “fitness”.
So then I moved back. I moved back home. I moved back to the country. I thought it would be a simple transition because, after all, I grew up here, but I’m slowly realizing that living in the city took hold of me in a lot more ways than I thought. And fitness is one of them. I’m really struggling with a battle between my body and my mind. In my mind what I’m doing isn’t working out because I’m not on a cardio machine or wearing a heart rate monitor or in a gym or at a Zumba class. But my body? My body is sore and tired from just a few hours a week of work outside. And this is just the tip of the seasonal iceberg. It’s going to get harder, it’s going to become more work, it’s going to be hours and hours and hours of hard manual labor. We’re planting a 5,000+ square foot garden this spring. That (plus maintaining the other 9 acres of land) is going to be my gym for the next six months.
Logically, I know that, really, the whole world of fitness is just there as a replacement for the hard, manual labor that our bodies are used to doing from days of old. We sit at desks and sit on couches and sit in our cars, so to counteract that, we need to go to the gym and run on the treadmill and lift weights. And I realize that my lifestyle now is different from that typical lifestyle. My lifestyle is (at least in the spring, summer and fall) my gym. But still, it’s so hard to erase the years worth of conditioning. The conditioning that says, if you don’t “do a workout” you are being lazy. Somehow, even though I spent an hour shoveling compost yesterday, it doesn’t feel like it should “count” as a workout. Which is ridiculous. If 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill counts, than 60 minutes of shoveling rotting food scraps sure as hell does (especially considering how sore I am this morning).
Its interesting, now that I’m in this as an adult, I remember back to my parents. We always has some kind of exercise equipment in the basement, but it would go mostly unused for the vast majority of the time. I remember they’d use it for a few months, and then stop. I always thought it was so weird that they wouldn’t keep up the habit. So I asked them one day. I asked them why they only stick to their workout routine for a few months and they told me—because that’s all the needed. They only “worked out” in the typical, use-the-weight-machine, kinda way during the winter. As soon as spring sprung back up and the work outside started up again, their need (and energy) to workout indoors fell away. It wasn’t that they were being lazy or undedicated, they were just using the exercise equipment to tide their bodies over until the work started again. And that’s how I’m starting to feel about our home gym. I used it a ton this winter. But as the days get warmer and the outside work starts to pile up, our gym is going largely unused.
And I have to let my mind get used to that. It’s okay. It’s okay for my gym to go unused for most of the year. It’s okay for me to not pick up a kettlebell because instead, I’m doing squats to pick up 60 pounds of maple sap. It’s okay to not get on the treadmill because I have to spend 30 minutes chasing after our adorable, but ornery dog who refuses to come when called. It’s okay to not do any push-ups or lunges because I’m doing so much shoveling and raking. It’s okay. It doesn’t make me lazy. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to gain back all the weight I lost. It doesn’t mean I’m going to get weaker. It just means that I’m using those calories I’d burn in the gym to get stuff done around the property, and that’s just as much of a workout as anything I’d do in a gym.
What do you consider a “workout”?
Since we were traveling, I knew this week was going to be a struggle—and it was. I did a lot better than I normal doing with staying on track while traveling, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
I was doing really well with food—until Super Bowl Sunday. We had a little Super Bowl party at my brother- and sister-in-law’s house, and even though the vast majority of the food was healthy, I ate way, way, way too much of it. There were chocolate chip cookies. And I lost count of how many of those I ate. And my hand kept finding itself in the chip bag. Unfortunately, that bad day kinda set the rest of the week off track. I tried to steady myself, but it never really got 100% back to pre-trip healthfulness, mostly because I stopped logging my food. And it’s hard to know if you’re back on track or not if you don’t have a clear picture of what you’re eating.
I am very proud of a few food things from this week. First up, I kept my booze intake to a minimum. Whenever we get together with Craig’s family, there tends to be a lot of libation enjoyment, but I kept it very moderate. When I did drink, I stuck with lower calorie choices (like raspberry vodka and club soda). What I did drink? A loooooot of water. More on that below.
Secondly, I think I did pretty good during our actual travel days. I was still snacky, but I kept that snacking to a reasonable amount instead of drowning myself in trail mix to pass the time.
Thirdly, I think I did a pretty great job of moderating my food when we went out to eat. Big thanks go out to my sister-in-law, Kim, who thankfully is on the clean eating bandwagon, too. She not only had some of my favorite staples stocked in the house already (chia seeds, woot!) but also made sure we hit up the healthy eateries in town—like the local juice bar and a local, organic restaurant.
How to improve next week: I think I need to really assess my sugar addiction. It was incredible how strong of a pull those chocolate chip cookies had over me. I know that sounds silly, but I literally could not focus on anything else with those cookies in the same room as me. That’s, uh, not good. I also just need to get back to tracking. I do really well when I’m keeping track of my food.
Last week I set my goal for this trip to just “get in two workouts of some sort”. I set the bar really low. I said even just a dance party or walk would work. Well, I’m happy to say that I did that and more! I worked out on both Saturday morning and Monday morning.
On Saturday, I did a few rounds of Tabata sprints on the treadmill, followed by a short kettlebell session (again, the joys of staying with someone who has a similar healthy lifestyle to your own). And then on Monday, I went hardcore cardio to try to counteract CookieGate 2013. I did about 40 minutes of alternating sprints and brisk walking.
Honestly, I was planning on getting another workout in right before we left, but I came down with a minor cold and would much rather my body use up energy to fight off my illness than put it toward a sweat session.
How to improve next week: I’m still fighting off my cold, and like I said above, I want my body to have all the power it can to conquer that little bugger. So I’m going to take it easy this week (or until I feel better). I’d still like to get in one or two light sessions of cardio—probably walking—and then one or two strength sessions. But right now, my body’s main charge is to kill the germy invaders!
Oh, I drank. I draaaaaaaaaaaank. I don’t know what it was, maybe the fact that Northwestern Ontario is the coldest, driest place on the damn planet during February, but I was constantly thirsty during our trip and constantly drinking. I was drinking so much I didn’t need to track my water intake, because there is no question I was hitting my 80 ounce a day goal (and much more). I would walk outside and get suddenly super thirsty. It’s like the air was so dry and cold it was leaching moisture from my body. I think our next trip to Thunder Bay will be in the summer. Experiencing -38° once in my life was quite enough, thank you very much.
Once I started to get sick, I struggled with drinking as much because my throat was so sore, but I still managed to stay pretty well hydrated. I basically just carried around my CamelBak Groove with me everywhere. It was awesome to have clean, filtered water no matter where I filled up my bottle.
How to improve next week: I’m still struggling with drinking water when I first get up. I know it’s so good for me (it jumpstarts your metabolism and lubricates all the joints and cells in the body that were parched overnight), but it’s still a struggle for me. I’d really like to get about 16 ounces of water in before I start my day.
Starting Weight: 272 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 231.8 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 235.0 lbs
This Week’s Loss: +3.2 lbs
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh. Part of me is hoping that’s still water weight leftover from the flights, but considering I did a pretty good job of staying hydrated, I’m gonna go ahead and guess that’s 3.2 pounds of chocolate chip cookie weight. I’m not too beat up about it. 3.2 pounds is a very small price to pay for the awesome visit I had with my Canadian family. And, honestly, I’ve had a lot worse post-traveling weigh-ins.
How to improve next week: I’m resetting myself. Today, we’re heading to the grocery store to pick up lots of fresh, yummy, healthy food. I’ve got my menu and workouts planned for next week. I’m ready to get to gettin’.
How did your week go? Was it healthy? Did you hit your goals?
- The Workout: Total Body Toning Kettlebell Workout from Women’s Health magazine
- Type of Workout: Strength
- Equipment Required: Kettlebells
- The Nitty-Gritty: Eight classic kettlebell moves are combined into a fat-burning and muscle-working interval workout that tones your whole body in about 20 minutes.
One of my favorite things about kettlebells is that thanks to their dynamic motion, using them builds muscle and burns calories. So I can get two workouts in half the time! I loved that this workout covered nearly all the major muscle groups in the body in a flash. It also includes a lot of what I consider the “fun” kettlebell moves—the ones that let you swing and swoop and use the momentum and kinetic motion of the bell to workout your muscles.
- Calories Burned: 236 calories*
- Total Time: 31 minutes*
- Next Day Soreness: 3/5 (0=no soreness, 5=holy crap nuggets, I can’t walk)
*Includes 5 minutes of walking warm-up and 5 minutes of walking cool-down.
- Speed, speed, speed. In about 20 minutes, I got a full body strength workout and a decent calorie burn. Is it enough to build bulging biceps? No, you’ll need to still do more targeted strength training, but it’s a great well-rounded workout for when you’re in a rush.
- It’s fun. I think it is so fun swinging around big, heavy kettlebells! There are a lot of kettlebell moves that aren’t so fun and dynamic (I’m looking at you squat), but this workout combines some of those more stagnant moves with a bunch of more explosive moves (like the Figure 8 and the Swing).
- It’s adaptable. As a beginner, you can start off easy with a lighter kettlebell and progress to heavier and heavier weights as you get stronger. It seems like it’d be a great workout for kettlebell beginners and old pros (with heavier bells).
- Terrible move descriptions. I’m not sure who wrote the move descriptions, but some of them are so wrong, it hurts. Literally! You’d hurt yourself! And some of them are so far off from kettlebell form, it’s pretty much just like you’re using a barbell. For example, the write-up for the swing makes it sound like it’s a choppy motion, when it’s really very fluid. And performing a deadlift like a squat pretty much defeats the entire purpose of a deadlift. To get proper kettlebell form, there are tons of great YouTube videos. Rely on those instead of the descriptions in this write-up.
- Low weight suggestion. The write-up suggestions a 10 or 15 pound kettlebell. Unless you have very little strength or are a super beginner, that is way too light. I’m not insanely strong or anything, and the lowest weight I was using was a 20 pounder. Using a 10 pound kettlebell on a deadlift isn’t going to get you much muscle gain.
- Single weight suggestion. The write-up only suggests the use of one weight of kettlebell for the entire workout. That’s like saying you’re going to use a spoon to eat your soup and shovel the driveway! Some of the moves require a much heavier weight (like the deadlift) and others you’ll need to go lighter (the get-ups). I ended up using four different weights for the workout.
The Final Word
Even thought I thought the actual write-up of this workout was rubbish, I loved the balance and combo of moves, and that alone gives it high marks in my book. I was interested (and actually having fun!) throughout the whole workout, and I managed to work up a nice sweat in the amount of time it normally takes me to warm-up in a long-form workout. Recommended (but do your own research for how to do the moves properly).
Have you tried out any new workouts lately?
This week was definitely a good one. We’re headed off to Canada this morning, and I’m worried that I’ll get off track, but hoping that all this healthy momentum from the last few weeks will translate into a healthy trip to the Great White North. I just have to remember the fundamentals. I know how to stay healthy, I just have to do it!
I did really well with tracking and monitoring my food at the beginning of the week, but this week got crazier and crazier as it went on, and by yesterday, I’d totally abandoned tracking. I think I still stayed on track yesterday, but I do know I did a lot of unnecessary nibbling while packing for my trip. I’m 100% back on the tracking bandwagon today. I tend to snack when I’m bored, and nothing is more boring than sitting in an airport during a layover. I need to stay accountable.
As far as the content of my eats, I’m doing awesome. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, whole grains and lean protein. I’ve also cut back dramatically on my sugar intake, which rocks.
How to improve next week: Track it all. This is particularly important during this week of traveling. I need to remember that estimating is better than not tracking at all. Whenever I don’t have the ability to weigh or measure something, I tend to just throw tracking out the window because it won’t be 100% accurate. I have to keep reminding myself that 100% accuracy of the numbers isn’t the goal. Accountability for my food choices is.
Just like with my food, the week started out great. I had two straight days of hardcore workouts in the basement, and then I also managed to get in some walks during both days at work this week. I wanted to do more, and a larger variety, but this just wasn’t the week for it. I am planning on doing my darndest to not just sit around during our travel day today. I’m even thinking of strapping on a pedometer today to try to log 10,000 steps. That should be totally do-able (especially if I skip the moving sidewalks).
How to improve next week: I’m typically pretty rotten about exercise while traveling, so just as long as I get in two workouts of some sort, I will be very, very pleased with myself. I’m setting the bar low here. A walk. A dance party. Anything.
I feel myself slipping when it comes to water intake. While technically I hit my water goals all week-long by getting in at least 80 ounces of water a day, some of those days I got it by slamming a whole bunch at once instead of sipping on it all day long. I don’t know the science of it all, but I’ve got to imagine gentle sipping is much better for hydration than gulping. But maybe I’m insane and water is water? I really just need to keep my water bottle near at all times and drink every few minutes.
How to improve next week: Carry my water bottle around with me everywhere! I think my big, heavy Klean Kanteen (that I love!) might be just a bit too big sometimes and is holding me back. I’m traveling with my CamelBak Groove this week, because it filters water, so we’ll see if it’s smaller prompts me to carry it around and drink more.
Starting Weight: 272 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 234.7 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 231.8 lbs
This Week’s Loss: -2.9 lbs
Power on! I’m closing in on back into the 220s, which is awesome (and much closer to my happy place). For those of you keeping track, I now only have 4.5 more pounds to lose in two weeks in order to win my DietBet. It’ll be close, but just as long as I stay on track during this trip, I think I’ll make it!
How to improve next week: I’m doing good! I just need to make sure to stay diligent with tracking my food this week and try to get in some activity, and I think the scale will keep moving in the right direction.