Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Workout?

January 1 is a time of change for many, and often people start or change their exercise habits. While I don’t believe in any drastic changes at the beginning of the year, or for that matter at any time, I do like to assess what I’m doing in terms of exercise from time to time. And right now is as good a time as any…

My exercise “routine” is quite different today than it was a year ago. A year ago I worked out at the gym pretty much every single day. I rarely missed a workout and even worked out when I was quite sick. In fact, I had a really bad cold and sinus infection for several weeks and hardly missed a workout during that time period. Looking back, what I was doing was not healthy. In addition to working out while fighting a cold and infection, my weak ankle continuously bothered me. All the high intensity cardio was too much for my ankle to handle.

Why did I work out so much? Well, there were several reasons. First, the toddler really liked to go to the childcare at the gym and had numerous friends there, whom he liked to see. Second, exercise gives me my feel-good hormones without which I just don’t feel the same. Third, it is nice to take an uninterrupted shower and make use of the steam room… Finally, I think going to the gym daily became a habit, and it was kind of hard to break that habit. I guess that can happen with habits, good or bad…

So what am I doing today? I still work out most days of the week. But my definition of a “real workout” has changed quite a bit. I used to think a “real workout” meant sweating at the gym for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Today I consider any physical activity that lasts at least 20 minutes exercise. I do The 30 Day Shred workout DVD, lift weights at the gym, do barre-type workouts, do yoga, go hiking, do boot camp workouts, go for walks… 

Looking at what I used to do and what I’m doing now, what I notice most is the added variety in my workouts. I always knew that I had to “mix things up.” But, honestly, I wasn’t that successful when I was “addicted” to the gym. I pretty much did the same thing every week: 3-4 very similar weight workouts (even though I tried to “mix things up”) and 5 days of cardio, alternating between the treadmill, stepper, and elliptical. Not much variety. Not enough stretching and focusing on flexibility. Not enough “smelling the roses” and the crisp air during a walk or hike.

So what are my goals now? To keep a healthy balance when it comes to exercise. To not obsess. To realize that sometimes less is truly more, especially when there is an injury that needs to heal. I also want to continue to add variety to my workouts. I have found some amazing deals (up to 80% off the regular price ) on exercise classes via Groupon, Living Social, and Trubates. It’s a great way to try out new workouts  for little money and to mix things up once in a while. I also want to hike more, which is a free activity. Last year I did several long hikes (10 miles) and hiked a half marathon. I really enjoy hiking but it’s a rather large time commitment, so it involves some planning.

Questions: Have you assessed your “exercise regimen” lately? Are you happy with what you’re doing? Are you doing too much? Too little? Are your workouts varied enough? Is there anything you’d like to try? Let’s inspire each other either by sharing what we are doing or by what we plan to do!

Be well,


  1. Hi Andrea,

    I'm new to your blog. I'm excited to read more,

    Going to the gym all the time bores me and I think I have adult ADD so I have always done variety of outdoor activities, like hiking and running. I do Pure Barre too, it keeps me balance and always a good workout for my core.

    Balance is the key and do activities that makes you happy or you will not keep it up.

    Happy New Year

  2. Keeping things mixed up is precisely why I go to a trainer. It's so easy for me to just get on the elliptical every day, or do the same weight routine that I learned in 9th grade PE a million years ago, but I really enjoy the challenge of doing new and different things. Right now, I do a different weight workout every day, followed up with cardio. I also do the occasional Zumba class at the gym.

  3. I totally hear you! I am all about mixing it up and having fun. Moving...not just hammering out a fast run.

    good for you and here's to a great new year ahead!

  4. A variety sounds like a great idea for sure! Happy New year and best wishes in 2011!

  5. Moderation in all things! Love Groupon!

  6. Looks like you made some great new changes - I love a variety in workouts!

  7. What an excllent topic! I can totally relate to you!! I used to think a good work out was no less than 2 hours at the gym!! Now I am happy and content with 30-60 minutes most days of the week. NOT going to the gym everyday has also helped me to add more variety and get MORE results!! By being MORE intense for LESS time, my body has benefited tremendously! I've also started focusing on more stretching and yoga and my work outs have never been better! It's so important to re-evealuate your work outs!

  8. I had a teammate in college who was addicted to working out - she'd be blowing her nose as she worked out because she was sick - so not healthy!

    Glad you've stepped back and reevaluated, and I agree - any movement can be considered exercise!

    Happy New Year Andrea!

  9. I would have to say that lately I have been so sick of exercising. After my half marathon, I have been seriously lacking motivation.
    I just saw a groupon for a bootcamp class. I am thinking about purchasing it so I can get more variety in my workouts.

  10. Wonderful post! I'm definitely reevaluating my workouts. I just know my foot can't handle running at the level i was at before, and I know I need to mix it up. :( I'm definitely in the reevaluating stage right now! I think it's challenging for sure, but i'm exciting to find something new that works for me.

  11. I have not been doing enough strength training and I've gotten a bit bored with my routine because I keep doing the same thing. Part of my goals for the new year is too do more strength and add variety to my workouts.

  12. I agree with you about what I consider exercise. Some days I can't get to the gym and I no longer beat myself up about this. I word my goal differently so it includes those videos I might do at home, or the bike ride I may take on a weekend. I recently re-evaled mine to create my new goal for 2011, which I posted today.

  13. I've gotten to the point of constantly changing it up... there's been times when I've overexercised, so then I'd end up doing nothing for a month because I'd be so exhausted and TIRED of exercising.

    So now, I'm focusing on exercising in moderation... doing some kind of exercise every day, but nothing too intense unless I WANT to do something intense. And lots of walking to keep my mind calm :)

  14. In my 20s, I was the same way. I was probably a bit obsessed about working out. I'd hit the gym, even if I was barely able to get out of the bed from the flu. It was not good. Nowadays, I have a healthier attitude about it all. I still try to get to the gym five times a week. But if work interferes or some other legit reason comes up so that I have to miss a day, I no longer stress so much about it. I realize now that as long as you keep active on a regular basis, missing one day here and there is not gonna kill ya. ;)

  15. I love variety!

    I need to get back to a consistent plan. We've been doing so much lately it's been hard to workout as much as I'd like (3x a week).

  16. Our stories are very similar. I used to workout every single day, for at least an hour or an hour and a half. I always felt bad if I skipped a workout (of course, mine really WAS an addiction, and a bad one at that!). Now I am much more relaxed about my workouts, and I actually enjoy them and look forward to them. I do about 50 minutes, 5 days a week. I lift a lot more, and do yoga/pilates, and the elliptical. Nick and I are working on creating a workout room for our house and I can't wait until it's finished! It's going to really motivate both of us to start doing more fun workouts, and maybe even together sometimes!

  17. This is a timely post for me to read. I am really torn between morning and evening workouts. I have time in the mornings, but I just feel like crud after AM workouts. But if I keep things a little lighter, then I'm okay -- I can't wake-up and go out and run a fast, effortless 5 miles. No waayyy. But I can hop on the elliptical for 30-40 minutes or jog a leisurely 3-4 miles, and free up a lot of time in my evening. I struggle with "is my effort enough?" in the mornings vs. crunching too much into the short evening hours and I think I've decided, like yourself, that exercise doesn't always have to be really long or intense to be effective. :)

    And speaking of Groupon - they do have FABULOUS offers for workout classes and what not. I'm so glad I signed up!

    Happy 2011, Andrea!!

  18. What exercise regimen? I've been terribly lazy for months.

    However, today I went for a long walk. First thing this morning, I strapped on my headphones and walked the track for 30 minutes. This is an interesting post for me to read today because I was thinking as I was walking that I never used to consider going for a walk exercise. If I wasn't running, it wasn't exercise. I used to be so obsessed with my pace, time, distance. Now, I'm just happy to be moving. And I've dug up some old Winsor pilates tapes! I think it is meaningful for me to take a more well rounded approach to exercise too and break down another all-or-nothing notion.