Thursday, January 20, 2011

Trying Out Different Exercise Programs

A while ago, I saw several posts and positive reviews of Charlotte Hilton Andersen’s book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. Charlotte writes the blog The Great Fitness Experiment, and I enjoy reading her blog, so I decided to order a copy of the book, and I am glad I did as I very much enjoyed reading it.


In the book Charlotte describes her fitness experiments (Functional Training, Double Cardio, CrossFit, The Celebrity Workout, The  Action Hero Workout, Jillian Michaels, Primal Blueprint, Suspension Training, Kettlebells, High Intensity Interval Training, Going Vegan, and Karate). Charlotte and her gym buddies try out each plan for one month, and she then  writes about what worked and what didn’t work for her and her gym buddies. The book is a fun read, and I learned quite a bit about different exercise and eating plans.


While the book is overall very funny and entertaining, there is also a serious side to it when Charlotte describes her unhealthy, obsessive relationship with exercise at one point in her life. She describes her struggles to have to make it to the gym “no matter what” and to have to work out for a certain amount of time each day.

While I was never as obsessive as Charlotte was at one point, I can relate to her struggles as I had a very difficult time finding the right exercise balance myself. As I wrote a few weeks ago, just a year ago, I had to do a “real workout” every day. If I didn’t, I felt guilty, anxious, restless and wasn’t very much fun to be around. In my mind, a “real workout” involved the gym and great amounts of sweat. In the process, I didn’t listen to my body and caused more harm than good.

Reading the book made me look at my own relationship with exercise and how this relationship has evolved over the past year and is much healthier today. Just as general relationships can evolve and grow and get better, so, too, can your relationship with exercise! But it takes some serious work. I was able to “let go” and do less on my own, but I know that if the problem is more serious, it is often necessary to get professional help.

If you are looking for a predominantly fun, yet informative, read about different types of exercises with some food for thought about exercise obsessions, I think you’ll enjoy The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. Also, if you are in a rut and are looking for something new, I think the book will leave you with many ideas of what to try (and not to try) next.

Questions: What new exercises have you tried lately? Did you like them? Why or why not? What’s your favorite workout? I really want to try P90X, but I’m a bit worried about the time commitment, and I don’t want to start obsessing over it. Has anyone tried it? Any advice? 

Be well,
Andrea

16 comments:

  1. I wish I could get to a point where I would take exercise more seriously. I'm not the type to push myself, and can't imagine being at a point where exercise was consuming - it actually sounds like a dream for a couch potato like me. But I understand too much of anything is bad.

    I've heard of people doing P90X with dramatic results.

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  2. My favorite is pilates on the reformer machine. I'd do it several times a week if only it weren't so pricey. It's so great, though. Somehow, at the end of a session, you feel like you've both worked out with weights AND gotten a massage. It's amazing.

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  3. I have suffered with overexercising in the past. So I stay away from actual plans. I get obsessive. I love to walk and do yoga. Sometimes an exercise video gets used, but I try to listen to my body. So much harder to do than it should be!

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  4. This is a good review! I enjoyed Charlotte's book. I thought of it as a very funny and moving fitness memoir.

    My favorite workout is a kettlebell workout. Shocker!

    I tried P90x and the workouts were a bit too long for me. Plus Tony Horton got on my nerves. That's not to say they weren't good solid workouts. They are that for sure.

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  5. Doing "a little bit of everything" is such a great concept! Not only does it keep your body guessing and on its toes, but it keeps your mind involved as well. I had no idea this book existed, I'll have to pick it up! :)

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  6. I have not tried P90X, but I've heard it is intense and quite the commitment. I just don't have the desire for something that hardcore, but if I did...I'd go for it! :) I haven't tried anything "new", but I am opting for longer runs and more elliptical workouts versus mid-distance/short runs all the time. It's helped to keep me motivated. I've always switched to a lot of morning workouts. With teaching, the evenings just don't work...especially with being away from home 15 hours 2 days a week...it can wear one down quickly! :) But, I love teaching...it's definitely worth it :)

    Have a great weekend, Andrea!

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  7. This sounds like a great read! I'm going to check it out!

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  8. I have heard about P90X, even looked into it but I think for me it takes too much commitment. The workouts are 60 to 90 minutes a day and I just don't have that time everyday.

    Running is the one thing I keep love doing. Lately it has been a struggle but since my new schedule this month started I refound the love for it. My second favorite is Pilates.

    The book sounds interesting, going to keep that in mind.

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  9. What a fun experiment. You would certainly never get bored at the gym trying 1 new program a month. I can also see how it could become obsessive if you weren't careful. I'm gonna see if my library has this to borrow. Thanks for the review!

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  10. I just started kettle bells a week ago and so far so good. It is such a good work out and I love it. I am doing it 3 times a week. I definitely feel it burn like nothing else I have tried before.

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  11. I haven't heard of that book...but I love that idea.
    I think it is great to change up your routine. I was so burnt out with exercise after my half marathon. I recently got back into it and am loving it. I did sign up for an indoor bootcamp just for something different.

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  12. This book sounds so interesting. I am in fact in a small exercise rut. We did just get a new elliptical, and I'm getting new weights for my birthday, so I'm hoping that will help, but I'd like to try other new things too. I am starting to get into exercise TV more, and I've heard a lot of great things about P90x. It's so popular these days!! I would love to try it one day, actually, but in a "relaxed" way, as in, not 100%....because like you, I don't want to get obsessed!

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  13. The P90x sounds intense. I'd love to give the workouts a try, but I don't think I'd want to commit to their exact set schedule. I hear that the yoga workout is really tough. I'd love to test it out. I stick to a lot of yoga and a few runs, because that's what I really enjoy. I took a spinning class the other week though, and it was tons of fun!

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  14. Wow - thank you so much for this Andrea! It totally made my whole day to read your review:) I'm so glad you enjoyed my book!

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  15. Sounds like a great read, i'm definitely exploring new exercise options right now.

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