Saturday, June 20, 2015

Athletic vs. Fit

When I see someone who is really fit, I immediately think, "Wow, she (or he) must be athletic." Because I'm tall, people tend to assume that I'm a basketball player, volleyball player, track athlete, etc. However, if they ever have the misfortune of seeing me attempting to play any sport, they quickly realize that I am uncoordinated. I'll meander for a second and tell you a slightly entertaining story. A few days ago, one of the kids that goes to the summer camp that I work as a counselor for looked over and saw me supervising as the kids played basketball. He came over to me and said, "Hey Ash-a-leigh [every kid I work with adds an extra syllable to my name for some reason], come shoot some with me." I make no bones about it, I'm not athletic. I told him that I wasn't any good, and he responded by taking hold of my arm and pulling me out onto the court with a "I'll teach you!" Five minutes and three epic failed shots later, I made one basket. One of the male counselors that I work with was practically rolling in the floor laughing at my sad attempts, but I left that kid feeling pretty accomplished, having made one shot and all. So let's make a distinction here: if you are athletic, you can be fit; if you're fit, you can be athletic. But, they are not mutually inclusive. So, if you see someone who is fit, try not to immediately make the assumption that they are also athletic. Likewise, if you see someone who you wouldn't consider to be fit, try not to assume that they aren't athletic. Some of the most athletic people I know don't look fit in the least. I hope this post doesn't seem pointless; it was just something that has been on my mind. Hope you all are having a great week!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

When You Just Don't Feel Like It

I started my new job a few weeks ago. As a summer camp counselor, I am pretty much exhausted by the time I get home at night, what with kids always wanting to play and the hot sun beating down. So, how do you get a good workout in once you get off from work?

Protein! Protein throughout the day will keep you going. I bought some mixed nuts that have a lot of protein in them and snack on them throughout the day, which is important for two reasons. The first is that it keeps my energy up; the second is that in order for your stomach to maintain its calorie-burning capacity, your body can't go without food for more than three hours. You hear that, my weight-loss people? You can continue to eat and lose weight! Win-win, no? However, I highly recommend snacking on nuts, string cheese (only 50 calories and packed with protein), a protein bar, or another healthy alternative. Eating a candy bar probably isn't going to do it for you (sorry).

Get plenty of sleep! Duh, you say. With a good night's sleep, you can tackle your day and a workout after.

Breakfast. Eat a hardy breakfast. I drive an hour to get to work, and believe me, having time for anything other than remembering pants is a miracle. Sometimes I only have time for a lowfat greek yogurt, some of my mixed nuts (I'm slightly obsessed), coffee, and maybe a banana. If you don't have time for a four-course breakfast, that's okay. Just have something to keep you going.

Drink plenty of water! Shoot for nine cups a day. If you're the kind of person who really doesn't like having a lot of water, you can buy something to flavor it or just pace yourself. Have a glass every hour for eight or nine hours.

Think about it. On your drive home, think about what you'd like to do for the rest of the day. If working out isn't a top priority, do one thing you really want to do, then push everything else back behind your workout. For instance, on my drive home (like I said, I have a ton of time) I'll think about how good planting my butt on the couch and watching The Simpsons for a mind-numbing four hours sounds. Usually dinner is on my mind as well and definitely a shower to wash a day's worth of grime off my body. The Internet also calls my name and I think about my Instagram, my Pinterest, and this blog, along with a ton of fitness sites I peruse often. Once I get home, I'll eat dinner, workout, then relax to some crude humor, take a shower, and do everything else that I need or want to do. Find a place and time to squeeze in that workout!

Just do it. After you think about it, stop. Clear your head and just get into it. Even if you're exhausted, you'll feel better after you move your body and sweat a little (or a lot). So... Just do it!

However, if there's a day that you feel like you just cannot make yourself workout, don't feel down about taking a rest day. If you still don't feel up to it the next day, try to do something, even if it's a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood or backyard. Try not to skip more than two days in a row--it makes it so hard to get back into it! I hope you all found this helpful!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Workout Apps

When it comes to working out, I like switching it up. I feel like after a while of doing the same exercises, the muscles that are worked are so used to that range of motion that it isn't as effective; to combat this, I use various exercises to target different muscles. As such, I have tried several different fitness apps. I'll discuss a couple here.

  1. Sworkit- I downloaded this app yesterday and went through several of their exercises. Once the app is launched, the screen is split into four categories: Strength, Cardio, Yoga, and Stretching. I started out my workout with Cardio, selecting Light Warm Up Cardio for five minutes. Don't be fooled; "Light Warm Up" is not a walk in a park but a series of fast-paced exercises designed to get your heart pumping. By the end of it, I was pretty sweaty. I then went to the Strength category and chose to work with Core Strength for another five minutes. Their exercises are fairly challenging but not ridiculously hardcore. With the ability to chose how long you wanted to spend in each given area, the customization was really nice. Also, the app is free and without very many limitations from the paid version. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of launching into a workout app and getting into it only for a little window to pop up saying that to continue I'd need to pay for the full version. I mean, I understand why app developers do that, but... There are a ton of workout apps out there that are free.
  2. Nike Training- Probably my least favorite part of this app is having to download the workouts. Other than that, I do like it as it gives a variety of "goals" such as "Get Lean," "Get Toned," "Get Strong," and "Get Focused." I think it's safe to say that most people exercise with different intents as to what they want out of their workout (beyond of course the universal goal of being healthy). I also really like the workout suggestions that appear as soon the app opens; the particular workout that is being suggested tells you what it's for, how long it takes, and how many are participating in it. I'm not sure about you, but I like knowing that others are sweating it out too. This app also gives you the option of creating your own 4-week program, and as an example, I chose Get Toned at Beginner level with Running to build endurance. For the first week, it gives me five days of exercises, including a 30 minute workout, a 3-mile run, a 45 minute workout, another 3 mile run, and finishing up with a 15 minute workout. If you're someone who needs consistency, I highly recommend this app (and particularly the program feature of this app) to you. 
And that's all I've got for you at the moment! Do you have any workout apps that you really like? What are the benefits/pitfalls of these apps in your opinion? Feel free to comment your thoughts! I hope you're all feeling awesome and ready to kick some butt in your own fitness routines! As for me, I'm off to "Swork" Out! [Excuse the silly pun]