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How to Exercise

Updated on September 26, 2011

Making Workouts Count

I've ranged everywhere from a size 6 to a size 20. I enjoyed a good junk food diet in my twenties. My metabolism came to a screeching halt. My body couldn't metabolize the 3000 plus calories of fast food I was taking in, fast enough. I made my way from a size 6 to a size 20 at 220 pounds after being fairly thin my entire life. Once it hurt to bend over and tie my shoes at 25 years old, I knew a change had to be made.

I went from 220 pounds, to 190, at which time I had two children in 3 years, and I ended up at about 200 pounds after both pregnancies. Now, I'm at a healthy weight, and I'm in a size 8. I don't diet, I never starve myself and after years and years of hating exercise - and I mean HATING with a passion - I have finally found something I love and WANT to do. I look forward to going to the gym five days a week. It's a lifestyle change for me. I have lost the weight, but I continue to go and work hard to keep the body I have, and feel the way I feel each day.

Here's my thing: I don't enjoy an ultra thin body. My husband likes the curvaceous look and so do I. I prefer the look of fit and muscular instead of all bones with skin on top. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to look like a body builder. There is a way for women to lift weights without gaining huge, man-like muscles.

This is my personal fitness program. It might work for you, it might not. Either way, you should check with a doctor to make sure your heart is healthy and your joints can take it. Men and women alike can do this workout and have great results in weight loss and fitness.

I joined a gym a while back. For years I had done this at home, too, so it is not necessary to join a gym if you feel more comfortable at home, can't afford it, or just don't have time. That's also another great thing about this workout plan: it takes much less time than a typical treadmill run or any other long cardio routine.

I started out with fitness DVD's. These were a motivator for me. I like the extra motivation of an instructor pushing me through a routine, telling me I can do it, and even though they can't see me, telling me I'm doing a great job. I feel this way about group fitness classes, although more so. I love the dynamic of a group class. Everyone is pumped, working hard, and pushing themselves through it at all fitness levels. It's inspiring to me. I highly recommend group fitness classes, though not everyone feels comfortable enough to try them. If you have never tried a group class, do it once to see what you think about the experience. If you want, set up your space in the back of the room. Ask questions. It's my experience that 99 percent of the people in the class are friendly and willing to tell you anything you want to know about the class. The instructor included. They are there to help and teach you.

I prefer high intensity training. I think it burns more calories, it is more fun, and it is a different workout every time. Group step and group power, or sometimes referred to as Bodypump, are examples of high intensity interval training and high intensity strength training.

You can do these things on your own as well. Have a stopwatch? Set it for 60 to 90 seconds and do as many squats, presses, push ups or lunges as you can in that amount of time. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds with some stretching and start again. Also, short bursts of cardio thrown in can improve weight loss. Run for 90 seconds on the treadmill, jog up and down stairs, perform sprints, or any other number of activities with a short rest in between. The full workout should last anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, and it is better for weight loss and fitness, in my opinion, than long, boring cardio routines. It will continue to burn calories for a day or two after your workout is over.

This workout also creates a more muscular, fit and curvaceous look than a steady run for 60 minutes on the treadmill. You will create muscle tone and have a stronger body. Women who are lifting weights can avoid bulked-up muscles by eating a healthy diet, and not overeating.

Since I've been on this exercise program, I've consistently gone to the gym for two years, and before that, I worked out at home for five years. I have found that my daughter enjoys the fitness DVD's and works out with me, without weights, at home. Better than losing the weight, I've improved my fitness level. I went hiking over the weekend and never felt tired or out of breath once. I kept up with my kids, and we had a blast. I've never felt more empowered.

It is my opinion that high intensity training can be beneficial for weight loss, fitness levels, body shape and it's way more fun!


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