Making a Better Me: Activity
If you are like me then you probably find it difficult to find time in your day to get in a decent workout. Between working, getting enough sleep, taking care of family, and preparing meals there hardly seems enough hours in the day.
I've tried gym memberships. It was difficult trying to get there. If I had a hard day at work I would find an excuse to not go. When I did go it was crowded and I had to wait to use the equipment that I wanted. Which really didn't do much to help motivate me to stick to a workout schedule.
I've tried working out on my own with set exercise routines. While they were more convenient than having to commute to a gym they didn't feel well suited for my apartment. It was a hassle to have to prepare the room for my workout and then put everything back when I was done.
I've settled for the daily walks with my dog, lowering my daily step goal (it really helped with improving my self view), and occasional long walks at Mt Trashmore or the oceanfront. But, I wasn't seeing the results that I wanted. I wasn't feeling healthy and I didn't feel like me. I was so athletic in high school and college. What happened?
Something needed to change. I've reached the point where my metabolism has slowed. I can't eat whatever I want and not see any consequences anymore. As a result I had gained weight without even realizing it.
Healthier EatingClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Turning Point
I've been getting better about watching what I eat. I was horrified to see exactly how many calories I was taking in each day. After paying attention to what I was eating and what I was actually burning (according to my FitBit) I realized that I was eating around 2200 calories, or more, each day and only burning around 1800. No wonder I had gained weight!
At that point I started to look into nutrition. Making sure that I was balancing out what i was eating. Without even realizing it I had been eating a lot of prepackaged snacks. Cheesze-Its and Chex Mix were always my go to snacks on a late night at work. While they are fine in moderation I wasn't eating a single portion, I was eating 3 or 4 portions at a time. That's ridiculous.
I've started eating more fresh vegetables and fruits. We've been buying a family package of meat from our local butcher. I've actually noticed that we've been saving a lot of money on our grocery bills each month. I did notice a little weight loss just from watching what I was eating. It just wasn't showing on my frame that I had lost any weight. I still needed to do more.
I was just browsing on Amazon and I saw a little add for an under desk elliptical machine. I was intrigued. I clicked it. I started going through the different models. I read the reviews. I made a selection. I was excited to have something I could use standing for a more intense workout and seated to keep me moving and burning a few extra calories while I work at home.
I then also started to look into other workout aides. I found a sweat band brand that I want to try out, but I wanted see how just the little elliptical machine does first. I've also considered adding light dumbbells to the workouts with the elliptical, but again I wanted to see what I can do with just the machine alone.
I was so excited when my elliptical came in. Amazon had just rolled out same day delivery for my city. I could have gotten my machine the same day for $10, within 3 days for $20, or standard for free. I choose the standard delivery, I wasn't that desperate, and I got it in 3 days! I put it together that night. I tried it out. I was a little disappointed that my living room couch is too low to use it comfortably. But, I still felt that my desk chair would be high enough to use it while I did my on-line work. What I really wanted to see was how it worked while standing. The model I went with was one of the few that was advertised as being able to use it while standing.
It was hard. I wasn't anticipating the amount of ab use I would need to stay standing up right. I put it up for the night. I couldn't wait to use it in the morning.
My first workout was a little rocky. I realized right away that this machine was not working in my carpeted living room. My apartment didn't really have any good places for me to set up besides my living room, but I needed non carpeted floor. I had two options, my kitchen or the guest bathroom (the master bath would be way too small). I chose the guest bathroom. As weird as it is, I kind of like working out in there because it has a mirror so its kind of like being in my own little gym.
Once I figured out that the machine needed a more solid floor I was really able to get to work. It wasn't long before I found that workout high that I had been missing. I used the machine for about an hour. I kept setting goals for myself (number of steps, calories burned, or time in a specific heart rate zone) and each time I'd beat one I would realize I had more to give. I couldn't believe how much I was sweating. I felt fantastic.
What is even better, is I have felt that way about each workout I've done on my little machine. I've had it now for about three weeks and I've consistently used it three days each week, for about an hour each time. I've noticed more tone in my legs (that's thighs and calves), in my stomach, but not much in my arms. The weight isn't falling off me, but I've just gotten started.
My Little Elliptical
What I've Learned
This will be a lifestyle change. I plan on keeping my current diet changes and workouts where they are. I feel that they are working to help get me back to were I want to be. I feel better about myself since I have been working out these changes. I feel more positive and confident.
After giving it more thought I will try out the stomach sweat band, and if I like the results I will try the arm bands. I'm glad I gave it time and didn't just buy things outright. I've seen a lot of toning in my legs and I'm not sure if I need the thigh sweat bands, though some of the reviews say they have helped with cellulite so maybe I will try it in the future if I'm not seeing anything with that. But, really, who doesn't have cellulite?
I also found a set of dumbbells on Amazon that are light enough that I will be able to use them for an hour during my workout but should still some increased tone in my arms.
I feel great about the changes I have made. I can't wait to see what I can do.
I am so happy that I made the jump and bought that little elliptical. I am making some positive changes in my life and I am so excited to see what the future will bring. I will admit I have yet to use it as an under desk elliptical, but I think it is perfect for people in apartments or just don't have a lot of space at home for workout equipment. It did start to squeak after a few uses, but I have headphones in so I really don't notice and a little WD40 took care of it.
I hope I was able to inspire someone to take that next step and work on obtaining their goals. Best of luck!
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