May I please rest!?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 | Tags: , , ,

It's May 31st and I've just come back from the gym. Over the past 31 days, I have been to the gym 11 times, attended nine bar-style classes, and four circuit classes. I did two runs, two almost 2-hour walks, and went to one yoga class and one dance class. That's 30 workouts this month. I need a nap.

My “May Madness” is a result of a year-long self-improvement project where I’m challenging myself with a monthly goal. (See my previous blog: Three Down, Nine To Go.)

In May, I vowed to workout, daily. I’m an active person, but not overly so. Exercise is a necessary evil for me, let’s say. I probably do something about three times a week, but I wanted to push myself and see what it would feel like to work out every…single…day. 

I know there are a lot of non-celebrity type active people out there who probably think this is no big deal. But I’ve never thought of myself as athletic. In fact, I’ve never played on a team, and in high school, I was often the last one finished the block run, and the last picked for any team. Let’s say it was character building. 

The first week of May was tough. The second was worse. A few afternoons I was so tired I had to go lie down until the feeling returned to my limbs. But by week three, I had my routine down pat and I was on a roll! 

During the course of the month I came to a few realizations that helped along the way:

1) Bodies in motion, stay in motion. (Newton was really onto something, though he likely didn’t have me in mind on the treadmill when he came up with the laws of inertia.) The more you work out, the more you want to work out. I am living testament that this is true. 

2) Plan ahead. I scheduled each workout anywhere from one day to a week in advance and put it in my calendar. Consciously setting aside time for fitness is the only way I can fit it in. If I wait until 6 pm in the evening and say “gee, I really should workout now,” it ain’t gonna happen. 

3) Pre-pay. I buck up, I show up. A portion of my workouts this month were pre-booked. Yes, personal trainers push you, but they also charge you if you don’t show up. Places like Bar Method require you to pre-register for each class so that the room doesn’t get over-crowded. If you don’t show, you still pay. 

4) Make a date and workout with friends. This makes you accountable. I’m so much better at jamming out of agreements with myself than with other people.

5) A change is almost as good as a rest. If I’d tried to jog every day, or go to Bar Method every day, I wouldn’t have made it. By juggling a few different types of activities, I was able to vary intensity and give different muscle groups a bit of a break.

6) Have realistic expectations. I have to admit, I was secretly hoping to get Cameron Diaz’s toned arms or Jillian Michaels’s ripped abs by the end of the month. No such luck. It will take a lot more than an hour a day for one month to achieve those results. That also leads me to…

7) Simply working out more won’t necessarily make you lose weight. Not that this was my goal, but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t be too upset about losing a pound or two. When celebs buff up or slim down for a role, their grueling daily training sessions are always coupled with some crazy chicken breast/sweet potato or other diet.

8) Of course, the more calories you expend the more you’ll want to and need to eat. But this is not an excuse to tear through that jumbo pack of hohos.

I have to say I’m pretty pleased with myself. I didn’t think I could do it.

And the good news is I’m definitely feeling stronger. I can lift more weight, hold a plank pose for longer, and run faster. And I do plan to continue my workouts, though perhaps not quite as aggressively. That’s because a far more ominous task looms: a sugar-free June. Quick, pass that chocolate bar. I only have a few more hours to get it all in!


Join the conversation

On 05 31, 2011 at 11:28:19 AM, Sue B. said:

Good for you Kristina! While you may not have lost weight, you may have changed your body composition. ie less fat, more muscle. As for sugar-free June… I have an oatmeal coconut square recipe that has no sugar – unless the dollop of maple syrup counts as sugar – as it’s sweetened with bananas. (It could be used for cookies but it’s faster to just pour it in a baking dish…) I used to crave chocolate and sugary treats but don’t anymore… so it can be done. Now salty popcorn and crunchy treats tempt me… grrrr.

On 06 1, 2011 at 06:17:35 AM, Roberta B. said:

Congratulations on May. I did the same thing as you. My workouts consisted only of walking (1hr), elliptical (intervals) and yoga (daily). Having the challenge for this month was a great exercise in “no excuses”. If it rained on walk day, I brought an umbrella and did it anyway. If I wasn’t feeling all that great, I did it anyway. If I missed the workout during the day, I had to do it at night when the kids were in bed. When my injuries made one workout too painful, I adjusted and did something else. For 31 days, I did something everyday. It really showed me that my excuses sometimes were just that, excuses. But I welcome a day of rest. Sometimes I really need it. Good luck with the sugar Kristina; I have also done that for a month. It’s not as hard as you think! For this month, I’m giving up junk food in front of the TV (I know…bad), and writing down everything I spend in preparation for July’s challenge (thanks Judy!).

On 06 1, 2011 at 08:42:11 AM, Kristina Matisic said:

Good work Roberta! I agree, it’s actually not that hard when you get into it. You start to realize how much of it is about mind set, you just DECIDE you are doing it and that’s that! Meanwhile, I’ve decided that frozen bananas make a nice sweet snack. At least it’s coming up on berry season too!

On 06 4, 2011 at 10:49:29 PM, Chris M. said:

Hey Kristina, While I admire your effort, it is important to have days off built into your work-out routine so your body can recover. I’m sure your trainer has told you this as well. I love the idea of frozen bannas – I’ve never heard of freezing them before – thanks for the tip. What other ‘cool’ tips do you have for refreshing one’s self during the summer heat??

On 06 6, 2011 at 08:35:36 AM, Kristina Matisic said:

Hi Chris, Yes, it can be important to build rest days between workouts, but I was advised this is more important if you are only doing strength training. If you change up your workouts as I did, with walks, yoga, stretching, etc., you are varying muscle groups and the rest period is not a must. I also switched it up between cardio and low impact, to make sure I didn’t overdo it. And thankfully, I didn’t suffer any injuries, so it seemed to work!

On 06 9, 2011 at 01:22:53 AM, Chris M. said:

Thanks for the correction Kristina. The built in rest was from my days doing strength training with a trainer – I was doing kick-boxing as well. I’d just extended it out to my current work-out schedule which is more cardio oriented. I’ve just started yoga… and I need A LOT of practice…

On 06 14, 2011 at 08:01:50 PM, mary a. said:

I use maple syrup to sweeten tea and lemonade. I eat breakfast cereal with fruit and milk or soy milk. I have been doing this for a year. You get to the point where you can’t tolerate sugar. It is better for your body. Good luck! M J Adam

On 06 15, 2011 at 04:13:45 AM, Margaret S. said:

How fabulous that you stuck with your training program, Kristina! I’m very impressed that you stuck with it, especially since you don’t look like you need to. I have unfortunately had to exercise more since I became hooked on your show and have purchased many more cookbooks. My hubby and I ride bikes at least ten miles every evening, so I work up an appetite. I watch your show on OWN and enjoy it very much. You two are great fun to watch, so please keep up the great work. Peggy Quincy, Il

On 06 16, 2011 at 10:30:34 AM, Kristina Matisic said:

Mary, I agree, maple syrup is a great sweetner, as is honey. And Margaret, biking ten miles a day, I’m impressed! Thanks for tuning in and for your comments!

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