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Monday, January 25, 2010

i'm sending up a flare

I made an important discovery.
If one eats a large quantity of NY bagels, NY pizza, and other amazing NY food, one gains weight.
And by one, I mean me.

I've been ignoring the signs. The jeans that started to get too tight. The muffin top that became more visible. But I hit an all time low when I was laying in bed one morning. I picked up the phone to have fresh bagels delivered to my door rather than walk to pick them up. It's a slippery slope from there, my friends. I told Rod I had to do something, otherwise I would just stay in my bed and order food for weeks. He got a worried look on his face. We've seen the Discovery channel.

Fortunately, my apartment building has it's own gym. Something that made me really happy when we signed our lease.

I remember calling my mother with excitement:

Mom, my new building has it's own gym!!

So? Michelle, that doesn't mean anything. Just because you have it, doesn't mean you will actually use it.

Turns out that woman is wise. Plus she has a workout room in her house, and she was speaking from a little something called experience.

But today is a new day. I decided this was the day to start my new fitness routine. First, I googled "Going to the gym and have no idea what to do when I get there." Seriously, I did. But, it turns out there are not a lot of responses to that search. So I headed out without a plan.

I piddled around for a while, and worked up a good sweat, but I think I really need a plan. I'm good with a plan. And I believe I actually have some discipline to carry out a plan once I put my mind to it. In fact, I decided to give up meat for about 2 years once. I was a dedicated vegetarian. And have you been to Chik-Fil-A? The fact that I did not eat there for those 2 years is proof I have said-discipline.

So, I'm reaching out to you, internets. What is your workout plan? Share it with the rest of us.


Anonymous said...

i too do so much better with a "plan" or a work out "routine". lately i have LOVED Jillian Michaels 30 day Shred! it's a 20min workout...but boy does it sure kick my butt! I started it 2 weeks ago (along with a good diet) to work off some of the "holiday weight"...and i've lost 4lbs!! - Melissa H.

Beverly said...

What kind of equipment do they have there? When we lived in Charleston and had a gym they said and we did...10 minutes bike, 15 minutes treadmill or ecliptic. Then, we moved on to the weighted machines. Use a lesser weight to firn and do more reps. Reps is a count of 10 or 12 times you do that machine. then work your way around all those machines. After that to cool off walk around the gym (ours had lines) and it said how many time around equiled a mile. Try to do an extra lap each time. Or thats what I did. Then go hop in the pool. If your has a pool.

Taylor said...

My best advice is doing things within your reach. And starting slow, you will burn out if you over do it and get super sore after day one! :)

I see the most results on my overall body with cardio, but it is the weights that give you the killer arms!!! :)

I would start with walking on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes. After doing the same amount of cardio, til you feel like you aren't tired or winded, then add in short burst of jogging (about a 1-2 mins) within the 30 mins of walking. Eventually working up to a slow job for the whole time. You can also bike, or use the elliptical. As each gets easier, increase the resistance, or 'level' on the machine - this will make you have the put more force to keep it moving.

If your gym has any free weights I would start with the lightest weight and go a series of different arm workouts. Bicep curls (20, ten each arm), presses (hold arms in a touchdown, then bring them down to your chest, then press back up) 10x, then arm raises (start with arms by your side, then bring them up level with your shoulders making a 'T') and then triceps, put down one of the weights. Now grab the remaining weight with both arms above your head. Next slowly lower the weight behind your head, and then raise back up, 10x. Do 3 sets of each (I like to do one of each and then repeat, but you can do all at once, find what you like best!)

You can always Google, or you-tube these to get a good demonstration and form.

Try out the machines (if they have them) you may like them. Start slow (small weight, but enough - not too heavy) goal is to get through 10-12 reps 3 times, and look at the little sticker - it will show you what you are supposed to do.

Remeber start slow, that is my best advice...then you won't feel guilty about ordering bagels and or Chinese for dinner!!!!

I hope this helps! Keep us posted!!!! :)

Elizabeth said...

My plan is three mornings of yoga and walking briskly on the other days for over an hour. I'd love to throw in some weight training and bought The 30-Day Shred video about six months ago, but I haven't unwrapped it, yet. Sigh.

Barbie Henderson Iagulli said...

Walking/Jogging on treadmill...and PILATES. Michelle-the pilates deal is a GREAT workout..for real. That's my two-cents worth :)

christylynne said...

I trick myself into running on the treadmill when I don't want to by telling myself I only have to walk. Within 5 minutes I usually increase the speed and am eventually running. An iPod mix with songs that make you want to dance helps too!

Anonymous said...

Someone has to take over where you are leaving off. I chose to stay in bed and eat. It takes discipline to force feed yourself in bed!

chicellarose said...

Yoga! they have some great studios in NYC.. we have visited them! And then if the weather is nice, why not walk outside? As far as in the gym, my husband alternates harder days with lighter ones. some days it's longer on the treadmill and less weights and others the opposite. He goes 5 mornings at 5am. I am not so disciplined. You could get a Shape magazine - they usually have workouts in them. Hope this helps.

Spsmiles said...

Check out beach body - slim in 6, DVD's but good stuff! And no excuse bc you can do them right in your own living room. It's by the same people who created P90X.

Ashley Diane said...

Pilates and Yoga!

Adam benShea said...

Start with some body weight exercises. Hindu squats (start with 2 x 20 - remember to use good form, lunges (start with 2 x 20), Pushups (on the knees at first, 3 x 10), Planks (4 x 30 sec), and mountain climbers (2 x 20). Follow this with a 15-20 min walk and you will be on your way to a healthier body.

Adam benShea said...

Another option for a beginner workout:
1 x 20 Jumping Jacks
1 x 10 (5 each side) lunges (back straight, chest out, and go slow...don't let gravity do the work)
1 x 10 bodyweight squats (go slow on the way down to fight gravity, and explode up)
1 x 10 (5 each side) lunges
1 x 10 (5 each side) Bulgarian split squat (make sure the knee does not go in front of the your toes. You can use your bed instead of a bench.
1 x 10 squats
1 x 10 (5 each side) Bulgarian squats
1 x 10 bent squats (

Emily said...

Mmmmm, bagels. With cream cheese and jam. Oh, what? You were talking about getting in shape? Sorry, I was still thinking about food.

But I am pregnant, VERY pregnant, so it's currently my job to get round. In a few short months I'll be back to trying to fit into my not-so-fat pants. I had no way/time/$ to go to the gym after my daughter was born, so here's what I did last time:

• walked to the uphill park 3 times a week, pushing a big stroller
• walked to the grocery store, pushing a big stroller
• made after-dinner family walks part of the after-dinner routine, pushing a big stroller
• stopped buying butter, cookies, butter-cookies, switched down to 1% milk, and made low-g.i. meals

Now, you don't have the option of pushing a big stroller unless you borrow a baby (or get one of those creepy re-born things. Don't do that.). But maybe you could wear ankle weights while you walk about town doing your regular shopping.

I'm all out of ideas now. Maybe you should go with one of the excercise routines mentioned by the other commentors. And Bulgarian Squats sound delicious...

sherilee said...

I am one of those occasional exercisers with the actual equipped room IN. THE. HOUSE. But we're working on getting down there more often... Good luck with your plan, sounds like you've gotten some good tips from the other commenters so I won't burden you with anything more than a valuable piece of advice I read recently: Just show up. Make a deal with yourself to to the exercise room and don't leave for 45 minutes. Doesn't matter what happens when you're there. Just show up. The theory is that you'll end up doing more than you might if you set all kinds of crazy goals.

Anonymous said...

This time last year I was in very bad shape. I had a nearly 3 month old, a 18 month old and a 4 year old and I had spent more than 9 months when I was pregnant with them on bed rest.

I used to be very active doing dance, yoga, running, skiing, rock climbing...but I could barely carry my 6 pound baby up the stairs.

Anyway, I knew I needed a goal. For me, fitting in jeans wasn't enough. So I signed up for a triathlon in July. This was a lofty goal! I had not gone swimming in about 15 years. I did not own a bike. And as I said, I couldn't run a mile in 15 minutes if my life depended on it.

So for the next five months, I remembered how to swim, bike and run. I did at least six workouts a week and by July I was in the best shape of my life. Not only were the baby pounds gone, I could run a mile in about 7 minutes. And I won the bike leg of my first triathlon.

So my advice is set a goal. Sign up for something that makes you get out of bed in the morning.

Sohailah said...

I like the anonymous tri-atholoner's advice. Also I like the idea of Jillian Michaels' Shred DVD - there is a website called that has a million different video workouts for free, and online - all kinds.

I signed up for a 5K training thing at a Fleet Feet here and it was great. Then I signed up for a 15K one - need to get back to it, but it was the best for me. Doing it with friends.

Alexa said...

I too feel like a lost puppy in the gym! You are lucky you have one in your building. Fewer people to stare at you while you struggle! I live in the city as well, but I have to go all the way around the corner to NYSC to work out. Sometimes my big butt just doesn't want to walk that far! (It takes 1 minute.) I have a blog,, where I talk about my love of food (Cupcake Lovers Anonymous), my hatred of working out, and all the random things I love about living in the city. Check it out if you'd like! Would love to know what you think!

As far as suggestions for working out go, make sure you do at least a half hour of cardio to get you sweating, and some strength training because muscle burns fat! And for a busy mom like yourself, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred takes 20 minutes and will leave you feeling like you were hit by a bus. But in a good way. :)

Sohailah said...

I just ordered Jillian Michaels Shred it on amazon. It better be good....

RachelNoah627 said...

5-Factor Fitness! The easiest, most effective workout I've used to date. After loosing 20 lbs by dieting, I still looked and felt pretty... soft. I implemented this 25 minute (max) workout and dropped 3 pant sizes. (you can certainly use it at the gym or in the comfort of your home)Check it out:

Anonymous said...

womens hockey!!! 800 calories per hour :)

there is a great online community at and i'm most effective when i record my meals at i've also trained for triathlons - it helps having a goal. but i most like doing cardio then weights or machines. it might pay to have a trainer show you some basics and safety in your gym then a few months later hire him or her when the routine gets easier. trainers have great ways to do things in your house too without equipment or while walking ... just cool stuff that you don't really learn unless someone tells you.

good luck!

Jean said...

Keep it interesting. Do yoga one day, cardio the next and then weights. Three times a week of meaningful activity. As you get used to it, you can work in other types of work outs. The most important part is to make sure you think about it as 'time away' not 'punishement." Wear something cute, put in your Ipod and just enjoy it. Or, use your headset to hook into a tv. You can get a lot of cardio done while watching project runway!

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