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Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

There are tons of articles telling you to exercise first thing in the morning, teaching you how to become a morning person, etc. None of those tips or arguments have ever worked for me personally. Ever since I started being more physically active, I’ve always prefered to exercise in the afternoon or at night.

Here are a few reasons why I’d rather workout at night.

Job schedule

I need to be at the office before 8 am, the earlier the better. Some of my co-workers even arrive at 6 am! That means I usually leave the house between 7:00 to 7:15 am. So in order to squeeze in a workout before that, I’d have to get up very, very early. On the other hand, thanks to my work schedule, I normally get to leave the office before 5 pm, which gives me plenty of time to hit the gym or go for a run in the summer months.

More energy at night

Some people happily jump out of bed full of energy at 5 am, way before the sun is up. I’m not one of them. I’ve always been a night owl. I have way more energy at night than in the morning. My co-workers know by now that they’d better not talk to me before 8 am, as my brain is just not functioning properly before that. Same is true for my body. Sometimes I feel like I’m moving in slow-motion.

After work stress release

While my job is usually not that stressful, I do have bad days once in a while. A quick jog or bike ride, a calm pilates or yoga class, or a cheerful Zumba class are the best way I can think of to instantly boost my mood and balance out my stress levels.

First work than play

I probably have to thank my grandma for that attitude. For me personally, exercise is play! It’s fun, it’s ‘me time’, and I just enjoy doing something healthy for my body and soul. Working out even feels like a reward sometimes, not a chore.

Go all out

Exercising after work also means that I can use up all my energy. I can totally exhaust myself, because all I need to do after my workout is taking a shower, grabbing dinner or a late night snack, and relax on the couch. To me, that sounds so much better than a full day of work at the office.

In the end, it totally doesn’t matter when or how you exercise, as long as you regularly move your body, preferably in a way that you enjoy.

Do you rather exercise in the morning or at night?

See you!

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When I started this blog three years ago (yikes!) most of my posts were about running. Since then, my fitness focus has changed a lot.

Group fitness classes have become my favorite kind of exercise. Here are a few reasons why I love them so much.

- No need to count reps

I don’t know why, but I simply hate counting reps! This is probably why I could never stick to a strength training routine. The thought of doing 10 exercises for 15 reps and a total of 3 sets makes my brain hurt. At a group fitness class, I just do as many reps as the instructor tells me. That makes me very happy.

- Switch off your brain

Well, not completely, of course. I usually hit the gym after a long, draining work day, and I don’t have enough brain power left to think about what kind of exercise I want or should do. Classes offer a pre-designed training program, and if I like it, I’ll come again, if I don’t, I’ll simply try a different class or instructor.

- Social interactions

Don’t get me wrong, my co-workers are a funny and entertaining bunch, but they are all male. My friends are all busy and live in different cities, so I usually don’t see them during the week. My husband also travels a lot because of his job, and being home alone is just not fun. I really enjoy spending some time with the ladies at the gym, even if we don’t talk much (I’m shy!), at least we are sweating together. Is that gross?

- Additional motivation

I’ve also realized that I work a lot harder in group fitness classes. When I exercise by myself, I might be tempted to cut my workout short, skip reps, etc. That rarely happens in class. If the instructor tells me to do ‘just 8 more reps’, I’ll give all I have to finish that set.

- Automatic variety

I get bored easily and love trying new things. Our instructors make sure to provide variety, either by using different props (resistance bands, stability balls, drum sticks, etc.), or by introducing new moves. And if that’s not enough, I can also try a completely new class, as there are plenty to choose from.

- Time flies when you’re having fun

Especially our Zumba class is like a big party, and also the other classes are so much fun that those 60 minutes feel a lot shorter. Imagine running on a treadmill or lifting weights for 60 minutes! At least for me, that would feel like an eternity.

Do you like group fitness classes, too? Or do you prefer to workout by yourself?

See you!

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The New Gym

Quite a while ago, I wrote about quitting the gym. I still believe that this was the right thing to do for me, as I just didn’t like that particular place.

A few months later, I posted about my internal struggles about joining a new gym. I was hesitant. Would I like that place? Would I be able to afford the monthly fees?

And then in August, after weighing pros and cons, crunching numbers back and forth, I finally signed up! I got a standard two-year contract, which costs me about $80 (60 Euro) per month. That’s quite a lot of money, but I decided that I’m worth it. Home workouts are convenient, but there’s just too much distraction and too much to do.

After a few months as a member I can honestly say that I like my new gym. It’s rather small and cosy, but offers a decent variety of classes, the trainers and instructors are very nice, and some of them even remember my face and name already.

What I love the most about my new gym is the free hot shower (just kidding, but I do appreciate a back-up option in case the hot water in our house breaks again) and the group fitness classes. I really like the social aspect and tend to work a lot harder when there’s an instructor yelling ‘one more set!’.

I plan to write separate posts about the different classes I’ve tried so far and what I liked and disliked about them.

There are a few tiny drawbacks, though. While the gym is very close to my workplace, it’s still a 30 minute drive to our house, so I only go there during the week, from Monday to Thursday. Usually, I can squeeze in about two or three sessions per week. I’d love to go more often, but it’s hard to find the time, considering my already busy schedule. If I could, I’d workout everyday, but who has time for that?

How often do you exercise per week? Do you have a gym membership?

See you!

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A Typical Day

I always enjoy reading about other bloggers‘ daily lives and schedules, so I decided to write my own version.

This is what a typical weekday looks like for me:

6:00 am – Get up!

My alarm goes off, I resist the urge to hit snooze, and drag my booty out of bed. I drink a glass of water and start my usual morning routine: taking a quick shower, brushing my teeth, putting in contacts, getting dressed, putting on make-up. Okay, I also check emails, Facebook, Feedly, etc.

7:00 am – Commute to work

I’m not a morning person, so I’m moving rather slowly in the morning. When I finally look kind of presentable, I grab my food (breakfast, lunch, and snacks, all prepared the night before) from the fridge and leave the house.

What I've been reading lately

What I’ve been reading lately

7:30 am – Arrive at work

The first thing I do after arriving at my desk is grabbing a cup of coffee. I eat breakfast while checking work emails. I’m slowly waking up for real. My co-workers know very well that they shouldn’t talk to me before 8 am.

11:30 am – Lunch break

Sometimes I use my lunch break to walk to a nearby grocery store to grab a few things. That’s also a great opportunity to move my legs and get some fresh air. Afterwards, I have lunch with my co-workers at our break room. I still get some strange looks and snarky comments because of the ‘weird rabbit food’ that I eat.

The view from my office is quite nice sometimes

The view from my office is quite nice sometimes

12:30 am – Back to work

More work, more coffee, and some snacks to get me through the afternoon.

5:00 pm – Feierabend!

This is one of my favorite German words. It means ‘end of work/time to party’. ;)

I either run some errands and/or go to the gym after work. I prefer to work out at night, it’s like a treat after sitting on my butt and staring at a computer screen all day long.

My gym bag and water bottle

My gym bag and water bottle

5:30 pm – Gym time

My new gym offers some really great group fitness classes. They usually start at 6 pm, so I have enough time to change and do a quick warm-up bike ride.

7:30 pm – Commute home

The traffic situation is much better at that time. I like that. A lot.

8:00 pm – Arrive at home

Finally home! I’m starving! I quickly fix myself something to eat. If I’m lucky, I have some tasty leftovers that I just need to reheat.

Pasta with eggplant tomato sauce and chickpeas

Pasta with eggplant tomato sauce and chickpeas

8:30 pm – Dinner

I normally eat my dinner on the couch while watching TV or reading blogs. Bad habit, I know. But the house feels way too quiet and lonely during the week. :/

9:00 pm – Dishes / prep work

When I’m done eating I do the dishes (still no dishwasher!), clean the kitchen, and prepare breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next day. I also pick my outfit for the next day. My brain is mush in the morning, so I have to do all the prep work the night before.

9:30 pm – Relax / watch TV / blog stuff

Finally some down time! It feels so good to put up my feet, unwind, and do something fun. I also call my husband, who works away from home during the week.

11:00 pm – Bed time

I’m a total night owl, and often tempted to stay up until midnight reading blogs or watching YouTube videos. But I know that I need more than six hours of sleep per night to function properly.

[On non-gym days, I get home at about 6:00 pm and use the extra time to get some housework done, e.g. cleaning, laundry, batch cooking, etc.]

Looks kind of busy, right? I admit, I do feel stressed sometimes. I love my new gym and I know that exercise is important for my physical and mental health, but on gym days I feel like I don’t get anything done. Also, I make most of my food from scratch and hardly ever eat out during the week. That means I need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

I’m still looking for ways to streamline this process, like cleaning and batch cooking on Sundays, but that also means sacrificing several hours of my weekend, precious time that I’d rather spend with my husband.

This schedule is one of the reasons why I took a break from blogging. Working full-time, a long commute, regular exercise, preparing nutritious food, and caring for my family leaves very little free time. But I’m determined to fit it all in. There has to be a way!

Please share your time management tips, meal planning ideas, and quick, plant-based recipes! I really need all the help I can get!

How do you ‘fit it all in’?

See you!

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Life Lately

Usually, I only write about food, health, and maybe fitness, but today I want to get a little more personal. Here is a look at what has been going on in my life lately.

Class dismissed

Last fall I started teaching an evening class. Computer basics for elderly people, to be exact. A teacher, me!? I never thought I’d see the day. Last Monday was our last class, and while I’m thrilled to have some more free time, I’m a little bit sad, too. I loved my class! But seriously, this was way more time-consuming than I had expected! Kudos to all the full-time teachers out there!

Shake it out

My current workout routine is … heck, I don’t really have a workout routine. I’m doing Zumba every Thursday night, we go horseback riding every other weekend or so, the rest is totally random. I’d love to get back into running regularly, now that spring is finally here, and I’d love to do some strength training, too. Could someone please come over and kick my butt?

Sherlock

When it comes to discovering TV series I’m always unfashionably late. I blame it on the fact that I live in Germany, where the free TV programming sucks. There’s no other way to say it. Thankfully, I’ve finally had the chance to experience the awesomeness that is Sherlock, “a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories” (source: Wikipedia). Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are the best on-screen duo I’ve seen in a while! And I can’t wait to see Mr. Cumberbatch again in the upcoming Star Trek movie. So excited!

Be safe!

Last Saturday I went to a moral courage and self-defense seminar, held by a group of police officers. While some of the info was already familiar to me, I did learn lots of new stuff, too. I think it’s very important to know how to deal with emergency situations in a way that goes beyond first aid or martial arts techniques. The best part was when I got to shout at one of the officers. At the top of my voice! Only a few people know that I do have a rather loud voice, I just hardly ever use it. It’s a gift. Thanks, mom!

And the popcorn goes to …

I’m actually quite a movie freak. I have about half of the IMDB memorized already. That’s a pretty neat party trick. I’ve been a science fiction fan since early childhood, and lately I’ve been so excited about all the Marvel movies, especially The Avengers. That was my favorite movie of 2012, and it was nominated for several MTV Movie Awards. Sadly, I didn’t get to watch any life coverage, but I did my best to follow what was going on via Twitter. At 4 am local time. Damn you, CET! So, I’m running on very little sleep today, but it was absolutely worth it. The Avengers won Best Movie, Best Fight, and Best Villain! It’s just sad that I don’t have anyone to share my excitement with, because the people around me don’t care about those things at all. Thank the heavens for Twitter, Tumblr, and co!

What’s been going on in your life lately?

See you!

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The Gym Dilemma

Some of you might remember that I quit my gym back in January. I had grand plans to workout at home, go for a few runs around my village, attend my weekly Pilates class, etc. In reality, not much of that happened. I could list many excuses: I’ve been extremely busy working at several projects, the weather has been awful, I got sick, my Pilates trainer got sick, and so on and so forth.

Honestly, I’ve been missing the convenience of heading to the gym right after work, before I even get close to my house. I’ve noticed that it’s so hard for me to find the motivation to exercise once my butt has touched the couch. Or I see the pile of dirty dishes in my sink. It’s almost impossible!

So, why don’t I just join a new gym? Mostly it’s because of the cost. Gyms are generally quite expensive around here. Sure, you can find gyms that are only $30 per month, but they are just like my last one: no classes, no trainers, old equipment, no air condition, and you even have to pay extra to take a shower. A membership at a decent gym costs about $80 per month. And that’s for a 24 month contract, plus $130 entry fee. Yikes!

Gym fitness

(Source)

And here’s the next problem. Most gyms only offer long-term contracts. Sure, you can also get a 12 month contract, but then your monthly fee will go up to $90. Including the entry fee, that will cost me around $1200 in one year. That is a lot!

At the moment, our financial situation is quite okay, but that could change within just a few months. I have no idea if I will still be able to afford a gym membership at the end of the year.

I’ve already found a gym that looks really nice, offers interesting group fitness classes, is situated close to my workplace, and even has a sauna area. How fancy! But it’s also quite expensive.

I don’t know what to do! I hate the idea of spending so much money, but I also miss working out and feeling strong. And I know that exercising at home is harder for me because there are too many distractions.

Do you prefer working out at home or at the gym? How much would you spent on a gym membership?

See you!

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A few months ago, my husband had the glorious idea to take horseback riding lessons. With me, of course. At first I was hesitant, as usual. I’m a short woman, and horses are big and strong! But after a while he convinced me to just give it a try.

We quickly found a nice option for Western-style riding and booked our first lessons with our instructor Véronique. To be honest, I was overwhelmed at the beginning. Riding isn’t as easy as it looks on TV! You first learn how to approach a horse, how to put on the headgear and saddle, how to get up and down, how to tell the horse what to do, and most importantly, how to not fall off! At first, I was really struggling to process so much information, but now after a few intense sessions I’m slowly starting to feel comfortable on a horse.

Horses

So, does horseback riding count as exercise? I’d say yes, it does! You need to engage your core muscles all the time to keep your balance, and you’re using your legs a lot. After trotting around in the riding hall for about an hour, I’m always sore in new and unexpected parts of my body, like on the outsides of my ankles, or the area between my butt and my thighs. Eh!?

What’s also great about riding is that you don’t need to buy a lot of equipment. I usually wear an old pair of jeans, an old sweater, a warm winter jacket, and my hiking boots. (Plus a few extra layers underneath. German winters are COLD!) The only thing I bought was a helmet. The lessons themselves aren’t that expensive, either, I’d say they cost about as much as an average yoga class. And considering that we spend about two full hours there, including preparing and grooming the horses (which is actually a lot of fun, too), you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Horse

I love all kinds of animals, but I didn’t expect to enjoy being around horses so much. The horse I’ve been riding the last few lessons is a beautiful brown guy named Sugar. He’s very calm and friendly, but a little lazy and stubborn sometimes. And hungry! But our instructor said that’s normal.

I think I’ve found a new hobby. And some new four-legged friends! I can’t wait to go for a real ride outside of the hall. Okay, I’m also a little scared, but mostly excited.

Bonus: There’s a cheeky kitten roaming around the stables! That little guy likes to sneak up from behind and climb up people’s legs. Those tiny claws don’t go through my thick layers, so it doesn’t hurt at all. We usually snuggle for a few minutes after the lessons, while I comb down my horse. That much cuteness is too hard to handle!

So what’s the bottom line of this post? Try something new! Get over your fears and doubts, and do something unusual from time to time. Who knows, you might even like it!

Barkley says hi!

See you!

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