Posts Tagged ‘Workout’

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?

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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?

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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?

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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’?

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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


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?

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I quit the gym!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with gyms. In the past few years I’ve tried, joined, and quit a few ones. None of them could convince me to stay.

About two years ago I joined my current gym. I had just started running and mostly wanted access to their treadmills, so I could still run during the harsh, long German winters. As our financial situation has always been quite ‘unpredictable’, I chose the cheapest gym I could find, which cost about $30 per month. Most other gyms in my area cost up to $90 per month, so I thought it was a pretty good deal, and signed a standard 24 months contract.

That gym is very close to my work place, but a 30 minute drive from my house, so I only went there during the week after leaving my office. At first I liked working out there. It was warm, dry, and safe.

Gym fitness

(Source – not my actual gym!)

But after a few months, some things started to bug me. Like the fact that you have to pay extra for a shower. Or that there are no trainers that care about you. Or that the treadmill TVs have no sound, no remote control, and are often not working at all. Or that there are no fitness classes. Or that it’s crowded with huge muscle heads and skinny Barbie dolls. Or that there is no AC, so the temperatures are unbearable during the summer months.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I didn’t enjoy going to the gym anymore. I hate wasting money on something that I don’t like, even if it’s just a relatively small amount. So I decided to end my contract, which was actually quite easy. My membership ends in January, so I still have the opportunity to go a few more times if I really want to. And I probably will. I’m still paying the fees, after all!

But there are other activities that I enjoy a lot more! My tiny village has an adult education facility (Volkshochschule in German), which offers a decent variety of fitness classes. I didn’t like the yoga class I took two years ago, but I totally love their Zumba and Pilates classes! As you pay for each class individually, the costs quickly add up, but I’ve decided that they are worth it.

I also still love workout videos, either online or on DVDs. My favorite fitness channel on YouTube is Blogilates. I highly recommend it! Those workouts are actually quite challenging!

Workout DVDs and weights

And guess what, my husband has started running! He’s always been a very fit guy, but running was never his thing, and he prefered biking and weight training. But a few months ago he picked up running, and is now constantly asking me to run with him.

I’m also considering getting a bike trainer, as a Christmas present for myself, so that I can stay in shape for our outdoor bike rides on sunny summer Sundays.

See, you don’t really need a gym to workout! That said, I might change my mind again one day, and join another gym. But next time I’ll be way more selective, and make sure I’ll find one that I really, really love.

What’s your opinion on gyms? Love them or hate them?

See you!

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Gone Swimming

If you’ve checked out my Dailymile page recently, you may have noticed that I added a new kind of activity to the rotation: swimming.


It’s been crazy hot here lately (well, hot for Central Europe, of course), way too hot to run, bike, or hit the gym on some days. So I stepped out of my comfort zone, put on my swimsuit, and went to the pool. As usual, things are a little different in Germany. Most gyms around here don’t have pools. Instead, there are many public pools, that are run by the local authorities. One tiny little problem is that almost all indoor pools are only open in winter, and most outdoor pools are only open during the summer months. German summers can be quite rainy and chilly, but at the moment we are ‘blessed’ with a real heat wave. After a long day in my oven-like office, I’m really looking forward to jumping (ok, slowly walking) into the cool water.


I have to admit, though, that I’m a terrible swimmer. I can only do a poor, slow breast stroke. But I do hope that I will learn how to perform a proper free style stroke one day. Until then, I’ll just paddle around, enjoying a seemingly sweat-free workout.

Who else loves swimming? Are you good at it?

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