My Daily Workout…Part 2

Exercise RoutineIn Part 1 I wrote about the music I use for my workout and gave some general information about my routine.  Now I’d like to go into a little more detail about it.

Living Room Workout  I like to exercise in my living room where I can control the elements…so I’m usually  in some comfortable garb.  On my wall are some Creative Visualization pictures that I look at during my workout…I’m a strong believer in Creative Visualization as a motivation tool.    (You should see my office wall!) It’s a combo of some magazine photos showing some elegant and sophisticated women dressed in beautiful outfits.  I aspire to have their shape (I’m almost there!) and wear their clothes (I’ll make them myself) so they motivate me to stay with it.  The other picture is the cover of Fitness magazine.  The gorgeous male blond hunk doing a pushup keeps me very motivated to work on my fitness!

   I posted in Part 1 that I haven’t been doing my stretches on the carpet because of the discomfort factor…I’m happy to report that I got my exercise mat out of hiding and tried it…turns out it wasn’t half bad…the plastic is a little sticky and the height makes it a little awkward to stretch out comfortably (2″ high), but at least I can do them…and the plastic is cool…Exercise Mat  unlike the prickly carpet.   

I’d like to share some personal experiences and some techniques I use during my workouts.  Sometimes I’m not awake at the start so my eyes are closed as I listen to the music and begin to warm up with some gentle movements.  It’s all intuitive for me…never the same twice…I just let it flow…I learn how I’m feeling by the way I move…slow and lethargic?  Slow to more energized?  Ready to rock?

Exercise to Music  As I wake up I find myself doing more energetic moves.  If I really get energized I’ll add free weights and Taebo to my workout during the cardio phase.

I use 4 lbs weights and work a variety of muscle groups as I feel it.  I learned some techniques from videos, others from TV shows, and others from people I met at the gym…since I’m a tennis player I instinctively work those muscles that will help me with my game.  I used to get strange looks from people at the gym who had never seen my moves before (just curious I think).  I get creative letting my imagination take me to new places.  I like to work on body memory for tennis so much of what I do is guided by that…serving a ball while holding a weight, or moving through a backhand holding a weight.  These are just some of the things I do to improve my technique and strength.

  My aerobic workout is a combination of techniques learned in aerobic classes, cardio and Taebo videos, and dance training, as well as my tennis lessons over the years.  I’ve learned something from each and I’m grateful for that…even the videos that bored me and got trashed taught me something of value.

*A note about videos…most of them disappointed me…maybe it was the warmup I didn’t like or the routines.  I tried a few of Billy Blanks’ Taebo tapes but found that his warmup was too fast and he didn’t explain moves well.  I’ve even tried online videos but they soon bored me and I went back to my own workouts.

Clock  I set my time goal for 30 minutes…sometimes I make it…other times I don’t…that’s ok…my body tells me what is right for me each time.

Warmup  I start off with steps side to side letting the music guide me intuitively.  I add some swagger while stepping forward and back as the music moves me.  Then I’ll add some arm movements and maybe some twisting as I move.  I love Latino dancing so I often find myself moving to some Latin rhythm with Latin moves.

Cardio:  Once I’m warmed up I add more vigorous steps with some kicks and some more intense arm movements.  If I’m really feeling good I’ll do some Taebo kicks and boxing moves. 

I’ll do 3 or 4 fast songs for intense cardio…then use a slower one to do some leg work…I do several slow plies in wide stance to condition my thighs, hips and butt.  Sometimes I widen the stance even more to get a deeper stretch and conditioning while working my feet and toes.  Then I go back to some more fast cardio before finishing up.

Identify Helpful Hint  I alternate days with free weights because it takes 24 hours for muscles to repair themselves.  On free weight days I’ll do the classic moves with 8 count reps repeating once or twice depending on how I feel.  I don’t push past discomfort…I use it as a guide for how far I can go with each move and I never work a muscle when I feel pain.  That’s a signal that I’ve reached a limit.

Cooldown:  My cooldown is a combination of slow arm stretches on each side and slower movement.  Then I’m ready to stretch. 

*Note…never stretch when your muscles are cold…that’s how you cause injuries.  Muscles need to warm up and get the oxygen flowing to them first.

Stretching   Stretching:  I like to begin with classic calf and Achilles stretches…forward and back with flexed foot.  Next are the classic thigh stretches…straight back, across the back of the body, and my favorite (a ballet move) lifting the thigh and stretching behind me (I hope to create a visual of my workout at some point.)  Then I move into some easy backbends and side stretches.  Much of what I do is ballet floor barre but they’re simple to learn.  I like to work my feet in each ballet position while working the front of the foot and the toes.  Then I move to the floor (carpet).

Exercise Mat  Floor:  Here I stretch out from head to toe with arms overhead usually 3 times holding for count of 5.  Then I move into some stomach crunches and side stretches followed by forward stretches with legs to the side and some split stretches to work the thighs and hip areas.  Next is some yoga with the alternating concave and convex spine stretching (cat poses)…then some downward dog and maybe some other yoga moves or some pushups.

Each day is different because my needs are different and my energy level is different.  I just listen to my body and do what it tells me. 

Identify Helpful Hint  My advice:   Have fun with your workouts…enjoy the music you choose.  Listen to your body and be sensitive to its needs.  Sometimes all we can do on a given day is baby steps.  That’s part of the process.  Remember that it’s a spiritual and mental experience as well as a physical workout. 

Online Journal   Final note:  I keep an Excel journal that includes a sheet called Fitness and another called Tennis.  I record experiences worth noting, and any thoughts or feelings that come up during workouts.  It’s a way for me to track my progress.