Last week I wrapped up my 20% project (for now), but I learned some valuable lessons that I will apply going forward. The unexpected upshot of the project was that I engaged in some metacognition about fitness. In other words, I thought about how I think about my own fitness. I also found that regular exercise helped reduce my stress levels and regulate my mood a LOT. I think I achieved at least two psychological, if not physical, breakthroughs:
(1) I really can get motivated to exercise in the afternoon. I've always exercised at one of times of day: evenings (6:30-8:30) or mornings (7:00-10:00). I tend to feel less energized in the hours between lunch and dinner, and so I got into a mindset of "I CAN'T exercise in the afternoon." This was an unnecessary mental road block. I CAN do it in the afternoon, and I MUST, because that's the only time my schedule allows. Even when I have to drag my tired body to the gym at 4:00 pm, I just need to start slowly and then crank up some dance tunes until I get energized. It works! The music makes it so much more fun that, if I forget to bring my iPod to the gym, I go back home and get it. It's essential.
(2) I am still young enough to snap back in shape quickly. I was surprised how quickly I improved my cardiovascular fitness. When I started going regularly, it took me only about 3 weeks before I could power through an hour of Zumba no problem. Not bad! I have lost a lot of muscle over the past 2 decades, but I am confident that, with regular weight training, I could get a lot of it back. Also, I was surprised to feel little pain my hips, which still feel the aftereffects of a long-ago sports injury. Perhaps this is due to some improvement in my body alignment in the past few years; I stopped wearing high heels on the advice of my physical therapist and my podiatrist.
Here's where I think I could have done a better job with my 20% project:
(1) I didn't do the HIIT-specific fitness routines with enough regularity to reach a conclusion about how they compare to traditional circuit training.
(2) I never developed a regular schedule, for example, lower body plus cardio on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and upper body plus cardio on Thursdays and Sundays. To stay on track. I need to write those things down in my calendar and treat them as an obligation. I continue to feel that a commitment of 5 days a week is a good goal.
I have a few final thoughts. I continue to be plagued by endless computer and paper work that I can't seem to set aside. I have heard about these magical walking desks that allow you to exercise and work at the same time. Subject for a new 20% project? They're ghastly-looking but possibly effective. Read this article:
Week 1 (Feb 8-15): I blew the dust off my sneakers and hit the gym consistently all week. February 8, 9, 11, 14, and 15 I was at the YMCA in Encinitas, doing a combination of the elliptical machine and strength training. I quickly realized that, if I was going to tolerate after-school workouts on the elliptical machine and in the weight room, I had better get some more workout tunes uploaded onto my iPod. The best songs for getting pumped up? Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” Pink’s “Get the Party Started.”
Check out this article I found on Pinterest with workout playlists:
Week 3(Feb 23-March 1): This was a more difficult week. My son was sick and home from school on Monday and Tuesday, and I had to stay with him. I also had an exhausting day on Thursday at my school site. And I did manage to get in two workouts, on 2/25 and 3/1. This time I added a Zumba class for fun. I love Zumba! Here’s a great example of what I love about Zumba (yes, this is pinned to my Pinterest page)!
Look out YMCA zumba class! (YMCA Encinitas studio shown below.)
Weeks 5 & 6 (March 9-22): These two weeks were extremely emotionally difficult for me. I was facing numerous professional challenges and deadlines all at once, and I felt like I was drowning. I did not work out once. Worse, I started eating and drinking more. I did not add anything to my Pinterest page, but I did read this article to help me improve my motivation.
Next week's goal: work with kettlebells (see below).
Week 7 (March 23-29): My dark mood started to lift, and I felt more energized. Still, I felt that I needed to stay focused on meeting all of my work deadlines, and I worked long hours on school work and classroom planning. I didn’t do any heavy workouts, but I did get outside and do some walking. I’m feeling the need to get out and enjoy SoCal. See Moonlight Beach at right.
Next week's goal: work with weighted bars (see below) at the Y.