Monthly Archives: August 2011

Cheaper ways to get fit

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My weight loss goals and financial goals are equally important to me. I know that I can achieve both but they are many times where I find that they are battling each other. I have a “strict” budget. And by “strict” I mean I have a well documented account of where all of my money goes but the rarely stick to that plan. However, my inability to stick to a budget is not the point here. The point is finding a happy marriage between budgeting and exercise. And to do this I have to find cheap ways to get fit.

Gym memberships may seem expensive and unnecessary, but I think it’s only not worth it if you don’t use it. It’s worth it to me because I can use it when I’m out of town in an unfamiliar area. My membership is less than $45 a month for a 24 hour gym with nationwide access. I would like to find an affordable gym that offers group workout classes and nationwide 24 hour access. If anyone knows of my dream gym please let me know.

I have found many other low-cost ways to exercise. Walking/jogging  has become a new-found hobby of mine. Parks and trails offer great scenery for a nice workout, and I also enjoy walking through my neighborhood. I have discovered a trail for every large city that I frequent (in Louisiana) and I’m always on the hunt for more. My church offers Zumba classes for $6 twice a week, which isn’t too bad. I’m signed up for Groupon, Living Social, and Bargain Bee which are all great ways to try new gyms and workouts without spending too much money. From there I’ve tried a month of boot camp classes, gym memberships, and discount pole dancing classes. Each of those things was under $30. I love trying out new activities without being committed to it or paying a hefty price tag.

Another inexpensive idea is to take advantage of the free passes that most gyms offer. Most of the time gyms will give you anywhere from a seven to thirty days free (or deeply discounted) to test them out. I’ve tried various gyms that way as well as yoga, Pilates, and kick boxing classes. I’m sure I’m leaving some things out but each one of those activities deserves their own post and I’ll be sure to get to it sooner than later.

I’m not a fan of workout tapes but that is a great way to get the most for your money. Or you can download apps that mimic weight loss tapes or trainers. I like the Nike Training Club app but I hardly use it because I can’t motivate myself to workout in my house. But if you can I think videos, apps, and the Internet are all budget friendly ways to workout.

What ways do you marry your physical and financial goals? Any ideas or activities to add to the list?


Weekly Progress Update:

So I changed my whole workout schedule this week because of a Groupon and iPhone app I bought Monday afternoon. I purchased the couch to 5k app that was recommended to me by my friend Bekah. (Check out her story about her purchase of the app here). The purpose of the app is to get you ready to RUN a 5k in 9 weeks! I’m really excited and totally perplexed by the idea at the same time. But I’m going to trust this program that I will be able to run a 5k in nine weeks. And I purchased a six-week gym membership for $25 so that I can have access to some group classes.

I’m still committing to four workouts this week and who knows I may even get one or two more in! So far I did the couch to 5k on Monday, Water Cardio class Tuesday and I’m planning on getting a Pilates class in today! What have you accomplished so far this week? Do you think I should have a weekly progress/plan update on each post? Would that be motivational or just too much information?


“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”

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Last week I did horribly with both food and exercising, so I sat to think what went wrong. It didn’t take long at all for me to see that I did not make any kind of plan for the week. Planning is one of my greatest assets, and when striving towards any goal it is important to use your strengths to your advantage.

 Friday afternoon or Monday morning is usually the best time for me to have my weekly planning session. I do not sit down and plan my entire week’s worth of meals in one day but I do plan how many times I can go out to eat for lunch that week. I print out a blank weekly calendar and I write in what days I’ll be doing what form of workouts. I chose not to do a meal plan for this week.

Monday Zumba class @ 6
Tuesday Free Day
Wednesday Mid day Gym (check out new gym) or Evening neighborhood walk
Thursday Gym or Evening neighborhood walk
Friday Gym after work
Saturday Morning neighborhood walk
Sunday Free Day

 This week I’ll attempt to avoid failure by making a plan, sharing it with all of you, and STICKING TO THAT PLAN. So my plan for this week is to get at least four workouts, eat out twice, and cook at least once.  This is not the normal format that I would use, but it’s just to give you some ideas about how you can make your weekly workout schedule. And you can easily download a blank template to make your weekly plan. (I tried unsucessfully to upload my own to show)

 I like to give myself a couple options so if I don’t go to the gym Wednesday afternoon I know I will have to go for a neighborhood walk that evening. And I also schedule an extra workout just to be ambitious. But I know that four out of five of these things have to be completed. And I’ll definitely let you know how this week goes.

I’m sure soon there will be tons of posts about all the different types of activities that I do for exercise and all the ones that I’ve tried and my likes and dislikes. But I’ll save that for another time. (I’ll try to make it sooner than later).

When you’re having your planning session don’t forget to schedule your workouts around any special events you have for that week. Nothing is worse than taking the time to put together a perfect schedule and realizing you have to change it because of an event you have that week. What are your fitness and workout goals for this week? Do you have any other strengths that help you out on your weight loss journey?

Fun Gym Alternatives

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This has is one of my favorite gym alternatives to date. I found this place in Lafayette and once I saw it I knew I’d love it. It’s a 26 foot indoor climbing gym. There you can free climb (up to a certain point), harness in and climb all the way up, boulder on some of the blocks in the middle, or some other activities. My first visit was on my 25th birthday and it was then I fell in love. This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had while actually pushing my body to its limits. You may hurt some while you’re climbing but it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll feel it after you leave or even the next day. This is how I spent last Saturday night and I couldn’t think of anything that I’d rather be doing.

The building is set up with different courses that have varying levels of difficulty. The more difficult ones have angled walls and pulls that are fewer and more spread out than the easy courses. One day I’m looking forward to being able to climb the advanced courses with no problem! But one piece of advice… keep the cameras at home. The shots of you climbing up the wall are extremely unflattering. But for the sake of my post I’ll include some of me.

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While looking up information about indoor climbing I ran across an aspect of the sport that I have never thought of before, problem solving skills. When you are on the wall you have to think and calculate each move of your hands and feet. And I am well aware that it builds trust and teamwork. If you get stuck on the wall you can rely on the person below belaying you to help direct your next move as well as you have to trust them and the rope to hold you.

While I was there I noticed getting up the wall is not the thing that scares me the most, I am terrified of coming down. So the instructor told me that is evidence that I have an inability to release control and trust in other people. I was speechless… I wanted to deny this but all I could say is you learned all this from me not wanting to come down the wall? But it does make perfect sense.

I often try to think of new and exciting activities I could get into to stay in shape and break up my normal routine. I’ve tried several different things so far but have you tried anything interesting? Would you do indoor rock wall climbing? If you don’t think it’s a good idea you should give it a second thought. It’s fun, call me up and I’d love to go with you! What’s better than a mind and body workout that’s fun and challenging?

The Writings on the Wall… or Bench

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My journey has taught me a lot about myself and one of the most astonishing discoveries I have made was I love the outdoors. Being surrounded by the beauty of nature brings a calmness over my body that I’ve never felt before. I’m sure there will be plenty of stories about my hobby of finding different trails all across Louisiana. But for now I’d like to share what I found on my last trip to West Monroe. It was the same day I made My official declaration. So this is a continuation of sorts from that story.

I decided to take a moment to sit down and think while taking advantage of that new-found calmness.   I  looked down and noticed there was writing scribbled along the bench. My snapshots may not do justice to this beautiful and unexpected artwork…

I”m not going to upload the series of pictures I captured of the writings, but here is what it said…

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my Fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see where it is going.
Where the Fear has gone there will be nothing
Only I Will Remain.

-Author unknown

That was pretty powerful for me to discover that message at that exact moment, I took it as a sign that I should face my fears. One of my fears was starting this blog and publicly putting all my struggles, thoughts, and insecurities out there for any friend, foe, or stranger to stumble across. Being vulnerable to an unknown and faceless audience is intimidating but I must not fear. What if I announce this goal and am not able to reach it? Or my lack of writing skill hinders my ability to express myself sufficiently? Those are legitimate fears but I’m going to face them and know that in the end no matter what happens I’ll still be standing. Any words of wisdom that have helped you through difficult situations? Has fear stopped you from pursuing any goals that you have had for yourself? Nature lovers- Where’s your favorite outdoor escape?

My Official Declaration

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Restoration Park West Monroe, LA

I’m here and I’m really doing this! Ok, if you can’t tell I’m really excited. The goal is to drop 75 pounds from my all time high recorded on February 2010. So roughly I have about 21 weeks to lose 38 pounds. And I know that may sound very simple but it has taken me over a year to lose 45 pounds and then I started gaining back. So now I will focus on this 75 and then I’ll decide if I need to drop more or if I just need to switch my focus to maintaining my weight.  The official goal date will be January 17, 2012 (my 27th birthday). But this is how I came up with this challenge…

I was wondering what was necessary to keep myself motivated and make sure that I achieve this goal. Walking through this beautiful landscape (pictured above) it kind of hit me like a Mack truck between the eyes… this will be my last fat year. And I kept saying it to myself as I walked along the trail and the more I said it the more I believed it. YES! THIS WILL BE MY LAST FAT YEAR! But a verbal proclamation would not be adequate so I thought social media is the only way to go.

I was stoked about my idea and started to think about it more. What if I just wrote about it instead? That would give me accountability and hopefully an audience to motivate me along the way. I often get people who stop and ask me what I have done to lose the weight and each time I ponder my answer. I want to say a million different things but I know none of it is what they want to hear. My normal reply is I changed my life. And of course that is not the answer they are looking for but there’s no simpler way I can answer that, unless you want to have a conversation that’ll last a few hours. So since I have so much to say I decided a blog would be a great way to get the word out. Hey if you want to know how I lost the weight and how I will continue to lose the weight stay posted because this is the forum I’ll be using to discuss it.

 I’ve tried several things. Some I’ve enjoyed and some I haven’t but we have plenty of time to discuss it all. If you’re trying to lose just a few pounds, make healthier choices or redesign your body you should take this adventure with me. They’ll be victories to be celebrated and hurdles to overcome but I am ready to tackle it all. Are you ready? Is this your last fat year too? If not this year then when?