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My secrets to staying in good shape

April 11th, 2011 4 Comments

A reader asked for me to spill my tips and I’ll respond to her here.  Although, you’ll probably be disappointed to read that my answer isn’t black and white.

Let me start off by saying that in my opinion being “healthy” and “in-shape” are relative to your mindset and personal goals. So, my methods might not work for you for many different reason.

Very simply, my “secret” to staying in shape is my genuine love of exercising and eating vegetables.  Eating balanced meals and staying active keep me physically fit and emotionally sane.  That’s a little ambiguous so I’ll break it down for you:

1.  I eat what I want.

These days that includes: pineapple, oj, oatmeal, salads without dressing, lots of chicken, olive oil on everything, roasted veggies, Two Mom’s in the Raw granola, almond butter, sweet potatoes, squash, raisins, red peppers and hummus, plain quinoa, aged cheeses, dried fruit, Odawalla and Gnu bars.  And most importantly, sweets.  If I want a cookie, I eat a cookie.

2.  I am conscious of what I eat.

I prefer not to eat anything processed, and I eat very little bread.  The later is an effort, but otherwise anything in a package is usually just not appetizing to me.  Also, I stay away from sauces because they’re usually saturated with butter, salt, and creme, and any food worth eating shouldn’t need it.

3.  I build my schedule to include an hour workout 6 days a week.

Because I enjoy exercising and I work from home, carving out the time is easier for me than most people.  But, I believe if you understand all the benefits of exercise, you’ll want to find the time too.

When I workout, if I don’t kill it every time, I don’t beat myself up.  Getting my blood pumping is a luxury I appreciate and am grateful for everyday.

If I am having a hard time getting to the gym on my own, I go to classes or call my trainer.  Having a set time to be at the gym is always helpful. This way I just don’t have a choice.

4.  I challenge myself in a new way every week.

As I tell my riders in spin class, even though the bike is the same and the time is set at 50 minutes, you have to challenge yourself in a new way every time you get on the bike.  If you don’t change your workout, you won’t change your body.  Not to mention when you accept a new challenge, your mind will unlock new perspectives as well.  But in order to take on this new physical and mental endeavor, you can’t let your stubborn mind get in the way.  Be open to the challenge and welcome the change.

If I have the opportunity to do a new kind of exercise I always take it.  Throw in yoga, boxing, swimming, tennis, P90X workout, whatever into your schedule once a week and allow your muscles to be used in a new way.  Or I add an extra element to your existing routine.  I’ll do 2 spin classes; throw in an extra 15 minutes of cardio after a workout; run before yoga; add berpies between weight sets; etc.  Push yourself past your comfort zone.

5.  I love the 2 S words.

Some people try to abstain or distract themselves unconsciously, I embrace both snacking and sleeping!

6.  I rarely weigh myself.

I have never owned a scale and I never will.  Sometimes I’ll step on a scale at the gym, but it doesn’t mean much to me.  I only care that my clothes fit.

In the interest of full disclosure, what the reader really wanted to know is how I stay “skinny.”  My answer remains the same. But I will tell you that in last year I’ve gained 10 pounds.  So while my methods haven’t proved to keep the weight off, they have been successful in keeping me healthy and happy.

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  • Jennifer

    Just so you’ll know, the ten pounds look great on you – I feel like you have curves these days you didn’t have when I first started following you!

    • http://morethanmary.com Mary Rambin

      Thanks Jennifer. That’s sweet if you to say.

  • http://www.lemeldesigns.com lemel

    I just got a polar heart rate monitor and am trying to figure out my optimal heart rate zones. I did a spin class and it was about 45 mins and said I burned around 350 calories. I’m confused b/c people always say in spin you burn SO many calories. What are the best ways to figure out your target hear rate zones and where you should be to burn fat?

    • http://morethanmary.com Mary Rambin

      Burning calories and fat are too different objectives. If you want to burn calories, you push yourself harder for a higher heart rate. If getting rid of fat is your goal, then it is suggested that you keep your heart rate within the fat burning zone. Read more here: http://www.freeweightlossexerciseprograms.net/fat-burning-heart-rate.html

      It has been my experience that interval training – driving your heart rate really high, slowing down to recover, and then repeating several times – is the most effective way to change your physical appearance, if that’s what your goal.