Get Fit: Staying Motivated So You Just Don’t Stop

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Hello fresh faces! Before we get started on this week’s topic, I wanted to address a concern that was expressed in last week’s comments. I’d said that my initial motivation for getting back to the gym last year was wearing a bikini in front of throngs of drunk lesbians, and one or two readers felt that in saying so, I was perpetuating those idiotic beauty standards we all despise so much. Even though I think most everyone understood my point and the underlying and overt message of Get Fit, I still wanted to get a few things on the record.

This column is in no way supposed to objectify women or try to make anyone fit into the societal and heteronormative ideals of beauty. In my first post, I did not, in any way, tell women they had to look a certain way — I didn’t say that anyone needed a thinner body or six-pack abs. I just said ”look good,” which means different things to different people, and falls in line with our constant message of You Do You. And anyway, looking really good is actually just a side effect of feeling even better.

If anything, what I want to do is push people to gain muscle and endurance, to make them feel strong rather than runway model waifish. This is about reaching your own personal goals. It’s here to help us all get motivated to work out, feel better, and eat healthier. The beauty of fitness and health for me is one’s ability to set goals and work toward them. It’s finding your inner strength to do the things that you set your mind to, and living your life with integrity because you fucking did exactly what you said you would.

Plus, the stronger you are, the easier it’ll be to toss hot girls around. BAM!

This is meant to be a safe space for people who are hoping to get in shape for themselves. I understand that everyone has a different approach to fitness and health and I hope that I can cover as many different topics as possible. Please give this column time to unfold. Keep using the comment section to give your fellow straddlers tips and pointers, to ask questions, and to suggest topics that you want to know more about. I want us all to be allowed to be honest about our health goals without worrying about offending someone. Work under the assumption that we support you and your rights and the value system that Autostraddle has worked so hard to create. And now, on with the show!


So you’ve been working out for the past few days and it’s going really well!

HEYYY NATALIE!

Except for that day you didn’t run. OH! And those four days you forgot to eat fruits and vegetables. Seriously though, it’s hard to continue to stay motivated when you’re still getting back into the swing of things. Here are a couple tips to help you keep your head in the game!

 

Staying Motivated Tip #1:
Be Like Nike and Just Do It.

This one is so simple yet the hardest one for people to stick to. Just Do It. For me, working out earlier in the day is better because as the day goes on I will have more time to think of a reason not to hit the gym or go running. My good friend said that once she gets home from work she puts on her running shorts and sneakers IMMEDIATELY so she would have no excuse to not go running. It’s a simple psychological trick that gets your mind in the and it works like a charm. So stop making excuses and just do it!

 

Staying Motivated Tip #2:
Give It Time.

In general, it takes at least two weeks to see any kind of changes in your body from working out. Clearly every body will differ and individual results will vary depending on a lot of factors. If you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling disappointed after your first week of working out, DON’T GIVE UP. Trust me on this one, just keep hitting the pavement and pumping that iron, wait another week. Whatever you do, do not get discouraged.

 

bring a friend

 

Staying Motivated Tip #3:
Join a Team!

Seriously, there are women’s and co-ed teams of all sorts probably really close to you. If there aren’t tons of team options, there’s almost definitely a running team. Runners have pack mentalities and love to have a new buddy to share their passion with. OR you can start your own league/team! It’s so easy to get a local middle school to lend out their gym once a week on Tuesday nights for your league dodgeball tournaments. Promise.

 

Staying Motivated Tip #4:
Don’t Weigh Yourself.

I am not kidding. Who cares what that dumb scale says anyway. He don’t know me! He doesn’t know how tall you are, or how your eyes sparkle when you laugh, or how soft and shiny your hair is. Don’t you dare listen to his lies. Also, your body weight is rarely a good indicator of your health or fitness level and even your BMI isn’t always a useful number. Although it’s easier to sell magazines and diet plans when there are “rules,” only you know your body and how it reacts to your diet and exercise habits.

What you should be aiming for is how you feel. How high is your energy level? How do your jeans fit? Once they start to loosen — or fit tighter in all the right places — then you can high five yourself in the mirror (I can’t be the only one who does that…).

 

So how have things been going for you? Did you start a new fitness routine last week? Have you stayed motivated in the face of occasional laziness? What’s your favorite way to cook kale? I think next week we’re gonna talk about nutrition!


 Thumbnail image model: Collins

Avatar of Sarah Croce

Sarah has written 14 articles for us.

90 Comments

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      Obsessive exercise is usually indicative of other psychological distress. Seek help to build your arsenal of healthful psychological tools if this has become a problem.

      To overcome my own obsessive over-training, I had to run without a watch for two years. I’d also add extra little loops to my route so my brain wouldn’t figure out exactly how far I’d gone. I would go out with absolutely no plan–just run until I felt like stopping, which some days was over an hour, and others under thirty minutes. If I felt like doing hills, I’d do hills. I didn’t follow a schedule but learned to listen to my body. Riding horses was also super-helpful, because while I’d run myself into lame into the ground, I would never over-train an animal. That’s how I learned how to stop.

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    Yay for fitness & health on Autostraddle! How did I miss last week’s post? Anywho…

    “It’s finding your inner strength to do the things that you set your mind to, and living your life with integrity because you fucking did exactly what you said you would.”

    THIS. If nothing else, THIS!

    I am currently training for a half marathon that happens the weekend after A Camp. I do not have a runner’s body at all, but damn it, I am fucking doing this shit. It feels great to be able to comfortably run a distance that three weeks ago made me want to curl up in the fetal position and never move again. So yay for progress!

    My only vice with this health stuff is the scale. It is hard to deprogram myself from thinking that less weight = better me, especially when anyone who hasn’t seen me in a while immediately says, “Wow you look great, how much weight have you lost.”

    Great post. Thanks Sarah for reminding me that it isn’t all about the numbers. Perhaps today I will think of other ways to judge my progress.

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      Think about how AMAZING you are going to feel crossing that 13.1 mile finish line! You’ll feel so good about yourself you won’t give a f*ck about who noticed what about your weight.

      I have only been running for about 18mo and I finished my first half on the 4th. On the 5th my legs were in rebellion but it was worth it. I remember not being able to jog a mile and thinking only cray people who were naturally really fit could run that far.

      It isn’t about the numbers. It’s about saying, Today I’m going to do something I couldn’t do yesterday and wouldn’t have dreamed of last year.

      Good luck on your half and half fun!

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    I love that these posts are becoming a thing here! Last week when I read the dirt one I was on the brink of pushing myself off the couch after several weeks of working a ton and not running because the wether sucked. Than three things happened:
    1- AS wanted me to get fit!
    2- some unseasonably warm, delightful weather rolled into town
    3- I got news that I will be walking in a fashion show for a friend’s salon…IN 2 WEEKS! eek.

    Since all of these are awesome reasons to get in shape, I kicked it into gear immediately. First things first, my girlfriend and I went shopping for healthy food! This is key because if there is junk food in my house, I will find an excuse to eat it!! We planned out a few meals ahead of time and cook/snack together whenever possible. It helps that she makes incredible smoothies for me in the morning, because I’ve discovered if you start out the day with something healthy you’re more likely to stick to it. If I start with a donut, I will consider the rest of the day a free for all!

    In addition to the food supply, I allowed my girl to become my self-appointed “personal trainer.” This is good for a lot of reasons!! For starters, who doesn’t like challenges from their hot gf? Also, since she is usually working out beside me, there’s a lot of encouragement to keep going. It becomes competitive in a fun way so we are both reaching for that next level. Also, I think she likes getting to tell me what to do once in a while ;)

    I definitely think having a buddy, group, favorite video instructor, etc. is key to keeing your head in the game. As mentioned before, letting yourself down sucks… but not as bad as letting down others with your laziness!
    Also…that part about the scale…SPOT ON!

    Good luck, fellow straddlers, go forth and Do You! And you’ll look damn good doing it ;)

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      Try using measurements. Muscle weighs more than fat, but take up less space. You may put on muscle, loss fat, weigh more, but actually be smaller. I find that measurements (waist, hips, etc) are a far more accurate indicator of how I’m doing with getting healthy.

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        Rly? I pay attention to my measurements, but that’s because one of my objectives is to maintain my current proportions, not because they can tell me whether or not I’m ‘getting healthy’. Measurements and weight are ways to tell whether or not you’re getting thinner. Only a fitness and health check will tell you whether your overall well being is improving.

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          I agree with you on a certain level, but disagree with you on another. Visceral fat, the fat around the abdomen, is extremely unhealthy – it’s actually the unhealthiest of all fat on the body. Measurements are an accurate measure whether this fat is being reduced.

          Also, measurements can also include a 7-site caliper test to determine body fat percentage, which is NOT the same as BMI. Perhaps ‘getting healthy’ wasn’t the best technical term to use, but I was typing from my phone. I know that, for me, personal experience states that the smaller my measurements are, the healthier I am. But that might not be the same for everyone.

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        This is definitely true. I started doing (and eventually teaching) arial dance and I put on a ton of muscle. I actually weigh 5-10 pounds more than when I started, but I dropped two sizes. Also can open any jar ever. I’m a lot healthier, but I’ve started ignoring the scale almost entirely.

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          Please tell me that arial dance is dancing on old-timey airplane wings, burlesque-style. Because that’s what I just pictured you doing in my head and it was awesome.

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          That would be awesome! But sadly no :D (though I’d totally do it if I had the chance.) Think more circus, less planes. Though I have done burlesque and I do teach pole dance (like, old school, sexy exotic pole dancing). Nothing is sexier *or* builds muscle like doing a body roll upside down in mid air. I have to feel pretty or like I’m five to keep on an exercise plan. I get bored easy. No gyms for this girl.

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          Let’s start an Autostraddle circus. I will do pony circus things and you can train an army of airplane wing burlesque dancers.

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          That sounds fantastic! I always wanted to join the circus (trained in contortion for a while, but gave up when I realized I’ll probably never be able to do a full split). We could perform to original harp music (you have the autoharp and I play a lap harp.) The only catch is you’d have to teach me pony tricks. I’ve never had the chance to do more than ride on the beach. Now… how do we recruit more performers? I think a traveling troupe of LGBT circus performers could make bank.

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          I can juggle and am currently being taught by a special friend how to unicycle. I’m just terrified of clowns. We can work this out.

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          Oh, I’m terrified of classic clowns, too. They’d be a no-go. What about Cirque du Soleil-style clowns? The pretty ones?

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    The human body wants to be fit – that’s it’s baseline for being. And, like you said, “fit” means different things for different body types in terms of weight and such, so don’t weigh yourself! Focus on what makes you feel better; what’s challenging *and* fun.

    For me, what’s helped more than anything is just making fitness part of how I live – as opposed to this special thing I have to take time out of my day/week to do. Make it part of your regular routine, just like eating better. It’s easier to stick with something if you put it on the same level as sleeping and breathing, is what I’m saying. :)

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    So I stopped working out last year because I HATE the gym. Everyone seems to already be in incredible shape, tan, etc. I’d wanted to get myself back into shape, but couldn’t handle the whole gym thing again. Then Sarah’s column came out, and I figured it was time to find a way to make this happen. For people who hate the gym “feel”, find a place with old people. Swear to God. I work on an island in south Florida, so I chose the beach. I change at work, and head straight out (no way to talk myself out of it). The things I see sometimes make me want to scratch my eyes out, i.e. speedos, BUT I feel f*cking hot, and I rarely feel insecure about not being in great shape yet. No one looks at you in that judgy way, and it has totally helped me feel like I can stick with this.

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    “I want us all to be allowed to be honest about our health goals without worrying about offending someone.”

    This.

    As much as we want to affirm all bodies, that also means affirming thin bodies and the desire to be so, though one would hope that desire isn’t motivated by some impossible media driven beauty standard. I feel better when I lose about twenty pounds and don’t eat as much. That’s valid too.

    That said I think the don’t weigh yourself advice is good. I think it’s important to focus on how you feel because then we don’t get in to this, the primary purpose of exercising is to shame yourself and to try and look like a person in a magazine thing.

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    I bought stuff I needed to work out, so I couldn’t use not owning sneakers or yoga pants as an excuse. I still haven’t been able to convince myself to go to the gym, but I ran by choice for the first time in my entire life last week!

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    My roommate and I devised a whole workout to a Harry Potter movie, for example every time someone would say “Voldemort” we would do 10 pushups or every time a spell was cast we would do 10 squats etc. It was a fun and intense 2 hour workout.

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    Does anyone have advice on strength training without a gym? I know I can go pick up some dumbbells or whatever, but I don’t know how to lift safely and effectively, or what routines to use to maximise upper body strength.

    I should start doing push ups again… a doctor once chewed my ear off insisting that women were physically incapable of doing ‘proper’ push ups. Since then I’ve gotten a “tee hee, take that, patriarchy” rush out of doing them.

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      As far as weight lifting, my best advice is to go to a local YMCA and see if you can do a class on free weights. The YMCA is usually cheaper/maybe free and the people there also aren’t usually as intense as a stereotypical gym. It is super easy to hurt yourself or do arms exercises with free weights that don’t maximize your effectiveness. If that isn’t available to you, you can look online at college sports workouts, I know for a long time Stanford volleyball preseason workouts were publicly available. There are youtube videos of a lot of exercises that show the proper form, and can decode what some of the more esoterically named exercises actually mean. But learning how to squat, deadlift, and bench press are invaluable skills for improving strength of major muscle groups. Bench press also makes everyone’s boobs look better. True story.

      Fun fact: I had a gym teacher in elementary school who called pushups from your knees “girly pushups.” That made me so mad that I got so good at big boy pushups that he used me as the example. I was a crazy feminist first grader, but I do a damn good pushup. So take that patriarchy.

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        your story about your first grade self makes me like you. let’s be friends.

        i don’t have any first grade stories that are quite as awesome, but i was rudolph in our christmas play and the other kids thought it was fucking hilarious that my name rhymes with diaper.

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      Tried and true strength training exercises are pull-ups, push-ups and squats..They all use your body’s own weight as resistance..I can forward you a training schedule a well as pull-up altenatives to do to build strength to get you to where you can do pull-ups if you’d like

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      KETTLEBELLS! You only need one and its way more fun than dumbbells. They usually come with an instructional dvd. I like to swing mine around while listening to music. It’s fun. Also, there are some great articles on fitness and nutrition on outsideonline.com, many of the workouts do not involve gyms.

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    I fear that the only days I will be motivated enough to actually work out are going to be the days these articles are posted.

    BUT, I have been eating healthier breakfasts since realizing that when I go to the caf in the mornings, I’m starting my day with tater tots, which is probably not ideal.

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    I think I’m with the majority here in saying that it was clear from the outset that this was meant to be a supportive, judgement-free exercise column, so thanks Sarah! (And the “Bring A Friend” picture is the greatest!)

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    I’m a big believer in having an “accountability buddy”..Find someone looking to make some changes in their own life/health/fitness as well..Discuss your personal goals so that you each understand both of your short term as well as long term goals in what you’re hoping to accomplish..And then hold each other accountable..Be honest too..Don’t lie and say you worked out if you didn’t..It helps to have someone around that you trust who will call you on your B.S…I never would have made it to or through my first 5K race if not for my friend…We still get together every other week to talk about our “successes”..Not just in fitness..You might even consider finding someone here on AS..Set up “chat” times..Send each other encouraging messages..If anyone needs help..I’d be happy to assist..Apparently, I’m a pretty good “cheerleader”..Just set desirable, achievable goals..Then strive to meet them..If I can get off my ass and do it, you can too!

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    Fun facts from my human health lecture notes yesterday:

    Prolonged, low intensity exercise such as walking or slow jogging is most beneficial for health (from evolutionary medicine perspective. Cause we are hunter-gatherers. So we walked around lots. Didn’t run a whole lot. Just to get away from predators.)

    Medium-intensity exertion, e.g. moderate jogging or team sports, is helpful to counterbalance sedentary lifestyle. There are numerous social, emotional, educational and psychological benefits from this type of exercise.

    The SUPER EXTREME PERFORMAAAANCE ELITE level (like Tour De France) is not at all necessary for good health. In fact, it’s often detrimental because our bodies have not evolved to sustain this type of training.

    So there ya have it. You don’t have to be a superstar elite athlete to be healthy.

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    I’m thinking of getting this app to get me excited about running:
    https://www.zombiesrungame.com/

    You see, running and I have a love/hate relationship. Maybe pretending that I’m being chased by zombies will help.

    Also I signed up for a CSA delivery and got my first produce box on Friday. Having the package waiting for you when you get home is kind of like getting a birthday present and makes it fun. I’m eating more fruits/veggies and have been juicing again!

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      I bought that app when it first came out (I’m training for a 5k in April, so any excuse to have more fun while doing a lot of running is gladly supported). It’s worth it – I got so caught up in the storyline that I sometimes forgot that I’d been running for awhile. And also there’s a lot of missions to accomplish, so if you’re anything like me (read: more than slightly competitive), it’ll give you something to focus on accomplishing, which will make you want to run even more. :)

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      I got this about a week ago when someone posted it in the comments of the previous article. I HATE running, but this app made it more fun for me because there are immediate results (i.e. supplies for rebuilding the base). It’s basically a real-life video game, and you just happen to get actual exercise while playing it. That’s how I think of it, anyway.

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    I was never motivated to work out by myself, I was just too much of a people person. It felt like a waste of time (and also boring!). Then, I joined a team sport and I was like, OMG! you mean working out can be a time to go play a fun game with my friends?! Sign me up!

    #motivationforextroverts

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    YES YES YES to #4. i was anorexic and bulimic for 10 years, and while it was torturous at first to stop weighing myself, it made a huge, HUGE difference. it’s been several years since i’ve stopped weighing myself/recovered, and i’m healthier and fitter than i’ve ever been. there’s such a sense of freedom once your self-worth is dictated by a number.

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    My girlfriend and I are pretty into different types of fitness (I ride my bike everywhere, she dances and does yoga), so we’ve done each other the favor of swapping obsessions. She’s been biking to work for awhile now, and I’m sticking my toes into yoga classes. I still can only kind of touch my toes but am definitely rocking the chair pose!

    It creates some sort of accountability for both of us, and it has the added benefit of sometimes being really fucking cute to our friends, etc.

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      Soreness is awesome! After a particularly rough soccer practice I was unable to move (more-or-less literally) the next day and it was amazing.

      And that pain you feel is your muscles tearing and rebuilding themselves! Voila, your problem is solved!

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      I always do restorative yoga after a hard workout- otherwise, you can potentially get injured and tear something for good. More gentle, relaxed stressing not only prevents injury but also prepares for your next workout. And I promise myself that if I work out I will do yoga, which feels so freaking excellent that it motivates me to exercise through the pain. So, keep doing it because the hurt is good, but stay injury free!

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      There’s medical evidence that consuming protein within an hour after strenuous exercise assists in the muscle repair and reduces the pain..Depending on your dietary restrictions, this can be as simple as a glass of chocolate milk, a fruit and yogurt smoothie, peanut butter (I like it with apples!) or any other protein source..It needn’t be a huge amount of anything, but a few grams of protein helps me every time!

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      When you first start working out (especially if you add in some sort of weight training) you will probably be super sore. I’ve found that that level of soreness goes away in time as your body adjusts! :)

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    sarah, i used your friend’s idea of putting on workout clothes immediately after work… completely works! it makes you feel ridiculous to lounge in running shoes (especially because i wear the vibram five fingers/toe-glove ones)

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    Sarah Croce you rock! Thank you for these posts. I love everything about Autostraddle…but this column is long overdue. Seriously.

    I worked out hxc in college through varsity sports, but have slumped since I graduated. This was the kick in the ass I needed. Thanks.

    Wooo lesbians that work out!!

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    I loved your disclaimer at the beginning of this article. I’ve spent most of my life with this distorted idea that healthy&fit=SUPER SKINNY. But now at 21 I’m enjoying consciously eating well, exercising hard, and especially weight training. Not with extreme thinness as my motivation, but instead just feeling (and looking) stronger.
    It’s nice to have bigger muscles and a more toned body as a goal for once, instead of just a lower number on the scale.
    Thank you for these articles!

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    I love these posts! Thank you for sharing, Sarah. I’ve been going to the gym for 3 months attempting to get in shape. Couple things I’ve found to be helpful:

    1. Stop drinking alcohol. All of it, ya’ll. I went from not being able to run for 30 seconds without dying to running 2 miles.

    2. Make gym buddies! I find it relaxing to go to the gym and be a “regular”, where you can share your work out tips with other gym rats. It’s also helpful to keep a workout log with reps/meals listed.

    3. Drink protein shakes!

    Can I request we go over good meals/general foods to be eating while getting healthy? What about good workout playlists? And please tell me how you got those abs, Sarah. I’ve been doing 100 sit ups a day!

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      Seriously we are on the same exact page! You actually kind of answered your own question. Cutting out alcohol is really great for cutting excess bodyfat too, especially in the midsection/abdominal area. Haha I’ll have to do an ab post, it goes hand in hand with everything else honestly. Eating right, doing full body workouts rather than focusing on individual muscles, balance. We got this!

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        Yes, thanks! These things get me really excited.

        Juicing seems to be the “it” thing right now, perhaps that can be looked at in the nutrition post. And not too seem too obsessive, but have you looked into ice therapy at all? I read online that sitting in a ice pool for 5 minutes burns more fat than swimming 20 laps in a regular pool. Your body is burning calories at a faster pace in an effort to warm you back up. Could be a myth, but if you’re looking to lose weight it’s worth trying out. I’m sticking with cold showers for now.

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    My favorite recipe for kale:
    (this makes 4 meals worth)

    Whole wheat pasta (yes, even if you think you don’t like it!) – less than you think you need. I usually take the amount it says for 4 servings, and subtract a handful.
    Kale – a large bundle of it. Pull the leaves off the stems, tear them into tiny pieces, and rinse them. Put the stems in the compost, or save them to add to broth.
    One can white beans – I use butter beans or cannellini beans.
    Hard cheese, like pecorino or asiago.
    Good olive oil.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta. Wait five minutes, and then add the kale. Keep boiling until the pasta is cooked.
    Open the can of beans, and dump them into a colander. Then use this colander to drain the pasta/kale mixture. Now the beans are heated up.
    Put the kale/bean/pasta mixture back in the pot, add about a tablespoon of good-tasting olive oil. Cut a block about 1 inch by 3 inches off the hard cheese, and grate this into the pot. Mix it around with everything else.

    Serve with freshly-ground pepper, perhaps a bit more of the cheese (to taste) and a good friend or loved one.

    This also keeps well as a lunch for the next day at work – even if you don’t have access to a microwave.

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    imagine the peeps from autostraddle are cheering you on! or you can use other gay icons. that’s what i do when i play tennis, but im sure it would translate easily to workout motivation. i play for the gay!:]

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    Just as I was going regularly over break and *gasp* making friends at the gym in my apartment complex, they go and suddenly decide to close it for renovations. So I got really pissed off and frustrated that I no longer had anywhere to work out, and then realized I’ve had the Nike+ shoes & iPod nano watch since last summer, and haven’t run once. I ended up walking (still working on the running) 5 miles on Saturday and 5 miles early this morning! Go me!

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    yay this is so great! when the last post came out i was in the middle of deciding whether to get a gym membership or not. i was inspired and did it and i also got a new job so i’ve started biking to work almost everyday! i find when i just head to the gym right after work without thinking about it (or if i do think about it, i convince myself i can take it easy), once i get going i push myself harder because it’s now on my own terms and i have nothing to rebel against. i’m also less inclined to overeat because i’m keeping myself busy and for some reason i don’t crave processed foods/alcohol after working out either! the biggest benefit i’ve noticed thus far though (after 2 weeks) is how much softer/clearer my skin has gotten! also my mood is better! even when i was pmsing! yay, thank you all for the inspiration :D

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      ps the other day i made a kale salad with soy ginger sauce, lemon juice, cranberries, pecans, almonds, and chick peas/garbonzo beans. soooo good! also, kale chips are super easy and amazeballs. and it’s seasonal!

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    This column is all kinds of awesome.

    I love running outdoors, hate running on treadmills in the gym. Anyone have any tips for running outside when the weather is bad i.e. rainy and cold? Otherwise will have to resort back to the gym next winter.

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    Top five reasons wall climbing is killer for working out:

    1) You improve really fast, which means faster results, which makes it easy to stay motivated
    2) You can do it by yourself, or as many people as you want
    3) Climbing gyms have a lot of walls that range in difficulty, so you can do it for a really long time and still challenge yourself daily
    4) Girls in tank tops. Everywhere.
    5) Climbing is a really good exercise for both your hands and forearms. Two things that no lesbian I know would turn down!

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    As a person who can eat nothing but cheeseburgers and remain a miniature human, the emphasis I see in a lot of mainstream workout/nutrition media on losing weight is extremely frustrating to me. If I lose any weight, I start flirting with the “underweight” BMI category (as useful as that is).

    I recommend getting in the pool, everyone. Swimming is a great all-over body workout (even just walking through the water can build strength and endurance) while staying low-impact on your joints, and there is nothing more satisfying than feeling your body slice through the water. And if you hate swimming laps, try something else! Water polo, synchronized swimming (I did it all through high school, it’s great fun), even water aerobics – I used to teach water aerobics classes, and trust me, the old ladies will love ya.

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    I only have access to a treadmill and every time I get in the swing of running on it, my shins start to kill after a couple of days! What do I do?? The weather is super crappy where I am and I don’t want to stop doing cardio. Will the pain go away if I just power through?

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      I had this same problem in my knees when I first started running. I needed to build up my cardio without damaging anything in the process, so I started doing 35 minutes a day on the eliptical. I did this for 3 – 4 weeks, then starting alternating running and walking in short bursts on the treadmill. I can run up to 2 miles now with no problems, so I would recommend just going easy on the shins until your body has had time to adjust.

      But, I’m no health expert.

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      Make sure you’re stretching properly, too! Do that calf stretch where you prop your foot up against something (wall, step, cute girl) and stttrrrrreeeeeeetttttcccccchhh. Super good for preventing shin splints.

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    I steam my kale in a covered saucepan until it’s soggy-ish, add a squeeze of lemon, and put a fluffy poached egg with salt and pepper on top of it. Runny eggs taste REALLY good on kale.

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    My workout/look good for myself (and my mom) is simple.

    Homemade soup. Get some veggies. Low sodium broth. Go to town.

    Then make a playlist of your 20 favorite songs to dance to. Then dance. The best part is trying to sing all the words at the same time. It’s like Living Room Broadway.

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