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Hi friends! If you read my post last Monday, then you know I was looking forward to getting back in the swing of things after being out of town for a few weeks for my wedding + honeymoon and being sick for a week. I also shared a roundup of my favorite athleisure items (all currently on sale) in Friday’s post because lets face it, few things are more motivating than a new workout outfit or a fresh pair of kicks. Today for motivation Monday, I’m sharing my struggle with cardio. It’s a little hard to share, because I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and I feel like this should just come easily. However, I figured if it’s something I struggle with, then there are probably others who do, too.
It’s not that I completely hate cardio, it’s just that I haven’t found a form of it that I’m great at and that I consistently love. I’ve never been a runner. Despite always wanting to be and trying time and time again, it seems that every time I get back into the swing of it and am able to run a mile or two without stopping, it gets really cold outside or really hot. I enjoy being outside when the weather is pleasant, but layering up to go for a run in the middle of winter or being outside when its 100 degrees outside unless I’m by a pool isn’t my idea of enjoyable.
I’m not really too into spin classes, either. I loved going when my sister-in-law taught, but generally, group classes are tough for me because I am very picky about the instructors and overall vibe of the class. First and foremost, I’m not going to be motivated if the instructor doesn’t have the kind of body I’m trying to achieve. Secondly, I don’t like being yelled at, because that doesn’t motivate me, it just annoys me. I also don’t like when instructors come around and mess with your resistance. I’m all for the motivation to push myself, but I like it to feel positive. I stopped spinning when I started going to see a trainer here in Dallas named John Benton. John is called the hips whisperer and he mainly helps his clients with reducing their hip measurements. His advice was to avoid spin, because the resistance used in so many spin classes won’t typically help reduce the legs and hips. I gain weight in my legs or hips first, and it’s always been a ‘problem’ area for me, so I will take all the help I can get and just decided to listen to him. Yes, spinning tones your legs up, but that wasn’t necessarily the exact goal of mine. I would love to go to spin classes and just do it to get my heart rate up without much resistance at all, but so many instructors walk around and turn up your resistance constantly so I don’t usually love to go because it feels like a constant battle. I do like biking, so if I can ride on my own with little to no resistance or if I can find an instructor I really like who understands what I’m trying to achieve then that is great. John’s group classes are definitely that for me, but when looking to find some that are mostly cardio, I have struggled. Group classes can also get expensive when some run $30/class! For someone like me who works out 5ish times a week.. that is a big extra cost. Particularly on something I know I can do on my own when I have the right mindset.
I used to be able to force myself to do 20 or 30 minutes of the stair master, because I could actually focus on a tv show while doing it, which made the time go fast, but again it’s not the best for slimming down legs and hips. I can never watch tv on a treadmill because I can’t focus on it and without it I get bored real easy and again, I am just not great at it. My favorite would probably be to go on a long walk outside with my dog, my husband, a friend, or a really good playlist. But walking four to five miles takes an hour or so which is is tough to do some days on top of a resistance workout and then again, we have the weather factor. When working out, I prefer to actually be going somewhere rather than sitting on a machine staring at the same thing for half an hour or more, so I plan to FINALLY buy a bike in the next few months so I can ride it around when it cools down here. Whenever I can do a workout with a friend, thats an added bonus because its getting to spend time with them doing something good for us, which I think is such a nice alternative to happy hour!
I know, by now I probably sound like Goldilocks where I want it juuuuuust right. My pickiness when it comes to workouts annoys me, but especially when typing this out. There are some days I get a random urge to run or I’ll walk outside in any weather, so really.. this is how I feel most of the time, which makes having my ‘go-to’ cardio workout tough. In order to look forward to my workouts and to let them serve as a mental release or escape, I need to like what I’m doing almost every time. This is why I change up my workouts a lot! It not only keeps my body guessing, but it keeps my mind from getting bored, and allows me to approach them with a fresh perspective.
Before our wedding, I did almost no cardio. I’d start a workout session with about fifty jumping jacks and that’d be about it. Maybe once every two weeks I would jog a mile on the treadmill by splitting it up into 3-4 intervals and doing pushups or something between each. I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t get my act together and do cardio, because I know I needed to. I also know that its something I need to do going forward. Not only to help me get where I want to be physically, but because it is a good mental challenge and of course, it’s good for your heart. I decided coming back from our wedding that I would find a way to learn to love cardio again. I wouldn’t just put it off until when the cooler weather hit. I would start now and then by the time Fall comes, I’m sure I’ll be eager to change it up again and go for walks or even runs outside.
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I’ll be trying a few different cardio workouts and sharing them with you all along the way so if you’re like me, maybe you can find a way to work it into your workout routine even if it’s not your favorite. This past week, I started doing some cardio dance videos by Amanda Kloots. You can get unlimited access to her 40 minute video online for $20 and then stream it as much as you want. There are a few dances on it, and she teaches you all the moves first, then you do a dance. I just stuck to the first dance last week and will move on to the second this week. I’ll warn you that coordinated dancing isn’t my thing either, but its fun. You can throw it on in your living room and do it however you want. She also has a jump rope video that I got and will be trying out, mixed in with some good ole classic jump roping, soon. I found her workouts because she trains one of my favorite bloggers, Arielle Charnas of Something Navy, and they always seem to be having so much fun while doing these dance workouts!
I also plan to try a few other workouts and will report back with what I think! I really like changing up my workouts based on my mood, but overall I like to totally switch it up every 2-3 months. If I miss something, I’ll go back to it. I am lucky that I don’t mind resistance workouts, especially when they are done in a circuit style, so if you like those and need some new ones to try, be sure to check them out under my ‘health’ section! I switch up what I do for those regularly, which keeps me from getting bored with them.
Just FYI, no this post isn’t sponsored. I just want to share what I’m doing with you all and maybe you’ll find a new workout you love! If I do partner with any gyms or anything along the way.. I’ll let you all know, as always! If you have any recommendations for cardio based workouts I should try, please let me know! I’m open to trying anything!
Reflecting at the end of this, maybe it’s not that I struggle with cardio as much as I just want to change things up regularly. I want my workouts to be enjoyable, to be something I look forward to, and to be a time to relieve stress. I’m the same way with my wardrobe in terms of changing things up and have been trying to be more that way with products I use, because I don’t want to get into a rut in any aspect of life. I’m excited to keeping challenging myself with new forms of cardio and hopefully inspire you all to try something new and change it up if you’re someone who only runs or goes to spin! XO