“Girl look at that body, I workout”

Yeah, so, the title of this post is a cheesy reference to a LMFAO song. A song I don’t really like. But it’s but in my head today because my boyfriend kept talking about “party rocking” yesterday. Also, when I think about exercising, that song gets into my head.

Why am I veering off topic? It’s all a rouse to distract you from the fact that I’ve haven’t posted on this blog for four months. Four months during which I’ve been working hard at an internship at a tech blog, VentureBeat, maybe you’ve heard of it. Anyway, how are you?

I break my blog radio silence today to write about exercise. At the beginning of this year I joined a gym (whoo!) and no, I didn’t just go for two weeks in January and never look back. I try to hit good ol’ Planet Fitness at a minimum of once per week. But when I first started, it was a confusing journey into gym land; a place filled with tons of people who looked like they knew exactly what they were doing, and me who felt like I just jumped fell down the rabbit hole.

Learning how to exercise is far more complicated than it needs to be. Just Google “workouts for women” and try to sift through that several-million-hit mess. We’ve got Women’s Health, Self Magazine, Fitness Magazine, thousands of blogs, Pinterest boards, and resource upon resource designed to help women and men lose belly fat, get trim, look awesome in a bikini, get buff, blah, blah, blah. Uh, pardon my language, but f*ck that.

I learned quickly how much utter bullshit is on the Internet, on TV, and in magazines in regards to exercising. There is tons of conflicting and confusing information that does nothing but make us complete crazy when all we want to do is get healthy and look healthy.

During my journey to find the right advice for me, I’ve found a few tidbits of wisdom that I’m sharing here. A few blog shout-outs, a few helpful tips, and some sanity to hold on to while you wade through crappy fitness advice. I make no warranties on how spot-on accurate what I list is, all I can tell you is this stuff works for me, makes sense, and doesn’t seem to make false promises.

  • Cardio is good, but weightlifting is awesome. I was terrified to venture into my gym’s weightlifting area, with all those buff men and women who could throw a dumbbell around with ease. But once I felt how awesome a free weight felt compared to a machine, I haven’t looked back. BodyBuilding.com is an awesome resource, once you look past the uber-buff people on the site. I’d be lost without their exercise guides, which show you how to use nearly every machine and free weight in any gym.
  • Bodyweight workouts are great for non gym goers. Because getting to gym every day is impossible with my schedule, I have started researching at-home bodyweight workouts — workouts done without any equipment (or very minimal equipment) from anywhere. I just found this awesome “barefoot workout”, that looks challenging but not overwhelming on the “A Life to Bragg About” blog. “Blonde Ponytail” also has some helpful information and videos for workouts.
  • Check out High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabata workouts. Tabata is a form of HIIT, and is based on 20 seconds of high intensity work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated four times. HIIT exercise can be made up any type of exercise you want (running, biking, bodyweight exercise, calisthenics) and there is a good deal of research to support the benefits of HIIT workouts. Plus, you get a workout in a short amount of time, which is great for busy people like me! HIIT intimidated me, until I found workouts that didn’t make it seem so hard. Fit Fab Cities has two simple, easy to follow HIIT Tabata workouts here and here.
  • Drink lots of water daily. Yeah, I know, you hear this a lot. That’s because it’s really, really good for you. Ever since I got the writing internship I have now, I’ve been drinking at least two bottles of water each day, if not more. I could probably stand to drink more water in all honesty.
  • Processed juice shouldn’t be a diet staple. Before I graduated, I saw SFSU’s nutritionist. The first thing she said to me? No more juice, only water and milk. Because juice has so much sugar, it was making me pack on the pounds. Also, because I wasn’t eating the fruit, I was missing out on the fiber and nutrients. Once I dropped juice from my diet, I lost a bit of weight. Of course I still drink it, just not twice a day like I used to and I try to stick with fresh squeezed varieties. It’s more of a once-a-week-if-that beverage, and my waistline is happier for it.
  • More than anything, find what’s right for you. If a magazine or TV show is trying to sell you on the best moves to lose ten pounds/look better in a bikini/get a man, read and listen, but with caution. Take their advice with a grain of salt, research, and decide what’s right for you. If just looking at a picture of a workout freaks you out, don’t force yourself to do! Find a workout with exercises that make you comfortable and interests you. Chop up workouts to make them fit with your comfort level. If that means walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes because you can’t do more than that, then do it and feel good about it! Any exercise is good exercise. Don’t let anyone intimidate you or make you feel like a loser because they can do something you aren’t ready or able to do just yet.

There you go, my bits of exercise wisdom I’ve picked up along my journey. I left out additional diet tips because I am still figuring that part of my life out.

I’m going to start training for my first 5K soon which I’m pumped about. A friend and I are planning to do the Color Run in San Francisco, a 5K run where people throw colored cornstarch at your during parts of the race and by the end you are every color of the rainbow. Hopefully I can get into enough shape to run the entire thing, which would be a triumph because I was that girl walking our P.E. miles in middle school.

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