Every weekday morning, I’m up at the crack of dawn (or earlier, because sometimes 6:00am feels as dark as midnight). I put on my yoga pants or tights, throw on a sports bra and baggy t-shirt, find a pair of socks that were made for sweating. I brush my teeth and wash my face. I drink two glasses of water, one cup of tea and have a bite to eat, all of which are chased down with a multivitamin, vitamin C, fish oil, vitamin D and a calcium pill. Then I throw on my boots (because even though it’s March 16, it still feels like February 2), my coat, a huge scarf, my hat and my mitts. Next thing I know, I’m on the subway going south. When I reach my stop, about an hour after having left my home, I walk for five minutes in the wind to the gym, which is about five minutes east of where I work. I trudge up the stairs in all my winter gear, just to take it all off again and put on my running shoes, fill up my water bottle and cross my fingers that my iPod actually charged the night before. I do all of this just so I can get a half-an-hour of “gym-like” exercise in my day.
A lot of people assume that I’m working out to lose weight, get fit, tone muscle. Sure, all those things are added benefits, but my main goal in exercise is to stay active and feel great. My body is currently at its natural shape and I know that I will probably forever be between a size six and a 10 (clothes all fit differently. I have shirts that are a large but fit the same as some smalls). This is the body I was born with, thus it is my job to take care of it, nurture it, live with it and keep it healthy. No, I am not a health nut. I love fried foods and though McDonald’s makes me sick, I still choose to indulge sometimes. With that being said, I love raw vegetables, I could eat lentils every day and if cherry tomatoes were a type of drug, I’d be addicted.
Sometimes, though, waking up to work out can be a pain. I obviously look forward to singing
really bad amazing Britney Spears songs and the moment I finish my cool down stretching, because I feel like I’ve just won $1 million, but it’s cold at 6:00am and the coziness of my bed feels like if I never left it, there would be no consequences. And, to be honest, some days, I have more energy than others. Sometimes I feel like I can do the stair-master on level 20 for a whole 30-minutes. Other days, even the stationary bike on level one feels like a challenge. Not to mention, the gym can be an intimidating place. People stare, people smell and some people look like they’re about to pop.
To help get me through days when the gym just doesn’t cut it or I’m really achy from the treadmill, I resort to at-home exercise. Though I have done “homemade” routines in the past, I also love incorporating fitness into my day with the following exercise videos:
Five minute routines:
Five minutes with no dumbbells? All good. Andrea Palen has got you covered.
Only have time for a five minute workout or are you looking to add some booty blasting into your daily routine? FitnessBlender has your back (ha).
Is your exercise routine cardio-heavy? Looking to incorporate abs into your workout without taking too much time out of your day? XHIT Daily has this video above, and many others, to strengthen your core.
20-minute yoga/Pilates fusion routines:
Core Fantastic with Kim Wilsion is only about 24-minutes long and not only is it energy-boosting, but it also really works your core (in all places). The intermediate exercises are challenging but easy enough that someone who may become comfortable with the routine can definitely alter it to make for a more intense work out or even practice without the video.
Level 2 Yoga/Pilates Fusion: A Core/Hip Quickie is under 17-minutes and 30 seconds, so it’s perfect for any time restriction. The routine also focuses on stretching and working core and hip muscles. This video pushes viewers to new limits, but also helps to develop confidence for the routine exerciser who is trying yoga or Pilates for the first few times. Needless to say, this video is also great for long-time yoga and Pilates experts who want to add something to their daily practice.
20-minute yoga routines:
Looking to stretch out your back and feel more alert? Practice the above routine by celebrity instructor Colleen Saidman and your desires will be fulfilled.
Hoping for more of a challenging, fast-paced workout that’s still under 25-minutes and enjoyable? Try the above video by instructor Hilaria Baldwin.
Though these videos are great additions to my workout routine, I wanted to highlight the importance of knowing your limits. Never push your body to places it doesn’t want t go. Do what you can and don’t feel discouraged if something is too hard the first time you try it. Build up your strength slowly and never compare yourself to the people on screen. Fitness instructors are fit because it’s in their job title. Their level of fitness may be higher than yours because of their daily routine and work requirements. Stay motivated to be healthy and happy (whatever your definitions of those words may be) and you’ll see results both on your body and, more importantly, in your mind.
What are your favourite exercise routines and why do you practice them?