Tuesday, April 19, 2016

No Pain, No Gain...

So, confession time...
Up until last Monday, I had not worked out regularly since probably last fall. There were a couple of times that I managed my heavy bag workout, but overall I have simply not felt like doing anything. Now this really does come as quite a surprise to me, as I have always been a person who exercises at least six days a week, starting in my teenage years and continuing up until the last year or so.

I can actually remember when I was younger, probably in my 20's, and a woman my age would say she just didn't have time to work out, or didn't care to work out, or if she did, it was on a 'when I get around to it' basis, and I felt so shocked! How in the WORLD could anyone possibly go more than a day without working out???

Fast forward 20 years or so, and I am that woman! It's not that I don't want to look firm and toned like I did just a few years ago, because I do...I really, really do! I just don't want to have to work at it, and wish it could magically happen. Flash back to reality where we all know that if you don't put in the time to exercise, you are not going to see any results...no pain, no gain, as the saying goes.

Well, what is a woman to do about this? For me, I have to be careful what type of workout I do, since I tend to build muscle easily, and can actually end up looking bulkier or larger, instead of slimmer, which is my main reason for working out to begin with.
Yes, I know the health benefits are very important too, but if we're being honest, don't we all really exercise for the weight loss and muscle tone? Of course we do, and my top three workouts to help slim, firm, & tone without becoming bulky are the Free Standing Heavy Bag (you can read my review here), a combination of Winsor Pilates & Callanetics, and simply walking
(although around here it's usually more like hiking).

Last Monday I decided I would start off with Pilates & Callanetics. I'm still feeling a bit weak and congested after my long bout of influenza at the beginning of the month, so I really didn't feel like doing anything too strenuous just starting out again. I must say that all of the stretching really has felt good, and I can feel my core starting to strengthen again, too. So far I managed to exercise every day last week, except for Sunday, and plan to try and continue (to the best of my ability) to do so from here on out. Realistic? Maybe not, but you never know if you don't try. :)

So girls, on another (semi-related) note...
don't we all agree that a cute outfit to do your workout in is part of the 'fun' of exercising?
After all, there's got to be some initiative to endure all that sweating and pain!
Am I right?

I personally have several 'go to' pieces in my 'workout wardrobe' that I've acquired over the past several years, and they are still going strong today...not from lack of use, but because the quality of the items were very good to begin with.
The majority of the items I wear came from Athleta, but I did pick up a few pieces from the sale rack of TJ Maxx as well (always love finding bargains at that store).
In true 'me' fashion, I spent a bit of time doing some online window shopping so that I could share some cute workout clothing options with you, because after all...
you know that I love to share that kind of stuff. :)

Take a peek at my picks...

On another workout related note...in my post yesterday I mused that I had ordered two of these water bottles from Amazon, and think that they are fabulous. They have received a 4.5 star rating out of over 3500 reviews actually.
I bought the grey (in case my hubby wants to carry one, although I love the color for myself, as well) and the pink w/pink cap (so very cute, and such a fun, happy color, too).
One of my get healthier/stay healthier goals is to drink at least 64oz. of water a day, and this water bottle is really helping me to keep that goal so far. It's easy to tote around, and I don't have to worry about the water spilling or leaking out everywhere.

How has your exercise and workout routine been going these days? Are you able to keep a consistent schedule going, or do you tend to slack off these days like I have been doing? What sort of workouts do you prefer to do? Do you have any favored brands of workout clothing?
Do share...it's always fun to hear from you. :)


  1. Hi Melissa - fun topic! A hot yoga studio opened up a mile down the road, so I've been doing hot yoga and barre classes a few times a week since October and have really enjoyed it. When I was pregnant (4 years ago - feels a lot longer than that!), I gained most of the weight in my upper body and postpartum, found it really hard to lose even though I was back at my pre-baby weight. Barre and yoga were the only things that I found that really toned my arms and had me looking like my old self, but better. I totally believe the idea that it's not what exercise you do, but that you have to find something that you like so that you'll keep it up. Even though I'm happy with the muscle tone that I've gained, the stress relief benefits have also been great...especially with a preschooler in the house!

    As far as workout clothes, because I'm taking classes in a 90+ degree room, they definitely have to be wicking. The first couple of classes, I wore some cotton/nylon yoga pants and I was SO uncomfortable! I really like Athleta's Chi tanks and Straight Up capris - they wash really well and I'd say the cost per wear is pennies now, even in just 6 months. Plus, because I can use Gap rewards at Athleta it kind of takes the "sting" out of expensive workout clothes. Thanks for this post - it's interesting to read about others' routines and even gives me some ideas. : )

    1. Hi silver_lining! Thanks for sharing your experience with hot yoga and barre classes. They both sound fantastic, as do the benefits. I had been invited to attend a barre class when I lived in Florida, but couldn't make the specific date (it was a special event), and now unfortunately we don't have either a barre or hot yoga class in our small town. I think there may be a couple in Kalispell & Whitefish though, so hopefully I can give them a try there sometime.

      I have also had really good luck with Athleta. The prices due lean to the spendier side, but the garments last for years, and like you said the CPW ends up being minimal, at best. In fact, I haven't had to place an order with them for over 3 years now because my last purchases are still going strong. :)

  2. Like you, I've been working out regularly since college. I've always belong to a gym and I usually take classes (step, cycling, boxing, etc -- tho don't do the first two any longer.) I used to do more independently as well(running), but had to cut back a bit after issues starting popping up (knees and feet). Had to start physical therapy for the former last year :-/

    Agree with silver_lining that the trick is to find something that you like so that you can keep it up. I usually take the same classes 4 days a week and I like to take the weekends off. I probably need to change my routine up a bit if I'm honest w/myself -- I go out of habit and in hopes of maintaining a healthy weight, etc, but I think I've reached a plateau for a while now. I've been curious about pilates, on my list.

    Hope you're having a good week!

    1. TM93 - I'm so sorry to hear about the physical therapy...no fun at all! I used to love to run, but now it absolutely kills my knees (not just during but for days after), so I've had to give it up. I can walk or hike without too much issue thankfully, but my running days are over. I really miss it, too.

      Pilates is really fantastic, although it takes some getting used to when you are in the routine of doing classic cardio type workouts. When I'm feeling healthier, I like to alternate the pilates with my walks or heavy bag workouts, so that I still feel like I'm getting good cardio. The pilates is wonderful for stretching your muscles and tightening your abs. It also helps all the other areas, too. Give it a try if you get the chance, and let me know what you think! :)

  3. Great post Melissa and I really appreciate the recommendations for workout clothes, I need some badly. Like silver lining I have found a hot yoga/ barre studio that I love, this has been great for me because in October I sprained my ankle quite badly and was off of my routine for a few months to let it heal, ugh it was so frustrating. As a kid I did ballet and I was a distance runner, as an adult I've done pilates, lots of Classical Stretch/Essentrics as well as gym workouts. The barre workouts are by far my favourites, I just love it. I'm getting used to the yoga too, as long as the class is fast paced I like it, and the heat is actually nice.
    Good luck getting back into your routines! I agree water is key, I also use my vitamix to whip up a large green smoothie every morning: kale, cucumber, and apple, fresh ginger and turmeric and a bit of honey, add ice and water and blend the heck out of it. Even my husband likes it.
    Have a wonderful week. XOX

    1. Thanks Dani! You know, my favorite workout bottoms are the skirted ones. I love that I feel comfortable and able to move, stretch, etc., in them, but still covered up enough that if someone stops by, or I have to run an errand, I'm not self-conscious about my bum. They are pretty cute on, too. :)

      I have those classical stretch dvds, too. I bought them after you discussed the exercises on your blog. I was just thinking about them the other day, and wondering where they are. I really want to dig them out since I enjoyed all of her routines immensely when I was doing them.

      The barre classes seem like the perfect combination, with the pilates, yoga, dance, music, etc. I can see why you enjoy them so much! I really wish we had one here! I'm definitely going to try to at least get to the studio in Whitefish that offers them though.

      Having a Vitamix is the best, isn't it? Even my boys love the green smoothies and protein shakes that I make with mine. I do find it more difficult to drink the smoothies in the winter when I just want a warm breakfast, but now that it's starting to warm up again, they are back in rotation. :)

  4. I do best with exercise classes which are scheduled and have someone telling me what to do and the camaraderie of classmates. I take a variety including yoga sculpt, spinning, boot camp, cardio blast etc. I work out more now than I did in the past since my kids are older. I do like Athleta and stalk their sale rack. I also have a few pieces of Gaiam yoga wear from Kohl's. Keep up the great work, Melissa!

    1. Thanks Jean! I haven't yet tried a spinning class, but it's on my list of workouts to do, too. In fact, I'd like to try all of the classes you're taking. We don't really have any here locally, other than Zumba, but the larger cities offer more of a variety when it comes to workout and classes. Hopefully I'll have some time this summer to try out a few. :)

  5. My only exercise is playing tennis and clothes for that are fun but the skirts and dresses probably wouldn't cross over to be practical for other sports. I've found things at TJMaxx, Nordstrom, Kohls, Lululemon (via eBay), and tennis specialty online retailers. If you know your size in a brand, eBay is great, I've had good luck there.

  6. I just love all those little tennis skirts, cate! I think that's one of the main reasons the skirted workout leggings are my favorite for the types of exercise I do. They remind me of a tennis skirt, but give me the extra coverage for pilates, heavy bag, etc. Thanks for the tip about Ebay. I hadn't thought to look there for workout clothing, but will be sure to search it now. :)