Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The "Miracle" Workout

It seems like everyone's always on the lookout for the next "miracle" workout or the "perfect" diet. Remember the 90's and its aerobics and carb craze? Then, there was the Atkin's diet, kickboxing, Pilates, South Beach diet, you name it, someone's done it. In reality, there isn't a single one-size-fit-all method. It's all about what's a miracle for you and what's perfect for you. (Photo Source)

Let's talk about working out. I was not a big fan of working out until Guitar Boy came along with his bicycle and gym membership. He was active and all about eating right while I preferred the couch and didn't think twice about food. Eventually, I felt like a sluggish plump person next to his lean and strong physique. He didn't do anything to cause me to feel like that. I did it to myself and I hated it. It wreaked havoc on my self-esteem and well, that causes problems in a relationship whether you admit it or not.

So, I gave in and went along with him on some of his bike rides. I signed up at the gym and became the cardio queen. 30 minutes on the elliptical and I was out of there, but at least, I was doing something. Then, I built up the confidence to be able to head over to all the weight machines. (It took over a year, really.) It wasn't fun for me though. While I liked doing the cardio, it all eventually got boring. Which is why when I moved and had to end my membership, I was secretly relieved. No more dealing with a bunch of sweaty people; no more fighting for machines; no more feeling like you're being gawked at even when you're really not.

But... I had something else in the wings. Something that I couldn't wait to do, that made me excited, and without fail, made me feel amazing when I was done. I realized, that's what working out should be. It shouldn't be work, it should be just using your body and feeling great about how your body is functioning. My miracle workout is yoga.

Yoga should be for everyone. There's a million ways to go about it, it's very low in cost depending on what you choose to do, and its benefits are endless. You can use it as strength training or to exercise your heart. You can use it to aid in ailments and body aches. You can use it to relax yourself at the end of a long day and to relieve stress. Unfortunately, yoga has a reputation that most "macho" men don't want to go near with a ten foot pole. They're really missing out.

I want to introduce you to my favorite yoga flow. It's called Sun Salutation and it's just a great way to get a stretch in your whole body and to revive yourself. This graphic found through Pinterest is gorgeous and helps you remember all the steps. Plus, you can even do a series of these quickly to raise your heart rate for some cardio. Click to see a version for beginners at Yoga Journal.


It's quick, easy, and cheap to get started. You can look for local yoga classes at your gym, rec center, or yoga studio. Just do a search for yoga and your zip. Or, do what I do. I bought a $5 yoga mat (thank you, Five Below,) and I follow yoga routines found on Hulu (Yoga Zone is my favorite) and Netflix. Sometimes, I hit up YouTube for variety. Esther Ekhart is a great instructor. The only problem with doing it at home is that you're never really sure if you're hitting the positions. Having a mirror nearby helps. So is calling out to your significant other and asking if your "butt is in the right place and if not, can you help?" The answer is usually, "Oh, can I?" with a leer. But that's okay.

The point of yoga is doing it so you improve yourself little by little and feel good. It's not a competition and it's not an instant transformation. Without the pressure of getting results, you can actually enjoy it and that is the best type of workout one can ask for.

What's your miracle workout? Do you like to run for hours? Or are you a Pilates fan? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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