Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back On Track

After sharing my personal struggles with maintaining a good work/life balance (here), I decided to make some significant changes to my daily routine.  For the last few months, exercise & rest have been taking a backseat to my job responsibilities (simply out of fear that I wouldn't be able to get everything done).  But, at the beginning of April, I was determined to make it a priority for the sake of my own well-being.  Let me just preface this post with saying that I don't workout with the goal of losing weight - I am at peace with my body shape & size and have no desire to fall back into a pattern of restrictive eating & obsessive exercise to meet some unrealistic standard.  My sole purpose for working out is to release stress and tension & to improve my health.

My husband has been incredibly supportive of these new changes and wanted to join in this resolution with me. Since we both work from home, we have started making "workout dates" three times a week, where we head to the gym together to get our exercise in.  For me, it makes such a difference having someone to do it with - there are times where I don't feel like going, but he will encourage me (and vice versa).  Even if we only jog/walk a few miles, we always feel better afterwards.  I will admit that it was really hard at first - lots of sore muscles and fatigue.  But now that we've been doing it a while, I've noticed that I have more energy during the day and I sleep so much better at night. 

As I've mentioned before (here), I have to be careful with the intensity of my exercises so as not to overwork my body and trigger a Lupus flare.  So today I thought I would share a few of my favorite at-home DVD workouts that I would recommend to anyone, regardless of where you are in your fitness journey (no gym membership required!).  And I'm also including a few of my top clothing & shoe picks, because I personally am more motivated to exercise when I have cute gear to wear.  I'm always looking to switch up my routine so I don't get bored - I'd love to hear in the comments below about what workouts you enjoy, so please share!

Workout DVD's
1) Crunch Total Yoga - This is a good option for those just starting out.  Sara Ivanhoe (personal trainer to Jennifer Aniston) walks you through the poses in a way that makes it perfect for beginners or those not already familiar with yoga.
2) Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout - I bought this when I was trying to lose weight after my son was born and I was amazed by how quickly I saw results (she trains Gwyneth Paltrow).  I would say this is more intermediate to advanced - even if you're already in excellent shape, you will definitely feel the burn!
3) Winsor Pilates Maximum Burn Advanced Series - Nothing strengthens my core better than this workout.  All the movements are smooth & flowing, so it's great for those with joint problems or certain injuries.

Sports Bras
Did you know that Forever 21 has an entire activewear line?  I recently had a store credit and couldn't find anything else that I liked, so I ended up buying one of their sports bras on a whim...and now I'm hooked!  I love the strappy details & cool color blocking of these.

Compression Capris
Ever since discovering these Old Navy pants 2 years ago, I haven't bought anything else.  They have a flattering fit, they're comfortable + they hold their shape after multiple washes (also in tall, petite & plus).  Bonus: they're all on sale now!

Athletic Shoes
I don't mind paying a little more for shoes because it's important to have something that's supportive, comfortable and good quality.  I'm partial to NIKE because my husband worked in the running department for 7 years.  If you're not familiar with the fit, these tend to run a little narrow/small, so you might want to go up a half size to be safe.  I like to buy mine at Kohl's - though the brand is typically excluded from their coupons, you can still earn Kohl's cash to use later on other purchases.


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