I’ve read a lot of places that it’s good to mix up your workout routine every now and then. Apparently our muscles can become complacent with the same old moves, and the workout stops being as effective. I’ve pretty much given up on running since I finished my 5K. It hasn’t necessarily been on purpose; as much as I decided I don’t love to run, I grew to appreciate its efficiency in calorie burning and covering distance. But without the structure of the training program I just really haven’t been able to make myself do it. I tried to go for a run with Andy one Saturday and only made it about half a mile before I had to call it quits. I was so frustrated with myself that I haven’t attempted it since then. I know if I eased my way back in I could do it, and I probably will eventually. But for now I’m enjoying doing whatever kind of workout I feel like doing.

A typical week has looked something like this:

  • Monday: gym in the morning, usually 35 minutes on the elliptical
  • Tuesday: Pilates on Netflix in the morning
  • Wednesday: swim in the afternoon
  • Thursday: usually nothing, if I'm honest!
  • Friday: gym in the morning, sometimes a walk/run on the treadmill with hills, or elliptical again
  • Saturday/Sunday: walking to run errands or going hiking; this is purely for fun but has the happy side effect of being exercise, too!

I’m enjoying swimming again. I’m definitely slower and have less stamina than I used to, but I swam 3-5 miles A DAY back then, so I can’t complain about that. I’ve been doing around 2000 yards each time I go (a little over a mile), broken down into whatever time and distance intervals feel nice. It’s great to have an activity where I’m not hard on myself because I know it’s good no matter what and I enjoy it so much. I might look into getting some workouts off of a website or from an acquaintance who is a swim coach…or I might just keep doing what I’m doing!

In the spirit of mixing things up, I recently checked this bad boy out from the library:

I’ve heard a lot about the 30 Day Shred and was intrigued enough to want to try it, but not intrigued enough to buy it. It wasn’t available to stream on any of my usual outlets, but the library came to my rescue! This workout absolutely Kicked. My. Butt. The DVD includes 3 20 minute workouts: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each one includes 2 minutes of warmup followed by 3 6 minute circuits consisting of 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, and 1 minute of abs. The strength included pushups and other various movements using light handweights. The cardio was stuff like punching, jumping jacks, butt kicks, and jumping with an invisible jump rope. The abs were mostly run of the mill crunches. Jillian Michaels is one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser, and her modus operandi is to constantly work multiple muscle groups at once. So every arm movement using weights was done in tandem with a leg movement. For example, rowing was done while doing side lunges and chest raises were done while doing squats. She says if you want to lose weight in just a series of 20 minutes workouts you can’t take any rest!

Even though I work out fairly regularly, Level 1 was ridiculously tough, which I think is a testament to the need to mix your workouts up. This mixture of strength and cardio is different from anything I do, and it worked different muscles. I was sore for several days after doing the workout. And by sore I mean, every time I got up from a chair it took me a few tottering steps to convince my legs they wanted to move. I have the DVD for one more week and want to try it again, but I had to recover first! I’m terrified of Level 2, though I might take a  look at it just for curiosity’s sake.

All that to say, I’m not necessarily a 30 Day Shred convert, and I wouldn’t want to use it for my routine workout, but it’s great to have in my pocket to throw something different into the mix occasionally. I won’t be committing to it enough to lose the 20 pounds it claims you can lose in 30 days, but it was a fun experiment. Though ask me how I feel about it again after I try out Level 2…

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman