16 August 2011

A Change Moving Forward

I know this is a cooking/food blog, but starting today I am venturing from that theme a little bit.  Oh, there's still food here, don't get me wrong, but there are going to be a few more "lifestyle" posts as well, focused mainly on exercise.

Its a constant challenge for me to find a balance between delicious, often quick dinners with healthy food.  And find time to exercise within my busy schedule and usually tight budget.  I've been trying to lose a few pounds this summer, which has been an added challenge.  I feel like I've always eaten pretty healthy, and have become really frustrated with my inability to keep off the weight I lost last summer (in fact, I put on every pound I lost, plus a few extra).  I know I have a huge sweet tooth and I love southern food... but I also love fruits and veggies and try to keep fruits and veggies as about 75% of my diet.

So at the beginning of the summer, Jonathan and I set out to lose weight together (and by together I mean both on the same program and keeping each other posted long distance) on Weight Watchers.  We both signed up for Weight Watchers Online, and the weight has just been following off Jonathan.  Not so much for me... It has been very discouraging.

I figure there are other people out there with the same struggles (maybe even some who might read my blog occasionally, hint hint, you know who you are!).  And I have come across a lot of other blogs that focus on healthy food and exercise of some sort (yoga, running, whatever).  I've also found that I hold myself more accountable when other people know that I am supposed to be doing whatever workout, and I think the same jut may be true for other people out there.  So here's the plan: I am going to aim for posting some new or interesting workout occasionally, around once or twice every month.  And let you know how it worked for me.  I like having a lot of options... variety is the spice of life!

Today I give you... the Playing Card Workout

This one is simple and you can make it as physically challenging as you want.  I like to work through the reps pretty quickly, because I feel like that way it gives me a cardio workout in addition to the strength.  And I have a bizarre mindset that no good workout comes without cardio.  This is my go-to quick, easy workout because it is so versatile.  I can do it almost anywhere, anytime.  And I can make it focus on whatever area of the body I want.  It is a great workout for travelling because it doesn't require much equipment and it doesn't take long.  And its a good one for busy schedules for the same reason - you can use a 30 minute break from studying to knock this out.

What you'll need:
A deck of playing cards
An open area on the floor or a yoga mat

Assign an exercise to each suit in the card deck.  These exercises should be pretty short reps, most of which you can do with just your body weight or a handheld dumbbell.  You can do whatever you want to focus on, but as a guideline, pick 4 of these:  crunches, sit ups, bicycles, side crunches, push ups, back hypers, squats, calf raises, leg raises, plank (1 rep = 5 seconds).  For ease of explanation, lets assign the following:
     Clubs - crunches
     Spades - push-ups
     Hearts - back hypers
     Diamonds - bicycles
Assign a number of reps to each card.  Every card that has a number (2-9), just do that number of reps.  Face cards all get a value of 10 reps.  As a treat, aces are all a 1-minute break!

Do The Workout:
Shuffle the cards.  Draw the top card and do the exercise it says for the number of reps on the card.  So if you draw a jack of clubs, do 10 crunches.  Discard that card, draw the next one, and do the assigned exercise.  Continue until you've worked your way through the whole deck of cards.

Good Luck!

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