As a personal trainer and yoga instructor my work is dedicated to helping others feel fit, healthy and inspired. Each person I work with is unique and together we create the best plan for their needs and goals. Often, though, I am asked what I do for myself. Clients want to know about my personal fitness routine. So, this is the first part in a series where I'll share exactly that.
At 47, I'm interested in feeling strong, capable, sexy, flexible and confident in my body. I still want to feel the thrill of a challenge now and again, but I also want to prevent injury and age gracefully. I have learned a lot over the years about when to push myself and when it's time to back off. I hope this sharing helps inspire your own healthy fitness plan. It's now. It's real. It's me. Feel free to reach out with any questions...
Part One: Aura’s Cardio Training
Any good fitness plan has some key components to it- cardio, strength, flexibility, nutrition and stress management. The foundation of my cardio conditioning plan is based on running. I have a long relationship with running and like any long term relationship, it has it's ups and downs! Right now, I run about 3 miles, 3-4 times per week. My favorite time to run is early morning when the world is pretty quiet and it's still cool out. I run outside as much of the year as weather allows. When it gets too cold I spend more time on a treadmill.
I have several great running buddies who keep me going. We make dates and it sure helps motivate me when someone else is getting their butt out of bed early too! My best friend lives on the other side of the country so we coordinate time zones and plug in our phone headsets so that we can each run our own route simultaneously. Yay technology! We talk and run together just as if she still lived in town! We stay connected in friendship and fitness.
On Mondays I run with an awesome woman who I suspect may be the real energizer bunny in disguise. Her positive attitude and challenging pace motivate me to step it up (literally!) every time. On one or two other mornings I run with two ladies who remind me of the deep satisfaction that accomplishing a goal can bring. We enjoy each other's company and the morning air. We run along and share tips on everything from cooking to parenting. Sometimes we basically solve the world's problems in about half an hour- just ask us! I run with my dad- how cool is that?! I also run solo. I don't let myself off the hook if someone can't make it. I still get up and out. That just means it's time for a good soundtrack or sometimes just the sound of my own breath is perfect.
My time running expands and contracts depending on my schedule and the season. Sometimes I reach out and do a 10K or a half marathon. Sometimes a tougher trail run. Running in the mountains makes me feel like a kid again running in the mountains behind my parents house. I can run when I travel- it’s a great way to see a new city!
My other two weekly cardio (I do cardio 5-6 days per week) workouts are usually at the studio on the elliptical. I love to put on my headphones and relive my dancing' queen days at top volume. I try not to sing out loud. I also love road riding my bicycle, but that's not happening as much lately. I am planning to get back on it more during the Fall.
Typically, Saturdays are a day off. I do occasionally miss a day just like anyone! Usually, it's because things just added up, I got too busy and the day got away from me (this is also why I try to go early AM before the day gets going). I try really hard not to let two days in a row go by where I haven't done anything.
For me, Cardio training is a way of managing mood and energy. I can let off steam when things feel stressful or I can generate energy if I am lethargic. It's an emotional release. It's a way to take my busy mind and streamline it into productive ideas and insights. By the time I finish a run I generally have a much better grasp on what's important and what's not. It's also a time when I have my best ideas. Something about the rhythmic breathing and motion frees up my creative brain. Not every session is fabulous. Sometimes I feel like my legs weigh a ton and "run" is an exaggeration of what I am doing. Other times I feel like a bionic bad ass! It's unpredictable, maybe that's part of the fun, but I'm never sorry I did it.
Here are some tips I've learned over the years. I know that running isn’t for everyone. They apply to any form of cardio you might choose:
- Be willing to be flexible. Sometimes the time, location or activity has to change.
- But BE CONSISTENT. Keep showing up and you will get stronger and it will get easier!
- I always keep a bag packed with my workout clothes and shoes in my car. It also has extra stuff for wind and rain. No excuses.
- Some is always better than none. A twenty minute power walk is better for your body (and head) than twenty minutes on your Facebook page. Every time.
- Look for opportunities. Waiting for your kid at soccer practice? How about walking around the field instead of sitting in the car?
- Use exercise as catch up time with friends. Technology has made it easy to walk and talk with friends. Better yet, invite a friend or family member to join you live! Build your support network.
-Create commitment. I make dates with others. I sign myself up for events like 5K runs in advance so that I have something to work toward and an accomplishment to celebrate! I also write my workouts into my planner along with all my other appointments. It is no less important than anything else.
- Know when it's time for a rest day. Don't push through illness or exhaustion. Be patient and self compassionate.
Stay tuned! Next time I will share what I do for strength training. Meanwhile, I hope to "run into you" soon!