Try this Super Simple Walking Workout

Last week, I complained to a good friend over Google chat that I needed to workout, but didn’t really feel like doing anything. I’m pretty honest with myself about whether I’m being lazy or truly need a break, and lately my typical HIIT workouts are just too much — they leave me feeling weak and exhausted and not in a good way. Maybe it’s winter and a general lack of vitamin D; maybe it’s the huge career change I haven’t quite settled into, but right now, my body seems to be asking me to cut it some slack.

A Simple Treadmill Walking Workout

This particular friend happens to work for a major gym chain. “Do you want me to give you a workout,” she asked. I responded with, “As long as it’s low impact.” She immediately came up with a treadmill walking workout that included speed and incline intervals, and I totally did it. It was just what I needed to get my heart rate up a bit without the impact of high intensity cardio. I asked her if she minded if I shared it here, and she said go for it.

You can walk this. You can run this. You can do a combo, but I found this to be a perfect antidote to my high-intensity workout blues.

A Simple 25-minute Walking Workout for When You’re Short on Time & Energy

5 minute warm up at an easy pace
1 minute average pace (about .2 – .5 higher than warm up pace)
1 minute + .5 mph
1 minute average pace
1 minute + 1 mph (if walking, this should definitely be a “power walk” speed)
2 minutes average pace
1 minute + .5 mph
1 minute average pace
1 minute + 1 mph (if walking, this should definitely be a “power walk” speed)
1 minute average pace
2 minutes incline level 5
3 minutes incline level 10
5 minute cool down easy pace

Treadmill walking workout - speed and incline intervals and less than 30 minutes

Not sure how to fit this into your busy schedule? Check out how other moms find time for fitness.

Serious Question: Do You Wear Underwear When You Workout?

Welcome to Serious Question, a feature in which I ask a “serious” question and then answer it and cross my fingers that a few of you lovely blog readers will answer it too in the comments section. Be forewarned: This feature will at least sometimes tread into TMI territory.

A few weeks ago at book club, the conversation turned away from books — as it does often/what book? — when someone* posed the question: Underwear while working out… to wear or not to wear?

(We like to talk Shakespearean at book club because, duh, literary.)

Do you wear underwear when you workout?

What is fascinating is that the group was divided — half ALWAYS wear underwear, the other half NEVER wear underwear and one or two ladies were decidedly neutral with “It depends…”

I am on Team No Underwear. The more you know, right?

My journey to no underpants started when I took up running in 2006 and bought running shorts with built-in undies. It evolved from there when I eventually realized that I didn’t have to wear underwear with my workout clothes ever really. I mean, what’s the point? (I know you underwear enthusiasts have opinions on the point.)

For me, the choice to go commando while working out is threefold. First, comfort: Underwear just adds an unnecessary, potentially chaffing layer. Second, lazy (always up there on my lists of why I do or don’t do anything): Wearing underwear when I workout adds to my already unmanageable laundry pile. And finally, vanity: No more panty lines when wearing those yoga pants.

So, serious question: Do you or do you not wear underwear when you workout, and why?

*That someone may or may not have been me. I truly don’t remember. #toomuchprosecco

Happy, Healthy Holiday Tips

I’ll be taking a break from writing extremely long blogs about blogging today, and instead, I will point you to a post I wrote on the Fit4Mom blog about healthy holiday tips.

Healthy Holiday Tips

This week, I talked to our Fit4Mom instructors who provided some great tips about staying healthy and on track during the holidays, which start in one week with Thanksgiving, take us through the December holidays, and end on January 1 when we all decide we can do better than this.

There are a lot of “stay on track during the holiday” tips out there, but I thought the instructors had some great ideas (numbers 5 and 7 are my favorites), so check it out.

Fitness for Moms: Body Back Week 1

After unexpected health challenges, breastfeeding ups and downs, and struggles with my work schedule, the fog of new motherhood began to lift right as Emme hit the one-year mark in August 2013. I was mentally and physically ready to refocus on my well-being again, and for me, that meant getting back into a regular workout routine.

I did some yoga, tried various classes at the gym, and started running again, completing a handful of 5Ks and a 10K over the past year. In February, through my local mom’s group, I signed up to try Body Back — a fitness program for moms from Fit4mom, the same company that offers Stroller Strides.

From Fit4Mom:

[Body Back] is a results-based workout program designed for moms of any age. The workouts offer high intensity, interval formats that give a total body workout with an added combination of motivational support. Whether you just had a baby or had a baby 20 years ago, it will help any mom get her body back. Each session includes before and after assessments, 2 classes per week, Mama Wants Her Body Back DVDs, a nutrition plan, 1 red resistance band, and food journals. This class is for moms only, no children. It is recommended that you be at least 3 months postpartum before beginning this program.

I signed up for an eight-week session of Body Back after the initial trial class. Then I signed up a second time. After bouncing around trying various workouts, it felt like a good fit and a real routine. I enjoyed the classes, which were different every week and never boring; the instructors, who got to know all of us and were supportive; and the other moms, who wanted to encourage each other. And, even though I struggled to stay on track with the nutrition plan, I had solid results. I gained  a lot of strength, lost a couple pounds, and felt good.

I fell off the bandwagon big time this summer. I decided against signing up for another session, opting instead to just “drop in” to classes when I had time. I wasn’t in the best head space, and after months of being in good workout groove, I was coming up with excuses to bail every week.

Around Labor Day, I started to feel a bit more motivated, so in an attempt to get back on track, I signed up for Body Back again. And in an attempt to stay on track, I’m going to post weekly-ish about my progress here.

Session 1
The session began on Tuesday, September 16 in Memorial Park in La Grange Park. The first workout eases you in to the program—we weighed in, took measurements, and did fitness assessments. I love that while Body Back has a weight/fat-loss component, there’s a focus on gaining strength and endurance. We’ll do the same assessment in eight weeks to see how far we’ve come.

The instructor then passed out our materials and explained the nutrition program, which consists of clean eating along with portion control. The booklet includes recipes, a weekly workout plan, and space to track your meals. We also get workout DVDs, which have options for quick 20-minute workouts, so you can stick to the workout plan even if you can’t get out of the house and to the gym for an hour. Since this is my third session of Body Back, I was given the “Advanced” DVD. I already have three others, including one that is ab focused and one that is lower body focused.

Fit4Mom Body Back Materials & Assessments | Mommy Sanest

Not pictured: My resistance band. I was too lazy to get it out of the car.

The bicep curls, push-ups, full sit-ups, and squat numbers are all based on how many I did in one minute; the run (high knees in place), plank, and side-bridge (side plank) were all held as long as I could. Seriously, the run is my worst ever. Sad face.

And that was it! It’s always that easy, right?

Not exactly…

Session 2
Saturday’s Weigh-in: -.2

On Saturday, we did a cardio-strength-ab circuit workout. Cardio included things like burpees, sumo squats, and power squats. The strength interval typically included an exercise that targeted more than one muscle group, so for example, we did bicep curls with a curtsey squat. Ab exercises ranged from basic crunches to fancy planks with leg lifts and knees to the chest. We did each exercise for one minute before moving on the next; repeated the circuit; then moved on to the next set of three exercises.

Our instructor provides modifications, and you can always work at your own level. That said, this workout was challenging and, for the record, typical. I remember when I took my first Body Back class, I was surprised that the class was so tough. But, it’s designed to push you and help you get your fitness to the next level.

Last Week’s Workouts
Monday, September 15: REST
Tuesday, September 16: Body Back Assessment
Wednesday, September 17: REST
Thursday, September 18: Couch-to-5K, run/walk, 35 minutes total
Friday, September 19: Couch-to-5K, run/walk, 35 minutes total
Saturday, September 20: Body Back
Sunday, September 21: Couch-to-5k, run/walk, 28 minutes total

This isn’t my best showing ever, but to be fair, I had a pretty bad head cold. My goal for week 2 is to continue with Couch-to-5k, but also add in the Body Back DVD workouts.

Last Week’s Nutrition
Last week was a mixed bag, nutrition-wise. I did go grocery shopping and spend the weekend making sure I would be ready to hit the ground running with healthy breakfasts and lunches this week though.

Body Back Week 1 | www.mommysanest.comFrom left to right, clockwise:

  1. As a treat “for Emme,” I made SkinnyTaste Low-fat Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins.
  2. My typical breakfast: whole wheat English muffin, peanut butter, and banana.
  3. I made this Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe from Clean Eating magazine and took the leftovers to work for lunch twice last week.
  4. Healthy snack: string cheese and grapes.