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Thinking Outside the (60 inch) Box

This morning I went for a run. By myself. And it wasn’t because I was being chased by a potential assailant; it was because I felt like it.

Twelve weeks ago, this was not a statement I could have ever imagined declaring.

After all, I own more than 75 workout DVDs ranging in every kind of exercise from cardio-kickboxing to extreme weight training. What do I need to run for?

Hmm…how about because I burn an average of 100 calories per mile when I do it and can burn as many and sometimes more calories doing a 25-minute run than I burn when I do a 55-minute cardio DVD?

Running is just one of the many ways my phenomenal trainer has taught me to “bring it” outside of my living room. Let me count my favorite ways…

  1. Swimming: I’ve never really “swam” so much as I have hung out in pools. When Jackie pulled out the flippers and belly board I knew I was in for it! One mildly-terrifying incident with what turned out to be a toy frog and 400-meters later, I was very aware of every muscle in my body from the minute I stepped out of the pool and for several hours later.
  2. Stair Intervals, aka “Hell with Jackie”: This workout gives new meaning to the phrase “taking the stairs.” To the point I think it should now be called “owning the stairs.” Run 320 flights of stairs with an occasional “break” between flights to do crunches, push-ups and tricep dips and call me in the morning. Seriously, I want to know how you feel.
  3. Tabata Training: This High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) business is no joke! Seven tortuous challenges, from burpees to 20-pound bicep curls—as hard as you can go for 20 seconds each with only 10 seconds of rest in between. Repeat 4 times. Ten seconds never felt so glorious!
  4. Jump Rope/BOSU core intervals: The most fun and effective core workout I’ve done. And it incorporates my two new favorite pieces of fitness equipment: a speed rope and a BOSU ball. Grab yours and do 50 jump ropes, 20 crunches, 12 prone back extensions and 24 oblique crunches.  Repeat 5 times. Tell me if you don’t fall in love with the sound of that jump rope slicing through the air…or your incredibly shrinking waistline.

Not only do I now have a fresh arsenal of workout strategies, but things that never would have crossed my mind in the recent past are now second-nature. For instance, whenever I find myself waiting for someone (like my always-late nail lady), I walk around the block a few times instead of sitting down with a magazine.

I’ve also found that I really enjoy working out outside. And with the Slim Down coming to a close, I needed to find a way to keep the momentum going,  so in addition to running on my own I also signed up for an outdoor group boot camp starting this week! I never would have had the confidence to do either of these things had I not participated in this program.

During one of my final Slim Down workouts, a lady walked over and sat by the fountain at Memorial Park just a few feet from where Jackie and I were working out. She was wearing workout clothes and had some gear with her. She probably sat for a good 15 minutes when about a half-dozen more ladies joined her to sit…and sit.  They were obviously waiting for someone. All I could think about for the next fifteen minutes–between crunches, sprints and calf raises, was how they should have been walking while they waited!

Their trainer arrived eventually and as they began filling out paperwork it became clear it was their first class. I suppose it was sort of appropriate that they were beginning their fitness journeys as I was moving onto the next phase of my own. I’m kind of sad about leaving them “my park” but I’m excited about what’s to come for us all.

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