A constant struggle – physical fitness. For me, anyhow. I have a sedentary job that finds me on a computer and at a desk for the bulk of the day. I struggle to get even the minimum recommended exercise worked into my day and I happen to really really like food. The demands of my job over the last couple years, combined with every day life, my age and a self-inflicted knee injury a few years back during a half-marathon found me at my highest weight and least fit I’ve ever been just prior to my Sabbatical.
One of the goals of a sabbatical is to renew and refresh oneself. I used to do this by hiking, canyoning and backpacking the outdoors. Unfortunately, my weight has made it challenging to get into my technical gear, and my lack of fitness has curtailed my outdoor activities. One of my goals during my sabbatical was to focus a bit on myself and my health and well being…and so I have and I’ve dropped about fifteen pounds in the last seventeen weeks!
How am I doing it, you might wonder? Well, not without some help and some tools, that’s for sure. The bulk of this weight-loss has been achieved through old-fashioned calorie restriction, aka dieting. I write down everything that I eat – and I track it against a target. There are several great tools to help you do this – I’ve used MyFitnessPal (and their complementary phone app), I’ve dabbled with SparkPeople (though I have not used their mobile app), but the program I always seem to get back to is Weight Watchers. There’s something about the points system that seems to work better for me than strict calorie calculations. Unfortunately, the weight watchers program is not free, but it does work for me – and once I get back to my goal weight, my meetings and e-tools will be free. It’s added motivation to get there, and to stay there this time.
As for the exercise-portion, that’s always been hit-or-miss. I have a gym membership, though I generally dislike working out at a gym. Since I’m rather addicted to my smart-phone, I’ve also found a couple apps that I’ve found helpful (unfortunately both are iPhone only at this time). The first, for motivation, is Fitocracy – log exercise, get points – it makes getting the exercise logged like a game. I like being able to see what kinds of workouts friends are getting in, and it gives me ideas of other exercises to try. The other program I really like is a complement to the book: You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren. The app basically has a whole pile of body-weight exercises complete with suggested workouts and videos that illustrate each routine. Getting in a workout with this app has made it so no gym is necessary – it’s been the best $2 I’ve spent in a while.
Getting in my cardio exercise continues to be a little bit of a struggle, so I’ve pulled out my pedometer and dusted it off. More on that in another post. Do you have any favorite sites/tools/Apps to help you maintain your health and wellness? If so, I’d love to hear them!