Variety is the spice of life and it is also the not so secret ingredient to Weight Loss. During my weight loss journey over the last two years, I have found that I could break through a plateau by switching it up. That goes for switching up food choices but as importantly exercise.
I have done 10+ exercise routines besides my old standby – walking. Here are 10 of those exercise routines starting with those that I began with when I was 350+ and moving to my latest favorite – spinning. Hope these give you some ideas for your own journey into health.
- Water Aerobics – This is a great exercise when you are first starting out (and great all the time). At the time I started it, I was 350+ and could walk less than a quarter mile without getting winded. I was a little self conscious wearing a bathing suit but it was a way to get moving and not put a lot of stress on my joints.
- Elliptical – You may think the next exercise would be walking but when I got into the 330+ range, I could still not walk comfortably. My back would tighten up after less than a half mile. This was very humbling for a guy who did 20+ mile marches back in his younger days. But I needed to get some fitness back first so I went on the elliptical trainer for a good part of 6 months. What I would do is intervals – first level 1 – 5 (a minute each) and then 5 – 10. We had a Facebook exercise group started by Sister In Law Sheri and each day I would post a poem about my exercise that day. An example during this time period: 5 miles of the typical, rocking the elliptical (Ok not a perfect rhyme but just starting out!)
- Yoga – No I still was not walking well so each Saturday I did beginner’s Yoga. This by far was the best weight loss exercise. I did not expect it. I am not a natural Yogi. First, I am as a flexible as a rock. Second, I am the opposite of calm. But I really wanted to get back to walking so I tried it. I lost 8 lbs in one class trying to do the Sun Salute routine. I never quite accomplished it. In fact, I once cratered and fell into the wall. This caused the Yoga instructor who was very calm to come up to me and say “It is ok. Get to your calm spot” I got into the child pose and muttered under my breath – “I do not want to be calm; I want to do a Sun Salute”. Even though I still struggle, the Downward Dog and other stances loosened me up so I could begin walking.
- Walking and Hiking – Now that I had some of the weight off I began to walk and Hike. I spoke about my practice of the Beer Walk – find your favorite Bar that resides of a trail and walk there – in an earlier blog. Walking/hiking is the ultimate exercise and you can do it even when working. Below you see me at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin taking a call for work. I got a little enamored with walking, so much so that once I reached my goal weight, I walked 50 miles in one day – A Kennedy Walk in honor of Veterans and renewed health. But that is for a different blog!
- Tabata – Near the end of my Weight Loss journey, I got stuck for 4 weeks and could not lose weight and even gained some weight. That is when I learned about Tabata – which was an exercise routine established in Japan. It is bursts of high intensity exercise all out with brief periods of rest. I got an app on IOS called Tabatach (Tabata and watch – there are others). I did this after my walk and it kicked the weight loss back into gear.
- Weight Lifting – I also went to an old stand bye during this time – weight lifting. I still practice the total fatigue lifting process that was taught to me by my football coaches – Hank “the Tank” Kearns and Charlie Pirello from Northern Burlington football. You do 8 -12 reps and then negative reps (usually need a partner) until you burn out that muscle group. You then move on to the next largest muscle group until you complete a circuit. This really revs up the weight loss.
- Fun Runs (and I do mean Fun) – Now that I could move well, I started to do Fun Runs again. I went back to the BIX – a 7 mile run in the Quad cities that my Brother and Sister In Law host. I had not done it in over 10 years. This year I completed it and had a little fun along the way! See me below singing Karaoke along the course!
- Dancing – I love to dance. I am best when it is non-choreographed but have taken a number of Zumba classes. I once completed 20,000 steps (a later blog) dancing from midnight to 2 AM dancing to the 80’s cover group the Spazmatics.
- Functional Integrated Training (F.I.T) and Body Weight Exercises. – I wrote in my blog about how I progressed from the Water Aerobics to F.I.T on a previous blog. F.I.T. involves cardio with weights and body weight exercises to get the best of both worlds. Also with the weight off, I could now do push ups again! Maybe not up to West Point Clicker-board but you judge. Here are some of the 200 pushups I did on the Veteran’s day walk that I just conducted.
10. Spinning – My most recent love is Spinning in courses offered at Life Time. AMP, Power, Edge – I do them all. I especially like Corey’s Edge class on Sunday’s along with the latest hip hop tunes.
And there you have it! I could have even added my Rocky (boxing routine) but that is enough for now. Get out there in 2018 and Spice It Up!