June has finally here.

The turning of a calendar page has taken on a new meaning for me these days. As I’ve previously said, the transition from one year to the next, as well as the unavoidable pressure of goals, really get to me. I’m seduced by the notion that I can reinvent myself in a matter of months and emerge a year later as a better, stronger version of myself. But the persistent insinuation that a resolve communicates, “You’re not good enough,” irritates me.

When I saw this TED Talk on 30-day challenges, I knew I had an out to my dilemma. I had a complete do-over on the striving each and every month!

Now that a new month has begun, it is time to go on new experiences! Yes to outlandish ideas! What, thirty days? No worries. Away with the long, sluggish slog toward the end of the year, full of shame and self-loathing over not having enough willpower and discipline.

My lazy heart has still discovered loopholes in this notion, so April and May were, well, challenge-free. My proposal for Michelle Obama’s arms flopped. Spanish classes failed after a week. There were some bright points, but it was a slog.

Now I’m back in action, energized by a week spent laughing with my sistahs, getting off the schedule treadmill, spending time in the sun, and looking at my life from the outside for a few days. The only drawback was that I didn’t bring my treatment couch.

Before the trip? Couch-sitting. Lots of blahs. Cravings for comfort foods After the trip? It’s as if I had a metabolic transplant. In less than a week, I completed three bike rides, a run, and some mental yoga. Booyah!

Yes, I’m returning to my tried-and-true regimen of running, biking, and yoga.


Running is very easy. I can get in good exercise with a pair of shoes, a road, and 20 minutes. That’s fantastic. What I appreciate even more is the quiet of my inner critics when I’m doing precisely what they said was impossible, or at the very least highly inconvenient.


Biking is my happy place. I’m not sure why, but riding a bike makes me the happiest. I never get weary of the sensation of unfettered and elegant flight.


Yoga improves my balance and attentiveness. It substitutes “strong” for “slouch.” I lean into the freedom to be strong without feeling obligated to run an ultramarathon.

I’m shocked at how many times I have to go through the forget-relearn cycle, but I try to look at it with awe. “Look at it! I am reminded of what is best for me. That is really generous.” I like that empathetic side of my usually caustic personality.

The vacation also reminded me that eating low-carb is quite appropriate for me. Three members of my immediate family have shed roughly 30 pounds apiece by swapping grains for vegetables and meat. I don’t have much to lose, but things haven’t been going well for me.

I decided to take the hint and go Primal!

I gave up my normal carb-heavy comfort meals on June 1st, and things are going swimmingly. Of course, it’s not a miracle cure, but I’m more awake and willing to exercise, and I’m losing weight.

Am I advising you to go for a run, ride your bike, or do yoga?


Am I suggesting that a low-carb, paleo diet would save your fitness?

Nononono. I have no notion what is ideal for you. I’m just starting to figure out what’s best for me! This is just a huge gigantic permission slip from me to you to explore with. Remember. Fail. Please try again. Take a different path.

Make every effort to listen to your body and discover your own pleasure. Try the fitness routines listed below if you lack discipline and want a more planned training schedule.

Workout Programs

Common-sense Disclaimer: These are the workout components that were effective for me. It is your responsibility, together with your health professional, to choose a safe and effective fitness regimen for yourself. The firms listed do not pay me. I’m merely expressing my tale in the hopes of inspiring you to have a strong physique.

When I first began working out, I just knew two things:

  • Because of time limits and childcare difficulties, I needed to be able to perform things from home or near home.
  • They couldn’t be too rough on my physique. I’d had knee problems for years and didn’t want to aggravate them anymore.

I’m also a person who appreciates high-quality things at low rates, so I was looking for efficient exercises that wouldn’t break the budget. This is what I did.

No Excuses Workouts

I began with Jonathan Roche because his knowledge was free, logical, and encouraging. His objective is to persuade ordinary people to include exercise in their daily lives. While his target seemed to be largely non-athlete parents with 40-100 pounds to lose, which wasn’t my situation, I like how he acknowledged that women don’t have a lot of time to exercise, but the health of the whole family relies on it.

Information to remember: Interval training aids in fat loss, little exercises are preferable to none, and a combination of cardio and strength sessions is explosive.

Review: Begin with his free content to see whether it’s a good match for you. I purchased the No Excuses Workout System but never used the DVDs or CDs. That’s how I’m a rebel. I like receiving his emails, but I find his web-based workout journal to be lacking, mostly because it is difficult to use. Instead, I use dailymile to track my exercises, but you can only obtain a tailored fitness plan by purchasing his system, which is reasonably priced. He seems to be a real person.

Walking, Then Running

Jonathan Roche is wonderful at praising individuals for any exercise, no matter how little, while also motivating them to pursue big things. It’s difficult to make excuses after reading a testimonial of a lady with Parkinson’s who dropped 30 pounds by performing interval exercises in her driveway.

So I began power walking in my neighborhood (in February, in Montana—no excuses!) and gradually moved to jog… slowly. I was able to slip a film in for my kids and work out outdoors (ahhh!) for 30 minutes by walking and jogging the same circle within sight of my home. My kids are old enough in this circumstance to be safe, but if yours are smaller, you may be able to arrange an exercise playdate with another parent. One mother watches the children while the other exercises, and then you swap.

Moving my body outdoors a couple of times each week made a significant effect on my mental health. Adding sunlight and fresh air to workout endorphins keeps me looking for ways to go outdoors and away from the gym!

Am/Pm Callanetics

I read about Callanetics when I was in high school, believe it or not, and remembered that founder Callan Pinckney developed these exercises as a way to gain muscle tone even though she was injured.

I wanted my strength training to be low- to no-impact, and I didn’t want to be reminded of P.E. class. You understand what I mean. This totally meets the bill. I was able to fit in 20-minute exercises before or after the kids woke up or went to bed, I saw improvements immediately, and the workouts didn’t leave me weary.

I acquired an old VHS tape for less than $5, but Amazon now has a DVD version. Although not dirt cheap, it is a long cry from a gym subscription.

Takeaway: To tone your muscles, you don’t need weights or a home gym. Even if you have physical limitations or injuries, you can trim your physique.

This show was filmed in the mid-1990s, and the attire is hardly inspirational. However, the exercises are effective, and it is rather simple to move over the vision. I skipped the difficult workouts and concentrated on the ones I needed for my tummy, buttocks, and thighs.

Ellen Barrett

After a while of working out with Callenetics, I felt like I was strong enough to try a longer, more involved strength workout that still avoided the gym class feeling. After reading many, many reviews on amazon.com, I chose Ellen Barrett‘s Crunch–Super SlimDown DVD.

Yes, Ellen is petite, and there are ladies on the set with false boobs, but she seemed competent and real. Before purchasing the DVD, I watched the 45-minute exercise on Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” function. I’ve given this DVD to some friends for the time being, but I’m sure I’ll return to it.

Takeaway: You don’t have to complete 50 or 100 repetitions of the same workout to get tremendous results. Breathe. Maintain an open heart center.

For now, I’m doing my strength training with Ellen Barrett’s Yogini DVD (also 45 minutes). I know it’s a strange term, but this plus the Crunch DVD leaves me feeling invigorated and feminine. Both DVDs target the belly, buns, and thighs, but I believe Yogini is more difficult. I like Yogini’s graceful, concentrated, and powerful exercise. I can’t say enough good things about it. Next, I’d want to attempt her Fat Burning Fusion DVD.

The Buddy System

For many years, my buddy and I had been in the same scenario, which meant that we devoted practically all of our time to our child(ren), leaving almost little time for ourselves. Comfort eating and the winter blues had begun to pile up, leaving us heavier than we’d ever been apart from our pregnancies.

We made the decision to get in shape in February of last year, absolutely independently of one another. While we’re too Midwestern and poor to join a gym and have planned BFF exercises, our talks about how much exercise we’d gotten and how much weight we’d dropped kept each other motivated. She’s also my riding companion. Heh-heh.

In the end, I dropped over 20 pounds while she lost 30. I’m very proud of her, and I’m glad for her constant, unobtrusive presence to keep me going. Thanks!

What has worked the best for you? What are your biggest obstacles to being healthy and stronger?

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