The Expressive Creatrix (and Hobbyist)

I love physical fitness!  I’ve been exercising pretty much daily at home with exercise videos for over 20 years!  It began in 1990 after the birth of my second child (my son Tanner).  After my first baby (my daughter Tessa), the 20 pounds I gained during pregnancy just melted right off me.  With Tanner, I gained 30 pounds, and while I lost most of it within the first couple of months, but there were 10 stubborn pounds that would not be budged!  One day I was watching TV, flipping around the channels, and I came to ESPN which was airing perky little Denise Austin’s exercise show.  I thought, “Hmmmm.”  I heard Denise say (as she often did), that if I was out there sitting on the couch, I should get up and start moving.  So, I got up, threw on a pair of tennis shoes and joined Denise.  The rest is history!  I started video taping Denise’s show and some others that were on at the time so that I could do them early in the morning. 

After awhile, it wasn’t enough, so I bought a video.  Then I bought another and another and another!  I also started acquiring equipment like weights and a step.  For many years, I continued on with a relatively small amount of vidoes, exercising daily. I exercised my way through a divorce, re-marriage, two more pregnancies and life.   In 2005, I upped the ante and got very serious about exercise.  I joined in January of 2006, and embarked on a whole new fitness journey.  For many years, I was pretty hardcore.  I did three rounds of P90X and spent a lot of time doing very intense exercise from instructors like Cathe Friedrichs.  I also discovered yoga, and for many years I had a very serious yoga practice – for a short time doing nothing but power yoga as my main form of exercise. Scott says I never looked better than when I was doing a lot of yoga, but my attention span is too short to focus on just one form of exercise for too long!

In the fall of 2008 through the winter of 2009, I went through a series of unfortunate events that changed my exercise habit.  First I developed bugled disks in my back, I came down with influenza (which had me down and out for over two months) and I contracted a pelfic inflammatory disease from a tainted IUD which put me in the hospital.  For a couple of months I didn’t exercise really at all.  When I went back to it, all I could handle was very mellow stuff.  I started using Leslie Sansone’s walking videos and then gradually added in other things.  By my 42nd birthday in April of 2009, I was at the lowest weight I’d been at for 20 years, and I looked and felt amazing!  I realized I didn’t need to exercise so much and that intense exercise was actually counter-productive for my body.  My body responds to less exercise and gentler exercise..  However, I do need to move my body almost every single day. If I don’t, I feel lethargic all day, and my mood is usually low.

During my many years of exercise I’ve tried pretty much everything (except the relatively recent rages of HIIT and kettlebells).   Currently I enjoy Leslie’s videos (at first glance they seem very easy and somewhat lame, but they are totally customizable, and when I do Leslie’s workouts consistently, my weight remains steady and I feel good) and dance (all kinds from Latin to ballet to hip hop to contemporary to Indian – you name it!) videos for cardio, and low weight/high rep workouts for strength training.  I particularly enjoy “fusion” type workouts which incorporate elements of cardio, pilates, yoga, light weights, and barre work.  Ellen Barrett’s workouts and the two Ruah workouts frequently appear in my rotation.  I also try to get in a yoga or stretch session 2-3 times per week. Unfortunately, power yoga or doing yoga frequently will tweak my back, so I stick to just a couple of mellower sessions per week. I prefer to use yoga as a way to unwind, destress and maintain my flexibility. I don’t like to use it as a “workout.” 

I no longer plan formal exercise rotations, and I no longer obsess about making sure I get a certain amount of different workouts in each week.  I just wake up (my preferred time to exercise is at 5:00 AM when I get up – it’s a great way to get it in before a busy day gets in the way, it wakes me up and puts me in a good mood for the day, and it’s a quiet peaceful hour I have all to myself usually without interruption), and put in whatever exercise video appeals to me.  Since I’ve been hooping, I sometimes substitute that for a regular workout, but not often.  Although hooping is physical exercise, I prefer not to use it as a “workout.” 

I’m blessed to be relatively slim, so I don’t generally workout to lose weight – although like everyone, I do have my “problem areas” that I constantly strive to improve and keep in check – working out for me is more about maintaining strength, vitality, endurance and optimal health!


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