My top five exercise rules

1. Bodies are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.  Exercise in itself is not an effective weight loss tool.  That’s not to say it isn’t beneficial though, as it aids in eating healthy (who wants to eat a piece of cake after a good workout?!), and helps your body and organ systems work more efficiently.  It’s best to view exercise as a method of improving mental clarity and overall well-being, rather than a method of burning calories.

For explanations on this theory, readhttp://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5128/Why-Exercise-and-Burning-Calories-Wont-Help-You-Lose-Weight.html or http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/06/why-the-campaign-to-stop-america-s-obesity-crisis-keeps-failing.html. Personally, I feel much healthier and crave healthy food when I exercise.  I also keep up with it because I want to age gracefully and stay young.  When I see people in their 70’s wakeboarding and running marathons, I know that I want to be doing the same at that age.


2. The most effective exercise is high intensity interval training (HIIT).  I discovered this method when I was taking a marathon training class in my younger (and less busy) days.  When I was training on my own, I would simply run for as long as I was able, and I would slowly improve my distance and mile time.  In the class we would alternate slower running with intense spurts; for instance, we would jog for three minutes then sprint for one minute.  My distance and mile time showed huge improvements right away.  HIIT is also much less mundane than static exercise.

3. It is very possible to get in amazing shape without dedicating a lot of time to exercise.  First you have to accept the first two rules: stop exercising to simply burn calories, and include spurts of intense (but safe) effort in your workout.  You can save time by exercising at home (see this post), and will be more likely to stick with your workout routine if it doesn’t take up much of your day.  My two favorite quick workout methods are CrossFit (http://crossfit.com/) and Tabata Training (http://tabatatraining.org/).  If you’re not familiar with them, then trust me, they work.

4. Don’t underestimate the power of music – a good workout mix helps you find motivation to start and finish your workout.  Back to my days of marathon training – there were a few days when I would forget my iPod, and let’s just say my running times and distances were less than ideal on those days.  If you’d like, you can create your own workout using the exercises at (this post) that fit into your mix.  For instance, pick a song, do jumping jacks on the first verse, side jumps on the second verse, clock lunges on the third verse, and burpees on each chorus.  Another way to use music: once you’ve done a workout video a few times and know it well enough, you can mute it and listen to music (or watch your favorite show).

5. Take the time to notice the benefits of exercising.  After your workout, take in your runner’s high.  Appreciate your sore muscle the next day (I don’t know about you, but I love next day soreness).  Notice how your mood changes when you work out.  When you truly appreciate these benefits, you won’t want to go a day without exercise and will make time for it whenever possible.