Writing and blogging is my passion. Cobbling words together is easy for me. Day after day, I am (and was) content to sit in my big, comfy chair in my beautiful office with a pretty view out of every window, my furry friend, Pearl, by my side, and just ease into the wonderful universe of words.
So what’s the problem?
Well, I began to realize that while I was an expert at exercising the gray matter between my ears, it wasn’t exactly a balanced way to live my life. Resting on my arse for hours daily was and is a sedentary and an unhealthy activity. I decided that just sitting day after day after day wasn’t good. Not good at all. And it’s not like I didn’t get any exercise at all–just not the kind that raises the heart rate for a sustained period.
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions–one day is just like the next, no matter the calendar year.
But in response to the epiphany that I had to do more to balance my life, I did begin a new regimen on January 5th–and so I suppose one could call it a resolution. But for me it was more like a self-imposed edict. I was determined to tone up and melt the fat that (at the age of 50+) just makes you feel…well, urrghggh–frumpy, dumpy and round. Not that I was in any way obese or excessively overweight. I was just feeling fat and out of shape. I was adamant that I was not going to be one of those 50+ women that just excuse it away and say, Oh, I’ll never be 30 again. The truth is, YES, YOU CAN BE 30 AGAIN…or at least your body can look close to it. Just look at the 56 year-old pop singer, Madonna (like her or not), and you’ll know what I mean. If she can do it, we all can. After all, age is just a number. But this comes at a price. You’ll have to work at it. And I mean work hard–including a change of diet. The body is remarkably responsive to change. We are, after all, fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
Forget about all those goofy commercials and promos for fast weight loss with the purchase of over-processed, diet food. It’s too easy to fail at these short-lived gimmicks and they are very expensive. Enough said.
So I started in January by hiking in the Southwest Deserts of Arizona. Got to start somewhere, right? The first time was a killer. I thought I was going to die. My endurance was poor (okay, so it was downright pitiful) and I was gargling my heart all the way to the top of the mountain. There were moments when I felt as though my heart was literally in my throat. But I pressed on and I made it.
The next day, however, my quads and other miscellaneous muscles I had (oh so apparently) not used in years, were screaming at me. I could barely walk. But, no hill for a climber! I had a purpose. I went right out the next day and defied those sore muscles and made them and my heart muscle work again just as hard. The next day I went again and this time farther than the last–then the next day after that I went farther still, and made it a little more challenging, and so on and so on. It wasn’t long before I was hiking 4 to 6 miles a day.
And here I am, a little over two months after I started, more driven than ever. I am one of those people who once I put my mind to something, I’m all in and depending how you look at it, this can be a blessing or a curse. I’ve decided that for me, it’s a blessing.
The weather has been perfect all winter. But now that it is creeping up on mid-March, the mercury is starting to rise significantly which translates to our indigenous reptiles, snakes, and other not-so-cute critters emerging from their hibernation to greet you on the trail. Serpents of any kind (especially Rattlers) are just the epitome of terror. And lizards (the size of a football) that scurry across your feet on the trail is enough to give one a heart attack, which sort of defeats the whole goal of getting in shape, if you know what I mean. And besides, the hikes were taking longer and longer to complete–a minimum of two to fours a day–depending on the trail. At this pace, I started to wonder if I would ever get back to writing. Again, I thought about balance. I needed to find another way to get the same benefit and yet spend less time doing it, so I could make time for writing and for life in general.
So I began a search to find an alternative to hiking. I hate the gym environment…I just can’t tolerate it. It’s a total and insane waste of money, in my opinion. Been there and done that. The gym just turns into monotonous drudgery which is why I liked hiking so much. Hiking was anything but boring. It was a pleasure. I had to find an alternative that I would not easily get bored with.
THEN… One day, while surfing the Internet, I stumbled upon a video by Jillian Michaels. The 30 Day Shred. Ooooh…I liked the sound of that…S-H-R-E-D!
Imagine a kick-butt 30-minute workout (including warm-up and cool down), and you’re done. Simple as that. I thought, I could do this. And Michaels promised dramatic results if I would just follow her workout and “give it all you got.” She wasn’t kidding.
I found thousands of postings and videos on what Jillian Michaels has done for so many people–men and women. However, when I was searching for results from women in their mid to late 50s that had taken advantage of this video series and actually followed through, I couldn’t find any, which surprised me. There were scores of men and women in their 20 and 30s with before and after pictures and videos, but scant was the number of women my age, which is part of the reason for this blog post. I am sure there has to be some out there. If you are one of them, please write and let me know. Women over 50 should not be intimidated by the young women you see using the 30 Day Shred video. In fact, they are an inspiration to me. Those who are 50+ (assuming relatively good health) are every bit as capable of sticking with this program, as a young woman. Stay with it and I promise, you will see results you never thought possible. Remember, you will have to modify your diet if you want sensational results.
I’m not militant about my diet. I eat what I like, but all in moderation. My portions are much smaller than I used to eat and I have cut sugar and white flour and highly processed foods from my diet. As you move along, your body will adjust and you will start craving things that are good for you.
Long story short, I am now on Day 4 of Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred video series and I can’t believe the results. It’s almost too good to be true. But yet, here I am–blogging again. Why? Because I have reached a balance–a solution where I can get a maximum workout (strength and cardio) and still have time for other important facets of my life.
I workout with Jillian Michaels for 30 minutes every single day in the privacy of my own home, and then I’m free to do whatever I like. Everyone can carve out 30 minutes in their day to get healthy. Here I was hiking for hours every day for weeks and lost a few pounds, but nowhere near the results I have gotten after completing 14 days of the 30 Day Shred video. I have lost 15 pounds and have shrunk inches everywhere. My core (especially my abdominal area) is getting stronger and stronger and believe it or not, I have seen a remarkable change–a flatter stomach and more lean muscle.
And the best part: I feel better than I have for years. I am much healthier, with much more energy, and so much happier, knowing that I am doing exactly what I need to do. Another bonus–I’ve lowered my cholesterol dramatically.
No question about it, the 30 Day Shred is an intense workout. Michaels doesn’t fool around. However, if you have the heart and mind at 50+ (I will be 57 in May) to commit to getting through this video series, you will be amazed at the results. There is nothing boring or monotonous about these workouts either. The video session is over before you know it, as Michaels keeps you going with no rest. You will be sweating your bum off, and trust me, when you start seeing real results, you will thank Jillian Michaels for being the tough trainer she is.
So why not give it a try? (And I’m not discriminating here. This is for men, too!)
Thanks to Jillian Michaels, I’m back in the blogging saddle again–feeling and looking fit!