I bought myself a Polar ft40 heart rate monitor with a gift certificate I got for Christmas. I debated one of the cheaper ones, but I was finally sold on this one because of the built in fitness test function and the overall design. This one was just under $100 on Amazon. It just came in the mail today and I was pretty excited to test it out!
Other thoughts, it's helpful to have a sense of my heart rate. The fitness test told me I was "good," which was a bit of a shocker, but when I'm actually working out it goes to the "fitness" zone rather than "fat burn" really quickly because my heart rate rises so quickly. Definitely need to improve my fitness, and this gives me a good baseline for how I'm doing. Also, I was worried the chest band was going to be irritating, but I really didn't notice it much at all once I get it set up.
Now that I actually have some way of keeping track of how I'm doing I signed up for My Fitness Pal and downloaded the app. The bar code scanning is amazing! It even knew the calorie content of the vegan Dandies marshmallows I was snacking on earlier today. Plus, this will keep track of my protein, iron, and calcium intake for the day. I can definitely fall into lazy vegan territory at times, so this is really helpful too. So I'm going to try to stick with this for a while to see how it goes. I should point out though that I don't own a scale, so this is really not about weight loss. I've been blessed with a slim frame no matter what I do, but my fitness level is really lacking and sitting on my butt writing my dissertation all day hasn't exactly done me any favors either.
PlansSo for 2013 it would be nice to:
-Increase my stamina
-Fit back into my 28 inch waist pants (currently pushing 30 inches, which is partially exacerbated by my IBS).
-Be able to jog a mile without doubling over from a side-stitch (for some reason I cannot run or jog at all even though I'm fine on the elliptical)
-Get ready for turning 30 with the level of fitness I'd like to maintain in my 30s.
-Hopefully working out will help keep my school/work stress in check
What's the issue?I feel like I should explain why exercise is such a challenge for me. I have never in my life been fit. Skinny, yes. Fit, no. I was always always picked last for every sporting event at school. I remember being forced to go running in middle school and falling behind everyone else and being so breathless I threw up (plus I was panicking from being behind everyone else in the middle of nowhere). Exercise has not been something I've thought of fondly. Partially I think it was just a function of awful gym teachers and an insistence that working out means: team sports, swimming, or running. I can't do any of these!
Thankfully my high school allowed me to take tap dancing for my gym credits so I could graduate. That was kind of embarrassing but not terrible. Then in college I started going to a yoga studio and found that pretty acceptable (although my body doesn't take kindly too much neck stretching). I've also given Ballet Beautiful a go, and will still do it occasionally, but it makes my kees hurt. And let's not even get into running. It makes me feel like all of my internal organs are being jostled (and this has been my impression of running since elementary school! People tell me it's just from being out of shape, but I think there's more to it than that). If I try to run outside I also get a terrible burning sensation in my throat. Biking isn't really feasible in the city. I don't know how to swim.
So many issues, right? But I actually realized that I enjoy the elliptical machine! I also managed to modify some of the 30 Day Shred exercises to work for me (the actual video makes my ankles hurt if I do it regularly) to get in some weights and crunches. Maybe some of my exercise issues will resolve themselves as I get in better shape. It seems kind of ridiculous to rule out so many things on account of being frail at the ripe old age of 28. But what can I say, a lot of things my body seems to hate! So I'll stick to what works for now, and if that lets me expand my repertoire then that's a bonus.
I'm somewhat undecided on if I want to take this blog more in the direction of longer essay type posts or if I want to focus more explicitly on vegan fashion. Clearly, I can do both and I guess that's one of the perks of "lifestyle" blogging. It means whatever you want it to mean. But if you have any thoughts on this, do share!