It’s been a great time getting the Fitness blog launched and writing about the different areas of fitness. What’s more, it’s been a good exercise in testing my own knowledge. When I get asked something I don’t know, I go looking for the answer. When I start to answer something I’m ‘sure’ about, I go and check my answer. Some of the following are questions I’ve gotten lately both online and off, thought I’d put them together as a sort of incentive list for others like me that like to ‘check’ their answers.

Where do you find the time to workout?

I don’t find time. Time is not something that can be discovered. We have 24 hours every single day and most of us need at least 6 to 8 of those for sleeping. I know that if I work out in the morning, I have a better day. So even on the days when I wake up and I’m sleepy, I’m still going to get myself on the treadmill or do my weights. The best thing about doing treadmill early is I have mine near a T.V. so I can catch up on my television watching because I so rarely get to see it otherwise.

How did you build your workout routine?

I stopped thinking that I knew everything. I read books. I went to the gym. I spoke to the experts. Then I experimented. I found the regimens and exercises that not only did what I wanted them to do, but I felt comfortable doing. As much as I love to dance, I loathe aerobics classes. You cannot pay me to take them. I always feel like I stand out, can’t catch up to the routine or that something is inherently wrong with me. I know this because I’ve tried more than a dozen aerobics classes. By the same token, I sank some money into working with a personal trainer for six weeks. It cost a pretty penny, but those six weeks were my total commitment. If I was going to spend that much money, then I was going to show up for my workouts. I was going to do my best and no matter what new set of reps she gave me to do, I lost my attitude of ‘I can’t’ and turned it into ‘Okay, but you better show me how.’

What’s the best cardio?

There is no best. There is only what works for you. I use the treadmill. I do circuit training. I use a stationary bike. I love the elliptical machine. I run occasionally. I dance, both for fitness and for fun. If it gets your heart up into your target zone and you can keep it up there for 30 minutes, then you’ve got a good cardio routine. My biggest requirement is that I have fun with what I’m doing, so I vary my cardio choices a lot to keep any of it from getting boring.

I want to work out. But frankly, I hate exercise. It’s hard and I have no idea what I’m doing.

Been there. Felt that way. I hated free weights. Hated them with a passion. I told my personal trainer on the first day. “I can do just about anything with a machine, but I hate free weights. I’m not good at them.” She said, “Well you must not have been doing them right. Don’t worry, we’ll try a little bit of everything.” The first week I went to the gym every day with her. We did upper body. We did lower body. We did core. We did cardio. She was a demon. I hated her guts. By the second week though, even when I was having trouble calling a chest fly or a back row by it’s correct name, my body was remembering the form and suddenly, free weights weren’t so bad and exercise wasn’t so bad.

Problem is, I work out a few times a week and I’m still not seeing any results.

Just because you exercise doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. That’s the one thing I’ve also had told to me over and over and over again. I did cardio 90 minutes a day on a treadmill, every single day of the week save one. I lost some inches; I lost some pounds and let me tell you, my endurance skyrocketed. But suddenly I stopped losing any real weight. I felt great, I was hardly ever sick and if I did catch a cold it was mild. My energy levels were fantastic. But still the weight problem. What gives? Three different sources gave me the same answer: vary the routine. You can’t just do cardio. You have to work the whole body. You need weight training to build muscle. Muscle burns fat. We’re not talking about bulking up and being a weight lifter in a competition; we’re talking real muscle. Reduced muscle mass burns less fat. Muscle also weights more than fat. So if you gain ten pounds of muscle and lose twenty pounds of fat, the scale may be misleading.

My daughter gets mad at me when I’m working out at home. I can’t afford a gym. But I’m tired of the temper tantrums and the constant interruptions all the time.

This is a real tough one and don’t I know it. My daughter was a lot like that at first. She complained whenever she saw my workout clothes because she knew that meant I was going to do the treadmill or my weights and I’d be busy. She started interrupting or wanting me to do something else and a plague on my house if I wouldn’t stop. It was tough, when I can I get her to come and exercise with me, but most of the time I set the limit. Prior to the workout, I make sure she has had food, drink or toys acquired from wherever she needs them. I make sure she is ‘satisfied’ and has something to ‘do.’ Then I tell her, I’m going to work out. If she needs or wants something during the workout, unless it’s life threatening, she gets to wait. It took time, patience and more than a couple of time outs, but she got the picture. Kids need to learn boundaries and respect, while they may not think working out is important to or for you, they need to learn to.

That’s it for today. Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Remember, fitness is a lifestyle choice. It improves your overall health by reducing the effects of stress, improving your immune system, revving up your metabolism, increasing your energy levels and helping you to feel good about you. What better gift can you give to your family than a happier, healthier you?

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.