Friday, April 29, 2011

We Ain't Sweatin' To The Oldies

It's that time again: Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday! This week's questions are right up my alley as they relate to personal fitness routine. I can't wait to read what all of you in the blogosphere are doing to keep yourselves in tip-top shape.

1. Do you keep some kind of fitness routine? Why?
Currently I’ve settled into a routine I really love. On Mondays I take Pilates for an hour and follow it up with a Zumba class for an hour. The combination of the intense stretching and high-voltage aerobics really leaves me feeling fit. Tuesday is my day off, but on Wednesday morning I take Pilates again. I find that Pilates does a lot for strengthening my muscles and just pulling everything in, but I only really benefit when I take it at least two times a week. In the summer (when my work schedule is much simpler), I try to hit three classes a week, but that’s just not an option right now. Thursday night I take another Zumba class, and on Fridays (depending on whether I have more exciting plans) I’ll try to take Zumba again. Now that spring is here, I also try to include a brisk walk or bike ride at the beach at some point during the weekend since it’s so nice out.

Keeping up my fitness routine is a pretty big deal for me because I know I will never be able to limit my diet. I love food so much and could never deny myself something I really want, thus working out is the only way to ensure I don’t pack on the pounds. I’m actually in the best shape I’ve ever been (I actually weigh less than I did in high school), so I want to keep it that way ;)

2. Has working out, maybe training for a marathon or something of that nature, helped with your own perception of body image?
Last year I ran my first 5k, and while that might not seem very groundbreaking to you marathon runners out there, it was a huge deal for me. I was never a particularly active kid; while other kids joined sport teams I went to the library and read hundreds of books. Even in high school all my friends were on the volleyball or tennis teams or ran track/cross-country but I sat them out. Running literally would make me feel like I was going to have a heart attack.

Still, inspired by the Biggest Loser, last year I decided that if someone several hundred pounds overweight could run a 5k, then I certainly could try at least once. I trained and ran on local tracks, ran from my house to the beach, ran on treadmills – the works. And on July 4th I ran my first 5k. I finished in a decent time (approx 30 mins.) and had the satisfaction of a job well done. Even though I still loathe running (and haven’t run one day since!), the whole experience really showed me that my body is capable if I’m willing to push myself a little.

3. When you are hitting the gym or just going out for a long walk what do you wear? Is it about functionality or fashion?
Usually it’s more about functionality. At the gym, my foremost concern is comfort and support. I don’t want bits of me flopping about, if you catch my drift ;). I normally stick to a black/white/grey color scheme because I always like my clothes to match my shoes. Silly, I know, but once a matcher always a matcher. If I’m just going for a walk or bike ride, I’m much more lax. Sometimes I’ll wear jeggings and flip-flops. Just depends on my mood.

4. Do you feel there is a cultural perception of what you ‘should’ be doing for your own physical fitness?
I don’t know. I guess African-Americans in general are thought to be more athletically inclined, but that’s never been true for me so I feel no obligation to those cultural perceptions. I’m sure people might assume I’d naturally excel at Zumba as well since it's a dance-based aerobics class and I should supposedly have some sort of “natural” rhythm, but that’s not really true either. The only thing that’s made me improve is going to class regularly.

5. Dream big… what would be your ultimate fitness goal.
This is boring, but ultimately I’d just like to keep up a regular, consistent and enjoyable fitness routine for the rest of my life. Sometimes I get on a fitness kick and workout constantly whereas other times I get lazy and just forget about the gym altogether. My family has a history of health problems (cancer, diabetes, high-blood hypertension, high-cholesterol), and I know that my staying fit will play a large role in my avoiding some of those problems. So I just want to do all I can to make sure I stay on the right fitness path for me.

Thanks to Katy of Modly Chic for coming up with another set of awesome questions!

"The New Workout Plan" - Kanye West

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