Thursday, April 30, 2009

No parrots -- all about fitness

Not parrot-related at all, but since I've been posting a bit about fitness and running, I thought I'd write a post including some of my favorite links.

Here is a link to a beginner's health and fitness guide. Even if you're not a beginner, I think it's worth a read.

Stumptuous has a lot of great information, especially for women getting into weightlifting. I started lifting again a little over a year ago and the transformation in my body and strength has been amazing. I'm angry with myself that it took me so long to start back up!

If you'd rather go off-line to learn about lifting, there are two books that I particularly like. The first was the textbook for the weightlifting class I took in college. You can probably find it at the library, or pretty cheaply used. It's called Getting Stronger by Bill Pearl. I regularly refer to this book and did the beginning routines when I started lifting after a hiatus of about a decade.

The second book is New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. I haven't read the men's version, but have heard it's equally good. I haven't done these routines, but have many friends who rave about them. I plan to start in October, after the marathon when my focus switches away from running more.

If you want to work on getting stronger but don't want to join a gym or buy equipment, you can google "prison workout" or do a program like this one. Although, it's not hard to create your own home gym. Thomas and I created a fairly decent one with dumbbells, a bench, and a rack with lat pull-down machine. I think it cost us around $100 about 10 years ago, and you can often find deals for equipment on craigslist.

I have previously mentioned the 100 push up challenge, from which I am currently on hiatus but will begin again in late May/early June. Last fall, despite my running and other activities, I couldn't even do one full push up; I was able to do over 150 in a night with a few minutes' break in between sets earlier this month.

For people who want to get into running, the couch to 5K program is a good one. I haven't done it personally, but know many people who have. They have podcasts and forums to help motivate you. I've found signing up for races has been an important factor for me to maintain my fitness and endurance. In my area, there are several 5Ks taking place pretty much every weekend throughout the year.

There's been information coming out about how steady-state cardio might not be necessary for good health. I'm sticking to my distance running since I enjoy the camaraderie and mental health benefits I receive, but that's great news for people with more limited time! You can try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or tabata (if you hit "print version" on the bottom of this screen, you get it in a readable format instead of that horrible black background!) I try to do these on occasion, although not nearly as often as I should.

I love this website about the World's Healthiest Foods. For people who are trying to eat local, the websites for Local Harvest and Slow Food might be interesting. One of my favorite things about summer is going to the farmers' market and the previous links can help you find some near you.

Of course, my favorite cookbook is How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Tons of healthy recipes that focus on whole foods. Plus, he writes with a style that teaches you how to cook without you even realizing it! He'll list different substitutions or make suggestions about modifications you can make. Before I knew it, those things started to come more naturally! As an example, look at his Simplest Bean Burger recipe. That's how the entire book is! There are no rigid rules! Do what you want; experiment and use what you have on hand.

Also, there are tons of blogs and websites out there chronicling healthy eating, like this one. For fitness, I particularly enjoy reading MizFit and Cranky Fitness.

If anyone else has any other favorite websites, leave me a comment and I'll incorporate them into an update in this post!

No comments: