Top Fitness Recommendations

‘Tis the season for New Years resolutions! And how many of us wrote, “Get in shape,” on our list? (If you read my post last week, you were hopefully challenged to rethink why we’re doing what we’re doing.)

I’ve been working hard to get back in shape for the past six months. (Babies have a way of messing with the body, y’know?) And in the process, I’ve discovered I’m addicted to variety in my workouts.

So I decided to share my top recommendations for ways to get in shape this year.

Get your heart pumping with cardio:

1. Zumba (or Latin fusion/ballroom dance) — I love, love, love Zumba! It requires a teeny bit of coordination, but if that intimidates you, the music alone will make you want to move.
2. Cardio kickboxing — This doesn’t require as much coordination as Zumba, and it’s a great stress reliever. (Just think of punching all your worries away!)
3. Walking/running — Good old standbys. All you need is a road or a track and you can move to your heart’s content.

Sculpt your muscles with toning:

1. Pilates — Pilates focuses on breathing control and strengthening your core (abs and back). You’ll discover muscles you never knew you had!
2. Yoga — While many people think of yoga as meditation and stretching, it’s also great for toning muscles as you hold poses. And if you’re not sure about the meditation aspect, you can find all different levels of “ohm”. My church hosts yoga classes that don’t get “ohm-y” at all, so you can look for that type of venue.
3. Kettlebells — For an all-around toning workout, kettlebells offer variety and challenge.
4. Zumba Toning — Yes, Zumba has toning classes! It combines dance movements with muscle strengthening. Gotta love that!

And for a cardio/toning combo, there are all sorts of boot camp and circuit training classes out there. These pack a major fitness punch and target all your muscle groups for maximum calorie burn.

So look for these options near you and get moving this week!

Have you tried any of these workouts? Do any of them intimidate you? What can you do to get moving this week?


My Top Fitness Recommendations for the New Year
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19 thoughts on “My Top Fitness Recommendations for the New Year

  • January 13, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I’m addicted to variety too because if I don’t have it…I quit.

    I just started using a DVD called Prayfit, which combines strength and cardio and toning. But I fully admit I can’t wait until the weather is nice enough to get back outside to walk and jog.

    CLEARLY today is not that day.

  • January 13, 2012 at 6:51 am

    I’ve pretty much only gone running. I’m SO uncoordinated that even kickboxing poses a serious challenge to me. lol
    I’m addicted to my iPod. lol

  • January 13, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I can’t believe I don’t do Zumba on a regular basis. I might have to make that part of my tax season, b/c there are a few girls who go to Zumba after work some days. I know I would love Zumba!!

    But because I’m always in a hurry, I typically jump on the elyptical at my local gym most days I fit it in, which I’ve been doing much more regularly lately.

  • January 13, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I do yoga with P90x and I think that’s the HARDEST workout. You wouldn’t think it, but people who do just yoga really look the most fit. 🙂

  • January 13, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Hi Sarah –
    My workout consists of the bike, treadmill, some weights, and the balance ball. I also like to walk.

    Susan 🙂

  • January 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I try to have variety too, otherwise I get bored! I love Zumba as well…it’s so fun and hard to take yourself seriously, and it doesn’t feel like a “workout” even though you are burning calories. Love it. I also like to hike, bike, and run (well, I don’t like to run, but I like the result when I run). Have a great weekend, Sarah!

  • January 13, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Except for walking/running, all of these intimidate me! LOL

    I’m so uncoordinated and like to tune out to the steady rhythm of my feet when I run. As I get older and feel more things hurt (my knees) I can feel the need to branch out in my workouts. Haven’t done it yet, though….

    Thanks for the post, Sarah!

  • January 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

    We have a church in town that offers exercise classes (aerobics, Pilates, and a JAM class) for free with free childcare offered. I have been going to the JAM class which is similar to a Zumba class. They incorporate strength training and abs along with cardio for each class. SO that has been my workout of choice lately. Unless running after my kiddos counts as a workout… 🙂

  • January 13, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I’m a walker, covering a couple miles daily and love, love it. It’s definitely my exercise of choice.

  • January 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I have a treadmill and elliptical and a (worn out) exercise bike at home. I also have Wii Fit and Wii Fit Advanced — and I’m enjoying both of those. I gave my daughter Zumba for Wii — and she’s having fun with that. I just may give it a go too for something new. Can’t wait for warmer weather and the chance to hike outside.

  • January 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    My fitness routine includes walking and light weights. I’ve done some Pilates and wouldn’t mind trying Zumba sometime. Happy Fit Friday!

  • January 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Good suggestions.

    With cardio, I always recommend mixing in activities that are fun. Running is great for some folks, but basketball may be a bettter option. For kids, we have a place about an hour away that is a warehouse with a sea of connected trampolines. Exercise may sound boring to children, but have them jump for an hour on those trampolines and you’ll have tired and sweaty young ones.

  • January 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I’ve done P90X and the yoga was my least favorite, mostly b/c I did it with my husband and he cracked jokes so hard I couldn’t stay balanced from laughing! It’s a lot harder than it look that yoga! 🙂

  • January 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Great list, Sarah. I currently walk with my husband, who won’t exercise alone, but I’d love to start Zumba–I’ve heard it’s F.U.N.

  • January 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Great suggestions.
    Throughout the week, I lift weights, walk/run, and core exercises.
    I still get up from the desk and do a “Walk Away the Pounds” with Leslie about 3 times a week.

    I want to try Zumba!

  • January 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Hi everyone! I don’t have time to respond individually today, but I’ve loved reading all your responses! Many of you mentioned P90X, which is a great one. And I love how Slamdunk raised the point of helping our kids get exercise too. My kids have a blast working out with me, and I hope it will embed the concept of health as they grow older.

    Keep the dialogue coming! 🙂

  • January 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I’m a major homebody, so I like to do things at home. I’ve been doing a very simple toning circuit (abs, arms, buns) each weeknight and I try to fit in 20-30 minutes of cardio too. I really like Just Dance (Wii) for cardio. I barely realize the time is going, and I’m sweaty at the end!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  • January 14, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Exercise became part of my daily routine when I received my osteoporosis diagnosis in November. Ever since then I’ve been doing circuit training at Curves 3x a week and walking for at least half an hour the other four days.

    At first I balked at the thought of working out, but I’ve discovered that exercise can be habit forming–in a good way. I feel better, and I feel better about myself. Plus I no longer deal with the guilt that came from knowing I should have been working but wasn’t. I can look my doctor in the eye when she asks about my exercise regimen.

  • January 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    i like variety, but within the same type exercise, namely aerobics. i combine weight training and cardio aerobics and love working out to different combo DVDs I have. Cathe Friedrich is my favorite instructor. very easy to follow. I’ve never tried zumba, namely b/c I can’t get to one of the classes here without missing work. what’s up with the classes catering to young co-eds? 🙂 i’m about to go workout in a few minutes, actually…..

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