All Articles Tagged "working out"
You and I have talked in depth about the ways in which we handle working out while on our period. In the comment section for “Girl Talk: How Do You Deal with Working Out on Your Period?” many of you said you use a tampon and go about your merry way. Some of you said you double up on panty liners. And a few of you said you just opt out of exercising during the heavier days, and sometimes throughout your entire period. For those who just don’t feel fully protected or comfortable during that time of the month, according to a recent study, one form of feminine hygiene protection is making women more likely to step in the gym while Aunt Flo is in town: the menstrual cup.
According to a study of 1,500 women between the ages of 20 and 34 from 40 different countries, which was done by Intima, a feminine care brand, 42 percent of women said the menstrual cup was the product that kept them active during that time of the month. Users and researchers also found an 84 percent increase in their confidence, along with a 73 percent boost in their overall comfort while exercising. As we spoke about previously, the lack of comfort due to heavy flow, sweat, the discomfort of bulky products, and the possible cramps is what usually makes us cancel our dates in the gym in favor of a date on the couch with ice cream and chips while we nurse our cramps.
Menstrual cup users are also fond of the extended wear you can get out of the products, with 12 hours as opposed to eight. And they noted a decrease in dryness down there, as well as diminished odor and cramps.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about preference. What is your go-to coverage? A few of you have stated in the past that menstrual cups are your product of choice during that time of the month. How has your experience been working out with one?
Mom On The Move is a weekly profile of a mom mover and shaker. Women we admire, who inspire us and who have amazing stories to share, oh and they happen to have kids, too! While we love to talk about celebrity moms and their fabulous lives, we also love (and need) to know about real moms who are out here doing it all, just as fabulously. This week we’re profiling fitness enthusiast Angelique Miles.
Mommynoire: When we see you on Instagram and Facebook, like so many other people, I’m so inspired. First of all that you put yourself out there almost every day to share your workouts and tips, but also that you’re doing it, period.
Angelique Miles: Well, thank you. It’s definitely not easy to share everyday.
What are your favorite workouts?
My absolute favorite workouts are barre workouts. I was introduced to them back when I was working in music and started taking classes doing the Lotte Berk method. (Lotte Berk Method is a mélange of strength-training, dance, orthopedic back exercises, and Hatha yoga all rolled into an intense, hour-long mind-body workout to driving rhythms followed by an inspirational cool down.) I love barre classes, like Pure Barre, The Bar Method… I don’t get to do it that often because the classes are very expensive but I like to go back to bar when the weather gets warmer.
What do you like most about it?
It gives you a full body workout in one hour and every muscle that you strengthen you also stretch, so you’re developing elongated muscles. If I can incorporate three-to-four barre classes into my workouts per week, I’m very happy.
Because I went through a period of transition, and with that comes cutting back on finances, I had to figure out how I was going to get into these workout classes, and so I got a gig teaching classes, so I could workout as well. That’s how dedicated I am.
Now, since I live within walking distance of so much, I do gym workouts, Spin classes, lift weights and I’ve gotten into Bikram yoga in the last few months. I’ve also started running because I signed up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon which takes place in May. I try different things always. I can’t stand monotony. Plus, it takes a variety of workouts to achieve the aesthetic I want. I don’t want a runner’s body but I don’t want a muscular body either.
So are you one of those people that loves the act of working out or how you feel afterwards?
To be honest, I don’t love doing any of it, but I really love the results. I was very thin until I was 40, but if I don’t work out I’ll be out of shape and start to look matronly. So I’m going out scratching and clawing, I’m not going down without a fight. (laughs). Someone once made the comment that they wished they loved working out as much as I do and I said, “I do not love working out. I do what I have to do look a certain way and feel a certain way.”
I don’t like doing it while I’m doing it. I cannot wait until Spin class is over, but I do it because I have goals in mind.
What motivates you most?
For me, I refuse to wear a one-piece bathing suit. I won’t be that 50-year-old, that 60-year-old, in a one-piece because I let myself go. I’m like, bury me in a bikini! because I will look good until they put me in the ground. I just keep those goals in mind. I look at some of my peers like, what is going on? I just want to encourage people to never give up on yourself. I know some people say, “Oh you’re supposed to work out for your heart and health,” but I don’t know one person who goes to the gym for their heart, they want to look good. Be a little vain. It doesn’t have to be everyday, but do something and make that committment to yourself.
Is that commitment costly? You hear people complain about the investment of joining a gym…
I told someone how much I pay for Bikram a month, like $140 and they balked, like that’s too much, but they’ll pay that for two nights for dinner out in New York City. Call me crazy, but I’d rather invest that money in me. You can spend your money on hair and nails and alcohol but your body looks crazy?
So that brings us to the fitness vs. hair debate. What’s your philosophy on taking care of your hair instead of sweating it out?
My thing is I get it–I’ve relaxed my hair, I’ve worn weaves, I absolutely get it. I’m that person that I’d rather workout all week and wear my hair in a ponytail all week, and then get my hair done Friday and wear it out cute all weekend. I had to figure it out–if I had to bring a flat iron and do my edges before going out, that’s what I did.
I never let anything get in the way of my fitness. What’s the point if you’re not fit?
You have to find out what works for you. Right now I’m wearing it really short, so that’s what works for me. It’s liberating because I don’t even think about it. My hair is easily manageable so it can get wet everyday and I can still style it and let it dry naturally and go out at night. I give myself Monday through Friday and maybe get my hair done Friday afternoon. But hair should come secondary to fitness.
How much do you watch what you eat?
I don’t eat as well as I could but that’s a seasonal thing. The winter holidays are what they are…I’m giving myself the chance to eat whatever I want, within reason, for the rest of the month. Like yesterday I had a cinnamon bun because I wanted it. And I’ve had a sweet tooth lately and I think it’s because of the running I’ve been craving carbs.
Once upon a time, every January I’d come out the gate and diet, but then I’d crash. So I give myself the freedom of eating what I want and then about now–as Spring is starting–I get back to eating clean. I have protein shakes and cut back on carbs.
It’s important to treat yourself and watch what you eat, that elusive balance everyone talks about…
Exactly. Everyone should know what their body needs.
That’s why I feel I have so much to share, especially with women. Fitness is a big part of my life, but that’s not all I can speak to because as women and mothers and wives and career women, there’s so many things that take the focus off of us. I can speak to life’s curveballs–I’ve been there and overcame things personally and fitness can help a person get through those times…it did for me.
How do you balance personal life with professional? Is it easier since you have your own business or just as tricky?
Being an entrepreneur, it’s often feast or famine. Sometimes there’s things you can do and sometimes there’s just things you can’t do. I have a great group of friends and family around me that keep me going, and it’s never really an issue.
Coming from a high-profile position and now making this transition, there are people that are no longer in my life and that’s OK because they were there for the position (I held) anyway and not for me. So the people that are in my life now are the people that are supposed to be here.
It was difficult at first, but now that I’m on the other side of it, I appreciate it. It was a necessary cleansing.
How do you feel about where you are now in life?
I think it’s weird that I’m at this age and I feel like I have to do something on my own. Trying to look for a job at 50 is different. At 35, you think, oh let me go get this job and make these sacrifices. At this point in my life, I want to figure out what I can do and be happy. I want to live this half of my life as happy as possible.
Let’s finish up with a day in your life: How do you start your day?
I make sure to work out in the mornings. I can then I can do my work, have meetings and then do something in the evening if I want to.
What’s for breakfast?
I usually have a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit–blueberries and bananas. Today I had a fried egg and avocado. Monday and Friday I have Bikram and Spin and a bunch of other stuff so I make sure I have a hearty breakfast on those days.
Do you workout with music?
I can’t run without my music. When I’m weight training I have a Flip Belt, it’s so much better than the fitness armbands for me. I listen to a lot of Paradise Garage music and older hip-hop like Big Daddy Kane and then I’ll throw in some Ty Dolla $ign.
What’s after that?
I work from home usually. If I have a lunch meeting, it’s near my home in Harlem anyway. I love the freedom of working from home. It would have to be a really, really good circumstance for me to work in an office again. There’s sacrifices that come with working from home as well, but I enjoy the freedom very much.
What’s your beauty routine?
I’ve been using coconut oil for everything lately, but I’m using it less on my hair because someone told me I should use Jojoba. When I go out, I use this foundation by Becca. Since I work out so much it’s usually shower and coconut oil.
For my hair I like Nairobi Mousse and Moroccan Oil. I like to use faux lashes because my hair is short and it makes my eyes pop. I do them every couple of weeks, so it really makes a difference for my look. I use Josie Maran Lip and Cheek Tint and I’m good.
What about workout gear?
I like cute workout clothes, because you don’t want to look like you’ve been through it even though you have with your workout. Again, invest in yourself and you’ll feel better too.
There’s going to come a point when I will lose my patience and go off on someone.
As an expecting mom who works out, it’s only natural to get a few stares when I go to the gym. I know it’s not everyday someone sees a woman with a bun in the oven squatting weights or running on a treadmill. I get it. What becomes annoying are the constant stares and even comments about whether or not I need to be there that bother me.
Unless you are my doctor, know the ins and outs of my uterus or are my husband, please take several seats—you might just learn a thing or two.
You wouldn’t believe how insensitive some people are who allude to the idea that I shouldn’t have children if I’m that concerned with my figure. Contrary to popular belief, sitting around and stuffing your face with every craving you want does not help your pregnancy. In fact, it can cause problems and even lead to pre-term labor if you aren’t too careful. I’m not one to shame other people who don’t workout as everyone’s abilities and bodies are different. Sometimes there are medical situations that make you stay off your feet.
I just don’t understand why some folks—mainly women in my experience—are so quick to point the finger at those of us who have a history of working out while pregnant, and have the approval our doctors to continue.
My current pregnancy is not my first rodeo when it comes to carrying a child. I gave birth to my son in January 2014 and exercised all the way up to 40 weeks. Because I was so active my labor was extremely manageable—to the point of not needing medical assistance (e.g. an epidural)—and only took seven hours for him to come out. I’m hoping to have the same luck with this pregnancy and thus far see many similarities. Working out (my weekly regimen typically includes cardio and strength training) makes my pregnancy a breeze. I don’t complain about achy joints, knee problems, or back pains.
I know I shouldn’t care what people think but it gets really old to have folks staring at you like an animal at the zoo. Yes I know I look awkward with a big belly working out, but guess what, I’m doing it. Perhaps these spectators are a little salty someone “bigger” than them is lifting more and running faster, but that’s not my problem is it? You do what you can to the best of your ability, and the only person you should be competing with is yourself.
Rather than judge me on what you think you know, just applaud the fact pregnant women like me are trying to stay healthy for the sake of our unborn child. It’s so easy to point the finger when you don’t know how we modify our workouts, or the conversations we have with our doctors.
Even if you don’t understand or agree with people who workout while pregnant, please save your criticism for yourself.
This article was originally posted in 2015.
A Black woman’s struggle with keeping her mane maintained and edges laid while putting in serious work at the gym has been on going since what seems like forever. Some ladies have even felt forced to choose between working out and having great hair, which shouldn’t be the case, but it definitely happens. Whether you opt for a quick updo or a fashionable, gym-appropriate scarf to protect your situation, sometimes preserving your ‘do just doesn’t always happen like you’d like. And a new study proves this notion right.
According to JAMA Dermatology, when majority of Black women work out, we don’t actually protect our hair. The study pulled this conclusion after administering a 70-item questionnaire to a group of women at the completion of a 12-week community physical activity program featuring biweekly seminars and group exercise sessions. In addition, the questionnaire included 61 questions regarding demographic information, hair-and scalp-related symptoms, hairstyles worn, and hair care in relation to physical activity.
Approximately one-third of the women that participated in the study said they modified their hair to accommodate their workout with natural hairstyles or protective styles like braids. 38% protected their tresses during exercise by wearing a ponytail or bun, while 31% opted for a scarf or hair wrap. In addition, after completing their work out, 46% of women chose these same hairstyles to easily style their hair or didn’t style their hair at all.
In that same group, 18% of women copped to the fact that they willingly exercised less than they would like because they would sweat out their hairstyle, and 13% said the time they needed to restyle their hair was an inconvenience. Nevertheless, nearly half of the women stated that they didn’t do anything in particular to protect or preserve their hair during exercise. Interesting.
What are your thoughts about this study? Is protecting and preserving your tresses a major deal when working out?
Fitness trackers just got even more fun and fabulous thanks to Fitbit.
Recently, the company which revolutionized wearable fitness technology, announced that they have a new tracker coming soon. Dubbed the Fitbit Alta, the fitness wristband is both female-centric and fashion-forward, Mashable reports.
Giving consumers both fitness and fashion on display, this new tracker will boast of sleeker style that you’ll actually want to wear: a steel face and easily customizable bands (metal, leather and classic), making it the perfect device for the casual fitness enthusiast.
Alta is definitely the most fashion-forward and ahead of the curve tracker we’ve seen to date with automatic activity tracking and sleep monitoring, silent alarms and a five-day battery life. Not to mention, those that are designer-obsessed will see collaborations with Tory Burch and Public School.
The Fitbit Alta is now available for pre-sale ($129.95) and will officially luanch in the U.S. in March and worldwide in April. Will you be copping?
I had a feeling I was doing too much when I told my fiancé I was thinking of going to the gym after initially planning not to, and he responded with, “I don’t understand why you can’t just go home and rest for once.”
Did he not understand that if I were to forgo the gym and go home, if left to my own devices, I would stuff my face with all of my trigger foods? I mean, duh! Who does he think I am?!
But I went home anyway, and I did just what I thought I would do. After not making white rice for myself in more than a year, I decided to make just that–and red beans with ground turkey and cornbread. No gym? No rules!
I ate that, two helpings, as well as some cookies and a pity salad. When I woke up in the morning and got on the scale, the increased number yelled back at me, “What did I tell you about carbs?!” I felt crappy all over again.
I had two thoughts.
“If only we could all look so good with 25 extra pounds…”
And, “I think I’ve been going about this whole exercise thing the wrong way.”
And not because I immediately determined that I wanted my body to look like hers, but because I immediately connected with her story.
As I’ve said before, I lost more than 40 pounds within the last year. I had ballooned after college and decided to commit to not only eating better but tangible fitness goals. Once I dropped that weight, I guess you could say I became a little obsessed with keeping it off.
I enjoy working out these days. When I don’t go, I start to feel sorry. In fact, I try to go at least four times a week. But you’ll almost always find me there for nearly two hours, obsessing over doing everything in my power to work off the food I ate during the day, build more muscle, and define my abs some more. I sometimes feel like I haven’t had a good workout until I burn upwards of 600 calories. Just workout and leave? Oh no. I have to do cardio, and then do ab work, and then make time for weight training. If I don’t do all three, I worry that overnight, the abs I worked to get will disappear, my arms will get flabby again, and I’ll balloon like I did years ago.
And that’s why it takes everything in me not to step on the scale every morning. Why before I put clothes on in the morning, I check to make sure my abs are still showing. Why I spent a grip last year trying every boutique fitness class I could in NYC to find something that would get me hooked for the long-term. Why I feel absolutely shameful every time I can’t get my willpower together and have seconds when I eat sometimes. Why I keep talking about fast metabolism in the hopes I can get that, and then eat whatever I like, whenever. Why I could relate to Francheska.
I’m focused on the wrong things.
And it’s almost laughable, because who would think that an obsession with getting in shape and having such a fixation without starving or purging yourself would be unhealthy? Why, working out has been deemed pretty much the best thing you can do for your body! But it’s definitely unhealthy when you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
Like hoping to blow everyone’s mind with your Instagram selfie that proclaims you got up at the crack of dawn for spin class. The harder you go, the more kickass you seem and feel.
Or because you want to look like the celebrities who go hard with the help of trainers and chefs who keep their diets restricted.
Or, in my case, because you want don’t want to look like what you used to, not in this health-obsessed society we now live in. And, therefore, you’re frightened at the prospect of it. So Zumba, then weightlifting, then a run on the treadmill until your plantar fasciitis flares up it is.
So, I’m working on it. I do, in fact, plan to go to the gym after I finish writing this, and I also plan to bounce that ass in Zumba on Saturday. But I want to focus on doing those things because they make me feel good, not because if I don’t, I will lose control and spiral into a binge-eating session. So maybe I need to stop “treating myself,” so much. Maybe I need to focus on how I’m eating again. Maybe I need to stop buying all my trigger foods and then going overboard. Or maybe, I need to cut myself some slack and appreciate the work that’s been done instead of harping on what could go wrong.
Whatever I do, I need to get it together, because this obsession with exercise, weight and the scale that tells me that number is not cute. Or healthy.
I have always worked out, but I have to be honest in saying that I wasn’t sincerely serious about it until last year. After years of working out and then eating God knows what after the fact, I started taking my eating habits seriously and making fitness a priority.
Nowadays, I work out for about an hour at the least, four to five times a week in an attempt to build muscle (I’m going for Angela Bassett arms with old-school Janet Jackson abs and Serena Williams’s butt). I do a mix of cardio (either a class, Stairmaster or running) and strength training, and usually feel pretty good when my workout is complete. You know, accomplished and all that jazz.
But then that urge hits. There I am, minding my business, waiting for the train, and then I get that feeling. It’s a feeling similar to the one I get when I eat something I know I have no business consuming, and then I have to prepare for my body to reject it. (Like the time I did the Daniel Fast and tried to eat Chinese food right after I finished 21 days of clean eating. Bad idea.)
I scurry home, increasing my pace during my 15-minute walk from the train to my apartment, and the minute I open the door, it’s like my bowels know I’m near the bathroom. I literally have to throw my bag and coat to the ground and run to the toilet, where I finally sit and get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction. Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty! I’m free at last.
I initially assumed that I had been eating poorly, or that my stomach had somehow become more sensitive than normal. But then I would enter the locker room and notice that folks were dumping the same loads in the gym that I was holding onto for my bathroom at home. (If you were wondering how I knew exactly, the smell was a dead giveaway.) And then I also noticed threads online with people asking, “Why do I have to poop after I workout?” and “Why do I have such huge bowel movements after exercising?” and “Is it normal to poop a lot more?”
So what is going on? Well, it seems that regular exercise equates to regular pooping. As Dr. Sophie Balzora told Buzzfeed, your bowels are moving around just as much as you are during exercise. This is especially true for serious runners, who complain of “runner’s trot.” The discomfort you feel comes from “pounding on the pavement and that mechanical disturbance, the jostling of the intestines. It seems obvious when you compare it to, say, cyclists, who are seated the whole time.”
She also noted that you may also have to poop due to the lack of blood flowing to your intestines during exercise, and dehydration.
And on a side note, if you’re trying to avoid eating crap, opting for foods like peanuts, raisins, fresh fruits, yogurt and more can make your bowels move a lot more.
But all in all, it’s been proven that more workouts equate to more poop.
A few years ago, Swedish scientists did a study comparing the gastrointestinal activity of a group of athletes during a week of heavy training and a week of rest. During the heavy training week, subjects had more bowel movements and not just that, but looser stools.
I’m one who appreciates a good trip to the toilet to do No. 2, especially when I’m in the comfort of my own home, still, the increase in toilet trips did alarm me at one point. But no worries if you’re feeling a little distressed over gastrointestinal distress. A daily poop does the body good–unless it’s a stool with blood, bad cramping, increasing weight loss, and really strong diarrhea. In that case, you definitely have a bigger problem than post-exercise pooping.
Can you relate to the need to go, and badly, after a good workout?
Let me give you a little backstory…
The moment I meet a new guy, my immediate reaction to them is: “Oh cool! A new friend!” I don’t know why, but my brain is hardwired to immediately put anyone I just meet into the friend zone.
I don’t know if it’s because I just love being single, or it takes me a moment to warm up to people in a romantic way, but that’s just how I am. Granted, some of my exes have been able to work their way out of it, but friend-zoning is standard behavior for me. I thought this was fairly normal until one of my friends told me that she’s the complete opposite. Any guy she meets is potentially “The One.”
Immediate friend-zoning has worked well for me in life, but has also brought along some uncomfortable encounters. Like recently, when after the gym my daughter and I were waiting for my mother to get dressed and an older man approached me. Being the friendly person I am, I didn’t think anything was wrong when he engaged me in conversation and I reciprocated. However, it became very awkward when I realized I was a sentence away from being asked to go to an early bird special with him.
On top of that, after I gently rebuffed his advances and his suggestion of being my daughter’s new stepfather (I’m not lying), when my mother finally popped up, he started hitting on her! (Dude was a live version of “The Todd.” He didn’t care who he got action from.)
Aside from that unpleasant moment, life at the gym has been going smoothly — or at least it was until I saw him and had to immediately look away.
Let me catch you up.
Ever since I was younger, if I felt immediately attracted to someone, I could not look at them. I don’t know what it was, but even if I wanted to send a nice little smile their way, my eyes treated them like they were solar eclipses and would go out of my way to avoid looking at an object of my affection.
I don’t know why this happens. It’s not one of those cheesy play hard to get attempts at attraction from a ’90s magazines. I honestly just cannot look at a guy who I have an immediate attraction to; I have to ignore them.
Though I try for it not to, sometimes it works for me, and it actually does bring the object of my lust to me. Other times, the crush doesn’t even know that I exist. Eeither way, I end up back in that same “Hi Cute Guy. Yes, I see you, and I’m ignoring you, now, off to crunches!” cycle.
Though this is fairly normal behavior for me, I realized this time that my reason for ignoring the cute guy wasn’t just due to his fine-ness, there was something else going on.
Ever since I first had my daughter, I’ve been engaging in a workout war where I workout for a a few weeks, and then stop. Now I’ve finally hit a good stride where I’m coming to the gym regularly, making healthy lifestyle choices, and seeing really good results. As my weight loss total creeps up to the 30s, I find that I need to ignore Mr. Cutie McCrush-Crush so that I don’t lose focus. I don’t want to get to the point that my desire to go to the gym is no longer based on being a better me, but on seeing him. As much as I think he’s adorable, my inner-feminist won’t allow for my successful weight loss to be due to a guy.
So, I ignore him. If he walks past my machine while I’m huffing and puffing, I don’t look his way. If I’m reading on the bike and he’s next to me, I won’t lower my book by a centimeter. If I’m in the weight zone, and he walks past, we’ll exchange a nondescript head nod, and I go back to finishing my reps.
Though he’s not a factor in my weight loss, like the solar eclipse that my eyes think that he is, he does make the initial arrival to the gym very bright. But after that, I immediately go back to ignoring him.
So thank you, Cute Guy, for your masculine beauty. It’s very appreciated, but also very ignored.
You know how some people just seem to love exercise, and you don’t get it? You exercise because you know you need to, but you don’t light up at the mention of it, like those glowing, jumping, giddy, exercise fiends. But you could love it. People who like exercise just found their groove with it, and you could too if you’d stop making these mistakes in the gym.