All Articles Tagged "working out"
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.
I love reading and seeing Brande’s weight loss progress. It encourages me so much that I always reach out to congratulate her and let her know how much it keeps me going full force with my weight loss pursuit. But one day, when I hit her up on Twitter, she mentioned how she was hoping to see me put out my transformation pics one day as well.
That’s when I realized that… I didn’t have any. And I was trying to figure out why.
This isn’t my first time in the weight loss rodeo. During my freshman year of college, a life of late nights, early mornings, buffets, sedative studying habits, and fast food restaurants that delivered until 3am, I easily gained 30 pounds. So during the summer of my junior year of college I decided to go full force in the gym and drop the weight. During that time I always did the weekly weight loss photos, and compared them to see my progress.
But this time, while losing my baby weight, I didn’t do that. What was so different this time? That’s when I realized how I had to change my entire outlook on my weight loss attempts to stay consistent.
In past articles I addressed how I had a three week stamina problem when it came to working out. I would go full force with the work out DVDs, weight lifting, and healthy eating, but at the beginning of the fourth week was when I would peter out. I would just lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, waiting for the time that I would usually work out to pass.
I didn’t understand why I would continue to stop working out during the fourth week. That was when I realized what my biggest problem was: I was putting entirely too much pressure on myself and my weight loss.
During college, when I lost those 44 pounds, I initially started going to the gym once a day, five days a week. But during the second month of my weight loss pursuits, I upped the ante, with two workouts a day, 7 days a week, and running a total of thirty miles a week. I. Was. Intense.
On top of that, at night, I would do specialized targeted work outs to hit certain trouble zones.
It was effective, and I kept that routine up for a whole year, but I eventually burned out at the gym. I got to the point that I couldn’t even step foot in it.
Fast forward to having a child, and once I finally felt strong enough to lose the weight, I found my mind back to College-Kendra, and I was obsessing over the work outs, and doing a second workout, and then running on my mother’s treadmill, planning what to eat, and what to avoid when I grocery shopped. All that overthinking caused me to have a good start, but after three weeks, it was me, a couch, and Chili-Cheese Fritos, wondering: “What happened?”
So this time, I stopped obsessing. Not even obsessing, I kind of stopped thinking about weight loss. I decided to turn it into something that was as mechanical as walking upstairs. You know how it is, when you’re walking up the stairs, but if you think too hard about it, it immediately seems like the most arduous thing in the world? That’s how I had to approach going to the gym.
I had to take the stigma (good and bad) out of working out. I stopped getting on the scale, I stopped measuring myself, I stopped thinking: “By next month I want to have lost [insert number] amount of pounds.” I just stopped thinking about it.
Once that happened, everything else just sort of fell into place. Instead of obsessing about what to eat, I just ate what I craved. Ironically, my body stopped craving the unhealthy food I loved, and instead trying fad diets, I just listened to my body.
My mother finally convinced me to get on the scale, and I saw I was over 30 pounds lighter than the first time I weighed myself.
Even with that, I still don’t think too much of it.
I went to a mental place of living life; no planning, no obsessing, just living. In fact, I hardly noticed that I was shopping smaller sizes until my mother pointed that out too.
Weight loss is different for everyone. Sometimes it helps to be very conscientious of what you eat and how you work out. But for me, tricking myself to not think about weight loss is what actually got me to stay focused on it. Three months later, I’m still going to the gym.
It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for me. *Kendra shrug*
If Kendra Koger does find a before picture, she’ll probably post it on her twitter @kkoger.
It may sound superficial, but if we’re being honest hair is a big consideration when it comes to Black women’s physical health. Even if we don’t let our strands stop us from busting a sweat, there’s no denying it takes some planning, pre- and post-workout, to put our best hair forward after a cross-fit class, Zumba, running the treadmill, or any other physical activity.
A few of MadameNoire’s editors have been going hard with their fitness routines lately so we decided to break down what we do to maintain hair that not only looks great but is healthy from the inside out. Read on to see how we care for our locs, permed, natural, and transitioning hair while working out.
Every time I prepare to go running, my routine is the same: Throw on some workout gear, grab my headphones, find a random place to stick my keys, and pull my hair back in a struggle ponytail to stuff it under a cap. Nothing about this 10-minute prep is inconvenient, but each time I cringe at the thought of how much maintenance it’s going to take to return my hair to a presentable form after a decent sweat session.
I’ve been natural for two years now. Long enough that my hair schedule and styles are pretty set, and even if wash day does skip around, my hair doesn’t fret. It gets me. Well, it gets me most of the time.
But because my fitness routine hasn’t been this consistent since those high school track and field days, my new natch pattern has no loyalty to this change of pace. Not to mention, every switch in seasons requires me to rework my hair product concoctions in order to keep my hair moisturized, frizz-free, and my blowouts protected from impending summer humidity. That means double the not-so-fun task of trial and error with hair products and styles all over again. Yay.
When I first started working out regularly, I was letting my post-cardio hair air dry. But the tangled ‘fro that followed, especially under my resident Bad Hair Day hat, was a frightening hot mess. In the hopes of improving the look and feel of my strands, I started co-washing every other workout day to ensure my hair was clean, which helps promote hair growth and retention, right? Well, that was overdrying my hair a bit, making it a tad too brittle. Despite my best efforts, my hair isn’t really cooperating with me and my new lifestyle.
So I’m starting to wonder, is this my punishment for wanting to be my healthiest self? Are my hair goals at a standstill because my body goals are flourishing? Hardly. Though I do believe it’s a dilemma every natural girl faces at some point during her fitness journey. So how do I keep my hair cute and clean, my edges laid, maintain my style from the gym to a possible post-gym outing, and not go crazy wrestling with my hair every day?
If you thought I had the answer, I don’t (I would not have written this if I did). I have yet to find that sweet spot of looking somewhat decent after exercising. And while I struggle to salvage my hair post-workout, I don’t think it’s impossible to do so.
As the saying goes (and remains true), everyone’s hair is different. So while throwing in quick Celie braids before hitting the gym works for some, I’m stuck with a head full of crusty tendrils after the sweat dries. (Sorry, I can’t get jiggy with chasing my summer body goals through St. Nicholas Park in a head scarf either.) It’s a process to nurture your hair to the point that everything you do with it just, well, works. And that’s just the nature of being natural. Add in the fact that you’re pounding the pavement and introducing a whole new set of elements to your ‘do every day, and it’s safe to say that managing natural hair can be extremely frustrating. This is especially true when you’re trying to get your body right. It’s a whole new hair obstacle that’s not for the faint of heart.
For now, the answer for me is a protective style (thankfully a hair appointment is set for the end of the month). I can’t focus on the extra TLC my hair needs right now. And although you can’t totally abandon your tresses, even with a weave or wig, my hair and my hands needs a break because mama is tired. I do love my hair and I’m dedicated to figuring out what it needs. But until I can figure out how to successfully marry my hair goals with my new workout schedule, it will be a painful process and a long summer…for the both of us.
Sometimes all we need is a little push. The following inspirational quotes about fitness will certainly get you moving and on your way to your next workout session. We know, we know, its not that easy because you are always short on time. Mainly because you do so much during the day with the kids as well as work. But the truth is, one hour of working out is less than 5% of your day. Try and put yourself in a mindset where you won’t be making excuses towards fitness. Click continue to take a look at fifteen super awesome quotes that will get you moving and in the gym!
Fitness Motivation: 15 Awesome Quotes to Get You Moving
Main image: Tumblr
For anyone who used to work out consistently, but then took a long hiatus, getting back into the swing of things can be a little… interesting. Some things are harder than you anticipated, and you realize that your mind has to catch up with your current body (not the one you used to have or, the one you’re delusional to think that you still have. No shade, I have to remind myself I’m not as small as I used to be every time I go jean shopping, but that’s a different post).
Here are 14 things that tend to occur when you get back to your gym rat ways. Let me know if you can relate, or what you noticed when you start back working out.
Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.
When you begin a new workout regimen to lose weight — or even think about beginning one — there are lots of things you can become anxious about. Can I really do this? Do I have time to do this? Do I have the money for this? Are there going to be creepy men at the gym staring at me? Are the skinny chicks who do this on a regular going to judge me? The latter actually wasn’t even a concern of mine when I got back into a Zumba routine several months ago at a studio not far from my office. I live for Zumba because the moves are ones I can actually do for a whole hour, I love Latin music, and I work up a crazy sweat. Plus the classes tend to be full of women — 90% of which are rhythmically challenged yet still doing their thing and having fun — so it’s always felt like a no judgement zone. Until the one day I met #ThisBish.
I always like to get to classes early so I can save up my energy for the actual workout, rather than running to grab a spot before the instructor begins, and because I’m one of those people who likes to workout toward the middle, if not the back, of the class. At this point in my journey, I’m just not interested in seeing belly fat flap all around in those gigantic jazzercise mirrors. The particular day I met #ThisBish though, I’d been running late and once I got to the class there were only a couple of spots left — one of which was second row left, right in front of those dag on mirrors. Though not my preferred spot, I wasn’t going to not workout because of that so I popped a squat for two minutes and began stretching when a voice not far from me said “This is kinda hard. You might wanna go to the back of the class.”
In my naivety, which I still can’t account for because once I come into contact with people on the streets of New York City I tend to be overcome with the worst of attitudes, I simply smiled and replied “Oh, I’m okay here,” low-key thinking the woman was being sympathetic to the packed class struggle and trying to point out free space. When she returned my comment with an annoyed expression on her face I was confused, and almost as soon as the instructor turned on “Suavemente,” the light bulb went off in my head and I realized she was suggesting I go to the back of the class because there’s no way I’d be able to keep up or keep from embarrassing myself in the front of the class. “This Bish!”
When I tell you I have never pushed myself in a class so hard before I am not lying. For one thing, I’ve taken a Zumba class at least 75-plus times in my life. This wasn’t my first Latin rodeo so I wasn’t worried about keeping up. But just to prove little Halle the Hater wrong over there, I made sure I went from zero to a hundred real quick (in my Drake voice) and cut my eyes at her every time there was a break in the song to make sure she knew I caught on to her hateration. I also decided when the class was over, and my heart rate returned to a normal level, I was going to give her a piece of my mind for trying to play me. But low and behold, little miss I-do-this left the class early and I never got a chance to redeem myself.
As someone who writes about other people’s business all the time, I can’t exactly say with a straight face: why are people so concerned with what other people do? But, being overweight is always one of those conditions that, for some reason, always tends to lend itself to public scrutiny and suggestiveness as the expense of said plus-size person’s mental state. If my weight is that much of a personal affront to you, why not encourage me to push harder from wherever I am (like my Crunch instructor last week who ironically asked me why I keep going to the back of the class) or congratulate me for trying to get my life together (OK maybe not because that would be awkward to me).
Anyway, I know when some folks see me all they see is a walking burden on the health care system, but until I show up at your door with a doctor’s bill and a laundry list of comorbidities — or unless I stand right in front of you in a kickboxing class and block your view from the mirror, please let me live! I have enough stuff going on on my journey to Snatchedville. Trust me, I’m working it out. Has this ever happened to you?
Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you needed to wait until things in your life were “perfect” before pursuing something you really wanted?
If you’re part of the IG Fitness Fam then you’ve undoubtedly came across the meme: “Progress, not Perfection.” I’m personally enthralled whenever I see the message, because there have been opportunities and times in the past that I passed something up that I really wanted because I thought that things in my life were too out of order to pursue.
Now, I’m not necessarily talking about those vain desires that we might want. There are some things that we do have to wait on to be completed before we pursue another action, like learning how to swim before participating in a triathlon. Or confessing your undying love to your crush and s/he doesn’t even know that you exist, you have to at least introduce yourself first.
I’m talking about things that don’t necessarily coincide with one another, but we create a correlation between them. Things like: “I can’t apply for this job unless I lose some weight,” or “I can’t go to my high school reunion until I get into a relationship,” or “I can’t participate in this open mic night until I get some comfortable shoes (because performing doesn’t just come from the soul, it comes from the soles.)”
Every now and then my mind wonders why there is a need for such memes. Why do we need to be reminded to appreciate the small steps on our way to our larger goals? Why do we have to talk ourselves out of talking ourselves out of dreams/desires/aspirations?
I don’t know if this is true for all, but I could imagine that for some, living in this current world of airbrushed and photoshopped reality can be intimidating. You wake up in the morning, feel good about yourself, and then log in on any one of your social media accounts and see the glamorized life that others are living, and then suddenly your day is enveloped in a cloud of doubt, self-belittling, and questions. You begin to try to figure out why some people are reaching milestones that you haven’t; so you look for the differences between you and then begin to internalize it, thinking that going after things you want would only happen if you had certain factors in your life.
Don’t disparage though, I’ve been in that situation before in life as well (it’s one of the reasons why I don’t have a Facebook). I remember a period of time, after working a job in another state and moving back home and having to admit that I’d put on some weight. One of my best friends invited me to a gym in my neighborhood, and I remember telling her: “I can’t go to the gym until I lose some weight.”
There was so much of a need to be seemingly perfect, in an environment created to help you with your flaws, that I felt (at that time) that I could only go until I was flawless.
If you don’t take anything else from this article, take these nuggets:
If you’re putting your dreams off until you’re perfect, then you’re going to be waiting for eternity, because there will never be a time that will be completely perfect. There will always be a downside, something small that’s going to compel you to stay in your sea of complacency, because even though you might hate being there, it’s familiar.
Also, that sea of complacency that you’re floating in isn’t just familiarity, it’s fear. It’s fear of wanting to better yourself, exploring outside of your current surroundings into something more vast, complex, and with the possibility of great success. However, you stay in the condition that you’re in, because if you go out on that ledge, make yourself vulnerable, and then fail, then you feel as though you might have no one to blame but yourself.
Though it hurts, failure is a part of life, and many of the people that you might look up to/idolize have not only failed, but were in your shoes as well. The only thing that separates them is that they decided to follow their passion, talent, and desires into an avenue that worked well for them. You have that same ability.
So instead of waiting for things to be perfect, strive for progress. That way, you’ll never be disappointed when you can’t grasp the intangible.
Now, I’m a realist, and if you are a person like me who felt a little hesitant to go to the gym because you feel as though you’re not thin enough, here’s a great at home workout that’ll help you get more comfortable before going to the gym and gaining your progress. Learning to stop expecting perfection takes some time, so until you get into the mind-frame of “Progress, not Perfection,” this is my gift to you: