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The Distracted Girl's Guide to Exercise


Workout calendar

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy exercising. It's sticking to a program that is my Achilles heel. Every time I print out a rotation calendar for a fitness program or get a "30 days to something or other" DVD, my mind starts to wander after less than a week.

 So I came up with my own rotation. It provides three days of cardio, two days of resistance, a day of something "stretchy" and a rest day. I've written these broad terms on my calendar for the month of February and when I complete it, I get a check mark. (I need to buy myself some shiny stars.) Here's how it goes:


I have to start the week running. It usually provides my best calorie burn of the week and it's a symbolic way to "hit the ground running." This Monday, the day started off rainy but I waited for the clouds to part somewhat and jogged through the drizzle. Makes you feel extra badass.

TUESDAY: Weights

This can be something like ChaLean Extreme, a Jackie Warner DVD, or something else involving weights, resistance bands or a body-weight workout (lunges, squats, etc.). I did Jackie's 30-Day Fast Start one day last week, and her pyramid style routine killed my upper body ... but in a good way.


The category is wide open for anything dancy -- Zumba, Jazzercise, Hip-Hop Abs, or a Wii or Xbox workout like Dance Central or Just Dance. (I just got Just Dance 3, and while it may look like a video game, my BodyMedia FIT tells me it's also a great way to torch calories.) I recently got Jazzercise Burlesque and it's a fun, flirty workout (but don't let your kid catch you doing it; he'll be mortified for life.)


Same thing as Tuesday but it doesn't have to be the same workout.


This can be a kickboxing-intensive workout like Turbo Jam or something from Billy Blanks. His PT 24/7 is a great new set with such good instruction that I FINALLY figured out how to do a proper side kick. I also absolutely love the DVD that came with Robert Ferguson's Food Lovers Fat Loss program. Robert is a really fun and motivating workout leader and he has a good kickboxing workout. It might be hard to find but there are a few sellers on Amazon that offer it.


This is either yoga or a stretching DVD. I especially like Ashley Turner's yoga workouts, and Tamilee Webb's Total Stretch for Beginners DVD is a classic that has two separate stretching programs.


When I mean "off" I don't mean sacking out on the couch. My Sundays usually involve grocery shopping and laundry, so there's a little somethin-somethin for activity.

Burger King and 'Food Inc.' in the same day? Bad mommy!

My son had his first Little League game of the season, and while his team didn't win, they looked solid. My husband was umpiring another game so I told Little Slugger that we'd go to lunch after the game and that it was his choice.

He's 11 -- he chose Burger King.

FoodincDVD Fine, whatever. We don't do fast food very often -- perhaps half a dozen times a year. So after our Whopper Jrs and fries (small), we got home and fired up iTunes because I wanted to rent the documentary Food, Inc. After 20 minutes my son was on the floor sobbing.

"I don't like animal cruelty!" he cried. Then he left the room.

I admit, the juxtaposition of a meaty burger and crispy fries with scenes of potato factories and "downer cows" was pretty jarring. It's certainly not the humorous activism of Super Size Me. But kids need to know how the sausage is made, literally and figuratively. He needs to know why I cringe and say no to cheap fast food (at least most of the time).

But will we never idle through a drive-through window again? Nope.

That's what got me into my big-butt predicament. There was a lot of finger pointing and "should you be eating that?" going on during my childhood, making the verboten seem all the sweeter and crispier and meatier. 

True story: I once came home to an after-school snack of thawed frozen rhubarb doused in Sweet 'n' Low.

(Try not to gag -- I did.)

My mom meant well -- she was only following doctor's orders. Those horrible, doctor-prescribed "reducing diets" would make anyone hate and resent food. And some of those genius snacks came from early copies of Weight Watchers magazine. Oven-baked canned mushrooms were "peanuts." White bread spread with boiled-down tomato juice and rubbery cheese was "pizza." Pureed green beans was "guacamole."

That wasn't food -- it was performance art. But it was the opposite end of the spectrum from the factory-farmed and produced garbage that we bought through the car window today.

Don't get me wrong, my son is not a slave to Madison Avenue. I've had healthy eating drilled into his brain since he was a Stonyfield Farm YoBaby-slurping tot. I told him the other yogurts had "paint" in them. He regularly reaches for fresh fruit and other whole, healthy foods.

I don't want him to ever eat a bowl of artificially sweetened rhubarb as long as he lives.

Exercise DVDs bargains on The Firm, Tae Bo, yoga and more

Just stumbled across a great sale on fitness DVDs at UncleGraveyard.com (creepy name, great deals). Among the bargains:

  • Firmexpresscardio The Firm: Express Cardio, $2.99
  • Tae Bo: Contact 1, $2.99
  • Baron Baptiste: Power Vinyasa Yoga, Level 1, $3.99
  • George Foreman: Walk it Off With George Circuit Walk, $2.99

Here's a little tip on that George Foreman DVD -- it's led by Petra Kolber, so that makes it a lot better than it seems.