Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Get off the Treadmill and go Play!

Can anyone spot the over-sized kid? 
Have you ever watched kids play?  Healthy kids will play very very hard and rest when necessary, they don't need to go out on 5 mile runs or spend hours at the gym because their entire day is built around moving around, they climb, they jump, they run, they play and it is all effortless.  At the end of the day, their heads hit the pillows and they sleep hard. They are doing what humans were designed to do.  Being active comes second nature to  kids, and somewhere along the lines of becoming grown ups, most of us lose the natural tendency to be active often throughout the day.  We have traded natural activity for desk jobs and forced treadmill runs to try and make up for it.  No fun!

For awhile I have been annoyed at how hard I have to work to maintain my level of fitness, while my husband works out hard for 2, maybe 3 days a week and not that long... while also being incredibly in shape and lean.  So annoying!  So I think I have figured it out, he works out with a 100% intensity for only a couple days a week, plays with the kids endlessly and eats to satiety, while never depriving himself of real food.  So for the last month I have been on a mission to re-think exercise.  Let me just say up front
, this has not been easy.  I have been in the mindset that workouts meant hours on end at the gym every day.  I would run over 20 miles a week and do other various workouts such as insanity or other variations of HIIT (High intensity interval training) more than a few times a week.  burning over 500 calories a day while also following a strict low calorie/low fat diet.  If you read one of my previous posts about adrenal fatigue you can see how I got myself to that point.  After having lost so much weight with the old school philosophy of counting calories and working out like a maniac, I felt a constant pressure to maintain this for fear of gaining the weight back.  Even after having changed to a Paleo diet almost a year ago, I still maintained an intense workout schedule.  The more I have learned and immersed myself in the concepts of living a more minimalistic lifestyle, the more I realized that I was simply overdoing it with the workouts.  There were days I would have worked out for over an hour and a half, running over 4 miles and then lifting, and would do this almost 6 days a week at times.   I wouldn't even have the energy to play with my kids later that day.  I can't imagine why, but at the time I was perplexed, I mean wasn't that supposed to make me super fit and healthy and have tons of energy to play with my kids?  Well no...in fact the endless miles I was logging on the treadmill and the frequent HIIT workouts coupled with the low calorie/low fat diet was draining me entirely. 

The last couple of months I have been trying something new by cutting out the long hours at the gym and trading in my 4 mile runs for 4 mile walks, and instead of doing tons of different weight lifting workouts throughout the week, I minimized the weights to 4 or 5 heavy lifts and I get in and out the weight room in about 30 minutes.  Instead of focusing on long runs I have decided to focus on speed training by incorporating sprinting 1x a week and HIIT workouts (crossfit style) 1x a week.  I got these ideas from reading a great book called "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson.  So my schedule now looks something like this:

  •  Walk to my gym 
  •  Heavy Lifting :  Bench Press, Squats, Bent-over barbell rows and Body weight dips (can also add weight)
  • Run 1.5 mile back home and walk the remainder 

  • Walk, Clean my house and play with my kids

  • HIIT (lasting less than 30 minutes)
  • Walk
  •  Walk to my gym
  • Heavy Lifting:  Deadlift, Overhead press, assisted pull-ups, and thrusters
  • Run 1.5 miles back home and walk remainder

  • Walk
  • Play with kids and clean my house  (I am an incessant neat freak so cleaning keeps me very active)

  • Family bike ride to the track 
  • Sprint workout
  • Active day with family

  • Active family day

 How has this new schedule changed my life?

 I no longer feel exhausted in the middle of the day, like I used to.  I can lift heavier, I can run faster, in fact I ran my mile the other day in 8:22 sec, a 30 sec difference then my all time fastest. My new goal is to get it under 8 min in the next 6 months.

Walking helps clear my head of the mental exhaustion that comes along with having 3 kids while simultaneously giving me exposure to copious amounts of Vitamin D in the form of sunshine.

I wake up so much more rested and excited for the day.  Whereas before I somewhat dreaded the day ahead because I knew I would have to muster up a ton of energy to get through a ridiculous run or other workout....only to come back home craving tons of bad carbs, I had a hard time falling asleep and had a terrible insulin response system going on.  I will also note that by eating tons of healthy fats and protein and minimal (less than 100 grams of Carbohydrate) a day I feel so much more energetic and stronger then I ever have before.   I have learned that less is more and that it is important to rest my body.  Life should be so much more enjoyable and after allowing myself to take it easy, I have discovered a whole new level of happiness that I never thought was possible.  With that said, everyday still remains somewhat of an internal struggle with my inner exercise obsessed demons, taunting me that I am not doing enough...Everyday is a new day to silence the demons (insert evil laugh).

I challenge you to stop logging endless miles running on the treadmill or the elliptical and instead go for a walk, pick up some heavy weights and occasionally sprint around a track, play with your kids, explore the great outdoors and start living!

If you need a little guidance on how to get started on minimizing your workout regime check out these awesome resources:


or if you want something more detailed with videos to help with form and nutrition details check out:


Another awesome resource that is inexpensive is:  http://eplifefit.com/


  1. So proud of you and your hard work! I still fight it everyday I don't work out like I should because I was always forced to run run run in previous sports so now I almost hate it reading this shows me I can do much more then just "run" in order to be healthy! We are proud of how hard you work to be healthy!

  2. Thanks Brad!! I think above and beyond anything exercise related walking and lifting heavy weights is first and foremost the most important things :) Plus those two things in my opinion are incredibly enjoyable! I am glad that I am to a point where it no longer feels like work to be healthy, but second nature. Love you guys and thanks for reading ;)