workout living

Staying Organized and In Shape

As anyone who knows me well can testify, I really really REALLY hate working out. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of being fit and healthy. I just don’t like working at it! However, on the advice of the entire planet, I’ve started putting time in at the gym and in front of some great workout videos. No time like the present…

Micro Living is all about reducing, repurposing and restyling. I think not only getting organized with your workouts follows these basic ideas, but the whole concept of staying fit in general is Micro Living. While I’m thinking about reducing the things in my home to just the things I need and treasure, I am also thinking of streamlining my body to be the thing I need most (a healthy body!) and turning it into something I really treasure.

It’s also helpful to make your workouts, health and general fitness organized and efficient. What do I mean by that? Fitness and health should help make your life happier and more fulfilling. When you are healthy, you can think more clearly about the other things in your life. Healthy living also helps with stress. The less stress you have in your life the more time and energy you can spend on the things you value most. Carefully plan out your fitness program and other things in your life might begin falling into place. Take control of your health and who knows what you can tackle next!

I’ve thought of some helpful tips to keep you organized and tidy when it comes to your health and fitness. Try some of these suggestions yourself and let me know what you think.

1) Plan of action – Take a few minutes and brainstorm about WHY you want to be fit and healthy. There are a million reasons… fit into my skinny jeans, look great for a wedding, help heal from a disease or injury. Really think about your motivations and start to focus on those things. Cutting and pasting images of your goals on your brainstorm sheet can help as well. Don’t forget to include internal as well as external motivators.

2) Start planning – Make your health goals more concrete. Under a heading like “fit into pre-baby clothes” think of ideas like “lose five pounds,” “focus workouts on legs/butt/tummy,” or “reduce calorie intake by 10%.” Write down whatever specific goals that will make your fitness plan real. Some goals can also include things as simple as “eat breakfast,” “walk dog around the block every afternoon,” or “drink more water!” Read articles in fitness magazines or the internet for ideas. There are always people writing about simple goals to help you achieve your health ideal.
3) Gather your tools – Start listing things that will help you in your quest to be more fit. If you need some free weights, make a plan to get some (save money, borrow from a friend, etc.). If you need to find a gym, start searching the yellow pages, the newspaper or the internet for a place to go. It’s a good idea to assess what you tools you already have that work right now, what you need to get rid of and what you need to acquire. If you already have workout pants that fit, great! If not, find a substitute (comfy pajama sweats?) or make a plan to get some new ones (resale shop? sale at Target?). Just make sure to clear out anything you don’t currently use or don’t plan to use in the near future. If you’re never going to do yoga, you can probably find a good home for all of those videos you never use.

4) Information is your friend – Go to your library and check out a few books on fitness and healthy living. Add some workout DVDs to your Netflix queue. I like to try everything out before I buy it. Some workout routine videos are available in clips online. That will give you a good sense of whether you want to purchase them or not. Gyms are also a great place to try out new things. If you find that you use a fitness ball at the gym every time you go, look into buying one. Remember, though, that one of the best parts about the gym is that you get to keep all that equipment there when you leave! If you don’t think that you’re really going to use free weights at home, don’t buy them. I know that I prefer working out to videos at home, so I have free weights and DVDs at hand. I go to the gym for cardio equipment like a stationary bike so that I don’t have to invest in and store one here. The more research you do about what you REALLY need to get fit, the better.

5) Take advantage of new technology – I mentioned in my last post about a workout tracking iphone app. I love that thing. But not everyone has access to an iphone, so I thought I would mention some things to help you get organized on your own. Self magazine has an online fitness and health tracker that I’ve found very useful. It includes workout logs and allows you to keep track of what you’re eating every day. There are also useful tools for BMI calculations, weight tracking and access to all of their workouts. It’s free, which is the best part! If you’re a pen and paper girl, find a fancy notebook and a favorite pen to keep tabs on your fitness and health goals and what you’re doing to reach them. Just because you don’t use all the latest technology to keep the end in sight, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t track your goals at all. Use what works for you!

6) Keep it together – Find a home for all of your fitness gear. I like those cloth shoe organizers that hang in the closet for this purpose. Each cubby is the perfect size for sneakers, hand weights, fitness logs, workout DVDs, useful books, workout clothing, water bottles… Keep your kitchen organized as well with your health in mind. Keep snack size bags on hand to control portion sizes. Organize your water bottles in one place. Think about portioning out and preparing all of your healthy foods as soon as you get home from grocery shopping. It’s a lot easier to just grab a bag of chopped up fruits or vegetables than to chop and peel every time you want a snack. I also like to post my menu plan for the week on the fridge where I can easily see it. When I plan out healthy meals, I like to be reminded of the recipe, the ingredients and the goal every time I go to the fridge to grab something easy and unhealthy. You can also post your fitness goals and inspiring pictures on your fridge.

7) Healthy, easy and cheap – Remember that some of the best tools for keeping fit are cheap. You’ve already got two legs that are perfect for walking and running. Soup cans can easily double as free weights. A rug with a towel on top works well for an impromptu workout mat. Bags of apples and oranges are pretty inexpensive, easy to find, and can keep you on track with healthy eating. One of the best, free, keeping-healthy tools of all? Water! My friend Lisa Cimperman is a registered dietician and this is what she has to say about it:

8) Safety first – Don’t start any healthy eating plan or fitness plan without talking to your doctor first. If you are going from zero fitness and a junk food diet to training for a marathon, you don’t want to take your health by surprise. Your doctor can help you develop realistic goals and remind you of simple things you can do to reach them. Pay attention to any injuries or health problems before you start. If you know that you have knee troubles, talk to your doctor and pay attention to workouts that are low impact on your knees. Consult an expert about correct form. I think a mirror is a handy way to notice if you’re doing something wrong. Some of my workout videos have helpful sections that focus entirely on how to do certain exercises correctly. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and take in the calories that you need to be healthy, instead of just cutting out everything all together.

These are just SOME helpful hints I’ve found to help with my fitness and health goals. I’ll try to keep you updated on what is working and how I’m doing with this advice in mind. Let me know what works for you. I’m sure you have a ton of suggestions and ideas yourself.

Now, pry yourself away from the computer, put on your running shoes and get to work! (me too!)

3 thoughts on “workout living”

  • Great advice! I'm also incredibly lazy when it comes to working out. I think I'm in the same boat, I like the idea of being healthy… but my recliner beckons me otherwise. Here's my advice that has worked for me (I recently lost 30+ pounds)…

    1.) The #1 most important thing that helped me was making a weekly meal plan down to the last detail. 3 meals, 2 snacks per day. Not only will this help you stay focused it'll also help your wallet. I couldn't tell you how much food I use to waste (veggies going bad, etc.) before I started doing this.

    2.) Find a fun way to work out. Whether that's joining a local dodgeball league or getting a workout video game, it's up to you. I personally liked EA Sports Active for the Wii and plan on getting EA Sports Active 2 for the PS3 for this coming year.

    3.) Look for local "boot camps". If you're someone who likes accountability there's no better way than being in a group setting where you feel obligated to show up and give it your all. I did this for a couple months and would still be doing it if it wasn't for the place closing down. 🙁

    4.) Foods work in different ways for everyone, but what I found that works for me is going all natural. In other words eating only meats, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. No processed foods and no grains. But again, just cause this worked for me, doesn't mean it'll work for you. A website I'd recommend that helped me go natural was

    hope this helps,


  • love the idea about using a shoe organizer for workout gear! right now i use a Sterilite rolling storage drawer that fits in the bottom of my closet.

    i also wanted to add hula-hooping as a fantastic, fun workout idea. you can make your own hoop by following this tutorial.
    i like a hoop that is about 45" in diameter. it has a good weight to it and you get a great workout in about 30 minutes.

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