Category Archives: Exercise

I Am Still Alive but I Cannot Say the Same for the February Exercise Challenge

Oh my.  It’s March already?  How did that happen?  Where have I been?

I guess things have been a bit busier than I anticipated.  I just logged on and discovered that I have an incomplete draft that I started writing on February 20 and have not touched since then.  And I honestly don’t think I’ve actually logged on to WordPress since then.

Needless to say, the February exercise challenge kinda fell apart.  Am I disappointed?  Yes.  After my success with the food cleanse in January, I really was optimistic about my self-imposed daily exercise goal.  Am I embarrassed?  Yes.  Failure in itself doesn’t bother me too much, but I’m not crazy about other people knowing when I mess up.  Am I upset, though?  Not really.  First of all, I think it’s a healthy experience to openly fail at something and not be horribly traumatized it.  Sure, it makes me cringe a little bit to admit that I am not awesome everything I attempt, but I trust that none of my dear readers are going to leave comments that kick me while I’m down.   The same way that phobias can be extinguished by having positive experiences with a stimulus (or the thing someone is afraid of, for you non-psychology majors), failing in front of others with no terrible consequences will help encourage me to continue to take risks in the future.

There is a second reason why I am not completely torn up about this. I don’t exactly see it as failure.

One of my biggest challenges is doing enough that I feel productive at the end of the day and historically there have been a lot of times when this doesn’t happen.  I will waste a day and not do anything I wanted or needed to do, and then feel frustrated and disappointed with myself.   For the most part, however, the last few weeks have been busy enough that I haven’t had many opportunities to waste a day, even if I wanted to do so!  That does not mean that finding the time to exercise has been completely out of my control though.  In addition to the externally-regulated time commitments that I don’t have much control over, there have also been times when I have made deliberate choices to devote my time and energy to something other than exercise, like spending time with friends, family, and my husband.  The thing I feel good about is that I’m swapping out one important thing for another, rather than trading something I need for what I think of as “empty calorie” activities… the things that suck up my time, but don’t really do anything for me and I typically regret later on (like spending a full hour on Facebook).  Yeah, there have been some moments like that, but definitely not as much as there have been in the past. In general, I have felt good about the decisions I’ve been making about how to spend my time.

So perhaps there is a difference between failing and not succeeding.  You can put in a lot of effort and still not succeed because there are obstacles beyond your control, or perhaps because the goal you set was too high.  You can also not succeed because you decided to focus your effort into a different goal, at least temporarily.  In either case, at least you are moving forward and doing something.  I think the only true case of failure is when you are doing absolutely nothing.

Don’t think this means that I am letting myself off the hook.  I still really want to find some sort of exercise routine that works for me, and I still like the idea of using my blog as a vehicle for following through on the goals I set.  It just seems like it might require some more exploration and reflection (or pilot testing, if you will) before I try this again.  So at this point, I’m easing up on myself a bit and reevaluating what might work better.  And with spring break coming up soon, I will have a nice long week to reset and maybe try to get back on track.

Also, I want to mention that as I’ve been working on this, I realized that I’ve really missed writing!  (Similar to how I feel when I exercise after taking some time off, actually.)  So, I’ll try to check in a little more frequently and at least share some recipes with you, because no matter how busy things get, I still seem to find time to cook.*

*That is not entirely true.  But there have certainly been times in the last couple weeks when I cooked something and wished I had taken photos and/or had the time to write about it!

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February’s Challenge: Week 1 (plus some)

I realized that I should check in and let you all know how the daily exercise thing is going.  Turns out this exercise challenge has been… well, more challenging than I expected.  There have been a number of days where I actually have been so busy, it’s been really tough to find thirty minutes, at least at a time I found to be convenient.  That actually made me feel better about how frequently I don’t exercise, if that makes any sense at all.  I guess I always assumed that I do have plenty of time, I’m just too lazy to use the time to exercise.  While that certainly is the case some days, there are also occasional days where my schedule is so packed that I think it is legitimate to put exercise as a lower priority.  I mean, exercise is supposed to reduce stress, right?  So if finding time to do it is causing stress and anxiety, it’s not gonna work very well.

But the truth is that in between the wonderful days with plenty of time on my hands and the days where I barely have a chance to eat, go to the bathroom, or breathe, are the majority of my days- the ones with at least a few appointments and/or things on my to-do list, but also lots of chunks of free time and flexibility to accomplish everything I need to.  And this challenge has made me very aware of all of the reasons and excuses I come up with to skip exercise on those days.  I don’t consider myself a workaholic, but I do tend to get caught up in things, and it feels like it would be really easy to rationalize spending a little more time to finish my statistics homework, even if it means dropping yoga for the day. It’s so easy to find things that seem more important, but I have to keep reminding myself that taking care of myself needs to be one of my top priorities.  The same way I make appointments at school, plan times to see friends, and schedule date nights with Nick, I need to claim time for myself and respect those commitments the same way I respect my commitments to other people.

So since the beginning of February’s Challenge (Take Two), I’ve stuck to my plan, and have spent thirty minutes every day exercising.  Oh.  Except for Day Two.  This is embarrassing.  That was two Fridays ago, and I just plain forgot about it.  Yeah, two days in, and I forget.  In my defense, that was the day I was making Nick’s birthday dinner, and I got really caught up in baking and cooking, and at the point I realized I had skipped exercising, it was too late.  So… I need to make up those thirty minutes.  But otherwise, there has been yoga, dancing, or walking every day.  The one thing that is bothering me is actually similar to when I did the daily blogging challenge in November.  When you have to do something every day, sometimes it feels forced and you kinda half-ass it.  So my mini-goal for this week is to be a bit more purposeful, mindful, and present when I’m exercising, rather than just going through the motions.  I know there are going to be some days where I’m just not feeling it, but I want to bring more effort to what I’m doing.

I suppose that’s about it for now.  One week down, three to go!

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February’s Challenge: Let’s Try This Again…

Last week I declared my intent to exercise at least 30 minutes every day for the entire month of February (plus the first day of March).  I also mentioned that I was fighting a cold, and I had a backup plan in case I succumbed to the germs and had to skip a day or two of exercise.  What I did not anticipate was that the stupid cold would keep me from exercising for an entire week.

I got through thirty minutes on February 1st, and about 12 minutes of February 2nd, and then I gave in to being sick.  It’s not like I was bedridden, but whatever bug I was dealing with made walking up a flight of stairs or standing in line at the pharmacy exhausting and the constant sinus headache was bad enough that even low-key yoga was less than pleasant.  (By the way, being sick also triggered serious cravings for lots of carryout and convenience food, which is why I haven’t posted anything cooking-related in the last week.)

Seven days and one prescription for antibiotics later, I’m finally feeling normal enough to do more than sit on the couch.  I could divide the 210 missed minutes of exercise among the remaining three weeks of the month, but instead, I’m just going to start this over, and let February’s challenge run a week into March.

So… here we go again.  In case you were wondering, today’s 30 minutes took the form of a one-person dance party in the privacy of my home, which boosted my heart rate and my mood.   And considering the amount of macaroni and cheese, Chinese food, and rice pudding I ate over the last week, getting back into exercise could not come at a better time.

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February’s Challenge: Daily Exercise

My New Year’s resolution was to come up with twelve different month-long challenges for myself.  Oh, and to follow through with them.  Things that I know will help me be happier, healthier, and more balanced.  In case you somehow missed it, January’s challenge (technically three weeks rather than a month) was to stick with a clean eating/ detox plan.  If you’re going to be a stickler about it, I fell 1.5 days short of my three-week goal.  But then again, if you’re going to be a stickler about it, go away.

I have a handful of challenges I’m planning to use in the next few months, and it was hard to decide which one to pick for February.  While not all of the challenges are focused on my physical health, I am choosing to keep my momentum going and build off of this past month’s healthy eating.  As I’ve mentioned before, I know that eating right is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being healthy.  I also know that I find it easier to stick with one piece of the puzzle when the other pieces are also there.  Thus February is going to be the 30 Minutes of Exercise for 30 Days Challenge.  Yes, I know that February only has 29 days.  It’s a good thing I’m doing this on a leap year.  Then I’d be short-changing myself 2 whole days.

Actually I was going to give myself a head start this morning.  But I woke up feeling like I was fighting a cold, so it didn’t happen.  So, this 30 Day challenge will run from February 1st to March 1st.  While my throat is still feeling a little funky tonight, I am determined to start tomorrow.  In the event that this cold knocks me out completely, I am allowing for some flexibility- if I miss a day I will tack those 30 minutes on to another day or two.  After all, it’s important to have a contingency plan for pushing past extenuating circumstances.  At the same time I don’t want to get into the habit of doing that too much (e.g., exercising 45 minutes/day for two days and then skipping a day).  The purpose of this challenge is to make exercise a part of my daily routine rather than just trying to accrue a certain number of minutes over the course of a week or month.

What am I counting as exercise for this?  I thought about strictly focusing on yoga, but then I realized that if we are lucky enough to get another sunny, unseasonably warm day in the next few weeks and I want to take advantage of it, taking a brisk walk should count.  Most likely there will be a lot of yoga and yoga-related things.  Maybe the occasional dance party.  Don’t expect to hear me talking about running.  I don’t believe in running.

This whole thing scares me more than the January challenge.  I am back in school now, so my days are busier.  On Mondays and Tuesdays I don’t get home until 8 pm, so I will have to get myself to exercise first thing in the morning.  That alone will be a challenge.  Plus I am way better at abstaining from things (like caffeine or sugar) than I am at actively adding something to my day.  Maybe if I think about it as abstaining from laziness that will help.

My intent is to keep a daily log and then give you, my dear readers, a weekly update.  It is quite possible there might be some extra Exercise Challenge-related entries, but if you don’t hear about this for a couple days, don’t fret.  I (hopefully) have not quit; I am just assuming that you aren’t interested in reading daily updates consisting of “Woke up at 6 am.  Did yoga.  I hate sweating.”

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Tomorrow, It Begins…

It’s January?  Of 2012?  How did that happen?  Where did December go?  What was I doing?

Oh, right. I spent the first half of the month finishing up the semester and the second half of the month compensating by doing very little other than baking, eating, watching TV and movies, and socializing with friends and family… usually while eating.

I’ve also spent the last couple weeks thinking about how to get back on track with a healthier, more balanced life and what types of resolutions might help me do so.  I was pleased with my success in following (mostly) my blog-a-day goal for November, so I’m thinking about setting similar monthly goals for this year.  All things aimed towards helping me feel happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.  Some monthly challenges might be intended to kick-start lasting habits, like daily exercise.  Others might be things that I don’t necessarily intend to maintain at the same level, but I want to challenge myself to follow through on, like the 30 blogs in 30 days thing.  I had hoped to have a list of 12 monthly goals ready to share today, but I’m not quite there yet.  Partially because I have been preparing for January’s challenge, what my sister and I have titled, “The Cleanse.”

It sounds more ominous than it is.  There are no enemas involved, I promise you. I had already been thinking about doing some sort of post-holiday detox, so when I received the January/February issue of Whole Living and read about their 28 Day Challenge, I thought this seemed like a challenging, but feasible goal.  No dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol.  I guess that bottle of tequila I received for Christmas will be sitting in the cabinet for a while.  Week 1 is pretty much just fruits, veggies, and nuts.  I am anticipating the first few days might be a little rough. Week 2 adds back in beans and seafood, and Week 3 brings back (gluten-free) whole grains.

Now, for you math whizzes out there, yes, I only mentioned three weeks, which, for you non-math whizzes, does not add up to 28 days.  Emily and I agreed to do the first three weeks, not all four.  Mainly this is because the magazine only mentions 21 days; the fourth week is a “bonus” online and we didn’t even know about it when we made this pact.  I figure I’ll see how the first three weeks go, and then decide how to proceed. I think I’ll be starting back in class at Week 4, which will make it tougher to find the time to do so much food prep. But who knows- maybe by then it will seem like no big deal.

This morning I went grocery shopping, and it felt pretty awesome to have my entire cart filled with fruits and veggies (and so many colors- so pretty!)  And I still need to make another trip for the rest of my Week 1 shopping list.  (By the way, how do grocery stores run out of cucumbers??)

So, there will certainly be some Last Night’s Dinners coming up soon.  If you’re lucky, you might even get a This Morning’s Smoothie or two.  But there will be a shortage of bacon photos, to be sure.  And for those of you who are wondering- no, Nick is not doing The Cleanse with me.  There was no way I was going to ask him to give up caffeine for three weeks.  So we plan to stock up on chicken tenders and other similar things that he can add to whatever vegetable-on-vegetable-on-vegetable dinner I’ll be eating.  That’s how marriage works.

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Just One of Those Days

Today actually started pretty well.  I stuck to my new a.m. routine and then went to collect data (i.e., test preschoolers) this morning.  I had fun with a few kids, stayed patient with the more trying ones, and had some nice exchanges with the teachers.  Came home to check a few other things off my to-do list and then spent the rest of the afternoon with my friend and her new (and very cute) baby.  All in all, not much to complain about.

So I don’t know exactly what triggered it, but shortly after I got home I fell into a funk.  Not a terrible, curl-into-a-ball-and-wonder-if-life-is-worth-living funk.  More of a I-just-want-to-eat-ice-cream-and-do-nothing funk.  Maybe it’s a delayed reaction to the time change- I do remember that today was the first time I really noticed how early it got dark.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t been sticking with my daily yoga challenge.  (More on that in a moment.)

Really, when it comes to these occasional blah moods, it doesn’t matter what triggered it.  Instead of spending my time trying to understand it, I focus on finding the way to help myself get out of it.  Sometimes, the right answer is to allow myself a night of eating ice cream and doing nothing.  But those are best reserved for Fridays.  I know letting myself do that tonight would only make me feel worse in the morning.  And yes, there are times that throwing myself into exercise helps.  But I’ve also had nights where I’ve forced myself to do yoga and it does not go well.   If I am feeling anxious, stressed, or angry, yoga seems to help.  If I’m feeling sad, however, the stillness and quiet seems to just bring it more to the surface.  More active things like taking a walk are better for fighting sadness, but tonight that didn’t feel like the right answer either.

The important thing is to stop for a minute.  Not stopping and doing nothing, but stopping to take the time to listen to myself and hear what it is that will really make me feel better.  In this case, it was being quiet, cleaning up the kitchen, fixing dinner (and allowing it to be nutritious but not terribly exciting), and studying statistics.  Not because stats in itself makes me feel better (although I do love it), but because it’s something proactive that I need to do and will make me feel good tomorrow when I have to spend less time on it.

Ah yes, the yoga thing.  I managed to do it Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  Then didn’t on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  Yeah, they were busy days, but I can’t really blame it on that- I certainly could have allowed time for yoga… I just chose not to.  But I did do it yesterday.  It’s yet to be determined whether it will happen today.  Setting the goals of both writing daily and doing yoga daily may have just been too much to attempt at once.  So I’m sticking with trying to write every day this month.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be setting the goal of exercise for each day- I’m just not focusing on achieving 30 consecutive days.  Maybe next month’s challenge will be daily yoga.  Who am I kidding?  December is a terrible time to try that.  Uh, we’ll revisit this idea in January….

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My Favorite Forms of Exercise – A Comprehensive Ratings System and Analysis

My time – when I am not dealing with cats or food, that is – is substantially consumed by research and research-related things.  I love it.  It’s how my brain processes things and how I approach the world.  In fact, it is entirely possible that at some point in the past, when I was not-so-happy with my love life, I created an extensive SPSS database of everyone I’d ever dated, and ran descriptives on the data.  I don’t think I got around to running correlations, but trust me, I thought about it.  If I had been, uh, more sociable I might have had a sample size large enough to do some multiple regressions.

I promise that I am not about to do anything so in-depth here.  I’m just simply coming up with a quantitative system of reviewing types of exercise.  As I am writing this, however, I am realizing this might be a good place to sneak a bar graph or line graph into my blog….  Consider yourself warned.

I’ve never been crazy about exercise.  But starting a few years ago, I managed to push through some sort of block I’d struggled with for years, and I actually started to exercise regularly.  I’m not doing it as much now as I was a couple years ago, and certainly not as much as I want, but it’s still better than where I was when I was younger.  The problem is that I’m picky and I’m really good at coming up with excuses.  I don’t like competition, at least when it comes to sports, and I don’t like being in boot camp-esque classes where someone is yelling at me.  Thus I share with you the exercise activities I have found to be somewhat successful and/or enjoyable and my evaluations of them.  Or, in other words, the types of arguments I have with myself constantly when I’m trying to 1) convince myself to exercise and 2) select the most-appealing – or least unappealing – one.

The Criteria (all rated on a scale from 1 – 5, with 1 being the lowest, 3 being neutral, and 5 being the highest):

  • Fun factor- Overall how much do I enjoy this activity?
  • Sweat factor- I used to hate sweating.  Now I don’t mind it, but workouts where I don’t sweat still get bonus points.  (Like I said, I’m good at coming up with excuses.  Like, “Oh, I already showered today.  I can’t exercise now!”)
  • Body-image factor- To what extent does engaging in this activity make me feel good or bad about myself?  There is a fine line between self-awareness and self-consciousness.
  • Confidence factor- How embarrassed do I feel about my lack of athleticism during this activity?
  • Instant gratification factor- To what extent do I feel some sort of immediate (or within a day) result, either physically or mentally?
  • Cheapness factor- I am a grad student, after all.
  • Motivation factor- How likely am I to follow through with it?
  • Convenience factor- How easy is it to get started?
  • Effectiveness factor- Does this actually seem to do anything for me, in the long run?

The Exercises

Yoga DVDs at home– Really, I should have a couple categories for this, because it depends on whether I’m doing one of my wimpy DVDs or the hardcore one that I’ve been scared to do for the last few months.

  • Fun: When I’m into it, I love it.  When I’m preoccupied, it sucks.  But sometimes, when I’m lucky, it can help me get over whatever is distracting me.  Rating: 4
  • Sweat: Oh my god, yes.  I have had it drip into my eyes.  Yet it makes me feel like my body is ridding itself of impurities.  Rating: 3
  • Body-image: Cute workout gear?  Check.  Cute, tight workout gear which showcases body parts that aren’t so tight?  Check.  Still, sometimes when I’m in warrior pose, I can’t help but noticing that my arms are kinda nice.  Rating: 4
  • Confidence: This is where it really depends on the DVD.  But generally, it seems like something I can do and the things I can’t do feel like they’ll be in reach if I keep working. Rating: 4
  • Instant gratification: I usually experience some sort of muscle soreness the day after, which is a nice reminder that I did something good for myself.  Rating: 4
  • Cheapness: One time cost of somewhere between $13-$20.  And a lot of DVDs have multiple workouts, or ways of creating your own sets, so you can get variation from one DVD.  Rating: 4
  • Motivation: It’s easy to skip a day and even easier to fast forward past the challenging parts. Rating: 3
  • Convenience: Doesn’t get much easier than something you can do at home, whenever you want.  Rating: 5
  • Effectiveness: The more I do it, the better I get.  And when I was doing it regularly, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in.  Rating: 4

Yoga classes at the studio

  • Fun: Pretty much the same as if I’m doing it at home.  Rating: 4
  • Sweat: Still yes, and when there are other people around, it’s embarrassing, especially when you’re sliding on your mat.  And I’m not even talking about hot yoga.  Rating: 1
  • Body-image: Same workout clothes, plus I’m now distracted by the fact that what the girl next to me is wearing is way cuter.  Rating: 3
  • Confidence: When there is an 80-year-old woman in the room with you who is bendier than you are, it’s hard not to take that as a blow to your ego.  But I still generally feel good about my abilities. Rating: 3
  • Instant gratification: Same as yoga at home, with the added feel-good bonus that I pushed myself to take the extra time and effort to go to a class. Rating: 5
  • Cheapness: Not so much.  Rating: 2
  • Motivation: Unless something feels completely impossible or I am sweating too much on my mat to be able to hold still, my ego is gonna keep me from sitting anything out or half-assing it.  Rating: 5
  • Convenience: Not so much. Rating: 2
  • Effectiveness: I probably push myself more than at home.  Rating: 5

Bicycling

  • Fun: Mostly fun, especially because it’s usually something Nick and I do together.  Rating: 4
  • Sweat: Yes, but not terrible.  And sweating when you’re moving feels more normal than when you’re sweating and essentially standing still.  Rating: 4
  • Body-image: Unlike yoga, I don’t own cute clothes for bicycling.  And helmets aren’t exactly sexy. Rating: 3
  • Confidence: Definitely better than if you asked me two years ago.  Still, I’m intimidated by any kind of hill, and I get easily frustrated when Nick is doing better than me. Rating: 3
  • Instant gratification: Being able to say I rode X number of miles is nice, tangible feedback.  Rating: 4
  • Cheapness: Buying a bike isn’t cheap, but not terrible.  The fact that I hate riding on the street means spending some gas money to drive to trails where I feel comfortable. Rating: 3
  • Motivation: Once we’re on the trail, Nick and I definitely push each other.  Rating: 4
  • Convenience: Again, my weirdness with riding on the street means we have to drive a bit.  And loading the bikes into the van can be a pain, especially when we first have to unload all of Nick’s drums.  Rating: 2
  • Effectiveness: Most certainly, although I think my avoidance of streets and hills limits what I get from it.  Rating: 4

Dance Party– What is this, you ask?  Well… sometimes when I don’t feel like actually exercising, I put on some iTunes and dance in front of the mirror in the bedroom.

  • Fun: It’s dancing and listening to music.  Rating: 5
  • Sweat: I try to.  That’s the only way I can rationalize this as a workout. Rating: 3
  • Body-image:  Yeah, I’ll admit it.  This makes me feel kinda sexy.  Rating: 5
  • Confidence: When I dance in public, I’m not usually that concerned about what people think.  So when there’s no one around, I could not care less how I look.  Rating: 5
  • Instant gratification:  Yeah, it makes me feel pretty, but it doesn’t always feel like the most efficient workout.  Rating: 3
  • Cheapness: Completely free, given you already have some means of playing music. Rating: 5
  • Motivation: This is one activity where I’ll usually push myself to keep going beyond the original time I set for myself.  Rating: 4
  • Convenience: Again, things you can do at home, regardless of the weather, are pretty convenient.  But I refuse to do this when Nick is at home. Rating: 4
  • Effectiveness:  It’s effective in making me feel less guilty about not doing a more structured exercise.  But I don’t know if it really does that much for me.  Rating: 3

Strength training– This is something I do at home, based on workouts from magazines.

  • Fun: No. Rating: 1
  • Sweat: A bit.  Rating: 3
  • Body-image: Eh. Rating: 3
  • Confidence: Totally neutral.  Like yoga, some stuff I can do, and that feels good.  Stuff that I can’t do (for the most part) seems attainable.  Rating: 3
  • Instant gratification: Oh I most certainly feel it the next day. Rating: 5
  • Cheapness: Again, one time cost.  Not terrible.  Rating: 4
  • Motivation: I have yet to stick with this long enough that I can get through an entire workout. But counting pushes me for some reason, and the fact that after I’ve done one side I have to do the other at least forces me a bit further than I really want to go.  Rating: 3
  • Convenience: I won’t do this when Nick is present, either. Rating: 4
  • Effectiveness: Seems like it could be good, if I did it more frequently. Rating: 4

Walking

  • Fun: Depends on where I am.  Walking around the neighborhood is a little boring.  But being in the sunshine and fresh air is a definite perk.  Rating: 3
  • Sweat: Not really, unless it’s hot out. Rating: 4
  • Body-image: Neutral. Rating: 3
  • Confidence: I can safely say that I have nothing but great confidence in my ability to walk. Rating: 5
  • Instant gratification: If I get my heart rate up, I’m happy.  And the sunshine really does help my mood. Rating: 4
  • Cheapness: I do need to buy a new pair of shoes….  Rating: 4
  • Motivation: I almost always follow through with my goals in terms of distance and/or time. Rating: 4
  • Convenience: It’s really easy for me to use the weather as an excuse. Rating: 3
  • Effectiveness: Again, since there’s no instructor or DVD pushing me, I wonder if I’m pushing myself as hard as I should. Rating: 3

Pilates DVDs

  • Fun: Not very much.  Mostly because I only use one DVD and I get bored with it.  (I have a second one, but the woman is constantly instructing me to smile, which makes me want to kick her in her obnoxiously firm abs.) Rating: 3
  • Sweat: Not at all.  And I get to lie on the floor for almost the entire thing.  Love it. Rating: 5
  • Body-image: Actually, there is something about the movements that makes me feel graceful. Rating: 4
  • Confidence: I can do the entire DVD without too much struggle.  Which makes me wonder if I need to find a harder one, or if I am doing it the right way. Rating: 4
  • Instant gratification: I still feel muscle soreness the next day, which makes me think this is worthwhile even if it’s not super-challenging.  Rating: 4
  • Cheapness: Same cost at yoga DVDs.  Rating: 4
  • Motivation: Even though this isn’t super-exciting, I always go through the entire thing.  Except for the one time I managed to fall asleep during the last 15 minutes. Rating: 3
  • Convenience: Same as all the other at-home things.  Rating: 5
  • Effectiveness: Despite sore abs the next day, I really do think I’ve outgrown the one DVD… other pilates DVDs… hopefully not!  Rating: 3

Results and Conclusions

And the winner is…. Dance Party, with a total of 37 points.  What conclusions can we draw from this?  Apparently I put more value on how much a form of exercise makes me feel pretty than how much physical exertion it requires….

Oh, I promised you a graph, didn’t I?

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