How to start exercising again

Why is it so hard to start exercising again? I took off two weeks in August, and resuming my fitness routine has made September tiring, as well as frustrating. It’s not that I work out super hard anyway. But this month I feel stiff and sore, fat and out of shape. Spin class and tennis practice — things that I generally enjoy doing — have challenged me just to complete the workouts. So I’ve been reviewing my own tips for how to start exercising after a break — whether that break is a week or several years long. Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts.”

1. DO make a realistic plan

Set exercise goals, but keep them realistic. If you haven’t worked out in six months, don’t commit to spend an hour at the gym every day. You’ll probably have trouble sticking with this plan and get discouraged early on, risking a return to your former couch potato state. DON’T set yourself up to fail! DO make a plan within your reach. If you exceed your goals, you can celebrate and then revise them upwards.

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2. DO find an activity you like

Exercise should be fun, something you look forward to. Being miserable doesn’t help you burn more calories, at least not in the long run. If you like walking, walk. If you enjoy playing a sport, by all means do that. If lifting weights to your favorite music or watching a movie while you run on a treadmill is a good break for you, go for it. The more you enjoy a physical activity, the more likely you are to make time for it.

3. DON’T go too hard at first

Coming back from a break is not the time to make up for “time lost” by pushing yourself too hard. You may feel like punishing yourself, but resist! You’ll probably overdo it and get so sore, or even injure yourself, that you’ll need to take another week off. Best to ease back in and build on your success by training a little harder each time you work out.

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Late 19th-century fitness machine and exercise clothing

4. DO buy a new exercise outfit

There’s something about a cute fitness outfit that gives me a boost. And if a new outfit can help me look forward to exercising, I consider it an acceptable use of retail therapy!

Keep in mind you want to dress appropriately for whatever activity you’re doing. In the same way you shouldn’t wear your old college t-shirt, you also want to avoid making fashion statements with edgy outfits that are best left to the twenty-somethings with perfect bodies.

If you play tennis, buy a tennis skirt with built-in shorts — toss out the old “tennis panties!” A multi-purpose staple these days is the black capri legging — you can wear it to the gym, yoga, Pilates, spinning, fitness dance and so on. As an added bonus, you’ll look chic when you stop for coffee or groceries on the way home.

5. DO get a coach or exercise buddy

Sure, it decreases your flexibility to make a workout date with a friend and/or personal trainer. But it also helps you maintain exercise as a priority in your schedule. Besides, working out with a friend makes fitness more enjoyable, and that’s also likely to help you stick with it. If you can afford a personal trainer or small-group class, this is a great way to build confidence that you’re “doing it right,” to learn proper technique and avoid injury. You also can invest in several sessions with a coach at first, and then join a larger class or develop your own fitness routine.

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Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy and look forward to doing. After all, it’s better to go for a walk with a friend than sit on your couch and “plan” your weight-lifting routines.

My next post will continue with more tips. Until then, get out and get going!

Image credits: alantankenghoeTekniska museet, pixabay

US Open tennis fashion: the men

My last post highlighted a number of female players tennis fashion at the US Open. While men’s tennis fashion is rarely as interesting as women’s, this year shows some innovative patterns and, notably, more bright colors than we typically see in a single tournament.

Tennis fashion goes green

The most prominent color for men this year is green. Bright green. Neon green. It showed up on Milos Raonic, although I noticed his haircut as much as his shirt color.

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Milos Raonic, US Open Round 1

 

Crazy green works for Gael Monfils. Not only does it complement his dark skin, but also goes along with his unorthodox, acrobatic style that fans love so much.

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Gael Monfils, US Open Round 1

 

In addition to Raonic and Monfils, many more male players are sporting a similar color green, across a variety of labels. They include Jack Sock (also with a haircut), Marinko Matosevic, Juan Monaco, Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Querrey.

 

Murray’s tennis fashion: light on the green

Andy Murray wears just a touch of green on his wristbands and hat. Given all the other green shirts, his mostly-grey ensemble is refreshing.

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Andy Murray US Open Round 1

More bright colors in US Open tennis fashion

Green isn’t the only bright color showing up around the grounds in Flushing Meadows. Nick Kyrgios wore a particularly colorful shirt in his defeat of Mikhail Youhzny. Kyrgios is a relatively unknown Australian whose principal achievement since turning pro in 2013 was defeating Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014. Although the pinkish-orange purplish-blue shirt by Nike is hard to describe, it works well on him.

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Nick Kyrgios, US Open Round 1

 

Another player who can wear bright colors is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. His orange shirt, sweatband and shoes look sharp against the white socks, shorts and hat.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, US Open Round 1

 

Federer’s timeless tennis fashion

Contrasting with all these bright colors was Roger Federer’s all-black “evening” ensemble. Perhaps he’ll have a different outfit for daytime, but being the star that he is, Roger is playing his first and second round matches during primetime on Ashe.

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Roger Federer US Open Round 1 (Evening)

 

Djokovic’s tennis fashion: boring!

You may have noticed that so far I haven’t mentioned the top-seeded male player at the US Open, Novak Djokovic. That’s because, even though his game is impressive, his tennis fashion is not. Sponsored by Uniqlo, Nole wears basic-looking outfits. No special colors — just red, white, blue and black. Always the same style of polo shirt. For this tournament, he’s going with red and black, and his shoes go with the theme. I suppose he opts to make his mark with tennis pure and simple, not with tennis fashion.

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Novak Djokovic – US Open Round 1

 

There’s lots more tennis to be played, and if the early rounds are any indication, things are going to continue to be exciting on the courts. Enjoy the matches, and keep your eye out for new tennis fashion trends!

 

 

Image credits: various photographers via usopen.org

US Open tennis fashion: the women

Almost as much fun as watching the matches is checking out the US Open tennis fashion. This year continues a trend towards variety of colors — not only in women’s clothes, but also in their shoes. Here are some ladies tennis fashions I’ve noticed so far during the tournament.

Sharapova tennis fashion: Day and Night

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Maria by day

Tennis diva Maria Sharapova is looking glam as usual. Nike has furnished her with a daytime tunic as well as an evening dress.

 

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Maria by night

 

Serena tennis fashion: the Big Cat

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Serena by Night: the Snow Leopard

Serena always stands out: not only for her dominant play, but also for her short skirts that emphasize the size and strength of her quads, hamstrings and glutes. This year she’s wearing an animal print dress. For her first round (evening) match, her dress was a more “formal” black and white — a snow leopard pattern. But then for her day match vs. Vania King, she sported the same print in pink and red.

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Serena by day: spotted pink panther?

Tennis fashion in blue, who knew?

Blue is a popular color this year. Azarenka looks cute in her blue and white tennis shorts and matching top. The young Canadian phenom Eugenie Bouchard shows athleticism and elegance in her slim-fitting blue dress.

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Vika shows her flexibility (and contrasting soles)

 

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Genie Bouchard stretches for a ball

Jelena Jankovic is also wearing blue, but she combines it with purple hexagonal spots.  Sponsored by Fila, Jankovic wears a simply styled dress that attracts attention with its bold print.

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Fila’s blue and purple print for Jankovic

In yet another take on the traditional blue color, Venus Williams is wearing one of her own EleVen designs, in a lady-like white and blue floral with a square opening across the shoulder blades. In her after-match interview, she indicated that this design includes some red — to make it red, white and blue for the US Open. Maybe she’ll add something red for the next round!

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Venus wins her second round match

Tennis fashion new color: blush

An often-seen color in early round women’s matches has been blush, or light peach. While blue, black and white are tennis fashion staples, this blush color is fresh and different. One Adidas top in particular has been worn by several players. Who wore it better, in your opinion: Andrea Petkovic, Kimiko Date-Krumm or Maria Kirilenko?

Caroline Wozniacki gets her own version of the Adidas blush. It has a contrasting panel down the front with a kind of flap that comes in two colors, berry and beige. Personally I’m not sure how this “flap” would work on many women’s figures. But on Caroline, of course it looks terrific.

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Caroline Wozniacki – US Open First Round

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Caroline Wozniacki – US Open Second Round

 

The next post will highlight men’s fashions from the US Open Tennis Tournament. Stay tuned!

 

Image credits: various photographers via usopen.org, zimbio.com

Indian Wells fashion: the fans

Part of the fun of attending a live sports event is observing the other fans. While tennis fans’ behavior is typically more controlled than you find at a football or hockey game, their fashion choices cover a wide range. I saw plenty of “RF” and “Vamos Rafa” T-shirts at the BNP Paribas Open, but in general, Indian Wells fashion options at their most interesting incorporate a sense for the hot climate and Southern California desert atmosphere. This post records my observations during the three days I spent at the tournament.

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Indian Wells fashion must: a hat

While baseball caps proliferate, other choices include flaps to protect the back of the neck, or broad brims that make it difficult for the person standing or sitting behind to see. But with sunny conditions and temperatures that climb into the 90’s, you need sunscreen and a good hat.

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Not sure how the backwards visor helps with sun protection, but it’s her unique look

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Indian Wells fashion: the players

Indian Wells fashion doesn’t generate the same excitement as fashion does at a Grand Slam event. The BNP Paribas isn’t a tournament where the pros’ sponsors supply them with new outfits to generate buzz and drive sales of their merchandise when TV viewers buy online or visit their local tennis shops to refresh their gear. However, I still enjoyed seeing the player fashions up close, and a few of them were even sporting new outfits.

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Jelena Jankovic’s Fila Heritage Carwash Skirt

One of the most talked-about fashion statements was a new skirt design by BNP Paribas Open sponsor Fila, for Jelena Jankovic. Dubbed “the carwash dress,” owing to its front fabric strips resembling the felt runners in brushless carwashes, the skirt or dress (it comes in two versions) is one of the more innovative tennis fashions this year. When the player is standing still, the fabric strips look like pleats in a cheerleader dress. But when she moves, you can see they are strips of fabric. Thankfully, Fila put these fabric strips only in the front — the back of the skirt has neither slits nor pleats. It looks great on Jelena, but I’m not sure the carwash skirt is a look I’d want for myself.

 

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