Posted by: Anu Prestonia | October 20, 2009

Do You Switch It Up?


Dear friend, it’s been some time since I weighed in on “our” exercise regime.  And what I’m wondering is, are there other folks out there like me, who need to switch it up?  I know that there are those who jog nearly every day of the year and others that go to the gym on a regular basis.  But I’ve noticed over the years, there’s just no one exercise program that I can ever stick to year in and year out.  I have to switch it up.

For instance, for most of the summer, when I could get my workout on, I did power walking in the park and yoga on alternate days.  When the weather is warm and beautiful, I just cannot be cooped up indoors working out at a gym or at home.  I have to be outdoors experiencing all that nature has to offer, the rays of the sun, the flowers and the trees in bloom and all that you take in from the great outdoors, without even realizing that you do.

But as soon as it starts getting cold, I’m the first one to scamper back indoors to get my exercise on.  Friends have told me that they marvel at the fact that I can workout at home.  They’ve mentioned that they need to be in an environment where others are working out, in order to feel motivated.  But when it’s cold outside, I love working out at home because it’s simple.  I just put on my gym gear, put the DVD in the player and do the darn thing.  I don’t have to pack a gym bag, get in the car and drive to the gym, praying for a parking space on the right side of the street (a NY thing).  I don’t have to then scurry back home to get ready for work.  And working out at night after work, is out of the question; you may as well expect me to climb Mount Everett.  So working out at home in the morning, before going to work, is just convenient and saves travel time.  Now if there were a descent gym in walking distance, that would be a great option.

And guys, I’m not ashamed to admit it, I never made it through the P90X, 90-day challenge.  I did my best and I left the rest (as they say over and over on the P90X dvd).  At this point getting through the 90-day challenge is no longer a goal of mine.  It was much more than my schedule or my body could handle.  I did try over and over, but I finally decided that perhaps this wasn’t the best way for me to do P90X.  It didn’t leave me enough time to fit my yoga in.  So now I’m back to what works for me, yoga one day, P90X the next and on and on like that.  It has to work for you or you’ll end up doing nothing.  And that’s not an option!

I have to say though that the P90X workout still amazes me.  I love it! What I love about it is besides the challenge, is the unbelievable variety of exercises.  There are 12 different DVDs in a box set, so you receive almost two weeks of different exercises targeting different muscle groups everyday.  What they refer to as muscle confusion.  This is really a first class workout.  And NO, I’m not getting paid a dime to endorse them.  I just think it’s a phenomenal program.  I’m never bored, instead I’m usually giving myself a peep talk, reminding myself, that I can do this.  In addition to this workout being quite challenging, it’s also a lot of fun. The instructor is a  hoot!  He never stops encouraging you, coaching you and telling weird but funny jokes.  And when you finally reach the end of that day’s workout, you’re so proud of yourself, that you actually made it through it again.  Not all the DVDs in the set are gangbusters.  Some of the DVDs have anaerobic exercises.  But it’s very wise to go at your own rate.  BTW, if you’re considering  P90X, start with some of their other programs, like P90, Slim or 10 Minute Trainer workouts.  These are less intense and prepare you for P90X.

Another plus regarding the P90X workout is that it’s so intense that it forces you to step up your nutritional intake (supplements and the like) and get adequate sleep.  You cannot stay up all hours of the night, eat junk and do this work out.  No way!

But enough of P90X and what I’m doing.  What are you doing these days to get your exercise on?  Or what do you do on a regular?  Do you keep to one form of exercise or do you switch it up depending on your mood, the season, or when you travel or what?   I’d like to know what folks are doing out there to keep their hearts in shape, get their adrenaline flowing, and limbs and muscles stretched?  Let me know, do you switch it up or is there that one thing that just does it for you? Let me know.


  1. Switching it up is great. I think the muscle confusion principle of P90X is amazing though I’ve only done that program at someone else’s house – one time. And each person is definitely different. I’m one who doesn’t even attempt to work out at home – don’t have that motivation – but I’m fine with going to the gym (for me – it’s a local YMCA) up to 6x a week – and changing the routine regularly. There’s a great foot trail that happens to be just behind the building – in a park, so that helps add variety. I do that – jog/walk. And I’m still doing the swimming thing too. You are definitely correct in it being okay – in fact “great” to switch it up… keep it from being boring, and just doing what works for you. But doing something constantly.

    • Hey EC,
      You were the one who taught me how to exercise and at nearly sixty you still look the way you did in college! So you’re definitely an inspiration. I dream of swimming, I love swimming but I can’t take the chlorine. One day I hope to live near one of those new eco pools… In the meantime, I’ll have to do what I have access to. Thanks for posting.

  2. Do I switch up?

    If I had a choice I wouldn’t. Personally, I prefer the gym or a facility that will accomodate my regime. It provides all that I need and once I get there I do what I have to and I’m out!

    As of the last year, my work out has been sparse at best. Difficulty with scheduling just disrupted my 4-6 days a week program that I had been on for at least 10 years.

    Currently, I’m in love with Bikram Yoga and have been dedicated to making the 9am or 10am class for the past year. This is my only regime for honoring my body. I am so dedicated that this past Sunday, because I was out late the night before, I missed the the morning class and thus headed to Monclair NJ to a 2pm class for a small donation.

    Don’t you know that I was 3 minutes late and the door was locked! I was about to cry when a gentleman who was taking off his shoes at the door saw me and opened the door. Oh happy day! (Bikram starts on time and if your late too bad!) And Anu, Sandra just happened to be facilitating the class.

    Maybe by the spring I’ll attempt to fit in a few minutes of my exercise bands to build some much needed muscle.

    Can’t write anymore …gotta go to my next job…

    • You busy Bee you! 4-6 days a week of Bikram, I’m scared of you. That is dedication! Perhaps you’d be willing to tell us the affect all this Bikram is having on your body, mind and spirit?

  3. Hi Anu,

    Yes, I’ve started switching it up. As you know I’m a dedicated Bikram yogi and teacher. However, since September, I’ve been doing this body shaping class called InnerStrength. It’s based on the Lotte Berk Method (Physique 57 and Core Fitness in NYC). It’s an hour long class and you work every muscle. I’m noticing tone, hip opening, strength. I love the class. I bought a Physique 57 DVD to take when I travel. I go about 3x’s per week now. I also walk when I’m traveling or I can’t get to Bikram.

    Switching up is a good idea. My body wasn’t really changing very much. Now, I’m starting to see some loss of inches…slow but it’s happening.

    • Hi Sandi,

      Yes, even though Bikram is intense, anything done over and over again, the body will become accustomed to. The body is pliable, has its own intelligence and knows how to adapt. After that happens with any exercise program, unless you can make it more challenging, little change will occur.

      I”ve never heard of the Lotti Berk method, but it sounds like it addresses my weakest area, the part I’m so lazy about – that ever present mid section! I’ve included a link here in the event that others want to know what it’s about. I will look into it, because as I’ve stated, I like to switch it up. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  4. Sorry but in my haste to respond to your request. I
    didn’t make it clear that my Bikram practice is a mere 1 day a week and that’s Sunday. That’s as consistent as it gets right now. Wish I could be more of an inspiration.

    • Hey Arit,

      You’re doing what you can do for now. Once a week is four times more than nothing per month! How about that! Keep it up and increase your times of practice when you can.

  5. Hi Anu,
    Switching it up is good. I am currently practicing Bikram yoga. I did the
    30 day challenge this summer and felt great & I continue to go 4x per wk. I will be implementing bands and or weights this season. I have the Wii & balance board that’s fun for changing it up. A little down hill skiing
    builds the calves, hoola hoop helps the waist the list can goes on.
    Exercise is about having fun.

  6. Anu, go Girl — for working out on the regular! We all know how easy it is to get sidetracked by Life. But when you think that exercise is akin to Life (living longer, more fully and joyously), that puts it in a whole new perspective! I completed P90x — ok so maybe 85, 86 days — and I saw a real difference. I didn’t lose weight as much as shape up, feel firmer and stronger. Every woman should feel strong. Now, 4 months later, I intersperse the “x” dvds with my old jogging / Pilates routine every other day. But the one thing I do every day — every day — is sit-ups, or crunches. For more than 20 years, at least 100. That takes less than 5 minutes. Who doesn’t have 5 minutes? And no matter how hectic my day, I can say at least I did this one thing just for me.

    • Congratulations to you Robin, getting through the 90 challenge! You are so right, having regular exercise in your life does make you stronger, more flexible and I believe helps you to mentally handle some of life’s challenges. Keep up the great work and Thanks for sharing.

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