Sometimes My Apartment is My Gym

I rarely discuss my personal fitness routine on the blog since food usually dominates the scene, but thought this post might be a nice change of pace.

The amount of rainfall in Portland is already breaking records this season. I am usually delighted by heavy dark clouds in the sky and the pitter-patter of rain on my windows. It calms me in a way that is difficult to describe. Lately though, I find myself wishing for some warmth and sunshine. Since my main mode of exercise is either riding my bike or hiking mountain trails, I have been confronted with an exercise dilemma.

This actually started back in November when winter was upon the Pacific Northwest. I was jobless, bored, and depressed. The weather wasn’t cooperating and I really wanted to find a way to exercise from home. My main goal was a good, solid, cardio workout. I don’t like gyms (expensive, smelly, too many people, etc). While my apartment isn’t huge, it does have a decent-sized living room.  My concern was disturbing the people who live below me-the hardwood floors already creak!

I tried yoga, which is quite relaxing, but boring (to me anyways). It also doesn’t boost my heart rate enough to make me feel like I’m making a difference. It did make me more limber and balanced, which is awesome for backpacking and hiking! I stopped practicing yoga, but hope to work it in once or twice a week soon. It should help with anxiety issues.

Eventually I stumbled upon Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workout. I was having so much fun for the first several months! It was challenging and didn’t require any special equipment other than hand weights (which I already owned). Plus, the jumping around was minimal and I did the workout when I assumed my neighbors were at work (hopefully!). And then, I got bored with that routine too (maybe it’s my lack of patience?).

Last week I learned about a website called Fit Sugar. They have a bunch of fitness videos led by a wide variety of personal trainers and fitness experts. Many of the videos are only 10 minutes long. That’s awesome because it means I can combine a few of them to make a 30 minute, personalized, energizing workout. My favorites so far include:

10-Minute Fat-Blasting Circuit by Andrea Orbeck - This workout makes my heart pump like crazy (and my resting heart rate is already on par with a hummingbird). The instructor is so calming and easy to follow. I am usually exhausted after the 10 minutes are finished. The first few days I did this workout, my legs and bum were so SORE!!

Jackie Warner’s Calorie-Blasting Power Pyramid Workout – Oh my gravy! This workout is a challenge. I go past the 5 reps for each exercise and do 10 instead. I am still a bit uncoordinated in a few of the moves, but that will improve. The instructor makes me feel energized and she smiles the whole time! Plus, she wears crazy sneaker-boots when she is working out.

Tone Your Arms with Andrea Orbeck – I think arm workouts are my favorite. This particular one is pretty special because it is ALL arms. It’s only 10 minutes, but wow, is it ever effective! My arms were operating under their own control when I finished this routine. I am addicted.

10-Minute Bootcamp Workout with Jeanette Jenkins – I tried this routine once and didn’t quite make it to the end. Not because I am incapable, but because my balance is terrible. I was tipping over and couldn’t quite keep up with the group. But, I refuse to give up and will definitely attempt it again this weekend. Must stay positive!

I hope to incorporate some abdominal workouts too. Here are a few that look promising:
3 Easy Yoga Moves to Tone Your Abs
Work Your Abs Without Crunches: Quadruped

I am excited for sunshine because it means more of this:

What are some of your favorite workouts (at home, the gym, or outdoors)? It’s always so inspiring to learn about other people’s exercise routines!

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14 thoughts on “Sometimes My Apartment is My Gym

  1. I like gyms, but only the classes, not the gym it self. I go to step aerobics which is really fun and very exhausting. I’ve started holding hand weights while doing the routine, which makes more impact to the back, abs and arms. I also like weight lifting classes, but don’t go nearly often enough. Two years ago I went running very regularly for three months which I love, so I’m planning on starting to do that again this year. I also bike to work (10 k one way) every day, but I wish I had a bike like yours so I could go far far far. But I agree with you, the best workout is biking somewhere, hiking, or working in the garden! I tried to chop wood the other weekend and boy, my back was sore the day after.

    • I used to love step aerobics! It’s been so long since I’ve done them, maybe I should try again. Hand weights are great for so many exercises. I use them with jumping jacks and running in place sometimes.

      How wonderful that you can ride your bike to work every day! How is the job?

      Running is a struggle for me, the most I can do comfortably is 3km, but maybe once it warms up I will make more effort. It would be nice to have a running buddy to keep me motivated.

      Wood chopping is so hard! My back would be sore for at least 2-3 days :) Can’t wait for hiking season!!

  2. Right now I’m running a lot, but I do Zuzana Light’s workouts at home. Most of them are bodyweight stuff, a few you need a dumbbell or something. I also do some older Bodyrock workouts that aren’t so heavily focused on equipment.

    • I tried Body Rock a few times, but the jumping was too much for my knees and it was loud! I admire her workouts though, she accomplishes so much in about 7 minutes!! Plus, her figure is stunning. I want her abs.

  3. Thanks for this — I recently stopped making excuses for not working out (too little space! it’ll annoy the neighbors!) and started exercising in the garage of my townhouse. I’m about to start level 3 of the 30 day Shred later today, and I’ll be checking out some of these videos when I’m done :)

    • My knees started suffering during the 30 Day Shred too, especially during all those lunges!!!! Crazy lunges and planks everywhere!!! Jillian Michaels is a tough lady and she says hilarious stuff, but she knows what’s up I guess.

  4. Hi Amy,

    I am anxious to try some of these sites. I am forwarding your blog to Lindsey. love all your photos.
    Look forward to seeing you in June.

  5. I agree with your description of gyms. I really don’t like them, aside from going on the elliptical for cardio. That’s a good workout to prep for hiking :) I love yoga, I guess it really depends on the type of yoga you do. If you do the Vinyasa flow style, that’s a pretty hard workout, and great cardio. I’ve never sweated so much in my life. Kundalini yoga is my favorite though, as it combines some of the tougher aspects with the relaxing stretches as well.

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