Lifting for Women

Lifting for Women | CorporetteDo you lift weights? I’ve noticed a TON of readers mentioning how weight lifting and strength training “changed their lives,” and so I thought it might be a good idea to round up some of the oft-cited resources to learn more about it, and have a discussion in one place. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been a fan of heavy toning videos like Jari Love, but doing deadlifts or squats with serious weights is an idea I’m only getting used to now. (I’m even pondering joining a gym again!)  I thought I’d round up some of the resources most readers have recommended:

Some questions for those of you who have been doing it:  what weight ranges did you start out with — and what are you up to now? (Go ahead, brag a bit!)  Did anyone do it without a gym or trainer?  If you want to buy weights yourself, can anyone recommend a particularly good set or place to buy weights?  (Also: has anyone done video programs like Body Beast to get started?  I know in previous threads readers have recommended T25 or Ripped in 30 for body weight exercises; before I got pregnant I was working out with the bodyweight version of the Rebel Strength Guide.)

Psst: we’ve already talked about how to find time to exercise, as well as how to find a trainer you like.

Pictured: dumbells_adjusted, originally uploaded to Flickr by jerryonlife.

Guest Post: 5 Healthy Eating Tips

5 Diet Changes to Make | CorporetteFor busy women, eating healthy can be impossible —  so I was curious which five small changes would make the most impact. We’ve talked about easy weeknight dinners, healthy snacks for the office, and ways to politely decline treats your coworkers bring to work, and today guest poster* Sara Sarakanti, a certified health coach, weighs in on this nutritious issue. (Sara is also an old friend who features prominently in Jack’s bedtime stories — it was at her birthday party seven years ago that I met my husband.) Follow Sara on Twitter at @SaraSarakanti

Replace soda with water, and make it sexy.
Stop drinking empty calories and sugar in soda, and start replenishing cells in your body with water. Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day can be tedious, but there are plenty of bottles out there to help you reach your goal easily. Find a large water bottle (BPA-free of course) that holds up to four glasses of water, and be sure to drink two full bottles’ worth of water throughout the day. Always remember to replenish midday. If you don’t like the taste of water or think it’s too boring for your palate, then purchase an infusion water bottle. You can load up the center tube of the bottle with lemons, berries, or any other refreshing, nutrient-rich fruits. For some elegantly designed infusion water bottles, check out Define Bottle (as seen on ABC’s “Shark Tank”). Soon enough, you’ll be drinking your H2O in style.

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Guest Post: Finding Time to Exercise

Finding Time to Exercise | CorporetteA regular exercise regimen and an intense job are not easy things to reconcile – so how do you fit exercise into a busy day? We’ve talked about midday workouts, some of my favorite exercise DVDs, and generally talked about how to find time to exercise, but not in a while — so I’m thrilled to welcome today’s guest poster, the blogger behind Sweet Hot Justice, who is doing the impossible and balancing a busy job as in-house counsel with a pretty awesome exercise routine. I’ve known of her since we both started anonymous blogs Way Back in ’08 — but we only just recently met in real life, and she’s every bit as awesome as her hilarious writing would make you think she might be. Please welcome Maria de Cesare of Sweet Hot Justice, giving her own excellent pointers for fitting workouts into your busy schedule! – Kat.

I hate working out. Not “I hate working out” as in “Gyms aren’t my thing but I cherish my daily 5-mile jog.” No. I mean “I hate working out” as in “After working 60-hour weeks, I’d rather do almost any other thing in the universe, including sitting in a room and staring at my hands, than work out.” Also… I’m not exactly what you’d call an athlete. I have a job that involves lots of aggressive sitting. I hate sweating. You’ll never hear “Oh my god, Soul Cycle is the best thing on Sunday mornings!” come out of my mouth. You know what’s the best thing on Sunday mornings? A three-hour champagne brunch followed by not going to Soul Cycle.

So, why in the world should you listen to me for tips about how to make fitness fit into your life? Well, because if I can make it happen, believe me, you can make it happen. A few years ago, after leaving a Big Law job and ignoring my personal fitness for years, my body just felt off. My back always hurt. My clothes didn’t fit the way I wished they did. I just felt like a weak, disconnected mess.

But now, after stumbling through a few fits and starts and finally finding a fitness routine that works for me, I feel stronger and more in sync with my body than I ever have. And now, even when I’m tired and cranky and absolutely dreading the idea of schlepping to the gym, I know that I’ll feel 100% better after I do — and that keeps me coming back.

So, I know that you don’t have time to work out, I know that there are a million other things you’d rather do with your all-too-precious time and money — believe me, I’m right there with you. But, if you’re looking to jump on the fitness rainbow, keep these general thoughts in mind:

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Beauty Wednesday: Spa Time!

The Best Spa Treatments | CorporetteWhich are your favorite spa treatments? We’ve talked about relaxation habits, laughter as medicine, the best magazines to read while you unwind, the best brain candy books — but we haven’t talked about spa treatments, and I’m curious what other people like.  So readers, speak up!

For my $.02, it’s all about the 60-minute Swedish massage.  (Longer if I can swing it!)  Sometimes I like a hot stone massage; sometimes I like a deep tissue massage… but for the most part, I’m just a simple massage girl.  Here in NYC my husband and I love Graceful Spa in Chelsea (they just had a Groupon — I think it’s still on), which is so not a bells and whistles kind of place (think more along the lines of “here’s a tupperware bin to put your clothes in, go lie down behind that curtain”) — but they have always delivered a solid massage and for a reasonable price.  (Surprisingly, some of the fancier places we’ve been to in the city have delivered far worse massages.) [Read more...]

How to Fit Exercise Into a Busy Day

midday-workoutsAfter we linked to our last open thread on midday workouts, a bunch of readers expressed an interest in having another discussion on how to fit workouts into a busy day.  For my own $.02, in my ideal world I get my exercise out of the way first thing in the morning, my socializing in with friends in the evening, with a long day in between to do lots of work.

But of course, that’s easier said than done.  You may have work commitments in the morning, or prefer to use the time for other personal development.  And as a new mother, the thing I’ve realized since having a baby is that your concept of “me time” changes drastically once you have a kiddo.  Particularly that “morning/evening” time — if it isn’t already committed to work, that time quickly becomes blocked as “family time” — either because you genuinely want to see your child(ren), or you literally have no one else on hand to care for them (unless you have a nanny around the clock, lucky you).  So a midday workout is the only way a lot of people can fit in exercise at all.

So if you have to have a midday workout, here are a few ideas: [Read more...]

How to Nap at Work

how-to-nap-at-workDo you nap at the office?  What are your best tips for napping at the office (possibly without getting caught)?  We took a poll on office naps a thousand years ago, but haven’t really discussed since then, and I thought it might be an interesting topic.

First, some factoids from the Internet — according to Inc., researchers concluded in 2010 that “napping can improve the brain’s ability to retain information, noting that a middle-of-the-day reprieve ‘not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before.’”  More and more offices are adding nap rooms (or buying “sleep capsules,” which give you a bit more privacy).  (On the flip side, as Salary.com notes, some companies still consider it grounds for firing – know your office!)  For the DIY-nappers, there’s even a fully funded Kickstarter campaign for a pillow that gives you a “micro environment in which to take a comfortable power nap” (pictured — you can now buy the pillow for $99). Apparently, in Japan napping is so popular among top executives that there’s an entire culture around it.  It’s important to note that napping is not necessarily “sleeping” — and even if you normally take 30+ minutes to fall asleep at night you can reap the benefits.  According to Lifehacker, Pzizz is a new tool that can help you “learn” to power nap (and help with nighttime insomnia too).

So, ladies — do you nap at the office?  Is there a nap room or other space available for napping, and do you actually use it?  Have you picked up any tips or tricks (signs on the door, special messages for your secretary, etc) that makes napping at work easier? [Read more...]