What I Do For Exercise

I get asked a lot about what I do for exercise so I thought it would make a good blog post!


Those of you who have hung around here for any length of time know that I picked up running a couple years ago. I don’t run often enough (two or three times a week — and that’s a good week) and I don’t run very far (four miles, tops, usually closer to three and sometimes just two) but I absolutely love it for how it makes me feel.

I run in Vibram Five Fingers, much to the dismay of my friends and family.

barefoot running

I love them so much that I even included them in my newest photo header, and cuz I’m a dork like that. (Yes, I have two pairs.)

They are goofy looking, but I had lots of knee troubles before I tried these, and now I don’t, so I’m a total convert. They helped me learn to run more on the ball of my foot or mid-foot than a heel-to-toe type of gait. I still have to be careful with my form, or my knees bother me, but for the most part I’m running pain free. In fact, I ran one day last week in my new minimalist sneakers, thinking they would be okay, and my knee pain flared up again. So it’s back to the Vibrams.

I ran my first 5K last fall, and I came in well under my goal of 30 minutes. I did it in 29:03:91.  I really need to sign up for another, I have been working on my time and would like to get it down to 28 minutes, but I haven’t done that yet. I also would like to start running longer distances and perhaps even work up to a half marathon. Right now I can NOT imagine running 13 miles, but I’d like to see how far I get.

Running is great for cardiovascular and mental health, but I also think it’s extremely important, perhaps even more important, to make strength training a regular part of your life.

Strength Training

Last week I wrote about hiring a personal trainer and why and how that’s working out for me.

When I went for my first training session, my goals were to lift heavy and get strong and toned as quickly as possible. I didn’t care how we did it, I just wanted results. We started out meeting twice a week, and alternating weight lifting and TRX.


TRX is a suspension training program using your body weight and these thick straps. The program was actually developed by Navy SEALs as a way to stay in shape in tight quarters. Take a look.

There are literally an endless amount of different exercises you can do with TRX equipment. If I had to work out at home and I could choose only one piece of exercise equipment, I’d invest in TRX.

It is as hard as all get out, but it’s incredibly rewarding. You can adjust your position based on your strength level and make it challenging no matter what your fitness level is. Cause I’m clearly no Navy SEAL.

Although doing TRX does make me feel pretty tough.

After a couple months of one-on-one TRX sessions, I graduated to a TRX class, so now we only have personal training sessions once a week and I take a TRX class once a week.

While I love our one-on-one sessions, I also really like the class dynamics. I find that I’m motivated by having other class members with me, and I don’t feel so foolish when I can’t get something right because usually I’m not the only one.

Weight Lifting and Floor Exercises

I love working with free weights; I always have. I find them much more beneficial than the weight machines. For one thing, they force you to use your core muscles to build balance and coordination, and I need all the help I can get in that department. Plus it’s harder to favor one side over the other. If there are any inequities in the strength of one limb versus another, it becomes immediately apparent when you’re working with free weights. But it definitely helps to have a trainer or some basic knowledge of how to lift.

We mostly work with free weights, although sometimes we use a machine or two. The other thing we do is floor exercises with one of those weight balls. Oh and the push ups. She loves push ups. And planks. I actually have homework, although I usually forget to do it. My daughter loves to do push-ups and planks with me though.

We do different exercises every time so it’s hard to really detail my exact program. I love the variety though.

What kind of exercise do you like to do most? Do you find it hard to stay motivated, or are you pretty consistent?

I wrote a post a few weeks ago on Exercise and Doing It All. It’s really hard to stay committed. I sometimes miss a week of exercise here and there, but I’m getting better about getting back on the wagon when I fall off. I’d love to hear how you stay motivated to keep going.

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18 Responses

  1. Well, I’m currently not exercising much because of some hard core surgery I had recently BUT I just wanted to chip in that my 12 year old daughter is running in “toe shoes” now and having amazing results. Admittedly, she bought them with a gift card just because they looked cool but on a whim she decided to try them out in athletics class at school. She had previously been plagued with plantar fascitis (she is right in the middle of a growth spurt) and now the pain is “95% gone” and this is without uber doses of anti-inflammatories and she is not really doing her stretches or therapy at all…just running and exercising in the toe shoes.

  2. SO jealous that those Vibrams work for you. I bought some and had to take them back – my toes are really just too short to be comfortable in them. They’d like slip out and stuff. Anyway, I do want to try to find another minimalist shoe to run in. Seeing has how I do all of my other workout stuff barefoot (I work out at home and do plyometrics and free weights and stuff barefoot) I think I’d love to find a pair that works!

    1. I bought a pair of New Balance minimalist running shoes b/c I didn’t want to wear those ugly toe shoes to the gym, lol. I like them a lot at the gym. But I did run in them once and my knee problem seemed to flare up afterwards. I’m not sure why, I FELT like I was running the same as I do in the Vibrams.

      Ever since I started lifting weights and doing TRX, I have had to be careful of my knees. They aren’t nearly as painful as they were when I was running in traditional sneaks, but they are sensitive. I have to be very careful with form. I’m hoping that they will get better as I get stronger.

      All that to say, it could have been the lifting, not the running, but it is hard to tell.

  3. TRX looks cool. Maybe I’ll see if someone at my gym is a trainer for it. But maybe not. Tough to pay extra.

    I’m running somewhat consistently, 3 miles at least twice a week, but I would like to increase my distance and frequency. You could absolutely do a half–your strength training already has you ahead of the game for training.

    I am a regular Zumba girl, as foolish as I look doing it. It is my freebie workout–meaning it is somewhat easy but still effective and I always enjoy it and don’t have to convince myself to go.

    I’m trying to get back in the habit of going to boot camp class and kickboxing. I need those classes for strength and ab work especially.

    1. The TRX IS really cool. I want to try Zumba sometime, and I’ve never tried kickboxing. That’s also on my list. And also? Yoga. I KNOW. Crazy that I’ve never done it.

  4. You are amazing that looks so tough and you are tough! Great job and I loved seeing what you do. I am not sure about those shoes. I dont like things between my toes.

  5. Maybe one day I’ll give that a try. I love Zumba and wish I could fit in more than one class a week. I should get some instruction from a trainer so I could add doing weights or something.

  6. Not a runner at all, but I am completely addicted to Zumba. 600+ calories burned in an hour wile dancing and smiling the whole time? Sign me up. I even *had* to buy some new dance style shoes because running shoes just weren’t working for me. I want a TRX badly, I think it would be great exercise and might even be fun for my little 3yo monkey to play around with. he’s not literally a monkey, but if you have a little boy you know what I mean. I also do a Strike! class at the gym that uses a weight bar. Cardio + strength feels so good, after every muscle in your body stops hurting.

  7. Jo-Lynne! We have almost the same routine:) I am taking a TRX class right now that I love/hate. I hate the floorwork stuff the works out your core but love the results I’m seeing! I also run 3x a week and am trying to work on my time, right now I can do a 5k in about 31 minutes, would love to get under 30. You’re doing great! I also fit a spin class in that I really enjoy. If you have the Wii (or xbox) you can get Zumba games, I do those with my nine year old and we have a lot of fun!

  8. I do the free weights, too, at home. I have a Cindy Crawford routine for the arms that I memorized years ago. I also try to do the legs too. I find that I move faster when I’ve been doing the leg weights.

    My latest thing is the 30 day shred. I haven’t gotten to level 3 yet. 1 & 2 have both been great workouts, plus they can be done in a very small space.

  9. So awesome, Jo-Lynne! I’m impressed by your strength training moves.

    Since I’m 37 weeks pregnant, I’ve just been walking and bouncing on my birth ball. BUT I do hope to get back into running post-baby. 😉

    What time of day do you usually run? Do you run with or without music? What is your favorite brand for running apparel?

    1. You’re full of questions this morning! 😉

      I run whenever I can fit it in, sometimes when the kids are in school and sometimes before they get up. I HAVE to have music. I almost cried when I went to run my first 5K and they said no headphones. I was so glad I brought them anyway b/c half the runners had headphones in.

      And my favorite brand… I’m still trying to figure that out. I LOVE my Under Armor Coldgear tights and turtleneck for winter running. Got those for Christmas and they saved me when it got really cold here. The rest of the time, I usually wear Under Armor tops and knee-length tights although I recently ordered 2 new tops from Athleta that I’m dying to try out. 🙂

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