Mailbag Monday: Your Questions Answered | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


It’s Mailbag Monday! So I’m reaching into the bag to answer your questions for the Sisterhood, anything you want to know is fair game! From fitness to personal, we’ll try our best to answer it and even though we are not doctors or certified coaches, I will say that we will absolutely give you our own real human, tried and true opinion based on our experiences and personal research (consider that a disclaimer of sorts because nothing we say should be used instead of doctor or expert opinion) but we are sort of obsessed with this type of thing, so we do have opinions on the topic.

So today I’m reaching in and pulling out a question from the comments from Rene B:

Yay!!! Couch to 5k!!! Hurrah!! Rene, you’re on a roll! And I can’t begin to tell you how much I love Couch to 5k. Oh, the Couch to 5k Program is so very near and dear to my heart. It’s literally how my weight-loss journey began. I saw a terrible picture of myself, logged onto the computer, found the program and a 5k to train for and bam. I lost 17 pounds. Well it took 9 weeks (Rome wasn’t built in a day!) but it was a great starting point. Plus, I really could run a 5k at the end. So here is how I incorporated my workouts into 7 days.

I, too, wanted 6 days a week of workouts (one day off).  Because from my own personal research, I learned that I personally could not lose weight on cardio alone, and also could not lose weight on strength training alone. Yes I found this out the hard way (via the yo yo diet.) I also found out that I needed 5-6 days of workouts to lose weight, not 3 or 4. Again, that’s my body talking (and how much it hates me.)

So, as you know, the Couch to 5k program is 3 days a week, which is great for cardio. On the other 3 days, I did strength training with a different type of cardio or crosstraining for a total of 6 days. And those three days can really be any cardio whatsoever like swimming, yoga, elliptical, spin bike, whatEVER! So, on the days you’re not doing Couch to 5k, pick any cardio (or yoga) and pair those up with strength training. Give yourself some freedom. Do two yoga/strength training days and one Jillian day (which is strength paired with cardio). Or do two Jillian days and a yoga/strength day. Or swim/strength, Jillian, yoga/strength. MIX IT UP! Because using different muscles is actually a great thing, too! Your body adapts quickly to routine, so throwing different workouts in there not only keeps things fresh and not boring (because it’s awesome that you’ve found a few workouts that you like and we all know how hard it is to keep actually wanting to do them!)  but it also keeps your body guessing.

You could also check in with one of those free personal trainer jobbers at the gym and see what they say. That’s actually how I figured out my own schedule — I had a little help from a personal trainer who basically told me to do cardio on most days of the week (5 or 6), whatever cardio I wanted, and then do strength training for 2 or 3 days a week. That did work for me. So that’s the short answer! I hope that helped! But then I was thinking about 6 days a week of working out which led to another question we got, which was from Ann G and figured it sort of fits into this whole picture, so I’ll try to answer this one too! From Ann:

OK… here is my question for anyone in general or all of you — how do you deal with “getting it ALL done” with the family, work, etc. I haven’t had to work in 20 years till this spring and it is all I can do to do laundry, fix dinner for the family, and clean up the kitchen. On the weekends I just want to sleep and I find myself falling further and further behind in just the basics of responsibilities. I’m thankful that I am walking a lot at work or I would not get any exercise and I MISS IT!! Ya’ll seem to “have it all together” and you blog and consistently exercise. I am in awe!! Share your secrets….I need help!!

Wow. I’m glad it seems like we have it together (flattery!!), but I assure you, I personally am a frazzled mess for exactly 85% of my day! Because I’m sleeping for that other percent.

I can sum up how I fit workouts into my day in one word: support.

Yes, I could seriously use a million more hours in a day if they gave them out or if I could buy them and equal amounts of coffee. Yes, I try very, very hard to not skip a workout but sometimes it’s just inevitable. But most days, it has become a habit just like brushing my teeth. And I feel just as gross if I don’t work out just as I’d feel if I would have forgotten to brush my teeth. But how do you get to that point? Because it took a terribly long time.

What it took was telling my whole entire world that this is important to me. I drove the message so far home that not a single person in the world will try to stop me or coerce me into skipping a work out because they know it will not work and they know this because they’ve tried. Making a huge life change like working again or having a baby is all a really, really big deal. Getting into a sort of “routine” with all of it takes some time and you have to give yourself a little leeway to get into a routine. And then when things start to level off at work and you feel yourself getting into a routine at work and at home and you figure out when you have the most energy in your day, you can start grabbing those blocks of time again to work out and getting your family on board to support you. Because those are the people you have to count on to hold down the fort while you do it. It’s a team effort for you to be able to do this and they have to help you. We juggle so much that sometimes something has to give and for me, very often, that thing is laundry. My family is now ok with that.

Today, I went running with my husband (my mom came over so we could do this) who turned to me and said it was the first time all week he didn’t think about work (and he has been up all night every night stressed out about work, so that says a lot.) Before I thought about it, I responded by saying, “I know what you mean. Doing this makes me a better person.” Because it really, really does! And by better I mean, I feel good, I yell at everyone less, at the end I feel stronger and it makes me happier and makes me feel like I can tackle regular old real-world things better and more clearly. For a million reasons, it makes me a better person than I would otherwise be if I didn’t make it a priority. So, because our days are so nuts, I schedule my workouts in on the big family calendar, I schedule my off-days around my other commitments and if it has to be 8 p.m. when I’m running to the pool at my gym or 6 a.m. to get in a run before everyone is up, I know my husband and kids know that I need this.  I need this time for me, so I can be a better wife and mother for them. In turn, believe it or not, they now help out around the house while I’m gone! Team effort!!!

I have seriously found a zillion ways to get around all the obstacles that once were, so the key is knocking down your obstacles, whatever they are, whether it’s having energy or needing the family to chip in, whatever is blocking you from choosing a workout. For me, I have had to find childcare (my mother-in-law, the kidcare at the gym, my parents, my husband) or if I can’t, finding another way to work out. So, I work out at home during naps or after they’ve gone to bed or before they wake up. I bought a bike trainer so I could pop my bike onto the trainer when it’s raining or when everyone’s sleeping, and I have DVDs I like to do. I also love to work out in groups, so I can do that at the gym by taking a spin class at buttcrack early in the morning or as soon as the husband comes home from work,  or I can workout with the triathlon group I joined.  Yes, sometimes I miss bedtime because I’m running out the door right after dinner, but my husband gets some much needed alone time with the kids and my kids see Mommy making exercise a priority.  You absolutely must have the support of the people around you or you will constantly feel riddled with guilt for doing something for you, when really, it’s not just for you, it’s actually for them too! Not to mention, there’s the incorporating them into workouts (jogging stroller or going out to play or for walks or playing sports together) and then there’s the fact that everything counts, just like walking a lot at work or parking really far away at the store, because of all that adds up too.

Yes, fitting in workouts definitely takes some planning and the support of all my troops, but really it’s only 30-60 minutes a day which I can scrounge up like a couple of Goldfish in my couch, I just might need a bit of caffeine and a little motivation. But now it’s become such a way of life that they talk about running and getting muscles and doing races, I actually have more energy and my husband learned how to clean out the pantry and I wouldn’t change any of that for the world!

So feel free to chime in, sisters, with all your sisterly advice!! Especially the working ones! Help a sister out!

Questions for the Sisterhood? E-Mail them to [email protected] or feel free to chime in below in the comments! Happy Monday!!

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