Exercise & the Dukan Diet: my motivations to move!

The short version: Things that get me motivated 

  • The 30 minute max exercise time requirement.
  • The minimum “walk” as exercise.  No sit-ups, leg-presses or wind-sprints necessary.  Good for extra points but not required.
  • Going with my husband – (insert friend and/or dogs here)
  • Varied workouts.  Jogging, stadiums, biking, etc.
  • Technology.  Garmin FR60 watch and equipment, Apple iPod and Tanita scale specifically.
  • Cool new clothes that I look good in and want to keep wearing!

On the Dukan Diet, depending on the phase, anywhere from 20-30 minutes of walking a day is all it asks for.  This is the most unbelievable part of the diet for me.  The food plan seems fine, not too restrictive long-term, no outrageously cut calories or unhealthy limits, and who’s going to argue the down-side to oat-bran?   Since I’ve always held “exercise” to such high standards, a simple walk doesn’t seem like it will be enough.  As it is, I’m using the “prescribed” time minimums as a guide.   I usually do a little more than walk but I have it in writing that I only have to do 30 minutes a day.  That alone is motivation in itself.

Another home-motivation are my husband and/or dogs.  Once it’s cool enough out, my husband and I head out for a warm-up walk to the high-school.  It’s about a 5 minute walk from the house and we can use that time to talk about our day and enjoy each other’s company.  Once at the track, he can walk and I can jog or do stadiums and still be in relative close proximity to the other, it’s motivating just knowing he’s there with me.  For nights we’re both going to walk, our dogs are ALWAYS willing to go out!  Those nights we have a sidewalk available that leads into town…along the highway.  Not ideal and really a de-motivator but that’s what we have to work with.  Varying our workouts helps with my attention span.  One night I’ll jog, another night we’ll walk with the dogs, another night I’ll do stadiums or I’ll go on a bike ride…keeps things fresh.

TECHNOLOGY!  I like data, trends and being able to track and see the results over time.  I think that helps me in my job because data management makes all the difference in an ICU nurse.  Tracking and interpreting data in a timely and accurate manner can be life or death in an ICU.    That and hard work, patient advocacy and good running shoes.  I run and bike with Garmin and Apple.  Unfortunately for me, Nike got to Apple first. There are some good paired programs for jogging/walking and using an iPod or iPhone to track workouts.  The Nike+ products are perfect for people who run, jog or walk – if they had offered a cycling companion I would have stayed with Nike+.   Since they didn’t and still don’t, I switched to Garmin.  On the upside for Garmin, their products as a whole are MUCH more affordable.  I think $200 – $250 set me up  with a sports watch, heart rate strap, shoe-pod and bicycle companion and the ANT+ transfer stick.

I wear a “foot-pod” in my running shoes that tracks my distance and time with the sports watch.  This gives me up-to-the-minute pace and distance data and stores it on my watch.  I also wear a heart-rate strap which also stores to the watch.   This is very useful because for instance, if I know that my max heart-rate is somewhere around 195bpm and I know that I get winded while jogging or cycling with a heart-rate around 180bpm.  Knowing these things, I can adjust my pace in order to run/bike longer by keeping my heart-rate at a target of 160-170bpm.  Also, the information related to your heart rate helps the watch decide about how many calories you’ve burned in any particular workout.  Lastly, my bike is outfitted with sensors on the pedal and wheel-spoke that monitors speed, distance and pedal-rate.  All of this data also is displayed on the watch (attached to my handlebars).  My workouts can be tracked by my Garmin products and the watch will automatically sync with my computer and displayed on their website.  Graphs, charts and a calendar all get me giddy with my info and I want to go out and exercise MORE so I can add to it or at the very least, not have a decline in my data.

Next in my arsenal of tech-gear is my Tanita bio-electric scale.  It is also connected with my Garmin watch and will digitally track and input my weight and other readings (bone and muscle mass, fat % etc) onto my Garmin website.  More graphs and charts and data!  This scale was a splurge for sure, it alone doubled my investment but we get a lot of use out of it and it is very motivating to have the data tracked…especially if the graphs start pointing the wrong way.  The whole high-tech workout is rounded out with an iPod nano, perfect for entertaining me for a 30 min walk or a 3 hour bike ride.  Sneer if you like at my arsenal, it IS possible for me to go out without all that…it’s much more fun for me though when I do!  Oh, and for those that just want to be one with nature, I do exercise without the iPod sometimes and enjoy the sounds of my breathing and the feel of wind in my face.

My last motivation: clothes.  I am beginning to enjoy buying “outfits”.  I never bought an “outfit” in my life before.  I may have bought a dress or a shirt or whatever but never for the purpose of looking cute, showing off or feeling good about it.  Clothes were meant to hide in, flatter and cover and maybe make me feel less conspicuous and that’s all they’re good for.  The cheaper the better too since why would I spend tons of money on clothes I don’t really want to be seen in anyway!  I’m making an effort to buy nice, quality outfits that fit and that I would feel AWFUL about spending the money on and then gain a bunch of weight back and can’t wear anymore.

Whatever your motivation, apply it to your workouts and keep things fun!  In the long run, I know I’m more likely to keep exercising because of the tools I’ve found that work for me.  If you’re interested in checking out the gear I use and how it works here is a list of the products.  Garmin FR60 sports watch, Garmin ANT+ stick, Tanita BC-1000 bio-electric scale.  A blog I read for equipment advice is www.dcrainmaker.com.  He uses quite a bit of gear and gives in-depth product reviews as well.  His page has a handy-search bar to search for the specific Garmin watch or product and will give detailed instructions on setup and pairing of products.

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