Home > Fitness > It’s more than just burning calories

It’s more than just burning calories


I used to HATE exercise. H A T E it.  It was never fun, never felt good, it was more of a chore than anything enjoyable. The ONLY reason I exercised was to lose weight. I never thought i’d get to the point where I actually liked it. Well here I am. I actually like it. In fact I love it. Exercise is important to me for so many reasons now.  I used to think it was only useful in helping me lose weight, but I was wrong. Exercise does so much more for me than that. I read this article the other day and wanted to share it.  The article lists 13 proven health benefits of exercise.  I feel like I have benefited from every one.  Take a looky….

  • Longevity. People who are physically active live longer. According to a 20 year follow-up study, regular exercise reduces the risk of dying prematurely.
  • New brain cell development, improved cognition and memory. Exercise stimulates the formation of new brain cells. Researchers found that the areas of the brain that are stimulated through exercise are responsible for memory and learning. For instance, older adults who engage in regular physical activity have better performances in tests implying decision-making process, memory and problem solving.
  • Improved sexual function and better sex life. Regular exercise maintains or improves sex life. Physical improvements in muscle strength and tone, endurance, body composition and cardiovascular function can all enhance sexual functioning in both men and women. Researchers revealed that men who exercise regularly are less likely to have erectile dysfunction and impotence than are men who don’t exercise.
  • Exercise is a powerful antidepressant. Study after study has shown that exercise promotes mental health and reduces symptoms of depression. The antidepressant effect of regular physical exercise is comparable to the potent antidepressants like Zoloft. It may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve symptoms of depression.
  • Cardiovascular health. Lack of physical activity is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercising makes your heart, like any other muscle, stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort.
  • Cholesterol lowering effect. Exercise itself does not burn off cholesterol like it does with fat, however, exercise favorably influences blood cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Prevention and control of diabetes. There is strong evidence from high quality studies (e.g. Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study) that moderate physical activity combined with weight loss and balanced diet can confer a 50-60% reduction in risk of developing diabetes.
  • Blood pressure lowering. The way in which exercise can cause a reduction in blood pressure is unclear, but all forms of exercise seem to be effective in reducing blood pressure. Aerobic exercise appears to have a slightly greater effect on blood pressure in hypertensive individuals than in individuals without hypertension.
  • Reduced risk of stroke. Research data indicates that moderate and high levels of physical activity may reduce the risk of total, ischemic, and hemorrhagic strokes.
  • Weight control. Regular exercise helps to reach and maintain a healthy weight. If you take in more calories than needed in a day, exercise offsets a caloric overload and controls body weight. It speeds the rate of energy use, resulting in increased metabolism. When metabolism increases through exercise, you will maintain the faster rate for longer periods of a day.
  • Muscle strength. Health studies repeatedly show that strength training increases muscle strength and mass and decreases fat tissue.
  • Bone strength. An active lifestyle benefits bone density. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation, delays bone loss and may protect against osteoporosis – form of bone loss associated with aging.
  • Better night sleep. If you suffer from poor sleep, daily exercise can make the difference. The natural dip in body temperature five to six hours after exercise may help to fall asleep.

Written by C. Simmons of HealthAssist.net

If that didn’t give you 13 good reasons, to get up off your bum and get in some exercise, I’m not sure what will!

In my past life I never lifted weights. I was so focused on cardio and physically seeing the amount of calories I burned each workout, that lifting weights did not interest me at all.  When I began thinking clearly and realized that I didn’t know everything and that fitness experts may know what they are talking about..I decided to start lifting. I wanted to learn how to properly lift weights and build muscle, so I got a personal trainer. It has been such a fun, hard and rewarding experience. I have learned so much and have enjoy every session. I only have one session left and I am pretty bummed about it.

I meet with my trainer 2x a week for 3o minutes. Since I like to workout in the morning and get to work early, I meet with him at 5:00am.  I admit that I want to die when my alarm goes off , but once i’m out of bed and on my way to the gym I’m awake and ready to go.

I started writing this post to talk about my workout this morning because I loved it..so I guess I should get to the point. My work out this morning was one of the hardest workouts i’ve had with my trainer thus far.  Have you heard of Cross Fit?  It is GREAT! For the past three weeks all my training sessions have been Cross Fit works outs.  These work outs are hard core. They are short, intense and KICK YOUR BUTT!  Click this link to learn more about Cross Fit.

My workout today went as followed:

21 Assited Pull ups
21 Push Presses
21 Burpees
.25 Mile Run

Then you repeat the process with 18 reps of all four sets, then 15 reps, 12, 9, 6, and finally finish it off with 3 reps.

It took about 55 minutes to complete. It was crazy hard and I loved it! I was dealing with a little asthma this morning so that made it even harder.  There were a few times that I actually almost threw up.  Ha…I didnt even know that was really possible. Lifting weights is incredibly hard. SO MUCH HARDER than cardio, and in my opinion much more rewarding. I can actually see muscle’s developing on my body that didn’t use to exist. I am so much stronger than when I started. I have more endurance, more strength and definitely more mental power. Six months ago I couldn’t even do one push up and now I can do 30…30!  I have never been able to do a pull up my entire life, not even one……BUT I am getting so close. Today was the closest i’ve been. I think I will throw a pull up party when i do my first pull up. My point for this post is that i’ve learned that exercise is much more than burning calories. Being physically active will help you feel strong, motivated and powerful in all aspects of your life. I love feeling those ways, don’t you? It’s not easy to exercise or push yourself to do hard things physically…but in the end it is worth the time and energy that it takes.

After my last session with my personal trainer I plan to continue doing Cross Fit for a few months. I also wanted to try the 30 day shred… has anyone ever tried that? I thought it might be fun to do cross fit or the 30 day shred or something like that together and maybe track our results??…does that interest anyone?

A few questions for YOU to answer:

Have you tried Cross Fit?  If so do you Like it?

What type of exercise do you enjoy?

Please comment. I really want to hear your thoughts! 🙂

Categories: Fitness
  1. Toni
    September 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I haven’t tried crossfit, but hear about it ALL the time. If I knew where there was a place to do it in Davis County I think I’d try it. I’ll look into that…

    About three years ago, after I had my girl, my neighbor challenged me to run with her in the morning. I did, reluctantly, and found it was so much better and more effective than the gym. I have since ran FAR FAR and some races. I still run everyday and absolutely need it for obviously body image and size maintenance, but as importantly for mental health. Being a stay at home mom is a challenge, a challenge on your self esteem at time and I need that antidepressant everyday and the sense of personal accomplishment. Somehow changing diapers all day and laying with sick kids is much more barable when you ran 9 miles that morning.

    Sorry TMI? I am liking your blog. You always seemed so just cute and happy I never knew you were so -normal- 🙂

    • nataliekshaw
      September 9, 2009 at 4:39 pm

      I didn’t know Cross Fit was so popular until I started talking to people about it…i guess its the “in” thing…who knew! I don’t care if its in or out…but I do get why people are so excited about it…it is a challenge! Your comment was so great. Even though I don’t have kids yet….I get that same feeling of accomplishment when i get to work out in the morning and realize that even though my work is boring and the day drags on… I have already done something so invigorating . It makes me feel better for the rest of the day! I love running…love it, but it hurts my back when I do it…i might just be bad at it i’m not sure. I would love to get into long distance running if i could get rid of my lower back pain. I only ran for a bit today and its killing me… any suggestions??? I know there is a cross fit in Layton off of Gentile..but my husband says its kinda a junker place….the nice thing about cross fit is you can do most of it in your home if you wanted or any gym. Thanks for your comments…hopefully more people will start commenting and we can get good info and motivation from each other!! 🙂 ps… I ABSOLUTELY love all the photos you take. I check out your other blog now and then and I love them. Next time we decide to have pictures done I want you to do them for sure….infact I think dave and I should get some soon….when we move into our new house I want to have more than just wedding pictures ya know? 🙂

  2. Jacky Jacky
    September 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    AHHHH!! I was so excited after I read this I tried to call you but you didn’t answer! Jared and I did day two of cross fit yesterday and today is my day three! I LOVE IT!!! LOVE IT! Yesterday we did this:

    Run 400 meters
    10 burpee
    reapeat six times! WO Baby!! We were dying and laughing so hard at what whipms we were! It was suposed to be 25 burpees but it was too hard for beginners so we modified! Today I am doing the following:

    100 ft walking lunges w/ 10 lbs weight
    30 box jumps
    20 push ups
    repeat 4 times!

    I honestly am so excited to get home and do it! It is so much fun because it is different every day and a challenge!

    Do you do the official crossfit warm up? You should cause it’s pretty awesome! It gets you are warmed up and ready to go! Love you site!!

    • nataliekshaw
      September 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm

      That is so awesome! I knew you’d love it! It is such a challenge and it’s so awesome that you can do it at home! Your rock sister!! It will be fun to do together and talk about hard freaking hard/rewarding it is!! 🙂

  3. Brandi
    September 9, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    i haven’t tried crossfit, but I’ve been hearing about it so much lately! it definitely sounds like a good workout.

  4. September 10, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I love this post sooo much! You seriously rock. So much great info here. 🙂

    I did 30 day shred and it contributed to my injury. A lot of the exercises on it are really hard on the body, so just be careful if you do it not to push too hard like I did. 🙂

    • nataliekshaw
      September 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks for the info on the 30 day shred. If I try it out I will keep that in mind and be very careful! Thanks for the comment and thanks for stopping by! ( I was so excited to hear back from you that I emailed my husband right after and said…guess who ready my blog!!!..ha ha he knows all about you and your blog cus I talk to him about it all the time!) i’m a dork i know but oh well! 🙂

  5. Trevor & Erin Keyes
    September 10, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Hallelujah and Amen Sister!!! This post is my life Mantra! Now if we could make believers out of everyone! People would be so much happier right now! I suppose if I have to be addicted to something I am glad it is exercise. I love that it is my “drug” of choice. Although I am not overly crazy about my working out…I love the feeling when I do! The world around me is glad too. Everyone can tell when I have not worked out because it shows in my demeanor etc. Obviously I have areas to grow in but at least we are headed in the right direction! I am so happy to read your posts and your new outlook. I will do 30 day shred. Let me know. “I am starting P90X Monday”…hahahaha but really I want to.

    • nataliekshaw
      September 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm

      I know right? People would be much happier! Are you really doing PDX 90? Did you buy it? Do tell! Thanks for the comment!

  6. Tiff Snow
    September 16, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Natalie, this blog is awesome! Erin told me about it and I must say, it is motivating. Maybe with this and the broken record that Erin has been our whole friendship I can actually make a change! And I say that in the nicest way because Erin has always been supportive and never rude about fitness even though she is so good at it. She really is a smart one, I tell ya! Anyways, I’m glad you are doing this blog and I will continue to look at your updates, I love your writing and your honesty… keep it up!

    • September 17, 2009 at 7:35 am

      Hey!! Thanks! I totally know what you mean about Erin being a good broken record…she has helped me tons! Thanks for checking out the blog…even though i’m the one writing it, its motivating to me as well, so its fun! I love hearing peoples thoughts and learning more about how people besides me think! 🙂

  7. Shayla Streiff
    September 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Hey Nat…I found you on Courtney’s blog and I must say I’m way impressed, fabulous blog! So I’ve never done Cross Fit before but I think I may have to try it. I’m really into this 24LIFT class at 24 Hour Fitness right now and I also must say that when I don’t feel like I can hit the gym hard I do a yoga class…it takes away all the tension in my body and makes me feel like a million bucks!! Also, I read something once (I can’t remember where) that said your weight depends on two things; 80% is what you put in your mouth and 20% is your workout. So instead of feeling deprived like I can’t eat a real meal I started looking for healthy recipes low in calories and fat and packed with protein. The best place I’ve found so far is a magazine called Diabetic Living, they had a low-cal carrot cake recipe in there last month that was so good. Shape always has great recipes too because I found that if I’m too strict and eat like a bird eventually…I BINGE, then the guild is 100 times worse and my workout becomes more of a job then something fun.
    Anyway love it…thanks for the motivation!!!

    About me…
    My name is Shayla
    I live in Las Vegas
    I work for the HIV/AIDS Program
    I am married and my husband has become my gym buddy…

    • September 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm

      Hey there! thanks for the comment on the blog. I will look into that magazine for sure. I haven’t been doing much cooking lately but when we move I will have to start it up again so that will help. I need to do yoga on the off days or when i’m feeling sore, that’s a great idea! court told me all about your guys house sounds awesome, hope you are loving it!

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