For A-List Living on D-List Dimes......

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life In The Fit Lane

When it comes down to it, getting an A-List look is not something that’s unattainable as long as you’re careful about where and what you buy. However, let’s face it, if the clothes rack you’re working with is a little more stout than svelte no matter how many designer brands you adorn yourself with your look is ultimately going to be a little less ‘work it’ and a little more ‘wah, wah, waaaahh’!
Unfortunately, thin is in - except of course when it comes to your wallet. Jennifer Aniston is genuinely fabulous at forty-one but at twenty-nine and on my salary – I neither have the time nor money to take Pilates classes every day. Kendra might have found it hard shifting that baby weight but unlike the vast majority of new mothers she was in the fortunate position of being able to work with a personal trainer (who by the way, used to train David Beckham for God’s sake). I love reading SHAPE magazine and I like to hear of new and improved ways to keep fit however many of their top tips are a little too ch-ching for me.

No truer words were spoken than the voicemail of top San Franciscan trainer, Greg Bianchi – ‘the city is our gym’. At first I used to find this somewhat amusing but I soon realized that he is absolutely right. Gym memberships and workout clothes are not always kind to our credit cards and at the end of the day, we live in a beautiful city that naturally offers workout levels 1 through 10 and what’s more, it’s the exercise partner that’s never going to flake.

Now I gotta tell you, working out is something that does not come naturally to me. In high school, when it came around to gym class time I was always the girl who’d forgotten my running shoes or was conveniently running late. So when I decided to challenge myself to running a marathon last year my friends and family were more than a little bemused. Let me tell you this, running is – HARD. Especially if like me you’ve never done it before. However, it is a truly phenomenal calorie burning activity. I decided to do my training with Team in Training and raise proceeds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. However, I cannot tell you how many times I cursed myself while running around in circles at Kezar track and contemplated just packing the whole thing in and giving everybody back the money they had donated to me. But I persevered and boy was I glad that I did. Just as Pamela Anderson got to ‘check’ doing Dancing with the Stars off her ‘to-do’ list I too achieved completing a full marathon and while I don’t see myself training for another any time soon I did develop a love for just getting out into the open air and running. And what better city to run in than San Francisco? If you fancy a flatter course with beautiful surroundings try Golden Gate Park or go for a run along the Embarcadero. Looking for more of a challenge? Why not tackle a trail run in the Presidio or run from the Marina up to Golden Gate Bridge? According to Runner’s World, running burns up to 100 calories per mile and as a low cost, easy-to-do, year round activity the only thing you’ll be losing is pounds not pennies.

Looking for tighter buns and thighs? Well, you can forget the Stairmaster. Stair climbing can burn up to 600 calories an hour and is more fun out in the sunshine than being cooped up in a sweaty gym. Why not tackle the stairs at Kezar Stadium? I like to do a couple of laps around the track as an easy warm up and then break up each set of stairs with some abs exercises or pushups. Alternatively, you could try the Lyon Street Steps in Pacific Heights. An added benefit to the latter location is indeed the eye candy (see below)! Many of my friends have scored not only fitter figures but first dates through running the Lyon Street Steps – so what are you waiting for??

If you’re looking for a little more of a toned and defined look check out some of the free exercise programs on Comcast ‘On Demand’. Jillian Michaels, Kendra and many other celebrities/ trainers showcase sections of their DVD workouts here. Whether you are looking for Pilates, Yoga or some good old fashioned aerobics there is a multitude to choose from. My favorite, beyond a shadow of doubt, is Jillian Michaels. I gotta tell you, she rubs me up the wrong way on ‘The Biggest Loser’ but she really does know what she’s talking about and I have definitely found her workout programs to be more focused than others I’ve tried. The thing I like about the selection of workouts is that they tend to be quite short so I can fit in a quick ten minute abs drill before I go to work and a 25 minute ‘bikini blast’ after a run. Check them out and let me know what your favorites are!

So save yourself an extra sixty bucks (plus) a month and open your eyes to how your neighborhood can be your own personal trainer. And don’t worry, you don’t even have to feel too D-List about this. Even celebs go with low-cost workout options. Marisa Tomei, this month’s SHAPE covergirl, attributes her fabulous figure to hula-hooping! Pick one up in your local Marshall’s for a mere $6.99 and start a workout that’s not just fun but fabuless! Giuliana Rancic, E!’s in-house stick insect, claims one of her favorite cash-conservative workouts is jump-roping (or skipping, as we call it in Ireland!). Again, head to either Marshall’s or TJ Max and you’ll be hard pressed to break the eight dollar mark on this.

Then of course there are those other skinny celebrities who claim never to workout. Damn them! Nonetheless, I do love that Joan Rivers claimed ‘I don’t exercise. If God wanted me to bend over he’d have put diamonds on the floor’! Now there’s a girl after my own heart……!

WHERE TO GO?? For tips on tried and tested routes check out for  two reasons – 1) you can map out a run before you go on it and so figure out what distance you’ll be covering but even better still 2) you can read other runners reviews of where to run in the city – find a route that works for you and your fitness level. Love it!
PS. Just so we’re clear – I haven’t actually gone on a run in a good three weeks so I guess I’d better get out there and practice what I preach!!

[Disclaimer:  Not ACTUAL Lyon Street Stairs eye-candy.... ;)]

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