Thursday, February 21, 2008

What's My Workout

So, I have been trying to think of ways to make my blog more interesting/entertaining and I realized that one of my favorite blogs regularly includes long quotes and links to articles on related content. (It just happens that it is about personal finance. It's written by BostonGal.) I haven't seen many weight loss blogs that do that sort of thing on a regular basis, so I think I am going to start doing it once or twice a week.

I found an interesting profile on Dylan Lauren in the Wall Street Journal called "What's Your Workout." Ms. Lauren is the daughter of lifestyle fashion designer Ralph Lauren and the successful entrepreneur of Dylan's Candy Bar an awesome fantasy candy store that started on Manhattan's Upper East Side. (I've been there. The flagship store is like no candy store you've ever experienced.) The article chronicles her workout, diet, the cost, and the benefits she's seen. Here's a portion of the article:

"The Workout:

Ms. Lauren was always active growing up, but says she primarily ran to stay in shape and avoided weights. "Everyone told me 'don't just run', but I was always so reluctant," she says. After a while she noticed that running wasn't changing her body to the degree she wanted. "It wasn't giving me muscle definition," she says. "They say muscle burns more fat and I knew as I got older I wanted to be strong and prevent injury."

Wanting to start strength training, Ms. Lauren started working with various personal trainers after graduating from Duke University. About six years ago she found her match in Tony Molina, a New York City-based trainer. He meets with Ms. Lauren twice a week at around 6:30 p.m. at the gym in her apartment building and takes her through an hour-long, full-body strength program that incorporates pulleys, tubing, free weights, slide boards and balance boards. "Tony knows that I get bored easily and need athletic workouts with lots of variety," she says.

Ms. Lauren completes two to three sets of ten exercises, performing ten to 15 repetitions of each. She isn't allowed to rest between sets, which keeps her heart rate elevated during the workout. Each exercise is designed to work a variety of muscles across multiple planes of motion at one time. For example, she may lay her back over a stability ball with her legs at a 90-degree angle with the floor and her torso elevated. One arm would be extended to the side with a dumbbell to perform curls while the other arm is extended straight up in the air with a dumbbell ready to perform a chest press. The exercise works her glutes, triceps, pectoral muscles, obliques, abdominals and challenges her balance all at the same time.

Not only are these exercises efficient in the way they recruit multiple muscle groups, but Mr. Molina says they are also great for stress management. "You can't think about anything else while performing them since they require so much concentration," he says.

Ms. Lauren does cardio on her own three to four evenings a week and prefers to run outdoors in Central Park when the weather is warm. Alternatively she works out at the Upper East side branch of the Sports Club/LA for 45 minutes to an hour. Lately she's been using the stair climber. "Some machines feel like they do the work for you," she says. "But this one is tough and it burns calories like crazy." The moving stairs require the user to constantly climb, lifting their knee and foot high enough to clear each stair or else they'll fall off.

Ms. Lauren was the captain of her high school tennis team. She missed the competitiveness and athleticism of playing a sport, and about a year ago started working for an hour with a tennis pro once a week at a tennis club near her apartment. She plays a bit more frequently in the summer.

The Diet
Ms. Lauren's diet used to consist almost entirely of candy, frozen yogurt and vegetables. "It wasn't very healthy," she admits. She now eats five smaller meals a day to keep her blood sugar from dropping and has added more protein to her diet in the form of fish, tofu and eggs. She avoids bread, pasta and potatoes.
"I have to have breakfast otherwise it screws up my whole day, plus it slows down your metabolism," says Ms. Lauren. She usually starts her morning with yogurt and fruit or an egg white omelet with vegetables. Mid-morning she might have a chai tea latte. For lunch and dinner, typically business meals at restaurants, she'll have a salad and some form of protein like tofu or fish.

Ms. Lauren says she has tried to do a no-sweets diet and couldn't manage. "I don't believe in that mentally," she says. "I have to have my dose of candy every day." Her favorites are gummy candies, particularly Swedish fish and red licorice. Every now and again she has chocolate cravings and she'll reach for a piece of Belgian milk chocolate. To avoid candy binges, Ms. Lauren sets aside days where she can eat however many candies she wants."

The article goes on to talk about some of the effort that it takes to put into her routine and the benefits she's seen. I like the fact that she admits to having candy, but I wonder if allowing herself to eat however many candies she wants to avoid binging, is actually a binge in and of itself. Overall I liked the depth that the article went into and the examples of exercise and food it gave. It's a lot more in depth than the weekly profiles on the Weight Watcher's site. I believe this is just one article in a Wall Street Journal series that profiles executives and their health and wellness plans. I'd be interested to see if they ever profile people who want to, or have, lost an amount of weight they'd be willing to share with the reading public. But, I couldn't find archives for the series. I'd also be interested in reading about someone who does exercise on more of a budget, but I've only been doing this as a student or unemployed, so maybe her expenses aren't that outrageous.


Bryan said...

A very insightful post on concentration exercises. I've been looking for exercises to imporve my concentration and finally (hallelujah!) i found them at Plenty of tips etc etc. Rated 5/5 !

meredi said...

Just catching up on some of your older stuff :)

I tend to agree with your concerns about the "eat however many candies you want" day -- if I had a freebie day like that I think I'd go overboard. Maybe not a binge, but definitely overboard.

Besides, I don't think having candy now and then will prevent a binge anyway -- it seems like a different kind of issue. It doesn't matter whether I've had candy every day for a week, if I feel a binge coming on, I'm going to eat more candy regardless!

Anyway, very interesting series. It's too bad it's all about execs, as you say, but I'm going to pay attention to it for a while and see what else they come up with. Thanks for the heads up!