When I get that question posed to me, “What do you do? (to get in shape) a moment of hesitation always passes because I simply don’t know how to answer within the setting. I do a lot of different things based on the season, availability and my mood. So, when I’m asked the question I suddenly feel like I don’t do anything – well, anything in particular. I can’t. I would get totally bored and burnt out doing one or two things day in and day out, week by week, season after season. So, I mix it up accordingly. The result is that I continue to crave being active and keep my body ready for the next challenge.


photo credit: ESPN Body Issue

Our bodies are extremely resilient and adaptable. It’s the activity that dictates how our body metabolizes, builds or looses strength and agility. In essence, if you want to run 5-10 miles on soft sand 3 times a week, your body will lean out and build muscle in your core, calves, your toes even, and more as you continue to push your body to run. It will form the shape and strength to build efficiency for the particular activity you engage in.


photo credit: ESPN Body Issue

Look at the differences in the bodies of Olympic track sprinters, hurdlers and long distance runners. The long distance runners need endurance and lighter bodies to be efficient. They are ripped, but very, very lean. The sprinters and hurdlers need explosive legs and arms to propel themselves forward in quick, powerful spurts. So, their leg muscles (more leg muscles than you might think even exist) are massive. But, again they have ripped abs to keep their cores stable and centered, and amazingly strong arms to propel them faster in conjunction with each pump and lift off of each of their legs.


photo credit: ESPN Body Issue

If yoga is your main dish your body will lean out, become internally strong and very flexible in order to sustain deep turns and twists. You’ll find yourself engaging your core to enter into and hold stands that balance on and with otherwise inconceivable body parts. Your whole body will become self reliant in a very fluid manner. Again, your body follows the lead of your actions, because in essence your actions communicate to your body what it needs to sustain survival.


photo credit: Rising Lotus Yoga

If your thing is sitting, then your body will adjust accordingly to that need as well. You’ll even get some more “padding” to give your sit bones more comfort!

Asking the question, “What do you do?” to someone with a body type that you aspire to have is a good question to start with. But, I like to think about it this way; Think of what you’d like to be able to do. Doing anything active will make your body develop strength and shed weight that hinders its ability to act efficiently and effectively. DNA does play a part of course. But, I think that body types are more or less passed down through eating and activity habits that we learn and acquire, rather than predestination. And, unless you’re attempting to be highly competitive in a particular sport, your goals will most likely be more about being fit, lean and strong.


photo credit: ESPN Body Issue

So for me, I have a few staples that are my go-to’s for each season to give me a full body work out. And, then I always add in some extra activities to mix in throughout the week to keep me alert, interested, and my body ready to tackle new needs at a given notice.

As an example, over the last couple of weeks I’ve kept consistent with my staples for summer of cycling around 20-30 miles and running about 5 miles on the beach on alternate days. And intermittently I’ve gone horseback riding, kayaked, played tennis with friends for kicks, swam some laps, taken a Pilates and yoga class to keep loose and flexible, and have done a fair share of push ups, leg lifts and such to target specific body areas and to build strength. In turn, I’ve had a blast and kept my body engaged in both repetitive and varied activities that build endurance, strength, agility, and flexibility. And, in essence, I feel like I’ve been playing – not working.


photo credit: ESPN Body Issue

Try building in two or three full-body work outs for staples throughout your week. Cycling, yoga, rollerblading swimming, running, surfing are great options that are easy on the joints, so you’ll endure less wear and tear, and therefore be able to sustain them longer as seasonal or year-round staples. Maybe add in some strength training too, whether using body weight, resistance or added weights. There have been studies that show strength training is important for women to maintain healthy bone mass, especially as we age. Although, I’m not convinced that we have to become gym rats. Sports activities develop strength in major body areas naturally as well. I think however, doing push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, or working with rubber bands, free weights or nautilus weights, can indeed help to target specific areas to build up muscle mass or literally burn fat in that area away into muscle. But, definitely sprinkle in some time to “play” actively. Try a game of volleyball, get on a surf or boogie board, try out a paddle board, take a long walk at sunset, take a bootcamp or kickboxing class – anything to keep active, happy and challenged. If the main point for you is to build healthy habits to get optimal results, doesn’t it make sense to do what you will have fun with?

So, do what you love. Mix it up! Try new things! It’ll do your body, mind and spirit a great deal of good!