The first time it happened I was playing four square with my son. I knew my pants were tight in the backside, but I thought -- it's just four square. And then I bent a little too low for the ball. My sons thought it was hilarious. My 3-year-old asked, "Can I take my pants off?"
When this happens in your yard on a weeknight, there is no emergency; you just change before making dinner. When it happens in the office, however, that's a different story.
Imagine you're in a room full of at least 50 Jewish professionals listening to a presentation. You are in the back of the room, looking respectable, cleaning up a few papers. You bend down in your suit and a terrifying ripping noise surprises your ears. You ask a coworker, "Hey, is it bad?" When he answers with a resounding "yes," you need an exit strategy.
Using my legal pad to cover my butt, literally, I head right to the elevator. When I call my wife to tell her I split my pants, she says she thought I said something else and laughs so hard I knew she misunderstood. So I spell it out for her, and she laughs a few more times. Luckily, I can laugh at myself too. As I hear her telling her coworkers, I figure I should hang up and concentrate on shopping. Within 15 minutes I get a great pair of pants and most of my dignity restored.
The trainer in me started to think, too many squats, too many lunges. Maybe I need to cut down on my leg routine. Aside from the pants-splitting, the waist also felt a little snug. I needed to make a change.
The first thing that popped into my head: Cut down on the sweets that litter my office and mix up my workouts. Although I do love vegetables, boring baked chicken, and quinoa, I also love sweets. Cookies are my weakness, but a good doughnut also does the trick. If you work in an office there's usually candy bowls, leftovers and sugar-filled celebrations.
My diet does not need an overhaul, but it could use refining if I want looser-fitting pants. I'm cutting down on simple carbohydrates like my favorite jasmine rice, the amazing bread at Cosi around the corner from the office, and the aforementioned sugary treats. My replacements are simple: brown rice, soup/salad hold the bread, and tiny portions of sweets. I do not believe in cutting out anything, just making better choices.
If you are trying to eat healthier, a self-assessment is the first step. Take a few days to write down everything you eat. This will help you understand:
- The time of day you look for sugar
- If you are getting enough water
- If you're eating too many snacks (maybe you need more protein or fat at meals)
- If you're eating too many empty calories, such as chips, pretzels and irresistible warm bread at restaurants.
Then there's exercise. I've always enjoyed lifting weights or playing sports, but cardio has never been my thing. To be completely honest, 10 or so minutes before a workout is about all I used to do. Now I am doing 20 minutes of cardio a few times a week and will build up to 40 minutes.
Research indicates that interval training burns a large amount of calories in a short time frame, so that's the type of cardio I will do. The intervals I do work like this: 20 to 30 seconds of hard work followed by an easy pace for 30-60 seconds. This type of workout is done pretty easily on a bike, treadmill or elliptical.
If you are trying to fit into your skinny jeans and already work out like this, it's time to mix up your routine. I recommend changing one variable for a month and see if that makes a difference, like walking instead of biking, or doing full-body exercises three times a week instead of one day for each muscle group. A great way to try something new (and free) is as simple as researching workouts on YouTube.
I'll keep everyone posted on my progress with an update article in a few months. Good luck with those New Year's resolutions!