August 5, 2021

Is It Possible to Make Working Out Fun?

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Ann Marie Wakula, certified personal trainer and host of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Fitness Over 40. Together, they discuss if it’s possible to make working out fun.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • Finding your why when it comes to working out.
  • Why you shouldn’t do something you don’t love.
  • Unconventional workouts that might spark interest to start moving.
  • Finding your fun so you can start enjoying your workouts.

You can learn more about Ann Marie at her website, or Instagram page.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast, episode 86. Coming up, we discuss how to shift our mindset and make working out fun.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can all improve our health and well-being through small healthy habits we can start right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica. Every other week, we’ll sit down with a certified expert to discuss topics that cover nutrition, fitness, that’s where we are today. But we’ve done a whole lot more, and we probably will do a whole lot more, so we’re glad you’re with us. On this episode, we’re diving deeper into ways we change our mindset on how we view fitness.

Chuck Gaidica:
With us today is certified personal trainer, macro nutrition coach, Ann Marie Wakula. Good to have you back. How are you?

Ann Marie Wakula:
I am great this morning. How are you? Thanks for having me.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, sure thing. I’m well. I’m trying to make my workout fun and vary it up. And I know you’re going to help us get through all of that because you remember the old commercial, I forget who it was from, it was a takeoff on Arnold Schwarzenegger. I pick things up and I put them down. And for some of us, we think it’s got to be tough. My wife kind of got me upside the head years ago when I used to run. And she would say, “You can walk.” It’s like, “No way.” I mean, if I’m not bleeding, sweating, hurting, grunting, it just doesn’t make sense. But I know that’s not the right perspective or mindset. Is it?

Ann Marie Wakula:
No, it’s not. I love that you said that. That’s one of the things I wanted to bring up today. If you don’t love it, don’t do it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And I did love it, to be fair. So I’m saying it’s not the right mindset, like there is a right mindset. For some, they need to be lifting heavy weights and doing their thing, and that’s okay. And for some of us, there are some things that just sound less appealing. Or we have, like I do, a bad left knee now. I can’t do it all anymore.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Right, yeah. You have to find things that work for your body. Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. So should exercise, and can it look different for everybody? And we shouldn’t beat ourselves up or anybody else that’s doing something differently, right?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. So I mean, I like to say you think of yourself in the driver’s seat of your own physical and mental well-being. So you’re in control of improving your body, improving your lung capacity, and creating ease of function as you age. So being able to walk up and down the stairs and things like that are things that we need to do throughout our entire life, so you are in charge of your outcome. And how you create that is: What does it look like for you? And how do you enjoy that?

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And you mentioned something, and I know you’ve helped create this online series, Fitness over 40, with ahealthiermichigan.org. Right? So you talked about as we age, and I think for many people, that’s something where, well, they want to lose little weight, or they want to change their diet, and calling it lifestyle change. For others, many of us, it’s simply I want to maintain my balance. I want to be able to pick up a grandkid. I mean, there are practical reasons for us to be fit.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Absolutely. And a lot of the people that I have met doing that show, it’s just that. I want to be able to be active with my kids, my grandkids, walk up and down the stairs, sit in a chair and get up with ease. And then finding basically what their why is, and what your why is, and moving forward from there. What motivates you? And how do you stay motivated during these workouts? And the people that you’re surrounded by, or maybe it’s a fitness instructor, things like that.

Chuck Gaidica:
So when you say, “What’s your why?” It sounds like a Simon Sinek podcast. But when you say that, what do you mean by what is your why?

Ann Marie Wakula:
So why do you want to feel better. When we interview these people, they basically get to a breaking point where they’re like, “I don’t want to feel like this anymore.” So it’s definitely for them because you have to do it for yourself, but it’s also for the people around them. And it’s amazing too to see what comes from that, and who they inspire along the way. A lot of times, you’ve got people watching you, whether it’s on social media and you don’t even realize it when you post a picture of yourself, or it’s the person right next to you, living in your home, or it’s your children. So it basically creates a snowball effect when you start to take care of yourself, so it’s great for you and it’s great for everybody else around you.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. You’ve said so much there that’s a lot of wisdom. What’s my why? I guess the answer for me would be, I look at pictures of my kids and my wife and my grandkids, and I just think, “Well, my why is I’d like to be here as long as I can, extending not just my lifespan, but my health span, being as healthy as I can toward the end of my life, so I don’t have 10 years that I’m kind of floundering at the end.” But getting to the point where I’m enjoying my family, I see their pictures, and for me, that’s what inspires me. That’s what shifts my mindset.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes. And you can absolutely change the way that you age just by being more physically active, by putting on muscle, and all the health benefit that goes along with it, not just the way that you look, but the way that you feel on the inside, just reversing those signs of aging as we get older. Actually, it’s true, it’s really true.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And I know that part of even your mission statement, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be that hard. Right? So if you’re living a healthy lifestyle, that also implies using this phrase we hear more about for years, lifestyle change. Don’t call it a diet. Don’t call it an exercise program. Really build it into your lifestyle. Is that part of shifting your mindset, where you’re just building it in, it just becomes part of your DNA?

Ann Marie Wakula:
It absolutely does, just as much as it isn’t right now for some people, once you start making those changes, it absolutely becomes a part of your DNA. I just came off from a vacation where my policy when I’m vacationing is I take that time off. And let me tell you, I am just dying to get back into it. That’s what happens. You miss that routine of things. You start to create a different person and a different mentality when it comes to working out and eating right. And the way that you feel when you don’t do those things really creates a different bigger picture on the perspective. It becomes a part of your life, and you miss it.

Chuck Gaidica:
It was this podcast, wasn’t it? You just couldn’t wait to get back so you could do our podcast.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes, I know. I love being a part of it, I really do. Thank you.

Chuck Gaidica:
No, I’m kidding. You say something here that I find interesting because sometimes, and I think it’s good that we use those profound times, vacation, unplugging, but we also have to live life daily, and we have to think about a mindset or a shift change daily. So what would be some of the things that you would suggest that we do moving forward in life that we can start to shift our mindset on a routine basis? So it’s not just that we’re kind of swinging from one branch of a big deal thing to the next big deal thing. What would you suggest we start to practice?

Ann Marie Wakula:
So you just said routine, and that would be the number one, scheduling a day and a time in your calendar, and that’s your time. This is the way that you tackle these things, first thing in the morning. Just like you wouldn’t miss a meeting with a client, you don’t miss a meeting with yourself. We’re all busy. Right? But the most successful people are able to make it happen. So whether it is an early morning workout, or later in the evening when you have time, you schedule it, you make it happen. For me, it’s morning because I know once my day gets started with my kids and my work and everything else that I have to do, the driving around and all of that, I know it’s not happening later in the day. So do I like getting up early in the morning and doing it? I’d rather sleep an extra hour, but when I’m done, I feel so good. So that’s definitely my first one, creating the routine of it, scheduling it into your day or your week.

Ann Marie Wakula:
And then creating a plan. When will you work out? What do they look like? What am I going to eat for the day. When am I going to go to the grocery store? And kind of planning out those healthy habits for the week, and just kind of getting that piece of paper down. Okay, this is when I’m going to work out. This is when I’ll go to the grocery store. These are the things I’m going to eat. And just start, get it out of your head and onto paper, so you have a little bit more accountability for it.

Chuck Gaidica:
You’ve got so many different prongs to your background and your certifications. And what I find interesting about that is oftentimes, we’ll talk to someone who’s got a central focus, and maybe you do, but let me think of how to ask this. You’re a nutritional coach. You’re also a personal trainer. Is one or the other more important for us to concentrate on, lets say if we’re trying to lose a little weight, or change our life? Should workout become something right away we go after? Or is it truly what you put in your mouth in terms of calories and macronutrients? Is that something to attack first? Or do they go hand in hand truly?

Ann Marie Wakula:
I believe that they go hand in hand and that’s the way that I coach my clients. I do both fitness and nutrition. But if it all seems too overwhelming, I would just say to simply start with what you feel is easier for you. So if it is walking and getting into a workout routine, go that route. And eventually, you start to clean up your diet too because you know that physical fitness isn’t going to be complemented with a McDonald’s hamburger, for example, or if you’ve got a Coke fix, or something like that, things like that. So those start to snowball into each other is what I’ve realized with my clients. But I definitely do, with mine in particular, take them down the route together. We look at the whole big picture. It is 90% of what you put in your mouth. Right? But as far as cardiovascular activity and getting your heart rate up and exercising your muscles, that’s all different. So that’s why they do go together, both of them.

Chuck Gaidica:
And for many of us, this is not a singular journey. And a few minutes ago, you mentioned something that I find interesting. I’ve actually seen it happen with my wife and myself, and that is to be an influencer. You are by accident becoming an influencer, if your spouse is watching you do crazy things like log all of your food, or all of a sudden, you’re shifting and adding blueberries to your diet. You know what I mean? All of a sudden, you start to, without realizing it, you can influence kids, neighbors, buddies, however it works out.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Absolutely. And it’s been wonderful, even in my own household, because I’m in charge of what I buy for the house, so if there’s not a lot of junk or things like that, then they don’t eat it. They choose to have the apples and the blueberries and the chicken and the food that I prep for the week. I get mad at my family because I prep my food, and I’m like, “Where’d it? It’s gone. That’s mine.” So now I’m making more. Everybody else is getting that in their bodies as well, and fueling their bodies properly. So it’s become great in my personal family, even outside, aunts and uncles and people like that, watching the journey, people that reach out to me on social media. They’re like, “I’ve been watching you, and I want that in my life too.” Giving them some tips. It is wonderful. It’s just kind of like spreading the love of health and fitness, and that it doesn’t have to be that hard. Right?

Chuck Gaidica:
Right. And being that hard is a good way to look at it. But there’s also, you come back from this vacation and sounds like you had a good time. You are fired up to get back in the groove because you love what you do. But how do we add the fun factor into this notion? Because that can help with our mindset, and to the notion of our exercise and our overall wellness. Where and how would you suggest we find the fun factor, so man, I just can’t wait to go out and do whatever, to work out tomorrow?

Ann Marie Wakula:
So when I knew I was going to be speaking with you today, I put a poll out on my Instagram to find out what other people do because I know what I like to do. I think we talked last time that I find a really good podcast, and I personally listen to business growth and development, and then things for my own clients in regards to personal training and strength training and all of that. So that’s what I look forward to, and I don’t listen to it at any other time during the day. I know when I get up in the morning, that’s what I’m listening to the next episode. I kind of lay in bed, pick out the things I want to watch or listen to at night, and then those are the things I listen to during my workout. But I was really surprised too that a lot of people will find a good Netflix series and only watch that while they’re working out.

Ann Marie Wakula:
So if they’re on the treadmill, or the bike, or something like that, they’ll find a cool series to watch. So podcast series, something to look forward to when you’re in the moment. Making a great playlist, I think that’s what most people think of when they’re working out, and it’s great. I’ll start with a playlist. And it kind of sends me down memory lane because when you’re on certain apps, they’ll kind of give you the next song, and you’re in the era. And then you’re like, “I haven’t heard that in forever.” And before you know it, you’ve got all these memories to think of as you’re listening to music. But finding a friend too, finding a friend, or a fitness instructor, or a trainer that holds you accountable, you want to show up for every day, super important. That makes it fun.

Ann Marie Wakula:
I was at, we did our latest episode for Fitness over 40, we went down to Beacon Park, beautiful, in the middle of the city. And we attended a cardio boxing class. And there were people all ages. One woman even had a baby on her back that she was doing the class with. It was amazing. But I walked up to a couple different groups of people, and I was wondering, “What’s going on with this group?” There was one in particular, eight women. And they show up for each other every Sunday morning, and they do this class. And these women had an absolute blast. Some were in their 30s, 40s, 50s, even 60s, and they hold each other accountable to be there. I met another couple, they rode their bikes from Royal Oak down to Beacon Park every Sunday to take this class, and then went out to breakfast, so they loved it. That was their thing. You know? They look forward to breakfast afterwards. They look forward to being with each other. So finding that group of people or that one person that gets you excited to show up is another way to make it fun.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And I think sometimes I have found two things in my life in particular, you talk about music, if an average song is two and a half, three minutes, I’ve always marveled at how fast it seems my walk or workout goes because when you really do the math, it’s only about seven or eight songs, and a half an hour’s like, pow, gone.

Ann Marie Wakula:
It’s gone. Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Right? And for me, if I could just do Eye of the Tiger, Eye of the Tiger, I’m going to work out better, but I don’t play the same song over and over again. But you’ve talked about something else that I know in my life works extremely well. It’s variety. I love variety in foods. I love variety in workouts because I don’t get bored. I couldn’t imagine getting on a treadmill every day of my life. I know some people do it, God love them. But for me, if I could swim one day, walk the next day, do the weights every second day. You know what I mean?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
Just to break it up a little bit because then there’s no monotony for me. And it’s just my thing, I guess.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. I mean, doing something you enjoy, that’s important. Right? I said I don’t particularly run because I don’t like it, but I love to walk. It’s better on my knees and joints, walking, so I love doing that. So just because everybody else is doing something in particular, and you’re like, “That’s the way that I have to do it,” that’s not true. There’s so many things out there that you can try. Gosh, there’s so many different boutique fitness classes out there. You’ve got rowing and boxing and Pilates and all of those things, so go give them a try and find what you really enjoy.

Chuck Gaidica:
I did boxing for a while.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Did you?

Chuck Gaidica:
In a setting, I did. And I’ll tell you what, I can take 100 pound bag, bam. I don’t know about a guy, but I can really get at the bag. And I loved it. I mean, I really enjoyed it. I did it for a season. I’ve still got the gloves and I’ve done some shadow boxing. But I’ll tell you, I can see why people would like that class because it really is fun. You are moving different parts of your body. And well, you’re just moving, let’s face it. You’re just moving.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. I felt pretty tough when I was punching that bag.

Chuck Gaidica:
See?

Ann Marie Wakula:
You get your aggression out or whatever it is. It was different for me as a girl, I took boxing for a while. I’m like, “This is pretty cool. I didn’t know I could hit like this.” It was neat.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Well, I’ll be nice to you now because I know you can take me. Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
There’s no way.

Chuck Gaidica:
So let’s talk about something that you’ve woven through here right from the beginning. You sound like you’re a planner. Right?

Ann Marie Wakula:
I am.

Chuck Gaidica:
Because you’ve got kids at home, and so as a mom, there’s that. You’re a business person. You’re doing all the other things you do. But how do we introduce this idea of discipline and planning? Because for some, that’s not their gifting. Right? I mean, not everybody’s wired to plan their entire week of meals, or the weekend of meals. They just kind of let it flow. And for the same reason, sometimes exercise falls off the chart. So what are some easy ways for us to get into creating discipline and accountability?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Sure. So one of the things that has helped in my own personal journey too is finding a coach that can help you plan it out, because I really do believe it can be very overwhelming in the where do I start scenario. Right? So when you start playing a sport or any new activity, you find someone to guide you along the way. So when it comes to a lifestyle change, that’s a big deal. And it’s extremely beneficial to bring someone in to give you a very clear path for success, and doing it safely, especially if you have health conditions, or you don’t know your limitations. There’s so much information out there, and navigating it can be really unclear and misleading. So even from the types of workouts that you should be doing for yourself, high intensity interval training, strength training. How many cardio classes a week? How do I eat properly? The list goes on and on.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Bringing in a professional and learning the methodology helps it become sustainable, so learning the methodology, actually understanding. Why am I working out this way? Why am I eating this way? If you know the whys of that, you’re going to be more compliant and you’ll actually end up doing it more long-term because you know the purpose of the end goal. So I would find someone to help you plan that out. If it’s not specifically hiring a coach, maybe it’s a friend that has a lot of experience in it, or just asking around. If you’re going to a new class, asking at the front desk. How do I keep this going long-term? So finding a coach or somebody to hold you accountable like that, or somebody that knows what they’re doing will help you be able to plan it out better for yourself.

Chuck Gaidica:
It seems to me accountability isn’t always something where somebody beats you up because you have “failed.” I think part of that grace for me, giving it to myself and maybe for others to do for themselves, is to realize that sometimes we can have these small cost probes. It’s not a big thing to go a shadow or a boxing class on a Sunday, and then you go, “Ah, that’s not my deal.” Okay, all right. Go bike riding. I mean, whatever it is, you can find … Well, you said this in a previous episode. You can find your fun. Right? So just try things. It’s okay.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Try things, yeah. It could look different for you Monday through Friday. I mean, and that’s okay. Going back to your question too though, setting a big goal can be very overwhelming too for someone that says, “I need to lose 50,60 pounds,” that could seem so far away. How long is that going to take me? Oh, my gosh. And you’re set on this pounds goal. Right? So I like to tell my clients to make micro goals to make you feel successful along the way. And maybe these are non scale victories and really don’t have anything to do with the scale. You could set goals over, let’s say four months, you want to lose four, five months, X amount of weight. Every week, I want to increase my daily steps. We’ve talked about steps in the last episode, so increasing my daily steps.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Now I’m going to start drinking more water. I’m going to up my water a little bit. Now I want to increase my daily fiber. I’m going to give up soda. Or I want to fit into these pants that I haven’t fit into in a long time. Those are victories that are really meaningful, actually, when you’re going along this whole journey to the big end goal. So those are little micro goals I like to set for clients as well.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And I agree with you. And I think they’re achievable then, and that’s a big part of that smart goals, the A is achievable. You’ve got to set a goal that, well, I’m going to go to space with Richard Branson. Well, I guess maybe some day, if I write a big enough check, but it’s not happening now. It’s not quite achievable. So I think keeping that sane is really, really good advice.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes, yes. Wasn’t it a Rolls Royce? That was your goal last time?

Chuck Gaidica:
Or was it a Bentley. Yeah, so I’m working on all my big goals. You know?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
So they’re still in my head and they’re rolling around in my empty head of gravel, so thank you for remembering that. Yeah, I think a Bentley convertible. I’m now picturing it, but it’s not-

Ann Marie Wakula:
Ooh.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, yeah. See how good a goal it is? That’s awesome.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Put it on the vision board. Put it on the vision board.

Chuck Gaidica:
It’s smart but not achievable. Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Oh, that’s funny.

Chuck Gaidica:
I want to talk a little bit about this idea of you talked about coaching. And coaching could be that group of eight friends that you go boxing with. Right?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
It could be that spouse situation, they’re biking in, they go do workout, they come back, they have breakfast, and they go about their business for the day. But I like the idea of coaching. I’ve been coached. You’re a coach. I’m a coach. I think that the idea of having someone who can practice what as parents I learned a long time, reflective listening, to listen. And sometimes a coach can catch things and kind of give it back to us, and say, “You know, you’ve told me three times in a year you hate jogging. Why are you doing it?” You know what I mean?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes, yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
It’s really good to have a friend or a group of people who can say, “Well, it is accountability in a way, but just if you’re not enjoying it, or if it’s not working, well, let’s try something else and have a ball next Saturday.”

Ann Marie Wakula:
And sometimes the biggest obstacle we face is ourselves. Right? We’re our biggest critic, our own self talk in our mind can be really difficult. So I feel like when you’re going through an experience, whether you’re having a coach or talking to someone, it helps you get those emotions out. There’s reasons for emotional triggers of eating, there’s reasons why people don’t feel like they’re physically able or fit to do activities. So talking to someone to break these bad habits, it really helps with mindset. And sometimes it’s just so simple, you know the answer in your mind, you just need somebody else to tell you on the outside to work you through those things.

Chuck Gaidica:
You brought up something really great too about binging, and I know that sometimes I feel like if I’m binging a favorite new series, I can actually feel my blood coagulating while I’m not moving for three episodes. You know that feeling?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes, I do.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so I moved a set of 20 pound weights. For me, I consider those kind of light, but I’m not bragging. I’m just saying I put them up by the TV, and the reason I did that is because when I’m watching, I look at them and I think, “You know, I could either be on the floor stretching. I could be over there just doing something with 20s.” For me, it works. It’s not everybody’s thing. But I have decided that if I don’t do that, I can’t really healthfully enjoy it. And then the dog kisses me, so there’s a bonus when I’m on the floor.

Ann Marie Wakula:
That’s so cute.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so it all works out fine. But that was one of the tricks that I employed. It’s not really a fun factor, but it was just a little hack that I thought, “Well, I’m going to put those weights there and stare at them.” And they’re staring back at me saying, “Maybe now’s the time to get up from this second episode.”

Ann Marie Wakula:
I’m going to use that. That’s actually a really great idea, put them right there.

Chuck Gaidica:
It works. It’s not the full workout thing, but it works.

Ann Marie Wakula:
That’s okay. You can grab those weights. You can even do lunges at every commercial. You know what I mean? People used to say, I used to hear all the time during a commercial break, do sit ups, or do this or that and watch your show. Yeah, you could do that too. I like it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, let’s talk a little bit more about home because for many people, home life has still not shifted. For many, they’re going back to work, so that’s a different kind of working out. You can still work out at your desk, whether home or at work. Right? You can still do that. But I know for my son, my son and daughter-in-law and our grandkids live, some of our grandkids, live in Royal Oak. And his business, he’s an architect, is not far from home. So he would commute by bicycle. And he made commuting part of his workout. And I thought, “How brilliant is that?”

Ann Marie Wakula:
I love it.

Chuck Gaidica:
So do you have any other hacks for those of us that may have to work around the house or still work from home, things you can do while working?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. Just getting up and moving around more often. I feel like a lot of people always think that cardio and really, really strong sessions, like you have to walk away from a workout and feel just drenched. But that’s not necessarily true. Just increasing your daily steps, we call it non exercise activity, thermogenesis, so neat activity, so that’s anything that you do while you’re not sleeping or doing sports exercises. It’s like housework and performing yard work, things like that. That burns calories probably more. You have more time to burn calories throughout the day than you do in your actual workout session. So just increasing your, whether it’s steps, and I know I keep saying daily steps, but okay, parking at the back of the parking lot at the grocery store, or taking the steps at work instead of taking the elevator. Things like that, those actually add up so much more over time than you would even imagine. So definitely try to just be more active throughout the day, setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to stand up. Or if you have that watch that says, “Hey, it’s been an hour, stand up.”

Ann Marie Wakula:
Doing that, getting up more often throughout your day, so often, I work now, it’s so crazy because my job is bringing me to the computer more. I’m not actually physically with people in person as much. I have to remember to get up. I will sit here at my computer all day long and just get knees deep into what I’m looking at and won’t get up. So it’s very important, it’s very important to continue walking and being active throughout your day.

Chuck Gaidica:
The one thing I’ve really been able to add, and at all, there’s an asterisk after this, walking while taking a call, and I mean a business type call, not personal calls necessarily. And I know that’s tough for many because you’re either in a workplace, you’ve got privacy issues or HIPAA concerns, if you’re with Blue Cross. And you hope your financial planner isn’t walking around outside while he’s discussing your whole future. But I think for certain kinds of calls, especially if you’re working from home, that works for many. And I think that’s a great way to add steps. And no, I don’t have to walk away feeling drenched. But I know I just put on 1000 steps or something, awesome.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes. Those are still calories burned if that’s something that interests you in doing throughout the day.

Chuck Gaidica:
I remember it wasn’t long ago, I saw a study that said, it was something like, forgive me for not knowing the exact number, 60%, 65% of people thought that if they exercised while at their desk or at work, that they felt that their mental health improved, that their time management actually increased, which I found interesting because they were kind of multitasking. Right? But the benefits were not necessarily with muscles, or digestion, or losing calories. It was the effect of like breathing deeply and mindfulness. They were actually finding a way to get away from stuff in their minds, and it all worked out. And they were being productive. I thought, “Wow, that’s great.”

Ann Marie Wakula:
Absolutely. Even when I’m out on a walk, it’s amazing how focused I can be on what I’m listening to, so I could see where that would definitely be the case. You just start to move more, and you focus in on what’s in your mind, or what’s in front of you, or what you’re listening to so much more.

Chuck Gaidica:
So you’ve already shared some personal experiences, and then vicariously living through taking this boxing class. But give us some other, with all the clients you see online or in person, give us some less traditional workouts, stuff that you would say all of us should maybe put on our list of experiments, the top five or something of things we should try, where we would get exercise and maybe find this forever fun factor. What would you suggest we explore?

Ann Marie Wakula:
So being in Michigan and having this beautiful weather right now, going kayaking, getting out on the water, that’s a great way to enjoy everything around you. We already talked about the benefits of walking. And then like I had mentioned, there’s so many boutique fitness studios out there and so much to do, the rowing, the cycling, the Pilates, the strength training, just different types of things. There’s so many on every corner, just to get out there and try. So I really encourage that as well too. And then in Detroit, there’s so many free classes. I want to say it’s Thursday through Sunday down at Beacon Park, they bring in a DJ on Thursday evenings, kind of like a glow party experience. There’s a two hour event down there. They do it on Saturday mornings. They do it on Sunday mornings. And all of that is free. So I would go out there and see what is available to you locally as well, as far as yoga and stretching.

Ann Marie Wakula:
When we were down there too, there was even a man doing tai chi in the park. There was a bike group that came. So I’m even on an app called Nextdoor, and you can localize it to your neighborhood. And there’s walking groups available, like a woman started a walking group. There’s 86 members in this walking group that walk Stony Creek a couple times throughout the week. So getting out there and meeting people, now that we can, and just getting more involved and looking at the apps, looking at what’s available around you, looking for something free to give it a try. And those are great resources as well.

Chuck Gaidica:
And we shouldn’t squander this time of the year here in Michigan, because let’s face it, we’re not Fort Myers, Florida, or Seattle, Washington, where we’ve kind of got a possibility of a 365 days getting outside. We can’t necessarily do that without shifting. It would be fun to have you back as we start to shift toward colder air, not so much fall, but maybe. As we look forward to now what, we can’t necessarily kayak with the snow, I think that we can still find those ways though. Right? Even as the seasons change, and embrace them.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have so many beautiful parks too, where there’s hiking trails. We’ve been to Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills quite a few times. They have an amazing staircase there that so many people frequent. And it’s actually open year round. They keep it pretty clean in the wintertime. I’ve gone there in the winter as well. So there’s lots of different things just locally available to us. And depending on how cold you like your weather, you’ll actually get out and do it in the cold. But yeah, that’d be great to come back and talk about some winter activities.

Chuck Gaidica:
And how many of us, and our families and friends in our circle got new pets during the pandemic? And so I mean, when you have a pet that, in my case I’ve got two, so they take me for a walk. But I mean, when you add that to your life, you know that you’re getting some exercise, and it’s just kind of a fun thing to do, go for a little longer walk, maybe.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes. Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, as we start to wrap up here, give us some takeaways from all that we’ve discussed because it’s so much great stuff. Always fun having you back. But give us some takeaways of what you would suggest we do to add a little more to our lifestyle change, and not making fitness such a routine, while yet looking for a new routine in life that sticks for us.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Absolutely. We did cover a lot of things today. But just to kind of simplify and recap, one of the things I think is super important is doing what you enjoy. We discussed that a lot today. It doesn’t have to be what everybody else is doing. This is your time. This is precious time that you’re giving to yourself. That’s another thing I tell my clients. They say, “I don’t have time.” Yes, you do. You have 30 minutes, just 30. Think of how big the day is. Maybe you need to get up a little bit earlier, so find that time for yourself. Give it to yourself. We all work very hard. So do something you enjoy with that time. Creating a routine, it doesn’t have to be that hard or stressful. Just find that time in your week. It may not be every day, and that’s okay. It may be three times a week. But creating your routine and putting it in your calendar.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Finding your accountability, a friend, a trainer, someone to hold you accountable. And then the topic of today, find your fun during the workout. Is it a podcast, a show, spending time with a group or loved one, maybe asking even a grandchild to come with you? So finding your fun during that workout, something that you can look forward to that motivates you to keep coming back for more, which is very important. And then those micro goals we talked about, setting micro goals, the checkpoints along the way to keep you moving in the right direction, so that bigger goal doesn’t seem so daunting and far away. The little goals along the way are just as important, if not even more important because that’s what helps you actually create and maintain a sustainable long-term lifestyle.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Well, that’s great encouragement. I’m really happy we could connect today. Ann Marie Wakula, who is a certified personal trainer, macro nutrition coach with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, always a joy to talk to you. And if you hear a car outside the front door, you and your family, and somebody honks, it’s me in the convertible, just to show you that I’m working on my goal. Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
I am looking forward to that. I am.

Chuck Gaidica:
All right, good. Well, it’s great to talk to you. Take good care.

Ann Marie Wakula:
You too. Thanks for having me today.

Chuck Gaidica:
Sure thing. Well, we’re glad you were with us and listening to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. Maybe you were using this podcast as you were out for your exercise, or your walk, or run. We hope so. It’s brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show, you want to know more, check us out online at ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast. You can leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also get all of our previous episodes, new episodes, on your smartphone or tablet. And be sure to subscribe to us at Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. We’re really glad you were here. Take good care. I’m Chuck Gaidica.