I Worked Out With Richard Simmons For Four Days And This Is What Happened...

I Worked Out With Richard Simmons For Four Days And This Is What Happened...

Will working out with Richard Simmons change the way I work out?
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As I was watching a late night episode of Whose Line is it Anyways? , a guest star caught my attention, Richard Simmons. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about Richard Simmons, maybe because I have never watched a workout tape, but it sparked an idea.

I have a love-hate relationship with working out. I competitively rode horses growing up and after a few accidents, I have had ongoing issues with torn tendons and previous injuries. I don't love "gym culture" and I have to always be careful with which equipment I use in order to not reactivate a previous injury. I do love the concept of working out. If I am not consistently being active, I can get really frustrated and annoyed.

The mental and physical health benefits of working out are very important, especially as a full-time college student and part-time corporate office employee. I feel very stuck in a rut with my current workout routine and have been seeking alternatives. Could Richard Simmons actually be the answer to my work out problems?

The Mission:

I've decided to spend four days working out to Richard Simmons videos he posted on YouTube in 2013. These five-minute clips tailor to different areas of the body and can be combined to create a good fifteen-twenty minute workout.

Why four days? The super scientific reason of I am leaving town in five days and won't be able to keep up with videos while I am gone. I want the consistent experience though to see if I feel I am gaining anything or if I am getting tired of them.

Concerns:

My concerns for the Richard Simmons tapes are the fact that they could be boring. While I know Richard Simmons is a blast of colorful energy, I don't know if I will get the level of work out I usually aim for. I like to feel like I have worked out the next day and build up a nice sweat while I am doing it. Besides Richard's personality, I don't know how much reward will be received from this fifteen minutes compared to other methods.

Potential Rewards:

On the other hand, I think these videos could be a really fun way to mix up a workout routine. As someone who has limited ability to decide to join a cross-fit class or run thirty miles in the woods because of injuries, Richard Simmons might become a nice change of pace.

Day One:

I started off a little bored. The videos were hard to follow since they were not designed like normal work out tapes where you can see everything the instructor is doing. My original plan of only doing three videos went out the window. I wasn't building a sweat so I decided to do the first cardio video twice.

I moved on cardio two, then Richard told me how proud he was that I decided to spend my time working out over sitting on the couch, so I did another. By the end of it, I had a good heart rate and a good attitude. I don't know how much of a work out I got, but I'll be interested to see if I feel sore at all tomorrow.

Day Two:

Richard's voice was in my head last night, seriously. I ate clean all day, even feeling too guilty to eat a french fry with my friends after a late night basketball game on campus. I did two cardio and two strength videos, along with the warm up and cool down.

I didn't break a huge sweat or feel that tired. I didn't wake up sore either. It's a different mental and physical satisfaction compared to going to the gym. Instead of "Man, that was a good workout." It's more "Richard is proud of me." And today... I am okay with that.

Day Three:

I wasn't really in the mood to work out with Richard today, but alas I was committed. The best part was listening to his motivational words during the cool down. I do find the videos easier to follow since I have done them a few times. The warm-up is still my least favorite video. I did feel proud afterward, but mostly because as I have mentioned, Richard is proud of me.

I don't know what else I need in a workout besides his encouragement, honestly. I do feel my lifestyle slightly shifting a bit. I eat pretty healthily, but I am much more aware of my meals throughout the day. I am thinking "Would Richard approve of this?" If I think he wouldn't, then I don't eat it. Am I losing my mind?

Day Four:

I'm both sad and relieved this experience is over. I feel more connected to Richard as a person compared to as a workout instructor. It was almost a struggle to turn on the videos this morning as I knew I was going to be listening to the same thing over and over again.

I mixed up the videos a bit to see if it would feel fresher but I still knew everything that was coming. Richard says in the videos "See what you are doing! You could be on the couch or getting a snack, but you are working out and loving your body." That made me more interested in working out as a whole.

Reflection:

Overall, I am happy with this four day experience. I think it would've been more productive if I went to Goodwill and found one of his hour-long work out tapes for $5, compared to flipping through the same five-minute videos.

The best thing that comes from Richard's videos, as I mentioned a thousand times, is his little reminders of your self-worth. I do think I am more interested in Richard as a person and a brand compared to a work out routine. If I ever need a pick me up, I am ready to do some colorful cardio with Richard again!

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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7 Reasons Not To Be An Organ Donor

Actually, there aren't any.
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Absolutely none.

Recently, I became an organ donor, and I was shocked at how easy it was. All I had to do was make a check mark on a form at the DMV. The simplicity of a decision that could potentially save the life of another human being is outstanding. Do you want to know what shocked me even more, though? The deficiency of organ donors. According to Donate Life America, 90 percent of Americans say they support organ donation, but only 30 percent have taken the steps to become one. I constantly see people sharing and praising stories of kids given a second chance at life due to organ donations.

If so many people share these articles and pride themselves on being empathetic and wanting to help others, why do we have such a shortage of organ donors?

Don't take my word for it, let's look at the stats.

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human services, there are 121,347 people waiting for organs; 121,347 families that are counting the days. Standing by the phone in hopes of it ringing. Yet, in the past year, there were only 28,000 organ transplants and currently, there were only 15,000 new donors from the past.

If that's not enough to open up your eyes, just know that every 10 minutes, a name is added to that list. While an average of 79 people receive organ transplants a day, 22 people die waiting for an organ that never comes; 22 people don't get a second chance at life.

These statistics might only sound like a bunch of numbers I am spewing at you but let me put them into perspective. Every single one of those 22 people that die every day is a mom, a teacher, a doctor, a 3rd grader, a lover, a human. They are not just a number. Every single one of them has a family, has goals, has feelings and has lost a chance.

SEE ALSO: To The Organ Donor Who Will Save My Life

Why shouldn't you be an organ donor?

1. I want to have an open casket funeral, and I can't if organ donation mutilates my body.

Actually, organ donation doesn't impede you from having an open-casket funeral. Your organs/tissues are removed through a clean surgical procedure, and you are sewn back up. After your body is clothed for the ceremony, there are no signs of organ donation. Even if you decide to donate your bones, rods are inserted into their place.

2. If doctors know that I am an organ donor, they won't try to save my life as hard.

This is absolutely ridiculous. A doctor's top priority will always be the life of their patient. They will put in 110 percent their effort to keep you alive. The donor program isn't even notified until death is proven and declared.

3. Doctors might not be 100 percent sure that I am dead.

According to the Center for Organ Recovery and Education(CORE), brain death is pronounced when there is a lack of blood and oxygen flow to the brain. It is "the medical, legal and moral determination of death." There is no recovery from this. It is not the same as a coma. Furthermore, organ donors are actually given more tests after death over a period of time to verify death than a normal person.

4. I'm too sick for organ donation. My organs wouldn't be useful.

Don't pre-disqualify yourself. Doctors have tests they run to make sure the organs they utilize are safe and healthy. While some of your organs might not meet these standards, others could.

5. My family would be charged with the costs of the organ transplant.

Your family would only have to pay for the medical costs associated with any procedure done before your death. Organ donation costs are fully covered.

6. Organ donation is against my religion.

Actually, according to CORE, all major religions view organ donation as a final act of love through sacrifice.

7. I don't want my organs going to somebody that destroyed their own.

While organ donations do help people suffering from addiction by letting them correct their mistakes, "less than 5 percent of people awaiting transplant have destroyed their organ through substance abuse and they must achieve and sustain sobriety before they can be listed for transplant (Center for Organ Recovery and Education)."

If all these reasons are still not enough to convince you to make this decision, know this:

By becoming an organ donor, you could save the life of not just one person but of 50. You could be the reason a father is able to dance with his daughter at her wedding. You could be the reason a 7-year-old girl is able to see the colors of a sprouting bundle of flowers on a fresh spring day.

You could be the reason a mom is writing out invitations for her son's eighth birthday party instead of making funeral arrangements. You could be the reason that newly married couple ends up sitting around a fire on Christmas morning with their six grandchildren.

You could be the reason love strengthens, new life is born, accomplishments are made and society improves. If anything, you could be the hope restored in the broken hearts and minds of the family and person receiving that organ. You could be that second chance, that silver lining, that miracle.

We glorify the idea of a miracle but here we have the opportunity to make them actually happen. All this can be done by you simply taking an hour of your time to visit this website and take the steps necessary to register as a donor. If you live in New York State, you can register online right now, right here.

Save a life.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Lazy Girl's Guide To The Gym

Also, everything else you should know if you're a slightly out-of-shape girl (like me).

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With my freshman year coming to an end, I realized a lot of things. I made new friends, I found new hobbies, and I learned a lot of lessons. One of them being that the "Freshman 15" is very real and very scary.

While my friends and family have attempted multiple times to convince me that I'm just being dramatic (I am), I still want to make a change in my lifestyle or I will, in all seriousness, be on track to the "Sophomore 20".

Here is a list of my best gym and healthy lifestyle tips that I am slowly attempting to live by this summer in order to resurrect Emily's 18-year-old body and health.

1. Increase water intake.

2. Find a gym buddy.

3. Start off with cardio.

4. Don't stop on your cardio until you're dripping in sweat.

5. Chug a LOT of water an hour before the gym.

Do not do it right before, or you will be in pain.

6. Eat light beforehand but just enough to hold you over. 

7. Plan out what your routine will be BEFORE you get there.

My routine: Elliptical for a mile, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, ab HIIT workout for 10 minutes, 5 more minutes on Stairmaster.

8. Buy healthy foods while you're feeling motivated.

9. Find a gym that isn't too far from your house. 

10. Don't get mad at yourself if you don't see results in a day.

I know this is a hard one.

11. Try fitness classes. 

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