'Tis the exercise!

Written by Cathy Bortz

Tis the season for moms all around the city to jump into high gear preparing for the holidays. The shopping, cooking, wrapping, all leaves us tired and stressed. Why is it at the times we are most stressed and most frazzled, the one thing we so readily give up is our one hour at the gym? We forgo our morning walks or exercise classes to wait in line at Target or the Apple store. We stay home from spin class hunched over boxes and wrapping paper, ending the day with a sore back and blisters on our fingers from tying one to many bows. Resentful and weary we resolve "to get back to it" once the Holidays are over.

This year, why not start that New Years resolution early? This year, give yourself the time you need to take care of yourself, at the time you need it the! Let me help you get started.

A good way to get started is to do a personal inventory. How do you get recharged? Is it solitude that you desire, or do you feel more motivated in a social workout setting? Do you prefer working out in the morning or at night? Your workout should be fun, so think back to when you were young and the types of activities you enjoyed. Be it skating, dancing, cycling - whatever it was that brought you joy. If you enjoy what your doing you will do it more often and be less willing to blow it off. Schedule your exercise into your day/week as non-negotiable, like brushing your teeth. Do not be afraid to utilize childcare. Most facilities offer childcare and it is a great way for you to model healthy living to your kids.

Here are my suggestions for the most effective workouts that do not require a lot of time.

9Round, a small workout franchise with multiple locations around Charlotte, offers a great cardio and strength training workout and is not too expensive. The best thing about this place is that you do not have to sign up ahead of time and you are not tied into a class schedule. You just show up and get started. There are nine cardio/strength stations that you move through 3 minutes each. There is a trainer available at all times to check your form and show you proper form. The stations primarily consist of free weight or body weight exercises. They have flexible hours but do not offer child care and are not open on Sundays. Find more information at

If you are motivated and skilled enough to workout at home, then you could download some of Liz Hilliard's video on demand workouts. Hilliard Studio Method is a unique workout combining Pilates, barre, yoga and strength training moves. The workouts are only thirty minutes and very effective. The down side is that you really have to know what you are doing to make the exercises safe and effective. You also need to have free weights and resistance bands for most, if not all, of the workouts. To see pricing and video options, visit

Another in- home option is the Peanut Butter Runner blog. Run by a local yoga and fitness trainer, this blog has a list of workouts you can do at home by category, and although some may require special equipment, not all do. There are so many options, and some offering video demonstrations. The best part is it is free! Check out some of the great options at

Another free option is FiA - Females In Action, the sister organization to F3. These workouts are free, women-only workouts, and are held in the early morning hours at different locations around town. They are great outdoor workouts although not all leaders are trained fitness professionals, so you need to know what is safe for you. Go to to find times and locations.

These are just some suggestions to get you started, but remember it can be as simple as taking a walk or riding your bike. The main thing is that you have not put your health, mental and physical, on hold for the holiday season.

So give yourself an early Christmas present this year, the gift of time...time to reconnect with yourself and what you are a capable of. Happy Holidays!

Cathy Bortz, a mother of 4 teenagers, is a native Charlottean. A fitness instructor for the last 25 years she has taught at the Dowd YMCA, Exercise Plus, Workout of Charlotte, and is currently teaching at The Cornwell Center.