What is the right exercise?
I have been amazed at how my body has changed over the years. Much of that is to do with getting older, but also to do with whether I am fit and slim or unfit and overweight!. The later is new for me, so I'm still dealing with these new changes.
So after putting on rather a lot of weight recently, I have found that the exercises I could do previously are too hard to do now, which makes the whole process of exercise and losing weight that much harder. In order to lose weight, I thought, ‘ok, I’ll just cut out the carbs and go running’. Gosh, if only it were that easy!.
Well, cutting out the carbs was harder than I thought. My body (or more accurately, my stomach and brain) could not let them go, so the will-power I needed was just too much. Add to that the will-power required to go out for a run while being 26 kilos heavier than I remembered, was all too much for me and my muscles, so I failed miserably.
So, I thought that maybe I should get a personal trainer or even enrol in group classes, as either of these would motivate me; so I joined the local gym. Well, I did attend a couple of times but never went again, as the personal trainer was too expensive and the classes were embarrassing. As I had become so unfit and over weight I could not keep up in the classes, so did not want to endure that trauma any further!.
I guess I’m not alone in joining a gym and not going. How many of you have done the same? What a waste of money!.
Anyway, I changed tack and instead I tried pilates and yoga – even private lessons to avoid the group embarrassment. But still I felt ashamed at not being able to do the moves correctly due to my size and non-flexible unfit state!. So both of these were a nightmare for me too.
On a practical level though, I do think that classes can be a bad option when just starting back on a fitness regime, as they can push you over your limit, due to the peer pressures of the group. If initial exercise is not taken slowly, then it is likely to overdo the workout and over-strain, pull a muscle or end up unable to move a day or so later. This can then put you out of action for a few days, which, in essence, puts you right back to square one. Many of us just give up when that happens.
To make matters worse at this point, I decided to join The Kensingon Harbour Club (a rather up-market gym and the newest in the David Lloyd group in central London), thinking that I will definitely go to this gym, as it is amazing, over 4 floors, has everything I could possibly wish for and more, and the final seal was the price – I would absolutely use it if it cost me that much a month! Wrong, wrong, wrong!
So, I had to re-group after another year went by without any results in the weight loss or fitness departments. All I did was moan – to myself and anyone who would listen. It was as if by saying it to enough people again and again, I would miraculously lose weight!. Well of course, that didn't happen either.
Well, I cancelled my latest membership to the Harbour club, and went back to my local gym – I was in despair but had to do something.
So I also bought myself a scooter – large wheels for a softer ride and great breaks with a stand for ease of use when I need to stop. Great for walking my dog too, as he runs with me at the perfect speed!
Now, I had no idea just how hard this would be – talk about getting puffed out! It just goes to show that losing overall fitness it quite extreme. The body deteriorates quite quickly, which is why it is so important to keep up with some level of fitness all your life and especially as you get older.
I then decided that I could do a little work out at home and ended up buying some fitness stuff from the TV. I never do TV shopping, so not sure how I ended up on the shopping channel and found this workout equipment. They were the Wonder Core range of products, and although the items looked great (and probably are), I have rarely used them as I didn't have the space in my home or in my rooms to use them correctly, so there they sit, just collecting dust.
One item I did find at Costco recently, at an amazing price of under £20, was this:
The product is Squat Magic, and does just what it says on the ‘tin’ – yes it helps you with squats. I can’t believe I actually bought it, as my experience with this type of purchase so far, has not been too successful. But, this is compact, lightweight (unlike me – ha ha!), and so easy to use. It packs away into a small cupboard and takes only a few seconds to get it out and get it ready to use. I have also invented some fabulous new exercises that are not in the instructions, so it’s now my fabulous little, all-round machine. I might (if brave enough, video these new exercises on my Instagram page).
I am now using this in addition to the scooter and gym (I pop in to the gym while I am out on the scooter as I pass right by it on my river route, so there is less reason for me to not go). At the moment, I only pop in to the gym for 10-15 mins to use some cardio machines and powerplate machine while building up my fitness. With these regimes combined, I am actually working out for around 45 minutes. I will build on the minutes for each as I become fitter and my body adjusts. The variety also means I don't get bored, which is a really good plus point.
So, if getting fit seems impossible for you, just think of me; it might be a lot of trial and error as it has been for me, but nevertheless, do try. Just see what works – something out there will be just right for you, so don't despair and don't give up. If I can do it, you most certainly can.
I have yet to lose much weight, but it’s early days. After only 3 weeks I feel fitter and my reps are improving and the scooter is so much easier. I so feel better even if I am not any lighter, but the most important thing is that my psychology about the whole thing is really good, which is a huge tick in the big box!. It also means that I am more likely to stick with it.
I now feel like going out on my bicycle on a lovely day now too – Monty my dog adds a little more weight to my cycling, making my ride a little harder (although not much, I know), but it's something fun that I would not have done while feeling fat and lethargic.
The best time to try to get fit is in the summer, with warmer weather, when working out becomes easier, days are longer and getting out is a more pleasant experience, whether doing an outside sport or getting yourself to the gym. So, stay tuned for more from me on this. Wish me luck and good will-power as I wish the same to you.
I always welcome your feedback, so feel free to shout out to me and say hi and tell me your story.