If someone asked me right now if I exercise, I would say yes.
But what you can’t get from reading this is that my voice would get higher, my eyes would dart to the floor and it would be a very shifty questioning yes?…
Because the truth is despite doing more exercise than I ever did before, I’m definitely not doing enough. And by enough I mean the recommended minimum.
So a good week for me would look like this:
- Tuesday night go to the gym for 30 mins – 1 hour and do a combination of treadmill, weight machines and free weights
- Thursday lunch fitness class at my work typically kettlebells, strength or circuits 45 mins – 1 hour
- Saturday morning light jog 30 mins
- Throughout the weekend a few good walks
However a typical week would be more like:
- Thursday lunch gym class
- Over weekend hopefully walking at least a few miles
And to be honest I’m happy with this. As I said this is more than I ever was doing.
The main changes for me this year were; getting out on my own running, joining a gym and doing a weekly gym class.
At the start of the year I decided I’d like to be able to run. By run I mean jog comfortably without looking like the dog at the start of my post. So I gradually got out on my own starting with very short distances to build up to doing my first 5km in 37mins. Then my second a week later in 34mins. This is by no means impressive but for me now being able to put on my trainers and get outside for a short run without hating it is a huge step forward for me and I’m really pleased about it.
When I started my new job I joined the work gym and signed up for gym classes. Having a regular routine of always going to my Thursday classes is great because even when I’ve done nothing else I know I worked harder than I ever would on my own at that class. Getting proper constructive advice from a trained instructor also helped me understand the importance of weight training. Now I have a program I can follow on my own on nights that I make it to the gym.
Trying to make fitness a social activity and just part of daily is also important for me. If I can get out walking with my friends that’s ideal because we have so much to chat about we might as well be walking while we talk. If I have to go into the city centre to do some shopping or meet someone, if the weather’s dry I’ll try to walk the 4 miles instead of hopping on the train.
Finally, continuing to exercise when on holiday is something I really made the effort to do. This year I’ve been on 2 holidays – Dubai to visit my sister who was working there and Lossiemouth in the North of Scotland with my family. On both of these holidays I made sure I at least did something, in Dubai I hit the gym when my sister was at work and in Lossiemouth I went jogging with my mum and walked the dogs along the beach most days. This definitely made me feel less guilty about indulging in so much amazing food and drink.
My key tips for someone starting out would be to pick something they really want to do and stick with it for at least a month. It might not get easier every time you do it but you will definitely see improvement each time which is really encouraging.
If you want to start running invest in a comfortable pair of trainers. Try a running app to track your distance and speed (I use runtastic). Try running with and without music (I can control my pace and breathing better without so I leave the ipod at home). Sign up for a 5km/10km as a goal so you have something to work towards.
If you’re looking for a regular class to go to do your research and speak to people. See if you can trial any classes at your local gym before committing to a full membership or 6 month block. I tried all the fitness classes my gym had to offer. I absolutely hated some but found I loved kettlebells and got on great with the instructor so signed up to all of her classes instead. My main tip would be to stop seeing exercise as an evil chore…it’s something that makes you feel better and keeps your body healthy. Every time you do a bit of exercise you’re doing yourself a favour, so try to enjoy it.