One hour is 4% of your day
Up until about 8 months ago I did no exercise. I used to ride my bike for 2 hours a day when I lived further away from work but that was only for a year. When I moved into Zone 1 that cycling got cut down to around 20 mins a day max, which is definitely not enough!
I’ve been told to exercise by doctors loads of times for my mental probz, but every time I tried, or joined a gym (and wasted £100’s) I ended up having a huge panic attack and leaving. The adrenaline was too similar a feeling to anxiety for me so I just gave up.
Even though I have a healthy BMI and am totally normal weight wise, last year I started to feel like I’d put on weight/lost muscle tone? Which felt uncomfortable. Sitting in front of a computer all day for 40+ hours a week for over 3 years will do that to you. Yes, it’s true that your metabolism will go to shit the more sedentary your life becomes. #fail
Both of those things combined, I suppose I felt motivated to give it another go. However, with a previous hatred of gyms in my not-so-far-away past I decided to try something else…
There is a rather ‘cool looking’ (sorry – wait while I cringe at myself..) dance/fitness studio near my flat called Frame which has a lot of fun sounding classes. From boxing, dancing, trampolining (or re-bounding as the exercise people call it) to weird stretching circuit type stuff, I made the scary decision to give a couple of them a go. I liked the idea of classes and I thought it looked less intimidating than a gym in there: see second photo above.
Anyway! Without giving you a full life story of the past 8 months, I actually started to like exercise. Like some sort of Christmas miracle.
It started as once a week (yep, I was dying for at least a month – so unfit), then twice weekly, then three times a week. Which then meant joining a gym was more economical, and also made me an Official Exercise Person…
These are my tips & things I’ve learned:
1. Find exercise you like – I realized I liked classes and found them more fun than machines in a gym or running in a park. I liked that someone was telling you what to do so you get a proper work out, but also that you cannot escape or be crap otherwise it’s way too embarrassing! You also learn lots in classes, eg. how to stretch properly at the end of a workout, circuits and specific exercises which I found helpful being new to this whole exercise thing. I’d recommend trying out lots of different ones at first to see which you like best.
2. Start off by committing to once a week – Start small and build it up. This is why joining a gym didn’t work for me the first time. I thought ‘oh yeah, I’ll go loads because I’m paying for it’. No, no I won’t and no I didn’t. If you are unfit you’ll probably find it hard at first. This is why going to one class a week worked for me, I started to get fitter and used to exercise. As classes are usually around 45-60 mins, you will also find that you have to push yourself which is the best thing you can do to become fitter. Once you build up a basic level of fitness, regular exercise is a much more appealing prospect.
3. Join a gym/studio close to your work or home – Because you are way more likely to make less excuses to avoid it. Also make sure that you feel comfortable there, the gym I joined a couple of months ago has lots of natural light, is airy, big and has a lot of windows which I like. Frame (the dance/fitness studio) is also quite bright, modern and spacious which encouraged me to go.
4. Buy some nice gym clothes, but only once you have been going for a couple of weeks – If you are like me, you’ll buy a nice new outfit for the gym in the hope it will encourage you to go. It probably won’t. My tip would be: do not waste your money until you start to go often.
Make it a treat to yourself that you will buy the trainers you like or a whole outfit once you have started to commit. Use the ~material objects~ as goals. Fitness goals!
5. Don’t loose your routine – If you miss a week or two, missing even more weeks is easier. It’s like any routine in life, if you stick to it – the whole thing is much more breezy. Busy at work? Go in the morning or later at night. Tired? Just go anyway, it will actually wake you up. As that stupid quote I put at the top says: “1 hour is 4% of your day”, which puts it into perspective. To do some sort of exercise 1-3 times a week, even when busy is totally possible. Just make room for it, go on a different day(s) than you normally do or on the weekend.
6. Eat healthy food within 2 hours of exercising – An instructor said to me you should eat within two hours after a workout. I try and eat something healthy that includes protein (as this helps to repair muscle). Vegetables, eggs, chicken, fish, brown rice is all good. Pinterest has plenty of healthy inspiring recipes :)
7. Do more than one type of exercise – Cardio (boxing, running, spinning etc), weights & body conditioning, pilates/yoga are the ideal combination for the Ultimate Beach Babe Body Ever. So they say. Personally I’ve been trying to do 1 or 2 different classes a week and maybe a run on the dreaded treadmill too (which I like now that I’m not horrendously unfit!). I should do pilates or yoga but I haven’t been able to get into either of them… yet.
8. Don’t ever be embarrassed that it stops you – Honestly nobody cares how shit you look when sweaty or squatting with some tiny weights. Everybody starts somewhere and nobody can ever say anything bad to you because you’re actually getting off your arse.
9. Pain the next day is normal – Especially at the beginning! Make sure you stretch properly at the end of your session as this will help. If it’s super bad (like, can’t sit down bad) have a lovely hot bath or buy a foam roller (Google it).
10. Never forget a bottle of water – You’ll regret it and probably feel awful throughout. It’s important to keep hydrated during exercise. Take a bigger bottle when you first start out too as you’ll probably feel like you need to get liquids inside you ASAP.
I hope that was slightly helpful for somebody, somewhere and not too long or boring! Please do let me know your experiences or tips if you have any in the comments :)
P.S Second photo of Frame, credit to Fashercise. The rest are mine, as usual!