Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Let me talk about exercise (and how I actually quite enjoy it these days)

I hated PE at school. I think the reason for that was the lack of interesting sport - I am way too tall to play hockey, was never given a chance in netball due to the assumption that my height made me an awesome goal keep (it didn't) and I don't have the greatest depth/speed perception due to an astigmatism in one eye which made playing rounders somewhat challenging. The one time we actually played football in PE (in our last ever PE lesson), I wasn't that bad. The only sport I've ever really enjoyed is swimming, I'm somewhat of a natural in the water, or so I'm told. And we despite my school having a pool (outdoor, built because the site is so far from the fire station that the school was required to have a body of water on site in case of fire), by the time I had been at the school a couple of years the pool became home to a badling of ducks.

So when I left school I very much stopped doing any form of organised exercise. I was lucky that my metabolism was speedy and I remained svelte. The most energetic I got whilst at college was... well apart from that... walking to the pub on a Friday lunchtime.

Obviously the good fortuned metabolism didn't really last once I'd left university and become basically sedentary in my office job. Particularly as for the first year we still had a tea trolley with lovely hot, tempting cheese quiche. Which Sue, our tea lady, would always make sure she had for me.... 

Just after I met The Beard and had lost a load of weight through the break up diet, my best friend and I decided to join the local gym. In some ways you could say it was how we bonded - we met through The Beard and became friends very quickly. We were very good, taking up Les Mills Body Balance and Body Combat, plus a further 2 training sessions a week. It was really easy if we could bully one another into going! My main goal was to keep off the weight I lost (or as much of it as practical). And I did. When she moved away, I continued with Body Balance on its own (I had to give up Combat because my ankles can't cope), but the rest of it fell by the wayside. The weight started creeping on....

Then, last year, inspired by my other best friend, and an internet buddy of mine, The Fit Writer and her journey into the world of body building, I decided I would have a stab at lifting weights in a bid to lose some weight. I'd always been a bit nervous of weights because of being hypermobile and having double jointed shoulders. A fair bit few Youtube videos later and a routine was built. And guess what? I actually really enjoy it! I couldn't lose the weigh through exercise alone. I'm not dedicated enough to do that, so I joined Slimming World to deal with that.

Once I hit my Slimming World target before Christmas, I decided that in 2012 I'd try something else new. My biggest problem with the gym is that I get really bored. I like the way that lifting weights makes me feel and look, but I get bored of being on my own. I love classes though. So at the beginning of January I tried out my first Body Pump class, and I have to say I'm hooked. I've just come back from the class and whilst I'm quite tired and a little wobbly, I can feel my strength increasing every time I go.

My first class was really nerve wracking. I'm not sure why - when I go to the gym I typically lift 4-5kg dumb bells. But I don't use weights to work my legs, which was my primary motivation for joining the class. My arms are ok, but my legs need some serious work and just using the cross trainer was not cutting it anymore! The great thing about the class is that for every track there is an end, and if you've got a good instructor, they will push you to work to your limits to get results. Classes are more sociable I think - you at least know that everyone else in the room is going through the same pain as you!!

So my current weekly exercise regime consists of Body Balance, Body Pump, possibly another Body Balance and I intend to either swim or use the gym at least once a week. My biggest goal is to feel that my thighs are toned - they're never going to be small, I have massive, strong thighs, but I'd like to be toned. Body Balance has really helped with my hypermobility - I'm properly flexible now, without hurting myself and I can realign my bones quite easily when I need to!

Hopefully I'll be able to continue in the same way when we move - the classes are taught all over the world and you don't really need to be able to understand the instructor to do them, as long as you can follow what is going on! For the short term, the goal is to keep my weight steady and maintain my fitness whilst toning and strengthening even further.

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