Saturday, August 24, 2013

To An Exercise Wannabe, From An Exercise Newbie

My apologies if you visited to see a furniture before and after's just me banging on a bit about how I'm finding regular exercise :-) I've posted about eating clean (which you can read here) and thought now I'd broach the topic of exercise.

This post is mostly for anyone who doesn't exercise at all. Ever. Maybe you used to, years ago. But it's been a long time. Perhaps you've had thoughts about it though.
Fleeting thoughts about going for a walk - or even a run.
Maybe you've driven past people who are dressed in gym clothes and carrying their water bottles, obviously on their way to workout and it has sparked a thought.
Maybe the thought has lingered in your mind a little longer lately. It's not as fleeting anymore. You've actually started thinking about what exercise you could do - if you could be bothered.

That's how it started for me.
A fleeting thought about exercise which then turned into a full blown discussion with myself about what I could possibly do. Or what my body felt like doing. How it wanted to move.

Just to reiterate this post's title...I am an exercise newbie. I'm only about 11 weeks into this journey and my goal is just to let you - who fit in with the description above - know what I've found exercising regularly to be like. How I chose the exercise I do, how it makes me feel and how I stay motivated to keep doing it. So far.
And I am writing this from the viewpoint of losing weight and getting healthy...not because I'm training to win olympic gold in the 3000 metres ;-)

Firstly, I want to say that in my experience, exercise is not a hugely essential part of weight loss. If you want to be smaller than you are but still soft and spongey...then it is extremely possible to lose kilo's without any exercise at all. But if you want to be smaller AND firmer/stronger than you are now...then you need to exercise. Of course there are many, many other benefits of exercising which we all know, but I'm coming from the view of getting smaller, firmer, fitter and stronger.
(You can read about the experience I just mentioned, with a juice fast I did last year here and here) Knowing what I know now...I'm not a huge advocate of juice fasts anymore. But it does show that you can lose weight without exercise. I didn't start exercising until after the fast ended. 

Now, for me, I'm not as concerned with weight loss but more fat loss. I want some muscle! I want to be firm and strong! You don't get that without exercise.

So I guess having a goal was my first step. It's so much easier to stay focused and motivated if you have a clear goal. I have mine (it's very detailed) written down and placed where I can see it. Its a great reminder to keep going.
It's what motivated me to start in the first place.
If you don't have somewhere you want to be, you'll never take those first steps to get to this mysterious and undefined place.

Ok, so what exercise do I do?

I run and I do yoga.
And I, for the most part, love both of them. I love the challenge that running gives me and I love how my body feels during and after yoga. 
I felt drawn to these two things and had done for a long time before I actually started them. I'd even mentioned to people that I wanted to start yoga, but always had an excuse. 
Recently I made the connection between these two forms of exercise and things that I did and loved as a kid. I'm talking really young, like 3 - 8 years of age. 
I started calesthenics when I was 3 - and did it until I was 16 and I started athletics when I was 5 and in those early years, running (sprints) was definitely my forte. 
If you are wondering what exercise you'd enjoy - a key part to wanting to continue with an exercise is enjoyment - look back to those early years of life and what you enjoyed then. Maybe, like me, you'll enjoy them now!
I've also discovered that I'm a mesomorph body type - albeit an overweight one - and am suited to short, fast bursts of exercise rather than having stamina to do long distances.
You can find out your body type and more info on that here.

I generally run 3-4 times a week and at the moment I only run 3kms. The challenge I mentioned is my times. I'm happy only running 3kms for now and perhaps that is the mesomorph in me that likes the shorter distances! I always hated the 400 and 800 at athletics as a kid and barely bothered trying...I would walk most of the way!
3kms challenges me and I give myself a goal to improve my fastest time within 2 weeks. So far I've been doing that fairly easily. Whether its a good or bad thing, I am a competitive girl...its ingrained in me. Possibly from winning lots as a kid, I got a taste for it and now I love the win! I use the nike + running app on my phone which keeps track of my distance/times so I can compete with myself. I always win! Yay!
I love the feel of getting air into my lungs. I love the feel of puffing - which in between the songs I listen to while I run, I hear myself and I do really, really puff! But it feels good! I feel a little fitter each time and its a really good feeling. Once upon a time I would have reached for chocolate to try and get that feeling, but it doesn't even come close to this.
It's winter here at the moment and I go out for my run in the evening, so its usually cold...sometimes wet. But I find its the best time for me and I actually like the colder air getting into my lungs. Makes me feel more alive. I think its easier than dragging myself out into 40degree weather which I undoubtedly will do come summer time. ;-)
I've been running once in the morning and I didn't like it. I don't know what it was, and I know most people exercise in the mornings but it doesn't do it for me.

I do have trouble with stitches sometimes - always at the 2km mark - so if your a little more seasoned than me and have any tips for avoiding getting a stitch, I'd love to hear it! Also sore calf muscles! Yoga helps with that but if I haven't done it the day that I run, I get really sore calves!

I know I've mentioned on here before a little of my exercise routine and that the yoga I do is DDP Yoga. These are DVD's that I do at home, whenever it suits me.
DDP stands for Diamond Dallas Page, an ex-pro wrestler (no, I'm not into wrestling. At all!) who developed this particular brand of yoga after serious injury from being in the ring. It's kind of a mix of yoga, calesthenics and old school strengthening exercises. 
After ten weeks I can finally do his style of push ups - on my knees - I couldn't even do one when I first started. Now I'm aiming to get off my knees and do them fully!
DDP reminds you to breathe all the time during all the workouts (there's quite a few of them) which I think is important. I know I forget to breathe deeply in general throughout the day, so it feels really good to do it throughout these workouts. 
The deep stretching really improves my flexibility which helps with everything else I do throughout the day. From carrying groceries, lifting furniture or kids, whatever I'm doing...I seem to do it so much easier now. When I say stretching, its still a damn hard workout, its not gentle stretching. It's challenging. But it makes me feel fantastic. Some days I feel really sore (in a good way) the next day. Sometimes I don't. It helps me with my running too. If I've done yoga in the morning, my run just seems easier that night.

FYI, I haven't weighed myself for a bit, but last time I did (about week 9 I think) I'd lost 7kgs and I've started noticing some small changes, such as collar bones appearing (hello! haven't seen you in a while!) and shoulders looking squarer and definitely a flatter tummy. People I haven't seen in a while have commented on my appearance, which is always nice! Still a long way to go, but a little noticeable progress is plenty of motivation in itself to keep going.

I better stop'll all be falling asleep!! I said at the top I'd be banging on a bit...I think I've banged on a lot!
So, hopefully you get an idea of what its like to exercise when you first start out - it's all good I promise! Makes me wonder why I waited so long!

If you have any advice for me or any other exercising newbies - please leave a comment or shoot me an email. I love to learn and any tips would be much appreciated :-)

All the best on your exercising venture!

Courts xx


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