I think the exercise habit is pretty much ingrained with me now. Having said that, I still have a lazy streak. There are days, sometimes weeks, when the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. I can make all kinds of excuses why I don’t want to go. These phases usually coincide with a particularly creative period when all I want to do is snuggle down and write fiction; or read lots of novels. I’m just coming out of one of those phases. Believe me, it lasted for weeks. When I home educated the incentive for going to the gym was that I could escape from the children for a couple of hours. That incentive has disappeared now they’re back in full-time school.
How did I get myself out of the ‘lazy’ phase? I was still exercising, but not very frequently (two or three times a week at most) and not very intensively. I just wasn’t focused. My old gym membership was running out and I knew I didn’t want to go back to that particular gym, having been a member for over six years and I was getting bored. They’d had a lot of changes of staff and it was the other side of town. I needed something a little nearer so that I could pop in for just half an hour and not feel that I had to justify a five mile drive to get there. I had thought about going it alone and getting by with a few outdoor runs a week and my exercise DVDs. I tried this but found I just wasn’t as motivated. I had to have a specific place to go. Plus I need the social interaction, being at home on my own all day.
I joined my new gym a month or so ago and at first I was very well motivated, as it was such a novelty. My old gym didn’t offer classes, because it didn’t have a separate studio and the new gym does, so I was taking part in Body Attack, Boxercise and Legs, Bums and Tums. But if there wasn’t a class I was reluctant to go upstairs to the actual gym and work out. Why? My old gym was ladies’ only and very friendly. It had the personal touch. The new gym doesn’t and horror of horrors, there are men! I do feel self-conscious using the gym equipment when there are so many men around lifting heavy weights and grunting a lot!
There’s no escaping the fact that to lose weight effectively, then you can’t beat running on a regular basis. I decided that I would start to build up my running distances again and would use the treadmill at the gym as often as possible. To make it less boring and more enjoyable I created a 'running' playlist for my Ipod and took that. And I actually enjoyed the two running sessions I’ve done so far this week. On Tuesday I ran for 12mins without stopping, then walked/sprinted until I’d done a total of 20mins. Yesterday was even better. I ran for 17mins without stopping and walked/sprinted until I’d done a total of 30mins. Both times I used some free weights to exercise my upper body and floorwork to exercise those abs! My legs are aching today, so I’m having a rest, but I’m all geared up for a running session tomorrow morning. I’m aiming to beat my 17mins record so far.
I was beating myself up a few weeks ago because I could no longer run between 5 and 8km each time as I did last year, but I realised that was silly and if I carried on in that vein then I’d achieve nothing. So, it’s onwards and upwards.
The key with exercise is to enjoy it and add plenty of variety. If you don’t feel like running one day, then go for a walk. If leaving the house is too much to bear, then put on an exercise DVD or use the Wii Fit (great fun, but doesn’t give you a very intensive workout). Any exercise is better than nothing! Early in the summer I started going for long country walks (4-5miles) with two new friends. We met after one of them put a message out on the Woman and Home Forum asking if anyone was interested in forming a walking club. Three of us met up at a local reservoir and we’ve become good friends since. We’ve done a lot of walks in our local area now, and it’s great to chat, discuss novels we’ve read and get to know each other better as we walk. The fresh air works wonders, too!
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