I am so excited to write this post… it has been about twenty weeks since I started my exercise journey at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa, and while twenty weeks seems like a long time, the time has literally flown by. I have to say that I am a better athlete now than I ever thought I would be. In fact, when I joined the gym I could never have dreamed that I would ever be able to do half the things that I am doing now. It has been a revelation to me and I have discovered a few secrets along the way.
Se7en Secrets To Getting Back Into Shape
1. Just Start Already
After years of doing very little exercise, and having all our kids one after the other, I was always thinking I would get back into exercise and working out one day… but that day was always shifted further down the line; any excuse appeared to be a good one. Why did I put this off for so long? Probably because I had built up working out in my head as this huge insurmountable thing, and I just kept putting it off. The time had come to get moving. It turns out every excuse was a bad excuse and I should have gotten into gear years ago… I am feeling so much better for it. I have gone from hardly being able to do anything to coping with classes, and so much more. At this stage, the harder the class is the better.
2. Every Excuse is a Bad Excuse
So I committed to gym, all the while thinking that there were so many things that I would never actually be able to do again. And I was okay with that. How bad could it be for eight weeks; I would put all excuses aside and get moving. I had no idea that I would love it, or that I would still be doing it weeks later. I had visions of myself sitting on a gym bike for 45 minutes three times a week… and that would be it. Turns out I wasn’t even fit enough for that. I literally spent the Healthy Weight Beginner Programme learning how to use my body again… three minutes on the rowing machine… forget about forty five, and then a series of exercises, and repeat for a number of weeks. With a hugely understanding biokineticist, who never let me rush ahead of myself, which could lead to injury. By the end of the programme, I was definitely able to move about… and I leapt into the Intermediate Programme with enthusiasm… only to discover there is moving and then there is moving!!!
3. Keep on Trying
I immediately realised that while I was moving, I had a way to go to keep up with the class. The Intermediate athletes would get on the bikes and literally fly… and I was barely pedaling. There were in fact a number of exercises that I could only just do, and some I thought I couldn’t do at all yet. I quickly had to drop my that is impossible attitude, that I had carried through the Beginner Programme, and I made a decision to try everything. I have discovered that things that were quite impossible actually become possible if you just keep on trying.
4. And Repeat
One thing I noticed about the Intermediate Programme is that most of the members were repeating the programme. In fact, some of them have done the programme a number of times. When I came to the end of the eight week programme, I joined the club of repeaters and to tell you the truth, I am so glad I did. Looking back, the first time I did the Intermediate Course I found myself somewhat floundering. In every class there were exercises that I just couldn’t do; it really is a case of try, and keep on trying. Our culture does condition us into thinking that we can’t do this and we can’t do that… because we are older, or we have had kids, or insert any reason not to keep on trying. The truth is, you can get your fitness back, you can work out, and it will actually be fun.
5. Just Show Up
The fact that I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning for gym is a huge life change for me, and my gym workout begins the night before when I put my gym clothes out. Trust me, the early start means that I am completely committed to my workouts and don’t ever want to waste one. Honestly, there are the occasional days when I feel like my head and my body and my workout are all going in different directions, but I am a firm believer in “consistency is key” and on those days I just show up. By the time I get through my warm up I am always eager for a workout. So I think “just showing up” when you aren’t really in the mood for it is one of those secrets of success.
6. It’s Not About Anyone Else
This is not the time to worry about what other people are thinking, or worrying if you look odd. Everybody is only worried about getting themselves through the workout. Turns out, at this gym you are going to work out alongside super athletes, recovering athletes, just getting by athletes – all sorts of athletes. The nice thing is, everyone assumes you are there to do your personal best and you are encouraged to that end. I have to say the only competition here is with yourself, try to go a bit further, push a little harder, use a heavier weight… small challenges do help you to improve your own fitness.
7. Little Changes Make A Big Difference
I started at gym to get fitter, I didn’t expect everything else to improve too. For example, I love our workouts and at the close of every day I am usually starting to buzz, thinking about what will be in our workout the next day. That alone motivates me to get to bed and sleep better. In order to workout well you have to sleep better and all the health benefits of sleeping better are added on to you. I never really thought about losing weight, but I am close to losing ten kilograms, that’s a huge milestone for someone who never thought they would lose weight again ever. After each child I gained weight and never imagined that I could reverse that. But little changes, nothing huge, in my diet as well as working out have clearly made a big difference.
I guess at this stage everything is starting to click. I am coping with classes, I am definitely healthier, more energetic and find life in general so much easier. But it is a journey and I do have a way to go… I am nowhere near running a 10km, let alone a 5km… my goals are small and incremental. My next goal is to crack 50 minutes on the Park Run. I have been trying for a couple of weeks and it remains illusive to me. I know 50 minutes sounds ridiculously slow for 5km, when you are an actual runner, but until this year I was actually too nervous to join a Park Run. I did not think I could even finish it. So 50 minutes is my goal, it has to happen and I can’t wait.
And then I will set new goals, aiming higher and trying harder. It’s fun, and definitely worth pushing onward to being the best athlete you can be.
Previous Posts in this Series
- Se7en’s Journey at SSISA Begins With a Goal…
- Se7en Takes You Through the SSISA Healthy Weight Assessment…
- Se7en’s Blog: From Workouts to Workshops and Everything In-Between…
- Se7en Begins Week 3 of our Healthy Weight Program…
- Se7en’s Blog: It’s Time to Take Sleep Seriously…
- Se7en’s Blog: Meeting the Healthy Weight Team…
- Se7en’s Blog: And Suddenly We Are in Week 6…
- Se7en’s Blog: There is no Assessment Like Your Own Assessment…
- Se7en’s Blog: 8 Things I Loved About the Healthy Weight Programme…
- Se7en’s Blog: Conquering the Healthy Weight Programme…
- Se7en’s Blog: I Have Made it Through the Intermediate Level…