After introducing myself over here last week, and getting my head around the idea of getting to gym three days a week at the crack of dawn, this was the week to start taking those first steps on my journey through the SSISA Healthy Weight Programme. Just to clarify, there is an early morning group, a mid morning and an evening group. I chose the early morning group, simply because I can be done and home before most of my kids are up and ready to launch their day. Not to mention, I need to get the time for myself and gym in, before the end of the day builds up and I am completely submerged in all things to do with kids and running a home.
Let’s Meet the Team
Before you begin the Healthy Weight Programme you meet the team that monitors your programme during an assessment. To be honest I was a bit daunted about the assessment. I had so many questions: What would they ask? What would I have to do? What if they discovered a problem? Turns out that the team is really there to help you and by the time you get to the assessment they are already working to help you achieve your goal. So if it is the assessment that is putting you off from joining the programme then you can put that fear aside. I decided to give you a run down on exactly what goes on and you will see that actually it is really nothing to worry about and that you can just focus on getting moving and getting to gym class.
The assessment is split into three sections. You have twenty minutes with a biokineticist, a dietitian and a psychologist. The biokineticist is there to put all your fears at ease. For instance, you know when you dash up a flight of stairs and you think you are dying and your heart may leap out of chest, and you must surely have some chronic disease… well this is when you discover that actually you are completely healthy and there is no excuse and the only limit is that you are just not fit enough. They take your blood pressure, test your cholesterol and blood sugar, as well as your height and weight, this is followed by a quick discussion about your medical history. And they check to see if you have any injuries… because believe me these folk want to get you moving and they will find their way around your injuries to help get you moving. Otherwise they do some really easy measures of your fitness – how far can you stretch (not very far) and how many crunches can you do in a minute and you can’t really get much lower than I did (I didn’t even know what a crunch was). They are not looking for perfection here and they are not judging your inability, they just want you to be able to measure your improvement over time. So they are essentially creating a ground zero for you to work from.
After the biokineticist, I spent twenty minutes chatting with a dietitian… about what we eat, when and how much we eat and later in the day she emailed me a meal plan with ideas for the areas that I need help in. I know my brain was somewhat shattered at the early start and couldn’t think of a single thing that we snack on… except apples! My diet sheet has along with portion sizes and plenty of choices for breakfast, lunch, supper, a good list of all sorts of snacks. I love that it is geared towards me, so, very much based on the food we eat already and it is not a lists of things I either don’t like or am allergic to.
The dietitian is followed by twenty minutes chatting with a psychologist, and once again, let me allay your fears, there is no hidden agenda. Just a really nice guy who wants you to achieve your goals, and is quite happy to chat with you while you figure out what those are. He asked a couple of questions like, “What do you think your greatest difficulty will be?” and we talked about overcoming those difficulties.
The Sleep Expert
After all that, I got to meet a sleep expert as well, because it is the Sports Science Institute, where they are always learning and experimenting and trying new things. So, at the moment they are running a sleep study, which you can join as part of the Healthy Weight Programme. We all know that sleep or the lack thereof is detrimental to your health… and they are looking at the correlation between sleep and your healthy weight. Well, I think my goals are in place, my diet while not perfect, is also not the greatest tragedy, but oh my sleep is my ultimate nemesis and I have appalling sleep habits. So I immediately said, “Yes, I want to know more about that,” and was invited back for a sleep assessment later in the week.
That’s the Assessment
I really got the feeling that by the time you are doing the assessment you are already part of the programme and they are just trying to figure out where you are at personally so that they can individualise the programme towards you and your goals. This is a good thing, because some athletes are super athletes and some, and I speak for myself here, are just not. What did impress me, when we began working out on the same floor as some really impressive athletes was that everyone gets the same personalised treatment. I think often folk think that beginner athletes, especially beginner athletes that haven’t worked out in more than a while, aren’t as important as elite athletes, but that isn’t the impression I got here at all… every athlete on the floor gets the help they need from the biokineticist assigned to them. It’s really impressive how they manage to know everyone by name and treat them as individuals.
Next week I will write about the first workouts, but in the meantime I can say that after just two workouts I can feel a difference. I did things I never thought I would be able to do again… not climb Kilimanjaro or run around a track mind you, but you know, small steps. Already I can feel a spring in my step that wasn’t there a week ago.
Many thanks to The Sports Science Institute of South Africa for providing me with this opportunity to join their Healthy Weight Programme in exchange for an honest blog appraisal along the way.