Welcome back to the SSISA Healthy Weight Series… I blogged my way through the Beginner Series and ended the series as a completely different person to the one that began the programme way back in February. I am different for so many reasons, apart from the obvious that I sleep better, I exercise better and eat healthier, and I now know I can do things that I thought I would never be able to do again.
Launching from the Beginner Programme
My goal at the start of the programme was to move a whole lot better… and I am moving in ways I never thought I could. If you had told me I could do push ups, crunches of all sorts of varieties… not to mention star jumps, I would never have believed you. Never. But after eight weeks of three classes a week with a team of professionals on hand and a biokineticist helping with every single move I was confident and eager to join the Intermediate Programme.
I have to add that a lot of folk enter the programme simply to lose weight. I didn’t lose a lot of weight in the Beginner Programme, in fact I only lost about 2kgs. However, I did lose centimetres, and lots of them. I also gained better eating habits, sleeping habits and I learnt how to work out… how to move, how to use weights and the different machines around the gym. I have to say the workouts were never too difficult, they were challenging but the focus was on skills and technique all the way.
And into the Intermediate Programme
The jump from the Beginner level to the Intermediate level is significant, and I am so glad that I had eight weeks to master my gym skills I needed before I went into the Intermediate level. The classes are harder… much harder, and I love them. I really love having the skills to do the classes and I love that you have to push all the time just to keep up. I have to say the first week was more than a little bit of a gasp moment, when I realised that I knew how to do everything… but I actually just wasn’t able to do it all because I wasn’t yet fit enough. The first and second week were a bit of an adjustment as I was pushed to the next level of fitness. By the third week I felt like I was just coping and the fourth week I was totally there. So it takes a little time for your body to catch up and get to the next level of fitness.
I love the bigger class and camaraderie of the Intermediate level, and I quickly realised that when the going gets tough the class rallies round and says, “Just do your best” or “Just do what you can.” This is very different to the Beginner Programme where you had to do everything and if you absolutely couldn’t do something then you were either taught how to do it or given an alternative. In the Intermediate level, the class is given a series of exercises and you do your best… if you are doing something wrong then a biokineticist immediately jumps in to help you and correct you. And the challenge is always there to do absolutely everything and do it well, but if you really can’t then all that is expected is your best and a good attitude and for more challenging exercise levels you can do, with the expectation that you will do your best and you will improve.
Another difference between the programmes is that in the Intermediate Programme you only have two classes a week. The plan is that you will spend at least two other days at the gym doing your own thing. I looked at the class schedules and felt a little intimidated, since I was only just managing the Intermediate Classes, and I just wasn’t quite ready to join a Keep Fit class and definitely not ready for a Step Class and I haven’t even thought of swimming, but there is open access to the gym when it isn’t class time and I really wanted to make the best of that opportunity. I was ready to try out the Super Circuit on my own, and wanting to make the very most of my gym time. So that is where I have been hanging out on the days we don’t have classes, and after two weeks I can really feel the difference. I do like having “free days” where I can pick my own schedule and get to gym earlier and home earlier before anyone notices that I am even out of the house.
New Programme, New Goals
My goals for this programme were to be more consistent overall, get my better sleep habits on track, get my healthier eating a lot more consistent and get a whole lot fitter. I have found that putting everything together, including four or five days of workouts a week, means that I have started to slowly lose weight… it had to happen. So if your goal for the healthy weight programme is to lose weight, don’t give up too soon, your body will figure it all out and you will start to see results. Keep at it, because at last I am starting to lose about half a kilo a week. But I have to add a proviso, the weeks that I am not as disciplined about sleeping at least seven hours a night I don’t lose that much weight… Sleep is the key. Everyone says exercise and diet, but you have to have good sleep as well.
Still my goal remains to move better and to be fitter… I really enjoy my seemingly new abilities to do things, but it is a much slower journey than I initially thought it would be. Before I joined the Healthy Weight Programme my exercise was hiking once a week with my kids and a couple of easy walks. I thought that by joining the Healthy Weight Programme that my hiking skills would improve dramatically. Honestly they didn’t, whenever I hiked during the Beginner Programme my body was just so tired as it adjusted to the new level of exercise and as you try harder and learn new things, my gym skills improved, but my body remained physically tired. I have to say I was beginning to think that I would never see any difference. But there has been a sudden improvement in the last two weeks and that fatigue has gone away and I find myself eagerly anticipating the next gym class. We did a family hike that was 17km long and I was quite able to do it without any of my previous near death experience. I could never have done that hike before I started the Healthy Weight Programme. After two weeks of adding a super circuit every other day and all the associated Step Ups to my week, I have noticed that I don’t even notice that I am hiking anymore… I can literally walk and chat and not stop for breath or count the steps up every hill hoping that they come to an end soon. My legs are finally catching up with my head and I am doing it.
What Does it All Mean?
In terms of fitness I am a while lot stronger, I am not by any means speedy and I don’t have a whole lot of stamina, hopefully that will come. The thing that I really like is that my recovery has become so much shorter. Before this year a hike would leave me stiff and store and unwilling to move for a day or two and now after a long hike, even really long hikes, I can relax for an hour or so and I am good to go again… even eager to go again. I love that, it does mean more hiking adventures for my kids and I know they are going to love that.
Would I recommend the Intermediate Level after the Beginner Level… to be honest I never want to go back to my practically sedentary life. I have become something new and I like it. I don’t want to change back and I don’t want to be that unfit ever again. The Beginner Programme was essential to getting me moving again and I would have given up completely if I had started in the Intermediate Level; I needed that transition from stationary to actually moving. I do love going to gym, I love the friendly faces in the morning to start the day, I love having conquered a good workout before the sun comes up. And while the Beginner Programme gave me skills and a certain level of fitness, the Intermediate Programme is doing so much more to get me into shape. I am fitter and stronger and look forward to our classes. I never know what our biokineticist is going to give us to do, but I can be sure that it will be a challenge and it will definitely be fun.