Why does that word strike fear into the hearts of some, yet give others a warm and dreamy glow?
Those thoughts of gym-knickers, freezing cold cross-country runs, and all-weather hurdles which resulted in me having gravel embedded in my palms and knees after tripping over the very last one…I was definitely a ‘strike fear’ person for a long while!
Then I grew up and discovered that exercise didn’t have to involve a sadistic old bastard of a PE teacher beasting the fat kids…forcing them – me – to try and get their leg over a vaulting horse!
I discovered the joys of a gym.
I admit it – I prefer working out in a gym than working out in the fresh air…it must be the body odour and basslines that do it for me! I discovered what makes me tick…and it doesn’t involve team sports as I am far too competitive for that – I like to be better than MY best…not competing with others.
Joining a gym was one of my better moves. I had access to a variety of classes, access to a variety of machines, and access to personal trainers. I also had access to a world of positive messages…of people of all shapes and sizes trying to better themselves.
Gone was my exercise phobia. I embraced the Lycra. I set my alarm for 5am every morning and headed to the gym before work. Then I accepted a new job that I had been head-hunted for – my worst move – and it all went to pot from that point.
I put on the 8st I had managed to lose, ditched the gym, and ended up with a serious problem.
I reached 43st 5.5lbs and could barely stand for more than a few seconds without being in agony. I spent most of my day dozing in my chair, or sleeping in bed. My legs would swell up to the point that I thought the skin would tear and rip. My breathing was awful. I would fall asleep during the middle of conversations…and was worried that when I went to bed at night, I wouldn’t wake up again.
So how did I go from exercising five days a week, to being housebound, and back to exercising six days a week?
The answer is fairly obvious I guess…fecking slowly…I got there slowly!
The reason that I am talking about exercise again is because I was asked what I did now…and how I got to this point. I will first of all clarify that I am not in any way, shape or form qualified to give exercise advice. If you are really struggling, then a chat with a qualified personal trainer…and maybe your doctor before this, is the best move.
However, I am more than happy to talk about myself – as always – and my journey from the sofa to the studio!
First of all, I knew that I had to get moving. I knew that I wanted to join the gym again, yet also knew that it was a pointless mission to do so when I couldn’t walk from my car to the entrance of the bloody place.
So I got moving at home.
I ignored all of those well-meaning people who told me just to go for a walk and get some fresh air. I did not want people seeing me struggle. I did not want white van men shouting ‘Oi! Fatty 118!’ I did not want to be dripping wet with sweat after only walking yards.
So I got moving at home. I bought some small hand-weights, a set of boxing gloves and pads, and a BodyPump DVD. I had taken BodyPump classes and so knew the lifting techniques etc…and I loved the feeling that lifting weights gave me.
I sat down. I boxed whilst sitting down. I completed the sections of the DVD that I could do whilst sitting down. I did bicep curls whilst watching Man v Food! I got up and down from my chair. I walked to the kitchen and topped up my water bottle regularly. I got moving…any movement was good movement as long as it didn’t involve hand to mouth action!
Then, miracle of miracles, I got a rather large tax rebate. eBay was my first port of call – after ringing my marvellous Mum and checking it out with her…as she had been bankrolling my new non-working lifestyle in order to support me. She gave me the absolute thumbs up and I purchased my beloved Terry Treadmill.
Terry was huge. He was sturdy. He could carry upto 35st. I was 37st when I bought him…so he sat in my lounge, willing me on.
I was so excited to take him for a test drive. I managed two minutes…two measly minutes. I have videos that Mr WLB (kindly?!) took of my struggles. I walked very slowly for two minutes, and then rested.
Then I got back on Terry and walked for another two minutes. And then I rested. And I continued to repeat this cycle. I would lift weights for five minutes, walk for two minutes, lift weights for another five minutes, walk for two, box for five minutes…you get the picture…anything to keep moving – movement of any sort.
My heart and body told me that it was enough. At some points during those initial two minute walks, my heart-rate would shoot up to 170…even higher. If I compare this to my new training sessions…I struggle to get it that high working flat-out! I listened to my body and didn’t try and be a superhero. I had been on the brink of death and so needed to take a steady but consistent approach.
So I walked and rested, and walked and rested. I built up slowly to five minute sessions…then ten minute sessions…then fifteen minutes. The day that I walked for thirty minutes was monumental. The day that I walked for an hour…well, that was the day that I knew I could look at selling Terry and joining the gym…something that I had been longing to do for a while.
Now this process was not without issues. I got run down and kept picking up colds and chest infections which halted play for a while. I was so heavy that I broke bones in my foot whilst walking on the treadmill. I kept having to slow myself down, and do as much (little!) as my body could cope with. But I kept going…I got knocked down by a cold and would get back up again…I broke my foot and so sat down and lifted weights and boxed…I kept going.
Before selling Terry I went and looked at the gym that I thought I could deal with…as my old one had closed down – in fact, my old PT ran off with £150 of my money during that process…but karma will bite her ass one day!
The tour went well, it felt like a nice place…and it had a pool. The dreaded pool was the thing that almost prevented me from joining…but I am so bloody thankful that I faced my fear on this occasion.
I snuck in and watched a ‘Gentle Aqua’ class. It looked okay. But there were people in swimming costumes. Which meant that I would have to get my weirdly-shaped and slightly deflated body into a swimming costume.
Regardless of my fears, I joined. I did it…I signed on the dotted line and committed. It was too late to back out now.
Mr WLB and my Mum were enlisted for aqua duties, under strict instructions to stick a shoulder each under a bum cheek and heft me out of the pool if I got stuck. As things turned out, I had no problem getting out of the pool…and by that point in time I was standing there in all my glory…so I thought ‘feck it’…no point in worrying about what I looked like if I had already been seen by everyone. So no cover-up towels for me. Kids have a look. Adults have a look. But I smile and act as confidently as I can muster…and hope that my confidence makes them realise that we are all bloody human and that there is nothing special worth looking at!
Then it was time to brave the gym. I was quite excited actually. I used to love my workouts and so it felt like ‘home’. The warm welcome given by gym staff and regular members alike was fantastic. There are a few people who know my story and give me encouragement and chat to me regularly. I think I have become their ‘project’!
Mr WLB and I decided that we wanted to make the most out of our membership. We created a routine that fits with our weekly commitments, and we workout six days a week.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday were, are, our more hardcore workouts…or they are for me. I do a short warm up on the treadmill…5 minutes, and then I hit the weights for about an hour.
At the moment I use static weights – the machines you generally sit down to use, which isolate specific muscles. I made this decision as I knew that I wanted to take time to build up before letting myself loose with free weights. So I spend inbetween 60 and 70 minutes working on my legs, my stomach, my waist, my bum, my arms, my back, and my chest…I do know the names of the machines I use and the amount of weight I left…but this will mean nothing as you need to find what works for you.
Then once I have done my weights, I hit the elliptical machine – cross trainer – for 30 minutes. So 5 minutes treadmill, 70 minutes weights, 30 minutes cross trainer…three times a week.
I began with 10 minutes on the cross trainer, then 15 minutes…and then I realised that if I could an hour on the treadmill that I could do at least 30 minutes…so I gave myself a kick up the bum and got on with it!
On a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I attend Aquafit classes and grab a swim if I can afterwards, but the swim tends to only happen on a Thursday due to other classes and lessons.
I ADORE my swimming. I feel weightless and amazing. I can jump around and manage all sorts of moves in the water that I just couldn’t do on land…and it works…I can feel it afterwards, but I just don’t get that joint ache as the water supports my weight. I do a 30 minute class and two 45 minute classes, and top up with extra swimming or Aquafit movements.
On a Saturday morning I now attend a Pilates class…which I bloody love. I tried it once years ago but wasn’t impressed…but now that I have a great instructor – it makes all the difference. So I have an hour of Pilates, and am planning on throwing in the odd additional session here and there if can.
I am also throwing in a 60 minute session with my personal trainer once a week. This is still early days…two sessions to date. They have been challenging, fun, and frustrating! We are still in the process of discovering how far we can push my body. My mind is willing to give anything a go, but my body is resisting and keeps threatening to faint. So it is work in progress…and always will be!
And of course there are my horses…four of them – well, 3.5 of them as one is a Shetland and is all of 35″ tall! I adore working outside with them…or do I? I like crisp autumn days, but get hot and bothered in the summer, and freezing in the winter! So whilst I love my horses, as far as exercise goes, the gym pips it for me.
So there we have it then…my exercise journey from the sofa to the gym. It has not been without mishaps…they have been a common occurrence and all of these mishaps have been cringeworthy and hilarious at the same time. You have to enjoy what you do after all!
Today has been a weird one. I had a good coaching session this morning with a rather fabulous lady! I then headed to the gym, saw the horses, and came home to prepare for a Slimming World talk that I was giving tonight. It was great to meet everyone there…they all have a story and each member is inspiring!
I was told today that I came across as a bully during a recent blog post. This was all to do with me mentioning the sexualised behaviour of my old boss. Now, let me clarify something here…had she been sleeping with ten men outside of working hours and it not having an impact upon her work or me, then I wouldn’t care…I have no issue with people choosing to sleep with whoever they want to…I am a fairly liberal character in that sense, and it is an individuals right to chose who and what they do! What I do care about is someone who engages in extra-marital activity – yes, personally, I have an issue with the extra-marital part as I grew up with this and it wasn’t nice – and leaves their work for the team to handle whilst boffing the boss, amongst others, on company time. What I do care about is someone who uses their sexuality to prevent action being taken against them when they are treating their team in a dreadful manner. What I do care about is someone engaging in sexual telephone conversations, which I heard through paper-thin walls, for hours on end…when I am having to handle projects that should have been being dealt with by the boss. So I apologise to anyone who may have been offended. However, I am not the kind of person who portrays certain behaviour online, yet displays entirely different behaviour offline. What you ‘see’ is what you get…I promised to be honest and open and will continue to do exactly that. You are entitled to your opinion, but you might not want to read the blog again…as my style won’t be changing. If my blogging style makes me sound like a bully, then so be it. Those who know me well know that I am not…and my family and future mother in law read this – so I have nothing to hide! If I choose to highlight someone’s behaviour – which just so happened to be incredibly sexualised and impacted greatly upon the work situation – then this is my decision. As I said, had this carried on outside of company time, and had no impact upon work and work relationships, then it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning as it is not my business…but it had a major impact…one that I am still living with unfortunately.
That’s my day then. I do get a bit miffed when I get misunderstood…but I guess this is what putting it all out there (maybe an ironic choice of words given the circumstance?!) does for you. Some will understand, some won’t. I guess you have to go through a situation like this before you can decide how you would deal with it…but I seriously hope that you never have to.
I think an early night is on the cards…with my boyfriend…in our bed…on our time!
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).Lunch: Sardine melt (2 x HEA and 2 x HEB).Dinner: Salmon fillets and butternut squash stirfry.Snacks: Bread and gravy! (10 syns).An okay food day. My usual brekkie, and a lunch I was looking forward to – rather sadly – since last night when I found the sardines! I do love my sardine melt…toasted wholemeal rolls topped with spinach, then sardines and chopped red onion, cheese, and cherry tomatoes…it’s lush! Dinner was a quick stir fry – a boxed job from Asda – and was ready within ten minutes when I got home from my Slimming World talk. I did give into a craving today…cold leftover gravy! I had the syns available and so went for it. I had a nice slice of Bergen bread from a mini loaf…and I dunked it in the cold gravy – it was nice, but not as nice as my usual syns. Another sign not to give into temptation I think.
Exercise: 5 minutes treadmill, 65 minutes weights, 30 minutes elliptical machine.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx