The time is now. A fitness contemplation

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Just over a year ago I wrote about my turning point in taking back control of my fitness.
Things had lapsed into excessive eating, scant exercise and an ever increasing waistline. Then I gave the 15 minute hiit sessions a try and suddenly I'd found the answer to some of my problems. High intensity intervals are great value for money workouts. They maximise your benefits in that short space of time and have an enormous impact on the rest of your day.
Since January I made a streamlined effort to eat in a way that suited me, my goals and my allotment produce. By mid March it was evident how far I'd come, I wrote an emotional post back in April and I'd say my form peaked in May/June. Inevitably, the hardest part by far, as I've found in the past, was finding balance once 'goals' have been reached. Yes, I've put a little weight back on, off and on and off and on but that's the way of it. The scales we use every Saturday morning measure water, fat and muscle content too. I don't much care for them only as a habit now really but measurements say far more. Knowing that I'm able to wear my clothes without having to struggle into them (or giving up and buying something bigger) has been a load off my mind. I'm about 3/4 pounds more than my 'lightest' but once you reach a point where you're satisfied, which I did, it's almost impossible to stay at a constant and although I could go back in heavy to reclaim my best form I'm satisfied with a step down in favour of a good healthy mix of lifestyle.

I was asked the other day as a flippant question which had an unmistakably rhetorical undercurrent how do you stay so slim, Soph*?
It was a relative easy one to answer and as I feel strongly about how to quantify the recipe I listed precisely how: (and I think if you ask a question then expect to hear an answer, even if it's not one you want to hear).
  • 4 High Intensity Interval Training (hiit) sessions ranging from 15-25 minutes each per week 
  • an hour of bootcamp a week
  • a hard 5k run a week (ideally although I don't beat myself up if I miss one, or two)
  • Cut out/right down on carbs like pasta, rice, bread, too many potatoes and instead fill up your plate with extra vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get enough sleep
  • Walk and get fresh air regularly - I also do a lot of allotment pottering
It's not rocket science. You can't get out what you don't put in. You reap what you sow.
The response comments ranged from 'I couldn't give up xyz', 'I've never done exercise' and muttering of a general 'that's too much effort'. 
Fair enough, I can see why my lifestyle won't appeal to many people. But for me is it worth it? 95% yes! I'm so much happier in my skin than I felt two years ago. I never worry about fats, proteins or having a total blowout when I go out because that's balance! I'm leaner, fitter, stronger and feeling so much happier living in my own skin these days and everyone can find their own optimum and this is mine.

It's easy to see where your priorities lie; where you spend your time and your money. I think many people feel pressured to spend their time on everything other than themselves; I've reached a good point where I'm happy to stick two fingers up to anyone looking down on my routine. Maybe I 'should' be doing something else like work, housework or a Netflix marathon but I don't share that opinion. So people that say they don't have time mean they do not consider exercise to be  higher priority than what they choose to do instead. 

The most frustrating thing I find is unsolicited opinions like
You don't need to exercise, there's nothing to you/ don't worry about it, you're slim already
and the absolute worst  "you'll look all muscly and that's not feminine"
Shove off. Most of these are said by people in a far less healthy state of body (and I presume mind).
Blah, blah, blah. It's rude. I am who I am today because of how I've made myself. It's nobody else's business if I want to increase my fitness, muscle mass or even slacken off activities for a break. That's down to me alone.

I won't feel guilt-tripped into apologising for my preferences or shamed by anyone who disagrees with my lifestyle. Sorry, not sorry. Your physical health can impact on your mental health. By giving your body some positive attention it has so much more of an effect on your overall wellbeing. So by sorting out myself I've really tackled much more than just a cutting-in waistband. 

*most people call me Soph which is odd because whenever someone asks if they can call me Soph I say yes and reflect that most people have never asked and just roll ahead anyway. Also I think Soph is much less of a feminine way to address me and perhaps is used by people who think of me as more of a tomboy. Or just like saving a syllable. 

If you are at that stage where I found myself last year, looking for help to make a lifestyle change then I completely recommend taking a big deep breath and asking for guidance from a health professional or making your own plan. But stick with it, stay focused and know that it's a journey, not a quick fix. High intensity workouts aren't just for fitness maniacs by the way - the beginner ones for people who have never tackled anything before are a great place to start and PLEASE do not be put off by having to get stuck in to something new or by anyone else's opinion. Yes, sweating is gross but it's healthy.

I hope that if you're in a similar position as I found myself in then maybe reading about my experience will be of some help or can inspire you to find what works for you. Don't be afraid to make the first step and the second. Best time is right now.

Take care,

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Sometimes I am sent items to feature as part of a post and these will be clearly mentioned as part of each post.Everything else is bought by myself. Any sponsored or collaboration posts will be clearly marked. Each post is my own content and all opinions are honest.