Lately I wanted to try out some new cardio activities. And it’s not just to stay in shape physically, but also mentally. Since a while I’ve been going to spinning classes. However I’m not attending those alone, because I’m going with my stepfather. How is that working out?
Well I attended spinning classes in the past. It had been a while though and the last classes were not with an actual teacher, but with a video of a teacher giving instructions. I liked it, but it’s not the same as having a real person there telling you what to do. Mainly because with a video you could “cheat” with an actual instructor you can’t. Not that I would want to cheat my exercise routine, obviously.
This time around I convinced my stepfather to join the gym and join me in the spinning class. He’s 62 years old, but quite active and the spinning instructor is quite impressed with him. Of course he’s dripping in sweat after our workout and I’m not. Ok, I’ll be fair. The AC is on way too hard for me to break a sweat, but sometimes they leave it turned off and then I really notice the difference.
But why do I love spinning? I’ve been going twice a week lately and therefore stopped running (for now). First of all I like doing it together with a buddy. It motivates you to keep going, even when you’re tired and stressed or just feeling lazy. But it’s also a great workout to relax mentally.
Because when I focus on spinning it’s the only thing I can focus on. Yes my mind wanders off, but I always get back to my focus point, spinning. My legs need to keep on moving and I literally can’t sit still. So that’s why I love it so much. It helps me to relax my mind. And this actually goes for any sport, especially cardio activities, at least in my case.
Sometimes I also glance to the side and see my stepfather giving it his all. I see his legs moving so fast he looks like one of those cartoon figures. You know that image of Road Runner going so fast his legs turn into a spinning circle? That’s what it reminds me of and I just start laughing so hard. So yes, even when I’m tired and especially when I’m stressed this is a great work out for me and it wouldn’t be the same without my buddy.
Now you might think why go back to the gym? Yes, I’m still running at my slow turtle pace, but it was time for more. And how will I keep gym-motivated the second time around?
Well, I’m bringing a special person this time, my boyfriend. So, we will do it partly together and partly apart. Last Sunday was our first go at it. We did some weights and squats and I went off to do cardio. He went on with deadlifting. I honestly still don’t really understand what it means, but as long as he’s happy, I’m cool with it.
And how did I feel after doing weights for the first time in months? I can tell you that how I move can’t be called walking anymore. It’s looks more like waddling. Colleagues even asked if I was ok, because it looked like I was in pain. And I was in pain! But.. the good kind. At least I know what I did is effecting my body.
So, now we need to keep going. My boyfriend said that I will need to kick his ass for at least the first two weeks. Apparently after that he will drag me to the gym. I guess we’ll have to see how it turns out. But since we’re committing to the gym together we can hold each other accountable.
Perhaps that is what we need sometimes. Someone that can motivate you when you’re feeling lazy or out of it. Someone to confront you with the promises you made to yourself. And someone to remind you of your goals. Of course you can have a heart to heart with the mirror, but you might not want to tell yourself to stop being a slacker. Therefore you should tell others about your goal so they can support you.
Another thing needed to reach your goal is a good plan. So the first step is to have a clear goal. Do you want to get fit or work on your endurance? Maybe even lose some weight? Be very specific in what you want to accomplish and even visualize it.
Once you have a clear goal the second step is to create your plan. How will you reach your goal? For example part of my plan is that I’m going running twice a week and going to the gym twice a week. Even better would be to pick specific days on when you want to do what. Write it in your calendar and you’ll feel more obliged to stick to your plans. But I’m still working on the details of my plan too. And remember to share your plan and goal with someone else.
Something that I personally find very important is to keep it all fun. Even though I make a plan and have a specific goal, it needs to be fun. That’s why exercising together on some days can make it more enjoyable. When I stop having fun at working out, my motivation dries out too. So whatever makes you laugh while doing squats, I would say, go for it. Enjoy!
Do you know the feeling? That after a while life gets in the way? You try so hard, but for some reason you miss a workout and then you skip another. And on top of it you have a dinner and fail your healthy diet. So how do you get back on track?
First of all, it’s ok if this sometimes happen. We all have moments that we fall of the “healthy” wagon once in a while. What important is, is to accept that and see how you can get back on it. Don’t give up when you failed once or even twice. Don’t think that now there’s no point to try. Because every step in the direction of a healthy lifestyle is the right one.
So it happend to me too. As you might I’ve seen I enjoyed the snow in Austria. Eating healthy was quite a challenge there and it was due to two things. The first thing was that there weren’t that many healthy options. The second challenge was seeing my family binge on french fries, Austrian pancakes, hot chocolate and more yummy things. So, so did I. Well a bit.
You might think ok so once you’re back, you start eating healthy again? Yes, that was the plan and then I went away for work and stayed in an hotel. For two days long we were offered cookies, chocolate and even pizza. Yes, there was a bowl of fruit too. One that hardly anyone touched.
Why not choose the good things when that option was there? I can think of many excuses like the fact that I was really tired and craved more food, the bad things, but really the choice was mine. Nobody forced me to take a slice of pizza or a handful of cookies. But once you fall of the wagon it seems to take so much more effort to get back on the right one.
How to get back on track then? Remind yourself why you were exercising and eating right in the first place. Why were you running when you used to hate this? Set your goal again and break it into steps so it becomes a plan. Perhaps even share your plan so you feel someone can hold you accountable.
My plan is again to go running three times a week. I also promise to myself to eat an healthy oatmeal breakfast, have an apple with cinnamon as a snack and have vegetables and fish for lunch. Dinner then will be similar but smaller and of course I’ll do yoga every morning and walk my doggies. When I break it into these steps it suddenly doesn’t seem like such a big effort anymore. There’s no obstacle, but you, getting in your way. So let’s get to it. Will you join me?
Ever wanted to be like those active people.. who can run as if it’s no effort at all? Well, I definitely didn’t think I could be like that. I might still not actually. At first I wasn’t sure if I really hated running or if I convinced myself I physically couldn’t. So, I decided I would give it a go and try.
You might wonder now.. why would you do that? I wasn’t sure at first, but let’s start at the beginning. A few months ago I decided it was time to get in shape and hit the gym. Before making this decision I was sure I could do that all by myself at home. I was going to watch some ‘Billy’s Bootcamp’ videos and get in shape, just like that. Actually, those videos really work. When I was motivated and disciplined enough to use them a few years back, it did work. I don’t know if got a bit lazier now or if I needed more social contact, but I definitely wasn’t motivated now.
So, it was time for the gym. My coach at the gym gave me a whole workout schedule that I could easily follow. My active lifestyle had begun. I was hitting the gym about three times a week, but it wasn’t enough. Next to the exercises with weights, I had to start doing cardio. At first it was Zumba class and then I switched over to my greatest fear. The treadmill. I only liked to power walk on the treadmill. Outside I only liked to power walk too. And that´s what I did, power walking all the way.
However.. you might guess this, but I still wasn’t happy with the results. Another factor that contributed to my dissatisfaction is that I felt I was neglecting my dogs. I know, it might be overreacting, but I didn’t like leaving them alone so much. I thought maybe more power walking outside then? When I told my boyfriend about this, he just laughed at me. Apparently running was more effective. Ah no, really? I have to run? That was my reaction to that. But what did I have to lose? Apart from the weight that I wasn’t losing.
It was time to face my fears, for real this time. I started running.. on the treadmill. To my surprise it was so much easier than I remembered. I can run? That’s not possible or is it? After a little while I could run 10 minutes at a time. What an accomplishment right. This had to be tested outside, with my dogs of course.
So, one day I put on my sporting gear and got my dogs ready. Obviously I had to give them a little pep-talk first. After all this would be a first for them too. Not the running part, but the running with me part. They seemed a bit surprised, but then it was me who was surprised. I liked it! Never thought I would see the day that I would like running. And again it was so much easier than I thought it would be. I guess prepping in the gym for a few months did help.
And now I am one of those people who can run. Ok, I will not exaggerate. At the moment I can run 3,5 kilometers. Please don’t laugh, this is huge for me. But, since I won’t stop, I will keep on improving. Hopefully soon it will 5 kilometers, then 7 and who knows where I’ll end up. I just have one more thing to say. Don’t knock it before you try it. Or before you try it again. So keep on running!