So, it’s January, which means traditionally it’s the month when everyone is supposed to resolve to exercise more in a bid to lose the Christmas pounds… Almost everyone I know has tried and failed to get into a regular exercise routine at some point or other and eventually jacked it in claiming they “failed” for whatever reason. When I went back to the gym this month it was after a break of only a week or so, rather than months or years this time around. I’m not looking for a medal or congratulations (or even an opportunity to be smug about it!) but realising that I’ve managed to establish a regular exercise routine for almost 2 years (rather than months!) got me wondering what was different for me this time around. As a fattie who exercises regularly I thought you might like an insight into how I’ve managed to keep it up this time around.
The decision to exercise or not to exercise is up to the individual. This post is in no way advocating that you or anyone else should exercise or not. This is intended to be a little insight into my experience for those who are interested in getting their body moving, regardless of their body size or fitness.
1. Consider your motivation
For me, this time around at least, it wasn’t about exercising to lose weight. It was to get healthier and stronger so I could comfortably chase my kids around! I also wanted to get out of the house! After trying to do the Zombie Couch to 5k I realised I also enjoyed the social aspects (as I was bored to tears going out for a run! 😂😂😂). Finding an exercise class that allowed me to:
a) Get fitter and stronger, and
b) Socialise with others
was all I really needed. Without the motivation to lose ‘X’ pounds every week it was harder to feel like I was “failing”. All I had to do was show up and join in to feel a sense of achievement. I remain focused on these 2 things which helps me to keep going back, even after a break!
2. Find something you enjoy!
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?! But I’m amazed at the number of people who power through classes they claim to hate because of the promise of fat burning or whatever…! I started off by going to my local church hall to do a zumba class with a couple of friends and I absolutely fell in love! I got so carried away with the dance routines and the music I left sweaty, achey and smiling every week! My friends stopped going after a while but the draw of the class (and the brilliant instructor) kept me going back. After a while, I wanted more… so I joined a leisure centre with loads of classes (where the monthly membership made it more cost effective if I went 3 times a week). Which brings me on to my next point…
3. Try something out of your comfort zone… You might surprise yourself.
After joining the gym, although I was anxious about not being able to manage a particular class and being embarrassed, I decided to try a variety of classes to find what I liked. I did a couple of regular dancey ones and tried all kinds of things to fill the 3rd weekly workout slot… Legs Bums and Tums (not for me!), Aqua Zumba (fun, but not high intensity enough), Spinning (HATE HATE HATE!!!), Street Dancersize (brilliant, but clashes with work), Body Combat (not dancey enough),Circuit Training (incredible sense of achievement – loved it!).
I was amazed that circuit training was my favourite! I can’t even remember why I tried it initially, but I love the full body workout. I like that I can feel all of my muscles working and that I can run/lift/press a little more each week. In fact I like it so much I’ve dropped one of the zumba classes in favour of doing a second circuit! 💪💪💪 I urge you to try something new… If you hate it you don’t have to go back, but you might discover something you love!
4. Find a good instructor
My enjoyment of a class plummets when the regular instructors I have are replaced with someone different. I think having a rapport with them and their understanding of how to motivate you is important. If you don’t like a class or an instructor try a different one. In the past I was given a trainer at the gym (on the monotonous mind numbing equipment!) who seemed repulsed by me and my weight. Needless to say, we didn’t get on and I stopped going. (my confidence was much lower then!) I’m pleased he didn’t manage to put me off for life!
5. Get some good kit
Before you even start, invest in a supportive sports bra! If you have boobs on the larger side you’ll be very uncomfortable without a good one. My current bra is the Elomi Energise Sports Bra which is underwired and offers incredible support. I’m so happy with it I haven’t even considered any alternatives. It can withstand all of the jumping about (I wish there was a belly version to offer a similar level of support!) and can be worn as a racer back or as standard straps. I can’t imagine exercising without it!
Once you know what your exercise of choice is, buy yourself some decent, comfortable sportswear. I started off wearing whatever I had in the drawer… regular jogging bottoms and a t-shirt but the joggers were thick and kind of bunched up. I found capri length exercise leggings and a long-line t-shirt allowed me to move more freely and didn’t ride up if I was doing any floor work. I try to avoid loose fitting trousers if there’s going to be lots of jumping (star jumps etc.) as tight leggings prevent my tummy slapping my legs (sorry, not sorry!). I have baggier harem style pants for dance classes if there’s lots of hip wiggles or boots shaking – I basically feel a bit more ‘street’ in them…! My trousers are from Primark, New Look or cheapy sports shops… Nothing particularly fancy or expensive!
I replaced my old battered (and surprisingly heavy) trainers with some lightweight trainers with cushioned insoles which have really helped to protect my knees and ankles. I went for cheap ones as I didn’t know at the time if I’d get much use out of them(!) but I’m planning to treat myself to an upgrade soon (expect a review shortly!).
I also wear sweat bands – traditional terry-towel style wrist ones and a cotton head band. When I started exercising I was very sweaty and found being able to mop my brow on the go drew less attention than nipping off to use a towel. I don’t think anyone really pays that much attention to be honest but it has worked for me. Another important piece of kit is a water bottle – essential to replace the liquid lost from all the sweating! 😂😫😅
So there you have it! This is what I think has got (and kept) me moving my body – and loving every minute of it!
Tell me about what’s worked for you?!