I’ve been working out a lot recently. I actually haven’t been swimming in a couple of months, I felt like I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough when I swam, I kind of did it on autopilot. I will go back to it, I always do. But right now I’m spending most of my workout time in the gym – and in classes.
I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I had tried three new things in the gym. I think it’s really important to keep changing up your workouts for a few reasons. Firstly, it is insanely boring to do the same thing every time you work out. No matter how much you love running/cycling/stairmastering (does anyone actually love the stairmaster?) if that’s the only workout you ever do, you will eventually lose interest. I firmly believe that if this happens you will stop trying as hard – as with my experience with swimming, it will become automatic. Secondly, always doing the same workout means that you are always working the same muscles (and neglecting others) which isn’t what I want from my fitness routine, personally. Finally, there are hundreds of options out there for ways to exercise. If you stick to the same few, you could be missing out on something that you would really love. Here is a run-down of what I have tried recently:
- Running. This isn’t exactly new, more that I was trying it again. I did the first couple of weeks of the Couch to 5k programme during the first part of July, which was interesting. It turned out that I’m actually fitter than I anticipated, I managed to do the running section in all of the workouts. However, I have come to the conclusion that I am just not cut out to be a runner. I stand by the opinion I had at school: running is great if you have a valid reason for it, like tennis, hockey or vehicles approaching, but as an activity in itself I just find it tedious. Sorry running community, I cannot be converted!
- Boxercise. As regular readers will know, I take a one-to-one boxing class every week, which I absolutely love, but I wasn’t convinced about boxercise. Everything I’ve ever read about boxercise made me think I would just be punching the air in time to some upbeat music, which seems a bit weird to me. However, in honour of saying yes when my knee-jerk reaction is to say no, when my friend asked me to go to her first class with her, I said I’d give it a try. I don’t know how other classes work; this one is run by Phil, my PT, and the warm-up was pretty hard going for me. We then lined up in two lines facing each other (like country dancing at school, if anyone did that), one side with gloves and one side with pads. We did one minute of punching followed by one minute of “rest”, then the pad people moved down the line, repeated until we got back to the beginning. It was divided more or less evenly between jabs, hooks and upper cuts. You may have noticed that I put that we had a minute’s “rest” between punches. The inverted commas are there because Phil’s shout of “one minute of burpees” did not make me think restful thoughts. As it was, I didn’t do most of the rest activities because I’m not really able to do most of them yet, so I did squats, lunges, push-ups and running to keep my heart-rate going. Before swapping sides we did 2 minutes of push-ups and then I became a pad person. The class was exhausting, but I really enjoyed it. I think that although it was a little beyond my fitness level to do everything, I put in a good performance and there were some great people there who gave me encouragement when I was struggling to keep up. I will be going back.
- Weights. I know, I already do weights. What I really mean is barbells, in the man section (which has now been re-branded as the “don’t be scared, men” section due to the fact that a few females have infiltrated and some of the regular men have disappeared…) I booked a PT session as an early birthday present to myself, so that Phil could help me with the best weights for me to use at the moment and to teach me good form so I don’t damage myself. I loved it, and I now alternate my weight workouts between dumbbells/machines and barbells/cable machine. In my PT session, I did squats (because everyone who does any kind of training with me insists that squats are essential to my well-being, deadlifts, chest presses and overhead presses. I had a lot of fun with the session, and I have got over my fear of the weights section in the main gym!