I’m not the kind of person who does very well with the same thing, over and over. I like routine, but I hate monotony. I love playing computer games, but if I have to do the same level more than three times, it’s literally game over.
Exercise can often be a dull task, let’s face it. I’ve tried plenty of things in the past, but it’s never stuck. Judo, kickboxing, running, yoga, belly-dancing, going to the gym… I love all of these things and I’d do them again tomorrow, but not every day, every week, for years and years and years.
For a long time, I took this to be a personal failing. In yoga class, the women I admired were the ones who came to multiple classes every week, who’d been doing it for years, who could do any move and were frequently called upon by the instructor to demonstrate. Why couldn’t I do that? Why did I get bored and start to resent coming into class? Was there ever going to be something I loved that I’d find as addictive as these women do?
Then it was running. I loved doing the Park Run now and then, and completing the Zombies! Run 5k programme. But I’d get impatient with myself. I wanted a T-shirt that said I’d done 100 Park Runs. I wanted to run a 5k faster than 30 minutes. I wanted to run a marathon, do hillwork, speed runs, join a club… but I also didn’t want to imagine myself doing the same thing, every week, for months and years and years.
You know what? I’ve decided that’s okay, actually.
I’m never going to be a veteran yogi. I’ll never run my 50th marathon. I might not even break that 30-minute barrier. But being active isn’t about slavishly dedicating yourself to one practice or discipline. It’s about doing what keeps you fit, and keeps you coming back for more.
So, with that in mind, I decided to actually approach my fitness routine like it was tailored for me… Sounds obvious, but I’d never really thought of it like this before. Fitness for me, by me. Why not?! There are a million 30 day plans, 7-day workouts, 12-week regimes – classes, courses and the like. But there’s only one me, and I know what I like: trying lots of different things, and not doing the same thing twice if I can help it.
Cue the fitness DVD collection:
If you’ve read my blog before, you might know that I’m a huge Jillian Michaels’ fan. I love her podcast, her workout DVDs, and her inspirational books. I first starting following her after watching her on The Biggest Loser, and purchased her cookbook (The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook), along with as many DVDs as I could find. In fact, 30 Day Shred was the workout that really got my butt into shape for my wedding – I spent most of January 2010 doing those workouts over and over again. Jillian has a tough love approach – it doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s okay, but it does work for me.
However – and this is a big however – after a while, even I got bored of Jillian. No matter how much fun something is or how good the results are, I need to switch things up. So I decided to click around on Amazon, and pick up some new workout DVDs. And as my husband is a massive Coronation Street fan*, I decided to appeal to his fanboy id and buy all the Corrie related workout DVDs I could find!
(Just for completionists’ sake, here are links for every Corrie workout DVD I could find, and buy, on Amazon: Debbie Rush’s Bulge Buster Workout, Angela Griffin: Dancemix Workout 2, Kym Marsh: Power Sculpt, Coronation Street: Funk Fit, Kym Ryder’s Burn And Firm Workout, The Body Blaster with Bev Callard, Vicky Entwistle’s Weight Off Workout, and Tracy Shaw – Salsacise)
These past two weeks have been a combination of severe calorie counting, daily workouts, and long bouts on the exercise bike. Like I said before, I’ve already lost 11lb, and it sounds like a lot, but let’s just say I’m wholeheartedly of the school of ‘first weigh-in is fully clothed after a good meal, second is first thing in the morning in your birthday suit’. Tomorrow, I’m going to share some of my eating habits, including my favourite tip to keep hunger at bay!
For now, think about your own goals. What are your barriers to success? Could you actually be throwing up some obstacles for yourself without even realising it? I feel like I’ve been punishing myself for not living up to an arbitrary ideal that I’ve completely made up. Did anyone else care that I wasn’t a dedicated yogi? Did it matter that I dropped out of bellydancing once my instructor wanted me to perform at events? Not a bit – because my end goal with fitness is to keep it going. If it’s not fun or rewarding, I’m not going to be doing it for long. I feel like I’ve unlocked a cheat code for my brain…
* I will neither confirm nor deny my own affiliation, for fear of revealing my other secret podcasting identity – but I’m sure if your paths have crossed with mine in that world, you know all about it already…
All my Amazon links on this page are affiliate ones. Purchasing through my links helps support the blog, but don’t feel obliged to purchase via affiliate links if you don’t want to!)