The different phases of exercise

I haven’t always enjoyed exercise. Always been active, yes, but let’s just realize that it took solid work to get to the point of wanting to exercise.

Everyone else is doing it

Growing up I did figure skating (and attempted a rather poor soccer career – only went for the post-training ice-cream), but when my knee set a stopper to that, I had to start doing something else. Bring on the spin class, pilates and the 20 minute jogs around the block.

I did spin classes every friday after school because all my friends were doing it, and I absolutely hated it. Had to catch the bus back home, and to get to the bus, I had to walk past the grocery store. What did they have in the grocery store? 5 chocolate bars for $4. Did I eat all of them on the way home? Yes.

Signed up to do pilates every thursday night with my friends. Had to walk past a candy-shop on the way there, bought an entire bag of candy to eat in the car home, ’cause pilates burns sooooo many calories.

Then I decided I was going to become a runner. I used to tell the boys living around my house that I was going to go for a run. “Yeah riiight,” they’d slam in my face. So of course, I had to go. Turns out, running was really hard, and keeping a consistent pace so that it would look like I was running when I went past their house was really hard. I also had to go past their house on the way back, so I had to make it look like I had gone very far, and had to be gone for a while. Did they ever really notice that I was out running? No.

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I want to impress

Moved away to do the IB diploma, met people who went to the gym wearing LEGGINGS. Up until then I had been wearing big Manchester United t-shirts and sweatpants. I thought leggings was extremely weird. But then peer pressure got me, and I (that be my parents) invested in a pair of leggings that I used to wear, aiming to burn 100 calories on the treadmill followed by 30 minutes of ab-exercises and maybe a bicep curl or two.

Squats with a medicine-ball in the back left me sore for an entire week, but the trainer I had told me doing them 3 times  a week would make me look hot. Potentially also did a group class of yoga. Made sure I looked reasonably good going to the gym, wore makeup, brushed my hair. You know. Spent a fair amount of time staring at the fit guys a couple of years above me training in the same gym. Followed up the MASSIVE GYM SESSION by either baking a cake, or buying cake at school. Still attempted going for runs past hot guys’s house, or said yes to going for runs with my ATHLETE friends – always a bad idea.

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Fanatic

Moved back home to have a gap year. Still oblivious to the fact that diet plays a huge role in losing weight, and nibbled on candy and cakes at work, despite eating fairly healthy meals. Got a car, joined the local gym. They had a list up saying who had been to the gym the most each month, and I made it my goal to get my name up there.

Was still a big fan of numerous ab-exercises, but slowly got the interest in compound exercises using more than one muscle group at once. Read somewhere that intervals were the way to burn fat, and started running them every other day. This is also when I got interested in split-programs. It took a few months, and my name was up on the list. Still obsessed with wanting to look hot, I decided I wanted to be on the top of that list, i.e being the one with the most visits. Christmas came around, and guess who’s name was first? Yeah that was mine. Big mistake, because now I had to keep it up there. Pretty much went to the gym every day, however despite getting stronger/fitter, my diet was out of whack and I had no idea what I was doing. Spent most of my weekends being stupidly drunk in a club.

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New conditions

Moving to Australia was a big step in my life, and I was determined to keep my fitness level up. Let’s just say that I spent the first 3 weeks being drunk and eating crap food, and when I went for my first run it almost killed me. Probably spent most of my first year here swimming in alcohol, to be honest. I did still exercise as much as I could, but the focus was still on looking good. Joined a new gym full of massive bodybuilder guys, tried to impress them and voilá, tore something in my lower back (that is still affecting my exercise today massively, lesson learnt). After a bit of money thrown at the physio, I decided I was sick of feeling shit about my own body.

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Lifestyle-change

And here we go, my favourite part of the journey. I changed my diet, was still obsessed with going to the gym, but started noticing how different the body reacted to various types of good and bad food. It’s been a struggle, and what really started with yet another quest to impress someone has now turned into my career.

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I used to laugh at those people saying exercise gave them more energy. I would even argue, “but you are exhausted after exercise, it drains you.” But now I understand. Exercise gets you through the week, it gives you something to focus on when you are tired, and it gives you motivation to master something new. I still hate spin-classes, but I’m open to trying one. Having worked my ass off trying to make a living as well as studying full-time, exercising hasn’t always been easy to fit in, or even been a thing I’ve wanted to do. But I’ve still maintained 6 sessions a week.

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And now that I’m done studying and spend some time in an office, in front of a computer? My back KILLS. No wonder office-rats out there have back problems! But guess what, I leave the office, drive to the gym (or park), thinking about how my back aches and how I really only want to go to bed, but then I get to the gym, start exercising, and the back pain is gone. Exercise has become something that I need to keep my body going, it clears my mind, and I ALWAYS feel better after. Even if I don’t come home drenched in sweat.

I use food to nourish my body. So that it can live a 15-hour working day. So that it can recover after a gym session. So that I can get up at 5 every morning and not wear makeup, because my skin still looks fine. So that my body can recover quicker when I’m going to need another knee surgery. It’s no longer all about looking good, it’s about feeling good. And I really hope you all get to experience that one day. Exercise and nutrition is medicine, start healing your body the right way.

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Ps. Sorry that it’s been an entire semester. Turns out that working 3 jobs and finishing your last semester of your degree takes up a bit of time.

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Losing 10kg the healthy way

I know I’ve said that this is no weight-loss blog, but I shared these tips with my dad (on his request) and figured I could share them with you too. It’s January and there are always someone out there who’s New Years resolution is to lose x amount of kilos in a certain amount of time – usually too short time. These people normally get impatient as they don’t see results fast enough, and either end up putting more weight back on than what they initially lost or they simply give up. There is no quick-fix solution to losing weight and keeping that weight off. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it the healthy way.

  • Incidental Activity

A little hour in the gym every day equals 4% of your day, and 2% of your week, so it’s pretty obvious that what you do for the rest of the day matters in terms of what happens to your body. Incidental activity makes you live longer, and keeps your body active. Make sure you move at least 30 minutes a day. Choose the stairs, walk to the grocery store, ride a bike etc.

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  • Be aware of what you put in your mouth

It’s no secret that to lose weight, energy in must be less than energy out. This does not mean that you should starve yourself, but you need to choose the right nutrition. Lean proteins, complex carbs and plenty of fruit and vegetables is vital to feel full longer. Quit sugar and processed food that only provides empty calories, stick to food where you recognize the ingredients. Choose water when you’re thirsty and fruit when you’re craving something sweet.

  • Be a little strict

Your body is usually addicted to certain food without you being aware of it. It’s not always fun to exercise when it’s 35 degrees and sunny outside, and all you want to do is lay on the beach and eat ice cream, followed by sunset beers. But sometimes you just have to. It’s okay to say no when someone offers you unhealthy food, it’s okay to be strict and eat a banana rather than a chocolate, and it’s okay to get your act together and get your ass to the gym. It’s only a little hour of the day, and the beach will still be there when you finish.

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  • Not all at once

It doesn’t matter if you fail once in a while. You didn’t get fat from one ‘bad’ meal, and you won’t get instantly thin from eating a healthy one. You will therefore not hit rock bottom if you enjoy a chocolate now and then. Consistency is the key. Don’t let the setback make you give up, simply start again the following day.

  • Find an activity you enjoy, and do it 3 times a week

It requires once a week to maintain, twice a week to get better, and three times a week to improve and change a body. By finding something you enjoy doing, exercise will become more fun – and maybe even something you look forward to doing. Let it be ‘your time’ of the day, and appreciate the favour you’re doing your body.

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  • Small milestones

Ten kilos can seem like a scary, and extremely vague goal. Even though that is the final destination of your journey, it’s smart to set achievable milestones within that period of time. Things like fitting your jeans from last year, improving the skin, attempting to stay away from all ‘bad’ sugar for an entire month, lifting a certain amount of weight, running 5 km in less than 30 minutes etc.

  • Find a way that works for you, you’re supposed to live that way

Not everyone likes getting up at 5 to do a spin-class, and not everyone bothers doing bikram yoga five times a week. Figure out how things work for you and your habits. Food and exercise should not be something you have to hate dealing with every day. Make it a lifestyle, and it will become easier to keep the weight off.

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  •  Lift weights

Strenght training is the most efficient form of exercise in terms of toning the body and losing weight. Muscles burn fat, and the more muscles you have, the more fat you will burn. Strength training also strengthens the bones and the brain, and protects your inner organs from damage.

  • Trust the process

There will be days where things are going to go against you, and that is when you must.trust.the.process. You’re not gonna always have lost weight when doing your measurements. It is recommended to lose about 0,5kg-1kg a week to maintain the weight-loss, and it’s enough to weigh yourself every 3-5 weeks. Do measurements of your body, it’s a lot more fun to to know the results in centimeters, as weight doesn’t tell you the difference between muscles and fat.

  • Stay positive, ask for help if everything goes wrong

You can’t always do everything alone. Losing weight is a tough battle, and you might just need a support system able to handle the stuff that you’re not capable of dealing with. Get a gym partner or a personal trainer, and let these people be responsible for checking your weight and doing your measurements to avoid you becoming fanatic about it. Listen to those who are educated, listen yo your body, and should you need a break – take one. It’s easy to hit the wall a little too fast and a little too hard.

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1,5 year ago

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A few weeks ago