I fluctuate between being in pretty decent shape to groaning every time I get up off the couch. And I’ve just got a new (well, second-hand, so rather old but pretty) couch, and I rather don’t like the look of the butt-imprint that’s forming there.
The ‘butt-movements’ section of this blog is about my forays into the world of physical activity. I go in blind, give it my all, often give myself some sort of minor injury and then have a nice excuse to settle into my couch groove again.
Truthfully, I’m not entirely that lazy. But I enjoy writing about fitness because, frankly, I’m not the typical fitness nut and am scarily un-brainwashed about it. I don’t really know what an I.T. band is (if it’s a music group, I already love them), I can’t do a single pull-up (although I could do 3 once! So proud), and I don’t much go in for nutri-shakes of any variety (even if it’s Shaun T selling them).
I’m also chronically shy – at least, when it comes to exiting the house in gym clothes and pretending to look like I know what I’m doing. And so, most of my workouts happen at home. This usually turns out to be far cheaper than joining a gym, but you have to enjoy your own company & you may lag in motivation on some days. Particularly if you do your workouts in the evenings. For the love of god, get them done in the morning if you can, because your day will be made thereafter.
Here’s my fitness history:
Seriously anti-social child with a love of books and only missing the thick glasses which would have actually made me adorable, rather than creepy. As it stood, I had a long fringe instead of glasses & I don’t think this was nearly as charming as a good pair of specs.
I faked every injury I could to get out of netball practice, which left me with the lung capacity of an 80 year old with emphysema.
I started working out at the age of 22 – gingerly stepping my way into the world of jogging. This failed. I still can’t run or jog. But I do like to cheer people who do! I’m immensely proud of knowing at least 2 people who run regularly.
After failing at this for a short while, I tried a few fitness videos online. Aerobics made me feel like a proper fool, and when Jillian Michaels started getting her thing going, I was briefly rescued by her bodyweight regimes. What I loved less were her motivational speeches midway through the routine. I also did some bodyweight exercises ala MC Newsletters. I strongly recommend that if you’re out of shape, just do these five exercises every day and you’ll creep your way up to the fitness level of the average nursery school child. I was so proud when I could do five push-ups!
After this, I got hooked. Still shy, but a bit more skilled, I tried a variety of different workouts – all which were ideal for someone who isn’t really good at team sports and who has no coordination or form.
P90x was a lovely start and if you have the time, equipment and are dedicated, it’s the one for you. My back muscles popped a zip on a dress once (I swear it was muscle), and it was here that I learned to do those 3 pull-ups which is sad, but I’ll take it.
Also, Tony Horton is just the darlingest.
After P90x I joined a gym and did some weight-lifting. This was great because I finally got some human contact. Granted, they were scary humans who, for reasons of their own, had nothing else to do in the middle of the day but come to the gym. I’m convinced one guy was bulking up to take revenge on his childhood bully. I had an OK reason for being in the gym every day: nowhere else to go! I was stuck in small town in the arctic circle, and was banned from working or studying for a few months by silly visa regulations. More on this later.
When I could no longer afford the gym I started with the videos again. After about a year I tried Insanity with Shaun T – Ka-ching! This was PERFECT for my short attention span and high level of energy and aggression. Bounce bounce, boing boing, slip on your sweat on the floor. I’ll review some of the videos later.
It’s now been over a year since I did Insanity (god, I hate the name). I’ve returned to South Africa and have modified the various workouts I’ve tried over the years into my own Frankensteinish programmes. I have a lot to learn, so I consulted with a friend who does personal training & he set me right here and there. I got some high(ish) speed Internet and did online stuff like Zuzka Light and Bodyrock.tv (if you have the time, DO read the drama that once was the split by Zuzka from Bodyrock. And if you’re not Team Zuzka, you’re not my friend).
I also experimented with that bloody Tim Noakes diet in an effort to improve my diet. I’m a vegetarian, so this was tricky. I failed. But, so did my workout routine. I was too tired to work out every day, so I went back to my normal eating and enjoy regular workouts now.
But the above is partly why I’m so damned out of shape these days. And do you know what somebody who’s unfit shouldn’t do? Try the Insanity: The Asylum workout.
Taking stairs today has been a problem.
But I’m not doing too badly. And I’ll keep at it for a few weeks more. I’ve just modified a few moves in the teeniest way AND I prepared my body a little by trying a cute, cardio-heavy routine (Les Mills Combat) for a few weeks before. For those who are really out of shape, this one is fantastic. Turn the volume down on the terrible narration and put up your own music. It’s fun!
So my future posts will probably be written to inspire me to continue torturing myself with this intense workout, which is very often only 45 minutes, but it’s 45 minutes of beautiful hell. I’ll also review a few other routines (and I promise it’s not only the Beachbody stuff I seem to be limiting myself to here). You’ll hear about how I get motivated when I’m such a slack arse, how the workouts can work for you, and of course how much they damn-well cost. These things are expensive and I tried them out courtesy of friends who fell off the wagon quickly).
I promise not to use any lingo or try to enlist you in a cult.
Also, I had the good fortune of being able to afford my first new pair of takkies in years & did so at the wonderful/terrible Access Park. I then had the misfortune of discovering that the best pair for my feet which pronate (argh) came only (ONLY!) in electric pink. Thank you, Adidas. Wankers.