Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

This year has not been good for the fitness side of my life. At least, not yet it hasn’t. The Coronavirus caused gyms to shut and bad habits to be formed whilst working from home – if you were lucky enough to be able to. For many people, this has meant that waistlines have expanded as exercise levels plummet. I am certainly one of those people. In the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to get a greater handle on my fitness now that the gyms have reopened. This will be a short post about what I’m up to and what I hope to achieve with my fitness and weight loss journey.

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

2020 So Far

My fitness has seen a steady decline since the start of the year. Even before lockdown began, I was well on the way to being the heaviest I have ever been. Lockdown made the issues worse by cutting off access to the racket sports I had started to play again with friends. As time went on, and I was moved to working from home, my exercise levels became non-existent.

It is not like I did not try at all. I made a weekly plan, doing yoga on some days and others a workout with my kettlebell. This did not last, however, as I think I lacked the commitment at the time to continue with the practice. I would never turn away from doing physical things and even started to do the Couch to 5k running plan. This went very well and I was making good progress. Unfortunately, a family tragedy paused my taking part in the running and it never resumed.

This has led to 2020 being a very bad year for my fitness. That is, so far at least. I now want to take back control and assume responsibility for my fitness journey, and hopefully, drop a few stones at the same time!

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

What’s Going On Now?

A couple of months ago I started a new challenge, the 500k Steps in 50 Days Challenge. You can find out more about it here and how I did but generally speaking I crushed it! I ended up well over my step target and I was thrilled with that. Over the 50 days, I also lost 7lbs as I decided to get back into healthy eating at the same time.

When I say get into healthy eating, what I mean is simply stop snacking so much. Where before I would consume a lot of food outside of my three meals a day, I stopped snacking almost completely. Being more reasonable about the amount of food I ate didn’t mean I ever felt like I was depriving myself though. It was almost liberating.

Thanks to all of the steps and the reduction in calorie intake, my weight dropped. At the end of my challenge, I knew I wanted to keep it up. I’ve stuck with the lower calories and started attending the gym again thanks to them reopening.

Because I had to return to the office, the gym time slots do not work very well for me. Especially as there is no facility to change or get showered at the gym I go to currently. Going after work would mean waiting around for almost an hour, and having to carry my stuff with me whilst I workout.

I still make a point of going at least once a week though, normally at the weekend. During the week, I am currently doing a session at home with my kettlebell. I found it a challenge to get back into weight lifting after so many months of doing none, but now I am getting back into the swing of it. That is a kettlebell pun, by the way.

The gym is also very quiet at the moment. For the most part, because of the layout over many floors, I rarely see another person aside from the receptionist. It helps me go first thing in the morning too! This certainly makes me more comfortable as I get used to it again.

Thanks to being back at work, I am also getting a lot of steps in naturally, just by walking to and from work. We are very busy at work at the moment, which means I’m not getting a lot of steps in whilst at work as I’m glued to the emails or phone. Despite this, I am often hitting my daily 12k step target.

Update: I wrote this before Lockdown 2.0 was a thing. Now it is a thing, so the gym is a no go for the time being. However, still doing workouts at home, but not as many as I would like to. Hopefully will bounce back to it properly once the gym reopens.

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Looking Forward

Whilst things are quiet and I cannot be embarrassed by messing up, I am hoping to increase the weights I can lift at the gym. Hopefully, I will then also branch out into other exercises and workouts. Although I am looking to keep it simple to make sure I stick to any schedule for the duration. This is not my first attempt at maintaining a program by any means and they normally fail because I expect too much – whether that be time spent exercising or too much variation.

I am going to look into doing RED January at the start of 2021. This is an event where you do something active every single day of the month. I think this will be both a good challenge and a decent way to build my fitness further. I’m hoping to mix in a variety of activities: long walks, weightlifting, running, and anything else that the Coronavirus might allow!

Once I set up my page, I will be raising money so I will share links to this. Money raised for RED January goes towards an excellent mental health charity, Sport in Mind.

Given how mentally taxing 2020 has been and (I am sure) 2021 will be, I am pleased to be supporting a mental health charity. Charities, like Sport in Mind, can be a lifeline to those struggling with not just Coronavirus fall out but any number of issues.

I will be doing another fitness-based blog post at the end of January to talk about how things went.

Aside from this, I am looking forward to making 2021 the most physically active of my life! All I need to do is be consistent, so it should not be too hard… right!?

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Thank you for reading this update on my fitness journey and I hope it has given you something to think about for your journey! I know many of my friends are looking to get in shape, lose weight, and become fitter in the New Year and I will be right there with them cheering them on as they cheer me on!

What are your thoughts about your current fitness condition and journey? Let me know your next steps in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
I used to do a bit of yoga. Now I want to make it a habit.

I used to do a bit of yoga. Now I want to make it a habit.

From decreasing stress to improving flexibility and giving you a better sleep quality, the benefits of regularly undertaking a session of yoga is quite lengthy. Increased immunity, increased strength, and stamina, improved blood flow. It almost seems that there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be doing it! Indeed I’m not sure that I know anyone who has a bad word to say about it. I’m also not sure I know anyone who actually does it. I’m often found to be giving it praise, however. Especially for someone who no longer does it.
Around two years ago after I had lost a bit of weight I decided I wasn’t flexible enough. It was difficult to reach things on the floor without straining. Don’t get me started on any attempt to touch my toes. Maybe my knees? I thought at the time I had to do something about it. And I did. Or, I tried, at least. I think I managed to go for about 7 days of a 30-day program which I found on YouTube aimed at beginners.

 

I used to do a bit of yoga. Now I want to make it a habit.
I really enjoyed it. It was much more physically demanding than I was expecting. Not only that but it really highlighted my inability to bend like you see yoga practitioners do in all those pictures. Even after a few days, I began to notice a change.
Yoga is considered one of the oldest known forms of exercise and can trace its origins back some 5,000 years or more. Early practitioners focused primarily on the mental benefits that yoga could have and this is another aspect that appealed to me. As someone who is always looking to expand my spiritual knowledge base, another tool under my belt is not something to be sniffed at. The ancient use of yoga to aid in mindfulness is something I wanted to explore and still do.
So why did I stop it? Partly because of the length of time it took for each session. Because I was following along on a YouTube video each session, whilst varying in length, they were mostly pretty long. I found it difficult to fit yoga in before work. Granted I could have just found shorter routines or made my own but my knowledge was extremely limited at the time. Also, I simply burnt out.
Despite not doing it for long it ended up becoming more a chore than something I looked forward to because I had to fit it into my schedule, which was tight at the time. Moreover, as I took it on so quickly it never formed into a habit which I could stick to. And I kind of regret that.

 

I used to do a bit of yoga. Now I want to make it a habit.
That’s why I want to make it a habit now. I want to go about it in a slightly different way so that I can make an attempt to make it a semi-regular thing (like most of my fitness excursions currently are). I have a bit more free time now which should make it easier to fit in and I can shop around a bit more for a program that is more manageable timewise.
Also, I’m not scared to try and put together my own one now. Ideally, I would want to watch a few more videos and learn a bit more but all of the most successful fitness regimes I have ever tried have all been ones I’ve put together myself. Often using knowledge drawn from a variety of sources. Refined from a bit of trial and error.
There are many different types of yoga. Vinyasa being one of the most common. Others include Ashtanga, Bikram (“hot yoga”), Sivananda, Iyengar, and Integral. Most of these styles of yoga are appropriate for anyone to do. Some are more challenging, however, including Bikram which is commonly referred to as hot yoga in the west. I don’t really know much about how they differ so picking one type would seem like folly. Instead, I’ll just move between them for a while until I can find a type I can settle with. Obviously, Bikram is something I can’t try due to environmental limitations. Others probably too. I want to do these in my house, not in a potentially expensive studio!
I think I’ll schedule in the first yoga session for tomorrow morning and see what happens. I’m sure I’ve still got my mat around here somewhere…
What are your experiences with yoga? Let me know below!
Thanks for reading,
Michael

Sometimes I ask myself – why can’t I maintain a fitness routine?

The first time I began to workout was at university, first year. I had ordered a 20kg set of dumbbells from the internet. So weak was I at this time that I struggled to carry the box containing them from the faculty office where they were delivered to my hall of residence. It wasn’t a far distance but I still had to put it down twice on the way.

Things have changed but I am still quite far from where I wanted to be some 9 years later.

Continue reading “Sometimes I ask myself – why can’t I maintain a fitness routine?”