“ What form of excercise works best for you? Are you more of an evening walker or do you prefer sweating it out in a rigorous workout down the local gym? „
I have memories of my mum working out in-front of the TV, doing aerobics and using a bull worker (better known as a chest expander) from when I was at least 3 years old, way back in the 80s ;). My dad was also a keen skier, runner, aerobics junkie and all round fitness freak. Well, with him being in the army I suppose he needed to be in a good condition. My mum grew up with a mum who exercised, too, so the desire to exercise was there and the body was willing.
My parents used to love skiing whenever they could and often went away on skiing holidays before I was born, taking my older brother and sister with them. By the time me and my younger brother were born there just wasn't enough money to take us all so either one of my parents would go skiing in France or Austria at least once a year, usually this was my dad ;).
My parents were also into crazy fad diets, which I followed in my teens - or tried too - but I do think I hit a rebellious streak when I was around 13 or so and just ate what I liked, didn't exercise and generally didn't bother about the way I looked. I couldn't stand that my parents seemed on a quest for the perfect bodies all the time - they had become really negative about the way they looked and seemed to constantly want to change. Myself? I was by no means the perfect weight but being around the big side of a size 10 I was happy, or tried to be happy about my size.
I suppose it didn't help that my sister was always a small size 8 and could, uncomfortably, fit into a size 6. It's only now that I realise she skipped lunch every single day as well as maybe not going about things the healthiest way. And there was me thinking I was doing something 'wrong' by being the weight and size I was.
I loved team sports and PE at school, oddly enough, and it was one of my best and favourite subjects. However, when I got to high school this really changed. I was 11 when I started at high school and was already quite developed in my shape. In my first year of high school my breasts really began to grow - a fact I hated! This made me feel super self conscious and almost hate myself for how I looked. I loved cricket - and was good at it - but most other sports I felt so self conscious taking part in.
I began to get excellent grades in PE - it was actually the only subject I got such high grades in! Haha - and this bolstered my self-belief a little more but whenever we did something like swimming I would always become embarrassed because the teacher would make me demonstrate various different strokes to the whole class. I was a natural swimmer, absolutely loved it, but I didn't appreciate being the class example as I was a very shy girl who lacked a lot of self belief and self confidence I just didn't think I was all that good. And with my teacher saying things like 'watch her legs! That's perfect, you all need to do that!' it made me super duper trooper self conscious. EVERYONE WAS WATCHING MY LEGS JIGGLE. Of course I had forgotten the part where he said my technique was perfect ;).
I began to make excuses as to why I couldn't participate in PE, just because I was getting more curves and increasingly self-conscious with it. This started to effect my grades a lot in this subject as well as my own personal physical fitness. I put on weight, whether that was puppy fat or not, I was beginning to feel massive compared to my smaller peers. In hindsight I wasn't massive, I was just made to feel as though I was. Yes maybe I could have lost a stone or a half stone here and there but overall I was a decent size. I was curvy and had never been curvy in my life - I'd always been a skinny child with no bum or hips to speak of and suddenly I was developing all these curves that I didn't know what to do with.
Over time one of the teachers really laid into me about my lack of participation in PE, probably going about it all the wrong way, but it got me back on track with things at least. I also signed up for the schools athletic team and took up running. Unfortunately the athletic team fell through as not enough people
were turning up to practice but my strengths were things like the shot put, relay races and the long jump.
I still remember the day that I won my team first place in the relay race - that is probably one of my better memories of an otherwise miserable existence in high school (hated the place with a passion.) I left school at 15 and was glad of it. By this stage I was around a size 12-14 and not very happy with this.
Over the next year I got very depressed and put on loads of weight - I looked ill, bloated and was genuinely over weight. I was doing zero exercise and eating all the wrong foods. I couldn't stand being overweight at all so I devised an exercise plan for myself; yoga in the mornings, cycling at night. I loved cycling through my little town at night because it was so quiet and no one was around to watch me make a complete twat of myself on my bike ;).
I lost about 4 stone (but at this time was also suffering with an eating disorder) in this time but I still wasn't happy. I was disappointed with this as I thought when people lost weight their lives just fell into place. I couldn't have been more wrong!
Over the years my weight and activity levels have yo-yo'd up and down. I've always avoided expensive gyms and classes because I'm too embarrassed about my jiggle factor ;). I've also been to one aerobics class in my whole life and hated it with a passion - my friend managed to convince me it would be great but it was more like complete torture. I don't know why people associate pain, torture and shame with exercise - it shouldn't be that way AT ALL!
These days I prefer to be home, swinging or dead lifting my adjustable kettle bell - I'm currently on 25kg, working my way up. I also like to use resistance bands, but I couldn't tell you how many pounds of resistance I'm working against these days. I work within my own constraints and comfort levels. If it doesn't feel good, I don't do it. If I feel I'm getting my ass totally kicked, you can stuff it. A little bit of pleasant discomfort is good, though, but to punish yourself through exercise has never been my thing :). I usually try and work out before every meal for five minutes which adds up to 15 minutes per day, better than nothing. Last night I worked out for a good 10 minutes because I hand't exercised all day and I felt good for it.
I also love to swim and haven't lost my natural water baby instincts ;). I pick a majority of things I love, like swimming and weight lifting (easy weight lifting lol) and I stick at those. At first I wasn't sure about the resistance training but it's so straight forward to do.
My exercises are a bit wimpy but they add up - and to me that's what counts. There is no point in telling myself I don't need exercise because I do, everyone does, but it should never be about killing yourself with effort. I also suffer with a health condition that attacks my immune system and leaves me feeling very exhausted and I've found exercise actually helps to manage this exhaustion. Over time the weight bearing will also up my bone density, which is important to me as osteoporosis is rife in my family history. We also have heart disease and kidney disease and while my eating isn't an issue anymore I want to be an all round lean, mean healthy machine - or human being ;).
I need to lose some extra weight but I know that weight will come off. What's important is my all round health and looking after myself. Sure, I could get run over by a bus tomorrow but I want to die knowing I did all I could to avoid killing myself and therefore this is why exercise is important to me, but perhaps not in the traditional sense where people feel a need to self punish, self criticise and overdo everything they do. Just pick something you love or enjoy and stick at it. The results will be so worth it.
I used to be rather lazy and because of that as a teenager I was a overweight. At 16 I lost 3 stone and for a good few years managed to go out and drink and eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight mainly because I had a really demanding job where I was on my feet all day. Once I left this job for an office job at 22 it was a downward spiral. I put on quite a bit of weight and felt like I needed to do something so I took out a membership at my local leisure centre.
Initially I started with aqua aerobics and a short swim of 20 lengths afterwards. I find that aqua aerobics isn't very taxing. You can push yourself a little harder if you want but it had no effect for me even with dieting. As I didn't feel like I was getting fitter I started swimming seriously. I know a lot of people find swimming boring but I love it. I put my googles on and once my head is in the water I shut off. I swim 64 lengths 5 days a week. 64 lengths of a 25 meter pool is a mile. I swim all my lengths in front crawl and I even flip over on the wall to save time. This only takes me about 30 minutes to do. The only downside to swimming is that in the winter it can be hard to get the motivation to go when it is freezing outside. Within a few months of swimming I had dropped a stone without even dieting. I love eating out and I hate dieting so this is a bonus for me! I then decided to join a keep fit class called Body Max, this consists of using a step and weights to do a series of lunges, squats, press ups and sit ups to music. The only downside to classes I find is that no matter how long I go to them for I always ache afterwards, I don't ache after swimming. I thought I was doing quite well I was finally happy with the way I looked and felt really fit. It was then that I decided I was going to join the TA. As I needed to pass a fitness test that involved running I started using the gym. I have never run before. I was useless at PE in school and often forged notes to skive off! Even though I thought I was fit and other people agreed as I was able to swim faster and further than a lot of people who swam on the swimming team for my county I really struggled with running. I went to the gym before swimming 5 nights a week for well over 6 months and even then the treadmill really took it out of me. I had several sessions with a fitness coach so I knew my technique was right but it just wasn't for me! I managed to be able to pass the fitness test for the TA but I then decided to move away so that idea was scrapped and I gave up the gym completely.
Now I just swim and go to classes twice a week. I would recommend that you try all sorts of exercise until you find what suits you. My partner for instance is very fit and runs marathons yet he can't swim more than a few lengths. Everyone is different and you need to find what suits you. For me that is swimming, I continued while I was pregnant right up until my daughter is born and I only had a short break before I went back after having her. I have to admit that while it may sound like I am a fitness freak in every other way I am really lazy I never walk anywhere I always drive and I like to veg out on the sofa on my days off! I do think that exercise is important though as I find I need less sleep as I have more energy afterwards and it also makes me feel happy and positive!
Like I mentioned in my previous reviews, I really love working out. I don't think that there is something on earth that can really make you liberate yourself to your every sense and be rewarded with the high and restful feeling after a particular tough workout. This being said, i have to admit that sometimes life is really too busy for me to really be able to indulge in some energetic, time-consuming workouts. That is why I bought the Power Plate fitness machine. When my sister first told me about this particular machine, she told me that this is the miraculous machine where you just have to stand on it and let the machine do all the work.
Of course, I belong to the old school where exercise means sweating and tiring myself till I drop dead, and I was hence quite skeptic about it. But I went over to her place to give the machine a try, and boy, I was shocked! For those who are not familiar with it, the Power Plate is a vibrating machine. You stand on it, hold the handles, choose the speed and it starts vibrating like crazy, hence pushing your body in incredibly rapid left-right motions.
There are various brands and agencies that sell these vibrating plates and the speed will mainly depend on the brand. My machine goes up to 30, and trust me when I say that the first time I tried 30, I literally could sense my eyeballs move! I would recommend anyone to start slow and gradually build their way up, and of course, it would not hurt to consult a professional fitness coach before starting any workout! The agency that sold the machine to my sister claimed that 10 minutes on it was equal to one hour of gym but I sadly discovered that this was far from being true!
This does not, however, mean that this is not an efficient fitness machine. I have been using mine for five months now and I can really see the difference. The thing is that many experts, my gym instructor included, say that just standing on the machine does not work at all. In order for it to work, I was told that I have to actually perform certain exercises on it- sit ups, lunges, torso twists, squats, and my brother bravely manages to do some push ups on it! I have to say that I spent one month lazily standing on the machine and letting it sway me from side to side and I did manage to tone up, but very, very slightly.
In fact, I would say that standing on the machine was not unlike horseback riding to me. I figured out that if horseback riding can burn approximately two hundred calories per hour, one hour on the machine could maybe make me burn the same amount of calories. The sad truth, however, was that even if it does burn two hundred calories per hour, it gets intensely boring to just stand on a machine for sixty minutes.
When I finally decided to follow the instructions of my gym coach and perform some gentle stretches on the machine, I was really amazed by how quicker I toned up, in comparison to just standing on it. And it does get a lot less boring! My machine is of a different brand than my sister's and mine personally does not give wide enough space to perform some more complicated stretching exercises, but my sister's machine is wide enough, and has two rubber cords attached to the stands for extra exercises.
These machines, I believe, are relatively new on the market and are somewhat expensive. I managed to get mine at a discounted price thanks to a friend of mine but I would recommend them to anyone who has a hectic schedule. Merely standing on the machine will not work wonders but on these days where you happen to be really, really busy, standing on it for twenty minutes will actually get your body moving a little bit. Of course, it is more recommended to actually work out on it!
I believe that the power plates are available on ebay or amazon.uk, but I would personally recommend you to buy these from real, tangible shops where you can test it and asks all your questions before investing.
Thanks for reading!
(note: I am no doctor or fitness instructor and my review and recommendation are solely based on my own personal experience. Please consult medical/fitness training advice before starting any new workout)
Exercise is something that everyone should be doing on a daily basis, whether this is walking to your destination instead of driving, or attending a class in exercise, or going to the gym.
These are some of the ways in which I try to keep fit.
Recently, I have stopped buying a bus pass, and started walking everywhere, luckily I live near Leeds town centre, so the furthest I have to walk is an hour to work twice a week. I also walk to and from University every day, and around uni, so this helps. I can feel my legs toning up quite a lot, and although I am more tired at the end of a day, it makes me feel good, and saves me money on the bus.
Another way of exercising that I enjoy is aerobics classes. I go once or twice a week to an hour of high impact classes. For this you need good trainers, as you can read about in my previous review, and a lot of water. Its important to keep nipping over and drinking some water, otherwise you will not last the full 45 mins of the class. My instructor puts in low impact gaps before she puts on faster music so you can run and get a drink.
Its important to keep your heart rate up so try not to stop too often, and if you do go and get a drink, walk on the spot and run back to your place.
A good instructor should always ask if theres any injury, and try to help those at the back of the room who just cant seem to follow the routine. In the classes I attend, one half of the room at the front knows what they are doing, and the other half just stands there. You wont loose any weight if your just standing there so I dont know why they just dont try!
Classes can be a great way of motivating yourself to do exercise. It might seem intimidating when you first go, but just talk to whoevers standing next to you, and they might be friendly. If you go with a friend then they can also make you feel guilty if you dont go, so therefore you will go every week so as not to let them down.
One way to keep up your energy levels in a class is to eat a banana just before, as it wont give you a stitch, and has slow release energy so it will keep you going whilst you exercise.
If you want to tone up more than loose weight then a good class is legs bums and tums. This involves a lot of squats, resistance work and sit ups. At the time you might not feel as though you are doing a lot of exercise but believe me you will feel it the next day.
All of these workouts can be done at home with a dvd, but I find its more motivational having an instructor shouting at you to work harder with real people around you.
Also as I live in a flat I dont think they would appreciate me stamping on the floor for an hour!
Good luck with getting fit!
When you first start training its not the amount weight. The amount of weight is unimportant. If it feels heavy, then it is heavy. Doesn't matter what the guy next door is doing or lifting. If it feels heavy to you, then its heavy. But, above all else. If you rememeber nothing, remember this. Its *TECHNIQUE* that counts. You have to do the training exercises properly. All the weights, vitamins and protine powders in the world wont mean diddly squat if you dont keep your training strict ! The mirrors in a gym are there for a reason ! They are not there to ponse about looking good. They are there to help you keep your form. Making sure you are standing, sitting straight, your arms are level, your back is straight etc, etc. You would be amazed at how sloppy people train until they see themselves in a mirror. Also how many injuries I have seen just through improper technique. I would also highly recommend getting a weight belt. They help you keep your back straight and will provide support. They will *NOT* allow you to lift heavier weights. A belt is there for protection and support. They have no magical powers what so ever. Intensity, consistancy, eating a well balanced diet and form are what are going to get you the results that you want. To tone you want to be looking at high reps with low weights. To build you have to go heavy. Low reps with heavy weights. Remember, if it feels heavy to you then it is heavy. The numerical value is not important. You may also want to consider food supplements. As mentioned already, a protine powder drink. Whey protine is the best, in my opinion anyway. Any health food shop will have this stuff. Some gyms also will sell it. Multi-vitamins to are a good thing. I wouldn't get to involved with Creatine, Vanadly sulphates, L-Glutamines, etc, etc until you fairly advanced in your training. In case you are wondering, the supplemets I have just mentioned are natu
ral. They are NOT steriods. I am totaly against steriod use. Keep it natural boys and girls, OK ? Just eat well. You cant have enough protine in my opinion. Eat lots of chicken and fish. Jacket potatoes, pasta and rice are a good source of Carbohydrates (energy foods) Get a good book or find a good gym to help you develope your technique. I know that a lot pf people are a little intimidated by gyms that are full of "monsters". Don't be. Everyone has to start somewhere. Most weight trainers are only too willing to answer questions you may have about training, eating, supplements , etc, etc. Ask them ! Just one more thing. Please DO NOT interrupt anyone that is in the middle of a "set" with questions. Wait until they are finished. They will thank you for it as it is one of the sacred rules of the gym. That and using a towl so you dont leave sweaty marks on the equipment :o) Have fun, take your time and enjoy yourself. George
So you play rugby. You play footy. You are a highly skilled individual with every skill in the book. What you lack is an edge, tackle that bit harder, hit the ball that bit harder, run faster etc. What u need is to do some serious weight training. Follow this step by step guide as a rough (I EMPHASISE ROUGH) guide to getting started- 1)Bodybuilding( I hate that term) is suited to everyone, not just those pumped up jumped up steroid bashing pros. 2) Its a lifestyle, you must eat right ( as much as possible), sleep well and unless you have more drug connections than Mr.Nice (i.e a natural body builder ) u mustn't train more than 3 times a week 3)Train hard, focus and goals will come. Train intensely, with as much weight as possible, so that you reach failure quickly ( note only by failure can u build real muscle mass) and u will make real gain. do three to four sets with 10 reps for starters. 4) Supplement for size. I strongly recommend a decent protein powder, whey is preferable. Without enough protein you simply wont make much gain. Creatine may help aswell, although I dont think its the wonder tool some people believe, however it can really increase the intensity of your workouts and this must be a good thing. Train hard, follow these steps and results will come.
The Rio Slim-gym proffesional is a great way to tone up those muscles whilst doing absolutely nothing. It is a electronic toning system where you put pads on your muscles, and it sends small electronic signals to the area through the nerve ending, therefore contracting the muscle which is basically what happens in normal exercise. I must admit when I first used it I didn't notice anything until the next day, when I was aching as if I had done normal exercise, I think it is such an easy way to get fit if you are one of these people who lead a hectic lifestyle and have no time for the gym. It is also great when you are dooyooing as you can just strap up, plug in and go for it haha. The slim-gym contracts the muscles between 20 and 40 times a minute, which in reality is more sit ups than anyone can do, with all new product and exercise equpitment you have to gradually build up the time used on the machine, not over doing it at first. Usually you notice results within about a week of continued use, but obciously as time goes on it becomes more visibly noticable. I have used this in the past and think its great, I must admit I've been lazy recently and lent it out to freinds so I havent bothered, but now christmas is coming I am definatley going to start strapping up.........
After finally deciding to do some physical exercise, I strudied the options open to me. Keep fit classes? No chance. Workout videos? uh-uh. Jogging? No siree! Skipping! It's the way to go. Think about it. One item of equipment which is, lets face it, very cheap. It can be done any time of the day or night, indoors or outdoors - what could be simpler! All good doctors say that your heart should have at least one 'workout' every day to let it know that it still has something to work for. I've been skipping twice a day for about a month now and after about 300 skips (that's enough for me!), I feel my heart pumping and I know that I've done enough. With skipping htere is no need to overdo it - just like any other exercise.
I couldn't find a section for a health walker, so decided to put it in here. We purchased this health walker from Kays catalogue approximately 2 years ago. It looks rather like a ski-ing machine as it mainly works out on your legs. It is a large framed exerciser, and you stand on two pedals to work out your legs, and there are handles so that you work out your arms at the same time. It feels funny at first as it seems like you are walking on air, but after a few minutes you really start to feel it working. The walker has a little digital reader that lets you know how many strides you have done, and how many calories you are burning off. Me and my husband usually compete with each other to see who can burn off the most calories in the least amount of time!! The great thing about this walker is that it does a full body work out on your legs, thighs, hips, arms and upper body. Once you have got used to it, you can go faster and it is like an aerobic workout as well. The problem with it is that although it folds flat, it is very bulky and heavy and difficult to store. Before we had our daughter it was kept in her bedroom. We hardly use it now, not because we don't like it, but because it is hard work trying to set it up and then fold it away again.
Do you know what kind of exercise is appropriate for you? Tip 1 : If you are just starting an exercise program do begin gradually (perhaps with brisk walking) and don't expect to "get into shape" overnight. Your fitness should start to improve within 3 months with consistent effort !!! Tip 2: You should be able to carry on a conversation while you are exercising. At the same time, you typically should work hard enough to sweat during each exercise period. Tip 3: In order to become fit, plan an exercise routine that will last 20 to 30 minutes at least 3 days a week. Include stretching before and after your exercise. This will help avoid injury. Remember to start slowly and listen to your body's pain messages. If it hurts, then you have probably overdone it. Tip 4: While exercises such as weight lifting provide strength to the muscles, they do little for the fitness of the heart. Aerobic exercises strengthen the heart and lungs and should be part of the fitness routine. Examples of good aerobic exercises include: walking, running, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, rowing, rope skipping, dancing, racket sports, and cycling. No exercise program ever goes smoothly. There may be setbacks (such as illness or injury), but these should not change your overall program. If necessary, substitute one exercise activity for another (for example, switch from running to swimming). If you do have a setback, don't start immediately at your previous level of activity. You should take about as long to get back to your previous level of activity as the time you were out of action. Exercise can be fun even though it may not seem fun at first. Don't be afraid to vary both the duration and type of exercise activity if your present one is getting boring.
The cheapest, easiest and one of the most enjoyable ways to get fit is to walk. You can do it everywhere and anywhere and in all weathers. No special clothing or equipment. However I recommend you buy a pedometer cost about £12-15. This measures the actual distance you walk and it will surprise you! That '4 mile hike' you went on could turn out to be less that you thought. It also allows you to build up your exercise regime. My husband had major surgery and wouldn't/couldn't exersise. No gym for him! Enter one pedometer and voila! -15-20 miles a week. No problem. In frost - in rain - in sun. We see the sights and Thank God turn off the telly'