My fitness journey(so far)
I am not a woman with 6 pack abs or one who can do leg split in her sleep. I am a girl who after three years of struggle and trying our things has finally found an exercise routine works for her and working for her and if you are someone who is struggling to start exercising, this story is for you.
So quick history, I am that girl, who never exercised till the age of 25, and still maintained a healthy weight. It requires three things to maintain healthy weight — diet, exercise and at some levels genetics. I think I had Genes and diet in order, thanks to my Mom. And exercise, my room was at 3rd floor at my home and I was pretty impatient and active kid, on a normal way I used to make 30 round trips up and down, which was 40 stairs *30 times= 1200 steps a day. Not bad!
But things started getting bad at the age of 25, I went to university for my masters, no one was there to take care of my diet and I did not had time for cooking. I eat whatever I found near by, cheap and filling. I spent my lunch times eating burgers and dinner time eating pizza. I was sitting almost entire day on the bed/couch, studying. No wonder I soon gained 30 pounds.
I hit the Gym. Name an equipment you find find there. Name an Instructor type, you will find there. Perplexed with the range of equipments, I started will running and crosswalk. I used to run 20 minutes on good days, 10 minutes on bad days, and 20 minutes crosswalk on good days and no cross walks on bad days. I learned I should not eat or drink at least 2 hours before the hitting the machine or I will spend whole time burping and avoiding puking. I learned if I listen to music I might stay there for long. But then how long can you listen to Taylor swift before realizing she uses pretty much same lyrics in every song. Soon I started getting bored. And soon good days started to decrease but my weight did not.
I started going to classes, I started enrolling in random classes from hip hop dance to yoga to pilates to HIIT to something with steps and restorative yoga (one where I literary slept) and one I don’t remember what the class was but we dance on Brittany Spear songs, the Instructor had gorgeous hip moves. They were an hour class, I used to get tired in 3 songs (20 minutes). But it worked fine for me. I was not losing any weight but I was enjoying. I used to go randomly to a class and see what the new work out is about. I don’t know about where my fitness was going but I learned about all kinds of workouts on earth.
On some days I used to go to gym, but did not feel like working out. I used to roam around, looking at people. I learned people have schedules (3 days vs 5 days a week). Some people only do one body part a day (legs, upper body, abs etc). Some people just did their whole workout in a corner, without any equipment and had great bodies. Some were taking escalator to come to gym and then used step machine to burn calories.
But what I mostly noticed is people with good/fit bodies don’t get tired or bored. They come everyday with smile and enthusiasm and leave the place with same enthusiasm. What was their secret?
Finding the workout
It had been now 2 years, finding a workout routine. I passed out from University and started working. But pretty much weight remained same.
I ran. but running was boring and ineffective. I lifted weights. But It was one day going to gym and 4 days of recovery from sore arms. I did HIIT. Again either sore or bored.
Then pandemic happened.
I had suddenly so much time in the world. My schedule was eat, work, sleep. Because of whole lockdown and coronavirus fear, I started cooking at home and eating. 5 pounds of weight loss happened in three months without even trying anything, just eating food at home.
And no tiredness from office commute and all other stuff. So I had so much time during evening for workout. But still problem was still there. I was either sore or bore.
Now after 5 months, living at home, experimenting with different home workout. I finally found a perfect workout for me — YOGA.
I found these classes on OBE fitness app. They were 50 minutes classes. The classes had 10–20 minutes warmup then next 20–30 minutes high intensity yoga and last 10–5 minutes cool down. The thing about yoga is, you don’t get tired. You feel refreshed and exuberant. You don’t get sore. Because you don’t pull those heavy weights. They are mostly whole whole body workout and don’t focus on single body part. It is about deep breathing and holding a pose and stretching. Slowly in 3 months I started seeing effects. I was doing asanas (pose), in which previously struggled to move even a tiny bit. I was not bored, because on OBE fitness there were so many different flows. And each is very. difficult to memorize. So all the time you are guessing the next step.
And once I gained enough strength, I added other routines as well weight exercises, HIIT and pilates.
Find out what works best for you. There are abundance of choices, and no right and wrong answers. Try out. And see what you enjoy.
Finding the secret
I finally found a workout, in which I was not getting bored or tired. I was slowly gaining strength and getting in shape. But there was still a problem. I was I was still not like those people whom I saw in Gym, excited and enthusiastic. They wanted to do more. They never get tired. They loved what they did and it was visible in the faces and in their whole body, in their every move.
Where as I was doing Yoga, On good weeks, 4 days a week, on bad weeks 1 day a week. On some days I was waiting for the routine to finish as soon as possible. I was skipping when I eat accidentally some snack( Remember whole puking thing?). I was skipping when there was too much mental work at office. I was skipping when I had to make some heavy dinner at home.
I wanted to exercise like those people. I wanted to enjoy my every workout session.
It been 10 months now doing Yoga. And I finally cracked the secret. For those people I saw in Gym. It was not a goal. They were not working towards a Goal. They were working towards becoming a person/ being a person. They were not “motivated” to go Gym. In a sense, when you say “you are motivated to do something” — You mean to get something, you have to do hard work for some time. And once you achieved the goal, you stopping doing the hard work. For example to pass in an exam you have to stuff 14 hours a day. Gym was not hard work for them. They were enjoying it like we enjoy a cup for tea every morning. It was whole different mindset. The difference was they were not working towards a goal. It was their lifestyle. That’s how they lived. As simple as that.
But then how can you find the Exercising (such physical excruciating task) enjoyable. The Secret is the feeling after exercise. For example you have habit of brushing and flossing teeth every morning. You don’t enjoy brushing teeth as much as a feeling of fresh and clean mouth. The feeling after exercise is same as fresh mouth. When you workout, You body feels light, capable of caring itself. Your digestion gets better, your skin starts glowing, your energy level gets higher and your sleep gets better and you feel happy. I am sure you will find tons of other benefits.
I also want to say eating healthy is also very important. I note on the fridge calendar on what I eat during the whole day and what exercises I did. For example yoga+arm workout, yoga+pilates or yoga+running. This way I know when can I take a cheat day (usually one meal in 10 days) and what exercise I have’t focused in a while.
And once you keep exercising you keep finding a perfect balance, a perfect routine that works for you. Once you keep exercising you keep finding time. You look forward to exercise and hence don’t eat accidentally before the workout. Workout does not make you tired. You go to workout to get rid of tiredness from your day.
And finally workout is like getting a cup of tea in the morning. I look forward to it. I enjoy it. It makes me feel good. I can do it every day.
I hope you find your right balance.