Healthier & Happier Living - Part Four - Exercise

January 13, 2014

Hi all,

So here is another episode in the ‘Healthier and Happier’ Series. I want to focus on exercise this time.


Picture via www.womenshealthmag.com
This is really difficult – how much can I show you in a blog post? And exercise is so personal, for example my WORST NIGHTMARE when it comes to exercise is some kind of group activity like team sports, fitness classes, boot camp style groups, etc. This is because I get very self conscious with other people around, I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t like feeling that I am the worst in the class... which I usually am!! Haha!

Having said that, some people do their best in groups, with a teacher leading them and with an expert telling them the correct technique and so on.

I prefer to go to the gym, go at my own pace in my own little world and lose myself in what I am doing. I love how anti social it is - I have to be so happy and upbeat all the time being a Mum and working in customer services. I enjoy nothing more than putting on some heavy, explicit music and ignoring everything around me! It’s funny as this is so unlike me in every other aspect of my life! I would hate it if I didn’t interact with people face to face in my job and I love having a giggle with my daughter... but for an hour or so 3-4 times a week I am someone else and it is a real treat.

So, what I am saying in my usual, rambling way is find what works for you. And you don’t have to stick to it either – go to Zumba one week and pilates the next! If that’s what you want and what keeps you exercising then that is the main thing. If you go to the gym but only do half an hour and don’t beat any personal best times – don’t worry! At least you went, and maybe next time you will be more motivated and you will smash everything you have done before.

Keep a record, in the same way it is great to see your weight and your measurements going down it is also great to see your gym achievements going up. I have gradually increased the length of time I can plank for, the weights that I lift and the distance I run in a certain time. I find this very motivating and I am sure you would too.

Set a Goal, if you are motivated by deadlines, like I am, then this is a good one for you. I set myself the challenge of running in the Race for Life a few years ago (back in 2011!) and this not only gave me a goal and a date to work towards but it also gave me a massive boost and sense of achievement when I completed it. I am not a runner or jogger but I completed my Race for Life, in reasonable time, having fun and raising money for a great cause. Win, win all round.

Race for Life 3 years ago
Lift weights, don’t worry you will not end up ‘bulky’ or macho looking, us women don’t have the same capacity to build muscles like men do – we would have to put in some serious gym time and completely overhaul our diet to build anything that would look remotely masculine.

Lifting weights will burn calories – in fact a weights session in the gym generally burns more calories than a cardio session, of course that depends on a number of factors.

Weights will melt the fat and help keep it off, a weightlifting session increases your muscle metabolism both during the session and for a few hours (sometimes even days) after. In fact, combining low-repetition exercises (weight lifting) with high-repetition cardiovascular exercise will stress muscles in a complementary way to increase the total fat-burning effect.

I found some study results, they showed that when overweight patients were split into three groups; diet only, diet and cardio, diet, cardio and weight training the diet only patients lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks, the group that had cardio to complete as well only lost 1 additional pound over the 12 weeks BUT the group that did weight training as well lost 21.1 pounds of fat – that is 44% more than diet only and 35% more than the ones doing cardio and dieting. Realise and remember this: You get a lot more fat burning results if you lift weights.

Not only that but you will look more toned, lean and firm. Do you think the Victoria Secrets girls look like they do from just the treadmill?! No way! I bet those girls are lifting weights and squatting like no one’s business.


image via health.howstuffworks.com
The only thing I would say is be careful – you don’t want to lift with the wrong technique, especially not with heavy weights. Look online, in books, magazines, YouTube and even Instagram for the correct way to ‘lift’ (get in with the lingo peeps!) and most gyms have staff there that will be more than happy to show you correct techniques, this shouldn’t cost you any extra. If you really want to push the boat out you could invest in some personal trainer sessions so you can learn lots of techniques and ideas tailored to you, your level and your goals. Obviously this isn’t cheap but you could just have a few sessions, absorb all the info you can and then carry on solo with your new found confidence.

The main thing to take from this is do what you want at your own speed – anything is better than nothing! Build it up, push yourself (but not too hard) and try to be better each and every single time you go to the gym/go for a run/attend a class.

What motivates you to exercise? All tips welcome!

Rach xx

P.S. Gold star if you made it to the end of this lengthy and wordy post!

10 comments:

  1. Great post yet again Rachel! I lift weights and just bought the kettlebells from Aldi and did a workout last monday and my legs were still sore on Thursday! I love keeping track and have been using my diary and I'm also doing Race for Life this year (I did it last year too!) as it was such a great way to keep motivated as I knew I didn't want to do badly!

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    1. Aw thanks Amber, you are too kind! I think I will do Race for Life again this year, I really enjoyed it when I did it and it does give you a lot of focus... and there is the pride side of things as well! haha! You don't want to be last across the line lol.
      Rach xx

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  2. Great advice Rachel :-) Isn't it funny how we like to be left alone when we do exercise lol. Thanks for sharing xx

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    1. Thanks so much Louise, really kind of you to say :-) it is funny how unbelievably anti social I am while exercising!! haha!
      Thanks for reading,
      Rach xx

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  3. Great post Rachel, I love the information on weights for years I shyed away from them in fear I'd become hulk lol and that's really not the case there perfect for toning! I really do think planning and setting a goal keeps you motivated too, mines a 10k this year I'm hoping to do the great Yorkshire run, I did the race for life last year and enjoyed it so much...there's nothing life crossing that finishing line xx

    http://subjectbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Ooooh good luck to you! I can't do much more than 5-10K at a time as I get sore knees so I do limit how much I run outdoors (on a treadmill seems fine though) so I personally can't aim to increase how far I run but I do always try to improve my time at least.
      Thanks so much for reading, lovely to hear from you :-)
      Rach xx

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  4. Great post. I love running because it gives me so much freedom. It really helps clear my head too x

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    1. yeah I agree totally, nothing like a run to clear your mind, it really is the best medicine sometimes. Thanks so much for reading, commenting and getting in touch, really great to hear from you xx

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