Monday, March 22, 2010

On health and fitness and not going to the gym

Item #1: At some point in the near-ish future, Serdic and I are planning/hoping to at least start talking about starting a family (how's that for vagueness?).

Item #1a: This will not be until at least after he finishes school in August, and is gainfully employed again. However, as I am rapidly approaching my mid-thirties (I will be 34 this summer) it is something that we do not want to put off forever, even if we are not quite ready at this particular moment.

Item #2: I am not at this point in time healthy enough to consider pregnancy (in my own mind, I have not discussed this with a doctor or anything, just I know that my weight and general fitness are an issue and of course I want to be as healthy as possible not only for myself but for any hypothetical baby). I'm not even so much interested at this point in numbers on the scale or weight as general health and fitness. So taking items 1 and 1a into account, I have a few months here to make my health/fitness/weight a priority, and focus on getting myself into the best health possible to be ready when Serdic is done school to start talking about the next step.

Item #3: My eating habits have greatly improved over the last couple of years -- I still make some bad choices, but not nearly as many as I used to make. It helps that we are so rarely eating out these days, and sticking to the meal plan -- it makes eating healthy a lot easier!

Item #4: Where I really need to make some improvements, therefore, is in exercise. I sit all day at work, and now with the car I'm not even walking to and from the bus stop anymore. I have finally admitted to myself that I'm not going to get to the gym regularly. It's just not going to happen. I have a membership at Goodlife Fitness, which is a perfectly fine gym and one I would happily recommend to anyone, but when we moved to this part of the city we moved away from any convenient Goodlife locations. When I lived downtown there was a Goodlife where I changed buses during my commute, so I had no excuse and was pretty good about going on my way home from work two or three times a week. Now, not so much. Even with the car and the shorter commute, there just isn't one conveniently located. And I guess I could find a different gym that is more convenient, but paying the hundreds of dollars in start up fees that a new gym would want just isn't doable right now, especially since, honestly, I probably still wouldn't go often enough.

So, taking all the above items into account, what's a girl to do? Well, I can do little things like taking the stairs at work, or trying to go for a walk in the evenings, but those aren't the kind of major changes that I need to make to be more active (they don't hurt, of course, but I need more than that). A couple of weeks ago, however, a friend started posting status updates on Facebook (yay Facebook!) about these great online workouts she was doing. Being the curious type I am, I decided to check it out. What I found was a site called Goodlife Fitness at Home. You don't have to be a Goodlife member to use the site, but it's linked to them somehow, I guess. (Not sure how, as I believe Goodlife is a Canadian company, and most of these instructors appear to be based in, of all places, Denmark.) The site has dozens of exercise videos, about eight different varieties (pilates, yoga, aerobics, kick boxing, dance, etc.) and different lengths (5 mins up to 45 mins) and intensities (beginner, advanced, etc.). It's completely free, although the site is crammed with advertising (which is ok with me, given how much content is available that you would have to pay for elsewhere, and the videos themselves are ad free ... unless you count the Nike swoosh on the instructor's shirt!). You do have to sign up and make a profile, and there is a whole community aspect as well -- you can post pictures, give status updates and goals, "friend" people, etc. I've locked my profile down to completely private, as I'm not interested in that aspect of it, but it seems very Facebookesque for those who are interested.

So I dug out my old work out clothes and gave it a try. I do like the videos very much -- I like the instructors (not too perky!) and the kind of movement, particularly in the aerobics section. I also really like the convenience of doing it at home. I have settled into a routine of doing two of the five minute videos in the morning before work (usually aerobics and dance or kick boxing) and the longer videos a couple of times a week after work and on the weekends. I tried the 30 minute aerobics video for the first time yesterday, and was quite pleased with how well I kept up (it was the first time I had tried that length all in one go, although I had tried two different 15 minute ones back to back, but that included warm up and cool down in both, so it wasn't as intense for 30 minutes straight). Doing the short ones before work is particularly great for me, as I am never, ever, ever going to go to the gym before work, but a quick kick in the ass to get moving and get the blood pumping is perfect. I am finding a difference in my energy level -- after the mini-workout, coffee, and a shower, I'm ready to go in a way I wasn't before. (I'm also trying to eat breakfast regularly, which helps as well, I know.)

A side note -- we live in a top floor apartment with creaky floors, and one of the things that has stopped me from working out at home before was an awareness of our downstairs neighbours (not that they would have the same consideration for us, but two wrongs don't make a right). I have discovered, however, that the floor in the kitchen is not nearly as creaky, and is actually better for working out on than the hardwood elsewhere in the apartment, so with my new laptop I am able to do my workouts in the kitchen and everyone is happy. I did kick over a bag of potatoes the other day, though.

I haven't noticed any change in weight or fit of clothes, but it's only been a couple of weeks and a fairly slow start. Also, my scale is an old one and varies wildly within a ten pound range from hour to hour, so I think I may need to invest in a new one. I'm definitely feeling it in my legs and core, though, so I know the muscles are working and, hopefully, becoming stronger. And I feel good mentally -- excited and hopeful about making some changes and doing something about an issue that has been on my mind more and more over the last couple of years.


PetDoc said...

Awesome! I'm impressed about your pre-work workouts. I need to check out this website! Sounds great!

Kiy said...

I really need to kick my butt in gear. I keep saying it, and not doing it. Maybe I'll have to check out your link ...

Cheers, and good luck on that baby front! :)


Alex said...

That sounds like such a smart approach to exercise! Congrats!