Better than nothing

Monday, November 26, 2012 Permalink

An Aussie blogger I follow (Fit Mum) often posts a list of exercises she does as part of a do-it-yourself circuit. I read these and think (or comment), ‘I could do that’. Easily. Well, I don’t mean the exercises would be easy, more that they’re easily translatable to my home environment.

In fact, years ago when I did pilates regularly (a couple of times a week with my fabulous former neighbor and instructor) she would send me off on my Christmas break with promises just to do the minimum at least – in terms of core and strength work: squats, lunges, push ups, dips and planks.

She suggested to her students that if out walking, we pause every so often and do a set of one of the exercises.

Easy peasy.

Until I finished work I was doing at least one Pump (weights) class a week as well as some circuit sessions and mat pilates. I hated using the gym floor and machines / free weights (not shyness but boredom and impatience) so I relied on classes for the majority of my exercise – and all of my strength work.

Fast-forward to now and I’m slowly getting back into some cardiovascular exercise after a couple of months’ break. I’ve done some Zumba (Gold) classes and – even though my fitness hasn’t really improved yet – I’m thinking of doing a ‘normal’ Zumba class this week. And I’m walking. So, while I’m not even vaguely fit and would struggle to do any of the classes I was doing just three months ago, I’m doing SOMETHING. And we all know that’s better than nothing. Right?

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Schmiet/status/271369898310107137″]

However, I’m doing NO strength work. None. Zip. Nada.

I attended a Zumba toning class a couple of weeks ago which involved very light weights (more like maracas) which again was better than nothing.

I keep faffing about saying that I’m still gonna join a gym that has Pump classes and yet; I haven’t found one that also offers dance classes. And quite frankly – given that I’m not working – forking out $25 for dance classes each week while also paying for a gym membership seems a bit ridiculous. (As does the fact I’m still drinking $15 bottles of Taylors Cabernet Sauvignon as my everyday tipple, but that’s a post for another day!!!)

I know how important strength work is when trying to lose weight; increased muscle burns more calories / gets the metabolism working harder and longer. Yadda yadda yadda.

Plus – far more important(!!!) – although still overweight fat – I feel firmer and less flabby when doing weights / strength work.

So why am I struggling with it? Like I said, I know there are quick and straightforward options out there which I could EASILY be doing at home. And in fact… I’m not sure I dare admit this but… my apartment complex has a little gym. It’s quite small (there are only 17 apartments in the complex) but I’ve never seen anyone in there. I’ve not been in myself but looked through the window at the weights’ machine, treadmill and bike. I’m pretty sure I could think of some exercises to do on the weights machine. But… meh.

I’ve long confessed to being a ‘classy’ kind of girl. Motivating myself to exercise alone proves challenging. Whereas (at least once upon a time) making to it gym classes became part of my routine. Indeed, of the four walks I did last week, three were done in the morning before I had time to talk myself out of it. So… I can’t quite work out how I’m gonna get myself into that little gym room.

So… rather than keep talking about it and although I’ve come to mostly hate ‘challenges’; I’m sufficiently worried about my loss of strength and muscle tone, that I’m throwing down my own. To myself, that is. For the next month I will do a little strength routine each day as recommended by my pilates instructor: a set of squats, lunges, dips, pushups and a plank / other abdominal work. My routine will just be a set of each – perhaps increasing as time goes on – and that’s it. It will be fast and efficient.

It won’t be perfect, but unless I start doing other classes it will be something. Which again, well… you know… better than nothing.

Do you do strength work? Are you a class-goer or do you do your own routine or program?
Any suggestions for me? (Other than STOP FAFFING ABOUT AND JUST BLOODY DO IT!?) 

 

21 Comments
  • Eating as a Path to Yoga
    November 26, 2012

    I try to do strength training 3-4x week through my gym’s fitness classes. *Similar to bodypump*

    • Debbish
      November 26, 2012

      Yes, actually the Pump classes at my old gym were called Power Bar!

      3-4 strength training sessions a week is great!!!!

  • Char
    November 26, 2012

    You know why I get up to exercise in the morning – by evening all motivation has gone and I’m just left with guilt.

    I was doing some strength work last year in a hope to actually build some strength but when I got sick again I just didn’t ever start it back up. But you can bet that once I’m on the ‘roids I’ll be at them trying to regain what I’ve lost. It really helps when your son is an exercise physiologist and can write you a plan at the dinner table.

    • Debbish
      November 26, 2012

      Oh absolutely. I can’t believe he’s let you get away with not doing any strength work!

  • Jess
    November 26, 2012

    Yeah I strength train 3 or so times a week. I follow my own program, but I used to be a trainer so I have that background knowledge. Seeing a trainer to get you going and motivated would be awesome- BUT really expensive! If you’re just looking to do a little yourself make sure you do a ‘pushing’ exercise, a pulling exercise, legs and stomach. Maybe ten mins before bed or first thing in the morning?

    • Debbish
      November 26, 2012

      Hi Jess, I did a little series after a walk today. As I’m not doing much it really takes no time at all. And I’ve been doing gym stuff on and off for 20yrs so kinda know what I SHOULD be doing…

      Hadn’t thought about the pushing and pulling bit. Perhaps I will have to venture down to the little gym in my building.

      Deb

  • Miz
    November 26, 2012

    I avoid classes at allll costs.
    and Im oldschool 🙂
    I LOVE ME SOME ARNOLDS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BODYBUILDING for setting myself up on a home program.

    • Debbish
      November 26, 2012

      Miz I almost referred to your ‘soft of core’ post when I was writing this and it was you I was thinking of when I mentioned ‘efficient’ exercise rather than spending hours and hours doing sets. Someone recently said they appreciated doing a pump / weights class cos someone else planned it all and they just had to follow instructions. I wonder if that’s what I like about classes as well. I don’t have to worry about what comes next and just push myself to get through it….

      Deb

  • Satu
    November 26, 2012

    For some reason I’m able to train on my own, though I wouldn’t mind going to classes if I had the money.

    I’ve been strength training with the Fit Female Body program on my own more than 6 months now. I’m very happy with the results, but it took a lot of time to see results. I usually train 2x / per week. I’m still in awe how good my core strength must have been in my early twenties when I still did ballet.

    Mm, and I never thought to use my bathtub for dips…I gotta check it out. 🙂

    • Debbish
      November 26, 2012

      Satu, it’s great you can train on your own. I’d love to get into that habit. I have – on occasions – and previously had my mat, fitball, weights etc set up at home. Twice a week is good and it must be reassuring to see results. I loved (when I did pump classes) that I could increase my weights every so often. I wasn’t overly ambitious but liked that certain parts of me got stronger!

      And re the bathtub… it’s only cos I spend so much time in there I used to have a ritual of 30, 40, 50 dips (depending on how ‘proper’ they were) every time I got in or out. Like I said, I tried to do it here but I have a triangle spa bath and my arm was on a strange angle and slipped. (It made doing a plank on my forearms kinda hard!)

      Deb

  • Julia
    November 27, 2012

    Your first attempt at at home routine sounds great. Doing it, feeling good about doing, and seeing improvement in your strength might motivate you to do more at home during the next cycle. You’ve set yourself up with something you can easily accomplish. Woot!

    • Debbish
      November 27, 2012

      Agreed Julia. Doable goals are good for me! Last week I needed to vacuum. I spent several days obsessing about the fact (I miss my cleaner, but cannot justify the cost when I’m not working!!!). Finally I did it. And I timed it. INCLUDING my verandah it took under 14mins. No time at all! It will be the same with this little routine. 30 of this, 15 or 20 of that, requires no time. Like 10mins and even I can do that!!!!

      Deb

  • Marion
    November 27, 2012

    Hi Deb! Well, like you, I’m pretty competitive. I really don’t like to admit that so bluntly, but it’s true. I like doing weightlifting in an environment where I look awesome amongst my weightlifting gym friends (mostly who are guys) who are also awesome. And we chuckle about the guy falling asleep on the bench and the guys who lift less than I do. We try hard stuff and sometimes aren’t always as good as we’d like to be, but we all do our thing, support the effort and enjoy the synergy. I’d never have that working out by myself.

    That said, I spend a few minutes on Wednesday doing pushups. I just have to say, “Marion, do them!” and a set of 10 is over in half a minute. No, I don’t even change into workout clothes for Wednesday pushups. I do about 5 to 7 sets of pushups on Wednesday morning while watching morning news. Pushups are one of the very best strength exercises. But I think you’d like working out with the weightlifting guys better.

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      November 28, 2012

      I used to use the gym floor Marion and enjoyed it. I’m not sure how I got out of the habit and now I just can’t be bothered – but I think it’s more that I get a ‘push’ with classes… I don’t have to think about it, just have to turn up!

      I’m always really impressed with your commitment to your strength training and the way you support others in your gym. You’re such an inspiration!

      Deb

      • Marion
        November 29, 2012

        Deb, I’m trying to explain to you that I don’t have much commitment. I really love going to the gym, like people like going to a movie they’ve been waiting to see. Almost everyone who does heavy weightlifting loves it because it is yummy and it lures you back like a candy bar. Hardly anyone is over there in the free weights area because they have forced themselves over there, we are there because it is pure joy! Once a person finds out they can do something amazing in the gym, it’s extremely hard not to go back to be amazing more times. Deb, if I lived by you, I’d pull you over there and literally show you what I mean. You’ve never challenged yourself to your full potential in fitness, so you haven’t experienced your “wow factor.” If you did, you would be extremely eager to do it again. I’m just betting that you would be able to do similar things that I can do, since our body types are very similar. I wish you’d just believe me about this….

        🙂 Marion

        • Debbish
          November 29, 2012

          I hope that’s the case for me too one day Marion!!!! I’d happily become a convert!

  • Lou Lou
    November 27, 2012

    Good luck. I think even I would to work out if it included maracas.

    • Debbish
      November 28, 2012

      Sadly there wasn’t a lot of shaking of the maracas… more clenching of our arms (holding them strong) as we moved the maracas about. Real maracas would have been funner! 😉

  • Rebecca
    November 28, 2012

    I <3 Weight training as you know, honestly, it's a great feeling to push yourself to failure. The changes I've seen in my body using free weights is brilliant and I'm pumped that I can get back to it.

    I hope you catch the bug 🙂

    • Debbish
      November 28, 2012

      Thanks Rebecca. In reality I know that sets of weights can take no time at all. Five or six years ago I’d hired a treadmill and had it set up in my garage with my fitball, mat and free weights. I’d do interval sets of weights (bicep curls, triceps, squats, lunges etc) in between attempting to walk/run.

      I certainly ‘didn’t mind’ (not sure if ‘enjoyed’ is the word!) pump classes at the gym. They take longer but fatigue each muscle group BIG TIME! Anyway, am doing my little routine daily at the moment!

      Deb

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