I’ve been meaning to blog about this for ages…in fact, its on my 101 in 1001 list and I’ve been so into it, I didnt realise I’d completed it. In fact, I completed it two months ago hehe!
For years I’ve been going on and off to a small aerobics gym run by Alison, a friend of my mom’s and mine. She’s been weight training & teaching aerobics since I was 12 years old…if not longer, and she’s certainly an inspiration! Some might say she doesnt look like she teaches gym, but her strength and stamina will outpace you any time…she’s amazing and a great instructor! My mom’s been going religiously for years and years and every now and then I’ve joined her for a month or so. I’d go maybe once a week, skip a few, and then I’d go again and so on. Very erratic.
But, since April, I havent missed a class…and I feel great!! Its only three times a week, but boy are some of the classes tough! Classes consist of Katabox, Bodytone, Hi/Low, Stretch and Tone, Power Pump, and Aerobench to name a few. All consist of a lot of cardio, weights, and stretching (very important), not to mention its all great fun. I’ve tried speed walking, running and working out at home but its never the same, and lets face it, unless you’re running regularly and properly, you’re just kidding yourself (Charm City Kim, if you’re reading this, I dont mean you! :P). I find going to gym always more disciplined, fun, and competitive in a group (friendly competitiveness is great for moral and encouragement!). I’ve also never found better results in other activities (other than horseriding…but thats a whole different blog post!!). Of course it also helps if you suppliment your exercises with a good healthy diet.
But I digress. With each passing class, I find myself feeling more and more proud each time I complete an exercise successfully without getting too tired, or even just manage more repetitions than last time – it all shows me that I’m getting more and more fit. My weak points are stomach (sit ups, crunches) and arms (push ups), but lately my legs are feeling stronger and I’m managing more sit ups/crunches than before, which is excellent. As for weight loss, I dont think I’ve lost weight, but I definately feel like I’m losing centimetres (or millimetres haha). My stomach looks & feels less flabby and my legs are feeling more toned…now its just more work on the love handles and I’m set!
The classes are held in a small church hall and are in the evenings, which do make it an awkward time for me because I’m usually the one preparing dinner, but since they start at 6:15pm, it gives me time to get home, put the chicken on defrost, load up some washing into the machine, get changed into my gym gear, grab my water and towel and off I go. Oddly enough, I haven’t seriously felt like skipping a class yet…though I have to admit, I’ve felt slightly lazy before a class, but once I’m there chatting and joking, its all good.
Speaking of chatting and joking, what makes this gym even better is once every few months, we get together after a class for snacks and drinks. Coming up in July is “Christmas in July” where everyone will bring a Christmas-type snack to share (I’m bringing Gingerbread Cookies..shh dont tell!) and we get to hang around and get to know each other a little better.
Many people come and go, maybe they find the classes too tough, or maybe they dont find them tough enough (literally impossible, unless you’re an olympic participant haha). In both cases, they should stick it out. If the classes are too tough, go at your own pace and eventually you’ll get there (trust me!), and the proud feeling you’ll have is definately worth it! On the other hand, if the classes arent tough enough, and you’re not as fit as a fiddle (I’m talking rock-solid abs, toned and lean legs, amazingly defined arms) then you’re not doing the exercises correctly. Plain and simple.
I’ve been lucky that my mom has been doing gym for so many years, I’ve learnt a lot from her. From this, I’m able to avoid what many others fall prey to, and I’m able to spot it immediately when they do (I rarely say anything because people seem far more concerned with taking the easy route and dont like to be told they’re not doing it right and having to actually put some effort in).
Working your triceps, for example, is an easy enough exercise to do. Stand with feet hip distance apart, lean slightly forward and extend your arm back in a smooth, controlled motion (I use 1kg weights in each hand). The point to this exercise is to keep your upper arm as still as possible, and to resist against yourself in your movements (in other words, when you bring your lower arm down, dont just drop it, bring it back in a controlled movement). What I notice people doing is swinging their arms, using momentum, and letting their upper arm sway back and forth. The result: “Pfft, this exercise isnt tough at all! I dont feel anything!”. Same with other exercises (even something simple like not turning your foot in the correct angle in some positions), but if people just keep at it and pay attention to what they’re doing and what the instructor is saying, they’ll get a much better workout and they’ll find themselves feeling great in no time!
I apologise for the long, rambling post, but this really is something I’m very proud of achieving, especially given my personal track record (no pun intended haha) for gymming. I think I’ve earned my right to ramble haha. So, wherever you are, if you’re like I was and hate working out, hang in there, one day it’ll all feel right and you’ll be addicted (like I am now)! Good luck!!!