One of my goals for 2017? Lose weight and get back into shape. I think that goes for many of us, but when I make a goal out of something, I tend to stick to it as well and this mission was long overdue. I used to write about healthy food and workouts all the time as I used to really be into it. Then burn out no. 2 hit in 2014 and I went from being in the best shape of my life to being BLEGH. Here’s what I’ve been doing to reverse the process.
How to get back into shape
My main reason for not hopping straight back onto the health and fitness train was very simple: life got in the way. By the time I had recovered, I started a new job with much more travel time to and from work, which necked me first. Then many of my family members either got sick, diagnosed with heart disease or lost jobs, so that was another six months of turmoil. By the time that died down, I started getting all these little ailments: from a sprained ankle to a severe ear infection and the common flu.
Nothing allowed me to really build up a level of fitness that would enable me to workout several times a week for at least 2 years. And then about a year ago, I decided to make a change. I knew I had gained much too much weight and knew that if I turned the tables now, it would still be manageable. My lucky convenience: I knew I had done it once before, so I knew I could do it again, as long as I made a conscious effort. That meant that I had to cut activities from my life, in favor of working out.
What I stopped doing was going to concerts that much. I have seen many live shows and I used to go almost twice a week. But late nights and staying late at work to catch a show mean eating at stations and on the go and that’s when I usually make the not so great food choices. It also eats up valuable time that I could spend in the gym or at dance class. So I made a conscious effort to dwindle that down.
As luck would have it, I also changed my sleeping pattern. This wasn’t a conscious effort, it just kind of happened. But I started getting up right when the alarm went off and going to bed at roughly the same time every night. I established a good sleeping routine that allowed me to regenerate and reenergize in a way that worked for me. I need roughly 7 hours of sleep to function properly, so that’s what I started doing. I stopped sleeping in so much and try to get things done first thing in the morning. This may seem an easy feat for some, but for a night person like myself, this has been a revelation.
I changed my food pattern as well, but not as drastically as I once did. I wrote about doing a low carb/ sugar free spell last week, and I tried kick starting a similar routine last year, but it didn’t work out. Combined with work, early mornings and regular workouts, my body needs some carbs too get and keep going and I started feeling lethargic after a few weeks. So I changed that up. I decided that it would be better to go slow, rather than crash diet myself into oblivion and feel bad. What I did was just eat ‘normal’ and that was that. I lost 10 pounds in the course of 5 months that way. Not much, but it was something.
Now this all had to happen before I could even think of working out. If your body isn’t ready for it, it may do more harm than good if you simply kick up a workout routine. I have a few classes I love, so dance class and BodyCombat became the regulars. I then slowly got myself back into the swing of things. I first added a spinning class right after summer break. Later in the fall, I sporadically got myself into a weightlifting class. I started doing that at a regular basis in January and a few months later I started attending yoga classes again because I had missed them.
That’s a lot of workouts, but I do them all for a reason (but that would be an entirely different blog post). I started slacking around the end of March/ April. I came down with the flu, went away, and then was super busy. Where I would give up other years and simply call it a day and go back to the gym in the summer break, I decided to try and do what I could. I could do fewer classes as the end of the school year progressed, but in the end I only had one week where I didn’t workout at all. And that was because I was simply knackered.
I allowed myself to recover and because I’ve been constantly working on my fitness levels all year, I found myself able to bounce back straight away. Yes, I had a day last week after BodyPump where I could barely walk the stairs anymore. But when it comes to stamina and overall strength, that hasn’t disappeared and actually keeps getting better.
The moral of this story? Getting back into shape isn’t easy, nor is there a quick fix. Ease yourself into it. Start with things you know and love and work your way up to more intense workouts and allow for enough time to recover. Nourish yourself with good food, have a good sleeping cycle and don’t feel too bad if you can’t make it. As long as you take it easy, you will be able to get into shape.
How do you stay in shape?