What I Do To Stay In Shape
Let me preface this article by saying that I don’t actually consider myself to be in ‘amazing shape’ day in and day out. Yes, I do have days when I am truly proud of how my body looks and feels, and of what it is capable of doing both in and out of the gym! But that’s not to say I don’t have those days when I simply can’t even look myself in the eye, when I hate the way my jeans feel around my butt, or when I am truly so annoyed at my physical state that I seriously contemplate cancelling all appointments and heading home to hide in my boyfriend’s sweats and eat chocolate! True, I probably have those days less often than what I have had in years gone by, but they do still come by now and then to remind me that staying in shape is a a an ongoing journey.
I’ve put in years of training, research, trial and error, and more than a little blood sweat and tears in order to figure out how to achieve and maintain my Body Incredible. But staying in shape is a daily challenge. It never gets easy – nor should it (if it’s easy, work harder!) Fortunately for me, most of the time I simply love everything about working out, especially the endorphin rush that follows! But there are also times when I’m too tired, or too busy, or it’s that time of the month, or I just can’t be bothered. Usually I do it anyway. Success is a habit, not a choice ..
MY EXERCISE ROUTINE OVER THE PAST 7 DAYS
The alarm went off at 5.30am so that I could make it to 6am 90-minute Bikram Yoga (hot yoga). Considering I went to bed at 1am I was not particularly thrilled about this, but it had to be done (habit not choice!) I will be doing a light gym session between 2 and 3pm, although this is also doubling as a photo shoot – I need a photo gallery of exercises – so I wasn’t really going to count that as a workout for today.
Yesterday I trained functional weights in the gym with one of my apprentices, Andrew. I love training with my apprentices as they’re all super-fit which means I can’t slack off. These sessions have the added bonus of doubling as development sessions. We trained for about an hour yesterday, but I do have to admit it was probably the laziest gym session I’ve done all year. I was feeling grumpy (mainly because I was annoyed at myself for spending 2 hours that morning faffing around with email instead of writing this article). Still, at least we still did something, and I’m actually sore today so I guess it wasn’t a complete waste!
Later in the day I did a half hour self-defence session with my good friend Deborah. We do this once a week with a Personal Trainer who also runs his business in Melbourne. It’s functional self-defense, which means that although we do some kicking and so on, it’s more practically based – getting out of headlocks, choke-holds, warding off an attacker with a knife, that sort of stuff. There’s a lot of bone-on-bone hitting and as Deb seems to have titanium plated bones I am now covered in forearm bruises. What’s more, since we try to make our ‘attacks’ realistic, my neck feel like I was, in fact, locked in a choke hold for half an hour while being beaten up. Which I was. Don’t worry – I gave as good as I got!
At 6pm last night I went to Bikram yoga again – just can’t get enough of that sweat box! I’ve weighed myself before and after class and I lose nearly 5kg (over 10 pounds) in fluid most classes. Of course I re-hydrate immediately (I average 6-7 litres of water each day), and am sure to keep up my electrolytes, but I still love losing all that sweat – any nasty toxins in my body have no chance against the yoga room! Yesterday was admittedly a full-on exercise day. Most weeks I probably wouldn’t have done the yoga on top of the other training, as I’d already been to yoga day in and day out in the lead up to yesterday, but I am entering the national Australia and NZ Yoga Championship in just over a week, so am trying to amp up the flexibility.
Tuesday morning was 9.30 Bikram. I enjoy this time as I always get a good 2 to 2 ½ hours of laptop-ing in first. I like to sit in a nice café and get a jump-start on the day before class. Officially I shouldn’t be drinking 2 strong long mac’s right before yoga, but hey, no-one’s perfect. Love my coffee .. and on this occasion I was especially proud of myself as I actually did some solid work as well as emailing and business admin.
I nearly left it at that for Tuesday, but – knowing that I had a photo shoot coming up 2 days later – forced myself to sneak a 25-minute interval running session in late Tuesday afternoon. I did this with Bronwyn, my newest apprentice, and Deb, the friend I mentioned earlier (who is also a client). It was great having the girls there as I could label the session ‘sort-of development’ and thus business. Plus I definitely work harder when there’s a little competition involved! I had a great run on Tuesday, got the treadmill pounding at it’s max speed, which just proves that exhaustion does not necessarily dictate performance. That’s one reason why I don’t believe in listening too much to your body – I find that perception of what you can do physically is often driven by the mind.
Hit the hot room at 6am so that I could loosen up and prepare for my gym session later in the day – Monday was supposed to be a training session with my trainer Dan, but ended up turning into more of a screaming/grimacing session. I’d asked Dan for an extra half hour on our normal session so that I could go through my Yoga Championship routine. Part of our training is muscle release through movement, and I wanted his help in stretching, twisting and pretzel-ing my body that extra inch or three. In the end we spend 90 minutes on this and didn’t get to training, but it was well worth it for the goal of the comp. Between that session and the headlocks yesterday I now resemble a very battered and bruised piece of fruit, and feel almost as fragile. I guess that’s one example of no pain no gain!
Last Sunday was one of the most inspiring workout days I’ve experienced this year. I went to the (invite only!) advanced Bikram class. I’ve been meaning to go for months but have baulked at the ideas as attendees are required to attend the 9.30-11am beginners class prior to the 12-4 (ish) advanced class. That’s a lot of sweating for a Sunday! I am so glad that I finally dragged myself there – these girls (and two guys) made Cirque du Soleil look like child’s play. And it was very humbling to all of a sudden be the total beginner in the room. I gave it my best shot but was still an uncoordinated mess next to the others in the room. And at one stage managed to get my right leg stuck behind my neck while half in lotus position. Not so elegant. The 4 hours went by in no time, and I can’t wait to go back again next week. It’s great to have a new training goal to work toward and I can’t wait to be able to achieve some of those amazing poses.
I actually wanted to go to the 6pm beginner’s class at another studio, but missed the class as I couldn’t get a park. Grrr. But probably for the best – I was only going to go to meet friends, not because I’m completely insane and wanted to spend an entire day exercising!
Just One Of My Goals Before Christmas!
Yoga again! I did a double class – 10 am and 4pm. This was to prepare myself for Sunday’s advanced class (although it didn’t, really, as you just read). I quite like doing the double class once each week, preferably on a Saturday. It forces me out of bed at a decent hour, and I often do brunch with friends after class and then get some writing done in a nearby café. Much more productive than sitting around at home eating rubbish, which is what tends to happen if I do allow myself to sleep in. Don’t worry, I still do that from time to time ..
Friday was a low-exercise day for me. One session only!! I saw Dan for an hour of muscle release and exercise. All functional of course! A lot of what we do is in the style of the Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulance Training – I love that book! I really wanted to go to 4pm yoga, but just couldn’t quite co-ordinate it … I find I often run out of time on a Friday, so I’m pre-empting that happening tomorrow by making sure I get to the 6am class again! What a way to finish the week ..
Summing Up: Am I Crazy Or Just Committed?
A lot of exercise, I know. And as you may have read when I wrote about my typical day, I do sometimes wonder if I train too much! I don’t worry that I’m over-exercising – I really do believe the human body is designed to move, not sit. I’d be more worried if I spent 8 hours on my butt than a total of 2 or 3 hours exercising – especially since, as you’ve read, a lot of that time is yoga, which although extremely intense with Bikram is still recovery.
No, the ‘problem’ with working out so much is that it can get in the way of, oh I don’t know, living your life! At least in theory. I know you might read this and think I’m overdoing it, or that I’m an exercise addict (guilty, but proud!) or that there’s no way you’d have the time for that. And hey, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve got a great lifestyle. I don’t have kids yet, my partner runs his own business and works long hours, my parents live interstate, and pretty much all my friends are people I also work out with, so it’s not like I often miss training in order to work on my relationships. Furthermore, I’ve created a career whereby I can set my own hours and basically do whatever I want from day to day. Of course this is inherent with it’s own pressures, and does not have the same income security as a job might, but I’d like to think I create my own security by running my life in a way that reflects my beliefs and values. I think that this is one reason I have been successful as a ‘fitnessprenuer’.
Bottom line – I’m not willing to compromise my health, my longevity, my energy, or the way my body looks and feels. Certainly not so that I can work more, or sit in front of the TV. I don’t see that as a healthy nor overly relaxing way to spend an evening, so even though I sometimes forget what my own house looks like, I don’t mind being on the go from dawn to dusk. I guess I’ve made the choice to use exercise as a rejuvenation, an social event, a business inspiration – and a way to maintain my preferred aesthetic!
Life is Now. Press Play.
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