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Pregnancy and breastfeeding, along with its associated problems can mess up your body. A fitness routine is important if you want to regain your health.
I was that slim tall girl during my college days and I hardly cared to know about the concept of fitness, that time. Though I gained few pounds during my carefree single woman stage, all so career oriented, I hardly bothered about being fit.
Then I got married; had a baby; and my weight rocketed from 61Kg to 103kg by the time my girl turned 18 months. I whizzed from sizes M to L to XL to XXL to XXXL, and my body and life took a whole different shape.
There are many reasons that contributed to my grand shoot up; the prime reason being that I am a real foodie. I also suffered from Gestational Diabetes from the fourth month of my pregnancy. I still remember the shocked expression of my doctor, when the report showed that my sugar level was 208 before breakfast. I also took a heavy, fat and protein rich diet to keep up with the breast feeding for almost 16 months. The final reason was – no exercise, at all.
But despite the mega change-over that happened to my body, I was comfortable in my own skin. Yes, I did face body shaming then and there, but I did not let it to bother me. But by the time my daughter turned three, I seriously thought about doing something, as I struggled with increased tiredness, stress and reduced productivity in my day to day activities.
To kick off I bought an Orbitreck (a home exercise bike) that very month, but it was a total flop, as I managed to do it only for three days across that whole month and eventually it turned out to be our comfortable laundry holder. I enrolled in the gym, but that didn’t work out either, as the timings did not favour me. Finally, I gave up.
From time to time I tried to pick up something with regard to fitness, but I failed to get a grip. Diet was nowhere an option, as that very word gave me nightmares.
Days, months and years passed and my baby turned 4. Around that time one of my close friend enlightened me about the importance of setting up a clear fitness routine. That piece of information was precious and that etched in my heart so deep, as I started to drill on it, slowly but steadily. It all started in 2012 and today after four long years I have disciplined myself into a girl who works out all seven days of the week and yes, I am back to my average weight, all so fit and strong both in the mind and the body.
Based on my experiences across these four years, I would like to highlight the key things that enabled me to get into this fitness lifestyle.
The first and the foremost discipline that has to be established is the ‘routine‘. It all starts with how well we allocate a schedule amidst our other priorities and how diligently we stick to it.
When I started getting serious with my exercises, I was juggling between my home, family, baby and career. So I allocated 20 minutes for workout, every Saturday. Yes, 20 minutes per week. I ensured that I to stuck to it diligently. I worked out in my Orbitrek and I was successful. 8 Saturdays across two months, I made it through. That fired up the confidence in me.
Gradually I upgraded to 3 days a week and battled hard to stick to it. Though there were misses then and there, I ensured that I got back to the routine. Eventually I enrolled myself in the gym located in my office basement. I worked out 4 days a week.
In two years’ time, I couldn’t stay away from working out. It became a part of my life. I was not pushing myself anymore. It just got coded into my DNA. There was no turning back from then on. Now I workout all the seven days in a week. I do not workout only when I travel out of station or if I am really really sick.
Another key thing is giving your best during that 20 or 40 or 60 minutes of your workout schedule. ‘Your best‘ – means the best of our personal ability and capacity. This has nothing to do with what others are doing. This is totally unique to you. Its differs from person to person, body to body and time to time. During those initial years, I hardly sweated. I hardly felt the ache. But I kept doing and moving.
There are days where I would have only completed three lunges while the lady in the video would have completed 15. There are days I have just lifted my hands straight while the other fitness enthusiasts completed 10 burpees. Its good to take it at our own pace and time as long as we keep moving and pushing.
It usually takes 30 to 45 days to understand the kind of workouts that we could fit into. Many start with the cardio, however I would suggest that you should be open to try various forms of workouts. It is good to start with basic cardio like jogging or cycling in the gym or in the free air to get stabilised. Slowly, try out the workouts with weights, circuit training, yoga, body combat, body attack, willpower and grace, core conditioning, Pilates, body pump and many many more.
There is so much to explore. Every type of work out shapes and tones us in a different way and everything has its own pros and cons. So, as we try through these various options it will surprise us with its style and make us to realise our powerhouse and capacity.
In two years’ time, I got acquainted with ‘Body Combat’ and ‘Willpower and Grace’ and alternated between them. And very recently I have become a big fan of working out with ‘weights’. This mix and match keeps us moving ahead without getting bored and also enables us to see different results.
We can workout in the gym, the near by park, the free ground, the living room or any other areas of our choice. But please ensure to keep this workout area as close as possible. If we are going to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes, just to commute to the workout area, we are more prone to give up on this routine easily.
In the initial years I struggled to keep up with the routine due to the distance. I was not able to stabilise myself, till I enrolled myself in the gym located in my office basement. In the last one year, I have been working out in my living room using the workout videos.
The more easily accessible the workout area is, the more effectively we will be able to stick to this routine for a longer period.
It is very important to do the warm up and cool down. I have been that girl who had ignored these both, as I assumed that the main workout is all that matters. But then, in the due course I realised the importance of these both.
Warm Up prepares our body for the hard work that lies ahead and Cool Down settles our body and the heartbeat after the vigorous workout. And both prevent the body from injury. So, ensure to stick to this 3 to 5 minutes of warm up and cool down without fail.
Breathing is another important workout attribute that has to be cultivated. Usually the pushing movements demand exhaling and the pulling movements demand inhaling. However, till we get accustomed to the rhythm of those breaths, we frequently tend to hold the breath for a longer time or inhale – exhale at a faster pace, which would eventually tire us up quickly. Most of the workouts have a good rhythm that goes well with the inhale and the exhale. Once we manage to get a hint of that rhythm, working out will be lot more convenient and productive.
We should be conscious that working out is a hard work. Both the naïve and the pro feels the same way. No matter how strong or professional we become, it will be difficult.
When we start to workout the beginning will be tough and as minutes pass by it becomes more difficult as we will literally yearn for the time to jiff away. But then by the time we finish the workout the way our body feels with all that sweat and aches, is worth the deal.
There are days I have sat on the floor in the midway of the workout, just staring at Jillian Michaels as she goes through the workout. There are days I have fallen asleep during the child poses while doing Yoga. Yes, sometimes, with all those life’s priorities its hard to continue with the routine. But as long as we come back the next day and move an inch better than the day before, its all going to pay off.
Its good to cultivate the habit of bringing an intention to the workout we do. Visualising how our body would be toned, how powerful we would become, how great we would look in that attire and much more, adds spice to the push and pull. After all, mind is the key. So feeding all those spectacular visuals of ourselves makes a difference as we push through.
A fitness regime is something that requires lots of motivation and encouragement. It’s very challenging, demanding and stringent; and above all the result comes only after an extended period of time. So its very nature is intimidating and we would easily give up if we don’t get enough reason to pull through it. So it helps to keep our ears and eyes open to grasp in the inspiration.
Internet and Social network plays a good role in this, as there are thousands of pages dedicated to fitness and many articles float around giving tips on various workouts. Subscribing to fitness personalities helps too. Above all keeping a tab on our friends and families who deal with baby, family and career but still manage to get through to their fitness levels inspires a lot.
Having said that, more than anything the inspiration from within is the one that matters the most. Information these days are overwhelming; so if we do not have enough push from within, that information will be just another information amidst those millions and will not matter to us at all. Visualising the best version of ourselves, realising the good fitness does to our mind and body, demarcating the fitness time as the best ‘me-time’, believing in ourselves, in our ability to overcome the inhibitions and constraints, are some things that we can do to develop the inspiration within.
Yes, this is one of the depressing truth. The fact is, the results are directly proportional to the consistency with which we keep going with the workouts. There will be changes in the body and mind, after three or four weeks, but it will be very minimal; the real change occurs only after three or four months of dedicated workouts.
We have to keep pushing and pushing with good consistency and also have to check on the food that is going inside to get those remarkable changes. It’s easy to live through the routine, if we set our attitude that working out is a life style and not just a seasonal thing.
It took me two full years of consistent workout to get that very first compliment on my toned down physique.
I started to work out with complete focus on the physique. But gradually I realised that its much more. Its transforms our mind and soul much more than we could imagine. Both the body and the mind turns healthy. Dealing with these workouts which are challenging and demanding infuses magic into us.
Making dedicated time for it, pushing through the aches, thrusting through the pulls, huffing-puffing through the breaths, believing in our potential and all those hard deals has a huge impact on the mind and the body. It takes some time to reflect the physical changes but we can feel the changes in our mind and perception more quickly. I had a marked improvement in my temperament, attitude and behaviour in a very positive way. If truth be told, regular exercising has a grand impact on our mind.
The more we work out the more we become conscious about what we should be eating. This doesn’t mean that we should survive on leaves and fruits. It means that we wouldn’t eat junk unnecessarily and without limit. Even if we do, we always have the option to make it up with the next days’ work out. I enjoy a big fat breakfast but then try my best to tighten up my supper with something humble and healthy. Green Tea has become my everyday companion as it is a great promoter of metabolism.
In addition to a toned body and calm mind, we get much more through workouts.
I suffered from severe migraine and was told to give up on coffee completely as it was my prime trigger. But since I stabilised in my workouts, I have embraced my coffee love again and there is no sign of migraines as well.
Being fit has also enabled me to travel a lot across various weather, landscapes and has allowed me to try many kinds of food without any inhibitions.
Being a big lover of fashion and trends; transforming back to the fit and slim body has enabled me to cherish my love for dressing up.
A mix and match of all those that I have shared above has proved fruitful to me. Keeping a dedicated fitness routine has transformed my mind, soul, body, attitude, outlook and life on the whole. It was not easy at all; but totally worth all the trouble. I have become extremely productive and effective in many norms of my life.
I would encourage each and every woman multitasking and multiprogramming day in and day out to try their best to inculcate fitness into their lifestyle. Fitness is a Life Style with greater benefits. Go for it.
Just keep this in mind: “If you want it, you have to work for it!”
Image source: fitness activity by Shutterstock.
Dreamer. Reader. Traveller. Foodie. Lover of Life.
I create my world at dianajanetjoseph.wordpress.com
where I am blogging a romantic series 'Life is a Ride'.
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