Friday 29 August 2014

training for the beach: motivation needed

Summer 2012 and Summer 2014
One of the goals on my list of things to do before I'm 30 is to get a bikini.  And then, y'know, wear it. This might seem like a simple goal to accomplish and at a basic level, all that's needed to complete it is to simply go out an purchase the item in question.  But actually when I set myself this goal, I envisaged more to it.  I want to slim down and be healthier.

Since setting myself this goal, I have lost three stone, and that's taken me well over a year.  I didn't subscribe to a diet or do anything crazy, but I did reduce my portion sizes, cut out some of the junk food that I'm so fond of and generally try to clean up my diet a little bit.  I still ate out, and if I'm paying for a meal out, I refuse to go and order a salad, so on those occasions, I would eat what I liked, refuse to feel guilty, and accept that I may not lose any weight that week, and may even gain some.  I suppose without occasions like that, it may have been quicker to shed the pounds, but I LOVE to eat, and by having treats sometimes, it made it easier to say no to cake at other times.  

While the summer has been in full swing, I have given myself a break, and I decided that as long as my weight didn't go up over the summer, I wouldn't concern myself about trying to get it to go down.  Well, the holiday has now ended, and my weight hasn't gone up (or down, which probably has a lot to do with deep-fried macaroni cheese) and I am back to thinking about that bikini goal.  

It's worth pointing out that I am never going to be willowy or slender.  That's not my build and I'm completely fine with that, but I did decide that I wanted to be healthy, and I want to get the best I possibly can out of my figure. And I look forward to shopping for a bikini that will flatter my figure, especially as I've never owned or worn one before.

What I'd like to achieve now is to slim down and tone up a little. Which means that sadly, the time has come to exercise.  I have joined a gym, and I have two overriding thoughts about that: 
a) I hate exercise when it's not fun
 b) The gym is not fun.

I appreciate that not everyone will share these opinions, and I don't hate being active at all.  I like to run around and shriek and play games... but this isn't particularly regular, sustained or targeted exercise.  I have huge respect for those that run or train regularly but I simply don't enjoy it.  Exercising would be simpler if I did. I am however determined and I have joined a gym with the express intention of being a member for two months and working hard at it, even if I continue to hate every wretched minute.  The most important thing is to keep my eye on my motivation, and I draw this from a number of places:

1) A holiday in October which will hopefully involve a beach and a bikini and the fulfillment of a goal
2) I will be fitter and healthier
3) The fact that I have decided to post about it here will help keep me accountable.
4) The end is definitely in sight.

To keep track of my progress, I'm going to keep a running total of exercise hours here. My goal is to reach a solid 24 hours of exercise. (That seemed nicer than tracking volume of sweat produced!) I'm only going to count specific exercise-for-the-sake-of-exercise hours, rather than the walk to the station in the morning and that sort of thing.  That's all good stuff, but I'm going to track the exercise that is hard work, and then anything else is a bonus! I started a week ago, as I thought it would be good to establish an exercise routine before I go back to work.  At the moment my arms and legs ache, but at the end of the first week of gym membership, I still hate it but I can run for 30 minutes without stopping on the treadmill (albeit slowly), I am determined to make use of the pool and some of the exercise classes and I am contemplating having a personal training session.  

Finally, I have a bit of request for feedback: is anyone out there an exercise enthusiast who can share any tips? Or does anyone have any good ways of motivating themselves to exercise?  Any tips for effective methods of exercise?  Has anyone ever had a personal trainer session - was it effective? Wish me luck!

Kisses xxx

P.S. Exercise24: 2 hours, 25 minutes

P.P.S. If you're in the habit of seeing me regularly or even occasionally, please bully me into going to the gym.  My reply might well be: "No thanks, I like cake, not running" but don't accept that as a valid response.


  1. Re the gym, my advice is to join a class whenever possible. Nothing like close proximity to others in a similar situation to act as motivation. Good luck!

  2. Firstly congratulations on the weight loss! That's amazing! I'm just starting myself as I want to go back down to the dress size I had before and in middle age that is really challenging! Anyway I'm not a gym fan but I Do love a good Zumba class. It's just like dancing for an hour which I've always been happy to do (albeit with a glass in one hand!) and I also feel it burns off loads of calories. Good luck!

  3. I used to think I hated exercise, but I tried running and to my shock I love it. Keep trying different things til you find YOUR thing. Fyi I was 280 lbs and am down 70. And yes a big girl like me can run.

  4. Well done on your weight loss, you look great. I don't like the gym atmosphere, but I'd recommend a dance class too, like Zumba or maybe a Salsa class. Try going with a friend/ watching tv while you're on the cross trainer/ reading a magazine on the treadmill etc. Amy is right thought , keep trying different stuff till you find a way. And notice how much better you feel after your session. Re tummy toning, I think the slendertone abs helps

  5. You look amazing! And have given me some much needed hope and inspiration this morning. Good luck with the exercise, the only thing that's worked for me is making a pledge to watch my favourite rubbishy tv programme while on the exercise bike. C x

  6. First: you look fantastic. Congratulations on your success so far!
    Second: I am a fellow exercise-so-I-can-eat kinda girl. I found that the MyFitnessPal app really helped me to be accountable when I was losing my pregnancy weight from my first child-- and it was awesome that when I exercised, I could enter it in for "extra" calories for the day. Definitely made me push myself when I was working out!
    Third: Since I hated exercising when I first started, I discovered ways to distract myself. At first, I was listening to audiobooks (I'd check out these pre-recorded mp3 players from the library called "Playaways"-- not sure if you have them there), and then I moved on to podcasts (I listened to yours!). I found that it was too easy for me to tune out music and focus on how much I wasn't enjoying myself, but the verbal audio kept me engaged and better distracted. Now, as I'm starting in on losing my pregnancy weight from my second child, I've discovered that I actually *missed* working out! Imagine that! I never would have predicted that I would have looked forward to running...

    Best wishes for your continued success!! Cheering for you!!
    ~Natalie (QSOgirl)

  7. Look up the class timetable and find something that suits you! Treadmills / machines are just dull as hell.

    Have a look at high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes - they give you a good workout and only take 30 minutes. Believe me, you won't have the energy for more.

  8. Hia, regular reader, first time commenter...I'm a scrapper who runs and who's a bit of an exercise freak (people always find that a bit incongruous, I never understood why?!). [Training for my first marathon - yay me!].

    Gyms are boring! Try podcasts or TED talks to liven it up/disconnect you from the atmosphere...or download some audio books from audible.

    Also, definitely vary your routine, aswell...swimming one day, machines the next, try a couple of different classes. The 'dance-based' classes are always fun! If you don't make sure you have variety, you WILL get bored before you have a chance to make it a routine habit and that would be fatal (well, not fatal, obviously, but you know what I mean!).

    Personal trainer: I worked with one after some pretty heavy surgery. I was all 'OMG, what will he THINK?' before the first session, then he turned up, was a human and we had a good laugh for all the remaining sessions...if you're really nervous, I'd recommend meeting a few before you commit - you'll click with one of them.

    BTW: didn't say...amazing weight loss already, you look like a right little fox now ;)
    BTW2: I completely live my London nostalgia vicariously through you - was a student there in my day and miss it's shiny, potential-filled streets. My heart always sings a little when you post about your London adventures! Thank you xxx
    BTW3 (while I'm here!): LOVING your photos!!!!!

  9. You look great =)) And your hair is also great)
    I don't need to loose weight (it's the other way around), but I want to get stronger so I started some simple workouts. I don't like it very much, but when I have a friend who is exercising with me (via skype:) it's almost fun. It motivates me and keeps me accountable as you say.