Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why I exercise

There are many reasons for exercising and working out. Some exercise to lose weight and get fit. Some to get the adrenalin and the anxiety out and get the endorphine high afterwards. And having the feeling good about movement and the tiredness that comes after working out.

I realised that I do exercise partly to lose weight (I use it as an explanation that I can eat a little more than I should since I'm working it off). That said, it's sad that I have gained back all that I lost a few years back. Mind you, I was smoking and not eating at the time. Now I'm not smoking, eating and keeping my 'steady weight' (my main weight I've been the last 7 years... so at least I'm staying in my "comfort zone"). I'd love to be a 70-75 kg woman. That's something I think might be attainable. Although, obviously not with the current intake of food but smaller portions. I also think it would be a healthier me.

I have noticed though, what really makes me motivated to keep going to the gym. Nowadays I'm back to working out in the morning, and I am not a morning person so this has been back to doing something that isn't my first choice. What motivates me trough these horrible mornings when all I want is to curl up in bed and snooze just a little longer? That I feel so much better after a work out. Key thing is to pack the bag in the evening and then when the alarm goes off in the morning, just get up without thinking and get the gym clothes on and go.

I've also realised that I'm back in the zone, as I was when I was swimming in high school. I was lucky my last year of high school to start 9.45am and that meant I could go to the swimming pool at 7 in the morning and work out before going to school. At that time, there was no one else in the pool and I could do lap after lap after lap. Breast strokes most often. Trying to beat my lap times, listening to the classical music they played. And always zoning out and being in my head, oblivious to the things surrounding me and the "must been to come". Counting the strokes, feeling the breathing rhythm, moving in a pattern and when everything came together, feeling in total unison with the water and forgetting everything else but the stroke, breathe, stretch and float....

My current exercise is similar, if nothing else. I picked up rowing a few months back, which is the same to me. I need to focus on the rowing form in order to do it right. Push with the legs, pull backwards with core, pull handle while flipping backwards, release over knees and move back to the starting position, catch a small break (should be 1 - out - 2 in, on a three count) keep it steady and moving pace for endurance and not pick up the pace but improve the intensity. I need to focus on my posture, breathing and pulling. When I get tired I automatically pick up the pace, pull more with my arms and slouch (which means more arms, less core) and then it's not the correct thing.

The heavy bag boxing is the same thing and has been my "go to" for a few years now. The repetitions of one-twos, then three-fours and then five-six before ending with one-one-two and one-two-three-four-five-six and the arms are shaking. I need to be focused on form and breathing since otherwise I hurt myself. Standing on your toes, keeping legs engaged, slightly bent with the balance in the core, breathing out when the punch hits the bag, keeping the other hand up as guard and always resting with both hands in the air, on your toes.

And I love this. I train for me. Not for losing the pounds. Even if I am very happy seeing the "calories" on the treadmill and the elliptical and feeling my flabbyness decreasing, that's not the end game. End game is that I want to improve and I want to measure my input/output and keep tables and measure my achievements. I need to know that I at least row as many meters I did last time, with the same intensity or more (the rowing machine has a 'strenght measureer' where you see the intensity and I'm doing intervals coming over 4... the best thing so far is 4.5 but boy I was tired after that). The running is the same, I want to see my interval speeds working for me improving. Now I can run at 8.2 mph at my last intervals and keeping the steady pace at 6.3mph for more than 4 miles. Last year I started at running at a steady pace of 5.3 and intervals at 6.2 so I know I've improved even if the overall results are not great by any means (I'm trying to stop the negative thoughts, promise).

I'm trying to focus on the happy that I can do all this; rowing, boxing, running, jogging, weights and TRX and not focus too much on the fatty belly, flobby chin and the slobber thighs. Thinking that at least my posture is good, my blood pressure is great and my blood work overall is looking very good. Even if my weight isn't where I want it to be, nor is my bikini body as splendid as I would hope. I'm working on the positive thoughts and the non-negative body image thoughts. Some days are better than others.

Back to measuring the achievements and feeling great about the continuously running/jogging and increasing the miles. Soon enough I will have to keep going for 13 miles all in one go with people watching me. And when I do, maybe I can neglect focus on the flabby tummy and focus on the "I did it and darn that's cool". Here's to hope! :)