Posts Tagged ‘getting fit’
So, despite knowing better and despite trying my best not to let it happen, I managed – somehow – to put on 3kgs during the summer holidays. To be fair, the holidays were 10 weeks long and I spent four of those weeks in England eating pies, plus two weeks in the States. Yes, two weeks in the States – come to think of it, it’s actually a wonder that I only put on 3kgs.
So this September, as I do every September, I weighed myself, tried on my benchmark white skinny jeans and cried silently into my skinny black coffee, then drew up a plan to shed the extra kgs.
I never do classes. If there’s one thing I hate more than the gym, it’s classes. I drew up a schedule. Four classes a week.
So today was the first class. Bounce Fit. Says the website: ‘The opposite of a gruelling ordeal, our classes are all about high spirits and awesome soundtracks. Most of all, it makes you smile, laugh and is great FUN!’
Sounds okay, no? Especially the bit where it says you can burn up to 1,000 calories a class!
There were five of us there today. That threw me. Having looked at the pix on the website, I’d imagined there might be 30 people and I could hide at the back, panting quietly into my baggy T-shirt and maybe even sneaking out for a doughnut half way through, but today there was no place to hide.
So we started. We bounced, we jumped, we leapt about till my heart was pounding out of my chest and my sweat was decorating the trampoline beneath my feet. I stopped for a breather.
‘Ahem,’ said the instructor, a guy who looked like he’d competed in the last Olympics. ‘We haven’t started yet. This is just the warm-up.’ I laughed. ‘We’ve been here eight minutes,’ he said. ‘The class is 60 minutes.’
Had I have been on a trampoline nearest the exit, I would have left. Really, I would.
The class then started in earnest. Bouncing boot camp is all I can say. I’ve never worked so hard in my life and the instructor took no prisoners. If someone faltered, we started the set again. There’s a fine line between feeling motivated and vowing never to go back, and I bounced that line for the whole hour (usually on the side of ‘never again’).
‘Remember! We’re aiming to burn 800 to 1,000 calories!’ shouted the instructor.
‘I think I’m going to be sick,’ I whispered to my squats partner 40 minutes in. Having bounced on our knees, our tummies and our arms, done sit-ups, press-ups, mountain runs and all sort of other nasties, we were holding hands facing each other and doing bouncing squats for 20 before dropping down to plank for 10. Three sets of each. Plus some more because someone dropped their knees in plank. My partner didn’t answer but I didn’t blame her: she looked like she was about to pass out herself.
But I did it. It was close, but I got to the end without dropping dead. The instructor high-fived me.
‘How was it?’ he asked, bouncing about on his endorphin high.
‘Great,’ I wheezed. Then I went home and had a lie-down.
This is not a sponsored post.
I have a confession: I’m Mrs Dubai – and I joined a gym.
I’ll just wait for you get up off the floor where you fell in shock that your sauvignon blanc-loving exercise-phobe of a blogger is actually considering Lycra… (actually, no Lycra is involved: that would be too cruel).
I do appreciate that I haven’t set foot in a gym since 2001 (seriously) but there comes a point in a 40-something woman’s life when she looks at the wobbly thighs and has to decide: is this it? Am I going to slide into my late 40s in loose-fit M&S slacks, or am I going to continue buying bikinis?
So I decided to make friends with the cross-trainer (it’s a machine, DH); to acquaint myself with the treadmill, the rowing machine and the stair-climber. I decided to start doing weights. And you know what? It’s going well.
I credit my success in the gym – and by “success” I mean the fact that I’ve actually been four times – to the system of public-shaming that the gym utilises.
They give you a heart-rate monitor and, should you choose to register it, whenever you wear it in the vicinity of the gym, your exercise stats are displayed on public screens for all to snigger at.
Under your name, it tells the entire population of the gym what your heart rate is, how many calories you’ve burned and, crucially, how much effort you’re putting in so they’ll know – they’ll know! – if you’re just strolling gently along reading the Daily Mail on your iPhone or actually giving the cross-trainer some serious wellie.
Furthermore, I think there’s a shame – no, definitely there’s a public shame – in leaving the cardio area until you’ve burned at least eight fingers’ worth of Kit-Kat calories….
You didn’t hear this from me but, being quite a competitive person who likes to exercise alone, I think I could just have found the motivation I need to turn that 5kg of extra body fat into 5kg of muscle… I’ll keep you posted.
Last night a friend roped me into joining the Tour de France wanabees who cycle around the Dubai Autodrome race track every Wednesday night.
As a “casual” cyclist, who potters around the garden paths of her compound one or two times a week, getting landscaping and furniture ideas from other people’s gardens and inhaling the scent of the flowers wilting in the hot, morning sun, it was a big development for me.
The preparation was immense.
For a start, I had to buy a cycle helmet, because that’s the rules: No helmet – no ride. Fair enough when you consider most of the pro cyclists there would be hitting speeds of 50kmh or more. So, the brains were measured and a helmet was purchased.
A time was agreed with my friend.
And then the real preparation began: The mental battle to get myself to actually go. I psyched myself up for nearly a week. It would be fine. I wouldn’t be swept off my bike by gangs of men in lycra and pointy hats flying past me, their wiry little legs pumping up and down like pistons. The cyclists would be welcoming (or would at least kindly ignore me and my amateur’s bike and my M&S capri pants). The tarmac would be smooth. It might even be fun.
But, most of all, cycling in the evening would mean I wasn’t sitting at home, inhaling Shiraz.
Yesterday evening I started getting ready. I ate a banana to get my energy up. I removed multiple child car seats from the back of the gas-guzzler, collapsed the seats and manhandled the bike into the back (truly, I have to admit here that although the track is only 1.5km from home, there was absolutely no way I could both cycle to it and around it. No way on earth – there’s a very big hill involved).
So, as 7.45pm approached, I adjusted the new bike helmet, accepted that I’d never understand how the heart monitor / calorie-counter thing worked, and set off in tandem with my friend.
The first signs were positive – we passed a panting cyclist, no doubt pedalling his way back to Abu Dhabi after two hours on the track – and we passed a few cars leaving. The floodlights were on; the ushers ushered us in. We parked, we unloaded the bikes, we put on our helmets, shoved the car keys into our bras and pedalled off towards the track.
Maybe next week we’ll get there before it closes.
For the last day or two, I’ve been tempted by the thought of entering myself into a local 5K run. As a teenager, I loved running – but it’s a love that’s been dormant for a very long time. These days I’m into my cycling (quite leisurely) and my yoga, both of which I enjoy so much I don’t find them a chore to do.
But then this 5K race caught my imagination. I’d get fitter if I trained. It’d be a good discipline; I’d have a fabulous sense of achievement if I made it. Maybe I could rope a friend into doing it with me. We might even get half way to having runners’ legs!
I found the “couch to 5K” plans on the internet and they looked do-able (Day 1: Run 15 seconds, then walk – even I could do that!). I put the question out to my Twitter followers. Every single one who replied said yes, do it.
And I almost did.
But then I was on my first morning bike ride for ages, panting round my usual 6km lap and I realised that I’m far less fit than I thought. A summer of inactivity and copious sundowners has set my fitness back a lot.
I imagined running the route I was cycling; I imagined the pain in my lungs; the slam of my feet into the pavement; the feel of my flab bouncing up and down; my face set into a hard grimace, and I thought: Life’s too short to do things you don’t enjoy. Don’t kid yourself, Mrs D. You are not a runner. Never again will you be a runner.
If you want to achieve things in sport, you need to do things that you love; things that make your soul resonate with joy. For me, the Full-Moon Yoga on the beach at Madinat appeals massively. A gentle cycle challenge (not the Dubai92 92k one thank you very much, not this year) would be nice. Ice-skating. Roller-blading in the park.
The key to fitness is that you have to enjoy it. I wish all the best to Dubai’s 5K runners. I won’t be running with you, but I’ll come and cheer you on.