The Exercise Thing… My Experience, My Current Routine And My Thoughts
I’m into fitness. Kind of. There’s been times I’ve been totally against working out, times I’ve been obsessed with it and everything in between.
I’ve gone through phases where the gym was my favourite place to be, and phases when I couldn’t even dream of stepping foot in a gym, phases where the only exercise I did had to be outdoors and phases where I refused to go a single day without a hot yoga class.
Here’s what I’ve learnt, and where I’m at.
I feel best when I’m doing a lot of longer duration (1 hour or more… ish) of low intensity cardioish exercise – look I’m no personal trainer or exercise physiologist but what I mean is things like walking, hiking and skiing (I don’t know if skiing fits into that category) but if I look back at all the exercise phases I’ve gone through, when I’ve been doing a lot of those things I feel best.
So what do I mean when I say feeling my best? Well the best way I can describe it is feeling “light”, but before you get some bad thoughts in your head, I’m not talking anything to do with weight and it’s not at all associated with weight (in fact for the most part my weight has been pretty much the same for ages). But feeling light is like when you wake up energised and fresh, your clothes feel good, you feel like you want to move your body, and you feel comfortable in your skin. As opposed to feeling heavy and sluggish which is a feeling we all know too well.
Of course I have to address aesthetic here too, even though this is a topic I hate shining light on because it took me YEARS to realise I had a lot to offer the world and the gravitational pull I have on the earth wasn’t one of them. If you are struggling with this, listen to me before you read on…
YOU HAVE SO MANY AMAZING THINGS TO OFFER THIS WORLD AND WHAT YOU WEIGH ISN’T ONE OF THEM. YES YOU I AM TALKING TO YOU.
But I know it kind of matters for this blog post and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like looking a certain way. So in my opinion, I look better when I’m doing more of this kind of exercise, I feel more comfortable in my own skin.
MY OWN BODY…
I naturally hold muscle really well, I have strong looking legs, a very built up booty – yes I totally have a ghetto booty I don’t know where it came from but I’ve had it since I was a kid. I have naturally muscular arms and a relatively defined stomach most of the time. I don’t need to worry about maintaining muscle, what I do need to watch is that I can easily gain size if I’m not looking after myself (this was proven in my genomic wellness test where I was at high risk for every single marker relating to obesity and appetite… Amazing haha).
In Ayurvedic medicine, my body type falls neatly in the pitta-kapha dosha – if this interests you I highly recommend Dr Stephen Cabral’s podcast, he is really the only person I trust in regards to Ayurveda as I think there is a lot of misguided info out there – for years I thought I was totally vata but after listening to his podcast I realised I pretty much have zero vata in me and I am totally pitta-kapha.
Important: most girls, no matter your body type think that they fall into this category – most girls will read this and thing “that’s me! I gain weight really easily”, when often it’s not true – this is body dysmorphia rearing it’s ugly head… Look this is a total cluster fuck minefield and this is part of the reason I’m reluctant to share this post because I can’t control who reads it and as I’ve mentioned before if you have an eating disorder, body dysmorphia or are recovering from conditions like this I don’t think social media and blogs like mine are a good place to hang around as a lot of this content can be very triggering.
When I was doing a lot of F45 (5ish times a week), I honestly didn’t get the amazing results that some do. I felt heavy, sluggish, and for how hard I felt like I was working (considering I really didn’t want to go to those classes most of the time), I didn’t feel at all like I was getting a good return in terms of the way I looked and felt.
When I do a lot of walking and hiking, I feel really good, not just straight after exercise but just throughout the day as well. I actually feel super energised where as too much high intensity makes me want to sit down all day.
I once gave up working out completely, for about a two years, and only did hot vinyasa yoga and walking but not that much of it. This was at a time when my mental health wasn’t in a good way and that’s why I was so focused on yoga as I found it to really really help. I still do yoga 100% for the mental benefit and currently I do about 1 or 2 classes a week if I can but sometimes I just do my own random 10 minute flows if that’s all I can manage.
For the sake of not making this the world’s longest blog post, I’ve only included the experiences in my adult life (like 20 and over) I haven’t gone into the whole teenager thing because that’s a whole other story and not totally relevant right now since I am not 15 years old.
Yes I obviously had many other changes around these times happening at the same time – different diet, different job, work situation, living situation etc and I don’t for one second think that what you look like is determined only by how much you eat and how much you exercise – it’s governed by so many body processes and hormones play a big part of course.
Also, it IS very possible that a lot of these differences have to do not with the exercise itself but that fact that those activities I mentioned above (that I prefer) are all done outdoors, and time spent in nature and in fresh air is proven to relieve anxiety and give you an uplifted mood – that and looking at wide expansive spaces like the top of a mountain – skiing and hiking and walking all have that.
SO THIS IS MY CURRENT SITCH…
Which by the way is totally subject to change depending on my situation…
I move every day. I don’t give myself a choice and this is a tip I read in some personal development book that if you say to yourself “I’m going to exercise 5 days a week”, all of a sudden you’ve got a choice and every morning your like “hmm should this be my day off or tomorrow or bla bla”… If I say every morning I just have to do it without thinking about it (so it’s a habit and habit-hacking is pretty much my number one in terms of changing your life)… BUT it is not always some crazy workout that I don’t want to do… These 7 days will be made up of something like this… 2 or 3 1 hour walks, 2 or 3 pilates or barre classes, 1 high intensity class a week (I love the high from this but once a week is the perfect amount for me (my current go to is rhythm riding which are spin classes with music), and 1 x yoga class (or my own 10-20 minute flow if I can’t make it to a class),
And failing that it might just me walking down to the beach, jumping in and out of the ocean, or 10 mins of my own made up yoga flow at home or 5 mins of expressive dancing (yes I do this) – but tbh if I’ve got the time and the ability I much prefer to leave the house for my movement and get some fresh air. That’s my current routine.
THE POINT IS…
Try not to let people tell you what to do (including me), learn from people who know what they’re talking about, but you are your own best medicine, deep down you know what’s right for you but you have to get rid of all the mind clutter first and really tune in. This is what I call being centred, some say getting in touch with your true self/ your higher power, whatever it may be. But you will never be able to tune in if you keep searching for answers outside of yourself (read: Instagram pages, diet plans, books, influencers).
But there’s more… Not only do you have to find whatever it is that is best for you (by tuning in) but you have to be RUTHLESS in your pursuits and OWN your own shit. This means for me, when I do my morning movement which today is a 60 minute walk on the beach, I have to be confident knowing I’m doing the best thing for my body and this is the way I will reach my goals and manifest my ultimate life. The second I see 10 of my friends posting a story that they’ve done 10 Barry’s Bootcamps in a row or they just did 6 hours of hot yoga or they don’t do cardio at all #weightsonly (#girldwholift #cardino #shredded or whatever on earth the IG trends are these days)… I can’t suddenly think “oh shit I’m gonna get fat because I’m not doing that” or “am I screwing with my cortisol levels by doing a high intensity class” – you’ll drive yourself nuts. You have to own your shit, and be confident, AND (I just thought of this) be GRATEFUL for the fact that you’ve figured out what gives you your best self and you get to partake in it every day. Whenever I see people posting super sweaty selfies that they’ve done 8 weeks straight of F45 I don’t stress that I only went to 1 class this week (or zero), because I know that I’m doing the best thing for myself and I continue with my walk and feel an immense amount of gratitude that I get to do that as part of my fitness regime. RANT.
Here’s the thing, we’re all different. And I don’t appreciate anyone telling anyone else what’s up. With exercise for example, you always hear people saying “females can’t get bulky, lifting is the best way to lean out, increased muscle mass improves your metabolism”… Well while that all may be true, I’ve done enough trial and error to know what works for me, and honestly too much weight bearing exercise does make me bulky! And to flip it the other way, many other people get zero benefit from walking, where as for me a one hour walk makes a huge difference to my aesthetic and my mind – I feel so honoured and lucky to know this about myself and to have an activity I actually enjoy help me to reach my aesthetic goals.
As always I love knowing if these ranty posts resonate with you! Let me know on the gram what you thought, or what your experiences have been.