Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The zen gym bunny

This time last year I set out on a programme of daily rigorous exercise to whip myself into shape, and to be honest it worked. I was fired up and enthusiastic and whilst it was hard work I enjoyed it.

However this year I'm taking a different approach and inline with my zen dieting it's alot more relaxed.

This doesn't mean I'm turning into a couch potato, though, just that I'm going to be less regimented in what I do, and when, and respond to how my body feels when choosing what to do.

It's easiest to explain my approach in terms of questions as with the diet.

If you get to the end of your working day and you've already been to the gym, then bravo! Gold star for you! If however the most exercise you've done is walking to the canteen (not that uncommon) then ask yourself these questions:

Do I have the energy to exercise?
I know most exercise programmes insist you'll feel better if you drag yourself to the gym, come hell or high water, but if you're sleep deprived, over-stressed or ill it can be counter-productive so be honest with yourself.

If the answer is No, then consider at least a 15-20min walk on the way home (just get on the tube a stop later) or 20mins of a gentle yoga or pilates dvd when you get home, just to get your circulation going. Then make sure you have a relaxed evening and an early night.

If the answer is yes then spend a couple of minutes mulling over what you fancy doing.

Sometimes I fancy going to the gym, sometimes I just want to get straight home and then exercise there. There are days when I want to do something quite high impact for 40-50mins like tae bo or spinning and others when I just feel like a gentle cycle or swim for 20 minutes. Weights I usually limit to 30mins as I get bored but cheer myself along with cheesy tunes, and some days I just want to do something silly and put on a cheesy dance workout dvd at home (when no one is looking)! For a truly amusing workout just put on mtv and try and dance along with the routines :-)

By just doing what you fancy you're much more likely to exercise, rather than finding an excuse not to, plus if you're having fun you're less likely to produce as much stress hormones whilst you're working out (stress hormones increase fat retention, especially around your waist).

By the time you get to the weekend you will hopefully have enjoyed a few exercise sessions, but if you haven't done much it's a good time to fit some in. Firstly you have more time to do it and secondly you can catch-up on some sleep so should have more energy.

Think about what you did in the week and balance it out. Did you do all cardio? Then fit in a weights session, bodypump or some other toning class. Didn't have anytime for some stretching or yoga? Then do some after your workout. Are there any muscle groups you didn't work out this week (legs, back, chest, abs, arms)? Then make sure you do some exercise that uses them.

And remember weekend exercise can be more fun, having a kick about in the park, playing tennis or going for a bike ride all count.

We also all need a couple of rest days a week, so if you've been super good during the week then make sure you take Sunday off to chill!

By doing exercise you enjoy, but also resting when you need to, you'll be in better shape (physically and mentally) than trying to stick to the latest ridiculous celebrity exercise regime. Results might not be as quick but in the long run you'll stay fitter and feel happier.

1 comment:

  1. Most of your time and effort on abdominal exercise and abs workouts to try to flatten your stomach and bring out 6-pack abs is simply wasting your time from doing the correct workout programs that will actually reduce your body fat for good.