Ah, September. Back-to-school time. There’s a sense of purpose in the air, and I have chosen to harness it in my quest to regain my fitness.
I’ve always been a reasonably active person, but there are degrees of reasonably active and I’ve been sliding for a year now. It’s completely my own fault, and it all started back in the Spring of 2006. Mr E Man proposed in November 2005, but we decided to buy a house before getting married, and pushed the wedding back to August 2007. This did not stop my friends from pestering me to be taken dress shopping. After a few months, I gave in and agreed to an exploratory expedition to see what was out there.
Predictably, I found the perfect dress on that first shopping trip, more than a year before the actual event. After a long discussion (in the pub) of the pros and cons of buying a dress such a long time before the wedding, we all trooped back to the awesome shop and I ordered my dress, which was a little bit tight, nothing to be worried about, plenty of time.
The dress arrived a few months later. It was no longer just a little bit tight.
Given the choice between less food and more exercise, I’ve always chosen the latter. I like my food far too much. So I started going to the gym three or four times a week instead of once or twice. I stored the dress at a friend’s house and tried it on every couple of months. Not only did it start to fit better, but I was starting to look and feel better. People even commented on it. Everything was awesome.
With a couple of months to go, I realised that I was also going to need to cut all cookies and chips (in both the UK and Canadian senses of the word) from my diet. It was a struggle, but it all paid off on the day. The dress even still fit at our second wedding reception, three weeks and many cervezas after the first. (I took a backup dress with me, just in case. I was NOT going to sacrifice my honeymoon fun). And at least I never went to the extremes endured by a friend who got married a few months before me, and had to spend six months ordering wine spritzers and raw veggie platters at the pub.
Back in Vancouver and starting a new job, I’d lost the motivation symbolised by that damn dress and started to make excuses not to go to the gym. I have now turned this skill into an art form – it’s too hot, it’s too cold, I might have West Nile virus, there’s a paper cut on my finger and I don’t want to irritate it. Having pushed myself a bit too hard for the few months before the wedding, I felt I’d deserved a bit of time off for good behaviour. And a cookie or two, obviously.
BUT! (Or, BUTT!). Enough is enough. I need to get my lazy arse back in gear and start exercising more. It’s not about weight (I honestly never weigh myself), it’s about clothes fitting me better and looking and feeling awesome.
So back to the gym I go! Through trial and error I’ve determined that the best time for me to go is before work, for no more than 30 minutes at a time. It’s too hot, too stinky, and too damn busy after work. In addition the gym is two blocks from my building, and going in the morning means I can stretch at home (depending on how many cats are trying to sit on my head), then have a nice, easy, mostly downhill ride to the gym (just enough exertion to warm me up). This is infinitely preferable to going after work, stretching on those gross mats, and then having to cycle up the sodding hill. My favourite workout is the Quick-Fit Circuit, which alternates machine weights with cardio and takes roughly 20 minutes per round, but I do make myself do some pure cardio too – mostly on the elliptical trainers and rowing machines, with the occasional stairmaster session thrown in. I don’t run, I don’t do free weights, and I hate classes. I’m aiming for two or three workouts (or equivalent) a week.
And you all get to play too! I’ve added an exercise log to the top right corner and I’ll be faithfully logging all gym visits and other exercise. My daily commute (a total of 12 km each day) is a given, so I won’t be adding that, but I will add any extracurricular cycling. If you happen to notice that the log hasn’t been updated for a while, please do give me a public kick up the virtual arse to shame me into activity. (If you know me in real life you can give me a public kick up my actual arse).
Either that or you can all chip in for a fabulous dress that is too small for me.