Ode to exercise

The geyser is still on the blink. It’s so irritating. It’s not more than 5 years old after the last one burst and was replaced by the insurance company. So still showering at the gym. Maybe I will put in a gym session as well. I haven’t been very “gymmy” lately, just not been in the mood. The result is 3 kgs evident. If I put my mind (and body) to it, it should take me a month to be back to my pre-India body (says she, chewing on a sweet Gulab Jamun).

I am not into weight loss gimmicks or products. Common sense eating and exercise is all that’s needed. Common sense in that if you take in more calories than you burn then guess what? And that’s where the exercise comes in. It helps you burn calories, those that you don’t need. But here’s the magic thing – the more you exercise the more you have to eat (healthily and common-”sensily”) in order to sustain the exercise.

To gain slimness you have to exercise. Diet will only get you so far (imagine all that slack dangly skin, ugh!). Exercise is key. Exercise is king. It doesn’t matter what exercise. Are you burning calories? Are you becoming fitter? Are you having fun? If you have answered “Yes” to all those questions, that is all that matters.

Over a number of years I became progressively non-slim. It happened, and one day I woke up and thought, WTF? To get it off took another few years. Not that I was dieting during those years. Nooooo! I was trying to find shortcuts. Which didn’t work.

One day I woke up and decided that the time had come to go to the gym. 6 months of personal training and sensible eating changed my body shape. I surprised even myself. The benefits of exercise were also many, the most awesome one was realising that the happy hormones were coursing through my body. It’s like walking on clouds. Walking into the gym, smelling the combination of chlorine and sweat, together with the pumping music is enough to get me all excited about working out.

You have to be patient and sustain the routine until the endorphins kick in and the dual anchors of smell and sound will carry you through the tedium of treadmill and bicycle until you want more.

But I hate gym, I hear you say. So did I. But that’s ok. There’s hiking, dancing, running, hockey, netball, soccer, cricket. Anything to get your heart pumping and the unwanted calories off.

The best investment I made was a heart rate monitor. Mine is not fancy, it is the basic entry-level model and it tells me my heart rate during exercise. Based on certain thresholds I program in, it tells me if I am over-exerting myself, and at the end of the session tells me how many calories I’ve burned. The more fancy models give you much more info including downloading the exercise info onto your computer so you can do all sorts of analysis (if you’re into that sort of thing). My basic one is more than enough for me.

As to the thresholds, you can either get a personal trainer (which I got for 6 months, but when he stood me up 3 times I decided to go it alone), or do your own research. There are lots of online resources. OR you can buy a book. Or an exercise and fitness magazine available at any supermarket.

They key to all this is off course – your goals! For me to be healthy is the main goal. The fact that I can now wear skinny jeans – well this is a bonus.

So there you have it. All of the above has been written based on my own personal experience. Now to put it into action again to shed the 3-India-kgs.

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