Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Rant

Hi there! As my first post I just wanted to explain a few things... I felt obliged to start this blog to keep myself on track with the struggle of being fitter. I have no idea what being fit actually means to me, so I don't actually know what I'm trying to achieve. Being fitter is different from slimming down, and there are different levels of fitness. I know that slimming comes naturally with getting fitter, but I don't yet know if I want to be flexible (yoga), strong (weights), fast (cardio) or just find a good balance of all three. There have been times, usually drunk on new years day, that I have pledged for a healthy year, no junk food, no soft drink, to go to the gym everyday, whatever. It usually lasts three days, and by the time new years comes around we're already over half way through summer in Australia anyway.

We've had a few beautiful sunny days in Melbourne already, and it's gotten me thinking about what I want my body to look like in summer. Shallow, I know, but we all do it. I'm currently ten kilos heavier than where I'd like to be, but I don't think I look fat. I'd be happy now to hit the beach in my body, as is, but part of me just wants to see if I can get to my goal weight. I'm not disciplined enough, which is always what stops me.

A bit of background about me: I've always been relatively fit. Between the ages of 8-18 I was playing 2-3 games of team sports, as well as from the ages of 11-16 engaged in little athletics, representing the state as a hurdler. After 16, I pretty much collapsed on the track one day, run down from lack of energy provided by a very malnourished diet. I was anorexic. I was obsessed with being small, but I had no idea that I was bony. I've destroyed most of the pictures from that time because they disgust me. Between the ages of 18-21 I kept my quick metabolism but managed to eat more than I ever had earlier, with a diet of junk food and stuff you can reheat from the freezer (dim sims, pastizzi, etc.) But at 21, my life changed when I met my fiance.

He had just come back from overseas on an archaeological dig and was so fit. He had huge arms, big strong legs, and a wide back. Well, I thought he was huge at least, and I loved it! He introduced me to the world of weight training in a gym, and the world of body building. His family has very deep roots in the amateur aspect of the sport on a worldwide level. I don't want to name names for issues of privacy but it was a huge shock to me. And I thought my (then) boyfriend was huge. Well, there were much bigger...

At first he started taking me into the gym, which his family owned, at night, after hours, where he could train me with no distractions. Also, I was very subconscious about not being able to do a dumb bell curl with 2.5kg weights when I first started. Many of the machines I was unable to use until I'd built up enough strength, and while building up my strength, I built up my confidence.

The night sessions were slowly partaken in with his best mate, who wanted to train anyway, but the way my partner handled the 'breaking in' period was perfect. His mate, who had competed before, tried helping by giving all this advice on training that my boyfriend would sometimes tell me later to disregard. This was also good preparation for when I would be introduced to training with an open gym, where everyone is apparently an expert.

In time, my boyfriend announced that he was going to compete while he was still a junior. His training intensified, his diet changed, and his personality changed. We were still at that honeymoon stage so I didn't mind, the only thing that changed that had a lasting effect was his increased time at the gym. He'd be there (often with me) for two to three hours a day. In one go. And then back again for a couple of hours to do cardio. That was too long for me, and in my mind to this day I know that he loves training and loves spending time there, and will happily spend hours there training and catching up with people, but it should not take hours at the gym on a daily basis. I'm sure others will disagree. My belief is that everything can be done in an hour, if you cut out socialising. His belief is that a gym is a place of socialisation and training is a part of that. I love training with my fiance, but I find I get more done by myself. The only time he's good to train with is if he spots me while I'm increasing my weight and it's a bit of a stretch so I don't hurt myself.

When I was 12, my parents bought me a border collie. He was a high energy puppy, very smart, very beautiful, but he needed to be walked twice a day for at least 4km each time. I shared walking duties with my mum, but it was mostly me walking him on his daily 8km walks. I now have two snow dogs, a husky and a Samoyed x Golden retriever. They require, at a minimum, 4km walks daily. That takes an hour of my time right there. I love my dogs and I see how destructive they become when they're frustrated, which gives me motivation to be a good pack leader and exercise them daily. It doesn't always happen. I'm a huge sleeper, and sometimes napping gets in the way. Both of my dogs are rescues, and they're aged 1 and 3. The samoyed is over weight, and because she's only 1, getting her in shape will give her the best chance at living to over 10 years old. She's a high energy dog too, so walking her calms her down and turns her into a normal puppy.

So my dogs are my motivation to do regular cardio sessions, but what about weight training? Don't get me wrong, I love a good training session where everything aches the next day, but actually getting my ass to the gym is the hard part. Most people have gym memberships which they've prepaid so the waste of money idea keeps them motivated. Other people hire personal trainers to keep them motivated, but they're expensive and I prefer to train by myself. The other issue is time. I'm too easily distracted by everything else to do, and can always find everything else that needs to be done. I feel guilty if I've taken two hours out of my day to lift weights when there's washing to do. I know my weakness, I don't make exercise a priority. This is my downfall. (Also, I use the excuse that I have two strong dogs and keeping them under control works my biceps and back - haha)

And don't even get me started on dieting... I try, oh so very hard, to eat healthy food. I don't get all hardcore and try to live on chicken and lettuce, but I try to avoid things like McDonald's, frozen party food, potato chips and soft drink and I fail. The other food is just too tempting! When I was an athlete at 16, I felt so guilty that I'd eaten non-diet food that sometimes I'd be sick (not on purpose, I was never bulimic), but now my attitude is "oh well, I can start again tomorrow". And I suppose that trying is at least better than not trying, because the amount of junk food is reduced and healthier choices are better than not so healthy ones, but that's not going to get me where I want to be. Discipline is the one thing most people lack, it takes a very strong soul to say no to the most delicious new McFlurry from McDonald's (bubblegum marshmallow... mmm). I currently don't have that discipline. Yesterday, on day 2 of the diet, I found a container of choc chips left over from when my fiance made me a birthday cake for my birthday this year. It was eaten (inhaled), followed by McDonald's on the way to work (it was a McChicken, but it was a large meal). Bad, very bad behaviour. But today I've been good. And I'm about to take the dogs out for a walk with my fiance, and decide what we're going to do with dinner. He likes being healthy too, so he won't let me stray tonight. Hopefully. It's our 4 year anniversary next week, so we might do something special. I don't know.

So, there are many blogs out there that are fitness oriented. This may not be one of them. This will be about trials and tribulations of getting fit. It'll be for empathic purposes, because there are others out there that do this easily, and there are others out there, like me, who always find something better to do. My hope for this blog is that it'll help someone realise they're not in this alone, as I know it often feels like. Especially when you do this with friends and they succeed and you fail. It's frustrating. I realise I will not always succeed. I also realise I will not always fail. It's the journey that makes everything worthwhile. And when you ask someone "how did you get a body like that?" they always say "hard work and discipline". That's not a story. I love hearing people's stories. I love hearing about success, and how people fall off the bandwagon. I don't just like seeing the end result and that's it. So, instead of being a fitness blog, this is my story.

I'm off to walk my dogs.

Fee xoxo