Saturday, November 03, 2012

Exercising my way to an Amazon body

I've decided to write about my time at the gym, and my exercise, and probably my wobbly body.  This is something I've deliberately steered away from before because I don't want to add to the scores of media dissecting weight and women's dissatisfaction with their bodies - that drive to always lose another 3lbs, no matter your current weight.  Also, I know at least one person reading this has an eating disorder which involved exercise, and I am conscious that I don't want to trigger them.
So, with that said, please don't feel the pressure to read if you think this topic may upset you.

I rejoined my gym about 4 or 5 months ago because I was sick of tired of feeling unhealthy and inflexible.  I get back and knee pain, largely due to my daily 20 minute cycle ride to work, and I spend so much time at a computer, either at work or at home, I regularly seize up.  I started doing weekly body balance and body combat classes, and some swimming, and I felt so much better, physically.  It was a joy when I realised I could bend like never before.  Then my boyfriend had his bicycle/car accident and I froze my membership.  As the boyfriend is now much much better (nearly healed in fact) I defrosted the membership and went back yesterday for a health mot and then today for a gym induction.

First, the health MOT.  In this they measure various things - heart rate at rest, BMI etc and as I'd had the same thing done in early August we could compare the results.
Whilst not at the gym I have been deliberately watching what I eat because I didn't want to put on weight.  Although weight loss isn't the main reason for me joining a gym, I'd be lying if I didn't say it wasn't a small contributory factor.  I hate having this weight issue on my mind.  Some days I love my wobbly squishy bits, some days I'm revulsed by them.  In an effort to get a better relationship with my body I am trying to concentrate on improving flexibility and strength, not weight loss.  Plus, I think it's healthy for your soul to treat your body well.

Anyway, onto my MOT results.
My weight is 10stone 3lbs and my height is 5 ft 3 (both the same as they were before the boyfriend's accident).  So my BMI is the same - 25.7  I actually have no patience with BMI as a measuring tool.  taken by itself it's meaningless.  Heavily muscled folk could have a very high BMI, whereas skinny little wasted folk could have BMI in the healthy weight range.  Yet guess who would be healthier?

My waist to hip ratio has actually gone down - from 0.81 to 0.79.  This I am more interested in.  I have no idea how it's gone down, but I'm pleased by it. Apparently I'm still in the high risk range (0.79 to 0.84) but whatever.  I'm fine with that.  Anyway, I've been incredibly stressed over the last 10 weeks, and stress leads to weight being put on around the middle, so I'm very surprised that it's not higher.

Systolic Blood pressure (pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts)- I've gone from 108 to 114.  This is not surprising.  Lack of proper exercise, a house move process, and a broken boyfriend will increase blood pressure.

Diastolic blood pressure (pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts)- gone from 73 to 77.
Both these measurements still leave me in the healthy category though, so that's fine.

Aerobic fitness - gone from 38 to 37.  I think a higher number is better here.    Ah well.  I think we can put this down lack of proper exercise.

Resting heart rate - 64 to 68.  Again, this is fine.

Cholesterol - it's gone down!  hooray!  I have heart problems in my family so I am very pleased by this.  i was at 5.66, now I'm at 5.48. :D  Go me1!

Blood glucose - gone from 4.60 to 4.70.  less than 5.8 is good, apparently.

I've just realised I have no idea what these numbers are measurements of.  I could look in the paperwork, but can't be arsed.  Laziness will be my downfall.

So today I went back for a induction to the gym equipment.

I'm terrified of the gym.  I just don't see myself as one of 'those' people who use the equipment regularly.  I'm scared of looking like a fool.  I'm scared of doing it wrong.  I'm scared of not being able to do it all.  I'm scared about getting bored.

But actually, it wasn't as horrific as I expected.  I think I'll be able to do the exercises properly.  I'm getting the programme written out for me.  I think I'll be able to avoid all the other gym bunnies.  And at least in some areas of the place I can see outside.

I really want to develop my strength.  I want an Amazon body.  Anyone who knows me will laugh at that, because I am so not an Amazon type.  I'm a short, stout, wobbly type, who's incredibly heavy on her feet.

But we'll see.  If the gym equipment doesn't work out I'll have to force myself to go swimming alongside the interesting classes.


Gary said...

Best of luck getting what you want from this; exercise should be fun and something you enjoy.

I do a fair bit of cycling and if your knees are hurting after 20 minutes, you may need to adjust the height of your saddle. It's a quick and easy fix which might save you some pain.


Saranga said...

Thanks Gary. My saddle is at the right height, it's just because I don;t do enough stretching, so the muscles around my kness get all bunched up and then they creak.
Plus I think I've inherited bad kness from my Dad. Ah well. Different sorts of exercise and regular massage sorts them out.