When I moved in December last year, I was probably the fittest I’d been in years. I wasn’t running marathons or anything, but I could actually seriously exert myself without feeling like my lungs and heart were having a rave. My health problems weren’t great though, and when I started feeling more and more rubbish, I just sort of resigned myself to letting all the hard work go to waste. I didn’t join a new gym like I promised myself I would straight away, instead I started eating Lindt chocolate reindeers and using the cold as an excuse to behave like a sloth with a sweet tooth.
I saw someone post a quote on Twitter in January which said ‘The only exercise I get is running out of money.’ I think I laughed for about 40 seconds then realised it was actually me. I had transitioned from fit and well and on a roll, to lazy and uninspired. Exercise and fitness are vital for my body. I need to stay fit and strong to not end up crying in a heap of dislocated joints and painkillers, but I seemed to not really care. I blame part of this on that Christmas mentality where you eat and eat because it’s December and it’s just what people do. Twiglets for breakfast? If it’s December, then yes of course, I’ll eat the whole pack.
Anyway, eventually I did drag myself out of this winter misery and stop eating leftover quality street long enough to realise I needed my old diet back. After a month of getting back to my usual, much healthier self, I finally joined a gym and put together an exercise programme I could actually do and stick to. Turns out I need structure to function, so going to classes instead of just rocking up to a treadmill as and when I had time worked much better.
Now it’s been 12 weeks. It’s been three whole months of doing this timetable of exercise and aside from the obvious benefits like looking more toned and feeling more energetic, I’ve also started feeling more like I want to participate in life in general. I don’t think I ever actually realised that a sudden lack of physical activity and a lot of lazing around made me less inclined to join in with stuff, but it did.
Now I don’t want to go home after a long day at work and just lay in one place watching Netflix or traipsing around the kitchen throwing a meal together like it’s the hardest task ever. I want to do things, and be outside and see more people. For the most part my energy is much better. I look forward to gym days because I leave the classes feeling a lot less uptight and stressed. I’m grinding my teeth less and I’ve cut 95% of the coffee I was guzzling. It’s probably for the best I’m no longer on first term names with the staff at Waterloo Station Pret, let’s be honest.
I would be lying completely if I said for me it was all about the wellbeing and the energy, because it isn’t. The physical changes like the flatter stomach, more shapely looking thighs and stronger arms make me feel like it’s all worthwhile, but as long as something drives you, it surely doesn’t matter?
Apart from a hamstring pull where I ended up limping for a week and buying an aggressively green foam roller on Amazon, I haven’t let the momentum slip. When I went back to running this week post-hamstring, I could feel that a week away resting had jilted my fitness. In the past I probably would have let the hamstring just lead me back down the path of slothism and snacks consisting mostly of Nutella and digestive biscuits. But even in a week I missed the structure and the social side of the classes. Turns out having a wheezy chat while you stand bent over after doing a circuit of box jumps is just as sociable as WhatsApping from bed.
I have a game plan and an aim to keep this going until the end of the year, because I’m genuinely keen to see where I can get to. I mean, there are still 6 months of the year though, so it’s a long time to stay strong, but as long as I stay well (finger, toes and legs crossed) and don’t let the inevitable winter turn me into a life Grinch, I feel like I can do it.