We booked our holiday about a month ago, and ever since then I’ve been vaguely trying to tone myself up and get a little ripped since this holiday is going to be 100% lounging about in bikinis. Also, I’ve been on the physics diet for about a year, which involves intensive workouts of sitting on your bum at a desk all day, so it was time to get back into shape and undo the damage.
Some women subject themselves to incredibly punishing regimes like juice cleanses and so-called “detoxes”, but to me these seem incredibly unhealthy, almost like a form of self-punishment. Personally, I don’t hate my body at all. I quite like it (although I admit I am genetically blessed), so I’m not one for drastic fitness and diet changes. For me, it was simply a matter of eating a bit less crap and working out a bit more.
I like to follow the Pareto Principle: 20% of effort can solve 80% of your problem. Definitely true in my case, big rewards for little effort. My aim was never to lose weight, especially since I am already a Skinny Bitch, I just wanted to tone up a bit so I can feel like I am looking pretty amazing in my itsy bitsy teeny weeny polka dot bikini. If you’ve got it, rock it, you know?
One of the main changes I did was to start doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred every other day or so. I know some people do it every day, but it is pretty hardcore and cardio intensive, and I have to be careful about not overtraining because it causes me to get exhausted. I found that every other day worked for me in terms of getting noticeably fitter and stronger without destroying myself.
The thing is, even though I went from level 1 to 2 to 3 every fortnight or so, it can still be pretty boring doing the same workout over and over. Also, Level 3 of 30DS is a KILLER and I have been feeling really tired the past couple of weeks, so I decided to ease off and mix it up a bit. I’ve be trading 30DS out for yoga and pilates, which still work my core like crazy.
Of course, working out is only one edge of the fitness sword. The other is what you eat. I am not into “dieting” persay, but I am into eating healthy. Pretty much constantly, forever, but I do love the odd transgression because everyone needs treats. Unfortunately, through the MSc stress, there were more treats than substance, so I decided to really watch my carb consumption for the past month, and I think I did pretty well. I also carried on having a smoothie for breakfast every morning.
The past week I decided to try and not eat carbs at all, only veg and meat. I have been drinking a lot of smoothies and juices, and eating a lot of soup, but frankly it doesn’t work for me. It just makes me feel ill and hungry and cranky all of the time. Also: your typical juice fast has NO SALT and because of my POTS I have to have salt. Probably part of the reason I have been so run down the past couple of weeks is because I’ve been so worried about my juicing that I forgot to get enough salt. In short: juice cleanses are boring and tedious and don’t work for me at all except to make me quite tired and ill. NOT recommended for anyone.
I think a better approach is to first be accepting of yourself and your limitations, and also to be kind to your body. It’s fine to work out hard, but it’s more about the process of making yourself feel stronger than the reward of looking thinner. Also, deprivation is boring and just doesn’t work. A better long-term approach is to just be mindful of what you are eating, and try your best to eat more veg and less starch and as little sugar as possible. Keep treats for treats, though! I’ve settled on smoothies and juices and soups during the day, followed by a normal big dinner with some carbs and good meaty protein in.
Has it made a difference? I don’t have before and after photos, but Mr Man insists that I definitely look more toned. My arms definitely have more muscle and my abs are more defined. My skinny jeans are just a little bit less tight. The scale says I have only lost 5 lbs, but it REALLY isn’t about numbers, since that means I lost some fat and gained some muscle to ultimately stay at roughly the same weight, which is exactly what I wanted. While I’ve determined that I have to have some carbs in my diet or my whole body malfunctions, I still feel good about how much healthy veg I am eating. In short: I am really looking forward to going on holiday and wearing those bikinis…and also looking forward to eating loads of crap.
Will I carry on working out and eating more veg and less crap after I get back? I think so, definitely. A half an hour every other day has really made a difference for me, and that isn’t too much to ask of anyone in terms of time or effort. So yes, I think I will carry on. After all, I have my wedding in 11 months! And then my honeymoon!
I have relied on Youtube extensively for fitness videos, which I play on my telly via airplay. It’s ace. Here are my faves:
* Tracy Anderson: Butts and Thighs, Abs, Arms
* Sadie Nardini: 20 Minute Weight Loss Core Flow, Total Transformation Power Flow
* Blogilates — basically any of her videos. They’re all great!
* efit30: 30 Minute Full Body Workout, 30 Minute Pilates, and many more…
I’m always on the lookout for more workout recommendations, so let me know if I missed out on your favourite!