As every new year rolls around, we always make the same promise to ourselves each time: “I will get fit this year”. Most of the time, this stigma lasts for a good week, and then we’re back to sneaking snacks and skipping work outs. Eventually, the guiltiness wears away, the next year comes around, and we end up in the same guilt-ridden cycle every time.
BUT, this year is an exception; I have a made a promise to myself (and, more notably, to The Growing Up Guide) to fully embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle by exercising for at least two weeks straight, AND to do so before 9am each day.
Now, I’m no stranger to a workout; I have gone through fitness-crazed phases now and again, but, as usual, they soon wore off. When I accepted this challenge, I was overcome with the bug that was ‘motivation’, but as soon as Monday hit me, I became extremely irritated towards optimistic me.
Monday couldn’t normally get any worse, but today was the day that I was going to reach the lowest of lows. Nobody wakes up on a Monday and says, “Hey, I’d love to get up extra early today, and sweat profusely from every nook and cranny”.
I must admit, when my alarm clock began to scream in my ear at 6:30am, I had to press the snooze button just to mentally prepare myself for what was to come, but I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed to begin the day.
I thought I’d start myself off easy, so I found a workout online just to get me moving. The very toned lady worked me through muay thai kicks, floor bridges, and bench dips. Yet, my mortal enemy was yet to come: the dreaded plank!
I was truly ready to give up, but I troopered on because A. I was determined to feel proud of myself, and B. I had an article to write.
The workout only lasted a mild 20 minutes, but I looked like I had just finished a marathon. Yes, the video was quite easy to follow, but the beautifully shaped instructor just made me envious. After the pain had ended, I did feel slightly more awake than usual, but I definitely knew that I’d be napping later on.
Overall: Sleepy, insecure, but proud.
After the events that unfolded the day before, I ensured that I went to bed earlier than usual considering how tired I was. This did mean that when I woke I was initially quite cheery, that was until I started the routine.
Today, I decided to use standard gym machinery to keep me going because 1. I had a busy day and couldn’t be bothered to think of a workout, and 2. My parents have a treadmill and an exercise bike at their house, so I wouldn’t have to face looking dreadful and unfit at the gym. Bonus!
I decided to start out on the bike because it seemed the easiest out of the two (plus I got to sit down, laziness at its finest). I suffered a hard 20 minutes on that, and I already felt like a needed a brand new pair of legs afterwards.
Next, I moved onto the treadmill. I was, of course, dreading it because running wasn’t my forte. I started out at a steady fast-walking pace, but then I got a little cocky and ahead of myself, so I decided to up it into a run. Alas, soon my lack of fitness kicked in and I had to retreat; so, I settled for a fast walk on an incline to get them legs toned.
Undoubtedly, after all this leg action my legs felt like jelly, and I could still feel myself moving even when I was still. It wasn’t an awful workout, but the treadmill did manage to electric shock me a few times; that wasn’t too encouraging.
Overall: Drained and weak.
It seemed that unknowingly, today was leg day, as the workout contained a mixture of wall squats, squat jumps, fast feet in squat, and burpees. These leg exercises were my weakness (well I’m all weak, but legs especially).
Honestly, I don’t know how the instructors moved so fast during those burpees, by the time I’d managed one, they were on their third.
All I could think during each exercise was “what can I eat for lunch?”, and then dinner, and possibly supper. I have got to admit thought, I think this is the workout, so far, that I have felt the most beneficial from; even if my legs do ache like I’m an 80-year-old woman.
Overall: Fit, but hungry.
Now that hump day had been and passed, I actually didn’t mind getting up a little earlier to endure a workout.
But, I had decided that today was the day that I wasn’t going to hide inside anymore. I was going to face the great outdoors and let the whole public see me as a sweaty, unfit mess.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today I was going jogging. Ahh the screams of terror, yes, I can hear them, and as soon as I was up and ready, I already regretted my decision. But, as they say, the show must go on.
Overall: Feeling like a winner.
To reward myself for actually leaving the house previously, I thought a nice treat would be to reside inside for this morning’s workout, and take it slow with some yoga.
Now, when you think of yoga, you picture a calm environment, a nicely toned lady who’s at peace with her fitness. Let me tell you know, if you’re going to attempt yoga at home, don’t do it in the same room as your dog. It just doesn’t work.
Of course, my knowledge of yoga poses is extremely sparse, so I had to give it a quick search on the internet to find some moves that were suitable for someone of my physique.
Surprisingly, this was going well for me at first, that was until my pup decided this would be the perfect time to shove her toy ball into my face – it wasn’t exercise time, this was play time. I did attempt a few more poses after that, but who could have denied this cute little pup the love and attention that she deserved?
Overall: Motivated, but distracted.
Waking up before 9am on a Saturday morning did feel like a strange phenomenon to me; yet, I had already completed five days of this now, might as well carry on. Strangely, waking up didn’t seem as much as a chore as it had previously felt. It almost began to feel natural to me; was I beginning to enjoy this?
Anyways, as I had already focused on leg exercises in particular a few days ago, I thought that I might as well attempt to tone my wings to match.
Currently, I credit my strength on being able to carry multiple shopping bags at a time, but, I soon found that this was not going to be an aid to my workout.
Today, my planking skills were going to be pushed to the limit. I had to do a forearm plank, and a back plank, as well as a variety of different pushups (some I didn’t even know existed). At least by the end of the workout, I knew my arms were going to be fit to handle a few extra bags on my next spree.
Overall: Awake and aching.
Forget what I said about the pain of Monday mornings, getting up for a workout on a Sunday morning should be illegal. I could have decided that today was going to be a rest day, but then I thought that doesn’t make this article entirely accurate.
However, to make things a little more entertaining, I thought I’d try something that I hadn’t done before.
To make my Sunday morning that slightest bit more enjoyable, I decided that to end the week I’d try some dancercise. Was it groundbreaking? No, but at least I was still exercising.
Now the routine wasn’t exactly anything that I could break out at a club, but I’ve got to say I did enjoy the experience. The whole thing was like something you’d see at an 80s disco, and I’m sure if anyone saw me they’d think I was going insane; but at least I was still dropping those calories, like I was dropping those moves.
Overall: Nostalgic and entertained.
In order to see how much I had improved, I thought I’d repeat each workout from the previous week in order to compare. So, I won’t bore you by explaining what each workout entailed, instead I’ll just share my overall comparison for the week.
I’ve got to say, during this week, getting up extra early to start my workouts was a lot less painful. Instead, I found myself feeling more awake, even after the workouts too. It wasn’t so much that I was encouraged to keep exercising due to the fact that I had an article to write, I actually kind of enjoyed doing it now.
The online workouts were far more easier to complete now that I knew what was coming, and because I was feeling far more up to it than I was before.
The yoga, I had learnt, to do in a separate room away from any cute distractions.
Plus, that god awful idea of going for a run, I think that one was my favourite out of all of them – it just seemed so much easier and more entertaining to do outside, rather than on a treadmill.
Overall, I really didn’t think I’d be able to complete this, but again, I’ve proved myself wrong and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
I think working out before 9am, at first, was a total hassle; but really, it leaves you with the rest of the day completely free, without having a guilty conscience either. I think if you were to try this yourself, then the first week is the hardest, especially to stay motivated.
But, by the end of the second week, it undeniably feels more like a habit than a chore.
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