Skin Deco

Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting Fit: Fitness Planning

The fact is, exercise alone may not help you lose a significant amount of weight yet it plays a very important role in helping to increase your metabolism, burn off excess calories as well as tone up flabby areas and improve your shape.

Occasional exercise such as climbing a hill once in a few months isn’t going to do much to up your fitness level. In order to get fit and stay fit, exercise should be a consistent part of your lifestyle.

But how do you go from zero exercise to exercising regularly?
Read on...

"Start walking; even if it’s walking to the local shops, parking your car further away from the office, LRT station or the mall. Take the stairs not the elevator if you can. Sometimes, being less sedentary simply means changing how you usually move every day." -- Jeremy, C25

We tend to complain about parking further away from the mall entrance or having to wait long for the lift. Whenever I have to walk more or climb the stairs, as long as I’m not pressed for time, I don’t dread it. Rather, I see it as more calories being burned and it became natural to me. You can’t expect to lose weight just by doing this but it’s an active start nonetheless.

"If you already walk in the park, start power walking, it’ll burn more calories than normal walking. For joggers, if you get tired and need to walk, then power walk, don’t slow down completely. Power walking keeps your heart rate up at the level of a slow jog, so remember, keep moving!" -- Jeremy, C25

When I told myself that I wanted to lose weight, the next thing I did was walk for exercise. I was horrible at running so I walked. Power-walking can definitely get your heart rate up and make you sweat but it’ll take about 20 minutes of fast, wide steps with a few uphill slopes to heat up. Compared to strolling, power-walking will burn almost twice the amount of calories [check out how much calories you can burn by walking].

These days, I run and if I need to slow down, I jog. While I’m still not very good at running, the more I run each week, the more improvements I see in my endurance and speed.

"If you are a member of a gym, take advantage of the numerous free aerobic classes they have. The high intensity will help burn more calories than trying to motivate yourself on the gym floor." -- Jeremy, C25

My official “new beginning” started when I took up a gym membership after a 1-week free trial. That was when I started fitting exercise into my daily routine. Besides the convenience of location and facilities, I was mostly attracted to the group exercise classes. I was keen to try every class once. If I’m not doing a class, I’d be on the treadmill or fumbling with the weight machines. I’d go to the gym in the morning, in the evening and spend hours there on weekends. I was really into it!

Problem was, I didn’t quite know what I was doing. The popular classes were always packed (at least 30 pax). I could barely keep up with the moves and the instructors couldn’t provide much guidance. Going in the evenings was the worst because you’d have to wait your turn to use the machines. To beat the crowd, I learned how to utilize the freestyle training area using things like the BOSU, medicine ball, step-board and dumbbells.

"If you want to take it to the next level, try an outdoor group exercise programme like circuit training. Many people who don’t like to be stuck inside a gym, can’t motivate themselves or aren’t sure if their exercise routine is right for them prefer to do this. And you’ll be exercising with like-minded people in an outdoor environment." -- Jeremy, C25

A Circuit25 session at KLCC Park

My Current Exercise Plan 
  • Three mornings a week I’d spend about 20 to 30 minutes in the gym doing freestyle exercises. 
  • Once a week I’ll do a low intensity class such as Pilates. 
  • I’m challenging myself to run 5km a week so I’d fit that in whenever I can. 
  • Two evenings a week I’d do circuit training (Circuit25) with Jeremy and work my butt off! I’m usually totally burned out after C25 so I’d sleep in the next morning to recover. 
Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. It should be incorporated as part of a daily routine so that it becomes a habit. Doing something a fun activity like dancing or playing a sport will certainly help to make exercising more enjoyable.

In my case, I find interval training and resistance training fun. Partly it’s because I don’t get lost in the moves but mostly it’s because I find pleasure in monitoring progress so that I would know if I was improving. On top of that, I am more aware of the areas that I want to work on.

It took me some time to realize that it’s not how long you spend working out. Rather, it’s how effective the workout is and how efficient you are at doing it.

If you have any questions for Jeremy regarding fitness or diet, please don't hesitate to ask them in the comment section below.


xin said...

connie you are definitely getting there! i am glad that you are sharing your tips here so the rest of lazy bums can feel slightly motivated!

beetrice said...

you're doing an awesome job babe, and thanks for the tips! hehe seems like we're all slowly getting on that fitness kick with you! :D

siewlingchaw said...

Hi there.I would like to know clear my doubts on certain things.I've heard alot of myth that we shouldn't be bathing right after having a meal because the older generation claimed that it will cause spare tyre.Is it true ? And may i know after working out,is it better to grab something to eat first or to jump straight into shower ? Which would be better ?

Connie De Alwis said...

Xin: I'm glad you enjoy the posts! You're definitely getting there yourself as well seeing as how you're cycling quite frequently these days. Good on ya!

Beetrice: Thank you :D Let's get fit together!

Connie De Alwis said...

Here's Jeremy's reply:

"I wouldn't worry about the spare tyre myth. Shower after your body temperature has stabilised so wait until you have stopped sweating, cooled down and feel more relaxed before you hit the shower. During this time you can eat an energy bar, sports drink or fruit to replenish energy."

siewlingchaw said...

hi thanks for clearing my doubts.Just wanna know whats the fastest way to speed up muscle recovery ? and does it makes a difference in having a bowl of noodles to substitute white rice ? bcz ive heard that white rice has high I was wondering if it would be better to take noodles or rice when i eat out because there aren't many places around that serves brown rice. :/

Connie De Alwis said...

Here's Jeremy's reply:

"To help muscle recovery your body needs rest in order for the fibres to repair. Also a well balanced diet will aid recovery.
There are less calories in noodles than white rice, as long as they're not fried. Whole wheat noodles will be more nutritious for you if you can get them."
When I first started working out, I would experience muscle ache for several days after a high intensity workout. During that period, I would rest or do low intensity exercises. Besides that, taking the time to stretch before and after workout also helps to reduce muscle ache.

Look for white rice alternatives if you can (I've taken to bringing home-cooked lunch to work. I would have sweet potato, quinoa, millet, etc.) but if you can't, simply reduce the portion of your rice and consume more veggies instead. I like noodles but I'm mindful of the type of noodles that I eat. My noodle of choice is usually rice vermicelli (beehoon). Keep in mind that plain kuay teow already has added oil, pan mee contains egg and yee mee is pre-fried. Personally I don't find having noodles as opposed to rice would make a lot of difference in your caloric intake. More importantly is how much of it you're consuming and also how it's cooked (naturally, fried rice or fried noodles would have higher calories).

siewlingchaw said...

Oh thanks alot for the tips.Hmmm,so what about noodles like wantanmee ? yellow noodles ? :/ its really difficult to even be mindful of what i take especially with my lifestyle that my family frequents to places that only serve noodles :/ :/ sigh.

Connie De Alwis said...

siewlingchaw: Once again, be it rice or noodles, having them in your daily meals shouldn't be your hugest concern (FYI I have one meal of rice/noodles almost every day). Take into account the way they're cooked, the side dishes, the portion, the accompanying drinks... I can understand how family situations can be and without their fullest support, having your own eating plan can be difficult. Unless you eat every single meal with your family, try your level best to control the meals that you can control (eg. I tend to control breakfast and lunch better). You can also try compensating the obligated rice/noodles meals with exercise to burn off the excess sugars from those carbs.

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Thanks a bunch!

<3 Connie

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