We’re almost at mid-February, and I’ve been reflecting on my fitness journey and making a few changes along the way to get my routine in a place that works best for me. Health and wellness is definitely something that is tailor-made for each person in a unique way, as we all have different needs and requirements. But it’s always nice to find new ideas and inspiration from others that might give us some insight on things we can try ourselves. My journey has gradually taken a different shape from where it started.
Where I’ve Been
In the beginning, my primary fitness goal was to shed the few pounds I’d put on over the holidays and focus primarily on my core. Like most of us, I gain weight disproportionately, and mine all goes straight to my midsection. So…I wanted to burn off the excess and get my core toned and into shape.
For the first couple of weeks my workout days were sporadic while I got a feel for things, then I settled into a routine:
– 20-minute HIIT Cardio Monday-Friday
– 10-minute Core Monday-Friday
– 10-minute Strength Tuesday and Thursday
– 15-minute Stretch Saturday and Sunday
After a few weeks, I’ve lost 3/4″ from my waist, and my tummy is flat, has lost most of its flab, and is looking toned. I also have noticed that my strength – upper-body in particular – isn’t what it used to be. So I felt that it was safe to cut back a bit on the HIIT cardio and bump up my strength training.
Where I’m At
Satisfied with my core results, I have cut back my cardio and am now doing HIIT three days per week instead of five. And I’ve increased strength from 10 minutes per session to 15, adding weights instead of only using body weight. My legs are taking it well, only really sore the first time I added the weights, and this past Tuesday as that day’s workouts focused more on quads whereas others have focused mostly on hamstrings and glutes. My thighs were sore on Wednesday and extra stiff yesterday, finally feeling better today after some stretching and liberal use of a heating pad.
My arms and shoulders are slower-going and clearly need more work, because I have to use light weights to do the exercises that are supposed to use medium weights. It’s going to take a little more to get my upper body to where I want it to be.
Here is what my current fitness routine looks like:
20-minute HIIT Cardio
15-minute Lower Body Strength (Tuesday)
15-minute Upper Body Strength (Thursday)
1-mile Walk – when the weather is fit for it
For yoga, I’ve been doing focus flows on my hamstrings. They are extremely tight and make so many yoga poses tough to accomplish, so my first yoga goal was to get them limbered up. It has been going well and I’ve made a lot of progress. I am getting so close to being able to fully straighten my legs and lower my heels to the ground during downward facing dog, so I’m pretty excited!
Where I’m Going
With a new routine in place, it’s time to think about what I’m looking to accomplish. I would like to increase my HIIT cardio workouts to 30 minutes at some point, but right now that is probably the farthest out on my goal list. What I want to accomplish in the near future is:
– Be able to use the full weights for my arms and shoulders strength classes
– Increase strength sessions from 15 to 20 minutes, doing both upper and lower body for 10 minutes twice per week
– After I reach my hamstring goal, I want to move on to yoga shoulder focus flows to open up my tight shoulders
What I want overall is just to be strong. To be able to do yard work or renovation work around the house without feeling too week to lift, hold, squat and maneuver. And I want my core to be strong because it has forever been my weakest link, so if I can keep it in check it will be such a confidence boost – especially since I love fashion and have always shied away from things that give too much focus on the midsection. It feels good to start opening myself up to options I felt the need to stay away from before. Midriff tops with high-waist bottoms have been a big trend the last couple of years; now I feel like I can partake in it, at 36 years old. It’s never too late!
I’m learning that you see some results immediately when starting a fitness routine, but the long-term goals take time. The body responds quickly at first, then levels off for a “slow and steady” pace. There are also definitely days when it looks and feels like some progress has reversed, and it seems like those days are followed soon by a jump in progress toward your goals. I’ve never been much of a fitness person aside from walking and hiking. I actually have always hated working out, and I’m really glad to say that I no longer feel that way. Becoming a Peloton member has changed that for me, and I’m pumped!
In other news – I’ve begun my continuing education course for my nutritionist certification. I am doing the plant-based athlete program and am learning quite a bit already. I can’t wait to start sharing with you! With that, it’s Self-care Sunday over here at my house, so I’m off to do my 15-minute stretch, and then get on with some pampering. Let me know if you’d like to know how I do my Self-care Sunday!