I’ve had a few questions about what I did fitness wise during my transformation so here goes :
Firstly, I was not really ever into fitness. I joined a gym about 5 years ago & loved the jacuzzi, steamroom and sauna most ! – you get the picture. When I was younger I liked adventure sports – caving, climbing, abseiling, trekking, camping, kayaking. I also played netball and roller skated everywhere (the incentive was financial as if I roller skated I could keep my bus money).
Fast forward quite a few years and I found myself into surfing, in fact I was a professional at it – before you get excited – I mean sofa surfing! If there was a national sport in it then I was going to win gold medal !!
When I researched surgery options, the stories which motivated me most were of the people who had really ‘got’ it. These were the people who made life long changes to their health by adopting healthy eating habits and who exercised regularly. These were the people who not only reached their goal on the scale, but who kept the weight off * and really benefited from the changes. So I was determined, that I would be one of those people too!
I started out exercising as soon as I was cleared to do so. Firstly I was only allowed to walk, so that’s what I did – not far – but regular little walks. When I was cleared to go to the gym at 6 weeks post surgery – I went to the gym in my apartment and started out on the bike and the treadmill. It wasn’t easy – physically I was in terrible shape & mentally I didn’t want to go and when I was there I was embarrassed to exercise in front of people and in front of mirrors. Heck – I even fell off the treadmill one day – and not only did I hurt my leg felt so stupid as I fell off in front of lots of people in the gym ! (of course I realise now, that thin people fall off occasionally too – and nobody falls off a treadmill gracefully !!)
So I started slowly and did a little bit every day – each time doing just a little bit more than before – either for longer or for harder by increasing the intensity. It was HARD – make no doubt about it – I had a resting heart rate of 109 BPM – so was out of breath just walking to the gym let alone actually doing some exercise. Nutrition was also a big challenge for me as during this period I was still mainly on a liquid/puree only intake of food – so on most days was struggling to eat 800 calories of food. So I had to supplement with protein shakes to help with that.
After a couple of months or so I started to really start to increase my exercise activity – I started doing Pilates Reformer classes, Joined a gym and started to play squash. I also found a buddy to workout with – which was really helpful – she was also extremely overweight – but we committed to doing 3-4 sessions of exercise together a week. Note when I say play squash – it was more just simple stuff of chasing that little ball around the court – but it kept me moving which was good).
I also bought a GoWearFit watch and monitor – this is what they use on the Biggest Loser – and I started to monitor how many calories I was burning each day and how much exercise I was doing and also how many steps I took. My target was to do 60 minutes exercise every day and to take 10,000 steps.
Slowly over time it started to get easier to do the exercise – as I got lighter, I could feel the changes in my fitness and outwardly I was beginning to get slimmer and wobble just a little less than I did before. I started feeling that I was more worthy of myself and began to like the changes and so invested in some proper exercise clothes and shoes – ok – it was XL size and very snug – but it made me feel like I was taking my exercise seriously. PS – ladies, always wear a good sports bra (even 2 if you have to)!!
Each week I set myself new challenges in terms of distance and intensity etc until slowly I began to see the differences and feel better. Then I did what I consider to be one of my best decisions ever, I started going to group classes. I started with Body Combat – I had done that many years ago and really loved the class as it’s exercise to dance music which I love. So as all fat people do when they join a class I took my space at the very back as far away from the mirrors as possible and hoped nobody would watch me. My first class was hard – I mean really, really hard – in fact – if I’m honest it sucked !! Not only could I not get my breath, I couldn’t get the moves and felt that everyone was staring at me – I felt clumsy and just awful & the pain after the class was immense. BUT – I went back again and again until I grew to LOVE it ! I also did RPM classes which again are set to dance music. My first RPM class left me almost weeping as the pain in my thighs and unmentionables was immense – BUT I went back again and again – by the way – invest in one of those padded gel seat covers – they are worth their weight in gold !!
Slowly each week I got fitter and faster and leaner and stronger. Each week I challenged myself to do more. My first 2 major challenges were signing up to do the 10k in Jan 2011 and 1/2 marathon in Feb 2011. Which I’m pleased to say I finished – yalla !
So in summary – was it easy ? Hell No. Did I enjoy it ? No to start with – but YES now I love exercise. I’m a bit of a numbers nerd so tracked lots of things during my transformation – fitness being one of them – I went from a Resting Heart Rate of 109 BPM to 58 BPM. My Body Fat went from 49% to 22% and I increased my muscle mass greatly.
In case you are wondering – I don’t jump out of bed every morning say “Wohoo BodyPump/Combat today” !!! – Nope, I plan my exercise in my diary, get out of bed like a sloth (like I guess you do too and if you don’t please tell me your secret). I have my coffee, put on my workout gear and go do whatever I’ve committed to doing for the day. When I’m doing my exercise though – there are no half measures – I work as hard as I can and at the end of it – I FEEL GREAT !
So I encourage you, if you want to make changes to start doing some or all of the above – find something you like doing and keep doing it.
My next challenge ? Well I’ve got the 10k on Friday, a half marathon in Feb and more importantly I’ve signed up to the 12WBT which I’m planning on using to really focus on changing my body composition as I’d like to be a little more toned – bring on that six pack !!
Feel free to email me or ask questions via tweet or this blog 🙂
And as always, here’s a little inspiration for you
Left – Right
After I’d lost about 3 stone – my treadmill injuries !
Hot & Sweaty after Body Combat a few days ago
Fuelling up (Starbucks style after a run!) : Bruises from stretching after pilates
* It is possible, to ‘out eat’ any weight loss surgery and to regain some and/or all of the weight you lose and there are many stories of people who never reach their goal, or who lose and then regain or who have multiple weight loss surgeries in the search to lose weight.