Saturday, 1 November 2014


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_My Beginner's Fitness Routine_


Background

I`ve always been somewhat aware of how important keeping fit and healthy is. Growing up I always took dancing classes, and despite that looking back on the concert videos I wasn't very good, it was a great way to keep active - especially for a child. Unfortunately the dance studio I danced at shut down when I was 14 and there were so many other activities I wanted to try that I gave up the dancing (and the splits... so sad!). I was always really bad at your generic sports that required hand-eye coordination, which stupidly enough seemed to be all that my school's sport teachers wanted to focus on! Maybe it was just the pressure of being around all of my competitive peers, considering I was alright at home and could put in a hearty throw. Anyway, because I was so bad at the sports the teachers chose to focus on, I went through a period where I decided I hated sport and couldn't wait for those last years of schooling where PE wasn't compulsory. However, the school then introduced a program that allowed the students to chose a block of four sports you'd play for two of the school terms, and then you'd choose something different. Through that, I discovered different styles of dancing and sports games, and in general, ways to keep fit that suited me much more than the dreaded dodgeball (still cringing).  Moving on to a couple of years following this where PE isn't compulsory, I have too much of a workload at the moment to have many extra-curricular activities in between trying to retain the information I receive, get enough sleep, keep up with friends and family and earn enough money.   It was with this overload of things I had to worry about that made me feel so frustrated and trapped, which is the day I decided to go to the gym and release my frustration before I actually punched anyone in the face. It was amazing and liberating to run and feel like I was leaving my problems behind me, and after a while of managing to find time to go to the gym (luckily mine is 24 hour) I started noticing changes in my body and my stamina, as well as my moods and energy. However, the problem with that was that now I wasn't in a mad rush to release the anger, I didn't know really what equipment I wanted to use and what other changes I wanted to make for myself. I felt that "overall just getting fit" was a pretty general statement for me to say, and a lot of my friends started jumping on the bandwagon and wanting to come to the Gym with me, which was good as I was inspiring them, but at the same time they were all incredibly competitive, which is what I didn't want to deal with. I also didn't have the money to go to the gym as often as I wanted, which brings me to the whole point of this post:

Routine

Goal- As I said before, my goal to "get fitter in general" was too general. If you have a similar goal, you now need to BREAK IT DOWN!
I decided I wanted to tone up my body, in particular upper arms, abs and legs. So basically everywhere! I also wanted to lose some of the fat percentage in my body, even though i wasn't at all "fat" in appearance. I just wanted to gain muscle mass.

I decided I wanted to tone up my body, in particular upper arms, abs and legs. So basically everywhere! I also wanted to lose some of the fat percentage in my body, even though i wasn't at all "fat" in appearance. I just wanted to gain muscle mass.

I decided I wanted to tone up my body, in particular upper arms, abs and legs. So basically everywhere! I also wanted to lose some of the fat percentage in my body, even though i wasn't at all "fat" in appearance. I just wanted to gain muscle mass.
Cardio- Luckily I live fairly close to where I go to school, so I started walking home. If you can walk home from school or work, just begin by walking (on a safe route) at a pace that suits you. After you get used to walking at this pace, start increasing the speed you walk at. One handy tip: WEAR SUPPORTIVE SHOES! This doesn't mean Converse, because they don't support your feet properly. I started out with just $10 runners from the local chain store, and now that I have been at it for a long time, I saved up some cash and got Adidas' Energy Boost 2.0 shoes, which have been amazing so far. But just a budget pair will do at least to begin with!
Strength- One of my goals (that was so 'broken down' I couldn't include it in the first section) was to be able to do a set of proper push ups. then I just went along with the other goals I had.
1. 10x Tapping Push ups (beginner's version)2. 10x Plank Knee Twist3. 30x Crunches4. 30x Pelvic Thrust (use your glutes ladies!)5. 10x Push Up (i started out going as far as i could without falling out of the position & gradually got better)6. 20x One-Legged Tricep Dip (10x on each leg)7. 1 Minute Plank Hold (use the core!)8. 20x Leg Lowering9. 40x One-Sided Leg Lift (20x on each side)10. 40x Squats (20x slow / 20x fast or pulsing)11. 1 Minute Wall Sit12. 40x Calf Raises13. 40x Arm Circles (20 forwards and 20 backwards- be fast and precise with this!)- A bit all over the place and varied, but I found it gives the muscles you worked some time to recover by not using them in between with other exercises that focus on other points.1. 10x Tapping Push ups (beginner's version)2. 10x Plank Knee Twist3. 30x Crunches4. 30x Pelvic Thrust (use your glutes ladies!)5. 10x Push Up (i started out going as far as i could without falling out of the position & gradually got better)6. 20x One-Legged Tricep Dip (10x on each leg)7. 1 Minute Plank Hold (use the core!)8. 20x Leg Lowering9. 40x One-Sided Leg Lift (20x on each side)10. 40x Squats (20x slow / 20x fast or pulsing)11. 1 Minute Wall Sit12. 40x Calf Raises13. 40x Arm Circles (20 forwards and 20 backwards- be fast and precise with this!)- A bit all over the place and varied, but I found it gives the muscles you worked some time to recover by not using them in between with other exercises that focus on other points.

Stretching- It is SO important to stretch after you workout... admittedly I rarely ever stretch after cardio or before either the cardio or the strength training, which is probably not the best of me. BUT, I do stretch always after strength training, no matter whether it be easy or advanced intensity. Always remember to breathe and relax into these positions, and if anything's beyond the point of a "deep stretch" and into the "painful" zone, stop the stretch or do an easier variation.
1. 1 Minute butterfly stretch (DO NOT BOUNCE YOUR LEGS)2. 1 Minute seated forward bend3. 1 Minute of gentle head rolls4. 1 Minute of seated twist pose (30 sec each side)5. 1 Minute cobra6. 30 Seconds child's pose7. 30 Second bridge1. 1 Minute butterfly stretch (DO NOT BOUNCE YOUR LEGS)2. 1 Minute seated forward bend3. 1 Minute of gentle head rolls4. 1 Minute of seated twist pose (30 sec each side)5. 1 Minute cobra6. 30 Seconds child's pose7. 30 Second bridge

Times- For the cardio, I walk a fair bit. I also walk an elderly neighbour's dog for an hour each week (but that walk is fast turning into a run). For both of these forms of exercise it amounts to 5-6 days out of the week that I engage in cardio, and is almost always in the afternoon. However, if you have the time and/ or motivation in the morning, I highly encourage you to try at least some form of cardio early. It sets you up for the day and- I know, you're thinking it will exhaust you before the day's begun- but instead it actually gives you energy and the mentality that you are accomplished and have one less task in your day. As for the strength, I usually do it late at night. If i'm going to the gym i'll try for 5pm, but if I was just doing the at- home workout I described above, it would probably be around 8 or 9pm, 5-6 days a week. The rest day is your day of choice!

Note

I am not a professional! Also, the routine may be too easy/ intense for you, so just give it a go. You never really know until you try it out. What I described is just what suited my schedule and level of fitness at the time, and ultimately what gave me the results I wanted. Remember, results take time, and sometimes you have to start out so easy that you think you're not doing anything. But trust me when I say that every little bit counts in giving you a healthier heart and body, as well as a healthy mind! I use my music to work out to, and played around with this routine and the amount of reps I did. Until I really started getting out there and doing this for myself and by myself, I didn't think I could actually have fun working out. But here I am now, loving it so much that I'm currently beginning to gain a Bachelor of Health Science. So just give it a go, and have fun with it!