It has been a while since I posted about fitness. At the beginning of the summer I began swimming 4km of lengths most mornings but by mid-August my exercise regime was more or less non-existent as I was staying active in my everyday life and didn’t prioritize time for fitness. I’m not about to say that my leisurely swims in my backyard or nighttime walks were a replacement for the gym, but they were good enough for my standards. Just by looking at me you can easily tell I am not the gym type as dresses are skirts aren’t exactly athletic attire. In fact, the high membership prices and competitive natured individuals used to intimidate me out of even joining a club.
Of course all of this changed when I came to Western because within my tuition fees I was provided with access to aerobic classes, athletic courts, and a full range of equipment at the Mustang Recreational Centre on campus. The gym has offers televisions for entertainment but because it is a new facility it has floor to ceiling windows which is where I prefer to workout because the morning sunrise is much more motivating! Coincidentally my first week back I was also invited to be a SweatPink ambassador. I could not have asked for more perfect timing since I was already trying to incorporate a fitness component into 4-5 days per week. This was added incentive to stay committed. For those of you who do not know, SweatPink is a movement, where tough and girly come together. Sweat Pink™ is all about sharing the joy that comes from living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a celebration of hard work and well-earned rewards. Our pink shoelaces are a proud demonstration of all we’ve achieved, and all we plan to become.
Although I have difficulty falling asleep, my body naturally awakens by 6:30 a.m.. Unfortunately at this time it is still in it’s “groggy” phase so exercising is the perfect way to get myself going. I am already noticing a positive correlation between productivity, mood and exercising in the morning. It feels good to be done a workout at 8:00 a.m. and it allows me to have minimal wait time for machines since not many students enjoy working out before class. I can’t even begin to explain how many machines Western has, from a rotating rock climbing wall to circulating ladders, rowing machines to stationary bikes, free weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, yoga mats and just about a machine to work every muscle in your body. It helps that the machines are well labelled with instructions as to which part of my body the machine targets and how to use the machine properly! I tried the manual treadmill for the first time which was neat (and hard) but my favourite remains the elliptical. I’ve also been enjoying the fitness classes my favourites being Spin, Sweat and Sculpt and Pilates. I find it motivating being around instructors especially when I am unfamiliar with certain movements. I never knew just how tough Pilates was but boy is it relaxing and fun! It keeps me coming back because each week builds upon the last. My core strength has noticeably improved since I started!
I know everyone has different outlooks on fitness, mine being everything in moderation, so I know that how I sweat might be extremely different from your preferences. If I am doing strength components I prefer to target upper and lower body on different days so that I am not working the same muscles two days in a row. If I do a high-intensity cardio class one day (Spin), I usually do a slower pace workout the following day (Pilates). I’m definitely not aspiring to be the next body builder or marathon runner, so I have learned to set attainable goals so that I feel accomplished when I achieve them. There is no sense in asking myself to run on the treadmill for 1 hour when recently I have only been doing 30 minutes. It feels much better to end on a good note than to push my body past it’s limits leaving me dreading returning the following day. I find that if I overwhelm myself or tire my body out too much, I am less likely to enjoy myself so I start seeing exercise as a chore versus self-care. After all that is really why I exercise. I don’t run so I can eat cake because I can (and will) eat cake even if I don’t run. Of course my physique and appearance is somewhat important but exercising gives me time to step back and assess where I am in terms of my values of life. It allows me to do something for myself and I don’t feel guilty taking a break from studying because exercising is just a different form of productivity.
Gyms can be intimidating because there are unconscious comparisons. We’ve all run beside someone who feels the need to consistently be at an increase of 0.1 in their speed, incline or time than you just so that they can be “better”. I’ve had unwanted advice from individuals who believed their tactics were more efficient than mine. Especially for females, gyms can be a place where one feels inadequate or worries others are watching their every move. I’m learning that everyone is so invested in their own regime that they aren’t paying attention to your form and if they do happen to feel the desire to workout longer, faster or harder than you than that is a reflection of their own self-consciousness. I don’t compare myself to others because I do not know what they did before they came to the gym or what they will do after when they leave. It’s all about finding what is right for my body and being satisfied at the end of your workout. Rest days are said to be equally important for your body to repair and I find it gives me time to rejuvenate. I’ve never been interested in sports nutrition but I am starting to dabble into some readings so that I can perform my best during my sweat sessions.
All round I have really enjoyed my exercise regime and I hope I can keep it up throughout the year. I have downloaded a Western iPhone app that reminds me of the gym hours, fitness classes, pool lengths, intramural or sports games, and neat events that are happening on a daily basis such as free health seminars. The variety of classes offered or different machines available should help to prevent me from getting bored! What is your favourite form of exercising? Do you prefer weight lifting or cardio? Are you biased towards indoor or outdoor activities? ♥ Molly
“I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ” – Legally Blonde