Stepping it up

I’ve written quite a few times about the fact that, before starting this weight loss program 10 weeks ago, I was doing no exercise whatsoever. I’d even stopped going to pilates. At some point in the last year I started getting really bad shin splints when I walked and inexplicably, the only time they weren’t a problem was if I was walking with someone else. Whether it was because that distracted me, or we walked more slowly I’m not sure. Earlier this year I caught up with a girlfriend for weekly walks and as we’d do laps of a nearby park, I’d stick to the softer grass and let her have the track, hoping to stave off the shin splints. But if I walked by myself I go no further than several hundred metres before sharp pains kicked in. So I stopped walking and my apathy just increased from there.

When I first decided to do this program I had to contemplate my exercise options. I knew I couldn’t rely on a friend to walk with me 3 times a week in order to do my cardio exercise… so I decided to hire an exercise bike. And I wrote about my plans to embark on an interval training program which received a lot of press a few years ago.

I was a bit surprised at how much I struggled over the first week or two. Once upon a time, riding an exercise bike (Spin classes aside) was an easy option… yet here I was lucky to make it through the first 5 minutes. I was also conscious of how much exercise I was SUPPOSED to be doing (on the program) and how much others were doing.  But after some guilt and angst, in the end I decided that ANY exercise I was doing was better than the SFA I was doing just weeks before.

And, I’m pleased to report that I’ve kept up the 6 days of exercise a week (though not quite burning the calories expected of me). And… I’ve also stepped out of my comfort zone a little. Although most of my cardio still comprises walking (I’m hoping the loss of 16kg has meant the shin splints have disappeared) and the exercise bike, I have pushed the boundaries and tried some new things. I’ve been going to fortnightly boxing classes, and on alternative fortnights, to a bootcamp of sorts. I’m a long way off ‘running’ although I can manage short spurts of a few seconds and I also suspect I would be incapable of completing a class of my old favourite – Body Jam (and not just because my hip wouldn’t take it!).

But, I’ve decided that as this Round of this 12 week program finishes and a new one starts, I’m going to step up my exercise next time around. I won’t attempt the two cardio classes a day that many of my Twitter friends take in their stride, but I will attempt to do ‘harder’ cardio several days a week.

And – so I don’t remain ‘all talk’ – I’ve just visited a nearby gym to check out what they have on offer. It’s not your usual gym. In fact, it’s teensy and it’s cheap. The cost actually isn’t a worry as I currently pay a fortune each week for ad hoc pilates and other classes – not to mention the hire of my exercise bike. But most importantly it’s handy. Years ago I belonged to a gym near my house and I was a regular. I’d attend the occasional early morning class, regular after-work classes as well as weekend classes. But it was always hard during the week to get away from the office. It’s even worse now that I’ve climbed higher up the corporate ladder. (Having said that I’m not exactly skirting the meteoric heights of the public service…. but it isn’t really appropriate for me to be leaving the office before 5pm anymore.)

So, I ventured into the small gym tucked inside my neighbouring Brisbane City Council (BCC) building. When I took up my current position earlier this year, I had to move out of my inner city comfort zone, to a neighbouring suburb (though almost as central). Fortitude Valley in Brisbane is an eclectic mix of trendy and, well, dive-y. My workplace is in a little isolated spot housing some highly energy efficient office spaces within two towering edifices. BCC is in the other one. And… on the ground floor they have a little gym.

From The New Fit Me @ Tumblr

I’ve been meaning to check it out for some time and today was met by an enthusiastic young staffer who showed me around and dished the dirt. I have to have an assessment of sorts before joining and I can get a program, but like most gyms I can then do whatever I want. It doesn’t have stacks of equipment and I can imagine that people queue for the 3-4 treadmills at peak times. But it has all of the usual stuff – cardio equipment, machines, free weights and it even has a small aerobic room where they host just a few classes each day. The timing of the classes isn’t hugely convenient with the majority around lunchtime, but I like to think it could force me to take a lunch break a couple of times a week. And, there are some non Les Mills versions of Body Jam and Pump, Boxing Circuits, other circuits, Yoga, Pilates and the like. And… all of this for only $50/month AND you are not locked into contracts. You can come and go at any time.

I’m also actually contemplating attempting to… (wait for it)… r-u-n sometime in the near future so have the Couch to 5km (C25K) program in mind. I don’t feel confident enough to run in public, but figure I could attempt it on a treadmill at the gym instead.

So, all sounds great doesn’t it? I think so and have set a time for my health assessment thingy next week. All going well I will then join and by the time I start the next Round of this weight loss program, I’ll have returned my rented exercise bike (which is now boring me to tears) and stepped up my exercise regime. C25K here I come!


  1. C25k took this couch potato pack a day smoker (9 weeks ago) to a 5 kms in 29 mins, non smoker… you’re going to love how it chews up the calories !

    • Yay!!!! That’s what I need… something to burn up some calories. And – wow – your results are amazing! You must be really thrilled. Congratulations also on giving up the smokes!


  2. I love the Couch to 5K program! It’s awesome!

    And you’re doing great that you didn’t just give in to reasons not to stick out the exercise portion. You found a way to make it work and continue to find ways to push yourself. That’s so great!

  3. […] I said I’d do it and I did! Ta da! I joined a gym! While you pick yourselves up off the ground I should put some qualifiers in place. […]

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