Friday, 7 June 2013

Health & Fitness: My Updated Workout Routine

As you may or may not know, I've been trying to lose some weight by eating healthier and working out. It actually started way back in October last year when I decided to completely alter what I was eating, and actually when I was eating because I was a notorious snacker, especially in the evenings! It started off as quite a challenge, I mean, how couldn't it be? Breaking old habits, and retraining yourself mentally into order to really see the physical transformation are the hardest parts of it all. I've found that re-educating myself about food has actually been a lot of fun!

Unfortunately, unless you're prepared to go under the knife there are no quick fixes when you're trying to lose weight and get healthy. I think deep down we are all aware of that fact. However, I tend to stick to a few simple rules, which so far have worked wonders for me. 

  • Eat breakfast - This may be a really obvious tip but it's worth mentioning. I never used to bother with breakfast, especially if I had a busy day ahead which is absolutely terrible in hindsight. Come mid-morning my stomach was rumbling like crazy and I began to crave sweet things. Nowadays I try to eat some fruit, porridge or a slice of wholemeal toast in the mornings. My favourite breakfast at the moment is porridge with blueberries and honey, mmm!
  • Drink lots of water and/or fruit squash - I used to drink pint glasses of Coca Cola every day which makes me feel sick just thinking about it. I think this was the biggest habit I had to break and I literally went cold turkey from October onwards. I had a small glass at Christmas and couldn't stomach it. I couldn't believe the amount of sugar in half a pint. If you are going to drink carbonated drinks then I recommend the diet version, although I tend to just stick with water, summer fruit squash and milky tea.
  • Count calories - I know some of these "experts" tell you not to count calories because you can become obsessed with it but in my experience I've found it to be rather successful. It just makes you so aware of what you're eating, and makes you stop and realise that you don't need that extra slice of whatever to get by. For me it's easy. I eat 1,000-1,200 calories a day, which may not sound like a lot but I can still eat small amounts of what I like. I was much stricter when I first started because I had more weight to lose and didn't know the calories in most foods but now I'm a bit more relaxed. As long as I eat three meals a day and eat healthy snacks then it doesn't matter as much. Plus if I think I have overdone it then I'll just workout in the evening. It's all about substitution and not being greedy.
  • Portion control - I used to have a bit of a problem with portion control but now I'm so used to eating less that my stomach has shrunk and I get fuller quicker. I do this by tricking my brain into thinking it's getting a bigger meal by eating from a tea plate as opposed to a dinner plate, and I also eat my porridge and yogurts with a tea spoon. It sounds a little bit stupid but it's worked for me. Eating your meals slower also helps, as you can almost feel your body telling you when it's full so you don't overeat.
  • Take healthy snacks on the go - I'm a big fan of those little fruit snack bags you can get in Tesco and M&S. I also love Special K cracker crisps and Alpen cereal bars. All low calorie snacks which you can grab before you leave for the busy day ahead.
  • Don't eat after 8pm - This may be one of my most important tips. If you eat after a certain time in the evening then you're not doing the exercise to burn off the calories and it just sits in your stomach and gradually turns to fat. If I get hungry in the evenings I tend to drink a big cup of tea and/or go to bed.
  • Weigh yourself weekly - Don't weigh yourself every day because your weight can fluctuate during the course of a few days. It can demotivate you if you get on the scales and weigh more than you first anticipate. Pick a day of the week to weigh yourself and stick to it.

I don't claim to be an expert or anything, because I'm clearly not, but these were my initial rules up to March this year when I noticed I wasn't losing the weight as easily. That was when I knew I needed to up my game and begin a more strenuous exercise routine alongside the healthy eating. 

For the entire month of March, I tackled a 20-minute workout every single day for 30 days. Some of you may recognise it as the 30 Day Shred by the American personal trainer Jillian Michaels. She devised a 3-2-1 system where you workout strength for 3 minutes, cardio for 2 minutes, and finally abs for 1 minute. This is completed 3 times and is known as circuit training - a system known to blast fat quickly but in a healthy way. There are three workouts at different difficulty levels; you start out at level 1 and progress to levels 2 and 3 when you feel you're ready, but ideally you should work at each level for 10 days. Admittedly, the first couple of days were absolute torture and I found myself swearing breathlessly at my television on more than one occasion. But since completing the month I've grown to love Jillian - she shouts so loud on the DVD it's almost as if she's in the room with you, pushing you to your full potential.

When those 30 days were completed, I managed to lose an extra 10lbs from exercise alone. I also lost 1.5 inches off my upper arms, 2.5 inches off my bust, 2 inches from my waist, 3 inches from my stomach, 3 inches off my hips, an awesome 4.5 inches off my thighs, and an inch off my calves. In total I lost 17.5 inches from my body!

I was absolutely thrilled with the results, and it's only getting better for me. I now workout 5 days a week with 2 rest days, tackling the 45+ minute workouts on the No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism DVDs. It includes a lot more weight training which I've grown to love - I've got really defined arms and shoulders now, and my butt is a lot rounder and perkier due to weighted deadlifts! I much prefer working out at home but once I get some decent money I definitely want to join a gym too.

So overall, since October 2012, I've lost 2 stone 8lbs. I have 13lbs to go before I reach my goal weight but I'm on track and hoping to reach it by the end of the summer. I think I'd like to try out some Blogilates video workouts soon as well! I love a bit of variety to keep it fresh!

Have you been on a health kick recently? What do you do to keep fit?

1 comment

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