22 February 2018

6 Week Gym Update

Yesterday marked 6 weeks since I started going to the gym, so I thought I would shar with you guys my progress over the last six weeks. Back in January, I posted my first post about the gym, which you can read here. In this post I wanted updated you on my work out routine, and just how it's been going.

Since starting out with the gym, I've been going twice a week, every Wednesday and Sunday. I've only missed one day, because I was completely floored by the cold, so it wouldn't have been been very productive anyway! I'm quite proud that I've managed to stick to a routine and only miss one day, even on days when I'm too tried and can't really be bothered, I still find the energy to go!

In the first few weeks, my routine consisted of Treadmill, Bike, and Rowing Machine for about 10-15 minutes each, which seemed pretty average for a beginner. I'd combine these three cardio workouts with some sit ups and a few weight machines which would usually give me a solid hours work out. Towards the end of January I could start to feel the effects of working out regularly, because each time I could go a little bit longer and up the resistance or speed a little more, and it would get more manageable each time.

A few weeks ago there were still a couple of machines I hadn't yet tried out, so I wanted to give them a go. I tried first adding a new machine to the routine, which was the Arc Trainer, and right away it became one of my favourites. It was one that I could feel working a lot of my body, and it was hard but also not overly hard all at once. Since then it has become one of my favourites, and I always start off my workout with 30 minutes on it. 30 minutes would have been way too long last month, but now it's easily manageable. I've also came up with the tactic of sticking Netflix on and watching an episode Friends while I work out, and this has really helped make the time pass quickly because I'm more focused on the show than anything, and I've noticed I can bump up the resistance a bit when I'm watching, and I barely even notice, I just go with it.

The other one I tried was the Stairmaster. I have a love-hate relationship with this machine. I tried it once briefly a few weeks ago, and by tried it, I mean I did about 6 steps at the end of my first more intense work out, it was way too sore on my legs, so it kind of put me off the machine. So I gave it another go a couple of weeks ago, and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I like the concept, it's essential walking up a very mini escalator and it does really work out your legs, so while I don't like that burn, I know it's working. however, on the other hand, the stairs are really big so it's quite steep, and because it's mini sized, the steps move really slowly, but if I bump up the speed too much I'm scared I'll be too slow moving my legs and fall right off. I managed 10 minutes and burned 80 calories so it wasn't too bad for a beginning, but I think for now I'll be leaving the Stairmaster alone.

Over the weeks I've been slowing building up time and resistance, so now my workouts are usually 2 hours with 30 minutes of Arc Trainer as I feel like it burns the most calories, and usually 20 on everything else. I've been able to up the time and resistance on everything, and I can definitely feel it getting easier as the weeks go on.

One thing I've been doing every workout now as well is stretching mid way, and at the end, because after the pain I was in after my first couple of sessions I realised that the lack of stretching was probably not helping. Now I take 10 minutes to stretch after the cardio part of my workouts, and to do some sit ups. There's an area in the gym with a large open space and some yoga matts that's not in the main gym section so it's out of people's way where I usually do this. I focus on stretching mostly my legs and back as that's where I feel the most tension, and I also do sit ups every time, as it helps with the stomach area. I started of with 5 when I started and have slowly built up each week to 20 at the moment.

After stretching I move onto the weight machines. I don't do too much weight training right now, as I'm more focused on losing weight than building up muscles, but I do some as it helps with building up stamina and resistance. There are a tonne of weight machines at the gym I go to, but the ones that I use most often are the Leg Press, Abduction/Adduction (though after the pain I was in last time with Adduction, I stick mostly with Abduction for now!) and the Leg Curl. Leg Press and Abduction are probably my favourites. Leg Press helps with your legs overall, and I'm currently up to using 49.5kg weights compared to 31kg when I started, and the Abduction which helps with your thigh and hips muscles. I've stuck with 50kg, though I feel like I could move up a little now, as it's only starting to feel strenuous in the last few sets, compared to when I started when it was fairly hard to move the full time.

Badminton has been something I've been really enjoying working into my workout routine some weeks as well, as it adds a bit of variety to the day and breaks up gym sessions where it's just working away in the same area on the same machines. They gym I go to offers a whole range of sports but lots of them arrange team sports like football, but I noticed recently that as well as badminton they also do tennis, so I'd love to give that bash some time, as I really like tennis as well!

One thing that has been really helping me kept on top of my progress, is noting down all of my workouts each time. I note them in my notes app on my phone each time I go, then at the end of every month I'll be writing them down in a notebook and starting fresh. That way I can keep track of what machines I'm doing, and for how long so I can see where progress is being made, and I can note down how many sets and reps I do on the weights, as well as how much the weight is so I know when to increase or decrease it for next time. I usually also log the calories burned, and total it up after each session. I do use the MyFitnessPal app to log exercises as well, but I go but the calorie loss that's on the machine, instead of the app. The app I use mostly for logging what I eat. If you'd like to know a bit more about the actually food and diet side of my diet and exercise plan, you can check out this post, which has some of my healthy eating alternatives that I've been loving.

Every Wednesday I've been using the gym's weight machine to keep track of my weight, as it's quite a handy machine. It gives you a printed slip that has your height), your weight, and your BMI, as well as stats on what a healthy BMI for your height and weight is! I keep these little slips so that week by week I can monitor weight loss. I'm really proud to say that in just 6 weeks, I've lost 9lbs and I've not put any on. It's a great start for me, as my goal for the year is to lose 2 stone, so to have lost over half a stone in 6 weeks is a really positive start.

I've been really loving going to the gym these last 6 weeks. I can see and feel noticeable differences in myself. I can see that my face and around my stomach have started to thin down a little, and I feel more confident. I've found that it's really helping not only my healthy and weight, but its been keeping me motivated in both exercise and in my life in general, and I have a lot more energy than I did previous.

Do you have a regular exercise plan? What's are your favourite ways to keep active?

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