Good morning my lovelies and welcome to another cold and dreary looking day out here in Nairobi. If you’re enjoying some good old sun and warmth, shout out to me, yes, i secretly hate you right now as i layer on sock after sock, but i’m happy that you’re doing better than me.
For those of us braving the cold out there, heading to work or class, i say Godspeed to you and make sure you pack some gloves and a scarf. It goes a heck of a long way in buffering all this freezitude (Yeah, i just invented that word. If Shakespeare can do it, why can’t i. I mean i’m no world class linguist or anything but…shut up…it’s a cool word, case closed…Haha).
It’s really funny though, the one time that i get totally syked up to go workout is the day it decided that temperatures will plummet to unbelievably low degrees. I mean even my cat who is very anti social 100 percent of the time keeps coming over to cuddle on my lap for some warmth. That’s when you know it’s cold…Haha. But we must press on and burn that fat no matter what the cost right? Anyone with me? No? It’s okay. I’m a patient man. Allow me to show you the light.
As you may have probably noticed, i have about two posts so far, aside from this one of course on fitness. I didn’t even know that until i went back to my archives. Now granted, that’s pretty lazy that in the span of two years, (Yeah you heard me, two whole years of blogging up in here *woop woop* Don’t worry, the blog anniversary post is coming up pretty soon so be sure to check that out and celebrate with this proud blabber) i have only managed to rake up two fitness posts. Why? Well because embarrassingly, fitness was always that thing that i’d watch other people do as you sit and laugh out loud when they can’t finish the last sit-up. That was of course until i started doing three reps of 11 sit-ups alongside my ab routines that i no longer found it funny. Working out sucks big time, i won’t lie. I know I’ve said this a couple of times before, but it’s only because it does, really, it really really sucks.
The rewards however…man, they totally compensate for it all. Waking up fresh, fitting into your clothes pretty well, seeing that good old muscle definition and everything that was once flat and flabby starts to perk up. It’s great, painful yes, but great. But knowing myself pretty well, and i’m sure there’s a lot of you out there who can attest to the same. I struggle a lot with keeping things consistent, and unless i have somebody or something reminding me to do it, i’ll probably not. This applied especially so for working out. I remember those days starting out when the soreness would get unbearable and that lazy fat voice inside all our heads would convince me to stop. You know it; talking soda and pizza and cake while you’re stir frying veggies or struggling through that push up. I would sometimes go weeks under the excuse that i was recovering, when really i was just remembering all the pain and pushing it forward to later. So you can imagine my elation when i found apps that could keep me on track and actually get me to keep at it.
The first app that i fell in love with was ‘Couch25k’, an android app that helps you literally get from sitting on your couch to running a 5 kilometer marathon. I know some of you gasped at the thought, and i understand, marathons aren’t for everyone. I didn’t particularly do it for that anyway. My motivation was that i wanted to get up and get active, and what better way than by jogging. Now if you live in the Eastlands area of Nairobi, you’ll agree that especially in Buruklyn (Buruburu), there’s a lot of people who are into jogging. Old, young, men, women, they love it. Whether to show off their affinity to a great figure or because they actually do it to stay fit, the fact remains, they do it. This of course gave me the push i needed. I mean, when you’re panting from walking to the shopping center and meet up with a smiling sweet old lady doing her speed walks, is there anything more you need to get you exercising? Nope. That’s enough.
The good thing about the app is also the fact that it starts you out from the most basic point where you have fewer runs and more rests as you work to the top, and you only have to pick three days out of the week, give it at most thirty minutes and you’re back home. I however had to stop for a bit, what with my fast metabolism and bad eating habits, i needed to change things up and gain some fat before i could get back at it. I had however gotten up to week 4, at 31 minutes and 30 seconds where i’d do my five minute brisk walk for the warm up, jog for 3 minutes, walk for 90 seconds, jog for 5 minutes, walk for 2.5 minutes, jog for 3 minutes, walk for 90 seconds then jog for 5 mins as i head for the cool-down. I never experienced any pain or extreme soreness after the runs, and it definitely got me active and ready to face the day at just three times a week.
The other app that helped me change things up is the ’30 Days Fitness Challenge’. Now there’s a reason they call it a fitness challenge because i’m telling you, in the past two months, it has kicked and slapped me silly so much so that i’m still on day 18, way past deadline. The good thing however is that just like ‘Couch25k’, the app starts you off from the level of ‘Couch potato’ to ‘Fitness fanatic’ in just a month, and if that’s too fast for you, you can always take it in your stride. The point is that you’re moving and staying active, and of course with the built in rest days, you get to recover from all the aches and pains, because believe me, it works every muscle in your body until you just STOP.
This is the point therefore that i come in with some useful tidbits to add to my app info and rile you up to get started as well. So hang on, we’re almost there. Don’t switch off on me…Haha. A disclaimer of course, i’m not a trained or qualified fitness professional, so all of this is purely from experience, research and my own dos and don’ts, so take what makes sense to you and just garbage the rest.
So You Want to Work Out 101
- First and foremost before embarking on any fitness routine, check in with your doctor to make sure that everything is working well and in good condition. Fitness is good and all, but your health is paramount.
- Secondly, look for ways to motivate yourself. I always started with taking photos at the beginning of the month and at the end, this way i get to see my progress and this definitely helped me overcome those low days because i could see that it was working, no matter how slow. You can also buy that outfit you’ve always wanted to wear but was always a bit too snug going in, and work with that as a motivation to losing weight. Finding a workout buddy also helps you stay motivated because you can struggle through together and slay together with your amazing progress after.At the end of the day, get a goal and run with it, otherwise you’ll give up halfway through.
- Remember to also take it easy. It’s not a competition, so go at your pace. Learn how your body work, what it likes and what it doesn’t, and gear your fitness journey towards that. Some people work out daily and their body recovers quick enough to do it that way. You’re not them so just stop it. If your body says no, listen to it. There’s the ‘I don’t want to do this anymore No’ .If that’s it, keep at it until you absolutely can’t. But then there’s also the ‘If i do this any more, i’m gonna die No’. Don’t push past it. Muscles need to repair themselves and giving the body enough time to do this gets you results. Doing intense workouts for the sake of it won’t, so learn your body.
- Nutrition is also key. If you’re building muscle, make sure to eat foods rich in carbs and protein and do less cardio, whereas if you’re working on losing weight, less carbs and more smoothies and fruits for energy will help you get through those hard routines. Start by doing your research and developing a workable realistic meal plan for things you can easily access to eliminate any excuses that you can’t find those specific foods. With working out also, cooking is good, take out is bad. When you’re in control of what goes into your meals, you’re more mindful of what amounts of each food group goes into your body, and what doesn’t work for you can be eliminated and/or cranked up if it does. It also makes sure that you don’t eat unless you’re actually hungry because no one is about that life of cooking all day every day just to silence a craving. Meal prepping also goes a long way in helping you stay on the road to healthy living, so prepare those smoothie and stir fry ingredients before hand and store them in the freezer until you need to use them. This ensures they stay fresh and ready to toss into the pot when necessary.
- How you warm up, breathe, cool down and stretch will also determine how well you will progress. Never just wake up and start jumping around unless you want to be seeing the world spin every time you work out. Always work the body up from rest to activity with a short full body warm up, depending on the workout you’re doing of course to bring your heart rate up, then transition into the workout, breathing constantly in and out to ensure a steady flow of oxygen into the body. After you’re done, proceed to a relaxed cool down to bring your heart rate and breathing down, and then proceed to the stretching. As i mentioned earlier, muscles need to repair themselves from all the wear and tear of working out. A good way to help with recovery and eliminate soreness is therefore to endure the painful stretching. Yes, stretching is painful and uncomfortable, just accept that and move on. It’s however necessary and anyway, an hour or so of painful stretching is better than nursing soreness for the entire week. It also increases the flexibility of muscles as they develop, making you not only look and feel good, but able to move without resistance from taunt muscle formation.
- When it comes to workout gear, don’t compromise. Whether it’s at the gym or at home, get yourself comfortable breathable shoes and clothes that don’t chaff or hurt when you use them. Make sure that they fit well without being too tight so that they don’t come off during Zumba, trust me, no one wants to see all that, so keep it fitting…haha, and ensure that you can stretch and do your workouts without feeling constricted. With workout clothes, less is more, and the more comfortable you are working out, the better you will do it. It also doesn’t hurt to look good while doing it. Color coded outfits and shoes definitely do a great work as a confidence booster, whether you’re jogging past people, working out at the gym, or admiring yourself after a successful workout at home. Remember, find ways to motivate yourself to keep at it.
- Last but certainly not least, enjoy yourself. We all may want the rock hard abs and beach bodies, but at the end of the day, maintaining a poster model/actor/Victoria secret body is crazy mad hard work that might in most cases leave you obsessed with how you look more than how you feel. The aim of the game, in spite of the perks, which are great, is to be healthy and get stronger and better than you were when you started. It’s about learning your weaknesses and breaking point as well as how to overcome them, and when you do, celebrating your own achievement, no matter how seemingly small it seems to everyone else.
So shake things up, go swimming, take dance classes, try hiking or rock climbing and try new routes on your jogging days, or even just take a walk and be active. At the end of the day, do you and do good to the body God has given you. Take care of it, slap it silly when it misbehaves, and if you don’t like how it looks, then get up and do something about it because the body is not the master of me, i am the master of it, and that motivates me to keep pushing it to where and how i want it to be.
Therefore dust off those cobwebs in your fitness life, keep getting back up no matter how many times you fall, don’t give up and LET’S GO KILL SOME FAT!!!!
Stay fit and beautiful y’all.