Thursday, January 17, 2013

It doesn't get easier, you just get better.


The thing about exercising is that it is extremely addictive and once you start and LIKE IT, you won't stop. You feel restless if you stop doing it for a few days and need to sweat immediately. I also strongly believe that exercising is the best present you can give back to your body. It's always never too late to get started and any exercise is better than none really.

I never felt so alive again and I'm really glad I picked it up 5 years back again. It changes me and I became more confident and more in control of my time & life. And now, I'm loving it much more than before. I used to think it was a chore during my uni days as instead of torturing your body, I could jolly well slack on the couch and watch tv. Exercising is a life-time commitment & lifestyle. Once you like it, you won't stop, just like your hobbies of surfing net, watching shows or shopping. You don't find time to exercise, you make time to exercise. I tell myself that since I have the time for online shopping and surfing net despite my work & whatnots, I will definitely have that extra hour daily to sweat. Since I can travel to town to grab that to-die-for dress, I can do the same thing to attend classes as well.

I can never pick just one activity to do because each exercise or sport is beneficial in its own way and are never substitutes for each other. So cross-train, never stick to routines so exercising will be much more interesting.  Like eating different dishes instead of sticking to one dish. Also, cardiovascular exercises (running, swimming, combat, spinning) and strength-training have to be combined together for best results and not just doing a solo activity.




Body pump has always been a compulsory weekly class because it really tones your body so much and convert the fats to muscles. Never neglect strength training in your exercise regime as it goes best with cardio for weight loss to decrease the fat mass in your body. The best way to get leaner arms and legs! I remembered during my first class with Grace, I was such a a noob and had no idea how much weight to use for the different parts in the class. I chose the same weight for both biceps and triceps curls which is completely wrong. Triceps are the smaller muscle group in your body and where the byebye-butterfly arm is located so go with a lighter weight! The larger muscles of the glutes, thighs, chest and back can usually handle heavier weight than the smaller muscles of the shoulders, arms, abs and calves.  The resistance weight that you are using cannot be too light nor too heavy that it affects your posture. Usually I use 2.5kg for triceps curls and 7kg for biceps curls each arm. It may sound daunting how you can handle 12kg-16kg on your shoulders but really, our shoulders and arms are stronger than what we think! For home exercises, just use a dumb bell (buy from Royal Sporting House) or 1.4 litres of water for strength training and combine with lots of squats/lunges. For girls, our bodies are structured differently from guys so you will never bulk up the way guys do. So don't be afraid of doing strength-training as its the best way to get toned arms and legs.




Running is still my first love for cardio activities and the passion for it made me do silly things like running marathons. Everytime when I'm half way through a marathon, I will  question myself on the purpose of joining it and make a mental note that it will be my last 42km ever. But when I cross the finishing line, I will be rushing to find another to sign up just for that sense of satisfaction and running high. It's like a drug and running gives me that freedom nothing can provide. Every distance, every km, whether it's a race or training takes effort, even donning on your sports shoe and that slight thought to run. I wouldn't deny that yes, running is the last activity I would want to do on a lazy days because to me, running takes the most effort & energy as compared to yogaing, pumping, spinning and whatnots. However, there is nothing close to running really. Nothing that keeps your heart pumping so fast, cheeks so flustered and legs burning like never before. Running is the best alone time ever and your legs bring you to where you want. Running makes me feel in control of my life and trains my mind alot - Mind over matter. I used to do most of my runs in evenings but in the last 3 months during trainings, I started running on mornings. Most of my upcoming races are in the mornings so I decided doing that now will prep myself better for the races. I read that morning runs are best for weight-loss as you usually just burn your food consumed during evening runs. These days, I no longer drag myself out at 7am daily because morning runs are really more exciting than I thought and I love that post-running high felt from my last morning run. I no longer require coffee because that endorphin rush keep me alert and awake the whole day. Evening runs after work is a different feeling as well as it takes away all my stress and concludes a day perfectly. However the thing about me is that my mind is still rather weak so I need to join runs to motivate myself to run harder, stick to my running schedule and improve my timing bit by bit.



Spinning and combat are my next favourite cardios that are extremely enjoyable as well because you sweat so much! Spinning is indoor cycling where the bikes are programmed differently from the outdoor bikes. It is extremely good for toning your legs and I find that attending the class twice a week build up better stamina during running. Combat is indoor kickboxing and its extremely therapeutic for relieving stress and toning up the arms. Instructors are very important as they either make or break your experience. My favorite True combat instructors are Joeson and Eric, as well as Julian, Ben, Eric and Tracy for spinning!

 

Hot Yoga and Bikram yoga help to protect your body from all the injuries especially if you do cardio alot. Running and spinning can make your knee joints and muscles really tight, so yoga helps to contract your muscles and offset the damage from running. I personally love Bikram yoga alot and it's something hot yoga can never achieve. In Bikram, you perform 26 fixed postures inclusive of two breathing exercise in a 42 degrees room in 1.5 hour. It has loads and loads of benefits for the body that is too amazing really. Every part of your body is working out - your heart, lungs, joints, back and knee. It has that ability to heal and after every Bikram lesson, you get that amazing calmness and sensation. Till now, every lesson to me is challenging as your body performs differently everyday. Sometimes I feel that I can do every posture correctly, sometimes I feel that I can't breathe at certain postures. It takes lots of concentration and calmness to perform every pose to your best effort and you improve your flexibility in every single practice. Yoga helps to improve my flexibility and I could touch my head to my calves now and do headstands, things that I couldn't do previously. I try to attend twice a week now and I love how my skin looks clearer and my tummy looks flatter the next day. It's addictive and I didn't mind travelling 40mins from my workplace to attend it as much as I can. To me, hot yoga is different and an alternative to Bikram. Beside the room temperature being less hot, the postures in every class vary and help to improve your flexibility. It's good to add variety and try different postures like scorpion, headstand, downward dog etc. My fav True Bikram instructors are Yu Jung, Johnny, Rohit and Shan! Body Balance and Pilates also help to stretch the body and build up the core.

I have been combining Bikram with running alot after reading a recent article on how Bikram helps in running trainings. I can't agree more and I run slightly faster with regulated breathing during runs. My heart rate stablizes much faster than before. Both activities although different in mechanics, require lots of discipline, concentration, patience, perseverance and endurance. Whenever I feel sluggish at my runs, I think about how I endure through that 90 minutes of Bikram in that hot room. At Bikram classes when I'm about to give up in between the posture, I tell myself my determination brought me throughout the 5 hours of marathon running. Twice a week in the morning, I do a 40mins run and head for Bikram class after work. Amazingly the next day I didn't felt any aching in my legs after running unlike before. Working out twice a day is awesome as well and I take a rest day the next day. I used to think "oh I can't run now since I gymmed in the morning" till I read that its a wrong thinking. Exercising twice a day is good for your body but both exercises have to be of different exercise group. Say if you run in the morning, then avoid spinning or swimming but do a pump or yoga class instead.

Like what yoga instructors said, be thankful for your body & your practice today and come back for more tomorrow.

Health is wealth and exercising is indeed one of the most fulfilling lifestyle one could have and best present for yourself. Combine cardio with strength training and don't forget to stretch your muscles! Don't ever exercise for others as it's your body and all for yourself. If you like it, you won't ever need company to motivate yourself for every workout session nor drag yourself out of the house!

Girl power FTW - It doesn't get easier, you just get better




6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi there, Did you get the LB Brittany Dress? What size did you get? Thanks!!

ruffledwhiteskirt said...

anonymous - wanted to but didn't managed to get it! will prob get a S if i bought it :)

ashlyne said...

love this post, very motivational for me! just started attending yoga once a week but stopped going to the gym because i was just too lazy. really need to push myself to exercise more!

ruffledwhiteskirt said...

thanks ashlyne! i love your posts in your blogs too :) which gym do u go to! yes let's push ourselves while we are still youngg!! :)

ashlyne said...

i just use the gym facilities that's available at my condo since we are paying for the maintenance :p just went yesterday! :D

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